Friday, 30 September 2016


What a month! Our didn't go as planned holiday seems such a long time ago. 

We're at the end, with £4.51 left in the grocery budget and no need to shop until this time next week. The house is as it should be*, I've made scones this morning, the bunnies are snoozing, our evening meal is ready and waiting in the fridge and once Dan arrives home this evening we have nothing planned until we go to watch Burnley v Arsenal on Sunday tea time. Oh, and it's pay day!

I've picked up a few books again this month, but I've only finished two, although I'm quite a way through the book about Tesla, might try to finish that this afternoon. I have read The Festival Of Insignificance - Milan Kundera, which was a mercifully quick read, I get the impression that this wasn't a good first book for me to go for by this author. I also read F - Daniel Kehlmann, which I absolutely loved, certainly one of my favourites this year. 

Reading may slow down even more as I've started working on my new quilt again, it's one of the main reasons I'm happy the days are a little colder. It's another Log Cabin 1. because it's my favourite design 2. because it's appropriate for the theme of the quilt. Have I mentioned before it's to show my love for the t.v show Twin Peaks? I probably have, but I am a fan, although I can imagine I'll have some really odd dreams sleeping under the finished item.

For any other fans reading my favourite character is Nadine and my favourite scene is where Major Briggs tells Bobby about his vision, it gives me the feels as they say. Dan's favourite character is Albert Rosenfield. His favourite scene is any time Gordon Cole is talking to Shelly. 

I must have mentioned this before, but I treated myself to some Twin Peaks inspired fabrics from Spoonflower earlier this year, they're dreamy.

I think I went off on a tangent there...

*other than the quilting things obviously

Thursday, 29 September 2016

One In - One Out

So the cake stand had indeed been sold by the time I got to the shop yesterday. 

Right at the end of the day I did see something that caught my eye, and it was something on my shopping list. Just for the record the only things left on my shopping list are a warm coat/jacket, maybe a handbag, and a bra or two. 

I bought this jacket for a stag party I went to a couple of years ago and I loved it. I've worn it many many times, but when I wore it last week I just felt a bit something. What I said I couldn't think of a word to describe it Dan helpfully chipped in (a bit too quickly) "BOXY". Boxy it is then.

I replaced it for the sum of £2.99 with this little number

It's very glittery

Just the ticket, and the spare button is still there on the inside. Very happy. So I've started a new donation bag with one black and white jacket. This purchase also represents the first item in my spending diary. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Hawthorne Effect

I picked up and put down this little Midwinter cake stand umpteen times yesterday. I really wanted to buy it as it's just so cute! I can picture lovely sweeties and slices of cake (albeit small slices) decorating our dining table, and it was only £3.99.

But I didn't buy it.

Very recently we've started recording every non-food and essential household item we buy, and as a consequence the Hawthorne Effect has come into play and we've been talking ourselves out of potential purchases simply because we don't want to put them in the book!

It's the wrong colour for our house anyway. 

Monday, 26 September 2016

Freebie And Bargain Of The Week

I'm not starting to bring a ton of stuff back into the house only days after the end of the declutter, I have just been able to cross a couple of things off our shopping list. 

We'd been thinking about buying a firepit for a little while and saw one on sale a week or two ago, but we didn't buy it. At the bbq yesterday I told my Mum this and she offered us one she had but never used. Although it wasn't the design we were looking at, it should be a great size for our garden so I'm made up. Wasn't quite so happy when Father dropped it on me when we were taking it to the car, but you can't win them all!

Just needs a bit of a wash and brush up. There are some hangy things so you can cook food over it too, after eating food cooked over the coals for the first time in years I have a real desire to get the fires burning again!

We also took home a nearly full carton of soya milk, leftover salads and an unopened tub of houmous, all of which will come in handy.

I was also given a bag of stuff to take to the charity shop, but I am always allowed to have a rummage first for anything that takes my fancy. I've been after a denim skirt for a little while but haven't been taken by any I've seen in the flesh. There were two skirts in the bag, and while they're way too big around the waist they will come in useful. When we go to watch football in the winter I wear many, many layers, generally thermal leggings with normal leggings or tights over the top, a thermal vest, t-shirt or other top and a jumper. Having a skirt with a bigger waist means I can layer up and tuck in with no problems! Happy times. They're also a bit longer than I'd normally wear which means my legs won't come into contact with the plastic seating, I'll have a nice bit of padding. 

Plus there was the usual magazine, newspaper cuttings and bag of plants, a very useful haul.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Level One Cosy

We went to a bbq yesterday to celebrate my niece's birthday Chris was in charge of the vegan cooking, Father was in charge of the meat, my Mum did the salads and yummy stuff, and my other brother brought the cake - which was amazing! I did come home with some freebies, but we were both so worn out when we got home we left them in the car, and its far too cosy inside and breezy outside to get a picture. 

We decided to go to level one cosy today (with plenty more levels to add as the weather gets colder), Dan made toasties *yay* with v-pud, red onion, mushrooms and chutney, very autumnal. I rescued my sofa quilt from the cupboard and we installed ourselves in the living room. An ideal way to unwind after a gig on Friday night and the party yesterday. 

I will get into the kitchen later to make some soup for tonight and to take in our flask tomorrow to our first evening game of the season - Burnley v Watford.  

Friday, 23 September 2016

Hunt The Pic - The Last Few

Firstly, thank you to everyone for your comments yesterday, much appreciated, for anyone struggling with their stuff there are loads of resources online, both for dealing with the stuff itself and for the mental side of things - don't be afraid to ask for help if it's really that bad - mine was keep the blinds shut and don't open the door bad at times, but there are formal and informal resources open to you. 

I can report that I didn't really have to do anything in the kitchen, I just wiped the shelves and put things back as they were. 

Back to the pictures - 



Ok, so that's a bit of a stretch!


A huge thank you to the wonderful Mum for setting this up, it was great fun and I really enjoyed looking through my old pictures and seeing what everyone else came up with. 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The End Of The Tour

Or in my case, the end of this round of decluttering. 

Now it's all about the small things.

This morning I braved my craft bag, chucked some tiny scraps out, put lots of fabric away, and put non-craft things away, unsurprisingly bag is now virtually empty! I deconstructed some old decorations I made years and years ago ready for making into something else and added a bit of colour to a very gloomy morning. 

I also tackled the sideboard, a very neglected area.

A real mix of junk/treasured items.

The books are for my niece, so they'll be wrapped and gone by the weekend.

Then there's my old friend the junk drawer.

It doesn't change too much

As we've been peeling the layers of the onion we've turned up a lot of things we had forgotten about, stashed and dashed, or just ignored because we didn't want to deal with it or didn't know how to best get rid of it. No food has gone to waste, I'm really happy about this but as I'm generally on top of the pantry it's not really a surprise.  

So far we have taken seven bags of things to the charity shop, consisting of one bag of rags, one bag of shoes and accessories, two bags of clothes, one bag of bric-a-brac and two bags of Christmas decorations. After that I took a light, a lamp and some hair dye to the charity shop. We've made a couple of trips to the tip (our car isn't very big) and a small amount of stuff has gone into the recycling and general rubbish bins. The best thing I've dealt with so far is the bathroom, all non essentials have gone and I know where my spare razors are! 

Just the kitchen to go now, it's been a brilliant exercise. I am so thankful that I can just go through the house and see things for what they are, not have to put all my energy into understanding if something is rubbish or an actual item of some value. I still struggle with decision making sometimes but it seems like I have come a long way from being paralysed by those choices - if you've never been a hoarder it will be impossible to understand those feelings and I am very happy for you, it's a mindset that makes your world very small sometimes. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Hunt The Pic - Day Two

I had such fun choosing pictures for yesterday's hunt I decided to do another one today. I can't imagine this will be as awe-inspiring or magical though. 


it was really cold!

A picture of me looking very serious at Tate Liverpool a few years ago. I think it must be just less than three years ago as my niece was a fairly recent arrival.

Visitors were encouraged to stitch onto a huge piece of gold fabric, so I did! I must have been thinking of her at the time as I added the words tiny thing.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Hunt The Pic, With Mum

Yonks ago Mum set the challenge to Hunt The Pic, a great way to look back at our old photographs and reimagine them 

1. dream
2. possession
3. passion
4. wonder
5. source
6. tune or song
7. wink
8. comfort
9. thought
10. glance
11. spectacle
12. inspiration
13. sight
14. beauty
15. arrangement
16. grace
17. weakness
18. elegance
19. smell or aroma
20. happiness

Initially I didn't know where to begin with the list, so I read and re-read the words to find a way in.

The more I looked the more one thing came to mind. My photographs are from the breathtaking Coventry Cathedral, for anyone who doesn't know, Coventry was bombed in November 1940 and the medieval St Michael's Cathedral largely destroyed. After the war a competition was held to design the new building, Basil Spence was the architect, Ove Arup & Partners were the structural engineers. 

I could talk about this amazing building (is it one building, or two?) and the stories behind it all day (and I really mean all day) but I won't, I'll just leave the pictures here and let them explain why I chose them. 

taken from the tower of the old building, with the current building to the left with the green roof

St Michael and the Devil - Jacob Epstein

Baptistry Window - John Piper, and the Bethlehem Font

Tapestry of Christ in Glory - Graham Sutherland

Eagle Lectern - Elisabeth Frink (Flame of the Holy Spirit, background, also E. Frink)

High Altar Cross - Geoffrey Clarke

The words I chose from the list were happiness, elegance, weakness, grace, beauty, sight, inspiration, spectacle, thought, comfort, source, wonder, passion, dream and arrangement. 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Freebie And Bargain Of The Week

Clitheroe in the sun

I needed tea, so we had planned to visit Lancaster yesterday, but at the last minute I suggested we go to Clitheroe instead, we hadn't been for yonks and I knew we could get tea there. So we did! We had a very nice coffee and bought some tea, plus a funnel from the hardware shop then we went to Accrington as I wanted to visit the One Planet co-op (but forgot to take photographs).

We walked through the beautiful arcade, saw an amazing ghost sign

and snapped up some bargains! We don't have any of the really bargain shops here, but I am a member of a couple of vegan shopping groups on social media and I am always amazed at some of the bargains to be had. 

The last time I walked past Jack Fulton, many years ago, someone was standing in one of the freezers, so that put me off. Today almost everyone was on their best behaviour, we were very restrained but came home with 

We paid £2.29 for this, the Food Doctor things were 50p each, ideal for Dan who has lost quite a bit of weight, so I'm trying to feed him up, the crackers were two packs for £1 and the Oatly was 29p (it's usually about 99p). Other than the Oatly, which has a best before date of March 2017 everything is short dated, but that's fine as we're going to eat them quickly anyway!

Freebies of the week came in the form of things we still own that I thought we'd chucked out years ago

four table runners! Our dining table is too gorgeous and narrow to use any of them, so should anyone like the look of any of them I'm happy to send them to you if you're in the UK! In the spirit of honesty the one bottom right has been chewed in one corner.

Rabbits, what can you do?

eta, the bottom right one has frayed after washing so is probably useless.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Pretty Flat

As I mentioned last year when I failed to produce a cake for the bake sale at the shop I am not much of a baker. However I do like cake, so something had to give. We made a chocolate and cherry cake a couple of weeks ago, did I mention that? I can't remember, it was delicious and I think I'm going to make it again next weekend so we're not birthday cake-less at a birthday party we're attending. 

Today we made pancakes, yes it was almost certainly due to watching batter week on GBBO this week.  

Yet again Isa Chandra Moskowitz came to our rescue with her carrot cake pancake from the splendid book Isa Does It, see the recipe here. The only substitution I made was to use agave instead of maple syrup. 

I drizzled mine with extra syrup and sprinkled on a couple of chocolate chips. They were a real success, light and fluffy, simple to make and made with ingredients we always have to hand. I will be making them again (often) next time I'll ease up on the allspice though as it was almost too much for me, I'm not a huge fan. 

Isa Does It has flown to the top of my non-existent favourite cookbooks list recently and this recipe does nothing to make me think it will be dislodged any time soon!

Friday, 16 September 2016

In The Window

On Saturday I worked for a few hours at the charity shop. Dan was too ill to go to the football and the manager had no volunteers so I thought it would be good for everyone to nip down for a few hours.

It was pretty uneventful, so I changed the side window display. 

It's a bit of a transition window, still fairly summery but with a bit of cool weather clothing thrown in. 

You may have noticed I love a red bag and gold shoes in my window!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Tarnished Reputation

Yesterday Mum shared some pictures of her shiny brass, and again I was inspired to face up to something I'd been avoiding.

Whenever I return home I hurry inside as quickly as possible, as the area around the front door is awful. The door is in desperate need of painting, the surface is uneven and the paint peeling, and as for the door furniture...

Chris and Holly didn't use all up all the lemons in their g&t so I set to work this morning. I now realise first thing in the morning is not the best time to do this as it means having to discuss matters with all the neighbours!

This picture is very flattering to the letterbox, it looked far worse in reality! I'd already made a start on the right hand side at this point. 

I rubbed and rubbed, it took quite some time but eventually I made some progress

I'll give it another go at some other time, but this will do for now. Not exactly shiny, but not totally embarrassing! This spring cleaning is addictive, I sense a trip to the hardware shop for some black paint is in my future. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

I've Been Avoiding You

I made the mistake of organising my craft sideboard by putting two catch all boxes in there. They did their job, they caught all manner of things that shouldn't have been in there. Plus they were a little bit too big so the door kept coming open. 

I had avoided the room the sideboard lives in so I didn't have to face it. 

This is after I'd rehomed a couple of things already. 

Needless to say this huge job took me about 15 minutes to sort out. Amazing how things build up in my mind. No wonder my anxiety has been through the roof recently!

All done!

I do have six of the ceramic pots, but one is downstairs at the minute. 


Tuesday, 13 September 2016


We whittled the Christmas decorations down from the mass I showed yesterday to the big red box and a small gift bag.

I now have pumpkins to adorn the fireplace 

I can't quite believe with the amount of orange things I have in the house I had no orange fabric!

Dan has returned to work, and this morning even claimed he was "a bit hungry", progress indeed. 

Monday, 12 September 2016

My Sadie-Inspired Home

Sadie's delightful blog couldn't really be more different to mine, but it's one of my favourites as it's full of love, honesty and pink things. Last week she shared a very nice post all about decorating for Autumn and she encouraged me to get my decorations out and liven the place up. 

That was very much my intention. 

What it lead to was this

These are our Christmas, and other decorations. For people who don't really celebrate Christmas, it's quite a lot! 

Surprisingly it also lead to this

Three bags of clothes for the charity shop, very little of it related to Christmas

This is my portion of the decluttering, there's another bag and some accessories not in this picture too. 

So, is my house now festooned with pine cones and pumpkins?


Friday, 9 September 2016

The Art Of Walking

I promise this is my last post about our weekend away (unless you really want to know what we packed!) 

On Sunday we walked.

Past Lambeth Palace, over Vauxhall Bridge, through Belgravia to the V&A to see the Ove Arup exhibition (half price with the Art Pass, the Georgia O'Keeffe was reduced entry too). If you feel so inclined the Ove Arup exhibition is brilliant, it's a small space but crammed with information about the man, the company and the buildings, especially Sydney Opera House and the Pompidou, Paris.

We shared a drink in the ridiculously gorgeous cafe

Then started walking again, through the courtyard and out

Up into Hyde Park, to see the Serpentine Pavilion (I stroked a gorgeous little dog here), out onto Hyde Park Corner after snapping Jacob Epstein's Pan

Up Piccadilly, making a special stop at Caffe Nero to see Horse and Rider by Elisabeth Frink. Anne at Frayed At The Edge shared some photographs of another version of this in Winchester. 

After so much art we needed to cool off, where better than Soho? Could we pass up the chance to visit a vegan ice cream parlour? I have read so much about Yorica! and it didn't disappoint. Rice milk-based ice cream, shakes or fro-yo in loads of flavours, with a huge choice of toppings, what more could I ask for? 

Dan went for one scoop chocolate orange, one scoop blackcurrant, topped with chocolate brownies and chocolate chips. I chose passion fruit, and my favourite flavour of anything - violet, plus chocolate brownies. Both topped off with a selection of free sprinkles from the self-serve sprinkle bar. Oh yes! 

We walked back past the John Snow pub so Dan could tip his hat to the man that started his interest in research, and as luck would have it, what should we find across the road?

That was our evening meal on the train sorted!

Fortified we headed off to find our final piece of public art, The Spirit of Electricity by Geoffrey Clarke which is just opposite St Martin's Theatre - home of The Mousetrap.

What a corker!

It was time to start heading back to Euston, so we strolled up, taking in the architecture, old and new, past UCL when we agreed we could squeeze in a bit of one more thing, so we nipped into the Wellcome Collection to the States Of Mind exhibition, all about the various facets of consciousness. It was nice to come full circle and end up thinking about synesthesia again as it featured in the O'Keefe exhibition, which by now seemed a very long time ago! I treated myself to a book about Nikola Tesla who I have been increasingly interested in after hearing this song. Just time to get across the park, into the station and start our journey home.

What could improve this already fantastic weekend? Opened the post when we got home, Dan had a tax refund!