Summer in the Dales and an update on our building project


Tom, Maddie and Joe in the garden I'm sure those of you ensconced in school holidays will agree that by the time our little darlings are dreaming sweet dreams, we are just about fit for a G & T and an early night too. That's why my netbook and I have not been busy for a good few weeks!

So, in between being at QVC with you all, my household has been FULL ON with bells and whistles on! We've had all the usual attempts to entertain Tom, Joe and Maddie, let alone Dan, whilst desperately trying to retain control over the Wii remotes, enough said… 

However, the fantastic days of divine sunshine put us all in happy moods, though poor Twinkle, our kitten, watching us with desperate eyes whilst we all played out is tricky to bear.

Injection No.2 was done today and her operation is in the diary, so Twinks can be allowed out into the big exciting world soon. In the meantime, I've actually bought a kitten harness and lead so Maddie can 'walk' her around the garden! Can you believe it, I'm such a soft touch. Maddie can be so persuasive!

Summer hols in the Dales

Our family time this summer was spent up in Yorkshire at our family cottage. My memories of freedom to just explore the beautiful Dales as a little girl seem even more powerful as I revisit haunts with my three.

I remember taking Dan up there for the first time and feeling completely at peace…not quite the same feelings I have these days with the children, although there is always a feeling of complete happiness and an ability to well, breathe!

We sadly had rain on most days but it didn't dampen our spirits as we tackled the Jorvick museum in York, went underground at White Scar Caves, pottered around Skipton and sauntered around the village for our early evening walk. Bliss!

Tom with Mr Scarecrow We finally have planning permission

We returned home to the wonderfully thrilling news that we have planning permission at last! HOORAY HOORAH!

We moved in on 6th March and the whole process has taken forever. It's been a huge test for Mrs Impatient, as you know I just can't (or should that be wont wait). Somehow I suspect the biggest test of patience is still to come particularly as quotes and budgets are SO not matching if you know what I'm saying.

Also, I just struggle with the seemingly massive costs of the dullest things in the history of the world – I mean roofs, bricks, windows even…

The thing for me is I absolutely fall in love with things, Here's an example, the most divinely delectable antique glass French chandelier that Dan and I saw a few weeks ago completely captured my heart at first glance, and Dan's I might add.

So, after huge discussion and negotiations the utterly stunning light now has my name and a SOLD sticker on it!!!

Collection of it is however another matter, as is the fact it's massive! Dan keeps laughing that there will be no kitchen or bathrooms or loos but I'll be happy gazing upwards at my beautiful chandelier! Good job he loves me!

Vegetables from Claire's garden The fruits of our labour

Oh, I must just share the fruits of my, ok our labour with you! Check out the vegetables and eggs from our lovely little hens and veg patch. Mr Scarecrow is doing a fine old job keeping the birds away, I must actually crow about him(s`cuse the pun) because I made him!

OK I admit it was a kit Grannie bought for Tom but four and a half hours of labour and twine and needles and painting his face etc etc, constitutes as making him in my book!

So, as you can see we certainly have a lovely time in our outside space here, but will I survive the creation of the indoor space that is the question?!

At least the thought of my chandelier will help me forget the state of it all and transport me to a more glamorous and beautiful world…

What do you think, will I survive?

Lots of love for now,

Claire xxx


  1. sylvia August 28, 2009 at 11:49 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    I love to read your blogs. I know what you mean when you talk about your new chandelier.I must be like you,I too like the finer things in life and I am sure after you have finished all the work in your house you will be very happy.Your children are growing up so fast,you must be so proud of them. I can just tell you must be a super mum as you come across the screen as being a very friendly and approachable lady.
    I just love watching you with Ralph rossini.Isn,t he just fab.Because of you and Ralph I have more pearls than you could ever imagine.
    Thanks Claire—You brighten up my day.

  2. Kristina Moore August 28, 2009 at 1:26 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire, yes, of course you will survive the build. Just keep in your head the end result that you and Dan want. Make a sanctuary somewhere so that you can go and hide when it all gets too much. I think kitchen and bedrooms should be done first making sure you have a functioning bathroom. Good luck with it all!
    If Maddie is this persuasive now what will she be like when she is 19 etc?
    I need to go and hunt around the Jorvik Centre in York as I am half Danish so need to learn about the ancestors.
    Any luck with stopping Twinkle scratching?
    The vegetables and eggs look very good indeed. Sounds like magic having a small holding(?) although an awful lot of work.
    Love the pictures of the scarecrow and Tom, Joe and Maddie too.
    Hope everyone has had fun this year despite the rain in Yorkshire.

  3. Marcy August 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm -  Reply

    Claire, you showed us your lovely animal print pedicure on air the other day. Can you tell us what products were used please?

  4. julie August 29, 2009 at 3:03 pm -  Reply

    Oh Claire
    I sympathise with you, i hate getting work done, although i have never had to deal with anything quite as big as yours, yet!
    On the other hand, your household sounds great fun, kiddies and animals.
    How cute little Twinkle with her harness, my bunny has a harness and lead so i can walk him round the garden, more like he walks me, he he!
    Anyway, will be thinking of you and i hope all goes well and isn’t too stressfull, hopefully that chandelier will help, sounds gorgeous.
    All the best,
    Love Julie

  5. Magda Chetty August 30, 2009 at 8:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire Great to see that you and your family had a great time away, it is so good of you to keep in touch with us by writing your blog, we know how busy you can get with fixing the new home and looking after 3 children, as others don”t usually write much, and do not write back to us. That is why we love you so much.
    You will servive the builders and the work, before you know it, it will all look great and you”ll all enjoy it, as Iam sure it will be a great happy home.
    You remember when I told you about my move and the fixing of the house in Mallorca, this will make you lough, with my limited Spanish at the time I got a builder to give us a price to enlarge the main bedroom and build a bathroom, he gave us the price and I wrote it on a paper to show him that I understood, so there will be no mix up. He started to build all was going just great, but then he said, that is it thank you, we are finished, but they did not put a roof, when I asked him he said what roof, we only talked about buildings, I do not do roofs. Oh my God.
    Still got someone else to do it and now we just smile when we think about all we had to go through. You will set one day with Dan and have a drink and remember all that work. Enjoy it all and I wish you all the best.

  6. Beverley mercer September 1, 2009 at 12:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, it’s lovely to hear most of us are holidaying in our own country. I went to Wales recently and actually ‘explored’ I was amazed at the things I’d seen that I never knew existed.
    Just a quick question: I’m loving your hair at the moment, you do also have a lovely glow about you right now, how do you style your hair? Do you use rollers to get the wave & curl? Also is yor hair naturally wavy/curly? When ever I try to style my hair in simple waves it never works out.
    Any tips will be grateful
    speak soon, big hugs
    Beverley x

  7. Caroline September 1, 2009 at 4:03 pm -  Reply

    It’s lovely to see young children just enjoying being in the garden. They look lovely children, Claire, they are a credit to you. Enjoy their precious “children years” as they grow up so quickly.

  8. Mary September 2, 2009 at 4:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, you have been busy, how do you find time for work! The veg looks fantastic. Are you building a whole house or just a bit of it, I am afraid that i seem to have missed the beginnings of this part of your life but how exciting. I am back to school on Thursday, can’t believe I have had 6 weeks off and still need more time to do all the things i had planned like steam cleaning the tiles in the bathroom and toilet, cleaning inside and out all the kitchen units etc. Still these jobs are probably left for rainy days. I am now in the process of repainting the hall a nice sunny yellow but not too egg yolky and we are having the lounge diner re-plastered as we have removed the dado rail, having sliding patio doors put in, new fire and umming and arring about what colour to have. I fancy aubergine on the two chimney breasts and a paler contrast everywhere else but my husband needs some persuading. He is still in the land of cream is cream but we know that there are hundreds of shades of cream! The cabin is almost completed with the roof now waterproofed and bar furniture arriving Friday. Photos on the way soon along with some pictures of my hanging baskets for you to pass on to Richard Jackson. His Flower Power is amazing!!! Well need to get organised for school tomorrow.My son starts his secondary school and I am very nervous although he can’t wait as he is sports mad and is going to a sports college; it’s also his 12th birthday Saturday, how quickly they grow. Great to see photos of the kids having fun. Take care Mary x

  9. Diane September 2, 2009 at 9:49 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    I can empathise with the chandelier, we too fell in love with a completely OTT light that looks like a sparkly huge full moon, as we are in a barn conversion, it takes pride of place in the front window. We absolutely love it and have never regreted our brave (mad) choice!
    We are still awaiting planning permission, after previously being refused, even though our only neighbours are sheep! What a process! It would test the patience of anyone I think!
    I love the picture of Tom with the Scarecrow, he looks so happy, the summer is over so quickly.
    Amy makes her big move this weekend, we have had some happy tears saying goodbye to all the wonderful people that have dedicated so much time to her over the years.
    It has been so busy over the summer preparing and getting everything ready, her room is lovely, hopefully she will be very happy and broaden her horizons.
    I shall then have my G&T and toast the future, and try to be brave!…
    Love to you & yours,
    Diane x

  10. claire sutton September 7, 2009 at 11:10 am -  Reply

    Hello everyone,
    so lovely hearing from you all, it really brightens up my day seeing your chatty comments.
    I shall begin at the start….
    Sylvia, I was worried after I’d explained about my chandelier that you’d all think spoilt mad young lady!!! but it seems you DO understand…HOORAY!!, The chandelier is still uncollected I hasten to add but I figure safer hanging in the shop than at Dan’s barn!!!
    Incidentally the other one in the shop had a swathe of lavender pearls adorning it…..DIVINE, and I’m sure Ralph would’ve approved!!
    So glad we share a passion for pearls, enjoy them and have a super day Sylvia xxx

  11. Claire Sutton September 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Tina,
    Thankyou, good advice. You sound just like my mummy saying do the bedroom first, actually the bathroom we’re surviving with currently…..anything will be an improvement!
    Now was summer really here…or just a vague whiff of sunshine!! It seems to have become colder ever so quickly…Twinkle was nearly a gonner last night! Can you believe she raced out without me seeing her, so when it was going to bed time there was panic as she seemingly had disappeared.
    Luckily Dan found a shadow under my car as he popped out, yes Twinks was there, I shudder to think what might have been…and i think she was out there for a good few minutes!
    I`m reallly worrying about how she`ll manage out there, though seems she’s tougher than we think!
    The eggs are divine and oh my word the potatoes….delicious!! Its all good fun and even better with `helpers`!!, Bye for now, Claire xxx

  12. Claire Sutton September 8, 2009 at 9:18 am -  Reply

    Hi Marcey,
    It’s called MINX. I LOVE IT, iTS FAB ISN’T IT!!!
    We don’t have it at qvc, but do you know if I had a pound for all the comments, even from the girl in John Lewis, I would be a rich rich girlie.
    The designs are fantastic and as it’s a foil sort of melted on the nail it’s a long lasting one too. I think the plain gold, or the flower one for me next.
    Paula who comes to do my nails now is responsible, google minx and see if you can find someone in your area.
    Good Luck! Love Claire xx

  13. Claire Sutton September 8, 2009 at 9:19 am -  Reply

    It was farcical trying to hold tight to the lead without strangling Twinkle! I couldn’t cope with the stress so her first outing was shortlived!!
    She certainly has a mind of her own…sounds like your bunny!
    Thankyou for your good wishes for the house, I’m desperate to start, BUT I just know its going to be messy….!!!! With Love Claire xx

  14. Claire Sutton September 8, 2009 at 9:21 am -  Reply

    Oh my goodness Magda, but I can SO see how that disaster happened. Already I think the builders have marked my cards as I keep saying, “and will that include…” or “can you just confirm…” for exactly that reason!
    I did laugh though reading about the lack of roof, I guess it would have saved a fortune on air con!
    I’m delighted you can laugh about it too, though I’m guessing it took a little while to reach that stage. I suspect it’ll be laughter, the hysterical kind reverberating from our house soon!!!!
    Gosh it’s chilly as I write can you believe our paltry summer. Still here’s to a super September.
    Lots of Love Magda, Claire xx

  15. Claire Sutton September 8, 2009 at 9:24 am -  Reply

    Hi there, I panicked when I read you thought I had a glow, that’s what people said when I was pregnant!
    This time though I can firmly put it down to Laura Gellar Apricot Blush! Andn I’m definately a summer girl!
    Thankyou so much about the hair thoughts. I’ve actually returned to heated rollers, back to the 80s I say!
    Anyway I was finding the velcros a little too rippy as my colour has become a little more blonde so Elastercisor comes out far more and I find apart from the fringe, the curl holds so much longer.
    I do have a wriggle, corugated style, so I guess that helps to hold it longer. If I just wanted a bit of body and wave, rather than ‘dolly chops’, as I call it then I would whipp them out more quickly.
    Look for the velvety covered ones and mine have clippy things as well as pins which are great. Have fun playing! Love Clairexx

  16. Claire Sutton September 8, 2009 at 9:26 am -  Reply

    Caroline, thankyou for your lovely comments. I must admit the children, well Maddie at least are ‘outdoorsy’ it’s Dan’s genes I think. Infact as I write Maddie has asked to walk Mungo and pick blackberries…only its tea time.
    I`m trying to get back to correct timings of bath and bed, so sadly, it’s a no tonight. Maybe it’s the delicious crumble I made with them and apples from my tree that she’s after!
    Damsons, heavily laden trees…aaaargh I really must improve on my culinary skills – there’s a veritable feast to be had out there!
    You take care and speak soon,
    Love Claire xx

  17. Claire Sutton September 8, 2009 at 9:28 am -  Reply

    Hey Mary, forget the inside of the cupboards, it’s the inside of the cabin we need to focus on!!!
    So nearly there then, how brilliant? I bet the house will be redundant, now there’s a plan, how bout we all descend on the house when it’s unbearable here and you guys can have the cabin!!!!
    How was the first day back? Tom’s new teacher is SO young, all of about 12!! V.pretty so I suspect some Daddy’s will be clamouring to come to parents evening.
    I hope the sporty young man enjoyed his first day too? and Happy Birthday.
    By the way aubergine …fab, could be dark but if the patio doors are in that room, lovely! Are the doors Aluminium, or wood I wonder? You can so see I’m in research mode can’t you.
    Will await pictorial evidence of the flower power and the cabin!!!
    Lots of Love C xxx

  18. Claire Sutton September 8, 2009 at 9:30 am -  Reply

    How’s it going? You ok? Amy? I’ll have a G and T with you.
    I had a shock taking Tom to his new line up for class, it really made me aware of how speedily he’s moving through school.
    Oh the light you have isn’t the wonderful John Lewis one is it? Perfect to have a sensational big one in a barn conversion though, not so sure the dimensions of my house will be quite big enough for mine, but heh ho I’ll just yell “DUCK”!!!
    I still cannot believe we weren’t turned down for planning, only sorry to hear you were, those pesky sheep bleating there opinions….!!! How very dare they!!!
    Anyway must go and create something for tea…it may be a challenge!
    Lots of love Claire xxx

  19. Diane September 8, 2009 at 11:59 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    Amy seems very happy although ‘testing’ some of the staff.
    It actually felt very surreal moving her in and leaving her there, I have been really struggling if I am honest and am resisting visiting today as I have been constantly there, which obviously isn’t the idea.
    It gives us great comfort that she seems happy and confident, the staff are dedidcated and wonderful, just hard to let go:(
    On the light, it was from a lighting shop in London, which has since closed down,it is constructed from lots of tangled wires with small lights set within, I think it is similar to the John Lewis one but the Big Daddy!
    Very best of luck to Tom in his new class. x
    Diane xx

  20. Kristina Moore September 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, your ‘mummy’ – I’m 46 so how old would I have been I wonder? I just remember how difficult it was when all we were having done was a shower block re-tiled and I had to clean the kitchen (not a very big one) every day! Plaster and brick dust get in everywhere and take any moisture in your skin away. Hey ho.
    I think Twinks will quickly find out the pecking order with the other cats in the area once she is allowed out (escapes) for longer than five minutes. I hope she survives her investigations under cars. We nearly were the cause of a cats end when a very friendly tabby would not go away when my husband was trying to park the car in the garage. Luckily he did move in the right direction and we haven’t seen him since.
    Good luck to you all in the new classes etc and with the building work. It will all come to an end eventually but take lots of pictures for the historical record of how the house was and then the transformation. A scrapbook could be produced!

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