Friday, 30 November 2012

frosty start

Fffreezing cold today.  This is the car windscreen.  Isn't Jack Frost amazing?!

This is the last day of my MissG challenge - I successfully completed a 'blog a day' for the whole of November. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

barton grange

My friend Helen whisked me away for the day.  We went to browse around the Christmas decorations and gifts at Barton Grange Garden Centre - and to chat and have lunch of course!  We had a lovely day.

I took some photos inside but they're not great (bit blurry and out of focus) but I did take these two outside.  A full-size horse and cow made with living plants.  I have some of these plants in my garden wall but I can't remember what they are called.  

We also saw a few monkey puzzle trees and I was amazed at the prices - we have one in our garden (we inherited it from the previous owners) and it has doubled in size in the fifteen years we have been here - it would cost over a thousand pounds to buy.  Blimey!?!

our front garden and drive - june 2012

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

all wrapped up

It has been sooooo cold today.  

I headed up the M6 today towards the Lake District.  The scenery was beautiful - the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was snow on the mountains - shame I couldn't stop on the hard shoulder to take some photos.  

I met my sister and aunt at Lowther Castle near Penrith to check out Lowther's Lavish Christmas Fair.

The stalls were laden with lavish gifts.  Lavish and expensive.  I would have loved to have bought myself a jacket - it was a gorgeous, velvety creation.  The perfect colours and with large polka dots - what more could a girl ask for?  Well maybe for the price to be a little (?) lower.  I think I would have struggled to part with £75 let alone £175.  Never mind.

The Castle itself looked quite splendid.  

It is in the process of being restored and there are some lovely features.  

Some of the stalls were in the converted stables.  

There's a very nice coffee shop too.

Afterwards we headed into Penrith for lunch and to do a little bit more Christmas shopping. 

A lovely day. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

out to lunch

Ever get that feeling that things are just not going your way?  

MrG and I went out for lunch today to cheer ourselves up.  We had a lovely lunch at the garden centre but I'm not sure it really hit the spot as our thoughts were elsewhere.  This 'life plan' lark takes a lot of thinking about, especially when little things are sent to try us!

I'm feeling a bit down, a bit tired and lethargic.  I need a boost, some good luck, some good news or something.  Please x

Monday, 26 November 2012

bah! boots

Now that the wintery weather is upon us I am after a pair of long winter boots.  Everywhere I go I see people wearing lovely long leather riding boots.  I'm not having much luck finding a pair that I like in my size though.  

I found some in Next, they were faux leather but at £48 they were a good buy.  Unfortunately everyone thinks they are a good buy too because they are 'out of stock' in every size!

I hunted down a pair I liked online, they were a bit pricey at £99 but they only had 1 pair left in my size so I promptly put in my order.  Today I went to M&S to collect them and was upset to find that I couldn't even get them on - they had no zips down the side and had to be pulled on like a pair of wellies - I was really disappointed.

The hunt goes on...

Sunday, 25 November 2012

delighted daughter

MissG is now the delighted owner of a dressing table.  

I found one on ebay, made one bid and won it.  MrG and I have been to collect it today.  

MrG has a new (to us) car and he was a tad concerned that we wouldn't be able to get the dressing table into the back!  Why didn't I check the size before bidding?  Well I did check the size of the space in her room but not in the boot of the car.  Doh!  

MrG used to have a car that was brilliant for picking up ebay purchases, the back seats lifted out so it was like having a van.  I've been all over the place collecting ebay purchases in the old car and have been able to fit in a dining table, 5 dining chairs, a bookcase, a computer table and a day bed - not all at the same time of course!  

Anyway, I don't know what all the fuss was about.  It fit in fine and is now sitting in the garage awaiting its make-over.  I'm hoping it will encourage MissG to keep her room tidy! 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

two ticks

Another two ticks on my to-do list.   Today my new electric oven has been installed √ and the light fitting is now up in the garage  √.

I have spent the afternoon in my craft room tinkering about and putting the finishing touches to some presents while MrG and MissG have gone grocery shopping for the ingredients for me to bake a Victoria sponge to put my new oven to the test! 

Friday, 23 November 2012

what a pain

This morning I had an appointment at the acupuncture clinic.  There was no pain there though.  It's hard to put into words but I do find it very relaxing.  Penny and I have a chat for half an hour or so beforehand and I do think that helps too - it's good to talk.  Afterwards I feel quite chillaxed (chilled-out and relaxed) and quite often sit in the car for a while and watch the world go by.

Then I have to snap out of it and get on with things.  'Things' today included a trip into town for some Christmas shopping.  I have just started my shopping over the last week or so, ordering a few bits and pieces online but now feel that the big day is approaching at an alarming rate I really must get into the shops and get stuck in.

My, oh my, what a pain it was though.  It was so busy and the queues were awful.  I went into M&S for some sandwiches for a 'quick' lunch but queued for about 20 minutes.  Am I the only one that avoids the self-serve check-outs?  I really don't like them at all - I think it's like doing someone out of a job and I like interacting with a 'real' person.  I sound so grumpy don't I?  I told you it was a stressful shopping trip!  I did manage to get everything on my list but I don't think I'll head into town on a Friday afternoon again.  I wonder which is the best (quietest) day to go in - I want to avoid those queues!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

the greyest day

Today has got to be one of the greyest days ever.  We have had the most awful wet and windy day here.  The afternoon got darker and darker with each passing hour and by 3.15 when I had to venture out for the school run it was so grey and gloomy that I had my full headlights on in the car. 

On a more positive note though... another item can be ticked off my to-do list.  The joiner came round this morning and fitted two new doors - one door through to the garage and one to my craft room.  I've never had a door on my craft room so it's quite exciting for me (I know I don't get out much!) and it now feels like a 'proper' room.  It should be a lot cosier in there and therefore a more appealing place for me to sit and 'craft' to my hearts content!  I have been doing a few things - sewing and decoupage - but can't show pictures as they're for Christmas presents and I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

fading flowers

There is still a bit of colour in the garden - all faded and past it's best but still hanging on in there.

faded pink hydrangea

red geraniums and verbena

blue campanula

orange gerbera

My friend Helen bought me this potted plant for my birthday at the end of September and it has flowered non-stop, I think we're now onto flowers 3 and 4 and I can already see flower 5 sprouting.  I am amazed (and delighted) that I have managed to keep it alive and looking so good.  I don't buy indoor plants anymore because I just don't have the knack, I either parch them dry or drown them in kindness. Gerbera's are my one and only success.  I may have to get more - I know they come in some fantastically jewelled colours. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

blogging and giveaways

I'm not yet feeling 100%.  I've been into the office today but have been quite lazy since coming home.  I have snuggled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle, fleecy blanket and my iPad.  

I have been reading lots of blogs and admiring all the beautiful photo's people manage to take.  I always regret not taking more photographs to add to my posts.

I have found a few new blogs tonight.   I clicked on links from one blog to another (it's amazing how the time flies doing this) and found some lovely new ones to follow.  There are some lovely Christmassy 'giveaways' too.  

Here is a link to a beautiful angel 'giveaway'

Here is a link to a Christmas fabric bundle 'giveaway' I'd love to make a fabric wreath as featured on the blog

I really wish I knew how to create picture links down the side of my blog - I need to have a fiddle about and see if I can do it!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Heart Handmade UK: Giveaway!

I'm feeling a lot better today, just a bit weak and wobbly.

I've been taking it nice and easy and just pottering around the house.  

I've also been catching up with my blog reading - there are some lovely blogs out there.

Heart Handmade UK is a favourite of mine - full of inspiring ideas.  Today I entered Claire's Giveaway to win a Cath Kidston Christmas felt decoration book and now I have to keep my fingers crossed until the 30th November!

Follow this link if you want to a chance to win too - Heart Handmade UK: Giveaway! Cath Kidston Felt Decorations Christmas Book and Falalala Felt

Sunday, 18 November 2012

feeling poorly

decidedly green around the gills!

I woke this morning feeling fine.  I made a breakfast of poached eggs, lightly fried sliced mushrooms and toast for MrG and I and we sat and discussed our plans for the day.  MrG had to go into work so my plan was housework, school uniforms and planning/preparing our evening meal.

By 12noon I had developed a headache and felt a bit nauseous.  I went for a 'little lie down' and didn't get up until 11.15pm!  I came downstairs for 10 minutes to say 'hi' then promptly skulked off back to bed.

Hope I'll feel better in the morning!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Christmas Fayre

Travelled up to Carlisle to visit the Christmas Fayre with my sister.

The hall was choc-a-bloc with stalls. A great range of locally sourced produce, arts and crafts, delicious food and drink - mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep us warm and get us into the festive spirit!

We bought some presents, some decorations and some home-made fudge. I took a few photo's (on my phone) but unfortunately they are too fuzzy and out of focus - sorry.

The Fayre is on tomorrow too so go take a look for yourself. 

Friday, 16 November 2012

friday feeling

oh don't you just love it?  It's one of the most wonderful feelings, isn't it?

The week has now reached the point of rest and relaxation!

No cooking tonight - a Chinese takeaway is on the menu.  MrG is on his way to collect it as I write!

The kids have a busy weekend planned - much texting and face-booking has gone into making the arrangements!  They are both meeting up with their friends in town, going to the cinema (Skyfall and Breaking Dawn) followed by a party tomorrow night.  Living where we do, in the middle of nowhere and with very, very limited public transport, there will be lots of taxi-ing around but MrG (the wonderful MrG) has offered to do it while I swan around shopping with my sister again!  Marvelous!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

tackling the to-do list

I've been able to tick the first thing off my to-do list √

I had an impromptu day off work today and didn't need to go out until the school run at 3.15pm so I changed into my 'scruffs' to do some painting.

I think I may have already blogged about my huge wardrobe and how I gave it a make-over.  

it started life as 'orange' pine

Well, I started giving it a make-over but didn't quite finish it as although the frame and five doors got painted, the five drawers (underneath the doors) were left with just the undercoat done.  

I am happy to say that my wardrobe has now had the final touches to it's make-over and it can be ticked off the list. √

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

shopping with sis

Today I met my sister for a spot of shopping in Penrith, the Gateway to the Lakes.

We live an hours drive away from each other so Penrith is a handy little town for us to meet as it's about half way (well, 40 mins for me and 20 for her).  

There are some nice little independent shops which are especially pretty at this time of the year, all decorated with their Christmas stock.

There's quite a good selection of eateries.  We had tasty panini's in The Bewick this time but the food is great at No.15 too.

There is a small craft shop where they stock a wide variety of crafty things.  Samantha, gave us a demonstration on a Cuttlebug machine.  I hadn't heard of a Cuttlebug before but I happened to mention how much I liked the intricately cut paper samples that were hanging up and Samantha explained that they had been created using a Cuttlebug. 

It is a small portable machine used for cutting and embossing.  It's quite a pricey piece of kit but it creates a really professional look and I'm sure both MissG and I could make all sorts with it!  My sister and I have signed up for a workshop to learn how to use a Cuttlebug to make Christmas cards and we will hopefully learn a few tricks of the trade.  We may even ask Father Christmas for our very own Cuttlebugs.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

office bound

A day in the office today.  But between the filing and invoicing I took took a sneeky peek on ebay to see how bidding was going on a vintage wire shelf I've had my eye on for our bathroom - unfortunately for me the bidding went mad and I could see that there were two people outbidding each other every few minutes towards the end of the auction.  In the end it went for far more than I was prepared to pay.  The only thing is now I'll be scouring ebay for hours looking for something similar!

Monday, 12 November 2012

that monday morning feeling

really wasn't bad at all this morning.  Everyone was up and ready to do the school run at 8.  I think it helped knowing that the school day was to end at 1pm and we could all return home early.  Our school is trying out 'review appointments' in place of the traditional 'parents evenings' so once a term the whole school gets to finish at lunch time.

Just before the children came out of school I nipped into the shop and picked up some bread rolls filled with hot Cumberland swirls (sausages) and on the way home we called into the office and had lunch with MrG.

I have used my extra time at home quite productively - sanding a door frame, painting a wall in the kitchen, painting a couple of picture frames, sorting through a stack of mail, making dinner and doing some online pressie ordering.

Time now for a relaxing soak in the bath me thinks x

Sunday, 11 November 2012

autumn walk

Alf and I had a slippy walk along the canal today.  It was so muddy it was like skiing, with every step forward I slipped a bit backwards - it was quite a hard slog (but probably a good workout?) and I was relieved to get back onto terra firma.

view from canal towards our village

view over canal towards sheep!

It was only when I got back onto the road that I was able to look up and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  It was a gorgeous sunny day which made the autumn colours shine.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

to-do list

In view of our plan to move further oop north, I thought I should make a to-do list of all the jobs we need to tackle around the house before we put it on the market.  The list is quite long -  I'm not looking forward to doing the jobs but I am looking forward to ticking things off!

I also made a couple  of Christmas lists - one with ideas for presents and one with names for Christmas cards.

Friday, 9 November 2012

plans are a hatching

Not sure if I really want to put this in writing yet as the plan is still very much in it's embryonic state (no, I'm not pregnant!) and it might not actually happen, but...

Last week, MrG and I had a spark of an idea and we are now looking into taking it to the next stage and make plans for our future.  Blimey!  It involves moving office/studio and house!

For a while now, and especially since losing Mum in January, we have been feeling quite unsettled.  I think it does make you re-evaluate things and question where you want to be and what you want to do.  You only live once as they say.  We would both like to be closer to our families now that they are getting older - my Dad is now 78 and lives an hours drive away and MrG's folks are two and a half hours away.  We have thought about moving house on-and-off over the last few years but have not wanted to move the children from their school.  But... now our eldest son is in his second year at Uni, our youngest son is in his final year and completing his A'level studies and MissG will be doing her final GCSE exams next May/June so there is an opportunity now to start hatching a plan.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

at long last

I know this isn't something I'd normally write about but MissG did challenge me to write a daily blog throughout November so you will get the odd 'odd' post!

We finally had our new gas hob fitted today *woohoo*.  It may not be an exciting thing to read about (sorry) but it is quite an event here as we have been living with just two rings on our hob for almost a year now.  I'm finally cooking on gas!

Next on the agenda is the new electric oven.  It has been sitting in the middle of our kitchen for two weeks now and the electrician says it will be another 2-3 weeks before he can come and hard-wire it.  With any luck it will be in for Christmas!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

little sis

My little sis came down to visit for the day today.  We had a cuppa and one of the chocolate cookies before heading out to do some shopping.

We went down to Warrington to visit our nearest Ikea store (an hour away).  We had a leisurely stroll through the whole store, looking at all the room layouts and picking up ideas for our own homes.  Guess how much I spent?  Go on, guess.  I usually spend way more than I intend to so I was amazed that I spent a total of... 4 pounds and 40 pence!  Quite definitely a record.  Alfie is chuffed with his new friend :)

I do feel ever so slightly more Christmassy now after seeing all the Christmas decorations, cards and presents in M&S.  Both my sis and I have been trying not to think about Christmas as it will be our first Christmas without Mum.  We both have three children so we can't pretend Christmas isn't happening, we can't hibernate and come out again next spring when it's all over.  MrG suggested going away to a holiday cottage and making this Christmas really different but the children want to stay home - even though I have told them that Father Christmas will visit us wherever we are!

We did have a good day though.  Constantly chatting from the minute she arrived until the time came to wave her off!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

comfort food

Some days you've just got to do it.  Give no thought to the calorific content and just do it.  

It has been the most miserable day, wet and windy, damp and dreary.

Just the day for macaroni cheese with crispy chicken (the photo doesn't do it justice - it was delicious)

followed by freshly baked chocolate cookies.

Monday, 5 November 2012

remember, remember

the 5th of November...

Back into work and school today after our half term break.  We all got up early and were surprisingly wide awake and quite cheery - I think the clocks going back last weekend helped as it was quite light at 7am.

It has been a great autumny day.  A frosty start (the car needed scraping - urgh) but then the most glorious sunshine for the rest of the day.  The colours of the trees are really impressive when they are lit up by the sun.

MrG and I went out for lunch.  MrG worked all weekend so we really felt we needed a treat - it certainly beat the usual homemade sandwiches!   We went to The Plough at Lupton and had a really tasty lunch - a tapas of bruschetta with tomato and red onion, steak ciabatta, chargrilled chicken with pineapple dipping sauce, courgette fritters and hand-cut chips. Delicious.  It was our first time at The Plough and I'm already looking forward to a return visit!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

stay in Sunday

Not much to report today.  We stayed in getting everything ready for the new school term - last minute homework tasks and some revision.  Uniforms and PE kits all washed, dried and ironed.  A roast chicken dinner and a bit of Strictly Come Dancing!  

Oh, and an ebay purchase - I won a cute little shelf for the bathroom.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

so sew

Yes, I managed to get into my craft room to get some sewing done.  Not as much as I'd have liked though because I was having real problems with my machine tension and the thread kept bunching up and  making a mess on the underside.  After three or four attempts to rectify the tension problem and lots of unpicking I gave up - aghh how frustrating.
Tonight while sitting in front of the TV with my iPad perched on my knees I watched a couple of YouTube videos on 'machine tension problems' and was able to go back in and fix it - just like that!  How we managed without 'google' I just don't know. 

So... I will be back sewing soon.  I have a couple of Christmas presents cut out and ready to sew and plan to have them finished by the end of the week.

Friday, 2 November 2012

autumns arrived

A trip to the Lake District is a must at this time of the year.  The colours of the autumn are stunning.

MissG and I went up to Windermere today.  No photo's of Windermere I'm afraid as it wasn't the best of days - grey and wet!  We went to visit Scarlett Ribbon, a lovely shop selling clothes, jewellery, gifts and vintage finds and it just happens to be our local stockist of Annie Sloan paint.

I had reservations about the Aubusson Blue paint I bought and couldn't bring myself to paint my kitchen dresser such a dark colour.  I phoned the shop and explained my dilemma and the lady I spoke to was so helpful, giving me tips on my colour choices, how to mix and apply the paint and she really gave me the encouragement I needed to crack on and get my dresser done (I'd love to get it done before Christmas).   

Anyway, I went in to check their paint charts as they have real colour samples painted on boards showing the results of each colour when mixed with various measures of white.  After much deliberation about mixing white with my Aubusson Blue to get a lighter shade, I decided that as it's my first time using the Annie Sloan paint and wax I would prefer not to mix my own and just go for the ready mixed Duck Egg Blue.  The lovely lady said I could do a swap - no quibble and no extra cost so I was very happy.  It's so pleasing to get such a good service, they really couldn't have been any more helpful.  

I'm now ready to go so watch this space - see how long it takes me to get the 'after' shots up on my blog!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

november news

MissG and I were talking about blogs the other day as she and her friend MissM have started blogs of their own.  MissG asked me how often I blog and I had to admit that I don't do it as often as I'd like. She said that she follows a young blogger that blogs every day.  What MissG likes about this blogger is that she doesn't do long rambling blogs she just writes a short blog each and every day.  I think that might be the way forward for me so as from today I think I'll give it a go.  Just a quick snippet of what I've been up to each day.

My problem is my time management!  It's not that I don't have the time to blog it's just that I don't manage the time I have effectively. 

The other day I happened to mention to MrG that although I'm not in work this week (it's school half-term here) I still haven't managed to get into my craft room to do even the tiniest bit of sewing. It's not like my 'little ones' need entertaining - they are 15 and 17 so can entertain themselves!  It's just the usual everyday things that need doing before I can allow myself the luxury of hiding myself away in my craft room. 

Anyway, MrG pointed something out that I really think hits the nail on the head, I don't have a routine, I don't have a schedule and therefore I don't use my time effectively.  I do a bit of this then a bit of that and then a bit of the other!   

When the children were younger I felt much more in control of things and seemed to have more 'free' time than I do now and I think that it's because I had a routine, I had set days for working, for shopping, for days out, etc.  It's all very well to be relaxed and not have a routine and just go with the flow but I think I'd be more relaxed and find I have more 'free' time if I set myself a schedule.  So... roll on Monday morning, the start of a new school term, I will begin to 'pencil-in' a new timetable for me!