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June 2014

3 weeks to go : The highs and lows of a house remodel

I thought it was a good time for a little recap on our building works. The builders have been here for nearly 4 months and are due to finish in about three weeks. If you think you heard me say that before, you are not wrong. Three weeks seems to be a continual promise which never gets shorter, but I think this time they might mean it.

This week the plumber and electrician will complete the second fix, finishing the bathrooms, putting the cast iron radiators on the wall and fixing the lights and house alarm. The plastering is complete and this week the glass panels will be going in on the stairs and the first of the cladding should be going up on the outside of the house. Next week the decorators are coming in to do the mist coat, the top coats will hopefully follow shortly after. We’d intended to it ourselves to begin with but we rapidly realised what a huge job it is.

The scaffolders still haven’t returned to remove the rest of the scaffolding which they started taking down four weeks ago. So we still can’t see the views from the windows on three sides of the house. Scaffolders it seems, are a law unto themselves.

So far we have managed to keep broadly in budget. We had an (expected but very overdue) extras bill from the builder which was more than we had anticipated (I panicked because I always do about these things) but we managed to make big savings on carpets and wooden flooring last week so that  helped swing things back in the right direction.

As far as the flooring goes, it took us about 2 minutes to decide on our carpets and about 2 months to decide on our wooden flooring. We went all round the houses considering the merits of everything from Amtico to ceramic tiles for the ground floor, before eventually (yesterday) buying the very first wood floor I had looked at six months ago. It is engineered oak, click system and brushed and oiled as opposed to lacquered. It’s quite rustic looking as we wanted something that would work with the wear and tear of two dogs and a small child, rather than against it.

When we have finished, there will be very little in the pot left for furniture and interiors, but we are lucky to be inheriting my parents old (enormous) red leather corner sofa and we have found a source for cheap decor weight fabric for curtains, which will save us a ton. I’m hoping to go back to Ardingly next month to pick up a few other bits of furniture too. We have the essentials, the rest can be bought over time.

We have made a few mistakes along the way during this build, but things have run smoother than we dared hope. We have encountered spectacularly good and bad customer service (should I name and shame?) and we’ve developed a huge amount of respect for the builders (though they’ve driven us loopy at times) Undoubtedly we have made a good investment for the future, but beyond that we have created the kind of home we simply couldn’t have bought. I can’t wait to move back in…

PS – If you are joining late and wonder what the house used to look like, see this post.

Love Chic Living and Love Your Home

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Child safety and relaxed parenting…
Theo aged 16 months chewing on a camera lens

When Theo joined our family nearly three years ago, I didn’t know a lot about child safety. I was a rather relaxed mum and not naturally blessed with the ability to see an accident about to happen. I just let Theo get on with things and hoped for the best.

Whilst I believe a certain amount of relaxed parenting can be quite a good thing, our small boy has not emerged entirely unscathed. Our first big scare was a trip to A&E when he ate a pill from the dog’s bowl (the dog doing that thing they do where they eat absolutely everything except their medication.) Then there was that moment when he suddenly rolled off the bed he was safely in the middle of seconds before. The lid of his toy chest fell down and caught him under the eye shortly before his first birthday and finally we had that heart-stopping moment when he found a bottle of Calpol in his room, undid the childproof lid and drank some.

Three years on I am a bit wiser (but probably still as relaxed) I’ve learned that supposedly immobile babies can suddenly move, that crawlers eat things from strange places and that the safest place for Calpol is the top shelf of the fridge, not anywhere in the child’s bedroom.
Child Safety Week runs from the 23rd – 29th June (next week) and Betta Living are running a campaign to promote safety in the home. You can take a survey to help spot hazards in your house and find out about the nation’s safety awareness. There’s also a chance to win £50 of Mothercare vouchers. You can read all about it here.

So what do you think? Are there times when you’ve been too relaxed or do you think looking back that you were overly cautious with your baby?

In association with Betta Living

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Love the little things, week 25

Today I’m joining up with Morgana for the first time on a new linky which rounds up all the things from the week. This is what I have been up to this week…


I abandoned a book I was reading this week which turned out to be a rather clunky translation of a very successful Swedish novel and instead picked up a copy of a book which is everywhere at the moment… The Fault in Our Stars. I have been debating reading this book for at least a year and now the film is about to be released I decided I had to start reading it now. So far it is brilliant!


We hired Last Vegas at the weekend. It was exactly what we were expecting with predictable jokes and a storyline that didn’t require too much concentrating. Exactly what we needed!


This week I’ve been listening to a lot of one of my favourite early noughties groups Frou Frou. Sadly they only made one album, Details, but its brilliant and sounds perfect in the sunshine…

Balsamic roasted sausages and red veg. Delicious Friday night supper! #goodfood #supper #food  #homemade


We tried this fab BBC Good Food recipe for Ballsamic roasted sausages and red vegetables. Very simple to make, absolutely delicious and very summery too. We will definitely be adding this one to our list of regular cooks.


And Lastly

I went to Ardingly Antiques Fair for the first time. There was loads of stuff I wanted to buy and I was a bit of an amateur, being very indecisive and then forgetting where things were that I wanted! I did however come away with a beautiful blue pitcher, a chair and this great pull along trolly. Originally I planned to refurbish it, but I think I will struggle getting it away from Theo for long enough as he is insisting on taking it everywhere at the moment!I’m hoping to go back next month and be a bit more focused on buying.


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Cunard Mediterranean Bloggers Competition
I have long been a lover of colourful interiors and over the last year or so I have been collecting ideas and inspiration for the interior of our newly remodelled house. So when I saw Cunard were running a competition for bloggers asking us to create an interiors mood board inspired by one of their many Mediterranean cruise destinations I knew exactly which port was going to be the basis of my mood board. A place known for its colourful artistic vibrancy which sums up so much of what I love about colour… Barcelona.

My trips to Barcelona so far have all been fairly fleeting, but it is right at the top of my list of places I would love to spend a couple of days wandering round and taking in its details. It’s a creative and colourful city and I especially love its quirkiness and individuality. It encapsulates a lot of the ideas that I have been collecting for the interior of our home, from the curves and colours of Gaudi’s architecture to the more modern vibrant red of the Hotel Porta Fira. Barcelona is unapologetically colourful, youthful and fun.

You can see my mood board by clicking on the link below..

If you’d like to enter yourself you can find out more at The Swelle Life or Love Chic Living. Competition closes soon though, so don’t delay!

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Capturing colour – Green

A willow jungle #capturingcolour

It’s week three of our #capturingcolour project and this week focussed on green. It’s a colour that surrounds us in abundance in the natural world at this time of year, but it’s harder to pin down in manmade environments, partly because of the superstitions that surround it being unlucky, although you do see more green cars than ever these days!

One of the things I have enjoyed about the #capturingcolour project is that it’s made me a lot more active on Instagram and this week I’ve shot nearly all my images on the iphone.

We went to our local fete on Saturday and it poured with rain, so we all ended up trying to stand under Theo’s green froggy umbrella…

School fete today. It poured and all three if us had to stand under this! #capturingcolour #green #umbrella

My Ikea desk is also green and very battered after a couple of house moves. I’m going to be looking for a replacement as soon as the house is finished. I saw a lovely wood desk at Ardingly Antiques fair yesterday, but dithered and didn’t buy it….

My very battered Ikea desk #capturingcolour

This green tractor has been a favourite of Theo’s since he got it as a baby and has stood up to a lot of rough play…

#capturingcolour #green #colorcolourlovers

I love the variety of shapes and colours in the leaves, just like the variety in the fabrics in the quilt I’m making at the moment. This is one of those projects I’m going to be sad when I give it away… I hope it’s appreciated in its new home.

Quilting time. Backing with minky .. #quilt  #quilting

Next week’s colour is purple. Please check out the other blogs taking part too…

Hayley at Shutterflies

Kirsty at My Two Mums 
Lucy at Capture By Lucy

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