I am still busy at work writing up my holiday journal into a series of little posts. So much to write about, so many lovely things, so many lovely places.
Although I was staying with friends in Aldeburgh, poor Carl could not be with me for the whole week, just the weekends either side. So although I had a lot of time in company, including babysitting my godchildren here and there, I also had a lot of alone time. Night times when I would have been laying in bed turning the day over in my mind with Carl were spent listening to Radio 4 and my own thoughts instead. In the mornings I took a solitary walk by the sea, which was really blissful. I had so much time to pause, take stock, reflect, think. Thoughts crystallized. Half started ideas had time to be pondered over. I missed Carl very much, but tried to make the most of the time we were apart. I think, I hope, I used it well.
Before I went away, I spent a lot of time thinking about domestic routines. My new job, while I love it, is definitely going to be demanding in terms of time and energy, so I really need to be sure that everything ticks over at home as well as possible to support us both. I now have a morning and evening routine for each day, and then a particular task for each day of the week as well, which I do when I get home in the evening.
Sunday is the day for planning out the menu for the week ahead, and placing an online shopping order for delivery tomorrow. I cannot say it enough times, menu planning will change your life for the better. You eat better because you have planned ahead and can make sure your diet for the week is balanced, you can plan in to make use of leftovers, you can anticipate evenings when you know time will be short and plan a quick and easy dinner, or to use something from the freezer. It is definitely more economical. And somehow, there is something very satisfying about knowing in the morning not only what you are going to be cooking that evening, but you have all the ingredients ready for it...no last minute dashes through the shops on the way home from work!
My second big tip is that once you start, don't stop as it is really hard to get back into. I don't know why that should be, but it is. There are lots of good websites out there to help you with this, but my favourite way is just with pen and paper. I have a google spreadsheet with the 'pattern' on it which I have devised, then it is just a case of going through and filling it in.
Between the menu planning and the housework routines, I am starting to feel really organized. Our little flat feels cozy and homely, and while there is always more work to be done, it feels like real progress.
One blog which helped a lot was http://tastyherbalist.typepad.com/modernhousewifevoli/ and another was http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/p/simplify-your-life.html and I will be keeping up with both of them in the future.
Although we are now moving into late summer, it really feels like April out there. Sudden violent showers, followed by blazing sunshine, not August-like weather at all. Walking through the park today (and arriving home just in time to escape a cloudburst)I noticed an acorn on the ground. I also saw several birds gathering twigs for their nests. Now I am not wishing summer away, heaven knows we have waited long enough for it, but I do believe I am seeing the very first stirrings of signs that autumn is to come.
I just adore autumn, it is my favourite season. It brings so many amazing things with it, as well as that back-to-school feeling that I love so much. Marks and Spencer is full of new colletions of autumny clothes. There was a lot of office wear that I really liked, but I am resisting for now. Just seeing it was enough for me, I felt really inspired as I do every year at this time. Soon the magazines will be full of autumn recipes, there will be long walks through swishing piles of leaves, cinnamon, bonfire smoke, a trip to Alexandra Palace for the Knitting and Stitching Show, and pumpkins to carve...it is definitely still late summer, but I can really feel the stirrings of autumn.
Summer seems a very inconstant friend, turning up late or not at all, but autumn somehow seems so much more reliable.
What adventures do you have planned for before the summer ends?