Monday, 25 August 2014

Life of Pottering - Six months on

Hi there everyone.  Remember these?  Just wondered ......
An explosion of senses - by Martin
  1. Start a blog
  2. Be more creative
  3. Learn to take better photos
  4. Get fitter
  5. Keep in touch
  6. Make my money go further
  7. Be happy
  8. Add value to Society
  9. Keep on top of general household and garden activities
  10. Have less stress
These were the definitely non 'SMART' objectives that I set myself when I started my Life of Pottering back in February.

I know, six months already.  Where has the time gone?

Well, now it's been six months since I finished work and, currently, I still have no burning desire to to looking for any, I felt I ought really evaluate what I've been up to and see whether I've achieved anything.

So here goes for a serious post.  I wasn't going to include any pictures, but that's just so boring, so I've scattered our Bodnant Garden Photo Competition entries through the post, with the captions that we included for each one.  We've not heard anything yet, so could still be in with a chance.

1  Start a blog
Yay!!  Started and still going strong.  Big fat tick!!!!!!

2  Be more creative
It's OK to be different - by Martin
This one was quite woolly.  What does 'more creative' really mean.  I feel like I've been more creative than I was when I was working.  It's as a result of having more time really.  I've cooked new stuff. I've grown lots of stuff.  I've done hanging baskets.  I've even had the sewing machine out and done mending.  I've taken lots of photos.  I've written lots of blog posts.  I've started decorating.  I've done lots of painting (the maintenance kind, not the Monet kind).  Hey, I think I've been more creative.

3  Learn to take better photos
A real mixture of light & shade - by Carol
Well, I finally understand depth of field.  I already knew what effect it gave you, but was never sure about whether a bigger number was more of a blurry background, or the other way round.  I think this one still has lots of scope for further improvement. I've not even opened the books we bought on learning to use the new Canon.  I've only entered two competitions and I've not really looked into displaying photos on commercial web sites for potentially selling on.  So, yes, I have learned to take better photos, but need to develop (see what I did there?) this one further.

4  Get fitter
Mmmmmmmmm.  Now what can I say about this one.  I've not seen Davina in a long old while.  I have lost a few pounds since I finished work, not so you'd really notice though, and I have walked to town and been out on my bike a few times.  I know, weak!  Don't really think I achieved what I set out to do here.

5  Keep in touch
Now, if I say so myself, I think I've done OK with this one.  I have a good number of people that I am regularly in touch with by e-mail and I have a couple of catch up days out planned in, which will be lovely. We've also had a catch up meal with people I used to work with quite some time ago, with another booked in and we've been on our annual weekend get together, so not too bad.

6  Make my money go further
I've been fortunate enough to be able to say that it's been a long old time since I've really had to think much about what I've been spending so trying to manage with less has been an interesting experience.

'Mollie the Witch' - Just like we've got
at home, but better - by Martin
I've made real good use of the Internet here and make most of my on line purchases through the Quidco cashback site.  Most weeks I also manage to get small amounts back on my shopping through Quidco, it's only perhaps 50p, but it all adds up.  Not the kind of thing I could have been bothered with if I'd been working, but having more time on my hands, it feels worth it.  My Supermarket is another good site for finding out where your favourite weekly shopping items are the cheapest.  I've saved loads by buying washing powder or dish washer tablets from a different supermarket, because I knew they were on offer.  In total, I've had just over £170 back from Quidco in my first six months - I know it's not a fortune but it's money for absolutely nothing.

Another things I've been doing, which I have posted about previously, is on line surveys.  So far I've clocked up £80 in Amazon vouchers through completing surveys.  Yes, it gets boring from time to time, but hey, I just do as many as I feel like.  I know when I'm doing my Christmas shopping, those vouchers will definitely come in handy.

I've also been having a good old clear out and selling stuff.  So far I've made about £10 through selling DVDs on line and about £80 from selling 'old tat' on eBay.  Selling on eBay is good fun!!  It's easier than I thought, especially with the tablet app and it gets really exciting watching your bids increase as the auction end time approaches.  I'm getting a bit addicted.

7  Be happy
It's OK to go 'au naturel' - by Carol
I do love my Life of Pottering.  There have been days when I've sat in the garden, in the warm sunshine, and just thought to myself ........ this is my life now, how amazing is that? Don't know how I'll feel when it's freezing outside and it's lashing it down with rain and I know it's likely to continue for the rest of the week. I guess I will need to adapt my agenda then, I have spent a lot of time outside over the summer.  

8  Add value to Society
I kind of got a bit lucky here, being voted in as the Chair of Governors at school has made this one pretty easy.  I've spent lots of time at school and am working really hard with the Head Teacher and the rest of the Governing Body to make sure that we are all as effective as we can be.

9  Keep on top of general household and garden activities
It doesn't always have to be tidy! - by Carol
Martin and I would probably have a difference of opinion on this one.  On the one hand .... tea is never on the table, quite often not even started, when he gets home from work and the dining room table and the back porch are often full of half finished projects and looking like complete chaos.  On the other hand, the beds get made nearly every day, the hanging baskets have been well looked after and the ironing gets done, in full, every week. I've also done other household stuff that just doesn't get noticed, like washing the nets, turning the mattresses and clearing out the cupboards.  I know I could do more, but hey, life's too short.  I'm happy with how this one is going.

10  Have less stress
Now here's a good one.  I have had stress!!  My AOL e-mail didn't work for a few days.  The brick edging caused a lot of dust in the garden and packaging stuff up and working out postage for eBay sales is something else.  But seriously, that's all that I can think of.  My Life of Pottering, on the whole, is pretty much stress-free.  Not sure Martin would say it's the same for him though.

So, what's next?  Well I want to continue looking at these objectives, focusing more heavily on those where I haven't really done much, then ..............................

In November this year I shall be 50.  I have no idea how that happened!!  I am currently in the process of trying to come up with a list of 50 things that I really want to do before I'm 60.  It's a bit like the National Trust's 50 things to do before you're 11 and 3/4, but for grown ups.  So far I've got about 30 things, so I've still got a way to go ...... I think that maybe I'm being too conservative, but once I've got my list, then I'm sure you'll all get to see it and hopefully, there won't be anything on there that Martin really hates the idea of as I'm not that good at flying solo.  

Watch this space, I'd love it if you keep following my adventures.

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Thanks for taking time to comment on my blog. I love to hear what people think about what Martin and I have been up to.