Thursday, 16 July 2015

April ~ Pretty Me Challenge: Ta Dah!!!

Just a quick pop by to say "Hello" and to share with you the progress that I have made on my Pretty Me project for April.  This was a quick and easy makeover actually.  All that was required were some wooden struts cut to the right length to create a base (to hold the mattress) and a paint job on the frame itself - to help breathe new life back into it.

I used Annie Sloan paint leftover from the makeover of my Kitchen Dresser.  After a couple of coats of paint and a quick brush over with wax (to create a protective seal over the paint) the project was complete.  I ordered a new queen size sheet and simple used the double duvet cover Little Lady already used on her previous bed (my girl likes a snugly bed!)

So without further delay....

Ta Dah!

I am happy to report that the bed has resulted in more fondness for her bedroom and more importantly vastly improved sleep!  Hooray!  

I kept all the other furniture and the Hubby simply moved the desk (from the before picture on the left) to the opposite wall and her IKEA chest of drawers (on the right of the bed in the before picture) now sits next to her bed (serving as a bedside table).

Her bookcase has relocated under the eaves (returning to its original place) although my childhood dolls house has been squeezed in on a tiny coffee table between that and the foot of the bed!

We need to have a big de-clutter of the kids bedrooms over the summer holidays but I am really happy with the makeover of this vintage bed frame.  I'm even more content that Little Lady will grow with this bed.  Even though she needs less sleep than I do (she takes after her father in this respect) at least she has a comfortable space to enjoy, read and rest.

My planned Make Me project (a part crochet, part applique cushion) has taken a back seat as I've not been well enough to sit and use the sewing machine.  However, the crochet element has been completed and is simply awaiting an improvement in my health so that I can finish the planned cushions off.  I'm looking forward to completing these but have relaxed on the time frame element!!!  Needs must.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed seeing this beautiful vintage bed frame being given a new lease of life.  I'm delighted how a couple coats of off white paint have softened its look.  I think it's gorgeous and gladly Little Lady is very happy with it too.  

I have so many things to share at present.  I also have a giveaway planned for this month as it's come round to my blog-iversary again!!!  I will be posting again soon I promise!

Take care until next time,
J9 x

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Five on Friday ~ A Girls trip to Wells

Hello Bloggy Folks!  I hope you are well and enjoying some relaxing time in the sunshine.

My week has been consumed with visits to Doctors, blood tests, visits to hospital, steroid injections and lots of bed rest so I thought I would share with you a few photos that I took during a visit to Wells with Little Lady a couple of weeks ago.

Amongst my favourite moments were:

#1  Quaint Stone Houses

There are various quaint stone, terraced cottages leading in to the centre of this city.  They are so cute with low front doors and smaller than average sash windows.  There are no straight lines and in my view this adds to their charm.  There are a number of Alms Houses too that remain simply stunning now.

According to the Wells Tourist Information:

"The history of Wells goes right back to Roman times when we know that there was a settlement, probably because of the springs that bubble up here. Wells gets its name from these springs which can today be found in the gardens of the Bishop's Palace".

Such English heritage in these walls.., if only they could speak and tell us their stories.

#2  This Wall did speak to me

As my daughter voiced her frustration "Please Mummy; can you just stop taking photos now?"  I noticed this stone laid into the masonry of a corner store.  I love that historically being a dealer in 'Pepper and Snuff' was important enough to be flagged on a stone plaque.  A moment in history captured.

#3  St.Cuthberts Church


Apparently, this is the largest parish church building in Somerset.  As we passed on the Sunday morning, the choir and congregation were singing and could be heard from the street.  It was so lovely and uplifting.  The stone work in this church is very detailed and the original building dates from the 13th century.  It states in the information leaflet that the church often gets confused as Wells Cathedral by tourists because it is so decorative and ornate - a real visual treat.  

#4  This Door!

I fell in love with this wonderful little original door with its stone carved frame and carefully shaped oak front.  I tried to get Little Lady to stand in the doorway for scale but due to the aforementioned comment and the whole fact that Mummy's can be soooo embarrassing with their cameras... I failed.

However, the door reminded me of a Hobbit home.  So cute and short in stature.  Even myself at 5ft 2 would have to stoop to get through (another reason to love it from my perspective!)

Wells Cathedral and Castle are enormous in stature and very impressive!  In the fore ground you can see a traffic warden - he had already given two cars tickets when we arrived.  This is normally the marketplace for the city and usually bustles with thriving stalls and people.  I was surprised but secretly happy that many of the shops were closed on a Sunday.  Many are small independent shops which remained closed - only larger chain stores were open.  Whilst there is a discussion ongoing in England concerning longer opening hours on a Sunday I was happy to see that most of these independent stores had their day of rest.

Whilst we didn't explore the Cathedral and Castle on this occasion, they dominate the skyline of the main street.  Wells is "the smallest city in England with about 12,000 inhabitants. It can call itself a city because of the famous 13th century Cathedral".  It has a lovely market town feel - not at all like the larger cities I've visited and was perfect for some quality chatty time with Little Lady.

We have one week left of school here before the Summer holidays start.  We are all on count down and simply cannot wait for this valuable time to come!  I have another course of 3 weeks of steroids so am hopeful that my health will be at its optimum for managing this time too.  I do so hope you are all enjoying whatever makes you happy!!!  

Today I'm delighted to be joining in with Amy's Five on Friday Linky party!

Take care until next time, 
J9 x

Thursday, 9 July 2015

An English Country Garden in June

Earlier this month we visited with family.  It is always a pleasure to tour the in-laws garden.  Grandpa is a very keen gardener and volunteers for the National Trust at Waddesdon Manor.  His garden is a huge passion and this is evident in his visual display.

He has an efficient, functional yet pretty allotment area...

Beautiful cottage borders...

...intermixed with willow sculptures...

...and sheltered seating...

The pond is delightful and you can pass many happy moments just staring into space, watching the fish or just crocheting in the sunshine...

The wisteria was in full floral display and was absolutely stunning.

Set against the backdrop of the weathered wood it looked glorious - a complete contrast.

I really enjoy spending time in this garden as do the children.  They think it is enormous and THE best place to play hide and seek.  On this visit they also enjoyed making birds homes - weaving reeds and eucalyptus leaves into circular shapes before adding a few seeds and nuts for the birds to encourage them to visit their birdie hotels.  I've written a post previously about this lovely garden so please do check this out if you're interested.

Happy times indeed.  And this was where I sat for most of one day, relaxing, crocheting, chatting and taking in the general splendour.

I have so many bloggy updates to share - I always seem to run behind at this time of year but I do so hope to catch up with a few soon.  I have my Coastal Target Square Ta Dah post, April Pretty Me challenge Ta Dah plus the sand sculpture festival to share and so much more so please do watch this space during my endeavour to catch up before the Summer Holidays strike (I can't wait!!!)

Health wise things are a bit tough at present.  I'm back on the steroids (having only managed two weeks off them).  My Lupus is really active at present and the Sjrogren's Syndrome has been affecting my sight which has been quite frightening.  I had a steroid injection into my left shoulder joint yesterday and am restricted to bed again today.  I confess the downturn so quickly after a slight improvement has me feeling a little downcast.  However, it's nearly the weekend and after a good 10 days not logging on to my cronky laptop I'm looking forward to catching up on some of your lovely Blogs!!!  I apologise if I'm a silent reader at present.  I take such pleasure from sharing snippets of your world and crafty endeavours so thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind comments of support here and for your warm posts on your bit of Cyberland.

Take care for now, 
J9 x 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Look Up - A Mantra I Live By

I find it fascinating to people watch, to wonder where people are rushing to or what they are doing.  I also find it fascinating to look skyward.  Whether it be the colours in the sky, the shape of clouds, wildlife fluttering by or even architectural interest... it all inspires me.  Ever since childhood I've enjoyed a good view and historical shapes in buildings.

Increasingly, largely due to portable technology the mantra of "Looking Up" applies ever more in all situations.  I find this spoken word by Gary Turk so powerful - if you haven't heard it before, please do have a listen...

Whilst I was observing a whole number of things in London, I noticed how much people were looking down.  Especially from a wheelchair this was a real issue - people walking would only notice that they were about to walk into me in the chair once they were literally on top of me - largely because they wore earphones and were looking at devices whilst walking down a busy London pavement!  

Whilst we were looking up though we could enjoy the amazingly beautiful architecture on the fronts of many of the shop facades.  Glorious.

One thing I would like to encourage in my children as they grow is the joy to be found in Looking Up.  To appreciate all the beauty in the world and engage with our environment.  Having experienced post natal depression and pain related anxiety, I have become more mindful of what helps to have a positive impact on my mental health.  Looking up, being grateful & appreciating the simple things and crafting to find that 'flow' state of mind are the most powerful lessons I have learnt.  Do you have any lessons you have learnt to help with your happiness?  What do you want your lasting message to your children or loved ones to be?  Please share - I'm always happy to learn more!

Take care until next time,
J9 x

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

May Half Term Round Up

During the week long break, we took the opportunity to holiday in London for 3 nights.  This took a bit of meticulous planning on my front, as I can assure you that traversing London Underground in a wheelchair is extremely challenging.  In fact, I came to learn that doing most things in London in a wheelchair was challenging.

We stayed this Premier Inn in Kensington, which worked really well.  We had a lovely big room, fantastic breakfasts - wonderfully friendly staff and a quiet space - which meant we all slept really well despite being in a shared room.

We had a few must do's on the list:
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Experience the Underground
  • Natural History Museum
  • Science Museum
  • Harrods, and a
  • Touristy Bus Tour
We had been visiting family in Buckinghamshire so we travelled from Milton Keynes to Euston on a fast track virgin train - which the children absolutely LoVED!!!  It was so fast it literally tilted on the rails and got us there in 25mins another exciting experience for the Littlie's.

When we arrived we headed straight for the hotel to leave our luggage and then headed straight back out to the Natural History Museum.

This is my favourite museum in London.  It was a different experience in a wheelchair again... and it was less busy because the sun was shining and the Queen was opening up the new Government and so many tourists were lining the streets elsewhere to catch sight of her.

After this we moved on to the Science Museum.  I have to say this suited my children so well - interactive displays, experiments to complete and lots of large scale exhibitions on view.

They absolutely loved it.  So much so that we returned on our last day instead of going to Hamleys!!!  Now that must mean success on the Science front.

For the second day I had booked a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour by Golden Tours.

This worked well for us with the wheelchair - although on occasion we double backed a few times on different routes, but we were sat down so it didn't really matter.  This was a fab way to see all the top tourist spots in London if you are unable to walk.  We could see it all from a great vantage point and I'd really encourage you to book one if you were doing this for the first time with children.

We had a GrEAT time and on quite a small budget.  I had booked the room as a deal months in advance, booked the Bus Tour and we were given a complimentary extra day free and a boat cruise, the kids ate for free at breakfast if one adult had a full English and we gathered for 'floor picnics' in the room from the local Wagamama each evening whilst watching the Britains Got Talent Finals. The days were tiring and full; the children's bedtime was a little later and our bedtime came a bit earlier so we all went to sleep at the same time.

We really felt like we weren't scrimping despite the London prices.  I had packed a load of snacks and drinks... The last day I really wanted the Littlie's to experience a bit of Harrods (we went to go and have tea in a cafe and found out that a slice of cake was £9 each!) So we settled for purchasing some cookies from the food hall and eating them in the picnic area of the Science Museum!!

All in all we had a wonderful experience during our few days in London.   I'm super glad that we did it and that the children got to witness our capital city.  We feel so remote from the city life that an insight into it can be really positive.  The Littlie's loved it... the memories are banked and a good holiday was had.

We came back happy but exhausted and had a really lazy weekend before the return to school and work on the Monday...

Due to my inflammatory flare this post has taken ages for me to write but even though we are about to say goodbye to June I've enjoyed looking back at our end of May!!!  I hope you have too.
Take care until next time,
J9 x

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Five on Friday

Just a quick post from me today.  I thought I'd share five happy moments from the last 24 hours and join in with Amy's Five on Friday party...

#1  Weston Sand Sculpture Festival

This years Sand Sculpture Festival is based upon a theme of celebrating the sculptures of the last 10 years.  I had purchased a Groupon pass for us and it was a great value experience.  I will post about this visit more fully next week and share some more of these sculptures - we did really enjoy the Festival.  I have to say, in my opinion, the sculptures weren't as intricate as they have been in previous years and I do prefer a specific theme to the creativity.  However, as a family day out the sculptures were enjoyable and fascinating none the less!!!

#2  Weston Air Festival

This annual festival takes place this weekend and we decided to coincide our visit to the Sand Sculpture Festival with the event to make the most of the experience.  The Red Arrows unfortunately were cancelled today as the clouds descended but they are due to fly tomorrow.  The above photo is from the display of kit planes who are self funded and had only been doing displays within the last year.  They were of a great standard considering they were over 50% kit planes!!!

#3  Brother & Sister time

Bickering has been in full flow over the past couple of weeks between these two.  Nothing serious just little annoyances being aired - largely I think due to tiredness and readjusting to being back at school after the half term holiday.  I find they always need a bit of time to readjust once they are not with each other 24:7.

This photograph captures a lovely moment from earlier today though.  They were sat laughing, chatting, picking grass seeds and throwing them in the air whilst also watching the different air displays overlooking the sea front.  It's good to remember these moments during those times of readjustment when my patience is tested!

#4  Tree Climbing

Little Lady's places of choice seem to be a) in a homemade den and / or b) up a tree.  These don't seem to change.  Either place is a happy place for her and she physically seeks them out.

#5  Park Play

We had parked a little way off the sea front - so as to avoid the volume of traffic and people.  After leaving the hub bub of the main arena we decided to sit and enjoy one of the town parks that we were walking back through towards the car.  The boys played football and Little Lady climbed trees.  I sat happily on a park bench watching the activity - sometimes watching them and sometimes casting my eyes skywards to the various planes and helicopters in flight.  A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

So those are my Five things.  Simple enough but they made me very happy.  I do hope you have a wonderful Father's Day for those celebrating tomorrow.  The boys are off to a football tournament and Little Lady and I are planning to peruse the lovely shops in Wells (where the tournament is taking place).  We've then been invited to a BBQ with friends so fingers crossed the weather stays dry.

Enjoy your day whatever you are doing.  Take care until next time,

J9 x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Pretty Me & Make Me Challenge ~ April

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have committed to stop my procrastination and commit to a 'Pretty Me' project and a 'Make Me' challenge each month.  I've been working on these in between managing my health and it has been good to give me a little direction and to feel that I am being a little productive - even if I am still a couple months behind my target challenge!  I'm not pushing myself to overdo things even creatively but it is working for me and so I'll keep setting myself the challenge and sharing them with you here!

Pretty Me

Little Lady has been experiencing headaches, poor sleep and general fatigue for a good few months... behind the scenes she's had lots of blood tests, an MRI of her brain and a special tonic.  During this time we've tried to be proactive in eliminating any obvious sources; she's been prescribed iron due to being anaemic (brought on by a bought of illness and growth spurt), medicine to help relieve migraine, and we now practice many relaxation and meditation techniques together - but thankfully nothing more serious has been found.

Obviously, as a mother if your child is generally not 100% you want to do all that you can to help.  So, what else could I do? For the past few weeks I've been researching small double (4ft) beds. Little Lady had a 2ft 6 bed - approaching 9 and above average height I felt a bigger bed may well aid the much desired sleep process. I had a strict budget of £150 all in (bed, mattress, delivery etc) and mistakenly I thought this would get me what I had in mind. How wrong was I?!!  Over time I searched ebay and surprisingly found that I could get a vintage bed for the same price - if not less than a new 'less solid' model.

After two months searching, early one Sunday morning I won the auction on a black, cast iron bed. It was all dismantled so I have no pictures to share as a before. Sooo exciting; this bed is cast iron and the frame was in the family I bought if from since at least the 1930's!! The mattress was unused and both were sat in a guest room.  The couple had decided to reluctantly sell it as it was just not getting used!  I had found a similar bed painted cream on another site for hundreds of pounds... way outside of my budget. Oh yes, I have a plan.

I have to purchase some slats to support the mattress as it literally is the outer frame only so will need to build a slatted base.  I also want to soften its look with a paint job and so can't wait to complete this promising project!  This image gives you an idea of how it looks pre makeover.


Make Me

I've mentioned in a couple of posts (here and here) about the progress on my Coastal Target Squares Blanket.  I'm working on the border now and the completion of this blanket will be my April Make Me Challenge.  This is a big blanket and has been a joy to work on.  I really love the colours and can't wait to share the completed project with you.  I'm really enjoying the border making process too - it's the first time I've properly tried, frogged and reworked different crochet stitches and colours to try to get the look that I have in my mind and that compliments the squares themselves, rather than follow someone else's pattern.

I think both of these projects are going to be really rewarding to complete.  Both are focused on a desire to nurture my family and I am super positive about the outcome of each of these!

I look forward to sharing the finished items with you later this month.  I hope you are having a wonderful week.  

Thankfully my health is starting to improve gradually.  I've been taking steroids for just over a week and these are dampening my immune system and associated inflammation.  I have two more weeks of the course to take and hope that the relief will continue to come.  THaNK YOU all for your wonderful messages of support on my recent posts - I can't tell you how much your comments help to lift my mood and ease my negative thinking.  I really appreciate all of your Bloggy friendships - I truly do.  So much so that next week I'm planning a little giveaway!  So please do pop back to this little space to see what goodies you could win.  

Take care until next time,

J9 x