Lately #19

My life is pretty boring at the moment (just the way I like it! No dramas for me, thank you!) but I thought I would do a quick catch up post on here anyway.

  • I’ve finished work now, as my temporary summer job’s contract has ended. So I now have the worlds longest ever maternity leave. If I could carry on working, I would, but I don’t have a choice. Its a bit dull, but I am trying to make the most of things, having lots of lie ins, enjoying the last of my free time, going for walks and writing lists of things to do to keep myself busy etc. Fingers crossed the next 9.5(ish) weeks will fly by for me! And fingers double crossed for me that I get my maternity allowance approved and paid into my bank account soon!
  • The store that I was working in have promised me a job again next summer when I am ready to go back to work (if Rob and I can sort out looking after the kid between us, that is!) So that’s reassuring, as I hate being out of work and not earning any money.
  • The big news is that my morning sickness is now finally over! I stopped throwing up at 28 weeks, and I can now drink water without gagging again (TFFT!) It has not been fun being unable to drink anything and forcing down squash and Nesquik (two drinks that I normally hate), so I am making up for lost time guzzling down lots of fizzy water (just in time for the last part of pregnancy where you keep going to the toilet!) Its so great being able to drink like a normal person again and I only dry heave occasionally now, maybe once or twice a day. Hurrah!
  • Talking of dry heaving, we recently visited the Isle of Wight to see my family and we put the cat in a cattery. When we picked her up and drove her home, she pooed herself with fear in her carrier (yes, for real), which was on my lap. Bleugh! I nearly threw up with the smell of it! We had all the windows open, with me heaving all the way home, and poor Rob didn’t know what to do but laugh (which I can now also do retrospectively!) Bloody cat!!!
  • Rob’s folks also visited us recently and could see why we moved down here. They loved it.
  • The old gas fire in the lounge has now been ripped out. I love the last photo below that Rob took of the hole in the wall when the outside flue was removed.img_2881img_2883img_2885img_2888
  • Rob is currently grouting the kitchen tiles and cursing me for choosing black grout! But it will be worth it as it will look f**king fantastic when done!black groutBlack grout has now been added to the list of things I am not allowed to decorate with ever again.
  • Next we will finish decorating the lounge and then start the guest babies bedroom. I might do a wee post on my ideas and inspiration for it. Or will that be really boring? I hope not!
  • And finally, does anyone remember this amazing mid century house in Kent that I blogged about back in 2014? It has gone back on the market again and the current owners have ripped out the original kitchen! Whaa! I mean, its still an awesome house that I would be more than happy to move into, if I could afford it, and I could pick it up and move its location to where I live now. At least they kept the original upper kitchen units though. And I still have a lot of love for this house even with its new updates. Check out the listing here.

How it looked in 2014

Currently in 2016. Both images from via

Currently in 2016. Both images from via

  • And talking of retro kitchens and interiors, here is a Instagram account to follow full of retro Swedish kitchens and interiors if you like that kind of thing!

One Last Post About Our Last House

Just for my own records so that I can look back at things on here, I want to share the estate agents images of our last house.

Its always interesting to see pictures of your house taken from another persons perspective. The agent that we used to sell our old house did not send a ‘professional’ photographer round (like some of the other agents used as a selling point for their services!) We used one of the cheaper online estate agents and the local expert did a decent enough job with her little compact camera.
old hose frontold loungeold dining roomold kitchen 1old kitchen 2old bedroomold bathroomold garden

My Improved Kitchen Cupboards

I will hold my hands up and fully admit that I am a complete and utter saddo because my newly fitted out, much improved, all singing all dancing pantry cupboard (or is it called a larder cupboard? IDK?) and broom cupboard in our kitchen have made me so happy!

I also shouldn’t admit that I have spent far too much time perving over images of organised pantries on Pinterest!

And even worse, I am now the proud owner of a spice rack!

Ah well, too late!

Its a good job that I have no shame! But some of those Pinterest images are to die for. I mean, phroaw! Swit shwoo!

Some girls daydream about finding a handsome man to settle down with who will spoil them rotten with regular bunches of flowers, hotel mini breaks, meals in fancy restaurants and boxes of Milk Tray.

Nah. Not me.

I just want a man who puts the time and effort into building me the pantry of my dreams, so that I can organise the shit out of it and hoard half a supermarkets worth of tinned food inside it! That’s my idea of a romantic gesture!

Just look at these bad boys. Aren’t they amazing? Rob has improved them so much. I am never going to move house again because I never want to leave these cupboards behind!!!

Here are the before photos –

broom cupboard before

The boiler cupboard pictured back in May or June when we first moved in.

pantry before

And the other kitchen cupboard that originally housed the warm air heating system, that the house was built with, before it was ripped out and changed to gas central heating and radiators.

We swapped the use of the cupboards over. It makes better sense to store food and perishables in the other cupboard rather than next to a warm boiler. I am a bit funny about things like that, because in our old Chatham house, some of our kitchen cupboards that were hung on an outside wall had a touch of damp in them, and I kept finding green fur on things like my Paxo and pasta! Nice!

Rob made all the shelves from MDF and we used cheap basic shelf brackets and fixings to hang them. We then covered the pantry shelves in some of this stuff from Wilko so that they are easy to wipe clean, and I also brought a £2 shelf divider for my tinned food and some cheap pull out storage baskets for my potatoes and onions from there.

I found the spice racks cheap on Ebay, and I cannot tell you how much I love having a spice rack! I must be old before my time (or rather I am now officially sad and old – as I am practically a middle aged woman after all!) because I feel that my life has improved so much since I have got a spice rack! Its just so handy!!!

Here are some photos of the work being out –


Underneath about five layers of lino Rob found these floor tiles in the boiler cupboard. I am guessing that they are the original 60’s/70’s flooring?


He removed the shelves in the boiler cupboard, gave it a lick of paint and then planned how to make the most of the space with some clever hooks and shelving.


Before painting and shelving the other cupboard Rob lined it with MDF. He is such a good boy! ….And a perfectionist!

Nearly there, it just needs organising.

Look at all that space!

Once again I do apologise for the quality of these photos. I promise that I will use the DSLR for my future fully finished kitchen reveal post! Here are the after photos below –

boiler cupboard

The new and improved boiler/broom cupboard. And yes, as you can see, we have gone over to the dark side with our paint colour choice for the walls! #noregrets!


My pantry in the other cupboard!!!


A close up shot of all the crap I have stashed in there. Plus Rob even put a battery operated sensor light in there for me!

Going, Going, Almost Gone!

I am determined to blog the progress that we are making decorating this house. In our last house I did a terrible job posting finished room tours (at least) two years after we decorated them and not really bothering to blog the smaller details etc.

Welp, this time I have no excuses as I have almost finished work now and I will need something to keep me occupied!

So I apologise in advance for clogging up your Feedly/Bloglovin feeds over the next 12(ish) weeks before I disappear for the next 18 years go into hibernation for a few months, but I need to do something semi-productive on the internet rather than just looking at cats on Instagram!

Yesterday we made a big change in our lounge as we started the process of changing the fireplace. When we moved here we inherited a gas fire with a massive mantle piece, which we knew that we would change when we eventually decorated the house. As our decorating timescale has now changed (there is nothing like a deadline to motivate us into getting things done, eh!) its all systems go around here and things are changing left right and centre, decisions are being swiftly made, large parcel deliveries are arriving almost daily, credit card bills are sky high (don’t worry I will pay them off soon!) and I can hardly keep up with it all!

Our current gas fire is mounted on the wall with an outside flue as we have no chimney breast in this house, so we were limited with our options of what to replace it with. If money was no object, I would love to install a wood burner but you are looking at spending at least 5K to do so (eek!). Next we looked into replacing it with another gas fire, and they are all either horrible, chinzy, brassy things which are not to my taste, or eye wateringly expensive yet again. (The one that I liked in the shop was a built into the cavity wall rectangular fire that cost 2K! Plus you need to service it yearly for insurance purposes which costs £52! Double eek!!)

So after researching our options, we have decided that it is best to cap the gas (which the plumber charged us £45 to do so) and to replace the old gas fire with a nice wall hung electric one. This will give me the simple, clean lined look that I prefer and then we do not have to worry about carbon monoxide and the like. Plus it will save us a shit ton of money!

Here is a before shot and some action shots from yesterday.


From this…

old fire

…to this

fire face

It looks like a face!


To how things look today!

Doesn’t the lounge look so much better already without the humongous mantle piece in it, eh!

Lights Alive

Who else remembers the toy Lights Alive from the eighties? I wanted one so bad when I was a kid!

Anyway, this is another one of my random-musings-type post. I mean with that intro, I might as well start as I mean to go on, eh!

I was thinking about our new house, the decorating and the forthcoming kid. This is the first house that we’ve not had to decorate and change things because we need to (in that things are falling apart and are unsafe etc) – we just want to.

Take the lights pictured below in our lounge and the kitchen. They are fairly new and work perfectly fine. They are just not the fittings that I would have chosen.
imageimageI feel bad for spending money changing them, and guilty that the old fittings will end up in a landfill (charity shops will not accept certain electricals – including light fittings).  I asked myself if it is necessary to change them.

But then on the other hand, Rob and I are both homebodies and we like our home to look nice. We like decorating (well, the end results rather than the process of decorating!) and improving things, making our house(s) a home. We are putting our own stamp on the house, turning it into a colourful, retro/mid century influenced home that is very ‘us’!

We are both former art students who appreciate good design and we like things that are visually pleasing (I mean that’s why Rob settled down with me because I am so darn good looking! Ha!) Plus Rob works from home and I will be spending more time indoors next year. So having a nice, relaxing, functional, comfortable home is important to us.

I have been very fortunate that I have a small inheritance from my grandparents (obviously I would rather have my grandparents still here though) which has enabled us to move and to be able to decorate this house. (Which we were going to spend on some new interior doors and a new patio and driveway in our old house BTW!)

But should I keep the money in a savings account for the kid? After all, we are spending it on our future, not theirs.

But then I go back to thinking that this is something that we want to do. We want to decorate this house.

Everyone keeps telling us to make the most of things right now and to enjoy our freedom, because come next year, we will not have any time to do anything.

We are well aware of this! But thanks for telling us anyway!

So instead of having one last big blow out like an expensive holiday abroad (or a babymoon as they are called) or me demanding that Rob buys me a ‘maternity’ ring or an expensive trinket (or a push present as they are called!), we are treating ourselves one last time by decorating the house.

This will be the last time that it is all about us. Next year everything we do will be about the kid. Their needs will come first.

Neither of us are bothered about this. We are mature enough (I hope!) to realise what is coming. It will be a big shock change, just like everyone keeps telling us.

But bring it on, I say!

….I just hope that our little darling to be doesn’t destroy the place in a few years time!!!image imageAbove ↑ Our new lights in the kitchen and lounge. The kitchen lights were from B&Q and were not too expensive. The lounge light was from John Lewis (but I did buy it when it was on special offer with 10% off!) which looks soooo much better than the chintzy floral light fitting that was there before!!

Dreamy Crib Alert 4

The other day I was having a little digital clear out and I found a link that I saved. Its of an amazing mid century house that was up for sale in America which I planned to feature on my “Dreamy Cribs” series.

Lets just forget that the last time I published a dreamy crib post was back in February 2015  and all collectively drool over this gorgeous pad!

I love this amazing house for many reasons  – 1) Because its awesome. 2) Because the house was up for sell for only £133,000 (Seriously. For real! If I was brave enough and knew what Michigan City, Indiana was like, I would move there in a heartbeat!) And 3) because the house has lots of yellow in it!*

*Because I had a moment the other day, when I thought to myself – “have I got too much yellow in my house?”…..The answer is no. Of course not. There is no such thing. This house proves once and for all that you can never have too much yellow!!!


The colourful ouside is dreamy. Plus I would only have to say to Rob two words to get him to move to this house – “Double garage” and he would be sold!



I love the tulip dining set and the teak sideboard.


Why would you not paint your louvred wardrobe doors bright yellow?


Change the bedding to some Orla Kiely covers and this bedroom could easily be updated.


I pressume that this is the original kitchen to the house. The simple walnut cabinets might not be to everybodies taste but I love them!


This must be the covered patio area that a lot of American homes have. Change the furniture, scatter a few pot plants about and maybe install a mini bar in the corner. Perfect!



All images from orignally from

The New House – The Second Bedroom

Here it is, the last room tour from our new Devon house in its ‘before’ state! Phew, it only took me four months to blog them all!

This is our second bedroom, and when we moved here we told people that we would eventually decorate it, buy a spare double bed for it and then we could have people stay round.

Unbeknown to our friends and family, I was around eight weeks pregnant when we moved, but at that point we weren’t sure of how things would progress so we called this room our guest bedroom.

And even though it winds Rob up when I call it the ‘guest bedroom’, the name has stuck and I still cannot bring myself to call this room ‘the babies room’!

This will be the last room that we decorate. All that we have done so far is carpeted it and moved some random bits of furniture in to it which do not fit anywhere else in the house!

The room is pretty neutral already, but to me it is a little bland. The striped wallpaper is non offensive but not to my taste. I already have a few vague plans for the room, like a bright yellow cot (Asda do one for £59!) and to turn the G Plan unit into a toy display/book case, but that is about it really.

I just do not know what I want in there or nor have I done much research on what I will need!

I know that I do not want any bunting anywhere, any pastel colours, a theme to the room (like a nautical, car, fairy or Disney theme) , the future kids name displayed on the wall, or anything overly twee in there. Which is pretty much all of what Pinterest throws up at you when you do a search for nursery ideas!

I want a unisex/retro/mid century modern/Scandinavian vibe to this room with lots of bright cheerful primary colours everywhere. I also want the decor not to be too babyish and neural so that we can just switch up the furniture and storage situations as the kid and its needs grow.

Watch this space, as I guess I will be talking about things more on here soon!

The New House – Lounge And Kitchen Progress

I thought that I would share some (badly taken mobile) photos showing the current state of our house in the midst of the decorating progress. Please excuse the mess and washing up etc. You know me, I never tidy up and stage my photos on here!

This is whats happening in our house right now. We are still working on the bathroom and Rob has now started to strip the wallpaper from the lounge and has removed the tiles from the kitchen.imageimageimagePictured above – as you can see I have acquired some new furniture! Our old furniture that we brought with us from Kent was either not working in this room or completely knackered. So we sold the G Plan coffee table (sob, I loved that table so much, but the room looks so much bigger and better with out it) and donated our old (smaller) sofa and discoloured dining chairs to the local hospice charity shop and ordered some new colourful replacements from Ebay and online.

We have also brought a new, slightly smaller dining table and I splurged on a gorgeous, vintage Ladderax unit for the lounge. I have wanted one for so long and I am so pleased with it! Lets just not talk about how I spent the same amount of money that it would cost for a pram/buggy system type thing on it! Oops! Priorities, eh!

The old G Plan unit has been moved upstairs into the ‘guest’ bedroom which I will share a tour of soon.

Why are we stripping wallpaper in this room, I hear you say? In my photos it just looks like it needs a lick of paint, doesn’t it? Well the lounge has lining paper on the walls that unfortunately have a hideous (IMO) fleur de lis pattern on it. Rob did try to convince me that once we painted the room grey I wouldn’t notice the pattern anymore.

Nope, he wasn’t fooling me! He is currently reluctantly stripping the walls and bitching and moaning about how long it is going to take him to repair all the damage to the plaster!


Still to do in this room – sort the flooring, lighting, fireplace, tv unit and curtain situation out.

Right, on to the kitchen! We (and you know that I really mean Rob here) have chipped off all the old grey tiles and taken down the filthy, stained vertical blinds (we will have to buy new replacements unfortunately) and the pointless bits of wood above the windows. There is dust everywhere!

I did say in a previous post that we were keeping the current tiles, but we have decided to just go for it. If we are going to give the kitchen a make over, changing the tiles will make such a huge difference to the room.

Apparently Jason and Marc installed the double glazing as we discovered when Rob removed the window sills to tile underneath them!

So there we have it. I hope that this post was not too boring. Its nice for me to look back on how far we have come and to have a reminder on here never to move house and decorate again!!!

Questions Asked And Statements Made To Rob And I Recently

In the last few weeks Rob and I have heard a lot of the same questions/statements in conversations lately…….

Pretty much everyone we chat to“Your lives are going to completely change.”
Our stock response – “Yes, we do realise this.”
The response in our heads – “Well, duh. We do know this. Maybe we want the changes in our lives.”

Pretty much everyone we chat to“You do realise that you are not going to get any sleep.”
Our stock response – “Yes, we know this.”
The response in our heads – “Well, duh. Again, we do know this. We have heard all the horror stories. We know that it will be hard. Hopefully the pros will out weigh the cons”.

Pretty much everyone we chat to“Are you going to buy a new sensible modern car?”
Our stock response – “No, we have not felt the urge to go out and order a high purchase, butt ugly, massive, gas guzzling Citroen Picasso/Renault Scenic/Vauxhall Zafira. The camper van will be just fine. Plus Helen/I does not/do not drive, so whats the point?”

Pretty much everyone we chat to“Have you brought any stuff/equipment yet?”
Our stock response – “Nope, not yet. We like to leave things to the last minute! Plus we want to finish decorating the house first.”
My response in my head – “No way, its way too early, and you never know what might happen. I do not want all that stuff in the house just in case something goes wrong. As it has gone wrong before”*

Pretty much everyone we chat to“How is Helen feeling?”
Our stock response – “Sick.”
Pretty much everyone we chat to“Really? Still?”  Then they will launch into a long monologue about how they/or their other half did not really suffer from it,  just that one time that they were sick in the bin at work. But they had this symptom or that symptom.

My boss at work“Have you got twins in there?”
Me – “No, just one. Why? Am I huge?”

Me to Rob in Tescos the other night“I got to push one of these out of my fanny hole soon” as I put a water melon into the shopping basket. (Yes, this really is how I talk. Its pure poetry all the time with me!)
Rob to me in Tescos the other night – A stupid, non-funny, blokey response about if one of them came out he would be seriously worried and wonder what I have been up to etc.
Needless to say, I made him pay for the shopping that night, which included green, round, expensive, imported fruit.

Everyone we talk to“Congratulations.”
Our standard response – “Thanks.” Followed by a slightly awkward silence. How do you respond to people when they say this when you are a bit of a socially awkward, introvert who doesn’t really like being the centre of attention? (That’s just me BTW, Rob is a pretty normal person! I never know what to say after peeps congratulate me, other than thanks! Where do you lead the conversation to next? More about yourself, the conception, the life choice you have made or the weather???!!)

A Female Friend to me“Are you going to have a shower?”
Me to female friend – “No way! That is my idea of hell!” Any situation where I have to sit in the centre of a room, wearing a sash, pretending to enjoy playing stupid party games, unable to have an alcoholic drink, and then have to pretend to go all mushy over tiny clothes is not my thing. Tiny clothes are cute, but they do not make me squeal and coo etc. Yes, I a horrible person with a heart of stone!

…….Yep, its true, I am pregnant. 24 weeks, in fact. Due 21/12/16. Its going to be an interesting Xmas!

I finally feel ready to talk about things on here, although I have not put anything on social media yet. We are being a bit old fashioned, but big social media announcements are not our thing. We have only told our close friends and family in person, on the phone or by text. The good thing about doing an announcement on here (which I hope is not too dramatic or attention seeking!) is that no one really reads my blog! I just thought it would be nice to say something to some of you (if you are reading this!) as I do enjoy our internet correspondence (you know who you all are – thanks again!)

I suppose this explains why I have not talked about cycling, hill hiking and camping on here lately. I have been too effing sick to do all the things that we hoped and planned to do when we moved to Devon!

sick note

A note I passed to Rob the other day when he was on the phone to one of his business clients! Poor Rob will tell you that he is suffering too having to listen to me heaving and cleaning up after me!!!

Yes, I am still throwing up, feeling sick, unable to brush my teeth without nearly puking, unable to drink water, tea, herbal teas, lemonade, orangeade (the list goes on – basically I can only drink chocolate milk, blackcurrant squash and vegetable stock!!) and dry heaving/gagging/wretching at any funny smell at any time of day or night at 24 weeks pregnant. Still. But I am not complaining (honestly!) its all part of the process (for 1 in 10 of us according to the NHS website) and its all good. Plus its not as bad as it was in the early days.

I am due to finish work in October, so I will (hopefully) have more time to blog soon. The finishing in October thing is not my choice, but due to the timing of things I could only take a temporary summer job. I wanted to move down here and find a secure job first before giving things another go, so that I could eventually let down said employers at said secure full time job by buggering off on my maternity leave on full pay benefits! But hey ho, this is how things have happened and I am not complaining!

*I will write about our experience eventually. For now all I will say is that it was f**king awful.

Edit 04/09/16 – I felt that I should say some more about my dislike of baby showers. Basically after publishing this post I felt like a bit of a dick for saying that they are my idea of hell! I am just a horrible, miserable cow who dislikes harmless nice things, things that are not hurting anyone, things that make other people happy like the X Factor, musical Disney cartoons, pantos (gord help me in the next few years, eh!), Christmas, weddings and baby showers.

I dunno, they just all seem too forced, contrived and just another way of the man making money from us. But that’s just me.

I have attended several baby showers in my time and played along in all the games, felt sorry for the poor mum to be as everyone guesses how fat big she is with the string around the bump game, drank the warm lemonade, given the cute tiny clothing gifts and survived! Baby showers are not all that bad. I just don’t want one myself thanks.

I also did a Google search to see if anyone else out there thinks they are rubbish and I found this link. Do have a read if you have the time, it made me chuckle!

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!