The Camper Vans New Upholstery

This time last year we had finished getting the camper van road worthy and were enjoying our first ever camping trip in it at Glastonbury 2013!

Wow, how time flies eh! Do you remember how excited and proud I was watching Rob learning to weld, designing and fitting the interior and sewing the curtains (made from a duvet cover that I bought in TK Maxx) with his own fair hand?

Fast forward one year later and as anyone who owns an older vehicle knows, the work is never done. There is always ongoing maintenance work and things that need improving on your to do list etc.

One of the top things on our list was to upholster the seating, and this weekend we managed to cross it off! When we ‘finished’ the van last year, we hastily drove off to Glasto with tatty, torn (original) front seats and bare foam on the buddy seat and back seat/bed covered up with various blankets. It was fine and a good temporary solution that served us well until Rob made the rest of the upholstery using my Nan’s old sewing machine.instavanIn the end Rob and I decided that it was best to get someone else to do the upholstery!

Last year we bought some brown vinyl material and foam from Dunelm and Rob had a go at making a cover for the buddy seat, but he threw it away because he was not happy with it.PicMonkey CollageI thought that he did a fine job and he would have managed to make the covers himself. But Rob is a busy, self employed man and a perfectionist.

Yes, we could have saved money doing it ourselves, but sometimes it is best to leave things to the professionals! In the long run it saves time and a lot of aggro. And now Rob can enjoy the van without looking at the upholstery thinking that he should have done X, Y and Z better (perfectionists eh!)

Tah-dah! Here is the new updated seating in our van! 1528650_760032127352678_6720388660924255227_nseating 2buddy seatrock n roll bedback

All photos of the new interior are from Vworks Upholstery Facebook page. I did ask Rob to take some proper ‘before’ photos of the interior BTW. If he did I will upload them on here later.

Right, next on the to do list is to get out there and do some camping* in the van and enjoy the summer! Can you believe that I have not camped in it this year! (Rob has at a few VW shows on his own, hence the dirty muddy floor that needs cleaning in some of the photos). I have been working six day weeks doing lots of overtime in my jobs. Hopefully I will have some weekends off again soon and we can get away! Whoop!

*Plus seat belts in the back, a new gearbox and redo all the suspension.

My Birthday 2014

This year, back in May, my birthday came and went. I almost wasn’t going to blog about it this year, but as I did back in 2012 (twice) and in 2013, I thought that I might as well keep up the tradition and do a memory dump post on here for future reference!

This year wasn’t the best birthday day I have ever had (as lets face it, I am never going to top turning 30 in Barcelona!) but I got amazing presents from both Rob and my family. I was spoilt rotten!

Rob bought me a bike earlier this month (which I blogged about here) and bought me this book that I have been lusting after……and I might have dropped a subtle hint about on here!

Here is a snap of me on my new bike in Bedgebury park before we rode the six mile family trail where I bitched and moaned the whole way round and was over taken by small children! Oh deary me! Maybe one day my fitness will improve?!!?

I almost look like a pro in my new gear. Except that I was wearing Robs gloves upside down with the grip part on the top of my hand! Muppet!

I almost look like a pro in my new cycling gear. Except that I was wearing Robs biking gloves upside down with the grip part on the top of my hands! Muppet!

I received money from my family and work gave me a £20 Arcadia gift card, and even better, the day off! I don’t like to make a fuss about my birthday, however my one rule is that I never work on the day.

As per usual I made Rob take me out for the day. Unfortunately Rob had a meeting booked that morning, so he dropped me off in Shittingbourne, sorry Sittingbourne for a few hours while he carried out his work commitments. I killed time browsing around the rubbish charity shops and Tesco (as fun as it sounds), then he picked me up and we drove onto Folkestone.

I fancied going to Folkestone as on my last visit there around 6-7 years ago it had lots of galleries and quirky independent shops on its cobbled old high street. It was a bright sunny day, we went to a very nice oldy-worldy pub and I had a lovely day out with my friends. Well, thats how I remembered it anyway.

However when we got there it was a grey drizzly day, the town looked really shabby and the cute shops in the old town were now sad empty units all boarded up.

It is such a shame to see whole towns like this, with no investment or prospects for the locals. Since I last visited the recession has hit and I guess a lot of the indie business have moved down the road to Margate to capitalise on the opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery. Such a shame.

The only photo I took of Folkestone's ferry shaped hotel on our day out

The only photo I took on our day out of Folkestone’s ferry shaped hotel

My plan was for us to find the cute pub I drank in last time, grab a bite to eat and then for Rob and I to go for a nice walk along the parkland on the cliffs towards Dover.

It goes without saying that my best laid plans never seem to work out. Of course we could not find the pub and it rained hard on our walk and we got soaked through!

However, we had a really nice burger in a really nice independent eatery. Rob had a salted caramel brownie milkshake that he is still talking about and we stumbled into a pub on the top of the cliff and shot some pool for a few hours before heading back down the cliff (still in the rain – it never did ease off) skidding down on the mud taking our lives into our hands and laughing at how it can only happen to us!

At the end of this month its Robs birthday! He is nudging ever closer to 40 and he already knows what I have bought him – tickets to Truck festival! Yey I cannot wait until we go!

Field Day

Last Sunday Rob and I travelled up to London town to watch the Pixies. They are one of our favourite bands and have been on our must see live wish list for a very, very long time.

Earlier this year I Googled to see if any bands I like were touring. I saw that the Pixies were playing in the UK, and even better, in London. So I snapped up some early bird tickets for Field Day Festival. Plus they were a consolation prize for me not getting a job that I really wanted which would have meant me working on Sundays. In these kind of emotional situations its best to cry, get drunk or spend recklessly to get over them. I did all three BTW. So boo to missing out, but yey to splurging out on gig tickets! Treat yo self!

Anyways, Rob and I had a fun day out. Field Day is marketed as a festival and it did feel like we were at one. Be it for one day only, in the middle of east London surrounded by tower blocks and we did not camp, but stayed in a Travel Lodge!

We decided to stay up for the night as our last train home was just after 11pm and there was no way we would have made it back to Victoria station in time without leaving halfway through the Pixies set.

Like that was ever going to happen, eh! So after lots of research and a huge chunk of my time wasted on comparison websites, I booked us into the good old cheap ‘n’ cheerful(ish) Travel Lodge at the Docklands near Canary Wharf. I figured that we could drive up, park for 24 hours in the hotel car park and then catch the 277 bus from around the corner straight to Victoria Park. Doing it this way worked out cheaper than catching the train and tube and seemed to be a much more relaxed, smooth, seamless journey.

In theory anyway. Unfortunatley Rob and I are not that great in London. We are townies/smaller walkable city types to the core. We tend to get lost and are a bit rubbish on the tube and are not great at handling the crowds and expensive bar prices (OK, the we is really me). Needless to say our latest trip to LDN was not without a few minor hiccups!

If smooth and seamless includes not being able to find the entrance to the bloody hotel and us driving through the Blackwall tunnel three times on the journey up there (don’t ask. My fault apparently) and then after the gig, the bus back was diverted due to crowd control and we ended up catching two different number 277 buses (my fault again apparently, as I told the driver the wrong name for our stop and he gave us the wrong information telling us to get off at the next stop and to catch another bus etc).

The nice thing was that both bus drivers let us ride on the night buses for free. I think it was my crazy, bloodshot, drunken eyes that freaked them out. Either that or they are just not used to people talking to them politely and trying to buy tickets. Or they couldn’t be arsed to change my fiver. London, eh! Take that Oyster card swiping suckers!

Here are a few photos from the day, all taken by Rob and there is more of the same thing to see in my Instagram feed if anyone is interested.

It looks crowded, but was no where near as busy as Glastonbury last year.

It looks crowded, but was no where near as busy as Glastonbury last year.

A pink tower block and more crowds

A pink tower block and more crowds

more crowds and spot some random bald bloke being constrained by a security guard that Rob accidentally captured!

more crowds and some random bald bloke being constrained by a security guard that Rob accidentally captured!

more random strangers, the other stage and a bar

more random strangers, the other stage and a bar

Not a great snap, but hey its THE PIXIES!!! including the new new Kim.

Not a great snap, but hey its THE PIXIES!!! including the new new Kim.

Dreamy Crib Alert

I try not to do too many of these type of posts. You know, just copy and pasting stuff I have seen online.

There are many reasons why I don’t, including I am not 100% sure about the legal side of things, and mainly that there are thousands, nay millions of other bloggers who do a much better job at this type of thing than me!

But this house is just too good not to share!

I saw this house last month on Wowhaus and immediately fell in love with it. I sent Rob the link and he immediately fell in love with it. Although he did comment that the photos look a bit staged as the furnishing are so in keeping and stylish. Yup! I totally agree (with the stylish part)! In fact the only thing Rob and I disagreed on was the kitchen tiles. He would rip them out, where as I would keep them.

It truly is a lottery win type of dream house for both of us. The only problem is that it is in Folkestone. A town that I have recently visited and have added to my ever growing ‘towns that I do not want to live in if I can help it’ list.

Ah well nothing is perfect eh! Lets just all admire the photos below and bask in all the mid century goodness. Soaking up the beautiful wooden panelling, the original (I think) pendant lamps, the amazing staircase, the Hornsea and Le Crueset pieces in the kitchen and the stylish, well thought out furnishings.

All photos are taken from themodernhouse.net, plus there are a few more images here if you want to see more.24bDSC_0394bDSC_0409bDSC_0626kkDSC_0475lDSC_0562tDSC_0430

Our Bedroom Project Part 3 – After

Here is the final reveal post and a guided tour around our bedroom, as specially requested by Rob who has been telling me to hurry up and publish this post!

Yes, that’s Rob, my other half who lives with me and sees this room every day! He is also pretty much the only person who reads this blog* and my biggest cheerleader bless him!

After we** had finished the decorating and furnishing part of the room, we were left with a fairly blank canvas that needed a bit of prettying up. We painted the walls in a neutral greeny-grey colour, chose plain curtains (in a much more practical colour) and had chosen simple, non fussy furniture. So the bedroom was crying out for some colour, pattern and personality to be injected into it!

This part took the longest as I am notoriously indecisive! I over think my choices and never rush into decisions. That is in part, why it has taken me almost 18 months to finally blog about our bedroom. I wanted to make sure that everything was finished and just right before sharing it on here. Well, that and laziness.

If I am honest, the room is not completely finished. We still have a print to hang (which you will see in the photos) but lets face it, when is a project ever finished? Rooms evolve and change over time. While Rob and I are not the spontaneous types to repaint out walls a different colour on a whim every few months, I do re-arrange nik-naks and switch artwork around. So as much as I want to put off this post due to my laziness perfectionist tendencies with the (unfinished) finishing touches, I have decided to go ahead anyway and at some point in the future I can do another post showing the future changes and updates.

Gah, darn this overthinking habit of mine! My initial plans for the bedroom had involved soft feminine touches with some granny chic thrown in the mix. All inspired by my love of crocheted blankets, embroidery art, patchwork quilts, kitschy artwork and Cath Kidston. I even won a Tina print on Ebay to hang on the wall, remember?

Welp, lets just say that the wall art gave me the biggest headache. I just could not make up my mind what I wanted to hang on our freshly plastered walls and where. Eventually Tina was sold on (making me a £20 profit!) and it was back to the drawing board again. I had initially planned to do a picture collage a’ la Beautiful Mess and the rest of the internet, but I kept changing my mind about wether to use coloured frames or plain white frames like we have in the rest of the house…..decisions, decisions eh!

As I said earlier, I wanted to make sure the room was right, as once we have finished a room that is that. So I wanted to make sure that it would stand the test of time (or rather – my indecisiveness tendencies!) I am a fickle so and so when it comes to pattern. So I always play it safe and keep things fairly plain and serene in our house. I am a minimalist who loves colour if that makes sense?

No pattered wallpaper for me thank you! My heart belongs to bright, cheerful primary colours, vintage nik naks, bold graphic artwork, leafy houseplants and vinyl toys. And so, like the rest of the house, thats what I filled our bedroom with!

Right, lets start by coming through the door, oh wait we don’t have a bedroom door. Good job that we don’t have guests stay round who might see us naked (poor things)! We removed it to repair the door frame and to rehang it on the other side of the frame, but as you may know if you read my blog regularly, I hate our internal doors with a passion. So we could not be bothered to repair it etc, we just chucked it and will eventually replace it when we get our act together and sort out some new internal doors.

Anyway I am digressing. Here is what you see when you enter the room.bed 1And here is a little reminder of how things used to look.b&a

Much better IMO! Instead of a bare lightbulb hanging down from the ceiling we have finally hung our cheap Ikea sort of version of the classic MCM Artichoke pendant. Our large colourful artwork is on full glorious display. There is a long story about how I eventually decided on what to hang on the wall involving several wrong sized frames from Ikea and bad decisions, but as this whole blog post is one long story, I will spare you from it!bed 2Next we have a glimpse of our new(ish) wardrobes and our vintage teak mirror from Ebay (of course!). We also have a cute little wooden chair which used to belong to my mother when she was a child and has been a constant piece of furniture in every bedroom of mine for as long as I can remember.

A little tip for all wannabe stylists – If you move your piles of PJ’s and clothes from a room that you will be photographing, make sure that they are not reflected in the mirror!bed 3The wardrobes were a splurge that we hope will last us for the next 20 years. They are Schreiber from Homebase and are much better quality than our previous Ikea flat pack furnishings. We bought them when they were half price and on an extra 15% off shopping event day, so they worked out to be not that much more expensive that our original Ikea bits we bought 8 years previously for our first house! his n hersAnd look at how much crap we can cram into these bad boys! Please excuse the mess on top of them that I really should have cropped out of this snap.
bed 4Here is the WIP corner of the room with a print waiting to be hung, a cactus plant that I need to find a pot for and my West German pottery collection which needs to grow.booksI have recently downsized my books and intend to just hoard vintage books from my childhood, vintage cookbooks and a few much loved favourites. I resolved a few years back to only buy books from charity shops and to donate them back once I have finished with them. So far so good. Except I have been hunting Game of Thrones book 4 for around six months in my local chazzas with no luck!bed 5bed 7Above – Not the greatest photo, but I wanted to show our (still to be hung) morale boosting motto which we need to see each morning.bed 6Next we have our bed made (but still looking messy) with our Orla Kiely imitation bed linen from Ikea and a peak at our bedside tables.bed 7You know when you read far too many blogs when you find yourself saying things to your other half like “I need to style our bedside tables”.

Yes that ever so slightly wanky statement is one that I have uttered! But our bedside tables looked so boring with all their practical things on them like a wake up light, alarm clock, glasses of water, box of tissues, mobiles and loose change etc. I had the urge to style them up big time!

I thought about a pair of matching lamps, or even better some hanging bulbs from the ceiling with coloured wire! But we have our handy string light pull already hanging above the bed (as seen in the second picture above) so there was really no need for any lamps.

I thought about displaying some matching Jonathan Adler type ceramic animals, but it would just be another thing to dust, plus all I could afford with my budget was some garden gnomes from Asda!

In the end I just PAPOI. I put a plant on it! The internets new put a bird on it! The favourite styling/photograph friendly habit of all bloggers out there! Boom! Easy. Plus I love mother-in-laws tongue plants and they are almost impossible to kill. Hence the name.bed 8My view from my side of the bed. Not bad, huh?

Next I am going to finally finish this post with some photos of pretty much the same thing. Sorry about that.

bed 10bed 11toys for boysbed 11

*Totally my fault as I don’t tell anyone about my blog, bother comment on other blogs or network on Twitter. Or actually blog much at all these days.

**Rob also would like it pointed out that every time I say that “we” did something regarding DIY, that I really mean that Rob did something regarding DIY!