Settling In Almost Three Months In

Some friends from Kent were on holiday in Weston-super-Mare recently, so we met up with them for lunch in Minehead (about halfway between W-S-M and where we live) and they asked us how are we settling in and does our new area feel like home yet?

To be honest, neither Rob or I have given it much thought and our answers were something along the lines of “fine” and “yes, pretty much”!

So I thought that I would write a blog post to process my thoughts on the subject of settling in. This is going to be quite a short and sweet post, as we have just moved and got on with our lives as before really!

The biggest change is that we both no longer have our families close by. Mine are on the Isle of Wight and Robs parents are still back in Kent (his sister and her family live abroad). Again, this is something that I have tried not to dwell on, because if I thought about it too hard, I would get down in the dumps and miss them so badly! The fact of the matter is that if we stayed living in our home town, I would still be missing them as well. In fact, I think that I would miss them even more, because my surroundings would trigger nostalgic memories left, right and centre reminding me that they are not living here anymore. Plus I would miss all the silly little things like bumping into them in the supermarket or them beeping at me driving past me etc.

Since moving in May, I have visited the family once and my parents have been to visit us. We are planning our next visit to the island in October and we call and Facetime all the time so its not too bad. Im just happy that they are happy in their new homes and are all settled in.

As for missing our friends, again we have not really noticed much difference in our social lives since moving. Most of our closest, oldest Kent friends have young children and busy lives, or had moved away, so we only saw them every few months. Most of our communicating was done through social media. No one calls or texts anymore! As much as I hate Facebook, it is a good way of keeping up on the general goings on in peoples lives, so we still feel like we know what they are up to and kept in the loop! Its all good and nothing has changed with that side of things really.

Our Kent friends who we met up with asked if we have made any new friends yet. I said “nope!” This is something that we need to work on. We chat to and get along with our new neighbours and I get along with my new work colleagues, but they are not people who we going to socialise with. We plan to join a local VW club soon, so that we can meet some new acquaintances to have a drink and a chat with, and hopefully go camping with at VW events in the future. If not, then the Kent VW lot have plans to camp down our way so we will see them again soon and we are now much closer to our friends in Cornwall who we are visiting this weekend. So we are not complete hermits, honest!

Its strange really, but on the whole moving thing has not been that big a deal to us. Things are still the same down here really, we still need to work to pay our bills (Rob is still just as busy, I am still working weekends in a same-but-different-crappy-minimum-wage-retail job), we are busy decorating in our spare time, shopping in the same old chain store DIY shops and supermarkets, and when you chat to people down here they have the same kind of lives and problems that people back home had. I do miss H&M and Tiger stores for browsing around at pretty things and there are no cheap and cheerful cafes and pubs around here for slap up lunches and meals (the downside of living in a touristy area!) The difference is that we love our new house and its a lot greener and prettier down here so when we do get a chance to go somewhere for a day trip we get to go to places like this!

This makes our move 100% worth it!
20160709_15094420160709_132629

The New House – The Bathroom

I only have two more rooms left to show you in the new house! Today I will do a quick tour around the bathroom and at some point soon(ish) I will share the second bedroom on here.

Then after that I haven’t got a clue what to blog about! Oh dear!

Anyway, I will spare you all my usual excuses about my bad mobile phone photos and get straight down to business describing the bathroom that we inherited with our new house and our future plans for it.

IMG_3130IMG_3131IMG_2388As you can see, we were lucky with our new house that the bathroom was in decent shape and in good order with a new(ish) white bathroom suite (thank goodness for that! no putting up with yucky 80’s beigey-yellow shell shaped sainitary ware and messing around putting in a new suite here!), simple plain rectangular white tiles from floor to ceiling and a nice internal door with a working lock on it!

Whoop! In our last house I hated the interior doors and we had no lock on our bathroom door, something that always seemed to bother our house guests for some reason.

So all that we are going to do in this room is give it a little TLC and tart it up a little.

In fact we have already started doing so!

What we are doing is removing one of the blinds (the blue plastic Venetian one in the photo above. Who knows why the previous owner felt the need to have two blinds on the window?) and repairing the damage from removing it with some spare tiles that were left behind in the garage. We are also replacing a cracked tile near the loo, building a tall, narrow cabinet to store our toiletries and cleaning products, replacing the piece of wood in the photo below that has the shower screen fixed on it with a plastic fixture as it the wood has stared to rot, changing the shower screen to a folding one so that its easier to climb in and out of the bath, replacing the wooden window sill with a more practical plastic one, changing the bath panel from the pine wooden planks shown below to a simple white plastic panel, and finally, changing the flooring to a nicer coloured lino.

Blimey, now that I have listed our plans, that seems like a hell of a lot of work!

Oh well, it will be worth it in the end!
imageimageimage

The New House – The Garage

Oops, it seems that I have taken an unintentional blog break for nearly a month! No real reason for it, other than I haven’t felt like blogging of late. We all go through these periods and sometimes the temptation to give up for good and to delete everything kicks in!

But fear not, while lots of my fave bloggers seem to have thrown in the towel lately, I am going to keep on blogging my mediocre musings and inflicting my terrible mobile phone photography on you all.

Plus I really must finish sharing all the “before” pictures of the house on here, for my benefit, if not for anyone else!

Today I will share a few snaps of our new garage and talk you through it.

To be honest, I almost forgot to share this part of the house on here. But its actually quite a big reason why we chose this house.

Well, when I say we, I really mean Rob!

Apparently this is a special garage, as it has electricity, lighting and its very own toilet! Our garage is also attached to the side of the house, rather than en bloc etc, with a handy interior door in to it. Which is handy for me, as we have our washing machine and freezer stored in there (basically the only reason why I ever go in the garage is to put the washing on or to eat a cheeky Magnum!)

Its a pretty big one this garage, as garages go, and Rob has plenty of plans for turning it into the garage/workshop of his dreams. He already goes to the garage to escape from me and the cat, and to unwind doing his favourite past time of tinkering with the Beetle and building stuff out of wood!

Rob has joked that all he needs now is a sofa bed, a TV and a microwave in there, and then he never has to step foot in the house ever again!

This can easily be arranged, I say!!!

So yeah, that’s about all that I can say about this room. Its just a garage, as far as I am concerned really. But for Rob, it is his dream come true! Bless, him! IMG_2372IMG_2373IMG_2374IMG_2375The above four photos were taken on the day that we moved in, and really show the size and scale of the space.

Of course now its crammed full of boxes, camping equipment, car parts, tools, bikes and a rusty off the road Beetle, so you can hardly move in there! Fun times!IMG_2397IMG_2401

Hopefully by the end of the year it will be better organised, I will have a nice (Rob built) utility area in there and Rob will have soundproofed the walls and turned it into his ultimate man cave of dreams™!

The New House – The Kitchen

Wowzers, today marks four whole weeks of living in our new house, and boy, have we been efficient with the decorating and tarting up of the new place!

We have finished decorating our bedroom, Robs office and the hallway and landing! And once we have worked our way through the snag list of finishing touches, I will share the updated rooms on here. That is after I have shown the before state of the bathroom and the spare bedroom …and once I have learnt to take some better photos that do the finished rooms justice!

Anyway back to now, here are yet more unprofessional photos of our kitchen taken with my mobile (sorry, its quicker and easier for me to blog this way ATM, I promise I will harder soon!) just to give you a feel of the room.

Here is a snap from the day we moved in.
IMG_2377And here is a snap taken today with my obligatory washing up included. Plus added bonus paint brushes and rollers drying on the window sill! That’s some nice styling touches there Helen!!!imageThis kitchen is larger than my Kent kitchen and is really nice to cook in. It was installed in 2012, so all the appliances etc are the same age as the ones we left behind in our last kitchen. I was a little concerned that the ceramic hob would not be as good as my induction hob that I left behind, and the same goes for the oven (first world problems alert!) but they are just as good, if not better than my last set. (I think that’s because we bought the cheapest induction hob on the market from Ikea, and these are decent mid range Howdens appliances!)

The kitchen is nearly new and decorated nicely. It is not 100% to my taste and I would not have chosen the cupboards and finishings myself, as I prefer cleaner lines and more modernist touches, but I am not worried about changing this room. It will more than do!

Its funny, but I am kind of over having a dream kitchen. Its no longer a goal of mine. It was in my twenties, I guess because I was a little influenced by all the home improvement shows and magazines! But now I am older and wiser, I think there are more important things in life than having an immaculate, massive kitchen with a huge range cooker in it. Perfect kitchens will not make you happy – your health, friends and family do.
imageBefore we moved in, we thought about changing the tiles. But that is such a big, messy job and once you do that, you might as well change the cupboard door fronts, then the worktops and then you have ended up putting in a whole new blooming kitchen! So they are staying. They are not bad tiles and we will decorate around them. What we will do is change the flooring and repaint the walls in time.

Unfortunately I have not got a clue what colour to paint the walls though! The vibe I want to create in this room is a kind of 60’s/70’s look, influenced by my Hornsea plant pots, my avocado coloured Cathrineholm kettle and my Briarwood Pyrex pieces. Which means that I am going to slowly replace my pink nik-naks in the kitchen and go for more multi coloured accents.

I played around in my head with the idea of olive coloured walls, or mustard, or even orange for a 60’s/70’s retro look. But instead we might play it safe and go for a light grey colour to compliment the tiles. Or maybe we will go really daring and paint it a dark grey, blue or black colour*!

It is a big room with plenty of light, so I think it could take dark walls if we switch the flooring for a lighter one? Any ideas, anyone? I have no idea what colour to use!IMG_2380I think Poppy has left us a little present in her litter tray in the below shot!imageThe most exciting thing in this room and another thing that sold this house to me was the pantry cupboards! Yes I know, I am really showing my age now – what a saddo!

But how exciting are the hoarding opportunities with a pantry! Think how many cans of tomatoes I can stash in here for any upcoming apocalypse!

Rob is looking forward to the woodwork project of shelving these cupboards for me and I am looking forward to organising them better, so its all good! Win win!imageimage* My current leaning is to paint the room in a very dark greeny-black colour. But my secondary school uniform was bottle green so I am scarred for life when it comes to dark greens! Does anyone else never wear clothes in the the colour of their school uniform? Thank god I never wore black to school as I would have nothing to wear!

Lately #18

Its time for a quick catch up about the regular mundane happenings in our lives ATM…..

    • I found a job! Its only a part time temporary summer job in the village, but right now, that suits me fine and hopefully I will be able to go back to what I used to do (aka the easiest job that I have ever had) in the winter…. if the job becomes available.
    • I apologise to those who already know this from Instagram, but last month for my birthday Rob and I went to Lynmouth and Lynton. It pissed down with rain, but we had a nice lunch in one of the many touristy cafes, ate some fudge bought from one of the many touristy fudge shops, and rode the touristy cliff railway. I recommend a day trip to these towns if you are on holiday in this neck of the woods. Just eat and drink your way around the town. That’s what we did!IMG_2423IMG_2425
    • We also drove around the beautiful valley of the rocks in nearby Exmoor. We took the picturesque toll road, with its steep climbs and hairpin corners. It got a bit scary at times in the van, as after all, it is an older vehicle with a 30+ year old engine! Our breaks were squeaking, overheating and the back of the van had a trail of steam behind it going through all the puddles in the rain! Eek!
    • We went camping on the May bank holiday weekend. Only for one night because of the cat, but we met up with some friends from Kent, met their friends from Devon(!) and had a nice pub meal.

  • Family and friends have been asking how the cat is adapting to her new environment. And lets be honest, we are all crazy cat people here on the internet, so Im going to talk about my bae for a bit.
    She is Ok. She settled into the new house within a week, i.e she stopped walking around crying and whinging all the time. Then after two weeks we decided to let her out on her own (there will be more on this further down). In between, we have been showing her around the garden on a lead, much to the amusement of our new neighbours! Its my fault that she has this lead, as I was getting all neurotic saying “what about my poor baby if we break down on our way to Devon? She will be trapped in her carrier for hours, the poor thing! I had better get a lead just in case she needs a drink and to stretch her legs!” I mean, this is a bloody cat that we are talking about here, not a dog FFS!
  • Anyway needless to say she hates her lead, but Rob and I think its hilarious taking her for a walk! Poor Poppy!IMG_2368
  • Back to the first time that she went outside on her own – Its funny, I had been saying to people that I had not seen a lot of cats in our new area, and that she would be much happier here, as there were loads of cats back where we used to live and she was always getting into fights.
    Famous last words, me thinks! On her first venture out Rob said that it was the first time that he had ever heard some cats fighting around here, and sure enough Poppy comes back home with her collar missing, limping and bleeding! Bloody cat! She is a true Medway girl (born and bred in Chatham!) and she always goes around being a little gobshite and starting fights! But really she is a big chicken, she is just all mouth!
  • We also need to sort out a cat flap for her and then we can finally lose her litter tray once and for all. Hurrah! And after that I need to convince one of our new friendly neighbours to pop in and feed her (or we can unsettle her once again by putting her in a cattery) so that we can go to the Isle of Wight to visit my family! Yey!
  • And finally, I am sure that you all know by now that I like my cycling and I like to shout from the rooftops how awesome the women’s cycling scene is and that it needs more recognition etc. If you have the time, here are two great cycling related links for you to read. The first is an interview in the Guardian with Juliana Buhring. Now if you haven’t heard of her before don’t worry. All you need to know is that she is an endurance cyclist who has a new book out (added to my wishlist) and she has lead quite the life. Seriously, its the kind of life that needs a film made out of it – a crazy, unbelievable, tragic, dramatic life that has overcome many set backs. And also, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who talks about road kill when cycling! The second link is quite a, erm, delicate subject, but still one that needs to be talked about. Have a gander if you like to talk about yeast infections, pubes, periods, moon cups, sore lady parts and cycling. This is stuff that needs to be said.

The New House – The Hallway And Landing

Warning – If I were you I would crank up the brightness on your computer/phone to its fullest for this post, as here are yet more dark and uninspiring photos showing more of our new house. Or rather our new-ish house, as we have now lived here for three weeks! Time flies, eh!

This area is another WIP, as we are currently painting this area white. Rob really hates me right now because he detests painting walls white, its the hardest colour to paint walls with apparently! And next week the upstairs landing and stairs will be re-carpeted, as the carpet that was left behind was a little threadbare.

My plans are to paint the walls and the stair boards (I think that’s what they are called? – we have no banisters here) white, then to fill the walls with our colourful prints and to buy some nicer curtains for the big window at the top of the stairs. That’s pretty much the same plan that I have for all of the house, but hey ho!

In other exciting news, I managed to find two yellow coloured knock off Verner Panton flower pot lampshades online for a tenner each for the hallway and landing! Unfortunately, when they arrived they were a tad more towards the lemon coloured end of the spectrum, rather than the bright primary yellow colour that I was hoping for. But for a tenner, I can hardly complain!

Watch this space for the big reveal!imageimageIMG_3132imageIMG_2376image

The New House – The Main Bedroom

So when I said that this house doesn’t need any work done to it and that we could move straight into it, I was telling the truth.

Except with us being us, we like to create extra work for ourselves and to complicate things!

Within a few days of living in our new house, we had changed our plans from just moving in and giving the place a quick lick of paint at some point, to completely redecorating the whole place!

Luckily, the difference with this house and our last Kent house is that this house just needs* the wall colours, light fittings, curtains and flooring changed. Rather than having to strip it back to its bare bones, replacing woodwork, plastering walls, replacing the kitchen and bathroom and totally renovating the whole house, with this house we can just decorate/de-magnoliaify the whole place and turn it into the stylish modern-retro influenced pad of my dreams.

Phew, well I hope so anyway!

We have also given ourselves the deadline of the end of 2016 to get this house shipshape and how we want it. We are not going to procrastinate and take six years to (almost) finish decorating a house like last time. It scares me how expensive this year will be, but once its done, its done. Then we can relax and enjoy ourselves – I hope!

Anyway, as per usual, the main bedroom has turned into a PITA to decorate! We are currently camped out in the second bedroom living out of boxes while we decorate it and we should be in there by mid June, fingers crossed.

When we moved in the room was done well, with decent laminate flooring and some very nice built in fitted wardrobes that the previous owner had left behind.

IMG_3129IMG_2395
20160513_18114720160513_181154Any normal sane person would have been very happy with the room, but you know me, I am a fussy so and so, and I much preferred my own wardrobes and I wanted to have them in the room instead!

Luckily Rob was on board with me, plus he wanted carpet in the room, so we set about changing things up!IMG_2428

We were going to sell the existing bedroom furniture, but I wanted to offer them to our friends FOC first, and we managed to find a taker who was very happy with them.IMG_2427IMG_2426

Unfortunately when the furniture was removed, behind them was a huge crack in the wall, a dodgy plug, no skirting board and many different shades of wall paint, so the redecorating has taken a little longer and gotten a bit more complicated than we had hoped for!IMG_2433IMG_2431IMG_2441IMG_2440IMG_2439IMG_2430

But this kind of thing is no sweat for Rob, as he is very handy and has dealt with it all before. The new carpet is being fitted on Saturday and some new vertical blinds are on order (which were not as expensive as I thought they would be!)

If you can imagine it, my plans for this room are to recreate my last dining room! I know that sounds weird, but I want the same white walls, the same yellow accessories, the same prints hung on the walls and the same Sanderson Dandelion Clocks curtains (that is when they finally come back into stock on the John Lewis website and I can order them!)

I said to Rob, that if I am losing my dining room, I want to recreate it in one of the bedrooms! He muttered something about that blue lady painting being a bit too freaky for the bedroom, but tough luck mate, you have no choice on this one! And frankly, those curtains are far too pretty (and too flipping expensive!) to be wasted in the guest bedroom!

Once this room is finished, I will share the outcome on here. And hopefully by then, I will be able to upload some slightly better quality images!!! BTW We have already finished decorating the smallest bedroom/home office and the update will be shared on here at some point soon!

*Well it doesn’t really need changing, we just want to do it!

The New House – The lounge

Today I am going to share one of the more exciting rooms in our new house – the lounge/diner.

You know that book that the internet loves so much? Well, Marie Kondo would be very proud of me because I have shed a whole room from my life!

We have no dining room in this house. But you know what? I am not bothered because although the dining room was my favourite room in the old house decor wise, we hardly ever used it. We were naughty because we used to eat our dinner on our laps in front of the telly instead of sitting at the dining table!

Well, there will be no excuses for doing that in this house, as we can now sit at the table and watch the box. Especially when my new sofa is delivered in 15 weeks time!

One of the biggest selling points for me with the new house was its large windows, and our new lounge has the biggest window in the house.

And when I say big, I mean big!

Part of me knows that its going to be hard to decorate around, will cost a small fortune in window cleaners each month, will be a nightmare trying to find some new curtains for and the room will probably be freezing in the winter because of it, but who cares!

With these windows I can pretend that I live in a mid century modernist architecturally designed dreamy crib or something instead of a pretty ordinary 1969 house built on an ordinary housing estate! We also have great views here, but Im sorry, I have closed the blinds in my photos for privacy and security reasons.

Unfortunately our furniture just doesn’t really work in this room. I had high hopes that that I could use my sideboard as a TV unit where ever we moved to. But I have to admit that it just doesn’t work. Its too big for the room and dominates it for all the wrong reasons. So its going to have to be sold and replaced with something smaller (but still retro and cute I hope). Plus the Gplan coffee table is going (again, its too big for the room), so is the dining table (Robs restoration attempt ruined it many years ago), the dining chairs (they were once white, but have now discoloured into a yucky creamy/nicotine off yellow colour) and I also need a bigger shelving unit for my growing MCM book collection, so the Gplan unit is going as well.

Plus the carpet, light fitting, fire, mantle piece and curtains will all be changed, and the room will be repainted more to our taste when funds allow.

Phew, so pretty much everything that you see in this room will be different at some point in the future!

image

Rob is currently working from the dining table until his office is sorted!

image

image

Fear not, the pictures and clocks are not staying where they are. Rob just hung them on some random picture hooks left behind by the previous owner.

image

Sorry for the darkness of this photo, but it gives an idea of the current layout of the room.

image

The New House – The Small Bedroom

Right, its time to start showing you all around the new gaff! I am afraid that I am going to start the tour with probably the least interesting room in the house – the smallest bedroom!

I must also apologise for the quality of my photos. The reason why my photos have not been so great lately* is because my computer set up has changed recently (Rob sold his spare Mac), and as I am lazy, I have been using my mobile for the photos on here because I CBA to upload photos from the DSLR onto my little cheapo Chromebook. Blogging so much easier on a Mac! Plus I cannot edit my photos any more because you have to pay to use Picmonkey now. Boo!

Anyway, thats my excuses for my shoddy blogging over and done with! Let me show you around the room and talk about our plans for it.This room will be Robs home office, that is until funds allow us to buy him a fancy pants garden office in a few years time (fingers crossed!) The furniture is on order from Ikea, and at the moment, the room is just a jumble of cables and IT equipment. imageThe stairs come out into this room, and the previous owner of the house cleverly built a raised platform over them with storage underneath it. We are keeping this and the flooring in here, and plan to paint the room in a light grey colour, put some frosted film on the bottom half of the window (to give Rob a little privacy) and maybe change the curtains for a blind.

Once we have made these changes I will post a full room tour and do a proper before and after. In the mean time I will show more rooms in their current “just moved into state” and keep you all updated in our goings on as we settle into our new house and the new period of our lives in Devon.

*TBH has anyone noticed?

You Couldn’t Make It Up If You Tried!

post2
post1-v2Yep, this really did happen. The wheel fell off our removal lorry last Friday (the 13th) and shut the M4!! You really couldn’t make it up if you tried!

Laughing and joking aside, thankfully no one was hurt and it didn’t cause a pile up on the motorway. It was just a very long and tiring day for our poor removal guys and will be a good story for Rob and I to tell down the pub in the future!

It was a pretty easy journey to Devon for Rob and I in the van though. We left at 7.30 am with the cat in her carrier tucked between the two front seats (it was like a proper family road trip – very sweet!) During the journey I had a call from the solicitors to say that the money had been transferred and our house was sold. Then towards the end of the journey, I rang the estate agents who we were buying our new house from to check if the keys were ready, and we only had to wait fifteen minutes before picking them up. Oh, and I also had a phone call from the removal company to say that they were running a couple of hours behind (little did we know!) It was like everything was going to plan and seemed almost too good to be true!

A photo posted by @helshelshels on


We got into our new house at 2.30 pm and after texting our friends and family the good news, one of our friends phoned Rob up saying that he had seen on Twitter that a removal lorry on its way to Devon had lost its wheel and shut the M4 and was it ours by any chance?

We got him to send us the link, and yep, it was ours alright!

Of course we found it funny – what else can you do but laugh! And we gave the rest of our friends a laugh about it via social media! I still cannot believe that our house move managed to shut the blooming M4! Talk about letting the west country know that we are on our way and causing carnage!!!!

Once again, thankfully no harm was done (except for thousands of delayed journeys!) It turned out that although the removal lorry had just recently passed its MOT, one of its tires blew out and caused another wheel to fall off. The removal guys only noticed it rolling down the motorway in front of them in a perfect straight line, because the driver of the car in front of them did the sensible thing by flashing its hazzard lights and slowing down gradually so that they could safely stop.

The British transport police had to shut the motorway because the lorry was too large to tow away for its repairs (we had a full size lorry towing a blooming trailer with the Beetle in it!) Eventually they made it to us at around 7.30 pm and with Robs help they finished unloading the lorry at 11.30 pm. The poor guys, they left at 6.00 am! I just sat in the smallest bedroom with the cat going apes**t watching them, being helpful as ever, me!!!bug goes to Devon