Spring Buckets

Remember my little silver buckets from Christmas?

Well I’ve added some mini daffodils from the market, a bit of dirt, and spring is in the lounge!

Just be careful not to overwater them as there is no drainage, so a tiny drop will keep them going.  Try different bulbs, whatever your local market or garden center has flowering at the moment will work.  Have fun experimenting!

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{Writing Prompt} Survival

Nickie over at Typecast is running a writing prompt #dosomethingyummy for the CLIC Sargent Do Something Yummy awareness campaign.  And the subject this week is survival and what we’ve over come.

We have thankfully been blessed in that we’ve been very lucky and not had any terrible illnesses such as cancer in our family. So my story is about Miss L’s birth, which I’ve blogged about before but it’s been a long time since I shared her story.

I had a horrible labour with her, it started in hospital as I was being checked out as I was a tiny bit over due. Labour started as 1 contraction every 3 minutes, we were all excited thinking we were all systems go because that’s what you’re told from the moment you start the ante-natal lessons.  A very matter of fact midwife was called, checked my dilation and this what was now a classic conversation in our house:

Midwife: ‘Yes you’re contractions are every three minutes, but you’re 2cm dilated. Come back when you’re 6cm’

Me: ‘How will I know? I’ve not seen my feet for 3 months?’

Midwife: ‘Just come back later’

With that she swept out of the room and we were kicked out in tears, not knowing what to do.

Long story short, I phoned my Midwife from the car on the way home and she came out and spent 5 hours with us helping me labour at home, then she sent me back to give birth in the hospital – another 45 minute journey back still having a contraction every 3 minutes.   27 hours later my beautiful baby girl was born by emergency c-section.

I was exhausted, my body was in shock from the labour and emergency c-section so it wasn’t a surprise when she wasn’t feeding that well.   But she was also making a weird snorting noise, to be honest being a first time mum I was more than a little clueless.  I’d seen a baby once from a distance, but that was about the extent of my experience.

I mentioned it to the nursing staff but they said it was ok, newborns feeding badly isn’t exactly unusual so I left it.  However by the time she was 30 hours old I needed some sleep, I’d been awake for 3 days at that point and close to utter collapse.  Thanks goodness I did, they took her from me so I could rest and for the first time noticed something was wrong when they tried to feed her.   She was rushed instantly to the Special Care Baby Unit, with a Group B Strep infection.

I’m forever thankful that as I’d had the labour from hell and an emergency c-section and was still in the hospital.   If we’d gone home I think she’d have died because it was such a quick decline.  It turns out that if you have your waters broken and then are left in labour for over 24 hours, the baby can contract Group B Strep even if the mother has tested negative for it – which I had.

However I didn’t have a clue what Group B Strep was when I was woken in the middle of the night, by a doctor telling me that my baby needed a spinal tap as she had Group B and possibly meningitis, and did I have anyone who could be with me ‘in case of the worst’.   By the time I arrived in Special Care Unit (as quickly as I could shuffle down the corridor) I was welcomed by a really lovely nurse who sat me down and gave me a Polaroid picture of my daughter wired up to every conceivable piece of medical equipment.  When I asked why she explained they took pictures to give the mother something to ‘remember their child by’.  We’d already lost one baby through miscarriage and I refused to lose another who’d been perfectly healthy at birth and had caught an infection,  you can imagine how I felt when I found out it was from me.

Thankfully she’s a great little fighter and survivor, and she had 10 days of excellent care by a very experienced group of medics and she pulled through to be the sassy little bright button she is today.  But it was needless, it shouldn’t have happened.  I showed signs of maternal temperature in labour, the length of labour and the fact my waters were broken I should have been given antibiotics in labour and then she wouldn’t have been infected.

To quote the GBSS Website:

“intravenous antibiotics (in the mother), during labour. When given from the start of labour or waters breaking (and ideally 4 hours before delivery), prophylaxis of this kind has proven to be very effective at preventing GBS infection in the baby. Sadly, waiting to give antibiotics to the baby after delivery will sometimes be too late.”

In the UK

       1 in every 1,000 babies born in the UK. Each year, based on 700,000 babies born annually in the UK, approximately:

  • 230,000 babies are born to mothers who carry GBS; 88,000 babies (1 in 8) become colonised with GBS; 700 babies develop GBS infections, usually within 24 hours of birth; and
  • 75 babies (11% of infected babies) die.

I was hoping that nine years later, women are now being informed of the dangers and can be prepared/tested/aware of Group B Strep and there are more little survivors like my girl but it seems the numbers are staying static.  If you’d like to know more, pop over and visit http://www.gbss.org.uk/

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Pots of Flowers

Now the super cold weather has finally passed – fingers crossed – I decided to refill my pots by the front door.  They were as you can see pretty dead

Classy or what?

So I went to the market, bought lots of pretties for a fiver. Got home realised that the lavenders were indeed now super dead and throwing water at them probably wasn’t going to work this year,  so headed out to the garden centre to buy some lavenders and a big bag of compost.  But they also had lots of gorgeous spring flowers, including violets – I may have gone a bit mad but I have missed colour so!  And you know I have a garden, so they could go out there too……any excuse! 🙂

An hour later my posts were transformed and now look like this

And these little Violet beauties were planted in the back garden so I can see them from the kitchen window, they smell as divine as they look.

 Only a few more weeks and I can start planning my veggie raised beds.  Here’s hoping that bitter cold weather has passed, and Spring is here!


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Kids Room – All Change!

The merry go round of motherhood is kicking off again, Miss L is about to turn 9 (where did my baby go?) and is getting all grown up. This of course means the room I thought was pretty sorted four years ago now has to accomodate a new range of activities – why did no one tell me!

Now we are having sleepovers, tons of homework, endless school paperwork, playing musical instruments, using the computer for everything, larger clothes that really don’t fit into those baby drawers anymore and to cap it off she would rather like a TV for her ninth birthday in 2 weeks.  Luckily we don’t have anything to connect to the TV aerial wise, so I’m just going to connect up and old DVD player so she can only watch DVD’s on it.

The bigger problem is the homework, she’s currently doing it on her bed whilst leaning on a book.  Stationery seems to be all over the place and more often than not something is missing.  Sharpies and Scissors spring to mind, we must have 20 Sharpies and 10 pairs of scissors, can I ever find them…..no!   So it’s really not ideal and needs resolving.

I have no idea where I’m going to put it all though. She has two power sockets in her room, and they are in the most awkward places either side of the room – thanks’s 1930’s people!  So I need to get creative and move her room around again….*palmface*

Rather than physically move all her furniture around  – because that isn’t going to make me massively popular with Paul. I’ve decided to do it virtually on a floor plan.  Pottery Barn Kids in the US have a very handy room planner site here. Obviously I don’t have Pottery Barn funiture – more’s the pity! But a single bed, wardrobe, drawers etc are all pretty standard sizes so it’s not too hard to imagine what you have and plot it.

This isn’t exact there is an old fireplace next to the cupboard which juts out a bit, and the cupboard is built into the wall next to it.  The cupboard is only a foot or so deep, so not big enough for clothes storage but I could maybe make into a cupboard desk, with storage for school work and computers?  At the moment it’s not terribly accessible because of the wardrobe and the toy chest next to it. Which is another reason to shift it all round.

So these are my options:

So I’ve ditched the unused toy chest to get some more space, and moved the bed in front of the window.  But I’m not a massive fan of this one as it means the head of the bed will be in front of the radiator and the TV won’t have any power near it – but this is the easiest by far!

I think this is my favourite, the TV would have power,  she could get to the desk in the cupboard, the chair is in the window for reading and Cello playing but I don’t know if I could get the guest z-bed in there for a sleepover?

This is the one that involves the most work, including some work on the ceiling where it’s cracked above the bed and moving all the cubbies and bookshelves.  We’d easily be able to get the guest z-bed in there for sleepovers, but it’d make getting into the cupboard desk harder.

So I think I’m going to run Layout Two with Miss L and see how she feels about it?  But that was much easier than moving furniture around the room for hours 🙂




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{Guest Post} DIY Tutorial About Flower Arranging – Easy Steps to Creating Your Own Flower Arrangement

Patricia my guest poster today is a florist from one of my advertisers and knows her stuff about flower arranging.  So I thought it’d be nice to have a tutorial from a professional florist, who explains how to get the most from your market or supermarket flowers.  Over to Patricia:

Flower arrangements brighten up any home or office, but the problem is that it is sometimes difficult to get the perfect effect that is desired. While it is possible to search for florists, it is also simple to take matters into your own hands and start making their own flower arrangements. The truth of the matter is that flower arranging is relatively simple, and when time and money are short, it is essential to think about how this skill can help the buyer cut costs.


In the first place, consider the materials that are necessary. A vase of some sort is necessary, as are the flowers for the arrangement. Secateurs, also known as pruning shears, help trim the flowers down to the right size, and ribbons can help hold the flowers together.

Beyond this, there are some trims that help the flower arrangement look more professional, but that is essentially all that is necessary. Think about what size and shape the flower arrangement should be, and choose the flowers and vase based on this decision. Take some time to think about how tall the arrangement should be and how the flowers should sit in the vase.

For example, if a tall, spare arrangement is required, choose a tall fluted vase with tall flowers, like lilies, for the arrangement. On the other hand, if a squat cheerful arrangement is preferred choose a round, short vase and rounder flowers, like daises. Choose flowers for the arrangement that are as fresh as possible, whether that means picking them by hand or ordering from a very good florist.

While florists will often put the flowers into arrangements themselves, many online florists will be more than happy to sell purchasers simple bundles of flowers at a reduced price. It is best to get the flowers as close to the date of the event that the flower arrangement is meant for as possible. When one wishes to buy flowers from UK seasons are an important thing to consider, as it will determine the flowers’ cost.

Think about the color of the event before making these flower arrangements. For events held during fall, look for golden, brown and red blooms; spring calls for fresh pinks and purples, while summer allows the purchaser to take advantage of a multitude of different colors.

Creating a Flower Arrangement

First, take care to pinch off any yellowed blooms or leaves. This is something that allows for a very fresh, very perfect look for the arrangement. Yellow or brown foliage creates a dreary look that brings the entire arrangement down. Clasp the stalks of the flowers in one hand, holding them together. Shift them so that the flowers with the longest stems are towards the middle of the bundle. This will allow for the creation of a gently rounded shape. This will also give the arranger a good idea of what he or she has to work with.

Place the largest, showiest flower with the longest stalk in the vase. This is the centerpiece of bloom, and it will be ideal for catching the eye. Slowly, surround the centerpiece with flowers that are shorter, trimming the stalks with secateurs if necessary. The result is a lovely, rounded flower arrangement that is suitable for both formal and informal occasions. If the flowers look a little scanty, it is possible to plump out the arrangement with greenery or with other types of foliage.

A taller arrangement is something that is even simpler to create. Simply gather the stalks in one hand and trim them so that they are even, though once again, it is attractive to leave a longer stalk to act as the centerpiece. Cut the stalks off so that they are even and set them in a tall vase. To keep flimsy flowers supported wrap a ribbon around the stalks. Finish off the ribbon by holding it in place with a dot of glue or simply tying it into a quick bow.

There are many different options open for someone who is looking to save some money while still having lovely flowers at an event. DIY flower arrangements provide any event with a sense of class and glamor without breaking the bank.

About the Author

Patricia Hall works part-time for a florist focusing on floral delivery but loves to surround herself with flowers at any given point of time. Even in her free time she loves to involve herself with everything flora and fauna. ‘To me there is nothing more beautiful and global as the language of flowers – it is the easiest to understand all around the world in the same way. That is one reason why I truly admire flowers for what they represent in some ways – unity of all mankind!’

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{Ikea} Ektorp Sofa Advice Please

We are looking for some new sofa’s, our current ones are 7 years old now and looking pretty worn.  The springs have gone in several places despite being replaced repeatedly over the years and the feather pads are now flat as a pancakes.  The whole thing is getting more uncomfortable by the day, so I guess it’s time to think about something new.

Our current sofas have washable covers, a godsend if you have a child/dog/red wine habit.  I think while Miss L is still smallish and as the dog sleeps on the sofa it’s probably best to get new sofas with washable covers too.

I’ve looked at DFS –  they don’t have washable covered sofa’s,  SofaWorkshop – the last ones were from there and I wouldn’t buy from there again and Sofa.com – are just too expensive.  I’ve not seen any other’s I like/are in the right price range – cheap!.

Which leaves Ikea, I know I’ve blogged about it before but I really like the look of the Ektorp.  I especially like the fact you can buy extra covers while you’re washing the other set or replace them if something catastrophic happens.

This model is only £399 and a new cover in the same colour is £190:

Which means I won’t have to scream at people if they eat/colour/bounce/chuck red wine/generally live on it.  If we had one which was £1500, you know I would be doing that  ALL time! 🙂

But are they any good long term?  Do any of you have them?  Are the covers really washable?   Can you think of anywhere else I could get a washable sofa from? Any advice at all?


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40 Today

Wow what a milestone to reach, and it seems to have happened so, so quickly. An old friend and I were talking the other day and were saying it seems like moments ago we were celebrating my 21st!  This time last year I would have been bitching no end about turning 40/going grey/getting older.  But the death of a close friend last year made me realise that not everyone is blessed to live this long, so grasp life while you can and enjoy it.

So with that thought in mind, I have had a wonderful birthday.  Paul and I dropped Miss L off for a sleepover at her grandparents and then headed up to the North Norfolk Coast (in the snow!) and went for a very bracing walk on the beach.  It was like a winter wonderland and bloomin’ freezing, on the way up there the car was reading -11!

After about 20 minutes of freezing on the beach and realising we couldn’t feel our ears or feet anymore, we headed for The Victoria pub in Holkham – somewhere I’ve always meant to go but never gotten round to.

There was a gorgeous roaring fire, good food and drink – especially as I wasn’t driving for a change! Really recommended if you’re ever up that way.

Then today we had a family lunch and I was spoilt rotten again, I am a lucky woman!  So I’d like to say a massive thanks to my family and friends who have made this weekend so special, I love you all! xxx




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