Friday, 14 May 2021

So I fell in love with an Ercol sideboard.

I knew I needed some storage in the living room of my new small home, something that would hold the television and hide a multitude of sins to keep the place looking less cluttered  and a low sideboard seemed like a really good idea.  So I started looking around online and found this ... be still my beating heart you are a thing of beauty 💖

This is this years model and a snip at just £3,165.

And this is mine 💖

 I might be splashing the cash a bit at the moment while I'm furnishing my lovely new place, but you all know me and if I can get something just as good and maybe even a little bit more me for a lower price I will, so I visited Vinterior for a browse.   And the photograph above from the website is my new-to-me sideboard a 1960's model ... just like me ... and a snip at just £566.

Here she is lurking in the gloomy light of my hallway here at the flat.

She has been refurbished wonderfully.  

Every bit of wood gleams where it has been cleaned and nourished, and that slide-out and lift-out cutlery tray is going to be so useful for all the bits and pieces that I have been storing in my bureau here at the flat.

Sorry about this strange photo, but as you can see in the sideboard photo this little shelf unit is lying on it's side on top, and with my very sore back I can't pick up anything that weighs more than a feather, so that's how I had to photograph it and then turn the photo instead!!

 I knew I didn't want to furnish my new place with all new furniture so I have had my eyes open for quite a while on Facebook Marketplace looking for suitable bargains and when this little beauty popped up on Saturday for just £35 I knew it had to be mine.

Luckily Alan had time to go and pick it up for me before he left to go down South for work this week.  Steven the guy I bought it from had had this for years, seemingly it was his Great Grandma's and he wanted it to go to a good home ... so it will be going in my kitchen once it is all installed and I have repaired the little bit of damage to the top.

And in other expensive news ... I have now ordered my bed, headboard and mattress and also that gorgeous purple sofa that I showed you a few weeks ago.  It's going to be like waiting for Father Christmas as they all have long lead up times, six weeks for the bedroom stuff and thirteen for the sofa ... gulp!!

Sue xx

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

White, White, White and Green


The turquoise on the kitchen wall has gone, almost hidden under two coats of white paint.  

Everywhere else had just had the first coat of white done when I took these photos on Monday night.  But I've not been able to get back to the annexe since as I am currently completely out of action with a bad back.  Struggling to get in the car on Monday to go and see the start of the decorating was a bad idea as Alan had to make an emergency stop at one of the roundabouts on the way to the house and the resulting jolt has put me back by about two days ... OUCH!!

Oh, and the blue of the bedroom had also had two coats and was very well hidden.  

It was good to go and see it all, and I can't wait to get back when I am able to because by tonight all the painting should be done.

And they might even have my bedroom feature wall wallpapered.

It took a lot of choosing to finally get to this Laura Ashley design, but I'm happy with my final choice, and luckily with my ceiling being so low and the room so small I only needed two rolls.  One of which will hardly be used so I have lots of ideas for the remainder of it.  😃

Debby asked about the oil recommended by our joiner and it turned out it was Linseed Oil that he recommended for the raw wood of the new doors.

As you can see from this test strip that Alan did on the edge of the door it darkens the wood slightly and also brings out the grain nicely, as well as protecting it from fingerprints and minor stains.  It should also help the doors fit in more with my lovely old pieces of furniture that will be at the annexe in the very near future.

And talking of old pieces ... I have two lovely pieces of furniture currently cluttering up the hallway here at the flat, one large and one small.  I'll try and get a photo of them and give you a little peak at my bargains of the year.  I love them  💖

Sue xx

Friday, 7 May 2021

Doors That Make a Difference


The only two interior doors that are in the annexe were bi-fold doors when I bought it. 

 I can understand why the previous owner might have thought they were a good idea.  At first glance they seem space saving, but in reality they are very rickety, liable to jam on the runners which you need to keep them in place and to my mind normal doors were just going to be a much better and sturdier option.

With nearly all the walls, ceilings and woodwork going to be a nice bright white I thought a touch of wood would help warm things up and go nicely with both my new furniture and the older pieces of furniture that I have brought with me. 

I do love the look of them and any marks you see are on my camera lens not the doors 😄

Dave the handyman had a shock when he stripped the wallpaper off this wall in the bedroom ... it's dark blue ... and much darker in real life than it appears in this photo.  The annexe is so bright during the day because of the full length glass doors and windows that colours seem to fade out and not show true on photos.  I see another couple of coats of white for the painters to have to slap on.

The door to the left is the one to the bathroom and the only other interior door in my place.

Again, so much better now that it's a  proper wooden door.

And from the inside.

Oh, and look who lives in the bath ... it's Colin the Cactus who is somehow still alive and seems to be thriving.  

With all the comings and goings over the last couple of weeks I thought he would be safer in here, and  now he has a friend.  Syd the Spider also currently lives in the bathroom, although he will have to be relocated to the great outdoors (if it's warm enough) before the decorators arrive.

Thinking about it I might move Colin to Alan's house while the painters are in, I don't want him covered with white spots after all he's already been through. 🌵

Sue xx 

Thursday, 6 May 2021

The Littlest Things

 I'm pouring my heart and soul into this new home for myself, as it's possibly the first home I will have that is just for me.  The first house I owned in my own right was after my divorce, and was bought with myself and my younger son in mind.  He had always wanted a large room to himself and lots of privacy, so when we found a house with an attic bedroom up it's own little staircase with a door at the bottom I knew I just had to go for that one.  Between us we painted Jason's room a bright shade of red, with the red winged insignia of his favourite ice hockey team picked out in white above his bed.


It was a womb-like room, and with all his possessions around him no doubt brought a lot of comfort to a sixteen year old lad that had just gone through watching his parents divorce and was trying desperately to keep some sort of relationship alive with a Dad he didn't really want to see.  But it jarred with me, and I would deliver freshly washed and ironed clothes in a neat pile up the little staircase and leave them on the end of his bed, once a week I would quickly drag the hoover around any floor space visible and see how much of the pile of clothes had been worn and discarded back onto the floor ... this was of course Jason's training ground ready for student life  😄

But it was his space and his sanctuary and I loved it for that.

By the way the rest of the house was creams, whites and shades of wood and books, lots of books, with everything except the kitchen, the beds and the sofa bought on a very tight budget, mostly from the charity shop that I managed.

And in a way this annexe ... soon to be renamed officially I promise ... is my sanctuary and my space to be myself and grow even more as a person.  Because if we stop growing, we stop living and I want to live in a space of my own creation with only those things around me that have earned their place.  

So although you are seeing lots of new things pop up at the moment, in the background there will be things that have been with me for years, little things like the two teaspoons taken from home when I moved out to set up home with my first husband, the little glass chicken paperweight bought for me by my older son when I gave him 50p to spend at a car boot sale, and the toy car he bought for 40p left him with enough change to treat his Mum.  The steamer stack bought for me by my Mum when she read about aluminium pans being bad for your health and realised that both her and my pans were all this dreadful substance 😀

It's the littlest things that can make a home and it's the littlest things that will fit so beautifully and easily into my new tiny home.

Sue xx

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Kitchen Progress ... and a Sneak Peek

This is my kitchen as it is right now.

 Dave our brilliant handyman did the final jobs in there yesterday, he took off the tiles and then carefully removed the old cupboard carcass that was still around the boiler.  

The guy that bought the units off me didn't want to risk taking the larder style cupboard that the boiler and consumer unit were in apart as the central heating room thermostat had been attached to the outside of the cupboard, and anyway the shelves and back of the cupboard had been hacked about so much to go around the pipes it wasn't in very good condition at all.

It seemed like it was such a good kitchen at first didn't it, but behind closed doors this six year old kitchen had taken somewhat of a battering and I am pleased that it's all gone now.

Now we are all clear and ready for the decorators, who are moving in armed with brushes and rollers on Monday of next week.  Everything in the annexe will be given a fresh coat of white paint, silk on the walls, matt on the ceilings and satin wood paint on all the woodwork.  It's going to be all sparkly white and fresh as a daisy.  Just in time for me to sit in it and dream of my new kitchen which has just been finalised with the kitchen designer.

We have taken the design this way and that, complicated things and then took them right back to basics.  It is a small space and no matter what I do there will not be much storage space, although with the new and finalised design I will have a decent amount of worktop space for baking and cooking.

Would you like a sneak peek ...

... would you?

This is a computer generated image of the kitchen.

And at last I have all the plans, measurements and quotes filed away, and now this morning it is all being ordered.  Although it's hard to tell from these images the cupboard doors are all a nice muted Sage Green and the worktop ... which is also being used as a splashback ... is a pale oak effect.

Looking at it from the other angle.

The Smeg fridge-freezer will now sit at the righthand side as you stand in front of the kitchen, putting it at the left as was the original plan, lost me over 10cm of kitchen space due to the deep doors needing space to open fully so you can slide out the drawers and shelves.  This complete redesign has given me more worktop space and room for a set of three drawers.

My Welsh Bread and Cheese Cupboard more commonly known by us as the Jam Cupboard, will now be on the opposite wall next to a radiator cover which will have a small curved table top on it, ideal for a morning coffee or an hour blogging at my laptop.

So that's the plan and the sneak peek that I promised you would get.

Today's exciting development is the installation of new oak internal doors to replace the rickety bi-fold doors that led to the bathroom and bedroom.  I'll take a photo of them tonight and show you tomorrow, it's going to make such a difference to the look of the place. 

It's nice to see all the things we have both planned starting to happen, getting the tradesmen in and organised has been the hardest part but we are so grateful that our brilliant handyman has been working along steadily for the last month getting everything ready so that now the trades are finally becoming available they have all the prep work already taken care of.

And finally, thanks for all the great toast comments yesterday, it would seem that we are all a bunch of toast addicts  😁

Sue xx

Monday, 3 May 2021

That Perfect Toast Moment


Is there anyone else out there who has to have that perfect toast moment you know the one I mean, the one when you get to the toast the second it's popped out of the toaster and butter a corner and bite into it before the butter has time to melt.

I do it every time ... it was even tasty this morning when my toast was slightly overdone.  I like my toast pale, or 'hot bread' as my son used to call it.  Hot and just crispy enough on the outside to qualify as toast but not too coloured.  Anymore of the dreaded black on this piece of bread and it would have been broken up as bird food ... or offered to Alan who relishes a slice of charcoal tasting toast 😄

I remember Delia Smith's Cookery Course on the television, it must have been back in the 80s or 90s, and one of the first programmes was about 'how to boil an egg' and 'how to make the perfect toast'.  I tried the toast method her way straight after the programme, which is basically getting it to the colour you like and then letting the toast stand in a toast rack or leaning against the marmalade jar for 60 seconds before buttering it to let all the steam escape.  It worked a treat so it's something I try to do every time now.

I've just actually found the instructions HERE.

Anyway back to the colour, which of these would be your preference?

I'm definintely a number two girl ... with the first corner eaten immediately and the rest buttered a few seconds later and enjoyed with black coffee.  Now I have to go all this talk of toast has made me want another slice and as it's a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK I don't see why I can't have a second breakfast  😋

Sue xx

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Live a Little Bit More


I love that my life has been full of chapters.  Full of different houses, different towns and different people.  I take few people with me when I move forward, but there are some that stay ... along with the memories and experiences.

Each fresh start opens new doors and new possibilities and gives me more strength as I work to figure out just who the person is that I am now.  Each new version of me has more layers, more depths to discover and more understanding by me of the old me.

Some people relish a life with static things, staying in the same places and being surrounded by the same people ... gosh the world would be a much more boring place if we all felt the same way and did the same thing wouldn't it ... and I am the last one to criticise anyone who is happy with a quiet static life, but I don't understand the ones that want a different life and do nothing to work towards it.  I just can't get my head around it at all.  Why would you stay in a job you hate, to fund a future you might not live to see, in a place you don't like, it is my idea of a life wasted.

It's not a dress rehearsal, it's our one chance of life, and it is oh so precious.

Sometimes you have to take the bull by horns, grasp at little openings and throw caution to the wind ... and just try to live a little bit more.

Friday, 30 April 2021

willing to burn


I just love words

and words that make me think

I love even more

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Double-Bedding, Saving Money, Spending Money ... but Saving Money Too


I got a bit fed up with all the dog beds lying around the place and the dogs rarely using them, so last week I put the flat grey dog bed inside the brown furry dog bed ... now this double bedding situation is making the dogs retire to their bed at every opportunity.

Obviously double-bedding is the way forward in canine comfort 🐕🐶

In an effort to save money and give myself as much comfort as the dogs have in their bed I decided to give my walking boots a good overhaul the other day.  I went to Timpson and bought new laces, new insoles and a spray can of weatherproofing stuff. 

 After a good wash ... that's why they are allowed on the worktop ... and a good dry on the bench in the sunshine padded out with newspaper I set to spraying, inserting and lacing.

Ironically with all the dry weather we have been having recently they were as dusty as hell after the first doggy walk, but they were also really, really comfortable.

After not finding anything in the shops that I wanted to spend my remaining £40 birthday money on I decided to add to it and treat myself to a nice new Remoska for my new home.   

Now the last time I bought a Remoska was HERE, wow did I really first purchase it back in 2012!!  It has always been in regular use although not by me anymore as Alan has used it for lots of meat, and I just can't bring myself to share it anymore with it's meaty splatters on the lid.  So we decided that he would get 'custody' of the old Remoska and I will have my nice new one.  

In the six years since we bought the old one it has gone up by £40 but they are still worth every penny, they save so much on electricity bills that they have usually paid for themselves within the first year.  BUT for this purchase I had three different vouchers!!

I put in the order, inserted all the voucher codes one after the other to claim my free Remoska cookbook, my 20% off that Lakeland had sent me directly in their little monthly brochure and the £10 off a £60 spend that had been on the leaflet in my magazine, and they all worked.  The next day I had a polite email from Lakeland telling me that I shouldn't have been able to use both the £10 off and the 20% at the same time but as the website had allowed it through they would honour it.

So I have actually got my nice new Remoska for exactly the same price that I paid for the original one over six years ago and a free cookbook too, which last time cost me an additional £9.99.

Does a little happy dance  💃💃💃

Yesterday as I needed to measure my Welsh Bread and Cheese cupboard for the kitchen designer I took my large box to the storage lockup that we have until we move again and added it to all the other boxes that are waiting for us there.  I can't wait until she can be unpacked and put into good use.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Purple Sofas and Patchwork Patios


So I've fallen in love with a purple sofa, and I will possibly get a matching footstool.  There's no space for a chair as well but then there's usually only going to be me and a certain little Pug there so we won't need one.  The footstool can be for tired legs, can be a coffee table if I pop a tray on top or can be additional seating if I do get visitors.

I would say little dogs won't be allowed on it ... but that's never worked out in the past, so maybe I'll get a matching fleecy throw for Suky's half of the sofa 😄

The hardcore from the back has all been taken away now, and over the weekend the Indian Stone paving slabs that were taken up from the right-hand side of the garden were laid into position where the mouldy wooden decking used to be.  It's like a patchwork of stone, and once they have all been properly laid with sand and cement all the stone will be pressure washed to make it look nice and clean.  

Wall Up -  Parking for 2 cars with one blocked in by the other.

Wall Down - Parking for 3 cars, all with access to the road.

We thought we might have to use some of the front parking area's flagstones to finish the patio off but we don't need to, in fact there should be some of the smaller sized flagstones from the back to make good the damage in the front where we have taken the little wobbly wall down to open up all of the front garden to the road.  This now gives us space to neatly park three cars off the road with no struggle and no blocking of the pavement. 

 Although it all looks a bit concrete-y and bare at the moment once we are there we will be adding some plants and colour to soften things a bit.  Little steps but all in the right direction, and I have a guy coming to install my two new interior doors on Monday and the electrician to move the TV point from halfway up the wall to my preferred lower position.

I have also made an exciting purchase from a company called  Vinterior which should be arriving in a couple of weeks, I'll show you it as soon as it's here.  If you like vintage and retro furniture and fittings you'll love looking round this site.

Sue xx

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Is Life Too Short to Skin a Chickpea?


Remember back in the 70s or 80s I think it was, when Shirley Conran said 'Life is too short to stuff a mushroom.' ... well this sprang to mind when I found myself skinning chickpeas yesterday.

Would it be worth it, half an hour spent at the sink ...

... rubbing the skins off two tins worth of chickpeas.

But the resulting hummus ... I would have to say it is well worth it.

Although I may not be quite so pernickety about it next time, the odd skin slipping through would not be the end of the world after all.  But it made for the most delicious, smooth and velvety hummus, I ate quite a lot just as I was adjusting the seasoning.

I did my usual trick of adding some water to the Nutribullet cup to get every last drop of goodness from it, and make washing it out easier.   The liquid was then added to a pasta sauce I made for tea, but it can also be added to soups or stews ... it's far too full of goodness and flavour to throw away.

Lunch, was nice and simple, but oh so delicious.

The recipe I use is from Deliciously Ella's first book.

Sue xx

Thursday, 22 April 2021

A Walk to Check on Progress

The night before last we took a late evening doggy walk along the canal to the house to check on progress.   Alan has been much better this week and our walks have gotten longer and longer so now walking round to the house is back to normal, and both he and Suky have been getting some distance stamina in.  The downside to walking the canal in the evening is the midges, they get everywhere, I hate the little buggers.

Rounding the corner we discovered a nice neat front area, with the skip already loaded ready for pick up today.  Dave, our handyman and whizz at all trades is taking the washing machine and oven to the recycling centre next time he passes there.  A new skip will be in place once this one has gone and after  the space is used for the drop off of the things we have ordered for the back garden.

And talking of back gardens, it is now looking much neater out there, the part with the removed paving stones will be edged with sleepers and a large bed for a tree and some shrubs and seasonal plants will be at the bottom end.  Taking the line from the end of the annexe as a guide, so it will be a nice large bed of greenery and colour.  I still don't like having that much paving though, but Alan does ... hey ho!!

At the end of the annexe the fencing has been neatened up by using the painted panels to cover the old fencing that was there and which doesn't belong to us.  Once finished this will be my growing area for flowers and vegetables ... once I have designed the raised beds that will be going in there and that will be a green and luscious area hopefully.

I have fallen in love with this ... minus the side window and front veranda step but still with the overhang, and am trying to find someone to make it for me.  It would fit quite neatly into the space at the end of the annexe, completely covering the panel that is currently painted green.  💖

While we were there I took a minute to measure to see if I can fit a double bed in the bedroom and still be able to get two bedside drawers in ... I can, just!!  So that is the plan, and yesterday I spent a long time online picking out the furniture that I need, a bed, a wardrobe, two bedside drawers and a new sofa.  Once the annexe is painted they will all be ordered and delivered directly there.  

Before that, next weeks job is to have two new doors hung, one for the bathroom and one for the bedroom.  We have employed a local joiner to order and fit the doors as the doorframes both have unusual dimensions and both the frames and the doors will need to be modified ... and then after that the painting can commence.  Yay  😃

Edited to add:  Dave our brilliant handyman is going to make the shed for me once all the other jobs are completed ... he's a genius, it's official  😁

Sue xx