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.


From this…

old fire

…to this

fire face

It looks like a face!


To how things look today!

Doesn’t the lounge look so much better already without the humongous mantle piece in it, eh!

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animals!

Im on a silly 4pm to midnight shift tonight*, so to kill some time I thought I would share some Christmassy bits on my blog and wish you all a good one.

I must say that its almost become a tradition for me to have a moan about Christmas on here every year. Don’t worry, I will spare you my grumbles! Ive already complained about Christmas music in this post, and what else can I say that I haven’t bitched and moaned about already!

This year I have baked two batches of ugly (but very yummy) frangipane mince pies, made a disastrous Xmas cake and hung less decorations than ever. And thats about all the festive spirit I can muster up these days!

I have got rid of donated a lot of decorations to charity as the older I get, the more clutter seems to bother me. All I want in my lounge is a herd of camp, glittery deers, a tree full of kitschy decorations and a seasonal Mr Potato head. That is enough for me. Its bad taste minimalism, I guess.

Below are a few snaps of our decorations, including an amazing new bauble that my Mum brought me. Who knows, this might be our last Xmas in this house?xmas 15 1xmas 15 2xmas 15 3xmas 15 4As for my cake, well lets just say that my Xmas cake game is really down this year! I usually bake a cake (or two) and cover it with fondant then decorate with more fondant using my cutters. This year I fancied doing something a bit different. I had a vision of a cute, arty forest scene in my head, with fluffy, snow like icing, some strategically placed fir tree decorations and maybe a deer or two (what can I say, I do like my deers at Xmas!) dotted on top of it….bad cake 1This is not quite what I had in mind!

Oh dear, I made my icing way too runny! Plus the cake decoration shops of my town let me down with their tacky offerings, and I ended up buying a Santa sleigh decoration that was too big to fit top of my cake!bad cake 2Next year I am sticking to shop bought fondant icing!

And maybe buying a bigger cake tin!!!

Anyway, have a good bank holiday everyone. Enjoy!

*Its OK, I volunteered for it. The store I work in is hell at the moment, so I would much rather go in when its a bit quieter!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! I hope you are all enjoying lots and lots of chocolate. I am, thats for sure!*

Just to celebrate spring and Easter, here is a picture of some cheery yellow tulips in a West German vase that matches the pot I inherited from my grandparents house. Yup, I saw it cheap on ebay and I just had to have it! It looks good on the Gplan eh?tuliptulip lip*Remember kids, chocolate is for life. Not just for Easter.

Our Lounge

Today is the fourth anniversary of living in our house! Lets celebrate by showing you around our lounge.

Here is it used to look. The lounge had magnolia painted walls with a red feature wall on the chimney breast, with a yucky reproduction iron Victorian fire surround (not shown) that dominated the room for all the wrong reasons! As much as I love original Victorian style feature fireplaces (we had them upstairs in our last house), it just did not work in our lounge as it looked stuck on and fake. After all, our house was built in the 1950’s!

Unfortunately as with the dining room, I do not have that many photos of the lounge in the before stage, only the one below in fact!lounge before 2At this point around mid 2010, we had ripped out the for show only fire surround (which after being left out in our back garden for around 3 years, I finally sold it on eBay for the princely sum of 99p! – You win some, you lose some eh!) and had started to test paint colours out, had bought a new lampshade and had attempted to hang some white floating shelves for my design book collection in the left alcove where our Gplan unit is now.

Ah yes, the attempt to hang those shelves in our lounge was a fun day indeed! We (ok, Rob) just could not drill through the solid concrete wall as it contained too much flint. Rob busted around a dozen drill bits, dropped the drill on the floor narrowly missing his foot and taking a chunk of carpet out and sweated and swore for England that day!

It was at this point that we knew we would need new carpet! Plus removing the beige floor tiles in the hearth left a too big gap in the floor. So up it come, and then we lived with the bare concrete floors for the next 2 years.

Anyway thats enough of my decorating woes! The bones of this room came together quite early on. We painted the walls and ceiling, built the new fireplace stand/hearth thingy from scratch and bought a brand new flat screen telly. But then it took the next 3 years for us (ok, me) to find the right sized unit for my books (£40 inc delivery from my local PDSA charity shop, boom!), a coffee table, carpet the room and then finally (in January this year) frame and hang our prints! Phew!

We are both really pleased with how our lounge looks and love to kick back and relax with the cat in here. As Rob works from home, this room is our sacred sanctuary and all work talk is banned in here!

Here is my guided tour, lets start with a look through the hallway door as shown before here –lounge 1The view is a little different to the last time I shared it. We now have more plants and a favourite print of mine hanging above the unit. I reframed this print without a mount and relocated it from above the TV. Can you see our love fern on top to the the right? I think I have let our love fern die, oh deary me! lounge 2Next we have the first corner of our lounge where I have my reproduction Eames RAR rocker that Rob bought me for my 30th birthday, with an Ugly Doll on it and above a recently framed print that I bought Rob as a gift for one of his birthdays. Can you tell what the print is of?….I will give you a clue, its the characters from a TV show where they always say “I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!” at the end of each show! – Its the characters from Scooby-Doo! Clever hey?
BTW The heart is my rubbish attempt of hiding the camper vans number plate! ugly dolllounge 3lounge 4lounge 5lounge 6More views of this end of of lounge, working toward the Gplan unit previously shown. In case you are wondering, yes I do buy the specific brand of tissues on the coffee table to match the lounge. And yes, I am that sad. I just really like the design of the box, ok!lounge 7Book shelf porn alert! I have been collecting the Taschen 25th anniversary edition books since 2005.lounge 8lounge 9lounge 9lounge 10lounge 11More of the unit, the fireplace and the third corner of the room where the TV resides.lounge 12Next, we have my only bug bear about the lounge. The HORRIBLE INTERNAL DOORS!!!!! Gah, I hate them and their horrible frosted chintzy glass swirly pattern. One day we will replace them….I hope!lounge 13Even worse, there are two of the blooming things! Bah!
Here is our second sofa. As you can see, it is looking a little ‘lived in’ with Helen and Rob shaped arse dents in it. Its in front of the telly so its the one we use the most. I can’t quite believe we bought our sofas over 9 years ago! They are almost vintage!sofalounge 14lemon jelly printI have been meaning to wash our cushion covers for a while, so please excuse the chocolate stains on the Orla Kiely (from Ebay, not the real thing) cushion! I love the Lemon Jelly print above the sofa, it was a birthday present from Rob, I won’t mention how much it cost to frame! The brown vinyl 1960’s pouffe is from my Grandparents house. I know it doesn’t match the sofas, but I don’t care!lounge 15lounge 16So there you have it, we are back to where we started. I hope you enjoyed the full 360° tour of our lounge!

I usually do a resource list at the end of each room tour, as I like to see where bloggers source their stuff. I am sorry, but I cannot be bothered to do one this time. If you want to know where I found something please contact me. I promise you the answer will probably be one of the following – Ebay, Ikea, a charity shop, Homebase or B&Q! But please feel free to email me or leave a comment!

Put a Bird On It

Disclaimer – please don’t roll your eyes and think “not another bloody Portlandia/PABOI post, Helen’s a bit late to come to the party” etc. This post is really for the benefit of all the oldies in my family who read my blog to explain why we say PABOI (shout out to my Mum!)

A year or so ago the internets were ablaze with the words “put a bird on it” thanks to this sketch from the American TV show Portlandia which makes fun of hipster types.

This show is to blame for Rob and I uttering the phrase every time we see something bird themed, which is a lot when you start to notice it!  Also this clip from the show is why we call every free-range/organic/expensive chicken out there Colin!

Getting to the point of my blog post – I love the Eames designs (so does Ice T) and I would love one of their birds to put on a mantel like Anna from Door Sixteen.  Just so I could say “put a bird on it” every time I walked past it.

Photo by Anna Dorfman, Door Sixteen

Eames birds a a little on the pricey side though, so I was happy to spot this wooden copy in BHS for £10.  I snapped it up on a 20% off special shopping event promotion day too!

Our “put a bird on it” knick-knack!

Unfortunately I do not have a mantelpiece over the fire in our lounge, as we decided it would look better without one.  So my “put a bird on it” lives on the TV stand next to a plant, much to our pet cat Poppy’s annoyance.  Seriously, she has tried to hunt this wooden bird twice now, bless her!

The bird that torments Poppy!