Thursday, 25 February 2016

Another bedroom completed

Having made good progress downstairs yesterday, I made my way upstairs today. The target in my sights was my youngest daughter's bedroom. It's not a big room and two summers ago, before she started at secondary school, we completely refurbed it to make it a little more 'grown up' for her.
Her room contains the bulk head from the stairs so I had the brainwave that if we sliced her wardrobe up, we could mount the cupboard section of it on the top of the bulk head to save floor space. Once that was done, we chopped up her desk and built that in too, along with some deep shelves to the side and shallower book shelves below. Her bed JUST fits in.
The drawers from the wardrobe had castors added and roll underneath her bed for added clothes storage.
I also found her a cute little wall mounted dressing table and mirror.

When the room is clean and tidy, it looks great. Needless to say, it's not often like that for long :(

I had aimed to just give it a good sort and deep clean because my daughter had gone through all the non necessary items she wanted to keep and boxed them up. Unfortunately, when I started to clean, I realised the walls were filthy. I can't decide if it's pollution from the road (scary thought!) or soot from her candles, but I had to completely redecorate the room. I had tried to wipe the walls down, but it just smeared :(

Anyway, it's all done now and looks very cute again. The challenge now is to keep it that way!

With having been away and then being busy, I haven't been shopping for food, so the cupboards and fridge are extremely bare! I made soup with three very sad parsnips, 3 carrots, 2 potatoes, half an onion and a clove of garlic with spices and chicken stock from the deep freeze. To accompany the soup, I decided to try a soda bread as I had buttermilk in the deepfreeze. It was really nice with a lovely crunchy crust. Mr D classed it as a success :) 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The biggest room in the house

I must have been on a roll yesterday because once I'd done the lounge, bathroom and conservatory, I carried on to tackle the kitchen/dining/family room. This is the room we spend most of the time in so it gets the most wear and tear. I have decluttered the kitchen worktops and dresser, removed the CD shelves and over 400 CDs - I had only just put those shelves up, but decided the space looked better without them. I have also scrubbed all of the kitchen cupboards inside and out, cleaned the windows, cleaned the oven and washed down the walls. I would still like to sand down the worktops and re-oil them, but ran out of steam by the time I'd done all of the above!

Jet's settee. I will probably remove the covers for a viewing.

We've had some wonderful meals around this table! We originally had a six seater, which is still in the shed. We have been known to put them both together diagonally across the space and have Sunday roasts for 13 :) 

When we first moved in to the house, there was a galley style kitchen extension where the kitchen is now. We extended out to the right to make this square L shape. It completely transformed the way we lived! We have always liked to eat together (I did as a child) and making this room so much more inviting really enhanced that. I would certainly like a kitchen you could eat in in my next house.

Thank you for all the lovely comments about the house. It's been really encouraging :)

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Making slow but steady progress

Yesterday, I have to admit, I was getting a tad stressed. It wasn't helped that I felt rough - I've been suffering from prolonged bouts of dizziness for about 4 weeks, so the thought of buckling down and doing a deep clean didn't appeal. This whole house staging takes a heck of a lot longer than I thought and as fast as I move forwards, I seem to slip back with equal alacrity! I guess if the house was empty of people and pets it wouldn't be quite so tricky :)

Anyhow, I'm feeling a bit better today, so I've decided to finish off the rooms which were nearly there rather than tackle a new one. By the end of today, the downstairs would be ready to photograph/view. My aim is then to keep that ticking over as I move upstairs. Two of the bedrooms are done (belonging to the two daughters who aren't living at home presently) and I've shut the doors to keep the cats out. I don't think ours will take too long either. The other two children's rooms may take a while longer to decontaminate!
It would be great to get the inside done by the end of the week, then all I'll need to do is a quick tidy in the garden.

We now have a staged lounge.....

As you can see, we have some by welcome sunshine today :)

Downstairs bathroom ......

Slow but steady wins the race .... 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Temporary interruption in service

Sorry for the radio silence of late. It's been half term, so the first half was spent doing more jobs - sadly I'm still very much at the stage where it all looks awful :(
On Thursday we travelled up to see Mr D's cousin near Ramsbottom in Lancashire. They've recently moved into a new house which they've had built. It's lovely of course as you might imagine! We had some wild and wet weather, but did manage some trips out in the dry too.
This is our visit to Downham village in the Ribble Valley - a place seemingly untouched by modern eyesores! So beautiful to stroll around and imagine exactly how it would have been a hundred or so years ago. I always feel it's a shame that cars have to be allowed anywhere near these places, but it's not a museum and people live there, so it's a necessity I guess.
Photos are courtesy of my cousin-in-law as ever. She takes MUCH better pictures than I could ever do!

Not a bad view from your resting place!

If you're thinking it looks like a film set, you would be right! It was used in the old Hayley Mills film "Whistle down the wind" and also as the set of Born and Bred - the TV programme. 

The Assheton Arms in the heart of the village serves great food by the way :) 

I also thought I'd post this photo of our little girl cat, Freya,  taken by Mr D's cousin Wendy - it's a cracker!  

This week will be full of more sorting and cleaning. I'm hoping to be able to post some photos towards the end of the week...yippee!, I hear you cry :) 

Oh, one more thing. I thought you might like to see the pebbles I painted as a gift for Wendy. Unbeknownst to me, the colours of the pebbles match her kitchen perfectly :) 

Monday, 15 February 2016

Big girls blouse

We have some seriously soppy pets! Yesterday morning, I got out of bed to do the animal rounds and before I could blink, in to my place hopped one black cat. He made himself extremely comfortable and stayed there most of the day!

I have to admit I was rather envious :)

Jet has always had a fear of the Hoover and the lawnmower. He copes with the steamer and other noisy machines like my sander etc, but he's developed a new more extreme fear since his operation.

Every now and again, he will start to get really agitated, shaking, whining and being very clingy. Because he had had a major op, we presumed he was in pain, so had been giving him painkillers. Then we realised that he was still doing it despite the painkillers. After a process of elimination, we have come to the conclusion he has a pathological terror of the dishwasher! Every time I turn it on, he starts. It's a Bosch and very quiet for a dishwasher actually, but he can't cope with it! Seriously?! He's a big girl's blouse :)

Trying to be all gangster, but underneath is a heart of jelly! 

Friday, 12 February 2016

One bedroom staged

I feel as if I'm on an uphill struggle presently - I start a job, only to find it then creates multiple others! Still, I am making some progress even if I'm at the 'worse before it gets better' stage ....

I decided to start on one of the bedrooms which isn't presently in use. Daughter number two who is in America, has the front double bedroom. Originally it was the main bedroom, but when we built the extension about 16 years ago, we extended the second double bedroom at the back, so that became ours.

This is the room now. It's a pretty, light filled room. I don't think it needs anything else doing. 

I bought a valance to cover the underbed storage items, but her bed has legs and a slat which runs head to toe, so I had to cut the valance three times to hang around the 'obstacles'. I thought I'd just quickly run up the seams on my machine, but there is obviously an issue with the bobbin and it kept jamming, so I gave up and hand sewed them.

Blurry photo, snapped quickly on my phone. There's not a huge difference, but I have packed away all her decorative items and thinned out the frames on the wall. I had covered the bed with a large throw brought back from a mums to keep the cats off the bedding, but it was really a kingsize throw and didn't cover the end of the bed. You can just glimpse the shelves in the right hand corner. All the books have been boxed up. At least it will be less to do at a later stage. 

I then decided it would be a good idea to remove the shelves from the alcove. They weren't great shelves as I'd made them myself, BUT of course, when I started to take them off, half the wall came with them! I spent the afternoon filling the holes and repainting. It's not perfect, but I hunted round for a large picture and once hung, it covers most of the lumps and bumps!

One bedroom down - only another four to go :(

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Egg curry

I have to say I had never had an egg curry before, but I happened upon Rick Stein making one on the TV at the weekend, so thought it would be worth a try. I love eggs in all their guises anyway :)

This was an extremely simple recipe and very frugal for someone who has free eggs too.

Serves 4. Serve with plain boiled rice.

Hard boil 4 to 6 eggs and set aside.
Finely slice an onion (I used a red one, but it doesn't matter) and fry off gently in some oil. Add finely chopped garlic (about 2 cloves) and ginger (I used fresh because I had it, but 1 tsp of dried would do).
Once softened, add 2 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground turmeric and 1/2 to 1 tsp chilli depending on taste. I also added about 8 curry leaves because I have some in the deep freeze, but leave these out if you don't have any. Fry the spices for a minute before adding a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin of hot water, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce to thicken whilst cooking the rice. About 5 minutes before serving lower in the halved, shelled eggs. Add a sprinkling of chopped coriander if you have any (I have frozen coriander which works just fine).

It was quick, cheap, easy and rather tasty. I'd definitely make egg curry again :)

Happy Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday everyone :)

Monday, 8 February 2016

Small steps

Following on from the success of the shed clearance yesterday, I decided to try and carry on with some indoor tasks today. Jet isn't helping as he is VERY clingy!! He can't cooe with me leaving the room and is following me so closely I keep treading on him. He's ok now I've sat down to type this! He was the same yesterday when we were in the shed until we gave him a bone to gnaw on!

Anyway, I have tackled two small areas today.

This is the gas fire in the lounge. We very rarely use it, but it does work. It's really one of the first things you see when you come in the lounge door and it was looking a little jaded. I had found some special spray paint in the shed for painting 'coals', so I cleared it out, dusted, relaid the coals and sprayed them black. I ran out of spray, but it's certainly made it look a bit smarter, especially now I've scrubbed the metal grate front too.

I also decided to tackle the shelves in the alcove. They looked a little crowded, so I've had a good declutter. They look a bit better now. I could remove even more books and I might, but .....

 Once I'd tackled those areas, I gave the lounge a good clean, hoovering under the settee cushions and moving all the furniture. I'm ashamed to say I found my credit card under one of the settees which I had 'lost' a couple of weeks ago and had to cancel...oops :(

Sunday, 7 February 2016


Like many others in blogland, I have been feeling very low and disinterested recently. I am not a fan of January/February anyway and this year it seems to have really taken its toll.
I have a ridiculous list of jobs that need doing and yet haven't managed any of them. I do get so cross with myself!

Fortunately though today, Mr D and myself have had a really good sort out of the sheds. They now actually look like a useable feature of the house rather than a rubbish tip at the bottom of the garden.

We got rid of quite a bit of stuff already, but there's a lot more to go yet! I was obviously a plant pot hoarder as I had a stupid amount down the side of the shed. I've kept a number of smaller ones for potting on and the 9'' ones that fit inside my white porcelain plant pots, but the rest have now gone off to the tip. There must have been hundreds :(

I fear the shed is my worst area for 'clutter' I definitely keep all sorts of random items because they might be useful. Of course, they often are useful and over the years my stash has saved us lots of money, but it had definitely got out of hand so I'm very pleased with what we have achieved today.

You will no doubt be wondering why the heck we have letters on the shed. For some reason, which I now can't really remember, we thought it would be fun for our 18 month old when we first moved in (she's now 23). The shed is actually constructed from metal plane parts. One of the chaps who lived here some time ago worked at Vickers aircraft factory. It's certainly lasted a lot longer than a wooden shed would have. 

This is the open fronted section of the shed. Other than my potting bench on the left, this area is used almost entirely for storage. Those blessed golf clubs have been used about 4 times in the last 15 years..... 

Now, I just need to tackle tidying up the garden which is looking very sad indeed :(

Monday, 1 February 2016

Painted pebbles

On the Internet, I'd seen pictures of beautiful lace effect painted pebbles, so the other week I bought a pen to have a go. I bought two pens - one white, extra fine and one black fine, with a voucher I had for Hobbycraft. I now wish I'd bought them both extra fine, but it was difficult to tell without actually trying it out - live and learn!

This is the one with the extra fine pen. Definitely my favourite.

Passable, but not quite the look I was going for! 

I'd like to do feathers too, so I might have to get myself a black version of the extra fine pen for that. I'm not sure whether to spray them with a light coating of shellac for protection, so I might try it out in the black one to see how it looks. 

Just a short post today - not much to say at the moment :)