decluttering, gardening, homestEAding, managEAble, organising, rEArranging, simplifying, to do list, trEAsure

hot off the labeller…

After all the decluttering, reorganising and reshuffling of the last few days I have everything labelled to perfection – even my dear hubby –  (though he doesn’t fit neatly into any of my storage boxes)!  You can imagine what he has to say about my labelling but for all his jokes he is able to find things and more importantly put them away afterwards.  I actually quite enjoyed myself – sad I know!


Labelled Storage


Most of the garage is done now and we can actually move about in there and find things.  We have a few things to sell, a few to give away and a few to mend or just attend to.  So we started a jobs tray for me (see below) and a jobs box (much larger) for OH.

This is as it stands today:-

  • drill a hole in the bottom of the decorative hanging bird feeder – a present from 5 years ago and still waiting a drainage hole.
  • hammer the parasol holder into the ground by the patio
  • Glue the pottery ducks beak on – obviously it is not frost proof as it drops off each winter – a gift from my mum – he is hidden behind the ivy at the moment!
  • replace the socket in the office
  • Screw in the vine eye hooks to the fence for the climber
  • add the wire
  • plant the Xmas tree
  • feed and weed the lawn with one of the 4 boxes of lawn feed!
  • clean the copper rings with Brasso
  • clean the brass plant mister with Brasso

During the clear out I came across the drawer with flower arranging tools.  I am not a flower arranger  – I generally go for the just picked and put in a vase natural look but occasionally I have made gifts with flowers and so I keep a drawer with a few tools, tapes and florist wires.  The vintage flower frog below was discovered amongst my mother in-law’s things and I decided to keep it.  She used to go to flower arranging classes.  I may never use it but somehow it reminds me of her and how creative she was and it is such a delightful little object and packaged in its own charming little box.Flower arranging tools

Vintage flower frog


Some items from the shed that are not affected by the weather have had to be rehoused in the garden.  Not knowing where to store my terracotta pots, some of which are vintage from my dads garden shed, I searched around and found this handy little place inside my Victorian cloche that belonged to my father in law.

Terracotta pots

It is a few years since I grew any vegetables – I gave up my little plot, which is now flower bed, a few years ago when I began working full-time.  Looking at all the lovely veg I see being grown on some of my favourite blogs I decided to buy a Courgette plant and grow it in one of my large pots. Courgette

 They are quite decorative vegetables and already I have flowers appearing with the beginnings of the Courgette behind them.  As I was too late for Sweet pea plants this year I also bought a few left over pea plants from a local nursery and have planted these into another pot with some willow stems for support.

Herb pot

The strawberry pot which again came from my dad’s garden has Chives and a few stray self seeded flowers

The Fence

Remember the fence saga – here is a catch up picture – the climbing hydrangea is blooming and once the wires are in place I can tie it back to the fence and hopefully by next year it will cover the mishmash of fencing and all will be well again.
Climbing Hydrangea

The Obelisk (which I previously called a Gazebo!! – it’s my age) is now in place and planted with Honeysuckle – Lonicera Scentsation  – cream and yellow flowers with a long flowering season and a wonderful scent.


Just in case you got the idea from my recent moan about the fence that we didn’t get on with our neighbours – well actually we are good friends and I can totally understand that he isn’t a gardener  – I am just a bit too precious over my plants!

Potted geraniums

As part of the garden tidy up I bought one or two summer bedding plants to put in pots – I do like these wooden crates such a shame they don’t last – I might line it with polythene and grow some herbs in it for the summer.


The new bird house now has a zinc roof to protect it from the weather – another job off the list.

eating outdoors

After all our hard work we put up the parasol and had lunch outside – perfect.

How are you enjoying this warm spell?

Back soon x



Down Memory Lane…


Today I have been surrounded by memories, special memories…so many kind words written by family and friends over the years in letters and cards;  happy stories and sad events and little everyday notes from the girls.  I have been through every emotion from tears to laughter and back again, remembering people that have been part of my past, remembering good times and bad and reliving capsule moments of my life.


I have been transported way back to my first school report (promising B’s – not sure what went wrong after that!), our first house, our first bills (I just kept our very first as a piece of history –  as we will never see these prices again – electricity £19.16 for the quarter year in 1978)  and our first baby born in 1980.

As you can guess I have been delving into my treasure boxes they are an assortment of bits and pieces that have special meaning to me and our family.  I wondered how minimalist I could go and although I have reduced the contents very slightly there are some things that I will never part with.

Birthday cards

This is one of them – a large padded birthday card the kind that came in a box and was thought of as quite lavish.  It was given to my grandma from my grandad probably in the late fifties, early sixties and has his very distinctive copperplate  handwriting inside.  Grandma died in 1992 at the grand old age of 89 and when going through her bits and pieces I discovered she had kept this card all those years so now I continue to keep it for her.

The little plaque beside it I have had since I was quite small, it is also a birthday card encouraging the recipient to ‘Carry on’ though things go wrong!  It had a place on my bedroom shelf for a long time and I would often find myself reading it if I was troubled by one problem or another.

Cup of Tea cards

These are my ‘Cup of Tea’ cards…so named because they have been sent by a good friend of mine who I do not get to see often enough.  Usually when a few weeks have gone by one of us will drop each other an invitation to come for a cuppa and a chat and we have always managed to find a card with a cup of tea on it.  We have both got quite a collection now.



Helen Hedgehog's Party

Of all the books we read to our girls when they were young this is by far their favourite, even more than Each Peach Pear Plum.  Helen Hedgehog’s Party by Wendy Wilkin  has definitely earned its place in our treasure box to be cherished until the next generation comes along.  This little book went with us everywhere; in the car to Grandmas and on holiday, wherever the girls went this book went too, like an old teddy bear, and I am pretty sure that even at thirty if I gave this to them right now they would sit down and read it!

Mugs Gallery

I have giggled my way through my concertina strip of ‘Photo Booth’ pictures.  I have been collecting and sticking them together since I was twelve when Photo Booths were quite a novelty and no trip to town with my friends was complete without dashing into ‘Woollies’ and cramming into one of these booths for a picture.

Mugs Gallery 3

It is now 4 0r 5 yards long and includes myself, friends and my better half of course from when we first got together at college and also the girls and their friends when they became teenagers and they piled into the booths in just the same way.  I call it my Mugs Gallery – they are not the perfect flattering photo album shots as you can imagine but they are hilarious to look back on and say ‘did we really look like that’?

Mugs Gallery 2

So everything is carefully packed away again for another rainy January day.  I am trying hard to limit the collection and keep only very special things.  Sometimes I wish I could be like those people who are not in the least bit sentimental and are able to throw everything away but then again after my lovely day today I am glad I am not.

(Apologies for picture quality – not that they are brilliant normally-  it has been such a dull day outside I have had to resort to flash)

drEAming, random thoughts, trEAsure

International Thank You Day…

Yesterday I arrived home to find two ‘real’ letters on the mat.  You know the ones I mean, handwritten with a stamp – not typed and franked or one of those dreaded Mail sort letters.  I was so excited to open them I could barely wait while I had removed my coat and put my bags down.

 Simones Picture

The first one is this lovely card from Simone over at Linden Grove.  A while ago she promised to send a hand written note to anyone who emailed her with their home address and I had actually forgotten all about this.  So imagine my surprise on opening the envelope.  The picture as you can see is of a girl with her cat and I am not sure if Simone remembers that my cat Tiger, who is sadly no longer with us, is very similar to her cat Gizmo.  Tiger lived to the ripe old age of 22.  He was older than my eldest daughter at the time. She was only 18 when he died in 1998 and was about to go to University the next day.  The reason for such a long life?  I put it down to wonderful home comforts, good food and a life of Riley!

Here is Tiger – my daughter has most of the photos of him as they were inseparable so I apologise for the poor quality as they are pretty old. Tiger 6 Tiger 5

Now link through and see Gizmo.

My second letter was from my sister in law who enclosed a slide of our first car a Citroen 2CV.  It was one of the bright blue ones but as we didn’t have a camera in those days I didn’t think we had a picture of it anywhere in our collection so I am really pleased to have this.


Our second car was a blue and white deck chair stripe limited Edition 2CV called the Beachcomber. We bought it new on August 1st and it was the first of the A registrations if you can remember that long ago.   It was my absolute favourite car and I cannot believe even now that we let it go.  We would all pile in each year to go to Scarborough for our weeks holiday (for my overseas readers Scarborough is a typical Northern seaside resort with Harbour, amusements, beach with beach huts and cafes and a little train that runs through the park and along by the promenade).   I think everyone thought we had hired it especially for the seaside!


Our third and final 2CV was a red and white Dolly.  Since then I have had the more conventional Citroens, the AX (all white) and Saxo Desire (all black) and yes it is a bit of a ‘boy racer’ car but no teenager in their right minds would steal it for joy riding as the number plate ends in MUM.  Now I am not one for personalised number plates myself but the AX just happened to come with this registration plate as at the time it was registered in Bradford and since then I have just kept rolling it on.

Anyway back to the letter (as there is a point to all this if I can remember what!).  The reason my sister-in-law was writing was because in her clear out (it seems we are all doing the same at the moment) she had come across not only the old slide but also a letter I had sent to her in 1986 after she had been to visit us because she was going through a messy divorce.  She has sent me a copy of this letter in which I tell her how much we enjoyed her visit and that we would always be there to support her whenever she needed us.  She once again expressed her thanks for my kind words and being so thoughtful.

 It is little notes like this that can have a big impact on us.  I remember being at a friends funeral years ago and as the friend died suddenly and quite young, late forties (well that is young to me now) the church was packed.  Many of the people he had known gave a short address and expressed their sadness at his passing but each had a story to tell of the many things that he had done.  Unbeknown to a lot of us he was a member of quite a few different groups and worked tirelessly for the Save the Children Charity.  I remember thinking at the time how lovely it would have been if he could have heard what we heard – how everyone thought so much about him.  So often we do not tell people how much they mean to us when they are alive and we really should not wait until the funeral when they are no longer there to hear such nice things being said.

Since that moment I have always tried to let friends know how much they mean to me and when I discovered more recently that January 11th is International Thank You Day, which is all about appreciating the many blessings and the wonderful people in our lives, I now sit down every January to write a letter to a different friend each year and tell them how much I appreciate both their unique personality and their friendship.

So if you are reading this Simone thank you for your lovely card it will of course be displayed for a long while on my mantel piece and then it will be carefully placed in my treasure box so that I can always remember this day and your friendship through our blogs.


See the blazing Yule before us…

Yule Log Fire

…Fa la la la la la la la la…

It is certainly cold tonight and we are hugging the fire wrapped in cosy blankets to keep out any draughts.  Luckily the left over Lasagne made freshly last night by my better half has made a good quick meal for us tonight as we were both home quite late, my better half because the M62 was a complete nightmare and me because I decided on a whim to stay over in town after work and indulge in some late night shopping.  I wish I could say that I have now cracked the present list  – but not quite.  I have now a long weekend to look forward to, having booked a day off work on Monday.

On 13th December 31 years ago our beautiful younger daughter was born, it was a Sunday and during the day so much snow fell that we had to remain in hospital together for 5 long days because the midwives struggled to get to the new mums who had made it home.  We named her Lucy, not knowing then that the 13th December is St Lucy’s day, the Saint of light and she is our little beaming ray of light.  Happy Birthday Lucy x



This is Lucy’s Angel on the right  – you might not guess that it is a toilet roll centre and a doyle!  She ran out of school one day before Christmas many years ago clutching this in her little hands and could hardly wait to hand it to me, obviously delighted with her creation.  The Angel is 26 years old now and becoming a little shabby around the edges and each year I have to keep gluing bits back together but Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without this decoration on the mantlepiece.  We are rather mad on Angels in our house and each year the girls find a new one on the top of their stockings, they have been made out of wire, fabric, wood, plaster, glass and even chocolate.  The Angel hunt begins early for us and choosing a new one is a very serious business.  This years Angels are all ready in a secret hiding place waiting to make an appearance on Christmas Eve…shhh

Paper Angels

Meet the family

Meet the family

On Sunday our Christmas family get together is beginning to take shape – we have a time we can all agree on, a venue, a menu and some extra new Santa style hats courtesy of the Pound shop or was it Pound Land or even Pound World?  My daughter managed to get hold of a Pass the Pud game, last one in Yorkshire I think, but hopefully it will provide some of the entertainment.  I am just hoping for good weather so we can all journey up or down to Masham for the day and not worry about getting stranded.