Google+ Followers

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

A Much Needed Break

Sorry for my absence but we have been ploughing on with the renovations.  Its doesn't look much but we've been stripping tiles from walls and finishing the en-suite.  The wardrobes arrived from Ikea and I'm pleasantly surprised at the quality.  We have built two carcases so far and the other 2 will be done this week after the windows are fitted.  

On Friday morning we set off for a 3-4 day break at Centre Parcs 'Winter Wonderland', Thetford. It took us just over an hour to get there in  torrential rain and cloud cover that made it feel like night -time. Just as we past Bury St Edmunds the clouds parted and the sun shone!

The weekend was in aid of our friends 60th birthday and we had been invited to share it with her family.  We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and although it sounds expensive it really is worth the money when you see how the place is lit up. 
Muntjac running wild everywhere.

Pretty Lights everywhere

Hubby did the tree top challenge which 
ended with a zipwire across the lake

Reindeer in the Christmas Grotto area.

Our friends love Centre Parcs and I can see the attraction, its a safe environment amongst beautiful scenery.  Sunday ended with a lovely firework display that we all enjoyed and my photos doesn't do justice to. 

Have you been to a Centre Parc? My sister went to the Dutch one a while ago and she said it was brilliant. I'll be back son with update photos of the renovation. We have tons to do, plus Christmas preparations. Thank heavens we are going to our eldest daughters. We have had some lovely cards from our new neighbours inviting us round to meet them when we are up to it. Bye for now. Tx

Monday, 26 November 2018

Christmas Offers

Thank heavens Black Friday is over, now we just have Cyber Monday to contend with. Yes today is Cyber Monday apparently, so if you're after anything electrical you should be able to bag a deal.

Now this is the sort of offer I prefer.  Have you heard the rumour that Aldi and Lidl will be doing their 19p Christmas vegetables again this year. Well I'm guessing that will force the others into doing similar like last year. I think most did carrots, potatoes, parsnips and sprouts. I believe Asda also had broccoli.  I bought loads and prepped them for the freezer they were such good value and lasted well into spring.

We didn't get as far as we would have liked with the ensuite tiling etc because the shower tray took longer to fit. The walls are so out of 'square' hubby had to chisel out sections to get a good job.

I'd picked natural stone tiles for the middle section that were a bit of a pain to cut even with a tile saw. It's very hard choosing stuff in artificially  lit shops with big open spaces. The you bring them home and put them in a small space with less lighting. Anyway I was chuffed when they went up because  they were in fact the cheapest out of all the tiles we had put together at £165. (£200 with the waterproof cement)  Plus we had a B&Q coupon, only for £5 but it all helps.

We also bought a new toilet while we were in there. It has a shorter profile to the old one and is altogether slimmer which has allowed us to move it across the wall giving us more space around the vanity unit when it's fitted. More photos to follow.

This dull weather is driving me insane. I need sunshine so I can see what I'm painting.  We really do need to crack on this week so the glossing can be done. I'd love the 3 bedrooms and hallway to be finished by Christmas which is just over 4 weeks away.

Hubby has his second year results at the memory clinic Wednesday. He resat  everything 6 weeks ago and had another brain MRI scan, because they have last year's results to refer to this should be a more accurate picture of why his memory is so poor.  Although they don't believe its dementia it did prove he is unable to take in verbal instructions well. He is better at reading things to absorb info.

Bye for now. Tx

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Renovation Update

The water leak last week left us feeling a little low but we chatted and agreed it could have been far worse.  We could have completed the renovations and had new flooring throughout and then sprung a leak. All our hard work would have been undone immediately.  We have used the opportunity to re-root some pipework so that it is surface mounted and we can get at it quickly in case of any problems.  Yes we have no where to shower and currently stand at the utility sink for a strip wash but we do have a toilet, hot water and heating.  The floor is slowly drying and the wet concrete smell dissipating.   We will cope and work will start on the en-suite this week.

Our new boiler a Baxi Duo-Tec is great and has a 2 year labour warrenty and 7 year parts guarantee. It came with  a Hive wall thermostat which was on offer and a mere £20 more than a traditional thermostat but s capable of so much more! I need to set up the additional bits on line which means we can control the heating even when we are not at home. 
The window company have confirmed we can have the front door hubby and I designed.  We didn't like any one door in the brochure but  liked elements from  2/3 of the doors so we pushed for the design we cobbled together. Everything will be fitted the second week in December.  I am really pleased especially after being told our glass panels can be taken out from the outside as the beading is external. Apparently they stopped this in the early 90's because homes were being broke into so how this was built with it in 2000 no one knows. Have you got windows with outside beading? 

Photo updates: Yes I was rather harsh with the front garden plants but I think they'll be fine and if I do get a few hours to spare I'd like to put in some bulbs ready for spring.

Three rooms and the hall have been painted a pale grey, they will have lots of bold colour injected in when the room is dressed.   I need to cut in round the top of two rooms and the hall on a sunny day as light this time of year is a real issue especially as hubby put emulsion up at the windows to give us privacy since removing the curtains etc. Do you remember people using 'windowlene ' a chalky window cleaner to provide privacy during any decorating? Apparently you can buy it on Ama**n for £5.90 a bottle. 

The units and sink have been moved away from the kitchen window ready for the new patio doors.  The pipework will be capped and or removed before the    
fitters arrive. 

All in all we are moving in the right direction. We are hoping that the shower tray and tiling will be completed in the ensuite by next Sunday so we have somewhere to have a proper wash. But we still need to fit in a trip to Ikea for wardrobes! I think it will be a late night visit at this rate. 

Oh I forgot to mention, while all of this has been going on, I had terrible toothache and had to have an emergency appointment. The tooth the dentist persuaded me to keep and refilled it in back in May this year has cracked again. She applied a little filler and gave me antibiotics  but  I have to decide if I want a root canal or complete removal before next week! I will have to have a small denture or implant if I opt for the latter. Feeling much better now thank heavens. Bye for now. Tx

Monday, 19 November 2018

The Budget and Black Friday

The food budget so far this month is over, it currently stands at £159.76, almost £60 overspend. The reason for this is I've been stocking up the freezer so that I can get some batch cooking done.  I need to get meals done so that when we are working on the house we can still eat healthily. The stress is bad enough without making poor food choices or expensive takeaways.  Hubby has regular check-ups for his diabetes and his blood tests don't lie.  The doctor knows when he's not looking after himself.  My body knows too, I feel tired and lethargic when I'm eating carbohydrate and fat laden food.  

I signed up for the 'HotUKDeals' website many moons ago and although the flood of notifications can be annoying they can also be very useful as they warn me in advance of up and coming offers.  On Friday I was told there would be a coupon in the Daily Mail newspaper on Saturday and Sunday for £10 of £40. So on the way to watch the youngest grandson play rugby we called in a shop to buy one.  Yes it cost £1.80 to get the £10 coupon but I have a newspaper I can read, crosswords and puzzles I can complete, but best of all hubby walked out of the shop and found a £1 on the path as we walked back to the car! So in my mind it cost me £1! I am currently putting together a shopping list for Lidl.  

In addition, I received 3 new coupons from Tesco in the post, the first being £8 off £40 which I will use to stockpile bits and pieces for Christmas and more batch cooking.  Another deal I was notified about last week is tubs of Celebrations at Iceland for £3.95 until tomorrow and Tesco have Quality Street tubs for £3.50 again until tomorrow. Keeping the budget on track as much as possible is important to me as we are paying out for so much at the moment.  

We seem to be importing more and more things from America these days.  Just as Trick or Treat has gained momentum the last few years so has BLACK FRIDAY.  I for one have never been persuaded to buy anything just because its  Black Friday (BF). But this year I have a list of things I am looking to buy as cheaply as possible.  Quality carpet underlay being one of the things especially when Carpetright want £7.99 per m2 when I can get a better quality for £3.49 with another 10% BF deal. What are you looking for? Bye for now. Tx

Friday, 16 November 2018


Our heating engineer arrived a day late as his previous job over ran.  He started taking out the old cylinder and cutting out the maze of pipework before putting the new boiler on the wall.  He left at 4:30 as he was going to suppliers to pick up stuff for the following day.

Half an hour after dinner, I noticed water on the floor of the utility room. Hubby went into the bathroom next door to find the carpet saturated.  I got out a load of old towels and tried to mop up the water to no avail. Hubby phoned the heating engineer who said to switch water off.  We did and the flow subsided. The next day after initial investigations we found the water was coming up through the concrete floor   So the bath and toilet had to come out of the bathroom and the concrete excavated to find the source of the major leak.

The insurance company were no help whatsoever, despite having a platinum Admiral policy. Basically I was asked every question including, do we suffer with any autoimmune diseases? WTF!!!!

New pipe work is being installed from the boiler to the bathroom that will bypass the pipework under the concrete. We won't know until later today whether it's all ok.  Hopefully we can get a toilet back in. It looks like we'll have to crack on with the ensuite PDQ as we the plan of at least having the family bathroom while the ensuite was being done has gone straight out of the window.
This is one section of fractured pipe, we are used to things going wrong but this was a big blow for us.  Fingers crossed it's sorted as I'm tired and cold.  Back soon. T X

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Plastering and Windows

Three bedrooms, one bathroom, one en-suite  and  hallway ceilings have been skimmed. The walls in the en-suite have also been skimmed. Lots of prep took place first,  screwing, scraping and a PVA wash  applied before any plaster was put on.  

 Hubby bought a new loft hatch to finish off the hall as the old one was so yukky.  We also need a new mains electric smoke alarm. The ceilings should be ready to seal with a watered down emulsion  by Wednesday,  Thursday. Once that's all dry we can crack on with the painting.  We need to fit in a trip to Ikea to order the wardrobes for 2 of the bedrooms. We have always fitted Schrieber wardrobes to our properties but they don't seem to be trading anymore. 

Once our heating engineer has been in hubby can kit out the en-suite and tile it, then we should be ready to move furniture that is cluttering up the lounge into the rightful place.  

We have decided to fit new windows despite the price. There are lots of faults with the ones here.  The seals and trims are warped.  The trickle vents are draughty and full of nicotine.  And if I'm honest to change the leaded light units to plain would cost nearly as much.  There is a 4-5 week wait, but at least they'll be done this side of Christmas. 

The front garden was quite overgrown, its only shrubs planted in pea shingle but it was scruffy so I spent yesterday hacking everything back. Then I weeded all the block paving before spraying with a tough weedkiller to inhibit further growth. As I walked into the kitchen to make a cuppa I saw this chap in the garden......a European woodpecker. He was a beautiful pale green with a red stripe on his head.  I took some video but I cant work out  how to upload it. I will once i work it out.  

Garden photos to follow. Bye for now. Tx

PS, at 7:40 this morning my BT hub finally turned blue which means I have broadband. Guess what, notbone BT engineer had to enter ny property. I gave been spun a load of lies. They said id have to   gave an engineer viditas no one at thus property has ever had broadband. Furthermore  they fidnt know fibre was zvailable at this location. I told tbem it was, I'd googled it! Now the fight is on to get compensation for hubby.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Elbow Grease Can Save You Money

Our plasterer Kyle has been in over the last 3 days. The first day he was here was spent on preparation so he was flitting from room to room. He scraped back all the high artex work, screwed down any plasterboard that was out of line, tightened and filled any screws that had popped. So we looked for jobs that wouldn't get in his way but move us forward at the same time.  I asked hubby to take the grill covers off the radiators so that I could start cleaning them. You would not believe what 18 years of dirt and smoking does to a radiator. 

The en-suite radiator was easy as that had been removed from the wall as its being repositioned and the walls plastered. I hoovered as much as I could, then I used a bottle brush to clean the fins behind before taking a soapy bleach mixture to the stains itself.  I was chuffed with the result as it means not having to replace them as they are already a modern design.  I have cleaned 4 out of the 9 in the bungalow so far.  The rest will be done on another rainy day.

We have had a number of window companies call to give us quotes for windows and each of them has mentioned the guttering and down pipes.  We told them we were going to try to clean them first before making any decisions regarding replacement. So hubby made a strong washing-up liquid solution in a pump spray an doused the pipe work leaving it to loosen the dirt for 15 minutes before sponging and rinsing it down with clean water.  I think you'll agree its come up like new.  

Kyle worked till 7 yesterday, so we couldn't pop to the shops till late as his van was blocking the drive.  We could have asked him to move it but he's been doing such a grand job we waited. It was to our advantage too as I picked up some bargain yellow sticker meat as well as fruit and veg. Hubby had thrown the packaging from the cooked chickens before I had a chance to photograph them. The chicken was originally £5 reduced to £2.43. They were stripped and the bones boiled for stock.  One of the 4 portions was made into chicken casserole that will provide 4 meals and the rest was frozen.  

I've been ploughing on with the garden too, a little bit at a time. The borders are being weeded and thinned out.  Hubby will dig out various old woody shrubs over the next month ready to go to the tip.  Thank heavens for our trailer and a great local amenity dump, its made getting rid of all the tiles and sanitary wear from the en-suite easy and cheap.  Its also taken all the garden waste so far which would have filled a small skip costing around £89. Plastering up date next. Have a good weekend. Tx