Saturday 31 December 2016


 2016 has been a great year!

 So much has happened, so I thought it best to look back in chunks - so the house, the family, Slimming World, celebrations, oh and the Tor in pics!

The House

The house has pretty much dominated this year and I could have posted so many more pics! January, February and March were pretty much all about the build, February half term being the hardest week of them all, when we lost the use of the kitchen and bathroom but the builders left us as the Easter holidays began and then it was pretty much up to Jeff and I to do the rest! So we tackled the new kitchen and bathroom and as our stuff came out of storage, it started to feel more like home. I decorated the small studio room and Jeff turned his attention to the outside. He laid a new deck, prepped the area and we put up a new shed, took down the old summerhouse and tidied up the side return of the house. We attacked the monster front hedge and added a new gate. There is still a lot to do but we've made a great start. Late Summer saw us tackle the sitting room, in time for Christmas and Jeff managed to make a start on his study before the year is out.

We still have the bathroom and utility to do and the hall, stairs and landing to work on in the year ahead. The front drive is awful but we need to save up to get that done properly - so still a lot to do but a lot has been done to make this house our new home.


Next up celebrations! Jeff celebrated his birthday (47) over the Easter weekend, just as the builders left, so no time to relax, there were far too many jobs to do! Both my Mum and Dad celebrated their 70th birthday's this year and we surprised them both with meals out. Granny celebrated a fabulous 93 years. Jeff and I celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary in August and Sam turned 14 and suddenly got tall! Sophie turned 17 in November, which meant learning to drive and I became 46, closer to 50 than 40 now but I do have Take That tickets to look forward to next year x!!


We have had a busy year as a family, particularly Sophie having a big year - with GCSE's, Prom, NCS, Results, Sixth Form, learning to drive, first job etc. We are so proud of all her achievements and know she has another busy year ahead with AS levels, driving test, university applicationes etc. Sam got tall! He started his GCSE years, got himself a girlfriend and is becoming increasingly independent and grown up! Jeff lost weight, passed his referee qualification, continued his love for running and swimming, rekindled his love of playing football and refereeing and found a new love for 'spinning' - feel shattered just writing all that! He has also worked tirelessly both in his job at Millfield and here doing jobs at home! Me? I have been kept busy at dots and spots HQ and school run duties (although I'm hoping Sophie will soon take that over!). I've kept the weight off, been blonde, brunette and a red head, met up with old school friends, loved every minute seeing Take That in Hyde Park with Jeff and had a lovely family week in Cornwall and the best girly week with Sophie in sunny Sorrento.

Slimming World

One of my biggest achievements this year, has been keeping the weight off. I worked so hard to lose the weight, there is always the worry it will all go straight back on but with Slimming World, group support and my inspirational IG feed, I have managed to do it. I'm not going to lie, maintaining my weight isn't easy, old habits lurk not too far away. I changed my target weight from 8st 10lbs to a more realistic 9st 3lbs and finally got there in September. I annoyingly had to give up running due to a bad back and niggly hip - I miss it, although taking up yoga has been un-expectantly good fun! I guess the way forward is just finding a balance between normal eating, treats and the SW plan. I've always said you have to view it as a lifestyle change, a forever way of doing things, if you want to keep the weight off. My size 8 jeans are a huge motivator for me - as long as they still fit, I'm happy. 

The Tor

This has become an unexpected bonus from the new build. This time last year, the roof trusses were going up and Mark our builder, asked us if we were sure we didn't want a dormer window. We climbed up into the space, turned and looked out to this wonderful view of Glastonbury Tor and had to say 'go for it'! It meant additional planning permission, a slight delay in the build and of course more money but it was worth it. When you open the shutters every morning to this view, we know how lucky we are and the fact you can also have a clear view of it from the kitchen, is an even bigger bonus. So here is the Tor from Jan-April top row, May, June 2nd row, July, Aug 3rd row and January through to December bottom row. We've walked up it twice and Jeff has run to the top and back! 

Of course 2016 has been quite a year with Brexit and Trump! and what seems like a huge amount of celebrity deaths. This picture by The Poke sums it up best!

I hope you have all had a fabulous 2016 - I will share with you tomorrow my thoughts for the year ahead. Have a great evening tonight welcoming in the New Year and see you in 2017!

Wednesday 28 December 2016


Christmas Eve

So it was just the four of us for Christmas and whilst I miss the hustle and bustle of a busy big family Christmas, I also enjoyed the slower, quieter pace of a Christmas for 4!

I've had plenty of time to sit and enjoy the odd film (with a mince pie or two)

And we were treated this year, to a very slim Father Christmas beside the tree on Christmas morning - very unexpected it was too!!

I still make an  effort, even if it just the four of us....

..... and I may of cooked for more (a lot more!!) 
but who doesn't love leftovers.

Sophie was working on Boxing Day and my sister and niece came over late afternoon, so Jeff, Sam and I walked walked to Glastonbury Tor from our house and back, 10k - burnt off a few Christmas calories and blew a few cobwebs away! Might make it a new tradition!

So Christmas is over, everyone has gone out - Sophie to meet a friend, the boys to the cinema to see Stars Wars and me? I am about to take the tree down. I used to always take it down New Years Day - new year, fresh clean start and all that but this year I'm going to take it down today on the 28th! I'm leaving some lights up and I have some decorations to put up for New Years Eve, so it won't be completely normal! I'm also getting back into my Slimming World groove. I have probably been the most relaxed in 2 years about what I have eaten this year but I can feel the pounds creeping on and I don't like it. So I have drawn the line and am back 'on-plan' today, rather than wait until the start of the new year. 

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas
The SALE is now over on our website - 50% off everything

Enjoy this 'limbo' time between Christmas and New Year x

Friday 23 December 2016


Just in case I don't get a chance between now and the big day, I'd like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2017.

Have a truly lovely Christmas x

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Beals Wheels

Here's Sophie going off for her driving lesson - only her fourth, seems more. She is very keen to learn and pass her test and I am very keen for her to take over the school run!! We gave her a set of 5 lessons for her birthday, another set of 5 for her Christmas, her grandparents gave her money for another set and she has got herself a job and been working for the past few weeks, to save up for another set of 5. Each 2 hour lesson is £50 so a lot of money. Jeff and I see it as an important skill though to learn, so we are encouraging her enthusiasm all the way.

Rather surprisingly, it is me that seems to have taken on the task of taking her driving whenever she has some spare time. We had a confidence wobble today but got straight back out in the car this evening, in the dark and the rain and she was fine, in fact she was more than fine!. I keep telling her that it is not a race but a process, which will take as long as is necessary!!

Her job takes up a lot of her time, with college work to contend with too and Mocks just around the corner, she has a lot going on. She should be doing less hours at work now, with the Christmas madness nearly over and she'll be driving home from school every day once term starts. She's booked her theory test, so something else to learn but she is keen to get it ticked off. So tomorrow in the spare hour she has before work, we will be practising reversing around a corner, parking in a bay and manoeuvring around roundabouts and there are a lot of roundabouts near us!!!

Monday 19 December 2016

Family time

This year it will just be the four of us for Christmas, so we've enjoyed two get together's, to make up for not being together on the actual day.

Saturday night we went to ASK Italian in Wells with Jeff's side of the family, for a lovely meal and catch up - it's always lovely to see the 'cousins' together and Sam proudly basking in the knowledge he is now the second tallest in the family!

And today we headed down to Darts Farm near Exeter, to meet up with my family. Mum, Dad and Granny travelled up from Cornwall and my sister and niece down from Bath. It must be a popular spot as it was soooooo busy, thankfully we'd reserved a table. After a lovely lunch, presents and hugs exchanged in the car park, we made our way home.

Two years ago we had our first ever Christmas, just the four of us. I was dreading it - to me Christmas was being busy, lots of people and noise and chatter. But it was actually a lovely calm day, spending probably the most quality time together, we had shared in a long time.

Hoping this year will be the same, as now they're older, Christmas day is a very different time x

Sunday 18 December 2016

It's a wrap!

One of the best bits about Christmas for me, is wrapping presents - I LOVE IT!
It amazes me that people don't like it. I have an array of papers - spots, stars stripes, red green, grey, white, blue, glittery - you name it, I've got it! 

With tags to match and meters of ribbon to add the final flourish. Christmas tunes play in the background, coffee on tap and the odd chocolate might be eaten!! What's not to like?

I've had to be careful though this year, as we have underfloor heating in the kitchen, so chocolate has been put in the sitting room and any gifts from others have been moved off the floor, just in case!


So last Monday, the first day of Jeff's holiday, I cashed in one of my Birthday presents - a 'moan free trip to Ikea'! We went straight after the school run, got there 5 minutes before it opened, had just a few things on my list and it was actually successful and uneventful! Jeff 'trolley surfed' the aisles and meatballs were consumed and everything on the list ticked off.

We bought this chair for the kitchen.....

....and this foot stool for the sitting room, which is already being put to good use!
I'll have to ask for that again, Jeff hates going to Ikea and this ended up being a pleasant 'moan free' morning!

Saturday 10 December 2016

Christmas at 79!

Last year we didn't 'do' Christmas as we were in the throws of the build. It was chaos, messy, everything was in storage and we went to Cornwall for actual Christmas, so didn't bother.

This year however, I get to decorate this fantastic new space and it's been lovely finding new homes for all my lovely Christmas bits, old and new.

 I've tried not to use everything - keeping it simple but still Christmassy 

The finished sitting room houses the second smaller tree (from Ikea) 
and is just right for this room

It feels festive but not cluttered

The main tree is in the kitchen as it's the biggest room in the house and the place where we all spend most of our time together. I basically live in the kitchen with my little corner there and the underfloor heating is a big bonus, plus the kettle isn't too far away!! I LOVE this room - all the mess this time last year was soooooo worth it, to have such a fantastic space now and I can't wait for actual Christmas day xx.

We've even put some lights out outside - they're slightly 'warmer' than I was expecting but a little festive touch for anyone passing by. Will add to them next year!!

So as always, I say I'm not buying anything new and each year I can't resist. This year I bought this fab pudding biscuit jar - only £10, so I had to have it!

The boy, for this first time ever has taken an interest in shopping, so we went to Bath last Saturday to get him some new clothes and do a few gift bits. He is so tall now 5:10, growing up far too quickly. 

Sophie has got herself a job and is busy working all weekends and Thursday late night shopping. She's saving up for extra driving lessons, we go out when we can and she is doing really well. 

Jeff finished yesterday for Christmas - he has had such a busy term, so the break is most welcome although he still is busy refereeing and doing a little tutoring, plus working his way through a list of jobs to do at home. He'll be glad to go back to school for a rest. As you can see he's been losing weight too - he is obviously eating SW food , exercising more and he says, less snacking between meals. We both feel so much better for losing a few pounds.

I'm still keeping the weight off. I always struggle at this time of year as I love cake, mince pies, stollen anything doughy and christmassy BUT I am determined that the weight is not going to creep back on, so I still regularly attend my local Slimming World group to keep me focused, accountable and motivated to keep going. I will of course enjoy the odd treat this Christmas but I will be keeping a check on the scale too!

I have a date with the box of Christmas cards for the remainder of today, then orders to get picked and packed tomorrow. Then I hope to make a start on present wrapping, one of my favourite jobs - coffee, Christmas tunes, lights on and a few hours present wrapping, maybe a mince pie or chocolate too - bliss.

Enjoy your festive preparations xx

Thursday 1 December 2016

It's beginning......

.... to feel a lot like Christmas!

December the 1st is when Christmas begins in our house. We don't put our tree up until mid December but the Advent calendar goes up, the chocolate tin comes out, the wreath goes up on the door. We are allowed to play Christmas music and the Christmas mugs get washed ready to fill. The scene is set and from now on, Christmas drips in ever so slowly - the odd decoration, set of lights, candle etc until tree decoration day - I LOVE IT!!!

Feeling Christmassy but very disorganised this year on the present front, I headed to Bath today to make a start on this years gifts. I swear it gets harder every year. It was lovely and quiet for the first hour then crazy busy as the coach loads arrived for the Christmas markets. I got a few bits but need some serious inspiration this year.

This evening we wandered down into town to support the local Street Christmas market. It was something and nothing to be honest but the tree in Clarks Village looked lovely all lit up. This weekend I shall be getting my Christmas cards written, I've made a start and will wrap anything that needs posting - I WILL be organised x

Saturday 26 November 2016

Black Friday SALE

The Black Friday Sale madness continues all weekend, over in our

Not on the High store

If you missed our Birthday SALE you can get a bargain 

Monday 21 November 2016


Before the Black Friday madness begins, we're offering you a birthday bonus. 

To celebrate my 46th year, we're offering you 

46% off EVERYTHING  

 Offer ends 11.59pm on Wednesday 

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Closer to 50....

So another year has passed - closer to 50 than 40!

I celebrated with cake - the first mince pie of the year!
Think that could become a good new birthday tradition x

We agreed not to buy much as money is tight this year but I was treated to Take That tickets for the Summer, a 'moan free' trip to Ikea, Jeff hates Ikea and a little money to do a little guilt free shopping in Bath one day. The children bought me some lilies and I had lovely gifts from the family, so I was spoilt, on what was otherwise just an ordinary day. 

Saturday 12 November 2016

Sofa time!!!

The Sitting Room

This room has been a long time coming. We loved this room when we viewed the house, with it's view out onto the garden. It was slightly bigger than our previous sitting room in Shepton and it had a lot of potential, with a fireplace (not to our taste) and lots of natural light and views out onto the garden.

We put our temporary stamp on it when we moved in and initially, it had to double up as the dining room too - bit of squeeze but doable!

Then in February as the build progressed, we had to move the kitchen into this room too for about a month or two, now that was a squeeze.

So when the new kitchen was done, this room felt spacious all over again. We styled it the best we could but there was no moving away from the horrible carpet and fireplace.

Sophie and I had researched and tested many sofa's in the hunt for our new one. The old sofas were from Next, were about 8 years old, still comfy but had 'bobbled' terribly and were just looking a bit tired now. I'd saved a 'sofa fund' that hadn't got swallowed up in 'the build' so we had a bit of money put aside. We choose the Dillon sofa in 'iron' cotton covers from Sofa Workshop and ordered them in August, with an arrival date of early November, to spur us on with getting the room done!

We temporarily moved the sitting room into the front room, which had been our bedroom and will become Jeff's study/extra TV room eventually, whilst we got on with transforming the sitting room.

There was a lot to do. The whole room was wall papered - walls and ceiling, so that all had to come off, walls stripped, prepped and painted. The fireplace and hearth had to come out and we replaced it with the recycled floorboards, rescued from the old summerhouse floor. We used the leftover kitchen floor tiles to finish the hearth. The old carpet came up and Jeff laid a wooden floor, which I then painted. We saved up enough money to replace the old sliding doors with one large door, which will hopefully be useful in the Summer months. 

Before and after fireplace pics.

So for the last couple of weeks the room has been ready, awaiting the arrival of the sofas, so we could start using that room and yesterday, was 'sofa day'! I had to stay in all day and you've guessed it, they arrived at 3.30pm but it thankfully was dry and they were the right ones!

We went for the 'snuggler' a small sofa/over sized armchair for this corner. It will seat 2 people but doesn't take up the space of an actual sofa. As it's normally just Jeff and I sat in the sitting room in an evening, we thought this was a sensible option but for the first time last night, we had company - the lure of the new sofa's enticed the teenagers down!!

Then along this wall, we went for the medium sofa, which more than comfortably accommodates 2 but could easily seat 3. Again, it doesn't take up the space of a large sofa, making the room feel spacious still. We've waited until the sofa's arrived, to decide on whether we need a rug, coffee table, footstools etc as we don't want the room to feel crowded.

 The pictures are still to go up , when Jeff has a moment to get his drill out and we are still to decide/save up for a fire but the room is 'done for Christmas' which was always my goal. For the first time in well over a year now, I feel I have a room I can now relax in and enjoy.