Wednesday, 21 September 2016


We're decorating the lounge as our new suite arrives on Monday - hooray!  We sold our old three-piece suite within 1 day of advertising it and have been sitting on garden chairs ever since (around three weeks). Fortunately they are nice garden chairs with big cushions but even so, we can't wait to get our new suite.

Today hubby was painting the walls whilst I was trying to work out how the spaghetti of cables behind the TV would work if we moved said appliance to another wall.  Sadly, it looks like we can'nay do it, we're going to need more cable Jim (Star Trek reference).  Of course when we had our Sky box installed, it seemed unnecessary to have a spare 3-4 metres of cable behind the TV so the installers cut it off so it fitted nicely.  Thus, we need more cable (hubby's job for tomorrow along with painting the last two walls).

I'm really looking forward to having more space in the lounge, even though we've ordered a corner unit. I've replaced 3 Argos DVD/CD shelves with a new bookcase from John Lewis to match the one we already have.  As you've gathered, they aren't for books.  The girls are really excited about the 'love seat' swivel chair we're getting. There may be a fight over who sits which side.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Spring bulbs,wine and...Halloween?

The teen and I headed down to Longacres today to pick up some spring bulbs. I know, summer is just about over (so the weather tells me when I look out of the window) so I thought it would be nice to prep the flower pots for spring.  Some of my summer plants are dying off a bit already which is a shame.

As usual, there was so much variety I thought it would be a tough choice but then the teen said "Look mum, flowers the colour of my soul" holding these up. Decision made.  I got three different colour packs of these.  I have to say that I'll be curious about how black they look when they come up.  I've never had black flowers before.

It seems that Longacres is totally ready for Halloween as well. They have some pretty creepy displays there that you can put outside your house.  I may even have to get something more for our house.  I normally go crazy with just a pumpkin *grin*.

As you can see, I also spotted the ideal wine glass for my sister (sorry Kate!) LOL.  Gives a new meaning to 'just the one' doesn't it.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Cyprus Conference

I've just returned from a conference in Cyprus that I attended as a doctoral student (MCIS 2016).  It was a wonderful opportunity to get feedback on my thesis and also to network with some amazing people.  Lots of connecting via LinkedIn and emails were exchanged.

View from terrace of the Aquamare Hotel & Spa
However, the hotel (Aloe or A _ _ E as the sign said) was...err...a bit of a joke.  Sadly the conference organisers assumed the 4* rating was true (I wonder if they looked in any rooms?). The conference hotel - the Aquamare - was indeed a 4* but none of us could get into it as it was fully booked. However, we all booked in to the 'alternative' hotel or found our own accommodation. Let's put it this way - I'll read TripAdvisor before booking any future conference hotel *grin*.  Here's my review of it on TripAdvisor.

The weather was glorious but it was a hot 20 minute walk from one hotel to the other, although coming back in the evening along the beach walk was just stunning.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Cake, more cake and meat

The girls and I popped over to Longacres today as my hubby absolutely loves the lemon drizzle cake that they have there.  It seems nowhere else is comparable so, as I'm away at a conference this weekend (boo...first time away without him and the girls since we met!), I thought I'd buy a few bits to keep the three of them happy whilst I was away.


N's choice was lemon drizzle cake (and a cupcake she couldn't resist) and S chose a Victoria sponge. Both are yummy - well, I had to try a piece of each for quality testing you understand.

I decided to get some meat from Bevans Butchers.  I love the idea that they have pre-marinated foods there so I chose some gorgeous looking lamb skewers in a Mediterranean sauce and some fresh chicken goujons for the girls.  That's dinner for the 3 of them sorted tomorrow then.  I liked how Bevans bag their foods with a little machine that seals around the edge of the 'paper' they use.  Not seen that before.

I did resist one thing though.  The girls wanted one of those round 'huts' that are outside with the dining set, lights and heater in. With the cheapest being around £5k, I said no to that one (if I hadn't, my bank would have anyway).  I also managed to say no to this swing seat...although I do like it and it is a bargain.  Perhaps I'll chat to hubby about it after he's had his yummy lamb?

Sunday, 28 August 2016

New mattress

Don't they say you need a new mattress every 8 years or something? I honestly can't remember when we got ours but what I know is this - it's bloody uncomfortable!  In fact, it's got so bad that a solid nights' sleep in it means you have chronic backache in the morning.  Hubby prefers the sofa. I prefer the floor. That tells you what it's like.  So, why then has it taken so long for us to get a new one? I can't answer that other than, as parents, we tend to come bottom of the list for things that are needed. I know, it's not exactly a fortune for a new mattress (well, it is if you see some of them) but it's been one of those 'let's buy it next month' things for about...err...4 years I guess.  

Another comfy night?

Today, aching neck and back and finding hubby on the sofa again was the last straw.  Dreams advert appeared on TV and I headed to the laptop to pick up a new mattress. It arrives Thursday. Hooray! We've done it. 

One thing that surprised me was this. I've paid £39 to have the old mattress removed.  Fair enough. But to have my mattress delivered to anywhere but my front door is another £39.  Surely, if the delivery men are coming into my house to pick up my old mattress from - surprise, surprise - the bedroom, they could carry the new one up? I won't be bringing my old mattress down on my own to the front door for them to take.  What an odd thing to ask for more money for.  So, when they arrive, they can either leave the new mattress at the front door, go upstairs and get the old one, then squeeze past the new one to get out, or they can take the new one up with them.  I wonder what they will do?

Friday, 26 August 2016

Cycling and The Jungle Book

My 7 year old encouraged me to go out cycling with her today.  Her little sis was at a friends for a play date so the two of us went out.  We've just bought her a new (2nd hand) bike and she loves it.  It's a great size with 17" wheels and has a kind of BMX feel to it. She thinks it's the bees-knees.  So she and I (with my gel saddle cover as my poor bottom still feels the pain of every bump) headed off. Just a few laps of our local lake and football pitches. We even stopped for an ice cream.  She's a smashing little rider and good company.  Shame we can't encourage her little sis to ride a  bit more - she's definitely a scooter girl.

In the evening we three girls curled up together to watch the new Jungle Book film. Wow!  It was amazing. How did they do that?  Look at the markings on the animals.  The girls wondered if they trained the panther and the wolves.  It almost had me questioning it!  If you've not seen it, it's worth a watch.  Not the ending you know from the original one and a bit scary in places for little ones.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Bugs and Herbs

Popped down to Longacres today as I wanted a few different herbs for the garden.  The veg table is doing well with the tomatoes and cucumbers but there's plenty of space so a few weeks ago I planted my basil out there instead of having it on the windowsill in the kitchen. It's flowering and doing really well so I decided to get some more herbs.  There was a great selection at Longacres and, better still, they were 5 for £10 - result!


The girls also wanted some more bug features for the garden.  Their bug barn is doing well, although I think the birds have stolen all the straw for their nests!  I must put more in and a bit of mesh over the front next time I think.  There was a lovely variety of bug houses available so I decided to get two in the end - a Butterfly and Moth Habitat Feeder and a Beehive.  We have quite a few butterflies and bees around in our garden so it will be nice if some of them make a home with us. 


When I got home with them, the girls were absolutely over the moon.  Shame it was raining but we decided to put them up in the afternoon regardless.  The girls went off ferreting around in the waste food bin looking for some over-ripe fruit.  They found a very squashed melon and picked a strawberry off our plant that the slugs had got to.  We then made up some sugar water and N filled the little pots up with it.  I also bought a Buddleia.  May as well encourage the butterflies and bees right?  We decided to hang it on the fence above the potted buddleia, with a piece of buddleia flower inside it as the instructions suggest.  The girls then filled the small black pots with some wildflower seeds (probably the wrong time of year to plant them but they wanted something in there).  I can always buy a few little plants or some more herbs to put there if needed.


Finally, we have feeders up for the birds and I've always wanted a bird bath but the big ones are quite pricey (and it's where to put it in the garden).  I spotted a miniature hanging birdbath and so picked that up as well.  I was going to hang that from the tree that overhangs our garden...then I remembered that hubby has cut all such branches down. Oops!  So, on the fence instead. Hope the birds like it there.

The girls enjoyed planting the herbs in the veg table and some grobags we have. Hopefully I'll have some lovely fresh herbs for some time now.  I love cooking 'from scratch' (and it's better for my diet too) so it's good to have fresh herbs rather than running back and forth to the supermarket every time I need something.