Saturday, June 24, 2017

Enjoying The Summer


I will finish off the Greece series in the next post but wanted to share a few things.  Flowers make me happy.  I had a couple of blue pots left to fill so although it is nearly the end of June last night I went and bought some more flowers - begonias and lobelia, I made two of these identical pots for the patio where we spend loads of time until October.  Our growing season is so much longer here than Alberta so I can easily invest the money knowing I will get at least 3 months out of them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Greece Part 3 - Ferry and the Island of Naxos



Next up in our Greek Adventure was the ferry from Santorini to Naxos.  I chose to go with Hellenic Seaways on the ship Nissos Samos.  We weren't really sure what to expect.  The port of Santorini that the ferries go into is different than where people depart from cruise ships.  Often there are 3 or 4 different ferries departing at almost the same time.  I bought our tickets at the Athens Airport from Aktina Travel (lower level of airport, they can both make the reservation and print the ticket, something not all agents can do) as I didn't want to have to pick up the tickets at the port.  As we only bought the tickets 3 days ahead they could also tell me if there were any looming ferry disruptions due to strikes which are quite common.  There had already been 4 days of strikes in May but our dates were smooth sailing.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Greece Part 2 - Santorini and Akrotiri



Santorini at Dawn

We spent 3 nights in Santorini, 3 in Naxos and 3 in Athens.  If we hadn't have come in on such long flights 2 nights probably would have been enough for Santorini but I really wanted to ensure we saw Akrotiri and that involved a day trip which I didn't want to do on our first day on Santorini.  I was up at the ass-crack of dawn the first few mornings getting adjusted to the time change and the island was equally beautiful at that time.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We're Back - Greece was Amazing!

We have been back home since midnight on Sunday but have spent the last two and a half days trying to get rid of our jet-lag, buying groceries, doing laundry, picking up Buddy and getting the business started up again.  Our trip home was 24 hours of flying and connecting and fortunately we managed to get home with all flights relatively on-time.

Greece was fantastic.  British Airways had definitely upped their game as our flights to London were just 3 days after the fiasco with their computer systems shutting down every British Airways flight around the world.  The staff were extremely friendly and other than some very questionable airline food it was comfy and service was good.  I took snacks and skipped a couple of their meals, always a good idea with any airline frankly.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hopeful

Comox Marina May 2017

Three sleeps until we depart on another epic adventure...if we get there.  We are supposed to be flying out with British Airways first to London then to Athens and due to a "technical glitch" that airline has had a total failure of all of it's systems.  I feel for the thousands of passengers whose flights were cancelled yesterday and today. It seems their website is now back up, most long haul flights are a go and by tomorrow most of their schedule should be back on track.  They still are trying to rebook passengers though which is a gigantic headache when people are stuck all over the place.    I am trying to be cautiously optimistic that things will have almost sorted itself in three days time.  We plan to expect the worst and hope for the best, no different than I said a few posts ago as all airlines have issues.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

$60 Thrift Store Wardrobe


After thoroughly stripping my closet of clothing that didn't fit me or didn't look good on me I was left with only a few things to wear.  Thrift stores to the rescue.  All of the pieces in this post were purchased for $60!  Most of the shirts were $3-4, the pants $4 each and tank tops $2 each.  I only buy clothes that are in premium as-new condition, they are now all laundered and some have been worn already.  All of these were collected over the last 4 weeks.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Accelerating


We seem to be blessed with a daily viewing of ducklings on our evening walks with Buddy.  This is a fresh batch, newly hatched in the last day or so.  There were 10 babies, I just couldn't get them all in the picture.  The weather has turned sunny all of a sudden and we are supposed to get nice beautiful days for the next two weeks with little to no rain and only the odd cloud.  It never really gets that hot here as we have one of the most moderate year round temperatures in the world (Parksville an hour away from us gets that title).  I will take sunny and 20 degrees celcius any day.  Buddy particularly loves the sun.  In fact, he regularly insists he needs to go out to empty his bladder and instead hops up immediately to our patio couch to lie in the sun instead, funny dog.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Walking

Miracle Beach, Vancouver Island
This week has been all about walking.  Ever since the beginning of April I have set a weekly walking goal and am trying to beat the previous week by at least 1000 steps.  So far so good.  Last week was the most steps I have put on my fitbit since I got it a year ago.  Once you get it in your mind you want to get more active the fit bit sure helps you keep track of it.  I have a very basic flex model but when it dies will likely upgrade to one that also records heartbeat which is far more accurate than just recording steps.  This past weekend we took a long walk at Miracle beach which is between Comox and Campbell River.  We watched Kingfishers diving for small fish, a sight to see as normally the Kingfisher is difficult to spot at the best of times but to see them scooping up fish was fantastic.  Unfortunately I didn't take my good camera so didn't get any pictures of that.

I briefly dipped below my second weight goal (wanted to get there before our trip) but haven't seen that low again so will keep at eating well and increasing activity.  So far I have lost 5.2 lbs.  I have also done a second purge of my closet and gotten rid of some large size clothing as I seem to mostly be shrinking back to a medium.  I have no intention of upsizing again.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dollars and Cents - The "Groceries Are Expensive" Edition


Another month down with the grocery budget, this is the month where we fell off the wagon - badly.  Changed dietary requirements plus hosting two celebrations and we ended the month in the red.

$525 budget (all food/cleaners/over the counter meds/personal products) less $5.10 overage from previous month=$519.90 budget this month.  We ended up at $571.39.  Just over $50 overage.  Due to our recent change in eating habits I have been spending more on frozen and fresh fruit, more variety in our veggies and more on meat.  We are only eating the "cheap" carbs 1 or 2 times a week.  It is paying off on our waistline but costing our grocery budget.  I am also using my money as I see fit and that means I am "buying Canadian first".  If I can justify the price and the product is made in Canada I am buying it (still buying Mexico too :).  Let's just say I am putting my money where my mouth is, my own "trying to break free trade agreement" repercussion.  Based on the above I am going back to the $550 a month budget effective May 1.  Fortunately our business is doing so well we have had to give ourselves another raise this month, the second of the year.  The extra will be going into the Italy 2018 fund and will help with the grocery budget.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Bargain Hunting Continues


4 tomato plants for $6! Two beefsteak and two cherry tomato
Yesterday was $1.49 day at our local grocery store.  I didn't find as many bargains as usual but then again we are eating much differently, mostly from scratch ingredients which involve meat, veggies, fruit and plain rice or potatoes (only 1 or 2 times a week for those).  The bargain of the day were these 4 tomato plants at $1.49 each, which is about half of what I usually pay.  I have started tomatoes many times from scratch and never seem to get the same kind of produce volume that I do when I buy plants.  They are small and it is still too cold to plant them so I will wait a couple of weeks and use them as houseplants in the mean time.  The cost of them comes out of my grocery budget (which is already over this month) as what they bear is an edible item.  In past years I have been pretty lucky on the tomato hauls, often having to give away/freeze them as we have more than we can eat.