Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Three times a day...

...is how many times i am currently watering the stupid amount of pots, planters, hanging baskets and tubs we have. They look very pretty and make the place look very summery but the combination of 14 plus hours of sunlight and intense heat means these are thirsty flowers and don't even get me started on the deadheading! hehe

x x x

Saturday, 26 June 2010


I’ve been absent from blog land for quite sometime, trying to totally refurbish 4 houses in 3 months is no easy feat and the 17 hour days in 30degree temperatures have not been a laugh a minute! But finally we are seeing an end to the intense work. We have had our first guests and are now gearing up for the busy summer season.

Life is starting to gain some sense of balance and both me and ‘The Other Half’ are starting to settle into some form of routine. I’m still finding it strange though having people randomly wandering around in my garden and Louis is very confused why there are strange and freakishly small people (children) running and shouting and playing on ‘his’ grass! Oh the joys of guests! We all need some time to adjust to the new way of life I think!

With being so busy getting the gites ready for the guests I have had no time to stitch or stick or knit, well I did make 5 pairs of curtains in 2 days but that doesn’t count as it was not an enjoyable experience (I’ve never even made curtains before) and finishing the last hem on living room curtains 20 minutes before the guests arrived was not funny at the time!

I’m hoping now, that with the new sense of routine and balance that is slowly being restored in our lives, I can make use of my fabulous new craft stash…

…isn’t it wonderful?!!!

The first time I came to see the house I knew straight away what was going to live in this cupboard and as soon as the first guests were here I wasted no time in unpacking my treasures. I literally danced around the room when it was done – no more rummaging around in the loft in boxes to find things now!

I hope everyone out there is ok, I am going to go and have a good read and a catch up to see what I’ve missed over the last few months!!!

My little family =D

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

We finally made it...

And breath! I feel like this is the first time I’ve had to actually sit at the computer in front of my fire (my French fire) and collect my thoughts.

We made it to France and arrived at our new house on Thursday 4th March 2010, gerbils and all! The car was packed to bursting and 540 odd miles is not too comfortable in a 3 door car with 2 gerbils and everything but the kitchen sink!

Part of me feels like we have been just about keeping our heads above water since we arrived, staggering from one calamity to the next! They tell me its character building and as each one gets further away we start to see the funny side!

We have survived a gas leak on our first day, 2 very confusing phone conversations to a very French gas company resulting in gas man and fixed leak! Followed closely by the great escape, one minute the gerbils were both happily doing gerbil things in their house, the next they were no where to be found! Two days later and various home made gerbil ‘traps’ and we had coaxed both of them out from behind the fireplace where they had created a warm and cosy home!

Mid march saw the arrival of a new addition to our family.

This is Louis and he is 10 months old. He came to us from a rescue centre. He had been found on the side of the road, nothing more than a scrap of bones with a crushed paw. He was so timid and very scared of everything. It took us nearly 30 minutes to just get him out of the car.

We think that he has been severely mistreated and beaten, he is terrified of men and shakes uncontrollably when he meets new people. He does like to steal socks and has taken to following me around like my shadow. It will take lots of time and patience but he is a sweet little dog with a lovely nature who just needs lots of love and cuddles!

Along with our beautiful house, we have 4 cottages (gites) that we will let out to holiday makers. We began the task of renovating them almost as soon as we arrived and I think we are starting to make progress, although it has proved too much some some!

The previous owner had some very weird ideas when it came to interior decoration, I sometimes find it hard to stop the bad words escaping from my lips when painting the 6th coat of paint to cover up neon orange walls or luminous green furniture!

Our first paying guests arrive on 11th May so we are working to a tight schedule. We have had lots of help and support from our wonderful families though, my parents have been out twice with big van loads of things and ‘The Other Half’s’ mum and partner were with us last week lending a helping hand with building stud walling and making curtains.

So even though I have the odd homesick day and sometimes things seem to get on top of me, sitting in the garden on a sunny evening with my man and my dog next to me makes it all worth while and I know how very very lucky I am.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Counting the days

Still not a lot of crafting gone on here this week however, I did have a very productive trip to the antique centre last weekend and we managed to buy lots of “not quite antiques”!

I am always spoilt for choice when I visit; it’s like a wonderland of old stuff! We managed to get some lovely kitchen furniture and a couple of large dressers for the gites, some old pine tables, quite a few plate racks and shelves and I even got a pine spice rack!

This weekend just gone saw me and “The Other Half” are venturing up to my parents in Cumbria, it was the last time I will get up there before we go and I had lots of my treasures crap at their house – a major sort out was required. I also needed to say à bientôt to my two horses. They will be joining me in France, probably in the summer, but it’s not practical for me to take them right away.

Things are getting scarily real now. Tomorrow is my last day in work. I can hardly see over the pile of work still to do on my desk and I am very sad (much more than I thought I’d be) to be leaving. I think there will be tears at my leaving meal tonight!

Tomorrow we have some friends coming to stay and on Saturday we are having a small gathering of friends at our house to say goodbye. I then have 2 weeks to sort out the rest of our stuff. One of these weeks will be spent in France completing the sale and having a sort through of the house to see what else I need to get, leaving just one week to finish packing our house, visit various friends, family and the like, sort out tedious things like banks and bills, finish decorating and buy everything else that we need – am I mad?!

My major headache atm is how do you take 2 hyperactive Gerbils to France? Hmmmm, need to get my thinking cap on me thinks!

Starting to get excited now through!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Boxes Boxes Everywhere!

My lack of blogging over the past week or so if for no other reason than I have done absolutely nothing that is blog worthy.

The weekend saw boxes, tape, newspaper and various other packing materials fill the house and, in a military style operation, me and The Other Half spent 48 hours wrapping, stuffing, shoving, and squeezing what seemed like everything we own in to these boxes…..

There doesn't seem to be many of them but they took long enough to pack, i'm lucky that I managed to ship most of my crafting "stash" up to my parents over Christmas .

I managed to sort these…

…which are full of clothes, shoes, bags, etc that either no longer fit me or I just can’t justify paying to ship over to France. They will be dispersed between family, friends and charity shops.

One of the reasons that we are making the move is to live a simpler and not so “thing” orientated life. We have sorted out about 5 outfits each to wear between now and the move and the rest of our things will (hopefully) be packed away and ready to send over by the end of this weekend.

My house looks very bear and empty now, not very homely at all, but I’m hoping that by being organised (for the first time in my life) now, it will save some of the stress and hassle when we actually get to “moving day”!

Fingers crossed I will get over to a wonderful antique centre on Saturday, the house we are going to in France is very large and totally unfurnished so I need to get a lot of LARGE furniture to make it look full!

Oh I did manage to get a sofa (will make sense if you read my last post), where from I hear you ask…… yup, Ebay come through for me again. I got this 9’ hardly used beauty for all of £92.00 – don’t you just love a bargain!

Sorry for the mundane post, I haven’t even picked up a needle or been near a bead this week – I will try to do something more exciting next week!



x x x

Monday, 18 January 2010

Beg Borrow and Steal

The weekend saw me and "The Other Half" head up to my Parents House in Cumbria.

We are doing the move to France on a tiny budget and all of our furniture has to stay in our current house, apart from two beds, a large wooden (and very uncomfortable) futon, an IKEA chair and a few bits and pieces.

My parents have lots of outbuildings full of old bits and bobs of furniture, toys, books, etc so in a bid to reduce the amount of things we have to buy we decided a barn raid was in order. We found lots of “treasures” from my childhood and suffice to say I got very distracted – lots!

I also took the opportunity to sort out all of my horse’s “things”. I find it very hard to part with things, both me and my dad are hoarders, much to my mums dismay, well you really never know when something might come in useful! I found rugs that he has had since I got him over 8 years ago that have massive holes in them, head collars that I suspect have been chewed (bloody mice!) and lots of other stuff that I said good bye too.

My parents have a lovely old pine chest in the living room that holds their TV. It really is a lovely piece of furniture. About 4pm on Saturday afternoon my dad announced that he had another one somewhere in a barn. Off he went and re-appeared some considerable time later proudly carrying this…

Now not to sound ungrateful, but I didn’t know whether he was joking, did he really expect me to put this in my living room?

Oh me of little faith.

After an hour of scraping, scrubbing, frantic sanding and washing, this is what we had.

Granted its only the front of the drawer but you get the general impression, don’t you? Obviously it needs waxing and a bit more work but I think its a bit special.

I think we might have discovered a little gem underneath the two layers of sticky back plastic and three layers of paint!

We also managed to fill the one barn that my mum and emptied with three tables, two stools, 4 dining chairs, three rugs, a TV cabinet, my first rocking chair (its so so small and cute), various curtain poles, a selection of lanterns and outdoor candles and a few other bits and bobs.

Now all I have to do is find a sofa?

Hmmm - Ebay calls me thinks!

x x x

Growing Outwards

When I started university in 2006 I was a size 6 and weighed just over 7 stone – tiny and unhealthy I know. I went from leading an extremely active lifestyle, riding my horse everyday, helping out on a farm, looking after an assortment of animals to living the “student” lifestyle and doing, well, not a lot!

Now, 3 ½ years later, I am over 10 ½ stone and hovering somewhere between a 12 and a 14. So in a bid to knock a few inches from my waist (and numerous other places) over the last few weeks I have cut the following from my diet:

Sugar (in tea especially)

So basically all of the good stuff!

I have been eating huge amounts of:

Onions (anyone who knows me will realise how impressive this one is!)

I feel like a totally different person.

I know that once I get to France and start being active again I will be able to eat what ever I want again, but I feel so good now that I’ve cut out so much crap I might try and stick to it!

Hope you had a nice weekend

x x x