Sunday, 23 April 2017

Easter Hols - Garden Project

Jeff goes back to school tomorrow after a 3 week break. As with every holiday, we like to tick off another project and as always Jeff ends up going back to school for a rest. 

This holiday, our main focus has been clearing the unit and closing down dots and spots but with the Summer approaching, we also wanted to tackle the 'sunny corner'. If you remember it was once home to the summer house, which we removed last summer. I think we thought that the concrete was okay, better than the Summer house but I thought it was a bit back yard'ish, with the different surfaces and old plastic pots that had been left.

So we, or rather Jeff, has built another deck!

I removed all the ivy off the wall, as we intend to have planting all around the back of the deck - grasses or bamboo - something to add some greenery in front of the old brick walls, slight screening from the houses at the back but we don't want to lose our view of the Tor

We intend to make a proper deck path and gravel up to the edge of the deck over the crazy paving. We've planted a couple of white hydrangeas, which we hope will eventually fill that bit of bed.

We've cleared part of this bed along the side, ready to plant out some beans and peas.

And further along that bed, we've planted out some raspberry canes and strawberry plants, where the blackberries are and added in a rhubarb, ready for picking next year..

I've moved the old step ladder down to the side of the house and planted out these red planters I had over at the unit, with geraniums. I intend to add some more herbs when it gets a little warmer and have potted up a mint - perfect spot for picking, by the back door.

I picked up a new table and couple of chairs from Ikea for the top deck - we ate out there last Summer. You get gorgeous sunshine in the morning at breakfast time, half sun/shade at lunch and mostly shade at tea when/if it's hot - perfect.

We've utilised a couple of the pots that were left and we brought over from our previous house. The old pail is full of Hosta's and the old chimney, proudly holds the cascading strawberry planter.

The old apple tree is full of blossom this year and we've planted an aubergine, courgette, cucumber and squash plants in the space underneath. They may come to nothing but at less than a pound a plant, it's worth a go!

There is still a lot to do and will probably be on hold now until half term, unless there are jobs I can get on with on my own. We spend so much time out in the garden, it's so nice now that's it's feeling like ours. The previous owner had the garden looking lovely but it wasn't completely to our taste. Then with the building work and subsequent mess, it's slowly taking shape and feeling more like us x

Saturday, 22 April 2017

End of another week!

Heading over to the unit now every day this week to palm off furniture to various people.
This morning the big Ikea units go and by Tuesday morning everything, except what's staying for the next occupants, will have been found a home!

Annoyingly they can't come until Thursday, but this little lot of packet tops is being collected for recycling  and then Friday it's time for a room inspection, key handover and I'm done.

Yesterday I had a well earned day off. I went to Slimming World, faced the scales after 5 weeks and was relieved to still be in my target range. Aiming now to head back to the bottom end but I've no big events to spur me on, just me and the will to do it. After group, a fellow Slimming Worlder was celebrating her birthday and invited a few of us back to hers for this lovely lunch - it was delicious.

So I'm about to head over to the unit - have a great weekend. Not much sunshine in the forecast - it's saving it's arrival for when I'm done and have some time to enjoy it x

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Nearly the final farewell

Jeff has just made a new landing page for the website, in case anyone visits and hadn't realised dots and spots was closing.

It says......

''DOTS AND SPOTS now closed. 
Thank you for your support, encouragement and custom over the past 8+ years''

We are nearly 'done' over at the unit. We're using our last reserves of energy and enthusiasm to motor through the final week. Tomorrow, I'm hoping that most or all of the stock will be gone. I have furniture collection times in the diary for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. On Thursday the recycling people will take the final packet tops and then I'm hoping the unit inspection and key handover will be done on Friday, before the Bank Holiday weekend begins.

I will be so happy when it's all done now. I oddly have no emotional attachment to the business I grew, over the past 8+ years. That's really sad in a way but also a true sign that I'm ready to move onto something new. Still no idea what as yet but I'm a believer in things happening for a reason and have faith that something good with come my way. 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Happy Easter

Happy Easter 

We celebrated our Easter on Good Friday, as Sophie was out the door this morning at 8am for a 2 hour motorway driving lesson, then she was being dropped straight off at work as she's there 10-5pm 

So Jeff went early to the tip (yes it is open on Easter Sunday, surprisingly!) then out for a run, Sam is still in bed! as Jeff just put it 'he hasn't risen yet, has he?' So I had a quiet breakfast on my own. Have to have a hot cross bun on Easter Sunday, this is my last one, saved for today and jolly nice it was too. Used all my syns, so no chocolate for me today but it was worth it.

The sun is shining here, wasn't forecast but most welcome. It's still chilly but hopefully we'll get a bit more done outside today. We're trying to get rid of everything big and messy before the silver 'bigger' car goes on Friday. The previous house owner left a lot of old plastic pots which we've not got around to emptying. We've also done some sorting inside, will share pics on a blog post soon. Once the doors to dots and spots close for good at the end of the month, I shall turn my attentions back to the house and tackling the painting projects that still need to be done.

For now, I'm going to enjoy today as I'm over at the unit all day tomorrow sorting.
Have a lovely, long weekend x

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Lucky me!

Look what I (we) just got!!!!

Aren't I a lucky girl? It was fate - I'd seen a mini a week or two ago for £2995 but by the time I had persuaded Jeff to go and look at it, it was gone. It did open his eyes up to the possibility of getting a new car, as the silver car needs money spent on it to get it through it's MOT, too much to be worth it. So he's been keeping a lookout and this one came up, 5 minutes up the road, for a bargain £1600. It's 13 years old, has a few scratches on the body work, which doesn't bother us but is why the price was such a bargain. It'll be great to nip around here, not sure we'd all squeeze in it on a trip to Cornwall but we can face that as and when the time arises. We still have the Micra which Sophie is insured on and the 'black box' has just been fitted by the insurance company, so no speedy nipping about in that.

Sam and I have just been to Bath and back in it, roof down for the last bit and he gave it the thumbs up - mustn't embarrass the teenagers!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

School Reunion

School Reunion - had to come around eventually and as it was 30 years since I left school, now was the time. Time for a catch up with some old faces and a brilliant night it was too!

I haven't actually been back to Cleobury Mortimer, where I went to school, for 27 years. My parents moved down to Somerset the year I went to University, I kept in touch with a few people but never really went back.

So I drove up to Hereford to meet a friend, then travelled over together and stayed with her Mum, who still lives there.

I did make my friend drive past our old house, just for a nosey!!

So champagne to mark the occasion and to start off the celebrations....


It really was quite surreal being back - some thing's had really changed, others, well it could have still  been 30 years ago!

(The school hall - looked smaller than I remember)

Sadly 3 of our year group are no longer with us and with all these things, quite a lot didn't come, it was a shame as I'd of liked to have seen them but their loss, as they missed a fab night. 

 It was a fabulous night, genuinely so lovely to see so many friendly, familiar faces, including a teacher or two! 

I loved my school days and last night refreshed some of those great memories, although going to bed gone 2am has left it's mark on me today. Those 30 years were cruelly evident this morning - I need a day or two to recover these days!!

This breakfast was most welcome this morning!

Hope you've had a great weekend x

Thursday, 6 April 2017

And we're done!

The last orders have been picked and packed and final mail sacks dropped off at the sorting office this morning! The dots and spots website is now closed!

I haven't finished yet though, there is a unit to empty and still a reasonable amount of stock to shift! I have someone coming to the unit tomorrow, to take items for fund raising, I've pretty much allocated all the furniture to various homes, once the stock has been cleared. Early next week I may well be offering raw stock items over on the face book page, first come, first served, so look out for those.

I'm away for the weekend, a school reunion, 30 years since I was last there! My parents moved the year I went to university, so I've only ever been back once and that was 27/28 years ago. Should be an interesting weekend - hope you have a good one too.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Don't miss your last chance to buy!

Tomorrow is the last day to buy from our website 

I've been busy over at the unit picking and packing orders. I've also brought home two on my Billy bookcases, joined them together, to make them deep enough to house my stash of dots and spots wrap, before it's gone for good. As you can see, I am a wrapping paper addict - I have rolls of the stuff! It did all used to hide in my lovely old wardrobe but we've moved that down into Jeff's study, to make room for a bigger wrap store. I've still a little more to bring over but there's in excess of 2000 sheets there, plus all the rolls!! Should last me a while.

So tomorrow the website closes and I take stock of all that's left. 
It's been a busy few weeks!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Going, going.......

.....nearly gone!
Just to update you - the website will close on Tuesday the 4th of April for any final web sales. Thank you for supporting the SALE so far. I do then intend to take stock of what's left and offer some one off purchases during the following couple of weeks eg, a stack of postcards, remaining reels of ribbon, bag of badges, packaging items etc These items will not be packaged but raw stock, at low prices, so watch out for these, the week commencing Monday 10th April - they will be listed over on the dots and spots Facebook page. 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Happy Mothering Sunday

Wishing my lovely Mum a very Happy Mother's Day and 
thinking of Jeff's Mum, who sadly in no longer with us.

I've been spoilt by my two and the sun is shining - perfect x

Hope you have a lovely day with your Mum or children 
or have fond memories of those no longer with us. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


The website will close tonight and re-open on Sunday. 

This will give me a chance to catch up on orders, give Jeff chance to organise the post, before I teach all day on Friday. If any different, I will notify you here, on the blog or via our Facebook page.

Monday, 20 March 2017


She passed!!!!!

So pleased for her - 8:20am in busy Yeovil and she passed with just one minor!

She's had a great instructor - would highly recommend him. 
Sam's booked in for August 2019! 

I will take some of the credit though - we have spent many an hour driving around together, reversing around corners, hill starts, reversing into parking bays, parallel parking, roundabouts - oh yes! 14 roundabouts a day on the school run. She's been extremely motivated and I guess now, well, when she's insured as a 'driver', she'll take over the school run - whooppee!!

Well done Sophie - just like your Mum, passed first time xx
Very proud of you x

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Website re-opens tomorrow (Sunday)

I am spending today packing orders (fuelled by coffee)
The website will re-open tomorrow (Sunday) for as long as the number of orders dictate! 

Please note however, that all orders placed tomorrow will not be sent out until Thursday morning.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017


Due to another busy day of orders, I have temporarily closed the website. I can then work my way through the orders and fairly deal with any stock issues, if they arise, on a first come-first served basis. I would hope to catch up and complete all orders over Friday/Saturday (I'm working at school all day tomorrow) and will then re-open the website again. 

Sorry for the inconvenience this may cause but I don't want to get in a muddle and disappoint anyone. I will keep things updated here on the blog, so do check in if you want to be notified and not miss out.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Bit of un aupdate

As you know, orders last week all went a little mad! You ordered in the 100's (thank you) and as a result, I have had to temporarily take down the website. I have been working my way through them all on a first come, first served basis, in case any stock issues arose. This has meant the process has been slower but fairer. I should finish these today and then my intention is to do an updated stock take on Monday and Tuesday, making the website live again on Wednesday. It will close again, if and when there is a big flurry in orders,  I will then catch up, re-open and continue with this cycle if necessary, as I'm also doing supply teaching all day Thursday. 

I can't thank you enough - there were a few of you, 5 I think, who had problems placing your order and I shall be in touch with you as soon as I've updated the stock levels.

I'm off now to get making up, picking and packing - the postman is going to love me in the morning!

Have a great Sunday 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

You loved this too much!

Due to the sheer volume of orders today, I have had to close the website temporarily.

I will endeavour to work my way through the orders as they were received, so any stock issues which may arise, are treated fairly on a first come, first served basis. I will then do an up to date stock take and make the website live again. Realistically this will be some time next week, as not only are there a lot of orders, the quantities within the orders are big.

Thank you for your custom and supporting the sale. There is still plenty to go around but I do need to check on some items with smaller available quantities, so not to disappoint future customers,

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The time has come to say.......

......farewell x

After 8 years and 10 months, I have decided to say goodbye to dots and spots. It has reached a natural conclusion and I long to do something different, be around people again, be part of a busy work environment.

What started out as a little creative ‘playing’ in my studio whilst still teaching back in 2008, became a business bigger than I ever intended. 

 (How young do they look here!)

Something to ‘fit in around the kids’, soon became something ‘the kids had to fit around’. 

I gave up teaching and after a truly successful five years of designing and trading at the big London shows, we stocked just over 400 Independent retailers in the UK, including large orders to Dobbies Garden Centre’s and Harrods to name a few. However, we started the business just as the recession began and with increasingly difficult trading times, coupled with Jeff's unexpected redundancy in 2013 and subsequent ‘full on’ new job, we made the decision to scale the business back, rather than take the risky decision to employ staff and move into bigger premises etc.

So, for the past 3/4 years the business has taken on a steady platform, selling through our own website, and selling wholesale to some loyal independent retailers. Over this time we have not been designing new products, as we didn’t want to take any financial risks on big print runs and Jeff doesn’t have the time or enthusiasm to add new things to the website etc.  The orders are easily picked and packed with plenty of spare time on my hands. 

I’ve dabbled helping out in my friends shop, which I loved but sadly it closed. It did make me realise though how much I enjoyed other people’s company, I miss being part of a ‘place’, a busy working environment. 

Since moving house last year, I have used the extra time to manage the extension build and decorate our new home but with my dots and spots unit still over in Shepton, where we used to live, 25 minutes away and with the desire not to fill this house with dots and spots ‘stuff’ and move it all over here, the time has come to say goodbye.

We have given notice on the unit for the end of April. We will be holding a *CLOSING DOWN SALE* over on our website throughout the month of March, with 75% off everything starting on Tuesday the 7th March and in April, will possibly sell off other bits, cello’s, packaging, postal tubes etc before we ‘give up’ the unit at the end of the month. 

(Poor Jeff - one of the many Ikea flat packs he's put together over the years!)

Want a bargain, want good quality items for fund raising projects or to sell on yourself, then ask? 
( )  We do still have larger quantities on some items (notebooks in particular) a few 'full' boxes of tape and are more than happy to discuss a sensible price/offer. Live locally or have a van and want IKEA Billy bookcases or the old IKEA 5x5 Expedit, now called Kallax shelving units, then ask.

New job – who knows!?! I need to do something to bring some money in and still fit in around the children but with Sophie learning to drive and hopefully soon passing her test, I won’t be restricted by the school run for a year or so. I have no idea what I want to do, I’ve done a little supply teaching recently but I’m not sure I want to go back to it. I would be frustrated as a classroom assistant but I don’t want the responsibility/workload of a full on teacher and I hate the short notice of supply. I just know that I want set hours, a regular income and to be around other people.

It won’t be long before Sophie will be off to university and I guess Sam will soon follow. Jeff’s job in term time is all so consuming, so ‘now’ is a time to find a ‘little’ something for me. I like to be busy, I like to feel I am contributing to the family pot, I like to know what I’m doing and although dots and spots gave me reasonable flexibility, it was also so very in-flexible and unpredictable, as you never knew how busy or quiet you would be. 

Family time during the Summer holidays and Christmas were often our busiest times, so I am actually looking forward to the 9-5 routine, set hours and holiday time, weekends on/off, a payslip at the end of each month, no surprises. 

No customer enquiries late on a Sunday evening, no ‘just popping to the post office’ en-route to somewhere else to drop off mail sacks, no worries about money coming in or going out, no chasing late payers or saying goodbye to £1000's because someone goes under. No dealing with customer enquiries whilst on holiday, no more waiting around for couriers, deliveries, lost parcels and hassle!

So it is with a little sadness that I say goodbye but also with a big smile on my face, for what I have achieved and for what is ahead. I’ve just got to find the right thing.

I would like to thank you all for your encouragement, support and custom over the past 8+ years. I have loved sharing the ups and downs of running a business here on the blog and have loved engaging with people over on Facebook, Instagram etc. The website and Facebook page will close shortly (end of April) as all the loose ends are tied but the blog will still continue in the vein of recent years, more as a personal diary for me to look back on.

I do have to say a few thank you's but will write another post - too many for today.

So farewell to dots and spots x