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Spring Life In The Garden.

Monday, 25 January 2016

New Followers!

So sorry. Have been meaning to say a big fat hi there and hello to Lee Ann, Sol Be and Mary.


Totally Terrific TV

Now I should point out that I do NOT do costume dramas. Since the television version of Pride and Prejudice I have not watched any that I can think of. However, War and Peace is stupendous!

I can't remember the last time my heart was nearly jumping out of my chest at the excitement of something I saw on TV. Last night, whilst attending a party, the super fickle Natasha was being chased around what appeared to be the cloak room by the dastardly Anatole. Natasha was invited there by Helene, his sister, who along with her brother make a pair of very mischevious devils, to put it mildly!

I was begging her not to let him kiss her but ho hum!  Following Sonya's intervention in the elopement debacle, she was deemed ruined by her mother and then comforted by Pierre. I am by no means a War N Peace expert but I would think if Andrei, too, thinks she is ruined Pierre may marry her. I think he has always loved her and at the drop of a hat would solve the financial problems of the Rostov family who are dear friends.

Phew. Cannot wait until next Sunday!

Should also say that I am LOVING Call The Midwife which I watched on sneaky catch up this morning - I NEVER watch TV during the day but just couldn't resist. I think Nurse Crane is just ace, totally up front and uncompromising!

What TV is everybody else enjoying?

Friday, 22 January 2016

Bits and Bobs

I didn't have time to post on Wednesday but I still wanted to share some lovely photos.

I remembered to photo the abundance of daffodils that we have growing in the garden. None of these were planted by ourselves, instead we inherited them from the previous owner, thank you very much!

The sun was shining, it was chilly but such a fab day so decided to take a walk. Love these sign posts.

 A pool of water left over from the heavy rain is now a mini ice pond.

The gorse bushes, I think that's what they are, were flowering nicely.

Today I have had a baking session because the cherry oat bake I made yesterday lasted about 5 minutes! I made a chocolate brownie, but not the usual size as I was limited by getting to the bottom of my chocolate supply, and then made something new, peanut butter muffins, just for a change.

And I've made ANOTHER cherry oat bake but with addtional sultanas because I didn't have quite enough cherries.

This is part of my efforts as I've put some in the freezer to give them a chance to last a little longer!  I suppose I should be flattered that my men eat things that quickly.

I think that's it. Jon has been doing a little work on one of the cellar rooms so will have some before and after photos of that soon.

Take care.x 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Miscellaneous mumblings.

This is one of those posts made up a few things, a bunch of nothings really.

What do you have on your fridge? With kids I seem to always have something stuck to it, but things for myself, too.

Here is the front of the fridge.

You might need to enlarge the photos to ready everything. The small card attached to the Home Means You piece says:

It's nice to have a holiday
And nice to have nothing to do
But it's lovely to sometimes sit
And think of home and you.

And if you can't read the Home Means You one it says:

I'm feeling fine and working hard
But always have in view
The goal of getting home again
And that means YOU.

I don't go out to work but I just love the sentiment; we are such home birds in our house!

This is the side of the fridge.

Home meal plan for the week, recycling info whilst I ATTEMPT to educate my husband, and the menu plan for school so I try and not duplicate lunch and tea!

I have not done much papercrafting since we moved but her are a couple of things.

This one I made a few years ago and I hang it in my kitchen all through January.

and this one is for a friend's birthday this week. The January 'banner' comes from an old copy of A Diary Of An Edwardian Lady which I use for crafting.

Right, that has got a few odds and end done. 

See you later.x

Monday, 18 January 2016

Some before and after pictures.


I've been to my Welsh class, gone for coffee with a friend and took a trip to the post office to get rid of a pile of things. Now, thanks to the wonders of the internet I am able to show you some before and after pictures of the house, even having lost our own, after all!

In no particular order....

the living room as we first saw it.

Image result for Bronllan

And this is how we enjoy the room now!

 This is our bedroom as we first saw it, very plain with no furnishings at all.

.        Image result for Bronllan

Then, ta da!

This wardrobe was one of our bargain buys from Craft in Aber. Only £15 and the right hand side shelf has a label that say hats on it. Fab!

Just a couple of outside pictures to finish with, you'll be glad to hear! Jon has now completely taken down the wood structure, which I think I posted previously, that was in the middle of the garden and what a difference from this..

 ...to this.

It is wonderful to have a proper view beyond the garden and really get an idea of what we have.I hope you enjoy seeing the difference in the pictures, I do of course. I'm now off to do the veg for tea tonight.


Sunday, 17 January 2016

I'm a Lumberjack, well not really!

We decided that a family job was necessary and that was to bring some of the wood up from the field where a tree had gone over following a windy day recently to replenish the woodpile.

It was -1 yesterday morning so we were all wrapped up well and headed off with the trailer down the road. (Chainsaw complete with newly purchased chain was in the boot.)

 The walk down to where we need to do was boggy to say the least as a trickle from the stream was making the mud even muddier. However we got to said tree and Jon made a start.

Jon managed to get the main trunk over the fence and then we were able to get on with the logging.

 Jon was progressively getting hotter as he took layers off! Harry is woodchopper in waiting. 

Logs started piling up.

 Alfie was doing his best.

The space where the tree was...

and finally Harry gets a chance to be a woodcutter's son!

The pile is starting to build up in the background and we had them on the fire last night. Love free wood!

As I was photographer in chief here are some photos of and near the stream; looking forward to seeing it in the summer again.

Ok that is it for me today but may catch up with some of you later on.x

Email subs issues.

Hello all.

I can see, if I am reading things right, that about 12 of you lovely people have subscribed to this blog. I've identified a problem which means some of or all of you are not getting noitifications of new posts.

If you can be bothered. would you re do the subscription thing and I'll send a test post in a day or so to see if we are back on track. Bear with me as I'm not tecky and I actually came to the solving of the problem, hopefully, whilst I was stripping one of the beds this morning - that is how tecky I am!!

Thanks, Lou.xx

Friday, 15 January 2016

Snow joke you know!

Meant to post this much earlier today but had problems with my 'phone. 

It was trying very hard all evening yesterday to snow and at 6.50am we got some. Not a lot but it continued to snow, sleet, hail on and off up until about an hour or so ago.

Much excitement as this is the garden at about 7.30 I think just as Jon had gone to work.

The boys were out sledging as best they could before school.  

I was meant to go to Aber for the dentist, my Argos refund and a new chain for the chainsaw but I bottled it and managed to re-arrange things.
Temperature high for Aber today is 8 degrees but don't know what the actual forecast is.
How is everybody else fairing including those in my adopted homeland?

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Persistence has paid off - in cash!

Image result for customer rights

Re my dispute with Argos, well thanks to a lovely lady called Lynette Adams I am sorted.

I thought I would give them one more call this morning before my visit tomorrow which, for all my front, I was not looking forward to.

I simply said to the first human I spoke to that I wanted to follow up a letter of complaint and didn't know who to ring. I was IMMEDIATELY put through to the director's office and spoke to said lovely lady.

I explained everything and she agreed that, despite the 30 day money back guarantee having run out, two months was not a reasonable time for the vacuum to have become unfit for purpose and that I, the customer, was right.  We came to an agreement that I did not want a replacement and would like to be refunded. She asked for a copy of the email I originally sent plus my reciept details saying she would contact the store and get back to me later today.

After having sent her the email I had second thoughts about asking for vouchers and said I would prefer a cash refund.

I received an email about two hours after my call to say the store would be expecting me tomorrow and that a refund of how we paid, by card, would not be a problem but to let her know if there was an issue.


The image at the top of my post is something Martin Lewis advocates on his Money Saving Expert website so I have him to thank for helping me in my quest.

Chuffed to bits and it goes to show it really does pay to stand your ground. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Plans for our new beginnings, and the future - we think. Lol!

How many times do you get an idea in your head and you think you have a plan, and then you change your mind? Me and Jon have done that lots of times, trying to make decisions, for us, the boys, anything and everything.

Well, you may know we have some out-buildings here at Bronllan, thought I'd share that with you - the name of the house!

The section on the right, starting at the far left with the window and door you can just see, has had work begun on it. Jon has plastered completely inside, put up a stud partition wall and got the electrics done. This is all because we have finally decided to turn all three parts of the buildings, plus the largest section that is currently Jon's workshop, into bed and breakfast accommodation; the largest section will be the cooking and eating space.

BIG decision, but we think we can do it. We used to run a 120 seater cafe/restaurant just after we got married and that was mental at times, so this should be easy compared to that. Our plans were originally to have chickens and a polytunnel in the garden as we have enough space for both; it was just a case of deciding where to put them once all the bamboo had been got rid of. Because the renovations are going to take some time, not expecting to take paying customers until at least Easter 2017, we can make use of the garden as I would like to for a while.

I have advertised on Freecycle for a greenhouse and I'm going to offer the small shed we used to have as a kennel for Jake, and hopefully the greenhouse will go on the hard ground where the kennel was. Chickens will have to wait but, along with the work we plan to do close to the house we eventually want to use the field we bought with the house - approxiately 4 acres - as our proper smallholding. We will have ample space for chickens, a couple of sheep, some pigs, maybe rare breeds, the polytunnel and a big old barn for Jon when he loses his workshop. The work here will take some effort, too, as a road needs putting into the field as it has a narrow strip bordered by a stream before breaking out into the main part of the land, if that makes sense.

Phew! I KNOW!! We just have to take it a step at a time. Jon only has weekends to do the work but that is ok as we hope his dad will give us a little assistance. Once we get the greenhouse that is my job to sort out and I'll be looking for lots of advice - so please don't be shy. 

When we moved here we knew we wanted to use the field for a real purpose and also the outbuildings for something, too, but didn't really know what impact it would have on us as a family. The boys have always been foremost in our minds when it came to setting up a business but they are older now. Of course by the time we are ready to get going so they will be another year older so will not suffer and no doubt be eager to help. I like the idea of a business being close to the house but never wanted people IN the house so this is great.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Bore Da - the lesson went well!

Image result for Welsh lessons

My Welsh lesson yesterday was fun actually, Sadie.
There were only four of us but I really hope everyone sticks to it. I seemed to be ever so slightly ahead of the a couple of them even though I was the newest person recently moved to the village. I think this is because of the boys talking in Welsh all the time and I have picked up some pronunciations.

I have homework to learn - my colours, numbers one to ten so I can rattle off my telephone number and also look for some place name from each letter of the Welsh alphabet.

One of my aims is to be able to ask for stamps when I go to the Post Office. Small things!


Monday, 11 January 2016

Pob lwc!

Yes, wish me luck!

Today I begin my Welsh lessons! Luckily they are just across the road at our lovely Community Centre.
 This is a beginners class with four weeks of two hour lessons. Hopefully I will be able to join another group which is a bit more advanced after this finishes at the beginning of next month.

Hwyl fawr.


Friday, 8 January 2016

Could I ask for your opinion on Argos?


Would you think that when a vacuum cleaner is not fit for purpose less than two months after purchase a store should quibble about it being returned and a refund or replacement provided?

I am having a bit of a thing with Argos. We bought a new vacuum in October and in December the upright tube part did not fit into its housing properly and the part you wind the flex around had broken. It also lost suction. I didn't have my receipt but got the transaction details from customer service at a later date.

On taking it back to the shop in Aber we had our bank statement, no receipt details at that point, I had looked at Martin Lewis about our rights and I went armed with information. The staff could not find the item we had bought and paid for in the catalogue or a catalogue number on their system. I feel we were given a substitute item and it was briefly mentioned that it could be a replacement item therefore that would be mis selling. The manager told Jon that the statement didn't necessarily mean we had bought that item, suggested we try and mend it ourselves and that he would have not complained if he had a vacuum which gave up the ghost after two months! When you buy an item the contract is with the shop not the manufacturer.

I have called, hhhh!, written and emailed. I emailed again today and it has not bounced back, which previous ones have done so I live in hope. 

Jon is loathe to return to the shop as the manager was so rude to him, but as we have the transaction details I was advised to try again with them. The shop said they could not trace any transaction but I was told on the phone that they can!

I'm not letting this one go. We have spent a lot of money with them since the boys were small but this has really put me off, especially when I see on forums etc. how badly other customers have been treated re their complaints. 

Anybody with similar experiences with Argos?

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A Bit About Us

I am quite surprised I even manage to write a blog as it takes me so long to do the things I want to with it! 

However I managed to add an "A Bit About Us" tab near the top of the page. 


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Inspiriation For Life.

(Green for the New Year I think, plus appropriate for this post.)

I have just read an inspirational post by Shoestring Cottage - Frugal Living.

It made me think about a few things I would like to change / do this year. I haven't made any resolutions but rather I think it is great to have aims. So... 

Grow some vegetables when we have cleared the right space. We have bigger plans for the future but this will have to suffice for now.

Use my washing machine on the cheaper night time tariff. I've already started doing this and when I read and posted my monthly meter readings just this morning it showed I had taken about £9 off the bill I currently owe them - I do pay by Direct Debit but they put that on my account as soon as the reading had registered which I thought was fab and maybe it is already working.

Turn off lights that I sometimes leave on for ease. I turned back and switched the light off in the cellar this morning when I came back in from taking the Christmas decorations to store away. I leave it on as I go out the back of the house a lot, take the recylcing out of the way up there etc. but think I should really only turn lights on when I need them. (Tell that to my boys who insist on having the landing light on at night - STILL!)

Re-use bread bags for sandwiches or things I put in the freezer. I did manage to make most of the family bread requirements during November and will return to that next week. I use the Rayburn warming oven and the top to prove the bread then ramp it up to bake it. If I bake it at the right time Jon can have a red hot, soothing bath when he comes home from work. (We had oil delivered on Christmas Eve and for 500 litres we paid £160 which was £8 cheaper than the same amount we bought when we first moved into the house.)

Have things made by reusing and recylcing. Jon recently made Jake a new Dawg House and a frame for an old Belfast sink so we can wash him outside after he took down a big wooden store in the middle of the garden. Plus we have a mountain of kindling, the trailer in the picture is 8 feet long, from the same source and are planning on giving some of it away as we have sooo much.

I like the idea of using cerial boxes for notes and lists; I love a list you know!

Buy more clothes from charity shops. I bought a cardigan for £3.69 last week and we have bought furniture and household items from Craft in Aber and will continue to browse there. Love it!

Well, I had better get on with something now, turkey burgers to make for tea. x

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Happy New Year!


Yes felicitations for the new year, if a little bit late! Sorry.

I hope you had fun, we had a very quiet Eve day time but thoroughly enjoyed Jools Holland's Hooternanny which we watch every year. It was just wonderful with Tom Jones, Paul Weller (long time fan), Jess Glynn, who on some days I will take over Adele as she reminds me of 1990's dance music, plus a singer called Rhiannon Giddens, check HER out!

My niece has left us today after her stay and unfortunately her first train home was cancelled so she has a coach ride ahead of her. Luckily we popped into The Works today and she picked up a number of books that were on sale so she will have something to occupy her for the extended journey. I purchased a new notebook to be this year's Journal of Gratitude.

I have been taking down a few decorations but none of the major ones; I will start and tackle those on Monday. I think bringing in one storage box at a time from the shed and packing accordingly will be a lot easier than taking it all apart and then attmpeing to find the right box!

Due to the unfortunate incident with my financial scam we were eager to put the laptop back to factory settings ensuring everything was wiped. At the same time as this we put the photos from it onto a disk - or so we thought. At the moment it doesn't seem to have worked so we do not have the pictures of the house before the work was finished. We are going to have another try at retrieving them from my mobile phone....

I really have to make more of an effort at taking my phone places. We had that lovely walk on the beach on Boxing day and yesterday when we took my niece down to the field I could have taken some great photos, too!

I don't make resolutions; I think you set yourself up for failure and disappointment in yourself as soon as you have a minor slip.I prefer to set myself what I consider to be achieveable goals and IF you should have to slightly move the goal posts to reach your goal that's ok!

I love the beginning of a new year; such promise, possibilities and positivity.

I really look forward to seeing what we all get up to in the next few months.

With New Year Love, Louise. xx