W. Hoffman

The other day, we bought a new piano.  Well, it is second hand (but new to us).  From what I know about pianos, this was made by C Bechstein in Germany (before they started making these in the Czech Republic) in 2003.

W. Hoffman (built in 2003)

Since it has arrived, I have mainly been practising on it.  It does have a practise pedal so I have not tortured my neighbours too much I hope.  Plus I won’t play it after 7pm (as my children go to bed then).

I’ve now been through all the homework that my piano teacher has set me.  I hope that he is pleased with my diligence.

It’s so pretty

The men who delivered it are very skilled at moving heavy things. They said that they hadn’t had any special training but that if it hurt when they lifted something, they were doing it wrong.  They (very kindly) carried a sideboard downstairs to the basement in return for £20 – this had been in the place the piano is now in and, although I could help my husband carry it a few feet, there really was no way I could carry it downstairs safely.

We were their only piano today so they were going to sit in the pub in the sunshine as soon as they’d dropped the van back.

One advantage of getting a piano is that it’s made us have a tidy up and brief audit of all the toys and junk we have floating about.  We’ve more or less made sense of it – I still need to do a proper audit but I don’t think that’s going to happen before the Easter holidays.

Another advantage is that it has distracted me from all the dentistry that I’m still having.  Root Canal Treatment Parts 1 and 2 are now complete but my dentist is now making me a crown for the tooth.  I’m not going to go into graphic detail but it took an hour and quite a lot of (painless) drilling to make an impression of the tooth.  This has now been sent to the lab and I have a weird plastic filling in while I wait for the crown to be made.  The good news is that I’ve been told that the next bit of treatment is the last and involves no drilling whatsoever.  Woohoo!


The Life Changing Magic of Tidying
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying

On the recommendation of a friend, I read this book.  It is a bit funny because I read it after I’d chucked away half my stuff and hd a big tidy up.

There is a lot of sense in it.  Basically:

  • you need to throw away a load of stuff before you even start tidying;
  • you need to do one big tidy – doing a little bit at a time won’t work;
  • you need less stuff; and
  • you should only have things that make you feel good about yourself.

This is all fair enough.  My Mum said that her cheese grater doesn’t “bring her joy” but it is quite useful for grating cheese.  However, I think this is nit picking.

My only real criticism is that she doesn’t talk about what to do with all the stuff she recommends you chuck out.  It feel heart breaking to send anything that is not totally trashed to landfill – I am still trying to find a way of getting rid of a load of books.

Tackling the children’s toys

I’d been putting it off for ages but I have finally got round to tidying up the children’s toys.  This is such a terrible job – partly because it can’t be done when either of the children are around as they either become hysterical or start playing with all the broken baby toys that they haven’t looked at for years.

The cupboard at the start
The cupboard at the start

As well as the cupboards, there were some random bags of different bits of toys and one of those mesh tube baskets from Ikea that everyone has.  I ended up pulling everything out and sorting through it all.

One pile was baby toys to be donated, one was soft toys to be kept, one was toys to be returned to their original collection and one was broken toys to be binned
One pile was baby toys to be donated, one was soft toys to be kept, one was toys to be returned to their original collection and one was broken toys to be binned

I’m glad I got this done; I now have separate sections for everything.  I haven’t shown everything in the photos but we also have an old baby change table that has separate boxes for dinosaurs, Duplo, dressing up clothes and toy cars.

There are some doll pram / cradle / high chair toys that are pushed up by the side of the wall (these contain some dolls) and a mesh tube filled with soft toys (I should get rid of some of these but haven’t the will at present).

The cupboard (not all is shown) has musical instruments at the bottom, “active” stuff above it (stuff like the skateboard and footballs), then we have a load of Lego and play medical kit, then we have some puzzles, jewellery, letters and sticklebricks and puzzles and artwork on the top shelf.  Above that is a smaller shelf that contains DVDs.

There's now a system
There’s now a system

Day of little achievement

Yesterday, two of my goals were to clear out a cupboard in my daughter’s room and find my rainbow wool gloves.  I achieved neither; the cupboard because I just couldn’t be arsed with it and the gloves because I just couldn’t find them.  I’m really hoping they weren’t in the pocket of that pink Landsend mac I lost.  Perhaps they are in the IoW – I will check.  If not, maybe I could ask my Mum to knit me some more?

I didn't clear this cupboard out yesterday
I didn’t clear this cupboard out yesterday

I did find a bag that I no longer use and give that a good clear out.  I found a hat that will still fit my daughter (Brora so quite smart) and a pound coin.  The rest was old papers and some mouldy raisins.

I cleared this bag out
I cleared this bag out

The bag was quite gross (bags usually are) so I washed it out with washing up liquid and have propped it upside down on a chair outside.

I chucked this out
I chucked this out

Yesterday was the Autumn Equinox – basically the time of year when day and night are more or less equal.  From now on, the nights get longer and the days get shorter.

The dreaded cull – my clothes

I finally got around to tackling my clothes.  It was less painful than I’d thought it would be – this is usually a job I hate.  Admitting that, although this or that was super when I was 25, I am now much too fat or middle aged to wear it tends to be upsetting.

However, I have a chucking-stuff-out mentality this week so was reasonably brutal.  I ended up with eight large carrier bags full of stuff to take to Save the Children (the women who volunteer there are starting to look a bit stressed whenever I walk in the door – the stuff I’m donating is not a load of crap, I promise).

These all went to Save the Children
These all went to Save the Children

It was great – I discovered a load of things that I haven’t worn for ages but which are still good.  It was like having new clothes but for free.  I also reorganised my drawers so that I could fit everything in.

I have cheated a bit though.  I have a whole load of pairs of jeans which are slightly too tight – those I shoved in a box on top of the wardrobe.  If I were to lose around 7 kilos (a bit over 15 pounds), I would be able to get back into them.  This is not completely unreasonable.

My next (small) job is culling my underwear.  This shouldn’t take very long.

My next (big) job is sorting through the children’s toys.  This is one that I dread; it will take all day and the children cannot be around when I do it.

Sorting through the ottoman

My tidy up continues.  Tuesday was a busy(ish) day – plus incredibly hot – so I didn’t achieve all that much.  We met M at Dinings for lunch and it was just the thing for a very hot day.  If you get the chance to go there, I recommend it completely.

So my job was to sort through all the stuff in the ottoman.  It’s small so didn’t take all that long.

Piles of stuff taken out the ottoman - some forking, some for putting elsewhere and some for Save the Children
Piles of stuff taken out the ottoman – some forking, some for putting elsewhere and some for Save the Children

Quite a lot isn’t suitable or big enough for the children so that stuff is going to the charity shop.  I found a mosquito net that is meant to go on my old buggy (which I’ve given to someone so I’ll post it to her.  I’ve never been aware of babies being bothered by mosquitos in London but I need to post it.  For completeness).  I found a load of baby swimsuits, baby hats and a broken under-the-buggy basket that we kept for some reason.

There were a few things I wasn’t sure what to do with – I have a bunch of socks that my Mum knitted out of rainbow wool that I don’t want to get rid of but which I don’t need immediate access to at all times.  Those I put in a carrier bag, which I shoved at the top of a wardrobe we have at the top of the stairs.

Organised ottoman
Organised ottoman

In the end I put the hats, gloves, scarves to the left, the fleeces and sweaters in the middle and the hats, gloves and scarf that are included in my son’s uniform to the right of it.

I’ll start sorting out my clothes soon.  In the meantime, check out these tacos.

These are so good
These are so good

Shoe cull

My enthusiasm for clearing out all my old stuff hasn’t abated yet.  The other day, I dealt with my shoe collection.

Shoes are a weird thing.  It’s often tempted to keep some hideously impractical pair of shoes because, well, I might need them!  What if I get invited to an 18th century themed party and only that pair of shoes will do?  Or, I really loved that pair of shoes and the fact that they are now beyond repair / cut my feet to ribbons doesn’t matter.  Clearly, this is ridiculous.

I am a 38 year old woman and have now donated all the shoes that have a spike heel, are falling apart and / or were excruciating.  I can’t wear heels – I have short, wide feet (rather like a duck) and high heels just don’t work for me.  One bonus result is that my feet are more or less okay.  My brother came round at the weekend and remarked on how non-mangled my feet are (I wasn’t wearing shoes).

Pile of shoes to be donated
Pile of shoes to be donated

An advantage of having done a show audit is that I’ve found some that need fixing at the cobbler.  One pair of boots in particular need resoling and the insole replaced.  God, I love those brown boots.  But if they can’t be fixed then they need to go.

These are going to the cobbler
These are going to the cobbler