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Friday, 4 November 2016

New kitchen!

We have been planning to do the kitchen ever since we moved in, it has taken this long to finally do something about it.

The first thing we did was take out the back door and replace it with patio doors



We also replaced the window but that was like for like so wont bother showing you that! The next step was to start ripping out the old kitchen. I did most of this bit and I found I found it pretty satisfying!

before we moved in

Deconstruction commences!

As you can see from this picture, there was A LOT of wiring, most of which didn't do anything, or was live but not connected! Nightmare! We managed to pull a few favours so a good friend I know from school did the electrics for us. We had the whole kitchen rewired and in hindsight, If we hadn't had many of the other rooms re-plastered and redecorated, we probably would have rewired the whole house.



Yes, I enjoyed breaking up the place!
The electrics was by far the worse bit! It was the messiest and we were on a really tight time frame as Sean was only with us for the weekend before he had to go back to work. After an immense clean up and putting the walls back together, we were finally ready to start putting it back together again!





New oak worktops and sink!! This was a major turning point as we would finally function as a kitchen again! A week without a kitchen was a killer! We were constantly cooking and cleaning up round our neighbours so to finally be able to use our own again was lush! Lucky we have great neighbours really!

The next step was to decide what we were going to do with the walls. Picking a wall colour was easy for the kitchen end as we just found a neutral colour to match the cupboards. We were originally just going to have upstands and paint the walls. However, we didn't really anticipate how much work the walls would need for that. To be honest I always wanted tiles so the decision to revert to tiles was easy for me. Picking them wasn't though! without having a definite picture for the floor too it was difficult to know what to pick, we get there in the end though...



The flooring was particularly tricky too as we wanted it to continue through the hallway to the front of the house, therefore it had to be quite universal. We did think about slate tiles but it wouldn't have worked in the hallway and didn't want a join in the flooring. In the end we went for laminate and it was by far the best decision, I love it!!


I laid the floor with Andy post night shift which was interesting, enjoyed it though. I hated walking on the concrete!!



It's still not finished but it certainly feels like a normal kitchen again. The screen will be mounted on the wall behind where it's currently standing. We haven't finished the dining area behind where I'm stood to take the pictures. We will probably make a feature wall of the back dining area wall by picking out the blue of the tiles. the rest of the walls will be the neutral colour like behind the cupboards.We also need to tidy up around the windows. In the process of laying the floor we had to pull up all the skirting boards in the hallway, at the same time I thought it a good idea to take of the wall paper, upstairs including!

In other words... there will ALWAYS be something to do!

So worth all the hard work though!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Done a bit of running this year!

Here comes the first of many 'quick updates' as I have been a pretty awful blogger this year... FAR too much been happening!

Last year I decided to join the gym and try and get a bit fitter, since then I have had an up and down relationship with exercise but I have made some small gains. When I first started getting into it one of my goal was to run 5 miles, which at the time seemed completely impossible because I have previously had absolutely nothing good to say about running! However for a while I got quite heavily into spin which I think really helped my cardiovascular fitness as one day after a night shift, I randomly decided to go for a run round the block and before I knew it I ran 7 miles!!

 

Looking back it is now, even my pace wasn't too awful considering it was my first proper run. This spurred me on to train for bigger things and before I knew it I was signed up for a 10k and a Half Marathon! I soon ran (haha) into problems though, I quickly learnt that if you try and run too far too quickly then all you get is injured! I had to take a week off work because I hurt my foot/ankle and also had on off problems with my knees. My knee was playing up not long before my 10k which was somewhat nerve wracking but with a bit of determination and some good tunes in my ears, I managed it!


10k still seemed a LONG way off a half marathon though, and with it creeping ever closer I was starting to worry as running any further than about 9 miles was proving REALLY difficult.

A torrential run but good fun somehow!

On of my neighbours quite regularly runs longer distances so I asked her to coach me though a run which really helped. She gave me some tips on how to get that little bit further. She managed to get me to go 11 miles which did wonders for me psychologically!


Although I knew I wasn't the best of runners, I really wanted to run my half marathon in less than two hours. The route was a flat one by the sea so at least I didn't have any hills to contend with. 


BUT IT DID IT!!! WOOP!!
Official time 1hr 58min 8secs16th Female59th Overall£350 raised for the lovely charity, 4Louis


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Vegetable seedlings

Despite the lack of posts recently, I have been doing some garden prep for the year. I have been a bit on the slow side but still more organised than last year. My first seed of the year went in mid March. They were a bit of a flop as I put them in and then forgot to water them. I had a few odd ones come up but was pretty much a write off. After that I got my act together a bit and started planting up properly.


They have all gone in at slightly different times and some I have re-sowed as the first lot didn't come up but on the list this year is:

  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mini Sweet Corn
  • Peppers
  • Sweet Chili Peppers
  • Climbing Beans
  • Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Parsnips 
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Lettuce
Blimey!! See it all in a list like that and I have no idea where it's all going to go!! I have been rather ambitious this year. It doesn't look nearly that impressive in the greenhouse yet.


The moldy green one there is one of the ones I neglected but despite all odds, there are about 4 onion seedlings in there. They were last years seeds so that could be a bit of the problem too...


My carrots and parsnips went straight into my planter like last year. Soon after, we had a couple of frosts which killed off the carrots I think. I may have just got impatient but I did give them plenty of time. They were replanted and I am still waiting! I am so impatient! I waited a bit longer for the parsnips and I am glad I did. Almost a month after sowing, they just started to pop through in the last 2 or 3 days! YAY!!! 

As patience has always been an issue for me, this year I have started a little gardening diary to keep track of when I did things, notes on when to expect seedlings to appear and updates on when how my crops are doing!


I wish I had read it before scrapping all my cucumber seeds and starting again. I had two of them come up quite quickly then rot off, so then when no others came up I just gave up, probably too early. I kept them indoors on the window sill and I think they ended up being over watered. I attempted two varieties, Cucumber Passandra, the successful ones I brought as seedlings last year and absolutely loved. However at £4.05 for 5 seeds I'm not that impressed that I failed them! It was 2 of these that came up then died. The second variety was Cucumber Telegraph Improved. None of these even showed so in hindsight, I really wish I had given them longer. 

I found a website online, simply seeds, which had the Passandra seeds at a fraction of the cost so quickly ordered 2 packets. I planted the 1st packet and have saved the second for a few weeks time. I have also got some of the Telegraph seeds coming from eBay so Ill get them going too as soon as! 

I am pretty happy with my Pear tree this year so far anyway. My poor pear tree has had a rough few years. It hated being in a pot and once finally being planted properly, it spent 2015 recovering.


Okay so it doesn't look as wonderful yet but it's the best it's managed in years There is so much new growth and potential. Feeling really hopeful that it might fruit this year!! My apple tree is still recovering but there are some signs of life on it. Time will tell!

Can't wait to bore you with the updates!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Concrete

My two garden battles for today. I hate both now.

Ages ago mum gave be a blackcurrant plant so I can grow my own blackcurrants for vodka (YUM!). So far it's lived on our patio in a bucket with a bin bag round it; and my watering can rose on it.



I have been trying to dig a hole for it for about 3 months... To be honest I tried like twice but the weather hasn't allowed a proper go and it was impossible to get it where I actually wanted. My plan for it was to go up the back of the garden by the garage - the ever changing corner of the garden. The difficulty is though where the drainage goes for the garage, although the actual piping is in next doors garden, there is underground piping that goes along the divide. When it all leaked/they put the new fence panel in/did whatever they did - not entirely sure what, they shoved a load more concrete down there. This means I have no hope of putting many plants in the corner at all unless I dig it all out again, This was a serious option for me until I thought that it might actually be there for a reason - and I didn't want to break something...

That corner has been a pain in my backside since we moved in really, to begin with there was some ugly trellis up and some bizarre ferns which I got rid of. I then planted my apple tree up there which got ruined when the fence came down grrr... So it's been difficult deciding what to really do there.

So... last year I made some trellis which was left over from the wood we brought for the fence. It was made back in the summer and sat down the side of the house for months until Scott finally put it up for me.


I have planted a Jasmine plant in front of it in hope that it will take well. It's got a beautiful pink flower. However, I have heard that Jasmine can spread like wildfire so I have kept it in the pot and I have partially dug it in. This was also because of the inability to dig a decent sized hole because of all the bloody concrete.


Since my apple tree was damaged, I didn't like where I had planted it - or even like it full stop and had contemplated getting rid of it... So today, whilst making decisions regarding the blackcurrant plant, I dug it up and put it in a pot.

It's musical plants all over again isn't it!? Specially as I also dug up a lovely rose which I put in the front garden last year also (loads of this stuff I never blogged about - how you all missed out!!!!) and put that in a pot too.


Post wedding, Scott and I buggered off on honeymoon and left all of your flowers with mum and Richard. The clever man he is, Richard took one of the roses and made a plant with it! I am so excited to see it flower it is unreal! I know I have enough roses as it is but that has gone in a pot too and I now have a little pot feature!



The pot were given to me by Scott's dad and have just sat in the garden for ages. Okay it does still look like a load of mud and the front pot on it's side has nothing in yet... But I do think it looks better than it did! Still a working progress and I really do want to get the blackcurrant plant in there somewhere - but for now it's still in its bucket with it's hat on!!

I'll let you know when I actually get it in the ground!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Caravan Cushion Covers

I haven't done much sewing recently, let alone blogged about it. I can't remember if I mentioned it before but for a long time I was slowly working on doing come upholstering. The neighbours brought a caravan last summer and wanted the cushion covers spruced up a bit. I can't blame them, they looks so old fashioned and dirty looking.


That's the only before photo I took, but as you can see, not very inspiring. This is a back cushion, the seat cushions were bigger and more shaped than this. In total there were 8 to do, 4 of which were larger (seating area is bigger on one side of the caravan than the other).

There is a shop near here that sells fabric on the roll for stupid prices! I think the fabric Emma picked up was like £7.50 and I covered the whole lot without being careful of wastage and there was still over half a roll left. I wouldn't have chosen the fabric myself but for that price you can't complain!


I didn't hate this project but it certainly had plenty of downsides what could have made me hate it. First of all they stank. And were really messy inside so every one I took apart I had to hoover them off and then my sewing room. I also needed loads of room to lie it all out and cut my pattern pieces. For a while I used our bedroom as we were part way though decorating so had no furniture in there. I somewhat cheated too by using the old covers for my pattern pieces and instead of spending more money on wadding. The problem with this though; my sewing machine really didn't like the thickness and a broke a few needles in the process.

The most expensive part was all the buttons. I fabric covered them so they matched like the originals and then laced them through to the back with a large darning needle. That was probably the worst bit. After one single cushion I thought my fingers were going to fall off and I got cramp. The foam is sprung and some of the buttons passed right by them making is really difficult. Got there in the end though...

I never particularly liked hand stitching and I hand finished all of these. However, after fighting it though my sewing machine then fighting to get the buttons though, I found the hand sewing quite relaxing and therapeutic!



Looks better I think! The top photo shows how they are not perfect but for a first attempt (and I did them for free), I don't think they're too bad. Emma did the curtains and overall they make it look much cleaner and brighter. I wouldn't rush to do them again but at the same time, It's nice to see them all done!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Carrots and Parsnips

After the success of my onions, I had high hops for my parsnips and carrots. After a slow start were none of my seeds came up, my plants started to grow steadily. As usual, Planted everything too close to each other and soon my parsnip plants overtook the carrots so I had to pin them all back. I found it difficult growing root veggies and you can't see how they are doing?! Patience isn't my strongest attribute!

Winter then came and we got really busy so it all more or less died back apart from a few bare carrot stems. A few weeks ago I started pulling some of them, I got a few regular sized parsnip but all my good sized (so far) carrots had been eaten (bloody slugs!!). What I did get proved to be very yummy though.


Yesterday I decided to pull the rest of the parsnips and to begin with was really disappointed with what I found; they were all far too small to do anything with, I then came to the last one, and low and behold!!!!!


Look at that beast!! If only they were all like that! That must have grown from the 1st lot of seeds I put in where only two came up (the first one looked all impressive on top but had no downward root when I pulled it).

This one will be in my cooking pot tomorrow evening I think!


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