Saturday, 30 November 2013


It was thanks giving last week in America, and I follow quite a few American blogs so reading all their thanks giving posts over the weekend got me thinking of everything I am thankful for...and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy so I thought I'd share the list. It is so easy to think of what we have yet do accomplish, or what we need or want that we don't have that it really puts things into perspective to look at what we already have.

So I am thankful for:

  1. My Grampy had a recent cancer diagnosis but following radiotherapy has been given the all clear. I am so thankful that he doesn't need to go on to have chemotherapy or surgery and that they caught it early enough to treat it.
  2. My family - Just generally that they are all here and that as mad and massive and expanding as our family is it is loving, caring and mine.
  3. Tom - That we are engaged and planning our wedding. And that he makes me cups of tea in the morning and gets the pasta off the top of the cabinets for me, and when I'm hungry and grouchy he will just laugh off my terrible mood and make me something to eat (I get really moody really quickly when I'm hungry), and motivates me to go climbing when I don't want to, and humours all my weird habits and quirks, and a million other things.
  4. My health - I know everyone who is healthy is thankful for their health in a vague kind of way, but seeing and speaking to people near my own age at work who have such huge health problems, and some people who are terminal and will not see 40 or even 30, makes me thank my lucky stars every day that I have a strong and healthy body. Sure I might wish to be a jeans size smaller, or my skin to be better but what does that matter?
  5. That I am at a point in my life where I am content, this started over the last year actually and I love the feeling of being in charge of my life and that I am starting to get to where I want to be. I like where we live. I like my job. We're getting married. I have a new hobby in climbing that I enjoy and is helping me get fit, and has prompted me to even started trying other exercise. I feel like financially we are doing ok, although the wedding will take up a lot of our disposable income next year! Generally I feel secure, happy, settled and healthy. I don't know if this is because I am edging my way to my later twenties, or because we are getting married, or because we moved to a new area and a new property where I am about 100% happier but I just really like my little life at the moment.
  6. You guys for reading...I started this blog as a way to keep people we knew in the loop about our new flat and just a little space for me to share stuff that I thought someone might find useful, so I'm very thankful that anyone is reading!
Did any of you celebrate thanksgiving last week? I hope you had a lovely time if so!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Friday Inspiration

Made it on a Friday - Wahey! Pretty good week this week, we've been getting back into climbing regularly after a break when we went on holiday and I've well and truly attacked the kitchen in the delucttering mission - more on that next week.

I've also started thinking about how to get a bit more exercise other than climbing and have started on the couch to 5K running plan, did the first one on Wednesday and it was pretty good - challenging but not unattainable, I can see myself completing it and being able to run 5K within 9 weeks! I need to get in shape as we may be doing something very exciting next year which I need to be fitter for, more on that when it's all confirmed :)

I've been on pinterest still, as always (need something to do while the football is on TV!), and there's plenty of inspiration...

I like this moody but neutral living room, the post is about bringing more texture and colour into a very grey living room too which is just what I want to do in ours!

I was obviously being drawn to dark colours this week, as I also pinned this dark and woodsy cottage, I like the rustic finish and all the green outside

I pinned this for the window and the floorboards...

Have a great weekend!xx

Monday, 25 November 2013

Staying Snug

The heating is on in our flat, and today is the first day we have extended it from the 2 hours in the evening we start with as it was too cold to turn it off at 8pm! Luckily the flat seems to be pretty efficient and, other than the bedroom which does get a bit chilly, is quite a nice warm place.

However we once lived in a house with single pane windows and night storage heaters. I have never been so cold! I really learnt there to appreciate the central heating and use it sparingly, and especially with all the news of energy prices going up this winter I thought this was a good time to share and discuss energy and heat saving measures!

Most of them are pretty common sense but they are all definitely worth checking you have before we really get into winter:

  1. Were you born in a barn? My parents always used to tell me to close doors (and ask that infamous question), but it helps to keep the heat in when you are spending all evening in say the living room closing the doors will help to keep it snug. Especially doors into rooms which have external doors, for example we always keep the door to the hallway closed as the front door isn't very energy efficient so it can get a bit draughty in there. Closing the door keeps that draught confined to the hall, so we don't have to compensate by heating the flat more.
  2. Obviously this also applies to the actual external doors, try to avoid opening and closing doors and windows a lot when you have the heating on. If you have to go in and out a lot (when we were smokers we were in and out every hour) close the door straight away. Jazzie cat is a bugger for dithering over whether she wants to be inside or out, but in winter the door gets opened for her for about 2 seconds and if she doesn't choose the choice is made for her! We don't leave windows open for the cats in winter either, they use the litter tray.
  3. Think of your property like a tank and heat like the water inside, where are the leaks? Insulate every last place you can. If you are a tenant you may not have control over loft and wall insulation, or be able to get better windows or doors (If you own the place definitely something to consider - Landlords listen up too!) but you can still keep as much heat in as possible. Draught excluders on doors, especially external doors are great. Also lined thermal curtains on all windows, and external doors if possible, will help. You can also get foam insulating tape that you can run around the inside of door frames which helps to keep any draughts out (my mum used this with good results). 
  4. Ventilation - some air circulation is needed for ventilation, and depending on if you have a gas fire and the age of the building may be necessary for safety reasons like carbon monoxide etc. Don't block off any vents or permanently seal them unless you have consulted an expert on whether they're still necessary. You will also need to let some fresh air in to prevent damp if you don't have any ventilation vents or bricks, I like to throw the windows open when I can in the daytime if the temperature is decent and let some air circulate...use a dehumidifier to draw out any extra moisture in the air to avoid damp in winter if you can't bear opening the windows!
  5. Good old solutions like hot water bottles (pop one in the bed 15-20 minutes before you get in), nice PJs and slippers or blankets work just as well to keep you warm especially in the evening when on the sofa or going to bed. It is natural to be cold in winter (it's cold outside after all) so we don't expect to be sat around in shorts, I regularly put a jumper on before considering putting the heating on. After living in our freezing house blankets on the sofa (and occasionally the duvet) has become a habit for us, now more about comfort than warmth as it's just nice to snuggle up sometimes.
  6. Heat reflecting foils behind radiators reflect heat back out into the room rather than letting it get absorbed by the walls. Also don't block radiators off with furniture or washing.
  7. I began to treat heat as a precious resource when living in our cold cold house, so anything that gave off heat became valuable to us! When cooking I would leave the oven open afterwards and let the heat out into the kitchen/living area, we would also use space heaters when we just got too cold - but they cost a fortune on the electricity.
  8. Speaking of electricity - try to avoid energy wastage on electricals by leaving things on standby (you are paying for that little red standby light to be lit!) or leaving things on. Make sure to switch everything off when not in use, properly off at the switch not on standby. Things like electric clock displays are also a waste, do you need your microwave and oven to both tell you the time? No, unplug the microwave when not in use.
  9. Monitor your timer and thermostat - don't put the heat on high and long from the start, start at your most conservative estimate of what you need and go from there. We start off the heating with just 30 minutes in the morning before we wake up to make it bearable, then it comes on again at 6pm and off at 8pm - the last few weeks we have been turning it off early if anything but now it has started creeping up. Start low and leave the thermostat low for as long as you can, just enough to keep the place warm (not roasting) and just for a short time while you are home. Try to only extend the times for short bursts rather than just whack the heating on for all evening straight away, it doesn't need to be on at all times while you are home, we tend to leave the timer at 6pm-8pm for as long as we can but during really cold spells it can go up to 5pm-9pm, however we reduce it again as soon as the temperature picks up a bit.
  10. I find having the heating on low for longer is more efficient for our property than having it on for short bursts of higher temperatures, hence why we always start with the heating being on for at least 2 hours in the evening but on a low temperature. Try to keep the place and even warm temperature, rather than having it roasting hot for a few hours then freezing for the rest of the day...think about how much energy it takes to heat the place up rather than just maintain a reasonably steady temperature. This takes a bit of trial and error, we got into our timed routine last winter after a month or so of faffing (do we want it on at 5 or 6pm? What time should it go off, how early can we do it before being cold going to bed?).
If you are really struggling to keep warm shop around energy supplier and see if you can get a cheaper deal or contact your current supplier and see if there is anything they can do. We moved out of our cold house in the end (to a bungalow with central heating a double glazing, it was like a luxury!) so speak to your landlord if the place is unbearably hard to heat, or shop around for somewhere new if it is impossible to make improvements.

Keep warm! xx

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Weekend Inspiration

Another late inspiration post, meant to be on a Friday but I just keep getting sidetracked!

Has anyone been watching George Clarke's Amazing Spaces on Channel 4? If you live in the UK or get Channel 4 it's definitely worth a look, it's on a Thursday evening. It's all about small but clever and beautiful spaces, with lots of cool converted vehicles like ambulances or things like treehouses! So rather than using my pinterest boards as the source of all the inspiration stuff this week I thought I'd feature some of the things I've liked so far on the show, just my favourite thing from each episode although they feature numerous things each time.

Episode one showed the conversion of this old ambulance into a family camper van, I've always wanted a camper van as I love the idea of just driving off whenever we want down to the beach or off climbing somewhere...although in reality how often do we just have time on our hands?! Anyway if we did ever get spontaneous I'd like to do it in something like this

Episode 2 had me actually slightly drooling over these treehosues, it's a hotel...cue hint hint hint to Tom about next years holiday! It says on the website you can see the northern lights there too and I know he has always wanted to go somewhere to see them. These are my 2 favourite ones, how awesome are they?!

Episode 3 - This bus looks like the best camper van ever, much larger than the ambulance in the first photos so not quite as charming and cute, and probably less flexible, but it has 3 full size doubles and bunk beds, all in actual separate rooms.

Episode 4 - This mobile vintage shop ticked all my boxes - vintage clothes, funky space, clever conversion, random inspiration followed through (hey why not convert a horse box into a shop...sounds like something I'd come out with)

And episode 5 this week, I'd definitely take a holiday in this place. A gorgeous view, plus a rustic and recycled interior with tons of charm.

That's all so far, I'm enjoying the series though and might do another post on the rest of the spaces featured. Living in a small-ish basement flat I really like seeing all the clever solutions to making the most of the space you have. It's really helping to keep me motivated in 'the big declutter' seeing all the really small spaces people use to the max by not having loads of stuff in the way!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Back on it!

Back on the decluttering list! I did intend to take a 2 week break while we were away but kind of got sidetracked once we were back and am just getting back to it now. So the last post back here was over a month ago, oops! It also didn't help that the hallway was too full of stuff and we were having to climb over boxes to get in and out, so adding more to that pile was difficult. After a trip to the recycling centre to get rid of a load of cardboard and reorganising the boxes it now looks like this 
I didn't take before photos as there was literally nowhere to stand in the room to take one! The most recent one is this (but picture those boxes piled higher and stuff reaching over to the shoe rack out of shot on the left)
The most recent additions to those boxes have been from this corner
Items from the list are:

  • Living room – CD’s - I was not able to get rid of any CDs as Tom wouldn't let me get rid of any of his and all my old embarrassing ones are in my mums loft already, but I was able to just tidy up the shelves and organise the general cables and headphones etc into a more presentable arrangement
  • Living room – Corner by CD’s - The main issue here, the stuff piled in front of the CD shelves. The box had all the equipment from our last internet provider in it. We brought it with us when we moved as we thought we'd be staying with the same provider, but we didn't in the end and now have a BT home hub (more on that here). I wasn't sure what to do with it so just kind of kept it but that was a year ago now so it's got to go...I figure if they wanted it back they'd have asked by now! Also the blue bag had some of Tom's birthday presents in it, from February, he is a lazy sod sometimes. So those all got put away and now it looks like this.
So much better! I knew the living room would be the room with the most noticeable difference from getting rid of clutter. Next up was:
  • Living room – Box under coffee table - This is meant to be a kind of 'drop spot' for stuff that usually collects in living rooms like post, lovefilm DVDs as well as usual living room stuff like remotes, controllers and cables. However Tom appears to use it as a dustbin/coffee table cleaning aid. He said to me a while back that when he tidies the living room he just opens the top and sweeps everything off the table into here. Sigh. It has since been explained that this is not how we clean...but this is how it ended up looking like this
I mean there are nails in there for God's sake. Now it looks like this after everything actually got put away or put in the bin
This is everything that came out of that one small box, all sorted into piles of which room it actually belonged in
Next on the list was
  • Living room – Ornaments, frames, candles - I didn't actually get rid of any but I'm hoping to move some around soon and get something hung up in the bedroom so I've kind of mentally earmarked what's due a changearound. 
  • Living room – Coffee table - Just a general tidy really - NOT sweeping it all into the box underneath...
  • Living room – Misc - Last sweep over the room didn't really find anything as I seem to have covered it already.
Next up is the kitchen then the bathroom then it's done! I can't wait to get rid of the stuff, we just don't have time to do it bit by bit which is why it's all getting piled up then we will do a huge trip to a charity shop. 

I'm also mentally earmarking furniture to go, which is always the surprise doing this as you think that you won't be able to get rid of many bigger items but the more little things you get rid of the more larger items become empty and you realise they can go too...

Saturday, 16 November 2013

'Friday' Inspiration

Better late then never I suppose! After all the 'coming soon!' stuff on Monday I then promptly got ill and spent the rest of the week doing nothing. My only goal today is to do the washing up (as of course I've been ill so it has not been done for 4 days...we have no plates or cutlery clean so I've got to do it before lunchtime). It's just a cold/flu type thing but it is really kicking my ass!

We did go and see Tom Stade on Tuesday night at the town hall before I got the lurg and it was really good, he's really funny we were in hysterics the whole time would definitely recommend seeing him or getting the DVD...although my favourite one of his is this one and it's old so not on this tour. I chuckle every time I see faggots in the frozen food aisle (I know from the stats I have American readers - that means something different here...kinda why it's funny).

So this is Friday inspiration a day late, weekend inspiration let's say...all from my pinterest board.

I like this all-white room with the pop of colour from the bright runner
I love so many things here, the wall colour, the bedding, the bedside cabinets and lamps, but the winner has got to the the headboard.
I think what originally made me pin this was the large frame wall behind the table, I really like the layout. However on a second look the floor is pretty awesome (I don't think that's a rug under the table)
So that's it for this week, I'm off to feel sorry for myself and watch Dexter all day now they have 6 series on lovefilm :)

Monday, 11 November 2013

Coming soon...

It's been a bit quiet over here lately, mostly because I have nothing much to tell you.

I've taken a break from the decluttering as we went on holiday, and also because we ran out of room in the hallway for the stuff to go (it was going well!). I took some of the cardboard and clothes to the recycling centre over the weekend and I have some more boxes now so I hope to get back on that this week. I'm actually almost there just the kitchen and bathroom left. Then getting rid of it all of course, which involves car boot sales and trips to the tip which relies on Tom and I having a day off together with time to maybe after Christmas! Can't wait to show you the pile to go, when we're done it's going to be huge! Have any of you been decluttering while I've been slacking?

I've been trying to catch up with the washing from holiday and the last few weeks which isn't going very fast as the weather is a bit rubbish for drying, so the bedroom is not photo worthy at the moment as the washing pile is bigger than me. I've been plotting some projects in there though and trying some things out which just need to be tweaked to make them work. I'll share once they're done and the room is a bit tidier!

I've also been looking at the living room, mainly the lack of colour, and how I want to go forward in there. I'm thinking at the moment of a load of pillows, maybe a rug and some curtains to bring in a bit more colour and interest as at the moment it's pretty boring in there.
So really this is a 'coming soon' post, my aims for the next few weeks are to finish the decluttering, finish the project in the bedroom and try to spruce up the living room a little (I might wait for the January sales for this one!).

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

If we owned our flat

Time for the monthly daydream about what we'd change if we were to buy our flat tomorrow.

This one is pretty practical actually, I'd like to have an extractor hood for the hob/oven. There isn't one, but there's a gap in the cabinets for it.
Being in a basement flat we need all the ventilation we can get so I'd definitely look into getting one. We do get condensation in the kitchen and I find myself opening the door to let it out, but now the weather is getting cold that's not so appealing! We also get some mould in the bedroom which the landlord is looking into so anything to reduce moisture would be good...

What would you do to your rented place if you could?

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>