Sunday, 9 February 2014

Trying to look for the postive

The last few weeks have been a bit rough and I havent really felt like blogging. I got caught in the negative thinking spiral and ended up doing what my dear old Dad called 'navel gazing', ie; feeling sorry for myself.
Ive not been doing any crafting, boxfit has now been cancelled and its been too cold and wet to get out walking. Ive been a bit fed up, sick of being skint and generally wanting to hibernate.
The decluttering challenge has been slowly moving forward (apart from the odd thing that I was getting rid of finding its way back into the house - thanks to the OH!), but the sealed pot challenge has suffered a bit of a setback. I had to break it open this weekend for next weeks busfare and things like bread, milk etc, - yep things are THAT tight!
However, I did manage to get out for a walk today and have had a serious talk to myself, so am determined to focus on the good things that are happening. Ive done it before and have managed to turn things around and get myself out of a funk and start good things happening again.
OK, the good things...........

- I have finally got my start date for my new job - 24th Feb. Ive had mixed feelings about this as I dont want to leave the place where I am now, but as its a 'temp' assignment which is coming to and end I dont have much choice.
The new job is permanent and I will finally be able to start to move forward again, so I WILL look forward to it, and its still within the same site as my current one so I will still see the colleagues that have become my friends.

- The days are starting to get longer, its no longer dark when I go out to the bus-stop at 7.15 in the morning, and its still light when I get home at 5.

-Ive got some lovely bulbs flowering in my garden already!. My tulips and daffs are coming up, but the snowdrops and dwarf irises are flowering, and they always make me smile.

Not my pics but courtesy of the interweb
So, there you have it. There are some good things happening and will be more to come.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

January update


One of my goals for 2014 was to blog more ofte, so here's a rundown of what the first few weeks of 2014 have thrown my way.

The sealed pot challenge is still underway, things have been a bit tight but Ive not been tempted to crack it open. The decluttering challenge has got off to a good start, about 40ish items have been chucked or gone to the charity shop, still got a long way to go on both.

Ive bitten the bullet and joined instagram, and Im over on Pinterest as well. Im not on them that often but am quite enjoyng them (I get a bit fed up with Twitter and Facebook sometimes).

Ive started on my Xmas 2014 crafting. Ive decided to make lap quilts for all the ladies on OH's side of the family. There will be 5 or 6 of them and they will be approx 4ft square. Ive made a start on the one for his Mum, which is the fiddliest as its got lots of small bits on it. Ive just got to add the border, and then I can sandwich it together.

Im really quite pleased with it so far.

Ive also decided (as Im not a big housework fan) that for every hour I spend crafting, I will do 30 mins domestics. This can be cleaning, cooking, sorting bills, decluttering etc, Im classing them all as housework, a bit of a stretch I know, but my rules!
 Ive been really good with making my own lunches so far this year (mainly due to being very skint and trying to have more control over what Im eating). Ive been making soups, fritters, fritattas and low cal macaroni cheese, some have been more sucessful than others, but its an ongoing attempt to stop myself getting bored with making the same thing over and over again. Its also a good excuse to take some next door for the Mother in Law to try and make sure she gets some hot food. She's having a few mobility issues at the moment and cant stand at the cooker to make herself any hot meals, so we are keeping a close eye on her. Hopefully she will be a bit more agile for her 80th Birthday party next month!

Lastly, but by now means leastly, Ive bagged myself a new, permanent, full time job! I will be going to work as a Clerical Officer in the Medical Records department at Sheffields Specialist Cancer Hospital. Not sure when yet, I have my pre-employment meeting this week and should get my start date soon (I hope), but Im looking forward to it. Hope to share more on this at a later date.

Well, thats about it at the moment, Ive spent the afternoon making lunches for next week, and letter writing, so think I deserve to read a few chapters of my book now with a nice coffee. Sorry about the shortage of pics, but Ive not really been inspired to snap away, maybe next time. :o)

Catch ya later.

Jo x

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Is there Anybody There??????

Well, I havent been inspired to blog for a while, I just feel like my lifes not the most exciting, and I havent really got a central theme like most blogs have. So I guess this is more like an open letter to my friends and rellies overseas ( I know at least one person reads it!). If I pick up a follower or two along the way, then cool, but Im not gonna get lots of traffic and Im OK with that.
So, whats been happening since we were last here.......
well, the remainder of the money we had inherited went on two things,  replacing our car (which we were gonna have to do before June anyway as it wouldnt have gone through another MOT without a huge amount of work and £££ being spent on it), so we now have a lovely tidy Ford Focus.....

 hopefully we wont have to replace her for a good few years as she is in great condition and very lovely to drive.
The other thing was the replacing of the kitchen roof. The original roof was a bit knackered and leaked quite badly, so OH and his builder brother did it over a weekend at the end of November.
Old roof taken off

OH's brother demolishing the chimney

The old joists coming out - note the only bit of insulation we had in the roof void!

New joists going on

OH starting the tiling

All done - isnt it pretty (well I think it is)
 Now that the roof is done, we are planning on taking the ceiling down and opening up the kitchen to make it look much bigger that it is (and OHcan finish my kitchen). Hopefully, this will add to the value of the house.

So, after a few years with things standing still on the house, we have managed to get a few things done this year, we've still got a long way to go, but we are managing to get the major stuff tackled.

Workwise, Im still temping at The Royal Hallamshire Hospital and still enjoying it. Not sure how much longer my contract will run for as there are departmental changes happening, but am keeping my ear to the ground and fingers crossed that I wont be out of work one way or the other.

We've had a nice Xmas with OH's family next dor and will do the same on New Years Eve, Ive only have the stautory days off, but I dont mind.

Ive started thinking about 2014 and what I want to acheive. I dont make resolutions as I think they dont work for me, so I make a list of goals to aim for instead.  Ive also joined in a couple of online challenges as well just to make life interesting.

- Im aiming to loose (at least) 2 more stone in 2014

- Im aiming to declutter 500 items from our house (not including normal household waste) - I keep loooking at things and asking myself would I take this to New Zeland with me when we move - its amazing the stuff I am happy to let go of !

- Ive joined the  - Sealed Pot Challenge ! Every £2 coin I get, all the change in my purse at the end of the week, and any extra coins (found or given) are going into a sealed pot for 12 months. Then at then end of the 12 months its opened and counted, and (hopefully) there is a decent amount in it!
From what Ive read, people have managed to save hundreds this way. Im hoping it will pay a big chunk off a credit card, or maybe even pay for Xmas 2014, or (if Im really lucky and we have a good year) maybe go towards OH's NZ visa! Oh, its very exciting.

Ive got several other goals/aims as well (blogging more often being one), but Im not gonna bore you with those. Im hoping to get a lot more sewing and cafting done this year and (hopefully) the results will be worth sharing.

Well, thats my lot for now, Im off to put some stuff on eBay and to sort through some more stuff to go to the Charity shop.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year and looking forward to sharing lots with you in the year to come.

I'd really love it if you left me a comment to let me know what your goals are for 2014.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Catch up

Here we are almost at the end of October and weve bitten the bullet and put the heating on (at last). Weve got all the windows in and Phil has finished off the sills and sides, just needs to get the plastering done now.
Here are a few pics......


Bathroom and back bedroom/office
Office and Bathroom


Dining Room

Back - struggling to get the old bathroom window out


So with the new boiler that went in back in April and the new windows the house is beautifully warm (which it has never been while weve been here), I no longer see my breath in front of my face when Im in the dining room. We are prediciting (based on what we are using so far) that our combinged energy usage (Gas and Electricity) will be less than we were paying for Gas alone last year. Sounds like a win to me.

Work has been a bit interesting in the last week. My job will shortly cease to exist, but I will be moving within the department (tho still as a temp). Im a bit nervous about the move and sad to leave the office Im in as I have been really happy there, but will still be spending a few hours a week in with them (but doing my own work). I get on really well with the guy I was teamed with (he's almost become like the younger brother I never had) and we've worked really well together, so will miss our daily banter. In this new role, I will be a  more on my own and have a bit more involvement with patients, but it is more secure (for the moment) and thats what I need.

Craftwise, theres not much going on, Im gathering bits together for Xmas little by little, I have a few ideas but possibly wont reveal them until afterwards (I dont think any of the recipients read this, but you never know).

I had a request from a friend who I used to work with to post more about our surrogate cat.
Kizzy belongs to Phils Mum (who you may remember lives next door), she is getting on a bit and spends most of her time at our house (to get away from the bombhead dog), we reckon if we fed her she'd never go home! She's the most vocal cat I've ever known and we love her to bits.
Here she is......
Ignoring the dog (her default setting)

Checking out our new windowsills

Chilling in the sun

Keeping the soil in the planter warm

Not impressed

Thats all for this time. Thanks for reading.
Feel free to leave a comment.
Jojo xxx

Sunday, 6 October 2013


So, here we are at the beginning of October and there is a definite chill in the air. Im really not loving the fact that its now dark in the mornings when I get up for work, and that its getting darker much earlier in the evenings. The leaves have started turning and even tho there are plenty of brambles and rosehips ripe for the pikcing, I cant quite summon up the enthusiasm for it. There are still the odd signs of life in the garden, the carrots are almost ready to be pulled, Ive still got some calendula in flower and the borage is still going strong. Its kinda threatening to take over as all these plants were selfseeded from previous years, still its good for attracting bees, and for keeping the weeds down, so I dont mind.

 Ive also got one sunflower (at long last), I cant believe how pityful the sunflowers and sweetpeas have been this year.

Craftwise Ive not been very busy, am  trying to get myself geared up for the Xmas crafting onslaught, but as yet I have no idea what Im going to do for pressies this year.
With regards to the previous post (about singing) Ive got a couple of names of potential teachers, I just have to be brave enough to make some phone calls :o)

The exciting news (well exciting for me) is that we have finally been able to make a start on the next phase of our home improvements (finally). After being left some money by a late Uncle weve bought the new windows we have been in desperate need of for the last 10 years and the first three went in yesterday.

Luckily with OHs brother being a builder and OH his part time labourer, we dont have to pay much for labour, provided they are supplied with coffee and bacon sarnies they are quite happy. The remaining two windows should be going in over the next couple of days. The windows they are replacing were put in in the early 70's (we found some newspaper that was used as packing), but these were just screwed into the original fames (including the weights for the sash windows), so weve taken out timber thats been in place for 108 years (and not all of it rotten). Theres plenty of pastering etc to keep OH busy, but then we will finally have a nice warm house, which will make a lovely change. Ive been ripping tiles off the bathroom walls today in preparation for the bathroom window, I really love the destruction bit.
So with the boiler having gone in earlier in the year and the new double glazed windows our fuel bills will be lower and the resale value of the house will have been increased. The kitchen roof will be the next step, and then the dormer window in the back roof, but at least things are starting to get going and Im seeing the return to NZ one (small) step closer.

Im still loving my work, Ive got heaps of holidays to use before the end of the year, so havent got more that 3 weeks without a week off between now and Xmas. Not sure when this assignment will end and not sure what will happen then, but theres not much point panicing about it yet, plently of time for that later.

Hope all is well in your world. Thanks for dropping by and having a read.  Dont forget comments are most welcome (they show me that at least one of you is reading!).

Till next time,


Sunday, 15 September 2013

What Makes You Happy?

After a rather turbulent week, a lot of soul searching (or navel gazing as my Dad used to call it) and a 'gut spilling' session with a lovely friend (Thank You - you know who you are), Ive realised I need to do something that truely makes me happy and that Ive not done for years.
Ive lost a bit of weight recently (26lb and counting) and my self confidence is slowly emerging, though other parts of my life arent going so well, so I need to do this just for me.

What am I talking about? Something very few people know about me

  I LOVE to sing, (and not to be modest about it), Im quite good.

My sister and I always used to sing together whenever we were going anywhere in the car as children, and my first ever teacher (bless you Mrs Scott wherever you are) wrote on one of my reports that I had a sweet singing voice. :o) When we were in our 20's we used to sit up front and sing on the late night coach journey from Oamaru to Invercargill (about 5 hours) and always got a thank you from the coach drivers for the entertainment.

On the odd occasion I sang a solo in a church production for the youth group I was part of at the time.

However, my OH (and my Father before him) have managed to make me feel like Im not good enough to perform in front of a 'real' audience. Dad was musical, but just didnt have faith in me, OH comes from a non-musical family and just doesnt think I can do it. I had a couple of practise sessions with a band once, but had never heard my voice through a mic before (I need to learn how to breathe) and didnt have transport at the time, so it didnt go anywhere - they needed someone quickly and I needed more time.
A few months ago a local operatic society were looking for new members, I was quite keen to go along and have a look, but OH managed to talk me out of it by saying these groups didnt like outsiders and he didnt want me to get my hopes dashed.
This is also the reason why I have never done any karaoke - no confidence in myself, so none of his family know I sing (Ive known them for the best part of 22 years).

When I lost my voice for 6 months (6 years back) I was really upset that I might loose my ability to sing, and that was really scarey. Thankfully, some speech therapy lessons have taught me vocal warm up techniques and there doesnt seem to be much change (on a bad day I cant hold notes as long as I used to, but I can live with that).

So, now Ive decided  (even if just for me and no one else) is to treat myself to some singing lessons. Even if I dont get any further than that (I would love to be brave enough to perform in public one day) I want to do this and think I also need to do it as singing makes my heart, well, sing.

So there you have it, my dirty little secret, arent you glad you dropped by for a read today?
Leave me a comment to let me know what makes your heart sing.

Till next time

Sunday, 8 September 2013

So thats August over and done with then

Once again, its been an age since Ive blogged, theres been quite a bit going on over the last few weeks, and I havent been in the right headspace to write.
We had an unexpected overnight visit from a fellow Kiwi who was on her way to Scotland, which was really lovely. I hadnt seen her for over 20 years, and it was great to catch up. We took her out into Derbyshire to see some of our local sights including a drive by Chatsworth House, ( but no Mr Darcy in the water, unfortunately), and then on to The Moorlands for a lovely meal.
We also lost a very good friends of OH's this month. He had been in hospital for a few weeks and we saw him gradually going downhill, but its still very upsetting when it happens. He didnt leave any family behind, so things are a bit up in the air with regards to his funeral, so its all a bit messy.
Then, we both got nasty colds (well I got a cold, he got Manflu!), so we have had all that fun as well.

Workwise, Im still really enjoying my current assignment, they are a really lovely bunch of people to work with. There are a few changes Im involved with, which always makes things interesting, and this week Im sort of being left to my own devices as my colleague is having a week off, so its a bit sink or swim. Eek! Some of us went out for a drink after work on Friday which makes a huge change for me as I dont usually want to socialise with people I work with, it was nice. 

Gardenwise, theres not a lot happening, the only veg I have left in the ground are a few carrots, I wasnt impressed with the potato yeild this year, but they do taste delicious. Ive still got loads of weeding to do and hopfully one last cut of the grass before it gets too cold and wet.

Craftwise, I finished my Napkin for the napkin project and got it posted off.......
now Ive got a bit of mending etc to do before I start my next project. Im also making a few more owls, and am contemplating a bit more quilting as well.

So, there have been goings on, but nothing very thrilling to write about. I will leave you tho, with a pic of the lovely orchid I thought Id killed (you may remember it from a previous post), there are now 12 flowers open and another 2 to go, Im quite proud of this.

Till next time.....