Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year

The wine is chilled, the chocolate is being unwrapped and there is a garlic bread in the oven ... I'll be gone for the evening then ..... Lol  ;-)

We have a fresh, brand new year to look forward to.

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Happy New Year to each and everyone of you.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Review of the Year - Part Four

October was the month that excavations for the holes that would hold the steel beams for the conservatory were dug.  Has it really been almost three months of having mud and upheaval outside the back door - yes it has!!

It was also the month that we had Mavis spayed and her crooked teeth sorted out, both have had a good effect on our littlest lady (yes, she is lighter than Charley).

It was also the month I gave you this tip .... put a conker on your windowsills to keep away unwanted spiders.  It really does work, this is the first year I have done this and we have hardly had any spiders in the house.  Just a copy of those delicate little almost see through ones that live in the corners of your room.  No big, horrible monsters to get my heart racing and my mouth swearing.

This was the month the work really started on the conservatory, the roof was removed, the kitchen boarded up and it was here there and everywhere for the dogs.  The linked to post told the tale well.  I hate disruption and the previous post had seen me stamping my feet and having a blog post hissy fit.

This one saw me doing what I do best,  simply making the best of it and organising things to minimise disruption and make life bearable again.  It worked I got myself back on track.

This was also the month I got totally fed up with making cups of tea!!

Through out this month I have no doubt been boring lots of you senseless with photos of the developing conservatory (hence me not putting another photo of it here).  It's driven me to distraction and back.  Now it is almost finished, there is just the bench tops to do and the tarmacking outside which is bookmarked for February, so no longer do I have to record for posterity the developing work.

December also sees us always opening our Sealed Pot, something I think is really worth doing.  Just get yourself a pot seal it up tightly (as you can see from the post linked to under the photo I had a real struggle to get into ours) and feed it with your dribs and drabs of change throughout the year, opening it on a date of your choosing.  I usually use ours for a Challenge in the New Year, something I will be doing again starting next week. :-)

It was also the month I came across P333 for the kitchen which will be the Challenge I take up when the Sealed Pot money runs out.  I'm planning this long and slow and not rushing into it at all.

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So overall it's been a reasonably good year.  

Better for us than some recent ones, we've lost no members of our human family, we've gained, lost  and then re-gained members of our furry family.  There has been some illness, a marriage breakdown, mental health worries and financial ones in the wider family, but nothing that between us with the help and understanding of family, friends and some medical expertise we couldn't pull through.

The most important thing is we are all facing the New Year with roofs over our heads, food in our cupboards and in relatively good health which is more than can be said for some folk.

Now it is time to plan the coming year.  It holds the fresh promise of things to come.  New plans to be made, new goals to achieve and more to be learnt.  The one thing that shines through everything is that with family around you, hope in your head and love in your heart it is possible to face head on whatever life throws at you ... and face it with the certainty that you will come out the other side and you will be stronger for it.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year.  

May the coming year be what you want it to be, and may it treat you with all the respect and love that you have earned and deserve.

All the very Best.

From Sue & Lovely Hubby
 Rosy, Suky, Mavis, Charley, Ginger and Caldwell and his harem of 18 wives

Monday, 29 December 2014

Review of the Year - Part Three

July was the month a certain little madam arrived in a whirlwind of puppy energy.  She brought out the softer side of Rosy, the motherly side of Suky and the 'oh bl**dy hell not another dog' side of Ginger.

She was a lovely surprise gift to me from Lovely Hubby .... although if I'm totally honest that's not what I say when she empties the kindling basket all over the living room rug and has a good chewing session  ;-) 

August saw us planting fruit bushes, admiring the fruit growing on our already planted fruit trees and generally putting up fences and lining pathways with lots of lovely free wood chippings delivered to us by the guys cutting down trees around power lines in the area.

It saw lots of changes around the place including the polytunnel frames going up  and we discovered just how self sufficient we could be in the future with fruit and with nuts growing around the place when we discovered Cob Nuts growing in the hedgerows in a few places on our land.

September started with a really big shock.  On the first Monday morning of September a phone call came to say that Mavis hand been handed in to a vets in Peterborough.  I grabbed my bag and keys and hit the road to bring her home.  To read the full story click on the word September under the photo of her and you will be taken to the post in question.

To have her back with us has been hard work and chaotic at times.  Nursing a badly treated and delicate dog back to health at the same time as having a lively puppy in the house has been possibly one of the hardest things I have had to cope with this year ... but we have survived and I would not have it any other way.  Our family is once again complete.

(All the photos have links to the blog posts they are taken from.)

The final review will be tomorrow and then I will have to start thinking about the New Year and it's promises still to come.

Sue xx

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Review of the Year - Part Two

Looking back over the year I see the big thing for me in April was Live Below the Line.  Living on one pound a day for five days to highlight the terrible food poverty in this country and so many others.  It's scary to think that food poverty in the UK is rising so fast.  

Together we managed to raise the brilliant sum of £420 for my chosen charity, which this year was Send a Cow.  Sending cows donated by British farmers overseas to places where they can make a real difference and allow people to feed themselves, their families and then spread the good fortune of their gift to others in the form of the first female calf that is born to their cow.

One of my May posts was this about making Damson Gin and Damson Gin Jam, and it's highly appropriate that I choose this picture and link, because this morning for breakfast we had some of the jam on our toast .... and lurking deep in the back of the cupboard is the last of these bottles.  Waiting to be broken open and mixed with some Champagne to see in the New Year.

I'm enjoying this look back over the year (and I hope you are too), so much so that I find myself reading through all the posts as I decide which to choose as my 'picture and post of the month' , it's a time consuming but thoroughly enjoyable way to while away an hour.

  This one about our lovely chicken called Amber simply had to be the one for June.  I miss this lovely little lady, although one of the Skylines has almost taken her place as the one to come to the house and remind me if I am late with the corn.  It seems my flock of lovely ladies elects a spokesperson to keep me under control!!

Back tomorrow with more.

Se xx

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Review of the Year - Part One

I don't always do a review of the year but this year both to refresh my memory of the year just gone, and to have a good excuse to go back and look at old Blog posts I have decided to go with the flow.

I apologise if you are one of the readers who is currently reading through the entire Blog from the very beginning to current day (and I really applaud your stamina),  there are quite a few of you at the moment if I check up on the Stats, no doubt some of you will just be reading what I am about to highlight about this year.

I've decided to simply choose my favourite photo, or the one I feel sums up the months best, from each month and I'll split the review over the next couple of posts.  You can go to the original post the picture is from simply by clicking on the month written underneath it.

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So to start us off the first photo is my favourite photo from January,  it is simply Mavis and Ginger cuddled in together on the sofa.  Mavis has come on so much this year, she has been to hell and back - twice, but now she is safe at home where she belongs.  To me this photo says so much but mainly that at last she felt she had a friend, a safe place to sleep and a home to call her own.

Her story started HERE a few days before this photo was taken..


This photo sums up February so well.

We were just getting used to the wetness of our corner of North Wales, jobs were started in sunshine and yet minutes later the heavens would open and gale force winds would appear from nowhere.  Occasionally we would down tools and head back to the house, but after so many jobs beginning this way we learned to just grit our teeth and work through it.


March saw us adding finishing touches to the house ... most of them green :-)

It was nice to be getting the rooms to how we wanted them to be after our three months of decorating and renovating before moving in.  It took actually living here properly to show us where the colour needed to be and how we wanted the rooms to really look.  And by March we were really beginning to feel at home here.

April. May and June will be tomorrow.

Sue xx

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Wishing all the readers of the Blog a Very Merry Christmas.

With special yappy barks and grins from Charley .....

.... a very mischievous smirky grin from Mavis.

A grumpy ..... "this is so not a good look for me"  from Suky the Pug.

A "don't you agree I look absolutely beautiful in tinsel" from Ginger,

and a patient Christmassy pose from Rosy.

And all the very best from me and Lovely Hubby.  

We hope your Christmas is peaceful, full of love and laughter, and that the coming New Year will bring you a fresh start to do exactly what you would love to do.

Sue xx

" Now will you take this tinsel off me ....... "

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Last Day of the Advent Challenge

While Lovely Hubby was up in Mum's loft yesterday rolling out the insulation, and filling in every nook and cranny of the wonderfully large space we found above her bungalow. he came across these. 

 A brand new, still in it's wrapper headboard, and a really nice little trolley/table, just perfect for someone with a small kitchen.   Mum didn't want them as they must have been there when she moved in last year, so she gave them to us to sell at a car boot sale next year, we decided while we were chatting this morning that we won't be doing any car boot sales next year, instead any decluttering will continue to go to the local charity shops.

So this morning after walking the dogs along the freezing cold promenade in Llandudno, and then braving the Christmas shoppers in Asda to stock up on milk and some chicken for the dogs and Ginger, we called to our local Community Furniture Store and donated the two items.

A perfect finale to our Reverse Advent Challenge, which has seen us donate one item a day to someone who needs it more than we do, instead of opening a little door on a calender and eating a chocolate we've been decluttering our home and hopefully helping someone in the process.

Now all we have to do is hunker down in the warmth of the house ......

... and dream of what Santa might be bringing us.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and that Santa brings you the gifts of warmth, love and laughter, along with a few tasty treats and the odd tipple or two.

All the very Best

Sue xx

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Rolling Around in the Loft

We're off for the day to work in someone else's house.  Well ours is almost finished and we'd get bored if we sat still ... so we volunteered to top up Mum's loft space with some more insulation. Lovely Hubby is gathering together his safety gear ....gloves, glasses and a mask and then we'll hit the road.


You've got to make sure your Mum is warm and cosy over Winter haven't you :-)

See you soon Mum. xx

Advent Challenge - Day 23

A little antique stoneware jar.  It's gone off to the charity shop already.  It hadn't been used since we moved here so although I liked it a lot it was obviously not necessary for me to have it.

Sue xx

Monday, 22 December 2014

It's Done Enough ......

It's done enough .... to use!!

The conservatory is done, decorated re-wired and cleaned up.  There are just some finishing touches that we simply couldn't get done in time for a big Christmas 'Ta Da', but we are extremely happy with how it has all turned out.

We spent yesterday washing done windows, frames and putting up the blinds.  The table was reassembled and put back in place.  Hopefully in a week or so the worktop will arrive that will match the solid ones in the kitchen, this will be cut to size and used to top the window sills which will then form a nice oak window seat that will wrap around two sides of the table, meaning that we will have no need of separate chairs.  The off cuts will be used to make two or three shelves on the left hand wall.

We want the space to look clean, crisp and as minimal as possible,  The rich tones of the wood will stop it from looking stark and cold.

The new up-lighters are in position throwing a subdued glow over the interesting slant in the back wall.

For now the freezer is back in it's former position and will continue to be there until the garages and workshop are built in Spring of next year when it will move outside leaving the space free for us to put our older sofa into, which will then be a luxury comfy doggie bed when draped with their blankets or pulled back into use for us if we need a 'party room'.

The largest dog bed is back in the corner and since this photo was taken has been made into 'home' by Charley adding her toys and favourite blanket.  The two 'bread' bins on the window sill still contain doggie treats and food.

Here we are this morning in daylight.

The lights hanging lowish over the table to give us a nice cosy space to eat in and it's a good job I came into the room when I did while the electrician was here ... he was about to cut the wires to make them normal height ceiling lights ... ooops,  I would not have been a happy bunny to come into the room and see them there!!  

We are really happy with the outcome of this month long renovation project, (although very thankful that it is all over) and today will be spent washing the curtains that divide the conservatory from the kitchen and cleaning up the kitchen.  This fine layer of builders plaster dust will be nor more after today.

At last we have our home back to ourselves ... our new improved home that is, and already with driving rain and gale force winds we have had over the last week we are noticing the difference both in terms of warmth and soundproofing.

And we would like to say a Massive THANK YOU to our builders Aberconwy Building and Roofing Services for a job done with expertise and careful attention to detail.  Steve, Mark and all the guys that have had input into the work have done a sterling job.

Advent Challenge - Day 22

Jamie Christmas Magazine.  Lovely Hubby bought this for me a few weeks back, I'll keep the free calender that came with it and pass the magazine on for someone else to read.

Sue xx

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Everything Is All White .....

Everything is all white ..... the room has now been painted with three coats on the ceiling and two on the walls, the woodwork has all been sanded down and re-glossed, and the lights are being fitted.

Tomorrow will be the first 'ta-da', there is a little bit of work to finish off the windowsills, which are being topped with the same worktop as in the kitchen to make a bench area around the table, but that is on order and hopefully will be fitted in the New Year.

In the meantime it's white and at long last clean.  We spent yesterday scrubbing the windows and frames to get the spashes of set plaster off and now the room smells lovely.  Clean and fresh and ready, almost, for using again.

Ginger, the cat has been brilliant throughout all the renovations.  

Moving his dining area, which is always on top of the freezer so the dogs don't empty his 'eat when you want to' food dispenser, only caused him momentary confusion.  His bed was placed on top of the freezer too, just to give him somewhere he doesn't have to share with the dogs to sleep, although he usually chooses to snuggle up with Suky if it's a chilly night.

He ate and slept amid builders tools and confusion and didn't once get stroppy.  We are so lucky to have this totally laid back cat in our lives.

Here's someone you haven't met before ... this is Bertie, Charley's brother.  

We still keep in touch with the guys we bought Charley off, and Bertie's human Mum is called Lynette a workmate of Lovely Hubby's so we naturally keep in touch with her too,  and exchange photos of the pooches to see how they are developing.  Both are very confident, happy and content little dogs, this is what you get when you buy from someone who raises pups because they love raising pups and not just for money.  There are lots of similarities in the two but as you can see lots of differences too.

One of the biggest differences in Charleys life is that she is never alone, she has all the other dogs with her all the time and Ginger the cat too.  I don't honestly think she has ever been left alone for more than a few moments.

Advent Challenge - Day 21

A stencil I found in the office drawer.  I doubt we will ever need it again, but someone else might.

Sue xx

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Cuteness Overload

I know you would much rather see pictures of  the continuing conservatory transformation (yeah right !!)  but today I couldn't resist sharing this lovely photo I got the other day of Ginger, Mavis and Charley tucked in together ready for a snooze on our bed.

I had gone to investigate when it had gone all quiet while I was on the computer in the office, it usually means trouble if it goes quiet!!

Rosy was asleep on the sofa, Suky had been at my feet, until I so rudely disturbed her by getting up and this lovely trio were keeping cosy on the bed.  Seconds after this picture was taken they settled down again and snoozed an hour away.

Makes a change a bit of peace and quiet in this house at the moment.

I'll be back tomorrow with the latest shots of the conservatory.  It's almost finished, yes the end is in sight .... thank goodness ... I hear you all cry!!

Advent Challenge - Day 20

A teach yourself Italian course.  I'm useless at languages, I will try to learn some Welsh one day but the rest have defeated me.  It's gone to the charity shop where it will hopefully raise some funds.

Sue xx

Friday, 19 December 2014

P333 for the Kitchen

The Capsule Kitchen Challenge: 3 months 33 ingredients

I don't know about you but I love it when something captures my imagination and plays on my mind.  The other day I spotted this, a P333 for the kitchen.  Once again Courtney Carver has come up with something, so simple and yet that has the potential to be life changing.

See her posts HERE and HERE on her Project 333 Blog for much more inspiring information about this, thank goodness she is always on my sidebar, I would have hated to miss this.  

In a nutshell .... you choose 33 foods that you will eat (in any combination) for 3 months.  Then you can re-evaluate or move on with the seasons and vary your 33 items if you want to.  It means your cupboards will be streamlined, your shopping simplified and  you can get your health or diet on track by only including the foods you feel you should, or want to eat.  Anything that you use a tablespoon or less of ie. salt, pepper herbs, spices and oil you do not have to include in the 33 chosen items.  I can't wait to read about her thirty three ingredients.  I have yet to make a list, I've been dashing here there and everywhere today,  but in a quiet moment I will sit down pen and paper in hand and see for myself if this would work for me.

Maybe it's the cupboard being full of Christmas treats for us, our family and friends, maybe it's the fact that my freezers are both full to capacity ... well there have been so many meaty yellow stickered bargains to be had recently in the supermarkets I would have been mad not to buy them, as they'll last Lovely Hubby well into the new year and save us a fortune in the long run .... or maybe it's just that I am still on my quest for simplicity, but whatever the reason this really appeals to me.

Our Christmas starts tonight. 

 Lovely Hubby will be on his way home for the Christmas holidays in a few hours.  We still have things to do but we have already decided that we are going to make the most of these dark, cosy evenings to down tools at dusk, stop the household chores and once the chickens are tucked up for the night and the dogs have had a final walk around the paddock, the lamps will be lit, the games will be out and Christmas films will be on the television.  For now there is wine chilling in the fridge and nibbles waiting alongside it ... we might as well start as we mean to go on :-)

Advent Challenge - Day 19

A few bits and pieces that were in the cutlery drawer.  Maybe they will be of more use to someone else, I hope so.

Sue xx

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Inside, Outside

Yesterday I showed photos from the outside of the conservatory, showing our posh new roof, today we are inside, and a good job too it's YUK out there.

It's all neatly plastered and almost ready for a couple coats of paint.  The decorator should be here later today.  Usually we paint everything ourselves but for the minimal extra cost involved this time we have the brother of our builder, who handily is a painter and decorator who will slosh around the white paint and do it for us as part of the renovation package price.

I spent most of yesterday scrubbing off bits of dried on plaster from the window ledges and skirting boards, and sweeping up and then mopping up all the plaster dust that had settled on the floor.

It's nice to see it looking clean at last.

Once everything is painted and I can have a final clear up I will have to start on the kitchen.  With the doorway opened up again everything is covered with a fine layer of plaster dust.  It will be a good excuse to empty all the shelves and re oil them and the worktops before putting everything back and decorating up a little bit for Christmas.

I'll be glad to see everything back in it's rightful place, as I think will the animals.  The dogs and Ginger have coped admirably with all the upheaval.  As long as they can find their food dishes, water bowl and a bed for the night it seems they are happy.

Advent Challenge - Day 18

A telephone answering machine, found lurking in the drawer.  Better for someone to be able to use it than for it to 'lurk' anymore.

Sue xx

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

In the Nick of Time

Our roof slates and ridge tiles are all in place now .....

... the Velux window arrived and was fitted in place.  Not as large as we would have liked but it's there so hey ho!!  And it all happened in the nick of time, as now the weather has taken a real turn for the worse with gale force winds back again last night and heavy, heavy rain.

Advent Challenge - Day 17

A German dictionary.  I doubt I'll ever want to learn German, in fact I don't know where this even came from, but I know where it's off to ... the charity shop with some other books I have sorted.

Sue xx