Sunday, 31 January 2010



We've had a relaxing but productive one (if that makes sense?!)  On our trip to Ikea we had also bought a new light for our living room - I didn't mention that in my post as I was so excited about my hyacinths and pictures that I completely forgot we bought it!  Anyway, I asked Hubby to put said light up for me yesterday.  After a lot of faffing (it seems that the light is too heavy just to put up and therefore needs securing somehow) my wonderful Father-in-Law fitted it for us as he has had so much more experience than us!!  Would you like to see it?....
Hmmm, not really very clear is it?  How about this one?.....
And closer still....

I'm really pleased with our new light - the old one was a dark shade that made the room seem dark even when it was on, which always facilitated the need for a second light to be on (waste of electricity and energy methinks!) - it makes the room seem bigger as it is so much lighter.

Hubby wasn't so convinced until it was fully up as we had actually come home with a much bigger version of the one we'd seen on display (oops!).  When we got it out of the box we were a bit surprised at how HUGE it was!  I quite like it though and it doesn't dominate the room like we thought it might, although when we had friends over for dinner last night the first thing they said when they came in was something along the lines of "an alien UFO has landed in your room!"  They did add that they thought it looked good - I'm not sure whether they said this to be polite or whether they actually meant it!

Today I made some more cupcakes - yummy! - and we took some over to the in-laws' to have with a cuppa.....

In fact, maybe it's time for a cuppa now.......

I hope that you've had a good weekend?

Friday, 29 January 2010


Hello!  How are you?

We decided to have a little family outing to Ikea yesterday.  I LOVE Ikea.  I wander around in awe of all the little room set-ups, amazed at how they manage to get so much stuff in such small spaces and yet not an item of "clutter" to be seen anywhere.  How do they do it?!!!

I treated myself to a couple of little treasures though (how can you go to Ikea and not buy anything?!)....

A lovely little pot of hyacinths.........

and some gorgeous picture cards that I just couldn't resist.  I have no idea where I am going to put them, but I'm sure I will find somewhere!

These are my symbols of calm and tranquility in an otherwise chaotic house......

I hope you have a relaxing weekend, whatever you are doing.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Art of Crochet

I've been trying to learn crochet for a few months now.  I am in the middle of crocheting a blanket, which I'm really pleased with. 

I used the pattern for Summer Garden Granny Squares that Attic24 has posted on her blog.  I found these very easy to follow, although I'm not very good at making the squares all the same size!!!  Of course, practice will make perfect (hopefully!) but for the time being I've just kind of "gone with it" for this blanket.

Despite the fact that it will ultimately cost quite a lot of money over the next couple of years, I decided to subscribe to the new magazine that was advertised on the TV - The Art of Crochet. 

I wanted to try and learn how to crochet properly.  However, after sitting down for about an hour last night trying to learn from the start, I've found that perhaps this isn't going to be as easy as I thought!  I spent the best part of an hour trying to get the hang of holding the yarn properly, to ensure that the tension stays even.  I tried to do the foundation chain and a row of slip-stitch (about 10 times) but only really succeeded in cutting the circulation off in the left forefinger, getting cramp in the left ring finger, getting a blister on the right forefinger and giving myself "rope-burn" on my left-hand before getting frustrated and declaring "time for bed!" 

Now, the magazine does say that the best way to learn is to keep starting again in order to practice getting the stitches the same size, but I think that I may be too cack-handed because I really struggled!  Any tips or advice would be gratefully received!!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Lovely Weekend

Yet again another weekend flies by - can you believe that we've only got 1 week left of January?  When I was at work I used to find that January was such a slow month, but then again that might have had something to do with the fact that we had to wait about 5 or 6 weeks for pay-day to arrive after having been paid early in December due to the Christmas period!

We had a lovely weekend. A very domesticated weekend!  I actually baked some cupcakes on Saturday morning in preparation for the in-laws popping round for a cuppa - unfortunately they didn't last long enough for me to be able to take photos.  I then cooked a lovely beef casserole with roast potatoes for Sunday lunch yesterday with the in-laws.  Lunch was followed by apple pie and vanilla ice-cream courtesy of Aunt Bessie and Tesco (I'm not that domesticated - yet!).

All-in-all a very productive yet relaxing weekend for me.  How was yours?

Thursday, 21 January 2010

A Lovely Break

We decided at the last minute to go and visit my brother-in-law and his wife, who live in Yorkshire.  Hubby has been poorly and has been signed off work so I thought it would be a nice break for him to get away, even if it was only for a night.

The journey was very long but we were lucky that there was no traffic so we soon found ourselves in the North:

Freya was ever so good, despite the amount of time spent in the car:

If you look closely you'll be able to see the chocolate around her mouth from the Heinz Biscotti that I'd given her before she fell asleep!!

We had a really lovely time relaxing, watching a film, playing on the Wii, a few drinks, chatting, laughing....... It was wonderful just being away from home without having to worry about day-to-day things.

Hopefully it won't be so long before we do it again.......

Thursday, 14 January 2010

The Importance of Being Organised.....

My, we've had a busy couple of days!  We knew that January was going to be a busy month what with car MOT, car insurance renewal, clearing up after the Christmas break and just generally getting back into some form of normality but I have found that it has hit me a bit harder this January - I wonder if I'm the only one?!!

Anyway, we got our car nearly a year ago (we decided to get a sensible family estate) and as the car insurance was due towards the end of the month I had assumed that the MOT would be due around the same time - previous experience has meant that when we've bought a car from a dealership the MOT is usually done only a few days before you pick the car up and then the insurance starts on the day you actually pick it up.  Anyway, following this logic, I thought I had another week or 10 days before I needed to arrange the MOT - WRONG!!!!!  I got the certificate out on Tuesday morning only to discover that it had expired a week ago!  Much panic ensued, we had to get the car booked in straight away!

I managed to get the car booked in and had about an hour before we had to be there, which was plenty of time as the garage is only down the road.  However, Hubby points out that one of the front parking light bulbs had gone and that we'd need to get that replaced before the MOT.  Aaaaarrrggghhh!!!!  Mad rush to get everything we needed for Freya to take out (nappies, wipes, change of clothes, bottle of milk, cup of juice etc etc), get shoes, scarves, gloves and coats on and to put the dogs out in the garden to have a wee.  Why is it that when you're in a rush the dogs REFUSE to go out?!!!!!

Anyway, we manage to bundle in the car, get to Halfords and get the bulb.  By this time we had about 30 minutes before we had to be at the garage - again, not a major problem as the garage is only 5-10 minutes away.  BUT, we still had to actually fit the bulb.  So there we were, in Halfords' car park, bonnet up, Hubby and I looking at the manual to see where and how the bulb actually fits, having to remove the windscreen washer fluid filler tank and something else I can't remember now in order to actually get to the bulb compartment........Hubby's hands being too big to fit in to remove the old bulb, my hands being small enough to get to the old bulb but with absolutely no clue as to what to do to actually get it out...........After 10 minutes I suggested that maybe we just go to the garage and ask them to fit the bulb for us before the MOT - surely it's worth paying someone an extra £5 or something than us both standing here getting confused and stressed out?!!!!  So off we went.

The car passed its MOT (phew!) and all was good.  So, we get ready to get back into the car to go shopping before popping into my Mother-in-Law's as we'd promised when Hubby's face dropped - he couldn't remember putting the windscreen washer filler tank back in the car before we left Halfords!  I had also been in too much of a rush to pay much attention.  So we rush back to the car to check under the bonnet - IT'S NOT THERE!!!  It must have dropped out either at Halfords or on the way to the garage.  I did suggest that we drive back to try and find it, but Hubby pointed out that we'd come along a dual carriageway and that we'd never find it - good point, well made!  So we get on the phone to the Vauxhall dealership in order to see about getting a new one ordered (luckily only a few pounds) and then a drive to the dealership to actually pay for it so that it can be ordered......We should have it by the end of the week (fingers crossed!).

The lesson to be learned from this story is to know exactly when your car is due for its MOT - I've already noted it in my new diary a month before it's due to expire!!

On a more domestic note though, we've inherited a nice little bathroom cabinet from my in-laws, who have bought a new one and were going to throw this away.  I spent a lot of the day yesterday sorting through all of the stuff in our bathroom and putting the "new" cabinet in there.....

I think that it looks quite nice.  Although I  do need to get a laundry basket, so excuse the pile of washing on the floor ;-)

I hope that you're having a lovely week?

Monday, 11 January 2010

My DIY Wish-List for 2010

To be completely honest, this has been my wish-list for the past couple of years but I am determined that this will be the year that it gets done!!!!

  • Re-decorate our bedroom
You may have noticed in previous pics of our messy bedroom (yep, it's still like that!) that it's very purple!  It's been like that for the past 5 years.  I love the colour purple and in my early twenties it seemed perfectly reasonable to paint the walls lilac in our bedroom.  My husband didn't really get a choice in the matter, bless him.  As the years have gone by though, we really would like a "grown up" bedroom, somewhere to escape to in the evenings and that will help up relax after a hard day's work.  I've already got the ball rolling by buying plain white, egyptian cotton bedding (to try and create that hotel-luxury feel that is constantly being mentioned in Ideal Home Mag), so now we need to take that one step further and remove the lilac from the walls!!!

  • Paint the kitchen
When we got married in 2006 we decided not to have a "traditional" gift list as we'd already been living together in our own house for 3 years and had most of the homeware items that we needed.  Instead we asked for friends and family to contribute towards a new kitchen.  We were overwhelmed by the generosity and were able to order everything when we came back from our honeymoon.  We didn't spend a fortune but have been very pleased with our Homebase purchase: 

We were also very lucky to have my father-in-law to tile the floor, fit the kitchen and tile the walls for us - he's brilliant!!!  Anyway, we only had the walls left to paint in order to finish it all off and, 3 years later it still hasn't been done!!  I even bought the paint over 18 months ago in the hope that it would get done before Freya arrived - alas, this wasn't to be!!!  We have no excuse, it really needs to be done this year!

  • Paint the bathroom
Similarly to our bedroom, in our early twenties we really liked the blue in our bathroom - so much so that we actually used exactly the same paint as we had in the flat that we lived in before! 

We have now out-grown this colour and would really like to try and create a more luxury-feel (I read too many Ideal Home magazines, can you tell?!!!).  Anyway, at the tail-end of last year we treated ourselves to new towels in black and white, so all we need to do is paint the walls.  I would also like to introduce a colour to keep the room from looking too cold, but haven't got as far as deciding what colour or how I'm going to do that yet!!!
  • "Repair" the dining-room walls.
We decorated our dining-room just before Freya was born and we absolutely loved it as it made the room so much lighter.  We picked the wallpaper to go on one wall as a "feature" but, as the dining room links directly onto the kitchen via an archway (you can see in the kitchen picture above), we didn't want anything too patterned or bright as we wanted the rooms to "flow" (or at least not clash too much!).

You may be able to see in the lower right-hand corner of the wall that there appears to be an odd, dark patch in the wallpaper?  Well, this is the result of my dear puppies........

Yes, all of that hard work was chewed up with a side-order of door-frame!!

We have got a spare roll of the wallpaper left so, when I'm sure that the dogs are out of their chewing phase (please let it be in 2010!!!) then we will try and "repair" this part of the wall!!!

I'm sure that there are other things that will make it onto my list, but for now I'd like to leave it here - 4 "projects" in 12 months seems achievable, so I don't want to aim too high just yet!!!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

It's Oh So Quiet.....sshhhh......sshhh

Everyone in the house is asleep except me, of course!  Poppy & Holly are curled up on the sofa asleep next to me, Freya went upstairs for her nap about 30 minutes ago and hubby is asleep in bed as he's working nights this weekend.  It's lovely!

My husband doesn't understand how I can just sit in silence with not even the tv or radio on in the background but I find it very relaxing.  What helps at the moment is the smell of my beef casserole cooking in the oven wafting through the house, making it all feel very cosy and homely.  See, I can be domesticated!!!!

The snow has just started coming down again here and, as nice as it is to look at, I really want it to go away now!  I haven't ventured out of the house for a week and I'm starting to get cabin fever!  That and the fact that we're starting to run low on food supplies, so I really need to go shopping.  I thought I'd be clever and see if I could order my shopping online to be delivered as I've seen the Tesco van come up and down our road a few times over the past few days.  Unfortunately, everyone else must have had the same thought as there were no delivery slots until Thursday afternoon!  I'm afraid I will need some bits and pieces long before then!

Oh well, people in other countries manage to carry on with their day-to-day lives in the snow (far much more of it than us as well!), so I will have to brave the cold weather.

I hope you are keeping warm and cosy as much as possible on these cold winter days.


Saturday, 9 January 2010

Poppy & Holly....

are the names of our 11 month old Springer Spaniels. 

Holly is the one on the left, Poppy on the right.

We've had them since they were about 5 weeks old (we were told they were 9 weeks when we got them but the vet thought otherwise).  We hadn't intended to get 2 puppies but they tugged on my heart-strings & I couldn't resist.  They were the only pups left & I wanted one while hubby wanted the other - in the end I couldn't bear the thought of leaving one puppy all on its own while we took her sister so we came home with them both - we did a buy-one-get-one-half-price deal with the sellers, & it's a good job we did as when we got them home they were so poorly that it was touch & go as to whether Holly would actually make it.  Anyway, I digress.

They are beautiful dogs & are ever so affectionate.  In fact, Poppy is curled up asleep on the sofa next to me now.  Freya absolutely loves them & she likes to use her new-found skill of cuddles on the dogs frequently, even if they really don't want to - she tries to pull them closer to her by their ears but they just let her do it, although it must hurt.  We couldn't really ask for better dogs to grow up with Freya.  With everything in life though there is always a cloud to the silver-lining......

They are very mischievious.  I went upstairs for a grand total of 5 minutes this morning to get Freya out of her cot & change her nappy.  When I came down I found this:

A shredded (clean/new) nappy & a finished packet of biscuits (I think there were only 2 or 3 left in the packet).  I had obviously forgotten to move them out of reach of dear doggies!

Yesterday morning we came down to more shredded nappies, which had been left in the middle of the dining room table (we thought out of reach!) & Freya's hairbrush:

Naughty doggies!  Still, I suppose they're still only puppies & I'd rather them make a mess in the house than be nasty to Freya when she pulls them around.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

A morning in the life....

Hello! How are you?

I am quietly pleased with myself today as I have so far managed to keep myself motivated in getting bits and pieces done around the house!  Admittedly I haven't done as much as I'd have liked but I'm getting there!  Hubby's been poorly over the past couple of days so he's spent a lot of time in bed, the mess therefore remains untouched so as not to disturb him - oh well, there's always tomorrow!

I have also allowed my daughter to venture out of the lounge to play and practice her walking skills, which has meant that I could get on with so much more - why am I only discovering this now?!!!!

She loves her new-found freedom and enjoys walking her little sit-on car around the kitchen and dining room......

We had more snow overnight here so everything's looking lovely outside - it's the prettiest my garden's looked in a long time ;-)

The snow hides a multitude of weeds, plants dug up by the dogs, dead plants in desperate need of digging up, etc....
Our dogs are absolutely loving the snow.  They've spent most of the morning chasing eachother around the garden, spraying up big clumps of the cold, white stuff as they rapidly change direction.  Bless them....

Butter wouldn't melt, huh?!

Anyway, I had better get on while Freya's having her nap - the sooner I'm finished the sooner I can get on with my crocheting!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Perfect Housewife?

I finished work in October 2008 to go on maternity leave and was made redundant before returning, so I have been a stay-at-home mum/housewife for 15 months now.  You'd think that by now I'd have established some sort of routine and that the day-to-day chores would be up-to-date, wouldn't you?  Unfortunately that's not the case!!

When I was at school I gave the impression of being a very organised and tidy person - so much so that I used to de-clutter, clean and tidy my best friends' bedrooms for them, sad as that sounds!  Over the years this reputation caught hold and I have even been referred to as "Monica" (Geller, Friends OCD clean-freak).  Truth be told, I WISH I WAS LIKE HER!!!  I really do, but it seems that as I've got older I've always managed to find better things to do - even sitting down doing nothing was more appealing!

So here I am, at the start of 2010 with about 4 weeks worth of ironing to catch up on;

Christmas decorations to heave up into the loft;

Bedrooms to de-clutter;

and a routine to establish - if not for my own sake but for the sake of my long-suffering husband and daughter!

I knew that I needed inspiration and came across Anthea Turner, self-proclaimed Perfect Housewife.  I bought the book and I watched the DVDs and I feel much more enthusiastic about what I need to do.  Who knows, by the end of the year I may have mastered the art & have it down to a T.  Speaking of which, my cuppa calls.......