Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Update... Three YEARS (+24months) later...

Hello.  How're things? Good? Oh good. Well it's been a little while but I'm still here. Still puttering along. The house has changed somewhat since my last posts.  We've decorated in the living room...
And we are in the process of sticking pins in our eyes.   Sorry? Did I just say "sticking pins in our eye"? I meant "getting the kitchen refitted" easy mistake.  Simple  slip of the tongue. 
"Why! This is simply delightful"

  I don't mean to come over all 'first world' here: "Oh it's awful.  Just awful! We've had to eat  microwaveable food and I'm just worn out with all the takeaways!"  Especially given recent world events - having a kitchen done is a wonderfully privileged thing... And I'm grateful... And it will look RRRRIDICC when it's finished, you guys....

But this is week 4 of what was predicted to be a one week build (not to mention 8 whole months of deliberating reassessing budgets culminating in the infamous dance of negotiation that you have to do with every kitchen supplier in the UK: "What's that? You wanna buy a kitchen? Ok. No you can't afford real wood and foil warped is better! Well I'm gonna tell you a price. It's not the real price. It's a pretend one at least twice as much as you can reasonably expect to pay... Sorry? What? No. No we can't do a 50% reduction.  We're slicing our own throats here! Oh you've been quoted 75% less down the road for a better quality kitchen? Why didn't you say?? We would have matched that!" ) I booked two weeks off work to be sure of all eventualities but in the end the only eventuality that it covered was watching an empty building site of a kitchen during the second week while we waited for a pretty poor electrician to turn up day after day. When he finally arrived 5 days later he had mucked up everybody else's schedule and so we are getting labour done in dribs and drabs as people try to fit us in and around existing commitments.... All that said - it is already looking good... Never mind when the work tops go on.....

UPDATE: 24 (and a bit) months later.....
Oh my god! It's FINISHED! It's finished? Yes it is indeed finished....

AAnd..... then we sold the house... to be continued....

Friday, 17 August 2012

How do you get to Wales in a Mini?

So now I'm back  -  from out of space.  You just walked in to find me here - that sorry look upon my face.  (actually I cant help that - I'm sort of stuck with it: an extremely charming and, it goes without saying, tactful chap once asked me why I looked so gawpy)

Artist's Impression of my gawpy face...

Good old Gloria.  Gaynor that is.  We're back to rehearsing music together (my husband and I - not me and Gloria - we fell out over a toffee crisp and I've never seen her in the same light since) and I'd quite like to cover Gloria in an acoustic stylee.  I think it might be both amusing and a bit of a crowd pleaser too.

Here is a veeeeery rough recording of he and I doing 'Aint No Sunshine' not sure if this link will work:  If it does work - here are the excuses.... I was coming down with a nasty cold and was rushing the recording in order to catch up on housework - hence the timing being slightly off and my changing of the lyrics to "Aidt doe Sudshide wed shes God"

Well, well, well... what have we been up to.... shockingly little in the way of house p(r)imping.  But in our defence we've experienced about 2.5 hours of sunshine (or should I say 'sudshide' ahem *wink*)

My little Golden Boy

and its gone to our heads!

That and the Olympics.  What a shocker! Who'd have thunk it'd be that good folks?? I laughed and I cried and I stood in my living room screaming like a possessed cat lady and ran along with Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis and the like.  It was amazing.  I cant wait til the Paralympics cause I was so much more excited about that in the first place.  My dad was an amputee and something amazing happened when he lost his legs - he grew in stature and presence.  Rather than becoming less of a man - he became more of one.  And let me tell you folks - he was a pretty amazing guy to begin with.

We've also been doing a fair bit of gallivanting too:-
we went to Cannon Hall Farm and milked a cow...

We went to Yummy Yorkshire Ice Cream and watched a Falconry display

We went to my favourite place on the face of the earth - Wales...

And spent quality time paddling..

And... when we couldnt simply jet off to the furthest reaches of galactic West Yorkshire and Interstellar Wales...
We walked around the back of the house and spent more quality time paddling...

And foraging for the precious treasure that is..... river pebbles.  And what do you do with priceless river pebbles that your little boy has spent his afternoon foraging and cannot bear to part with?  That's right.  The only thing you can do.  You turn them into sugar skull paperweights of course.  Was there ever any doubt....

Well thats all until next time folks ..... XxshellxX

Friday, 13 July 2012

To Everything - Turn, Turn, Turn

I have the Byrds version of Turn, Turn, Turn in my head today. 

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven  

Ive been looking through baby pics and Ive got that sense of time having passed ridiculously (some might even say 'suspiciously') quickly.

I mean - where DOES it go??? This little fellow on my knee here....

Yep - this is the same little guy - only now he's my big boy rockstar son. Pictured here with his beautiful  girlfriend
And those two pictures were taken about 5 minutes apart.  What?? You dont believe me?  Well, ok.  You're probably right - but I'm telling you that it feels that way.

And this cheeky chappie...

Here he is two minutes later - practising his best crosseyed stare for the camera
 I'll be posting his wedding pics on here next week.  But seriously...
How can it be fair that all the precious times are gone so fast??  

Daddy hand and Baby hand
At least we can be assured that the bad stuff packs its bags and sods off just as sure as the good stuff is fleeting.  Its just that the bad stuff just seems to hang around for a bit longer... overstays it's welcome if you will.
My Mum and Me - the lederhosen were a punishment for not eating all my greens

I was contacted recently via Twitter by Tilly and Pearl who asked me if I would consider featuring them in a blog post.   And I wondered if they might do organic lederhosen - you know - in case Alex doesnt eat his greens and I need to pull out the big guns.... I didn't want to agree to anything until I'd seen their website - but I have to say that I think their organic clothing line is lovely and very reasonably priced compared to other organic baby clothing companies Ive come across.  
I especially like this little number - babies + stripes =  supercute
They dont do Lederhosen - I'd guess that  they were outlawed in line with child protection legislation sometime in the eighties.  BUT SERIOUSLY - HOW CUTE ARE THESE BADBOYS!
They also do a nice range of Nursery related artwork, gifts and toys - all from ethical brands.
I'm quite in love with this little fella and Elmer too.  I'm sure Alex wouldnt consider himself too old for either of those - and the Elmer would be good as part of a story sack...

I've had a lot of positive feedback via the blog lately and I'd just like to say how much it is appreciated and what a lift it gives me - especially as it comes from people who's work I appreciate and admire so much.  So - thankyou for your kind and lovely comments!  

I promise to get back to p(r)imping soon and stop being so mired in the past!

Bye bye for now!  XxshellxX

Thursday, 5 July 2012


What weve been up to in the last few weeks...
I met the naked chef ;

I p(r)imped a plain cushion

We made birthday cards - we have lots of birthdays in June

and filled them in...

we made presents

we made a mess

I got my haircut at a hair salon - for the first time in years.... (I normally do it myself EEEEK!)

We had my beautiful and amazing cousin over to stay with us - she is going back to Canada soon :(

I continued my drawing...    

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A gypsy caravan....

As a little girl, I always wanted to own a gypsy caravan.
Add caption

I could just imagine myself sat, barefoot on the front of one with a little white pony pulling us along the sweet smelling country lanes of middle England.  And at night I would snuggle up and read books by gaslight.
My reality?  I lived in coronation street land - concrete and bricks.  I yearned for my own little caravan so badly that it almost hurt.  Actually scratch that last sentence... It did hurt.  It did.  Mainly because I knew that it would never happen.

Skip thirty years forward to our first few weeks in this new house... Our newly inherited shed was in a sorry state.  The woodstain had all but weathered away and most of the roof felt had perished.
It was still a good shed though and would cost a small fortune to replace completely.  So I set about purchasing roofing felt and adhesive and I repaired the roof (Admittedly in a rather amateurish and lopsided way) But it saw the shed through another two winters and I made a mental note to repaint it.

I didnt want to simply restain it though - I wanted something more.  I had seen this beautiful shed on Junkaholique's dreamy blog.  And I wanted a little garden refuge.  Perhaps a little craft room of my own.  I could put my sewing machine down there... Its a treadle machine and so doesn't require electricity.  Perhaps I could paint the shed in pastel shades.  Maybe a little beach hut - I wasn't sure but I kept the idea in the back of my mind, retrieving it every once in a while and turning it over, re-examining it, re-evaluating.  But never coming up with anything concrete - until a couple of months ago...

I'd picked up a book on decorative painting and had done a couple of little projects using ceramic paints to decorate some old plates.  My thoughts turned to some of the old plant pots I had and I thought that I'd quite like to paint them in a folk art/ Canal boat style.  As I set to searching the internet for inspiration - I happened across some photos of Gypsy Caravans and as I admired their brightly painted designs - I once again found myself wishing that I had one.  If only a stationery caravan at the bottom of the garden... You can see where I'm going with this, right?  I had my eureka moment.  Only problem... I have a number of other projects queuing up to be started/finished/maintained... And a husband who is growing rapidly sick and tired of the way our house is increasingly resembling a junk shop...Soooo I have some previous projects to nail first and some time management miracles to work so that I can fit in what is bound to be the biggest project I have undertaken so far.... Watch this space.  Its coming.  It might take a while to complete and itll most certainly be a labour of love.  But lookit:
She shall be mine and I will call her 'Buttercup'..

wouldnt you like one of these at the bottom of your garden??
Bye for now

Saturday, 2 June 2012

In My Life

29 years ago today my dad died.  I hadnt properly thought about him in a little while but for some reason a Beatles tune popped into my head while I was cooking tea.  This particular tune reminded me of him - though I dont know if he liked the Beatles - I was only eight when he passed away so we hadnt gotten to the 'sharing musical tastes' phase that a lot of parents and their children are privileged enough to experience. 

I cried some happy tears (brought on by both the tune and the loving memories that it had evoked) and I phoned my mum. 

We talked about how the pain of loss never really goes away yet the way you react to it changes over time.  She told me that she can now enjoy the memories she has of dad though for a long time she found it too upsetting to go over - even the pleasant things. 

I know that for a long time, as a younger adult, the loss of him made me incredibly angry.  And - as a person who can usually think of a way around pretty much any obstacles I encounter - I would get terribly frustrated when I realised that nothing I could ever say, do or achieve could ever bring him back.

Dad has now been gone for more than three times as long as he was in my life so my memories are mostly sketchy or hazy.  I cant really remember his face or what his voice sounded like but I can still feel the love that I have for him as fresh as if I just spoke to him this morning. 
What a remarkable thing love is - it is inexhaustible and indefatigable.

"There are places I remember all my life 
though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments 
with lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life Ive loved them all"

Thanks for indulging me with this one peeps
Goodnight all xx


Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Quickie Before...

Just a quickie to show you some furniture that I'm intending to attack...

a mid century modern kitchenette cabinet

the inside with formica work surface and pie shelves

etching detail to glazed doors
Nobody can quite understand why I've bought this but I can visualise how amazing it will look when finished.  AAAaaand I've seen how much the restored versions of these go for on Ebay... Its all about Mid Century Modern furniture at the moment.

I've also picked up this lovely little display cabinet which will also be subjected to a coat of paint.  But I think I'll keep this one - its already been awarded a spot in our bedroom. 

sweet little display cabinet

I love the detail on the little door handle

I dont think its worth an awful lot - but its just perfect for me to store fabric or bed linen in - its not too big and its not to small.  As Goldilocks would say - its just right!  Its sitting in my bedroom right now with my patchwork quilt and my clean bed linen in it. 

In other news....When I moved the little cabinet upstairs... somebody followed me up and took advantage of the fact that I was distracted AND moved in on my lovely freshly made bed...

see my beautifully made bed?

see how its being unmade?

Ah the joys of jumping on your mum and dad's bed... It just never gets old does it...

tata for now ducks XxshellxX

Thursday, 10 May 2012


Today has been a strange day.. There was a reasonable amount of anticipation and its fair to say that there was a measure of the anticlimax about it too.

We had signed up with a local toddler walking group and were due to meet today with a view to visiting Folly Dolly Falls - a local beauty spot with more than a touch of geological significance and (its fair to say) a slightly comical name.

We got up bright and early with a view to partaking of a hearty breakfast to see us on our way.  One of us entered into the active spirit a little more than the rest - approaching his breakfast as if he were settling into the starting blocks...

On your marks....

get set...

TOAST! No oh wait a minute - biscuits...
Anyroad... we broke our fast in glorious sunshine (you cant tell from the pictures but let me assure you - it was there)  and then donned our most serious walking garb at which point it started to rain... so we changed into crocodile and blue and pink floral wellies and one of us wore a giant waterproof frog poncho... It wasnt me..

They dont make them big enough...(probably)
We rushed out of the house because although we'd initially had plenty of time we still managed to be late.  In rushing out of the house we forgot our camera - I blame Alex - he was supposed to be reminding me.  Yes he might only be two years old but still...  So we have no photos of aforementioned Folly Dolly Falls.  Here are some pictures of the Bluebells in our garden until normal service resumes... (that might be a while...}
*elevator muzak*
Bluebells are rampant in our garden *more elevator muzak* 
*Do  Do Do Dooooo Dudoodoooo Dudoo doodoo doo Dadadada Dooo Dudoo Dooo Dudoo Doodoo doo*

Theyre spanish and theyre rampant so I'm allowed to pick them and put them in a vase on my windowsill ok?

The walking group consisted of two Surestart Playworkers and a group of about six other mums with tiny babies in prams - no other toddlers.  Consequently the pram brigade walked at a chatting Mummy pace - I walked at Alex pace.  'Alex Pace' "alehks pås" speed of walking which allows perpetrator (yes perpetrator) to examine every pebble, fallen leaf, indentation, puddle in, on or by footpath.  As an approximate measurement 500 yards covered in a  LIFETIME!! 

This meant we were left behind... no matter... even though we were walking at a snail's limping pace - Alex was very excited to see the Falls and to paddle in the stream.  
the group didnt stop at the falls - they walked past them - at a distance...  Walked a little way further then turned around and walked past them again.  At which point I told one of the Playworkers that I'd promised Alex a look at the falls and so I was going to take him down to the stream for a paddle and a better look.  Aforementioned Playworker said that it wasn't a problem and that he would head back with the group but wait for us at the original meeting place to make sure that we got back ok.  The falls were lovely.  We were able to wade right into the stream and take a good luck up at them.  On the way back it was a matter of national import that we jumped in every puddle (it was a rainy day - there were hundreds) and picked up every leaf, catkin, pussy willow bud that we encountered along the way.  The meeting place was probably about 20 mins walk away from where we broke off from the group... an hour and a half later... we met back up with the playworker again.  He was very nice about it but it cant have been fun waiting around for an hour plus just for us to to appear.  Also Alex, being tired, wailed pretty much the whole way home.  So to recap: Walk = Rained on, Left behind, and Wailed at.  Not quite the fun day I'd had planned originally - No MATTER!.... I had been invited to a twitter party for Mums that involved Chocolate, Wine, and Doodling online.  I would get home, get tea on, get Alex bathed and into bed and settle in for a relaxing evening chatting, chomping chocolate, quaffing vino and drawing. What could be better?? 

The turkey fillets for tea didn't defrost in the time that the microwave assured me they would, Tea itself didnt cook in the time that the recipe assured me it would (the fillets were still raw) so I was half an hour behind schedule... 

NO MATTER!! I still had allowed plenty of time - Twitter party started at 8.30pm - Alex was in the bath by 7pm.  In bed by 7.45 and David (my husband) said he would tuck Alex in and read him a story.  Done and dusted by 8.05pm - I asked David to light me a fire in the living room, poured my wine and broke out some chocolate and marshmallows onto a plate - I found scrap paper and a selection of pens and pencils - 8.10pm. 

 Alex started to shout down that he needed the potty.  Dave was busy with a match in his hand - 8.12pm - still time.  I ran upstairs and helped him into the potty.  We sang some songs, discussed his stuffed animal display, reminisced...still no wee.  Everytime I asked him if he'd finished he would say:- "Mr Wee will be along in a minute"  Finally Mr Wee showed up and I tucked him into bed. Alex, not Mr Wee.  I flushed him down the toilet.  Mr Wee, not Alex.  
Came downstairs - 8.34pm.  Rushed to switch on the p.c.  Said my hello s and tried to settle in only it was all so fast - looked to see if my camera was ready - looked back - 8 more tweets had been submitted.  Tried to read through 8 tweets and view all their doodles online - 17 more tweets in the intervening period.  did a doodle about it all going too fast, took a photo, had a fight with the camera, won fight, uploaded photo. 

 117 tweets in the intervening... WHAT?? 117 TWEETS!  Tried to do another doodle.  Camera unresponsive.  Bitch slapped camera, camera woke up.  Camera refused to upload images.  Switched off then switched on camera several times.  Read tweet saying "thanks for joining in see you next time" 

oh right

Not quite the relaxing, indulgent evening I had planned...  

Good thing I decided to put my (super hero) cape on this morning - it may or may not have had any effect on the outcome of the day at all but I like it anyway and it only cost me 20p! 
Cape - may or may not have supernatural properties - lets be honest I'm almost 67% sure it doesn't.. but ... you never know..

Anyway tata for now peepholios 
Love XxshellxX