2013 – My Summary

It has been a pretty decent year. A fairly quiet and non eventful one. After a few challenging years recently, this year had no traumas, no losses, no fall outs and no big dramas. So yeah – a pretty successful year.

So what did happen in 2013?

Well, 2013 was the year I got slightly addicted to Instagram. Yep I know, I was late to join the party!

Why the hell did I Instagram Ikea?

Why the hell did I Instagram Ikea?

2013 was the year I went on two lovely holidays, one to Southwold back in April and then to Cyprus in October.sun hut

2013 was the year I started a new job. This has been such a moral booster. I was working a part time job and was desperately searching for a job with more hours to offer. I currently work three part time jobs, and I enjoy both the routine and flexibility they give me.

2013 was the year I went back to Glastonbury festival after a 8 year break. I had mixed feelings about the experience which I wrote about here, but it was good to experience it again. And even better to experience it in our camper van! I also went to Truck festival and had an amazing weekend.tim from ash

2013 was the year we got finally our camper van to pass its MOT and back on the road! We named him Ernie and had several camping trips in him including the two festivals, a trip to Bewl Water and a, shall we say interesting, weekend on the Isle of Sheppy!

From this....

From this….

...to this!

…to this!

2013 was the year I Blogged everyday in May and (almost) everyday in November. It was also the year I got a bit more personal on here and sometimes used my blog as a free counciling session! Don’t worry readers, I have revised my droning on, poor me etc post to spare you!

2013 on the home front was the year we decorated our bedroom (the reveal post is planned). Another room ticked off the list! Plus it was the first year we got our baubles out in a long while!

Crimbo 2013 and a Restoration Project

This year Christmas seemed to come and go quicker than ever! We took our decorations down today, and before its all completely behind us and forgotten about, I want to do a quick memory dump type post on here all about this years festivities.

This year, for our meal, Rob and I went over to my Mum and Dad’s along with my sister and her family. One of the things that we were most looking forward to on the day was seeing my oldest nephew receive his present from us. He was really spoilt this year as Rob restored a bike for him! And he got a Nintendo DS from Father Christmas! What a lucky boy!

I think I mentioned on here, wayyy back in November, that Rob was making a right old mess upstairs and was treating our house like its a workshop/garage (yet again).
Well, it was for a good cause, as he was restoring a bike for my 6 year old nephew. So all is forgiven.

Rob spent every evening and weekend in the run up to Christmas working on his project. He put in a hell of a lot of man hours and spent quite a considerable amount of money on the new old bike (around £70 infact). But it was a labour of love, and he got as much enjoyment out of the tinkering on it as we hope the nephew will get out of riding it!
Plus, the youngest nephew will do too, when it gets passed on down to him!

Yes, it was a lot of money and effort, and we could have bought a brand new bike for the same amount. It was worth it because Rob reassures me that a brand new bike with the same spec would cost around £100 – £150.
Oh well, at least we have saved another bike from going to the landfill and done the greener option!

Here is a picture of the bike in its before state. The bike was given to Rob for free by his friend who’s 9 year old son had outgrown it. Said friend did plan on fixing it himself but never got round to it. He had a lucky escape.bike b4 1

The bike had its fair share of rust on it and parts that needed repairing or replacing.rust 1rust 2rust 3rust 4

Rob dismantled it, cleaned away the grime and rust from the parts he could salvage, striped down the bodywork then resprayed it, fitted new tires, pedals, chain, saddle and handle bars and cut out vinyl stickers to his own design to give the bike a brand new look in the nephews favourite colour orange.dismantle meshiny spokessprayinmore sprayinspare bed spray boothprimedstickeredfront stickerswheels onta dah

Rob did an amazing job. He is such a perfectionist and has made it look like a completely different bike! My nephew was a little overwhelmed with his present (in a good way) and that was worth every moment of the house being abused and the spare bedroom being used as a spray booth and the choking on spray paint fumes.*

Other things that happened giftwise were as follows – I got Rob a Good Pub guidebook to keep inside the campervan, so that wherever we end up, we can always find a decent boozer serving decent ales! I also got him Mad Men season 6 which I cant wait to get stuck into.

In return, Rob got me Orla Keily’s new book Home, which I had been drooling over in my local Waterstones for some time (the staff had to literally wipe the slobber away from my chin and prize it away from my grubby mitts every time I looked at it**), its basically MCM interior porn and I love it! He also gave me a copy of Betty Crockers cookbook (I saw one come up at a sensible price on Ebay some time ago, and told Rob to order it for me for Xmas) which I equally love. Again, it is all my favourite things – vintage, tacky, mid century Americana kitchen kitsch and in my favourite colours of yellow, pink and turquoise! I also got some bargain Le Creuset bits, which I bought for myself in TK Maxx with £20 that I owed Rob. I told him that instead of me paying him back, here is my Xmas pressies from him! We are so romantic us two, eh!

*Don’t try this at home kids. Spraypaint stuff outside.
**Not really. Honest.

All photos taken by Rob

We Got Our Baubles Out!

Yey, its Christmas eve’s eve and things are finally looking festive around Hel ‘n’ Rob towers! Yesterday we got our baubles out and finally put our decorations up! Is it blog worthy? Well, it has been a while since we last got ’em out and hung our baubles *cough 4 years cough* so why not!

I wang on here about how much I love the clean lines of mid century modern furniture and interiors, and I do try to emulate the MCM elegant style in my own home……so if you are expecting tasteful, stylish Christmas decorations, think again!

Basically it looks like someone has vomited a toyshop and a load of glitter in our house!

TreeHere is our massive tree (honestly, the photo above does not do justice to the true scale of the monster). We decided to assemble it in this corner of our lounge because it has two handy plug sockets. We then remembered that we needed to buy some new fairy lights. Oh well, next year maybe!santa babyNext, we have a massive toy Santa on our smaller sofa and behind him on the windowsill a sparkly owl and reindeer. I bought the giant Santa a few years back in the 75% off sale, plus with my staff discount and he worked out to be around £3.50! Boom! He is so soft and cuddly, I love him! Rob is not so keen.g plan xmas 13Next, we have our Gplan unit displaying our cards. We didn’t get many cards this year. We get less and less each year (although with the price of stamps, I don’t blame people). There are more cards on the top, not shown. This photo is a good opportunity to perv over some bookshelf porn, if that kind of thing floats your boat. It totally floats mine BTW.close up of toysHere is a close up of the toys on the unit. A mini Santa (same as the big one on the Sofa), a cute little bird and a deer decoration that I bought in Bruges. I do love Bruges. I sometimes do the day trip thing on the coach, along with all the OAP’s, to the Christmas markets and I really enjoy it. And thats coming from a girl who doesn’t really do Christmas. We never made it this year. Next year, maybe!fireplace at xmasNext we have our fireplace guarded by a snowman and Santa.Mr pot headThen on our TV stand we have our favourite Crimbo decoration Mr Potatohead, next to a little wind up Santa.Poppys stockingAbove we have Poppy’s stocking hanging on my snake plant. We don’t have a mantle piece so I had to improvise.  merry kitschmasThen in the dining room, on our sideboard, we have a mini black tree with my most kitschiest, tasteless decorations hanging on it. I have some baubles from Cathy K, the beer one I was admiring in TKMaxx (I just had to go back and buy it!), cupcakes and a bah humbug bauble at the top. On the side board we have kitschy deers bought in the sale from Paperchase (the tartan one was £1.40) and three of the kitschiest decorations ever from Paperchase, which my mum treated me to as an early Christmas pressie.crimbo duckThen finally, on the bathroom windowsill, we have our Crimbo rubber ducky!

So thats the full 2013 Christmas decorations tour. There is no theme in our house, and none of our decorations really match. But as Noddy Holder says “its CHRIIIISTMASSS!!!!” – who cares!

Have a good one readers! See you on the other side!

Lately #9

Finally my blogging mojo has returned! Lets start by having a little catch up on whats happened so far in December…..

  • At the beginning of the month we visited our friends who moved down to Cornwall earlier this year. We traveled down in the camper van (our longest journey in it so far) and stayed in their lovely new house near the beautiful Bodmin moors. It was lovely to see them so happy and settled in their new home and life in the countryside. They have a woodshed and a Rayburn and everything! I did my usual brilliant bloggers trick of taking my camera with me, but not taking any photos with it. I did however, take a few fuzzy Instagram snaps on the long, boring, snorefest of a journey down there (7+ hours – why is Cornwall so far from Kent?)


  • I took part in Janet’s Christmas Thrifty Gift Swap. I received my mystery parcel from Thomas and loved everything he sent me! I managed to ruin my (non existent) street cred by mistaking Daft Punk lyrics for Take That. Nope, I don’t know how I managed to get the two bands/lyrics confused either! I sent my parcel to Em, and she blogged about it here.
  • At this time of year, it seems that almost every blogger out there is sharing photos of their Xmas crafting projects, trees and decorations. I intend to do the same, but I am a bit behind. Below is a picture of my Xmas decorations.

xmas so far

  • Not quite the blogtastic photogenic set up I had in mind, but its a start, eh! At least they are out of the loft. Last year we did not bother to put them up. Or the year before… Or the year before that. I wrote my excuses for being a right Grinch in this post here. But yeah, nothing changes, I am still a bah humbug type.
  • I am now a published food writer! I have a recipe published in Take a Break’s My Favourite recipes. You know, that high brow, esteemed, foodie type publication on par with the Observer Food Monthly!!! They published my non-recipe for jelly mousse and a dodgy mug shot of myself where I look drunk and have my eyes shut! (It was so hard to find a head shot of me, there are literally zero half decent photos of me in existence, I hate having my photo taken!) Rob thinks its hilarious that the first thing I said when I saw myself in the magazine was “they’ve made me look ginger!” For the record my hair colour is dull mousey brown, although I used to be a tad ‘strawberry blond’ when I was a kid! Its because they used too much magenta in the printing process, according to Rob. The looking scruffy part and looking like a complete div is all my own work.
Famous me!

I will try not to let the money and fame go to my head!