Monday 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

It's here!!
Wishing a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to all my lovely readers.
Sue xx

Sunday 30 December 2012

Out with the Old and In with the New

This is is my final Blog post of 2012.
Usually I do a review of some kind, summing up the Blog and events over the previous 52 weeks but this year the words escape me completely, there is nothing I can say on here that sums up this year in the way that my heart will let me express.  So I will keep quiet and let this year slip by, trickle away unnoticed, end with a fizzle and pop not a whoosh and a bang.
I am looking forward so much to 2013, a brand New Year. 
One that holds hope and freshness, one that beckons me with arms flung wide, that we will begin and end it together is all that I ask, and that it will be gentler with us than the last one is my heartfelt prayer.  We walk forward into this new year with hope, with strength and with determination, that we walk into it together is the only thing that is holding me up at the moment.
Thank you to all my Blog readers for your words of support over this past year, you have been as good a bunch of true friends as I could ever have asked for.  You have been there when I needed you, you have sent your prayers for me and my family, you have contacted me through the Blog and privately with helpful advice, with words of encouragement and with your very presence when I have needed you most - THANK YOU.
*** *** ***
Two of the pages at the top of this Blog will vanish tomorrow to make room for new Challenges for the coming year.  If you would like to have a last read of them please do.  The ones going are £2012 in 2012 and Live Below the Line. 
I have already put up two of the newer Challenges, The £2 Housekeeping Challenge and I Love Saving Money - 2013, these will be joined by another complimentary Challenge that I will be working towards in the New Year.
The main push for us in this coming year is to save money, we have found what we would like to be our 'forever home', now we just have to have the finances to make it ours.  An offer is going in towards the end of January and we have our fingers firmly crossed that it will indeed be ours.  It would be a wonderful way to start a brand new year, with a brand new home to call our very own and to make this a reality we have to save like mad, we have a large deposit, but we will be pushing from day one of ownership to pay off the mortgage as soon as we possibly can, for only then can Lovely Hubby take partial retirement from work and we will both be truly living Our New Life in the Country.
So this Blog for coming year will be full of our many and varied ways of saving money and making money, of making what we have last and jettisoning all that was part of our old lives that we no longer feel the need to hold onto.  We are intending to simplify our lives as much as we possibly can in every way we can think of. 
It truly will be our 'Year of Less'.
Streamlining the Blog is my first little step, so read the pages (if you want to) before they vanish, if you haven't already  voted in the Dorset Cereal Blog Awards I would love it if you could nip over and vote today as that too will be deleted later on tomorrow.   A huge thank you to those of you who have already voted, I am truly grateful.
Thank you to everyone for reading over the course of the last year and in the years before that, and a huge welcome to those of you who have just found 'Our New Life in the Country', you are along for an interesting journey with us over the next 12 months, fasten your seatbelts.
Sue xx

Saturday 29 December 2012

Our Once Yearly Special Shopping Expedition

Once a year we set off for our nearest Asda because Lovely Hubby loves George!! 
The 'George' clothes label that is, for anyone unfamiliar with Asda's own brand label in clothing.  We always do it at this time of year while he is off and everyone else is out there grabbing sale bargains, although most of what we get is stuff not actually in the sales.
It never costs much to kit out my man, see last years post HERE, but this year it was even cheaper.  The suit he bought last year has worn so well he didn't need to replace it this year, so the haul was merely undies, socks, t shirts and shirts and that's it his entire shopping done for the year for the princely sum of £96.  He's already sorted through his wardrobes and drawers and got rid of all tatty stuff, now washed and dried it will go in the charity bin to make up rag weight, a couple of t shirts were good enough to pop in the car boot sale box ready for Spring, and now he's set for the year ahead.
I did splash out too and bought myself an A4 diary ready for the brand new year that is fast creeping up on us, and I will spend some of tomorrow filling in those pages that always need information adding, something I enjoy doing with a brand new Biro that will live with the diary.  I treat a diary a bit like my Blog, with recipes written down, things stuck in, photos, tickets etc and anything that I need to remember or look forward to jotted down in plenty of time.
And that's it - our shopping done, there is nothing else either of us need, I wonder when we will be back at the shops again, maybe I should make a note in my diary or on here of every shop free day we manage.
How are your preparations and plans going for the New Year?
Sue xx

Friday 28 December 2012

Ending the Year - My Way



....and I intend to do just that.
 Our New Life in the Country .... The Year of Less
Sue xx

Thursday 27 December 2012

Happy Holidays



Sue xx

Wednesday 26 December 2012




You know I'm on a road to minimalism ......well I'm trying to get rid of all these wine bottles and before they can go into the recycling box they have to be emptied.
Ten down ..... six to go !!
Hic, Hic.
Sue xx

Monday 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our lovely readers.
Wishing you all a simple, peaceful and safe Christmas.
With All Our Love
Sue and Alan

Saturday 22 December 2012

Christmas is in sight ......

Christmas is in sight ..... a lot more clearly for Lovely Hubby now!! 
We've just got back from two nights at Mum's in Manchester while he had his eyes lasered in the City Centre, something I had done five years ago.  It's worked perfectly, as he keeps demonstrating by reading things out to me.  The most obscure things that make me laugh out loud.  Nice to have a man that can see me as clearly as I can see him!!
It was a lovely little break with a trip around the German Market that was literally right outside the doors of the clinic and so nice to spend a little bit of time with Mum before Christmas.
Now we're home, the dogs are back from the kennels, the chickens are tucked up in bed and the log burner is made up and just awaiting a match to coax it into life and it's time to welcome Christmas into the house in a big way with a glass of wine and a few early Quality Street.
It's nice to go away, especially for such a good reason and it was as lovely as always to see my Mum, but it's always nice to be tucked up in your own home, warm and cosy after a few days of driving through the wettest weather I've ever seen.
Sue xx

Friday 21 December 2012

It's getting closer........

It's getting closer. 
With twinkling lights ....

... and my lovely little Christmas tree .....

... with it's mini angel dressed in fiery red .....

...and fleecy reindeer guarding a Christmas blanket and a bowl of baubles ....
... it's starting to look a lot like Christmas.
Sue xx

Thursday 20 December 2012


We treated ourselves to a new sign while we were at the Country Living Fair in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago.  It was supposed to be for our new house, but we simply couldn't resist putting it up now.  It looks so good in the hallway ......
... it's a slightly odd angle .... but it looks good!!
(There was only one screw in the wall and we didn't want to drill another ...lazy oinks that we are!)
There was already a hook on the front door so I had no problem hanging this lovely new Christmas decoration.  A wooden heart to celebrate our five years of marriage (the fifth anniversary is the wooden one).
It's beginning to look a lot more like Christmas here ...... more tomorrow.
Thanks for all the wonderful comments on yesterday post.
Sue xx

Wednesday 19 December 2012

A Life in Pictures


Much Loved Son
Cuddled Boyfriend
Proudest Husband
Loving Father
Proud Dad
Even Prouder Grandad
Even better as a Great Grandad
Surprised Guest
Knowledgeable Gardener
Father in Law, Grandad, Husband, Dad
The Proudest Grandad Ever
All in one photo, Husband, Grandad, Great Grandad, Dad
Husband, Brother and Brother in Law
Twinkly Eyed, Fun Filled, Fantastic Guy.
One man touched so many peoples lives during his.  He left a legacy of love with new generations and more to come.
I'm blessed to have had such a wonderful Dad and I thank God for each and every minute that we shared whether it was together or apart, our bond was so strong.
I thank you for your love, the warmness of your cuddles, the strength of your arms, the ever present hankie when I needed it most, the wisdom of your words, yes I know I hardly listened but you embedded them in my head and in my heart and they help me still.
I thank you for the rigid backbone you gave to my life and the legacy that keeps me strong today and every day that I must go on without you.
The most wonderful gift that you gave me is the knowledge that yes, I did make you proud. 
You loved the tall, headstrong, opinionated daughter that exasperated you at times, the girl who went forward and did it her way.   You lay the foundations for my life building the structure for a secure future carefully brick by brick and then bravely let me go, to forge ahead on my own through the open doorway into a future you had no control over, but one that you hoped in your heart you had prepared me for.  You rejoiced with me when it went right and comiserated with me when it went tits up and smiled when I went and did it all over again.  You took my hand when I needed it most and lent me your shoulder to lean against and your ears to listen. 
You did your job well, you lived your life well, you loved us all well.
What more can a man ask than to love and be loved for who he is.
I love you Dad.
Happy Birthday Dad
Syd Shaw
19th December 1930 - 26th March 2012
Sue xx

Tuesday 18 December 2012

I did it .... £2012 in 2012

Challenge Complete!!
At the start of this year I set out to try to make an additional £2012 in this year of 2012.
Using the means of Amazon selling, EBay selling and car boot sales all through the Summer, I brought extra cash into the house.  By cutting down on our weekly housekeeping bill and being penny pinching with my personal spends (okay so the odd treat crept in mostly books she says, hanging her head in shame ... lol .... as if!), I stopped cash leaving the house.
And the brilliant news is I managed it. 
In fact I beat it (but only just) I made a grand total of £2015.73.
Does happy little jiggy dance, just like this bunny!!
As my reward the rest of the year is a CHALLENGE FREE ZONE, well maybe just the odd coppers being dropped into the Sealed Pot, I can't let this go hungry.
Thanks for all the encouragement and if you want to see more about how I made the money month by month, visit the stand alone page (at the top of the Blog) entitled '£2012 in 2012'
Sue xx

Monday 17 December 2012

Goosey Young Ladies

Remember back in June, these little fluff balls Harry, Larry and Mo, being brought up by Mum, Mother Goose the Hyline hen. 
They grew up so fast.
Now they are goosey young ladies. 
 Full of character and brilliant guards for our flock of chickens.  If anything comes close to the fence or flys overhead they honk out a warning to all their chickeny friends.
The only thing is now they are getting older they are feeling the need for a nice looking Goosey Gander, and they seem to be practising their flirty ways with me !!
Goosey necks wrapping themselves round my legs while I fill up the feeders, purring honks and flirty looks when I come round the corner and a little nibbling at my rear end when I am reaching in to clean out the henhouses and the Goose Hoose.
Oh well I guess it's better than being chased by angry geese all around Chicken World.
Sue xx

Sunday 16 December 2012

It's all going so well........

It's all going so well, and the best bit is how I feel in my head and heart every time I open my wardrobe.
Not that it's empty like this now!!
The first job after giving the wardrobes and my drawer a good wipe out and a polish with lavender scented polish, nice scent for me off putting for moths, was to put my chosen shoes back in on the floor of the wardrobe. 
Just three pairs,two pair of Hotter shoes, a reasonably smart pair (this is their third Winter) and a trainer style pair bought at the end of this Summer, AND my beloved boots, I will wear and wear these until they fall apart, so comfy, so practical and already over four years old.  If they survive this three months of wearing  they will be lovingly polished and put away until next Autumn, if they don't I won't be surprised.  They were a bargain from EBay just before we started this new life in the country bought in readiness for a country lifestyle, I think they cost me about £4 or something similar.  Sorry they need a good polish at the moment LH does this for me whenever he cleans his work shoes (he gets a bit cross with me as I tend to just wipe them with a damp cloth and then spritz them with a bit of Pledge he does the full works with boot polish left to soak in and then lots of elbow grease), you've got to love a man that polishes your boots.
Hanging above them my parka style M&S coat with hood, bought this year, my body warmer bought in Spring but hardly worn and my lovely cosy fleece lined wool cardigan with hood.  I can't usually wear wool as I am terribly allergic to it, so to find a woolly pulley with a fleece lining made me so very happy.  Bought in the TU 25% off sale a couple of weeks ago.
Also in this side are the trousers I have chosen for this first chilly three months, two pairs of blue jeans (I live in jeans) one pair TU and one pair M&S, a pair of Next brown cords and a smart pair of Laura Ashley green trousers.
This drawer was cleaned out polished  .....
... and then filled with my working clothes (for mucking out the chickens and gardening) and my gym clothes for those all too infrequent workouts with Davina.  These do not have to be counted in the 333 as long as I do not wear them out in public (as if!!).
In my other section of wardrobe (LH has all the central double section and the shelf above one of mine, and I have the two ends with one shelf above and the centre drawer) hang the rest of my choice.  A mix of shirts, jumpers, t shirts and cardigans.  On the floor of the wardrobe are the chunkier woollies.
On the shelf above are my accessories of choice, three scarves, two silky and one warm and cosy, a pair of gloves and my favourite bag of the moment.
Not included in the number are the jewellery items I wear on a daily basis, my wedding, engagement and little finger rings (which never ever come off), stud earrings, gold necklace, watch and bracelet.  They only leave me when I am working ...
... when they're not on me they are on Edward, my jewellery bear, and also my underwear including some vest style tops that I wear under shirts or jumpers on the colder days.
Although I've listed where some of my clothes have come from they are not all from the 'shops' actually named, many of my items have been bought over time from charity shops and this is they way I will continue to shop..  Not that I will have to shop for a long time, all the things that didn't make the wardrobes this time were sorted through carefully and some pulled out for immediate donation to charity or to go into the car boot box for Spring and the rest packed away for sorting through at the end of this first 3 months to form the basis of my next Project 333 which will begin on the 1st April.
Then some of the jumpers will be relegated to 'workwear' and some of the t shirts to 'gymwear' and be replaced with new items from my 'stash'.  Lighter weight shoes will be chosen (depending on the weather of course) and different accessories if needed. 
 Hopefully I intend NOT to buy ANY new clothes or shoes this year. 
Now there's a challenge!!
I have photographed each and every item that I have chosen and want to see how many outfits I can actually make up from the chosen few things, it should be very interesting.  In a way I treated it like packing for a long holiday and tried to chose clothes that would look good in many combinations, I will soon find out how successful I have been.
Opening my wardrobe now is a pleasure and putting away clean clothes after washing them will be a breeze, no more standing choosing what to wear out of the crammed interior and struggling to put away clean clothes on top of things that haven't seen the light of day for ages.
I think am going to like this.
Sue xx