{Review} Homebase Soft Furnishings

Homebase asked me if I’d like to try their new soft furnishing range. Originally it was supposed to be a rug, but it turned out that my local store didn’t sell them. So I changed to cushions – which is a good thing! I made a massive decorating error a couple of years ago when we got the new sofa’s.  They are dark grey, it was December and I went mad with festive red. We have a red rug (which I now hate!) and lots of red cushions. It looks amazing in November/December, pretty much looks ridiculous the rest of the year, it’s like the ‘Home Alone’ lounge! I have regretted it ever since, so I was quite pleased to be asked to review cushions. IMG_3071 My ‘local’ Homebase is 15 miles away from my house so it’s not somewhere I pop to on a regular basis. So I was quite surprised when I visited to see it had been made over and is now a very lovely Homebase ‘Design’ Centre. The difference is amazing, it’s gone from looking like somewhere my Dad would love to shop, to somewhere I can browse, rather than rush in buy paint and leave. it’s now full of decorating ideas and helpful staff who can advise on pretty much anything. As a result of the changes, there is now a small home furnishing section which has some cute shabby chic inspired cushions (the knitted ones are fab!) and picture frames, vases and candles (LOVE the owl candles there!) and there is also now a mini Habitat which is now part of the Homebase/Argos group. IMG_3073 They had the loveliest grey cushions, so I snapped up the super cute owl cushion which has enough red in it to go with my other cushions but grey enough to tone down the other red cushions, and a lush silver grey velvet cushion. They’re lovely and the sofa now looks a lot less ‘red’ and festive. IMG_3078 I’m really pleased with them, the lounge still looks snuggly but less…well red!  Thanks Homebase! **Full Disclosure: I received £60 of Homebase vouchers in order to review these cushions**

London Baby!

Yeah I’m watching far too much ‘Friends’ this summer holidays!.

But we did go to London this weekend for a little night away. Turns out if you go on a Sunday it is way cheaper to stay in a hotel.

We planned a little trip, staying in a Premier Inn near Tower Bridge. Miss L had been to the Victoria and Albert Museum for a school trip, and we’d never been there so we thought we’d make that the starting point.

My Great Great Grandfather was a Scottish stone mason who came to London to work on the V&A and the Brompton Oratory next door so I was fascinated to see what the stone work of the period looked like, he might have created some of what we saw? It was thanks to these buildings that the whole family moved and pretty much I even exist.  I loved the entrance way to the V&A it’s very glamorous, full of marble and some amazing architectural exhibits from all over the ancient world.

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We eventually headed over to the wedding dress exhibit, which Miss L had spotted on her school trip and she wanted to look round. She’s super interested in dress making and textiles at the moment. There were some amazing dresses there from all periods. I really loved the french wedding dresses, those people were tiny and I have no idea how they moved in those dresses??

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This dress wasn’t in the wedding section but over in the Indian exhibit, it was an Austin classic for me. You can just see someone from Pride and Predjudice wearing it!

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On the way to the hotel we popped by the Tower of London to see the 100th Anniversary of WW1 Poppies Display. They’re all hand made ceramic and each one represents a British and Commonwealth life lost…there’s just so so many. It’s a very moving display, I got quite teary. Miss L was shocked to see how many there were and the display isn’t even half way finished yet. It’s due to be completed on the 11th November.

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It was a lovely day and nice to see a different side of London from where we normally go. I’m planning our next trip already.

I’m back!

Hello Everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long, I’m finally feeling well enough after my surgery to sit in front of the computer for an extended period of time.

I’d never been into hospital for an operation before and I was pretty scared. Paul and Miss L came with me and we bundled into my little cubical for the day. Poor L was a little diamond, she didn’t complain once and was so helpful despite it being a long and dull day for her.  I finally was called for surgery at 2.30pm (we got there at 7am)  and I was terrified walking into Theatre. By the time I lay down to have the anaesthetic I was sobbing, I was so scared I wouldn’t wake up. The theatre team were great, wiped my tears, made me laugh and held my hand while I fell asleep. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for being so kind and understanding.  Same goes for the recovery team and my nurses, they were brilliant, no question was too stupid and nothing too much trouble, utterly lovely. Even my consultant who I’m pretty sure hates talking to patients was ace, but he did the hard bit so I’ll let him off.IMG_2772.JPG

The surgery went well, it was pretty painful the first couple of days, I swear it was worse than my c-section. But a week from the operation I was driving again and then I got a small infection, which some antibiotics too care of pretty quickly. I’m still getting the odd twinge and swelling now but it’s not too bad at all. I’ve still not had the results of what they pulled out of me yet, but the surgeon was happy on the day it was just a dermoid cyst and nothing more sinister. I think if it was anything worse, I would have been recalled back to hospital by now for further treatment. So fingers crossed.

The only thing it’s really left me with are two small scar’s either side of my stomach (Miss L says it looks like I’ve been attacked with a nail gun. Thanks kid!) and a new belly button which is VERY weird at the grand old age of 42 – don’t like it!

So now I’m fighting fit and finally have some energy again I’ve been planning lots of DIY jobs around the house and we’re planning on finally replacing that tiny kitchen of mine!  I might even makeover the blog again, it’s been a while and I keep promising myself I’ll try a magazine layout.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and all the kind messages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, they helped me a lot when I was in hospital and recovering big squishy hugs to you all! xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution of a Kids Room from 2 years old to 11 years old.

I’m manically trying to get loads of jobs finished or even done before my surgery in July, and the one job we’ve managed to finish is Miss L’s room – hurray!!

She’s been in her room since she was about 16 months old, before that she was in the tiny nursery/box room in this house and a similar room in our old house. But I thought it might be nice to share how her room has evolved from toddler to nearly the same size as me ‘tween’.

This was her room just after she’d moved out of her cot, it was the same colour and had the same carpet as when we moved in, so I guess this is late 2004? I didn’t initially think it was worth spending a massive amount of money on the room and as you can see the changing table is still there as well her baby rocker – which is still there now. She reads in it, watches TV and plays computer games in it in hindsight one of the best things I ever bought!.

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2004

In 2006, when more messy years were over and she could express a bit more what she’d like the room had it’s first big makeover….she asked for pink *sobs* but thankfully even when she was three she had taste and she chose a Farrow and Ball pink (there’s my girl!).  I kept most of the same furniture gave the room a lick of paint, I also left the carpet as there wasn’t much point in changing it – playdoh anyone?

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 2006

By 2010 well there was kid’s stuff and yes more kids stuff. So time to change again.I wrote a post about it here  by this point an old double bed had snuck in there. She wasn’t a sleeper and I was sick of sleeping on the floor, so I popped our old bed in there. But by 2010 she was sleeping and as it was taking up much of the room, it was time to buy a single and get some decent storage in. So we got her a new carpet, wardrobe, Billy bookcase and Expedit from Ikea in and it really made a massive difference to how the room works.

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From this 2004 baby amounts of stuff                                       to 2010 7 Year old amounts of stuff

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2010 Big Kid Room!

Since then her room has remained pretty much the same we added a cherry blossom sticker above her bed and added a desk but pretty much it’s stayed the same. Then we had the re-wire done last year and it trashed the wall in there. We’d been meaning to re-decorate her room since and just not gotten round to it. But over the last month we finally got to work.  As always I asked what she’d like and this time round she made me a Pinterest mood board.  She asked for a white room, and she found a pair of duck egg blue/green curtains in Ikea so I took those as the basis for the room.  This is her mood board – it was so easy for her to do and helped me loads.

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

Here’s her room before we painted…..

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And here’s what it looks like now, all grown up and fit for an 11 year old!.

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2014

It’s all the same stuff just repainted the room and she’s got new curtains. There a couple of bits I’m re-painting, mostly the desk which apparently needs to be white and not purple now.  And there was a Fairy/Princess coat hook which has had a makeover with some Annie Sloan paint and now looks like a nice shaker style hook.

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I must admit I’m amazed at the difference just painting it white has made. In an ideal world where my husband didn’t care about things like 6 year old carpet, I would have ripped that up and painted her floor white too. Then it would have been even brighter in there, but that probably would have taken another week that I don’t really have – maybe the next house!

The baby furniture that has stood the test of time, are her small chest of drawers which are still adorable but slightly less practical now she’s in women’s sized 8-10 clothes. and her baby rocker.  The toy chest is now languishing down in the toddle sized playhouse that no one can get in anymore as we’re all too big to get in there. Other than that I think the Ikea stuff might just carry us through to late teens…although I’m not too sure about that wardrobe. Should have gone for one with a full drop, but the drawers are super useful at the moment so win some/lose some maybe next house that can be in the ‘non negotiable’ guest room along with the baby drawers?

We’re hoping to move in the next 18 months or so, I have no idea how we’re getting that massive Expedit out of here!

Peonies from the Cutting Garden

It’s peony season! If you have a spare spot in your garden or on your patio, plant a peony you’ll never regret it. They are dead easy to grow, pop them in full sun or partial shade and then just leave them alone and they get bigger every year. If they are in pots make sure you give them a fair amount of water.

Mine are just coming into flower, they’re a little bit in the shade so they take longer to bloom. However my Mum dropped these over from her cutting garden and they are just glorious!

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Thanks Mum!

 

Where I’ve been

I know I’ve been AWOL from here since March, and I feel bad about letting my online home gather dust!  I don’t normally post massively personal stuff on here as my family moan at me, but a blogging gap of nearly two months needed an explanation.

I’d been having stomach pains since September last year, and as they came and went pretty much ignored them. Then they started getting worse and worse and eventually I clumsily fell down the stairs, and the pains in my stomach were worse than the falling down the stair injuries. So I finally gave in and went to the GP.  She gave me a once over and instantly booked me in for a scan as she thought there was something not right with my womb. And she was right, the scan found a large ovarian cyst.

That then led to a hospital appointment with a lovely consultant who’s opening sentence was ‘well you’re here because this could be cancerous’ and then told me all the other things I could be. Bless him I don’t think he realised quite how scary he was being.

Of course that one sentence plus the Ovarian Cancer blood tests and the (bloody horrible!) MRI I had, pretty much meant I’ve not slept for three weeks. In fact I was so worried that I did the unthinkable and opened a joint bank account with OH so I could be prepared if I had the worst news.

Thank god yesterday I got the all clear, I don’t have cancer but I do have to have surgery to get the cyst out.  It’s a Dermoid one (don’t click if you’re squeamish!)  it’s basically a large gross tumour full of hair, fat and charmingly maybe teeth and bone! Stem Cells are clever and can grown anything it seems!  I could, thanks so our lovely NHS have surgery this month, but it’s a 2 week recovery time and I can’t get Miss L to school and look after her while OH is working, so I’ve opted to keep with the pain killers and have it done in the summer holidays.

I’m quite terrified, I’ve never had an operation other than an emergency c-section and I don’t like the idea of being put out. So I need to get my head round that, I’m trying really hard.  Anyway the moral of the story is, if you’re in pain don’t leave it 6 months!

But now the pain is under control and I can sit up for longer periods of time and actually do stuff which doesn’t involve laying on the sofa with a hotwater bottle, more blog posts will be coming. Thank you so much for sticking with me, really appreciated xxx

 

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.