Organisation and ‘what success means’.

Warning: Slight Chance of Philosophy Ahead.

Hello there. Another week has flown by with no discernable house progress.  The to-do list is fairly steady, although I did manage to sort a bunch of stuff out that’s just been hanging around.  We’ve had a hire car for a few weeks whilst mine was in the shop.  That meant we had to take everything out of our car, which in turn, meant I had to sort out everything in our car.  There was a broken steam mop and half a rice cooker in there.  A fun afternoon of sorting was had.  I’m only mostly being sarcastic here-I genuinely enjoy sorting and organising.  Mr E always jokes that I have a thing for containers, and he’s absolutely 100% correct.  I love a good jar, and it was with great glee that I finally sorted out the world’s smallest pantry.  Well, it’s a cupboard, but I can call it a pantry.
I’m calling that success.  We were talking about what success means to us, and came to the conclusion that it’s really simple.  Being Happy.  I feel pretty damn successful at the moment.  I don’t earn a ton, but I spend time with my little man.  I don’t have a massive house, but my flat is full of exactly what I want.  I like my job, I’m happy with my self image (shock!) and the few friends I have are ace.

Mostly though, I like to open cupboards and see things all neatly arranged.  It certainly makes baking much easier.  This weeks’ TOTW wasn’t that great.  I made baked doughnuts but they were a bit too heavy and cakey for my liking.  Perhaps I’ll resort to frying again.
Already so interested in the record player.  This was a calm Sunday morning playtime shot, and he decided he wanted to climb.


IMG_4863 - Version 2I had a babywearing consultant come and visit me this week.  She boosted my confidence to get ‘Lo on my back.  He’s just chilling and checking out some cows here.  Rock and Roll.
I left my job this week and cakes were had by all.  I made Hummingbird brownies, Mint sponge (I used Mary Berry’s recipe and added peppermint essence and colour) and some Betty Crocker Mix totally absolutely homemade muffins.
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I’ll take brownies in on the first day of my now job.  Makes awkward introductions less awkward.

Completed groutwork in the kitchen!

Another week has flown by.  On the plus side, we finally finished grouting the kitchen.  Black grout is a pain in the ass to get off of counters, walls, floors and children.  Speaking of which…


IMG_4836Milo’s storming along with his eating, and really loves fruit at the moment.  Good times.  I also gave him a sneaky bit of this weeks’ treat – carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, straight out of the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, minus the walnuts.  I didn’t substitute, I just left those suckers out.

Sunday Round Up-010215

I finally got a date to start my new job.  Also, I got a new job.  I start on the 16th and I’m so stoked.  I’ll let you know how it goes!  I had a big sort out of all of Milo’s clothes and toys this week and spent half of Saturday pricing and labelling for a little pickles market on Sunday.  I came home with quite a lot of it, but I still managed to get everything sorted so it feels pretty good.

This week’s treat of the week was banana loaf with dark chocolate chips, and it was delish. I used the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery recipe and added chocolate chips.  It’s healthy because of the bananas, right!?
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Milo is 9.5 months old.  He loves chickens and ducks and we take every opportunity we can to get out and feed them.  I love to hear him laugh as the birds get closer and closer to him. There are chickens at ‘Lo’s nursery.  I can’t wait until the Spring when he gets to meet them up close.

Sunday Round Up

It’s been a pretty chilled out week here, and they’re the best kind, in my book.  Milo’s still crawling all over the place which is so exciting.  He’s figured out putting one thing inside another, and handing stuff over when asked.  The glosswork in the living room is done, so we just need one more coat of chalky white on the exposed brick and we’re done.  Well, we need to figure out what lights we want, but other than that we are DONE.

This week’s treat of the week were salted caramel biscuit bars.  Totally delicious.  I used the recipe from Erren’s Kitchen, I overbaked them because I was tired so they didn’t have the brownie texture I was after, but they did taste delicious, so I’ll have another try one day.
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Today we made a family nest with playmats and cushion and cuddly toys and hunkered down to watch Ghibli films all morning, and I made us pancakes for lunch-Banana for Milo, Bacon and cheese for Mama and Daddy.  Bliss.  It’s been a long week, and bitterly cold, especially in the mornings. I’ve decided to take better care of my skin, and have started to drink a bunch more water and remember to moisturise.  We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Portrait of Milo

Hey there.  I’ve seen a few blogs that document the growing of their kids, whether literally in therms of shots taken in the same place or developmentally, with shots showing the new things Jr can do.  I’m going to go with a Life, The Universe and Everything approach, and add a snapshot of what’s going on in our lives each week, 52 weeks of the year.  This will take us through first steps and first words, first birthdays and first ice creams.  Should be interesting.  I’m going to jump right to number 2…

Tomorrow I’ve got the day all to myself for glosswork and tidying up.  DIY and sorting.  Soothing.

The 99% Finished living room

Howdy all,

It’s been a while since I put up any pics of the house, and there’s been quite a bit of change!  The living room is now 99% done – the skirting board needs painting and there’s some filler in the walls that needs sanding and painting.  The filler is the same colour as the paint though, so the job isn’t screaming at me.  I know, I’m a mess.  Our flat is pretty small, even by British standards, so it still feels like we’ve got a lot of function crammed in here.
This is our TV room, our dining room and where Milo plays.  The space also gets commandeered as a spare bedroom (the sofa folds out into an unbelievably comfortable full-size double bed) and my studio on occasion.  The dining table extends and I’ve had ten people around it. There are chairs cleverly hidden in various places around the flat – in the bedrooms and even behind the sofa!  A lot of our life gets lived in this one room, so there’s as much storage as possible.  The end of the sofa is acually a lift up treasure chest of DIY supplies, the sideboard/TV unit is JAM PACKED with booze and illustration supplies, and even a media server!

We really don’t watch TV at all, but we have one anyway.  Sometimes Milo watches a Ghibli and sometime I veg out to Star Trek, but broadcast TV? Not so much.  We do listen to records a lot though!  I like to let Milo choose and then dance around the room.  He just chooses the the most colourful sleeve, but I feel good for letting him get involved.
The view of the throne.  The sofa is the Friheten from ikea.  It was cheap and cheerful and is reasonably comfortable.  I like knowing there’s a spare bed, especially when the little one’s having a tough night!
We all eat all of our meals at the table.  It’s nice to have a table right there because it actually gets used.  In our old place we had a dining room, but it got used as a bit of a dumping ground.  Again, the table is from Ikea, it’s just a Bjursta and its holding up pretty well.  It sure gets some abuse from the tiny one at dinner time!!  You can see our toy storage there too…Just a big ol’ box on wheels.
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The shelving is Elfa System track and bracket, and we got some ply cut to size at our local hardware store.  Fun fact-I was 5 months pregnant when we did this and couldn’t help at all. Mr E. tried to pick up the ply by himself while everyone assumed I was being overly feminine and not helping in case I broke a nail or something.  I tried really hard to look pregnant but it just didn’t work.
On the subject of the kid (honestly, you have one and they just take over), the little man is nearly 9 months old.  It’s totally shocking.
I know a full house tour was sort of promised last summer, but it’s coming, I promise.


Hi everyone,

I didn’t realise quite how long it’s been.  There’s a bit going on, so I’ve got some posts in the pipeline.  We painted the hallway black!  The brick in the lounge is white!  Everything in between!  For now, here’s a picture of Milo.  There was an unattended nativity so I did what any mother would do; Put my baby in the manger and take a photo.  I say baby, 7 months old and cruising already.  He’ll be a bona fide toddler before I know it.

Caramel Crunch Bars

Good Morning everyone!

We’re in a holiday kinda mood here, so I’d like to share a new chocolate recipe.  Backtracking a bit…I LOVE coffee.  I can’t get enough coffee.  When I go to a coffee shop I get coffee with more coffee in it.  And a coffee chaser.  Yep. Double shot latte and an espresso to go.  I’m also partial to cake and chocolate, and most coffee shops have a chocolate nibble offering or six.  My current favourite comes in the shape of caramel crispy bars from Costa, so like any good citizen I have made my own take on the recipe, and I’m going to share it here, because I’m nice like that.

Caramel Crunch 1

It’s a chocolatey, biscuity, caramelly, crunchy mess.  YOU’RE WELCOME.  Also, you should probably only eat one, just sayin’.

Get these things:

250g Dark Chocolate (the bars don’t care if it’s cheap or Green & Blacks, it’s all good)
150g Butter
2 Tablespoons golden syrup
250g digestive biscuits
About a cup of rice crispies
2 caramel chocolate bars
200g (ish) milk chocolate

A well greased square baking tin, or two loaf tins, or whatever you have
A space in the fridge

Do these things:

Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup together in a mixing bowl.  Yo can do this over a pan of simmering water, or in a microwave if you like living on the edge.

Bash up the biscuits into fairly large chunks and add to the melted goo created above, then pour in the crispies and mix the whole lot GENTLY.  You want crispy crispies, not dust.

Pour into the greased receptacle, and flatten down a bit, trying to make it even.

Break the caramel bar into chunks, and stud the delicious looking chocolate mess.

Melt the milk chocolate and drizzle over the top, sealing the caramel chunks well and truly in.

Leave to set in the fridge overnight and turn out in the morning.  Cut into squares using a HOT knife, and enjoy.  I originally cut mine into nine squares, and Mr said I was ridiculous, so now we have eighteen fingers, which is probably better?  Will I eat fewer? NOPE.

Caramel Crunch 2

SO good.  Enjoy your thoroughly British treat!  (FYI for my American friends, I believe light corn syrup is an acceptable substitute for golden syrup, and you guys call digestives Graham Crackers for some reason. Language, HA!)

Thoughts on Motherhood

Yep.  It’s a post about the ‘M’ word.  I’m married, I’m mortgaged and now I’m a Mama.  My whole world has been tilted, but not turned upside down by having Milo.  I’m still ‘Me’.  I still eat sushi, I still listen to metal, I still dye my hair green on a whim.  I nurture and I protect and I imagine I could be fierce if I needed to be, but I’m pretty docile.  My tiny flat is not overrun with infant paraphernalia, but there is no doubt that a kiddo lives here.  I don’t think that having a baby means that you surrender your style and fill the house with plastic (we’ve done pretty damn well on that front, actually) or that the TV plays a perpetual loop of ‘In the Night Garden’.  We have everything we need, a baby bath that hides in a cupboard, a door bouncer instead of a jumparoo, a beautiful high chair that will last us many years, a beautiful crocheted blanked made with love by my MIL…  But not much primary coloured plastic.

I make Milo clothes, I made him a tipi, I made a sheepskin liner for his highchair and I’ll make one designed to go in trolley seats (damn they look uncomfortable).  I make fresh baby purees.  We watch Japanese anime with Subtitles.  I carry Milo in his sling most of the time and he loves it.  I sing Dolly Parton and Tim Minchin to him and I use organic baby bath.  I’m not all ‘extra crunchy granola’ (as a friend described) though.  Milo has plastic toys.  Sometimes he eats baby food from a pouch.  Some days I sit him in front of Peppa Pig so I can empty the dishwasher.  I give him Calpol and I get stressed when he screams, and yes, I use (gasp) disposable nappies and sometimes he even has (double gasp) formula.  I think of myself as a pragmatist.  I have ideals and good intentions, but you have to go with the flow and let the littun’s take the lead.

I’ve kind of forgotten what life was like before, but that’s OK.  To quote a Jonathan Coulton song: “You should know how great things were before you.  Even so, they’re better still today.  I can’t think of who I was before.  You ruined everything, in the nicest way.”

Milo’s Nursery

Hi All,

A nursery was promised and a nursery thou shalt receive!  The skirting board still needs doing but that’s all, so I’m calling it done for now.  Enjoy!




So…A quick word on the tipi.  I made this one Sunday afternoon from blackout curtain lining and dowels from the hardware store.  I needed a shelter for a BBQ that I’m going to today and couldn’t find one I liked, so I got busy!  Milo seems to like it and hopefully it will last a while.  Milo loves his room and always seems to calm down in there if he’s stressed.  Happy days!

Feeding Milo…

Hey all,

We got the big crib for the Nursery last week, so now is all we need to do is strip and replace the skirting boards.  It’s a lovely calm space in there, and Milo’s settled in well.

Talking of Milo, he’s (shock) four months now, and we gave him his first food this evening.  Banana and avocado puree.  Yum yum! (FYI, I just baked an avocado and banana in the oven for 15 minutes, then threw them in the blender.)


Pictures of the nursery next time I promise!  Also, we finally have a door on the dishwasher now, as IKEA finally got their act together with the fixing kit.  All the tools and junk from Milo’s room has been creatively hidden away in the flat, and things are starting to look good around here.  We might even do a full house tour before the summer is out!


Sneak Peek of the Nursery

Hello all,


VERY long time no see.  I’m terrible, I know.  BUT I’ve nearly finished the nursery!  All that’s needed is to heatblast, re-attach and repaint the skirting (and paint the doors at some point) and we’re done.  Obviously I’ve forgotten hpow to take decent pictures of tiny rooms, so expect a full post as soon as I figure that one out.  For now, there’s just a bassinet in there, but over the next few weeks I expect we’ll be transitioning to a cot, so there will be some change coming then too.  For now though, here are a few of the handmade touches from the nursery…

Just checking in…

Life is very hectic all of a sudden, but we’re trying to work on the apartment whenever we get the chance.  Whilst the kitchen is technically unfinished, it is functional, so we’ve started to clear out the small room.  Milo will be needing a bigger crib soon, and that means we need to get our act together with the nursery!

2 Months old already.  How time flies.

A little more progress…

Bit by bit, things are coming together in the kitchen.  We’ve started tiling and now have a feel of what the kitchen will look like once it’s done!


So, now we just need to finish the tiling and grouting, fit the doors onto the washing machine and dishwasher (and what a nightmare that is, but that’s a story for another day…), and bolt the wall cabinets together.  So close now, but the newborn is taking quite a bit of our time!  Hard to believe that he’s one month today.  Yay Milo!


Slowgress! It’s like progress, but slower!

A few years ago, I discovered the Slow Food Movement, and the way I ate and cooked changed.  I was more discerning about where my food came from, what I did to it, and the atmosphere I created when I ate it.  Suffice to say, as the name suggests, this takes time.  I was eating and cooking more slowly, and paying more attention to the experience of the meal.  In short, I became one of those food wankers who takes Instagrams of their lunch.  Fast forward a few years and I’m faced with not just a meal to put together, but an entire kitchen.  In retrospect, starting a kitchen reno when 6 months pregnant probably isn’t the best idea we’ve ever had, but we’ve had the luxury of taking it slow, and fitting work in whenever the Mister has time to breathe and whenever I’m not being sick or doing a beached whale impression.  I think we may have started the slow kitchen movement.

Hob, extractor and oven

Very clearly not finished yet, the obvious missing factor being the tiles.  We have tiles – great white glossy, daunting things! And black grout! And edging!  It’s just sat there at the moment, but once that goes up things will be that much closer to feeling together.  We also need to put the door on the washing machine and the dishwasher (fun fact: Ikea have discontinued the door attachment kit for third-party dishwashers).  The plinths and the worktop-back-edging need to go on, the wall cabinets need to be bolted together and I think that’s it.  Oh, and we’re going to put an open shelf to the left of the extractor cabinet for crockery and particularly pretentious cookbooks.

Kitchen towards window

Kitchen Right

Kitchen Left

I’m actually quite proud of the extractor cabinet above the hob there.  There was a LOT of debate over what kind of extractor to get, and we nearly ended up with a plain stainless steel one-you know the type, looks a bit like an upside down capital ‘T’.  The one thing we had to work around in this kitchen is where the outlet for the extractor is.  In the picture above you can see it in the top right-a ragged hole stuffed full of plastic bags because SPIDERS.  If we had gone for a ‘traditional’ hood, we would have had to botch it quite a lot, as most fans just want to vent UPWARDS, never sideways.  We figured that if we got an integrated cabinet fan, we could stick some industrial ducting out of the side, and channel to the outside.  That’s the theory, anyway.  The decision to paint the cabinet and door the same colour as the wall was one I wasn’t 100% on board with, but I think it works.

A final note to anyone who’s good at math or knows me IRL-I still haven’t had the damn baby yet.  He’s a week late now.  I think if I just start tiling, he’ll decide that that’s a SUPER GOOD time to arrive, so perhaps that’s the plan.  Oh, also this was my 100th post, I hoped to have finished, but I can’t leave you hanging.


Kitchen Plans

So you’ve seen the real life state of my kitchen, but I wanted to share my vision as well.  I feel like we’re getting to the point where the bones are coming together, and we can think about the ‘finishing touches’.  Yes, a tap is a finishing touch.
Kitchen Touches1. Marimekko Oiva teapot  2.  Orla Kiely Linear Stem pot  3. B&Q Senio tap  4.  Aloe Vera plant, Ikea.  5.  Habitat ‘Flap’ Clock.  6. Valspar Kitchen and Bathroom paint in Bottlenose Dolphin, B&Q.  7.  Franke Ascona sink, Screwfix.  8.  White tile with dark grout, via House & Home.

All the appliances are integrated, including the microwave, which means there doesn’t need to be anything on the worktop if we don’t want there to be.  Our kettle is a stovetop rather than electric, and I’m pretty sure the stovetop espresso maker will live on the hob, too.  I’ve got a cute hanging herb planter, and a stack of nice chopping boards, and for once I’ll be able to edit my little kitchen vignettes.  Of course, once the kitchen is done, we’ll pretty much have a baby here, so who knows, maybe I might not get round to that as quickly as I’d hoped.  Oh, and on that note, we also have to create a nursery from scratch!

Kitchen Progress

Hi guys!  There’s been a fair amount of progress in the kitchen, now that we’re starting to get some of the big jobs done.  On Tuesday we got a plasterer in to fix up the walls and flatten the ceiling (we had a lovely 90s patterned Artex ceiling in there…).  We waited all week for it to dry, so that we could seal it with some watered down paint.  FYI, fresh plaster looks like melted chocolate.

When this weekend rolled around, we got busy with the paintbrushes.  Once plaster is PROPERLY dry, it goes all pink and powdery.  That’s when you need to make sure to seal it well, otherwise the plaster will suck out any water content of the paint and the paint will dry patchy or the plaster will crack.  We used Dulux Light and Space mixed roughly 50/50 with water.  I guess you could use cheaper paint, but the Light and Space is what we’ve used on ceilings everywhere, so we had a fair bit floating around.  Also, if we ended up with a half used tin of trade pure brilliant white, it would never get used.  First coat dried really quickly-no surprises there, as the plaster absorbed most of the water, so we were throwing up a second coat in no time.  We did the same again, 50/50 mix.  We left this to dry for a few hours whilst we did some more cabinet building.  The kitchen was looking pretty bright at this point, but just got super fancy when we rollered on the final coat of ‘real’ paint onto the ceiling.  Pure, undiluted Absolute White Light and Space.  ‘Twas a thing of beauty.
Check out all the beautiful brightness going on there.  Over the last two days I’ve assembled all the wall cabinets, except the one for the extractor fan, as the instructions for that appear to have been written by an utter sadist.  I’ve put the drawer fronts on the drawer units, fitted the oven into the oven housing and built one of those funky little wire pull out drawer cabinets.  We also managed to get the fridge and freezer back into the real kitchen, which means I can now open the fridge again!  When the fridge was stacked atop the freezer in the ‘nursery’, it was against a wall and opened the wrong way, and with this baby permanently attached to my front, there physically wasn’t room for me to open the door.  HAHAHA.  HILARIOUS.
Sneaky little look at how the kitchen will eventually come together.  Unfortunately I took the picture late last night whilst so tired, but it is a small beacon of hope in the sea of neverending kitchen woe.  The kind of woe that has had my living room looking like this since BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
IMG_0521Soon.  Soon it will be over and I’ll have a fancy-pants kitchen and I’ll never leave it.  It’s my birthday next week and I’m having some people come over, so before then I’ll need to have straightened out the lounge at least.  The wall cabinets went up this afternoon, but they will need to come down again in the week so that I can paint the walls in the kitchen, and then the cabinets can be straightened and fixed up properly.  We’re a little closer to the finish, but given Ikea would have charged over £3k to fit the kitchen, I don’t mind that it’s taking a little while!