Decluttering

I have been decluttering Crafty Chai towers like it’s going out of fashion. Not sure if it’s just because I’m fed of having so much stuff or if it’s because I’m getting ready to hibernate, but either way, all those annoying little jobs on my list are getting done.

I’ve taken bags upon bags to the charity shop, recycled and sold lots of unwanted items (If you’re in the market for an espresso machine, check out my Gumtree ad!) and done a lot of reorganisation. For example, saucepan lids. Everytime we wanted to use one, we had to dig around in the back of a kitchen cupboard and empty half the contents onto the floor. It was mega annoying. Our little house doesn’t have much storage, and what there is isn’t really fit for purpose e.g. our ‘wardrobes’ won’t shut properly, which often means I have to dust my shoes before I wear them! Needless to say, sorting better storage is on my list!

Decluttering

One thing we have achieved recently is setting up an airing cupboard (pictured above – please excuse the poor quality picture!). Previously, bed linen and towels were all over the place, in cupboards, drawers, squirreled away, getting creased. I do like the feel of ironed sheets so always iron them. Therefore it’s really annoying when you get them out of the cupboard and they’re all creased! I desperately wanted a airing cupboard. So we decided to transform one of the cupboards in the spare room. Short on time and budget, my OH used some leftover paint to freshen the cupboard up and bought a cheap shelving unit to save us having to drill into the walls. Someone along the years has done some questionable DIY to this house. We don’t want to make it worse but we are still on a very tight budget. I really like the shelves. They’re easy to keep clean and I’m going to add some vinyl labels using my Cricut Explore, which can be easily removed in the future. We also packed spare duvets and pillows in vacuum bags (so much fun!) to save a bit of room and keep the bugs off.

The good news is that everything is tidy and in one place, including the ironing board and the airer, which fits in nicely in the front. No longer will it fall out on me or terrify Poppy as I struggle to get it in the cupboard! It’s so satisfying knowing that this is sorted. My OH & I have also swapped home offices, which means redecoration and reorganising so we’ve got plenty of jobs to do to get us through until next year!

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – The Kidneys and Aston’s Eyot, Oxford

It’s been ages since we found somewhere new for a lovely weekend dog walk. Between the weather (either being boiling hot or torrential showers) and getting the garden done, we’ve not gone beyond Abingdon for a while. However, last weekend, we needed to get out, get some fresh air and be surrounded by green! I wanted to go to Oxford and visit LYP so my OH looked for somewhere nearby to walk. Oxford is such a beautiful city with lots of lovely parks and green spaces, but even this one was new to us. We discovered The Kidneys and Aston’s Eyot in East Oxford. It’s such a beautiful space, full of gorgeous plants, fruit and wildlife. Some of the paths go right by the river, and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a regatta taking place. Poppy had a little look at the river, but once again, she was freaked out by water!

Pathway Elderberries Walking Oxford Rowing on the Isis Poppy walking Poppy on the Thames Wild Flowers Oxford Regatta The Kidneys Rowing Oxford Aston's Eyot

 

If you’re looking for somewhere lovely to walk in the city that’s less well known and has loads of blackberries, ready for picking, this is an ideal spot.

The Walk: There are  a number of pathways you can take around Aston’s Eyot and The Kidneys so you could spend a while there.
Cost: Completely free!
Car Park: There isn’t a dedicated car park, but there are some streets nearby which aren’t residents only. However, you will need to check, especially as there may be some time restrictions.
Refreshments: While there’s no where to buy refreshments, there are a number of lovely cafes and pubs in East Oxford.
Toilets: None that I could see.

 

What I’ve Been Watching – June, July & August

Blimey. It’s been a while since I wrote a TV roundup. Partly because I kept forgetting and partly because there’s not been a whole lot on the box. Summer is always a slow time on TV, mainly because you’re meant to be out enjoying the sunshine. But I’ve still found a few gems over the last few months.

TV

I completely missed this when it was on (a drawback of watching TV online), but thank goodness for iPlayer! I’m not a massive Sarah Lancashire fan, but she is brilliant in this. The storyline is quite gritty and Lancashire makes for a flawed heroine at times, but it’s well worth a watch if dark dramas are your thing, like they are mine. Ah, Utopia. My OH suggested I watch series one in advance of series two airing on Channel 4. And I’m really glad he did. It’s an epic show, which covers a very  unusual topic. It’s refreshing to watch another great British Drama, something that this summer hasn’t been lacking. Yay!
When I saw this advertised, I knew it would be a great series to watch. I was right. Maggie Gyllenhaal is brilliant, dealing with an always very difficult and very poignant topic of Israel/Palestine. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, there’s a twist and everything is up in the air. If you haven’t been watching – get it on iPlayer. In every TV viewing, some light relief must fall. I was a huge fan of Seinfeld so thought I’d give Veep a go. I wasn’t disappointed. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is hilarious in this. It’s very Arrested Development in my view, which is another great comedy. I’ve only seen the first series, but I can’t wait to watch the second and third. Fab viewing.
I know I’ve mentioned the Good Wife before, but I’ve been rewatching it with my OH from the very beginning. I’d forgotten how great it was. It’s one of the best dramas on TV right now. I pretty much love every character, though Eli Gold is my favourite because he just shouts at people. (I love a good shout!) If you’ve not watched it, it’s worth signing up to Netflix for. This was recommended on Twitter and I’ve been aware of it for a while but not watched it until recently. It’s bloody brilliant! Again, it feels a bit like Arrested Development and I can’t decide who my favourite character is, Ron Swanson or Ted Haverford. It makes me laugh out loud and want a job in the Parks & Recreation department. Watch it!

Film

I love Joaquin Phoenix. I think he’s a great actor. He can play such a wide range of characters. Her is no exception. It’s a brilliantly imaginative film, sadly a rarity in Hollywood these days. Her shows a very scary reality of what our future could be like, should Apple ever really get Siri to work properly. I kind of hope they don’t! Matthew McConaughey can do no wrong at the moment. Everything he touches turns to gold and Dallas Buyers Club is no exception. This is a really moving, scary and insightful look at the Aids epidemic when it first began and the lack of understanding/medicines available. It’s well worth a watch if you haven’t already. There’s no surprise that it did well at the Oscars – well deserved if you ask me.
I saw a load of fuss about this on Twitter, but didn’t really pay it much attention. Then, when we had a dog free day, we decided to go and watch it in the cinema. I love a good comic book film, so was quite content. But it was much better than I thought it would be and I totally understood the hype after watching it. It’s got a much fresher feel than a lot of the other Marvel films & Chris Pratt is great in it. Roll on the sequel. I remember watching the trailer for this a while back and not really getting it. When we decided to watch it on the weekend, we decided that it’s kind of like the Hunger Games (though not as good) and while it does have that post-apocalyptic vibe and a strong female lead, it’s still really good. Like the Hunger Games, it’s Divergent is part of a trilogy and I can’t wait for the next installment.

If you have any recommendations of what to watch, I’d love to know. I realise it’s not long until lots of great TV starts again in the autumn (The Walking Dead, I’m looking at you), but there’s got to be a few gems I’ve missed!

A Handmade Wedding with Cricut Explore

Recently, some friends of mine asked me to help out with their wedding decorations. I was in charge of the place cards and the seating chart. They wanted them handwritten – No pressure then!

Making the place cards couldn’t have been easier with the (c/o) Cricut Explore. All I had to do was set the size of the place cards in the Design Room and go. I was using A4 card that matched the colour scheme of the wedding. The Design Room makes it easy, as you can add as many shapes as you can fit on the paper. I was able to fit five on a page and I used the Scoring stylus so the cards were easy to bend. Super simple – my kind of craft!

Then I used Scrabble tiles as the first initial for the place card and then hand wrote the name. I also used the Cricut Explore to for the seating chart so that everything was cut to perfection. I was so pleased with how it all turned out and along with the amazing decorations at the wedding venue, everything looked great. Take a look!

Table Setting Handmade Place Cards Wedding Venue Wedding BalloonsHandmade Seating chart Wedding StreamersWedding Just Married Handmade WeddingThe Happy CoupleIt was such an honour to be a part of such a beautiful day. Everything was lovely, the food was great, the speeches were hilarious and the grooms were very handsome! Congratulations Mark & Ashley!

Disclosure: I was sent the Cricut Explore to review, but as usual, all opinions are my own.

 

Tuesday Treat – Love Your Plane

One of my favourite shops in East Oxford, Comma, closed it’s doors a while ago. I was gutted. They always had so many great, unique products and stationery, it was my heaven! Fortunately, it wasn’t long until the shop reopened as Love Your Plane and throughout August, OLD MADE shop is popping up there. It’s the perfect mixture of vintage items and amazing stationery. Excellent!

LYP Oxford

We popped in on Saturday (Poppy too!) and I had a quick mooch about. Within seconds of being in the shop, I saw about ten things that I wanted, from prints and chairs to vintage jars and cards. I’ll definitely be popping back in soon – there are a couple of pieces of jewellery there with my name on!

And the winner is…

I’ve finally got around to picking a winner of the gorgeous Dachshund brooch. It was a very scientific way of picking the winner (names on squares of paper, thrown up in the air, one picked at random.) Well, you can’t argue with gravity right?! So the winner is…

Dachshund Brooch

Pupcakes! They commented on the post over on my Facebook page. I’ve asked them to send their details so I can get it in the post asap.

Thanks to everyone for entering. Hope you’re having a good Friday. This week has been mega tough for various reasons and I’m looking forward to the weekend, which promises plenty of wine if nothing else! What have got planned?

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