Monday, 31 March 2014

March Blooms

The flower posts are back! I had hoped to keep them going over the winter but turns out I don't have many flowers over the winter months, probably because they are more expensive and I like the spring flowers.

I did have a few though just not worth a post all of their own, like these lovely roses for our anniversary from Tom in September
 Yes they are in a jug, I broke our large vase a while back.
Then he got me this plant for Valentines, which to celebrate our love I am slowly killing as a sacrifice. I didn't note what it was before I took the label off, and I've tried watering it often and not often and putting it in the direct sun or in the shadier areas but it just is gradually dying.
I cleaned the windows after this! Also you can see I've finally binned the 2 dead plants which were here and reused the pot. You can also see some dried lavender in a pot there. It is gone now as Tom binned it to use the he thought it was just a dead plant.
Then daffodils arrived!
 Yay sunny spring time flowers!
A few for the bedroom too to share the colour around, these also smelled lovely you could smell them as soon as you came into the flat
Tom then replenished them with another bunch, although for some reason used a small Christmas planter for them...
They are gorgeous anyway, and check out my completely accidental photo taking skills there blurring out the background and focussing on the flower in front. Couldn't do it again if I tried!

Next month I want to have some Tulips I think, I love that Spring is finally here :)

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Weekend Inspiration

I'm having a lovely lazy day today, after a day helping my sister yesterday with moving house and cleaning her old house I just needed a day off today to chill and do laundry etc.

Nothing much else to report around here this week so on to the home inspiration.

This room is so glamorous but has an informal vibe. The purple couch and the chandelier are my favourites.
I pinned this for the picture rail and frame hanging, I would love to have a picture rail!
This small kitchen is a great example of how a small space can still be stylish and functional.
Hope you are all having a a nice weekend, I'm off to make a late lunch and watch some Dexter :)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


Last year I got a photo book made up of the past 3 years (2010-2012) after I got a groupon voucher for a 100 page photobook.

You can see that one here, and we have a new one for 2013! I went with photobox again and I managed to get it done a bit sooner this year, as I pretty much made it before the end of the year and just waited to have the Christmas and New Year photos to put in. Then I waited for the sale! I ordered it in February, and I'm just as pleased with it as last year's. I've got them both next to the TV, this is 4 years worth of photos so it is a nice slimline way to get them printed rather than in thicker albums. It's also good being tenants to have photos printed to look at but not have to hang lots of frames.
I was a bit stuck for the cover, but went for this one taken when we went ice skaing at a Christmas market.  
The  first page is from our house warming party and night out in January.
Then skips to our trip to Paris in May, we must get better at taking photos of the day to day things!

 Then our engagement/my birthday party
Some nice family shots here, some were taken by my mum's partner Simon on his better camera hence the better photos!
We played skittles after dinner, as we had rented out the back room/skittle alley of the pub.
Me presenting the apprentice award in the category that I won in 2012 to the winner in 2013, with Minty trying to help/lick the pages
Then a few photos to show what we did over our lovely summer last year
When we went to Cornwall for a few days in the glorious summer sunshine...oh I am looking forward to Summer this year!
Climbing montage
Our trip to Albania
A few from my Brother and Cousins 21st Birthday, Tom's work Christmas do and some random walks and nights out (must take more like this!)
Christmas - at my Mum's then Tom's Mum's
New Year - I took hardly any photos and I am in none of them, but you can see how we kindly decorated our hosts bedroom and cloakroom :)
Cat photo montage, I had a surprisingly small amount of photos of them I thought I would have loads!
And finished off with a bit of a blog montage
I again had pages to spare (the same happened last year) so ended up adding in the pet and blog photos at the end just to fill space really. My new years resolution is to take more pictures of things that aren't a 'special occasion' as we take photos on holidays and big nights out, but never of just walks, trips, meals etc and these are the things that make up a year.

It is nice to look back over the photos from the past year while making this, we had a pretty great year! This year the book is going to be full of some wonderful photos so hopefully we won't struggle to fill it, with a trip to Snowdon which we booked on Sunday, our engagement photoshoot, climbing in Stannage and then Kilimanjaro we are going to have plenty of beautiful photos.

Have any of you been printing photos recently? Do you go with albums, frames, or something different?

Monday, 24 March 2014

Decorating with guitars...

Tom has 3 guitars, 2 are on stands and one is tucked away down the side of the book case in the living room. The 2 on stands used to be in the living room, but we moved them out to make way for the Christmas tree, they ended up in the bedroom and never came back.
I liked having that bit extra space in the living room, and I finally found a place for the canvases here, where the guitars used to be.
Photo from an upcoming post on flowers!

However due to the mould in the bedroom, the guitars were starting to get mouldy. Considering the Fender is the most valuable thing we own this is not good. I also liked the pop of yellow it brought into the living room, and I want to try to bring more colour in. So the Fender is now back in the corner in front of the CD player, the corner does look a little cluttered so I might move some things out but for now it lives here.
I really need to get a cable tidy in here asap! I like using the guitars as a decor accessory, as otherwise they would just be in cases behind the wardrobe or somewhere and never be seen. Since we have currently some nice yellow daffodils, a plant in a yellow planet and some green and yellow ikat cushions we are starting to get some more yellow in here now.

The other guitar lives in the dining area now, I saw this little spot was empty after we moved the litter tray. Cable tidy needed in here too I really must get on that it's a job I've been meaning to do since we moved in.
Tom will give them a clean as I have no idea what to use on them and they are pretty mouldy :(

We had people round to assess where to put the PIV unit last week which the landlord has sorted out to stop the mould, so hopefully that will be installed soon then I will have a mould purge and just bleach the entire flat! Then we will (fingers crossed) not have to worry about it again.

I hope you all had a great weekend, we went to the final caterer tasting so hopefully will pick one soon and I'll write a post about it on the wedding blog.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Weekend Inspiration

I can finally announce what I'm training for, I actually booked it ages ago but there were some problems with organisation, now it's all confirmed though!

I'm climbing Kilimanjaro in October his year!

Training is going well, I'm not going climbing so much since Tom sprained his ankle as I have to get there on my own, by I'm going to gym classes to top up the time and have been walking and even went on a short run yesterday (I don't enjoy running, find it a bit tedious). Once Tom's back to climbing though I hope to get back to it 3 times a week, with 2 gym classes a week and a walk every weekend.

I am raising money for Maggie's centres, who provide services to people with cancer. There is one near where I live and we run a support group there at work which the patients find really helpful. If you'd be so kind as to sponsor me there is a just giving icon at the top of the toolbar on the right and a link to my page here.

Anyway, still lots of home inspiration on my pinterest page.

I liked this so much I pinned it 3 times! I might just base our bedroom on this (once we get a new bed) as it would work with white walls too, I especially like the furry pouffes and the light fixture as they're soft and feminine but not too overly girly.
What got my attention here was the butterfly garland, it adds in a bit of colour and would be an easy DIY.
I would like to have a dining area like this one day, the yellow chairs are so cheerful!
Have a good weekend everyone xx

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

1 Year on - Hates?

After the post on Monday about things we love about our flat a year in, here's the post on the things that we don't love. 

I said the same in the post back here that I did 6 months in along a similar topic, but there really isn't anything we really hate about this flat. However there are a few things that could be better. We've actually managed to resolve a lot of the issues, or they were things we just needed to get used to, so I though a recap of the issues we had 6 months ago would be good:

  1. 'Apartment Living' as the Americans call it can take a bit of getting used to (before this we lived in a maisonette and then houses), there are people living above us and on both sides. Sometimes there can be noise from them, and sometimes I'm conscious that we might be disturbing them. We also share the wheelie bin, so have started using litter tray liners and bin liners for the cat litter and are more conscious about not filling the bin up in the first few days. Also being used to having a driveway and a garage etc it takes some getting used to living in a flat. We are pretty much used to this now, our own private garden would be great but we are just not going to get that in the town centre with a 1 bedroom in our budget.
  2. Not having a driveway or being able to park right outside our front door. There is parking on the other side of the road and down a side street just round the corner, only a few times have we found no spaces on either road and had to park further away. I don't have the car often, so it's mainly Tom that deals with this and most of the time he gets a space reasonably close, but when it's tipping down with rain and/or you have heavy shopping to bring in it can be a pain. We do have an access road out the back though so we can unload stuff and bring it in through the back garden but then we have to go and park the car. We are used to this now, a drive would be great but again not something we are likely to get for a 1 bedroom in the town centre. 
  3. On from that point, not having my own car. This really isn't a downside of the property really just something I've noticed. I could have a car (we're allowed 2 permits) but really it would be a massive extravagance financially to have 2 cars, I don't need to drive to work (Massive plus point there though!) so it would stay parked for the whole week and only be used maybe at the weekends. Still kind of sucks, especially as the climbing centre is over in Gloucester, along with all my family, so sometimes it feels like I moved to Cheltenham to spend half my time getting buses back to Gloucester, but it saves a lot of money and a car would just not get used enough to justify me having my own. 
  4. We used to have a big living room at our last house that held our sofa, armchair, turtle tank and a drop leaf dining table. It was the first and only place we have had a dining table and I loved it. We had Christmas at home for the first time, and had Sunday dinner regularly inviting family round, we had nice meals sat at the table rather than eating off plates on our laps. I really miss having a dining table here. Solved! We have a dining area now, and a new laptop rather than our old big desktop so no need for a proper desk as I work at the table or on the sofa. 
  5. Also on that note of having people round, not having the spare room so we can't have people stay over. We still have the storage space as we have the office and the entrance hall, but we don't actually have a spare bed any more. Although we only had people stay over twice at our last place, and we have a sofa which people could comfortably sleep on or we could always get an air bed to put in the living room if we wanted to. Sort of solved, I wouldn't invite people round for a sleepover on purpose but we have options if people do want to sleep here. We had 2 people stay on the sofa last year and both said it was fine to sleep on (although both were after nights out, and one was pretty much passed out by the time he got back to ours so we could have left him sleep on the kitchen floor and he probably would have slept through). We also bought an air bed for camping which if needs be we could inflate for people to sleep on. 
  6. Lack of natural light in the bathroom and office, these are rooms we spend minimal time in but if I start using the office more it would maybe become more of an issue. I usually type posts on my netbook while sat on the sofa, but have been going to a chiropractor for my back recently and don't want to do this long term. Once we have a table/desk set up with a proper chair I want to actually use the office, so will have to invest in some good lamps! A solution I've thought of would again be to move it out to the entrance hallway, but in the winter it's a bit cold out there so wouldn't be a nice place to sit and work. We'll see once we get the table and get it all set up. Never really became an issue to be honest, I rarely work at the table for long enough to make it an issue, it's not like I'm in there for hours every day, so the way we use the space makes this not a big deal. We spend most of our time in the kitchen and living room (like most people do I'm sure) not in the hallway or bathroom so it's become less and less of an issue.
The only new point would be the mould and damp. You can see back in this post how bad it got, I'll spare you those photos again in case anyone is eating reading this but you can click through to see. That however is being sorted, and hopefully this month. After our inspection the Landlord has some ventilation people coming out to fit something to take out the old air from the flat and circulate it with new air from outside, after an assessment proved our theory right of it being condensation damp from lack of ventilation. I'll let you know how that goes and how effective we find it but it's nice that it's getting sorted quickly.

That's everything really, they are all quite minor things or things that are being sorted out. There are a few other little things I would change if I bought this flat tomorrow that I've talked about in my 'If I owned the flat' posts but they are really more down to personal taste, things like take up the doormat in the hallway, put more shelves or units in the kitchen, knock through some walls, change the carpet, or put in an extractor hood.

Monday, 17 March 2014

1 year on - Loves and Hates?

Continuing on from last weeks 1 year round up of the blog stuff, I thought a 1 year progress report on the flat itself might also be good. I did a similar post at 6 months. Really all the points we love back there are the same but after a whole year there are some different things or just different perspectives.

First up things we love, the 6 month post is back here.

  1. It was warm through the winter, and cool through the summer. Being a basement it seems to keep snug in the winter with the heating on (which isn't too expensive, we had credit in the gas bill last year), but in the summer if we keep the doors and windows closed it stays cool. Awesome. There's a post here on keeping warm and saving money.
  2. The area, I mentioned this last time but we have since found more places nearby that we love. The Daffodil restaurant is one of the best meals I've had in a long time and also a beautiful building, The Langton has a gorgeous patio for sitting out in the summer, Bath Road has amazing charity shops, The Swan has some lovely comfy sofas and do nice pies, there are lots of walks and outside activities around within a walking distance or short bus ride. There are also so many choices for things to do that we sometimes get a bit confused by all the options, the Town Hall does some really good comedy, music, wedding fairs etc and there are numerous festivals on through the year from food to literature, and it's all within walking distance!
  3. This kind of comes in with the area, but the lifestyle here is a vast improvement on what we had before. The novelty hasn't worn off for me yet of where we live. Even with Gold Cup last week, which means the town is packed for a week with race goers. I feel really blessed sometimes to be living here, it might be because I wasn't raised here and that my home town has kind of gone a bit downhill (don't lynch me please people, you can't deny it), or was never really up the metaphorical hill in the first place, so I can see the difference and don't take it for granted. I walk around grinning to myself when I go on walks within a few miles of home for panoramic views over Cheltenham and the surrounding countryside, or when I walk through Pittville Park, or Tivoli, or Montpellier, or The Promenade. It really doesn't compare to where we have lived before, or where we will probably live again. I understand though that everywhere has less attractive areas, and I know Cheltenham definitely does, and I'm not kidding myself that I'm posh now!
  4. The price. Since living in Cheltenham for a year I've realised the rent is pretty reasonable. We could definitely be paying less, but then wouldn't have a garden or it would be a smaller one bedroom flat. We could also definitely be paying more if we were in a more desirable location like Bath Road, Tivoli or Pittville, but we have all these areas within walking distance.
  5. The rest were all covered in the 6 months post, but we still love all those points. The location, size, garden, landlords (well we don't love them like that but they seem nice, and are good at dealing with things quickly and efficiently), that it's painted white not magnolia (1 year in still can't get over that), quality of the finish, the money saving features and the period features.
Next up is things we miss or we don't love so much, there aren't many! Really this is home now, it's probably the most attached I've ever been to a rented place. Usually there is something wrong and I get itchy feet after a year or two and want to move. However here I don't want to move and actually will be sad when it comes time to buy somewhere and move (probably out of town because we can't afford it) to our first house. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Weekend Inspiration

Very late one this weekend, Sunday evening still counts as the weekend though! Busy one here, I went to a craft and vintage fair yesterday in Gloucester, went bouldering after then for a meal out in the evening. Today we went swimming in the morning, into town for a bit then cleaned the flat and did some outside work in the lovely sunshine, then over to Toms sisters to give her and her daughter their birthday presents, then for a pub dinner and now home...first time all weekend I've had any spare time! As usual though I've still got plenty of home inspiration on standby...

This Moroccan style sink would add a bit of colour to a bathroom.
There is so much about this living room I like, the teal pouffe, the tiled fireplace, the artwork, the armchairs...I pretty much want to move in right now.
The pop of yellow caught my eye here, just painting the back of something like this is such an easy way to bring in some colour.
I hope you all have had a good weekend, I'm off to watch the live lap of the Earth on channel 4 xx

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

1 Year (and a bit)

I let my blogs one year birthday slip by without mentioning it at all! It kind of dawned on me at the end of February that the blog had been going for a year, and I meant to write something....and now we are nearly halfway through March! Will someone please stop these days from sprinting the blog is 13 months old now, but hey ho I thought I'd still do a bit of a look back. I'm trying not to get too mushy or overly excitable (spoiler alert, it doesn't work) and look at the facts and figures of the last year, so this is the breakdown of what has happened here on Tenant Chic over the last year (and 1 month).

The blog has had 159 posts in total...the first one was back on 7th February 2013. It contained all of the before photos of the flat, when we had just moved in and from when we viewed it before moving in. I like to look back at this one when I feel like the flat isn't how I want it, to remind myself how far it's come!

The first Friday Inspiration post was back in Feb 2013 too, and is pretty much the only regular post to still be going regularly now, along with the (forgotten for a while but recently reinstated) 'If we owned our flat...' posts. Failed ones over the last year have been payday wishlists (dull to write, downright boring to read), monthly flowers (soon to be reinstated now Spring is back but will probably be a sporadic post). I had a pretty busy posting schedule in the early months with 4 posts per week Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat/Sun but that was too hard to maintain with a full time job and somewhere around summer last year I dropped the weekend post. Friday Inspiration has since become 'weekend inspiration' so can come up on either Sat or Sun depending on my schedule!

The wedding blog also made a start last year, when I got engaged and wanted to talk weddings but didn't want to fill this blog up with wedding things. It's really a side project and I don't post nearly as often on there as on here, but it's still getting some views and I hope this year and into next I will have more to say on there.

On this page the most popular posts have been:
This one from the first month on cleaning supply storage
This one on making my own runner for the living room, which is one of my favourite projects although it could currently do with a wash.
Those two are the breakaway favourites with more than double or triple the page views of the others, but some of the other most read posts are this one on the garden, this one on saving money and this one on our to do list.

I get my page visits from all different places it seems, the most from one singular point is this post in the Young House Love Forums. Other than that's it's pretty spread out and includes facebook, pinterest, bloglovin and twitter.

The google search starts are pretty random, it's what people have searched for on google to direct them to my blog:

best dark bathroom

cat litter mat chic

cleaning pile clothes

diy table decorations

furniture turtle tank pinterest

how to make shoe hanger

lux decor dining room

office dining room

I get most of them, wouldn't call our dining room lux but I'm taking that as a compliment! And our bathroom is a 'best dark bathroom' or has chic cat litter mats, um, cool? It seems there are people actually google searching my blog name too which is amazing!

As far as you readers go, I don't know a lot about you, but hi! Thanks for reading!

I know some of my real life friends and family read, but I'm surprised by the stats sometimes that show lots of foreign readers. The last year the readers have been from:
United States
United Kingdom

The UK and USA were pretty near on numbers, I think possibly because of the YHL forums and that a lot of the blogs I follow and comment on are American it means I get more American readers. I just think it's great that someone other than my mum and Tom are reading! If you're a regular reader feel free to say hi in the comments, I'd love to know who's out there!

I'd also love feedback from you, so please comment or contact me if you have any burning questions or (constructive) feedback, like you want less of some posts, more of others, did I randomly start a project then never post the end (I know the decluttering has stopped, IRL it has stopped too, update on that soon) or is there something I didn't explain very well?

So that's the past year in figures. One thing I can't break down into numbers is the satisfaction from running this blog, just having somewhere to ramble on and post pictures of my little flat and have people actually read it is fantastic. Thank you to everyone who has read, commented or searched for this blog over the last year, I hope this year will be better and bigger than the last!

Also to whoever has google searched my blog name so many times last year, and those of you who are reading regularly, you can follow me on various blog readers. You can then get posts sent to you every time there is a new one rather than keep checking back, I use Bloglovin' for the blogs I read, there's a link on the sidebar on the right to click through to follow this blog with bloglovin.

There's also a box on the side bar on the right to follow by email, so you can get new posts emailed to you if you don't want to sign up to a blog reader. If you prefer just to check back though that's absolutely awesome, just want to make it easier for you so you will keep reading!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone, thanks for reading xxx

Monday, 10 March 2014

Now all of us pee in the bathroom

No Tom hasn't been sleepwalking (actually that's WAY more likely to be me, I am quite the chatterbox in my sleep apparently), but 2 members of our family have been going to the toilet in the dining area, which isn't very nice.
After writing the post from last week I started to wonder why we hadn't sorted our litter tray situation yet. It's one of those things that you live with for a while and really it isn't the best solution but you just don't get round to changing it as there are more pressing things to do. Reading the post back though and how many times I said that the set up we have 'wasn't ideal' or 'wasn't great' I realised that I really needed to look at it again.

The original plan moving in was to put it in the hallway (maybe under the armchair in there so out of sight) but turns out we have to keep them out of there due to a busy road outside the front door and because they pee on the doormat. Cats are so fun sometimes.
It ended up between the desk and turtle tank in the 'office' and when we turned that into a dining area it became less than ideal having the litter tray in there.
I was just in front of the turtle tank for months and we would scoot it round the corner into the bathroom when eating in there but I got sick of looking at it all the time. Also it was a high traffic area being next to the living room, bathroom and bedroom and having it in a thoroughfare isn't good as it puts the cats off using it, not what you want as they will go somewhere!
I moved it to under the dining table for a few weeks, which got it out of sight but really wasn't very nice. Whenever we wanted to use the table we had to move the tray into the bathroom and then sweep or even mop under the table. Not conducive to a nice relaxing meal, meaning we weren't using the table much. They also kept going behind the back table leg or under the benches, I think because they like privacy.

We never had it in the bathroom at our last place because there just was not the space (unless it went next to the bath, which ran the risk of me accidentally standing in it getting out of the shower without my glasses on...ewww), but I had a think about it and realised that there should be space in our bathroom here we just had too much stuff in there. I had a little move around and managed to clear a space for it. Really all I had to do was move the loo roll basket to the other side and put the wicker drawers under the sink, I don't know why I didn't do it before.
We just need to get used to leaving the bathroom door open when we aren't in there, but this definitely is an improvement we can use the dining table whenever we want to and the tray is out of sight in the bathroom. If I want to have a long bath I might pull it out into the dining room but that's going to be less often than vice versa when we wanted to use the dining room before. We had Sunday dinner yesterday and it was great to just be able to eat at the table and not have to spend time cleaning it. Also bonus is the bathroom has an extractor fan, so we don't get smells hanging around, and they are confined to the bathroom anyway if they do happen to be particularly stinky that day (I swear we feed them the same every day but some days the smell is 100% worse!)
Jazzie chose that moment to need a pee, so pan to the sink!
The drawers fit quite nicely, that's some sea glass on top of them in the dish that I picked up in Albania last year. I might just get rid of those scales behind the sink, I never weigh myself so I don't know why I have them.

Anyone else been solving some glaringly obvious problems? Feels great to make a big change by doing literally 5 minutes work!