Sunday, 30 June 2013

Ooooh Er... Erm...

So with  my revelation yesterday that it is ok to throw out a bottle of nail varnish remover, ESPECIALLY if I currently feel it's ok to throw out a sack of clothes (to charity I might add), I have just realised... IP was playing in the bath... With a sponge and the plastic jug (that we only still have because 1. I feel we should and 2. IP likes to play with it) when I commented that it was typical we'd got so many lovely toys for her and she's happiest with a jug and sponge... Then it hit me... She DOES have a lot of bath toys and I haven't purged them AT ALL! I don't even know why, I just sort of 'skimmed over' them... I have also kind of managed to start her a collection of rubber ducks... Unintentionally and I don't have an issue with her collecting 1 thing but she's got masses of ducks and then all sorts of other toys... I'm not sure she even particularly plays with the ducks... Oh dear, gulp! I think a 'chat' with DP tonight about what she does play with (he baths her) may be in order! 

And then DP and I have been chatting about how much tv we watch. We aren't getting rid of Sky just yet because DP wants to watch certain things on it and being in Luxy it's not as though it's easy for me to watch English tv. BUT I have suggested we could have 1 or 2 nights a week when we don't watch tv. So I think that'll be included in the discussion - going through and deleting programmes we don't massively want to watch first. We also have a Wii Fit that I have suggested we should use more often so hopefully we can get used to that as well...

Menu planning

I think I mentioned yesterday that I was doing some menu planning. Well I've go a list of all that's in the freezer and cupboard (didn't think of the fridge). So this morning I updated both lists, made a menu plan to use all items up - nearly a months worth. DP was in shock at how short the shopping list was - 'is that it?!' Which I loved. 

We've just been shopping and I thought I'd test my mobile blogging app...

Menu plan on the left, what I'll need to cook and then shopping list on the right. 


Freezer & cupboard list:


I only cook Monday - Thursday and we try to have fish twice a week so it wasn't as hard as I thought. I guess the hard part will be coming up with a menu when we have a bare cupboard and freezer! :)

Our meal plan:
1/7 vegetable cake & sausages
2/7 beef burger & vegetable cake
3/7 fish pie
4/7 ham hot pot vegetables & pasta

8/7 tuna pasta bake
9/7 beef burger & veg. cake
10/7 fish pie
11/7 potato soup

15/7 lasagne
16/7 veg. cake & sausages
17/7 fish pie
18/7 potato soup

22/7 spag. bol.
23/7 veg cake & sausages
24/7 chicken casserole

And that's as far as I've got!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Recycling empty baby wipe packets...

Before I forget, whilst we use cloth nappies when we have a child in nappies (technically IP isn't PT overnight and wears pull ups currently but I plan to work on that next week) and I try to use reusable wipes we do still use disposable wipes. So I wanted a way to recycle if possible. So I googled. This was ages ago. Before we moved to the land of Luxy and that was nearly a year ago. I found this charity:

http://www.elliesfund.com/

At the time they were sending free post labels out but now you need 100's of empty packets so they just provide an address amongst other things. So tonight I have written the address on an envelope that has 20 empty packets in it. It will cost a little bit to post them but empty wipe packets won't cost much and I want to do what I can.

So in an effort to 'spread the word', whilst I am not at all pushing any charities (I read the story of Ellie's Fund a year or so ago but that's it) if you want a way to recycle empty baby wipe packets and you don't mind either saving 100's (of empty baby wipe packets) or spending a bit on postage, check out the above link.

I also looked into how to recycle used stamps and I'll double check and post about that at some point... (Again, it started with a google search...)

Meal Planning...

This is going to be a very short post but I just read this:

http://www.theminimalistmom.com/2011/02/debt-busting-march/

and whilst I'd never really thought about meal planning each week I may look into trying it! I make the same meals like lasagne and Chilli Con Carne repeatedly to freeze, we plan on weekly food shopping & I plan to pre-cook some items in 'bulk' (not too much!) for when Munchkin arrives so I'm thinking if we had a rolling 4 week menu plan it could work. Especially as DP does the cooking Friday - Sunday so if we were getting bored that would probably help.

IP loves pizza and DP told me today the bread maker has a 'pizza dough' function on it so I hope to start using that...

Any suggestions on this? I've heard 'Meat Free Monday' - http://meatfreemondays.com/ (I haven't read this blog AT ALL yet, I just saw this on another post and thought I'd share it) and friends have other days for different things but I've never actually implemented anything like this. We always have fish and chips on a Friday (because we're British and it's easy) but that's about it. Sooooo come on people, do you have any routines and if so what are they?

I plan to include more on this topic later as one job for this weekend (ok tonight or tomorrow) is to work out meals to use up items in our freezer, fridge and cupboard and then figure out a menu plan so I will start thinking about this and implementing ideas very soon...

Today's achievements (minimalism continued)...

Well right now I am listening to DP trying not to lose the plot at/with IP because today she is being challenging. I don't know what is causing it, I'm guessing it's a form of post holiday blues but I do hope that her behaviour doesn't continue for a long time...

*Later: after dinner I've just realised I think she's maybe getting her 2 year old molar teeth because she keeps biting things so that may be why she's behaving the way she is...

This morning I got IP to start her 'Thank you' cards for her birthday 2 weeks ago. 

Today I have:

I will use the term 'decluttered' because I feel I would be fake if I used the term minimalised but I'm working towards it... 
  • I have taken more books and bits out of our bookshelves and rearranged the photo's/ ornaments.
  • I've gone through IP's cuddly toys. The ones that are staying are going on a bed or rocking chair.
  • I tidied the hall cupboard where coats, etc, are kept (this means taking out all the baby coats etc to be sorted through when I sort the clothes next week). 
  • Went through the drawers in the single wardrobe of our bedroom, meaning I now have a completely empty drawer! :) I am actually looking forward to going through my clothes next week! :) 
  • ANDDDDD without being asked, DP went through his shirts and got rid of some! :) 
  • (oh yeah I have also done the last load of washing for a few days! :))


Just realised I should explain that it's only the 'Rotary' box that has my watch details in it, and the bottom right 'box' that is mine. And I considered whether to put the stuff in the bottom right into storage as it's more for IP later but I'm working on that for now... DP also went through his cuff links and gave me a massive handful of them to 'get rid of'.


The box has nail stuff in it (I've considered paring this down as I have lots of nail varnishes and I leave 1 colour on for a long time but we'll see). I also considered getting rid of 1 bottle of the 'remover as I that rarely paint my nails anyway... And I currently have 3 bags of cotton wool. We may use it on Munchkin for nappy changes so I'll see on that one... I have also put the baseball caps (my only sun hats cos I hate them) into the hall cupboard...


I actually then ended up moving the contents of this drawer into other places including the picture above. 


This stuff was all taken out of my bedside table drawer and had other homes (I should get an after photo of my drawer)...


  • I decluttered my bathroom drawers. I don't think I took any photo's unfortunately but there wasn't much to take. DP and I had already gone through the shared drawer and I had already sorted my drawers a while ago so really it's all used pretty regularly. It was only a few hair bands to be taken out. What I did do (and drat, I need to take a photo) is go through 2 boxes of 'spare back up' toiletries. DP has agreed to use the small travel toiletries we have a large amount of so I do have a picture of how our bathroom now looks...



These are the products we previously used for when we've used up all the travel toiletries. I'll move the basket when we've used them all up...



That basket was where the Hello Kitty soap dispenser was, with 'guest' toiletries in it but I can't remember when they were last used so I'm not sure if I'll keep anything there in future...
So it's the Hello Kitty soap dispenser, hand gel sanitiser for IP and then tooth cleaning items for IP...


This is just to prove that there's A LOT still to be done! This is next week's job!

I think my biggest issue is to get rid of things like a bottle of nail varnish remover. Thinking about it, it's a bit daft that I'll happily go through all my clothes and put rubbish sacks full in the recycling, or give to friends but I won't throw a bottle of nail varnish remover and it doesn't occur to me to ask a friend if they want it (yes friends I am talking to you! ;))? We're using up the shampoos etc, as I said but I know I could be a lot more ruthless with things, so we'll see... DP said 'little and often' when I expressed my surprise and delight at the handful of cuff links... Watch this space! ;)


Welcome to the rest of my life...

So we got back from our mini holiday today (28/6/13) at 14:30. By 15:00 I had already started moving stuff and decluttering and sorting. I haven't taken many before photo's but I will take 'after' photo's over this weekend. It is now 19:20 and I have:
  • Gone through 4 drawers in the kitchen & sorted other 'bits' from there. 
  • Taken down noticeboard from inside the kitchen cupboard.
  • Moved empty boxes from shelves to a cupboard & then moved boxes from the top of the sideboard to the empty shelf on the bookshelves.
  • Taken magnets, etc off the front of the fridge, then put some back.
BEFORE: Kitchen drawer

Box of things that will go I hope! :)
 ^ This box is now not only full and overflowing but I have a lot of other boxes and 'things' on the chest of drawers to go in a few months with it! :) ^

After! Drawer 2...
  •  Moved the 'jewellery' box that has my preserved wedding flowers from my chest of drawers to the living room sideboard. 
  • Moved the letter 'box' from by the tv to the sideboard. 
  • Gone through 3/4 drawers in the sideboard (reduced to 2 but spaced out the contents of 1 that were overflowing & the last drawer is DP's).
  • Gone through 1 cupboard of the sideboard.



  • Moved a white mirror 'stand' from my chest of drawers to IP's bedroom & rearranged bits on it.
You can just see in the left above the chair is now a white 'mirror' stand...
Still to do relating to the above:
  1. Clean the George Foreman grill thoroughly then store in a drawer
  2. When DP has stopped using up the instant coffee put the kettle in a drawer/cupboard. 
  3. Try to think of somewhere to put the other items on the kitchen counters (don't think it's possible).
  4. Clear off/find homes for other stuff on the fridge.
  5. I have moved items from the clear out above into boxes that are on my chest of drawers and I need to label them - the plan being to keep them for 3 months ish before getting rid of them.
  6. Filing & 'in tray' to do items
  7. Figure out what meals can be made from the food left in the cupboard and freezer. Then do a menu plan, buy any extra ingredients and make meals.
  8. DP has agreed to go through a shelf in the sideboard that has folders of our guarantee and electrical items on it. 
  9. I also intend to ask him to move his 'drawer' either up or down - he did this today :)
  10. I plan on using the time that IP is at creche next week to go through my own clothes, etc, and start Project 333 and sort through all the baby clothes and IP's clothes... (And start Project 333)
  11. I still have 2 bathrooms, our bedroom and various other things to 'go through' but I feel like I've at least made a good start considering I've only had a few hours this evening...
Right I will get this published as I have done more since! :)

Friday, 28 June 2013

Munchkin kicked!

Thought I'd share this whilst I'm thinking about it... For weeks I've been wondering but tonight I've finally confirmed that I can see Munchkin kicking from the outside, DP also saw! :) 

Unfortunately I also have my first (tiny) stretch marks...

DP also observed that he thinks Munchkin will also love cats because Firby was sat on my belly purring at the time...

And no, there won't be any belly pictures or anything, I didn't feel you needed to see that as well! 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Where we are now...

I have always been 'into' decluttering but never really done it with zest. I loved being pregnant with IP as I was able to really declutter and call it nesting. Oh that custom jewellery that I liked? I hadn't worn it for a year so I got rid of it. Well I am now 23 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child, aka Munchkin and nesting/decluttering has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I found out about 'Minimalism' through various blogs and started to tackle my own decluttering a bit harder. I was having trouble with facebook for various reasons so decided to start this blog, create a facebook page to link to it, get rid of my profile page & I am hoping to also create a shopping page to sell my own products from.

So you are probably wondering what sorta stuff will appear on this blog? Well I have left the tag line fairly open because I hope to include quite a lot: Updates on what my family and I are up to because we've moved to Luxembourg so our parents don't see us or our daughter as much as they did previously.


  • Updates on my quest for Minimalism.
  • Updates on my attempts to improve my French
  • What new things I'm doing or making, particularly those that I want to sell.
  • Updates on Munchkin
  • Then just general random things I think about.


And where we are now? Well minimalism wise, I've done 2 declutters of my wardrobe & plan to use http://theproject333.com/ as a basis for doing another declutter. I had previously said 'Oh I can't do that, I'm pregnant' but now I'm thinking why not? I've kept out trousers that fit me at the time that don't now and that I rarely wore anyway - I pretty much wear jeans and a top all the time anyway. It just varies as to how nice the jeans or top are and what sort of jumper/cardi & shoes I wear! I have been avidly reading http://www.theminimalistmom.com/blog/ and MM has got me rethinking A LOT. We have also just carted back (from the UK) all the baby stuff we saved from IP for Munchkin. And oh my goodness! The amount of clothes is ridiculous! We have 3 vacuum packed bags, AFTER I had gone through and got rid of 2 rubbish sacks of clothing! We have also discovered that some of the clothes IP wore when she was 12 months now fit her again as we've potty trained so it will result in yet more sorting through! Soooo in the next few weeks I plan to do a full declutter and sort out of my clothes and my baby's (eg both children) clothes. DP has already recently done 1 declutter of his clothes and I tend to try to leave his things to him... It means I don't have to listen to him say I got rid of stuff he wanted! 

Then there's sorting through all the mountains of baby stuff we currently have (about 3 baby gym/ play mats and that's BEFORE you get to the items for older babies!) and trying to arrange what we do keep to the space we currently have. The massive bonus to living in Luxembourg that I have found so far is that it's common to 'give' stuff to people, rather than sell. I don't tend to sell stuff anyway, unless it's higher value on Ebay so it doesn't worry me and our next door neighbour has offered us what will be a spare cot (for keeping at grandparents house) and a changing table. I decided not to buy another chest of drawers because we have under bed storage & a mini wardrobe for IP so I feel that 1 chest of drawers, 1 wardrobe + various other options should be enough. 

There's a lot of other areas in my life that I want to minimalise and I have recently found this blog: http://lovingsimpleliving.com/ which I also got a list of things to do that should take half an hour and get 'you' started. So I'm going to start on that soon. Some of it I have already started and some of it I may not complete but it's a list a start and gets me thinking... What I particularly appreciate about this blog and MM is they both currently live abroad which is what I'm doing...

So that covers minimalism. I am intending to make a box of activities for IP so that will require a fair bit of work. I am currently having 2 hours of French lessons with a tutor per week plus IP goes to a French creche but I would like to do much more homework and revision in between. I'm not a natural studier or language learner so I think I may have to get stricter with myself. 

I love crafts and I can't even remember when I made my first nappy cake but I'm hoping to start and include a business page to sell nappy cakes. I have also made some cards from home and had an idea of making goody bags for various occassions. So all of this needs creating, photographing and then updating on here...

And of course I will be doing this whilst attempting to continue being a mother to my 2 year old and getting more pregnant then welcoming a new baby into our family! ;)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Dear Non Pregnant Person - stolen from anonymous source

So in trying to write some posts to get ahead, I found various things I'd already got. I did not write this and it may seem rather negative to post it first but I first found it when pregnant with IP and now I'm pregnant again it is very useful and true! :)

Dear Non  Pregnant Person,

I hope you find these guidelines helpful in your interactions with pregnant women as failing to follow them may result in serious physical harm. If you are thinking, surely she doesn't mean me- then you should probably read this twice.

1) The appropriate response to a couple telling you they are having a baby is 'Congratulations!' with enthusiasm. Any other response makes you an a$$.

2) Through the wonders of science, we now know that babies are made ONLY by the mother and father- not grandparents. Unless the baby is in your uterus or you are the man that helped put it there, you may not ever use the phrase 'my baby'.

3) On the same note, unless you made the baby as defined in #2, the pregnancy, birth and raising of the child are not about you. You do not have input. No one wants to hear your opinion unless they ask for it.

4) The body of a pregnant women should be treated the same as any other body. You would not randomly touch someone's stomach if they were not pregnant, nor would you inquire into the condition of their uterus, cervix or how they plan to use their breasts. Pregnancy does not remove all traces of privacy from a woman.

5) Likewise, no women wants to hear comments on her weight- ever. A pregnant woman does not find it flattering that you think she is about is pop, must be having twins, looks swollen or has gained weight in her face. Telling her she looks too small only makes her worry that she is somehow starving her baby. Making such comments invite her to critique your physical appearance and you may not act offended. The only acceptable comment on appearance is 'You look fabulous!'.

6) By the time we are 20-30 years old, most of us have picked up on the fact that the summer is hot. We are hot every summer when we are not pregnant. We don't need you to point out that we will be miserably hot before the baby comes.

7) There is a reason that tickets to L&D are not yet sold on Ticketmaster. Childbirth is actually not a public event. It may sound crazy, but some women really do not relish the idea of their mother, MIL or a host of other family members seeing their bare butt and genitals. Also, some people simply feel like the birth of their child is a private and emotional moment to be shared only by the parents.

8) Like everything else is life, unless you receive an invitation, you are NOT invited. This includes doctor appointments, ultrasounds, labor, delivery, the hospital and the parents home. You do not decide if you will be there for the birth or if you will move in with the new parents to 'help out'. If your assistance is desired, rest assured that you will be asked for it.

9) If you are asked to help after the birth, this means you should clean up the house, help with cooking meals, and generally stay out of the way. Holding the baby more than the parents, interfering with breastfeeding and sleeping schedules and making a woman who is still leaking fluid from multiple locations lift a finger in housework is not helping.

10) The only people entitled to time with the baby are the parents. Whether they choose to have you at the hospital for the birth or ask for you to wait three weeks to visit, appreciate that you are are being given the privilege of seeing their child. Complaining or showing disappointment only encourages the parents to include you less.

Sincerely, Pregnant woman.