Battle of the Orange Pine & a Betty Update

Good news from our household, Betty has Polyps. Hurray!!

Although it could be cancer the guy who did the endoscopy yesterday thinks it’s very, very unlikely. 6 weeks of antibiotics and anti inflammatories should hopefully fix it. Phew!!

Thank you all for your lovely kind wishes on here, FB, Twitter and Instagram. Really kind of you all made me feel so much better. I know she’s just a dog but they are such a part of the family aren’t they? I’m a very happy woman this afternoon.

Anyway back to regular programming….

We have a *lot* of orange pine furniture, and I although I swear it wasn’t that orange when we bought it…well it is now! It seems to suck the light out of every room and just looks horrible. There’s book cases, bed side tables, the giant chests of drawers in our bedroom, sideboard, you get the idea there is a lot.

Personally I blame the cheap white Ikea table I bought for the dining room, it just made all the pine in there look even worse after a few weeks.  Most of the furniture we’ve had since we first moved in together, it’s about 14 years old and we can’t afford to replace it all.

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So I have started operation paint!

I know painted furniture is the biggest cliche and is EVERYWHERE, but I just couldn’t stand the orange any longer and I thought it was worse that a piece of furniture I wouldn’t notice as much anymore.

Now my long suffering husband wasn’t convinced that this would be a good idea. Apparently I tend to get bored and just paint a bit of something..which is true, but don’t tell him that!.  But I thought if I started small, say one bookcase I could see how it went.  I got out my trusty Annie Sloan Old White (lazy painting is me!) and went to town. After about 10 minutes I thought I’d made a horrendous mistake and was pretty sure OH was going to be proved right.

I panicked and posted this on Instagram.

 

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Boyed by the good response from other Instagrammers and mainly because by this point I had no other choice – that chalk paint isn’t coming off once it’s on!.  I kept going….

 

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Once I did a second coat, waxed it and put everything back in, I was actually quite pleased with how it looks (sorry about the dodgy lighting in the photo below it’s been beyond grey here this week!).   It’s receded the bookcase and it’s not  ‘in your face’ anymore. In fact OH is so pleased with it, I’m under orders to paint the hallway table.  I actually thought that looked ok!

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I’m going to paint the matching bookcase which holds the DVD collection, but I’m not sure if I should do everything in the dining room white?  I think the dresser as well might be a bit too much. But I guess I can do a base coat and see how it looks?  I can always whack on a layer of colour on top and make it funky, if it looks too spartan.  Paint brush out again tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

Betty

For once my utter laziness has paid off. I was going to cancel Betty’s pet insurance when it came through last year, it was about £250 for the year and we’d never claimed. I was starting to think it was a waste of time. She’s seven, healthy and only goes to the vets for her inoculations which of course aren’t covered by insurance.  But I didn’t get round to it and just kept paying it, as it turns out that was lucky!

And then three weeks ago happened, hence my lack of blogging….

I got up to make Sunday breakfast and for a change she didn’t immediately beat me to the kitchen to shout at me for food.

Weird.

I went into the lounge to see her, she grudgingly got up, walked 8 steps and then collapsed. Seriously couldn’t get up and was crying. So I called the emergency vet and the nightmare began!

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I managed to get her up and into the car – not easy with a large dog who just wants to lie on the floor!  She was seen, pronounced ok (because of course she was FINE by time we got there!), had to pop back the next day for blood test and urine tests.   Did that and they thought she had a UTI, course of antibiotics and she’d be right as rain. At this point I’d spent £350.

Midway through the course of antibiotics we went for a walk and she pee’d on some dry leaves and I glanced at them and realised it was blood!   So back to the vets and they decided that she should be scanned and x-rayed because at this point it could be bladder cancer.

I sobbed, sobbed some more, the whole family was in tears.  We took her on her favourite walk, into the field she adores and all had our photo with her so we have some good memories. Paul managed to get a nice photo of her and me, with me not crying which was an achievement that day!

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She was duly shaved (look at that poor cold belly!), anaesthetised and scanned and there was a thickening to the lining of her bladder which could be either bladder cancer or polyps. Now bladder cancer in dogs it turns out is really, really horrible and can metastase very quickly if you disturb it in a biopsy.  So we have been referred to a specialist dog cancer vet at another surgery.  The scanning at my vets was another £550. We’re now at £900 at just one vets.

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So we went to the cancer vets and she re-did all the original testing my vets has done so she could double check everything – yes another £550!  Then Betty took a turn for the worse went off her food and developed really, really bad bloody diarrhoea, and they gave her more antibiotics and some special food – I haven’t had the bill for that yet.  All being well tomorrow she goes for her biopsy and we’ll find out how to proceed either with medicine or with surgery. If it’s the cancer then she’ll have chemo and maybe a good 6-12 months, and if it’s the Polyps which I am SO hoping it is then it’ll be surgery to remove them I believe, but I could be wrong?

She’s insured up to £3,000 thank goodness, but I can now see that last £1500 being eaten up very very quickly. I honestly don’t know how you pay for it if you’re not insured? I really, really feel for older people or those on a low wage who need to get their animals treated. I know there are charities that will help, but they are few and far between and I can see now why more sick pets are being dumped.  Such a horrible situation and would certainly drive most people into debt.

Anyway please wish us luck tomorrow and I’ll let you know the outcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcycling Garden Furniture with Farrow & Ball Paint

Farrow and Ball wanted to know if I’d like to upcycle piece of garden furniture with their exterior paint – OF COURSE!!!

I love Farrow and Ball a little too much, as pretty much the interior of my house is painted in it, Wimborne White is everywhere!. But I’ve never used the exterior paint or primers, so I was excited to be able to try them out.

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I have an ancient Ikea table kicking around in the shed, which has seen better days and we tend to use it for putting BBQ plates and food waiting to be cooked. But it’s really old and is now impossible to clean which isn’t great for BBQ’s. That seemed like the ideal candidate for a makeover.

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I chose Teresa’s Green, which I thought would be a medium duck egg blue which would tie in with the other colours in my garden, yeah it’s not at all.  It’s a beautiful delicate, pale duck egg blue – oops!  But it meant I also chose the wrong primer colour, I should have gone with the one for pale colours and not the dark colours, turns out it didn’t matter that much.

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I didn’t do much (read any!) prep on it, other than brush off some spider webs and stand it up. I then painted it with the Dark Primer – which is a really nice colour, it’s a dark grey which actually looks lovely.  It took me 20 minutes to paint the primer on and I left it while I did the school run to dry in the sun.

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When we got back we sat out in the sunshine and painted on the Teresa’s Green, it actually covered the primer well which was a surprise as it was so pale. It dries really quickly in the sun and I managed to get a second coat on before sundown and left it to try overnight.  That was two days ago and it’s been sitting outside in the autumn elements and this morning it absolutely poured down on it when I left the house. I came home this afternoon and it’s still looks perfect!  According to the can it should last for 6 years, so that’s that table done for a long time.

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I’m so pleased with it, and although I can’t use the left over paint for my laundry door, as it’s too pale for the house. I’m going to use it for my dining room chairs as it’s the perfect pale colour to go with my newly Wimborne White dining room.  Which gives me the excuse to try a new colour on the laundry room door…hmmm which colour..I really like that dark grey!

***Full disclosure – This feature/challenge is brought to you in collaboration with Farrow & Ball***

 

 

Nell

I have to share her, she’s too gorgeous not to! Meet my puppy ‘sister’ Nell that my parents picked up from the RSPCA last weekend.

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They were going to get an older rescue dog and at the moment with the sleepless nights, I’m thinking maybe they wish they had! But their vet advised that as they had rescued two older cats last year, the cats who hadn’t lived with dogs before would be less stressed with a smaller puppy and not a full grown dog. Nell and her sisters came up just as they were starting to look as they are both retiring in October.

Sadly Nell and her sisters were  a neglect case, which is why they were removed from their Mum so early. Both her sisters have also gone to good loving homes nearby, so they’ll be able to see each other which is really nice.  Her Mum was a Collie and Dad is rumoured to be either a Labrador or a German Shepherd,  either way she’s going to be a lovely big dog if her size at the moment is anything to go by.

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But she is adorable! Despite her tough start, she’s a little loving bundle of fun and she’s so smart. She’s only 6 weeks old but can ‘sit’, call her and she comes to you and she’s almost toilet trained.  I’ve been puppy sitting this week with her whilst my parents finished up work as they are both running down for the end of October – such a hardship to spend all day with that cute bundle of mischief!

I’m going get to spend a few days with her over the coming weeks which is fantastic. I think it’s a bit like being a grandparent, I get to play with her, have lots of cuddles and then give her back at the end of the day. I must admit it’s lovely to come home to my all lovely trained up, non teething, well behaved Betty.  But just look at that sleeping fur baby….adorable!

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{Review} Homebase Soft Furnishings

Homebase asked me if I’d like to try their new soft furnishing range. Originally it was supposed to be a rug, but it turned out that my local store didn’t sell them. So I changed to cushions – which is a good thing! I made a massive decorating error a couple of years ago when we got the new sofa’s.  They are dark grey, it was December and I went mad with festive red. We have a red rug (which I now hate!) and lots of red cushions. It looks amazing in November/December, pretty much looks ridiculous the rest of the year, it’s like the ‘Home Alone’ lounge! I have regretted it ever since, so I was quite pleased to be asked to review cushions. IMG_3071 My ‘local’ Homebase is 15 miles away from my house so it’s not somewhere I pop to on a regular basis. So I was quite surprised when I visited to see it had been made over and is now a very lovely Homebase ‘Design’ Centre. The difference is amazing, it’s gone from looking like somewhere my Dad would love to shop, to somewhere I can browse, rather than rush in buy paint and leave. it’s now full of decorating ideas and helpful staff who can advise on pretty much anything. As a result of the changes, there is now a small home furnishing section which has some cute shabby chic inspired cushions (the knitted ones are fab!) and picture frames, vases and candles (LOVE the owl candles there!) and there is also now a mini Habitat which is now part of the Homebase/Argos group. IMG_3073 They had the loveliest grey cushions, so I snapped up the super cute owl cushion which has enough red in it to go with my other cushions but grey enough to tone down the other red cushions, and a lush silver grey velvet cushion. They’re lovely and the sofa now looks a lot less ‘red’ and festive. IMG_3078 I’m really pleased with them, the lounge still looks snuggly but less…well red!  Thanks Homebase! **Full Disclosure: I received £60 of Homebase vouchers in order to review these cushions**

London Baby!

Yeah I’m watching far too much ‘Friends’ this summer holidays!.

But we did go to London this weekend for a little night away. Turns out if you go on a Sunday it is way cheaper to stay in a hotel.

We planned a little trip, staying in a Premier Inn near Tower Bridge. Miss L had been to the Victoria and Albert Museum for a school trip, and we’d never been there so we thought we’d make that the starting point.

My Great Great Grandfather was a Scottish stone mason who came to London to work on the V&A and the Brompton Oratory next door so I was fascinated to see what the stone work of the period looked like, he might have created some of what we saw? It was thanks to these buildings that the whole family moved and pretty much I even exist.  I loved the entrance way to the V&A it’s very glamorous, full of marble and some amazing architectural exhibits from all over the ancient world.

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We eventually headed over to the wedding dress exhibit, which Miss L had spotted on her school trip and she wanted to look round. She’s super interested in dress making and textiles at the moment. There were some amazing dresses there from all periods. I really loved the french wedding dresses, those people were tiny and I have no idea how they moved in those dresses??

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This dress wasn’t in the wedding section but over in the Indian exhibit, it was an Austin classic for me. You can just see someone from Pride and Predjudice wearing it!

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On the way to the hotel we popped by the Tower of London to see the 100th Anniversary of WW1 Poppies Display. They’re all hand made ceramic and each one represents a British and Commonwealth life lost…there’s just so so many. It’s a very moving display, I got quite teary. Miss L was shocked to see how many there were and the display isn’t even half way finished yet. It’s due to be completed on the 11th November.

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It was a lovely day and nice to see a different side of London from where we normally go. I’m planning our next trip already.

I’m back!

Hello Everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long, I’m finally feeling well enough after my surgery to sit in front of the computer for an extended period of time.

I’d never been into hospital for an operation before and I was pretty scared. Paul and Miss L came with me and we bundled into my little cubical for the day. Poor L was a little diamond, she didn’t complain once and was so helpful despite it being a long and dull day for her.  I finally was called for surgery at 2.30pm (we got there at 7am)  and I was terrified walking into Theatre. By the time I lay down to have the anaesthetic I was sobbing, I was so scared I wouldn’t wake up. The theatre team were great, wiped my tears, made me laugh and held my hand while I fell asleep. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for being so kind and understanding.  Same goes for the recovery team and my nurses, they were brilliant, no question was too stupid and nothing too much trouble, utterly lovely. Even my consultant who I’m pretty sure hates talking to patients was ace, but he did the hard bit so I’ll let him off.IMG_2772.JPG

The surgery went well, it was pretty painful the first couple of days, I swear it was worse than my c-section. But a week from the operation I was driving again and then I got a small infection, which some antibiotics too care of pretty quickly. I’m still getting the odd twinge and swelling now but it’s not too bad at all. I’ve still not had the results of what they pulled out of me yet, but the surgeon was happy on the day it was just a dermoid cyst and nothing more sinister. I think if it was anything worse, I would have been recalled back to hospital by now for further treatment. So fingers crossed.

The only thing it’s really left me with are two small scar’s either side of my stomach (Miss L says it looks like I’ve been attacked with a nail gun. Thanks kid!) and a new belly button which is VERY weird at the grand old age of 42 – don’t like it!

So now I’m fighting fit and finally have some energy again I’ve been planning lots of DIY jobs around the house and we’re planning on finally replacing that tiny kitchen of mine!  I might even makeover the blog again, it’s been a while and I keep promising myself I’ll try a magazine layout.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and all the kind messages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, they helped me a lot when I was in hospital and recovering big squishy hugs to you all! xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution of a Kids Room from 2 years old to 11 years old.

I’m manically trying to get loads of jobs finished or even done before my surgery in July, and the one job we’ve managed to finish is Miss L’s room – hurray!!

She’s been in her room since she was about 16 months old, before that she was in the tiny nursery/box room in this house and a similar room in our old house. But I thought it might be nice to share how her room has evolved from toddler to nearly the same size as me ‘tween’.

This was her room just after she’d moved out of her cot, it was the same colour and had the same carpet as when we moved in, so I guess this is late 2004? I didn’t initially think it was worth spending a massive amount of money on the room and as you can see the changing table is still there as well her baby rocker – which is still there now. She reads in it, watches TV and plays computer games in it in hindsight one of the best things I ever bought!.

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2004

In 2006, when more messy years were over and she could express a bit more what she’d like the room had it’s first big makeover….she asked for pink *sobs* but thankfully even when she was three she had taste and she chose a Farrow and Ball pink (there’s my girl!).  I kept most of the same furniture gave the room a lick of paint, I also left the carpet as there wasn’t much point in changing it – playdoh anyone?

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 2006

By 2010 well there was kid’s stuff and yes more kids stuff. So time to change again.I wrote a post about it here  by this point an old double bed had snuck in there. She wasn’t a sleeper and I was sick of sleeping on the floor, so I popped our old bed in there. But by 2010 she was sleeping and as it was taking up much of the room, it was time to buy a single and get some decent storage in. So we got her a new carpet, wardrobe, Billy bookcase and Expedit from Ikea in and it really made a massive difference to how the room works.

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From this 2004 baby amounts of stuff                                       to 2010 7 Year old amounts of stuff

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2010 Big Kid Room!

Since then her room has remained pretty much the same we added a cherry blossom sticker above her bed and added a desk but pretty much it’s stayed the same. Then we had the re-wire done last year and it trashed the wall in there. We’d been meaning to re-decorate her room since and just not gotten round to it. But over the last month we finally got to work.  As always I asked what she’d like and this time round she made me a Pinterest mood board.  She asked for a white room, and she found a pair of duck egg blue/green curtains in Ikea so I took those as the basis for the room.  This is her mood board – it was so easy for her to do and helped me loads.

Follow Liz’s board Tween Bedroom Makeover Moodboard on Pinterest.

Here’s her room before we painted…..

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And here’s what it looks like now, all grown up and fit for an 11 year old!.

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It’s all the same stuff just repainted the room and she’s got new curtains. There a couple of bits I’m re-painting, mostly the desk which apparently needs to be white and not purple now.  And there was a Fairy/Princess coat hook which has had a makeover with some Annie Sloan paint and now looks like a nice shaker style hook.

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I must admit I’m amazed at the difference just painting it white has made. In an ideal world where my husband didn’t care about things like 6 year old carpet, I would have ripped that up and painted her floor white too. Then it would have been even brighter in there, but that probably would have taken another week that I don’t really have – maybe the next house!

The baby furniture that has stood the test of time, are her small chest of drawers which are still adorable but slightly less practical now she’s in women’s sized 8-10 clothes. and her baby rocker.  The toy chest is now languishing down in the toddle sized playhouse that no one can get in anymore as we’re all too big to get in there. Other than that I think the Ikea stuff might just carry us through to late teens…although I’m not too sure about that wardrobe. Should have gone for one with a full drop, but the drawers are super useful at the moment so win some/lose some maybe next house that can be in the ‘non negotiable’ guest room along with the baby drawers?

We’re hoping to move in the next 18 months or so, I have no idea how we’re getting that massive Expedit out of here!

Peonies from the Cutting Garden

It’s peony season! If you have a spare spot in your garden or on your patio, plant a peony you’ll never regret it. They are dead easy to grow, pop them in full sun or partial shade and then just leave them alone and they get bigger every year. If they are in pots make sure you give them a fair amount of water.

Mine are just coming into flower, they’re a little bit in the shade so they take longer to bloom. However my Mum dropped these over from her cutting garden and they are just glorious!

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Thanks Mum!

 

Where I’ve been

I know I’ve been AWOL from here since March, and I feel bad about letting my online home gather dust!  I don’t normally post massively personal stuff on here as my family moan at me, but a blogging gap of nearly two months needed an explanation.

I’d been having stomach pains since September last year, and as they came and went pretty much ignored them. Then they started getting worse and worse and eventually I clumsily fell down the stairs, and the pains in my stomach were worse than the falling down the stair injuries. So I finally gave in and went to the GP.  She gave me a once over and instantly booked me in for a scan as she thought there was something not right with my womb. And she was right, the scan found a large ovarian cyst.

That then led to a hospital appointment with a lovely consultant who’s opening sentence was ‘well you’re here because this could be cancerous’ and then told me all the other things I could be. Bless him I don’t think he realised quite how scary he was being.

Of course that one sentence plus the Ovarian Cancer blood tests and the (bloody horrible!) MRI I had, pretty much meant I’ve not slept for three weeks. In fact I was so worried that I did the unthinkable and opened a joint bank account with OH so I could be prepared if I had the worst news.

Thank god yesterday I got the all clear, I don’t have cancer but I do have to have surgery to get the cyst out.  It’s a Dermoid one (don’t click if you’re squeamish!)  it’s basically a large gross tumour full of hair, fat and charmingly maybe teeth and bone! Stem Cells are clever and can grown anything it seems!  I could, thanks so our lovely NHS have surgery this month, but it’s a 2 week recovery time and I can’t get Miss L to school and look after her while OH is working, so I’ve opted to keep with the pain killers and have it done in the summer holidays.

I’m quite terrified, I’ve never had an operation other than an emergency c-section and I don’t like the idea of being put out. So I need to get my head round that, I’m trying really hard.  Anyway the moral of the story is, if you’re in pain don’t leave it 6 months!

But now the pain is under control and I can sit up for longer periods of time and actually do stuff which doesn’t involve laying on the sofa with a hotwater bottle, more blog posts will be coming. Thank you so much for sticking with me, really appreciated xxx