The New House – Ideas And Inspiration For The Second Bedroom

Sorry to keep wanging on about baby stuff on here. I did hope to share a tour of our bedroom today, but its too dark and rainy to take any decent photos, so that post will have to wait. Fear not, I am not about to turn into a “mummy blogger” anytime soon! But at this moment in time its a big thing in my life, so I cannot help but over share on here occasionally!

I just wanted to do a little follow up from this post here (the 2nd bedroom before tour post) to talk about my ideas for this room.

I must say that it has been quite hard deciding how to decorate this room. My initial thoughts were to just paint the room white, but then Rob banned me from having any more white walls in the house! (He hates it! Because its a bugger to paint and you cannot see what bits you have already painted apparently!)

Next I thought “what about that greeny-grey neutral colour that we had in our bedroom in our last house?” But Rob was not so keen on the colour. So that was the end of that. (Yes, believe it or not, sometimes I do let him have a say in things!!!)

So it was back to the drawing board again. Or rather, pinning stuff on my secret Pinterest board for inspiration!

All that I had decided on was this Ikea light in the room and, don’t ask me why, but I set my heart on a bright yellow cot! …You know, the one colour that cots are least likely to be made in! Luckily I managed to find one online at a sensible price, so that Pinterest-to-blame-type-of-want was fulfilled!

So far we have purchased the two items pictured below.

Image from ikea.com

The light for the room. Image from ikea.com

His cot. Image from direct.asda.com

His cot. Image from direct.asda.com

And this is how the room currently looks.imageimageimageimage

Doesn’t it make you a bit twitchy and anxious? The piles of bags everywhere, the disorganisation of it, and the fact that I have just over four weeks left to go til D-day? Eep!

But to be honest, I am pretty chill about things. As for the first few months the kid will be sleeping in our bedroom, in one of those next to the bed cribs, so there is no December deadline to get this room finished. Phew! And I have finally decided on the wall colour and more furnishings! We just need to finish decorating the lounge first so that the Ladderax unit and the books etc can be moved back in there, then I can start sorting out the piles of baby paraphernalia that my parents have brought us and friends have kindly given to us.

And pack my hospital bag and do other practical shit like that!

The scheme that I have decided on is for the walls to be painted on the bottom half a teal coloured dark blue (yes, I know, I have chosen blue for a boy! But I like the colour and would also use it in a little girls room) then white on the top half. A bit like in the images all gleaned from Pinterest below.

And somehow I have managed to get Rob to paint another room white again! But this room doesn’t count as its only half white. Honest!

Image from ikea.com

Image from ikea.com

Image from spearmintbaby.com

Image from spearmintbaby.com

More Pinterest inpiration. Not quite the look that I am going for, but look, a yellow cot and the same lampshade!

More Pinterest inpiration. Not quite the look that I am going for, but look, a yellow cot and the same lampshade! Image from babble.com.

Next, I plan to order this Ikea chest of drawers for a changing area and clothing storage, which I cannot wait to organise like this Mummy blogger has.

Nordli chest of drawers. Image from ikea.com.

Nordli chest of drawers. Image from ikea.com.

Image from twotwentyone.net.

Image from twotwentyone.net.

Then order this cute Scandi inspired bunny print below to hang somewhere in the room. Just because I like it and would be very happy to have it hanging in my bedroom TBH!

Image from thismodernlife.co.uk

Image from thismodernlife.co.uk

Watch this space for the room tour next year!

In Hels Kitchen #4

Blimey, it has been over a year since I last published a “In Hels Kitchen” post! The main reason for this, is not that I lost my cooking mojo, its more that I have not really had the time to cook stuff properly over the last year or so. Back in Kent, I was working full time hours over odd shift patterns. I mainly worked afternoons, evenings and weekends (i.e the shifts that no one else wants!) As I did not get home until gone 8pm or 9pm, I batch cooked meals and used my slow cooker a hell of a lot. Then just before we moved when I was running the cupboards and freezer down, we ate a lot of ready made pizzas, pre-made sandwiches and pasta parcels!

When we moved here and during the early days of my pregnancy, I was really sick and I could hardly stomach any food. I could only manage to force down ice lollies, toast and mashed potatoes! I felt too rough to cook anything and the kitchen made me heave (it had a funny chemical smell!) Plus the cats litter tray was in there which also made me ill, so Rob was a good boy and stepped up taking over the cooking and made me lots of scrambled egg on toast!

Now that I am feeling much better (although I have been sick twice since I said on here that I am better! Typical!) and currently on the worlds longest maternity leave ever™ I am starting to enjoy cooking once again. I am loving being in my new kitchen and its something to fill my time with during the day.

Its a shame that in a month or so I will no longer have the time or energy to cook again, but at least I have had plenty of practice using my slow cooker and making quick, healthy(ish) meals etc all thanks to working odd hours over the last year or two.*

I am also trying to batch cook and freeze lots of meals in preparation for the kid. So far I have 12 meals stashed away in the freezer. I did a freezer stock take the other day and am now slightly panicking that I have less than two weeks worth of meals! Eek, I had better get my finger out and make some more!

So what have I been cooking lately then?

This vegetable crumble from the Good Food website. It was tasty and something a little bit different. I froze one for later.

Lots of Sunday roasts, while I can of course! This recipe here makes enormous yorkies BTW.

A photo posted by Rob Staerck (@robsbugged) on


Lots of big batch spag bols, curries, chillis and stews etc to freeze. Its a shame that your typical freezer friendly meals are mostly meat based. Does anyone know any good, filling veggie meals that I can stock up my freezer up with? Although I guess that we will be glad of the extra protein when the time comes! Its also a good job that the babe is going to be a winter babe, as who fancies stew or curry on a scorching hot summers day?

I am also gobbling down a bunch of grapes almost daily. I just cannot get enough of them. So sweet and juicy! Nom nom!

*You know that we will end up eating lots of ready made pizzas, fish finger sandwiches, take aways and pasta parcels! All the good stuff!

The New House – More Lounge Progress

When shit goes down, it feels a bit incongruous to blog about frivolous stuff like decorating my house. Plus I am well aware that blogging about baby stuff is as dull as dishwater and only semi-interesting to Rob and I, and the grandparents (who don’t actually read my blog!)

But the world still keeps on turning and life goes on. Blogs (to me) are a nice distraction from the world around us, full of inspiring, pretty things. They are five minutes of escapism from the bad news reports and political hate spewed on social media etc.

Ok, so I cannot call the images in this blog post pretty! But here is a little update on how things are currently looking in our lounge.

I hope that we can have this room finished by the time the kid arrives. The walls are going to be lined, then painted, skirting boards replaced, curtains hung and the new flooring will be fitted in nine days time (so long inheritance and savings – sob, its been nice knowing you!) Then we can move the rest of our furniture back into the room and I can faff about arranging my pot plants, books and nik-naks.

And hopefully share the finished results on here!imageimageimageimageRob has just filled in this crack in the wall. He said to me “go on, have a feel of my crack, feel how smooth it is” err, no thanks mate!

Christmas 2016

I know, I know – its more than a tad too early to mention the big C word (IMO there should be only 12 days of it, no scrap that, just 1 day of it, and it doesn’t start in August!) But don’t worry, this is not going to be one of my yearly traditional posts ranting about the music and the overblown commercialism etc. Because for once I am not working in a hellhole busy retail environment and this Xmas is going to be a very different one, as no big deal, but we are only blooming having a baby around that time!

I am officially due on 21/12/16, but we all know that no one ever arrives on their due date! I am really hoping that the kid is not born on Xmas day (or Xmas eve or Boxing day or New years day if I go overdue!) As that is such a rubbish birthday to have. So I am kind of hoping that I will be a week or two early so the poor little buggers B.day is not too close to Xmas and gets overlooked!

I used to work with a lovely lady who was born on Xmas day. She hated it as she never really got to celebrate her birthday. She would wake up in the morning and her kids would wish her happy birthday, then she would have to work all day long cooking the whole family a huge Xmas dinner. Plus she always had her mother-in-law staying round. So it wasn’t much fun for her. (That’s how she told me, anyway. Bless her!)

One of Rob’s friends used to go out with a girl who was also born on Xmas day. She would always celebrate her half birthday in June, as her B.day kind of slipped by because of all the other celebrations going on.

I saw this feature on Apartment Therapy the other day, its a interesting study on the frequency of birthdays and how common your birthday is. Plus I am bored stupid on the worlds longest ever maternity leave and I have too much time on my hands to over think these things!

I have tried not to get too excited and make loads of plans for the future. Because in the past I have learnt that its best not to think too far ahead and that the best laid plans never work out. I prefer to go with the flow and I have a wing it approach to life in general.

The only one thing that I have daydreamed about with the kid is making future birthday cakes for them (that and future family camping trips together in the van!) I am looking forward to the challenge of creating their special requests in the form of cake! But how will we manage to eat two blooming cakes at Xmas time? (Rob said that this will be no problem for him BTW!) And how will I manage to accommodate, please and entertain doting grandparents for joint B.days and Xmas so no one has their nose put out? We all know that I hate being the hostess with the mostess!!!

This will also be the first Xmas that we will not see our families. We have had Xmases on our own before, but we always visited the family before or after the main event. This year we will not be able to travel to the Isle of Wight or Kent. The funny thing is that everyone seems to be concerned about how we are going to be celebrating Xmas this year! My Mum is worried that we will not be able to have a Xmas meal (where as Rob is just pleased to be missing out on the dry turkey!) But as I said to everyone – celebrating Xmas is the last thing that we are worried about this year as we have other more important stuff to think of!

Plus it gives me the perfect excuse not to bother putting the decorations up this year! Although even Rob told me not to be such a Grinch on that one! But to me its another hassle that I could do with out with a new born in the house!

Some Stuff For The Kid

I guess that this post will reveal that we are having a boy. Its not a big secret, as we chose to find out the sex at our 20 week scan and we have told all our friends, family and anyone else who asks what we are having. I just haven’t mentioned it on my blog for some reason! We still haven’t decided on a name yet though. He just goes by “the kid” for now!

I have recently broken my own rules and brought some clothing for the baby. I brought these super hero vests (age 6-9 months, brand new with tags) for £2.50 in a local chazza and I allowed Rob, AKA the ultimate big kid/Star Wars fan (like most blokes around his age are!), to buy this cute Chewbacca onesie thingy while we were out shopping in Tescos the other day.imageimage

I am trying to avoid the whole pink for a girl and blue for a boy thing, but you cannot help being drawn towards all the stereotypical gender based stuff as there is not a lot of unisex clothing out there. So I am just sticking to my no boring baby blue and greige coloured stuff rule the best I can, and I will try to make his wardrobe and accessories as bright and cheerful as I possibly can!

Robs Aunt is a prolific knitter and has already asked us if we wanted any bits made for the baby. I requested a brightly coloured stripey blanket and a little bonnet/hat type of thing (but not in pastel colours please!) And she has already made them and posted them down to us! How cute are they? I love hand knitted bits for lit’luns. I wish I was clever and could knit myself, but I just don’t have the skills or patience for it!image

Oh, and Robs Mum found this vintage Fisher Price toy that used to belong to Rob and his sister up in her loft and passed it on to us.image

Plus we have also ordered the cot and mattress as they were on special offer (even though he won’t be sleeping in them straight away and will be in our room at first) and the car seat is on order from the local baby superstore (AKA your worst nightmare if you hate spending lots of unnecessary money and are not keen on cutesy, vomit inducing baby furniture and paraphernalia like myself!!!) which will be ready to collect within the next three weeks, I hope!

So we are getting there. I have finally accepted that I had better stop putting things off and get a bit more prepared for the new member of the household!

Who am I kidding, we are totally unprepared for what is coming and the house has a lot more than 7 weeks decorating left to do! Eek!

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 that 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.
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How it looked in 2014

Currently in 2016. Both images from themodernhouse.com via wowhaus.co.uk

Currently in 2016. Both images from themodernhouse.com via wowhaus.co.uk

  • 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 –

img_2855

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?

image

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.

img_2852

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!

img_2865

My pantry in the other cupboard!!!

img_2866

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.

image

From this…

old fire

…to this

fire face

It looks like a face!

image

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!!