About Me

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I'm 57 years old, working full time, wife, mother and grand mother, wishing that I wasn't working full time! I love and enjoy our children and grandchildren, our dogs and cat, our garden and allotment. I love crafts - knitting, sewing, crocheting, patchwork and restoring old furniture. I love to go to country auctions and love thinking that I've got my self a bargain!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Mixing things up!


Hello Everyone

Can I ask a question of all the cooks out there?

I've noticed that every time I bake a cake by the rubbing in method - I suffer for it - for a few days afterwards and can hardly bend my fingers with the arthritis. So I thought I'll have a look round at the mixers.

Well this is where I have come unstuck - really I need a mixer that will not only make cakes by the creaming method but by the rubbing in method and pastry too. So what type of mixer do I need? or what types of attachment do I need?

I've looked at the Kenwood Chef Titanium but at nearly £500 it is a no no (it does have the food processor and the liquidiser with it) but at that price it should be gold plated!

So if you have a Kenwood or other make of mixer and can recommend it - can you tell me please (and preferably one I can get for a lot less that the one above!)

Thanks - have a good weekend


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Warm knees!

Hello again

Aldi have a brilliant offer on this week - it's a heated throw and well worth the money if you feel the cold - I do and it doesn't help the arthritis at all, to get cold, so I treated myself to one of these throws last Sunday and it is really good - just plug it in and you can either put in on your chair and then sit on it or put it over you, it just gives off just enough warmth to stop my poor old knees from seizing up with pain

Last instalment of DIY photo's - as soon as the kitchen was finished and we had moved back in and had got straight, we set to with the front lounge - as we'd started the kitchen, we'd gone out to look at some 3 piece suites, and we had only gone with the intention of looking but saw a nice suite and half an hour later had brought it!

Until then we'd had just a couple of easy chairs in the lounge and my big old welsh dresser but I'd wanted some where for us to go and sit in the winter especially on the winter nights when we get in from work  and my hubby doesn't  feel like lighting the wood burner and of course there are those stillness nights when the log burner just doesn't want to  'draw' and it doesn't matter what you do it will just not roar into life.

 Also when family come in the winter, you don't always want to use the conservatory and the kitchen only has 2 easy chairs, so it made sense to make this lounge into some where comfy to retire and relax to.

The shop said that they'd keep it for us for 2 months so we had to crack on with getting the kitchen finished so that we could have the suite delivered. Then we found out that the front door had started to rot, so we also had to have a new door at the same time.

When this house was built in 1857 people must have been so much smaller in height in those days - standard doors are 78 inches high our door way is 70 inches high! So we had to have the door altered to fit the gap.

I sold the dresser on Ebay and it now lives down in Wiltshire in a little 17th centuary cottage - the gentleman came to collect it and said 'Oh dear - I hope it's going to fit in when I get it home'!

We painted the room in Farrow  & Ball's  'Pointing' and 'Rectory Red' - the Rectory Red looked a little 'pinky' when we opened the can but dried to a lovely warm red. (I've got to say the delivery service from Farrow and Ball has been brilliant  -order on a Monday evening and it's with you by Wednesday morning - brilliant!)

Again I'm sorry I'm not good with a camera but here goes, my little 'snug'

You can just see the new front door - I made the curtains some years ago (Sanderson's Rose and Peony fabric)  and in the winter they go over the front door and keep it nice and warm

The aspidistra was my Nan's - it must be at least 25 years old now.....at least! The pictures are ones that we picked up in St Ives, Cornwall. The angel sits there all year long (watching over us, I hope!)

I've got to get some little pygmy bulbs for the new lamp these candle bulbs are a touch too long

The old front door

The new front door painted in F & B's  'Litchen'

So that's it - I was asked for photo's and I promise that there won't be any more for a while - I just don't want to see another paint brush for some time to come! But it's so nice now to walk in from work and it's all clean and tidy  and it was a pleasure to spend some time in my kitchen just pottering last weekend.

We just have the garden to 'put to bed' this weekend and then it's a case of starting for Xmas because I haven't done anything yet towards it.

Hope you have a good weekend

Byeee xxx

Hello Everyone

Are you having a good week? Mine's been ok, busy as usual - here's some more photo's of the DIY we've done this summer

After the conservatory we decided to bite the bullet and finish it all off and do the kitchen and little lounge. The problem with not doing 'miminalist' is where do you put all the stuff you've collected - some of it went down the cellar, some of it in the summer house and the rest in the front lounge - well for 2 weeks that's where the fridge and freezer lived.

The kitchen units are hand made solid wood (circa 1980's I think) and it would have been sacrilege to have taken them out to put some mdf type in, because they are so solid and well made  - but there's only so much pine you can live with -  so after many weeks of painting pieces of cardboard and sticking them onto the different kitchen cupboards, we settled on Farrow and Balls  'Blackened' took a deep breath and started painting. We're glad we did it now - it's not quite a light grey and it's not quite a light blue, it's different colours in different lights

The floor in the kitchen was laminate that we put down 6 years ago so we decided to get a floor tiler in and get ceramic tiles laid - Well Chris the tiler turned up, took one look at the floor and made a sort of groan and proclaimed it goes up and down a bit doesn't it? but after they'd taken up the 2 old floors  (one on top of the other),levelled it, and laid the tiles, it looks brilliant and is so much easier with having the 3 dogs. But this was the worst time of all, we were in so much mess!

We've always had a range cooker in this house and one Wednesday night we decided that we'd change the cooker as well, I'm not keen on cooking with electric, so went on line had a look at Comet Electrical, we liked the Belling all gas cooker, phoned them to check that it was all gas and got the most politest young American gentleman who assured me it was, I paid over the phone and the cooker was sitting in the front lounge by the Saturday morning - absolutely brilliant customer service

Then we moved onto the kitchen worktops - as we put more coats of the 'Blackened' on - it became apparent that the wood effect work tops weren't going to match - so it was off to Wickes with a piece of the painted cardboard in Blackened, a floor tile and one of my Cornish Blue salt cellars (I knew the kitchen tiles which we weren't going to change matched the Cornish blue exactly) and after what seemed like hours of deliberation we settled on shiny black worktops.

Getting a carpenter to turn up to fit them was the next battle - carpenters have 2 excuses for not turning up - it's either the van's broken down or they've just come out of hospital! the 3rd carpenter turned out to be the most reliable!

After that it was a case of painting the walls (F & B Pointing again) re staining the doors changing the sockets, switches and light fittings to cool black and then moving every thing back into position.

I've taken some photo's but took them when I was doing some cooking so  please excuse the mess!

This is the bottom end of the kitchen which leads out to the conservatory

I sourced the new kitchen unit  handles from off Ebay and spent 3 days making the curtains - the same Laura Ashley material that I used in the bathroom but in a great shade of blue which matches the Cornish blue wear  beautifully,  again we changed the curtain tracks too and the taps and the sink top (again I nearly had heart failure at the cost of the taps!)

I'd seen a dining room set in Laura Ashley which had the legs and the base of the table painted white the seats and the table top were left pine, so out the paint brush came again and I spent a whole weekend painting my old set plus a base of a standard lamp - I think it's come up well and looks just as good as one from Laura Ashley's would have done!

This is the other side of the kitchen - sorry about the cooking!

New cooker - with lots of burners and 2 ovens........ brilliant!

Top end of kitchen

Ours is a 'live in' kitchen and sitting in front of the log burner is the best place in the winter months

So that was it - sorry the photo's are not that good - I'm no photographer - little lounge next

Have a good Friday (Sorry I'm rushing off...........tea's ready now!!)

Byeee xxxx


Friday, 12 October 2012

Evening All

Well what a week that was! I walked into work on Monday morning to be told that one of our blocks of flats had sustained a fire in the early hours of Monday morning - as the morning progressed and colleagues from my team were allowed to get a little closer to be able to send back photo's, we learnt how bad a fire it had been - one elderly gentleman had died, others had sustained injuries jumping from 2nd floor windows - it was terrible - the communal areas - the one area, that is the residents only escape route was completely wiped out by the fire. The gentleman who had died lived on the bottom floor right next to where a local youth had decided to set fire to half a dozen wheely bins, we think that there had been an accelerant used to make sure that they really went with a bang.

Once the local youth had set that fire going - he then went onto another property - a house this time and did exactly the same thing - put the whelly bin up against the door and set it alight - luckily the residents managed to escape. The block of flats have been a crime scene for most of the week and the police arrested the youth and have now charged him with murder, attempted murder and arson.

Throughout the course of my career, nearly 23 years, I've found dead bodies were residents have passed away naturally, I've had houses blow up and once a house that was literally splitting into two halves with heave - but never a fire and never a death in this way - it's been a really horrible week - it must have been horrendous for the elderly gentleman and for the other residents trying to escape - My Nan and Grandad lived in a flat and I've thought, what if someone had done the same to them - we all just feel for the residents - 9 families have been made homeless by this young man's actions. Terrible......

Moving on, I said I would post pictures of the conservatory next -

This is looking down into the bottom half of the conservatory - we painted it in some magnolia paint  that had been brought some time back and hadn't been used, all the beams were oiled and then all the doors and skirting boards re stained in mid oak stain. The floor used to be laminate but in the winter your body would be warm but your feet would  like blocks of ice! so I saved up through the spring and we had the carpet fitted - we have 3 little dogs, so that is why the rugs are there, as this is the route through to the rear garden.

I then decided that we would change the curtain tracks in here (we have curtains to keep the room warm in the winter, the nets are because we have an extremely nosey neighbour, next door but one, on that side and because she is higher than us can look straight in and does if given half a chance!) so it was off to Argos again for those - then I decided to buy new curtains - I brought these curtains from Dunhealm and they cost £300.00 - now to me that is a lot of money, I suppose in this day and age 5 pairs of curtains for £300 is a reasonable price to pay - pity the quality wasn't! they must have been made in a little sweat shop some where in India, where some poor soul barely got paid anything for making them - there isn't one proper mitred corner amongst them and  I had to sew some of them  my self because the hems were up and down like a dogs hind leg!! - Note to self - never buy curtains from there again!!

The TV was the one from the front lounge and the nest of tables came from Church Stretton antiques market. The plates were from my Mom and Dad and are Royal Albert and I even have the certificates for them!

I picked up the dresser second hand and I spent a few days sanding, waxing and painting it, the plates and tea set all came from Church Stretton again and the plates on the wall round it, did live previously in the kitchen

I like wind chimes  and I've had these for about 10 years now - they make just the right tone when the breeze blows through

Then we move back up into the top part of the conservatory now - the curtain above closes over the side door which leads out to the log store - the clock came from Morrisons and only cost me £4.00! and it's got a lovely deep tick to it.

We brought the oak desk from a little antiques barn just outside Montgomery - it's like the teachers desk when I was at school in the early 60's  and has the shelf which pulls out above the drawers which your book had to sit on when you read to the teacher (those were the days when teachers listened to the children read!) I saw the oak filing cabinet at the same time that we brought the desk and the lady told me that they had come from the same old house - they're not matching but seem to sit well together and it is so handy for keeping all the household paperwork, tidy and in one place.

To the side of the desk is where my washer sits and the ironing basket - we all have hidey holes like this don't we????

So that's the conservatory - we did the passage way next but that's too boring to post pictures off - after that it was the kitchen - more pics to follow

Have a good Friday evening - best night of the week isn't it?


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Back again!

Hello All,

Sorry I've been away for so long - it's been a very long hard summer and even having time to read any blogs has been really difficult let alone time to write one.

So what's been happening, well if you can remember we had done a lot of work on the garden with painting the decking and clearing a lot of the overgrown plants away and we had always planned to decorate the conservatory whilst we were on holiday from work in August but decided that we would make a start before that with the bathroom.

Well that was it really, we decorated the bathroom then the conservatory and then the hall and then the kitchen and finally the little front lounge and we finally finished on Sunday with the fitting of a new front door. (we don't do things by half - as they say round here!)

I will post some pictures, all I will say is never again! when I was younger I used to be able to paint a room in a day - now by 4.30pm we'd both be cream crackered! with hardly anything done - or that's what it felt like!

Anyway - the bathroom -  that's been painted in Farrow and Ball's Lamp Room Grey and Pointing paint and I made pink gingham curtains with fabric from Laura Ashley

The bathroom mirror came from a lovely little  shabby chic shop that's situated in a garden centre just outside Bridgenorth, I love the little roses around the top of the mirror - we picked those plates up from the antiques market in Church Stretton. I did want new curtain tracks in black cast iron but couldn't afford them at over £100 each so settled for some from Argos - they look the part but don't have quite the same sound effect when you shut the curtains.
Not the best of pictures - but we painted the old corner cupboard in Pointing paint - the jug and bowl belonged to my Nan - all the other little bits and pieces were in the house except for the 2 vases on the bottom shelf and we again picked those up in Church Stretton - both Royal Albert pieces and very pretty. The plates on the other wall are all Royal Albert and are based on the Queen Mothers favourite flowers, again from Church Stretton - Do you like the silk petals overflowing from the little soap dish? I got those from Ikea and they are so effective

 Sorry you've got to crick your neck to see this one - But when you do - do you like the towels - I have coveted this particular towel range in Laura Ashley all year - they are so country cottage shabby chic.......and then Laura Ashley had a sale!!! and I thought it's now or never!!....so I got them - they are so soft and (sorry to use this word again!) pretty!

This soap dish came from the same antiques centre because it matched the earlier plates with the same type of edging

Some of the Queen Mother plates

I got the enamelled white waste bin from Ikea - it should be a plant pot but I thought it would just be perfect as a waste bin

And finally - I thought I would have to apply for another mortgage all over again for these little beauties

When did taps become so expensive???........... we've had the lever ones as I suffer with arthritis in my fingers, but blimey they cost a fortune!!
So that's the bathroom - cost a lot for us but for the first time ever, I've been able to have what I've wanted and been able to pay cash for it all too - I work hard so why not - Have you noticed too that I don't do minimal and I love country cottage style - I'll post some pictures of the conservatory next and then you'll see why I haven't been around for a while
Till then Byee