22 March 2012

New lighting in the living room?

I've had a poorly boy here with me today - Torin's a bit under the weather and spent a large amount of the day lying down on our sofa in the space next to where I usually feed Astrid. Sitting there today I was gazing around my living room and dining room with my usual frustration of not having the time to be able to blitz the place as much as I want to and my eyes settled (as they often do) on the ceiling lights. 

Wasn't it nice of the previous owners to remove the strip lighting that was obviously in this room before he replaced it with this fixture! Not so nice of him however to not bother to fix the mess in the wallpaper that the removal of the strip lighting clearly made!

We have the same lights in the living room and the dining room, and whereas I don't mind it really, I don't think it really goes with the room very well and I don't think I would have chosen something like it myself. Like a lot of things in this house though (like the kitchen cabinets and the bathroom suite), they're too inoffensive to replace; although I think they sit too near to the ceiling - our rooms could take something lower as the ceilings are high. Also, I thought it would be a real hassle to remove them as I thought there would be a maze of wires in that thing. I have it good authority however, that the lights would be quite easy to replace. That got me thinking . . .

I think something like the KNAPPA from IKEA would do the trick nicely - what do you think?

Image from here.

21 March 2012

Six green glasses sitting in my sink . . .

. . . and if one green glass, should accidentally fall . . .

I don't know how we manage it, but we always seem to be breaking glasses in our house. I have to admit, a large proportion are probably broken by me - I can be a little (!) clumsy at times, but it really doesn't seem like very long ago that I was at IKEA buying a set of six tumblers, of which we only have one left. So, the other day I went looking for some replacements. I decided to go to IKEA again because they are so reasonable there, and as any glasses I bought were in danger of having a very short life in our house, I thought it better that I didn't spend a lot of money.

When buying glasses, I normally go for the conventional clear kind, but these SKOJA glasses caught my eye:

I don't know if it's because Spring has definitely arrived here, but I really like the fresh green colour of the glass and at 49p each they were quite a bargain.

As I said, I would normally go for clear glass, but I do really like these coloured glasses and I also thought that even if I got bored of the colour, they'd probably end up broken quite soon anyway so I'm sure I'd have a chance to change them soon enough!

20 March 2012

Garden rooms with a Tolkien twist.

In anticipation of the new film of "The Hobbit" coming out later this year, I wanted to draw your attention to these Tolkienesque outdoor buildings from Wooden Wonders.

Images from here.

Cool aren't they! As you can see, there's a door in the circular shape on the front which opens up into this cute little space:

Image from here.

It would be so cool to have one of those at the end of our garden - certainly more fun than your average garden shed. Though at $3k, they're definitely not cheap!

19 March 2012

A lovely Mothers' Day.

This year we celebrated Mothers' Day over two days. David took the children and me out for lunch on Friday, which was lovely as it is a real treat that we don't get to do much these days. Looking at Torin, sitting in the seat eating his pizza and drinking his apple juice through a straw I couldn't believe how grown up he'd got. Astrid needed feeding just after we ordered our food so I decided to feed her at the table - you know, nice and discreetly. Of course she was having none of it and began screaming, so I took her into the toilets (Zizzi have really big individual toilets) to try again there, but to no avail as she continued screaming and wouldn't stop. She was teething really badly and I knew that I'd left her teething gel at home. Luckily we were in the centre of town and there was a supermarket a few doors down - so I went back to the table, took a longing look at my lovely pizza that had arrived while I was in the bathroom, put my coat on and left the restaurant with Astrid in the buggy. I clearly looked like a woman possessed, as I seemed to get a few strange looks as I pounded down the street! 

I made it back to the table not long after and Astrid, pacified by her now numb gums, fell asleep for the duration of the meal. By this time, Torin had exhausted the shelf life of the free colouring pencils he got with his meal and was getting bored - David whipped out his iPhone and we were soon on our way to enjoying our lovely meal once again (with the faint sound of Peppa Pig in the background). They say that once you've had children, nothing is ever the same again and it's true, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

On Sunday, Torin came into the living room where I was sitting after finishing feeding Astrid and said, "Mummy's flowers and massive card!" David laughed and said, "Ssh! It's a secret!" Torin then started laughing and beamed, "Quick! Hide it!" I think he was just a bit too excited to give me these lovely daffodils from our garden, and the lovely picture of our family that he'd made (with a little help from his daddy):

The different heights of the daffodils represent the four of us - sweet aren't they!

What did you get up to this weekend?

12 March 2012

Grand house for sale.

No, it's not ours. We're firmly staying put here - well, for the time being anyway - David's work contract runs out in December - fingers crossed it will be extended. If it's not, who knows where we'll end up . . .

Anyway. I was driving through Radyr (a suburb of Cardiff) today and I noticed that a house I always stare at is up for sale! I knew we would never be able to afford it, but as soon as I got home I looked up the details - I was intrigued to know the price and also to see inside!

Imposing isn't it!

It's on the market for £895000 - ridiculous money, I know! Never in a million years would we be able to afford that! One can dream though!

Here's what it looks like on the inside:

Oh to get my hands on those rooms! I love the fireplaces, the picture rails, cornicing, original floorboards and the beautiful sash windows! All features that have been ripped out of our poor little house.

Here's the garden:

All images from here.

Pretty decent size - brilliant for a family to run around in. Shame it won't be my family. Sad face.

8 March 2012

30 Things I Love.

This week has been all about organising. It's funny, doing official things for my children makes me feel suddenly very grown up. I've been sorting out the nursery Torin will be going to in September - here children are entitled to a free nursery place in the term after their third birthday. It's one of those decisions that carries a lot of responsibility, but I guess it's not as bad as choosing which school he'll go to - that'll come around next year! The other thing I've been doing is sorting out the family meals. David's been brilliant and cooked lunch and dinner for us all for ages now (especially since I was heavily pregnant with Astrid) and this week I felt like it was time I tried to do it myself. In order to keep our budget and my mind in check (so I didn't have to think too much - I still have a little baby brain going on!) I found a great meal planner online and have been following that.

Speaking of feeling grown up, I turn 30 this year, so I thought I'd do a few features on here to celebrate. The first of these projects is 30 Things I Love. I really enjoyed the mini-series I did as an introduction to my house and in some rooms I struggled to choose just one or two things to feature. Therefore I thought I'd take advantage of the 30 theme and show you a few more things from around our house. I'll be focusing on items that either mean a lot to me, or that have an interesting history.

30 Things I Love: 1

Torin's train cushion.

This cute train cushion sits on the end of Torin's bed. David bought it from Laura Ashley in Harrogate while we were there with David's brother and his wife. I think it's such a sweet cushion for a child's room as it looks homemade with the visible stitching and the gingham fabric. It's special to me as we bought it before Torin was born and David chose it by himself - that may sound a bit odd, but most of the design for Torin's nursery came from me, so it's lovely that Torin's got something in there that his daddy chose for him.

5 March 2012

The back room. A work in progress.

Yesterday I tried to do a bit more work on our back room. I reached a bit of an impasse when sorting through the remaining "stuff" in there as I managed to fill two recycling bags with paper and then found myself staring at what was left, not knowing what to do with it all. Thinking about what else I could do in there, and a little frustrated that I couldn't get more wallpaper to peel off just by picking at it, I decided to tackle this cupboard:

When Torin moves in here, I want the head of his bed to be where the cupboard currently sits, so the plan is to remove the cupboard to give maximum floor space for the bed. 

I soon cracked open the tool box, found the screwdrivers that I would need and merrily began removing screws from the doorframes. I had to stop about 15 minutes later as I just didn't have the physical strength to remove some of the final screws - the screw heads were really worn down and look like they've been driven in with a hammer, and I couldn't find our electric screwdriver. I think David will have to help me with this one, and therefore it'll have to wait until the weekend.

Anyway, when I had done as much as I could, the cupboard looked like this:

As you can see, one of the doors is still attached, and I couldn't get the left hand side of the cupboard out without moving the bookcase next to it, which was just one job too much for me yesterday. 

The shelves that you can see inside the cupboard are built into the alcove and they are flush with the chimney breast behind the bookcase. I'm going to leave the shelves where they are and then build a small cupboard in the bottom of the space using the bottom shelf as the top of the cupboard. When it's finished, we'll be left with a wall with two recessed shelves and a cupboard at the bottom which should look quite neat. The head of Torin's bed will then go in front of the cupboard, so it will essentially be hidden storage. 

This weekend (working around the rugby or course), we'll hopefully be able to remove the rest of the cupboard and start thinking about building the cupboard at the bottom - I'll hopefully be able to show you some pictures next week of the brilliant progress we'll have made!

2 March 2012

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

I don't know if it's due to the lovely Spring-like weather we've had recently (it's been such a joy to hang washing out on the line again!), but this week I've found myself being rather drawn to nautical style fabric, especially those featuring birds. Isn't this wonderful fabric by Vanessa Arbuthnott pretty!

Image from here.

Also, what you can't see from this photograph is that the background of the fabric has tiny white dots all over it - you can see what I mean in the picture below:

Image from here.

 I also stumbled upon this similar fabric by Clarke and Clarke which is about a third of the price:

Image from here.

I'd love to use one of these fabrics to make a Roman blind for our bathroom window - I think it would really add some much needed warmth to the room. What do you think?

1 March 2012

Beautiful square feet of the month!

This month I want to share with you, pictures of this beautiful Georgian cottage. I love the fact that it is true to its period on the outside and then has been presented in a contemporary style on the inside. The owners have created a cosy house full of eclectic pieces, producing a relaxed yet stylish home.

I love the mixture of textures in the living room - the way the leather of the armchair sits so well beside the ticking on the sofa, the wooden floorboards and the wool of the rug on the floor. I also really like the contrast between the floral cushions and the stripes on the sofa fabric.

In the kitchen, the vintage AGA looks great with the more modern painted floor, and I really like the glass jars and bottles on the shelf above the stove - useful and pretty storage.

The mix of old and new continues in the dining room where old mis-matched chairs sit under a newer painted table. The large mirrors are a great way of adding light and interest to the room - I especially like the relaxed way that the bigger mirror is leaning against the wall.

I think the bedroom is my favourite room in the house - it may have something to do with the calm grey colour in which it has been painted. I also really like the contrasting muted colours in this room - the chrome of the bedside lamp goes so well with the wood of the bed as well as the cushions.

All images from here.

I seem to be drawn to calm interiors at the moment - hmm, wonder why that might be!
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