Where growing, making & good living come together

Not fishing in Whitby

Posted by on Thursday 18 August 2011 in goals | 8 comments

I’ve had “go sea fishing” in the North Sea on my goal list last year but faff and disorganisation meant it didn’t happen, so it was pushed onto my goal list for this year. Eight months through the year, faff and disorganisation were at risk of having their way with things again, so rather than postpone any longer, we decided to go risk going in the busy summer holiday period yesterday.

We found an afternoon “taster trip”, took the doggie to her granny & pop-pops’ house for the day (she’s their granddog) and organised our schedule with a good hour/hour-and-a-half buffer zone between getting there and needing to go to the boat, just in case we got lost, got stuck in traffic or had trouble finding a parking space. That hour/hour-and-a-half buffer zone would have covered one or two of those eventualities but, as it turned out, not all three. It took us nearly twice as long to get there as it should have done, and we missed the boat (literally) by about ten minutes. Somewhat annoying.

Lemons/lemonade – we were in Whitby, my favourite seaside town (sorry Southport, you might have birthed me but your sea is, frankly, a bit rubbish) and had already mentally committed to having an afternoon off so we played tourists: a walk on the beach, fish & chips, donuts, some casual jet jewellery window shopping and some serious seagull watching. We parked at the Abbey so got to have a distant gaze at that too.

I also indulged my craft bone with a visit to Bobbins, the mostly yarn/some antiques shop in the shopping area on the east of the harbour. I stroked various yarns before buying some King Cole Riot DK (very nice, even though it’s 70% acrylic).

It’s a shame we didn’t get to go fishing but we still had a jolly pleasant afternoon in the sunshine. We were hoping to actually go fishing next Wednesday but as the Whitby Folk Festival starts next Monday, I suspect it’ll be too busy for us – but we will get there, we will eventually, we will!

(Photo from a previous wintery trip to Whitby – we didn’t think it would be sensible to take an expensive camera out on a fishing trip so didn’t have one yesterday. Imagine the same shot with a brighter blue sky and about a hundred times as many people :) )

UK people – have you been to Whitby? What are your favourite spots there – any recommendations for places to eat/drink for when we do return to fish?

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August 2011 mini goals

Posted by on Wednesday 3 August 2011 in goals | 2 comments

I didn’t set myself any mini goals last month as I had nothing particularly pressing. This month though…

Personal finance

1. Actually switch my cash ISA as I had planned to (but didn’t) in May.

2. Sit down with John and redivide the bills (they’ve been a bit of a jumble for a while)

3. After my spendy-spendy last couple of weeks, spend no more than the £100 in my “save as you spend” categories (eating out, books, clothing, crafts, entertainment, “frivolous”, and gifts).

House stuff

John’s been giving away a lot of big things recently – I feel I need to do some micro to his macro!

4. Clear out the kitchen cupboard opposite the cooker, and the cat cupboard and the dog cupboard – lots of junk in there

5. Clear out the porch cupboards

6. Fit the skirting board & flooring in the utility room

Growing, making, cooking

7. Make another giant bean bag for the office (since the old office one is now in the living room)

8. Make a new purse

9. Handmill some of my vegetable oil soaps to make some scented ones

10. Make 2 meals worth of ravioli

Have you got any mini-goals or big things on your to-do list for this month?

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July 2011 – end of month review

Posted by on Tuesday 2 August 2011 in goals, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11, meta | 2 comments

So here we are again, at the end of another month (or rather the beginning of the next one because I’m a bit behind). I can’t even remember the start of July – I was busy with drama stuff on the second weekend but even those shows feel a lifetime ago now. The month hasn’t dragged really, or been super busy (apart from that drama stuff) so I don’t know why it’s felt so long … at least I got my money’s worth out of it I guess!

Goals in 2011 progress

We’ve had quite a bit of food from the garden this month – LOTS of courgettes, some potatoes and other bits & pieces. I’ve not done the “whole meal” but we’ve had a number of courgette & eggy things so that’s part way there ;)

Aside from that and just about hitting my at-least-once-a-week baking target, I’ve not really done anything else goal-y. I didn’t have any mini-goals in July as I didn’t have anything pressing, so I can’t even say I was busy doing those. Since June was equally unmotivated/lazy, naughty Louisa, naughty!

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

I’ve actually bought something! I bought my first item of clothing in 2011 – a charcoal lambswool/angora woolly hoodie from a charity shop. It is exactly the sort of thing I like and was only £3, and I suspect I will very, very much welcome it next winter. I didn’t buy any new woollies at all last winter and was struggling a bit by the end of the season. If I don’t shrink it the first time I wash it, I think I’ll probably live in it from November-March ;)

That purchase seemingly opened a mental “I want to buy clothes!” flood gate. Mid-month, I spent *ages* looking for stuff online and started looking more closely at clothes rails in charity shops … but couldn’t find anything I liked enough to warrant buying. However last weekend, I bought a pair of jeans on eBay (the same size/brand/style I always wear, so they should fit fine) and nearly bought a top too but got outbid. The jeans aren’t desperately needed as I already have four pairs but they were a bargain and I wear them all the frickin’ time, so they’ll be very useful all the same.

I also bought a couple of things from my exceptions list: I bought a five-pack of cute but basic knickers, and two everyday bras. These were replacements as I cleaned out my underwear drawer the day before and had “retired” two bras and 29 pairs of knickers – it was looking a little empty after that!

So my “12 in 11” total is now at a grand 2!

Growing & Chickens

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June – end of month review

Posted by on Thursday 30 June 2011 in goals, less than 12 clothes challenge, low spend 11 | 5 comments

I seem to have been writing a lot of review-type-posts lately – all very introspective (sorry!) but I do very much learn from my past mistakes so it’s good to think about them. So then, June….

Goals in 2011 progress

We’re finally starting to get good food from the garden so I could see myself easily doing “full meal from the garden” thing in July. I haven’t made any provisions for the off-grid stuff though.

I’ve been starting to take cuttings of various herbs and will continue to do that – and I’ve come up with a way of measuring success of that goal — a list of things I’d like to successfully propagate this year (and a few things I’d like to try to overwinter – since that’s a similar idea).

My making stuff with wood has slowed down – boo – and aside from a little embroidery, haven’t done much craft stuff either – no outfit sewing either. Inspired by this tutorial though, I’m going to set aside a day in July to do a bit of sewing and I’m also tempted to join the Crazy Aunt Purl holey jumper KAL — that would be my first knitted jumper (and, um, actually my first knitting since I fell in love with crochet nearly two years ago!).

No more fishing progress – boo again – but I might try to get us a day booked in before the main school holidays start – I think I have a week window between being busy with drama and the holidays so better get a move on!

Not really baked that much, not made cheese, not done any cold-smoking and not met any internet people. Been a bit lazy recently really! Recapping that here make me feel I should be a bit more motivated in July!

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

Not bought anything this month – so my clothes buying tally is still zero (with just a few second-hand/BNWT bras from my exception list last month). I can’t believe I’ve not bought any clothes for over seven months now!

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Mini goals for June

Posted by on Friday 3 June 2011 in goals | 7 comments


1. Transfer Cash ISA to new provider
Been meaning to do this for a little while. I love my current bank’s ethical policy but their interest rate is appalling. I’m going to try to find somewhere still reasonably hippy-friendly but a little more generous.

2. Transfer to new energy company
Our cheap offer tariff has come to an end so we’re being shifted onto standard – time to move! I’ve used a comparison site and every single option will cost us more – so I’m going to explore cashback options to offset the hike.


3. “Clean slate” tidy the bedroom
The bedroom has been an utter tip – even by my generally untidy standards – since we started refitting the bathroom in February. We still don’t have any cupboard space in the bathroom yet so all the things that usually live in there are strewn throughout the bedroom, on the landing and in the spare room. The bedroom stuff is the worst – not only is it cluttering it up, it’s stopping other stuff going where it should go and encouraging further clutter. The cupboards *should* be built in the next few days so once all that’s out, I think the bedroom needs some love.

4. Finish painting the bathroom
Like Laura, we keep putting this off – but when the cupboards are in, we’ll really have no excuse not to finish it all off! Once it’s painted, we can “finish” it off completely – refit the radiator, seal everywhere, put up mirrors/artwork — can’t wait!

Growing, eating, making and chickening

5. Fill all my planters with soil – and plants!
I’ve got a lot of empty planters at the moment – waiting until stuff is ready to be planted out. But frankly, if it doesn’t happen in June, it’s not going to happen. I think there will be more than enough plants to go around – but if there are any empties, more quick salad leaves are always useful.

6. Learn how to poach an egg
I have never done this successfully. I would like to be able to do this successfully. If only I had a steady supply of really fresh eggs… oh wait!

Have you got any mini goals for this month? Do you have a foolproof poached egg method? ;)

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May – end of month review

Posted by on Thursday 2 June 2011 in goals, meta | 5 comments

Another month that seems to have lasted ages but in a good way. Lots of long weekends too – but enough stuff going on to fill them with. I meant to write this post yesterday but was in the garden ’til past 10pm — so much to do!

Goals in 2011 progress

Things are still progressing in the garden – but slower than I thought in some areas. I only had my first fully homegrown salad last week – compared to regular salad from the garden in April last year. (I’m saying “fully homegrown” because we got two tubs of living salad from Lidl at the end of April and have cut-and-come-again from them several times – really been good value for money but not the same as growing from seed.) I’ve successfully taken cuttings from two perennial herbs too, so that’s another step – and I realised I should make that goal more measurable by coming up with a list of applicable plants/shrubs.

We’ve baked a good few times so are probably almost on track for the “once a week” goal, I’ve been making more stuff from wood so again improving those skills, and we went on a “learn to fly-fish” course while we were in the Lakes the weekend before last, which obviously isn’t the same as fishing in the North Sea but again, steps in the right direction. I like the idea of trying out the various different styles of fishing – see which one suits us/me best.

Not great goal progress but not bad :)

Mini goals

I set myself a few mini-goals this month – just a to-do list for myself really. Out of the five goals, I managed to complete one of them (pressure cleaning the coop) and half do two others (spent a lot of time looking at phone options and have decided I have to go see some in the flesh now; and, also I’ve sorted through nearly all of our kitchen cupboards). The other two things have been, um, forgotten. Will have to add them to my next to-do list…

Buy less than 12 items of clothing in 2011

I actually bought something this month! I bought three second-hand but BNWT bras on eBay – they are pretty but the focus is on functional, and they’re all replacements: I ripped one bra at the start of the month (not sure how), which spurred on my purchases, but earlier in the year had mentally retired two others because they were old and uncomfortable — so they’re on my exemption list.

Perhaps that purchase sated my previous “want new clothes” desires as I haven’t really been bothered about looking/thinking about buying anything else. Still no new clothes for six months now!

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