Monday, 25 March 2013

Play Room

We are lucky to live in a house that has plenty of extra space downstairs for our young family.  We have a lounge, dining room, conservatory & also a funny little room that is currently being used as a "play room".  I call it a funny little room because it is like an extension of the hallway as it sits between the dining room & the kitchen.  It is a through-room but is big enough to hold our old (small) dining table & chairs & the Ikea Billy bookcases that were previously in the living room at our old house.  We are currently keeping a lot of the girls' toys, craft stuff & games on the shelves & are trying to encourage them to do their drawing, painting & play doh etc out on this table to prevent the mess from spreading through the rest of the house.

Anyway, I find myself getting very frustrated with the mess that accumulates on the shelves.  My girls are not very good at tidying up & they just shoved stuff on the shelves so that it was all off the table.

I did have 2 pink plastic crates that housed their mega bloks & also the collection of little people, cars, animals etc that they play with.  These sat on the bottom 2 shelves but were a bit too big really so kept getting knocked off.  Also, they haven't really proven to be very sturdy over the past couple of years as they have been very easy to break - I started off with 6 crates!!!

We went to JTF last week & I saw some slightly smaller, lidded crates for sale at £18 for 5, which I didn't think was too horrendous.  After a little bit of sorting the shelves look better:

It's still a work in progress as the crates are a bit big for the smaller bookcase but this room is next on our to-decorate list once the dining room is finished so we'll be looking at better solutions then.

Here's is what I have put in the crates:

1. Mega bloks
2. Little people, cars, animals, fences etc
3. Small houses, stables etc
4. Paper, pencils, crayons etc
5. Play doh pots, cutters etc

We'll see how long it stays organised like this for!!!


Friday, 22 March 2013


Have you heard of Freecycle?  I joined our local group at the end of last year when we found out we were moving & I had lots of decluttering to do.  I have used Ebay many times but some of the stuff that I wanted to get rid of was very unlikely to make much/any money & I didn't want to just throw it away.

Freecycle is great as you can just advertise the things that you have to offer & people will contact you to take them off your hands for free.  Perfect!  I managed to give away some old framed pictures, baby equipment, wallpaper - all sorts!!  When we moved into this house there was a HUGE electric organ (church-style) that the owner had been trying to get rid of for months.  I asked his permission to put it on Freecycle & it was gone within 24 hours - result!  Of course, the other benefit of being a member of Freecycle is that you can also GET stuff for free.

As you know, we are in the process of decorating our dining room & you may have noticed in previous photos that we have a fire in there.  Previously there had just been a shelf above it to act as a mantelpiece.  When someone advertised a solid wood fire surround on Freecycle I jumped at the chance to ask for it.  I was so lucky to be chosen to have it.  This was a perfect solution to update the room without spending a huge amount of money as we are only renting.  Here's the fire surround that we got:

Nice right?

Hubby is going to paint it white to match the rest of the woodwork.  He's in the process of doing the glossing at the moment:

It's made such a huge difference to the room already & he's only put undercoat on the cupboards so far!  Fingers crossed that I'll be able to post a dining room reveal post in the next week or two.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.  Stay warm - we've got more snow again today & I think that more has been forecast for the weekend.


Friday, 15 March 2013

Being Domestic

I have never really been interested in following any type of career.  I was lucky that I fell into a job after I left Sixth Form at the company I did my work experience for and had since done the odd week or two during the school holidays.  To be honest, I only ended up doing my work experience there in the first place because our family friends at the time owned the company and arranged it for me.  I did enjoy working there though & I ended up staying for 5 years until I left because Hubby & I relocated from Berkshire to Kent.

I managed to find another job in Kent but it wasn't anything particularly exciting - I was working out of necessity, like most people, but my ultimate "ambition" was to settle down with the man of my dreams, have children & become a housewife.  Hardly the great feminist message to pass down to my daughters is it?  Please don't assume me to be of the WAG-type variety though.  I have never been bothered by money (it's a good thing too because we don't have much!!), society status, material possessions or the latest fashions etc. I've always wanted to live quite a simple life with my family & be as happy & as healthy as possible.  Sometimes I feel so lucky that I am able to stay at home with my family but other times I feel like I'm failing in my life's ambition as I'm hardly the domestic-goddess that I aspire to be.  The main thing though I suppose is that my children are happy & have everything that they need to grow up in a happy, comfortable environment - I think that we're doing ok with that part!

Half of my battle towards becoming the "Perfect Housewife" is just getting on & doing it, as I've mentioned before, so I've started trying to make little lists of daily tasks that I hope to get completed.  Oh my goodness!  What a difference this makes to me actually DOING stuff!!!  I love crossing things off the list as I complete them so it gives me that extra bit of motivation to do it!  (I'm a bit sad like that!)

BUT, I do find that I end up putting more on my list than is necessary, just so that I can cross it off.  For example, yesterday I had a few loads of washing to do so rather than just put "washing" on the list I put each separate load down (whites, darks, lights, bedding etc) & then had fun crossing each one off when it was done!  It's really helping to keep me motivated.

Another thing that I've found really helpful over the past week or so is putting on some music while I do my jobs.  I've got a Nokia mobile phone & there's a Nokia Music app that has a load of preset "radio" mixes so I've been putting this on & having a good old sing-a-long while I work!  I've just recently discovered a mix called "Housework Pop" - appropriate, I thought - & it's FABULOUS!!!  It's got all of the cheesy pop that I loved listening to when I was at school/Sixth Form & it makes me so happy to hear these old tunes again.  You can't beat dancing around the kitchen to a bit of 5ive, NSync, Britney Spears etc!!!  Even the girls like to dance around with me, so it's fun for everyone!!!  Anything that brings us fun while keeping me going is a plus in my book.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013


I did manage a little bit of productivity on the home-making front over the weekend.  I put up two fabulous works of art in the kitchen:

I was given these two Caroline Rose prints for my birthday back in November but have been trying to decide where I wanted to put them in the house.  I really wanted to be able to see them daily because I love them so much.  I finally decided to put them in the kitchen, seeing as I spend a lot of my time in there!

These prints are by Caroline Rose and I first heard about her on Lucy's blog & just fell in love!!  There are other prints that I would like to get to add to my little display (or put somewhere else in the house).  In the meantime though I'll just enjoy the colourful cheerfulness that I have.

Sorry that the photos aren't a bit closer - it's hard to get good photos of pictures in glass frames!  If you want to see the prints in more detail though then have a look at Caroline's Etsy shop - if you're like me then you'll be looking at them for ages!


Sunday, 10 March 2013


Good morning!  I hope that you had a lovely weekend.  Ours was a very lazy one, mainly due to the fact that we're all still full of colds.  Most of the weekend was spent in our pyjamas & dressing gowns just chilling out.

At the moment Play Doh is the favourite thing to do in the house, closely followed by watching films & childrens' TV on Netflix so there was a lot of that going on.  There was also a bit of indoor tent building:

I've also just realised that I haven't actually done a reveal post about the blanket used in these pictures.  It's the finished blanket from The Art of Crochet series.  I'll try to do that in the week.

I have been doing a lot of crochet as well over the weekend.  I finally finished the Brown & Orange Union Jack cushion that I was making for my In-Laws (to match the one we gave them for Christmas).  I have also started on a new blanket that will live in our Living Room.

We were hoping to be able to get out & do some tidying in our back garden today but I've woken up to this:

It's not terribly deep but it's still very inconvenient!!!  Fingers crossed it won't last long.  Typical British weather - bright blue skies & sunny days one week & snow the next!!


Friday, 8 March 2013

Quiet Week

I'd managed to get into a nice little routine of being able to publish a blog post for most days during the week - this week it just hasn't happened though.  I haven't really done much this week as we've all had coughs & colds & the weather has been a bit miserable.

Freya is at nursery this morning & we are left looking out at a gloomy, drizzly day:

We have had a bit of play doh fun this morning though to bring a little bit of colour into our lives:

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the mums for Sunday.  I hope you have a lovely weekend.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Finishing Touches

I am pleased to confirm that our Living Room is now, finally, finished!!! We have put our finishing touches up on the wall:

The black & silver Union Jack picture was from JTF & we're really chuffed with it.  The photo frames we had up in the Living Room in our previous house but were from Ikea.

The room finally feels completed!


Monday, 4 March 2013

Front Garden

Hi!  I hope you've had a lovely weekend.  Mine has been exhausting.  I decided to take advantage of the nice weather & tackle our front garden.  It's quite a big garden, which is split into two sections (we have 2 front doors.  I started on Thursday afternoon & finally "finished" yesterday evening.  I say "finished" because all I have actually done is weed all of the flower beds - I have some bulbs & a couple of plants to put in as well as plant my primulas in some pots (they're still sitting in their tray on the table in the back garden at the moment!).

So, here's a few pictures of the side-front-door part of the garden.  There's an L-shaped flower bed that runs along the front of the side extension & down the side of the main part of the house.

This photo shows how full of weeds all of the flower beds are:

So, it took me a little while (& I also had a bit of help from Abby) but here's the much-improved corner bed:

The same side of the garden has a little break in the flower beds for step to the path & then the bed continues down to the front of the garden.  Here's what they looked like before:

 Now it looks like this:

Much better!  This photo shows what this side of the garden looks like in front of the side-front-door:

 Now on to the main part of the garden.  You can get an idea of what it looks like from this photo, which shows the main front door, flower bed directly underneath the living room window, a flower bed the other side of the grass path that runs along the front of the window and another L-shaped bed that starts in front of the front door & runs parallel to the flower bed on the other side of the path that I showed you above. (I hope that makes sense?!)

Still being helped by Abby, you can see how bad the weeds were: (this is the view from the path as you look out from the front door)

This is a little bed that is to the right of the front door:

Here is a close-up of the bed underneath the window:

 This side of the garden took me two full days to sort out.  It is fair to say that I got extremely fed up by the end & was just digging up almost everything, just to finish off!  Here's what it looks like now though:

I did this bed last & ended up just getting rid of so much as it was easier than having to keep picking out grass clumps from between stems of little plants:

I had Freya helping this afternoon:

 Phew!!  Sorry for the picture-heavy post but I am soooo proud of my hard work this weekend that I wanted to keep a visual reminder for myself.  I ache all over & am really tired but it was totally worth it!!


Friday, 1 March 2013

Pen Pals

Did you have a pen pal when you were younger?  I had a few - I had a pen pal in Germany who I wrote to for a few years & I also had a few school friends who kept in touch by letter after they moved away. In fact, I think I still have all of my letters upstairs in a box - I think I may have to dig them out!!!  Obviously, with all of the social media sites around these days & the introduction of email, letters just seem ridiculously old-fashioned & is becoming obsolete to the future generations, which is a shame.

I recently heard about a Pen Pal "group" that was being arranged by Marina & I thought it was a really fun idea, so I signed up.  I'm so excited about this & I received my first letter the other day.  How fantastic is it to receive an actual letter in the post?!!!  I can't wait to start writing, although I'm also a bit nervous as my handwriting is awful after years of using computers!!!

I lost contact with my German pen pal but I'm still in contact with my school friends on Facebook.  I wonder whether you are still in contact with your pen pal?