A family meal out at N@APH79
February left us with a shiver as the March winds arrived early. The last few mornings of the month were 0ºc with an icy easterly wind giving a real feel of -10ºc. It was the sort of weather that encouraged comfort eating and we don’t need much encouraging to stray from the healthy track. While chunky vegetable soups and lentil with sweet potato bakes ticked the box for healthy and comforting, we also indulged in one of our favourite cheesy mountain dishes, tartiflette. Even served with a side salad this oven baked potato and melted reblochon cheese dish can’t really be classed as healthy. When Ed and Pearl visit, a meal at the village restaurant is a must, the raclette cheese featuring on the pizzas and in the burgers.
|Bugnes for Mardi Gras|
As February drew to a close, Lent arrived, and here in France, it brought with it more tasty temptations. I know, traditionally, Lent is a time to do without, but it seems no one has told our local boulangerie that. In our area of France, Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is celebrated with bugnes, a light doughnut-type delicacy. The weekend before Lent, we treated ourselves to a bugne each when they were tantalisingly left on display at the till at the boulangerie. A week later when we cycled in for coffee and croissants at the market, despite Lent having started, the tempting bugnes were still there and so we treated ourselves once more. Would you believe it, but yesterday, for the third Saturday in a row, the same thing happened? In our defence, the March wind has made cycling quite hard work, and we’ve also taken on another challenge this Lent that has certainly been hard work, both physically and mentally.
|My Lent declutter challenge, day 4|
40 mins a day, for 40 days
Lent is a time to give something up and I have struck gold on an idea to tackle the clutter in a mega Spring clean this Lent. The plan is simple, spend 40 minutes a day, for the 40 days of Lent, and fill one bag of something every day, to be sold, recycled, or donated. By focussing on one cupboard, or set of drawers, or cluttered corner at a time, and setting a time limit, I won’t get too overwhelmed by the task in hand, something I know I’ve had a problem with in the past. I can’t be the only one who has emptied an entire wardrobe onto the bed and then run out of time and energy deciding what stays and what goes, resulting in more piles on the floor than there were before I started, and a job that never seems to get finished.
|My Lent declutter challenge, day 8|
We are now on day twelve and so far, so good. I’ve sorted through and reorganised all my clothes, shoes, cycling gear and handbags, plus the large wicker storage baskets on top of the wardrobes. I am ashamed to admit that these contained more scarves, gloves and shoes than I even remember owning. As each day’s bag has been filled, the contents have been sorted, and I’ve cycled 27km just going back and forth to the recycling point at the end of the village, occasionally adding in a loop around the allotments.
I’m not sure who has been more traumatised by this unusual behaviour, Adrian or the dog. While he has embraced my madness and matched it, clearing a carload of old and obsolete electronics from the dumping ground we once called a dining room, he’s also rolled his eyes more than once at some of my mad ideas. Poor Mini, however is finding it all quite upsetting. Gone is the calm of inactivity she has grown accustomed to, and while she watches suspiciously as we sort through piles and shelves, the minute we start loading the car, or moving bags and boxes out, she is at our heals. “Are you going somewhere? You won’t move house and leave me, will you?”. Poor Mini.
|Finding a treasure of memories from 2010|
Some of our finds have included love letters from over 25yrs ago, an empty pink champagne bottle that neither of us can remember the occasion for which we drank the contents, and a folder full of holiday receipts, maps and the itinerary from our 2010 road trip for Adrian's 40th birthday.
|French Entrée Magazine article Mar/Apr 2012|
I also found lots of magazine articles going back over ten years where the blog and our life in France were featured (including one about the 2010 road trip). Adrian managed to fill an entire bag with socks he never wears.
|A curious find in our curiosity's cabinet|
Then there was the dead lizard in our curiosity’s cabinet, and while no one can claim that isn’t a curious thing to have, I’m not sure it’s something we need to hang on to.
Whilst I would love a place for everything and everything tidied away in its place, this exercise has made me realise that the things I put away in cupboards, storage boxes, drawers etc, I don’t use. I’ve always been a fan of the “Less is More” mantra and now I know that the less things I own, the better I function.
As week three of Lent begins, it’s time to tackle the bookshelves, then the towels and bedding in the laundry room. Wish me luck and if you don’t hear from me, send help, I’m probably trapped under a heap of duvets, lost in a book.
I’d love to know what is the weirdest thing you have found when having a clearout?
I declutter in a different way. Each week before garbage day I go through a drawer or a shelf and find one thing that I do not want or need any more. This causes less stress on me because I feel it is just one small thing and it doesn’t take a lot of time. The strangest thing I had ever found was a birthday present for my daughter that I had hidden years prior and had forgotten all about. That did not go in the garbage but to my daughter, of course.ReplyDelete
Patty, I love that, both the idea of a regular small clear out routine and that you found a forgotten gift for your daughter. Thank you, JacquiDelete
I just love this. 40 minutes, 40 days. It's perfect. That might be something I will have to try -- if not for Lent, just making a goal like that. I'm sure I'd unearth all sorts of treasures -- and not treasures!ReplyDelete
I can't believe some of the things we have unearthed - must be at least ten pairs of slippers, on top of the two I wear regularly and loads of bedding for bed sizes we no longer own. It has been so good to have a clear out. JacquiDelete
I need this too and watched a decluttering programme with Stacey Solomon on TV last week. The house was completely emptied of the clutter and laid out in order so it could be seen properly in a huge warehouse/hall. They have a week to do the decluttering. What made me laugh was the family had 159 odd socks in one pile!ReplyDelete
Mine isnt that bad but I still have half a room almost full to the ceiling of bags of clothes ornaments bedding etc. Some being my mothers. At one time I had 19 pairs of boots but have managed to sell some of these on local Facebook sites.
I get very overwhelmed just looking at it all and sentimental too but it has to go.
You can do it - if I can, anyone can! We too have been inspired by Stacey Solomon and her team, but I would find it so overwhelming if I had just two days to go through everything, even with their help. That is why I am taking it slowly and limiting what I do every day. We are now at day 18 and we have already got further in sorting, clearing out, organising etc than we have managed on previous spring cleans. Even if you just open one of your bags of clothes each day and decide what stays and what has to go, you will so much better and more in control. Good luck, I'm with you in spirit, Jacqui xxDelete
Thank you Jacqui I will bear that in mind. I didn't realise I could put the shredding I have just done on my compost . It just didn't occur to me so i am off into the garden to do that in a minute. I've also been cutting up some old towels and cotton T shirts to use as cleaning rags. Another thing I intend to do is donate some books to the National Trust for their book sales room. Thank you again for motivating me Sandra HarperDelete
My pleasure Sandra - it is amazing how much stuff can be used elsewhere, or by others. Adrian has the most amazing rag collection in his garage from old bits, but at least he will use them. The only thing I'm struggling with is old duvets - they are so dusty and yucky I'm not sure anyone would want them, but the animal shelter won't take them as the dogs eat them! JacquiDelete