Wednesday 29 May 2013

My Room for Improvement with MoneySupermarket

I was thrown down this challenge

“Room for Improvement” is a campaign launched by MoneySupermarket to showcase how creative we are as a nation when working on a tight budget. If you would like to get involved, we will supply you with £50 to spend on improving a room of your choice within your home. What you buy and how you approach it is completely up to you. All you need to do once you have the money is take a before and after picture and write about how you went about decorating or improving the room. It’s as easy as that!
We’d also like to showcase the varying approaches taken by each entrant by adding every one of them to the MoneySupermarket Pinterest board. Participation will also guarantee an entry into our prize draw where you will stand a substantial chance of winning £500 in B&Q vouchers to make some further improvements to your home.

Well as you will know I am in the middle of moving house and have got a few rooms that could do with a revamp. Was going to do our bedroom with curtain pole, curtains,maybe some bedding,  a lamp or two and see what was left for an ornament, but as there wont be a carpet fitted until the 13th June and the bed in till the 18th June I decided the bathroom was my best bet.

So what did I decided needed revamped?

the mirror is tarnished
the light pull cord is broken

no storage and unsightly pipes

toilet seat has hair dye staining it

there is currently no blind up, just one lonely bracket.

  • no where in the shower for all my bottles and other such junk
  • no bathmat
  • needs something colourful to brighten it up
  • and an ornament or two to add the finishing touch
Now we have a four drawer plastic storage unit sitting in a cupboard that would go ideal in the gap, not only will this give us storage it will help to hide the pipes. It will also has a handy top to sit an ornament or two on. 

I decide my priorities were going to be a blind and a new toilet seat and I would look see what else was within my budget. 

I first off went a chose my blind, until I knew which colour I could get it was pointless trying to accessories, so we chose a nice blue blackout blind from Argos for £12.94.

whilst I was in there I also picked up a toilet brush and toilet roll holder for £4.99.

 Next off we went into some charity shops to see what I could find, between them I found

  • an open but unused accessory set £2 (not up yet)
  • a blue glass bowl with blue beads in £1.79
  • a blue glass vase to match the bowl 79p,  
  • a round white plastic mirror, a small scratch on glass but functional still
  • and a great buy a white toilet seat, still sealed in its box for £4. It doesn't have a shell paper in keeping with sink and cistern but not to worry. 
so that came to £9.08, thats us up to a total of £27.01, just over half way. 

So we went to look in home bargains who had a good selection of bath mats, and we picked up the set for £4.99 and two cream hand towels for £1.99 each

 In Wilkinson we picked up two bunches of artificial flowers at £1.50, can be seen in the vase above and a blue light pull for £2.

and finally for £10.50 we went back to Argos and picked up this chrome shower caddy for bottles and things in the shower.  That left me 1p change.

So how did it all pull together?

the blind is up

the towels and ornaments look good on top of drawer unit

the light pull

bathmats down

mirrors up

shower caddy

toilet seat

and lastly I hung a nice blue patterned piece of netting to add some colour on the door, it was already in the house. 

I can even give you a 360 degree viewing if you want. 

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Wallpaper - decisions decisions, and other new house updates.

Well the decorator is booked for Thursday, and OH has chosen the wallpaper for the living room, but decided today he fancies making the chimney at the fireplace a feature. Took us hours to pick the first plain paper, and it has already been changed once.  So we picked up a couple of different samples, some we dismissed when we got them "home", and the others we tried up against the wall.

Once we had them up against the wall it was suppose to be a toss up between the three of them, the beige/cream/brown stripe, the big bold green flowers

 or the smaller green flowers?

But we have decide to choose the flower paper for the chimney breast in the middle of the wall and the stripey one either side to cover one whole wall.

Ok comments please, here, twitter or FB -  flowers - bigger or smaller?

Hubby took up the carpet from  the smaller back bedroom at the weekend, it came up dead easy, sadly the underlay was past its best and was pretty much just a pile of black dust. Took a while to hoover it up carefully without creating clouds to breath in. But the room is empty ( well apart from a few tool related things) ready for Forbo flooring coming out to lay my allergy free carpet in there on June 13th. Was offered this to do a review through Allergy UK.This was to be part of allergy awareness week that happened from April 22nd -28th but as I was moving it was silly to put it down in here.

Allergy UK Approved Flooring

Flotex and Marmoleum, both from Forbo Flooring Systems
are the only floor coverings to have been
awarded the prestigious “Seal of Approval”
from Allergy UK as with the correct cleaning regime,
 they will not harbour allergens or house dust mites.
 With a recent report by Allergy UKestimating that there are at least 12 million people
“allergic to their own home” - with 58% citing
house dust mites as a key trigger the importance
 of floor coverings in creating better
indoor environments should not be overlooked.
It’s also an issue that shouldn’t be ignored
 by educational, healthcare,
 office establishments, or social care –
 in fact any place where people are
 likely to spend a prolonged period

all cleaned up. 

My bathroom revamp is also getting there. Have finished there. Have cleaned the floor with a steam cleaner, and placed the towels I bought over the storage unit, placed the ornaments on top and the vase on the windowsill. The light cord is also up, mirror, blind and toilet seat are tomorrows job.

This week will see downstairs finished ready for the carpet fitters to come in and do their job. Will go pick the carpet oncer we have the wall paper up.

Fifi and Bob are delighted to announce..........

That mummy is expecting their baby brother or sister.......

Oops that should be brother and sister,or sister and sister, or brother and brother

Meet twin one (at the top)  forever know on my blog as Dinky, and twin two, forever know as Minky.

Two sacs so not identical, and we will need to wait for the twenty week scan to find out the sexes.

The children had already decided babies blog name was going to be Boo....and daddy joked twin two should be called they changed them totally.

Congrats to them all. What nice timing for us to be moving nearer, and the other set of grandparents are only a few miles away as well.

What I thought of CEWE Photobook - A tribute to Shorty dog

I was asked if I wanted to do a review of CEWE Photobook, and as a lover of Project 365 how could I say  no? All I had to do was download the free award winning software and start designing my album, or let the software assistant create my book for me.

So I downloaded the software and went to get started. First off my theme, might not be to everybody's  liking but a photobook is a very personal thing and made to remember a date or time that means something to you, so I chose mine as a present for my husband to remember the 1st anniversary of Shorty dog's passing on May 28th 2012, one year ago today.

why use a floor when a bed will do?

So I searched through all the photographs I have of her, believe me there are many, and so I categorised them to make it easier before I started. I also wanted some of the poems that he has written for her over on the pet memories page he has made for her, you can see it here if you want, and if you feel like it you can even light a candle for her.

layering in different sizes

Your first option is to choose your cover, soft, hard, linen or a booklet, then decide how many pages you want, this can be anything from as few as 26 pages, to as many as 130. You can choose glossy paper, standard paper, glossy photo paper or matt photo paper.

I have to say the software is so easy to use, the editing options are very easy to use and very simple to understand.

my back page, should have been front
You can choose the amount of photos you want on a page, you can put a border round one or all of them, and if your not happy with the way a page is looking it is very easy to change the layout or positions of the pictures. Every page can be different.

Text can be added to any pictures you want, or you can do what I did and add a long poem over a double page. You have full free choice of font, font size and colour.  There are hundreds of different possibilities to totally personalise your piece of work.

my front page. 

I have to say the only bit that I obviously did not look at well enough was the cover, what I actually wanted on the front I have got on the back and vice versa, my fault not the companies, that is where I placed it in error. Hubby was slightly upset at my error but is touched by the gesture I made.

The colour reproduction is spot on, all my pictures came out exactly the way I had intended, the print is clear and sharp and I was not disappointed. The text is clear and crisp and very readable. The hard cover will make for a long lasting product and the glossy paper is very good quality.

I received my finished product within five days of placing the order, a very good turn round time for something that is made from scratch at their end.

pictures can be placed at an angle. 
I have to say I cannot fault this book in any respect, from the software, to the layout, to the editing, right through to the delivery of the finished product was just spot on.

CEWE also do posters, prints and enlargements, canvases, calenders and photo gifts such as jigsaws, teddy bears, mugs and cards.

I have to say having used other similar companies I would highly recommend this company and as any of you who read my blog regularly know if I am not impressed with a company/product/freebie then I will readily say so.

I was given a voucher to review the whole experience of using this company but my findings remain honest and unbiased.

A poem found by my husband that he liked the words of that I had printed in the book.

From a little dog.
 I know that you miss me, at times you are sad.
 You think you should have done more as my Mum and my Dad.
 But I've something to tell you, so you won't feel so bad.
 You gave me the best life I could ever have had.
Now that I'm in heaven, I don't feel the pain.
 It's always warm and sunny here, never any rain.
 I just have to thank you, that my memories are glad.
 For you gave me the best life I could ever have had.
 The times that were painful are just lessons learned.
 I've forgotten the sad times, with the freedom I've earned.
 Just know in your heart, with a faith iron-clad...
 That you gave me the best life I could ever have had.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Project 365 19th May- 25th May

Thought I would do a collage this week, just to be a bit different.

 Sunday 19th

We went down to the cottage tonight, and boy was it muddy. You can read more about it here.

Monday 20th

the new plumbing bit needed too solve a problem, you can read more about the fun here!!

 Tuesday 21st

Help from daughter No3 in stripping the living room ready for the decorator next week.We did have a set of ladders there, but she said she preferred the chair.

Wednesday 22nd

Thus little bird has made friends with hubby, he sits on the blue bin waiting on him going out with food.

Thursday 23rd

Hubby has had rather a few health concerns lately, this is his badge from having an endoscopy this morning. He has promised to write me a post all about his experience so that it may help somebody else in the future,

Friday 24th

The building work is nearing the end, houses suppose to be habitable by the first week in June. There was essential work to be done, and they promised to keep the disruption to a minimum. Not sure how a fire engine or ambulance would have got through the just about car size gap, but thankfully one was not needed.

Saturday 25th

I joined in with a conversation about vaginal dryness during the menopause on another website a while back. Through it I was asked if I would like to try a sample of this product and also do a telephone interview with a view to that interview becoming an article in a magazine. I was more than happy to do this, as it is a problem many women suffer from and one of the symptoms that is not as openly talked about as some of the other symptoms.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Top 100 for Foodies100

I was over the moon last month when my blog got into the top hundred of tots100, but I am even more proud of my blog today as I am also in the top 100 of Foodies100, sitting at No30.

So a big thank you to all of you for reading my blog, commenting and interacting, I could not have done it without each and every one of you.

Countdown to the move has begun.

Well on Saturday Daughter No2 went off to her new life in Oban. She met a lovely man from there a few years back and decided to apply for a job up there so she can move in with him, we wish them all the luck in the world and hope the two of them are very very happy. So as we are taking over her mortgage we now have work to do,  the countdown to the move has begun.

it might be little but saves plenty of mess 
Before she went she took up all the carpets and took them off to the dump. She cleaned and hoovered what she had time to do. Saturday evening we met up with the young couple who were taking furniture and accessories that my daughter did not need and had put on freecycle. That was like something out of a Laurel and Hardy film. We unplumbed the washing machine, and promptly  flooded the cupboard as it had been plumbed in wrong and we needed to go buy a blanking end to seal it off, so when we left be left a note in the sink saying do not use in case Daughter No1 came round with the kids and used it.
 Not sure how the delivery men got her couch in the living room but we needed to remove the door to get it out.

she was told to use the ladder

Our first priority in there is getting the living room ready for the decorator who is coming to put up the wall paper next Thursday. So daughter No3 and I went along and stripped the wallpaper off and painted the ceiling and coving.

I have cleaned out the kitchen cupboards with a steamer I borrowed from a friend and we have cleared out  and painted the big cupboard under the stairs. OH has been strimming the grass and trying to work out where his shed will go, as well as painting, taking down curtain tracks and other stuff.

The removal van has been booked for 9am on June 18th, so once the decorating is finished we will need to buy new carpets and arrange for them to be fitted. Meanwhile the packing is going on at this end ready. I have ten days after I move out before I need to hand my keys over so will worry about this end later

Got a huge mental list of other things I need to remember, changing over likes of power, phone, sky and bills/statements transfer insurances to the new house, get mail redirected, inform insurances, DVLA, bank etc.

Wish me luck!!

Why we love new Eneloop rechargeable batteries.

I have used rechargeable batteries for years and years, when the children were young toys usually required batteries and for although the initial outlay may seem expensive in the long run they are very very economical.  
My daughters favourite product was a tape recorder she got for her Christmas along with a set of Story Teller books and tapes when she was four. I was not keen on a four yr old plugging into the mains when she wanted to use it and so we bought her rechargeable's to go with it.

Our car after a fence slowed us down and a tree stopped us. 

Now there is a new breed of rechargeable batteries out, the Sanyo Eneloop battery. We have been using these for a while now. Their main use for us is in digital cameras, especially the emergency camera that stays in the car all the time.
These  battery may remain up to 70% charged if not used for up to 5 years (or 90% charged after 1 year), handy if you are ever involved in a bump to take photographs of both your damage and the other persons. But the camera is not much use if when you go to use it the batteries have run down.
I really am impressed with these batteries, in use they dont take quite as many pictures as a good high quality set of name brand would, but run a very very close second.

I find they run for longer than my current rechargeables when used in my personal digital radio that I use for maybe eight hours a day during the week, it masks the tinnitus!!

 So what are the benefits of eneloops? 

They are very planet friendly,

1 eneloop saves the garbage of 1799 disposable batteries

In Europe 90.000 tons of batteries end up in the household waste stream. eneloop helps to reduce this amount significantly as it can be recharged up to 1800 times. This means that one eneloop saves the garbage of 1799 disposable batteries. The easiest way to avoid any damage to the environment is to avoid any garbage. A product, which is not produced, packaged and transported, cannot damage the environment.

Solar energy is used for factory pre-charging

The eneloop batteries are pre-charged in Japan by “green power” from photovoltaic generation. This means that a part of the electric power used for manufacturing (the amount equivalent used for factory pre-charging) is generated using clean, renewable solar energy.

Used materials in the eneloop produce less pollution when disposed

With our eneloop rechargeable batteries we replaced the heavy metal cadmium of the Ni-MH cell with more environmentally friendly metal hydride and refrained entirely from mercury used in alkaline batteries. This means if your eneloop goes after using it 1800 times in the recycling bin it will even at this stage be less polluting than a disposable battery.
Rechargablebatteries tells you on their site why people should be using rechargeable batteries;

Save the planetThe impact on the environment is considerably less than disposable batteries and this is the number one reason for using the rechargeable ones. It's a simple and easy way to "go green" in your everyday life without making major changes.
 Save MoneyThey're less expensive than the disposable ones because they can normally be charged several hundred times before they'll no longer hold a charge. This means that you get more for your money!
 EasyThey're more convenient because you don't have to worry about your batteries dying when you need them the most ,sending you to the shop to buy more at an inopportune time. All you need to do is place them in the charger for awhile and you're ready to go.
Charged BatteryThey're just as efficient as disposable batteries and will last as long when fully charged. Therefore, you can enjoy using these quality products while reducing your carbon footprint on the planet.
 Recycle BatteriesEventually the rechargeable batteries will need to be replaced and when this happens, you can have them recycled instead of sending them to the landfill. 
Choosing rechargeable over disposable may seem like a simple thing but it does make a difference. Each person that makes the switch saves energy and reduces the effects they have on the planet. Alone, it may be a small impact but when you have thousands of people switching, it can add up to be a huge difference. Isn't it time you made the switch?

This is a review post and I was supplied with a battery charger and a selection of batteries, but this post is an honest reflection of my findings.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Oops it was rather muddy.

We went down to the cottage before tea to see our friend. To say the least it has rained here in the last 24 hrs, it was running down the pavement like a river yesterday afternoon, and maybe our decision to take a walk along the river was a bit silly, because gosh it was rather muddy.

I guess the cattle must be back out in the fields, and talk about churned to mud. I am just glad we did not have the children with us as we would have had to turn back as it was rather dodgy for us let alone them. At one point I thought my welly was staying stuck in the mud, but thankfully it decided to come unstuck.

We squelched through the gateway which was bone dry last week.

It was rather deep and squelchy.

The grandchildren were playing  here last week, this was the river bank. under inches of water. 

 But there was a lot of nice nature to see while we were out. 

The blossom on the trees was beautiful.

Fungi growing on a tree at the side of the river, it was the size of a very large dinner plate.

The moss on the walk back up is a beautiful shade of green.

This was the state of my wellies time we got back to the cottage.

But it was a lovely afternoon and it got OH and the cottage resident out for a walk.