Still talking about stuff..

Hello. How are you? It’s pretty chilly here in Windsor today.

The decluttering is ongoing, going well. Today we took a load of stuff to the charity shop because, let’s face it, just piling stuff up in the garage is not really the solution.

I’m up to 130/200 items decluttered this month. I’m going for 200. 10 days to go.

If you want to know the sorts of things that are going.. a free mini moisturiser I got on a plane once, an egg slicer that’s been unused in the kitchen drawer for 20+ years, a bra that’s become really difficult to do up as the catch is half broken, a couple of cookery books that I’ve never used as I prefer other ones, a couple of CDs, some dead flowers from the vase, a jacket that I find too fitted, a notepad as I’ve already got about 15 other unused notepads, a couple of ramekins as they seem to breed in the cupboard, a lanyard from a festival I went to, some ugly pots I made at a pottery course last year.. etc etc

Then I’m also mindful of my shopping this month and bringing other stuff in. There’s no point in decluttering if you’re also cluttering at the same time. Mostly I shop for my Mum these days. I’ve bought her some flowers (my money) and some new underwear and some name tags that get ironed on (her money). I’ve bought myself The British Cook Book but that doesn’t really count as I used up a voucher to buy it as one of the Orjenise categories was vouchers and gift cards. I’ve also bought a pair of black trousers from NEXT. I’ve worn them a couple of times to work. I do not think they are particularly good quality. I’m wondering whether I should have bought some more expensive trousers in a better material but it’s too late now.

Not much else to report. I haven’t done much cooking recently except a yummy salmon and pasta bake last night from the Good Housekeeping Express Cookbook. Tomorrow will be roast chicken dinner followed by chocolate mousses. We have the Pots & Co chocolate ganache ones… oops I sense more ramekins arriving in the cupboard! All this stuff is a tricky business..

Decluttering 98/100

Hello everyone. I’m going to keep waffling on about decluttering as that seems to be going very well for me, whilst other aspects of my life have completely fallen apart.

Today’s Orjenise category was coins and money. I looked at my pot of foreign currency and decided to keep the notes and a few bigger coins of Euros and dollars as I’ll probably use those again. It’s always a nice surprise before a holiday to find out I’ve got an extra 50 euros or so from my previous holiday to spend.

What to do with the rest of the old foreign coins? I’m going to take them to Oxfam as they collect donations of the same. I did this last year during the Orjenise 100 challenge. I’m surprised I still found so many left in my cupboard. I guess last year I must have still thought the ones I kept were interesting or something, who knows.

I’m going for a total of 200 items out of the house in January, like I managed last year. The Orjenise target is 100, but it depends how you count things really. For example, I’m counting my bag of 20-30 coins as 1 item, but I guess some people may count them in full.

Is your house looking tidy yet? Such a calming feeling in the mind I find, especially having grown up with hoards of clutter and not even a space to sit on the sofa or a clear dining table to eat one’s dinner. Still a work in progress here, but getting there.

Mrs Tidy

Hi. Happy New Year! How is everyone?

I’ve been having an intense January so far, pretty busy, quite stressful at times, but the tidying up in my house is going extremely well. I’m loving the Orjenise 100 (check out her Instagram). I see it as a tidying up game you participate in with others. You are not alone. Everyone has too much stuff.

So far I have cleared out 81 items from my house. It’s only 7 January. I’m on a roll. I am not a super tidy person, I’m not a super messy person, but I am generally a very busy person, and busyness leads to stuff accumulating in the house when you’re in a hurry and random stuff appearing next to stuff it’s got no business being next to so the house becomes muddled and then worse case scenario, you can’t find things that you know you’ve got.

My Dad realised the other day he has 4 walking sticks, he’s not really sure why. He thinks he bought a couple more when he couldn’t find the first 2….! Imminently I will go to sort and project manage moving some of my Dad’s clutter from one part of the South East to another, until he can be persuaded to part with more of it forevermore. I’m using the same clearance people I used for my aunt’s house several years ago. They pack everything very fast, their team members split into different rooms of the house. They do not get distracted by a photo or bizarre item, they just pack, pack, pack and hit the road to move your stuff into storage or clear as rubbish. It’s effective and allows you to sell the house more quickly. I can’t wait til it’s over.

One of the Orjenise categories was to spend your Christmas gift vouchers, rather than accumulating them in a drawer all year. I haven’t spent my book token yet, but I did buy a book with my Amazon vouchers. I really love cook books and the history of cooking. When I was browsing the cook books in store I realised that I am probably quite a traditional British cook in style. I looked at some of the new cook books on the market. I didn’t feel very inspired and thought David wouldn’t eat many of the dishes at all (lots of fresh, crunchy veg and nuts). Then I found this one… right up my street.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE trying different cuisines when I go out. I like sushi, sashimi, Thai noodles, Indian curries, Chinese chow mein and crispy duck pancakes. But when I cook at home, I usually cook quite British style food, or a nice curry. This book shows traditional British dishes from all over the UK. It must have taken ages to research. It contains a little bit of the history of each dish as well as the recipes. Think Shepherd’s pie, toad in the hole, Cornish pasties, fish cakes, crumpets etc. That’s my type of food. I’m not cooking much at the moment due to time pressures but I do really like this book and am sure to use it in the future, I’m just enjoying browsing it for now.

This is the book we’re reading this month for my book club.

I won’t talk about it too much as some of my book club members read The Waffle and we haven’t had our meeting to discuss this yet. My first impressions are that it’s graphic and cruel.. It starts off with a skinny boy killing a skinny cat to eat it and then someone even hungrier killing the boy… very dark. I hope there’s a happy ending (but obviously it’s already too late for the boy, the boy’s brother, mother and the cat!). I could do with a lighter read to escape my woes right now, but I’ll carry on. The point is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and read authors and books you wouldn’t usually choose.

I hope you’re all doing well. Are you doing a January declutter? Please tell me you’ve put away that Christmas present pile, taken down the decorations and cleared out most of the Christmas cards? I found a plastic bag full of 2015 Xmas cards at my parents’ house the other day… know what I’m saying??? X

Getting ready for a January declutter

Hi. Last year I did the Orjenise 100 challenge. I actually got rid of 200 items from my house last January. I still have space in my cupboards. Been patting myself on the back all year for this.

Even though I’m already really really busy in January, even busier than usual.. I have an ongoing house sale and flat purchase/moving for my Dad, the regular weekly visits to my Mum at the care home, my normal job +++ as my colleague is going to be off for a couple of weeks or so. Yet I find I’m still up for this. If I can fit it in I reckon anyone can. Orjenise 100. You can check it out here. You get helpful daily prompts of suggested categories to declutter from your home from the nice lady Jenn.

Last year I got so enthusiastic about this we decluttered 100 items from the office too. This year will be just for home for me. Some of my parents’ stuff has crept into my home.. clothes my Mum might need later on, an awful lot of paperwork and banking stuff etc etc. I find this stuff really hard to sort, as it’s not mine and my Mum always hated throwing ANYTHING away. I feel her voice screaming in my head (“No, Gail!”) when I take her stuff to the charity shop. She doesn’t need much now in the care home. I’m trying to make my Dad safer at his home and he doesn’t want to be surrounded by her things any more. He is sorting out a lot of his things too but we have constant little battles about for example, how many ladders are required in a flat.. I say 1 step stool or step ladder, my Dad thinks about 3 of his ladders of varying sizes are needed and feels extremely strongly there should be at least 2. I sigh but it’s his flat, his life. I just hope he doesn’t trip over all the stuff. He’s actually thrown away A LOT and paid for storage for 6 months for other stuff to sort out after the move, so we’re getting there but still a long way to go..

I feel like holiday time is over already. I’ve been to Kingston doing banking for my parents yesterday, been to work this morning, been battling Barclays again on the phone this afternoon. Tomorrow I’m up early to take my Dad to St George’s for his check up. This is actually usually one of my favourite times of the year, this Twixmas. You can do nothing and relax after the excesses of Christmas, or you can be busy like me this year but feel extremely virtuous as many people are still sitting on the sofa stuffing their faces, this is what I imagine..actually I can’t think of anyone I know personally who’s doing this!? Our solicitor maybe? The estate agents?

As it looks like Skipton building society don’t want to call me back for a second time today I think I’m going out for a walk now. I have a few items to go into the Fire Station charity bank. I will not be counting these towards Orjenise 100. 100 items are for January only. No bending of the rules here!!

Happy Twixmas! Xx

A very Merry Christmas from The Windsor Waffle

So here we are again Wafflers, Christmas Eve. I don’t know about you but I’m all set and ready for Christmas.

Today I made the wreath above, just a wreath ring from Hobbycraft with bits from my garden stuck in. There’s no glue involved. It all gets thrown away afterwards and I start again next year.

My Mum had her Christmas socks on this morning. Christmas robins.

She was in a really good mood today and excited that both me and my Dad are going to visit her tomorrow.

David has done a spreadsheet for the cooking timings of Xmas dinner… 🤣🤣 as he will be starting off the cooking whilst my Dad and I are at the care home. It made me laugh that he put “as required” in the drinks column.

All that remains now is for me to make the brandy butter. This is to go with my homemade Christmas pudding. Made to the ancient secret family recipe, the pudding not the brandy butter. Not sure where it originated from exactly or how far back it goes but it certainly came from my Grandma to my aunt to my sister to me… I think my nephew Arthur may be next.

Here’s the stuff for the brandy butter.. Delia Smith’s recipe.

So I’d better get my pinny on as it’s nearly wine and dinner o’clock.

I wish you all a wonderful, joyous Christmas and thank you all for your support in this challenging year, and quite frankly, just listening to my Waffle! Xx

The missing bag has returned..

As I wait for my big Ocado Christmas shop, just to let you know David was happily reunited with his small suitcase last night. It took BA 11 days to return it after they mislabelled and sent it to Belfast not Brussels.. under a different passenger’s name. David chased it up by phone and online every day for 11 days… he is very happy now!

This massive deer light is at Richmond Station, it’s huge. I find it a little scary. I was over at my Dad’s delivering solicitors’ documents as the Royal Mail is too slow at the moment. Thankfully I got a train and they weren’t on strike for a change.

One more day of work until Christmas yippee…..!!! Ho Ho Ho Xx

Trip to Antwerp

Hi. Long time no blog. I’ve been so busy.

Last weekend David and I went to Antwerp. We’ve been there several times before as David used to work there and still has ex colleague Belgian friends there (maybe one less since this weekend 🫤). For the first time on entry to Belgium we had to go through the non European passport section, since we left the EU. I said to the security man as he checked my passport that I still felt European. He shrugged and smiled and said “of course you are, we think of you like that” 😊 so that was a nice welcome.

I wish I could say the whole trip was nice but many many things went wrong. David’s bag went to Belfast not Brussels labelled under the previous customer’s name in the queue in front of us. The BA lady did this using the new self service bag drop machine for us. What a cock up. Not impressed. The bag is still in Belfast having been identified as David’s not the other lady’s a whole week ago. Of course he’d packed all sorts of valuable vital things he never usually puts in a checked bag, of course!

I won’t bore you with the rest of our sorry saga. But I thought I’d show you a few pics. It was cold, very cold, and sunny. Not snowing as it was in the UK. Of course the snow disrupted us getting home too.. but we were glad to get back after all the dramas.

Truth be told I probably didn’t really have time to go away as I’m currently at the business end of a house sale and flat purchase with my Dad. Nothing was happening with either but of course it suddenly all kicked off, just before the already busiest time of the year meaning Christmas. I also got calls about this with pressure while I was away.

So if I’m not waffling much you know I’m reading boring legal documents, trying to be a responsible grown up and parent to my parents which just feels wrong and I still want to be their child. The roles are very well and truly reversed now.

I cannot fault the food and drink in Belgium. Love the Belgian beers each with their pretty matching glasses and coasters; the art of beer.

I want to walk through this little magic door and all my problems disappear 😊…

Sorry I don’t seem to have taken any pictures of the food. I must have been so hungry I gobbled it up fast! I do like their shrimp croquettes and I had a good fillet steak. Also something called scampi in garlic butter I thought might be what we call scallops but it turned out to be very juicy king prawns that were really delicious (in the US I guess these would be jumbo shrimp, but shrimp to us are tiny things).

So glad we’re not going away for Christmas. Home safe and sound and cosy in our house. I do hope you’re not working as hard as I am at the moment, my schedule seems quite relentless but I’m remembering to count my blessings too! Must try to breathe and enjoy Christmas! 🎅🏻🎉🎁 It’s been a challenging 6 months Xx

Christmas Prep 🎅🏻 🎁🎉

Hi everyone. Ho Ho Ho! How is your Christmas prep going? I’ve started but I’m definitely not even half way through my preparations, not stressed, but feeling festive already.

I’ve bought myself a gift 🤣🤣. For the last 3 years I’ve treated myself to a Beauty Advent Calendar. I really enjoy this. This year’s is from Avon via far so good. I wonder what will be in box number 5 tomorrow morning? The packaging is really beautifully designed.

What lovely little boxes of treats for me! ❤️

I’ve made my Christmas pud and it’s all waiting for steaming on Christmas Day. I’m not making a cake this year as it used to go so well but I’ve had a couple of disasters since we changed our oven and I could do without the hassle with my family dramas this year.

Here is a previous pud..

Yum yum.

We will be having turkey on Christmas Day with all the trimmings. We like to eat it later on, probably around 4.00 pm, as this will allow time for a visit to the pub and the care home to see my Mum. My Dad is joining us for dinner for the first time perhaps ever at our house, so that’s different.

How are you getting on with the mince pies? Sarah at work and I are getting through a few boxes. We tried some that came in a gift hamper. Honestly so disgusting. We are both mince pie lovers but they were appalling. Sarah said the pastry tasted of fur, which honestly wasn’t far off. After that we moved on to Sainsbury’s all butter ? Taste the difference mince pies. They were great. All butter ones are usually the best IMO. Next we had M & S iced top mince pies. They were quite nice but maybe not traditional enough for me and the icing was pretty gooey. I think I would have preferred a firmer, Bakewell tart type icing, if you see what I mean, or probably actually no icing at all.

Yesterday I had a haircut and my hairdresser tempted me to a Bailey’s coffee, and then David and I went out with a party of 24 for a curry with one of David’s oldest friends. So as you can see we are getting into the festive swing of things.

Now I’m off to put the stuffing for tonight’s roast chicken dinner in the oven and then try on my party dress for the work Xmas do. I need to figure out how I’m going to make it warm enough with some kind of scarf/cardy/jacket combo. It’s going to be frrrrreeeeezing 🥶folks here later this week, down to -4 degrees C at night. Sadly no snow forecast yet.

Hope your prep is going well. Thanks for tuning in to the pre-Christmas Waffle Xx

Purple berries

Hi. Aren’t these amazing? I spotted these soon after the pink berries. Even better in my opinion.

I also found some great holly, very festive. Ho Ho Ho. 🎅🏻

I’m pleased to report I am feeling so much better than last weekend. I have a cold but I’m not in a mental slump any more. I decided not to visit my Mum at the care home this morning because of my cold symptoms. Last night and overnight I was a bit feverish. My Covid test was negative but I thought I’d go to see her tomorrow instead if I feel better and I’m still negative. It’s tricky as when I wear a mask my Mum always politely asks me to remove it as she can’t hear properly without lip reading. I spoke to her on the phone this morning and she said she wasn’t very well herself. She said she was dizzy and weak and hadn’t seen anyone for ages and ages. She seemed to still be in bed at 11 am. So I’m a little concerned but I’ve promised to go in tomorrow all being well. She was very pleased about that.

My Dad seems to be doing OK at the moment, so that’s a relief. He is getting into the swing of decluttering the house. About time. He sends me frequent text messages with photos of things he can’t decide what to do with. There is a lot of stuff.

I haven’t bought anything in The Black Friday sales, have you? I think I’ve got enough stuff already in my life. David meanwhile has bought a second hand iPhone which is actually going to be my Christmas gift to him, and I’ll be having his old iPhone which is better than mine as my Christmas 🎁 gift. David really loves techy stuff. He’s also bought a big new TV screen for using with his flight simulator. He is very happy with it, although the first time he demonstrated the new screen in action to me he crashed the plane into The River Thames 🤣🤣.

So that’s all The Waffle from me for today. My GP surgery just texted me inviting me to do a survey about my appointment yesterday. Err, no thank you, I hate being constantly bombarded with survey requests. Important nap time instead 💤. Have a great weekend everybody! Xx

Pink berries

Hi. I enjoyed seeing these pink berries on my walk today.

I also saw these white ones which were OK but not as nice as the pink ones.

Then I saw these which I think are little flower buds rather than berries.

It’s amazing how much is still in flower past the middle of November this year as it’s been so mild. There is a begonia out in bloom again in our garden and also a plant with some pretty white flowers.

David’s just popped in to show me his new physio neck exercises. There was an awful lot of crunching going on inside his body. Hopefully they will help. He currently has some neck issues and an arthritic knee. I am OK except the last few days I’ve been feeling quite out of sorts. Trying to SNAP out of it and pull myself together! I went to see my Mum at the care home this morning, she was absolutely fine but I came home and burst into tears. I am not coping. Obviously. Tomorrow we are going to see David’s Mum who is fine but also very old. My weekend is filled with the elderly again. I will phone my Dad tomorrow or Monday, but I don’t plan to see him this weekend. I also have financial admin tasks to do for him and my Mum.

So folks I really must stop fretting as it’s Saturday night and time to party 🎉🥳🍹… or at least nearly time to enjoy some delicious food and drink and relax a bit. Before that I will try to read some of my next book club book as it’s such a huge book, it’s going to take some time..

My copy has a whopping 718 pages… 🤔… book club on 15 December. Quite a tall order but I’ll give it a go.

Hope you’re doing better than I am. Earlier today I declared I was in a slump… like the economy….which made David laugh. Back soon with my happy face 😊 hopefully Xx