Family

Me and the new house : Part 4

Or – To Conservatory or not to conservatory? That is the question

Once the garden lodge had been organised, -you can find that here- we set our attention to the kitchen. When we moved in, the dining table had been put into the kitchen because there was nowhere else to put it and we had to eat somewhere! At our previous house we had the luxury of a completely separate dining room, and I also had a dresser unit from there that needed a home, as it was currently residing behind the sofa in the lounge. Not ideal. So we now had to decide whether we just stayed with the kitchen/diner idea or something else. When we had first viewed this house, we had thought that it might be a plan to have a conservatory. It was one of those things that had been on our wish-list, and we had viewed properties with them. My husband had thought it could go on the back of the lounge, but I thought the view into the garden would be very much spoiled if we did that. The other option was next to the kitchen, through the back door. We had no idea how much it was likely to cost, so got a local tradesman who had been recommended by a family member to come and give us a quote. It turned out that he agreed with the size and shape we thought was probably the best for the space. We were pleasantly surprised at the price and decided it would be folly not to go ahead as it would give us the extra room we needed. And the nice thing about the building works is that we could shut the back door at the end of the day and it wouldn’t impact on the rest of the house.
So, 4 weeks later, the building began. We were so lucky with the builder – the brickwork was immaculate and he cleared away and tidied up after himself every day.

Part 1 – foundations and brickwork.

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The builder wasn’t sure when I said I needed the end wall to be a certain height, but I stuck to my guns and he did what I asked – there was method in my madness! Once that was done, it was all measured and the glass was ordered. A few weeks to wait!

Part 2 – glass

  

It was strange that the more it went up, the bigger it seemed!
Part 3 – interior 

We had thought we would like a vaguely Moroccan theme and we also didn’t want a light in the middle as it gets tricky to change the bulbs – especially if the light is above the table. We ended up with the green feature wall because we can view so much garden and other colours might have drastically clashed.

  

 
It turned out so well and  we are really happy with it. It’s  glorious eating our breakfast in the mornings and intimate in the evening with the lamps on. Hard to think that it wasn’t always part of the house. And that wall? I think I was justified in making it that height!

Now…about that kitchen…

 

 

 

 

 

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Family

Me and the New House Part 3 – the garden room

We looked at very many houses over 3 months or so when we decided to move. We were mostly looking at a standard 3 bed but on a whim we decided to look at a bungalow. To our surprise we discovered that the rooms were big, usually the 3rd bedroom really is not very big at all. When the original house we wanted to buy fell through, it made us rethink what we actually needed. As we now only have our daughter with us and we don’t know how long for really and our son only visits sporadically, did we really need 3 bedrooms? As my husband would no longer be working from home, did we really need an office space? It was a no to both of those questions. So we changed our search, thinking that if the garden was big enough, we could put one of those wooden cabins in the garden for use as our spare room. 

When we saw the house we have now moved into, we knew straight away that it could work for us. It has 2 big bedrooms, a nice sized lounge and a kitchen diner. A garage and workshop for my husband’s needs. And the garden? Almost half an acre! There was already a Summer House in a corner of the garden that I immediately grabbed as my Craft room. There was plenty of space for a garden room to go up.

While the sale was going through we researched the type of cabin we might want, visiting our local garden centre that had a company that made them. It’s been there for many years, so we thought it was a pretty good bet. They covered our new area too so we took the brochure and waited to move.

We moved in the week before Christmas, as I’ve already said, and on Boxing Day we saw that the company were having a 25% off sale…that was a lot of money! So we rang and the rep made the appointment to come and advise us. It was very straightforward. He agreed entirely with where we had decided to put it, although he did say he thought it’d be better off flipping it 180 and we agreed with him! We were advised that it’d be about 6 weeks. So we just got on with the rest of the  unpacking and waited for them to contact us. Towards the end of January we were called and asked if they could come the next week and we were very happy. However…the Beast From The East decided it had other ideas, the lorry got snowed in and it had to be postponed. Not their fault, and they couldn’t have been more sorry about the situation.

2 weeks later they were ready to start. There was 2 days for the build and another for the electrics. It was amazing to see it go up so quickly and how efficiently the men worked.



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Once the electrics were completed, we moved a daybed, the piano and our media library into it – all furniture we already had so it didn’t cost us any more. The inside still has a lovely new wood smell and looks nice so we won’t paint it at all. Now we have our spare room which can be used as a bedroom, or a gaming or film watching room and my son even composed a couple of pieces when he came to visit. With blackout blinds now at the windows the visitors won’t be woken up early either. It really is a lovely space. All we have to do is paint the outside. We did the base coat but had a slight problem with the topcoat as they sent us the wrong colour. This has now been resolved so its just a matter of time!

Family

Me and moving house Part 2

I wrote a post way back in April Here saying how our house was on the market. And it was. We got a buyer fairly quickly after some haggling and began the process of looking for a house in the area we fancied. We viewed many – different areas, different configurations and almost on a whim decided to look at a bungalow. Well, it was a revelation. The rooms were large, the plot was large and it was in an area we liked. Hooray! We started decluttering, getting rid of furniture we would no longer need by donating it to a charity. Everything went along nicely…until the day before we were meant to exchange…when the couple we were buying from decided they didn’t actually want to move after all. After 3 months of paperwork and expense, and our buyers deciding that they’d rather not wait for us to find another property, it was all off. Gutting. Back on the market.

By now it was August Bank holiday. My daughter had given her notice in at work for a week before we were going to move and although I’m sure they’d have let her stay she really didn’t want to. So my sister, who lives in the town we want to buy in, said she could go and stay with her, to get to know the town and maybe try and get a job. Phew.

A couple came to view on Bank Holiday Monday, offered us the asking price so we started to look again. Having lost the first house, it made us reevaluate what we needed. We no longer need 3 bedrooms and a study/office as my son left 2 years ago and my hubby is retiring because of his health. So actually a 2 bedroom would work as long as there was room for a cabin in the garden to use as a spare room/studio/office. We viewed a lovely one but because our buyers didn’t have a buyer at that point, we got gazumped by a cash buyer.  As luck would have it, the perfect house came up fairly quickly. It’s immaculate. Small compared to what we have – of course! – but the rooms are a good size, with a big enough kitchen/diner that I can tinker with.  10 minutes walk to the seafront. The garden is huge, and my daughter who will be with us for a few years yet liked it. All started again. A date was put into the air of a December 1st target. It seemed to be going swimmingly until about 5 weeks in when our buyers buyer wouldn’t reply to emails or texts  and it turned out that the Estate Agent had been hiding details from everyone. She then pulled out of the chain. Our buyers were adamant they still wanted to buy ours, and we still want to buy, so we were not sure what to do next. We were advised to put our house back on the market, even had a couple of viewings. The house we are buying were advised to do the same. Luckily (?) the market has gone very quiet, so there’s no people looking in the town we want to buy. Then our buyers came up with a plan to rent their flat out while still buying ours. They’ve been great. Keeping us informed every step of the way. It’s only the bank that are holding things up. There is just one last tick in a box and we are ready to go. If we get the nod today, we can exchange tomorrow and complete next Friday. Everything is down to that one last thing. Keep everything crossed for us please.

Remind me to never move again. It’s so blooming stressful!! 
Update 15/12/2017
It happened! We exchanged contracts and are moving on Tuesday 19th! We shall be in our new home for Christmas!

Family, Fashion, General

Me and Gender Neutrality

There’s been quite a lot of hoo hah in the twittersphere lately about John Lewis announcing that they were bringing out a range of babies ware that wouldn’t be described as for boys or girls. People were throwing their toys out of the prom (see what I did there) about how their babies would all be changed somehow by wearing a bit of fabric that hadn’t been designed specifically for their particular type of sproglets. Which, of course, is ridiculous. 

Babies are dressed by their parents. I never deliberately did the blue for a boy, pink for a girl because I love bright primary colours and some things are unisex items. Also when my Daughter was born she had reddish hair and pink looked nasty with her colouring. Denim is functional for both sexes, dungarees especially. Lots of lovely colourful stripes and spots. Tartan trousers with red and green boots. My daughter wore many handmedowns from her brother, although the first thing my mum did was to buy her the girliest, most unpractical dress because she thought my daughter needed it. I still have that one somewhere. I think my daughter wore it twice. Because my Mum would be there to see her in it. I don’t remember anyone looking at my children and not knowing whether they were a boy or girl. But people actually get so offended if you can’t tell that they glue bows onto babies heads so you knew that was a girl…presumably. I’m not saying that I have never bought a particularly lovely item for my daughter, because by the time she was 2 she had waist length see-through blonde hair and I wanted her to look nice on special occasions. I remember one mint green dress and jacket for a wedding that was gorgeous! But by the time she was 6 it was obvious to me that she was a skater girl. She’d choose long shorts, trainers and t-shirts. If the ones she liked were in the “boys” section…so be it. 
We also gave our children the opportunities to try out many different activities. My son is very proud of his Disco Dancing trophy that he achieved age 8. My daughter preferred Judo and Golf. They are both are musicians.

It’s beyond this though. The Let Toys Be Toys campaign is huge, trying to get to grips with the fact that no, actually girls and boys don’t need different stickers, girls things shouldn’t just be about princesses, and boys may not always want to drive a digger. If they do – that’s great! But having had one of each I can say that the two sorts of toys that were played with the most by both genders were the kitchen play set and the Brio train track. Boys and girls together.

There’s also this gender reveal cake trend. It used to be – and I know I’m old – that you didn’t know what sort you were going to get until your baby was born. Now you throw a party, cut into a cake and voila! Pink for girl or blue for a boy. Quite arbitrary really. Clinton cards decided that was what it should be at some stage I suppose.

Then I thought about my teenage times in the 70s. It was pretty androgynous the fashion. We all wore platform shoes, Fred Perry type figure hugging tops, the widest trousers we could find with the most buttons on the waistband. We all had the feathered haircut. Well, my tribe did.

So, if you want your child to wear a colourful dinosaur top whether they’re a boy or a girl just do it. Never be constricted by gender norms.

Oh, and my kids both now grown….my son loves any colourful shirt, with Paisley being his favourite pattern. If he has to wear a plain coloured shirt he wears a Paisley bow tie. A shrinking violet he is not. And my daughter almost exclusively wears black and white. She’s still a skater girl who’s almost a rock chick.

Family, Wellbeing

Me and moving house

We have lived in our current home for 24 years. We moved in when our son was 8 months old. It was the worst house in a good street. It had no double glazing, 70s wallpaper and a tiny kitchen. But it was a big step up from the one bedroom flat that we’d lived in for 7 years previously which was above a car showroom – a bit of a pain with a newborn and a buggy!

We spent the first few months stripping wallpaper when the boy was in bed and getting rid of the wood-chip. While we have lived here we have changed all the decor, extended the building and our family with another child.

But now it’s time to leave. Our kids don’t need to be at the local schools and Hubby no longer has to commute as he has left his job following a second heart attack.

Its been a good house. We’ve many wonderful memories.

I am excited for the future with a retirement by the sea on the cards. Excited to be nearer my Sisters and their families.

its going to be good.

 

 

Family

Me and my Sewing Room

When you’re someone who crafts you dream of a space where you can spread out and get things done but be able to leave something out if you’re midway through. That’s usually difficult when there are kids around.

But my kids are now both grown and last Summer my son left home.Me and Letting Go My Daughter decided that she really fancied moving into his room as it was the biggest – it has the bay window so maybe it is slightly bigger – so we gave it a quick coat of white paint and moved her in with all the things she wanted to keep, and several bags of stuff ended up at the charity shop.

The back room had been hers since she was tiny. The last time it was decorated was 6 yrs ago when my son had started at uni so we thought she deserved a treat. She chose black carpet, in hindsight maybe not the best idea for a Blondie, and a purple wall to hang her guitars on. The ceiling was artexed and there was a cupboard built in that was not really any use. We had put her bookcase inside it to make use of the space. It really needed sorting out. We have decided that in the not too distant future we will be selling up and moving on, so in order to tidy it up and get it ready the only way to do it was to completely take the cupboard out and the ceiling down and get the whole room replastered.

So for the moment it has become my bolt hole  ( thanks to my twitter friend @barnstudiosigns  for making exactly what I wanted ) with a single bed for when my son comes home (or my hubby’s snoring gets too much 😜) and I had fun deciding what furniture I’d like to have and other bits and bobs. Thank goodness for IKEA! Here is the process in photos.

         

          
         
          

         
          
So there we have it. It’s a lovely space to relax in and hopefully I’ll get to make a few nice things before we do move on.

Fashion, Reminiscing

Me and Shoes 

Hello, my name is Stella and I am a shoeaholic 

I am the eldest of 6 children and my mostly single Mum did her best to clothe and feed us. Shoe wise we had to mostly get by with school shoes, probably Start-Rite leather sandals, a pair of wellies for Winter and a pair of Jellies for Summer. I guess in some ways I was the lucky one as if I grew out of mine I got new shoes whilst the old ones were passed down. I do remember having to cut the front of the jellies if it was nearly back to school time and our feet had grown. If we were very lucky we would find some new treasure at a jumble sale, which we did frequent fairly regularly.

When I got my first proper job at the chip shop the Summer I was 14 I thought all my Christmases had come at once. I earned £1.80 a session and after giving my Mum my keep the rest was mine. I saved up for a record player but mostly bought shoes. In our local high street were many shoe shops. Who remembers Dolcis, Bata and Barratts? I would wander along the high street looking at the shoes in the windows and in the wire mesh baskets outside looking for a stylish bargain. I distinctly remember a pair of silver grey high heels with a small platform and a peep toe – they cost me £3 and cut my toes every time I wore them, but I didn’t care! My sister fell in love with them too and ran to get herself a pair.

My poor feet. I am a size 8 with fairly broad feet so some styles are a no no. I have had blisters and cuts and corns all in the vain hope that the shoes would be OK after a few wears – “They’ll stretch” “Give it time” I have had to walk home from the train station/bus stop with my shoes in my hand because I really could not take another step in them. 

I had Red cork wedges that were more like bricks on the bottom now I think about it, platform clogs and Pixie Boots during my New Romantic phase. My Wedding shoes were white patent stilettos with 3 1/2″ heels and a white leather bow on the heel. I loved those shoes and often wish I’d kept them although I believe I did actually wear them until they fell apart.

I had a pair of Red Kicker boots and a pair of turquoise Desert boots, both of which lasted a very long time.

I have trouble with tall boots because I have big calves which is very annoying!

Am I the only person who keeps their new shoes in a box, puts them on to admire them and then puts them back? I mean I’m a person who lives in jeans and Converse ( I shan’t tell you how many pairs of those I own) I wear bright coloured Birkenstocks with skirts in the Summer  – when we have a Summer. Again I have quite a few different colours. I don’t often have an excuse to get gussied up but I do love new shoes! If they are a bargain, so much the better. We couldn’t really afford Clarks shoes when I was young, but now they do beautiful stylish shoes at really quite reasonable prices, so I tend to shop quite a lot in there. And when the sales are on…come to Mumma!

I’ve had a quick count up and currently own the following –

 5 pairs of ankle boots

4 pairs of wedges

5 pairs of court shoes in various colours

7 pairs of Converse ( ok, I’ve told you)

5 pairs of Birkenstocks

2 pairs of long boots

4 pairs of Summer flat sandals ( I threw some away at the end of last Summer as they’d come to the end of their usefulness) ( That means I can buy more this year, right?)

2 pairs of running shoes (barely worn)

1 pair of high heeled silver sandals ( bought for a significant birthday and worn once)

1 pair of Amethyst suede heeled sling back sandals from Hobbs ( Gorgeous, stylish and comfortable 💜 )

1 pair Red patent court shoes with rainbow flecks from Hobbs bought for a party and never worn (no, I won’t get rid of them, I ❤️👠)

What do you think? Is that a lot? Or does your shoe collection match it?

I not sure whether I’d actually pay lots of money for a pair of Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos, but boy oh boy they’re beautiful! And I did drool when I watched Sex and theCity back in the day.

I sometimes see this sort of thing on Pinterest and think “one day” *sigh*

One day this will be mine!