Halt!

You may have noticed a small dog sneaking into a number of pictures on this blog. It’s Heidi after whom, with her counterpart Klaus, the blog is named.

Being a Dachshund you are supposed to discourage them from running up and down stairs, leaping ill advisedly from heights and general activities that might put a stress on their backs. Basically all the things Heidi truly loves. Because of this Heidi needs to be stopped from using the stairs all the time as she attempts to follow you around the house. You could achieve this through training or through mini barriers just to be doubly sure. Being short of stature they don’t need much height and so are easy to step over but do thwart Heidi. I actually suspect she could climb over but they are enough to discourage her.

Mind are quite crudely made but I’ve used left over paint to make them a bit smarter…

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Because they are so low I am tempted to paint a height restriction on them like they have for fairground rides, but presumably Heidi would be the only one short enough to see it and I’m not sure she would appreciate the effort.

 

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Spring has sprung

And there has been some sun.

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And in response the garden is starting to get it’s act together. I planted hundreds (and that’s not an exaggeration) of bulbs last year, most of which I imagine have been feasted on by the local wildlife. Those that have made it through seem to be stirring.

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And all inspired by this I invested in a bunch of flowers for the house too. It always feels extravagant to do this but I love them every time I look at them, which must make it worth the expense.

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Booze

Recently I’ve had a couple of nice things sent to me to try out.

I’m still surprised by how frequently I get approached by companies and/or individuals and generally I say no (some are amazingly random) but in these cases I was kind of interested….

The first is a metal wine holder. I have no real space to store wine, beer etc the bottles are just all lined up in a corner of the kitchen. I probably should invest in a proper rack, like this that could fit into my alcoves.

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Although I’m not sure my “wine collection” totally merits in. In quantity maybe but quality might be stretching it.

However, Black Country Metal Works sent me this little number to try and it’s  made a big difference. It’s tidied things up plus I think it fits in well with the look of the kitchen / dining area. So a thumbs up from me.

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You can buy all sorts on their site, including I noticed - cauldrons!

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Storage!

The main bedroom has a major flaw. There’s just not enough storage.

It has an old brown wardrobe it in which seems massive but hardly fits anything in at all. It’s too narrow for most hangers to hang properly and so they have to go in at an angle. I can’t explain why it would be built that way, it remains a mystery to me. It also means that the bed and dressing table can only go in certain spots making it hard to find space for a chest of drawers without having furniture all lined up around the room.

There are two alcoves in the room which I intend to have fitted cupboards put into, but I decided as an interim fix to find a chest of drawers that could fit into them. And I found this fellow for around £40 on eBay (my usual haunt for inexpensive furniture).

before

It doesn’t look that exciting… .I think my mother described it as “a brown blob” or something along those lines.

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before open

I agreed but thought it had potential and I really liked the cupboard part at the top. I think it makes it quite versatile and something I could move to another room quite easily. It did need work though and I intended to paint it. I set about giving it an undercoat straight away. And then some months passed….

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stuff

I came to a bit of a halt because I couldn’t decide what colour to paint it. Leaving all my stuff strewn around my room while the chest of drawers stood incomplete.

Then I saw this in a catalogue, John Lewis I think and took a snap on my iPhone.

inspiration

I painted the exterior in Farrow and Ball Pigeon. This is a colour I have used elsewhere, particularly in the kitchen. If I did ultimately move this piece of furniture within the house that seems like it’s most likely new home. Plus I liked the idea of it matching the walls and not introducing another colour to the room.

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The inside however I painted Farrow and Ball Rectory Red.

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And I love it.

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Squeaky clean

A bit of a belated post, really I should have put this up before Christmas. Unfortunately I couldn’t as it’s actually a gift idea which needed to be secret.

Making people presents can be a bit hit and miss…..some are well….more desirable than others……Despite that I decided to make soaps and inflict them on my unsuspecting family as a Christmas gift. I actually think they turned out quite well, plus it was really easy to do. Hence I am documenting it here.

I bought the elements from a specialist site but you could easily assemble your ingredients separately.

The basic soap.

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Dye and fragrance

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Ingredients

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I made two types – rose and lavender.

The process is very easy. First you chop and gently melt the soap using a bain marie.

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Then allow it to cool slightly before mixing in the dye and ingredients. I found that it was best to add quite small amounts as it was easy to overdo it.

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Then you gently pour them into moulds. I did buy some specialist moulds but I also tried some cup cake moulds I already had and they were far better. A couple went wrong, for example not filling the mould enough or adding too many ingredients which all just settled at the bottom. Those I gently re-melted, amended the mixtures and allowed to set again.

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I let them set overnight before popping them out.

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Then I wrapped them in some festive paper and basically that’s it. Very very easy.

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Some light on the matter

Scented candles are one of those perfect gifts, mainly given by women to women. They’re great because (whilst admittedly a bit unimaginative) everyone likes them, they’re simple and the kind of thing you don’t really treat yourself too =  a great gift.

They are also the kind of thing you imagine yourself using in the more perfect version of your life. The one where you make your own bread, have a fridge full of intriguing ingredients you actually know how to use and waft around looking elegant in statement necklaces. For me that also involves me having long relaxing baths in a room flickering with gentle candle light and ideally scented by some marvellous candle. In reality I know I get bored within about five minutes, but I still like the idea.

So when I was contacted recently by  The Scented Candle Shop asking if I’d like to review some of their products I was all for it.

Now some of their lines are not really for me, the colours are too bold and the packaging too fussy but I did really like the look of their St Eval and Heaven Scent ranges.

Here are the St Eval ones I received.

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Quite good for me as I have some unused lanterns that these are perfect for. I really liked the one from the Victorian Herb Range, it’s a nice concept and also smelt lovely.

From the same line I also received some candle tins which had really pleasant fragrances.

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All good so far but my favourite by a long way was the candle jar from the Aromatherapy range by Heaven Scent. It smelt amazing and I think it looks really cool. If I were to buy one it would be this one.

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And here I am trying them all out at once in a kind of scented candle megamix. Lovely.

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Festive spirit

It’s nearly Christmas and so the house has got into the mood as well….

With a tree.

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A wreath. I bought a basic one from the garden centre, as did my mum and we both added extra holly and red berries from her garden.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome glittery reindeer I found in the loft – which I am pretty sure I bought in Poundland. Love them!

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Nativity scene.

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A bit of colour in the hall…

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and in the kitchen.

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Plus a few extra random baubles and we’re done.

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