Saturday, 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween

From Me and Martha x

Friday, 30 October 2009

The Dahlia Man

There has been a lovely view in our town this summer of a sloping garden covered in Dahlias.  Every day I would drive past growing more curious and eventually saw a 'Flowers for Sale' sign some weeks ago.  I kept meaning to stop, as you do but never get round to doing so..... 

But today I did stop, and I am glad I did.  I met the owner of the garden (who incidentally has also taken over both his neighbours gardens with his Dahlia obsession), he is 79 and every year grows thousands of Dahlias to show.  He sells them throughout the summer to passers by.  Tomorrow he is going to chop them all down so he said that I could take any that I liked as long as I cut them myself. 


Here are some pictures of his garden - Dahlias as far as the eye can see!  He has invited me to go back in March and he is going to give me some tubers.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Learning something new

My children all inspire me.

For my eldest it is a daily challenge to understand others and make himself understood.  Yet he does not get frustrated.

My daughter can find joy and hilarity in every situation.

And for my littlest one....he is *so* shy and has settled into nursery school with such bravery.  No tears or protests - just courage.

I need to learn these qualities from all of them.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Every Cloud.....

For the record,  I'm not sure I always agree with this 'Every Cloud' sentiment, but I love the print and how it looks in my bathroom.  So it can stay.

This came from The Keep Calm Gallery as a pack of postcards I talked about here.  The frame is of course Ikea, along with the picture ledge shelf also Ikea.  I use these picture ledges in my bathroom as shelves for all my lotions and potions.  I have two that fit neatly in the narrow space between the wall and the window above the loo. 

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Apartment Therapy Cure Week 2

This week I bought some fresh flowers, I was supposed to do it last week as well but procrastinated over cost etc.  Anyway I got a cheap bunch of white freesias and split them into 2 vases - one on the fireplace shown above and the other on my bedside table. 

So for this week the Apartment Therapy programme wants you to focus on the kitchen.  One of my big issues in the kitchen is the constant battle with paperwork.

We have (or should I say had!) the above filing tray that permanently looked overloaded like this.  I could never find stuff, and important stuff would be lost in amongst junk mail as the temptation was to dump 'everything' in the tray. 

So my solution to this endless pile was to chuck/shred/file my way through it and then make a memo board for the important stuff remaining.  I had this idea to get some cork tiles and glue them to the inside of the cupboards - I got this idea from another blog some months ago and hands up I can't remember where.  Anyhow......the long and short of it is I visited 3 DIY stores that informed me nobody wants cork tiles anymore and you can't get them.  They kind of looked at me funny implying that I was behind with the times.

So I ended up with 2 cork memoboards which the Queen of Clean attached to the inside of our cupboard with a screw.

I threw the rickety filing tray away (not very eco friendly sorry) so I wouldn't be tempted to fill it up with random stuff again.

Here's the other memo board full with it's useful paperwork..............the school dates are my real issue so I made sure I included these somewhere I can easily see them.  I'm the Mum who always forgets the cake sale/non-uniform day/harvest festival.

And then I gave the cupboards a really good clean out and organising.....ahh just look at that, nothing falls out at me when I open it now.

Also on the apartment therapy front this weekend we have:-
  • bought a mat for the kitchen that the kittens can be fed on to contain the mess a bit more
  • put *loads* of shelves up in the garage on some industrial racking that the Queen of Clean got free from work - this is still work in progress but will post some pictures once finished.
  • bought some more skirting board to finish off our flooring project that has been ongoing for months
  • I also visited some home shops to try and get inspiration for our playroom..........but made the crucial mistake of taking a 6 and a 3 year old with me.  It was a damage limitation exercise and I ended up very uninspired.  
And just on a final note here is this weekend's crafting activity.  Very economic involving the drawing pins from the new memo boards.  Simply take assorted fruit and veg, white and red drawing pins and a black marker pen.

And hey presto.........

What can I say?  This activity was a result of wet weather and kids bored with their Mum cleaning out kitchen cupboards.  The lemon and mushroom did also get transformed but were quickly removed upstairs to my youngest's bedroom as ornaments.

Thanks for staying with what has become an extraordinarly long post.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

City in a bag

Loving these 'cities in a bag' from Muji - Just £5.95 each.  London, New York, Paris & Tokyo above.  Barcelona and Germany are also available.

I'm thinking they would make good Secret Santa pressies.  Or if you were romantically inclined and had planned a romantic trip away you could give this to your beloved as a 'teaser'.

Okay - now I'm getting carried away. 

Friday, 23 October 2009

Handmade loveliness

I wanted to share with you one of my favourite things.  My father-in-law made this tissue holder for me a couple of years ago - it has a different Beatrix Potter character on each face.

He is a bit of a marquetry champion and made this to enter into a competition.  It is made from individual pieces of wood veneer all glued together.  The idea was that each member of the marquetry club made a tissue box and the public would put money into their favourite as a vote (with the collected money going to charity).  Early on in the crafting process (these projects take weeks) I expressed an interest the box and once the competition was over he gave it to me.  Can you believe it didn't win? 

Now I realise Beatrix Potter isn't everyone's cup of tea - fair play if it's not your thing.  For me the appeal in this is the uniqueness (is that a word!?), the thoughtfulness that went into making it and the timelessness of the images.

And please indulge me with just one more picture of Martha & Rose.  Sorry.........I know this is probably getting boring.


In my book being a good Mum means turning a blind eye to the calculator once in a while. 

Probably controversial, but at least the homework has made it out of the book bag.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Martha & Rose

I'm pleased to report Martha & Rose are settling in.

There have been a few 'challenges' mixing a very affectionate 6 year old (i.e Yoyo) with the new arrivals, but on the whole we are doing okay.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Apartment Therapy Cure Week 1

So this was Apartment Therapy week 1.  This week I was supposed to:-
  • Remove one item from my house and put it outside
  • Buy fresh flowers
  • Sit for 10 minutes in a part of my home that I never sit in
  • Choose one room to focus on for redecorating
  • Look through images to get inspiration for said room
And this is what I managed to achieve...........

  • I chose this image to sum up how I want my playroom to look (I already have this cushion and I don't know if that is what makes it feel so familiar).  I love the grey on the walls here and the vintage armchair.... and all the 'stuff'

  • The Queen of Clean did his part scrubbing the grout in the shower with an old toothbrush, whilst protesting 'I can't believe you are taking a picture of this'.

  • We built a house with paper walls for a boiled egg (not strictly on the list but still in the interior design 'arena')

  • We did a lot of playing and tidying up.
  • We took out an exercise bike from our bedroom.
  • I threw out lots of boardgames that were incomplete.
  • I didn't buy fresh flowers but I did mean to.
  • But we did get two black 10 week old kittens from the kitten rescue.  Here is one...

Meet Martha (the other is Rose and looks identical).  Have you any idea how hard it is to take a decent picture of a black kitten on a charcoal sofa?  That is my attempt to explain the poor shot above.

Again not strictly on the Apartment Therapy list, but a lot more fun than fresh flowers.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

It's going to be a long day..


Wish me luck - I am taking my 10 year old to a 'Go Go' swap day.  He penciled it in on his calendar months ago and I was hoping he'd forget/lose interest/move onto some other fad before today came.

Not entirely sure what it all involves, except for the swapping of these tiny plastic characters that I always seem to be treading on.  Perhaps we can get some with smoother edges that don't impale themselves into the sole of my foot.

Image borrowed from Flickr from another GoGo 'enthusiast'.

On a separate note I am just desperate to get properly started on the Apartment Therapy cure.  This is an 8 week programme (kind of interior design rehab) to get your home organised and beautiful.  Am already beind and it's week 1!  I will update with my progress as the weeks go on.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I want one of these...

I really want this one of these chairs above for the playroom/study.  We are currently using a dining room chair in there for the computer and its annoying carrying it backwards and forward to the dining table.

They are both £95 and from the Well considered range at The Conran Shop.

I think I am leaning towards the green one but it's all very hypothetical at this stage...........

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Found this ideal present for my other half, the self confessed 'Queen of Clean'.

He doesn't read this (too busy with the bleach) so I'm safe to share.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Designer doormat

I don't really have any 'designer' items due to the obvious budget constraints, but my best friend Harry bought this Orla Kiely doormat from Heales as a birthday present.

She got one for herself too.  I remember the night we ordered them online we were like giggly schoolgirls - a bit overwhelmed I think about forking out £30 (yes I know ridiculous) for a doormat.  There was debate over whether we would allow anyone to actually wipe their feet on them.

Anyhow mine is now by the back door (however I do confess in the early days of ownership I was known to move it to the front door if someone I wanted to impress was visiting - just tragic now I think about it!).

I love it and I'm happy for it to be the only 'designer' item in my house.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Pumpkin adventure

This morning at the local 'pick your own' farm.  A date with the little ones - my eldest wasn't interested in our adventure to get pumpkins so he stayed home with Dad.  That's fine - I had probably knowingly mis-sold the term 'adventure'.  I did promise to pick him up a pumpkin though.

I thought these wheelbarrows at the farm waiting patiently under the tree looked sad somehow, they all seemed to be saying 'pick me'.

So there were lots to choose from, but we eventually managed it (the cold wind helped hasten the decision making process).

Here is my youngest - he insisted on bringing his Halloween cat which you can just see peeking out from the bottom of the wheelbarrow.  We also got some fresh corn on the cob at a bargain price.

And here is our final selection - I think the neighbours think I have lost the plot putting these out so early (it's not common here to have a pumpkin out until Halloween itself), but I'm happy to do my own thing. 

Honestly I am - I've had a Hannah Montana poster stuck on my front door for the past fortnight..........

Corner of my kitchen

So last night the Queen of Clean taught me how to use the SLR.  There was some muttering about apertures, shutter speeds and ambient light - but I took *none* of it in.

But I did take the pictures above.

I wanted to show you this corner of my kitchen.  It's a little breakfast nook, but we don't actually really eat there.  The Queen of Clean uses it to work on his laptop mainly, and I use it when unloading the shopping.

We set up the little 'inspiration' wire on the advice of the Creative Family book.  It's a place for us to store kids pictures, tearouts from magazines, paint samples etc that we like.  It also attracts the usual school newsletters but I try hard to keep them off there.  The wire itself is a curtain hanging system from Ikea - just a few pounds.

The fruit bowl/cake stand I have already bored you with here.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Just because.....

Hands up - I have nothing relevant or pertinent to say about the above picture of my littlest one.

It just makes me smile every time I see it so I thought I'd share.

On a more sober note - I have today lost my phone which I also use as a camera, so to keep up with the blog I will need to either find said phone or learn how to use the Queen of Clean's digital SLR camera. 

Trouble is he takes a *long* time explaining things.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Something out of nothing

This tin was a container for fudge in a former life (see below) - I love how it looks like a minature milk churn.  The label soaked off really easily.  Truly a stylish item (well I think so anyway) that was ready to be thrown away......something out of nothing. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The conker 'issue' and tree inspiration

To note the change in season I wanted to post some tree images that have been inspiring me.....

These two wall decals made from vintage wallpaper and are by Inke, available at Supernice.  The price hurts somewhat though - so I'm thinking with a little planning I could try and recreate this myself.

This fantastic bookcase via Ohdeedoh.  Unfortunately it is a one off I think, but again with a little perseverence....(and some green paint?)

This lovely print from a favourite Etsy seller who I've mentioned here before Caramtaback - she is a Norwegian artist who draws on vintage pages - I just love how you can see the print through the image.

And finally, onto the conkers.  My Dad collected these for my youngest son last week on a walk back from the station.  My son calls them his 'coconuts' (he is 3 after all).  So now my boy has lost interest a little (sorry Dad!), I have taken to displaying them in a basket.  I don't know why I like them, I just *do*.  They won't be around for ever, so for the moment I want them in this basket in the living room.

I, (aka the Queen of Clean) feels differently.  He thinks I don't notice but every evening for the past week he has moved them into the playroom.  And so every morning I move them back (even those mornings when I can't find my hair straighteners and need to get 3 children ready for school, yes even those).  A silent battle if you will - a genuine conker 'issue'.  Let's hope we resolve it soon.


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