A wee cup of tea please.

Right now I am having a tea break and reading this link: 22 Teas From Around The World

I am fairly sure even those of you who are not tea drinkers will want to go put the kettle on now. In fact I feel inspired to try new varieties of tea, although I feel bad that when I lived in Hong Kong I didn’t try any ‘Silk stocking tea’ (No. 7) but I did drink a lot of Jasmine Tea in my Hong Kong days.

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Other happenings this week

I am not sure if I have mentioned before that I am a member of Girl Guiding. Before we moved house I was an assistant leader at a Brownie Unit but I’ve been involved with Guiding for over 20 years. For those who aren’t sure what Girl Guiding is have a look at the UK website: Girl Guiding UK IMG_20150201_150554

After we moved I didn’t volunteer again straight away. We’ve had a busy year and I’ve been working hard on beating my chronic headaches and migraines, I felt that a little break wasn’t a bad thing. Guiding is huge fun, but it is a commitment and I didn’t want to start helping again and not have the energy to enjoy it. Just before Christmas I started thinking about getting back involved again. I was debating this when my colleague found a notice in a local newsletter that said the Guide unit in my village needed help. I wandered in, found out that they needed a new leader and now we’re in the New Year and I have myself a Guide Unit. There are 10 girls and they seem like a really lovely group. The meeting is every Monday evening but there are already fun ‘extra’ activities planned, like a Thinking Day Party, a trip to the swimming pool and county camp in May. I really enjoy Guiding and I will dedicate a full blog post about Guiding soon and share some of the ideas and activities we are doing.

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Getting involve with Guiding in the village has also meant getting to know a few more people in our village and the Boyo and I were invited to the village ball last weekend. A chance to put on a pretty dress, eat nice food, chat to our neighbours and a bit of ceilidh dancing was very much enjoyed by both of us. I really enjoy village life and whilst we don’t know if we will live there long term for the next 2 years I can certainly see it being a happy place for us.

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Tomorrow the Boyo and I will pick up a van and he will drive us 130 miles to my home town. We have needed a new bed for a while and there is one that is not needed in my parents house. It is exactly the kind of bed the Boyo and I wanted so it makes sense to get it. Whilst we have the van I’ll pick up the last of my books and bits and bobs that have been sitting in my parents home for years. The Boyo plans to have a quiet night in on Friday whilst my Mum and I go to a fashion show organised by a family friend. The Boyo and I will have to hit the road on Saturday by 7am to get the bed returned so our weekend wanderings on Sunday will entirely depend on how we feel after our 260 mile round trip.

The prospect of getting the bed has prompted me to sort out a few more things round the house, I spent last night hanging pictures up that have been sitting in a box since our house move and tonight I’m going to tackle the cupboard with all the bedlinen in. I guess I’m on a spring cleaning kick… but spring is still a while away yet. I’m starting to see little signs though;  the mornings have not been quite so dark and I saw some pretty little snowdrops on one of the walks near our house. The thought of Spring definitely makes me feel a little bit more Merry.

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Thursday Thoughts – Journeys and 8 Legs.

The events that have gone on throughout the world in the past week have been very sad. It makes you pause and think about how lucky we are.

Watching the news and seeing terrible images of war and destruction across the world has made me stop for a moment this week to look around and really appreciate all that we have and that in the UK our children are not growing up in fear of bombs or gunfire. I know we have problems here and that poverty is a very real issue for many but at least we live in a democracy and most of us sleep in a safe home, or in the knowledge that safe home is possible.

Aeroplane travel has become a common everyday thing. When booking a holiday I will think about the cost, the length of flight, what the food will be like, how terrible my skin feels after a long haul flight. I think about the films on offer and whether I’ll have enough leg room. I certainly don’t think of it as dangerous or that it could be a last journey. Indeed until I lived on the other side of the world I used to get positively excited about the actual plane journey. Travelling backwards and forwards from Hong Kong over two years took away that bit of enthusiasm for me but of course I still get excited about the destination. We make journeys all the time and we think nothing of it. All forms of travel do have dangers, today we on the radio that an entire family were killed in a car accident yesterday. I am not trying to fill us with fear about travel, rather what I am saying is that we should pause a moment and really reflect all that we have. I am guilty of rushing about, travelling about here and there without really pausing to think. It is fantastic that we can travel about so easily and in so many different ways we just need to remember sometimes to slow down and appreciate all that we have as we never know which journey might be our last.

In order not to finish off this post on a sad note I thought I’d give you a little home update.

We have well and truly settled into village life. So much so that we definitely do intend to buy in the area once we have the savings and job contracts etc. The house we are renting just now is fantastic and definitely feels like home but there are a couple of things we might be looking for in a house we buy that this house doesn’t offer at the moment. But as I say for the next year at least this will be our home.

One big problem I’ve had is to do with the 8 legged creepy crawly visitors. Whether it is because the house was empty for a year, or that we live in the country or because there isn’t plasterboard (painted brick walls in most of the house) for them to hide behind we have noticed (well I have screamed) spiders daily. The last straw was the other evening when we encountered 3 MASSIVE buggers without 15 minutes. I was on the internet the next day looking for solutions.

We are dealing with the problem in 3 ways.
Firstly I have de-cluttered all the windowsills where they like to build webs. This will make it easier to do frequent dusting to keep cobwebs at bay and it will also be easier for me to spot any that attempt to invade.

Secondly last night we got the pressure hose out and cleaned all of the windows, doorways and steps. Hopefully we blasted them away, especially any around our bedroom window. The Boyo is getting rather fed up with me waking him with nightmares and switching lights on in the middle of the night.

Thirdly I did what many librarians do, I went to Google and researched. I ended up buying 2 sprays. One from Amazon that is bit more hardcore and leaves a slight residue to discourage them building cobwebs and the second is from Betterware and contains horse chestnut which apparently they do not like and it will hopefully send the message that they are not welcome in the house. I have sprayed them around doors, windows and some nooks where I have seen them.

 

So here we have a three pronged attack on them I do feel a bit guilty but as long as they stop freaking me out completely by coming in the house then our lives will be a lot happier.

Tomorrows Foodie Friday will feature my very popular Chocolate Brownies and little bread rolls, perfect for any weekend picnics.

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Thought of the day: Finance

Todays thought is quite long but finance isn’t much of a lightweight topic.

Listening to a discussion about mortgages on the radio on our way to work has me thinking about our finances.

We are planning to rent for the next two years until Boyo gets his permanent contract so we have time to save for our next mortgage.

Now I am thinking about various things:

* Ways that we can save money
* Keeping better household expenditure records
* And what are we actually aiming for?

I’ve got a lot of ideas buzzing in my head about becoming more frugal.

* My cooking – but still aiming to be both delicious and more healthy.
* Our hobbies – that is actually easy as the boyo and I like nothing more than wandering the great outdoors.
* Travel – we’ve already booked an expensive holiday to Hong Kong but our other jaunts could me UK based, short camping weekends.
* Challenging myself to become more fit and healthy so that I once again fit into more of my wardrobe and experimenting with what I have rather than buying anything new.

I think keeping better records of expenditure will help me to see where I could make potential savings and appreciate what I have more.

And lastly, what are we aiming for? Do we want a big house with lots of space? Or do we want somewhere that looks fantastic? Is the postcode important?
These are interesting questions and to answer properly we really need to think about our future, a family? pets? I don’t think the Boyo and I have grand or fancy ideas, after all any house can become a home with a bit of care and attention.

What are your thoughts? How do you budget? What are your priorties?

Thinking about all of this makes me feel terribly grown up, it’s not wonderful that so much revolves around money and whilst winning the lottery would be fantastic I think the important thing is to value what you ahave and embrace simple things which can lead to so much happiness. For me a walk in the fresh air with the Boyo is simply one of the best things around.

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