This week, I took a deep breath and tackle one of the bigger problem zones. This consisted of a hoard of magazines, piles of unsorted papers, mail and notes, and a plastic bag stuffed with tangled electronics.
Part of my simples challenge will be to simplify my finances, so I tracked all my expenditure in the month of October. I've identified several areas where I could easily make savings, and one of these is on snacks.
I have no self will. I have no ability to resist the temptation of the chocolate bar or the packet of biscuits. I know this. I didn't realise how I much I was actually spending on snacks during the week - around €3-5 a week! Gosh!
I have recently discovered the Channel 4 series SuperScrimpers - HOW did I not know of this before? This treasure trove consists of (almost) four series chock full of tips to save money, from big things like debt management to the teeniest tiniest penny. I can feel myself becoming even more of a penny pincher by the episode, and I'm really looking forward to trying out some of the many tips.
My lovely lovely boyfriend gave me this. Not for any particular reason but just as a nice gesture. I'm always so touched by these simple gifts - probably disproportionately so! He always gets me a potted plant rather than cut flowers because they last longer and are (presumably) less damaging to the environment, and as I'm the opposite of green-fingered and usually end up killing the plants through over- or under-watering, he gets plants in a pot I can reuse after the plant has gone the way of all things. This awareness and consideration of my preferences on even the most minor detail is what moves me and makes me so appreciative of my special man.
I start most mornings, like so many people, with a bowl of cereal. I tend to pimp this up a bit by adding oats or seeds and raisins, but I've never made my own cereal before. While browsing blogs a while ago, I stumbled across this recipe for toasted muesli by Easy Peasy Organic.
It's taken me a while to get around to trying this out, but I'm a convert already. It took me about half an hour to make this batch, which is about half the volumes of the recipe. I reckon this would last me just over a week, and there are endless variations of nuts, seeds and dried fruit! This batch includes oats, ground almonds, linseeds and sunflower seeds, with prunes and raisins. I couldn't resist it and just had to try it, and I've found it tastes like a flapjack in a bowl - far from boring!
The last two weeks have been a bit insane here - my mother has been in hospital and I've spent a week in the UK to be near her, which has also meant a lot of work piling up here. So in this context, I think i'ts probably okay that I have missed a week, and that this week's step in the Simples challenge is a bit of a cheat.
Baking soda is fantastic for cleaning stainless steel. I have recently allowed my sink to get into a terrible state - oh the shame! But take a look at the effects of five minutes with some baking soda and a damp cloth.
It really is blindingly simple. Scatter some baking soda over the sink, scrub with a damp cloth and then rinse. Buff dry with a rag or tea towel for extra shine. So what are you waiting for? Go make your sink shiny!