Slow sunny Saturdays

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings, the sun was shining, we had no plans, so just pottered around in the garden doing not a lot. I love days like this. Look at this gorgeous blue sky.


There’s still a bit of a chill in the air but I don’t care, if the sun is shining, I want to be outside in it, breathing it all in. Our dog Pepper is a proper sun worshiper, every chance she gets, she’s there.


Unfortunately she doesn’t get much peace with little Jude around, wanting to play trains on her!


She often moves to try and get away from her shadow..


Didn’t last for long though!


Did you spot the hosta in the background? Aren’t they just the most beautiful, luscious shade of green?


We have to keep a close eye on them when we let the chickens have their run of the garden. They love them. Morning girls!


They are so comical, this one here tried to eat my phone just after I took this. She often pecks at my wellies too when I’m cleaning them out! Just above chicken corner, is our stunning ceanothus, creating a floral canopy over their coop. I wonder if it does so well because of all the chicken manure in the soil. It’s just coming into flower this week, I think it’ll be in full bloom in a couple of weeks time.


I actually made some magazine time too, it felt very indulgent. Especially sitting here in the sunshine with a cup of tea.


Just to the left of this photo, you can just see a jug of French lavender. The smell is divine.


I wish we could have more days like this.

Happy weekend all, I hope you get to enjoy a bit of slow, sunny time in your patch.

Vicki xx

Looking after No.1

Hello, how are you doing? Good I hope. It’s been a little while since my last post, longer than usual anyway. I’ve been mad busy, you see my big spring clean urges transcended into a need to do some DIY. I’ve been decorating the boys bedroom which is almost finished. It’s mainly being done in little bits at a time, purely as that’s all the opportunity I have. I’ll show you some pictures when it’s all done. My step daughter has now decided she’d like her room doing too so that’s next on the list. I’d also started on the bathroom and that’s yet to get underway. It currently has patches of bare plaster where the paint’s bubbled off and there’s areas of tester paint. It’s just a mess at the moment, hardly a place to relax and unwind at the end of a busy day. And, our dining room has about a square foot of cream paint where I decided it needed a freshen up. I WILL get around to doing it soon. All this, and our bedroom was the room that really needed decorating. It’s the one room in the house that hasn’t been touched since we moved in 4 and a half years ago. I have the most beautiful wallpaper sat there waiting to adorn the walls and a load of new furniture on order so it holds promise.

With all this going on on top of normal housework / mothering duties, it’s really starting to take its toll. It’s typical me, I always try to take on too much. It’s made me think a lot about myself and how I always put myself last. I’m not getting any younger and a few signs of ageing are starting to show. My skin isn’t in great condition, it’s very dry, as is my hair. I’ve gained weight, about half a stone this year and it’s seems impossible to shift. I have some wrinkles creeping in but luckily no grey hairs that I can see. I seem to be more frequently experiencing bloating, which I’ve read is more common in women of my age.  I was quite worried the other day as I’d been seeing black spots moving in front of my eyes for a couple of weeks and it’s happening more often. Usually a few times a day. Turns out those black spots are called floaters and it’s a normal sign of ageing. Absolutely nothing can be done about them. Google comes in very handy sometimes! My memory is getting bad too, I forget so much. With all these symptoms along with just feeling physically and mentally drained and tired all the time, I’ve decided it’s time to give myself some much needed TLC. Once all the decorating is done I’m going to make time for myself. I need to be fit, happy and healthy, inside and out. To kickstart this, I’m making sure I’m drinking plenty of water which we all know is essential for our health. My hubby got me this bottle at the weekend.

  
It’s great for making detox water by putting all kinds of fruit in the special compartment and then infuse your water. I prepare it before I go to bed and put it in the fridge so it’s ready for the morning. I’m aiming to drink two bottles worth a day which equates to just over one and a half litres. I’ve started taking multivitamins too, but am going to look into some more specific ones to suit me. I’m going to cut back on eating crap and when possible I want to start running. I don’t know when that’s going to happen, unlike most of my friends, I don’t have family on tap to babysit or nursery time to do my own thing, so it’s going to be very ad hoc. But I promise myself I will try my hardest to fit a few runs in when I can. Well that’s my insides taken care of, my outsides desperately need care too. I will be regularly treating my skin and hair to lashings of coconut oil to deeply nourish and care. I will make more effort to wear make up and do something with my hair other than bung it in a ponytail. My nails will see some colour too, I remember a couple of years ago I would always paint my nails and do some pretty patterns on them. They’ve been done just once this year, that’s shameful. 

For my mind, I need to use any time I can doing things that make me happy and feel good. Obviously there’s crochet! But I need to start working on something for me, like my flower blanket. I love doing my colouring and I have some beautiful books so that is a must.  I enjoy settling down in front of the fire with a magazine, I’m well behind with those. And I have a few books I’d love to read, only had them for about 3 years!! I need to get more quality time with my hubby, I’m pretty sure we missed our date night last month and we don’t get much time on our own at all. It’s so important in a relationship to make time for one another. And getting outdoors, it feels so refreshing to go for a woodland walk even just for half an hour, or a brisk stroll by the sea. We are so lucky where we live to have an abundance of places like that to go, so I must make use of them. Being close to nature really does you the world of good.

   
 

So, here’s to a new start for me, hopefully I’ll be able to try and manage it and start to see a difference. 

Thanks for reading my waffle. 

Xxx

Blanket boredom

I knew it’d happen, I’ve reached that stage where I’m just a bit bored of the Kermit cosy blanket. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying it. It’s THE perfect project for hooking up on the sofa while you’re watching TV. It’s easy, simple, repetitive, mind-numbing……it keeps your lap warm and cosy too. You don’t have to think about it. It’s just gotten to the kind of ‘samey’ stage. Here’s how it’s looking as we speak.

   
 I’m at the point where I’ve just about used a ball of each colour. Considering I only bought two balls of each I think I seriously misjudged how much I was going to need. I think I’ve probably made it a teeny bit wider than it needed to be which won’t have helped matters. I’ve decided that I’ll get to the end of the second balls and see what I think then. It might be that the stripes can go vertically instead.

Anyway, while I’m taking a little break from it, I decided to make a start on a whole new blanket. Well sort of new. Do you remember when I was doing the unidentified blanket here? Well I just gave up on that, This was what I ended up with..

  
I hate to waste anything though so I will turn it into a cushion of some sort to go with the new blanket. The new one has a name and I have a plan so it should stand a good chance of success! It’s my first C2C blanket. C2C means corner to corner, where you start at the corner (funnily enough) and increase each row until you get to the size you want, then decrease back down to the opposite corner. I followed a tutorial on YouTube by Bella Coco and got it after about the third row. Another very easy one, it’s actually all the same stitches as the cosy blanket, just trebles. It seems to be working up nice and fast too.


As requested by its future owner, it’s going to be made up of two solid blocks of colour which suits me just fine. (Hardly any ends to sew in!) Although not my favourite of colours, these yarns do have a pretty glittery shimmer, which is extremely tricky to photograph.

Can you just make it out there as the sun shines in on it?

I think I’ve probably mentioned before that it’s not very easy to get much hooking done while there’s toddlers around. Especially when they decide to go walkies with your wool!


It was actually quite cute for a second, until he took it all around the room, through his trains and round the table a couple of times! Hmmm. Despite that, I managed to untangle the mess and get to the end of the first 50g ball.


Long way still to go but not bad for a days progress. I know I’ll get bored with this one too after a while but if I keep swapping the two blankets over it shouldn’t be too bad. I might even get chance to do the rest of my egg cosies.

I’ve been back in the baking room too and made Mary Berry’s apple crumble which was delicious.  I also made some millionaires shortbread.

   
 Not the best idea as I’m trying to be good and lose a few pounds. Oh well, there’s always next week.

Have a great weekend and I hope all you with kids off school are holding up ok!

Vicki xx

The Big Spring Clean

  
I’ve been in spring cleaning mode for a good few weeks now. When the urge takes me I just have to go with it, it’s completely out of my control. It doesn’t have to be Spring either, it can hit anytime of the year. Although I usually despise the never ending task of housework, there’s something very satisfying about having everything in its proper place and glistening clean. I think almost every room in the house has had some kind of clear out or re-organise.

The white goods have been thoroughly gone over, filters cleaned etc. Grubby handprints washed off the walls, vacuum cleaner serviced. Even the car got a clean! I’ve had a good clear out of toys and am trying to sell what I can. The kids bedrooms are getting a much needed deep clean. I think there’s been about six black sacks so far, a car full to the charity shop and a trip to the tip. And there’s still much more to do yet. It’s going to look great by the time I’ve finished, I do hope they appreciate it.

The dogs haven’t escaped my spring cleaning fever either. They’ve been groomed to within an inch of their lives. I stopped just short of putting ribbons in their hair!

With this big Spring clean underway, I thought I’d share with you some helpful cleaning tips that I’ve found invaluable along the way. Just incase you get the urge too!

Clean the microwave

Microwave half a lemon on high for 2 minutes to loosen food splashes with citrusy steam. Wipe dirt away with a damp cloth. Wash the glass turntable in hot soapy water and wipe down inside too, not forgetting the ceiling of the microwave. Clean the outside with hot soapy water including the buttons and buff dry with a clean tea towel.

Make the sink shine

Fill the kettle and pop it on. Wipe around sides and base of sink with a wet sponge. Put half a cup of bicarb down the plughole, followed by half a cup of white vinegar to clear the drain. Sprinkle wet sink with Vim scouring powder and leave to work. Pop a teabag in a mug & pour on the boiling water. Use the remaining water to rinse off the Vim, making sure you sponge around the sides to remove any stubborn marks. Give the taps a good wipe too then buff it all to a shine with a clean tea towel. Replace dishcloths with clean ones then sit and drink your cuppa while admiring your lovely clean sink!

Freshen your carpets

Make your own carpet freshener by mixing bicarb of soda with a few drops of fragrance oil or essential oil of your choice. Leave it overnight to dry then sprinkle over your carpet about ten minutes before you vacuum to leave them smelling fresh and clean.

Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite..

Give your bed a thorough clean to enjoy a good nights sleep.  Strip all your sheets and mattress protector and machine wash at 40 degrees. Wash pillows and duvet too if they’re machine washable.  If not, get them dry cleaned. Your local launderette usually have larger machines if they don’t fit. Using the upholstery attachment on your hoover, give your mattress a really good vacuum, getting into all the indented areas where dusts collects. Flip the mattress to ensure it gets even wear then spray with a fabric freshener and leave to air for the rest of the day. Wipe all around the bed frame with a damp cloth.  Don’t forget to vacuum under the bed too as lots of dust gathers there. Put fresh sheets on before bedtime and have sweet dreams.

Cut down on your ironing

I’m very lucky to have the perfect room for doing laundry.  Most of my washing gets dried on the victorian airer. Where possible, I hang everything on coat hangers so that most of the creases fall out while they’re drying. This also works the same for the washing line outside.

Dust and cobwebs

Quite often I notice a load of cobwebs have appeared on the ceiling. Use the extension of the vacuum cleaner to get up in the corners and get rid. After that, use the brush attachment to go around the skirting boards and collect the dust.  Using a damp cloth and hot soapy water, wipe the skirting. If you have old, decorative skirting boards like me, you might need to use a brush to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Mirrors and glass

I’ve always found the shop-bought glass cleaners end up leaving smears. The best solution for this is to use a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle. I use either paper towels or a microfibre cloth to wipe clean. This is also great for giving bathroom tiles a really good clean and sparkle.

Don’t be a couch potato

Give your sofas a good clean regularly to keep them looking their best.  They do get a lot of use in our house. Remove all scatter cushions and any loose seat or back cushions.  Collect any money, toys, food or general yukiness. Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum thoroughly including the arms.  Do the seat cushions too. Ours is a leather sofa so I use a leather clean and feed spray with a soft cloth. If yours is a fabric one, spot clean any marks with a sponge and a fabric shampoo. Where possible, switch the cushions around so they get even use. Plump up the scatter cushions and put any washable covers in the washing machine for a freshen up. On fabric sofas, spritz with a fabric freshener.

My go to reference for household tips is this booklet. Some of the tips above are inspired from here but I’ve altered them to suit me.

   

 It came with my ideal home magazine a couple of years ago and it’s great for all kinds of practical advice for the home.

Well, I hope you’re inspired now to go forth and clean and get your homes spic & span and ship shape & Bristol fashion!

Don’t forget your pinnies & headscarves in true 1950’s style!

Bye for now… xxx

The crochet club

  

Hello everyone, happy weekend! I hope you’re all well?

 I thought I’d let you know how my little crochet club is going. I’m so pleased I started it. Numbers have been up and down, but this week we had 9 lovely ladies, what a great turnout! The week before there was just 2 but that was fine as we got to have a really good chat and cover some crochet basics.

We’re very lucky to have a multi-talented lady in our group who works at our local craft/fabric shop. She’s an expert in knitting, crochet and sewing so we can pick her brains about pretty much anything.

Some of the ladies are very new to crochet and some have been hooking for years. Some are just knitters but all are very welcome. It’s really nice to get to meet new people with similar interests and get inspired by their projects. Once some of our newcomers have found their feet a little more, I’d like to introduce the odd group project that we can all work on together. Just something simple that we could complete in an evening.

There’s an awful lot of chatting going on which I love, but it means we don’t get much crochet done! It’s just good to get out of the house without a single child in tow. This is my social, grown up time which is much needed. Apart from the monthly date night with my hubby and the very rare girls night out with some of my mummy friends, this is the only time I leave the house at night. I’m really enjoying it so am determined to keep it going. What could be nicer than some crafty crochet, cheery chat and wine on a Wednesday?

Now I just need to think of a catchy name for our little group. I think there would be a few raised eyebrows at ‘The Oxton Hookers’ don’t you?! 

Thanks for stopping by, Vicki X