Friday, 31 December 2010

Out with the Old.....

Each year I get annoyed with the broadsheets who compile a review of the year's events instead of offering original material.  'That's so lazy', I've thought.  But today, I am going to embrace hypocrisy wholeheartedly and do the same thing!

Firstly, I'm proud to say that Mr Lovelygrey and I have knocked a whopping massive £12,700 of the balance of our mortgage. If we keep this up I reckon we'll be on target to clear it altogether by my fiftieth birthday in four and a bit years time. We've achieved this, not by skimping and saving on the things that we really enjoy, such as our regular trips to France, but by thinking carefully about our everyday spending and larger purchases.  For example, I reckon we save about £600 per annum by not having TV subscriptions or mobile phone contracts.  Cutting our own hair and using basic toiletries reduces our expenditure by £700.  Using up food leftovers means that we save at least £250, a very conservative figure for the average cost of food thrown away by a household.  All these seemingly little savings mount up.  But there's the occasional biggie. By  rejecting the flannel from a double glazing salesman we saved a whopping £6,500!

I've submitted an academic article for publication, holidayed in France for a total of five weeks and visited Bath, London, Edinburgh and Bristol.  My 'festival virginity' was plucked from me by attending Chagstock with the Lovelygrey boys and because of this  I have joined the ranks of those who like to party to open air music in the summer months.  Although I don't seem to have as much time as I'd like for making things I've finished a mosaic picture and lampbase, a ring, a sock monkey,  a cakestand,  teapots galore and various necklaces, bracelets and pendants made from silver and beads.  Sales of jewellery have started although they're not enough to worry the taxman at the current time as expenditure on lovely tools and materials  is way ahead of income.   Rearranging my household chores has freed up time to enjoy my weekends.  Oh yes..and I've started my blog and with it learnt how to play with technology, write for an audience and take the occasional decent snap to illustrate my point.

As with some of the round robin letters that come with Christmas cards,  I could stop at the good bits and fool you into believing that my life and family are more perfect than it seems.  But this is not so.  My father in law passed away at the beginning of the year and we had to educate Louis about serious illness and death.   Other family members struggle with mental health problems and my own moods rises and dips a little bit too much for my liking.  I haven't eaten as healthily as I'd wish or meditated and exercised enough.  A foray into ethical unit trust investment hasn't been as successful as I dreamed it would be.  Oh yes, those home haircuts - most of the time I'm perfectly proud of my handiwork but,   I must confess that, for a couple of months,  I had to manage with only half of a left eyebrow!

The big thing about this year is that I've started to take chances.  Fear of criticism and failure put the kybosh on my creativity and often stopped me doing seemingly simple things, like entering some shops or voicing an opinion.  Happily all that nonsense has stopped and I've been stretching myself in the direction that I want to go, which may not necessarily be the one that others expect of me.

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