Sunday, 29 December 2013

Is there Anybody There??????

Well, I havent been inspired to blog for a while, I just feel like my lifes not the most exciting, and I havent really got a central theme like most blogs have. So I guess this is more like an open letter to my friends and rellies overseas ( I know at least one person reads it!). If I pick up a follower or two along the way, then cool, but Im not gonna get lots of traffic and Im OK with that.
So, whats been happening since we were last here.......
well, the remainder of the money we had inherited went on two things,  replacing our car (which we were gonna have to do before June anyway as it wouldnt have gone through another MOT without a huge amount of work and £££ being spent on it), so we now have a lovely tidy Ford Focus.....

 hopefully we wont have to replace her for a good few years as she is in great condition and very lovely to drive.
The other thing was the replacing of the kitchen roof. The original roof was a bit knackered and leaked quite badly, so OH and his builder brother did it over a weekend at the end of November.
Old roof taken off

OH's brother demolishing the chimney

The old joists coming out - note the only bit of insulation we had in the roof void!

New joists going on

OH starting the tiling

All done - isnt it pretty (well I think it is)
 Now that the roof is done, we are planning on taking the ceiling down and opening up the kitchen to make it look much bigger that it is (and OHcan finish my kitchen). Hopefully, this will add to the value of the house.

So, after a few years with things standing still on the house, we have managed to get a few things done this year, we've still got a long way to go, but we are managing to get the major stuff tackled.

Workwise, Im still temping at The Royal Hallamshire Hospital and still enjoying it. Not sure how much longer my contract will run for as there are departmental changes happening, but am keeping my ear to the ground and fingers crossed that I wont be out of work one way or the other.

We've had a nice Xmas with OH's family next dor and will do the same on New Years Eve, Ive only have the stautory days off, but I dont mind.

Ive started thinking about 2014 and what I want to acheive. I dont make resolutions as I think they dont work for me, so I make a list of goals to aim for instead.  Ive also joined in a couple of online challenges as well just to make life interesting.

- Im aiming to loose (at least) 2 more stone in 2014

- Im aiming to declutter 500 items from our house (not including normal household waste) - I keep loooking at things and asking myself would I take this to New Zeland with me when we move - its amazing the stuff I am happy to let go of !

- Ive joined the  - Sealed Pot Challenge ! Every £2 coin I get, all the change in my purse at the end of the week, and any extra coins (found or given) are going into a sealed pot for 12 months. Then at then end of the 12 months its opened and counted, and (hopefully) there is a decent amount in it!
From what Ive read, people have managed to save hundreds this way. Im hoping it will pay a big chunk off a credit card, or maybe even pay for Xmas 2014, or (if Im really lucky and we have a good year) maybe go towards OH's NZ visa! Oh, its very exciting.

Ive got several other goals/aims as well (blogging more often being one), but Im not gonna bore you with those. Im hoping to get a lot more sewing and cafting done this year and (hopefully) the results will be worth sharing.

Well, thats my lot for now, Im off to put some stuff on eBay and to sort through some more stuff to go to the Charity shop.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year and looking forward to sharing lots with you in the year to come.

I'd really love it if you left me a comment to let me know what your goals are for 2014.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Catch up

Here we are almost at the end of October and weve bitten the bullet and put the heating on (at last). Weve got all the windows in and Phil has finished off the sills and sides, just needs to get the plastering done now.
Here are a few pics......


Bathroom and back bedroom/office
Office and Bathroom


Dining Room

Back - struggling to get the old bathroom window out


So with the new boiler that went in back in April and the new windows the house is beautifully warm (which it has never been while weve been here), I no longer see my breath in front of my face when Im in the dining room. We are prediciting (based on what we are using so far) that our combinged energy usage (Gas and Electricity) will be less than we were paying for Gas alone last year. Sounds like a win to me.

Work has been a bit interesting in the last week. My job will shortly cease to exist, but I will be moving within the department (tho still as a temp). Im a bit nervous about the move and sad to leave the office Im in as I have been really happy there, but will still be spending a few hours a week in with them (but doing my own work). I get on really well with the guy I was teamed with (he's almost become like the younger brother I never had) and we've worked really well together, so will miss our daily banter. In this new role, I will be a  more on my own and have a bit more involvement with patients, but it is more secure (for the moment) and thats what I need.

Craftwise, theres not much going on, Im gathering bits together for Xmas little by little, I have a few ideas but possibly wont reveal them until afterwards (I dont think any of the recipients read this, but you never know).

I had a request from a friend who I used to work with to post more about our surrogate cat.
Kizzy belongs to Phils Mum (who you may remember lives next door), she is getting on a bit and spends most of her time at our house (to get away from the bombhead dog), we reckon if we fed her she'd never go home! She's the most vocal cat I've ever known and we love her to bits.
Here she is......
Ignoring the dog (her default setting)

Checking out our new windowsills

Chilling in the sun

Keeping the soil in the planter warm

Not impressed

Thats all for this time. Thanks for reading.
Feel free to leave a comment.
Jojo xxx

Sunday, 6 October 2013


So, here we are at the beginning of October and there is a definite chill in the air. Im really not loving the fact that its now dark in the mornings when I get up for work, and that its getting darker much earlier in the evenings. The leaves have started turning and even tho there are plenty of brambles and rosehips ripe for the pikcing, I cant quite summon up the enthusiasm for it. There are still the odd signs of life in the garden, the carrots are almost ready to be pulled, Ive still got some calendula in flower and the borage is still going strong. Its kinda threatening to take over as all these plants were selfseeded from previous years, still its good for attracting bees, and for keeping the weeds down, so I dont mind.

 Ive also got one sunflower (at long last), I cant believe how pityful the sunflowers and sweetpeas have been this year.

Craftwise Ive not been very busy, am  trying to get myself geared up for the Xmas crafting onslaught, but as yet I have no idea what Im going to do for pressies this year.
With regards to the previous post (about singing) Ive got a couple of names of potential teachers, I just have to be brave enough to make some phone calls :o)

The exciting news (well exciting for me) is that we have finally been able to make a start on the next phase of our home improvements (finally). After being left some money by a late Uncle weve bought the new windows we have been in desperate need of for the last 10 years and the first three went in yesterday.

Luckily with OHs brother being a builder and OH his part time labourer, we dont have to pay much for labour, provided they are supplied with coffee and bacon sarnies they are quite happy. The remaining two windows should be going in over the next couple of days. The windows they are replacing were put in in the early 70's (we found some newspaper that was used as packing), but these were just screwed into the original fames (including the weights for the sash windows), so weve taken out timber thats been in place for 108 years (and not all of it rotten). Theres plenty of pastering etc to keep OH busy, but then we will finally have a nice warm house, which will make a lovely change. Ive been ripping tiles off the bathroom walls today in preparation for the bathroom window, I really love the destruction bit.
So with the boiler having gone in earlier in the year and the new double glazed windows our fuel bills will be lower and the resale value of the house will have been increased. The kitchen roof will be the next step, and then the dormer window in the back roof, but at least things are starting to get going and Im seeing the return to NZ one (small) step closer.

Im still loving my work, Ive got heaps of holidays to use before the end of the year, so havent got more that 3 weeks without a week off between now and Xmas. Not sure when this assignment will end and not sure what will happen then, but theres not much point panicing about it yet, plently of time for that later.

Hope all is well in your world. Thanks for dropping by and having a read.  Dont forget comments are most welcome (they show me that at least one of you is reading!).

Till next time,


Sunday, 15 September 2013

What Makes You Happy?

After a rather turbulent week, a lot of soul searching (or navel gazing as my Dad used to call it) and a 'gut spilling' session with a lovely friend (Thank You - you know who you are), Ive realised I need to do something that truely makes me happy and that Ive not done for years.
Ive lost a bit of weight recently (26lb and counting) and my self confidence is slowly emerging, though other parts of my life arent going so well, so I need to do this just for me.

What am I talking about? Something very few people know about me

  I LOVE to sing, (and not to be modest about it), Im quite good.

My sister and I always used to sing together whenever we were going anywhere in the car as children, and my first ever teacher (bless you Mrs Scott wherever you are) wrote on one of my reports that I had a sweet singing voice. :o) When we were in our 20's we used to sit up front and sing on the late night coach journey from Oamaru to Invercargill (about 5 hours) and always got a thank you from the coach drivers for the entertainment.

On the odd occasion I sang a solo in a church production for the youth group I was part of at the time.

However, my OH (and my Father before him) have managed to make me feel like Im not good enough to perform in front of a 'real' audience. Dad was musical, but just didnt have faith in me, OH comes from a non-musical family and just doesnt think I can do it. I had a couple of practise sessions with a band once, but had never heard my voice through a mic before (I need to learn how to breathe) and didnt have transport at the time, so it didnt go anywhere - they needed someone quickly and I needed more time.
A few months ago a local operatic society were looking for new members, I was quite keen to go along and have a look, but OH managed to talk me out of it by saying these groups didnt like outsiders and he didnt want me to get my hopes dashed.
This is also the reason why I have never done any karaoke - no confidence in myself, so none of his family know I sing (Ive known them for the best part of 22 years).

When I lost my voice for 6 months (6 years back) I was really upset that I might loose my ability to sing, and that was really scarey. Thankfully, some speech therapy lessons have taught me vocal warm up techniques and there doesnt seem to be much change (on a bad day I cant hold notes as long as I used to, but I can live with that).

So, now Ive decided  (even if just for me and no one else) is to treat myself to some singing lessons. Even if I dont get any further than that (I would love to be brave enough to perform in public one day) I want to do this and think I also need to do it as singing makes my heart, well, sing.

So there you have it, my dirty little secret, arent you glad you dropped by for a read today?
Leave me a comment to let me know what makes your heart sing.

Till next time

Sunday, 8 September 2013

So thats August over and done with then

Once again, its been an age since Ive blogged, theres been quite a bit going on over the last few weeks, and I havent been in the right headspace to write.
We had an unexpected overnight visit from a fellow Kiwi who was on her way to Scotland, which was really lovely. I hadnt seen her for over 20 years, and it was great to catch up. We took her out into Derbyshire to see some of our local sights including a drive by Chatsworth House, ( but no Mr Darcy in the water, unfortunately), and then on to The Moorlands for a lovely meal.
We also lost a very good friends of OH's this month. He had been in hospital for a few weeks and we saw him gradually going downhill, but its still very upsetting when it happens. He didnt leave any family behind, so things are a bit up in the air with regards to his funeral, so its all a bit messy.
Then, we both got nasty colds (well I got a cold, he got Manflu!), so we have had all that fun as well.

Workwise, Im still really enjoying my current assignment, they are a really lovely bunch of people to work with. There are a few changes Im involved with, which always makes things interesting, and this week Im sort of being left to my own devices as my colleague is having a week off, so its a bit sink or swim. Eek! Some of us went out for a drink after work on Friday which makes a huge change for me as I dont usually want to socialise with people I work with, it was nice. 

Gardenwise, theres not a lot happening, the only veg I have left in the ground are a few carrots, I wasnt impressed with the potato yeild this year, but they do taste delicious. Ive still got loads of weeding to do and hopfully one last cut of the grass before it gets too cold and wet.

Craftwise, I finished my Napkin for the napkin project and got it posted off.......
now Ive got a bit of mending etc to do before I start my next project. Im also making a few more owls, and am contemplating a bit more quilting as well.

So, there have been goings on, but nothing very thrilling to write about. I will leave you tho, with a pic of the lovely orchid I thought Id killed (you may remember it from a previous post), there are now 12 flowers open and another 2 to go, Im quite proud of this.

Till next time.....

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A Little About Me

Its been a quiet week this week, things are ticking along quite nicely, so as I dont have much to update you on, I thought Id copy the 'about me' list from the lovely Suki over at the owl club and give you an insight as to whats going on in my little world......

Making – working on my napkin for The napkin project
Cooking – Roast Pork with all the trimmings for our Sunday tea
Drinking – Pukka Licorice and Cinnamon Tea (my new fave)
Reading – Relics by Pip Vaughan-Hughes (historical fiction)
Wanting – a houseful of new windows before the onset of Winter
Watching – Castle, The Walking Dead and Scott & Bailey
Playing – too much Candy Crush and Farmville 2
Wasting – as little as I can
Sewing – (soon) dressee for the dress a girl around the world project
Wishing/ Dreaming – about a move to New Zealand
Enjoying – the new flowers and buds on the orchid which I thought was dead
Waiting – for the Accountants in Holland to get their act together (!)
Liking – my new job and losing weight (16lb so far)
Loving – my OH :o)
Hoping – the NZ move will come to fruition
Needing – some smaller work trousers
Smelling – Germoline and tea tree oil (currently covered in bites)
Wearing – comfy old slobbing about clothes
Following – some really cool blogs
Noticing – that the Autumn is fast approaching
Knowing – that replacing the windows and roof on the house and finishing the kitchen is now within reach
Hoping – that we will be able to find the funds to replace the car
Feeling – that life is quite good at the moment
Bookmarking – not looking at much new stuff, sticking to the sites and blogs I know
Opening – snail mail through The Correspondence Club and Post Circle
Laughing – with my OH (weve not stopped for nearly 23 years!)

So, thats how things are with me at the moment, not half bad I reckon. Im gonna nip out and pull up the first of my potato plants while we still have some sun, but thought Id just leave you with a pic of the lovely orchid I have managed to revive. Im quite proud of this. 

Have a great week, see you again soon,

Sunday, 4 August 2013

August Begins

Well, here we are in August already, seems the year is flying by. Ive noticed its getting darker earlier a sure sign that Autumn is on its way. Hopefully we still have more lovely sunny days to come.
Im pleased to say that Im settling in to my new assignment nicely. The people in the office are a mixed bunch of ages and genders, and all seem to have a good sense of humour (phew!). The job is much more me and Im much happier than Ive been in a while. The hours are good, and its not a bad walk home (have only done it once but am intending to do it more often - its about 4.5k), so all in all it was a good move.
Ive not really been up to much in the last couple of weeks, the gardening and crafting are a continuation of what Ive been previously been working on.

I have been experimenting with making shampoo from soapnuts as per Janey Lee Graces book Look Great Naturally - without ditching the lipstick.  You can read all about soapnuts here . My first attempt was a bit watery (looked like horse wee to put it mildly).

My second attempt ended up burning (should have watched over them instead of going out in the garden I guess). I shall be trying again, but in the meantime I used the soap liquid from attempt number 1 and it did ok. There was no foam, but it cleaned quite well.Ive also used the soapnuts in the washing machine on our towels and they clean as well as our detergent does, so I am quite impressed.

I got a lovely surprise during the week from the lovely Sara over at sewlittletosay , she contacted me to say that I have won her giveaway, and it arrived in the post on Saturday morning. I dont win much (seems my Big Sis has all the family luck with competitions, raffles etc), so it was really nice. Heres what I won.....
some lovely fabric, a Liberty print shopping bag and some thread.

I also read about the Food Bank crisis which is quitely happening all over the UK over on Sues brilliant blog ournewlifeinthecountry - she linked up to agirlcalledjack and her brilliant post. As Sue mentioned Asda were hosting a nationwide collection over the weekend, so I popped into my local branch and spend an extra £5.39 on their basic range and donated the following........
A pack of spagetti, a tin of peaches, 2 tins of baked beans and sausage, a tin of ravioli, a loaf of white bread, a jar of sweet and sour sauce, 2 tins of plum tomatoes,2 tins of soup, a tin of meatballs, a tin of sweetcorn and a tin of meat paste.

I was quite impressed at how many tins were already in the trolley that Asda had put out for the collection, the notice on it said it was heading to a very local foodbank, so if it helps out a family in dire need, then Im all for it.

Well, thats really about it for now, and Id best go and get my stuff organised for the new working week (as I get up @ 7am and the bus comes about 25 past Ive not got much time in the morning at the moment).

I hope all is well with you and your loved ones, will catch up again soon, in the meantime have a good week.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Wow, another week over already!

Blimey that one went quick!

Apart from a slight wobble on Wednsday, its not been a bad week. Had a couple of days off  (and enoyed some glorious weather) and am ready to sart a new assigment tomorrow.  Shall be on the bus to work from now on, theres a bus from the end of next doors drive that will take me straight to my new work venue  (a Sheffield Hospital) so no parking or parking fees to worry about (its a nightmare parking up there and is very expensive).

Feeling much calmer that I have been for a while, found a wonderful new mantra during the week - Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.         

Found out this morning that friends and family who are caught up in the newest lot of earthquakes in NZ are all ok, and (thank goodness)  no-one seems to have suffered any property damage either. I hope the quakes will settle down for you now. 

As the week ended on a good note, I decided to 'pay it forward' on Friday as I had been inspired by Becksie and Ian over at ayearwithoutsupermarkets .  I really love what they are doing in this post, so I bought a couple of bunches of flowers and took them to one of the local Retirement homes (as per Becksie's point number 15), it made me feel great and the lady who took them from me was nicely surprised. Might have to do some more of these. Thanks Becksie and Ian.

Craftwise, Im doing some bits for Charity, we cant afford to give much, but I have time and some skill I am trying to do my bit that way. So (inspired by another post on Becksie and Ians Blog), Im making a Napkin as part of the Napkin Project. Ive not tried embroidery, so am playing it safe with Cross-stitch (thats a kind of embroidery isnt it?). Here is my work in progress, its on waste canvas which means when its done you can wet the canvas and then pull the threads out so you are just left with the design on the linen (clever huh?)

The other Charity project Im getting things together for is dressagirlaroundtheworld - I have two blog buddies participating in this, the aforementioned Becksie and Ian from ayearwithoutsupermarkets - see their post here 19-dresses and the lovely Jen over at mymakedoandmendyear who are all busy organising Sewing Bees etc to get people involved in making dresses.
Ive decided that make some myself but finding pillowcases is proving a bit harder than I thought it would be! So, as we were out Charity Shopping yesterday (or Op shopping as you Kiwis will call it!) I found some lovely skirts I can quite easily use.....

Gardenwise, we are getting lots of peas and lettuce, and Ive put in a fresh lot of radish in a pot (hopefully the slugs wont get to these).
Thats about all for this little update.

Bye for now.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Well Hello Strangers!

This post has been a bit long in coming (soz), but Ive found it a bit of a struggle to get going again. It felt like my weekly posts just seemed to be covering the same old ground, and I felt it was a bit boring.

Ive had a couple of rubbish months really, nothing specific (as in tragic event or suchlike) just generally feeling a bit pi**ed off with the world in general, and didnt want to blather on boring people senseless (goodness knows Ive only got a few readers anyway).Anyhoo, Im back (hopefully), so thought Id bring you up to date with whats happening in my little corner of the world.

Work on the kitchen/house has come to a bit of a standstill. We are awaiting some money from an inheritance which will go towards a new roof and windows. We have decided we want to take the ceiling out of the kitchen and open up the roofspace and are awaiting a quote from OH's bother (the builder) to see if its something we can realistically acheive or not.
Ive done some digging into NZ Immigration and have found that getting a Visa for OH (when we do go) will be a bit more straight forward than first thought (expensive, but straightforward).

Gardenwise, Ive got the veggie garden looking quite good, this was it at the end of May.... the white structure is to stop the carrotfly ruining my carrot crop.

Im getting regular crops of peas and lettuce now, Ive got plenty of carrots comming up and the potato plants are huge. The only disappointment was my radish crop was completely ruined by slugs.

While the Mother in Law was away for a week on her hols, I dug over her front garden (which has needed doing for years, she is no longer able to do it), and planted it up as a surprise for her. This is what it looked like when it was first done......

 This is it now.....

Also, this is her pussycat plant which we often find at her back door.....

 Craftwise, things have been a bit quite on this front. I have almost got a quilt top put togther for me, its just awaiting the border, and is made of 240x  'half square triangles'. I quite enjoyed this one as it was quite straight forward........
 We missed our annual trip to Mablethorpe with the rest of the family as our car decided to start playing up 25 miles out of Sheffield, so we had to turn back. It hadnt been on a run since November, and wasnt happy. It had passed its MOT the week before, and is OK for my short journey to work and back, but OH's other brother (the mechanic) has condemmed it, it wont get through another MOT without major work, so we will have to find another one before next June - yet another thing to pay out for.

So, its been a couple of months of ups and downs really, but things have got to start going our way soon, meantime we keep ploddin on, and on, and on.....
Hope things have been better for you.

Till next time

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Er, wheres our nice weather gone?

I cant believe how much the weather has changed over a week! Last weekend I got three loads of washing dry outside, this weekend I havent been able to hang any out. Is that it for our Spring/Summer then? I shant be very happy if it is! Having said that  the local streets are full of cherry blossom and that never fails to brighten my  day a little.......

Its been pretty much business as usual this week. We had a Public Holiday here in the UK on Monday, but when I found out how much I could earn if I worked it (and that fact that the MOT is due this month which is gonna be expensive) it was a bit of a no brainer really. Im doing the one at the end of the month as well. Still needs must and all that. I spent 2 days helping out in another department this week, so it broke things up a bit and adds to my skill set within the office. With rumours floating about all the time of permanent jobs within our little part of the NHS, being versatile can only be a good thing.
The financial strain is easing a little, now Ive got my pay rise and we have almost halved the amount weve been spending on gas and electricity (thanks to the new boiler) we can spend a little more on groceries (phew!) tho on the whole we are still living way below any kind of comfort zone. But what can ya do!
Craftwise, Ive made some more owls for ladies @ work this week (and have orders for a few more)........

Ive been playing round with making paper baskets (courtesy of Pinterest ) ......

and have been toying with possible patterns for my next quilt or cushions for Xmas pressies.......

In the garden, most of my tulips are now out, some are looking a bit worse for wear. Ive noticed that certain colours come out before others tho they were all planted at the same time (yellow, then purple, then red, then pink), weird!
Ive got some lovely dark ones (which I didnt think were going to change colour when they started off green!) in a pot called Queen of The Night which I really love......

My potatoes in bags are ready for their first earthing up, my radishes and lettuce seedlings are doing well in the garden (apart from the ongoing fight with the local cats who think the garden is their sandbox), and Ive got my calendula, marigold and peas underway. My first sowing of sunflowers and sweetpeas didnt do so well, so have sown them again and they are starting to poke through.
Im hoping to make a new cover for my coldfame/tiny greenhouse over the next couple of weeks and hope the seedings will be ready to go out before the end of the month, when I can get my carrots in as well..

So thats about it for this week, how do I keep up with the excitement!
 Im off to do some domestics now, hope you have a great week.
T t f n

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Feeling Sorry for Myself

After a week of feeling old, boring and skint and doing what my dear old Dad used to call 'navel gazing' Ive decided not to inflict my sob story on you.
Instead Im posting a wee poem (which I came across when sorting through yet another pile of junk) which made me smile and I hope it gives you a smile too.

As I Mature
Ive learned that you cannot make someone love you
All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in

Ive learned that no matter how much I care
some people are just a*sholes

Ive learned that it takes years to build up trust
but only suspicion, not proof, to destroy it

Ive learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes
after than you'd better have pots of money or huge boobs

Ive learned that you shouldnt compare yourself to others
they are often more screwed up than you think

Ive learned that you can keep vomiting long after you think you've finished

Ive learned that we are responsible for our actions
unless we are celebrities

Ive learned that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first
the passion fades
and there had better be a lot of laughter or cash to take its place

Ive learned that the people you care about most are taken from you to soon
and all the less important ones just never go away

Pass this along to 5 friends, trust me they'll appreciate it.
Who knows, maybe something good will happen.
If not..........tough!

Thats all folks.
Have a good week