Saturday, November 23, 2013


I am thinking it might be time - since its coming up to Christmas and all that - to revive my little space in cyberland. Lots has been going on in real life that I should really have been recording but I dont seem to have had the inclination to sit down and blog it. My bad, and I know I am just going to regret it in the future. So I am going to try hard to get back into good habits and give this blog the kiss of life. 

Watch here for a little montage of photos covering the last 6 months soon.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

For Sale

Life has been a bit strange lately as we have finally put our house on the market. It feels odd to be doing this after living here for nearly 28 years, it is even weirder showing round people who may end up living here instead of us.

This time round we took a bit longer choosing our estate agent, and making sure we got the best commission deal, and the agent most likely to work for us. We eventually plumbed for Reeds Rain, who not only had a deal on fees, but also seemed the most likely to guide us through the various stages since this will be the first time we have ever sold a house (our only other move being an insurance jobbie as our home was subsiding).

So far we are happy with our choice, after only 3 1/2 weeks we have had one couple who liked it, wanted to come for another look but somehow got lost in the ether as they never did come back, a couple who decided it was too small, a couple who thought they would up their budget after a day looking at lots of houses including ours, and a couple who love the place, have made three visits, have bought along both sets of parents, yet have still to make an offer, and last night, a couple in need of a place to move into before May and who made two visits in the same day. Oh and apparently the estate agent herself is also keen but has not managed to sell her home yet so is not in a position to make an offer.

There is not a great deal in the way of bungalows in our price range about, we have been to see a few, and even put in an offer on one we love but its catch 22 as the agent on that one wouldn't take a firm offer until we manage to sell ours!

We await the next installment, next week.

 Martin had a week off the week before half term. The weather wasnt brilliant, cold rainy and mainly overcast plus I ended up doing two days supply and we looked after little Finley for two days but we did finally get to go to Harry Potter Studio Tour!
  The website reckons on it being a three hour walk round and they are not wrong (we have been to other places that boast just as much cost the earth and turn out to be little more than a 5 min walk round a poorly themed room). We took over the three hours and could have happily looked round for longer except neither of us were fit enough to stay on our feet any more than that.

 Its a fab place to go, so much to see, and so much in the way of interesting information, in fact its difficult to take it all in at just the one visit and I can well see us going again in the distant future to refresh our memories and learn more.

 Some things were simply magical like the set for the Weasley's house, some were surprising like the dormitory where Harry slept for the duration of his time at Hogwarts (such a small space but made to look so spacious)

 some things were wonderful secrets but nothing on how the magic was made actually took anything away from the films and tended to make us think just how clever everything really had been such as how Hagrids hut was designed to make him look big or the children small,

 some stuff simply took a very long time to think through, design and make which really gave a sense of awe towards all who worked on the films and just how much attention to detail there had been

 and somethings just knocked you off your feet, like the scaled model of Hogwarts castle that filled a whole room and was simply amazing to behold.


We even got to sample a pint of butter-beer and although we didn't go much on it, it being much to sweet for our tastes it was still a brilliant experience. All the staff were amazing, and looked after us every step of the way without seeming pushy and all in all I would recommend anyone with any interest in film making or watching (and not just HP films) to take the opportunity to go have a look.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Roller coaster

week that is.

Monday an early morning phonecall got me a days work in a school were the staff were dropping like nine pins to a strange illness, followed by finally collecting Kelly from the station and signing up for Slimmers World, 

Tuesday I took little Finley to shop for all the fruit and veg I would need and visited my dad who also seemed to be developing the strange illness going round (strange as in no-one could really describe the symptoms other than to say they felt ill or wibbly!)

Wednesday it was back to work again but luckily those who had succumbed to the virus had all recovered. 

Thursday we heard that my Uncle Derek had died after a long fight with the dreaded Big C.  RIP

We also spent the day interviewing estate agents as the time had finally arrived to put our house on the market. We had seen a bungalow with lots of potential and were hoping it would hang around long enough for us to at least be able to say ours was up for sale even it it hadnt been sold, when we made our offer.

 Having estate agents round is an odd experience, and it was interesting to compare the different sales pitches. The first turned out to belong to the same golf club as Martin and in fact had even played a round with him at one time. His approach was to spend ages chatting to Martin about golf and almost ignoring me, then when I was forced upstairs to change a dirty nappy from our little man, proceed to tell finally Martin all the stuff we needed to know about how their company were going to market our home.

The second one tended to start talking about herself the minute we finished the first half of any answer to a question e.g How long have you been in this house? Twenty eight years ever since ....ooooh thats nearly as long as I have been an estate agent.  Then she spent the next 15 minutes trying to sell us stuff already on their books and to get us registered before she finally gave us the info we needed. Having valued the house she then told us it was best to put it on at the exact asking price because that would be what we got (and we all really know that no one offers the asking price when buying), Oh and our 3 bed semi detatched house would be in direct competition with the 2 bedroom bungalows on the other side of the main road?????

It turned out the last agent we saw (recommended by Kelly) had once owned a nursery and we knew each other from when she used to attend monthly consortium meetings at my previous school. She came in and immediately asked about what we were wanting to do, and then using a presentation 'big' book made a proper professional presentation on how and what her company could do for us. No hard sell, no trying to be our friend and no genderism. Not only that her commision was cheaper than the others. 

So guess which one we chose?

On Friday I got a text from the agency at 6 15 am asking me to work (a different school this time) so I had to leave Martin who was supporting a head ache, to clean up and dress the house for the agent to come back and measure and take photos. Mmmmm......

Finally the week ended with our annual family outing at the local playhouse pantomime although sadly dad was still feeling rough so couldnt join us. I dont really think he missed much or maybe after such a heavy week or from lack of sleep I was just too tired, but I really didnt think it was up to previous years performances. Still it was nice to go out together as a family and we did laugh at our favourite two stooges who never seem to let down the play or the audiance.

Sadly by saturday the bungalow we had set our hearts on had been sold, leaving not a lot on the market at the moment. This at least takes the pressure off the rush to get all the paperwork done for getting ours on the market but is worrying in that there doesnt seem anything for us to buy.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

White stuff!

Since my garden is looking like this right now, I have decided to stay in and do a bit of sewing.  Last night I finally finished my peplum top (photo to follow) and had luckily bought some suit material in the C&A sale when I popped in last saturday, so I have drafted up a block for the veravenus 1930's skirt which I am going to make to go with the top.

Sow is my least favourite kind of weather alongside fog and heavy winds. Have I mentioned before that I hate snow??? Luckily our little corner of the world hasnt had that much but even a small sprinkling is enough for me, I really dont understand why people get so excited about it. I have felt this way about the stuff eversince I was small, and maybe coming through the severe winter of 1963 might have something to do with it, but even as a child I would have rather stayed inside than be out in the cold silence making snowmen with the other children.

As I said though, the heavy snows have stayed clear of here, so we were able to go into Canterbury on Friday with Kelly and Ollie for a lovely carvery meal in the Victoria Hotel. Martin has been off all week and although in the main we have stayed home and veggitated Martin did go and sit in their house waiting delivery of a new bath for them most of friday so it was by way of a thankyou that they took us our. 

The week has been filled with looking after/playing with Finley poppet, who is so funny and so much fun right now that we were more than happy to have him, me working and a few trips out to look at the outside of bungalows that may be candidates for our move. We still have a few last minute jobs to do on this house before putting it on the market but a couple of likely prospects had come onto the market that might have made us decide to move forward the time of putting this one on the market,  Although a couple of those we looked at did excite us, unfortunately they were all under offer by yesterday so instead we just cleaned up the house and decided to wait until Martins week off in February. After all, who is going house hunting in this weather?

One other thing I did do this week was to have more of a play with my Annie Sloane chalk paint. I have two beautifully carved wooden apple book ends, one of which I use as a door stop. They are highly polished medium coloured wood finish but have become a little tatty so I decided to give them a bit of a makeover. I only had white chalk paint but I poured a little into a bowl and mixed in some denim coloured blue acylic (plaid) paint to give a very pale blue colour, painted, and waxed all the parts then instead of the country look they had with red gingham fabric and string I would go for a more shabby chic look. I am really pleased with the result on the first one.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Assorted week

On Monday all the schools went back but first week out I was not expecting to be flooded with supply work, in fact I wasnt expecting any work at all as it has been so quiet so it was a surprise when Wednesday morning I got a late call saying the school I had been working with for the last two terms wanted me back for a further 2 terms. Its only one day a week but they are a great class and a friendly staff so I was more than happy to be rushing out the door to get there before assembly finished!

The rest of the week has been a bit of a mixed bag though. Monday I went with Laura to return her broken tagine, it came with no instructions but a recipe that seemed to imply it was ok to put it on the hob and fry off the onions before placing it in the oven, however it was only after it had cracked to a point beyond safety that I looked on the website where in the small print it did say not suitable to use on direct heat!  Anyway BHS were happy to refund the money and after going to Dunelm to replace with another one, we ventured into Hobbycraft as I needed a zip to finish my peplem top. 

No sooner had I picked up the zip then my phone rang and a very sorry for herself sounding Kelly told me she was very poorly and needed her mummy, so it was back home and over to her place to snuggle her up with a cup of tea (she had been too ill and weak to make herself one) a duvet on the sofa and the new Snowman and the Snow dog on the telly. Kelly loves the original and has been watching it every year (despite the fact it makes her cry) since she was 1 and it first hit our tv screens. Although we both agreed that the new follow up is not a patch on the 'real' one, we were soon both in tears and enjoying it.

Tuesday it was mum's birthday. She only wanted money but I still took Finley over to see her and dad. She had just discovered the dentist wanted to take out two of her teeth as they were starting to decay and was to do it the very next day. Not much of a birthday gift Mr Dentist :(

Thursday I woke up with a very sore back, so although it was Martins day off, we stayed in all day and played with our little lad, so it was not until Friday that I finally got back to Hobbycraft to see what they might have in the sale. Not much it would seem, but I did treat myself to a natural daylight lamp with magnifyer which was half price and seemed a good deal. The light in the craft room is very very poor so it was a godsend to actually be able to actually see the stitching I needed to undo on my top. Last night I finally got as far as putting in the zipper only to discover the new foot I got for christmas doesnt fit properly, the needle keeps hitting it and I broke two needles before I finally admitted I need to go back to putting it in without the special foot.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Week round up

I can't believe it is the 5th Jan already! 

I thought a round up of each week would be a good idea, and would let me add in any catchups I may have missed/

One of the important things I have not mentioned so far is the really sad thing that has happened. My cousin's wife finally lost her battle to the big C and passed away on 31st Dec 2012. I just want to send out a huge hug and to say I am thinking of you all to Ian, all his family and also to all of Janet's family. xx

On a less somber note, I have been keeping to my targets (I refuse to call them resolutions) and so far am half way through sewing a peplum top. Now I made a full muslim which fitted perfectly. The pattern was this one (just the top with a self drafted peplum)

and all it needed was a small FBA and a bit of a widening of the sleeve. I used exactly the same pattern as I made to cut out the muslin. I then read on some blog or other that by cutting out the interlining a bit larger than the main pieces they could be sewn together at the edges, turned the right way in, and ironed flat that the edges would be finished and the interlining lay flat.  So I have had a go at that, made up the top, let the seams out again, made it up again and it just about fits where it touches. How did that happen when the muslim had just the right amount of ease?

Still I will plod on as Kelly has persuaded me to go to Slimming World with her on Monday so hopefully by the time I finish the top, I will have lost a few pounds to make it wearable!

So, thus far I have blogged more often, have done some sewing and have decided on which way and when I am going to start the weight loss. Today Martin is off to watch a spurs match so I am going to see about a bit of walking and then try and take a few photos.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Good intentions

Honest my new keep up my blog intentions have not fallen by the wayside, its just that yesterday my lappy decided it didnt fancy connecting to the internet no matter what I wanted or tried, so it was off to my wonderful SIL for the day to get fixed.

Meanwhile I nipped off down to Sandwich to buy and try some of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint I have been reading great reviews on all around the net. I was rather taken by the fact that it seemed this wonderpaint needed no priming (yes that is right) no sanding down, or pre-painting before being used to transfer old furniture. Furthermore,its also reputed to stick to anything, deemed to dry in 20 mins and was perfect for shabby chic!

Now I am beginning to be quite taken with the romantic look and have a vision in my head of how I would like my new home to look (when we finally put this one on the market and move into a bungalow. It involves giving a new lease of life to my 1980's dark solid wood dinning room suite. 6 chairs all in what could be dark teak or dark oak but with turns on all the spindles and back slats! One of the reasons I had never done anything with it before was the thought of having to sand down all those twists on 6 legs, a cross bar, and two uprights on the back plus a number of rather awkward shaped slats on the backs. So I was really really hoping the paint would live up to its name.

So far I have painted half the chair, giving it two coats. Its not easy stuff to work with as it drys out really quickly and thickens up in the can just as fast. Not only that its a bit deceptive in that it looks like it has loads of brushstrokes and the dark wood shows through. Its not until it dries completely thoat it looks flat and white. It is touch dry in 10 mins (working indoors in centrally heated room) but doesnt look flat until a good couple of hours later.

I am really pleased with the look so far though. It still needs to be waxed to cure the paint but the shop did not have any in until their next delivery some time next week. So hopefully brilliant chair photos to follow!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Happy 2013!!

So targets for this year:-
  • blog more often
  • loose weight
  • get fitter
  • sew at least 6 fitting outfits
  • take more photos of whole family
  • scrap some photos 
  • put house on the market