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Family

Feeding the Squirrels

My mother-in-law has lots of squirrel visitors to her garden. They eat most of the food she leaves out for the birds and they’re always knocking the seed holders over and tipping the seed on the patio.
Her dog, Chichi loves sitting at the window watching the squirrels!

We had some mixed nuts in shells leftover from Christmas and this morning I took them for the squirrels.
We spent a good half hour watching them and taking photos 🙂

squirrel eating a nut
squirrel climbing up to the bird house
squirrel eating a nut in the bird house
squirrel on the bird house
squirrel in the tree
squirrel on the birdhouse
squirrel on the birdhouse
squirrels in the garden

KayCee and Veganuary

cartoon cow with a red 'no' circle on - veganuary
Image by jean-bernard Devaux from Pixabay

KayCee went on a school trip to France last month and on the coach on the way back, she had a conversation with one of her teachers about veganism.
She decided that she’d like to try being a vegan so asked if she could try Veganuary.

After having a discussion with Ant, we decided we’d fully support her.
Ant did some research into veganism as he wanted to be sure she was going to be eating healthily while eating this way for the month.

Two Weeks In

We’re two weeks into January and she was really enjoying being a vegan until she weighed herself and discovered that she’d lost 11lb in 2 weeks which puts her on the edge of the Under Weight category on the NHS height and weight chart.
We had another discussion and said we’re happy to keep on supporting her, however, we’d much prefer it if she chose to be a vegetarian while her body is growing and when she’s an adult she can then choose to be a vegan if she still wanted to.

To help her as much as we can, we’ve decided to make all family meals vegetarian-friendly.
Ant needs to cut down on red meat anyway and whilst I could never be vegan (could not do without milk, cheese and yogurt!), I’m quite happy to plan vegetarian family dinners.

Slimming World Recipes

I’ll now be posting a lot more Slimming World vegetarian recipes in the coming weeks.
I’m quite looking forward to trying lots of new recipes and hopefully, it’ll help keep me on the right track to lose weight this year.

KayCee drinking hot chocolate

If you’re trying Veganuary, we’d love to hear how you’re getting on. Please feel free to share your links or comments below 🙂

Happy New Year and a Look Back at 2019

I hope you all had a wonderful new year’s eve. Ours was a quiet one without the girls. Ella slept at her friend’s and KayCee went to her sister, Kellyann’s.
It was just Aiden, Ant and myself at home and Ant slept for most of the evening before waking about half eleven!
As usual, here’s my look back at 2019.

January

I completed my Goodreads challenge again.

My Year In books - Goodreads 2018 reading challenge

February

It was a frosty end to February. So cold but so pretty.

frosty trees

March

An email I got in February changed my life in March; I got sent a Cricut Maker machine to review.
Now, I know it sounds a bit dramatic saying it changed my life, but it truly did.

I’m self-employed and work from home. All my money was earned through my blog but since having the Cricut Maker and finding out I was actually quite good at paper crafting, I started making things and selling them.
I love working with the Cricut and hope to get lots more business this year.

Cricut Maker

April

As well as the Cricut Maker I also got sent an Easypress 2. I was very excited about being able to design t-shirts but a few months on and I’m not as enamoured!
I don’t enjoy making them as much as I enjoy paper crafting so now I only make t-shirts if KayCee or Ella want one making.

Ella wearing her new t-shirt

May

I finally got around to reading the Game Of Thrones book. I’d been wanting to read the series for a while but they’re so long I kept putting it off.
I really enjoyed it.

A Game Of Thrones Book Cover by George R.R. Martin

June

Work started on the garage for my new office/craft room. I was taking up too much space in the living room with the Cricut Maker so we needed a better solution.

notebooks and a pen

July

I ask KayCee and Ella a set of questions at the end of each school year. I love looking back on them.

KayCee
Ella

August

KayCee and Ella had their birthdays in August but now they’re getting older, they’re not wanting to be blogged about as much so I didn’t do the usual birthday blog posts this month.
In fact, there aren’t any personal posts in August except for a book review!

September

My new office/craft room was finally finished and it’s now called the studio 🙂
I love it so much!

my new studio

October

I was too busy making Christmas paper crafts in October to do any personal blogging.
I spent all day in the studio making advent carousels, nativity stars and Christmas tree decorations ready for my first craft fair.

November

The Christmas adverts started and I was pleased to see Kevin the Carrot was back again.

December

Apart from having terrible hernia pain that started just as our guests arrived for the Christmas Eve party and stayed with me all of Christmas Day, I still had a lovely Christmas.
Spending the day in hospital on Boxing Day wasn’t much fun either, especially as it meant I missed seeing the rest of my family.
As always, we were all spoilt by our friends and family and I had some lovely gifts.

Christmas day 2019

Well, that was my look back at 2019 and it was quite a good year for me.
Here’s to 2020 and hopefully, an even better year for everyone 🙂

Absolutely LOVE My New Studio!

I have a wonderful new studio where I can work on the blog, make brilliant(!) paper creations and photograph said creations without having to find somewhere with a nice background.

Since getting my Cricut earlier this year, I was slowly taking over the dining room table, bookcases, shelves and basically, that end of the room!
I bought an organiser trolley from Hobbycraft for my Cricut Maker as I got fed up with having to keep putting it away when dinner time came.

Hobbycraft rolling organiser

I also bought two other trolleys from Hobbycraft so I could organise my craft supplies a bit.
However, it got to the point where I really couldn’t fit anything else in the living room and the dining table was more of a craft table than somewhere to eat.

Ant’s Office

When we moved in here, Ant set up his office in the garage. We never planned to use the garage for the car and he needed all the space for all his computer ‘stuff’!

As time went on, the office got filled up with anything and everything and it was so cold in there during the Winter that it stopped being used.
The only time Ant had to go in there was to see to the server.

My New Studio

We decided to empty Ant’s office and turn it into an office/craft room for me. We’ve been trying to get it done all Summer but something always seemed to come up to stop us.
Finally, about 3 weeks ago, I decided to take the week off volunteering at the charity shop and use the time to get the office emptied.

Before Photos

Ant's office before I claimed it as my own!
ant's office before
Ant's office before the transformation
Ant's office before
Ant's office before

After Photos – My Lovely New Studio!

New studio
New studio - office desk and crafting desk

I haven’t got the monitor connected to anything yet. The plan is to set up a computer especially for use with the Cricut. At the moment I’m using a phone and whilst I can use it to make projects I’ve saved, I find it easier to create and make the projects on the laptop.

New studio - storage shelves

I love the A4 paper storage shelves. They were from Amazon and only cost about £12, I think. They’re very sturdy.

New studio - photo staging corner

This is my photo corner. I need to iron the background and sort out the one on the bench as it’s just loosely folded at the moment.

New studio - comfy chair and quilling storage

This is the old chair that I used when working in the living room. We got a new electric recliner and this one got put in the garage until we decided what to do with it.
Now it has a purpose again and I glad we found a use for it. I know it’s not the best looking chair but it’s comfy and that’s all that matters!

New studio - most important part - the coffee machine!

This is the most important corner because it houses my new coffee machine given to me by my lovely friend who does the weighing with me at Slimming World every week.

I love not having to go inside every time I need a coffee.

New studio - office desk
New studio - crafting corner - Cricut machine storage

This is my crafting desk. It is so wonderful to have everything to hand when I’m paper crafting.

New studio - crafting desk
New studio - office desk

Please excuse everything that is on the outside of the window; the covered bbq patio is out there and at the moment it is currently full to the brim with everything that came out of the garage!

I love it all so much, I’m even happier to be working from home now!

Back To School And College

Where the heck did those Summer holidays go?! I can’t quite believe it’s back to school already.
We didn’t do a Summer bucket list year due to both girls having plans with friends and family right through the Summer. We didn’t get a chance to go to the beach, to Daisy Made or on a family day out at all because they were too busy! And now it’s back to school and college and I’m a little bit sad.

Aiden started back at college today. He took his first train ride today to get to his new college and he’s also started a new part-time job. It’s totally a day of first for him!
He’s not sure what time he’s going to get home tonight as he’s working in a kitchen. I can’t wait to see how his first day has gone 🙂

I know I’ve said it before and every parent says it at some point, but I really can’t believe how fast time is going. KayCee’s started year 10 today and Ella went into year 8.

KayCee year 10 - back to school and college
Ella year 8 - back to school and college

Felin Fach – Our Best Ever Holiday

If you’ve read my blog before, you may have seen a post I did a few years ago about falling in love with Mundesley when we went to celebrate our anniversary.

Well, we now have a new favourite place – Felin Fach cottage in Wales.
We’ve stayed in a few cottages over the years and this is by far the best ever; the 6+ hours drive was totally worth it!

Felin Fach Cottage

The property had recently been sold to Lynsey and Andrew. We were only the second guests they’d had but we’d never had known if they hadn’t told us. They were excellent hosts who were there when needed but left us alone to enjoy the peace and tranquillity.

Andrew showed us into the cottage where he’d left a plate of homemade brownies, a bottle of milk and half a dozen eggs from one of the local farms.
We also found tea, coffee and sugar in the canisters which are always welcome when you first arrive somewhere like this because it means you don’t have to start unpacking straight away to find your supplies; you can relax with a cuppa after the long drive 🙂

Homemade brownies, milk and eggs at Felin Fach cottage, Pumsaint, Wales

Lovely Living Room

After giving us all the information we needed, Andrew left and we went to check out the rest of the cottage.
I was very pleased to see a wood-burning fire. I didn’t think we’d be able to make use of it seeing it as it was mid-August and to be fair, we didn’t really need the fire to warm the place as it was lovely and warm anyway, especially as there was under-floor heating, but we had a couple of rainy days and used the log fire because it made it feel all nice and cosy.

Log burning fireplace at Felin Fach cottage, Pumsaint, Wales
Log burning fire

This sofa was very comfy and from here I had a lovely view of a robin that kept landing on the steps outside the patio doors.

Comfy sofa
patio doors
Patio doors leading to a barbeque area
Our little robin friend who kept coming for a visit
Our lovely little robin friend 🙂
Plenty of books and some card and quiz games at Felin Fach cottage, Pumsaint, Wales
Lots of books, both fiction and non-fiction as well as cards and quiz games.
More books -always a welcome sight for me!
I spied more books on the ledge up the stairs.

The Bedroom

I have to admit, I never have much luck with mattresses because of my bad back and I still haven’t found one comfier than the one in Mudesley but this bed wasn’t too bad for me.

The bedding was so lovely. It was soft and snuggly and even Ant, who usually kicks duvets off because he gets too hot under them, found himself sleeping under it all night!

double bed with purpple and white bedding at Felin Fach cottage, Pumsaint, Wales
dressing table

The bedroom is a good size with plenty of storage for clothes.

small window looking out over the front
comfy chairs in the bedroom
High ceiling with lovely lights
I LOVED this light fitting!

Ant loves bedrooms with balconies. Unfortunately, I don’t much care for them, especially ones where you can see through to the ground below so we didn’t end up using it!

balcony off the bedroom

The Bathroom

Ant enjoyed this lovely big bath. I wasn’t able to use it, sadly, because I was suffering from a bad knee and was worried I wouldn’t be able to get back out.

big white bath

It didn’t matter though because I loved this big shower! Towels and bedding were included in the price which is always good because they can be bulky to pack if you have to take your own.

large shower

I know it’s weird to take photos of a bottle of handsoap but this one smelt so good I wanted to see if I could get some when I got home!

method hand soap

27 Acres

The cottage is set in 27 acres and you’re free to go exploring. There’s a river that runs through which means there are little bridges dotted about.

I have to say, I’m so incredibly jealous of Lynsey and Andrew being able to live here all the time!
When I was younger we were always down at the brook, finding tadpoles and fishing for sticklebacks. I would have been in heaven as a child if I’d grown up here!

bridge over the river at Felin Fach cottage, Pumsaint, Wales
gardens and fields to explore
another bridge over the river
This bridge is in front of the cottage, just over a small lawned area.
the river at Felin Fach cottage, Pumsaint, Wales
shallow parts of the river
I so wanted to go for a paddle!
wild strawberry
Wild strawberries growing in the front garden
lilac coloured flower
pink flower at Felin Fach cottage, Pumsaint, Wales
another kind flower!
shallow river

Seeing these hazelnuts on the ground took me back to when I used to go nutting with my dad. We’d collect hazelnuts and chestnuts. I loved it.

hazelnuts
lilies growing in the front garden at Felin Fach cottage, Pumsaint, Wales
my favourite flowers

We definitely plan on going back to Felin Fach next year. We’ll be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary in April and we had planned on going back to York Lakeside Lodges where we went for our honeymoon but we’ve decided we’re going to Felin Fach. I need to hurry and get it booked before someone else gets in before us!

Thank you, Lynsey and Andrew, for a totally wonderful, relaxing week and we’ll see you again soon!

Questions For KayCee At The End Of Year 9

I started asking Kaycee and Ella some questions at the end of the school year in 2012. I love being able to look back at the changes 
These are KayCee’s answers at the end of year 9.

2012
2013
2014
2015
2016

2017
2018

KayCee hasn’t sailed through the year as she has done in previous years, she’s had a lot to deal with, but she’s come through it stronger and more confident.

I can’t believe she only has 2 more years left at secondary school (unless she decides to stay on for the sixth form, of course), she’s growing so fast and is turning into a wonderful young lady.

As always, we’re very proud of her. 🙂

I am really good atFood tech
I like to go to friend’s houses after school
My favourite thing to learn at school:Food tech
1 person who makes me laugh:Sophie and Maddison, I can’t pick just one!
One word that describes me:Unique
I am really happy when:When I’m with my mum
I am really sad when:When I fall out with friends
My favourite book: Love Aubrey
My favourite TV show:Jane The Virgin
My favourite vacation: Greece
I like school when:Everyone is friends and there’s no drama
I don’t like school when:I have geography
My favourite season: Summer
My favourite toy: I don’t play with toys anymore
My worst nightmare fearCotton wool/spiders/the mole on my neck
Things that make me mad: Ella
Favourite sport: Netball
I like my Dad becausehe’s funny and makes my lunch
I like my Mum because:she’s nice and supportive and we have good talks
I like my family because It’s big

Questions For Ella At The End Of Year 7

I started asking the girls some questions at the end of the school year in 2012. It’s lovely being able to look back at the changes  Well, our little Ella isn’t so little anymore! She’s come through her first year of secondary school with a […]

Read more

We’re Creating A New Home Office

I’ve been quite happy having a little corner of the living room to use as my home office for the last couple of years. I have a shelf and a nest of tables to store bits and pieces on and a glass laptop table that’s easily moveable when needed.
This space has worked well as a home office and I didn’t need any more space until I got sent a Cricut Maker machine a few months ago. I was expecting to use it for making a few crafts like birthday cards etc but once I started using it, I found I had a new passion!

home office

Home Office/Craft Room

Working with paper and card came really easily to me and I’m now starting to write tutorials to help others learn how to use the Cricut Maker.
The only problem is that now I keep taking over the dining table and I’m filling every available space with cardstock, craft glue, embellishments and finished projects.
There isn’t enough room to carry on using the living room as an office/craft room any more so we needed a solution to the problem.

She Shed

My first plan was to buy a shed and use it for my office/craft room.

notebooks and a pen

Ant had a better (and cheaper!) idea.
He has about 1/3 of the garage for his office but he’s hardly used it since last Summer. He felt guilty about using a heater in there when it got cold over Winter and has taken over one end of the dining room table as a temporary office.

The garage is also full of his tools and boxes and boxes of computer ‘stuff’ that we don’t need anymore.

We decided we’d have a massive sort out and get rid of everything in there that we don’t need then split the space into three sections; a small workshop where Ant can keep his tools, an office for him and an office/craft room for me.

We’re going to have to find a solution for the heat problem over Winter but we’ve got a while to go before we need to worry about it.

Garage

I have to admit to never going in the garage unless I absolutely had to and seeing as I have a husband and three children living here, I never had to, I just sent one of them in!
When I first looked at the amount of stuff we had in there, which didn’t include Ant’s tools as he’d already started sorting the garage a few weeks before, I just stood there staring, not knowing where to begin!

The good thing about the garage being full of stuff is, it all had to be stored on shelves and now we’re getting rid of it, we have loads of empty shelves.

I totally forgot to take a Before photo which you’d have thought I’d do as second nature seeing as I’ve been blogging for so long!
I will be taking some photos during the clear out and I’ll share them in a future post showing off the results of our hard work.

Getting There

We’re slowly getting through the mountain of stuff and I’m hoping to be moved in by the start of August at the latest.
Now I can see the space I’m going to have, I’ve started planning the layout and looking for furniture. 

I’m going to need a large desk to do my crafting, a smaller one for blogging and a new chair because the dining table chair I’m using at the moment is not at all comfortable when using for long periods of time!

You can imagine my excitement, then, when I came across a reclining office chair with massage function at LionsHome. Yes, I did say massage function!
I didn’t even know you could get a massage function on office chairs and now I really really want one!

home office room renovatons

I love shopping, for anything really, but especially when I’m doing a room makeover and while looking for an office chair, I also found some lovely desks at LionsHome that are perfect for my needs.

I saw an L-shaped desk that also has lots of shelves attached. I’d already started planning where to put everything before I’d even thought about ordering it!

I’ll Be Back – Hopefully Soon!

I really can’t wait to get the space emptied and get all my furniture in there and start properly organising all my stuff!

I’m going to paint the walls white to brighten it up in there and I think I’m going to get some lino for the floor. It has carpet tiles down but with the amount of tiny paper bits that come off the Cricut mats, carpet isn’t a very good option!

I’ll be back as soon as possible with the During and After photos of my new office/craft room 🙂

This is a collaborative post

What A Week – Trip To A&E

This has been a week I won’t forget in a hurry. It’s the week where I felt the most agonising pain I’ve ever felt in my life.
I don’t think it was the most fearful I’ve ever felt, however, that award goes to the time I had a pulmonary embolism and had to spend 10 days in the hospital.
I’ll admit, I truly did think I was going to die that time, but a good thing came from it; I’ve not had a cigarette since the day I was rushed in :o)

This time my trip to A&E was on Monday night, a night which we expected to be quite quiet at A&E. Turns out Monday nights are usually the busiest time for them, which of course was just my luck!

teddy with a plaster on - what a week - trip to A&E

 

Advice from 111

It was around 6.30 pm, just after I’d finished dinner when I started to get a pain in the area of my hernia. I’d had pain in the area a few times and I usually just have to lie down and it goes away.

I had my feet up and was half lying on the sofa, but the pain got worse, not better, so I decided to go and lie on the bed so I could lie flat.
After about 20 minutes, the pain had started to get really bad, not better. I made way downstairs to tell Ant that I thought we should go to the hospital because I feared I had a strangulated hernia, (I’d been scaring myself by Googling the symptoms!).

Ant phoned 111 and to cut the story short, they advised that I went to A&E so we did.
It was totally packed and after getting booked in I was told to take a seat.
We managed to find 1 free seat and poor Ant spent the majority of our time in A&E standing up. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t had to wait there for around 6 hours, but we did and it was absolutely awful.

Too Much Walking & No Cannula

During the 6 hours waiting, I was seen by a triage nurse, another nurse took some blood, but didn’t want to try putting a cannula in because she had trouble finding a vein for the blood.
I also had very high blood pressure which wasn’t normal for me.
Another nurse came and gave me some oral morphine after a few hours and Ant asking at the desk if there was anything they could do.

The pain was getting worse and I was about out of energy.

The oral morphine didn’t work and after another hour or so they gave me another dose and said I’d be going for a scan shortly.
Not long after, they called me for my scan and I had to walk, very slowly and bent over because it felt like my insides were going to drop out, down a very long corridor.

When I got to the end the nurse asked where my cannula was.

I didn’t have one and I just wanted to cry when she said I’d have to go back down the very long corridor and wait in A&E again until I got a cannula. Come to think of it, I think I did cry at one point!
I made my way back to A&E and thankfully didn’t have to wait long before a lovely doctor came and a put a cannula in with no problems at all!

Finally, Pain Relief

I was taken to a bed and felt myself relax just a little because all the pressure was taken off my stomach.
Another nurse came and injected me with some magic! I’ve had morphine injected before, but it was when I was having an emergency c-section and I was out of it for most of the time so I didn’t really feel the effects.

I totally felt the effects this time and I can only describe it as magic!

After the first injection, she asked how the pain was and I told her that it was the best it had been all night. She gave me another and asked again, I said the pain was gone, I could just feel a bit of tenderness. She gave me another and my whole body relaxed. I felt totally normal again and had to fight to stay awake.
The pain for all those hours had totally taken it out of me, I had no energy at all.

Scan Time

I didn’t have to wait long for my scan and when it was done, they said they didn’t think it was my hernia at all, they said I have huge gallstones. They did say that I’d have to wait for the doctor, though, for a proper diagnosis.

I was taken to the ward after the scan and booked in by a really lovely nurse.

A doctor came to see me a while later and said it was my hernia causing the trouble. Some of my bowel had been trapped, but it seemed to have all gone back to normal.

Home Time

Ant left me on the ward just after 6 am. I managed to get about half an hours sleep before the ward lights were switched on at 7 am!
I can’t remember ever being so tired.

Another doctor came and examined me. He confirmed everything had gone back in place because I would have been in terrible pain when he touched me if it hadn’t.
He said I’d need to wait to see the consultant to see if he would want to repair it anyway or whether he would be happy for me to leave and lose more weight before having the operation.

The consultant said he was happy for me to go home and I said I was happy to be going!

Tough Week

I was tired and falling asleep for the rest of the day on Tuesday, but I expected to be back to normal the next day after a full nights sleep.
I was wrong, I was nowhere near normal, I still felt totally drained of all energy and it’s taken me the best part of the week to start feeling normal again.

The super wonderful husband has been even more super and even more wonderful this week! I don’t know what I’d do without him and I hope I never have to find out.

 

 

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