Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy new year

Why hello there 2013. Lets see what you have in store for us

I've not had chance to do a proper post with goals etc for the new year because I wanted to go back to last year and see how many goals (if any) I've managed to achieve. My husband had surgery today so I'm rather behind with a few things.

I also have a couple of projects I want to try and stick to in 2013 so I'll be back with details of those soon. One of them is a yarn project based on a 365 thing I saw last year. I only decided to do it yesterday and I'm waiting for some yarn goodness arriving.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Introducing The Dog To The Allotment

I introduced one of the dogs to the allotment earlier this month. It was a very frosty morning and I did question myself many times walking up there with a dog who, despite being nearly 6 years old, still pulls like a puppy on the lead.
Anyway we got there without any mishaps of the slipping kind.
Crazy hound decided he would roll himself over and over on the frosty grass in our plot. Screw loose I think!

Linking up to Camera critters

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Monday, 24 December 2012

Jack Reacher and Tom Cruise

Now as much as I think Tom Cruise is fantastic in the role of Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible films, and indeed any other role he plays, I am having a lot of difficulty seeing him in the role of Jack Reacher. 

I recently discovered the series of books by Lee Child about Jack Reacher and had almost finished the first one when I found out there is a film released this week with Tom Cruise taking the role.  When you read a book and the author gives the description of the main character as a thirty something 6ft5 blond Tom Cruise is definitely not somebody you envisage in that role.  I had in my mind somebody along the lines of Dolph Lundgren or Arnie in their younger days with maybe a bit of Daniel Craig thrown into the mix not a 50 (albeit fit) year old dark haired 5ft7 actor like Tom Cruise.

I just don't buy into it at all. I still have that original mental image the author gave in my head when I'm reading the books. I'm now onto the third one and I honestly don't see Tom Cruise in my head at all.

However, having thought about it, I do want to see the film so my minds eye is going to have to just accept it or treat it as something totally separate to the books.

What do you think?

Higgledy Piggledy Fence

It's higgledy piggledy and what started off as going to the allotment to attach those two fencing panels I mentioned the other day actually turned into quite a few more.

We went from this

to this (excuse the thumb in the top of the shot) down the side.

There are still a few panels to play at piecing together but that's a job for another day. Not enough for the whole length but we will cross that obstacle when we encounter it.

The top is now enclosed on our side apart from one gap which will eventually have a gate (yes very higgledy piggledy). The neighbours have yet to make a start on theirs.

I also put string around the remaining sides to mark it off and what a difference it made to be able to see the proper size of the plot and know that it is ours to do with as we choose.

The littlest one was a great screw and nail holder looking very festive in his TEXT SANTA hat

We are almost the same size in the shadow haha

and one of the two of us (jeez that double chin needs to be history!)

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

First Planting

I can't believe I forgot to blog our first planting at the allotment.
I ordered an apple tree from Kitchen Garden magazine called Lord Lambourne and since the ground wasn't frozen on the weekend it arrived I decided we would plant it.

We also put some snowdrop, bluebell and tulip bulbs in the hole.

I need to investigate which sort of apple trees it needs to pollinate it. I am told a crab apple within the vicinity will work.

Girl Power

Girl power at the allotment.....I dug the hole on Sunday and this morning, with the help of my daughter, we fitted one panel of the allotment fence. Yes it's only one and it did have a fence post already attached but we concreted the post in and nailed the fence to an existing post.

Next step is taking the drill up there and putting some pilot holes in so we can add another panel at the side of this one and try a game of tetris with other panels on the other boundaries. I love that they are snagged freebies from the workmen in the estate who are replacing loads of the stuff from the council houses. Gotta love a freebie.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

December 2012 Glossybox Review

First of all I want to mention the November glossybox and my dissatisfaction with it. Glossybox promised an extra product in this month's box. That extra product has put them right up to the top of Santa's good list - Dr Jart Beauty Balm. I got a different one of these a couple of months ago and I have used it at least 3-4 times a week so I am over the moon to have another.

Now onto the actual December box. It is a silver box with black tissue wrapped in silver ribbon and the shredded nest the products sit on is silver aswell this month. Very festive.

The contents list is a huge fold out sheet this month

and the contents piccie

So each individual item.

Milk_Shake conditioning whipped cream - this is a leave in hair conditioner with milk, wheat germ and casein proteins. 200ml/£14.79 and this is 100ml so about £7.84 ish.

I am looking forward to trying this. My hair is rather frizz prone so anything that promises conditioning properties appeals.

Anatomicals what a complete and utter glosser. i never fake strawberry milkshake. fruity lip gloss tube 10ml/£3.49 This is a full sized product

What can I say? It's a lip gloss and it smells and tastes of strawberries

Seche Nail Lacquer. I don't know how to tell the shade name of this but it's a gorgeous coppery sort of shade. Absolutely perfect for me. Full sized 14ml £9.95

This one is a bonus product apparently - glossybox blusher in Glossy Rosewood - again perfect shade for me

Rituals Magic Touch Body Cream in cherry blossom and rice milk 200ml/£15 this is 70ml at about a fiver.

I love this. It is really thick and soaks straight into my dry skin with the added bonus of smelling divine.

Sleek Makeup i-Divine True eyeshadow palette. This one is called Oh So Special 658. Full size £7.99

The first thing that struck me about this is how similar to the MUA Undressed palette it is but I use that everyday and am almost out of one or two shades so I am very happy to receive some almost identical ones.

So to sum this box up - perfectomondo :)))))))))

Every single thing in this box I will use and not just to try it like some of the things in the past. The makeup colours are perfect, the other items are things I will use. Ten out of ten this month glossybox.

What did you get?

Friday, 7 December 2012

Scrapbook Layouts

Despite the title of my blog I haven't got around to putting any scrapbook layouts on here for some time so here are just a few of my recent ones

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Right Place Right Time (I Think) Changing Plans

Last week we went to the allotment to get some fence posts in. I say we but really I mean me doing all the lifting and my other half doing his best to keep the fence posts level while I concreted them in. The intense pain from a hernia is preventing him from doing anything more than that.
Anyway he held them steady for me while I used the postcrete I had been lucky enough to win on eBay at a bargain price. 4 new posts in and a couple of old ones pulled up and refixed.

It was a reasonably quick job and I intended going back the next day to get the rest done but the weather and other commitments have prevented that.
As we were getting ready to leave a workman from the estate shouted across that he had some fencing and did we want it. He leant it up near the allotment gates and I carried it all over to our plot. Arms were killing me after that but it was free and I wasn't about to refuse it.

So yes right time and place I think. It means rethinking our original plan of chicken wire and spiky plants. I have no idea how its going to fix to the fence posts as some are round but at the end of the day it's an allotment and doesn't have to be perfect. I'm still going to use spiky hedging as I've got some rosa rugosa and climbing roses already. I'm also going to put chicken wire on aswell to stop those pesky critters burrowing in.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Nails Inc Freebie Motcomb Street and Top Coat (plus Glossybox Update)

First of all Glossybox. In my review of the November Glossybox I was rather disheartened that I had received Olay three months in a row. I emailed them and got a reply which basically said tough we know we've done it and aren't prepared to do anything about it. That wasn't acceptable so I emailed them back telling them. At that point I also went public with the reply I had got on their Facebook page. I then got a reply saying they would be sending an extra item in my December box. I will report back on that in December :-)

Now onto the Nails Inc. I got a freebie nail polish with Glamour magazine a couple of weeks ago which I thought was black. I've only just got around to opening the magazine and the polish (yes I know!) Turns out it isn't actually black at all and is a navy blue called Motcomb Street.

I've never used Nails Inc before and have to say I was very impressed with the ease of application and depth of colour. My application of nail polish leaves an awful lot to be desired and probably will be replaced by something a lot paler tomorrow. I need to get my paws on one of those corrector pen things. For now though I will embrace the gorgeous shine and unexpected colour haha :-)

Definitely a product I would recommend and as a magazine freebie this is fabulous.

I also used the Nails Inc top coat from the Glossybox mentioned earlier and I love it.

Nails Inc you have a big thumbs up from me.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Bremen Muster Socks

I can't quite believe it but I've managed to complete a knitting project for the first time in ages.

The pattern is Bremen Muster socks. It's a pattern which only gives the cuff pattern bit and you do your own heel, foot and toe. I decided to do a short row heel and carry the pattern on along the foot.

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

November 2012 Glossybox

Mmmmm not quite sure what to say about this month's box.

Here is the picture of  the contents:

It is meant to based around stocking fillers.

I'll start with the positives.

Alison Claire Natural Beauty Mango Body Butter 50ml - A delicious blend of organic mango and cocoa butters will leave your skin feeling wonderful. Original product £15/200ml - which makes this worth £3.75.

I love this product. It's in a pump dispenser which is quite unusual for a body butter and whilst I'm not a fan of mango it doesn't smell too bad. I tried a bit on my dry hands and it sunk right in. A winner I think.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant - 13g. A unique rice-based powder that gently exfoliates skin, leaving it noticeably smoother and brighter. Original product £38.50/75g - so this is worth around £6.67 so I guess with this and the body butter I've got my money worth. 
I have heard of this product before but I didn't know anything about it. I am quite excited to try it.

Nails Inc Kensington Caviar Top coat/Porchester Square/Notting Hill Gate  - 3 nails inc best sellers including traffic stopping brights and the award winning Caviar Top Coat.  Original product £11-£12/10ml
I read that to mean there would be all 3 in the box so I was disappointed to find there was just the top coat in a meagre 4ml size.  Obviously I didn't read it in the way it was intended. However I do like Nails Inc and I don't have one of their top coats so am looking forward to trying it.

I did say I was doing the positives first so I'm getting to the more negative ones as you can tell by the comments about the nails inc.

Next up is Wei Beauty Jujube Age Control Serum 4ml - This all in one anti aging serum renews, revitalises and restores suppleness and elasticity. Original product £60/30ml so this is a hefty amount of moneys worth at £8 for a sample which would probably last for two applications. 
It is nice but I'm fed up to the back teeth of skincare stuff lately. I'll elaborate on that in my summing up at the end.

Lastly (can you hear the sigh as I'm typing?) for the second month in a row Olay Regenerist 3 Point Treatment Cream and the third month in a row for Olay.
Yes I like their products but three months in a row is not acceptable and two repeat products in as many months is definitely not acceptable.

So my opinion this month -

Good points - the body butter and Dermalogica and maybe the Nails Inc had they included all 3 as mini samples as it reads to me.

Bad points - my beauty profile with glossybox specifically stated when I resubbed that I preferred to receive make up, body and perfume products not facial skincare.  They changed their website and we had to do a new beauty profile which is now not able to be viewed. There wasn't an option for your type of product preferences just what sort of skin you have, hair type etc and I can see that maybe they have to send skincare products depending on what they can source from suppliers that particular month.  I'm not over the moon about it but I can live with it.  What I am not happy about is getting the exact same product two months in a row and I've emailed Glossybox to complain about it, query the nails inc wording about 3 products and also (this makes me sound really greedy) to ask why there wasn't a full sized product in my box this month.  That doesn't bother me too much and maybe if the Nails Inc had been a set of 3 minis I wouldn't have queried the full size thing but whilst I was emailing them anyway I took the opportunity to ask. 

I will of course report back on what they have to say if I get a reply to my email.

Hope if you got a Glossybox this month you were a bit more satisfied with your loot.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

One Small Thing

I've just got one small thing to say

my jeans are a size SMALLER :-))))))))

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Allotment Update

Quite a bit of a change from the last time I spoke about our plot.

One husband now incapacitated and unable to do a huge amount of anything let alone gardening until he sees a consultant next month to arrange surgery so it's all down to me now for a while.

Anyway I've dug a trench for our chicken wire fence which needs burying a few inches down to prevent rabbits digging their way in.

Which brings me on to the main development - see that pile to the left hand side? Well that is what is left of next doors dilapidated pigeon loft plus our bonfire pile. Our visit on Tuesday this week was perfect timing as a council man and his digger were just finishing off putting next doors rubbish on that pile so I asked him if he would take our rubbish pile too. The weather hasn't been particularly good for bonfires and we would be waiting a long while for it to dry out anyway.

It was mentioned that the pile would be there for a day or two and if we wanted anything else removing then we could add it and they would take it away.

The rest of our plot is overgrown grass because we've done the hard bit with digging weeds (most of them anyway). Those nettle roots are crazily long and I have every confidence they are going to take a long time to totally remove. There was a corner though at the top that needed clearing of yet more nettles but more importantly rotten wood. I couldn't let the opportunity pass by to have it taken away and got to work.

This is before

and after

this is what it looks like from the top now the pigeon loft is gone

Much better but I was a bit miffed that the council man had dug over next doors plot so I asked the council why I couldn't have mine done. I got a message yesterday to say that a team had been in and it should have been done. We went up today and I'm actually quite glad they haven't done it like next door. They do look to have done something though. Just not dug it over. The most likely explanation is they have driven over it while they were removing the rubbish.

We had a walk round to the bottom allotments on our way home and a couple of plot holders who signed up when we did had hired a man and a little tractor and their plots were looking good. I'm not sure what sort of machinery the tractor man was using but it made the soil nice and fluffy and level. Definitely not like the deep ruts the council has left our neighbours with.

So I've arranged for a gardening company to have a look and quote me for doing something similar and I guess we'll take it from there.

Next door were there aswell today and they are talking about going halves on a proper fence put up by professionals. Not sure we can afford that! I'm guessing we will be sticking to our original chicken wire and hawthorn idea. I really love the idea of a hawthorn hedge.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Clearing The Patch

So last saturday we signed up for our allotment and then on sunday we spent a couple of hours clearing.

Before I left on Sunday I sprayed a bit of weedkiller on some of the big offenders (the kind that becomes inactive when it hits the soil) and then crossed my fingers that the rain which hit in the middle of the night had started after the specified six hours on the container.

I paid another visit on Tuesday in pouring rain and high winds, mainly to see just how much wind hit it with it being on the end and next to a farmers field and also hung up a bag of bird seed on a hook and checked the weeds. Not much sign of imminent death.  Turns out there are two big trees which shield the wind a bit and I hadn't even really noticed them.

Talk was of hiring a strimmer and getting rid of it all to see what the blank canvas looked like.  We decided against it because there is a dilapidated fence down parts of the boundary with next door but under the grass and lots of hidden metal wires which I really didn't fancy hitting me when they were strimmed.  My decision was to get a pair of long handled lawn shears. B&Q had a 20% off weekend so I wanted to wait and buy them plus some other bits including chicken wire for the fence at a cheaper price. 

The little man had a day off school on friday so we spent an hour digging up some weeds between a fence post and then dug up some thistles.  Still not much sign of dead weeds.

Saturday with newly purchased lawn shears in hand we embarked on a 2.5 hour clearing session.  The husband dug all the way down the length of the fence posts ready to dig a trench and bury the first bit of the chicken wire fence  to prevent rabbits etc.  That's a job for next week.

I took the shears to the big grass and weeds on the growing part of the plot. 

Got lots of roots to dig out this week but I needed to get rid of the gazillion feet tall nettle stalks first.

Then we managed to pull up most of the rotten boundary fence with the help of the shears cutting the very overgrown lawn as we went.  Those hidden metal wires were a proper pain to get out. 

Yesterday we had another 2 hour session and hubby tried to dig\around the rubbish heap so we can eventually burn it all.  He found what we can only presume is part of the roof of that flipping pigeon building next door hidden under the weeds.  It looks lots better for clearing that bit and will look lots better once this pile is gone.

He also spent a bit of time pacing out the boundary.  We put some string up to what we thought was level with the post the council had put up for marking the plots out for the meeting.  I then spent my time with the shears trying to define a line. Found some daffodil bulbs growing there so they should be nice in the spring.

So after a week this is a then and now piccie. 

Of the other people at the meeting I have so far only seen evidence of one of them doing anything active with their plot.  I don't know if our neighbours are just waiting for the pigeon loft removing before they do anything.  I'm hoping they will be around soon so we can talk fencing.

The Overgrown Allotment

I've mentioned being on the long waiting list for an allotment before. A few weeks ago I got a letter from the local council inviting me to a meeting at the allotments because they had cleared some overgrown plots earlier in the year and were now in a position to reallocate them.  The letter said there were 14 people on the waiting list and I knew from asking earlier in the year that I was number 5.  Turns out the full 14 people didn't turn up and actually the 4 before me gave it a miss so I was top.  Yeehaw (erm yeah we'll get to that).

If I'm honest I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe a ready to go plot with minimal work, fenced in with a shed full of tools and seeds? Not exactly but I certainly wasn't expecting (given that the letter said plots had been cleared of undergrowth) just how overgrown and out of the way of the tended plots these ones would be.  From the start the council man said there would be no money for anything at all and we would be renting them as they were but with no rent to pay until 2014. I didn't expect anything less with the current budget cuts etc.

There were 6 plots out on their own down a dirt track next to two already established plots.  Very overgrown and on closer inspection one of them had a nice little den under a tree with lighter gas canisters, cushions and, in the words of my 8 year old, vagina magazines.  Definitely wasn't having that one. They were all pretty much of a muchness with overgrown brambles and almost head height weeds. The main turning off point of this lot of plots, apart from the den, was that there is no water and although the man from the council was going to see about it being turned back on after it had been capped off due to a fractured pipe he couldn't say when that would be.
This was one of them:

Then we looked at 3 plots closer to the main community of the allotments. Still very overgrown and the middle one had a decidedly dodgy looking dilapidated building that most likely once housed pigeons.  Very quickly we decided that we would be choosing one of these plots rather than the others.  One of them had fence posts already in down the exterior side so we went for that one. The council man signed me up and then went to chat to the other people waiting.

This is where we get to the erm yeah bit I mentioned above.  As we were walking away past our plot he caught me up and said another couple had expressed an interest and were above me on the list.  Fair enough I thought because despite him saying I was top of the list they could have arrived after that.  We then set off looking at whether the middle of those plots would be worth trying to restore or remove the dilapidated pigeon loft or whether the one on the end of the three would be better despite being the worst overgrown with massive rambling brambles. 

The council man walked past again so I stopped him and just double checked whether there was anybody else above me before I set my heart on something else. He got his paperwork out and with a puzzled embarassed look said 'actually you are top of the list' and went to tell the other couple.  I was relieved but very nervous about how they would take the news.  They seemed to have a chat with the council man and then looked at the plot next to it with the pigeon thingy. The man came back to me, said the original one was mine and they were having the next door one.  I was very nervous about how they were going to be about it but we had a nice chat and he said the council man had agreed to have the pigeon loft removed.  They were talking boundaries when we left.

So this is what we have got

Plot number 19

When I got home I had a look on google earth knowing that they pictures on there are a few years old.  In 2009 it looked like this (it's the one on the end with the lines of veggies)

Looking at that picture triggered a DUH!!! of course moment.  This is one of the very few plots visible from the road and I walked that way a few times in summer 2011.  It was tended back then because I remember being a bit jealous of the owner for having an allotment when I was stuck on the waiting list.  So only just over a year of weeds.  As you can see on the picture a lot of it was lawned. 

We got to work the next day and spent a couple of hours seeing what was what and pulling up a few weeds. My husband spent his time digging inbetween a couple of fence posts and clearing a bit of land.

A lot of what we were pulling up in the first instance was just overgrown veggies.  We found carrots and beetroots and plenty of seeded onions.

My dad came with us that first day and spent a fair bit of time talking to the allotment owner just opposite about how it used to be when all three plots were active.  Sounds as if it was lovely and hopefully we can make at least our plot that way again.  At the very least I want to grow some veggies and leave the lawned bit so the kids can kick their ball about.