Tag: garden

The Poppy Diaries – Week 1


Instead of giving Poppy her own blog, I’ve decided to write a weekly diary about how we’re all getting on, how she’s settling in and what we’re learning about her & her ways!Poppydog

Our first week with little Poppy has been a real learning curve. I’ve lived with dogs for a long time, but nothing can prepare you for being the owner of your own dog. It’s such a huge responsibility. Even though I’ve wanted a dog for such a long time, I didn’t realise how tough the first few days were going to be.

Poppy is a great dog. She’s really easy going and gentle. She loves attention, wants to meet everyone we see on our walks & she’s desperate to play with all the dogs in the park. She’s happy to be picked up & manhandled, (which we had to do when we had new windows put in this week!), she didn’t mind me trying out a harness on her & changing the size and she doesn’t mind been pulled about when we’re trying to untangle the lead from her.

What she doesn’t like is bed time.

On her first night, Poppy barked & howled for a good 45 minutes when we put her to bed. She finally settled down, but then woke up every 1.5/2 hours throughout the night. Our poor neighbours! On the second night, she didn’t take as long to settle and only barked once during the night. Then we decided to leave the radio on. Who knew Poppy was a Radio 4 girl?! She now settles instantly, along with the help of a nighttime treat, and generally sleeps through until 6am. We’re hoping with the clocks changing this’ll be extended until 7 for a bit, which’ll give me time to fashion a curtain that should help darken her room a bit. And hopefully help her, and us, get a bit more sleep!

Here’s what I’ve learned about Poppy this week:

  • Poppy likes to bounce. Like all good Springer Spaniels, when Poppy gets excited she bounces like crazy. And not only that, she stands on her back legs quite a bit. I think it’s so she can get better view of things, as she’s so small!
  • Poppy is really well behaved around food. She is completely disinterested when we’re eating & only slightly interested when we’re preparing food. However…
  • Poppy likes to eat used chewing gum. She has to stop & sniff it, and if you’re not quick enough, she’ll gobble it up. (PS – She also loves Minstrels & dog poop & I’m pretty sure she also ate a feather by mistake after it got stuck to her nose)
  • Poppy has GIANT front paws. As she’s a Basset Hound mix, she has proper Basset front paws. Just her front. Her back legs are all Spaniel, but she stands with them pointing outwards. Super cute!
  • Poppy has a great Hound howl. She howls when she’s over excited, tired, yawning & fed up of barking.

Despite being 2, Poppy hasn’t been trained so some of her ways are very puppy- like. At the moment, when we’re getting ready to go for a walk, or not paying her enough attention, or giving her what she wants straight away, Poppy barks. And she’ll quite happily bark right in your face. This won’t do. So my OH looked into it & we’re working on training her out of it. In order to do this, we have to ignore her when she barks, and reward her good, quiet behaviour. This is hard. When we’re getting for a walk, she gets overexcited & barks like a crazy pooch. We have to ignore her until she quiets down & then we can go out on the walk. It totally works though so here’s hoping she’ll be the best behaved pooch in the park in no time!

Introducing Poppy the Dog

Say hello to the latest addition at Crafty Chai towers… 2 year old Poppy!









We’ve been wanting a little dog of our own for ages, but needed to get the garden secure beforehand. With that completed & out of the way, we registered at Blue Cross last weekend. We didn’t mind what type of dog we adopted as long as it was housetrained, not too big (as Crafty Chai towers is compact & bijou!) and supercute! We wanted to adopt a dog as there are so many dogs that need it, it wouldn’t feel right not to. Blue Cross told us that they update their website hourly! So we went home & started hitting the F5 button. The speed at which dogs were added and taken off was overwhelming, especially as there are some dogs on the site that have been there for a while. Heartbreaking. (If I had my way, I’d have all the dogs!)

Then, on Tuesday, little Poppy appeared. We had a look at her profile, had a chat and rang the centre to find out more. She was being rehomed due a relationship breakdown, had lived with small pets & a toddler and had a good temperment. We arranged to meet her on Friday.

We fell in love with her instantly. Poppy is a Spring Spaniel Bassett Hound cross – A Springbatt! I’d never come across this mix before, but she is a real mixture! Being more basset than spaniel, she has short front legs, beautiful hound eyes & giant ears. The back end of her is more spaniel, though she has the best bark which turns into quite the howl! I like the weird mixture – she’s really unique. It’s almost like someone has cut up a few different dogs & mixed them all together! Adorable! We met her again this morning, had some basic training to help her improve her recall & brought her home.

She does need a bit of training so will be attending classes, as she gets a little bit overexcited, but so far, so good. She has settled in well, and is curled up next to me, on the sofa, snoozing away, as I write this. She’s been in our home less than 6 hours & already I can’t imagine it without her. We’ve definitely made the right decision. I’ll try not to drown my social media feeds with pictures & videos of her, but she’s going to be a regular feature!

Liberty Home Department Launch 2013


This morning I have been along to the launch of Liberty‘s Homeware department, which includes their new Outdoor Living section. I warn you – I’m going to gush, quite a bit, about how great the products are. But they are. The floor is filled with beautiful furniture, plush cushions and fabric and amazing outdoor pieces. I took a lot of photographs & had a really good look around. If you want to add splashes off colour to your home, then you need to have a look around Liberty. Similarly, if you want your garden furniture and garden to blend seamlessly, then you have to visit the outdoor living area.

The home wares team at Liberty have handpicked an eclectic and inspiring selection of designers, artisans and artists. This means that you can go to Liberty and see different things for your home & garden. While they’re following the trend of bright bold soft furnishings, you can have something unique for your home, which is what you’d expect from somewhere like Liberty.

With designers like Donna Wilson, Rory Dobner and Astier De Villate nestled alongside Moorcroft and pieces sourced by Patch Rogers and Drew Pritchard, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a unique shopping experience.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces


Astier de Villatte

Leather ArmchairTypewriter









Vintage Cans

Blankets and tablesOrla Keily Lamp

I had a lovely time at the launch and got a ton of ideas for my home and garden. I love the way that Liberty has got a real mixture of old and new and it all works really well. My favourite two things were the Orla Kiely designed lamps. I love her designs. I like patterns and love the combinations she uses. My second favourite thing was the old leather armchair. Leather armchairs need to be broken into so when you come across one that is, it’s a real gem. Plus I’m on the look out for two awesome armchairs and would buy this one in a heart beat, if I had the cash!

Liberty has always been a reason to visit London. Now, it’s almost like visiting a museum as well. The way everything is displayed, it’s almost like taking a tour of Pitt Rivers Museum! But you can take the artifacts home!




We’ve lived in our house just shy of three years – blimey time goes fast. We spent a lot of time & money working on the inside. From insulation & damp proofing to painting & wallpapering. We also had to buy a lot of new furniture & thanks to our taste of one-off pieces, we didn’t have much money left to finish the inside (which we still haven’t!) let alone get to work on the garden. So, sadly, the garden has been somewhat neglected for quite some time. Look at how sad it is 🙁


For those who follow me on Twitter will have read about the constant battle I have with the neighbourhood cats who have confused our little patch of dirt with their litter trays. I get a lot of advice about how to takle this but our aim is to get a dog – yeah, that’ll show em! Sadly it won’t be a pug, unless we win the lottery, in which case we’ll get enough pugs to form an army. But because pugs about £1000 & are rarely up for adoption, we won’t be getting one just yet. Anyway, before we can head down to Dogs Trust or Blue Cross, we need to get the garden sorted.

In order to get the garden sorted, we need:

  • A new fence – the length of one side of the garden.
  • A new shed – our current one in the picture is being held together with cobswebs & snail trails. (Not kidding).
  • A wall repaired – you can see through it in places *sigh*
  • New borders dug in – the grass has no boundries & needs to be put in its place.
  • Raised beds – so that I can grow lots of veg.
  • Plants. Lots & lots of plants.

So. Just a small job then. Combine the amount of work with the cost & the shocking weather we’ve had this summer and you’ll understand why it’s looking a little sad.

We’ve done sooooo much though. All the borders have been cleared, and continue to be cleared of weeds. My OH has removed the collapsed fence & dug up a number of plants & shrubs that were beyond saving. We’ve spent hours clearing it & hurt muscles we didn’t even know we had. I long for the day when gardening doesn’t include aches & pains for a week and that it will just be pottering around, harvesting veg & cutting back plants. I can’t wait for gardening to be a lovely past time, rather than a massive chore. I know it’ll come, but there’s still so much to do. This weekend, while digging up a root ball, I actually wished Ground Force was still around! So if anyone wants to contribute to the Crafty Chai garden fund, just let me know! x