Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Upcycling, my favourite exercise.....

This is the notice board I've made using wine bottle corks that friends have saved for me (I rarely drink these days). Didn't have enough to do the whole thing as so many bottles are either screw top or use a plastic cork. The two large panels are actually the sides of a computer that hubby was getting rid of, they are magnetic and have little hooky bits which should be useful. The frame and backboard was actually in use for a photo montage till the glass broke when I tried to clean it on the inside oops! You'll recognise the children's fridge magnet letters. Even the drawing pins used to be my dad's.  So just the cost of double sided tape and pva glue which were here already (essential in any self respecting craft room).

What do you think of this cute snuggle baby in bed? Made for my friend's new grandchild.

The bed was a fleece scarf lined with what used to be a mattress cover. The body and hat one of my t-shirts and the head is stuffed tights (can't remember the last time I wore a skirt). Of course as it's for a baby all the fabrics have been hot washed and the stuffing in the head is new and hypoallergenic. Gave it to them last week and it was very well received, especially by their two year old.

And today I started covering my sofa bed that is splitting in lots of places. Just the two seat cushions so far using an old duvet cover.

But it looks so much better when it's being used 😊

Saturday, 28 March 2015

A week of food.....

This week has really been dominated by food and also lots of lovely people all wanting to eat out.

Monday our friendsN&T came over and we went out to lunch. We went to ASK the Italian restaurant and I had my 'taste card' and a meal deal voucher and a special 25% off voucher, so we all had a lovely meal and when we asked for the bill the waitress took the lot and worked out the best price she could....so that deserved a good tip hahaha

Tuesday lunchtime I went out to lunch with my old work team. So lovely to see them as we hadn't managed to meet up since our Christmas dinner. I had to ask for a lift as Daughter still had my car while her's is being repaired. I felt like I hadn't been home long before getting ready to go out to eat again with our Son and fiancĂŠ, they were treating us for a belated birthday for Hubby and Mother's day for me. In return I helped Son with a 2for1 voucher :-)

Wednesday was our usual group in our usual pub, all except friendDJ who sadly now has lung cancer and had to be home for someone to come and fit an emergency alert button at home as he's not too steady on his feet just now :-(

I had decided to make another batch of chutney and there were enough damsons left in the freezer for two and a half batches and for some reason I decided to do them all as I had enough of the other ingredients. It took me nearly all day Thursday to de-stone all that purple squishy fruit as it gave me backache. I had to leave it with all prepped and all the other ingredients in the saucepan but not cooked. Feeling a bit worried about the final taste as I'd realised a bit late that I'd used a half tablespoon measure when the recipe meant teaspoon! So there was a lot more cayenne pepper than I'd needed and thankfully I'd run out of paprika before I'd finished counting and then just as I started counting out the garlic granules I realised!!!

I was eating out again on Thursday evening with bfriendM and friendH as we haven't had a girly catchup for ages. Mexican this time and friendH had both a 25% off voucher and her student card that gets discount......love a bargain!

All Friday morning I cooked down the chutney, took ages as far too much for one pan! Made about 15 jars of various sizes, it tasted good but with a lot more kick than I'd previously made. Daughter and O came for lunch and Daughter had the chutney (still warm) in her sandwich and declared it good (but not as good as the original plum recipe). O's lunch choice was getting me to make him peanut butter pancakes.

That afternoon I collected friendDJ and we went to meet a new baby of friends (DJ can't drive now so was thrilled to go). Our visit included cake!

Oh I love all baby cuddles. They also have a 2 year old who is adorable and we played together too.

We had arranged for O to have a sleepover here.  He is so funny, when I said that his usual bed was full of stuff on top and would he mind sleeping in one of the girls' beds he said "what about the bed you'll say no to?" as if I ever say no to this boy lol, he meant the sofa bed and that was fine of  course. He'd also put in a menu request by Skype video message of Yorkshire puddings and sage and onion stuffing for his dinner thankfully he allowed me to add chicken and vegetables.

It's now early morning Saturday and I'm rather tired. O went up to bed at 8pm but took ages to get to sleep so I didn't creep out of the room till nearly 9pm. Then a little naked boy crawled into my bed at 3:50am saying he hasn't slept at all (he was asleep when Hubby went up at 10:30pm and still asleep when I checked on him two hours later on my way to bed) anyway he snuggled and tried to relax but we eventually came down at 4:30am! So our first breakfast of porridge at 5am and he's now waiting for a second breakfast of pancakes but he'll have to wait for Hubby to get up before I'll do that. Daughter and R are coming for lunch and to collect O and Hubby has an old school friend coming for the day and I've been requested to make lasagne for dinner so my 5:2 diet hasn't stood a chance this week!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Theatre: The Picture of Doreen Gray.....

Award winning LipService Theatre return to the New Wolsey.

Doreen Gray has it all, a drive time radio show, a high ratings lifestyle programme on Even More 4, but hitting 50, Doreen finds her face no longer fits the bill. At a school reunion she stumbles across a youthful self-portrait and makes a dark and dreadful deal. Featuring community actors as Doreen’s school mates live on stage and on film.

This would actually be a very funny and clever performance if I'd not seen this sort of thing so many times before. I'm guessing the guy behind me was new to theatre comedy by his constant very loud laughter, so nice to hear him enjoying himself (my friends didn't think the same). However I found it very boring when repeatedly moving door frames and peering through them, a few times is funny but this was all the way through and most of the actual stage movement jokes have been done to death, for instance when the performer who needs to quick change into the next character is asked to open the door and let them in replies with "you have to, I can't" with an exaggerated wink!

Don't want to be totally negative as there were lots of good points, the spoof script to the original Oscar Wilde play was a good idea. The number of quick costume changes to create so many characters must have been exhausting. The woman who did the sign language at the side of the stage was brilliant and had to change shoes three times and add a jacket to be part of the performance not just a bit on the side (so to speak). And they used some local actors for a crowd scene, and they did a special credit roll at the end naming each of the local actors.  Plus I like theatre going and need the variety good and bad to give me blog material 😉

Actually my friends had said the previous two performance by LipService they had been to had been really unfunny so I'm not sure why they decided to try again, but for me I'll not bother with any future tickets for them.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Theatre: The Three Lions.....

Presented by Rosie Bowen for PBJ Management and Jenny Topper
By William Gaminara

A footballer, a prince and a prime minister walk into a hotel room…..
This hilarious new comedy offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of diplomacy in action, revealing what really went on between David Cameron, David Beckham and Prince William in a Swiss hotel the night before England’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In spite of missed planes, mistaken identities, misunderstandings and sartorial challenges, they are determined to bring the beautiful game home. But when things start to go disastrously and deliciously wrong, three heads may not be better than one!

As you can see they did a great job of casting look-alikes but they were also brilliant actors capturing the accents and tones of each voice and including all the little mannerisms that you don't actually realise these people have in real life until you see it on stage. The script was truly hilarious and we all laughed out loud all the way through.

The only misfortune to a very entertaining and uplifting evening was as I dropped off Trish just a few doors down from my house, I clipped the kerb but obviously at the wrong angle and limped my car up onto my drive and into my garage. Hubby went to have a look and says I've knocked the tyre off the wheel and now have a flat grrrr. Told you it was a stressy week!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Busy and stressy......

This week has seen a busy house although it mostly wasn't me.

Wednesday was M's birthday so Daughter and children were here Monday and Tuesday customising his present and making a very elaborate cake (have to say she didn't get much help from the children). And on the day we had a party lunch here for everyone.....which actually ended badly when O trapped his fingers in the back of the treadmill while it was running and Hubby drove him and Daughter to A&E where they spent nearly four hours! Thankfully nothing broken just very sore from friction burns on his finger tips, poor boy. We are always telling him to wear the safety clip and only go on there when an adult is in the room but at nearly six years old he thinks he knows better.  A very tough lesson to learn.

I've been out every night this week and out again tonight which is lovely,  however,  the stresses come when the dear dear friends I've been out with are suffering from bereavement / cancer / depression / relationship issues / surgery  - none of which I need go into detail about here - and all need lots of support and extra hugs.

Hopefully their problems won't affect my blood pressure as I've just been booked in to wear that awful BP cuff and monitor for 24 hours starting 10am on 1st April.....no joke,  so who's the fool 😉

Sunday, 8 March 2015


1. A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavourable or unsatisfactory.
2. Usage: Problem A problem that seems to defy a satisfactory solution.
3. Logic: An argument that presents two alternatives, each of which has the same consequence.

I'm trying the 5:2 diet just now with small success but success none the less. Today I'd planned to have a 500cal day as Hubby is out all day and so I could please myself foodwise, however yesterday I made these....

Banana and cinnamon mmmm
Five of them vanished yesterday (not just me!) so seven still on the worktop boxed but I know they are there.
I'm guessing each one is about 250cals so would one for breakfast and nothing but lettuce leaves and tea for the rest of the day work?

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Theatre: The Mist in the Mirror.....

Presented by Oldham Coliseum Theatre
Adapted by Ian Kershaw from the novel by Susan Hill
Adapted from the novel by Susan Hill author of The Woman in Black, this tense and atmospheric new production is an otherworldly mystery that leaves a terrifying eeriness suspended in the air.
A ghostly chill falls over the New Wolsey this spring with a traveller's strange tale of threats from beyond the grave.
The Mist in the Mirror is a gothic fireside story which the audience is invited to eavesdrop on. Visual theatre innovators 'imitating the dog' will once again be on hand to create an unnerving ethereal atmosphere before the show even begins and an unsettling feeling that might just follow you home at the end of the night too...

Although it didn't actually deliver the scary chills promised it was very good. The actors all did various parts, some a little more believable than others. The story for me was a bit weak.  But the star of the show was the very clever set. It was an open fronted black box that has doors and panels that opened and closed revealing characters or room sets with ever changing projected images, so clever.

This is what one reviewer has already said (silly to say it again myself eh?).....
The interplay between the stage acting and filmic action was spellbinding with digital curtains drawing back to reveal doors mysteriously melting away and falling snow and rain against windows. Journal writing is projected onto walls in jagged spidery scrawls that appear before our eyes and trains chuff into stations with gouts of steam that meld with the eponymous mists to create a binary landscape of black and white with occasional flashes of red. The narrator (Jack Lord) is back lit in a misty crimson, his demeanour grave as he sits above the stage in one of a series of cut out spaces that are strongly reminiscent of Jan Pienkowski's Haunted House pop up book for children. As in this classic book, characters and special effects dart or drag in and out of doors, cellars and riverside haunts, moving swiftly and in deathly silence from opposite sides of the well designed set. We move from an ocean steamer close to docking to a Thames side lodgings with requisite taciturn and odd host to trains complete with resident psychics who invite you to stay at their country house, finally arriving on a snowy Yorkshire moor for the denouement in Monmouths ancestral home, isolated, crepuscular and forbidding.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Office to studio makeover.....

This is how I've been storing and working on my art or craft stuff,  on a small desk in a single bedroom with a double bed in there, so stuff all over the bed until we need it for guests then a mad scramble to clear the space.

Then Hubby moved his office downstairs, so he decorated the vacated double bedroom for me to use instead. Oh dear another name change needed..... think it will have to be 'studio'. Am I the only one that has to have room names? 

Although it is still a work in progress, this is what my work space looks like today.

That frame will have my notice board, half magnet half cork. 
You're thinking it looks quite spacious and tidy, but so much more stuff that hasn't even been brought back in!

The big cupboard just out of sight on the left and the drawer unit are still full of hubby's office stuff grrr.
I'll not complain yet though as need him to move shelves and fix the clock to the wall as I really can't reach without climbing.

The sofa bed needs covering as the fabric is split (upcycling a duvet cover).
The corks on the table will be my notice board one day. 
The table had been in the games room under the pool table and definitely no place for it down there now, but it was given to me by my sister nearly 40 years ago when we had very little and they were buying new, so I'm reluctant to part with it. It has felt pads on the legs to help it move on the laminate floor but as it wouldn't slide in the carpet up here I've pinched four caps from aerosol cans (lucky I have a stock of hair products) to cap the bottom of each leg and now it slides quite well. 
All those shelves need sorting, the ones on the wall will be my photo albums and the unit will be my art and craft books and my collection of patterns in folders. 
I'll move the coffee table out of the way when the clothes horse goes up with wet washing on and then when the ironing board is in use. If that gets on my nerves it may have to go.
And of course there is always a pile of ironing to do! 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

DIY home and away....

As an interruption to the DIY going on here my nephewE asked if hubby could change some lights in the house they have just moved into. NephewE won't touch electrics. So last Sunday (yes I'm only just catching up) we spent most of the day in Benfleet, Essex. It turned out they planned to change ALL the lights and of course nothing is ever as easy as it should be. When doing the two in the hall one came out of the box broken which meant a trip to B&Q to be replaced. The wiring was awkward on most of them and the fuse box was high up in the garage so one set of steps (which we'd only thought to bring last minute) had to be carried back and forth each time for the fuse to go back in for testing then out again for the next light (or to fix and refix). Some of the time it was raining so in and out of the garage meant shoes off and on too.

So with daylight fading and a standard lamp following him around hubby completed two ceiling lights in the hall, two ceiling lights in the lounge, two wall lights and a picture light in the lounge and the dining room ceiling light. It's a wonder he didn't have a stiff neck from all that looking up! He'll need a second visit to do upstairs.

I got the tour of the new house, which they have furnished really nicely by finding a shop that sells slight seconds really cheaply. I was fascinated by their wall art, which apparently you buy as a large transfer sheet which is pressed against the wall and the banking sheet removed. They have them all over the house but I didn't like to take photos of them all so this is just the one in their lounge.