I am joining in the regular Monday initiative over on the Me and My Shadow blog where lovely Liz encourages us all to celebrate our bargain pre-owned finds.

Regular readers will know that I put out a wish list to the universe for things I wanted and they are coming in bit by bit. I actually found a bedside cabinet in the house so that is sorted for free. I am debating between two chairs for the kitchen, a stylish Ikea one or a traditional rocking one both at around the £20 mark.

I have my bean bag for £5 which is very pretty and as predicted has being seized upon by my daughter.

I think you will all love this topical portable box acquired for £15 but let’s face it, it is lovely.

I am going to use it to put children’s books in to ensure that we actually work through all the books they own rather than just sticking to the old favourites.

My plan is to put 21 books in each week and then change them every Sunday.

Tune in later to see how I get on as that sounds remarkably like being a good mother. I bought 3 books to add to their massive collection including Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales, an Usborne book of travel games and a lovely book with limericks and classics. The books were on a buy two and get a third free offer. My daughter also managed to con her father into another girly book.

I bought a bundle of lovely clothing from the Netmums Nearly New boards. These may well feature in my #groovingmums post tomorrow.

On a total charity shop bonanza on Saturday, we brought home.

1. Myself – a leather jacket for £8.99
2. Himself – various books of the thriller variety
3. Daughter – a 7 foot snake

You try managing a 7 foot snake and working your way with 3 children through Christmas shoppers. You can imagine the delight I am sure.

and probably a fair few things I have forgotten about already.

Now what is this about Him Indoors and a woman’s drawers? Well, I found the most lovely antique drawers for sale and agreed a price of £25 with the seller. Him Indoors turned up to collect them only for the seller to realise her husband had gone off with the key to the garage where the drawers were residing. That was one evening last week and Him Indoors tried to collect again yesterday to no avail when he could not remember the house number and was caught in heavy fog to boot. He phoned and texted but received no response. He really can’t get at this woman’s drawers but then again, he should be used to that predicament.

Do visit the Me and My Shadow blog and check out other contributions from the eagle-eyed Magpies.

This week’s topic is Gadgets. Gadgets don’t particularly excite me to be honest. If anyone wants to tell me what the following are and why I need them, leave a comment as I am looking for things to put on my Christmas list.

Smartphone
Ipod
Ipad
Mp3 player
Blackberry (something to do with crumble?)

I am not a geek at all so I consulted Stephen Fry’s Top 100 Gadgets list for inspiration. Probably only about 11 of them mattered to me and I have to choose just 5 items for this blog post.

Let’s forget the housework related ones and concentrate on the ones that give me pleasure or peace of mind.

1. Laptop – this has the power to do many things but I love most that it enables me to connect with other people and also to bombard the world with all my mad ideas.

2. Kettle – I have definitely measured out my life in coffee spoons so this is a big one for me. “Put the kettle on love” when my mum wanted a chat, to comfort me or herself. “Shall we have a coffee love?” when there was nothing else to do. Yes, coffee addiction is definitely a learned behaviour.

3. Thermometer – I am not a wise mum and think all mums should have parenting classes as soon as they get pregnant. However, the one thing that gives me stress relief when the children claim to be ill is to be able to whip out the thermometer for instant information leading either to reassurance or a call to action.

4. Television – I should watch a wider range of programmes to appreciate this fully. The fact remains that it informs and entertains which are both very good things.

5. Hearing Aid – I understand people with a hearing impairment used to have a terrible time in the past often wrongly being seen as stupid and cut off from other people. Hearing Aids are imporant for me as my Dad is hearing impaired and has being so as long as I can remember. I have the best conversations with my Dad so here’s to hearing aids.

Grandchild – I want a drink

Grandfather – What’s pink?

Grandchild – Get your hearing aid in!

Grandfather – Lemonade?

Grandchild – Result!

You Baby Me Mummy

I am having a go at the Britmums prompt on giving thanks rather late this week as I felt anything but thankful earlier in the week.

I started considering this post by looking at what other people have said about thankfulness.

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” -Albert Schweitzer

I liked the above quote because not only does it gives hope on dark days but also enables us to realise that we can be the light-giver sometimes even if it is just by sharing our experiences. This week, I have read blogs about how mums who have experienced premature babies are now reaching out to others and offering information and back-up. Wonderful stuff.

I also think it is relevant to how people are digging deep this year when times are hard for so many to help Children in Need.

In both these situations, someone decides to do something proactive and great things happen.

So I am thankful for people who say “This is really not good enough” and instead of just complaining, do something themselves to campaign, to raise money and awareness.

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” -Buddha

I wish I had found Buddha’s quote earlier in the week when I had the blues. It appears I was not alone with many bloggers seeming to go downhill a bit emotionally and the talk on the telly being about November and how the darker days seem to affect mood.

Perhaps sometimes we just expect way too much not only of our days but also of ourselves. Today, I went out with my family and we indulged in very simple pleasures. A breakfast in a greasy spoon, a raid on various charity shops and having a go on a tombola. No big deal and yet we had a very happy day.

I am thankful for waking up to the fact that life is actually just fine even if my dozy brain tries to convince me otherwise sometimes.

Which of the quotes do you like best and what are you thanking your lucky stars for today?