Another journey around the sun…

My 51st year (and beyond) … heading towards a simpler existence (or just getting on top of it all!)

Food or funny: what would you like to see each Friday? — 10/01/2014

Food or funny: what would you like to see each Friday?

I’m contemplating a regular post, not just any regular post though. This one will be (loosely) based on a theme. My dilemma is which theme would be best. So, I’m handing the decision over to you. Yes! You, faithful follower or accidental arrival my regular Friday post is now in your hands.
Voting starts today and will run for one week. At the end, we’ll know if I’ll be feeding your eyes or tickling your fancy 😉

The choices are Friday Food or Friday Funny.

In our house, the best meal of the week is Friday night. It’s our version of date night if you like. For instance, tonight overcooked pork with apple sauce and oven vegetables is on the menu. Dessert will probably be ice-cream, purely because it’s the best and simplest dessert around. Sometimes I get creative and have been know to make chocolate fondants or Tarte Tatin on occasion.

Friday FUnny is just that. It might be a joke, or a picture or a you-tube clip embedded for your enjoyment. My email has a folder full of jokes that have arrived over the years, so I know I have no shortage of material.

Here is the poll, vote fast and vote often. Remember my blogging future depends on your vote. Okay, that might be overly dramatic. The future direction of this blog depends on YOU!

Now that you’ve voted, check out my new ‘about‘ page. Updated as part of the Zero to Hero Challenge.

Day 142/365 —

Day 142/365

Feeling extremely pleased with myself today. My paperwork is in order for November AND December. Even cooler, I get to pay VAT for my first months trading. I know, not everybody gets excited about paying the tax man. Except in my case it means more money has come in than has gone out, and that’s always a good thing!

School starts again tomorrow, my books are all packed and by the front door. Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces again.

My next Zero to Hero task will have to wait for tomorrow – tackling the “about” page, or in my case the who is Erica? page.

Posted on the go! From my Nokia Lumia 🙂

Minimising Christmas. — 08/01/2014

Minimising Christmas.

Day 6 of the Zero to Hero challenge and I need to use a new element. I’d like to share something from Spotify and at the same time tie it into a half decent post. So I think I’ll share my minimal Christmas with you and round off with a Spotify track.

What did you get for Christmas? Is it a big deal in your house? (Nowadays, more for the kids than the adults, I like the food part!)
Do you go for quantity over quality? Is everybody spoilt? Or do the gifts run to the useful end of the scale? (Definitely, socks’n’jocks!)
Do you do away with gifts and cards altogether? I have a friend who with her husband, sends out a slide show summarising their year and at the end she identifies the charity that she’s donated to.

Our family this year went with minimal Christmas. My siblings came to an agreement not to exchange gifts between our families. I altered this a little to say that if I saw you, there would be a gift. After all, we were flying half way round the world! Instead we called and chatted on the day, even if the phone coverage was a bit dodgy and looking for a signal took forever. We took small gifts and a mystery envelope from my mother-in-law that arrived the day we left. It was all about travelling light 🙂

The best gift this year was from The Engineer. It couldn’t be wrapped, couldn’t be manhandled so to speak and many more people benefited from our present than us.

  • We flew to Australia to spend time with family and see a bit of Australia as well 🙂 Mr. 14 met one cousin for the first time and really got to know another who was a baby last time they met.
  • Our dog spent time with the Finnish side of the family. Judging by the tears as they said goodbye, the youngest will miss him a lot.
  • We spent plenty of time exploring, eating, drinking, even some shopping! To be sure, lots of capital was injected into the Australian economy.
  • I met up with two girlfriends that I haven’t seen in many years. Photos and good times all around.
  • We climbed mountains, swam, walked and generally enjoyed the great outdoors. In keeping with the (accidental) theme of experience rather than stuff, Mr. 14 watched over his (sleeping) younger cousins while the adults enjoyed an alfresco dinner.
  • Even though this word gets thrown about a lot, it really does sum up how I feel about our trip: Perfect!

Continuing with the theme of minimal, The Engineer also renewed my Spotify subscription. Seriously, this is quite possibly the most practical gift he’s ever given me (aside from the axe I received on my first Mothers Day – that’s another story!) My eclectic taste is well reflected in my playlists ranging from Avicii through Imagine Dragons onto Moby and a little Eminem. What would you like to hear? This has been high on the rotation lately: Eminem feat. Rihanna!

Now that I’ve worked out how to do this, guaranteed there’ll be more to come 🙂

Stuff on my kitchen bench — 06/01/2014

Stuff on my kitchen bench

Day 3 of Zero to Hero:

I came home from a Book Club gathering and the first thing that I saw when I walked in the front door was a pile of stuff, shoes, bags, recycling etc. I continued further and encountered three under-the-bed storage boxes, obviously not under any bed. I turned the corner to the kitchen / dining / lounge room and the view wasn’t much better. Papers, food, cables, books, bills, pens and all manner of stuff on every surface. Then I cast my mind back to where I’d just spent an extremely enjoyable evening.

Our hostess lives in a tiny one room apartment, she is however a master of making the most of small spaces. Even when we are all sitting on every free spot, it doesn’t feel crowded. Lots of white interspersed with brightness and no piles.

Everything in its place.

Granted, she has no children, and although I’ve heard that excuse before, I don’t think it’s a valid one. I know as many families that live perfectly neat and tidy lives as families that, like mine are in some sort of chaos.

Simply put, I have too much stuff.

Note that I’m not saying I don’t have enough room. Our home is more than sufficient for three people and a dog. No, most definitely I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. Please forgive me for shouting, sometimes it is the only way to get the point across.

Flylady, The Organised Housewife, Decluttter Diet. Are any of these familiar to you? All of these have graced my inbox at one point or another and all are regular contributors to my Facebook feed. Yet, still I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!

The idea was that I would document my daily dejunking, decluttering efforts so I could measure the progress. For a few days I did that, and then life got in the way and nothing left the house and of course I started beating myself up about yet again starting something and not seeing it through to the end.

2014 sees an attitude adjustment, I’m still trying for daily dejunking. I’m just not going to get upset with myself if things aren’t smooth sailing. As long as more stuff goes out of the house than comes in, my target will be met. Eventually. One of these days.

So now you know my story, what’s yours? Do you have too much stuff like me? Do you hang on to things because one day they might be useful? Guilty as charged. Is your wardrobe suffering from bloating? I know mine is. Actually my wardrobe is probably suffering some sort of identity crisis! I’d be honoured if you could join me as I clear out my cupboards, bookshelves, hard-drives, clouds and the kitchen bench 🙂

Posted on the go! From my Nokia Lumia 🙂

2014: The Year in Preview — 05/01/2014

2014: The Year in Preview

Usually we summarise our years by what has happened in the past. We might take our diaries and flick through the pages, taking in all those little reminders, to-dos and exclamation marks. My diary is full of those marks, usually in red or green 🙂 Alternatively WordPress hands a summary to you, all neatly packaged and ready for instant publishing. This year my Facebook gave me a month by month, my very own top 12 if you like. Except that the algorithm doesn’t recognise my highs or lows. The gutted feeling when I found out that I’d been used and discarded will stay a very long time as will the total I’m on top of the world bounce when finally everything fell into place.

So I’m going to gaze into my crystal ball and share my 2014 predictions with you.

Home: We won’t move this year, although there will be big changes. The kitchen will get an overhaul. Some furniture will go, giving us some space and possibly there will be some wallpapering. This last point is very much on the maybe, if we get time list.

Social: The Book Club will be hosted by yours truly once this year. Hopefully later in the year, after the kitchen revamp. The Book Club is an extremely important part of my life – my substitute family (and very good friends), I’d be lost without them. We have one milestone birthday this year – Mr . 14 will turn 15, which means he’ll be old enough to be in charge of a motorized vehicle. The thought simultaneously terrifies me and fills me with pride. I’m toying with the idea of hosting an Independence Day party. First I have to work on The Engineer to get him on side – he’s not the world’s most social type.

School: I’m going to try to do my homework more in time and less last minute 🙂 although I won’t stop being the vocal one when we are all in class. Autumn will hopefully see me start a new travel course and so some time in 2015 I’ll achieve “official” status. The next month sees me doing lots of practical exams – hopefully my nerves don’t get the better of me.

Work: One troublesome client has to go. I’m just not sure how to extract myself without burning too many bridges. My own business needs much nourishment at the moment, not necessarily monetary although of course that never hurts. No, I’m talking about my undivided attention.

Other: More exclamation marks are never a bad thing, so I hope there are lots of surprises. I hope that all of the loose ends from the past 6 or 7 years finally get tied up. I’ve decided to concentrate on just one issue at a time until there is nothing left.

Let’s see how the diary looks at the end of 2014!

Posted on the go! From my Nokia Lumia 🙂