Tag: musings

A New Year’s Resolutions: Declutter!

I only have one new year’s resolutions this year worth mentioning, admittedly I do have a few, but I don’t plan to even write them down.  They will remain in my head, but to me the most important one is to declutter.

My one dream is to live in a minimalist house and have a minimalist lifestyle. But I know that won’t happen. Why?  My husband and I are both sentimental creatures, him more than me actually.  We keep things that have sentimental value even though they really ought to be thrown away.  And we have too many books, we buy too many books, we love books too much to stop buying them.  And that’s precisely the reason why I’ve long accepted that we won’t ever have a minimalist household.

I also have to go through all of our books.  We somehow manage to duplicate our books.  I have two books of Letters of Ted Hughes.  One was given to me by my lovely in-laws.  Any takers?  My husband and I used to dream of owning our own bookshop.  It’s a lovely dream which won’t happen unless I win the lottery.

My desk as always is a mess.  But I’ll do my best to declutter and get rid of unnecessary things like Folio Society book  catalogues I’ve already looked through numerous times.  I don’t know why I even bother to keep them when their website is already bookmarked in all the gadgets I use.

T’s toys are also on the list.  She has too many toys she doesn’t even play with anymore.  Before her birthday, I did manage to either throw or give some of her toys away.  Toys she’s outgrown and since Christmas has just happened, it means more toys.

And lastly, clothes.  I’m going to go through all our clothes and get rid of or donate clothes which don’t fit us anymore.  Who am I kidding?  I’m never going to be a size 6 again, so why keep them?

This holding on to too many material things is actually weighing heavily on me now.  I can feel the physical heaviness on me as if I’m literally carrying all these clutter in my arms.  Isn’t that a bit strange?  Maybe because this whole decluttering business has been on my mind for several months now and I really just need to do something about it.

What about you?

Do you also have the need to declutter?

January Musings

American author Karen Joy Fowler writes in her novel, Sarah Canary:

Lots of people go mad in January.  Not as many as in May, of course. Nor June.  But January is your most common month for madness.

I don’t like January either.  It’s too drab and cold and long.  February isn’t too bad, especially since it’s such a short month.  And here in Cornwall, we’re lucky that spring happens early.  Unless of course, global warming changes that too.

And just like that, Christmas is over.  I’ve taken down all our Christmas decorations last Thursday when T went back to school.  I usually find that a sad account.  But since my Christmas vibe never came this year, I was happy to take them all down. I wanted to do it on the first day, but my husband said to wait a while longer.

The house looks bare of course, but I’m fine with that.  It doesn’t affect me the way it did past years.  Oh dear, what’s happening to me?

Do you do New Year’s resolutions?  I used to do it when I was younger, especially in my teens and as a young adult.  It’s been ages since I’ve done any but I still did them in my head.  Ran a list of things I want to do this year and bad habits I want to to get rid of in the dead of the night like writing more, reading more, that sort of thing.

I have no big plans for this year, except hopefully write more creatively.  I’ve always been a bit slow, I do little steps, hence the blog name.  Some have thought that since I started this blog when T was barely two, it was going to be all about her.  It was for a while, but this was supposed to be all about the little steps we take in life, now it’s mostly about our little life here in North Cornwall and I’m fine with that.

Here’s to more ramblings in 2018, I’m surprised people read this, but honestly, I’m grateful to all of you, especially since I’ve somehow managed to earn from this little blog of mine, to all the brands/PRs we’ve worked with a big thank you to all of you.  Here’s to more collaborations!

And to all those who email asking for free links and exposure in the words of my seven-year-old – accompanied with the most exasperated tone a little one can muster “Really now?”  Please be fair. 

To the rest of you lovely folks, hope all your wishes and dreams are granted this year!

What about you?

Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?

Note:  Photo above was taken last year in Dartmoor.  While it’s been snowing in the rest of the UK, it never really snows here in Cornwall.  I don’t think it even did up in Dartmoor this year.

That “Christmas Vibe”

Not me.  But it’s only early November, my husband says.  I know, I reply.  But that’s not like me at all.  Normally I’m feeling it as soon as the last week of October ends and I’m itching to put up my Christmas lights and other decorations as early as I can get away without the husband grumbling “But it’s too early woman!”  I guess it also has a lot to do with where I come from, Christmas starts really early.  In fact, my mum has her tree up already.  She sent me photo of it a few days ago.  It was lovely, but I’m just feeling it yet.

Normally, I’d be hunting for Christmas presents this early, taking note of all the sales, so I can grab a few bargains. And secretly making a Christmas wish-list in my head at least.  I’d be looking forward to all our little family tradition like going to the Christmas tree farm and picking that one special tree to come home with us.  But nope, not this year.  Not feeling it at all.  “But it’s only November” I hear you say.  But if you knew me, you would know that I love everything about Christmas, especially Christmas decorations.

Even T doesn’t seem bothered at all.  Normally, she’d be thinking about what to put on her Christmas wish list or her letter to Father Christmas.  But every time I ask her what she wants for Christmas she’ll reply with an “I don’t know mum”  

Oh dear, this is really serious.  What is happening to me?  Am I changing?  Am I suddenly going to be anti-Christmas?  The husband says he’ll be getting our Christmas decorations from the shed soon.  Let’s see if that will help.  Maybe seeing all our lovely decorations will help me get into the mood.   Now excuse me while I play some Christmas songs, hopefully that will switch the Christmas vibe on.

What about you?

When do you start feeling that Christmas vibe?

The Ever Changing British Weather

“It’s hailing and the wind is howling!”  T exclaimed emphatically a few days ago while eating her breakfast.  “Why is this happening?”  She added dramatically.  From upstairs, I shouted back “because we live in England that’s why!”  Isn’t it ironic that I titled my last post as “Winter is dead?” and yet it feels its back again with a vengeance.  Serves me right for being too optimistic.

As I was helping her get ready for school that day, she announced she didn’t want to wear her summer dress.  I took a skirt out and her school jumper which she normally only wears in “colder” weather and asked if she wanted to wear knee socks.  She shook her head and requested for tights.

This little girl of mine seldom complains about the cold.  I’ve caught her running around and doing somersaults topless on her trampoline with her friends, she must have been really cold this morning to request for tights. I don’t blame her.  We’ve been having such glorious warm(ish) weather lately, this cold snap must have been a shock to her this morning.

Also woke up to a grey and cold day yesterday, I decided to write that one-off too and spend the day catching up with Grey’s Anatomy.  Yes, I’m probably the only one who still watches that show even if most of the characters annoy me, I still want to know what’s happening to Meredith Grey.

Last Tuesday, a friend picked me up in the morning and we spent some lovely time just mooching around,having a coffee and lunch in the town nearest to us.  The sun did eventually come out in the afternoon, but the wind was still bitter cold.  I looked around and everyone seemed to be wearing their winter clothes too.  And here I was thinking I’d add “Put away thick jumpers” to my list of things to do this week.  Thank goodness I haven’t done that!

This week, I’ve been cursing the mad British weather and it wasn’t just me.  My husband was the same too.  I glared at him at one point and said “Hey!  You were born here!  You ought to be used to this.  Whereas I come from a tropical country, I have the right to complain!”  He glowered back at me and said, “Complaining about the weather IS our national sport!”

Winter is Dead …

thank goodness for that.  Up country, the trees have fully regrown their leaves.  Down here in Cornwall, even though Spring happens early, the trees are still recovering from the “deadness” of Winter.  Some of them are still bald, some are slowly sprouting tiny leaves, pert against the blueness of a Spring sky.  I understand why this is my husband’s favourite season.  He says he likes it because there is hope in the air.  I like it because it is beautiful.  Suddenly the greyness is gone and there is an abundance of colour.  What’s not to like about Spring?  You must be really dull or hate life not to embrace everything about it.

Spring break has also come and gone.  We spent the first week pottering about, mostly gardening, although there is still a lot to be done, we are slowly getting there.

We also visited my in-laws in the second week and did a day trip to the bustling city of London.  It was nice to spend time with the family, but it was great to drive back home to the country again.  I think I also understand why some people don’t like leaving their place.  It can sometimes be a bit cumbersome and I’m not alone in feeling this.  My husband heaved a heavy sigh as he stepped on the gas to make that long trip back up-country.  We haven’t even left and yet we were already longing for home.

Ah home.  At the moment, home is this 400-year-old farm cottage surrounded by cows and fields.  The house gets mouldy in Winter, I have yet to repaint the walls.  There are still remnants of mould even though we’ve tried our best to wipe them away, you can still see them on the walls like scars that haven’t healed.  I’ll get down to doing all that, hopefully this week.

Hope and Spring, such a lovely combination, don’t you think?

A Whiff of Summer

Could it be true?  Could summer really be near?

The clocks moved forward last Saturday and it definitely felt like we are not that far from everyone’s most favourite season – summer.  Well obviously, coming from a tropical country, it is my favourite, although I do love the golden colours in autumn too.

I love summer here in England, especially when the weather cooperates.  I love the long summer days especially, sitting out in the garden at 9 pm and it is still light.  We like to sit around in the fire-pit waiting for the dark, the barbecue long gone and drinks have been passed around and little T ready for bed, but refusing to go.  What’s not to love?

Obviously it isn’t summer yet but Spring has definitely sprung. We found something in the small outbuilding we have, down in the garden.  It was a hammock we bought on sale last year.  I think we got in the end-of-season sale in our favourite garden centre.  I remember thinking we must be mad to purchase it, especially since it was the beginning of winter, but I’m so glad we did.

T was delighted when we called her over.  And being a kid, she insisted that we used it right away.  After searching for a piece of rope and two trees that would be strong enough to hold the hammock, we set it up.

And as soon as it was up, little T plunked herself down with a book while her dad mowed the lawn and Doc was busy chewing on a stick and I went on with my chores.  I looked back as I walked back to the house to do my chores, and right that very moment, that instant, it felt like we’ve fast forwarded to summer.  Funny how a hammock can magically transport you into time.

Sadly, as I type this and look out the window, a different scene unfolds before me.  It’s rather a dreary one actually.  T has been wearing her summer dresses to school two days in a row now, even though yesterday, it was hardly sunny.  But as I helped her get ready today, I suggested maybe it would be best if she went back to wearing her grey skirt and tights instead.  She agreed and said “It’s like winter again, isn’t it mum?”  I sighed and said yes.  Her father grumpily added “Yes, that was it.  We’ve now gone back to winter!”

I’m in need of something more magical than a hammock, one so strong it will somehow bring the sunshine back and will it to stay.  Know of any?  Do share.

It’s all Quiet Here

Shh.

The crowd has left, leaving their small-talk and whisperings with them.  It’s all quiet here.  The silence is deafening but comforting too.  I’d like to say I’ve stripped off my mask but there isn’t any thing to remove.  I’m still the same.  I’ve always been the same.  Like I keep saying, if you find it boring here, I’m afraid that’s what it really is like.  I’m not going to feign excitement, or controversy just to be noticed.  It’s too taxing.

I’ve noticed cobwebs forming in corners, I keep meaning to clean them, but keep forgetting, until this afternoon, I finally picked up that duster and dusted away.

Do cobwebs make noise?

It’s amazing how spiders can do such intricate work in silence.  Even the most celebrated author makes noise while typing away their masterpieces, even if they scribbled, in the silence, you would hear the jotting down of a pen or pencil on paper.  With an artist, I can imagine them making noises too as they go about painting their masterpieces, but spiders?  They are quiet creatures aren’t they?  Weaving their circuitous obra maestras in complete silence and then the humans come and ruin them in one swish of their dusters.

Life is brutal.

•••

It’s my daughter’s half-term break next week.  I better not forget to switch off the school-run alarm.  Here’s to lie-ins!  I forget, we are visiting my in-laws.  There goes my lie-ins.  Sigh.

Life is indeed brutal.

Spring: Is it here yet?

I don’t know about other people, but winter, especially after the Christmas madness, I tend to fold-in and turn introspective (Although I’m sure if my husband gets to read this he’ll say “but you’re always introspective Dean!)

Can you blame me?  Coming from a tropical country where it’s warm and sunny everyday, of course, we do get the grey clouds too, especially when it rains, but it never lasts unlike here in England.

The the changing of seasons, while it is beautiful, always has an affect on me.  I try to ride it and just go with the flow, mindful that the greyness and drabness isn’t permanent, that it’s only temporary.  You would think that after almost a decade of living here, I’d be an expert now.  I think though, I’m getting better, my skin is thicker.

And it isn’t really that bad really, while January is awful, here in Cornwall, even though it’s only the first day of February, I can see evidence of spring coming already.  The bulbs are slowly coming up and the days are getting longer.  We no longer drive T to her gymnastics class at 5pm in the dark.

The bright days are coming and the thought of it makes me feel giddy!  The flowers will bloom soon.  The trees will get their leaves in abundance back.  All the colours, different hues will spring everywhere.  What’s not to like?  Are you excited too?

The World Has Gone Bonkers Again …

That’s being over-dramatic I know.  At the moment though, that’s what it feels like.  You daren’t sleep, if you do, you’ll wake up to find out something dreadful has happened again.  That the world and its different countries are being ruled by mad men.  (My country back home in the Philippines is certainly being run by a jokester).  Men who have been … yes, voted to power by disgruntled, disillusioned people who think that their anointed saviour will redeem them.  While Pope Francis says that it’s too early to judge American President Trump, he warns about the rise of populism:

Crisis provoke fear, alarm.  In my opinion, the most obvious example of European populism is Germany in 1933.

Germany is broken, looking to get itself going, looking for its identity, a leader, someone capable of restoring its character, and there is a young man named Adolf Hitler who says “I can. I can”.

And all of Germany votes for Hitler.  Hitler didn’t steal power, he was elected by the people, and then he destroyed his own people.  This is the danger.

A week after that interview with the Pope, all hell breaks loose in American airports as many people are barred from entering the US, all because of their country of origin.  Trump signs a refugee ban on Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Has he forgotten that political slogan “Never Forget”?

Excuse me while I try to breathe …

Help! I’m Turning into a Couch Potato

Before the start of the new year, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves and we bought a new smart TV.  We buy all of our appliances from Woolacotts in Bude.  This isn’t a sponsored post, by the way, we’re just really pleased with their customer service, so if you live in Cornwall or Devon and need to purchase any appliances, do head over, I’m sure they’ll be as good as our local one.

Ben, our ever-helpful salesman from Woolacotts helped us choose a Sony Bravia smart TV.  When I mentioned that we wanted to subscribe to Netflix, he shook his head and said “Oh you don’t need Netflix” and introduced us to an app called KODI.  Apparently this app will allow you to streamline all kinds of TV shows and movies, even new movies or ones that hasn’t even been shown in movie theatres yet.  Is it legal?  Yes, it is.  To quote entertainmentbox.com.

Kodi is a piece of streaming software designed to display on a range of devices, and that means it’s perfectly legal.

I know that it sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t.  There are times when the movie you want to watch won’t be available for streaming.  But we don’t have any problems with that, especially when it means not having to pay for subscription!

So yep, my #wotw is TV.  And yes, I’ve also officially been turned into a couch potato.  To be fair though, I do watch while doing chores, especially ironing and yes, gasp, I know, I’m probably the only one who still irons.  Posted this photo on my Instagram account a few days ago:

And all the comments I received was that apparently, ironing is an extinct chore.   I can’t do without ironing, one of my small-joys is having freshly laundered and ironed sheets.  Love it too much to want to give it up.

And meet my TV partner:  Doc.

Now excuse since I have to catch up with my Grey’s Anatomy viewing.  I want to watch that episode where Derek Shepherd – McDreamy dies.