Gym Bag Lottery

 

Ok, so this post would’ve undoubtedly been better timed for January when gyms across the country were bursting at the seams.  But since my own January was spent coughing and sneezing I’m over a month behind you all, so February has been my ‘what have I forgotten to pack in my gym bag* today?’ month. 

In just February alone I’ve forgotten to pack almost everything on my list.  But there is literally nothing worse in life** than the realisation that once again you have forgotten to pack a clean pair of undies, and after your long refreshing shower (actually, it tends to be a more rushed affair for me as I attend the sort of gym where you don’t want to leave your belongings out of sight for too long) you have to choose between the risk of going commando or the extreme discomfort of squeezing back into your sweaty briefs for the drive home.  Instinctively I’d always go for the first option but I also have to consider how busy the open plan changing rooms are so as not to start local rumours about my preferred attire.

Anyway, the point is that there’s a lot of potential for forgetting something that could be pretty crucial to the success of your gym visit or you leaving with dignity intact.  So, I’ve listed all the things that you may need though as with all of our lists, they may not all apply to you or you may have other important needs (it would be great to hear your thoughts on this). 

And to help with my own gym bag lottery I’ve decided that I’m going to keep a laminated copy of my list in my gym bag for quick reference on packing.  There’ll be no more changing room profanities from me!

Love, Dot.

 *I was gifted a lovely new gym bag (thanks Mr Dorothy) for my birthday – it’s the size of a small suitcase so there’s no excuse for this lottery anymore.

**clearly there are worse things in life

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gym-bag-lottery

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How to write a shopping list

Yes yes I am aware that this post may come across as a bit ‘teaching granny how to suck eggs’ but just because it’s simple or obvious to some, it doesn’t mean it is to others.

This post is not so much about a list but about how to approach that most mundane of lists: the shopping list. We are all busy and would rather do something else but the reality is we need to eat. And with budgets tight, the best way to do so is with planning and organisation and cutting down on the multiple trips to the supermarket during the week which a) add unnecessary time pressure; and b) invariably end up with you spending more than you intended. So, this is my guide to how to approach writing and organising your shopping list. I hope you find some of it useful.

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And so I set my shopping list out in the same order (see pic of one of my scrawled lists below). And I make sure I check off my rough list as I enter items onto my clean list.

shopping-list

The great thing about setting it out in order of where things are in the supermarket is you don’t end up doing your shopping in a zig-zag way. This is annoying when it’s busy and you have a full trolley, and it’s annoying full stop when you have a child/children you are also dragging around with you and doing your best to convince that it’s a fun experience. Now, this approach is mainly if you are doing your shopping at the supermarket, but equally it will work for online shopping.

The beauty of this approach is that we only buy what is on the list and we have meals planned for the whole week. Some weeks, when work is busy and I am feeling particularly strung out and surrounded by chaos, I put the meal plan up on the fridge so that I always have something I can look at and feel a modicum of calm restored knowing that one thing I don’t have to worry about is what’s for dinner.

Blanche x

P.S. Has anyone else used the new scan and shop app thing in Sainsbury’s?! I’m completely hooked on it. Mr Blanche has yet to be convinced. Luddite.

P.P.S. Mr Blanche has just reminded me that we also do a freezer audit before compiling the list for any food we can use up as part of our meal plan. I’d already formatted the list though and cba to amend. So it’s right here at the bottom. Hope you find it.

*Not his real name

**Not her real name, but kinda wish it was

 

 

I Love Holidays, Me… (Part I)

I might always leave everything until the last minute, panic and then run around like a headless chicken with the majority of things in my life, but if there’s one thing that gets me super-focussed and on-the-ball it’s the suggestion of a holiday.

I’ve always been the same. From dragging Blanche* and Dorothy* on ridiculous coach-trips as students, insisting we drop everything and go on mini-breaks to Barcelona/Nice/Paris/Amsterdam; to trawling the internet (back when it was just a souped-up version of teletext…) in order to find gorgeous holiday villas in Spain and Portugal to accommodate my entire family for two weeks (which I personally could never afford), and now to the yearly tradition of booking the annual summer holiday to Majorca with Mr Rose*and our two children. There is something about organising a holiday that is almost as satisfying as going on the actual holiday itself.

It’s easier than ever to just click on an app these days and book yourself a fortnight pretty much wherever you like (I actually booked ours on the walk up to the office from the car park) but even I like to make sure the basics are considered before going ahead and actually committing my hard earned cash (we can’t now afford to eat until August in order to save up, but hey, at least I’ll fit into my bikini.)

This list is basically things to think about for a standard two week holiday to Europe. Obviously if you’re going further afield, feel free to add in such items as visa and vaccinations. And if you’re considerably richer than me and have some money left at this stage,  you may also want to consider travel money/exchange rates too (because the way things are headed, three months’ salary may just get you a portion of patatas bravas by August…)

*Not his real name

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i-love-holidays-me

Off to see the grandparents -mustn’t forget our wellies

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Well, half-term has finally arrived though of course for someone working in the private sector with limited holiday I rarely celebrate its arrival.  Kids will be with their maternal grandparents most of the week and then on Thursday evening we’re heading 250 miles south to visit the other lot.

The trip will of course need a list, so I’ve resurrected one of my old packing list templates (yes, I do have these) and updated it to fit this particular visit.

It’s joyous to see that we no longer need a potty (though I may regret that when my little one shouts that he’s desperate for the toilet as we pass the only service station on our stretch of the A1(M)) though slightly depressing to think that I’m not yet ready to despatch of the monitor.

The boys’ paternal grandparents are country folk.  We’ve had record rainfall over the past few weeks and they’ve recently adopted a young colly/ spaniel cross which both lads will no doubt be shadowing for the duration of our trip.  So, it’s not rocket science that wellies are top of the list.  Closely followed by waterproofs and enough changes of clothes to last them a fortnight.

So if you’re reading this from your beach condo on the outskirts of Sydney and thinking that it’ll be helpful for your weekend trip to the Gold Coast, then you may need to find another blog.  In fact my next blog is due to include a list to help with trips to the seaside in 40 degree heat* so don’t abandon us just yet.

Love, Dorothy

*Fahrenheit

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packing list - weekend at the grandparents.png

Introducing…Rose

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Mother of two, full time lawyer, married, pushing 40. You’d think I might have a bit of a handle on this organisational thing by now. You’d be wrong.

Hi, I’m Rose*, the disorganised one.

My handbag is filled to the brim with pieces of scrap paper: scribbled calculations of the hours I need to be at least present at my desk in order to make up a full working day (in between the school drop offs/pick-ups/swimming lessons/football training), the shopping I need to grab in my lunch break (that I didn’t manage to acquire on the 17 other previous trips to the supermarket that week), the constant lists of birthday cards and presents, it’s pretty much endless.

But somehow, miraculously, these scribbled scraps manage to get me through the week and enable us all to survive- fully clothed, fed and in the right location at the right time (give or take half an hour here and there…)
When Blanche** first mentioned this whole list thing, I saw the potential, not just for me but for the zillions of other people in my position. Now, I’m a lawyer, I can’t function without precedents. If I had a precedent for everything in my real life then I’d be untouchable. And by “untouchable”, I mean “not all be dead by breakfast time”. I’d truly rock at life. So basically, I, too, am placing all of my trust in Dorothy** and Blanche** and their fantastic organisational skills to give me some kind of guidance, while contributing what little I have to this enterprise. I know they won’t let me down, trust me, they won’t let you down either.

*not my real name
**not their real names (but so frighteningly similar, you wouldn’t believe…)

Introducing…Dorothy

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Hi! I’m Dorothy*.  I’m considered the sensible one.  And usually the organised one, unless it’s to do with holidays in which case Rose** leaps into uncharacteristic action and goes into a booking frenzy.

I think my friends regularly overestimate my proficiency though, and whilst I have the appearance of focus and control, a week rarely goes by without me losing my sh*t in some way or another.  And it’s definitely getting worse with age (forgetfulness that is, not some kind of incontinence that the last sentence might be read as), so I’ve resorted to a similar obsession with lists as Blanche** has and now can’t get through a day without close consultation of the numerous lists (usually electronic and saved across a variety of media) holding my family together.

It must be working though as even with two school age boys, two surprisingly high-maintenance cats and a full-time job often travelling around the country, I still have the title of the sensible one.  Woo hoo!

So, this blog thing is making me a little nervous.  I’m not one for opening up to strangers and the potential of nasty trolls terrifies me, but I’m reaching prime mid-life crisis age so this seems like a more sensible (there’s that word again) outlet than plastic surgery so I’m giving it a go.

Hope I’m not crap.

Love, Dorothy  xx

*not my real name (thank God!)

**not their real names (shame!)

Introducing…Blanche

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Hello! I am Blanche* and I am a married mother of one who also works part time and has a bit of a commute too. So life is busy, and with no family nearby to help out it can sometimes feel like a mini military exercise of precision planning and execution just getting through the working week.

I like to think I am the one who inspired this whole endeavour (although by no means am I the driving force). It was one day at the end of November when in an email exchange between Dorothy**, Rose** and me, there was a little amount of panic about the amount of things we each had on in the run-up to Christmas what with children’s birthdays, trips to visit family, work and not having enough hours in the day, when I said:

And to ease your panic I suggest writing it all down in a list. That’s what I was like until I did that the other week. I love lists, me. My whole life is managed by lists I think…. My Christmas lists are broken down into things to do/prep, presents to buy and food shopping list as well as a schedule for the day itself. The shopping list, the prep and the schedule will all go up on the fridge and I’ll cross things off as I get them done. Literally the biggest thrill.’

And Rose responded with:

Ha ha!  You should set up a website where you put templates of all your list formats on there!  You’d make a fortune from disorganised people like me.’

There followed a tongue-in-cheek exchange about what an amazing idea this was and how we’d make a fortune (ha ha!). It was Dorothy though, with more focus than Rose and I can usually muster, who took the idea and ran with it. Before we knew it, we had a business plan and the shell of a website, and this sh*t was getting real. Amazing, huh?

But the best thing about this whole thing, apart from the thrill of writing lists (I really do love lists and almost every aspect of my life is ruled by them), is I get to do it with my two best friends. Two of the best women I know. How lucky am I?

Stay tuned for more posts from us, and for more lists. We’ll add as many as we can and we are always looking for more inspiration, ideas and suggestions so don’t be shy.

Love, Blanche xx

*not my real name

**not their real names