Thursday, 30 October 2014

Bad day turns good

The day started out badly when I woke up and immediately my back began to ache. My bed is usually so comfy that I could sleep for a million years in it.

I eventually found out the cause for this problem though.

Harvey had obviously put the bike bell in my bed as a reminder that I had promised I would fit it to his bike at the weekend.

We then had a parcel delivered which turned out to be a prize that Alyssa had won. It was a beautiful art set with lots of felt tips, crayons, paints and chalks in it.

"It's a suitcase of art things!"

The afternoon was then spent at a soft play centre so that was lots of fun if a little chaotic at times.

On the way there we saw an old Ford Escort and all I could hear was this conversation coming from the back of the car.

Alyssa ~ "Wow, look at that. I want one of those! When Gordon dies, let's buy one."

Harvey ~ "Gordon will never die. Gordon eats money but he won't give up."

Gordon is our Golf (the car!)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

How to fix Tesco HUDL charging port

The Sweetpeas had a HUDL each last Christmas thanks to the Tesco Clubcard Boost promotion. They absolutely love them and have no end of games to play on them which have been downloaded for free.

Everything was going great with them until Harvey's one no longer charged correctly. It has to be the charging port as the charger fitted into Alyssa's perfectly.

I found a video on Youtube which showed me how to remove the back casing on the HUDL. I simply had to inset a Stanley blade between the rubber backing and the plastic surround. I then gently just pulled off the backing by following around the edges. It has many plastic clips holding it in place and I managed to get it off within 10 seconds. Easy peasy!

I nipped across to Amazon for a replacement port at £19.95 delivered. Seemed the going price on eBay too I so went with that.

It arrived a few days later and I set about replacing the part.

First you need to undo the two cross head screws that hold the part in place. Out came my little mini screwdriver set from a Christmas cracker decades ago. I knew I keep these things for a reason.

There are 2 little black tabs on the part to the right of it. You simply push those up a bit which releases that piece. You then have to pull the plastic surround back ever so gently so that the actual port bit can pull out. I flicked it up with a flat screwdriver.

(Excuse the felt pen on the table. Our table gets some serious abuse thrown at it.)

 I tried to show in this picture how really bent the whole port actually was and explains why it wasn't chargin at all.

So that's it! Simple to achieve and much cheaper than sending it away to be fixed or even buying a replacement.

Obviously, depending on the age of your HUDL, it may still be under warranty so make sure you check that out too.

"Look Mummy. I'm a man of danger."

I think he's absolutely right and no longer will he be allowed to charge his own HUDL.

Avoiding the washing up and fixing a HUDL charging port.

Single Parent Pessimist

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


I've switched bedrooms with my children mainly because they have much more "stuff" than I have and it means that they have space now to actually be able to play in their room too.

I managed to do the entire move by myself which included dismantling my double bed and then re-building it. I have a large storage bed where you lift the top to put your things underneath. Perfect! (Until you realise just how much pressure those arms are under and it nearly catapults me over the other side of the room. In hindsight, I should have had someone else helping.)

All was going well until I was moving my daughter's large wardrobe. It decided to dismantle itself!

I had bought her a chest of drawers and a wardrobe when she was 1 which is now 6 years ago. It wasn't cheap and it was in a design that I thought would grow with her. It was bright pink with white fronts and featured flowers and butterflies.

The chest of drawers fell apart within a few months and the wardrobe started to go the same way after about a year of limited use.

It had finally decided to die though on this final move. RIP wardrobe...

... or so I thought.

I had loaded the smaller parts of the wardrobe in my car ready to be taken to the tip when I saw this blog post from claireabellemakes in association with Able Skills . She urged us to try and upcycle something! I didn't know why I hadn't thought of using it anyway. I've already upcycled my old car tyres in my garden as raised planters so why was I going to let all this wood disappear out of my door?

Just on a side note to the tyre idea, "The Sweetpeas" helped to create a display at Grandma's house over the summer. We used a huge tractor tyre as the base and then a normal car tyre in the centre. In the top of that one, we got my brother to cut a tyre that was still on the metal wheel into a pattern. This created a 'frilly' edge to it. They planted pansies along the bottom and then some daisies at the top. I think it is in real keeping with our family as we are all interested in tractors and/or cars.

Also in "now-their-room" I have some shelving. My dad made these for me from some pallet wood after I complained that I had nowhere to store all my DVDs. I then stained them with a walnut wood stain so that they matched the rest of my furniture. I love them as they are unique and I know that they are strong enough to hold anything I put on them. In fact, my dad always said the wall was likely to fall down before the shelves would collapse. 

Anyway, back to that wardrobe. Now just what could I make that I actually needed?

Alyssa does need a desk where she can sit and concentrate on her homework. That's it! A DESK. That would be a massive project though and perhaps one where I can be outside to accomplish it. It's now October so not the time for that. The desk will have to wait but the wood shall stick around ready for it.

Next idea then in order to have a go at upcycling.

I do need some more hanging space in "my-now-bedroom" as the larger bedroom has a fitted wardrobe and the smaller one has no space if a double bed is in there.


I don't need to be hanging up long dresses so there is one space in my room which would be perfect! I could even add a type of shelving part to the top so that I could display a few things away from little hands. Yes Harvey, I'm talking about you little man.

Right, I best get sketching.

It's late as I'm typing this so Plan B will happen now and Plan A will commence tomorrow.  
( You'd never believe I got an A Grade in my GCSE Art would you? This is what can be achieved with a jumbo wax crayon and that's my excuse!)

18th October Update

We decided to attempt to have a mini project of building a toy shelf just so that we could get an idea of what kind of materials we could actually find and use.

Whilst looking for items, I came across some old signs that my dad made for us when we were little. These must be at least 17 years old now and were made from off cuts of wood. I remember him writing out our names and using a jigsaw to cut them out. I plan on staining my one and putting it up on my memory wall I think!

Anyway, on to the build. They found the location that they wanted their shelf to be. Corner of the garage ~ that'll be perfect!

They then went on a treasure hunt to find materials to use. They found some old bricks, guttering that was leftover and the old fascia that had been removed when the new ones had been installed. Some old car springs were found too which Harvey in particular wanted to use.

I let them get building and then putting their toys in place.

Alyssa absolutely loved that we were turning "rubbish" into something useful. Harvey was more interested in the practicalities of it.

Yes, it most certainly needed to be fastened together in someway before it could be used on a daily basis or simply if Harvey was anyway near it. We found him in the garden as he thought he'd broken it completely but, explaining that we are just upcycling and we could make it again, he was happy again.

I shall be updating this again when we do more upcycling projects over the next few weeks.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The ocean

I absolutely love sitting on a beach and looking at the ocean. I often take "The Sweetpeas" for a ride to the seaside but not as much as I should really.

I took this photograph when watching them play. They were running in and out of the sea and having so much fun.

A couple of horse-riders then went past. I wonder what the ocean looks like from that angle.

*Entering this photograph into the Depths of Perception competition *