Friday, 16 October 2009

fame at last..........well, sort of.......

Last week I was having my usual Saturday morning magazine fest, this involves a lie in, tea, toast and most importantly time to read in peace. Out of my pile I chose BBC Homes and Antiques and made my way to the contents page. I nearly fell out of bed, for there was a picture of our very own kitchen. Now don't get me wrong, I did know that someone had been and taken pictures of the house (be a bit weird if I didn't, eh) but we didn't expect them to be in the mag until next year. Amanda, the very talented photographer is a friend from school who mentioned about this time last year that she would like to take some shots of the house and see if she could place them with an interiors magazine. Now, although I love my house I can also see all the faults, the dust balls, leaky patches, cracked toilet, scuffed walls and bits of crap everywhere, so I was dubious as to whether it would be good enough. However, Amanda did us proud and took some fabulous pictures and earlier this year we heard that H&A wanted to do an article.

We were told that it would be going in early 2010 so it was a bit of a shock to see our kitchen there, right in front of me. I broke all my magazine reading rules and rushed through straight to page 59 and I have to say it was a great spread. The only downside is the picture of the old crocheting crone in the corner but I can avert my eyes from that bit quite nicely. It's a bit surreal seeing your house on paper, it almost doesn't feel like ours, but it's very exciting . The whole family have been out buying up all the copies , Ian alone bought 4, and it's been a great conversation piece for the last week.

The pictures here aren't the the best quality, I couldn't stop the flipping light shining off the pages, but you get the idea. Thank you to all the lovelies who left some very kind comments about our home, we love it and the children can't quite believe that we're in print.

News of a more depressing kind came a few mornings before the magazine arrived. Ian had to go into hospital for a minor op and stayed in overnight because of some complications. I've never really had a problem about staying in the house alone and went to bed as normal. Next morning I came down to find that someone had forced open our kitchen doors and been in and taken my handbag from the living room. Once the situation had sunk in, and believe me it took a couple of minutes to register what had actually happened, at first I thought I'd left the door open, I immediately thought of the children and I can't describe the cold feeling of dread that went through me. My legs went to jelly and the run upstairs to check them seem to take forever. Needless to say they were fine and none the wiser. The police came straight round and I had to pretend in front of the children that it was all a big adventure and managed to hide my shock until they went to school.

My handbag was recovered, all they'd taken was £6, they must have been so disappointed with that haul. The same night they also went in my lovely neighbour who lives alone. Both of us have now had super locks and burglar alarms installed. One of my biggest fears has always been someone getting into the house at night and to be honest if I sit and dwell on it and consider the "what ifs" it does haunt me, but I refuse to let anyone make me afraid to live in my own home, so life will go on as normal. My peace of mind will not be shattered by the creeps who think they have a right to invade my property and take the things Ian works so hard to provide, to be quite honest it makes me more angry than afraid, but there are so many nicer things in life to dwell on that I'm trying to close this chapter.

Onto things of a lighter nature, since the photos were taken I've had a major overhaul of the kitchen. The blue dresser was never quite right in there and I had a picture in my head of a cube type storage system since seeing it in a book somewhere. A bit of a departure from my normal style, but a couple of trips to the DIY store, a lot of drilling and painting later.........ta dah.........

Ian wasn't convinced about the whole thing so I did my usual trick and bought, built and painted the whole thing before he could argue about it. I think he likes it now but no matter because I love it, all my treasures (crap) are on display and easily accessible and it's freed up some cupboard space. The whole cleaning business will be a nightmare but we'll cross that bridge later.

The dresser has been moved to it's new home on the landing and I'll show you that later, I know, you can hardly contain your excitement, not exactly rock and roll on this blog is it!

Let's finish with a couple of gratuitous fire shots, can't resist. Our boiler seems to have gone into turbo heat mode and we can only have the radiators on at furnace level so we're hiding our heads in the sand and using the fire instead................

Happy weekend all....................

Saturday, 19 September 2009

things I'm loving in September.................

:: the logs have arrived, one and a quarter tonnes of them which took 3 hours to wheelbarrow through the house.............oh the joy of terraced house living. Let the fires begin!

:: having the lights on and the twinkling glow cast on our wine glasses from the fairy lights in the kitchen.

:: finally enjoying the fruits of our labour. Having these few sunny September days has meant that our tomatoes are finally edible, boy have we been patient, but the wait has been worth it.

:: still being able to enjoy our little garden, be it bouncing, eating, crocheting or tea drinking.

:: the colours of pencils and crayons. I've found that having them to hand in the kitchen means that the children are drawing much more than before and the added bonus is that I love looking at them in all their colourful glory in their pots.

:: my new two wheeled wonder. An early 40th present (ok, so it's a whole year early but who's counting). My lovely old Raleigh will be wheeling it's way up North to my little sis who can use the bike seat and it's been replaced with this beauty. I'm in love, this bike will be with me forever more, just got to wear the saddle in!

:: a new shelf in the porch. A simple thing really, but it's given a home to the lanterns which have been languishing on the kitchen floor for years. The drill has been in use quite a lot here recently, updates to follow.......

:: sitting in the garden today and noticing that amongst the dead strawberries, holiday buckets and other bits of crap my auricula has flowered unexpectedly.
:: moving a shelf from the kitchen to a new spot above the piano to house my ever expanding collection of wool, passing by and catching a glimpse of that colour in the corner of my eye, makes me happy................sad but true.

:: summer holiday puppet shows, an idea nicked from a friend. Kept them entertained nicely for about an hour and a half, a wooden spoon for each of to be found languishing in Jack's bedroom. Oh, and the dirty feet 'em!

:: quiet lunchtimes once again, enjoying an impulse buy from the bookshop.

:: welcoming back Ian from a 150 miles in a day bike ride to raise money for Macmillan nurses, link here at just giving. Well done you, don't know how you did it but we're so proud of you!

Back later in the week, see you all then.................

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

normal service resumes..............whatever that may be!

Hello, hello and hello again...............I'm back! School hols are over and although they were mostly blissful (and now and then b****y hard work) it is nice to get the house back to myself and I must admit to a small sigh of contentment when I came back to an empty house, once again the radio and I can be on speaking terms (please tell me the rest of you converse with your radios), and the once disgustingly filthy house has now been thoroughly de-loused and cleansed.

So...................summer - how was it for you? Most of you have been a lot less slack on the blogging front than me so I have managed to catch up with a lot of the news out there. As usual the weather here in Blighty did not really do us proud, despite the forecasts. We did however manage quite a few trips to the beach on our hols.

Right at the beginning of the hols we travelled up to the east coast of Scotland to stay at one of the Featherdown Farm campsites. What a place, from the setting within yards of a totally secluded beach, to the camp shop in an old boat, to the bread oven, it was a truly magical place. We had a fantastic time here, even my 16 year old stepdaughter loved it, despite the lack of msn and facebook. Miraculous what a couple of days away from real life can do for you.

Within a few feet from this fab tent was the most gorgeous beach which most of the time we had completely to ourselves, ideal for fishing, skidding down the dunes, kite flying and enjoying a cup of tea at the water's edge in complete solitude...................perfection.

This was a quiet holiday, plenty of time for being together, mastering stews cooked in the bread oven, games of scrabble and gazing across endless fields, new crochet project in hand and cup of tea never too far away................Harbours were visited (bit harbour obsessed, Ian and I), seals were fed, crab sandwiches munched, sweet shops raided, what more could you want?

I can't begin to describe to you just how cosy these tents are, stove and gas lamps lit, the sound of crackling logs and little else, very luxurious camping indeed. But before you start thinking that we've gone soft and can't handle the real camping experience any longer let me tell you that we did, in all its glory, at the end of the hols.

Once again we went back to one of our favourite haunts in Wales. The opposite extreme to Featherdown, portacabins for a loo, a long walk to the kitchen sink and some of the highest winds ever, but to us it's one of the best places ever.

The views are magical, the sun sets over the sea, dolphins swim in the bay, and again it's a quiet campsite (getting the impression I'm an antisocial so and so yet). The owner, Gordon, keeps the numbers down so you always have an unrestricted view of the sea. It really is a fabulous place, and this year the sun shone on us for most of the time although, being British, we were of course prepared for ALL weathers. The kidlets were shoe-horned into the car to accommodate swimsuits, fleeces, thermals, flip flops, sun hats, rain coats, wellies and of course the new hand made vintage curtain windbreak (bit floppy, very hand made looking, but does the job).

Of course, the crochet project came along too. Kit decided she wanted to learn, so latching on to a vague interest I patiently (not one of my greatest attributes) tried to show her. Willing she may have been but crochet is not an easy skill for a five year old to master. Luckily she was thrilled with her long chain and now wants to help with the blanket, although I'm not sure either she or I are quite ready for treble stitches just yet, I only have so much patience to share out.

Meanwhile big bro' managed to evade the camera yet again, leading to concerns that there will be a huge chunk of his life missing in our family journals, that is if we did actually have family journals that is, not just cds full of old photos.

The beaches in Wales are spectacular, less busy than elsewhere in the UK but just as lovely. Windbreaks, waves and wetsuits galore, lots of sandcastles, gritty cups of tea and ice creams, trying to read a newspaper in gale force winds, looking in estate agents and imagining a different life, a very typical British beach holiday.............fabulous!

Each evening followed the same pattern, tired children in bed, wine poured, crochet out and watch the sun going down...............bliss.

See you all soon..................