Ideal Home 2014

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I had an email from the Norwegian company Ekornes who make ‘Stressless’ chairs asking if I’d like to go to the Ideal Home Show and then swing by and see them. I had such a great time last year that I jumped at the chance!  This year I took Paul and Miss L with me…brave as I can’t get them round Sainsbury’s without someone whinging! I was a bit daunted at the idea of dragging them round the show with me but they were up for a challenge!

The Ideal Home show is HUGE honestly it’s really quite overwhelming. Luckily we got there quite early so it wasn’t too crowded and we managed to actually get round two of the prebuilt houses.  In all honesty, I really didn’t like the ‘multigenerational’ house. I didn’t see anything ‘multigenerational’ about it other than a second lounge area – big deal! There was no ground floor living accommodation for older people and no separate living space for 20 something kids. But the decoration was nice, and they did their best with what was quite a poky house with an obsession with wetrooms.

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However the second house we went round was much better. It was a 1920’s style ‘Arts and Crafts’ house which I loved even of they did go a bit mad with plaid and wallpaper. It was beautiful and I’m coveting the kitchen and dining room, not to mention a laundry area – love the tiles on the floor, you can just see them top right photo.

20140318-090618.jpgSadly by the time we got to the spectacular looking ‘tree house’ the queue to get in was an hour long so we decided not to bother and admire it from the outside. The queues on the other houses were equally as long sadly, so we didn’t get to see those either. Next time I’m going to try and get there as the place opens!

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The gardens were gorgeous though, and done by students at various horticultural collages. They did a brilliant job and I love the little gravel garden below. Fantastic if you have a really small garden where you want easy maintenance.  The garden with the metal framework was mine and Miss L’s favourite – imagine that with a clematis or rose covering it – gorgeous!!

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Ektornes, kindly gave us some spending money to treat ourselves with. So after dragging Miss L away from the Bongo’s she wanted – eek!  We bought a wine holder for the garden, you can pop a bottle of wine in the middle and then the glasses around it to carry down the garden.  I then spotted a fab pair of herb scissors, great to use with my newly planted herb pots and at the same stall snagged an outdoor salt, pepper and oil set – also for the garden. You can tell it’s spring can’t you?

There is so much to see at the show, I found it handy to snap a picture of something you liked or was inspired by just for a visual memory, I’d never remember half the stuff I saw otherwise! In the photo below are the things I loved at the show –  the perfect front door down to the right colour for my house, a smeg induction range (now on the list of things for the new kitchen!), a built in pantry – swoon! I’ll try and get that in the new kitchen when we decide on how to plan it. Last but no means least and super luxe outdoor room – I’ll never ever have one but it’s nice to dream!

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After 5 hours of walking round, we headed back to the Stressless stand and took full advantage of having a sit in their super comfortable chairs and putting our feet up, as you can see I look just a bit exhausted!

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But I wasn’t too exhausted to notice their new range of chairs. My Dad has a stressless chair and it’s one of those chairs that is insanely comfy but well…not too pretty IMHO. However they had a new range there which is based on an old design which is just gorgeous. They had it there in Orange but I saw leather samples in Raspberry, Red, and a few other cool looking colours.  But the stand was really crowded so I couldn’t get a decent shot of the chairs, so I’ve asked the PR for a few images so you can see them better, I’ll add them to this post when I get them.

All in all it was a great day out!

Update! Here are the pictures from the PR (mine were awful!). I’d love one of these as an office chair to read in or to work from.

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**Full Disclosure – Ektornes paid for tickets, travel and gave me some spending money to buy some nice bits and bobs**

Valspar Paint at B&Q

When I was down in London at the Spring B&Q show in the bottom of my goodie bag was a voucher for their new Valspar paint range, which I think has launched recently. They have ready mixed paint in every colour you can imagine or you can take something with you for them to scan and match the colour, which is massively handy if you have wallpaper you want to match in someway.

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Miss L’s bedroom has been the same shade of Farrow & Ball pink since she was 8 months old and now she’s 11, we thought it was time for a change.  We had a chat and we’ve done a Pinterest mood board for her room and thankfully a lot of the colours she has in her room already pink, white and purple do seem to tie in with the new blue she likes.

Follow Liz’s board Tween Bedroom Makeover Moodboard on Pinterest.

She really wanted a similar duck egg blue to that of her school jumper, which in turn takes the colour from the ceiling paintings in Ely Cathedral. The picture below isn’t brilliant but does show the beautiful shade of duck egg used when the ceiling was restored in 1858.

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Luckily we spotted a pair of curtains almost the exact right shade in Ikea last trip, so I didn’t need to take some cathedral ceiling in to be scanned.  Not all the B&Q’s have the scanning yet so check the website to see if your local store does it.  I popped into the Bury St Edmunds store and the guy duly scanned my curtains.  The colour came up on the computer screen and it was a totally different dark blue on the screen which freaked me out a bit – see the top right of the computer screen below?.

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I thought ‘well it’s free paint and I can always use it somewhere?’. However I needn’t have worried, when it was mixed – Matt Finish Primer and Colour – it was a perfect match to the curtains.

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The fun thing is you can name the paint you’ve had create. Our’s is ‘Lily Blue’ and it’s stored in their database and you can re-order it from any store in the country. Very handy if you’re moving or you need some more of the paint.

I’m really looking forward to using it. I think we’re going to team it with white, not sure if it’s just going to be a feature wall or I’ll do more walls in it? She has mock SATs next week so I’ll paint the week after and make a more grown up room for her.  I look forward to showing it all to you when it’s done and letting you know how the paint performed.

 

**Full Disclosure I got a free can of paint, sadly no more meringues*

How to Fix Laminate..badly!

Disaster at ours this morning. I was all pumped up and doing a spring clean….well the sun was shining and I could see how dirty the house was.  Thought I’d start in the lounge, then I could clean and watch ‘Homes under the Hammer’, my utter guilty pleasure. Lifted the footstool away from the sofa, as there is usually half a dog under there to hoover and found this (Mr VP look away!)

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Somehow and I don’t know quite how this happened, the foot of the footstool had ripped through the laminate to the particle board underneath! Yes, there was swearing…a LOT of swearing!

I wasn’t sure what to do, I need to cover it up and to not make it worse. First things first, I’ve put new pads on the bottom on the footstool. These are bigger and more heavy duty than what was there before.

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Then how on earth to cover up the particle board and scratching?

I broke out, and this is a bit lame the wax crayons I’d bought ages ago for fixing the sideboard. They are basically large brown colour dense crayons.  I felt a bit stupid colouring in the floor, but it did fill in the scratches and the hole where the particle board was. Scraped off the excess so it looked less like an irate 3 year old had been at it.

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It looked better but still loads of white mini scratches. I’ve also got in the cupboard some pledge wood dye (yeah that sideboard gets a battering!) and I rubbed that on the top of the scratch.  It looks better, by no means perfect, I don’t think I have the right colour crayons,  but it’s  less noticeable and if I drag the rug over it then it should protect it from getting worse *everything crossed*.

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I’m sure if I hunt on Pinterest there is probably some fabulous laminate repair idea, I just need to find it!

Day Trip to Wells next The Sea

Yesterday was the last day of our half term and as it was so sunny we headed up to Wells next the Sea in North Norfolk.  Wells is a lovely little fishing port and quite untouched still. The fish and chip shops are so delicious, as you’d expect in a fishing port. There are cute little shops, the brilliant Wells Deli where you can get a cracking hot chocolate and slice of cake on a chilly day.

We got there at lunchtime and headed straight to the fish and chip shop, which for a cold February Friday was packed. So we headed outside and found a bench with a great view to eat. It was as you can imagine a bit chilly to linger but it was nice finally seeing some sunshine and eating out in the open again.

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We decided to go for a walk down to the beach. Wells beach quite a way from the village and  is accessed via a seawall you walk down. You walk maybe a mile? And there it’s in front of you as far as the eye can sea when the tide is out.  We managed to get 3/4 of the way to it before Miss L was moaning about being cold and being blown about – in fairness she had a point and she also learnt a life lesson about putting your coat on when your mother tells you.  You know what kids are like she was sure that she knew best, when she refused to wear it as it wasn’t ‘cool’. We had a good giggle about how annoying it is, when your mother is right (Obviously I never tell my mother when she’s right LOL!)  But it was chilly so we headed back for hot chocolate and a wander around the village – any excuse!

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We also stopped for first mother/daughter seaside photo of the year. I’ve noticed that once again I’m slipping out of family photos, which is something I wasn’t mean to do. So I’m trying harder to get infront of the camera rather than behind it all the time!

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We had a wander around the town and saw on the front some of the terrible storm damage done by the Storm Surge in December. Thankfully most of the businesses seem to be rebuilding but it was heartbreaking to see a couple who had obviously  gone under and could no longer trade.  But luckily a lot of the smaller shops going up the hill seemed to be ok and we had a lovely time browsing them.

Then we came across a gorgeous Georgian Square which we’d somehow never seen before, couple of good looking pubs and I’m coveting ALL the houses there – love me a Georgian House! Friends have now told me how good the pub’s food are in the square, so next time we’ll have to pay them a visit.

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If you’re in North Norfolk, I can really recommend Wells for a visit – especially in the summer when it’s warmer and you can hang out on the beach. I think we might have to hire a holiday home up there this year to explore more.

{Link Love} New Reads…

I know a lot of people don’t like the blog award season, but I always see them as an opportunity to find new blogs to read that I probably never would have come across otherwise.  I’ve been trawling through Apartment Therapy’s nominations for The Homies and I’ve found these little gems which I thought I’d share:

The brilliantly named Broke Ass Home – which is a warm bright home in reality, with a gorgeous new baby girl addition this week.  Congrats Broke Ass Home!

Life in Velvet – such a beautiful lifestyle blog with some great crafts and mini apple pies to die for!

Jade and Fern – some great DIY projects and downloadables.

Poppytalk – not really a new one to me, but I’d somehow lost it off my list when GReader died and I didn’t have it bookmarked *palmface*

PinteriorDesigner – genius DIY ideas go have a look!

Ana White – if I knew one end of a power tool from the other, then this would be my favourite blog. As it stands I’d end up in A&E so best I look at the pictures! But so, so good, especially if you can do DIY!

What new blogs are you guys reading? Let me know if you’ve found anything amazing, I always need new reads :)

And this is for claiming my BlogLovin site: Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

 

 

Dining Room Makeover (Part 1)

Our dining room has been a disaster since we swapped it round with the lounge years ago. When this was the lounge I remember it being a bright sunny room, which you had to draw the curtains to watch TV in the afternoon but it was bright in the mornings too and I loved it as the lounge – small and snuggly with my baby girl. Then she became bigger, played more on the seemingly shrinking floorspace so we swapped with the bigger room next door.

When it became the dining room it shrunk, became darker, lighting became yellow and depressing.  No matter what colour I’ve painted it – pale yellow (too jaundice), pale blue (too cold and boring) it’s just not been the room I remember. I’ve filled it with bookcases holding more clutter and rarely used other than for meals.

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When I had my cousin over for a coffee a couple of weeks ago, I asked her to cast and eye over the room and see what she thought of it. It’s good to have an extra pair of eyes and she was very kind about all our clutter, but did point out to me that the bookcase in the corner as you walk into the room was casting a massive shadow which just darkened the room no end. It’s the FIRST thing that catches your eye, no wonder it’s felt so dark in there, I didn’t have them when it was the lounge I just had shelves.  So obvious! How had I missed it??

I’d been toying with how to get rid of the now offending bookcase, then Mr VP bought me an iMac for my birthday as my laptop is on it’s last legs. Where to put it….why in the alcove where the bookcase is! I went to Pinterest and literally pinned every desk I could find that I liked the look of onto my Thinkspaces board below.

Follow Liz’s board Thinkspaces on Pinterest.

What I like about having a Pinterest board is eventually you see a pattern of what you really like and in my case – white plain desk, iMac and a chair stood out. One trip to Ikea later – a massive white lightshade, LED light, a £30 white gloss desk, one spun round dining room chair and voila a new room is born!

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I don’t even feel the need to re-paint the room anymore.  I swear everyone is using this room now, more than ever. I know there is a new computer, however Miss L now mini teen is in here playing games and Skypeing rather than being holed up in her room. Mr VP came in here for breakfast this morning – unheard of! And it’s 10pm at night and instead of being in front of the TV I’m actually blogging in here. It’s become the hub of the house.

What else is left to do? I hear you ask?

The bookcase has been moved to the other side of the room where I can’t see it anymore and later this week I’m going to restack all the DVD’s on it there – where I can’t see them!.

Meanwhile the other bookcase will become the holder of books and pretties.  I’m thinking at the moment I’m just going to put photos and prints above the computer. I don’t need shelves there and I think it’s quite a good trick of the eye to make this side of the room look empty. Makes the room look and feel so much bigger.

I’m debating painting all the dark wood (except the dining room table) white…not sure if it’ll be overkill though? Maybe I’ll try some chairs first and see what it looks like? I feel the need to add some flashes of colour now, maybe some etsy prints are the way to go? But all in all I’m feeling much happier about our unloved room.

A little pot of Spring

My parents dropped over an early birthday present yesterday, in the form of two sweet little pots planted up for spring.

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They are so cute and full of spring bulbs and in my favourite colours. I love them! Thanks Mum & Dad xxxx

Waterlogue

We have been the house of the sick this week. Poor Miss L has a virus which being the kind child she is, has shared with me.  Yesterday after the nth hour of being bored in bed, I was looking at Instagram – nothing like seeing the world through the eyes of other people, especially when you are stuck in bed.  Someone (I cannot remember who for the life of me – sorry!) was posting cool water colour photos tagged with #waterlogue.

So I thought I’d check it out. It’s an iPhone/iPad app £1.99 (sadly not on Android yet from what I’ve googled) which converts your photos into watercolour pictures. I’m wondering if they are good enough quality to make into canvases, I quite fancy some homemade art.

Painted in Waterlogue

This is a photo from our honeymoon  – Stuart Beach Florida

Painted in Waterlogue

Vancouver Beach

Painted in Waterlogue

Ely Cathedral

So I think it’s kinda cool, I couldn’t get any pictures of family or friends to come out that well, but maybe we just have weird faces? But I think the landscapes, flowers and buildings come out really well. I might try and do one of the front of my house?

Have any of you tried it? Send me the link if you have I’d love to see your results!

Spring and Summer Event with B&Q & Some Pretty Meringues Too.

I was thrilled to be invited to the Spring/Summer B&Q event in London this week.  I needed to get out of the house and away from the freezing fens to get some new inspiration.  After a journey down in pouring rain and a lovely chat with a cabbie, I arrived to find lots of yummy looking meringues at the entrance.

Of course, as a  blogger I am always obliged to take a photo of something so pretty. I’m sure the trade professionals thought I was mad, but they looked amazing and yes they tasted as good as they looked! They were in the colours of the new paint and home range which I thought was just a bit inspired.

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Back to the visit though.  This awful weather has me looking forward to spring, and I’ve decided this is going to be the year of us finally getting some grown up garden furniture. Barring anything else breaking *glares at the guttering which destroyed last year’s budget*. I’m fed up of having wobbly BBQ’s on some dodgy £5 table I bought at a car boot sale 20 years ago and 3 Ikea fold up chairs which I think are as old. I want to introduce a bit of luxe to our garden.

I’ve spent ages looking online at Rattan (plastic but realistic looking) furniture for the garden and trying to decide what to buy. I was very impressed by the dark brown/black set they had which was a sofa, two chairs and a storage box/coffee table for the cushions which come with it and it should retail for £299 which from what I’ve seen is a bargain.

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Then I promptly fell in love with a low 2 seater set, which was amazingly comfortable and stylish – would look great on my patio with a bottle of wine next to it! I didn’t catch the price though, so fingers crossed it’s in budget?

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B&Q I think have changed quite a lot in the last few years and have become more design led than before and today really showed that. They had a great range of accessories which are pretty inexpensive but look fantastic.

Top Left: is of a Solar Lamp for the garden (and you know what I sucker I am for those!).

Top Right is a cool knitted ball, which would be fun for children to sit on or in our house just play with.

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Bottom Left: Trees in pots of all shapes and sizes to give your seating area a little more class and interest. Also they could screen you a bit from neighbours.

Bottom Right: Gorgeous, gorgeous jars to put flowers in…one of those is going in my fireplace!

I was very taken with the large map canvas below which would look amazing in a dining room or kids bedroom, especially if you had stickers to mark off where round the world you’d been – thanks to the lovely buyer I met for that idea! Also since the weekend when I hung a new canvas with some command strips, I’ve become a massive fan for the first time in my life of not knocking nails into walls. These are now much easier to hang which is the problem I’ve always had with canvas prints before.

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The room set which captivated me the most was the beach look, I just though it looked very restful and calming. The back wall of the photo below although it looks like tongue and groove painted up is in fact a lovely tactile wallpaper. It’s no messing either you just paint the wall with paste and shove up the wallpaper, no messing about with tables etc. My kind of DIY!

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All in all I had a lovely morning and got back some of my designing Mojo, I’ve got some more ideas for the patio and the dining room which is up next for a makeover. Thanks for a great day out B&Q.

**Full disclosure I was paid travel to attend and I got some yummy meringues which Miss L ate and I didn’t get near!**

Planning the Veggie Patch

I was watching The Great British Garden Revival last week and got inspired by the kitchen gardens they were showing. I felt bad as  I didn’t do much with the veggie patch last year,  so this year I’m planning ahead and I’m going to do more in the beds themselves and in patio pots.

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So I’ve been having a think about what we eat the most of:

New Potatoes

Carrots

Salad

Tomatoes

Raspberries

Strawberries

Blueberries

Sweetcorn

Squash

Herbs

Pears

Apples

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I think I’m going to do a mixture of seeds and plug plants, my sweetcorn plants never seem to turn out well if I set them from seed for some reason. Maybe it’s the windy Fens?

I also want to plant a small amount of fruit trees down the end of the garden too, now I know they aren’t going to build lots of houses right up against my garden fence. I’d love some more apple trees and pear would be great too.

First off I need to clear out the raised beds and the de-ivy the flower beds , there is ivy all over the place! It’s going to be a nightmare getting it out of the beds, it’s also gone all over the apple tree. My fault I ignored it last winter and then when it got to spring it made me ill when I tried to get rid of it.  So maybe a little removal every day is the way forward, rather than going mad and getting bored with doing it?

Do any of you have any good recommendations for good online plant or seed stores? I’d love to try some heritage varieties this year too and see how they do, but I don’t know where to start looking.  All suggestions welcome!