Tag Archives: House

Garden Transformation

I am not great at looking after plants. If they can’t tell me they need food and/water I usually end up killing them through over or under watering. Not even grass is safe from my non green fingers.

So this year, after two years of being in my house, I finally transformed my garden into something i will use and that is low maintenance.

This is the before state of affairs. I can’t be held totally responosbile though! Anyone who has bought a new house know that developers aren’t the best at leaving gardens presentable or flat.  My garden is on a slight slope and the ground was not flattened before the turf was laid and that has been a nightmare since with mowing.

I therefore decided to pave the whole thing over!

Extreme yes, but also totally logical. The builders took about 4 days to complete the whole thing, from digging up excess garden, to creating the base to lay the paving on, that is flat!

The end result is a simple, but so much improved outdoor space I will use and can bring the cats out to enjoy.

It feels so much bigger and it is so nice to be able to put my table and chairs out and for them to be flat.  

I have since collected a number of pots and planted some cat friend herbs, that will hopefully survive my lack of green fingers.

I’m pretty sure I have the thumbs up from Merry and Pippin. It took a few attempts for them to come outside due to the changes from last year, but they did and ahve been nibbling at the shrubs since. Pippin got to 3 of my runner bean seedings straight away, so had to get some protection to keep him away until they can survive cat nibbles.

  

They have been running around the space attempting to catch flies and watching the birds fly across the sky. They go and peer under the gate, but have yet to try and get underneath.   

Overall I am so glad I decided to spend some of my savings and get this done. I know I”ll enjoying going out there as the weather gets warmer and know the cats will also love it.

Adventures in Food… Learning to Bake Bread Part 1

 

So I have finally gotten round to baking bread and it’s going great! I started two weeks ago and have been taking my bread in for lunch everyday at work since. I started with white bread and made in in a loaf.

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I realised my yeast was slightly out of date, but went with it. This one used olive oil, which was new to me, but I liked it.

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I let it rise in the bowl and then again in the loaf tin (I should have probably let it rise a bit longer in the tin) and then dusted it with flour.

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It came out wonderfully golden brown and smelt amazing. I tried an end piece warm with some butter and it was heaven. I say I should have let it rise a bit more as it came out a denser loaf than I would have liked, but was great as doorstop ham sandwiches.

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The following week I made a crusty cob, which used butter instead of the oils form the previous bread.

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This one rose wonderfully in the bowl as I pretty much left it all day. so it came out nice and round and fluffy.

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I then shaped it into a round ball-ish shape and let rise again.

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I had to improvise a bit as my house got a bit cold, so under the radiator it went and it worked a treat.20131117-145616.jpg

I then dusted it with flour and let it bake into a wonderful golden cob. This was amazing! Lighter than the previous loaf, which meant I got more portions (2 weeks worth of sandwiches). I may have also gone a bit overboard on the yeast as realise my scales had a funny moment while weighing it out, but had already put it in the flour. But it worked out really well.

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I loved kneading the dough and letting it rise then watching it turn into bread. It was quite therapeutic really, so I’ll be carrying on working my way through the book I have and trying out different breads with different flavours.

 

Things I’m Loving… Hazelnut Coffee Candle

20130310-183450.jpgI bought this candle in preparation for moving into my own home. I’ve never bought one of the Yankee Candles Jars before, only ever the tea lights, so this was a real treat.

I wanted a coffee one and this was the only one they did at the time and I like it a lot. It’s like a sweet coffee, so I have to be in the mood for it, but it’s also warming and comforting for an evening. It’s like enjoying a coffee in the evening, which I never do as it would keep me awake.

I’me not sure how long it will last, but I think I cam going to treat myself a new one as one finishes as it is lovely on an evening to sit on my comfy sofa relaxing with a candle giving off a lovely scent. It is also looks lovely on my bookcase 🙂

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

 

Things I’m Loving… 29 by 29 Update 2

I wanted to do an update on how I’m getting on with my 29 by 29 list this month:

  1. Move into my own place – Complete 🙂
  2. Adopt a cat
  3. Do a Super Sprint Triathlon – 400m swim, 20km bike, 2.5km run – Still thinking about this.
  4. Take part in running club events and volunteer to help when I can’t take part – decided to work towards the 10km event in the summer 🙂
  5. Do the Parkrun once a month and volunteer as a marshall
    1. January = 38:19
    2. February = 34:40
  6. Bake more bread
  7. Complete the CBT Journal for Dummies – Working my way through this!
  8. Read more classic books as part of my 2013 reading challenge – This might change to audio books, as I haven’t ‘read’ a single book since starting my new job.
  9. Stick to my budget and save for holidays and house things – this needs an overhaul after buying lots when moving.
  10. Take a bike maintenance course
  11. Join a WW meeting and work towards goal – a post coming up on how this is changing.
  12. Blog – maybe a redesign 😉 – This was forced when Wordpress was updated!
  13. Plan budget friendly trips – been thinking about this week and am going to see my friend Ingrid in Portugal next month and then planning a walking holiday for later in the year.
  14. Try acupuncture – this is going to depend on finances 🙁
  15. Keep working to create and maintain good mental health – Doing well with this and feeling positive 🙂
  16. Join a coffee club – it’s one of my fitness/weight rewards for the next few months 🙂
  17. Take part in the Masters galas and club championships
    1. February Gala – 2 Golds and 2 Silvers!
  18. Work out savings plan for trip to Japan – this is on hold 🙁
  19. Catch up on Greys Anatomy
  20. Get regular haircuts – Had one last weekend and booked the next for three months time 🙂
  21. Move forward with my life and make new friends – making work friends 🙂
  22. Do my best at my new job – I am enough – Still think this is going well.
  23. Keep my commute healthy – Needs some work so I’m not starving in the evening.
  24. Listen to Harry Potter audiobooks – Books one and two done 🙂
  25. Get rid of stuff I no longer need when I move – this is what is remaining in my unpacked room.
  26. Use the mantra ‘F**k It’ – doing good with this 🙂
  27. Take up pilates or yoga
  28. Create photo albums for all my trips
  29. Try two new recipes a month from my cook books – Going to do this from now 🙂

I’m feeling good at the moment, but know there are areas of my life that need a bit more attention. I am shifting my focus a little to reflect my current place and am looking forward to things again. It might have something to do with the sun shining as I write this and spring just around the corner, but overall things feel more positive. I’m okay with where I am and not worrying about where I am going, just keeping a few ambitions in mind to make sure I see opportunities when they arise. I’ve spent a bit of time this last week breaking down some goals into smaller chunks and feel better about working towards them. I know I need to challenge myself and that’s why I’ve added a walking holiday to my plans this year – a challenge and a break 🙂

Hope everyone is feeling good and working towards their goals or just enjoying life as it is  – I am 🙂

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