Monday, 18 June 2018

Happy Mundane

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for


I saw an updated version of this ancient quote on Instagram the other day. I usually ignore motivational quotes, I'm not easily motivated, but I liked this one. Initially I thought about it in terms of the bathroom and how, other than it looking a bit better, we're not actually that much better off in terms of a functioning room. But then I thought about it again, and it's done, so I don't really have to think about it much, which is certainly better than a kick in the face.

As I wandered around the house I started thinking about all the things that made me fall in love with it in the first place, and for the first time ever I really appreciated the kitchen. Our kitchen is not a beautiful room, everything in it is really cheap and a bit on the crumbly side, but it feels great, somehow it's not an unpleasant place to be, and almost everything works. I appreciate it despite the ceiling where the plumber had to cut a hole in order to repair the shower drain.

He actually did a good job, I had to remember where to look for it. I also ignored the fact that the only light in the kitchen area comes from the two desk lamps in the picture above, we haven't had a working ceiling light for years, there's one in the dining area and the pantry though - atmospheric!

I also ignored the worktops with some crumbly parts and some bubbly parts.

I didn't ignore the horrible hob, it was pitted and rusty when we moved in, and I confess I do avoid cleaning it, but today I attacked it with a scouring pad and it looks a bit better than in this picture

Washing up, wilting coriander, recycling that hasn't made it out to the garage, assorted junk of mine waiting to be put away and blackening bananas, it's all good to me!

Friday, 15 June 2018

Freebie And Bargain Of The Week

A couple of things made their way home with me this week. Firstly some books picked up on our trip to Colne on Saturday. A copy of The Highway Code, 50p. hospice shop

A couple of Ladybird books to add to Dan's childhood collection, 90p each also from the hospice shop.

I splashed out £2 on a stretchy comfy tunic thing, I just liked the design

A black jacket as I didn't have one, this looks great on.

Finally a small table, I plan to use it in the garden, the tray part come away so it should be nice and east to transport the drinks! Another couple of quid, turns out it's a Habitat Oken table and is still available to buy new. 

A pretty good week. 

Monday, 11 June 2018


House beautification continues, this weekend we got some small but significant projects finished. We started off the weekend with a trip to East Lancs for some home and garden inspiration, we came back with a car full of it!

I did a little primp of the porch while Dan hung the pictures we had framed at Easter. My woodblock print looks gorgeous clad in yellow aluminium. 

The main focus of the weekend was to get on with what we are rather grandly calling the courtyard, really it's a bit of paving behind the garage that tends to be filled with junk. Now it's our new eating area, it's not finished yet, but the planters are filled and we are just after a few things to make it more pretty. Our garden isn't large, so we don't want any wasted space. 

Dan really wanted grasses, so we chose some that will eventually screen the compost bins to the left, then picked up a couple of small acers to section it off a little more. It's not the cheapest project we've ever done, but as Dan was so engaged with it I was happy to make it happen. 

Friday, 8 June 2018

Hero Product - Hooks

It didn't take all that long to sort out the stuff from the drawer yesterday, I also found another drawer stashed with things so I emptied that too. Then I found a drawer in the kitchen that didn't need to hold what it was holding, so something good came from looking for the batteries. Plus I did a bit of yoga.

Despite the huge list of jobs we still have to do I am a bit in love with the house at the moment, I think the sunshine helps. I am particularly happy with how easy it is to use at the moment, and hooks play a big part in this. We don't have much floor space, so using the height available is very important, my pantry has to work very hard, as it doesn't just hold food. Recently we added some heavy duty hooks to make things better. 

The pantry is also quite narrow (72cm at the widest point) so keeping things off the floor is a bonus. On two hooks I can store the paper recycling (on the right) and my cleaning bucket. On the left are my shopping bags and the tools for the Henry hoover. 

At the other end of the pantry there's space for a couple of bags, one holds bread, the other holds any veg  that don't need to live in the fridge, potatoes etc. 

I have some more in the porch cupboard to hold the Henry hoses, clothes airer and my shopping trolley, a lad in town called it a festival trolley which sounded a bit more exciting. The hooks cost a couple of quid each from the local hardware shop. 

Speaking of bags, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, it seems familiar, I stole the idea from a YouTuber to use spare canvas bags to store things. I use them for Dan's odd socks, so I can pair them easily

and to sort my accessories

Very boring, but very useful. Are you a hook lover?

Plumbing update - he did have to cut a hole in the ceiling to fit the new drain thing, but I keep forgetting to notice that, so he must have done a good job of putting everything back. One week on, no drain smell, fingers crossed it continues. 

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Junk In My Trunk

And everywhere else. 

Although I'm quite slim I am exceptionally unfit and a bit flabby. I had been making a few changes to the way I do things after someone I work with basically told me I have a fat bum. I do have a fat bum, in fact I mentioned it recently, but it's not big enough to require the size of dress she held up. So, I am starting very gently, mainly on my exercise bike, but also using the Wii Fit, I like the hula-hooping. I decided to use the Wii today as I'm waiting in for a parcel and didn't want to miss it by being upstairs on the bike when they turned up. 

The batteries on the controller were running low, so I set off to look for some more. I found batteries, I also found some other items that Dan had put away. This is not husband shaming, as I take some responsibility for what I found. I'm well known for being messy and disorganised, Dan likes things to be put away. However, even though it might take me a (long) while, when things are dealt with they are dealt with, I don't tend to stash and dash. Apparently, Dan does, he just wants things to be away

This is what remains of the drawer under the single bed in Dan's dressing room. The runners are buckled and the front has snapped off. I took everything out and decided to deal with it while I waited for both my parcel and for the batteries to charge. 

All that in one drawer!

The batteries and charger, a laptop, three keyboards and other assorted things. We have a box of techno junk under the stairs already. 

My least favourite thing to have hanging around, wrapping paper. We already have a cupboard containing wrapping paper and bubble wrap, this is all bonus content. 

A selection of board games.

Paper, and documents for a suitcase we no longer own. 

Large bags, for all those holidays we don't take. 

Presents for our nieces. 

And some assorted nonsense. 

My parcel isn't here and I still haven't done any exercise. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Those Annoying Antisocial People

taking a breather from being nice
We had people staying at the house for the whole weekend, two nights, I did not manage very well. I was found at one point hiding in the pantry with my fingers in my ears to block out the never ending noise. 

at least I had some nice new jars to look at 
We went out for a meal on Sunday. I may have said before that I'm not good in a restaurant situation, I just don't like any kind of formality and so after a while the few social skills I possess flew out of the window, I had to take myself off to stand outside for a while to get through it, I can't do long lingering relaxed meals, and I can't see why anyone would, they are exhausting - I can't be the only person over the moon that street food is so big these days.  

My brother and his girlfriend organise a BBQ once a year at a park near their house, it was mentioned a couple of times this weekend and I changed the subject. We went last year and it was both really boring and very stressful at the same time. I know it's just me as everyone else seemed to be having a great time, it was like Christmas but outside. 

Yesterday and this morning have been spent in silence, just what I needed. 

Monday, 4 June 2018

Off The Wall

the beach, Fleetwood
My parents invited themselves to stay at the weekend, which was surprising but fine, we then found out that they were going to see Alfie Boe in concert so their motives became clear. We gave them a lift to the venue, told them to behave themselves, then went for a walk to kill some time before collecting them. 

We headed off to see the very new sea defence at Rossall, just north of Blackpool, it's far more pretty than a trip to see a wall might sound! The bridges and art work have been designed by Stephen Broadbent, other works include River Of Life in the centre of Warrington which came about after the 1993 bombing in the town. Liverpool Anglican Cathedral has the Sheppard Memorial, there's Tudor Square in Sheffield, and Propellers of the City is a fairly recent addition to the streets of Sunderland. Here, the art continues to tell the story of The Sea Swallow that I've mentioned before herehere and here.

Land-side of the sea wall is a park and grassed area which has been planted with wild flowers and looks gorgeous. 

The paths run on multiple levels, so there's plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the area, whether travelling on foot or by bike. 

This huge (£63 million) project has been worth the wait, it has transformed quite an unexciting stretch of the coast, an most importantly 7000+ homes are better protected from flooding. 

We still had to wait in the car for over an hour as Alfie Boe was enjoying himself too much to stop singing apparently!

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Somewhere Cool

We nipped out to see Dan's dad on Sunday, just to check he was managing on his own while his wife is away. The house was sill standing bu he had attempted to cook a ready meal by putting it in the oven, but using the microwave instructions, needless to say, i didn't end well. 

Little Barista in Burnley was the obvious choice for lunch, and for a change it wasn't absolutely packed so we were able to get a seat. The manager even commented it was nice to see me in regular clothing rather than the many layers I usually wear when we go to the football! It was so hot we thought a good place to cool off would be on top of a hill, so we headed up to see the Singing Ringing Tree, one of four Panopticons in East Lancashire. Sadly, the Hollywood style Accrington sign never came into being, I think it would have looked amazing.

the view from the top with Burnley below

The tree is made from steel pipes, when the wind passes through them they produce their special tunes. 

oh look, a football ground!

Atlas Obscura has some more information and great pictures. It's worth adding to the itinerary of your once in a lifetime holiday to Burnley. 

Friday, 25 May 2018

Happy Mundane

There's nothing like a period of good weather to appreciate living here, big blue skies, sea smell, and the ability to escape to my peaceful garden. I've enjoyed this week so much we've cancelled our plans for the Bank Holiday weekend and we're going to stay at home - other than a small visit to see my FIL who is on his own this weekend, he's not recovered enough from his operation to travel to an event so we're going to look in on him.

The week got off to a great start when the rhododendron was finally extracted, chopped up and taken to the tip. 

It left a large hole, luckily we had plenty of old lawn to fill the hole in again. 

A few plants from elsewhere in the garden have slotted into the space, everything looks a bit forlorn at the moment, but if the forecast rain turns up today it will be a great help. Last year I found a couple of shriveled looking things on top of the soil, next to the compost bin, it was generally agreed in the comments here that it was a peony, so I planted it. 

I was prepared to wait for years before seeing a flower, but here it is!

The beach was amazing this week too, the tide was very low so there was plenty of space to wander, although I always head for the old pier. 

As we've cancelled our planned trip out, which was in part to look for clothes, I bought another dress from the charity shop. It turned out the dress I liked had quite a few holes, so I could take it for the cost of a donation as otherwise it would go into rags. 

The seam has come away in a few places around the arms, but wundaweb has done the job. I just love the print.

Home sweet home, and no traffic jams!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Food At Home, Food Elsewhere

We had a mini holiday last week, so we got out and about a bit, on one occasion I even made a picnic, well, I slapped a thick layer of houmous onto a baguette and shoved some salad into a tub - progress. 

I picked up some reduced asparagus, I roasted it and served it with pesto pasta.

I attempted to make sweet potato crisps with the spiraliser. When they worked they were lovely, others remained a soggy mess. 

Stuffed mushrooms with assorted other bits. The mushrooms were stuffed with the chopped mushroom stalks, a shallot and more of the panko.

A tomatoey pizza type thing with garlic mushrooms, peppers, and shallots. Dan made a lot of bread at the weekend. 

Haggis with potato wedges and loads of gravy!

Finally, for the home based food, w had the leftover haggis with some chipotle, stuffed into some field mushrooms with sweet potato and stir fried veg. 

We went to Llandudno on Wednesday, to see the band James, let's say no more about that. It did mean we could go to Barnacles for a falafel kebab! The place had had a bit of a revamp since we were last there and it looked great. I was also pleased to see paper straws in use and there was a nice condiment container on each table with bottles of assorted things, rather than the individual sachets used before. 

On Friday we went to Ambleside, for no reason in particular, just to get out and about. I took the fancy sounding picnic I mentioned earlier, but we went out for a sweet treat at a cafe Dan had heard about, Ghandi Cafe. How pretty is this jug of water?

We shared a pudding, although I don't think we'll share next time! The cafe is vegetarian but everything, or almost everything, has a vegan version too. We went for raspberry and lemon cheesecake with Grasmere gingerbread base. Grasmere gingerbread is the best, so it took about 3 seconds to decide. It was served with vanilla ice cream. 

The cafe is quite small, with seating for maybe 12 people, so we were very happy to grab a table. We decided a small walk to the lake was probably a good idea afterwards. 

A pretty perfect week, other than the two hours we won't speak of again.