Sunday, 26 May 2019

A Week Off

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post and I fully intended to blog more, but just never got around to it.  Life has been a cycle of working, resting, etc., the usual.

Work has been okay lately, I'm enjoying working with the new Shop Manager. I finished last night and I am now on leave for a week.

LB has just had two intense weeks of GCSE exams, so she is pretty exhausted.  Most have gone okay, but a few, she felt didn't go so well.  We'll just have to wait and see. She is off school this next week for half term, so we are going away for the week and she should get a well earned rest.

OH's 50th birthday came and went a week ago.  We didn't really do anything special on the day, as he wasn't bothered. We are spending this week with some members of his family, that will be our celebration. We're actually all going to Center Parcs, which should be fun.  I'm not sure what his family will make of it, as I don't think they've been before, but I'm sure we'll soon find out.

Last night was a bit of a disaster, a very selfish neighbour booked a mobile tyre fitter to replace their tyres at 3 am.  Yes, 3 o'clock in the morning. Can you believe it? We couldn't.  He didn't finish until around 4 am and what with a diesel generator going intermittently, banging and hammering and air pipes, it was pretty noisy and difficult to ignore. OH had to be up at 6 am to go out on his bike, so he was not very happy.

Sometimes, urban life is not easy. People are crazy and rude and if you challenge them you get all sorts of aggression back, needless to say we didn't on this occasion, but it was difficult to resist, believe me.

This morning I've managed to catch a class at the gym and I've done some food shopping for the holiday, mostly fruit and salad items, as OH's siblings are buying most of the food. OH paid for the accommodation. 

This afternoon, I've been washing, ironing and packing in readiness.  I'm intending to catch another class at the gym in the morning before we leave, as we can't get into the accommodation until 3pm ish, so were not rushing off.  I've already got a couple of classes booked at Center Parcs, one a Zumba class and the other a Bollywood Dance class.  Unfortunately, one follows immediately after the other, so I might be completely worn out by the time I've finished.

We're taking our bikes with us to ride around the site, so I'm hoping to get lots of exercise and fresh air, which I'm looking forward to. The weather forecast isn't great, but since when were they correct. We'll just take it as it comes.

I'm also taking some quilting to do in any spare time I might get. I started a new hexagonal quilt this week and it's coming along very nicely.  I find quilting to be very relaxing on my days off from work and I've done it this week whilst watching the Chelsea Flower Show coverage on TV, which I've really enjoyed.

I've decided that I need to get on and do it now, whilst my eyesight is still good enough, as it is definitely starting to deteriorate and I have trouble threading needles these days, even with my glasses on. I do have some needles that you don't thread somewhere, so there's always that option if I really find I can't do it.

Making this quilt is also helping to use up some of my huge stash of fabric, which is a definite plus. I've been wanting to make a grey themed quilt for our bed for a few years now, but have just not got around to it. I'm hand stitching it, so it won't be perfect, but I don't care about perfection.  I like things to look homely and comfortable.  Besides, it's a really traditional quilting method (I can remember my mum working on one one when I was a child) and I think you treasure it more when you've taken hours of your time to make something by hand.  Here's a sneak preview of some it that I've already completed.

As you can see, I don't iron my hexagons before stitching them together, sloppy I know, but I just don't have the time or patience to do so. They will get ironed when it's finished. I've made the hexagons quite large, otherwise it would just take way too long to complete by hand. I've organised them in rows for this quilt, trying to match the fabric as much as possible, but there will be more interest in the central panel, which I've now moved on to working on. As wadding, I'm going to use an old vintage wool blanket. It should work a treat.  I'll let you know if it does.

Next, after this project, is going to be a quilt for our dog. I've got some lovely doggy print fabrics that I want to use for it. I think she'll like it. Another long put off project, but it's time to just get on with it. What is the point of all this fabric just sitting around not being used.

I haven't decided on a design yet, but I'm sure it will come to me when I'm ready to make it. It will probably be very simple and I may machine stitch it, as I know she will scratch at it, so it should make it stronger.

Anyway, I must go and finish packing. I'll try to post about our stay at Center Parcs for anyone who might be interested, if I get the chance. We haven't been to this particular site since LB was a toddler, so it will be interesting to go back and see if it has changed at all. To be honest, I'm just looking forward to a rest and a change of scenery.

Have a good week.

Sunday, 12 May 2019


I'm half way through my days off this week.  Luckily, the way the rota worked out, I have 5 days off in a row, which is great. 

The first two days, however, I've spent recovering from a cold and decompressing from work.  I had to go to a very intense training session on Tuesday, and from Monday was struggling with a cold and not sleeping well, so when I left work on Wednesday for 5 days, I knew that I just needed to rest and not have any high expectations of myself.

As a consequence, I spent quite a bit of time watching Netflix and YouTube, but I managed to find a few great films to watch which were very entertaining. At the moment we're really enjoying watching The Looming Tower on BBC1 on Fridays.  A great series. Everything else we were following seemed to end the other week, so there's not much that we're watching at the moment, which is when Netflix comes in useful.

Anyway, I thought that one day resting would be enough, but it took another day until I felt up to doing much at all. On Saturday, however, I was feeling much better and got on with a bit of cleaning, starting with the kitchen and working up through the ground floor or the house The upstairs will have to wait for another time.

I've enjoyed the fact that we've had some rain this week. Everywhere really needed it. The ground was very dry and needed a good soaking before we get some warmer weather. The garden is really greening up now with bits of colour here and there, but food growing has really got off to a slow start this season, especially our lettuce seedlings.  As a consequence OH bought two trays that were a little more advanced to put into the allotment.  They were good value at £3 each for 20 plants, but it's not something we usually do.

Anyway, we made it to the allotment this afternoon and most of the lettuce plants were transplanted, along with OH's carefully raised tomato plants.  I'll do a separate post with photos when I've taken some.

I hope everyone's had a good week.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Garden Chair Makeover

I was hoping to get productive on my days off this week, but in the end I got a bit lost down a YouTube rabbit hole.  I've been enjoying watching the Living on a Dime channel lately and have found myself watching some videos from their video list.

I did manage to make some rhubarb jam on Thursday with some rhubarb I harvested from the allotment, and I removed a few things from our very cluttered garden shed and took them to the tip, but not much else got done to be honest.

Anyway, on Thursday whilst getting some things out of the shed, I decided that our garden chairs were looking a bit worse for wear and needed a bit of a makeover. One had a cigarette burn in it, courtesy of a visitor we had some years ago, another had a rip in the seat and they were just generally faded and grubby due to a general lack of care by us. They were part of a set that we bought to go in our old house, whilst it was rented out and when we sold it, we decided to use them ourselves. They must me 11 or 12 years old by now so have had a good run.

Instead of creating new covers from scratch, I decided to sew new fabric over the existing fabric, as I wasn't sure if any of the fabrics I had would be strong enough.  I found some fabric from my stash and got stuck in.  I managed to cover one chair on Thursday.  I did the sewing all by hand, as it was tricky to do on a machine due to the thickness of the existing canvas fabric. 

Here's a before picture of one of the chairs:

My fingers got a bit torn up by the needle in the process, and the frame needed a good wipe down, as it was covered with dirt and cobwebs, but I was pleased enough with the outcome.  It probably won't be to everyone's taste and looks a bit niche and funky, but the aim is just for them to last another year or two, before I buy some new ones to match the black sunbed I bought last year.

Here's a picture of the finished 'made over' chair:

The frame could in all honesty probably do with being sanded and painted, but I don't know if it's worth my time, so we'll probably just manage with them as they are. There's two more to transform when I get the time.  The fourth is at the allotment and can stay as it is.

Anyway, here's a picture of the new one's I've got my eye on. They're not very exciting or expensive, but I just haven't got the money for them at the moment, as we've got such a lot of expense this year and what with my hours at work being reduced, I thought it'd be best to make do and mend for a while, until I've got some disposable cash to buy them. Besides, we don't sit out in the garden a whole lot anyway, so I don't want to buy anything too expensive and I want them to fold up easily, so they'll fit in the shed in the winter.

Baby steps and all that.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

May Already and a Catchup

I can't quite believe that it's May already, time is passing very quickly this year. Life hasn't been wildly exciting lately, just trugging along doing the usual work, rest and play. 

Work seems a lot calmer lately, there's still a lot of work to do, but I don't feel quite as stressed as I did and I've finished the recent round of recruitment with the last induction yesterday, so now I feel I can concentrate on working in the stockroom, which is what I actually enjoy most about the job.

April was a very expensive month for me with a dental check (no treatment needed thankfully) and an eye test, plus new glasses and sunglasses.  This was the biggest expense of all, but hopefully I won't need to buy any more for a couple of years or longer.  I'm thinking of changing opticians for my next eye test, as I just don't like all the upselling that takes place every time I go.  I know I should just say no. I do try to exert myself, but find I am not very good at resisting hard sell and never have been. My best chance is to go elsewhere where it is hopefully less intense.

May is going to be expensive too, as it is OH's 50th birthday coming up very soon.  We're going to Centre Parcs with some other members of his family to celebrate, which should be nice.  I need to try to think of something special to buy him, although he says he's not really bothered about presents. I've mostly bought him consumables so far, as he likes these and I'm going to make up a little hamper of his favourite food/drink items, plus some spirits and wine.

At the moment, he seems to have got the gardening bug.  Due to my work commitments and not getting to the allotment as much, he has been going instead and doing much of the work.

OH's cucumber seedlings

And the tomato plants he's been nurturing which should be going into the allotment soon

This has led to him getting more and more involved, sowing his own cucumber and chilli pepper seeds, ordering and planting asparagus and potatoes and growing on tomato plants, which will eventually be planted out on the plot.  I have to admit that he is better at gardening than I am in many respects, as he prepares things very carefully, whereas I tend to just chuck some seeds or plants in the ground and hope for the best.

I've been doing a bit of gardening in our garden this last week, after buying a new wooden planter from Home Bargains on Monday. The planter was used to plant out some euphorbias that I bought a couple of months ago, but couldn't find the right spot for in the garden. 

I also filled another wicker basket that I bought from the CS last year, with some flowers this time, mainly geraniums and trailing verbenas bought very inexpensively from Lidl and a local shop.

It looks nice and pretty out on the decking, as does the one I filled with herbs a couple of weeks ago. I added a sage to the thyme and oregano this week.

Finally, I also managed to buy some half price mange tout plants from B&Q, which I've planted next to canes in one of the garden raised beds.  One side is sweet peas bought from a local shop, the other is the mange tout, which desperately needed planting out.  Some more have been planted out at the allotment, as I bought two pots for 75p each, which I thought was a total bargain.

We'll probably head over to the allotment later today, so expect a catch up from there next.

In other news, LB has started her GCSE exams, so is in the thick of it for the next few weeks and beyond. I've just finished watching The Widow on ITV, which I really enjoyed, and we're both looking forward to the last episode of In the Line of Duty on Sunday night. I've got three days off now, today, the first day, I'm taking it easy and having a very lazy day.  I'll probably work up some energy to do more tomorrow and Friday.

I'll try to keep posting this week as I realise I haven't been posting much at all lately, I have been reading and have tried to comment as much as I can though.