More Van Pictures!

Just a quickie post to show some more updates to the camper van before we head off to Glastonbury.

Its nail bitingly close as to if we can make it there! Yesterday Rob took the van to his mechanic friends workshop, so he could give the engine a final once over, and they found a water leak (I think? – I know nothing about engines!)

It was touch and go weather Rob would be able to drive home from Ashford, so there was no way we would ever be able to drive all the way to Somerset. Luckily Rob and his friend managed to do a temporary patch up, and Rob phoned around and found the engine part he needs (which Volkswagen don’t make anymore) in a local breakers yard.

So we are currently, as we speak (1pm) waiting in for a delivery, so Rob can replace the broken part on our driveway today.

In the mean time here are some pictures from Rob’s iPhone of how things are looking now inside the van, and how things came together.

Rob made new door cards and covered them himself

Rob made new door cards and covered them himself

A cover for the buddy seats foam cushion

A cover for the buddy seats foam cushion

Rob fortunatly/unfortnately is a perfectionist. He wants to redo it. Fussy old fart I say.

Rob is a perfectionist. He wants to redo this. He is a right fussy old fart, I think he did a great job!

A blurry picture of the new door cards and new carpets in the front!

A blurry picture of the new door cards and new carpets in the front!

New curtains and flooring!

New curtains and flooring!

We bought the vinyl flooring from EBay, and Rob cut it to size and stapled it to a piece of plywood. We bought some net curtain rails from Dunelm for cheaps, then cut them to size and hung the curtains, which are secured to the van with hooks, poppers and magnets so they don’t flap about and will hang properly as the walls are at a slight angle.

Another peek

Another peek. That’s the buddy seat BTW, behind the passenger seat.

We must be doing something right as Rob had a bloke approach him and offer to buy the van from him for £3.5K in a petrol station a few days ago. Cheeky sod!

The Campers Curtains

I want to show you some photos of Ernie’s curtains that Rob has made with his own fair hands.

We owned the van for a few years before we started work on it, so we had plenty of time to plan out how we wanted it to look. I would have loved to have gone to town with loads of Cath Kidston prints everywhere, but I think this look suits older vans best, particularly the bay window vans. Our van was built in 1984.

Now I love retro furnishings etc, but lets be honest the 80’s is the decade that style forgot. We toyed with the idea of using some vintage children’s bedding like Thunderbirds or Transformers to make the curtains with. Then we played around with the idea of using this Converse alike fabric on the headliner (fabric on the ceiling), or maybe that this tape bedding (which when I searched for the link has been discontinued! Here is a similar cushion) could figure somewhere in the scheme.

In the end we decided not to restore our van to look like its from the decade it was built. That would be to themey anyway for my taste! We just decided to use lots of elements we love, like bold colours (me), stickers (Rob), crochet blankets (me), plain simple furnishings (both of us) and bold patterned curtains (both of us again).

Now who does bold patterns better than Ms Orla Keily? Nobody in my opinion! We were lucky and found a single bed duvet cover in TK Maxx a while back for £35, which we cut up and Rob got to work sewing them himself.1025845_10151787831751719_1543076525_o 1048855_10151787830841719_1428181255_o-11063777_10151787831601719_643555917_oNext post coming soon…..Two in one day!

The Campervan Interior

On Monday Rob picked up our campervans interior. It was handmade by a friend to our own specifications.

First came the bed frame. Here is a link to Instagram pic of the van with the bed frame in, how the interior looked back on Saturday. Now for those not in the know (and that did include me until recently) these beds are called rock and roll beds, which double up as seating in the back of the van, and unfold (roll) down across the back engine to become a bed when you reach your destination (rock up somewhere).

I gotta learn all this VW dude/dudette language!

You can get the beds in 3/4 width or the full width of the van. We chose to sacrifice a cupboard or two for the extra comfort. Plus we are a pair of fatties and I like my space.

Here are some pictures of the new interior. We are getting there. Rob has bought some foam to cut and cover, which you can see in some of the snaps. Phew, we don’t have to sleep on metal wire! We still have lots to do, and I will try to blog as many changes as I can. Sorry, this blog is going to be a bit campervan for dummies centric for the next few posts!


There is storage under the rock n roll bed


more storage and a buddy seat with yet more storage


It looks like a bit like an Aga does’nt it? I have always wanted an Aga!


Yet more space to stash stuff under the bed


blue naked foam


Another peek

Glastonbury is less than a week away now! Its going to be our first time camping in the van. We did hope to have a trial run spending a night or two away at a local camp site, but time ran away with us as usual. Our main worry is not the lack of creature comforts, its will the van make the 170 odd miles there!*

Plus extra bonus points if you noticed the windows are tinted. I forgot to mention, Rob had a mobile window tinter stick some vinyl on the windows on Monday too!

*We don’t care if we don’t make it back. We have breakdown cover so they can tow us back home! Unfortunately if we break down on the way there, they will only tow us home. Boo!

The Time Is Now

Following on from talking about our new geometric bargain bed linen on here. I have to share the other recent purchase that I treated our house to.

Remember back in February when I talked about how I was on the hunt for a starburst clock for the dining room? Here is the link to my thrilling blog post if not!

Since then I have been browsing EBay, and stalking my local chazzas on the hunt for one, to no avail. I came to the conclusion that I was never going to get my grubby mitts on a vintage one, as I would never pay the £120+ they seem to sell on EBay for.

My next best option was buy a brand new reproduction one. I casually toyed with the idea of buying one from here for £85, with my birthday money I received last month.

Again, I don’t think I have the stomach to pay that amount for a wall clock. Even if it is an amazing, retro style clock that would look perfect in our dining room.


Sorry for the dodgy snap. I have got very lazy/half arsed recently about taking photos for my blog. Must try harder. When I can be bothered.

But look, I now have my very starburst clock! And I am well chuffed with it!

I found it in my local TK Maxx. I am not a huge fan of clothes shopping in general and TK Maxx is definitely not my favourite shop (its far too much effort all that rummaging!) But my local branch is next door to a DIY shop, so I normally quickly pop into there to avoid the fun of the usual boring DIY shopping tasks, like finding the right thickness in a piece of plywood or a certain sized galvanised screw etc.

I spotted the clock, but it had no price on it, or bar code, or packaging. It was the only one in the shop, so I took it to the till to see if they could find out how much it was for me.

I queued up, then waited patiently while the assistant went hunting for another, then asked her manager what to do, then spent 15 minutes phoning other branches to find out the price for me.

At this point Rob was calling me to ask where the f*** I was, but I was this committed to finding out the price of the bloody clock, I was determined I was going to walk out the shop carrying it.

Eventually, she informed me the price was £25. I ummed and ahhed about it, as I was hoping she would tell me it was £15 (dream on Helen!) The assistant could see I was hesitating (plus I think she was determined to sell this ruddy clock after all her effort) so she offered me a discount as it has a scratch on it.

Sold! So I paid £22 for a brand new clock which retails at £85! Cher-ching!


Lately #7

Here is the 411 in Hels and Rob land. All the happenings in May and June so far –

  • I bought Nigella’s Kitchen and Hugh’s Three Good Things in a 2 for £10 offer at WH Smiths. Bargain! Have I told you blog readers how much I love Hugh? The man sure knows how to wear an apron well.
  • Our washing machine broke, so we ordered a new A+++ one. I always buy the most energy efficient appliances I can for my budget. The old one gave us nearly 8 years of service. I hope the new one does the same.
  • Rob took apart smashed up the old washing machine to get the drum out to use as a fire pit (don’t ask!) He always has strange ideas!
  • Why am I blogging about washing machines? Who cares? YKYAGOW…..
  • Our back garden is a proper dump. We now have a washing machine drum, a pile of car tires, a bonfire patch, overgrown weeds and lawn, loads of cat shit and car/campervan parts everywhere. Its more like something out of Shameless than The Good Life type garden of my dreams! One day maybe…
  • I made this recipe for flapplejacks twice in one week! Nom nom!
  • I discovered Grimes‘s Tumblr
  • And this blog called Shit London. Its kind of the opposite of Spitalfields Life!
  • Back when we were on holiday last summer in the New Forest, I spotted a great vintage shop in Brockenhurst called Pineapple Retro. Sadly it was closed so I could only press my nose against the window. So we went to the pub opposite for a drinky or two instead. Here is the owners house tour on Apartment Therapy. I love their collection of mid century glass!
  • After using the same mobile phone for over five years (yes really!) I finally got around to sorting out a new tariff and got myself a shiny new smart phone and joined Instagram! I cant wait to Instagram the f*** out of Glastonbury!

Bargain Bedding

I do love a bargain! A while back I blogged about bedding, and I picked out this bedding set from John Lewis for my wish list. It retails at £50 for a double duvet cover not including the pillows.

The other day, I was browsing in my local Wilkinsons store and spotted this nearly identical bedding set for £11 (including two pillows!) Needless to say I snagged up the last set in double size.

Excuse the crappy phone picture

Please excuse the crappy phone picture

I think it looks rather dandy in the bedroom on our new(ish) bed!

Campervan Progress

Since I last talked about our campervan on here, things have been changing almost daily. We have a mad rush on preparing it to go to Glastonbury in. Its a bit hectic, but very exciting!

Here is a little background knowledge on the history of our camper van for those who are new to my blog.

  • Our van is a 1984 T25 VW we named Ernie (we changed our minds again from Jasper at the very last minute!)
  • We purchased him from a friend of a friend in February 2011 for £750.
  • When we bought it, the van had been SORN off the road for 3.5 years and was being used as a garden shed (literally – it was full to the brim with kids toys!)
  • It then sat on our driveway immobile for two years, while we saved up the funds to work on the massive restoration project.
  • During that time Rob and I became a little frustrated with owning a campervan that we could not use. It just sat there getting rusty(er) on our driveway. It did not help that we have friends who also own campervans, that we saw using and enjoying theirs. We had a bad case of campervan envy! We were so near, yet so far! We got a little impatient and almost gave up on ours, and looked at other, quicker options. We decided it was best to invest our limited funds in fixing Ernie up, rather than buy a alternative overpriced van with a MOT. Plus ours will be exactly how we want it! If our camper van was a property, Sarah Beeny would be very proud of us!
  • In January 2013 the van passed its MOT on its second attempt, after lots of hard work from Rob, who learnt to weld for the project. He has driven and fixed up old VW’s for almost 20 years. Before I met him, he rebuilt his old Beetle’s engine from scratch. Said engine did catch fire, but lets not talk about that part.
  • So after 5 years, the van is back on the road again. It still has the original 1984 engine in it, and we have experienced a few small teething problems (mainly with electrical stuff and the gears). We have been trying to drive it as much as possible to iron out any kinks before we make our long journey down to Somerset.
  • We have repainted the exterior, cleaned up and repined the headliner (fabric stuff on the roof), cleaned the windows (it made such a difference), put sound proofing fabric on the panels inside, put some nice carpets around the front seats, put some new wheels on it with shiny alloy type things that boys seem to like.

    The wall lining stuff

    The wall lining

The rear end inside currently

The rear end inside currently, before the windows were cleaned up!


Looking good! Lets hope its not a muddy year at Glastonbury

Interior lighting. Battery powered from The Range!

Interior lighting. Battery powered from The Range and fixed on the wall by a hook and magnets!

The exterior stickered up

The exterior stickered up

All made by Rob's fair hand. The crafty so and so.

All made by Rob’s fair hand. He is a crafty so and so.

Another photo, just indulge me here!

Yet another photo, just indulge me here!

Still to do –

  • The interior furnishings. Its currently being built by a chippie friend. In the mean time we have borrowed a futon to chuck in the back, just in case its not ready for Glasto (I don’t care about roughing it – I love camping! I will admit that I am going to miss using our tent!).
  • New front seats as the current ones are ripped and tatty.
  • Tint the windows (Rob wants to pimp it up).
  • Fit the tracker device thing Rob bought as VW vans are targeted by thieves.
  • Sort the gears out (this is technical stuff I let Rob worry about).
  • Sew and fit the curtains.
  • Buy a nice awning to eventually replace the damaged one that a friend kindly gave to us, but needs some repairs.
  • Repair the awning for Glasto.
  • Buy a potty thingy for me when I am being a princess about using the Glastonbury toilets for a number 2 (sorry that’s way TMI!!)
  • Buy a stereo.
  • Scavenge the local chazzas for vintage tat treasures to embelish the van.
  • And loads more things I have probably forgotten!

It has been a long journey to get to the point where we are with our van right now. I guess two years might not seem a long time in the big scheme of things, but we have been together for 11.5 years and we have been talking about owning a campervan for pretty much the duration of our relationship, so Ernie has been a very long time coming.

I cant wait to drive off into the sunset arguing about who’s music to listen too, who is to blame for us getting lost (Its Rob BTW. Always) and who forgot to pack the bottle opener etc!

Blogging Every Day in May – My (Proper) Roundup

Well, I did it! Phew, it was tough at times, but I managed to finish the challenge. And I feel it deserves a better round up than my BEDM 31 post!

During May, I neglected housework (although to be fair, I use any excuse to do so), and I ignored Rob and the cat’s hysterical pleading for food (ditto↑), all in the name of blogging!

Blog every day in May was a great idea from Elizabeth, and I chose to interpret her topics literally during the challenge. Being able to blog about whatever I want can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, there are just far too many options! So it was a nice change being told what to blog. I really enjoyed that part. I will admit its going to be tough thinking for myself again about what to blog now!

I think if the challenge was a course, or part of blogging school* I would probably be awarded a C grade, with a teachers comment saying “A good try, but your ending let it down” and maybe with a side note of “Helen needs to work on her grammar”.

What I have learnt from the experience is that it forced me to write my blog posts much quicker, and the more you practice something, the easier it becomes to you. Normally I will brainstorm a post, then keep it in my drafts folder for weeks on end, changing it serveral times, before I finally hit the publish button. The blog everyday in May challenge taught me to not over think things. I now find it much easier to write my thoughts down.

On the flipside, I published posts with some shocking typos (I have since corrected most of them, or at least the ones I have noticed!) I even published posts with the wrong date on them! Oh dear, thank goodness for the re-edit option!

Highlights – Being able to ramble on about my cat (again), talking about my gardening daydreams and pizza!

My favourite post to write was about my first job, and my favourite topic to read about from the other bloggers participating in the challenge was this one. I loved being able to peek into other peoples fridges! I am such a nosey parker!

Low points – I admit towards the end I completely ran out of steam and was forcing myself to post. I could not manage to make my morning rituals – eating breakfast and brushing my teeth sound exciting (because they are not!) I also (yet again) resorted to cheap gags and turned my blog into innuendo bingo. I am one step away from becoming Keith Lemon!

Anyways, I just want to say thanks for reading my BEDM posts! Now its time to get back to the usual nonsense on here about cake, Pyrex, the house, the VW fleet, and my so called life and the like!

*Just like Hogwarts, but with ASOS dresses, Swedish Hasbeens/Saltwalter sandals and Cambridge satchels as the mandatory uniform. With lessons about tea, nail varnish and how to score freebies. Maybe Elsie Larson would be Dumbledore?