3 ways to honour your hobbies and your heart

Cheesy headline? Yes. Got your attention? Hope so! Yesterday I had a clear lesson in the importance of hobbies and passions in our lives. I also had a clear lesson in the importance of research.

So what happened? Well there I was reading one of many lovely blogs (thanks Bekki at The Creativity Cauldron) and switched to Twitter when I stumbled across something. I’m an amateur aviation nerd and how amateur I am was quickly revealed in all its glory. I found out that the only surviving flying Vulcan (think Falklands War, think delta wing, think yes she really is a nerd!) – but also think please read on. This beautiful jet was going to fly today. Possibly one of the last times ever in my neck of the woods. *sniff*

So I abandoned the cat (not impressed), abandoned the groceries (not impressed with the later to be revealed leaking washing up liquid-gate) and jumped in the car. I managed to get there just in time. It was pouring with rain but I didn’t care. I waved as she flew over and I can’t lie I shed a few tears. I know it is a heap of metal and I’m a heap of a mess. But hey we all have our passions. Anyway enough with the details. What can I and hopefully you learn from all this?

1. Organised research

You love going to the theatre, cinema, sports game, craft / antique / specialist fairs, airshow… Whatever. The same rules apply you need to get organised. Set up a list of favourites or bookmarks and then check them regularly. You never know where it might lead. This year led to many wonderful things including the Vulcan flypast.

2. Get nosey

You know those REALLY annoying people. No I’m not thinking of the Kardashians although… No I’m thinking of people who have fabulous weekends ALL THE TIME. You know the sort of thing. “I took a steam train ride to the seaside.” “I went to a show at London Fashion week.” That sort of thing. Get nosey. Get asking them about it. Yes they may gloat but that’s ok. Life is about experiences and hell if there is a way to shortcut to the good stuff then let’s do this.

3. Get booking

I have a confession to make. No I didn’t read Fifty shades of grey. No I um how do I put this? I have recently got into watching darts. Lakeside darts. I don’t quite know how it happened but I find the atmosphere amazing. So I had made a mental note that I must book up when they run an event. So what happened? I was on their site just as they announced tickets for £7.50. I hesitated and thought I’ll book tomorrow. Big mistake. No tickets left the next day. Fool! So don’t faff about like I did. Book!

Have a brilliant day,


PS: So this is a clip from the weekend – check out the Simpsons style sky. The kids screaming with excitement (pretty much like I was yesterday). The car alarms going off. And finally the very British and respectful round of applause. Good night XH558.


For the weight watchers among you… BBQ garlic chicken 

Making this tonight – the marinade smells gorgeous 😋

Shoestring Cottage - Frugal Living

I put a photo of our chicken dinner on here and Instagram last week and had a few comments about how nice it looked and requests for the recipe. I can’t take any credit on this one. It is a Rosemary Conley recipe, so it is healthy and low fat as well as tasty!

Here it is:

4 skinless chicken breasts (I always use frozen as they are so much cheaper but you could easily use thighs)
Salt and pepper

For the marinade:
2tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small red onion chopped finely
pinch fennel seeds (I didnt have any and it was nice without)

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. season the chicken and place in an oven proof dish. Spread the marinade over and leave for at least an hour. Cook under…

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Technical glitch

A short blog today as I have had a short fuse or two! Plugs and leads. I have a love / hate relationship going on with these so-called enablers. *shakes fist*

I must have shares in any producer of iPad leads in the world. You can tell I have had technical difficulties! Two iPad leads selfishly decided (yes they did!) to fail. At the same time. How rude! And frustrating! *shakes two broken leads*

Mainly because going into a shop means you buy said replacement leads and some twin tip Sharpie pens for the new colouring craze. I know! *breathe*

However this has meant less surfing. So not all bad. How do you curtail mindless surfing? I’m asking for a friend..

Have a brilliant day,


PS: I categorised this under ‘Kindness’

PPS: I have no idea why.. 😁

Paint by numbers. Rock by Casbah. Work by music.

Routine. Pattern. All words I struggle with. Actually tell a lie, the words are fine. It’s the concept.

From my About page you’d have read (you’ve read it and liked it right?) that my lovely Nan used to give me boiled sweets at night. Most kids were brought up to clean their teeth and get to bed. Oh no. Not my Nan. To hell with routine she thought. Let’s have some lovely boiled sweets. Aww Nan bless you!

So. Routine is understandably an alien concept to me. But. I have found a key. In fact none of this is new. But playing music while doing a must-do task somehow messes with your tired mind/body/spirit and says… “Come on let’s do this!” Paint by numbers. Work by music. Doh!

Here are some of my favourite tunes. I don’t pretend for one moment to have a mature or sophisticated taste in music. But. They help fire me up to do something! Usually things like housework. And they are a useful way to time yourself. That sounds nerdy right? Ok here they are.

So I’ve shared some of my get up and do it music – what’s yours?

Have a brilliant day,


3 ways to simplify – Minimalism rules (ok?)

Things are slowly becoming easier. Having less stuff means less work. You probably have read or heard many of these principles before but… I believe they are helping. Creating space. It’s a slow process. Glacial at times. But things are improving.

Three ways to simplify:

1. One in. One out.

If you buy clothing, a pair new shoes, new coat, whatever. Another must go to balance it out. I know it’s mean right? But necessary? Yes! It means the amount of stuff you own overall does not increase. It’s a maths thing. Sometimes we can hold onto stuff that we don’t wear and that others may appreciate. Share the love and do the maths. One in. One out.

2. Use what you have. Don’t save for best.

I know this is Rocket Science right? If say perfume or aftershave is your weakness – gather your stash together and see what you have. Usually it’s a lot more than we realise. And now the hard bit, use it. Don’t save for best. When is best? Isn’t today already a great day to use that lovely perfume or aftershave? How many times have you saved something only for it to go bad?

3. Find a cause close to your heart. 

Any declutter task – whether it’s clearing a wardrobe, a junk room or the kitchen – can be easier if you set a cause to donate the stuff to. Not just any cause. Something close to you heart, that gives you a lump in your throat when you think about it. Moves you. Got it? I know I’m tearing up just writing this. I firmly believe that having a cause to donate to makes Decluttering easier. And don’t look for warm praise or thanks when you drop off your donations. They are often volunteers who get tired/deal with difficult customers. Just politely donate your wares and leave. Job done.

So err. This is kinda embarrassing but what are you doing here still? Don’t you have some simplifying to do?

Have a brilliant day,


Not trying to be perfect

Yes. Good timing too. I heard the phrase Progress not perfection yesterday. My new mantra! ✔️


File:Sugar beet-sprout.jpg

Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. Knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness — mine, yours, ours — need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life.

Parker Palmer

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