I Hate Dust

Dear friends/blog readers – I don’t think you understand just how dusty my house is right now.

Dear friends/blog readers – I don’t think I fully understand just how dusty my house is right now.

Please see below for an example.

The cat has left her mark!

My dusty fake Eames chair of shame!

Ha I have just shamed myself on the Internet (yet again – I got to stop this habit of mine!) In my defence I have been unable to get round to this end of my dining room for nearly two months now while we are fitting our new kitchen – aka the longest project in history – as there was the washing machine and a load of clutter blocking my access.

Don’t you just want to write “clean me” on it. And while we are on the subject of dust, I hate dusting pot plants the most! Life is too short to clean each leaf individually. In fact I hate dust full stop!

Yeah I wrote "clean me u skank" to myself. But I did not clean it.

The shamefull (slightly out of focus) aftermath! Eww - hardcore dust alert!

Tuesday Tune

I went to see Graham Coxon in Brighton last night. He was good! I did not take any pictures on my outing (bad blogger) as it was raining and gig pics will always end in tears, I have yet to take a decent image at a gig!

Anyhow once I managed to edge through the crowd away from the six foot plus crustie* who I was standing stuck behind and got a half decent view of the stage, I was pleased to see that Graham had two female guitar/bass/keyboard/backing vocalists/tambourine shaking types at the back of the stage. So to kind of vaguely keep to my Tuesday Tune theme with this post (failed!) and to honour the 90’s Britpop finest monents and all female guitarists out there who ever you are, here is a little piece of 90’s nostalgia from Lush. Enjoy!

* Ah crusties eh, remember them? They used to be everywhere you turned but now I fear they are going the way of the Dodo. Now rarely spotted in town centres with their greyhounds on a piece of string, and not even seen in beer gardens anymore. It seems that they are nearly as rare as Emo kids and can only be spotted out in the wild when The Levellers play at festivals and in their last remaining natural habitat of Brighton.

Seriously I only ever see crusties on day trips to Brighton. Maybe I could make money with a crustie bingo for the tourists visiting Brighton? Like a ripped of version of hipster bingo for when you venture into the east end of London.

I love crusties though don’t get me wrong (except when I am stuck behind a tall one at a gig) they are another 90’s nostalgic trigger for me I am glad they are not yet fully extinct. Maidstone used to have quite a few back in the day and I used to serve quite a few of them while working on the till in my glamorous Saturday job at Kwik Save. Including one young girl who used to live rough by the river. I wonder what happened to her? I hope she is OK, she was always nice to me and paid for her plastic bags for her “no frills” goodies without moaning at me.

One last thought on crusties while I am rambling on far too much as usual. I think that their dreads might be like the ponytail things that the blue indigenous characters in avatar have. You know the thingy’s that they plug in to stuff to be at one with nature and all that? I think if you plugged in a crusties dread (i.e sucked it) you could get instantly stoned. That’s what I think anyway. I just have not been brave enough to try it……!

My Last House Tour

Please note that these are the photos that our estate agent took around three years ago now. I did not have the foresight to take any decent pictures of our bedrooms or the rest of the house in the five years that we lived there and I could kick myself for it.

Front of house

Through lounge

To dining room

Bathroom

My lovely former kitchen

Back of house

More back garden

As I said before I played things relatively safe with the decorating style in order to sell the house quickly, which we managed to do despite being in the middle of the recession.

I also think that my lovely former kitchen needs its very own special post, to make poor kitchenless me all excited about my new soon (I hope) to be finished one!

Some Background Knowledge Part 2

First of all I feel I should apologise as I have sort of lost my blogging mojo. I started this blog to improve my IT/writing skills and four months in, I sometimes wonder if I have made any progress. I must push myself harder! It has been hard to get motivated as the house is in such a disorganised and dusty state while we are mid kitchen renovation so I have not wanted to take any photos. Plus I still cannot cook as although the oven has been delivered, it is not wired in yet, so we are still pinging ready meal slop in a 30+year old microwave, and eating rubbish. So no posts about what this domestic goddess has been cooking. Plus I have had gastric flu for about a week. Plus really I am lazy!

Well lets pick up again from here, in my topsy-turvey non chronological way of blogging, which is pretty much is a reflection of my muddled brain! Also I figure if I am not taking pics at the moment lets post someone else’s!

Image from little house company

So Rob and I managed to buy our first house in 2005, and we were so happy! This house exceeded our expectations in that it was a good sized two bed with a hallway, upstairs bathroom and a small front garden meaning that the front door was away from the street – bonus! We loved the house but sadly hated the location, me especially. The area deserved its bad reputation and the town was so grim and depressing. Our friends and some family members had voiced their concerns about us living in a rundown area, but we did not have much choice with our budget.

Chatham was not that bad as Rob found work and many friends in the area, and I only had to step over the junkies sitting on the steps up to our road (Chatham is really hilly!) from the bus stop a few times. All I am left with from Chatham is a bad worse habit of swearing too much and I do occasionally gob in the street. Please don’t judge me! I think I escaped relatively unharmed!

The front of our last house and a peek of Rob’s beetle in the corner!

We had planned for the house to be our 3-5 year house before we moved up the ladder and we managed to stick to the plan. We were also really lucky to buy the house from a builder yep that’s right a BUILDER! So that meant that the work that had been carried out by the previous owners, which although it was not to our taste had been done to a professional standard. Sorry I had to make that clear/SHOUT IT as we were so spoilt in our last house and decorating it was a piece of wee (I will not swear on my blog – promise!) compared to our current house which was formally a student share house (yes it was your stereotypical Bottom type student state) and it had no love shown to it for many years. Any previous *cough* improvements made to our house were up to pre-DIY SOS/homes under the hammer before’s/house that Jack built/the money pit standards making any DIY task we undertake twice as long/hard/expensive undoing the all previous bodges.

Welcome to the house of scum/how our current house looked when we got the keys!

Back to our last house all we had to do was strip some wallpaper, put a lick of paint to each room, re-tile the bathroom – we kept the clean beige suite and decorated around it and put in a new kitchen which cost us less than £1000. Oh and we re-carpeted it through out which was kindly paid for by Rob’s Dad. So all in all after 5 years we had added value to the house, so when we sold it in the middle of the property slump in 2010 we had still made a profit and all our hard work and sacrifices paid off like we had hoped for.

In our last house we decorated it with one eye on increasing the properties value so this meant lots of beige, neutral wall colours. I also did not fully know what my interior tastes were so I played it safe. We bought nearly all our furniture from either Argos or Ikea partly because of budget and partly because I did not know where else to look! By the time we got around to putting in the kitchen I had a clearer idea of my so called style which was leaning towards 50’s/retro/Cath Kidston vibe.

By the time we bought our current house in March 2010 I knew how I wanted it to look. In this house we plan on staying here for 10+years before we go through the horrors of moving again. I have always loved retro (sorry I find it hard to use the universal blogging term vintage) things in particular the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. BTW I must digress here that in college I had to have the biggest flares and mad second hand clothes but now I dress really boring! Plus I had discovered home decor blogs like Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge and Decor8 which confirmed my love of mid-century design.

Thankfully our current house is not quite as bad!

Our new house is a semi detached three bed ex-council house built in 1950 which we are very lucky to own (thank you housing price slump). It has a huge driveway so Rob can park his babies – his 1972 vw beetle and ourT25, with room for a third vehicle and huge back garden which when we eventually landscape, we can grow our own veggies and I hope to keep some chickens, plus so much more potential.

In this house I am being braver with my wall colour choices and after 7+years and 3 moves most of our furniture from Argos and Ikea fell to bits, so I am slowly replacing items with secondhand pieces from EBay and other sources which are still within our budget and much better environmentally and better built.

As our house is from the fifties I can decorate it with mid-century pieces from the period, but I do not want to make it look to “themed”. I am also taking my time to find the right pieces to fit our house instead of buying furniture as cheaply and as quickly as possible because I need it. After two years of living here we are slowly making it ours and I will eventually show you the improvements we have made on here.

Next up a tour of my last house in Chatham!

 

Tuesday Tune

I have not yet got around to writing another thought provoking/award winning post on a female guitarist this week. I have much been too busy entertaining the world (OK my 10 readers) all about my fascinating search for an oven!

So in order to boost my blog content up a bit, I have just decided to post this clip of a 90 year old grandma dancing to Sleigh Bells, just because it made me smile. She is out swagging many a hipster nearly a quarter her age! And my very own nan was 90 years old last month too! Happy birthday Nan! Not that you read my blog but hey ho!

New Oven Part 2

Yep a two parter on ovens! Who new I could be so boring. OK don’t answer that one please!

Well where did I leave of? Oh yes I got up to my current house. Well after making do with the almost broken model that the previous owner left behind for a year or so it finally packed up on me. So we ripped it out, got a plumber around to cap the gas pipes and a week or so later got my Dad around to wire in the cooker on its own circuit/junction thingy.

So we got the cooker that my Nan gave us out of the shed/former loo and dusted the cobwebs off it and ate lots of paninis made with the George Foreman (RIP) in between while we waited for it to be instilled. On the day all went well, Dad had wired it in and sorted a few electrical issues we had. I must mention here that the previous owner also left behind a grotty white extractor fan which gave Rob an electric shock when he first tried to turn it on, when we moved in! I must’nt laugh….

So with the old stuff ripped out and left outside for the grateful old iron man.* Dad went to move the cooker over to connect the last few wires, when the top oven door glass shattered! He lifted it up with the top oven door handle and the safety glass shattered everywhere. Aggh! Please don’t worry – no Dad’s were harmed during the wiring up of my cooker! He felt terrible and offered to buy us a replacement door. When we looked online I realised that my lovely cooker was much older than I thought, like about 15-20 years and the part was no longer available.

So we decided to make do with the cooker using the hob and bottom oven only and get a new one when we were ready to put in our new kitchen.

Well this opened up a can of worms for me, having never bought a cooker before, I did not realise what a minefield it was out there. Freestanding cookers, built in double oven with a separate hob, built in single oven, come to think of it what type of hob? Or a range cooker.

Yes that’s right a range cooker, when I first started browsing online for ideas etc I happened upon this before and after on Design Sponge and got my heart set on one of these babies. Never mind the price £1.5-£2.5K or the fact that due to the size and layout of my kitchen (3x doors in the room) it was never going to happen.

Range cooker porn from Design Sponge

Sadly I admitted defeat then I decided I wanted a Smeg model. Yes I admit I think I was under the influence of Living etc magazine. Jeez they are so photogenic! But budget and practicalities meant no.

More range cooker porn, picture from Living etc

So then I tried to find a free standing cooker I liked. I really tried honestly, but they are just all so pugly! My thinking was that we could take it with us if and when we moved again. These are expensive things I tell you. Rob all the way through my decision making had said he wanted a built in oven, but I wanted the luxury of two ovens and something really energy efficient etc.

Eventually after about 8months (OK a year!) of me trying to make up my mind we decided on this Samsung little number. It is a single oven with a divider so it can be used as a double oven with two separate temperatures running. I mean there is only the two of us and we don’t need an Aga (but I still want a pastel colour one!) And this baby cleans itself, is high tech enough to appeal to the geek in the house (Rob) and does all the fancy cooking functions that I think I need, but will probably never use. Now if only it was silver coloured!

My new oven!

*Ha I almost made it sound quaint and Steptoe like. Seriously in our area we have about 3 tarmac lorries, plus a bloke on his bike go up and down our road per day. There must be some cash in the scrap metal trade. But its a handy service (saves us from going to the tip) and it recycles stuff.

My New Oven

I think this may well be my most boring post ever! Please feel free to skim over it or skip it all together readers. I will not be offended (honest mum!) Who wants to read a blog post on someone choosing an oven? I certainly don’t, but I still feel compelled to write one no less.

Well here we go then. Lets have a brief history of me and ovens first of all. In my first rented house it came with a brand new oven in full working order, but this was during the time in my life when I knew practically nothing about cooking, having previously treated living with my parents like living in a hotel (I knew I had it good, so I did not move out until I was 22!) In fact when I first started cooking for Rob and myself, I served up frozen broccoli thinking I had microwaved it properly – don’t ask me how I managed that one!

Next when we bought our first house the previous owners left behind their cooker for us, which was great as we could not afford to buy one. But it was an ancient gas hob/oven cooker, in which to start up the oven you needed to stick a lit match into a little hole inside to ignite it. This basically scared the living daylights out of me! I had an irrational fear of gas ovens caused by a time when I was in the Girl Guides. When we were doing some cooking badge exercise one of the girls singed the hairs on her arm by lighting this big scary gas oven! Therefore I was mentally scarred after this incident and had a phobia of gas ovens since! BTW – I don’t think I got my badge. I only went to GG’s to talk to my “older” friends who liked CarterUSM, Neds, Wonderstuff etc and have a laugh! Ha stupid pre-teen me was a failed Girl Guide!

So when I saw my “new” oven I actually cried, to which Rob is still seven years on reminding me about and still laughing at me! But I faced the fear and managed to use this oven (which was rubbish as it took ages to do a roast and never crisped up my roast potatoes) for a few years until we were ready to put in our new kitchen. Then my Nan kindly donated us her cooker, a Cresta (now Hotpoint) electric freestanding model as she was moving to a smaller flat.

via google images

I loved my “new” cooker and our new kitchen and I started to enjoy cooking and began baking and loved it. I bought recipe books and tried out new recipes as I loved being in my new beautiful kitchen and having a decent oven to work with.

After a few years it was time to move on to bigger and better things and move up the property ladder. But when we sold our house I could not bear the thought of leaving my beloved cooker behind, plus we could not afford a new one straight away, so much to Rob’s annoyance we went through the hassle of disconnecting it and moving it with us.

In our new and current house we also had a built in filthy single oven left behind by the previous owner. So for a while we stored our cooker inside the outbuilding that used to be the outside loo, to install later as we had gas facilities again and it needed capping etc. So once again I was left with a dodgy secondhand oven which would only work for 20min before dying as it had thermostat issues. Which meant no roasts and I could only bake muffins. It also kept tripping if you had more than one hob on. We had some serious electrical issues in our kitchen/house, which have now been thankfully addressed!

Are you still with me? Are you asleep yet? Sorry I do ramble on! Me thinks I’d better make this a two parter as I did not realise how long I would go on for!

Kitchen Progress.

Sing it with me! Its beginning to look a lot like a kitchen ding dong! To the tune of this.

Remember that not so long ago it looked like this.

Well……..

Its all coming together nicely. I think it will be around May time before we can say its finished though. I am still living on microwaved meals and toast bleugh! But I have ordered my new oven and it arrives on friday! Good friday indeed! My first ever oven that I have chosen and bought all by myself, no less. I feel so grown up!

 

Tuesday Tune

For the last few weeks I have had The Joy Formidable‘s “Whirring” stuck in my head on and off. Now don’t get me wrong this is a good thing in my book.

The cause of this was down to me keep seeing some new show advertised on E4 with the song playing in the background. “Hang on” I thought to myself “this band have a female singer/guitarist don’t they? Thanks E4 for the reminder!” I looked on Wikipedia and sure enough its Ritzy Bryan (great name!) who is this weeks female guitarist.

From Breadcrumbs Tumblr via the google

I also thought that I must try to get the name and times etc of that show to put on here so people reading my blog know what I am talking about and don’t think I am slightly mad. And sure enough I have not seen the series advertised since. Typical! It was some American-teenage-geek-coming of age type of show if anyone is interested in watching it (I’m not). Maybe it was on ITV2 as I only really watch serious, intellectual documentaries like Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries?

Here is Dave Grohl’s and my favourite Joy Formidable song for you. It has a horrible over produced, MTV style video which does not really go with the song but never mind! Enjoy!