Hello!

I know this post has been a very long time coming, but we’ve been unbeievably busy over the last couple of weeks!  We picked up the keys to our flat on Friday 19th of July, and haven’t stopped since then.  On Friday, we got up, picked up the hired van and flew straight to Ikea.  Yep, our flat is more than a little Swedish… A new bed, sofa and dining table later, we picked up the keys and let ourselves in.  You guys, it was so emotional.  We just stood there in the hall going “we OWN this.  this is OURS”.  Over the next few days we realised how much actual work there was to do.  There were holes in the walls.  Not like screw holes, but face-sized, taken out with a hacksaw holes.  There were non-functioning night storage heaters, which, when removed (eventually) revealed a lack of skirting board behind and flooring underneath.  There were dodgy electrical spurs added on to the ring main.  It was not, my friends, a case of slapping some paint on the walls.  The best room in the flat was the bathroom, so bizarrely, thats’s where we chose to start.  We took down the old towel rail, the medicine cabinet, the frightening-looking heater, the mouldy blind and all the odd screws and nails.  I filled in all the holes, I sanded all the filler.  I painted the ceiling. I scrubbed the window with limescale remover.  We bought a new shower and installed it.  We changed the shower curtain track.  AND THEN we painted.  A glossy, charcoal grey called ‘Bottlenose Dolphin’.  Apt for a bathroom, no?  Once we’d painted I had a crack at the skirting boards.  I used one coat gloss, but I don’t know what kind of stain the previous guys put on the wood because the gloss went yellow.  So Once became Twice.  Lesson learned: Never Trust Anything.  Once THAT was done I moved my attention to the frilly stuff.  The Hang It All pretending to be a towel rack, the Mirror Of A Throusand Transformations, and a clock.  We need to get a new light fitting, but for now, this is nice.  It’s been nice during all thework to have a moody, masculine, calm retreat to wind down in at the end of the day.  The last thing you want when you’re trying to relax is to have MORE WORK staring you in the face.  Yay!  New Flat!

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FlatProgress7

The lounge is coming along in leaps and bounds too.  (I will do a proper introduction to the flat at some point, with pictures and floorplans, I promise.  I just wanted to throw you a frickin’ bone here.)  The lounge has taken a LOT of work.  Nearly £600 of brick tiles to replicate that bare wall look, nearly a tub of filler and SO MUCH SANDING.  Throw in a nice vintage light, and some buttoning on an otherwise plain IKEA sofa and y’know what, we’re seeing progress.  Still a long way to go, but we will get there!  Having internet troubles at the moment, but once that’s all sorted (grr) I’ll keep the updates coming thick ‘n’ fast!
FlatProgress4FlatProgress5That’s all for now folks!

Cupboard Shame

Good Evening all,

I’ve finally been shamed into sorting out the cupboard which serves as a loft in my apartment.  Now, it’s important that you know that I am married to a hoarder, and we pulled about 8 boxes of CABLES, myriad broken laptops, access points, projectors and whatnot out of the cupboard.  In all fairness, not a great deal of the ‘stuff’ in there was mine, but there is a pretty hefty pile heading to charity shops tomorrow.  We also shifted 4 binbags of junk and 3 of recycling.  Yep, there was a place in our house dedicated to storing out of date pizza menus…

Without further ado, I present some pretty shameful before pictures…

It was, as I believe the kids say, a hot mess.

So, after about 8 hours and a trip to the local Staples, it started to look a bit more like this…

Finally, once everything was out and I could hoover, we had the fun of fitting it all back in.  I’d been ‘editing’ as it all came out, so I was faced with a  MUCH reduced amount of stuff to cram back in.  There were a few ‘Tetris’ moments, but on the whole it is SO much better!

Hurrah!

Bored of the Ironing Board…

Good Evening.

Straight to the point.  My ironing board has seen better days.  We bought it when we moved into our first place a couple of years ago, and it was the cheapest in the Argos catalogue.  Oh how times change 😀

The shameful shot:

So, rather that splurge on a whole new board I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect cover.  Never going to happen.  I certainly didn’t find a Brabantia jobbie that would do the trick, and some of the nicer ones would be too big due to the board being so cheap.  The next logical step was to have a peek at Etsy but by the time you add shipping to the UK things get a bit steep.  My budget was ideally around £15, so I decided I”d have a crack at making my own.
I headed to John Lewis, and picked 2 meters of beautiful Tanya Whelan fabric, which was half price and some 4oz flame retardant wadding.  Armed with tutorials I found on Pinterest (Oh dear, I think I’m addicted), I set to work…

Materials ready to go (That tubby chap is my pincushion ^_^)

The Board with the old cover removed and set fire to…
I sort of skipped a step here.  There are two layers of wadding in there, cut the exact size of the board top.  The fabric is good side down, then cut the same shape as the board but with a 4-5in border.
Then I pinned a wide hem around the outside with string in the channel, so I can use this as a drawstring to tighten the cover on the board later.
At the end I left a little gap for the string to hang out so that it can be tied up.  I had planned to tie ribbon to the string a little further down, but the knot that was created was HUGE and made a huge lump in the channel.  I seriously thought that the knot would stop the string from moving in the channel, and thus stop the drawstring action from working.  I had at it with my sewing machine, and removed the pins…
Oooooh…
 Voila!  One shiny new ironing board cover!

Even though I didn’t use ribbon in the drawstring, I wanted a cute little tie off, anyway.  Right then, glam, creative bits over-I now have to do the actual ironing.  Sad face.

The Great Wardrobe Experiment

Good Evening!

Over the years I’ve tried and failed so many times to keep my wardrobe in order.  Even living in an amazingly small space didn’t kept me in check.  But this time I vowed to try harder, and I think it’s working.  Our bedroom has a bizarre nook with a higher ceiling than the rest of the room, and it’s in here that we have installed some IKEA Stolmen poles and a small chest of drawers.  For a very long time (Read:Several Years) it looked like this:

Having enough of ironing my clothes both when they went in and when they came out I developed a Plan.  I wrote myself a plan for getting the beast tidy, and some ‘rules’ for keeping it that way.
Getting Tidy
1.  Sort out the clothes.  I took everything back and followed the old ‘6 month’ rule.  If I haven’t worn it in 6 months, it goes.  Yep.  Harsh, but it works.  Now everything in my wardrobe is something I love.
2.  Work out what works.  I find it easier to have stuff hanging, the Mr likes things folded.  Once you figure out where you’re likely to put stuff when you finish with it, you can work out where it needs to be in the first place.
3.  Put everything back!
Keeping it That Way
My simple rule is to put things away.  Even if I don’t feel like it first thing in the morning, I will fold up my pyjamas and put them in the drawer.  That skirt I want to wear tomorrow?   Back on the hanger, not slung over a chair.  Belts?  Hair accessories?  Necklaces?  They all head into the cute tin pail, and stay there.  
There were a few changes as we figured out what worked…The big box for shoes, and the tin pail for ‘stuff’.
It seems to be working so far-and I’m ironing much less. 🙂

The Befores and the Afters…

Good Afternoon!

Whilst I’m planning the next change (I think it’s going to be the bedroom, I’m itching to at least paint in there…) I thought I’d share some before shots of the current place.  When we moved into our current apartment, we had furniture that was cheap, begged, stolen or borrowed.  In the case of our sofa, it was a 2 seater borrowed from my in-laws.  It was so small my husband and I could barely sit on it at the same time.  This wasn’t a problem in the old place, as we had 2 and a half rooms.  One room for sleeping and officing, one room for bathrooming (the ‘half’ room) and one room for everything else.

In our current flat, we found we had so much room that we didn’t even use the dining room for a while as we found our feet.  Slowly though (and we have been there a couple of years now) we’ve got things just right, with a balance of the cosy that we were used to, and the open and airy that we aspired to.  It’s interesting too, to see how our style hasn’t really ‘changed’ as such, but has instead become a little more ‘refined’.  The walls are essentially the same colours, the same basic shapes in the furniture but just a little more subtle and grown up, although saying that, we do have the biggest sofa in the world and I jump on it sometimes.

Now to think about the bedroom!