Breaking out of the gloom – January

Logically I know we have had a great month. When I think about our little family it’s all loveliness, but the outside world is encroaching so darkly.

Good stuff first though. Thanks to lots of time at home over Christmas we have been able to keep the house as under control as it can be with a toddler who likes taking everything out of everywhere she can reach then scattering it far and wide. I have even managed to do a bit of decluttering as and when I see it, which also helps as there is less general stuff everywhere.

Trike & ducks
We have managed to find a few new groups to go to which fit with Felicity’s nap time and we fill my non working days very happily with lots of trips down to the park, Library, feeding the ducks or toddling about our little town. Her latest obsession is her push along tricycle which she points to ever so hopefully every time we open the garage to get the oh so much more practical pushchair out. Most of the time I can’t resist either…

A lot of time has been taken up with planning our kitchen renovation, which is very exciting. Ignoring how much our savings are going to disappear the thought of a working oven and dishwasher is so wonderful. And the fun of looking  at storage solutions – under plinth drawers and pull out spice racks make me genuinely shudder with delight. Felicity has been so patient with us spending a large percentage of our weekends at kitchen showrooms too. She is going through a phase of loving to nose in cupboards, so going to places where there is nothing to do but open and shut drawers and cupboard doors seems to be a hit way to spend a weekend in her eyes.

I have also been keeping in mind my word for 2017 and have been crafting almost every evening for the first time in a long time. It has definitely helped to have something relaxing to focus on rather than just drifting the evening away messing about on the Internet. The only trouble with my tactic of using up random craft kits is my makes aren’t necessarily things I need. Anyone want this owl? I don’t trust Felicity to not chew the felt bits off.

Handmade owl

All lovely and yet I feel gloomy – the news from the US has literally been keeping me up at night, with the Muslim ban being signed just as I was up for Felicity’s first wake up and stupidly checked the news. It was all so horrifying that I then couldn’t get to sleep for hours watching the developments.

I desperately feel I want to be doing something but managed to completely miss that the Women’s March was happening until it was too late to go. We would have loved to have taken Felicity as I worry so much about her growing up in this kind of environment for women. I feel guilty for worrying about kitchens which I know is so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. All the things I hold most dear: human rights, the NHS, even actual facts (I’m a librarian, verifiable sources are kind of important to me), are being chipped away at the moment.

Yet I know that just obsessing about these things – rather than resisting them in a useful way, I’m obviously going to do that – won’t make them go away. So I will continue choosing kitchen flooring, taking my daughter to the park and making. Then ramble on about all that on the Internet.

Christmastime 2015 

It’s felt like a funny run up to Christmas in a lot of ways; with a newborn seasonal fun has got rather pushed out of the picture. So many things have not quite happened, no cards written (sorry friends and family) no mince pies baked, no mulled wine and no turkey consumed as yet! We have still managed to mark it in little ways though. I finally started playing with my letter banner kit to make decorations for our kitchen. I love how cheery they look on grey grey days. 

It’s always a joy to get the favourite decorations out, I always forget about some and am happily reminded when going through the boxes. Also we finally had room for a real Christmas tree for the first time this year. Even though it is quite small I love it so much and went a bit crazy with pom pom decorations that I made last year

I did manage to do a bit of Christmas making as well, I played with cornflour clay to make a few (very simple and, err, ‘rustic’) presents – more on that another day. I had some clay left over to make some snowflakes to decorate the wrapped gifts. 

Having the little one does mean there are wonderful dressing up opportunities of course. I’m so sad she’s already grown out of her elf costume – those feet!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas – I hope it is filled with peace and joy. 

Colourful Christmas letter banner   
Bird ornament  Christmas tree  Cornflour snowflake wrapping decoration  

Little elf  

Our new home

After several months of stress and uncertainty about whether we would actually move we have now been in our lovely new house for about 4 months (it was 3 months when I started writing this post…)

I have to say I would not recommend moving whilst in the early (sicky) stages of pregnancy, although my midwife did assure me it is better doing this than trying to move nearer the due date with all the stress that involves – such as whether you’ll be in a new home before the baby arrives! We were lucky enough to have loads of help on moving day itself from Will’s parents which was really appreciated and made everything slightly less manic. I did manage to scare our removal people though when a wave of nausea came just as they’d removed all the furniture it was possible to sit on. I retreated to a little ottoman we had in one of our built in wardrobes, and they obviously thought I was a bit odd as I was sitting in a cupboard for no apparent reason – especially as we didn’t share the fact I was pregnant.

This is the first house we have chosen together, so feels like a bit of a big thing, but also the first house I have ever bought. Despite watching many hours of Location, Location over the years, we ended up with something completely different to what I thought was my typical dream house. Our old house backed onto fields, and felt very peaceful and rural, which quickly became something we didn’t want to give up. Then there was the fact that we really liked the village we were living in, it has nice pubs, enough shops but still feels small enough to be an actual village. We didn’t limit our house browsing to just one place, but really we wanted to stay here if we could. I’m a typical blogger in that I’m a fan of period features, open fires or wood burners and Instagram worthy rooms – and our new house has none of this on the surface. We soon realised that living in a village with a Georgian market square meant a lot of houses were lovely enough to be listed buildings (which we just don’t have the resources to take on, having known a few people who have had to make huge outlays to fit in with the regulations). Or there were gorgeous, non-listed, houses, but they were crammed in the middle of the village on fairly busy roads.

House

Then we found this house, very new, on a small development built about 15 years ago. There were no Instagram worthy rooms, no open fire, but it is much nearer the market square, whilst still miraculously backing on to a small piece of woodland (with our own private secret garden style gate) which then leads to open countryside. It had oodles of space inside, upstairs was almost double the size of similarly priced period properties we viewed. In the end we decided we could personalise and decorate to our own taste, but the space and the location was too good to miss. We had already decided to start a family, so wanted somewhere where we could properly settle, and also minimise the chance of ever having to buy and sell a house (and move, ugh) in the immediate future!

Our secret garden gate

Kitchen

However, the change from a small house with one living space – living room/diner and small kitchen, with two bedrooms, to a four bed with living room, kitchen/diner, conservatory, study and an extra room (probably a dining room come library but we haven’t really decided what it’s going to be yet – an unbelievable luxury I know!) – was quite ridiculous when we got our furniture in. Our large sofa and not-so-large TV were the only things in the living room for quite a while and it looked a bit mad – like a waiting room. The one thing we had a lot of in terms of furniture was bookcases (7 in our tiny house may have been a bit excessive…) but ironically these didn’t immediately fit anywhere obvious in the new house.

After the initial moving stress I’m finally getting into the excitement of having a whole house to decorate and make a home – some rooms are almost sorted and straight now after lots of delays when the morning sickness really kicked in just after moving day. There have been lots of conversations about exactly what are the most important things for us to get done before the world changes in October with the baby’s arrival. Then there’s balancing how much we can physically get done ourselves, costs and what we can live with even if it isn’t what we’d have chosen to do with the house (hello turquoise carpets everywhere that are in too good a condition to think of replacing lightly).

As always happens, we knew there were a few things we wanted to do before we moved in, and we discovered a few more once living in the house for a couple of weeks. Some are plumbing and builder type things, and a lot else seems to involve painting everything white and debating the merits of super expensive wallpaper online.

So this is the start of quite a long journey of changes to the house, and I will update you on what we’ve done so far. But I thought you’d like a sneaky peek at our new home in the meantime!

Resuming

Oh gosh it has literally been months! I had not ever imagined I’d have such a long break in blogging, and have really missed it. That thing called major life stuff has got in the way lately. For a start we moved house – we now live in a house by the woods with a kitchen large enough to properly cook in and bedroom view that feels a bit like we live in a tree house (heaven). I wasn’t able to provide an update about this at the time a due to various fun admin errors we were without internet for almost a month after moving in. That Netflix viewing was incredibly sweet when we finally got connected though!

The main reason I’ve been so silent is a little bit further reaching though, I’m preggers! Baby is due in October. With our impeccable timing, this meant that moving house coincided with the start of some pretty unpleasant first trimester exhaustion and sickness. I think Will and I both knew that early pregnancy could make you feel unwell, but we had no idea it could make you feel that unwell. The first few months of settling into our new home were delayed because of this – we only just unpacked the kitchen properly a few weekends ago – and this was the room we were most excited about before moving in. Luckily my work were fantastic, with lots of time off and support (working for a charity has many benefits), although the nature of my job means that me being off a lot meant there was quite a bit to catch up on when back in the office. The day job has been taking priority as I catch up and prepare to handover for maternity leave.

Happily I’m now feeling well enough to start properly writing regularly again, and it is so good to be back! I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to take maternity leave from my Sunday nights posts, as most Sunday nights (well all nights really) I am mainly fantasizing about bed, and I think that might get a little dull to read about. I went to bed at 8pm the other night and it was heaven! I’m planning lots of other posts though (including some that have been languishing in the draft folder since February) so please watch this space and thanks for sticking with me this far lovely readers!

Sunday night delights #19 (a bit late)

I’m a little late with this post as I really wasn’t feeling very well most of last week lasting into the weekend. Magic antibiotics have helped though!

This weekend…

Was mainly about packing, sleeping and pizza. Packing because – drumroll – we have exchanged contracts on our house which means we’re moving at the end of this month! So excited it’s finally happening. There will be much blogging about DIY I’m sure when we’re in.

Sleeping because of said feeling poorly. So much time in bed reading, and little trips out locally and generally taking things slowly. Didn’t feel we missed much though as when we did (briefly) get outside it was grey and drizzly.

Pizza, because of Valentine’s Day. We don’t really ‘do’ Valentine’s Day at all, in fact this year we didn’t even do cards, so instead we treated ourselves on Saturday to a takeaway pizza with some friends. Will and I also did a little bit of the suggestion on Seeds & Stitches of telling your partner why you love them – this really was lovely and is completely free with no real preparation needed (which with our move is a massive help as we’re doing nothing but preparing in other aspects of life). Good for all year round of course, doesn’t just need to be saved for Valentine’s Day or anniversaries!

The week to come…

There’s going to be pancakes (it’s the season), birthday present choosing – we have about six special birthdays in the next month – and crochet, which has got horribly neglected with house stuff and illness. Nothing helps me focus more generally in life than making in the evening, really notice it when I’m not doing anything. I’m still not really making anything specific, just lots of granny squares which I’ll work out what to do with them at some point.

5 things I’m grateful for right now…

  • Knowing we will be moving into our lovely new house – can’t even express how lucky and blessed we are for this one.
  • Antibiotics – for obvious reasons (ie they’re magic)
  • I’m re-reading the Poldark novels, as the new TV series will be starting soon. I’m a lifelong fan of the books and the 1970s TV series – so the remake is a big deal for me!
  • It being light in the mornings when we’re getting up – makes waking up that bit easier.
  • Packing our boxes using multi-colour tape I got from Tiger and eBay – colour coding heaven!

Sunday night delights #18

This weekend…

Has been a bit of a low key one, we were on tenterhooks about the house for most of the week, the stress combined with an unhealthy diet has meant that I’ve come down with another cold. The good news (hopefully) is that we are exchanging contracts on our house tomorrow – which means it will be ours! I’m really trying to hold off the whooping and dancing until it’s signed and sealed though, as the last couple of weeks have been so up and down I don’t quite trust that something won’t go wrong again at the last minute. This hasn’t been entirely successful I have to confess! I haven’t been able to resist checking eBay for vintage furniture and working out room layouts (graph paper may have been involved). We had our offer on this house accepted back in November. So it’s impossible not to get a little bit excited about the idea we’ll be in before the end of February.

The week to come…

Hopefully it’ll be all about planning our move, we should know what’s happening by the end of tomorrow. If we’re not moving I think we’ll be looking at booking a holiday to make us feel better!

5 things I’m grateful for right now…

  • Libraries – it was National Libraries Day on Saturday and my friend Jennifer wrote a brilliant post about how important it is to love your Library. They are something I’m constantly grateful for – but especially this weekend!
  • Silly WhatsApp conversations with groups of friends – they make me giggle so much.
  • Will letting me use him as a pillow when I had an afternoon nap yesterday – he had lots of things he wanted to be doing but I rather spectacularly fell asleep on him for about an hour and a half. I was feeling quite poorly though so it was rather lovely.
  • Having a big clear out of clothes that don’t fit or aren’t really me any more. Feels so cathartic to get rid of pointless stuff.
  • Warm baths – been taking so many to de-stress this week and book + bath = perfect happiness for me.

Sunday night delights #15

This weekend…
We heard at the beginning of the week that our house move was going to happen before the end of January. Cue us starting to panic pack and thinking that the weekend would be spent doing the same. In the end though, it looks like it is going to be a bit longer than two weeks, so we unexpectedly got our weekend back. Such a relaxed one as a result and mainly involved lots of reading, chatting and food. I cooked my first proper roast for ages earlier. I need to do this more regularly so it doesn’t end in last minute stress when I’m trying to make sure nothing burns, get the meat ready for carving, making gravy and dish up all at the same time!

The week to come…
There is going to be a fair bit of house moving admin this week I fear. However, one thing I’m tremendously, and irrationally, excited about is that I’m finally getting my hair cut. I started to grow it out before our wedding (in August) and various attempts to have it cut have all been called off at the last minute. I’ve got an appointment for Wednesday and I’m so happy it’s not going to take me an hour to dry it before work anymore (my hair is really thick which means once it gets past a certain length I can’t put it up and it retains water better than a sponge). Well this blog is supposed to be about little pleasures, can’t get much more happily mundane than haircuts?!

5 things I'm grateful for right now…

  • Living on the edge of the countryside. We went for a lovely winter stroll on Saturday morning from the house. I so appreciate walking for a minute and being in open fields.
  • The Office (USA) – finished watching the last season this week. So good. We were tempted to start watching from the beginning again after the final episode, but decided that was a bit mad. We are a bit bereft in the evenings now though.
  • Not turning the TV on automatically but reading our books instead.
  • Cinema pick & mix – got my lemon bon bon fix on Saturday night.
  • Tasty roasts (already mentioned, but worth a repeat!)