Tuesday, 28 February 2012


I have been thinking lately about pet insurance - you may remember back in late November my Mum had to have our cat Max put to sleep due to a twisted gut? He belonged to us and went to live with my Mum a couple of years ago as he was a timid little soul who found the hustle and bustle of a house with two young boys too much:

Max was off his food and a few days later was admitted to the vets - he was in the “hospital” a couple of days before he died and so not only were we all terribly upset that he had gone to Rainbow Bridge (he was only 8 years old) the bill was frighteningly large.

His illness came on so suddenly that it makes you realise how fragile your pets are, and not only do you worry for their wellbeing when they become ill, it can also be a worry because you may be faced with a large and unexpected bill.

Mum has her animals insured (she has three cats and dog), however I must confess we don’t have ours insured at present so I’m thinking that it might be a good idea to rectify that following our recent experience.

We don’t have any savings to speak of (I’m too busy spending money on vintage fabrics and floral trinkets!!) and so pet insurance is a sensible idea. Without insurance we would not have the extra money needed to pay for a vets bill, and I can’t help thinking that as a responsible pet owner one should ensure that, should the worst happen, we are prepared.

It can be especially comforting following the loss of a pet as in Max’s case to know that you did everything possible to help them recover and that money didn’t have to be  a consideration when deciding on treatments.

We have had Max cremated and his ashes are going to go in a casket with Claude's, who was Max’s best friend and who also died young:

I’d love to hear about your pets? Do you have insurance for them?


S x

Saturday, 25 February 2012


Hello my lovelies - are you having a good weekend?

Grandma and Granddad have taken the boys out to Pizza Hut and the cinema and so Mr G and I have been enjoying a bit of peace and quiet.

We went up to the stables and on the way back past the farmhouse I made Mr G stop so I could hop out and take some pics of the snowdrops in the front garden - they are soooooo pretty:

I'm hoping they might be around next month when we (hopefully)  get our fancy pants DSLR camera so I can take some better pictures.

I remember last year about this time Country Living magazine had a list of gardens and stately homes where you could go to see carpets of snowdrops, crocuses and other spring flowers - I've had a Google and not found that but did find this list of snowdrop walks, none near us though.

What have you been up to this week? Did you have pancakes?

My sister, niece and nephew came round and we had a pancake-fest:

E particularly enjoyed hers I think!!

I had melted dark chocolate, banana, coconut and squirty cream in my two pancake. Weightwatchers or no Weightwatchers I wasn't missing out (and ironically even after indulging today's weigh showed I lost 1lb for the first time in 3 weeks!!)

I've been getting on with the patriotic quilts for H & W - you'll recall I had gone off doing them because I couldn't get the seams to line up perfectly, but I took all your comments on board (thanks so much, blogging rocks!!)  and totally agree that it's better for the boys to have wonky quilts handmade by their mother than none at all!! Will wait until they're finished to show you, I got the wadding yesterday and have about four more blocks to do before I can start assembling the tops.

Did anyone see The One Show yesterday? There was a piece about the Clandestine Cake Club - basically these are clubs around the country where cake lovers meet once a month or so - each person brings a cake (it must be a large homemade cake, no pies, tarts or cupcakes allowed) and these are shared with tea or coffee and at the end of the afternoon everyone takes a piece of each cake home. 

When the clubs are smallish (say up to six members or so) they meet in each others homes, but if they get bigger they arrange to meet in coffee shops at quiet times on the basis that the cafe will earn from the drinks you buy.

It sounds fab, but having had a look at the website there are none in Hampshire so I am going to email them about starting one - if anyone nearby wants to join in (I thought you might Ashley?) then drop me a line.

Anyway, that's all for now - I'm sat here thinking I've gone deaf because the boys are still at the pictures!!


S x

Monday, 20 February 2012

We're So Rock & Roll!!....

Hello all - how was your weekend?

We have been very rock and roll this weekend:

We got 2 x jigsaws and 2 x board games for £4.00 at our local charity shop on Friday and started this one on the coffee table - it's very addictive and I find I can't leave the thing alone!! Mr G and I were sat in our nightwear doing it until lunchtime on Saturday morning!! What a pair of saddos, eh?!!

Saturday was weigh in day - I haven't gone on about here on my blog but since the second week of January Mr G and I have been doing Weightwatchers online. Mr G lost over a stone in the first few weeks but I have struggled and only lost 7lb - then over the last two weeks I gained 3lb!! 

So last week I was really good, the only naughty thing that passed my lips was a piece of Victoria sponge at my friends and I got on the scales with high hopes - only to find I had stayed the same!! So after dieting for about 6 weeks I have only lost 4lb!!

Mr G's weight loss has slowed down and he has been moaning, which does my head in as if I had lost a stone AND THEN stayed the same I wouldn't be bloody complaining!!

So, to "drown our sorrows" W and I made this:

And yummy it was too.

We've had a few "heated debates" this weekend here at Shabby Chic HQ over the use of the PC and xBox - H is 13 (14 in June) and has always been pretty obsessed with electronic devices but it's getting to a point now where it is affecting family life. We have always tried to limit it to a couple of hours a day but for at least the last few years H has had no interest at all in anything other than the PC/xBox - when he is not on the PC he mopes about complaining he has nothing to do and makes a nuisance of himself by winding up his younger brother.

H doesn't want to leave the house even to do nice things (he recently kicked off about going swimming and the cinema because he'd rather stay at home).

We worry he is properly addicted and have not been sure what the right thing to do is, he doesn't make friends easily and we realise that todays teenagers are different even to what we were like as everything now is so orientated round technology - the way to interact with friends is by chatting via headset on the PC or xBox.

H has a couple of close friends and it's them he talks to though the PC/xBox so he is interacting with his friends that way - and in some ways I'd prefer that to the hanging on the street corners thing - whenever he is on the PC he's chatting to his best friend about the game they are playing together.

So on Sunday in the spirit of Doing More Exercise And Things As A Family we packed some sandwiches and set of to the Hayling Billy Trail which is a disused railway line that runs the length of Hayling Island adjacent to the shore. 

The boys took their bikes and Mr G and I had a nice walk. We stopped down a bank to eat our lunch as the wind coming off the sea was bitter!!:

Over the bank behind there is the sea - for some reason I didn't take any pics of it!!

How many Jack Russell's can you see?

The dogs don't often go on proper walks, they get to free range at the stables when I go to play with my horses and we throw balls for them in my field so it was all a bit new for them. Daisy had to stay on the lead for much of it as she is not good with other dogs - she's all bark and no bite & she's certainly never hurt another dog but many owners get snotty with us if she does it when she's loose. 

On the way back Milo was ready to go home and even stopped asking us to throw his ball - he just pottered along ahead of us carrying it in his mouth:

"I know the car is up here somewhere...."

Crafty wise I have been plodding on with the patriotic quilt for the boys but I fear I have bitten off more than I can chew - the design is a sampler quilt with each block different but even though I took care when cutting out I am having trouble getting the seams to match and it's a bit of a bodge which is making me Not Want To Do It Anymore.

So, that was our weekend - what have you been up to? I hope you had a good one....


S x

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Is There Anything More Amusing Than A Wet Cat? And Other Musings....

Bear had to have a bath - he was NOT impressed AT ALL:

He was absolutely FURIOUS - he's such a lovely, easygoing, demonstrative cat that it was all the more powerful when he Refused To Purr Or Even Look At You.

The reason for this indignity was he had got himself covered in saddle soap. I brought one of my saddles home to clean and somehow he managed to get saddle soap suds on him which had set hard. Of course he then had to have a shampoo to get them off in case he licked it and made himself sick. 

What have you been up to this week? It's been half term but as the boys are 11 and 13 they are no trouble at all (apart from arguing when we tell them to come off the PC/xBox and Do Something Else of course).

I painted a chest of drawers on Monday - duck egg this time:

We didn't do anything special on Valentines Day - no money :0( - we did exchange cards:

I made Mr G's card on my sewing machine!!

Mr G bought me a pink iPad cover and I treated us to a Chinese takeaway but we had that on Saturday as that's our "naughty" food day.

Yesterday I went to see my friend Ashley & her daughter Rose from Country Rose - we had a lovely lunch and a natter and today when I was looking at my phone I had to chuckle when I found this:

Bless!! Rose had taken a picture of herself when she played with my phone as her Mum and I nattered!!

Today I rode my horse (well one of my horses) for the first time in a year. For one reason or another I had/have kind of lost my horsey mojo and hadn't ridden but I now have a friend who rides my other horse so I was persuaded to go too.

I'm really glad I went even though I was nervous, King was a bit joggy (I bounced a few calories off I think!!) and we had an altercation with some cyclists - I'll be controversial here and say I dislike cyclists, not so much the regular commuters or people off to the shops but the be-lycra'd ones on bikes that cost more than your car. 

Two of these whizzed past my horse scaring him and causing him to jump which scared us both and then one of them had the nerve to have a go at me and my friend!! Bloomin' outrageous!!

What people forget is if it weren't for horses we'd still be in the dark ages (they would never have been carriages, travel beyond a few miles, no ploughing, no mail coaches, etc, etc, etc).

I'll get off my soapbox now!!

Hope you're all having a nice half term....


S x

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Wanties - Fulfilled and Created....

Hello all, have you been having a nice weekend?

I've been playing with my new toy which I love, love, love already!!:

My laptop has been playing up and so I sold everything that wasn't nailed down on eBay to raise money for an iPad and found a new one for a bargain price (with full Apple warranty) and so didn't have to wait too long at all. 

Mr G bought me the pink cover as an early Valentines gift- it's a Tuff-Luv and you are meant to be able to throw your iPad out of a second floor window (there's a video of them doing so on their website) and not damage it!! Great for people with "slapdash-a-rea" like me.

Of course, me being me no sooner than one wantie is fulfilled than another one takes it's place - thanks to Homebird I am now hankering after a polka dot retro leather satchel from Zatchels *rollseyes*

As you can also see from the piccie above my daffs are now in full bloom:

They smell lovely too, subtle, but very much the scent of spring.

I thought I would show you my current crochet WiP too, a giant granny square which I hoping will get big enough to be a blanket (it's too big to be turned into a cushion now!!):

It's just done in good old Stylecraft DK and I am trying to do a couple of rounds each evening in front of the TV.

I'm sat here smelling like a bonfire because we had a go at the garden today. We are not gardeners, but in the last few years have become a little more interested and this is the time of year that we pull the dead stuff out of the front garden and borders.

Mr G did his caveman thing and lit a bonfire in our bin thingy hence the smell - it so remind me of my late Dad, he had a big tweedy pink "gardening jumper" that my Nanna had knit him and it (and he) often smelt of woodsmoke on winter weekends as he spent much of his time in the large garden of the house I grew up in. Smells are soooo evocative....

What have you been up to this weekend?


S x

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Daffodils!! And more Fugly-To-Fabulous....

Hello my lovely ladies (and gentlemen if there are any of you reading)!!

I have treated myself (with Mr G's money) to my first daffs of the year:

Milo looking shifty in the background....

Also in the background you can see my new crochet cushion - it was another WIP that was meant to be a blanket but as always I got bored and turned it into a cushion. I'd love a pile of gorgeous crochet blankets but alas I don't have the staying power!!

I've now started a giant granny square in the hopes that if I do at least one round a day in a couple of months or so I'll have a blanket!!

I was also busy on Sunday and Monday Fugly-To-Fabulous-ing - remember this dated headboard?

Here she is now:

Then there was the side table/trolley thingy:

And now:

I used vintage decal transfers from eBay to add a bit of interest to the corners.

And finally,  a little bow-fronted chest of drawers which had the "Paris Grey" treatment:

Please ignore the painty floor!! The beauty of this paint is it cleans up so easily which is just as well as I paint in the house - I hope to have a big shed in my future!!

My other news is I have ordered an iPad, so hopefully I will be back to commenting on your blogs soon - I am still reading, but commenting on my phone is hopeless!!

Enjoy the rest of the week....


S x

Monday, 6 February 2012

Posh Tea Towels....

Hello all!! I hope you have had a lovely weekend and kept wrapped up out of the cold?

We didn't do a great deal, nipped into our local town, painted furniture, did the horses - the usual stuff so I haven't a whole lot to report.

Recently I was asked by All Tea Towels to review a couple of the gorgeous tea towels they stock. 

I perused the website which has some fab designs (a couple of my faves being this, this and this one) and spent an age trying to decide which ones to go for.

In the end I chose the Queens Diamond Jubilee Tea Towel:

And the Cassandra Flowers:

I loved the CK'esque vibe the two of them have going on.

They arrived the day after I ordered them and I eagerly opened the package:

I've never had such posh tea towels....

My first impressions were how lovely and big they are, and much better quality than our usual cloths (which are a sorry collection of very elderly and cheap ones).

The flowered one is pure linen and has a very open weave:

This one had to be soaked in the washing up bowl before use and over the first few washes it'll get softer and more absorbent.

So it was time to put them to good use, each was used for a couple of days and were lovely to use, they are large and absorbent and their good looks made me smile!!
They've now been washed and came out of the dryer barely needing an iron (I have better things to do than iron tea towels so they were not getting a press whether they needed it or not, it's just nice that they look good without!!):

There was little or no shrinkage either.

So in conclusiion, although at £6.50 each these tea towels are more expensive than I would usually spend, I have found that having used them and had them hung on the range they are far nicer than our usual sorry suspects.

I would definitely recommend All Tea Towels if you wanted to treat yourself to some lovely tea towels or buy a gift. 

I think a good idea would be to buy one or two a month from there until you have a pretty collection to replace your sad ones.

And of course, there are some really lovely vintage and retro looking ones which would great in a frame as wall art.

I have a stack of furniture to finish now so I will be back soon with some Fugly-To-Fabulous pics for you....


S x

PS  I ignored Mr G when he said that as I was reviewing tea towels I could say how well they burned as I set fire to at least one cloth a week!!....

(Although I was offered these products for review, the opinions above are 100% my own).

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Thursday (AKA I Can't Think Of A Title)....

Hello my lovely readers!! I hope you're all having a good week despite the frrrrreeeezing weather?

Personally I much prefer this crisp, cold weather to the usual mild-ish, wet-ish weather we get - give me bitterly cold and sparkling with frost any day. That's what I call a proper winter. 

I don't have a whole lot to report really, I've not long got back today from my Mum's - she lives on Hayling Island:

Hayling is connected to the mainland via a bridge. My Mum, Dad, Sis and I moved there in 1988 from Nottinghamshire and a couple of months later I met Mr G.

It was a good place to be a teenager (I was 15) - there was the beach which having come from the Midlands was a huge novelty, a fun fair (where I met Mr G) and arcades and much more to do than there was in our northern ex-mining village. Plus our school was one of the first to have a continental timetable and so we finished at 2.30pm each day!!

Mr G and I bought our first home together on Hayling, but we moved off in 2000 when I was pregnant with W - bigger houses cost a lot more on the island and at the time Mr G worked miles away in Bracknell and the journey off the island added a fair bit to the commute (one road on and off you see).

My Mum and Stepdad now live a lovely little bungalow that backs on to the former railway line (which is now a cycle/bridleway). 

I met my Sis down there and we made our way through Mum's considerable stack of trashy and home magazines while she made us doorstop sandwiches and a bowl of chips from her new Actifry machine - the chips were fab!! Honestly, just like deep fried ones and as they cooked with just a tablespoon of oil they are only 3% fat. 

I now want an Actifry. And an iPad. And a DSLR camera.

And a chihuahua (Mr G is still not budging).

On the way back home I stopped by one of my sources for junk/vintage furniture and picked up a couple of bits - I'm going to try and be better at taking "before" pictures, I always get halfway through and realise I've forgotten:

Double headboard - this  will look fab in Old White with a touch of dark wax to highlight the moulding. Very French I think....

Another (very dusty) trolley....

I'll be sure to post pics after their transformations....


S x