Sunday 2 January 2011

Ring in the New

The old year has turned and a fresh, new one stretches out ahead and this year January is not filling me with quite the usual dread. I've always found the long weeks from Christmas to Easter quite hard. It's when the negative side of winter hits me and the things I find enchanting up until Christmas (dark afternoons, fierce weather etc), start to wear a little thin.

But change is afoot here this year and January in 2011 opens a new door, full of promise and a rather monumental challenge. The good news is that in the end, after months of anxiety, I heard just before Christmas that my job is safe.
It is a mad job, in a difficult environment but I can see a way ahead now and think I can make a difference at last. The bad news is that I have lost almost half the hours I used to work, which means rather more money worries. But still, we will manage and in these difficult times I'm more than grateful to still be employed and secure for the time being.

And what I might have lost in paid hours, I've got back in time. Precious, precious time - which my money just can't buy. So I am making a list to start the New Year of what I will be doing more or less of with my 15 extra hours a week!

* Strolling to school and back over the fields with my boys - oh I've missed doing this so much over the past 18months when I took on extra hours. It's been too long since we collected feathers, listened to the birds, counted hanging baskets and all that sort of nonsense.
* Buying less petrol - or burning fivers as it's known in this house.

* Growing more - I love our allotment and now at last I can put some real effort into the veg, establish a cut flower patch and spend the summer doing what I love best - gardening.

* Spending less in supermarkets - even though I do most of our weekly shop at the lovely old market, it's been tricky to manage it properly. Now though I can do the whole shop in town at the grocers, greengrocers, fishmonger etc and its cheaper. Using cash and my list, I seem to buy only what I've planned to at each shop. Supermarkets are far too distracting!
* Making bread - I've been promising to do this for years. There is bread flour in the cupboard so here I go.

* Decorating - my poor boys' bedrooms are crying out for a lick of paint, new curtains and a cheer up.
* Cooking more - a few years ago I'd have described myself as a reluctant cook, but since making friends with Hugh & Nigel my culinary life has been transformed. Nigel in particular has given me the confidence to enjoying trying, to savour and just to eat. Nothing more complicated, and that suits me and I will carry on. 

And of course there are all the really boring, mundane jobs which never get done or end up dominating the weekend which I'm hoping to get on top of at long last.
So I'm ringing in the new this January. Looking forward to a more frugal but simpler and more enjoyable home life with the time to enjoy it. Nothing like a challenge is there!


periwinkle said...

We do the " counting hanging baskets " too although it tends to change to house alarms !! Your list sounds very possible and achievable .. good luck x Love the new header too .

Amanda said...

I admire your attitude, turning something around, it sounds so positive. Good on you.

Linda said...

I have to agree that in our hectic modern lives time is much more precious than money, especially when you have little ones. Enjoy your extra time, I'm sure it will prove much more valuable to you than the extra money. xxx

Anonymous said...

sounds like its going to be a good year
xx fee

Anonymous said...

What a lovely posting - so much enthusiasm, the glass is half full! Love the photos. Let us know how the bread making goes. I have always harkered after this pleasure but a busy working life means no time for the simple pleasures. Enjoy the extra time - every cloud has a silver lining or so they say!

Debs said...

Im sure the time will be very precious to you. I gave up work almost a year ago and it was the best thing for my family. Yes its true we haven't got as much money but I am calmer, the children happier and I don't waste money like I used to. I am sure I used to throw it away. ENJOY.

LinenandRoses said...

Love your list for the new year and love the way that you're turning the slightly negative into a huge positive. I feel the same this year about the new year. Really looking forward to it this year. For me it's because I am no longer going out to work but being a stay at home Mummy now we have our little one. I'm still on maternity leave but don't plan on going back. Like you this will mean we have to be a little more frugal but I'm so looking forward to the simple pleasures of home life and how the coming year is going to unfold as our little one grows. Happy new year to you and I hope you enjoy your new routine. x

inmykitchen said...

There is certainly a lot more to life than money (although it helps!). Best wishes for a fulfilling time ahead, once you get going with bread making you'll never again want to buy another loaf.

Jo x

Garden Girl said...

I love that last photo Steph, your garden looks so pretty! Despite the scary side of things it sounds like you have lots of fun times ahead, both with the boys and Woody and 'me time' as well. I would LOVE to have a cutting plot at the allotment but it never quite works out by the time I get round to being organised..maybe this will be the year.
Happy New Year to you and your boys

VintageVicki said...

What a lovely post.

I hope you are able to achieve all your aims this year. You've given me stuff to think about and I need to think what I want from 2011.

Katy Noelle said...

Just some thoughts:

~I WAS wondering about your job - you mentioned that a little while ago. I'm so glad that it's working out.

~I know what you mean about saving money because you can focus and spend it in a more thoughtful manner.

~The lack of light does bother me, for sure! However, I always can feel the days lengthening in January. Maybe, it's the sun shifting just a titch. Anyway, January in California was always the most beautiful and mild month - I think that I've brought that feeling with me to the frozen North.

~I love how you Brits call it "veg!" I just cracks me up. I have to assimilate that one, for sure!!! =]

Lovely to hear from you, as always!

Katy Noelle

busybusybeejay said...

What a lovely positive post.I am sure you will love that extra time with your children plus time to follow your other interests.Cherish every day.

busybusybeejay said...

What a lovely positive post.I am sure you will love that extra time with your children plus time to follow your other interests.Cherish every day.

made-and-found said...

I think these are very worthy intentions.Time is more precious than money especially when you have young children....hope you really do get time to smwll ther coffee.I am feeling really depressed about food and have very little interest in cooking but I have to say that Migek is one of my favourites,He makes me want to serve simole things and get back in touch with taste.Did you see Toast over the holiday.It was based on his book and was so lovely and nostalgic...Much love anne x

Anonymous said...

Super post - how I admire your positive and enthusiastic approach to the New Year.
Best wishes with all you hope to achieve.

purlgurl said...

I speak from experience when I say don't worry about having less money - you will manage and money can't buy the things you will gain. Can I ask - what are the tall, white flowers in the pots in the last pic of you post? Good luck x

Lynn said...

Enjoy your extra time :) and your precious boys - happy new year.

French Knots said...

Having time makes it easier to live a thrifty and frugal life, making the most of your money and stretching it to your priorities.
After I was made redundant our income was slashed, it's been hard but the time at home with the children is priceless.

Joanne said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!
Yes, time is so precious.
Blessings on 2011 and may you find many joyful moments in your days!
Joanne at Seasonal Hearth

driftwood said...

happy new year, it certainly sounds like you are going to make the most of it xxxx

Claire said...

Hi, what gorgeous colourful pictures, just what I needed, been very grey in Cardiff today! i imagine that although it will be hard cutting your hours you must be excited to have the extra time! Happy new year to you
Claire xx

Sweet Birdy Love said...

Hey Steph as they inside very cloud etc. etc. etc. The silver lining in this case is of your own making and that's the good thing, you get to decide how to deal with the changes.
Great list, and as you say money can't buy you time.
There might even be time for dabbling in some crafty, stitchy projects maybe!!
Great photos, love the cup, saucer and snowdrops.
All the best for 2011 to you and your lovely family.

Frances said...

Oh, what a beautiful outlook you have, and a wise one, too.

I send you a Happy New Year wish, and want that wish to keep up its momentum all through 2011.

I would love to have some time to walk through that gate and across those fields. Your lucky children will gain so much from walking with you this year. Wow!


Alijane said...

Happy New Year to you and yours. I am sure you will achieve all you desire in 2011, sometimes forced change brings about unexpected positives.


Karen said...

Your list is very similar to my list - I have also been inspired by Nigel (don't forget he's on tomorrow night!) - I actually want to eat what he has cooked and we are intending to grow our own more this year. I am so glad your job is safe and extra time spent at home with your lovely family will be wonderful for you. We must all keep as cheerful as possible through January and February two months I hate but spring is waiting in the wings and think of all those flowers. Karen X

Suzie Sews At DOTTY RED said...

Fabulous post, all the very best for 2011

Naturally Carol said...

I love the way you are embracing the change from your heart! Really this money challenge is enabling you to go where you really wanted to go but probably would have been too cautious to. You will do a great job and your family will feel enriched with more of you in their daily lives!

Lyn said...

what a great attitude to have and I am glad you are so positive about the year ahead. Also your photos cheered up this grey old day so thank you!

salty pebble said...

enjoy more free time with your lovely boys on exciting country walks and get back into your passion for the garden...simple things are always best. Money buys alot of things but not all the memories shared with your family x

i look forward to more of your wonderful postings in 2011...

x kazzy x

Ruth said...

Snap! You have summed up pretty much most of my dreams and plans for 2011! Enjoy your extra time with your family - we are in the same position as you and I am really cherishing the time I have as a gift to be enjoyed and used to its full.

Lovely photos again - you have such a lovely style!

Best wishes and happy 2011

melanie said...

Happy New Year, gorgeous photos :) xx

bellaboo said...

Happy new year to all at Curlew Country!
Sounds like you are starting it off with a lovely positive attitude.
Wishing you lots of happiness in 2011! :0)

Pea Green Kitty said...

A Very Happy New Year to you!
I always enjoy reading your lovely posts and seeing your dreamy pictures, Blissful!

Anja said...

It sounds like 2011 is going to be a great year!

Sue said...

Best Wishes for 2011,
With your positivity,you will have a cracking year
All the best

Erin said...

Enjoy your newfound time! Even though the circumstances aren't ideal, you have a great attitude about it and you'll treasure that time with your boys when you look back on it. Good luck in your endeavors in 2011 and I look forward to hearing about them here!

Take care,

caravanartist said...

A lovely post and you're absolutely right - time is so precious. Time and good health. I'm sure you'll get much more happiness and satisfaction from the extra hours at home even if you have a bit less money. There's so much you can make and do and if you're a keen gardener then you'l have time to grow lots of delicious things. We are about 95% self sufficient in fruit & veg in summer and about 75% in winter and that's in a very frosty part of Scotland where July is the only month we can be certain of NOT getting frost!
Happy new year - I look forward to following your blog in 2011.

Catherine said...

What a fantastic year you will have! I think I need to take a leaf out of your book!! Cx

A Thrifty Mrs said...

Great news about your job.
Fantastic post and it sounds like 2011 is going to be a terrific year for you.

silverpebble said...

A Happy New Year to you. What a list - it resonates with me, most definitely. What a treat, too, to see your garden images from last summer - they're so uplifting. I think we share the passion -I can hardly wait for warmer days.

Thankyou so much for the image of the snowdrops - it's given me a real boost today.

silverpebble said...

Oh and thank goodness about your job.

Donna said...

I thought I would finally say hi, I have been lurking around your blog for well over a year and never comment. Your blog is my favorite! I always look forward to reading it. This year I plan to blog more myself since I hope to have more to blog about as last September I finally was able to afford buying a little house and can't wait for spring to start the garden!

Emma Herian said...

Happy New Year!
I personally don't do lists as I hate the thought of me not tick them off! Though having said that I kind of live with a challenging mental list all the time as it certainly adds zest to life!
I think you list sounds heavenly and something to look forward to, enjoy every moment, living frugally can bring a lot of happiness!

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Happy New Year and good for you Steph, I echo so many of your sentiments, so here's to 2011 and collecting feathers,

Love Sarah x

The Coffee Lady said...

What a fantastic list. And what a relief about your job - practically everyone I meet at present is unsure what the future holds.

Reginas Cottage said...

hi steph,
what a wonderful post.enjoy the time
with your family.
i wish you all the best for this new year.
love regina

Laura said...

Sounds like the perfect day. I know I did the same yesterday, here in NJ. Love your blog and look forward to following! I think we like similar things... only I'm an English gal in the States with two daughters. I think they look like they're the same age as your boys! Lx