Monday, 4 November 2013

A quick catch up.

Wow! Where did the last couple of months go?
Life in the Hunter household has been so very busy of late. 
Since I last posted I have begun my new job which has meant 8 hour days with a 30-45 min journey each way. Thankfully I work term time only, so I've just had a lovely lazy week off!! Malcolm's seasonal job ended in October and he has been a star - cooking, shopping, cleaning and dog spoiling walking - so I can relax when I come through the door!! 

We have also despatched two of our three children to Uni and had a 21st birthday to celebrate. Bethany has settled well up in Edinburgh, having managed to find a job and a boyfriend! We rarely hear from Sam, although he chats online with Tom. We figure no news is good news and look forward to seeing him for Tree Day!
Needless to say there hasn't been much crafting done but I'll show you my latest WIP soon. There are also a couple of Christmas pressies in creation, best keep those under wraps for now though!

Peace, Love and Marshmallows.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

A grand day out!

Last week Malcolm and I took our youngest son, Tom, to his favourite day trip destination - the National Railway Museum in York. I have lost count of how many times we have been here over the years, with toddlers, teens, parents and grandparents, such is its appeal to all ages. What I'm sharing with you here is only a fraction of what's on offer so please check out the website (I'm not being sponsored) it really is worth it....
......and best of all it's free!! 

A frequent attraction at the museum has been the Mallard, the A4 class locomotive that set the world record for steam locomotion back in 1938. At 126mph that record still stands!
As part of the 75th anniversary of this amazing achievement 3 more of the 6 surviving A4's were on display alongside their sister locomotive.

Bittern on the turntable.

Malcolm and Tom get a closer look at Mallard.


Dominion of Canada repatriated from her home museum in Canada.

Dwight D Eisenhower all the way from the US.

It was fantastic to see them all together!

There is so much more to see if these monsters don't float your boat if you'll excuse the travel connection! I love peeking inside the royal carriages including those of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.

A glimpse into the past. Hogwart's anyone?

Even the Warehouse and The Works (where Flying Scotsman can currently be seen under restoration) are fascinating areas to visit.

Husband and son both wishing they could get down into that workshop and get their hands dirty!!

A glimpse into the future too.....

......but wasn't Drax a Bond villain?!!!

Peace, love and marshmallows!
Louise x

Friday, 23 August 2013

For me and mine.

 As you can see, my Etsy shop is bereft of items except for a lone knitted apple cosy - which I will probably use for work if it doesn't sell! 
I have decided that it is high time I spend some time creating lovely things for myself, my home and my loved ones. Also Christmas will soon be looming and I need to think presents if I'm to have enough time to make some seasonal gifts.
So here is a round-up of the latest :-)

This is the laundry bag that I made for my daughter, Bethany, to take to uni with her. Hopefully it will encourage her to be a tad tidier than she is now - and even do some washing occasionally! 
I used the pattern in Emma Hardy's Sewing In No Time which was a doddle to follow.

I'm pleased with how well the main fabric and the lining work together and the barrel shape makes it more roomy.

These crochet pots, a Kirstie McLeod design from Simpy Knitting magazine, are perfect for tidying up the bedroom.

I wasn't sure if I had enough of each colour for stripes so I took inspiration from Jacquie at Bunny Mummy from her crochet bowl tutorial. Using the cotton doubled gives a much sturdier finish too. I use this bowl for all those bits and bobs - hair bands, Q-tips, cotton wool, lego, dog poop bags (empty!!) - you know the sort of thing!

Things look better already.

I also finally bought pads for my round cushions and finished them off (after finding them again!)


Have you any Christmas projects on the go yet? Or is it  way too early to think about it?!
Peace, love and marshmallows!
Louise x

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Houseproud Sloven: Bathroom cleaning.

I'm ashamed to say that yesterday I cleaned the bathroom for the first time in weeks, even by my standards that is deplorable! I've had plenty of excuses, the most frequent being "It's too hot!" and "I'll do it in the summer holidays!" So much for an end to procrastination, lol!!
Well the holidays are here and the sun has stopped shining (although it is still very warm) so I have finally set too. Of course the rest of the house has been equally abandoned  - well there was crocheting to finish - but you've got to start somewhere! 
Now I would like my bathroom to look like this

but actually it looks like this!

Anyhoo, my daughter (who is most responsible) and eldest son will be away to uni in September so I will leave the decluttering side of things in here until then.
So, after bunging the towels and bathmats in the washing machine (and remembering to switch it on, lol), giving the room a thorough clean and depositing the grubby shower curtain in a bath of bleach and water, I headed downstairs for a well earned glass of juice (I know, what a party animal!)
I'd just started writing this post when my eldest son, Sam, wandered down.
 "How long does that curtain need to soak? Me mates just rung and wants me to meet him in 5 minutes and I need a shower."
This is what I'm up against!!
Sooooo...juice half drunk, post only started, I headed once more unto the fray to give the curtain a bit of a scrub before rehanging AND THE DARN THING RIPPED ALONG THE BOTTOM SEAM!!! I wish I'd just bought a new one in the first place - bloomin' frugality!!
Sam was very apologetic -  not that it was his fault -  and, as I told him him, he had at least got me away from posting about cleaning and back to actually doing it.
'And on that bombshell' I did all the hoovering too!! 

P.S. Some of you may be wondering where my promised cleaning lists are. Weeeellll I
have decided to leave that to the many wonderful blogs that do it so well. I ain't ever gonna be no cleanin' guru!! All I'd like to do is share my attempts at creating the home I think my family deserve - if we share a few laughs along the way then all the better :-D 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Two 'jobs done'.

Yay! I've finally finished Bethany's crochet blanket!
Well it's more of a throw in size than a blanket a. because I was getting fed up and b. because (shock, horror) I had just about used up my stash of DK!!
Anyhoo, it is big enough to wrap around her on winter nights and will certainly brighten
her room at uni. (And, yes, I've already bought some new wool, lol!)

The other thing that I've just finished (yesterday) is my job as a part time Teaching Assistant. I have worked in the same First School for 8 years now - the longest I've stayed in any job. Unfortunately funds are short and, as the child I support is moving to Middle School, they are unable to keep me on  :-(
Thankfully, though I have a new job for September as a Childcare Practitioner (there are so many different titles these days!) at a Day Nursery, working full time!!
Now that my children are all but grown I was looking for more hours anyway, so things have worked out for the best. I will miss the staff and children at my old school but as it's local I'm sure to see many of them around :-)
The Year 4's, who are also leaving, made me a card with thank you messages and a God's eye, one of the many crafts we made together.

The staff treated me to a meal out, some gorgeous flowers

a beautiful scarf - I just adore those hedgehogs

and also a voucher for Hobbycraft!! Best of all I've got the whole of the Summer holidays to decide what to spend it on :-D
Much love and thanks to all my colleagues - have a fab Summer xxx

Friday, 12 July 2013

Our new car - everybody needs good neighbours!

As you may know, a couple of Saturdays ago my little Renault Clio threw up her bonnet in despair and declared she'd had enough! 
When I contacted the insurers I was told that the car would most likely be written off and my no claims bonus would go down from 9 years to 2 years! Now given that I didn't pay much for it in the first place I wasn't expecting a huge payout from the insurers anyhoo. There were quite a number of other things that needed fixing before I started my new job. Was it going to be worth losing so many years NCB and having my future insurance premiums go up? I didn't think so!
As luck would have it a neighbour, who deals in scrap, offered to take it off our hands. We were happy enough just to have it towed away for us and with a bit of cash towards the next car, it was a deal.
Enter another (car restoring) neighbour, stage right!
My husband and our neighbour are both big BMW fans. We have owned two in the past, one second hand and one new. The new one was my husbands pride and joy, it was a 3 series tourer and took us on many a family camping holiday to Mull in total comfort. I must admit we all loved it!! Sadly, due to redundancy and subsequent financial constraints we had to sell it (and his motorbike - I wasn't so sad about that, lol) and were left with my then car, an old Seat :-(
Imagine Malcolm's joy when our neighbour told him he had a beemer for sale :-D

Only £200 more than I'd paid for the Clio, a 5 series saloon! We had be discussing the need for a bigger, more reliable car anyway, the Clio had ONLY JUST made it to Leeds to get our son to uni and our daughter's Punto had ONLY JUST managed to bring him home again!  With both of them going to uni in September we were really not looking forward to the journeys. I have long believed in fate and this keeps me believing, and our long run of bad luck seems to be coming to and end.
As you can see husband and youngest son (car mad since the day he was born, BMW was 'bee-em-diddle-oh' when he was tiny) are in their element!
Oh, and it's an automatic which has been fun getting used to. My left hand and foot don't know quite what to do with themselves!


P.S Thanks for helping out (yet again!) Mum, we'll pay you back I promise :-D xxx

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Oh no! One step forward, three back!

On Friday my beloved husband got his first full months pay check in three long years! We celebrated with an Indian takeaway and had a lovely night.
On Saturday I crashed my car!!
Well I didn't actually crash into anything, it kind of crashed itself. Maybe my poor Clio was fed up with all the negative comments it gets (from my family, not me - I love my little car!) Maybe it was fed up with being compared to my husbands previous BMW or my daughters Punto. We shall never know - it left no note - just decided that it had had enough!!
I was giving Bethany a lift to her friends house on Saturday evening as they were going out for a meal for her friends birthday. We were quite happily driving along and chatting when there was an almighty BANG and I suddenly couldn't see! The car bonnet had flown up and cracked the windscreen. Luckily no other cars were involved, the road - often busy and fast moving - was quiet, and I managed to stop at the side of the road safely.

The photos aren't great I'm afraid, but you get the gist.

The worst thing was that we couldn't get the bonnet back down as it had been forced past it's hinges, so we had no choice but to call the AA.

 Malcolm got my Mum to drive him to the scene, drop him off to wait with me and take Bethany home. She couldn't figure out why so many people were tooting their horns at us until I pointed out that she was wearing a skin tight, black lace dress (Bethany, not my Mum!!)
So Bethany and her friend didn't get their meal out and Malcolm and I didn't get the fish and chips I was supposed to be fetching on the way home!
Worst of all it looks like my poor car is a write off. If I claim on my insurance my no claims bonus will be reduced from 9 years to 2, putting any further insurance premiums way up :-(
One step forward, eh?

Our family, thank goodness, are adept at finding a funny side. On this occasion it was me set to relay the AA's number from Malcolm, over the phone, to Bethany; Bethany poised with a black eyeliner to write said number on her hand; then Malcolm reading out 
Maybe you had to be there but, if your an Only Fools and Horses fan, it was a real Trigger moment!!
Oh well, RIP little Clio, you were loved :-)

Friday, 28 June 2013

Reasons to be cheerful!

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, I seem to be chasing my tail a lot these days. Malcolm working full time again (yay!), my work schedule changing weekly to fit around school trips, sports days etc., new job jitters and general, everyday 'stuff' seems to have me more than usually frustrated and tired. 
I'm also trying to get my house in order, quite literally, but with each task I begin to tackle  I'm thinking of all the others still to be done! Add in the mountain of debt we're supposed to be trying to clear and......well....*@#*!!
Anyhoo, time to find something to make me smile :-)

I made my first sale on Etsy! These lovely little crochet pots are winging their way to a lovely lady in the USA, I do hope she likes them.

Don't get too excited, it's taken me a year to get a sale, but hey it's a start :-D 

The lettuce is growing well,

enough to make a salad to go with our quiche, they're sort of 'cut and come again' so I just pick what we need, when we need it, no more left over lettuce going soggy in the salad drawer,

and the spring onions are growing too. I know I should probably thin them out but it always seems mean to the ones I remove!!

The pumpkins have failed to put in an appearance, though!

I used Frugal Queen's idea of making an inventory of food in an attempt to get meal planning under control (we used to be sooo good at this!!)

Dry goods
1 portion lasagne
¼  pack prawn crackers
Hoisin sauce

Fajita mix
Sm. Pot cooked, diced pork
Gravy powder
Wholegrain mustard
Golden syrup
Malt vinegar
4 bags fresh herbs
½ jar gerkins
Black treacle
Sea salt
5oz sliced crusty bread
Red lentils
½ jar pickled onions
Custard powder
Fish sauce
Sm. Portion hot pot
Star anise
¼ jar beetroot
Oyster sauce
4 flour tortillas
Cinnamon sticks
Branston pickle
Cocoa powder
Rice vinegar
7 homemade samosas
Box cloves
Pear halves
Dark soy
½ bag cooked mussels
Box dried red chilli
Baking powder
Light soy
3 orange lollies
Box whole cardamom
Beetroot pickle
Bicarb. Of soda
Sesame oil
8 pack white rolls
Cream of tartar
Chilli sauce
½ bag peas
Broth mix
100’s and 1000’s
Worcester sauce
½ bag sweetcorn
3 poppadoms
Peanut butter
Glace cherries
Balsamic vinegar
½ pack raspberries
½ pack lasagne
Chocolate spread
Easy bake yeast
1 mini choc ice cream
Mixed pasta shapes
3 cartons chopped tomatoes
Mixed fruit
Ketjap manis
4 portions Bolognese type sauce
Spring roll wrappers
1 tin corned beef

500g lamb mince
Egg noodles
1 tin cannellini beans
Few sultanas

2 sm. packs beef mince
Basmati rice

Handful dried figs

500g pork mince

Sm. pack flaked & ground almonds

2x8 pork sausages

Vanilla extract

1 pack cass. steak

Jelly glaze mix

1 pack pork chops

Handful mixed nuts

Whole chicken

Plain flour

Ready made steak pie

Self-raising flour

5 chicken breasts

White bread flour


Caster sugar

Demerara sugar

Wholemeal bread flour

Dess. coconut

Ready to roll icing

 and as a result we also have two scrubbed clean and organised kitchen cupboards! Two birds with one stone - result!

Just a few reasons to be cheerful but I'm feeling better already! Perhaps the best thing that has happened this week is that Malcolm received his first full months pay cheque in three years and his self-esteem is well on the way to being fully restored :-D (I'm now off to pay the car tax!!)

Peace, love and marshmallows 
Louise x