The joy of upcycling

Although I upcycled a welsh style dresser a few years ago now for my hall after spotting it in a charity shop and thinking it was just perfect for the space I had and what I needed to store there. It was a real struggle for me physically because of my illness but I was determined to do it myself without the help of anyone and took full pleasure in standing back at the end chuffed with the result and knowing that it was all my own hard work.

Since then I have dabbled with small projects again to do something just for me and also to enjoy doing the whole thing by myself. When most of your days are spent at home it’s nice to be able to have some sort of purpose or job as it were.

So I have done this gorgeous old carry box that was bought for me at a second hand vintage shop by my Mum. After it was hidden away in my junk spare room I finally came across it again after a good ‘ol clear out. Originally I had thought this would be fab painted up in a bright colour with some herb pots in it. But when I rediscovered it again I thought immediately it would make a brilliant ‘work in projects’ box for my knitting and crochet.

So I slapped the chalk paint on it, gave it a good wax and lined the bottom with some left over wallpaper I had left over from my hall makeover.

So this is what it looked like before and after

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Then I found this gorgeous little stand in a charity shop for a fiver!! So I bought it to paint up without actually knowing where I was going to put it. As it turned out it was there perfect size for the turn on my second staircase up to my room. I also now have a compulsion of buying vintage style linens when I find them in charity shops wherever I go. So I already had one which was perfect size and shape for the top.

I had a perfect vintage lace to fit the top and I just need to find some decent artificial flowers to go in the jug and I will be happy with it.

I had a perfect vintage lace to fit the top and I just need to find some decent artificial flowers to go in the jug and I will be happy with it.

By then I was on a roll. My neighbour who knows I love a good recycle gave me her daughter’s old desk from her room as she was giving it a change up for her. This desk then sat in my front room for week and weeks and weeks as I had a lot on at the time and I knew this project would be more physical for me and take up a lot more of my time. In the meantime I managed to find a gorgeous old oval mirror ( amongst other things) in my local auction house, which I thought would be perfect on top of the desk so the whole thing could be used as a dressing table.

Again I slapped on the chalk paint ( you can see I have a little addiction to antique white!) but went for a contrasting green on the inside of the drawers just to change it up a bit. Again I lined the drawers with wallpaper offcuts ( quite possibly taken from B&Q as colour samples). Again I am chuffed to bits with the total outcome, I think it looks lovely in it’s little corner in my bedroom although I may now have to find a chair I can have a go at so I have something to sit on while I make myself beautiful ( after all that does take a bit of a while!).

This I am particularly chuffed with, I would love to find a little stool that i could maybe crochet a cover for on the seat to go with it.

This I am particularly chuffed with, I would love to find a little stool that i could maybe crochet a cover for on the seat to go with it.

So now my idea is to totally revamp my front room from the totally modern to the light and bright ‘shabby chic’ style with all upcycled furniture. I found my perfect piece on a weekend away with my hubby in a fantastic flea market in Lewes, a beautiful bureau for an amazing bargain price of £36! I know I couldn’t believe it myself and so much so that my hubby said I couldn’t leave it there at that price.

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This will be a huge project for me and pretty intricate due to the design inside, so I have yet to decide on colours ( although the outside will definitely be antique white again). This time I need a suitable inner contrasting colour and probably a mix and match of backing papers for the back.

So watch this space…………….

Our nutty neighbour!

Yes we are one of those people who attracts all the nutters in life, don’t ask me how but it happens.

The latest to our collection is a neighbour, who constantly tries to get in our garden, has an aversion to trainers and will attack on sight. Now this would be totally unpleasant if the neighbour was actually human but alas this one is a tortoise!

It has lived next door for the whole 17yrs we have been in our house and even went missing for a year or two before turning up out of nowhere when they were re landscaping their garden. However, this week his perseverance has gone through the roof as my husband has been working at replacing our fencing between their house and ours.

This particular tortoise will stop at nothing to get in the garden as this picture shows:

He spent ages trying to get through this space getting himself on his side to get through in the end.

He spent ages trying to get through this space getting himself on his side to get through in the end.

But that’s not all, once in he spends his time chasing you around the garden trying to headbutt ( yes headbutt!) your shoes……….. told you it was a complete nutter. So much so we had to video him the other day in action- take a look:

Told you we attract ALL the nutters!

Linking up with Eco-Gites of Lenault  #AnimalTales

ANIMALTALES

Chicago Town Takeaway pizza- review

I am surrounded by boys in this house, teenage boys with the biggest one of all being my husband! Anyone out there with teenagers will know apart from the forced grunts of Hello and Goodbye the only time you see them is when they are down raiding the fridge and kitchen cupboards for food.

Therefore, when I was recently contacted to try the new ‘Takeaway’ style pizzas from Chicago Town I jumped at the chance- let’s face it it’s pizza and generally 90% of what teens will agree to eat anyway.

Although other flavours were available we opted for these two

Although other flavours were available we opted for these two

I will admit I personally am not a lover of frozen pizzas in any shape or form as I find they are overly processed and generally have bases that could break windows. Our favourite pizza takeaway would always be Dominoes and they would generally retail around £15 mark for a large size, which to be honest we always buy 2 large as not only will they eat it that night but they also like a few slices left over for the next day ( see what I mean………..typical teens).

So we were sent some vouchers to go and buy our own choice of Chicago Town takeaway range which are available in most large supermarkets and will be priced around the £4.29. However, when we found our’s in Asda they were actually on offer for £2.97 each which was a great saving from the regular price. We opted for the cheese melt with a stuffed crust and a chicken and bacon with a normal crust, although there are also pepperoni and a sloppy joe variety and a limited edition pulled pork available too.

The biggest difference with these pizzas is the fact that the base is not pre cooked and therefore your teeth will be safe from any crunch damage you would get from a regular frozen style pizza. So when you pop these in the oven it is the first time the dough has been cooked and that in itself helps to keep the dough fresh and soft and very like a fresh takeaway pizza. I was expecting the stuffed crust to have that very processed almost ‘plastic’ after taste with very ‘ketchup’ style flavour to the stuffing but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The sauce that filled the dough was exactly the same as the pizza sauce on the base and therefore just enhanced the flavour and certainly didn’t leave an after taste at all. The dough was surprisingly light and airy and not heavy like you would expect from a deep pan style base.

How they looked when cooked- really resemble takeaway pizzas I think

How they looked when cooked- really resemble takeaway pizzas I think and  great size too for their ‘large’ as you can see

Although we only tried the two flavours I would certainly be looking now to try the others. The price is certainly at the top end of the market and in line with the fresh Pizza Express pizzas that are available from supermarkets, however, as when we sourced ours they were on offer for less that £3! That would mean I could buy 5 of these in comparison with 1 takeaway from Dominoes ( or 3 at full price). Both my teens gave them the thumbs up and said that they would be more than happy to have these when they had their mates around rather than order takeaway as they found very little difference between them.

Overall we were very pleasantly surprised at how nice these Chicago Town Takeaway pizzas were although I think I would be tempted to wait until they were on offer to stock up on a few, but you don’t have to take my word for it why don’t you give them a go yourselves.

 

***DISCLOSURE- I was sent vouchers to try this product however, all views are my own

 

The younger generation do not have the monopoly on disrespect!

Today I had an experience that literally shouted WTAF in my head and left me quite disgusted.

I was in good old Primarni having a nosey when they announced that they would be having a 2 minute silence for the VE Day memorial. Then two workers who looked early 20’s had a discussion what it was for, ‘something to do with the war- I dunno’. I’m not going to lump all of this age group and younger into a generalization but there are some who would think this is a typical response from ‘the younger generation’. However, this was not the shocker of the afternoon.

A few minutes later the 2 minute silence was announced and started, we all stopped in our tracks and the whole shop went silent and even those very few who still wandered originally then stopped too when they realised. Then came the shocker……….

Two women came into the shop ( a fairly large branch too) and LOUDLY started to discuss and question why everyone seemed to be standing still ( several times this was said) and kept walking to the back of the shop until a young lady whispered it was the 2 minute silence. So at this point you are probably thinking they are young, either in their teens or early 20’s…………………erm NO!!!

The first lady was probably late 50’s if I’m being kind and was clearly with her mother who looked around mid 70’s. This was the first shocker, as you would think they would have imediately stopped and shut up………………………….again erm NO!!

They then dumped their shopping bags discussing LOUDLY how they thought it was strange that everyone was standing still, then checked their watches and exclaimed LOUDLY that it was actually 3pm and how the time had just flown past today and they had no idea it was that late in the afternoon already!!! FFS

If looks could have killed I swear the look I gave them could have stopped their hearts at a thousand paces. The older woman surely could have been a baby at the time of the war or even an evacuee, her parents would have certainly had been involved in some way and she would have certainly have been around in the immediate post war hardship and probably had lots of stories to tell. Yet here she was in the middle of a very still and quiet Primarni talking about how quick the day has gone ( not even respectfully whispering) during the middle of the ” MINUTE SILENCE!!!

I have no words to say how disgusted I was without falling into a foul mouthed rant. However, I do now wonder if she has ever uttered the words ‘ The youngsters these days have no respect’.

 

I’m a social outcast!

This has been playing on my mind for some time but really only hit home yesterday when I received an impromptu invite to go ‘up north’ on an overnight road trip with a friend.

I have had M.E now for around 6 years (diagnosed) and slowly but surely it has taken control of my life. I am not able to be as mobile as before, or on the go as much, and I do spend a lot of time in my pj’s not because I’m lazy but because there are days where I will end up back in bed or I just haven’t the energy at all to get in the bath or shower. I do use a walking stick now when I go out as it gives me stability when walking due to the knife stabbing pain I have in my ankle joints 24 hours a day, and my calf muscle feels like it will rip with every step I take. Therefore, the stick is a helpful reassurance for me that I will not lose my balance or fall over which would just be the most embarassing thing for me! On longer days out I will choose to use a wheelchair due to the walking involved ( if we go to a theme park, or when we are on holiday as it saves me spending the next day in bed due to any walking I may do). I HATE having to use both and fought against them for a very long time before I realised that they were actually a benefit to me.  When I have got something to get out for I will adjust my days and rest up beforehand and plan nothing for the day after so I can stay in bed if it’s necessary.

Over time I have seen so called friends fall by the wayside, and invites to nights out or weekends away or days up in London etc become non existent. These so called friends have taken it upon themselves to decide for me that I would not be able to go on these outings. Let’s face it who wants to be stuck with someone with a stick when they have gone out boogying for the night! I have become ‘a hindrance’, a problem, even a disadvantage for them.

What they have failed to consider is on a night out I would never expect someone to have the ‘issue’ of keeping me company at the table while everyone else is on the dance floor. I would actually be very happy to keep an eye on the drinks and handbags with the bonus of having a few minutes here and there boogying on the dance floor ( without my stick) over the evening out. I would still enjoy the night, get drunk as normal, and have fun with friends who are also out having fun. Yes I would be frustrated that I couldn’t be on the dance floor all night but those are my frustrations to deal with, not theirs.

Last night I had an invite from a friend who I do not see very often but am in contact via text and Whatsapp virtually everyday amongst a group of girls who are fundamentally mad as hatters but just brilliant, fun company. I was not left out of her 40th birthday celebrations a few years ago when we all met up in London for a great and fast river boat adventure on the Thames before a bit of a pub crawl and dinner as well. There was a fair bit of walking involved and I popped my pain medications all day long, had a brilliant time and then spend the next day or two in bed, but it was bloody worth it. This friend is organising a road trip up to help support another friend as she opens her own interior designs showroom. She is doing the driving and and she also offered me her bed if we crash on someone’s floor. At no point did she leave me out of the group ( she didn’t have to include me and I would not have been none the wiser), it was just an instant shout out to see who would be around for an overnight jaunt. I am excited to have something organised, sad as that may sound, but even more happy that she did not discount me by making the decision that I would not be able to manage it.

So, my question is why is everyone else making the decision on my behalf to leave me out? I am a sociable person, I love a good laugh, I have no problem making a fool of myself, I love to have a drink with company and can get rat arsed the same as everyone else ( there is no law yet about being drunk in charge of a walking stick!).

It makes me wonder then what people see when they look at me. What do you see?

Thankfully they didn't put all 43 candles on it otherwise my face might have melted!!