Category: Others

My Top Three Electric Range Cookers

To me, nothing spells country than having a range cooker in the kitchen.  In my ideal world, it would be an Aga like this one.
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Image source

Yes, it can only happen in my dreams, since these cookers when bought brand new, probably cost about eight grand, maybe even more than that.  And I for one, can’t afford something as expensive as that, unless I win the lottery, but that would mean having to buy a ticket, which I never do.  Maybe, it’s about time I did?

When we move to our new house next week, we will be needing a new cooker.  There is a current freestanding one in the house, but it looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in ages (or maybe it just needs a good clean?)  And since I have neither the money nor the space, (it’s a small galley kitchen), I’ve been looking up on affordable electric cookers online.  I don’t like gas, I’m too paranoid for that.

1. Stoves Mini-Electric Range.

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2.  Rangemaster Classic Electric:__resize--454-gt-x356-gt-2Both one and two look a little bit like my dream range-cooker sans the hefty price tag that goes with buying an Aga.  Would’ve loved a double oven, both sadly both only have a separate grill and one oven.  But that’s fine by me.

3.  And lastly, the Belling Electric Range Cooker in Stainless Steel:

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Image source for both 1, 2 , & 3 here.

But even this is too ambitious, not the price, but the size.  I doubt if this will fit, so I might have to settle with either 1 or two.

What would be your choice?  Are you familiar with any of the three?

Or can you suggest an affordable electric range cooker?

Do share.

The Day the Husband Catnapped our Cat Back

If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, you may be familiar with Boots our cat who dumped us for an old woman who lives alone.  As I’ve said in the past, I don’t really blame her.  The woman’s house must have been a peaceful refuge compared to our chaotic home with loony Doc and an excitable little girl.

She used to visit us every now and then as if to check if we were all alive.  I’d see her from my window, I’d quickly go out the door and try to lure her back in.  She would always look at me as if to say “I have a different home now.  It’s nice and quiet where I live.  I’m just dropping in to say hi and bye“.  And then she’d be off, without a single backward glance at me.

She hasn’t done that in ages, months even.  My husband and I had plans to march up to the woman’s door and demand for our cat back before we move away.  But we haven’t had the chance to do that, been too busy packing.  We don’t even know where that woman lives.  But our neighbour does and I’ve been meaning to ask her.

Do you believe in fate? That everything happens for a reason and that when the right time comes, everything will just fall back into place like a jigsaw puzzle?

 Today, I think Boots has just taught me about that mysterious word “fate”.

Little T came home running excitedly yesterday, pounding on the door, “Mum, mum!  Daddy has Bootsy back!”

She came in happy and breathless, but no sign of her dad.  By the time she got her breath back, he came striding in, with no less than Boots-our disappearing cat in his arms a week before we move out and move in to our new home.

Is that fate or not?

Without us having to do anything at all.  No dramatic demands from us to the old woman, no tears, no exchange of words, nothing.

My husband said that he likes to walk and poke his head in the back alley near our house hoping to catch a glimpse of her.  But after months and months of not seeing even her shadow, yesterday afternoon, he saw her sunning herself out.  My husband and daughter called out to her and she came to them purring as if to say “Oh hello, former Humans”.  Much to her dismay though, my husband picked her up and marched back home with her.

He said if cats could talk, she’d be muttering “Oh bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger” all the way home.

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That’s Booty’s “Bugger, bugger, bugger” look.

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I don’t think she’s happy to be back though.  She’s wearing her disgruntled look again.

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And this is her resigned look.

Yes, Boots is back and her timing is great (we’re keeping her in and not allowing her out again till we’re settled in our new home).  We move out on the 22nd, us three, with our smelly dog and our pissed off cat, our family is whole again.

I call it “fate”.

My husband calls it “cat”.

What do you think?

ANIMALTALES

Ironing: Is it an Obselete Chore?

When I was single and working, I think I only ironed when I needed to.  Not sure what I did with my sheets.  How odd, I can’t remember anymore.  Has it been that long ago?

But now that I’m married and have my own little family.  I like to iron all the beddings and linen and most of little T’s clothes.  I once mentioned on a past post that I iron our beddings and one of my blogger friends (you know who you are ;))  seemed surprised, or even shocked that I actually iron them.  I’m wondering am I the only one who does it now?

Is ironing becoming a thing of the past?  Is ironing considered retro?

You see, one of my small joys, is having clean, crisp and not a-single-crease-seen on our newly changed bedlinen not only on ours, but also on little T’s bed.  It gives me utmost pleasure and satisfaction that our beds are all looking perfect, at least my idea of perfect.  Oh dear, does that sound really sad?  To each their own I guess.  I like to focus on the little things that make me happy and newly ironed sheets happen to be one of them.

And I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, that I do like this chore.  I don’t find it tedious like some may do. It’s also best done while watching “Escape to the Country”, most times though I like to watch the news.  It’s the only time I can watch it without being interrupted by T.

What about you? Do you iron your sheets and clothes?

What is the chore you detest the most?

Or what are your small joys?

Do share.

Three Types of House Viewers

Are you interested in buying?

God no!  I just want to have a look. I go to all the open-houses …

Dialogue from the movie “Ruth and Alex” starring Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman”

As mentioned in my previous post, we’ve finally sold our house and in the two years that we’ve put our house up on sale, we had more viewings than I could even remember.  My husband and I have come across three types of people who have viewed our house.

1.  The Curious Ones

As most of you know, we live in a beautiful part of England.  Just like any other tourist spot here in Cornwall, a lot of the houses are bought as second homes for those who can afford it (Yes, I know.  It’s a big issue here, those second-home owners).  The house we’ve sold was also in fact my parents-in-law’s second home.  They then passed it on to my husband and his sister, until my husband bought his sister out many years ago.

You’ll see the curious ones walk up the hill in our little village, with their necks craning in to look at any window or door left open.  You can almost hear their thoughts in their heads as they walk up the hill “I wonder who lives there?  I wonder what it’s like to live in this pretty Cornish village?”

Some of them will do more than just wonder, they’ll phone up the local estate agent, choose a house and request for a viewing.  But you’ll know as soon as they walk in, that they are really just looking and not seriously buying.  They’ll say “We live in ____ (fill in the blanks, it could be London, somewhere in the Home Counties or say the Midlands “And we’ve always wanted to move down here.  Maybe when we retire … “

I must admit when on holiday, I also turn into the curious one.  Those were exactly my thoughts as we meandered around a quaint village in the French countryside.  “I wonder what its like to live here?”  But I’ve never phoned up the local estate agent to ask for an appointment.  Instead I go online and have a little look of what’s out there and if we could afford it.  Perhaps if my French was better…

2. The Dreamers

To be fair, most of the dreamers we’ve come across with were really serious about wanting to buy our house.  In fact they’ve made all the right noises and asked all the right questions and you just know that they really want to move down here.

But when the reality sets in, and they realise that they can’t have a second mortgage, or can’t even apply for a mortgage big enough to buy our home, or the water bill is way more expensive down here in Cornwall compared to wherever they are from.  Reality slaps them on the face.  Goodness know we’ve all experienced this ourselves, haven’t we, our bubbles bursting?  Life isn’t fair, a lesson, I keep repeating my daughter at her young age, again and again.

I feel for the dreamers, at one point in our lives, we were also dreamers too and probably are still dreamers, dreaming of owning that dream property, second home somewhere isolated, or moving to another country.

3. The Serious Buyers

And lastly, we all want the serious buyers, don’t we?  Within this category though, we’ve found that there are also three types of people:

  • The “Big Person”:  “Your house has been up for sale so long and you must be desperate to sell, so be thankful I’m making an offer more than 50 grand off your asking price.  Take it or leave it!”  And of course, they are surprised when you say “No thank you”.
  • The Impossible Ones:  Like the “Big Person”, they think that since they are making a “serious offer” you should be thankful!  And then they have a list of demands as long as your arm, oh and top top it off, you have to move out ASAP.  Finding a house to live isn’t obviously their problem.
  • The Just About Right Kind of Buyer:  Who are realistic, accommodating and polite, and will wait till you’ve got everything sorted out, they are the dream buyers.  In the end we got one.

Have you met or know any of the people mentioned above?

Do share.

A Country Kids Post: Down By the Harbour

While we live by the sea, we’re not lucky enough to have a beach in our little village, except when it is low-tide, and a very small patch of sand appears suddenly like magic.  While of course you can hardly call it a beach, but it’s big enough for little T, the dogs and her friends to have a play on.  And this is exactly what we did last Saturday …

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Little T with one of her best-friends W and of course, her over-excitable bundle of fur – Doc.

Even though it was a gloomy and cold day and the sun was nowhere to be found, the kids and the dogs managed to have a lovely time.

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Doc chasing his best-friend, Wilbur.

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Wilbur in action. 

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And here he is, waiting for T to throw a stick at him.

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We decided to walk along the coast on our way back home.  As for the kids, they decided that it was way more fun climbing up the hill.  We let them be.  After all, this is what childhood memories are made of.

What lovely plans do you have this weekend?

Do share.

Missing A Cat named Boots

For those who have been reading my blog for some time now, you’ll know that we used to have a cat named Boots.  We got her from a rescue cattery when she was about 6 months old and T was barely two years old.  We got out cat long before we got Doc, T’s dog.

Life before Doc, the Dog.

From Boots’ point of view, life was bliss.  Our home was her domaine.  She could go anywhere without worrying about her peace being disturbed by a cold nose.  She had the run of the house and could go to the kitchen and stretch without having to worry about being chased.  She could sprawl lazily on the couch all day long, without anyone, apart from T, disturbing her sleep.

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For about a year, Boots was used to having just us at home.  She was the perfect cat to little T.  She hardly scratched T, in spite being strangled, tail pulled, cuddled by demand, lifted and carried away.  There were a few scratches of course, but not a lot.  I’m not a cat person, but Boots was different.  I am very fond of Boots.

IMG_2164Little 2-year-old T with Boots.  How time flies!

And then came The Dog.

Her world changed and suddenly her space was invaded by this smelly out-sider.  She couldn’t go anywhere without checking if the coast was clear.  She was no longer the apple of T’s eye.  She suddenly had a smelly and irritating rival, called Doc.

She hated him at first sight.

IMG_4023Doc as a pup.

At first though, she tolerated him.  After all, he was only small.  Had he remained small, she probably would’ve stayed.  But Doc grew big and then gasp, became bigger than her.  I guess that was when she finally decided that enough is enough.

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One day, she just left us.

It wasn’t a sudden leaving.  We weren’t dumped without any signs.  She used to go away for hours on no end.  Then she would stay out the whole night, come home in the afternoon.  We knew by then there was someone else.  My husband assured me that cats are that way.  She’ll come home, don’t worry, he said.

For a while, she led a double life and was fed double dinners.  I was fine with that, as long as she still came home.  Until one day, she stopped coming home.

The Other Woman

We don’t really know for sure who she is.  Our neighbour claims to know her and have seen Boots on her couch.  She says this woman likes to feed other cats and our other neighbour said that this woman also “stole” her cat and even rang her doorbell one day and demanded she signed a document saying she’s relinquishing her cat to her.  Our neighbour refused to sign.  It’s a case of she said, they said.  So we don’t really know the truth.

I miss Boots.

I miss her presence and the way I’d suddenly wake up in the middle of the night and know she’s there even before hearing her purr.

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I miss how she would go on walks with us like a dog.  I love to tell stories about her, especially the time she followed us deep within the woods and then suddenly disappeared because there were too many dog-walkers.  How we went back the next day not expecting to find her, but she was there.  She came out as soon as I called her name, annoyed of course, as if to say “What took you so long?  I was stuck here the whole night!”   I miss her bored face.  I want her back.  She is part of our family.  I am going to look for her.  I’m going to ring that woman’s door bell and ask very politely if we could have our cat back please.  But first, I must find that woman.  T wants her cat back.

Have you ever been dumped by a cat?

ANIMALTALES

Cuddle Fairy

Five Valentines Gift Suggestions for the Book Worm

Let’s pretend Valentine’s Day isn’t all about consumerism, though I really don’t have much of a problem with it, along with the other “holidays”.  It’s nice to be remembered or for a day (other than their birthday), make your love one feel special, although under no circumstances should the gift-giving be an obligation, right folks?

If you’ve been following me for awhile now, either my blog or Instagram, you will probably have guessed by now that I love books like most of us here. I also get a high in anything books related, and I’m sure many book-lovers out there will be able to relate.  So I thought of coming up with a list of presents you could buy for your partner/husband or wife who share the same passion as me.

Who said Valentine’s Day is all about cards, flowers and chocolates?

1. If they love poetry, instead of a card, get them a poetry pamphlet like this Ten Poems about Love:

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It comes with a handy bookmark too!

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And if you think love poetry isn’t their thing, you can also choose poems about cats, bicycles, you name it, they probably have it.

2.  And if you think jewellery is their weakness, I’d say get them this lovely, I want-it-too, Brown and Black Stack Book Necklace:

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Isn’t it just the quaintest necklace you’ve ever seen.  I want it too!

3.  For the next item, I know you might think, there’s nothing romantic about giving a mug on Valentine’s Day, not if it’s this! ….

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Or this … I also want …

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All items from #1-3 are all from The Literary Gift Company.  Also photo credit also go to them.  They’ve got other lovely items in case, my choices isn’t your kind.  Browsing them is a must!

4.  And if you think, I might as well by him/her a book then.  Look no more!  Get them Ivan Turgenev’s book “First Love” with it’s beautiful illustrations from the Folio Society.  I’m currently reading his other book “On the Eve” and I’m really enjoying it.

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Photo Credit: The Folio Soceity

Then again, there are lots of beautifully illustrated books from the Folio Society, guaranteed that if you choose any book from them, your loved one would certainly feel special.

5.  And lastly, what spells romance other than scented candles?  This scented candle may look anything but romantic, then again, who cares?  Just imagine a candle smelling papery with a hint of vanilla?  I don’t know about you, but I’m sold!

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Photo credit here.

If you want to buy any of the items listed here, just click on their links! 🙂

I’m hoping my husband would read this post in time.  He does read my blog every now and then when he has time, but I have a feeling he’ll miss this and I’m guessing I’m getting flowers and chocolates again, which is absolutely fine of course 😉

Then again, you don’t really have to wait for anyone to buy you any of the items mentioned above.  If you fancy them, buy them yourself!  Treat yourself to a lovely item that will always remind you about your love for books, as if anyone would need to be reminded 😉  I’ve got my eye on that stack of books necklace, its mine! 😉

What about you?

Do you like any of the items mentioned here?

Do you exchange gifts with your partners/husbands/wives for Valentines?

Cuddle Fairy

A Walk in February with Doc

Doc says:

Come and walk with me.

I’ll show you where we go.

But first, you will have to wear your wellies.

Yes, it is very muddy.

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Told you so.

Now we go through that gate

and as soon as we’re in, you can take me off my leash.

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Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to leave you.

I must have a little play with my stick first.

Do and have a look around, enjoy the view.

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Where are we going?

Through there, yes I know there’s a gate.

But that’s not for us, they’re for the cows.

Oh don’t worry,

the cows aren’t here.

They are way up in the headland.

Just wait and see.

Now c’mon, I’m sure you’ll fit through the side of the gate.

You’re slimmer than my human’s mum, you’ll fit.  

But shhh, please don’t tell her I told you that.

C’mon.

The view down there is so worth the squeeze!

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See, I told you so!

We can even move closer ….

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See those waves crashing into the rocks?

Don’t they just look magnificent?

C’mon, closer now …

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Lovely, aren’t they?

Now enough of that, let’s move along!

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It’s not that high, don’t you worry.

Move along!

I see you’re like T’s human, always stoping to take a photo.

Oh alright then.

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Why do you have stop to take a photo of those flowers?

It’s called gorse, in case you don’t know.

C’mon, the view is way better up there!

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Once again, I told you so!

Let’s move along, and see if the cows are up in the headland.

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What’s wrong?  

Why have you stopped?

Oh the lock is jammed?

Just jiggle it like my human’s mum does, it usually works.

No?

Climb over then!

My human’s mum does it all the time!

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C’mon the view is lovely up here too.

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I always deliver, don’t I?

Yes, it’s beautiful up here isn’t it?

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And that’s my little human’s favourite bench.

She likes to come up here and sit there while I forage around 

and her mum takes photos.

Speaking of my human, 

it’s time to go!

She’ll be done with school by now now, it’s past three!

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Why are you stopping?

I must be home before she arrives, or else she’ll wonder where I am!

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Okay, I’m off.

See you around!

Thanks for coming along with me.

You won’t get lost …

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As son as you see the church tower,

turn right and go through the gate,

across the field,

and you’ll be back from where we started.

See yah, bye!

Woof!

Doc says thank you for coming along with him on his walk.  Those photos were taken last week when we had a brief interlude of lovely blue skies, before we were engulfed in grey, the rain and gales.  Hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday.

ANIMALTALES

What’s the weather like in your end of the world or the UK?

The Aborted Plan

We had lovely plans last Saturday.

One of T’s best friends came over for a play-date.  The plan was to go to the beach after lunch and spend time exploring the rock pools at Widemouth Bay in Bude.  The weather was supposed to be okay for this little adventure.  We should’ve known better.

Since we knew it was going to be cold, we bundled the kids in weatherproof coats, complete with wooly hats.  We even had a picnic prepared.

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But the sky looked ominous and foreboding as we parked our car and as soon as I stepped out, a gush of very cold wind almost knocked me off my feet.  But I brushed it aside and quickly got the kids ready.

The girls turned whingy.  But I ushered them out, hoping a play on the beach would cheer them up.

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But no sooner had we walked towards the rock-pools, I felt a few drops coming.  I was hoping it was only going to be a drizzle, but nope.  It turned into a real Cornish downpour, so we accepted defeat and ran back to the car with two whingy little girls and a bewildered dog trailing behind us.

Maybe next time …

How is your weekend going?

Ours will probably be spent indoors, since little T has chickenpox and the weather outside looks horrible, as always.

Monkey and Mouse

 

The Chickenpox Chronicles

Little T came home Monday complaining that her back was “painful”. We ignored her. Not because we’re crap parents, but you see, my little darling is a bit of a drama queen.  She comes home from school complaining about a number of things, from a headache to “My thumb hurts mum”.  So last Monday, we thought, it was just one of those days.

We were wrong.  Yes, we are bad parents.

Imagine my surprise when I stripped little T off her clothes for her bath before bed time and discovered that her back was covered in little red spots.  Although it shouldn’t really come as a surprise since the chickenpox has been doing its the rounds at her school since last Christmas.  A couple of weeks ago, it was her best friend F’s turn.  He was one of the lucky few who had it only mild.  In fact, we decided that it was okay not to cancel his sleep-over with T, especially since they were both excited about it.

Besides, we wanted T to have it.  She’s one of the few remaining ones in her class who hasn’t had it yet.  We figured, it would be a good time for her to have it.  And boy did she have it!

The First Day

We had hoped that she was going to be as lucky as her best friend who got away with just a few spots.  At first, she didn’t seem bothered at all and was even happy to be off school until she realised that she wouldn’t be able to keep her playdate scheduled for the next day.  Then she wasn’t a happy bunny anymore.

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The Second Day

But it was a different story the next day.  More spots started appearing on her face and we had such a bad night too.  She woke up more than a couple of times crying and complaining about how itchy it was and no amount of calomine or even Piritin helped.

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The Third Day

A friend advised PoxClin and giving T an oaty bath seemed to make such a big difference.  For one, we had a good night’s sleep and she only woke up once to complain about an itch.

day3_littlestepsThis by the way, is also her, I’m fed-up face.

The Fourth Day

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The spots on her face aren’t drying up yet.  But some on her back seem to be healing.  She’s a bored little girl.  We’re running out of drawing paper.  Hopefully, tomorrow there’ll be more signs of it drying up.  In spite all the spots though, I guess T is still lucky that the chickenpox didn’t come with a fever, just the spots.

Has your little ones had chicken pox?

How long did it last?

#wotw:  chickepox!

The Reading Residence