Friday 30 April 2021

willing to burn


I just love words

and words that make me think

I love even more

Thursday 29 April 2021

Double-Bedding, Saving Money, Spending Money ... but Saving Money Too


I got a bit fed up with all the dog beds lying around the place and the dogs rarely using them, so last week I put the flat grey dog bed inside the brown furry dog bed ... now this double bedding situation is making the dogs retire to their bed at every opportunity.

Obviously double-bedding is the way forward in canine comfort 🐕🐶

In an effort to save money and give myself as much comfort as the dogs have in their bed I decided to give my walking boots a good overhaul the other day.  I went to Timpson and bought new laces, new insoles and a spray can of weatherproofing stuff. 

 After a good wash ... that's why they are allowed on the worktop ... and a good dry on the bench in the sunshine padded out with newspaper I set to spraying, inserting and lacing.

Ironically with all the dry weather we have been having recently they were as dusty as hell after the first doggy walk, but they were also really, really comfortable.

After not finding anything in the shops that I wanted to spend my remaining £40 birthday money on I decided to add to it and treat myself to a nice new Remoska for my new home.   

Now the last time I bought a Remoska was HERE, wow did I really first purchase it back in 2012!!  It has always been in regular use although not by me anymore as Alan has used it for lots of meat, and I just can't bring myself to share it anymore with it's meaty splatters on the lid.  So we decided that he would get 'custody' of the old Remoska and I will have my nice new one.  

In the six years since we bought the old one it has gone up by £40 but they are still worth every penny, they save so much on electricity bills that they have usually paid for themselves within the first year.  BUT for this purchase I had three different vouchers!!

I put in the order, inserted all the voucher codes one after the other to claim my free Remoska cookbook, my 20% off that Lakeland had sent me directly in their little monthly brochure and the £10 off a £60 spend that had been on the leaflet in my magazine, and they all worked.  The next day I had a polite email from Lakeland telling me that I shouldn't have been able to use both the £10 off and the 20% at the same time but as the website had allowed it through they would honour it.

So I have actually got my nice new Remoska for exactly the same price that I paid for the original one over six years ago and a free cookbook too, which last time cost me an additional £9.99.

Does a little happy dance  💃💃💃

Yesterday as I needed to measure my Welsh Bread and Cheese cupboard for the kitchen designer I took my large box to the storage lockup that we have until we move again and added it to all the other boxes that are waiting for us there.  I can't wait until she can be unpacked and put into good use.

Sue xx

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Purple Sofas and Patchwork Patios


So I've fallen in love with a purple sofa, and I will possibly get a matching footstool.  There's no space for a chair as well but then there's usually only going to be me and a certain little Pug there so we won't need one.  The footstool can be for tired legs, can be a coffee table if I pop a tray on top or can be additional seating if I do get visitors.

I would say little dogs won't be allowed on it ... but that's never worked out in the past, so maybe I'll get a matching fleecy throw for Suky's half of the sofa 😄

The hardcore from the back has all been taken away now, and over the weekend the Indian Stone paving slabs that were taken up from the right-hand side of the garden were laid into position where the mouldy wooden decking used to be.  It's like a patchwork of stone, and once they have all been properly laid with sand and cement all the stone will be pressure washed to make it look nice and clean.  

Wall Up -  Parking for 2 cars with one blocked in by the other.

Wall Down - Parking for 3 cars, all with access to the road.

We thought we might have to use some of the front parking area's flagstones to finish the patio off but we don't need to, in fact there should be some of the smaller sized flagstones from the back to make good the damage in the front where we have taken the little wobbly wall down to open up all of the front garden to the road.  This now gives us space to neatly park three cars off the road with no struggle and no blocking of the pavement. 

 Although it all looks a bit concrete-y and bare at the moment once we are there we will be adding some plants and colour to soften things a bit.  Little steps but all in the right direction, and I have a guy coming to install my two new interior doors on Monday and the electrician to move the TV point from halfway up the wall to my preferred lower position.

I have also made an exciting purchase from a company called  Vinterior which should be arriving in a couple of weeks, I'll show you it as soon as it's here.  If you like vintage and retro furniture and fittings you'll love looking round this site.

Sue xx

Saturday 24 April 2021

Is Life Too Short to Skin a Chickpea?


Remember back in the 70s or 80s I think it was, when Shirley Conran said 'Life is too short to stuff a mushroom.' ... well this sprang to mind when I found myself skinning chickpeas yesterday.

Would it be worth it, half an hour spent at the sink ...

... rubbing the skins off two tins worth of chickpeas.

But the resulting hummus ... I would have to say it is well worth it.

Although I may not be quite so pernickety about it next time, the odd skin slipping through would not be the end of the world after all.  But it made for the most delicious, smooth and velvety hummus, I ate quite a lot just as I was adjusting the seasoning.

I did my usual trick of adding some water to the Nutribullet cup to get every last drop of goodness from it, and make washing it out easier.   The liquid was then added to a pasta sauce I made for tea, but it can also be added to soups or stews ... it's far too full of goodness and flavour to throw away.

Lunch, was nice and simple, but oh so delicious.

The recipe I use is from Deliciously Ella's first book.

Sue xx

Thursday 22 April 2021

A Walk to Check on Progress

The night before last we took a late evening doggy walk along the canal to the house to check on progress.   Alan has been much better this week and our walks have gotten longer and longer so now walking round to the house is back to normal, and both he and Suky have been getting some distance stamina in.  The downside to walking the canal in the evening is the midges, they get everywhere, I hate the little buggers.

Rounding the corner we discovered a nice neat front area, with the skip already loaded ready for pick up today.  Dave, our handyman and whizz at all trades is taking the washing machine and oven to the recycling centre next time he passes there.  A new skip will be in place once this one has gone and after  the space is used for the drop off of the things we have ordered for the back garden.

And talking of back gardens, it is now looking much neater out there, the part with the removed paving stones will be edged with sleepers and a large bed for a tree and some shrubs and seasonal plants will be at the bottom end.  Taking the line from the end of the annexe as a guide, so it will be a nice large bed of greenery and colour.  I still don't like having that much paving though, but Alan does ... hey ho!!

At the end of the annexe the fencing has been neatened up by using the painted panels to cover the old fencing that was there and which doesn't belong to us.  Once finished this will be my growing area for flowers and vegetables ... once I have designed the raised beds that will be going in there and that will be a green and luscious area hopefully.

I have fallen in love with this ... minus the side window and front veranda step but still with the overhang, and am trying to find someone to make it for me.  It would fit quite neatly into the space at the end of the annexe, completely covering the panel that is currently painted green.  💖

While we were there I took a minute to measure to see if I can fit a double bed in the bedroom and still be able to get two bedside drawers in ... I can, just!!  So that is the plan, and yesterday I spent a long time online picking out the furniture that I need, a bed, a wardrobe, two bedside drawers and a new sofa.  Once the annexe is painted they will all be ordered and delivered directly there.  

Before that, next weeks job is to have two new doors hung, one for the bathroom and one for the bedroom.  We have employed a local joiner to order and fit the doors as the doorframes both have unusual dimensions and both the frames and the doors will need to be modified ... and then after that the painting can commence.  Yay  😃

Edited to add:  Dave our brilliant handyman is going to make the shed for me once all the other jobs are completed ... he's a genius, it's official  😁

Sue xx

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Thank You, Oh Weird Ones


Thank you for all the birthday wishes  💖

That's it for another year, I can relax now.

The flowers were from my eldest son and his girlfriend ... who I have yet to meet thanks to the Lockdowns.  They came via Moonpig just like my Mother's Day flowers and landed through the letterbox with a very satisfying and Mavis provoking THUD.

The bag was off Alan and holds a shed load of shopping, which is very good as now the Challenge is over I can shop again and obviously I walk to and from all the shops now.  

I also bought some new clothes with money off my Mum, some new jeans to replace the two pairs I have lived in throughout lockdown, a new t-shirt and a really nice Fat Face checked shirt, and I still have what I am considering a £40 clothing allowance to spend when I see something I fancy in the charity shops. 

It was a good day, again thank you for all the good wishes and for understanding my phone phobia, it's nice that we are a bunch of equally weird ones.

Sue xx

Monday 19 April 2021

A Sign of the Times


It's a sign of the times for sure when your new birthday present bag comes complete with a free face mask!! 

 I had to smile, it's just so ... Covid  😎

I went out for a mooch around the charity shops after completing a blog post over on the other blog, it should have been done last night for publishing first thing this morning but as usual was left until the last minute.  Have you ever noticed that when you have money to spend and the will to spend it the offerings at all the local charity shops are zero, zilch, nothing.  I came home with four cushion covers and a little vase that just called out to me.  I doubt it will ever hold flowers but it was just something about the shape and texture that appealed.

It's a bit of a strange day, my birthday always is, I'm extremely phone phobic, I will walk miles to tell someone something rather than ring them, and this is the one day when everyone feels they should phone you, I end up being all sweetness and light on the phone and then once they've gone yelling at my phone ... 'JUST LEAVE ME ALONE'.  Then I feel guilty and end up in tears.

It's not a normal response I know ... but then did I ever say I was normal?  If you thought I did then you were sadly misinformed.

I have nothing left to say I am all talked and cried out ... oh and I don't want sympathy just say Happy Birthday and go on your way  😉

Sue xx

Friday 16 April 2021

Curtains for Colin?

Meet Colin ... Colin the Cactus.

He was in the annexe when we first went to view it, he was in exactly the same place almost three months later when I had the keys and the place was mine.  He was moved off the kitchen worktop when they guys came to take out the old kitchen last Saturday, and that's when I realised he wasn't a fake cactus he was real!!

Poor Colin, he can't have had any water for months, no wonder he looked like the sort of cheap plastic fake cactus that you can buy from the pound shop.  

He had simply given up the will to live 😭  

I gave him a little drink when the guys emptied the U-bend and we found some water in it ... the water for the property was switched off while they took out the washing machine and sink and we couldn't turn it back on as we had nothing to cap off the pipes. Then I gave him a little of my bottle of sparkling water.

The drink obviously went straight to his head because this morning when we went to the new house to check on progress he had toppled out of his plant pot and was lying on the windowsill.  A drunken stupor or death ... I couldn't tell.  

So we tipped all the compost out of his pot put a little back in the bottom and wet it well to weigh it down, and then I re-potted him and gave him a drink of nice fresh water.

Now I just have to wait and see if he survives ... or if it's curtains for Colin  🌵

Sue xx

Wednesday 14 April 2021

Photos on a Doggy Walk

While the guys were dismantling the two kitchens on Saturday morning we went for a doggy walk along the canal.  I wanted to get a new header photograph ready to use on this blog for when I move into my new place. The weather was cold but gloriously bright, just perfect to get a nice clear shot of the bridge and far too nice to sit on the floor watching men work.

The little barge called My Newt tempts me every time we walk past.  Her handrails and trims are all sporting a fresh coat of glossy red paint so I think someone loves her as much as I do.

 It was a beautiful day to slowly wander along the towpath and the dogs met lots of little doggy friends on our slow amble and had a good sniff around as we stopped and chatted to some of the barge owners that live on the water.

We walked first one way and then the other as I was trying to get a good shot of this bridge.  As you can see from the centre writing it was put up in 1927 and it carries a large water pipe rather than pedestrians, which is a bit sad as it would have been a handy cut through to town if we could get over on it.

You'll have to wait and see which photo I chose to use in the end, but I'll give you a clue ... it wasn't any of these.  😁

Sue xx

Tuesday 13 April 2021

It Has to Get Worse Before it Gets Better ...

It's been all go at the new place in the last few days.  

We have had a general handyman in doing lots of the jobs that Alan would usually do, but that since his Covid jab has been too unwell to even consider.  Dave, who seems to be a Jack of all trades and master at them too, has cracked on magnificently.  The kitchens were both due to be ripped out and put in the skip that's arriving today, but then on Thursday night of last week I decided to try putting mine on Facebook Marketplace with Alan's base units being thrown in as a freebie.  

They were snapped up by the first person to get in touch.  So instead of paying to have them taken out, we were paid and they were removed on Saturday by a guy called Phillip and two of his mates.  A couple of hours and they were both disconnected, out of the houses and loaded on to the van to be taken away and made good use of in a house he's renovating - result  😀

How Alan's kitchen looked before.

How it looked immediately after the removal.

And how it looks after yesterday morning's cleaning session and us capping off the pipes and making the live wires safe.

Alan has chosen to have grey gloss base units in the same style and finish as the wall units, with an almost black worktop, a new stainless steel sink and an integrated washer, oven and hob.  It's going to look very smart.

Dave has also been very busy outside in the yard, taking down the dividing fence ...

... and breaking up a large section of the flag stoned area so we can have plants and gravel and make a more natural looking garden.  The flags that he has taken up will be used to fill in the area outside the patio doors that is down to bare earth as the decking that was there was in a really bad state.

Here's a bird's eye view of all his hard work.

The pergola will also be coming down next as it is not as strong as it looks.

And the view from the top floor window.

The fence panels that were dividing the two areas originally are going to be used in this area at the end of the annexe and along the bottom of the garden, and a new fence will be put in between us and the neighbours once some more of the work has been done.  They have been nice enough to let us be able to remove one of their panels to gain access to the skip at the front through their driveway, as our only access to the front would have been through the house.

Also in Alan's, the falling to bits fitted wardrobes have been removed and the larger of the bedrooms on the middle floor now looks even bigger and will be Alan's.

So, it's all coming along nicely and we are on track to get done what we want to do.  I'm trying to upload some photos of my kitchen to show you but my phone is not playing ball  😒

Yay, it's working now, here we are ...

As it was.

Straight after the kitchen had been removed ...

... and after a bit of a tidy up.  

We didn't have anything to clean the floor with after we had swept it, but as the tiles are to be prised off the wall today it didn't really matter.  All the dark turquoise paint is to be painted over with a couple of coats of white paint to hide the colour and then the whole annexe will be painted white.

Oh, and it won't be called 'the annexe' for much longer, it has a new name and a brand new name plaque to go up outside once all the work is done.  I mean, I know I'm a granny and it's an annexe but I didn't want to be living in a granny annexe  😄😉

The new Challenge is up and running now on my other blog - Challenging Myself

Sue xx

Monday 12 April 2021

Challenge Accepted


I mentioned on Saturdays post about missing Challenges, quickly came up with copying an idea I had seen on YouTube and you were all so quick to support me, so what better time to start a new Challenge than on a Monday morning.

The sun is shining and as the frost melts ...

... I will be clutching my single pound coin and heading across the road to Sainsbury's while it's nice and quiet.  

What's for breakfast, well you'll find out over on my other blog Challenging Myself tomorrow morning for now over there is the list of rules that I have set myself and the allowances I have made.

Basically it's one pound for each meal, so three pounds a day.

And twenty one pounds for the whole seven days.

I have put a link over to the Challenging Myself blog at the top of the sidebar, so if you do want to follow this Challenge and you are usually just a reader of this blog you will be able to find it nice and easily.

I'm off shopping now 🛒

Sue xx