Sunday, 31 March 2013

Gloucester Quays Home and Garden Party

There's a home and garden fair on at Gloucester Quays over the bank holiday weekend, me and my mum checked it out yesterday. The weather was actually ok for most of the day and there was even some sun for a while! There was a nice selection of stands, some garden, home d├ęcor and food with some live music and talks by celebrity guests (although we didn't catch any of these).

I could have spent a fortune on all the pretty things (I will do post on the stuff that I actually bought soon) but tried my hardest not to buy things that I couldn't see a place for!

First up these glass works from Aspire Art Glass
I was tempted by the grey swirly coasters in the middle above, but we already have our coasters that I DIYed a while back (I will do a how to on those soon!). The hanging ornament below was lovely and it's a bit hard to see in this picture but it had a kind of tree in the middle.
The rest of the hanging ornaments were great (They did them in birthstone colours for each month) and I would have bought one but couldn't think of anywhere to hang them, they would look lovely in a garden or hanging off a shelf.
Next to them was tokyo dolls and their lovely homewares and accessories. These door knobs were lovely, and if I had a project going on I would have so bought the blue flower ones
These hand creams were cute and a few would look great on a dressing table
I liked these hanging ornaments but again couldn't find them a place in our home
The lamp shades and chandeliers were also pretty and could add some interest to a room
I also liked these pictures, you could maybe try DIYing a version of these but I loved the one below and the home sweet home one.


This cupcake hanging menu holder or recipe holder (I'm not 100% sure what it is) would look lovely with some handwritten recipes in it or some thinner cookery books
These hanging candle holders from Mahouts were so pretty, and we don't have anything to hang them from in the garden but if we had a tree or something to attach them to I would have bought all 3.
There were also these brilliant candles from Beautiful Things by Becky which gave me so many ideas, I have made candles before as gifts at Christmas and used jars but the tea cup ones looked great!
These hanging hearts were just £1 each and a few of them hung from drawer pulls on a dresser or in a girly bathroom could look cute
 The candles in tea cups! They would look so cute and kitchy in a kitchen or dining room
And these egg cup ones would be perfect for Easter, as a table decoration or a gift. 
More glassware from Wendleberry Glass I really liked the heart and leaf artwork
These candle holders were interesting and I can imagine when the candles are lit the light would shine through and the colours would look great
The glass bowls and chopping boards were also interesting and in a bedroom the heart bowls would look nice on the bedside table for earrings or glasses etc
From Purple Holly there were these really cute homewares, I ummed and ahhed over getting these salt and pepper shakers but as we don't have a dining table I decided not to
These Orla Kiely vintage style mugs were lovely but not quite big enough for me (I like a massive mug of tea!)
 There were also vintage style egg cups
The vases were nice for small bunches or single flowers, sometimes you just don't need a large vase for a few flowers as they look a bit pathetic all on their own in there!
There were also loads of slate/blackboard things around, like these fridge magnets which I really liked
This stand from Butterfly Crafts had some beautiful little crafty items, like these cushions
This bunting would look pretty in a nursery or kids room
Also these funky lego cufflinks and flower earrings and hair slides
There were also lots of foods stalls around, actually it seemed they were equal in number to the home and garden stands which I hadn't expected. All in all it was a nice afternoon, although there are a fair few stands it isn't massive so you can see all the stands in an hour or two. If the weather had been better we could have sat watching the live music but it was just too cold to sit outside for any amount of time!

The event is running until tomorrow and it's worth a look I did buy some things, mainly for the garden, and I'll do a post on what I bought soon.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Wardrobe Contents

I said back when we got the wardrobes I'd share what was inside them later, so this a little post on their contents at the moment.

In the wardrobe in the hallway is currently this
It's pretty much the contents of the ottoman and trunk that were in the hallway, now both in the bedroom, plus anything else from under the bed that I could fit in here! It will get a bit more organised at some point as we want to get another ottoman for the top of Toms wardrobe, then the smaller stuff from here will go in that and leave room for larger items. 

The hallway does looks so much better once the doors are closed though 
The bag hanging on the front of the wardrobe is full of shopping bags, the idea is it will remind me to take them with me, however I still keep forgetting them! I used to always keep them in the boot of my car but now I don't have have a car any more I'm finding I never have one when I need them. The chair moved out here because it didn't get used in the bedroom and we had a space in here, so it can be used for sitting on while putting on shoes and hopefully down the line (once we can make this room a bit more appealing) for reading as all the books are in here
There is still this corner which is a bit cluttered but once that box is sorted out (it's full of miscellaneous cables and electronics that we just need to sort out) and I sort out the baskets then it will look a lot better in here.
I also put these smaller boxes on top of the wardrobe that came with the ottoman in the bedroom, they don't have much in them yet but I'm planning on putting stuff from the kitchen in one, and maybe putting all the scarves, gloves and umbrellas that are in the bookshelf by the door up there in summer and replacing them with suncream, sunglasses etc. 

The wardrobes in the bedroom are laid out a bit differently to our last ones, both are forward facing, Toms has shelves and a tie hanger. He put all this jeans, shorts etc n the storage boxes in the bottom.
Mine is also forward facing but has 2 hanging rods and little shelf, which has my swimwear in that basket and my sun hat, also my jeans, PJs and knitwear in the boxes underneath
As I said in the last post, the wardrobes do have a bit less space in the than our last ones, but we were due a clear out any way. This suitcase is full of clothes to get rid of
That's the contents of the wardrobes, next on the to do list in the bedroom is new bed, new bedside tables and a move around of the furniture to balance it all out a bit.


Friday, 29 March 2013

Friday Inspiration

Happy Easter everyone, I'm looking forward to a long weekend and Tom is actually off on Sunday and Monday as well which is nice to spend some time together. I'm going to the home and garden fair at Gloucester Quays tomorrow with my mum and will share details of anything that catches my eye there. It's on Saturday to Monday at the Gloucester Quays shopping centre and looks quite interesting.

This is what I've found inspiring this week, as usual more on my pinterest.

I would love to have a spot like this in the garden, I can imagine swinging away reading a book here all day!
I have a thing for jars and am constantly hoarding them, so I'm always looking for pretty things to do with them
This desk isn't really what we're looking for in a new desk (I'm actually leaning toward something that can be used to eat at as well as for working) but it's just beautiful
You could just soak away your troubles in that bath
This bedroom looks so serene and calm

Hope you all have a lovely bank holiday weekend, I'm planning to get some quality R&R today and then spend tomorrow at the home and garden fair, then over to Tom's Mum's house for lunch on Sunday and we're thinking of having a day out Monday. So I've got a nice weekend planned, as usual it will probably fly by and we'll be back at work before we know it!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Payday Wish List

I often window shop and admire things without having any intention of buying them, so thought I'd try out a monthly wish list, and what better time than payday!

I could spend all day in IKEA but I'm loving these
Barometer floor lamp £47
Rundel laundry bin £55 - perfect for the bathroom

From House of Fraser
Black Orchid dining table now £1890 in the sale
Hotel collection duvet set £90 in the sale (was £330 - for bedding?!)

From Habitat (where I often browse but never ever can afford to buy!)
Max oak coffee table £300
HANA freestanding mirror with storage shelves £300 (you could so DIY a cheaper version with this and this totalling £61)

That's my little round up of things I've seen this month, they aren't necessarily things I could afford or that would even go in our flat but just what I would buy were I in the market for a large dining table or had a spare few hundred quid to spend on a coffee table!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

I'm Cheap and I Love It

When we moved we filled out our new home insurance questionnaire and we don't own anywhere near enough stuff to meet the minimum amount for most home insurance policies (£10,000). I absolutely love this fact! We do have insurance but we are just over insured. The insurance company recommended that we break down our items per room to add up the cost of our items, and only one room was over £1000 and that was mainly due to the £800 sofa!

I often get asked why if we are saving for a deposit to buy our own place we 'waste' money on stuff for our rented home. This obviously depends on your opinion, but we have to live so will spend money whether we have nice things or not and I don't want to put off my life because some other people messed up our economy! I'm also hoping that this means when we do finally buy somewhere we will have lots of the stuff we need already and won't have to spend a fortune on furniture when we might have work to do on the actual house.

Although saying this our home is furnished on an absolute shoestring budget and I often get a lot of stuff at either a massive discount or for free. While I'm not telling the internet how much I earn it's not a lot, so here's my advice on how to save a packet when decorating your home. There is a list of hints and tips at the bottom if you want to skip my waffle on what we've got for free or cheap :)

I believe very strongly in only having what you can afford, I'd love to have everything brand new but on my wages that just is so not going to happen, and it would take all the fun out of hunting for a bargain and finding something you love without just spending a load of cash to get it.

For example, in the entrance hall the wardrobe cost £10, the bookshelves we did buy new but they were basic range so were only about £100 for all 3, the chair that's now in there was free, the small chest of drawers was free, the chairs were free (I spent about £40 on repainting them) and the shoe racks were £10 each. All the stuff in the storage wardrobe I'd estimate to cost no more that £200 and most of that is in the toolbox. So that's one room and the total comes to no more than £360. If we had bought the wardrobe new at full price we could have paid over that just for one item. Now I'm not counting any of Toms music equipment into that total which would probably increase it a lot because a. I have no idea how much all that cost b.it isn't really furniture or homeware and the average home is unlikely to have that may amplifiers or cables or microphones or pedals or...the list goes on and on, and he moans about my shoes :)

The only bigger things things we have bought new and not with vouchers are the sofa, the TV, the bed (about 7 years ago when I lived with my mum), the bookshelves in the hallway and living room and the ottomans on top of the wardrobes (not actually shown you these yet post coming soon). The sofa cost £800 new and is on finance, I am severely finance phobic and really thought hard about taking this out versus saving up, but as it's interest free I'm not paying more to have it on finance and we didn't have a sofa at the time just 3 armchairs in the living room. This will give you an idea of how low cost I am that it was the most money I have ever spent on an item that wasn't a car or a holiday. There are plenty of other smaller things I've bought new of course like crockery, small kitchen appliances like the kettle, bedding, towels etc but I always try to get a good bargain on these and often go on eBay or to discount stores, or places like Ikea, The Range or Argos for them that have reasonable prices. The TV was actually an ex display model that was deeply discounted because someone had returned it as it had a scratch on the screen, the people at Comet couldn't point it out to Tom and we've had it for about 5 years now and I couldn't tell you where this scratch is, but just because it had been returned we got loads of money off it.

The TV actually is an example of where I can go a bit far with living on a budget and Tom balances it out, I had a TV when Tom moved in, an old grey CRT one but it worked fine. Tom wanted a playstation so wanted (see wanted, not needed) a HD TV as well and this was back in the olden days when HD TV's were expensive (equivalent to 3D TV money nowadays), I didn't think it was really necessary. Tom went out 'to get a wardrobe' and came back with a new TV. I would probably have got a new TV eventually but he still actually didn't have a wardrobe and his clothes were all piled up on the floor!

Other bargains have been our other £10 wardrobes in the bedroom, our Ikea coffee table that is actually a lack side table and cost I think about £8 back when I got it, the turtle tank which was second hand and only £60 for the large tank, the stand and the massive filter which on it's own should have cost that much, lots of our ornaments and photo frames are charity shop finds (they are absolute gold mines for home decor items sometimes) that only cost a few quid.

I also love to get something for free (Who doesn't?), either from freecycle or as hand me downs. So far things we still have that were free are our desk, desk chair, bedside tables (the old ones in the corner of the bedroom), my retro chest of drawers (Made by Avalon Yatton similar going on eBay for over £50), the chair in the hallway that used to be in the bedroom (I think I spent about £30 restuffing it), the chairs stored in the hallway (I also spent about £40 on repainting them), a sandwich toaster and lots of other things that we don't have any more or have gradually replaced.

We also get a lot with vouchers or on offers, for example we often get given Debenhams vouchers for birthdays and Christmas so we save them until we need something, we got our vacuum cleaner last year in the sales with vouchers. Tom also gets love 2 shop vouchers from his work so we save those up and use them for holidays now but we bought our mattress, pillows, barbecue and Tom also bought his playstation with them years ago. We also used them for part of the washing machine, fridge freezer, dishwasher and lawnmower at our last house (None of the these came to our current house with us). I also use Groupon for some things, I have a large canvas on the way that I bought from there and am doing a web design course via an offer on Groupon from last month.

All in all on average, obviously it varies, I spend less than £100 a month on my home and myself (I have the same attitude when it comes to buying clothes etc) and considering I don't smoke (anymore) or drink excessively or go out all the time to eat or to party I can actually put away money each month into my savings toward my dream house, or towards a 2 bed semi in the suburbs or a bedsit in town, but lets not get into that as mortgages and the housing market are a whole other story.

There are however a few things I don't skimp on, and will always buy new or make sure we buy quality:

  1. Mattress - We got a memory foam one last year and some nice pillows, it made so much difference especially as I'm prone to back ache.
  2. Insurance - While I try and get the best deal always make sure everything you need covered is covered.
  3. Pets - Our cats are insured and we have a payment plan with the vet, we probably don't need both but it means we're covered for emergency care with the insurance and the annual boosters and check ups with the vet payment plan, which also includes their flea treatments and worming. Which means no matter how skint we are the cats will get any treatment they need. The turtles also while they have a second hand tank will get any upgrades they need, we're about to splurge on some new pipes for their filter. 
  4. Food - While we buy own brand and shop around etc I always buy fresh, healthy food and don't go in for cheap prepared meals. I always upheld you never knew what was in them and the whole horse meat scandal has proved that theory right! (I've been a vegetarian for over a decade now so still don't quite understand why it's OK to eat a lamb but not a horse?)

General tips for saving money while still having the home that you want:

  • Most importantly - Be happy with less and be grateful for being able to aspire to more. Tom and I have nothing compared to some people we know who own houses and flash cars and loads of gadgets and expensive things, but I'm not jealous (well, not often) because we have everything we need and more, and there are millions of people who would be so grateful to have what I do and could never dream of having more. I try to remember this and get perspective when there's something I'd like to buy and I don't have the money for it, if that pillow or whatever is the only thing I have to sacrifice today then I'm OK really.
  • Don't be scared to get second hand - I often look for second hand before new as I find I can get something more solid and full of character for cheaper than a new laminate or plastic piece of furniture.
  • Find your local freecycle group and look out on there, you can get some amazing things for nothing - A lot of them are a Yahoo group. Freecycle is also great for getting rid of stuff without having to pay to get a skip or hire a van or pay to get it collected by the council, also people will come and get it from your house so you don't have to cart it all to the tip yourself, and it keeps things out of landfill so it's a win win situation really.
  • Re purpose items, like our old bath mat under the cat litter tray, rather than throwing them out then buying something similar to do another job.
  • Don't buy something just because it's cheap, if you don't like it or it's flimsy then you are going to be replacing it sooner and it's a false economy.
  • Wait if you can, don't panic buy - wait for sales, wait until you've saved up, wait until you have some spare cash, wait until your bonus or a good month, wait until you find the perfect second hand item
  • Although if you see something at a good price and you like it don't be paralysed by indecision, you might miss out if you wait too long!
  • Finance and credit cards - I can see a place for it on expensive things like new cars and houses, but I own neither so I avoid it where possible as I think you pay more because of interest rather than saving up, and I am actually almost credit free other than the sofa and I've survived just fine. I try to always have some money in my savings for an emergency. Don't get me wrong there have been months where I have struggled, and lived on pence until pay day, but as long as I had food in the cupboard and petrol in the car I have never had cause to live on credit.
  • Save - I save every month, but if there is something I want that is over the amount I can spend just out of my pocket I save up extra for it. Any money left in my account at the end of the month on the day before pay day goes into my savings and I also have a direct debit that goes out at the start of the month.
  • Don't waste money on bills or expenses - shop around for providers for gas, electricity, internet, mobile phones. Get freeview rather than paying for satellite or cable, eat out less, buy budget and own brand at the supermarket, get a service like Netflix or Lovefilm rather than going to the cinema, have people round rather than going out to socialise, it can be surprising how much you can save by making a few small changes.
  • Be 'Green' - this often equates to being cheap but it's just trendy now - save water by washing clothes on a quick wash cycle where possible and turning taps of while brushing your teeth, grow your own fruit and veg, turn the heating down and lights off, compost food scraps rather than buying compost for the garden, reuse carrier bags rather than being charged for them at the shops, repair, reuse, recycle. Walk or cycle more, take public transport or even get a smaller engine car if you can bear it, maybe even go mad and get rid of your car, if you are a 2 car household do you really need 2? 
  • What can you get rid of or do without? We had our old fish tank hanging around and I sold it the other week for £50. I got rid of my car when we moved and now walk to work and I am saving an absolute fortune without paying tax, repair costs, insurance and the petrol bill which got more and more every year. We both stopped smoking last year and the last pack I bought cost £7.15 so it goes without saying that is saving me literally thousands of pounds a year. To be honest I think this is where I became so frugal, I was so used to just going without half of my pay packet as it went on smoking that I just got used to living on nothing, after stopping smoking I felt like I'd had a pay rise over night! Tom and I both did it using the Allen Carr easyway book and it really was the best thing we ever did.
That's my little collection of tips on how to live for less and how to get the things you want for little or no money, any other tips you have feel free to post them in the comments!

Monday, 25 March 2013

The List

I have talked briefly in some posts about our plans for rooms, but I thought it might make a bit more sense to put it all in a to do list dated back to when we moved in to explain my plans for each room. This might get a bit long but I'll try and keep it concise!

Entrance Hallway

  • Get storage furniture - A large cupboard or wardrobe 
  • Organise the stuff stored in there
  • Add art and photos
  • Give the room a purpose other than storage and drying washing!
  • Once we have the wardrobe/cupboard move items from other rooms into it
  • Maybe a runner or a rug
  • Organise music equipment
Office
  • New desk
  • New computer - I'm typing this first post on my new asus eee, well 2nd hand actually it was £75 on eBay and came with a full size screen also and a case, bargain!
  • New desk chair
  • Update fish tank (this really is a 'one day' thing as the one we have is fine it's just a bit dated)
  • Mat under cat litter tray
  • Add art and photos 
  • Sort out the lighting
  • Possibly change light fixture (the one in here came with the flat so we'd have to store it away safely)
  • Maybe a rug under the desk, see once we get the desk
Bedroom
  • New wardrobes asap
  • New bed
  • Find use for the old bedside tables or get rid of them - maybe repaint or otherwise update them
  • New bedside tables
  • Shoe storage
  • Bedside lamps
  • Declutter!
  • Organise under bed storage
  • Organise storage on top of wardrobes
  • New bedding
  • Art and photos
  • Update mirror and maybe hang on wardrobe door
Bathroom
  • Get some storage solutions for toiletries
  • Artwork and maybe photos
  • Organise the built in cupboard
  • Get a shelving unit for the built in cupboard to store more in there
Living Room
  • Get new sofa in
  • New coffee table - maybe a trunk or box
  • New CD and DVD shelves
  • Declutter
  • Stands for Toms guitars
  • Find places for all the photos and add in some larger pieces
  • DIY or buy a roman shade to brighten up the window
  • Runner for behind the sofa - maybe DIY
  • More cushions for the sofa - some different patterns and colours
Kitchen
  • Organise cupboards
  • Get a spice rack
  • Declutter work surfaces
  • Storage storage storage - top cupboards and in cabinets
  • Get a nicer dish drainer - done, I don't think there are actually any photos of our old one but it was a silver plastic one we had for ages and it was a bit gross 
  • Get a cutlery organiser for the drawer
  • Art and photos
  • New cups that match or at least look better than work freebie ones!
  • Maybe get a rug or better door mat
  • Move rarely used items into the hallway cupboard
  • Sort out bins, maybe one bin with 2 sections rather than 2 different bins
  • New cat bowls
Outside
  • Add plants in pots to the front
  • Add a window box to bedroom window
  • In back garden add plants in pots
  • Generally tidy back garden
  • Maybe find somewhere else to keep the bikes to free up space
General
  • Get some clocks! We have none in the whole house and have to check our phones or the TV for the time
  • Sort out all the bills (at the time of writing this I still have not had our final electricity bill from when we moved in here and have not had the deposit back from our last house)
  • Find homes for all the photo frames and ornaments, this will probably be ongoing as we move and acquire furniture
The main themes seem to be decluttering/organising and art work or photos. We downsized to move here so are still figuring out our stuff and we have a lot of small photos, artworks and ornaments so I'd like to add in more large high impact pieces to make for a cleaner look.

That's it for now but each project usually spawns another so this will most definitely expand as we go!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Our Pets

I realised recently that while I talk about our pets a lot and there have been some photos of the turtle tank, and the cats do like to photobomb my pictures quite a lot, I haven't actually introduced them for those of you that haven't met them in person. Warning - This post really is just gratuitous pictures of our pets :).

Excuse some of the bad photos they are old phone photos taken pre blog, also I know I'm wearing the same hoodie in 2 of those photos, they were taken on different days (actually over a year apart!) that's just my scruffy hoodie that I wear at home when I'm a bit cold. It may have originally belonged to my friend Sam, who is 25 today, happy birthday!

We got our turtles years ago now when we lived in our second house, they looked like this at the time, were about the size of a 50p coin and lived in a small tank.
They've now doubled or tripled in size and live in the 4ft tank in our office, which we got 2nd hand for around £60 and one day would like to replace with a more modern one.
One is fat and the other is still a bit smaller (We think he's the boy as females tend to be bigger). Hence why they aren't often called their actual names of Michaelangelo and Rafael, but we mainly call them Fatty and The Little One.
They get on most of the time, or just leave each other alone, but sometimes Fatty does have a go at The Little one, mostly when it's coming up for feeding time. She also likes to dive off of the top of the tall ornamet, she climbs up then throws herself off the top. I have no idea why, as they they bask on top of the smaller barrell ornament so I don't know if she's trying to get closer to the light or just doing it for fun!

We got our cats about 2 years ago now, they were rescue cats and were 5 when we got them. They came as a pair, and their owner had died. They had been left in her house for about a year with her son going in to feed them, so when we got them they were a little anti-social, and really only associated food with human contact. Minty still is quite keen to be fed all the time (If you go anywhere near her bowl she is there meowing and getting under your feet), but she was quite fat when we got them so has been on a bit of a diet since and is not happy about it. Minty came around to her new home and to us quite quickly and was up on the sofa sitting on our laps within a few days, and she still really is a lap cat, I have to push her away when I'm trying to type as she always wants to sit on my lap in the desk chair and there's not enough room for my legs under our tiny desk let alone her as well. Look at that face though...
Jazzie on the other hand didn't come out from under the built in TV stand we had at the time for weeks, I started leaving food and water in front of it as I was worried she'd starve! Eventually one night she poked her head out and looked at us, then a few nights later she ventured out to eat while we were in the room. After this she gradually started being ok around us as long as we were sat down and quiet, she didn't come near us but was happy to be in the room with us for short periods of time. Then on my birthday (3 months after we got them) she randomly just jumped up into my lap! I was so stunned I took a photo on my phone and sent it to Tom
Since then she's gotten more and more affectionate and now she gets up on the sofa with us most evenings, although she still is quite timid and if we get up or make sudden movements or loud noises she runs away, and she never has sat actually in my lap again she just sits next to us now.
Although she is quite timid with us and is smaller than Minty we think Jazzie really is the boss
She is the one we have also had to take to the vets after getting in a fight and the one that always wants to go outside and spends nights outside. Minty will go outside but doesn't go very far at all and hates to be shut out, she'll follow us out in the summer and sit on our laps outside but she's a bit of a wuss really.

They do love each other really

However we do make sure they each have their own bowls, beds etc because they do sometimes fight, and we suspect that a recent trip to the vets for Minty was caused by a bite from Jazzie so we don't want to encourage any upset between them.

We also temporarily had a 3rd cat for a year, as Toms mum moved into a rented house and couldn't take her cat with her so we looked after her. Her name is Tinker, we thought she was a boy (And Tom and his family had thought she was a boy for 10 years!) until the vet informed us she was a girl. She is a lot more vocal than our cats, she never shuts up actually, and she's quite a lot smaller and more handleable. Our cats like to be fussed but hate to be picked up or restrained, Tinker loves to be cuddled!

Tinker now lives in our old house with Toms Dad, we didn't take her with us to the new house as 2 cats were hard enough to find a place for, 3 was impossible and would be quite cramped in a one bedroom flat any way. Also our cats never really accepted Tinker, she never really asserted herself with them and they were quite horrible to her, so we thought it best that she had a place to herself again. Tinker taught our cats to meow, so they both now are much louder, she also taught them to talk to birds. They used to sit on the windowsill and make this weird noise, calling to the birds, it sounds exactly like what you'd expect a cat doing an impression of a bird would sound like and it was hilarious! Search on YouTube for 'cat calling to birds' and there are loads of videos, but our 2 never did it before Tinker arrived and showed them how.

Also under surrogate pets are the 2 dogs we used to look after occasionally to keep my wanting to get a dog under control, firstly Charles the labrador who is owned by Toms friend Chris.
He used to come and stay every now and then, but while I loved having him he was a little big for our small house (He pretty much trashed the place) and the cats hated him so he never stayed for more than one night. Also check out the kitchen floor at our old place, orange and cream with brown baseboards, snazzy huh?

We also had my dog (Well my mums dog) Stella come and stay for a few nights
As you can see she immediately made herself at home, she's smaller and getting on now so a lot calmer than Charles, the cats actually didn't seem to mind her so much and we talked with my mum about us looking after her while she was on holiday etc but unfortunately now we've moved we won't be able to do this as no dogs allowed in the new place.

So that's our little gang, I know some of you want more on renting with pets and househunting experiences with pets etc so once I have put that all together I'll share it.