Keeping up with the times

I am so social media savvy these days :-). I have a Twitter account (@shoestringjane), an Instagram account (ShoestringCottage) and I am on Facebook too. Who would have thought that someone who was once terrified of computers would be able to get to grips with it all and even write a blog. 

I can also keep up with my daughters. They grew up with technology so it’s all very natural to them. I remember so called computer classes at school where the computer was the size of a classroom and we were given cards with holes punched out of them that were – and still are – a complete mystery!!

You have to move with the times. My latest project is to set up another Instagram account to sell some of the designer dresses and the like I have been gathering. I need to link it to my eBay account still. It is a work in progress but feel free to take a peek. Search for Janeys Boutique.

Feel free to offer advice 🙂

Bite sized chunks: the secret of successful time management

Garden meI think I have finally got the hang of this time management thing. I am already Queen of Lists. At work I have a list of jobs then I prioritise that into a list that I need to do quickly and one of tasks that can wait a bit. At home I write lists too; it feels good to cross things off and know that I am achieving something.

garden weeded 2But it is the large projects that have always given me problems. I tend to see the whole huge task and get so intimidated I never start it. Now I am learning to break the big projects down into smaller tasks that will build towards achieving the outcome I am after. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to clear out a cupboard a week and I have done this most weeks. So, rather than saying to myself  ‘all the cupboards are in a mess, I need to sort them out’ then procrastinating because it is too big a job, now I  have divided this task into bite sized chunks it has become achievable. It doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to sort out each one so it’s not too taxing on my Justin

I started to apply the same line of thinking to the garden today. The back garden is big – 140 foot long and 50 foot wide, and we have a large front garden too. It can feel totally overwhelming at times as we both work full time and there are always lots of jobs to do at the weekend. But today we just looked at one bed and set about weeding digging and moving plants around. Mr Shoestring also sorted out some of the pots for the patio. This was easy enough as we just left all the bulbs in them from last year and they are all coming up and will look fabulous in a few weeks. We were out in the sunshine for about 4 hours and this was enough. We felt we had achieved our goal and our spirits were lifted by the warmth and the sun. Next time we go out we will focus on sowing seeds and sorting out the greenhouse.

When you don’t have a great deal of time on your hands you need to be smart about how you organise yourself and make sure you have time to do nothing too. Now we are just slobbing out and may even manage an afternoon nap!

How are you with time management and what are your top tips?

Spring has sprung!

imageSpring has sprung! All the windows are open at Shoestring Cottage, the sun is streaming in and the washing is on the line. I love being able to get the laundry outside rather than having it drying all round the house. Isn’t it amazing how a bit of sunshine can lift your mood?

imageWe moved the newly refurbished dresser out of Mr Shoestring’s workshop and into the kitchen this morning. It makes the decor look even more tatty. I hope to get some painting done but we have two language students coming over the next month so we will need to wait for a clear spell before we create mayhem and upheaval!

imageThere is so much to do in the garden. I will drag Mr S out there tomorrow and get cracking, although I think the forecast is for rain at some point. My bulbs are looking promising. I can’t wait to see their lovely colour.

Once all the cleaning is done today I intend to get back in the gym. I have been coughing all week so didn’t get to work out as much as I had hoped but I am feeling refreshed and energised by the fantastic weather.

Here’s hoping you are having a bit of sun wherever you are this weekend.

Plans for the Spring time

imageIt has been a beautiful day here in Essex. Spring is definitely in the air. We have finally started thinking about the garden again and our veg patch. Mr S has dug over both patches. I have got the potatoes chitting ready to go in in a couple of weeks. I have also sorted through all the seed packets to see what we need to buy. Not that much since I bought far too many packs last year and we were also given a lot of plants.

Hopefully we will have an abundance of delicious home grown veg for just a few pounds! I love it!

Justin at merseaWe took advantage of the fine weather on Sunday to take a walk in Mersea Island. It’s a pretty little place and only 20 minutes drive. We are lucky to have so many lovely places nearby. We took a flask and ended up treating ourselves to a pub meal as the local chippy was shut. Huge portions and good value.

Everyone around me in the office is coughing and snivelling at the moment. I have been trying to keep the germs at bay but I am coughing too now. The fine weather should help. What’s it like where you are? Does it feel like spring yet?

Let’s get physical! Again …



imageI was so proud of myself this morning – up and straight in the new gym. I was shocked to realise how unfit I am at the moment. Now that I have a mini gym in the house hopefully I will build up my strength again. I am flexible as a yoga teacher but strength is important as well.


imageMr S was flexing his muscles as well last night. He jemmied out the big ugly breakfast bar that was in the kitchen ready for us to decorate. The space seems so much bigger! The newly refurbished dresser will fit against the wall now.

I have sold five things on eBay this weekend and have several others listed. I am also still buying items for a song where I can and reselling them. Hopefully I can start to build a regular extra I come doing this, although it does, of course, all take time.

So busy as usual. Any exercise or DIY for your weekend?