Monday, 18 October 2021

Am I the Only One ...


Image from Google Images - BBC Good Food - Porridge Bowl

Am I the only one who looks at a bowl of 'porridge' like this and thinks 'for God's sake just give me a bowl of porridge ... please'.

Google Images - Stock photo

Just nice warming, plain porridge made with water in my case but occasionally with a splash of almond milk to finish.  Some days I do take the more healthy road and add a sliced banana or a dollop of apple sauce but I make sure that gets eaten up in the first few spoonfuls so that I can finish on a nice plain porridge taste.

A Health Update

I thought I'd do a quick one-off health update as lots of you have been very kindly enquiring about my health, and I have now finally got the results of the x-rays I had a month ago.  They had not been forwarded to my doctors office but after managing to get a telephone appointment and speaking to him last Thursday he sent for them immediately and then I had a face to face consultation for over half an hour the next day - yes actually in the surgery with a doctor!!

Basically my initial problem was with L5 (circled in green) and started with stress tissue damage and inflammation causing damage to the vertebrae.  This then led to my muscles reacting and protecting that area which in turn caused a fracture higher up in my back T12 (red circle).  This has now collapsed and is triangular shaped instead of being square.

I am really lucky that the radiologist at the hospital noticed the now very pronounced curve to my back and made a point on one of the three x-rays taken, of x-raying higher up than he had been instructed to.  This cleverly captured both the fracture that was higher up as well as the damage in the lumber area that he had been asked to x-ray.  If he hadn't done that I would now be waiting for an x-ray on the thoracic area of my spine.  It's nice when people work together to save the NHS time and money.

I am also very lucky in that the particular doctor that I have been talking to and finally saw on Friday also works at a specialist spinal clinic, as seemingly GPs these days cannot request MRI scans but in his position at the clinic he can.  I am now waiting to hear firstly about a DEXA scan and then afterwards if necessary an MRI.  This is to see if I have osteoporosis, which is quite likely as my Mum has it and possibly my gran also had it.  So more waiting but this time with more painkillers and at least knowing that the doctor finally knows most of the extent of my problem.

While I wait I am doing everything I can to help myself including a healthy diet, mild exercise, lots of rest, losing weight and learning to meditate.  The latter will help with my high blood pressure as all the tablets up to now that the doctor has tried me on have given me serious side effects that meant I had to stop them.  All this off my own bat but now with the doctors full agreement.  There now I've turned into a moaning about my health type of blogger - BUM!!

Anyway enough about all that .... what is your opinion on porridge?


Sue xx

Sunday, 10 October 2021

The Changing of the Seasons


No matter what this late in the year warmth and sunshine is telling us at the moment, it really is the time of the year to bring out the woolly pullies and stash away the lightest of Summer clothes.  Even in the unusual warmth of this years October it just feels wrong to me to be wearing light, bright colours so the only t-shirts I have left out are the more muted shades and the darker stripes that will see me through Autumn and Winter as an additional layer under cardigans, jumpers or fleeces.

So the other day the big swap around was done, well it's not really that big this time, just one drawer to empty of t-shirts and light tops and a few hangers to pull shirts off and then a quick switch over to jumpers and cardigans.

All the tops and shorts in good condition ... and that was most of them ... were quickly popped into the storage bag that the jumpers had come out of and in a flash of the hoover sucking the air out they were ready to be stashed under the bed.  The couple of t-shirts that were past their best were relegated to the 'sleeping in' pile in the drawer next to my bed.  No doubt in a few months they will be downgraded once more to the 'nice soft duster' pile.

Thank goodness for a little bit of secret storage!!

You would never know anything had changed 😃

Sue xx

Friday, 8 October 2021

Lazy Week, Cosy Afternoons


It's been a lazy type of week, my ongoing health problems keep me in most of the time, but this week we did go out on Tuesday to Poulton le Fylde to get Alan measured for a couple of new suits.  He needs to be very smart for work on the occasions when he has to venture into the office or to meetings, working mostly from home means jeans and t-shirts even when on secure line meetings, when visibility with other attendees at the meetings is a personal choice.

Anyway we found parking close to the tailors so I managed the couple of hundred yards walk to the shop, and very handily the carpark we were in was adjacent to a Wetherspoons so it would have been rude not to stop and have a spot of lunch.  We must remember to time the visit to pick up the finished suits with lunchtime ... the meals we both had were very tasty and very well cooked 😃

Yesterday I somehow came across a totally new to me YouTube channel.  Although it is in Russian most of the videos, of which there are only a few at the moment, have English subtitles.  The gentle music and the Summerhouse home that Daryadarcy is creating was absolutely lovely to watch and to relax into.

Although every time her beautiful cat came on the screen Mavis got a little excited.  After a while she settled down to watch with me, cocking her head to one side whenever the cat appeared on screen.

YouTube Link for anyone watching on phone etc.

Click on the photo to have a little watch yourself and you will realise why I found it so enthralling and relaxing.  She has a very similar taste in vintage and also re-using the things that she found when they bought the little summerhouse to me.  I have included the written link for anyone watching on a mobile device.

It was nice to sit and watch yesterday on a gloomy Thursday teatime, and seeing all that pretty china being broken up for the splashback it somehow reminded me that I had yet to unpack my shopping bag full of Beryl ware that was languishing in Alan's spare-room.

I knew I had one of my pretty plates missing!!

Sue xx

Monday, 4 October 2021

Do I Still Do the Things?


The fridge is fuller after a weekend shopping trip you can stop worrying about me now  😉

Someone asked me the other day if I still do 'the things that I used to do'.  

The short answer is Yes.

I still drink my coffee black, still eat the same foods, in this case yellow stickered strawberries with my morning Weetabix.

I still pick up the unused sachets etc if we eat out and don't use all the condiments.  This was from a couple of weeks ago.

And this from yesterday.

If we need anything from Dunelm ... and this week I needed a Winter-weight duvet for my bed ... we tend to go first thing on a Sunday morning.  Before getting our shopping we usually treat ourselves to a coffee in the café and for the last few months you have been able to buy a bacon bun for just a pound with each cup of coffee.  Now obviously I don't eat bacon but we still take advantage of the offer and get one each,  Alan then moves the four slices of bacon from one bun and adds them all to the other.  Meaning he is getting a well filled bun and a lot less carbs, which is the best thing for a diabetic.  

Well you know me rather than seeing a bread roll go to waste I scoop it up along with any other condiments and take it home wrapped in a poly bag if I've remembered or a serviette if I haven't.  I usually have a couple of twin packs of Lotus Biscoff biscuits in my bag so I have them with my coffee.

Yesterday we called to Aldi on the way back for a bit of shopping so I treated myself to a tube of Stackers, their version of Pringles, to go with the bun.  Which once home was filled with cheese, spring onion, mayo and iceberg lettuce.  It was a lovely lunch eaten while watching back to back episodes of Martin Clunes in Manhunt, series two.  Gripping stuff for a Sunday afternoon.

So the answer to the question is most definintely yes I still do all the things I have always done, eat the mostly the same things, buy yellow stickered bargains when I see them, pick up the spare condiments and binge watch pre-recorded programmes on the television so I can whizz through the adverts and not have to wait until the next day or week to see the next episode.  

I'm sure there's a lot more things that I 'still' do, but at the moment there are a lot of things that I can't do because of my ongoing health issues, which is very frustrating but I am working on things slowly but surely and I can see a glimmer of light at the end of this long tunnel.

Sue xx

Friday, 1 October 2021

October is Here


Wow, October is here already ... how the bloody hell did that happen?

If one more person asks me what I'm doing for Christmas I'll scream!!
(And YES that includes YOU Alan 👉)

Summer is almost completely packed away here, although there has been some preparation for next year to lighten my mood and give me the hope of actually doing some growing once again.  My posh new raised bed was built last weekend and was filled with the compost and manure that we already had waiting and there are three more bags to top it up to the top with in Alan's car boot.  These will just be placed on top as they are so that all the nutrients don't get washed away by a Winters worth of rain.

There has been some homegrown food this year thank goodness, our little apple tree gave us three apples, which were very unexpected considering the transplanting and waiting around in it's pot for so long, but very welcome.  Alan had two of them and made a pie and I have this one in my fridge.  And we have had a constant stream of Courgettes from the three plants I grew in pots while we were still at the flat and transplanted into the flower bed when we moved here ... oh and a couple of marrows when we didn't spot a courgette in time for it to qualify as such!!

It's a good job we have something homegrown as my fridge is a bare and desolate waste ground at the moment, that's what happens when you get used to living with a tiny fridge and suddenly you have SPACE to expand your horizons. 

 Don't worry it will be filled once I go shopping ... and you know I have a bit of a larder of tins and dried food  😉

Sue xx

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

A Final Peek


As promised here it is, a final peek behind the doors of my new home.

The only room left to show you is the bedroom, measuring in at a smidge over 8ft wide by 12ft 7 inches long it is a good sized room with lots of light coming in from the floor to ceiling double doors and window and the same high ceiling as the living room.  I have the voiles at the doors puddled on the floor as I haven't been well enough to hem them, and if I'm honest I am kind of loving the effect now, they might just stay that way.  One job less to do and it's a nice casual look.

I'm still loving the accent wall with it's Laura Ashley wallpaper, I'm so pleased I chose this one and in this colour scheme it gives a calmness to the room.

The mis-matched bedside tables were both Vinterior finds, you saw the Ercol drawers on the right before I moved in on  THIS  post and the dark wood French cupboard was another find a couple of weeks ago ... gosh sometimes I am so easily tempted!  Although that really has to be my last furniture purchase as I have pretty much run out of space for any more.

I am hoping that one day when I am in a more brutal mood this bookcase and it's contents will go, but for now my papery overspill of friends live in here with me. 

A calmer side of the bed, just the basics and everything I need to hand.

And that it is, the final room of the home tour.  To give you an idea of the full space and the overall layout, here below is the floorplan.

It also shows you how the annexe is connected to the main house.  The connection in the top corner of Alan's kitchen is his tall broom cupboard which has the main soil pipe to his two bathrooms and mine  behind a false back.  The whole thing is very well done, and although our kitchen are back to back we really can't hear each other at all when we are in them.

So my 336 square foot of living space is working out very well and proving to be a better and more useable space than the caravan, which actually had a total of 432q ft but some of it just wasn't used at all, hence me being confident that this would work for me.

Now the tour is over it's time to get back to some more regular and more normal blogging, and it's time for me to simply chat and to show how life is being lived here at Lavender Lodge.

Sue xx

Friday, 24 September 2021

A Quick Living Room Tour


It's time for a quick living room tour I think. 

Sorry to have kept you waiting but this week has been all about appointments and such, the boring stuff that I really do not want to talk about.  So ... some housey housey photographs to take my mind off things.

Two small steps past the kitchen and there is the bathroom door on your left, and heading onwards just  two more steps bring you to the living room. 

The modified radiator cover gives me a welcome extra surface for display of much loved treasures and a handy surface for putting down keys etc  The painted picture sellotaped to the wall was done by my son as my 60th birthday present but due to Covid and his work patterns was only delivered in person by him a few weeks ago.  I wanted to have framed myself once I had decided what colour scheme to go with, so it's there while I make up my mind.

It is a representation of this.

Just a girl in the woods by a simple log cabin ... my idea of heaven ... that I wanted to bring the spirit of to Lavender Lodge.

Anyway to carry on ... turn yourself around watching you don't fall over the ever present Pug, sometimes I think there are three of her she is simply everywhere!!

My gloriously lavender coloured sofa and footstool dominate the small room with a very welcome splash of colour, with most other things having come with me either from the Van or from Wales.  The bedside lamp re-invented now as an evening reading light and my much loved and years old lavender cushion having at last found it's perfect home.

Opposite my sofa and from my viewing position you can see what I see when I sit down on the sofa to relax, and there's been a lot of that recently!!  Everything fitted in so neatly thank goodness, although I do feel slightly dominated by doggy beds.  One or the other was supposed to be the choice but both the dogs and Ginger the cat vary their choice of bed so often I can't bring myself to take one away and leave someone disappointed.

The light floods into this room so wonderfully through the almost floor to ceiling and wall to wall double doors and windows, and the vaulted ceiling takes the eye up so well that although this space is small ... just over 9ft by 12ft ... it feels quite spacious.

There's just one more room to go, so I'll see you next week.

Have a good weekend.

Sue xx

Monday, 20 September 2021

Behind Closed Doors


So many of you wanted a quick look behind the closed doors of the kitchen, that I guess I should show you a quick peek before we move on to the living room.

Here we go, I'll try and take you in the order that you can see them in this top photo.

The first cupboard is the boiler cupboard, and although you are not supposed to store things in a cupboard containing a combi-boiler I couldn't resist using a bit of the space for my 'tool box'.  Two baskets of sort of household-y tool bits ... hammers, nails, screwdrivers etc.  And a few hooks might have appeared on the side of the cupboard for bits, oh and a cork board on the door ... I blame the Aldi centre aisles for that one!!

The cupboard below holds the consumer unit ... the electric fuse box and cut-off point for the annexe, so the joiner cleverly made me a shelf that sits around it, giving me both shelf space and access in emergencies.  I found a bin that fitted neatly in here and the joiner then altered the shelf to sit behind it when the door is closed, making good use of every last inch of space.

The rest of this cupboard is a mix of cleaning supplies and dog food etc.

Gosh I've shown you the two prettiest interiors first haven't I. 😄

As we come along, here are the shelves and a bit of a close up for you on what is on them.

Below the shelves and the kitchen sink is this cupboard.  Once again the joiner managed to give me a shelf that he cut neatly around the pipes, making full use of all space.  My Remoska and Nutribullet, two of my most used items sit on the lower shelf ready for action.

A step to the left and we have the inside of the double wall cupboard, not really organised properly as such, but it holds the daily crockery and an over abundance of jugs!!

The baskets on the top shelf are all currently empty but I think they will be useful for helping me reach things off the top shelf once I've worked out what will live in them.

The top drawer holds cutlery and spices.

Middle drawer holds pans, measures and funnels.

And the bottom one has my bowls and baking trays.

The shallow drawer below the oven contains some baking sheets and my pizza sheet.

And the hob above the oven looks like this.

And finally one of my most requested peeks behind closed doors ...

The Larder.

Formerly known as the 'Jam Cupboard' this is officially a Welsh Bread and Cheese Cupboard and one of only two large pieces of furniture that came with me from Wales.  It is proving absolutely perfect for storing all my food.

The top half is mostly jars of dried goods, although for now there are lots of bits in baskets that will be used up and probably not replaced in there as well

And the bottom cupboard holds all the tins and a large basket of pasta and rice.

And there you have it, the kitchen is not the largest of spaces at approximately 6ft wide and 12ft long but I'm managing very nicely and most things are now unpacked and in approximately the right places.

Time to close all these doors and head up to the living room methinks.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Come On In ...

Well I enticed you in with pictures of The Shed at the end of last week, so now it really is only fair that I ask you to grab your coffee and step in for a quick visit to my new home instead of leaving you loitering in the back garden.  

Let's wander in together.  Today I will take you into the front garden, such as it is and then the hall ... which also just happens to be the kitchen.

This little space in the top photo ... as well as being the logical space for the three wheelie bins to live ... just screamed out to be my own little front garden.  So a couple of planters were purchased from the good old centre aisles at Aldi and planted up with Lavender ... well they had to be didn't they 😊

Directly outside the front door is my little tin bath planted up with Rosemary, Sage, Chives and Thyme, nice and handy for the kitchen, which is just through the front door.

As you step in, to the immediate right is a little welcoming tableau, and yet more lavender ... this time very fake ... alongside a very real Mother in Laws Tongue plant sat on my little car boot sale find table from last year.

To your left and behind the door is space to hang your coat, mind now don't spill your coffee!!

Oh look someone is here to welcome us 🐕

And here is my little office set up.  I'm using the worktop that the kitchen fitters set above the radiator cover as my desk, and on my new comfy breakfast bar stool from Dunelm I can just about manage to get a blog post done before my back starts screaming too loud and drowns out the words in my head.

My gorgeous Welsh Bread and Cheese cupboard is now known as the larder.  In Wales it was christened the Jam Cupboard as that was what it mostly held, but now it holds ALL my food and is doing a sterling job, as well as looking very pretty and bringing some rustic charm to my modern kitchen space.

To the righthand side of this six foot wide space is the main body of the kitchen.  It starts at the Smeg fridge freezer and ends at the clock on the wall.  I have somehow managed to fit in everything I need to be able to carry on enjoying cooking.  

Gosh you can tell I'm not an Instagrammer can't you ... I should no doubt have closed the washing machine door, moved the rubber gloves, emptied the drainer and artfully arranged a vase of flowers somewhere, but I'm me and you get me warts and all (I haven't really got warts!!).

I love the gentle green of the units, the spacious drawers and my little hob and I love once again having a selection of  cook books on shelves in my kitchen.  Inspiration for my cooking and a lovely colourful display to browse through while I wait for the kettle to boil.

What you've finished your coffee?  Come back another day, I'll make you a fresh one and we will venture further in.

If you have any questions on what you've seen up to now or would like to see more of the behind doors areas of this space before we move further in just let me know and I will see what I can do.

Sue xx

Friday, 3 September 2021

Hello ...


Hello remember me?

Haha, of course you do  😀

Firstly, I'd like to say sorry for being away for so long and I realise that I have lots to catch you all up on.  So over the next couple of weeks I'll try to get back into that blogging rhythm and bring you up to date on life as it is now ... now that I am here in my new home, Lavender Lodge.

The top photo is the little flower garden, well it was supposed to be the flower garden but the Courgette plants that needed somewhere to live have taken over completely.  Soon, as the colder nights really draw in, the plants will die back and we will claim back this part of the garden for the pretties and the wildlife.  Next year the Courgettes will be in a large planter to the side of the shed.

Talking of sheds ... we finished it last week, that is mostly the royal 'we' of course, although I partook of all the tittivating and prettying up.

Dave the Handyman set to on my shed as soon as all the work on the house was finished.

And over the course of two weeks, my shed slowly took shape.

With vinyl shingles on the roof and a little veranda area at the front it started to take on exactly the look I was after.

Do you remember the picture I found on the internet?  This is all Dave had to go on, and I think he copied it very well for the space I had.  I purposely asked him to leave out the front step as we didn't have the height available as the shed walls are made out of the old fence panels we took down which were six foot tall.  Re-cycle, re-use and re-purpose is always my motto.

The day the door catch went on was funny.  

Dave actually put the wrong sort of gate latch, I don't think we were on the same wavelength and the sort he used cannot be opened from the inside!!  He realised his mistake when the wind blew the door shut and he very sheepishly had to phone me from inside the shed to go and let him out.

We now have a large hook and eye system to hold the door open while I'm in the shed.

I'm really happy with the finished result.  

There are just some stones to add to the pots to hide the cement and it will be all done.

This is the inside.

I've wanted a wallpapered shed ever since we lived in Berkshire and I found some glorious 1930s wallpaper up on the walls in the little ramshackle shed that was there.  See Here.  Now I finally had the chance to use up two odd rolls of wallpaper that I had been storing for ages.

All my favourite little bits and pieces are ready for action for next years growing season.

And with the large window and insulated roof and sides I should be able to get some seedlings growing early next Spring.

So there you go, first snippets of home to whet your appetites and I promise I'll be back very soon this time.

Have a great weekend.

Sue xx