Tag Archives: Humph

Nursery choices

Well, I’m fast approaching 32 weeks preggers and am quite sure I should be just sitting around. No? Of course, I’m not – we haven’t had a day or evening off for weeks despite taking time off work! We did at least make it to a Halloween party – the glamorous witch and his pregnant cat!

As you can tell, our impending parent status isn’t making us take life any more seriously! But the very grown-up job list is gradually getting a bit smaller and we are at least finally making progress including buying and selling a car and applying for a remortgage. And we’ve just had these exciting deliveries for our baby girl:

Cool huh? The highchair – which you can use from birth – looks fab in our dining room!

So, what of the nursery then? Well, being the tease I am it’s not quite finished so I can’t yet share pics. So, instead I thought I would share some choices.

First up, as revealed in a previous post, our choice of colour is Cornforth White, a lovely soft grey which we’ve paired with white woodwork and the same carpet we have in the spare room and master bedroom; Cormar Sensations in Coral White.

After much deliberating and budget breakdowns we opted for furniture from Mamas and Papas and we’re really pleased with the build quality. It’s officially ivory but it’s not a yellowy cream but instead is a pleasant off-white:

mamas-and-papas-harbour-ivory

And also in this space we have the most wonderfully comfy nursing chair – a bargain from a Kiddicare store that was closing down. Not the most attractive piece in our house but it’s damn comfy!

nursing chair

So, they’re the basics; now onto the more fun stuff! In the early days of pregnancy we lovingly referred to our baby as Panda  – read more here – so we wanted a reminder of this. We have the most thoughtful, lovely friend who offered to make our nursery curtains as a present. She’s truly one of life’s finest – always doing stuff for others and never asking for anything in return. Thanks to her kindness we could choose our fabric and so we opted for this:

Panda Star Jumps – Zest

Fab, isn’t it? It’s a Japanese print so when you look from a distance it just looks like a pattern (for a sense of scale, the panda is only about 1.5cm) it’s only when you get up close you see it’s little pandas doing star jumps! It’s from a website called Fabric Rehab who have some amazing fabrics and – as I found out – really great customer service, I would highly recommend them. We hung the curtains last week and are soooooo pleased with them – not just for the fabric but also for the love and kindness that went into every stitch.

Up next – our other favourite thing. This incredible wall sticker from Nubie:

nubie forest wall sticker

It came in 40 odd separate pieces and took us a few hours to master on our wall but we LOVE it! It goes over the cot and really makes the room for us.

To tie in with the wall stickers, this is our cot mobile by Skip Hop:

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We have some teal coloured gloss floating shelves from Ikea which house a collection of soft toys – including my own “beasts” from when I was little who have lived in every house I have – yes, including all my uni digs, they never left my side.

There’s a bear (Snow White Belinda), a hedgehog (Hedge), a frog (Uncle Froggie) and a lime green snake (Hiss). Given their age, none of them will be for playing with so they’re on a high shelf just keeping an eye. My bear – BooBoo – is also watching over the cot, happily perched on top of the wardrobe. The other critters currently include a badger, a lizard and a squirrel – along with my mum’s Hedwig owl. We’re hoping a fox and a raccoon will join the crew….they’re on our Amazon wishlist just waiting for a kindly donor to buy them (we’re out of cash!).  You’ll have to wait to meet all the critters in the reveal post.

So, when you have a sort of technicolor sort of woodland theme going on – what kind of light do you need? A dandelion clock of course! I’ve seen this Ikea light in quite a few Pinterest nurseries and, thanks to our high ceiling, we totally get away with it:

Ikea maskros

It’s a whopping 80cm diameter so makes quite an impression. We have it on a dimmer and it can cast the prettiest of patterns on the wall and ceiling.

Our other artwork is quite minimal – as too much would crowd the room. We have this amazing Shakespeare quote via Etsy as well as a beautiful hand painted banner from a talented friend of mine, also via Etsy

And, alongside this, we stumbled across this fab world map – as illustrated by animals. This is going above the changing dresser and may even help with my dismal geography!

original_animal-map-of-the-world-for-children

We also have a limited edition Little Miss Trouble print (you’ll get to see this on the future reveal post too!) which was given to us several months ago by one of our nearest and dearest friends. She had read the blog and knew we were going for bright colours so bought us presents accordingly including the print from a little art gallery in London. We’re so lucky with our friends, and so thankful for them.

So, apart from various knick knacks we already had – that’s about it and we’re officially pretty much out of space for anything else! We have practical unpacking to do in there and a good tidy-up and clean and then I promise to share pics of the final result.

In the meantime, what do you think? We haven’t tried to be super stylish, we’ve stuck to things we love but we’re really pleased with how it’s all turned out. And so long as our beloved Tiny T loves it, that’s all that matters.

For now, we keep opening the door with happy goofy smiles on our faces and closing it again before Humph claims it as his own. He’s already staking a claim in other rooms…..

NaughtyHumph

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As if we were ever going to have a boring utility room…

Apologies for such a long radio silence, it’s not been a good few weeks due to never-ending lurgy and the sad loss of a good friend, so blogging has slipped down the list of priorities. But, hello – how are you doing?

I haven’t forgotten I promised more info on items in the sitting room or that I still have room reveals to do. They will come eventually, I promise.

Meanwhile we have been turning our attention – amongst other things – to what will be the utility room. It was the old kitchen:

Old Kitchen

It is now currently a dumping ground that is too disgraceful right now to share pics of. It’s a pretty good size for a utility room and, honestly, we’ve struggled a bit with ideas of what to do with it. Home gym? Bar? Games room? Sauna? But in the end, what we want and need is a utility room/storage so that’s what it shall be. It is also where The Humph will reside at night and is home to the cat tunnel.

But who said utility rooms have to be dull? Admittedly we need to keep the costs down so are turning to good old Ikea for plain white units and worktops and we’ve also selected a wood effect laminate instead of real wood floor. That’s allowed me to squeeze the budget enough to go slightly crazy with other things!

So, how about Farrow and Ball’s Pelt for a wall paint colour – a deliciously dark purple which will look great contrasted with the white units, no?

Farrow and Ball Pelt

Farrow and Ball Pelt

And the feature wall (yes, that’s right, our utility room will have a feature wall, obviously) will be this stunning beauty which is SunBird by Matthew Williamson. We only need a couple of rolls, so totally justifiable, right?

Matthew Williamson Sunbird wallpaper

Matthew Williamson Sunbird wallpaper – stunning copper background

Whilst I’ve reluctantly accepted we will just have plain white Ikea units (and Oly even won the common sense/financial argument against high gloss) we did want something a little more ‘us’ than an Ikea handle so I finally found these bad boys:

Chinese style handles

Chinese style handles

And all that coppery brassy goodness is just crying out for light fittings that I’ve been eyeing up for a long time and am delighted to finally find a home for. Hello Plumen gorgeousness!

Plumen Drop Cap in Copper

Plumen Drop Cap in Copper

And to top off all this excitement, we’re getting a new stunning top-of-the range washing machine and dryer from my new and totally bestest friends at Samsung. Who knew a washing machine could be sexy? But yeah, I know, isn’t it? And it has it’s own app. Yep.

Samsung ecobubble washing machine

Samsung ecobubble washing machine

So, we’re off to Ikea tomorrow to order the units and our favourite tradesman is due to start in a couple of weeks. We have until then to sort all the crap, decant and paint the walls.

Do you like our choices? Too crazy for a utility room – or would you expect nothing less?!

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Mexico, househunting and a little shower….

Yes, I know, I promised that when we got back I’d be sharing actual pictures of the house and what we’ve achieved. What can I say, I’m a terrible tease!! But, honestly, since we landed a couple of weeks ago we’ve been really busy and also slightly distracted by house-buying; more on that later.

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Tulum

Mexico,thanks for asking, was absolutely everything we needed it to be. Whilst the poor UK was drowning (literally, in horrendous flooding) we were luxuriating in the glorious Riviera Maya.

Here’s the highlights:

Critter spotting – our resort was set in an ‘eco jungle’ so was alive with critters which we absolutely loved. Every day there was something new to spot or say “hello” to (or “goodnight” as it happened…..every evening on the walk back to our room I insisted on roll calling all the critters we’d seen that day and saying “night” to them. I’d blame the cocktails but the truth is, I’d have done it sober too.)

Not a single mosquito bite – yep, that’s definitely a highlight. I am normally absolutely bitten to shreds despite the strongest tropical repellent. Not this time! Thanks, we think, to the eco balance of the resort and the aforementioned abundance of critters (iguanas and spiders galore) who were no doubt guzzling up the evil mozzies.

Snorkelling with turtles – next to our resort was a small fishing village called Akumal, meaning ‘place of the turtle’ in Mayan because they feed on the sea grass here. We just hired (mandatory) life vests and waded into the water from the beach; within minutes we saw a huge turtle. In just an hour in the water we were joined by 5 turtles and a couple of absolutely huge stingrays. Loved it. Oly did not love the resulting sunburn as much…but guess who advised him to wear a tshirt under his life jacket? This is what happens when I’m not listened to.

Ouch!

Ouch!

Not getting stung by a lionfish – there was great snorkelling right off our resort beach too. One day we spent ages getting incredibly close to a ‘really pretty fish’. I loved watching it, spent ages right by it, getting closer and closer until Oly got bored. We google imaged it later to find out it’s kind of venemous and you shouldn’t really hang around  with it. Ooops.

See how pretty he is? An easy mistake, no?!

See how pretty he is? An easy mistake, no?!

Coba – we’ve done Chichen Itza before and so this time went to the Mayan city of Coba, which was incredible. In a couple of weeks you’ll be no longer able to climb the ruins of the grand pyramid so we’re lucky we made it in time. I say lucky….to be honest, I can see why they’re closing it, it’s pretty unsafe now. I hadn’t realised how absolutely incredibly petrified I am of falling until I had to get back down (my fear stems back to a nasty fall down a fire escape as a 5year old). So, yes, I was the ladylike tourist who bumped my way back down to safety on my ass……

Tulum – not far at all from our resort so we just hopped on a bus and enjoyed the incredible views. Seriously, postcard perfection. And back at the resort in time for lunch and a siesta in the sun, what’s not to like?!

Tulum ruins

Tulum ruins

CocoBongo – that’s a nightclub/show type thing. Check it out. I have never ever seen anything quite so amazing or crazy and we absolutely loved every minute of it. We considered going back a few nights later it was that good. Darling Husband losing our room key at 5am didn’t even dampen it – nor did the stonking hangovers.

Hiring a jeep in Cozumel – a quick ferry ride and we had a day with our own (knackered!) jeep exploring the island. We beat all the cruise tour parties and just did our own thing. There was an embarrassing incident outside Starbucks (yes, we feel the shame, but I so wanted a frappuccino) when Oly couldn’t get the handbrake off. But a friendly local soon came to our rescue.

Oly loved the jeep

Poser

Doing nothing – damn, that was good. We did get out and about quite a bit but the rest of the time we just mooched, ate, lay in the sun, drank, played in the waves, listened to audio books (best thing when sun bathing!) and generally relaxed. We even squeezed in a trip to the spa and sat in the jacuzzi watching the sun go down discussing the year that was and how much we’d achieved.

And.....relax......

And…..relax……

Lizards – a little known fact is that I have a total fascination for lizards (much to Oly’s mum’s disgust – she’s not so keen!). Mexico is a total haven for iguanas and geckos and our resort in particular had tons of them – still very wild so not keen to get too close to humans. I tried, believe me. So, meeting this fella in Cozumel made me especially happy.

We mirrored expressions

We mirrored expressions

So, pretty much – that was Mexico.

We came home to very exciting house buying news. No, we’re not selling ours before you all start putting offers in; not sure we’ll ever sell this house now.

The exciting news was about Oly’s brother who has recently been trying to buy  his first house where he currently lives in Birmingham. His job is now changing which means he is going to be covering the North of the UK now, so he took the only sensible decision – to move to Leeds. Yay!!

Almost as soon as he told us we were on Right Move checking out what he could get. We were privileged that he wanted us to help him with the hunt and we’ve really enjoyed it. A couple of weeks and a  few viewings later (such fun!!) and he’s had an offer accepted on an amazing terrace about 2 minutes walk  from us!

Oly is absolutely over the moon at the thought of it and I’m pretty damn chuffed too; he’s such a lovely guy we’re looking forward to seeing much more of him. But it does help explain my lack of  recent blog progress.

Once again, I promise to get taking photos and showing you what we’ve actually done with the rest of the house. So, stay tuned. Yeah, yeah, I know – you’ve heard that before……….

Ahem!

Ahem!

Oh, I almost forgot about Him. He had a lovely holiday in a luxury cattery whilst we were away, you’d think he would’ve been grateful……….

Oly went to pick him up and on the drive home (about 20mins) suspected he may have had a little accident in the car (Humph, not Ol).

On putting his cage down in the hallway and lifting off the lid Oly said, “I think he may have weed himself”, just as Humph dramatically leapt from his cage and little poos went flying about 10 feet all over our lovely new 100% wool carpet. Quite literally a shit shower. Or a dirty protest.

Thankfully we own a carpet cleaner but it wasn’t quite what I wanted to be doing after a night flight. So he is currently referred to as The Little Shitbag who is capable of concealing a dozen poos in his little fluffy trousers until it is time to unleash them. He’s still damn cute though.

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Gallery wall

(Apologies for the terrible photo quality in this post, this is what happens when you take pictures through glass!)

Just when we thought we couldn’t love our Disco Loo more than we already do we’ve gone and added a wall full of happiness.

Disco loo gallery wall with Dulux Proud Peacock

Gallery wall (background colour is Dulux Proud Peacock)

We’ve long had this plan for the main wall in the downstairs loo but have been kind of busy doing the bigger, more important, things in the house – like actually getting it habitable in time for Christmas.

So, as soon as we had the chance we were wading through old cards and photos and trekking off to Ikea for frames. Good old Ikea, what would we do without the humble Ribba frame? Affordable, simple design which – en masse – looks pretty good.

What did we decide to include on the wall? Well, first we went through photos and pulled out ones that make us smile – either for a memory or – more often – for the sheer stupidity. There are photos of my best mate and her gorgeous family, a pair of tiny sandy feet belong to our ‘charge’ (we’re his legal guardians) and there are some that maybe need a little more explanation, for example:

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We helped a friend who was compiling a recipe book by testing out recipes and taking pics. Someone decided to sneak into shot – it’s always made us laugh.

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We got married at Hazlewood and our surname is Tipper. You can imagine the hilarity – in fact, this image was our ‘thank you’ cards. It’s now a family favourite.

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Oly and his bro at our wedding playing ‘horse lips’. Never tried it? Blow a raspberry and take a pic…..

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See? Horse Lips is always fun!

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A few years ago I found this photo at my mum’s. My darling, skint, ill, only just about getting by mum. Turned out she had saved up and bought a water pump for a village in India. She just kind of didn’t tell anyone. Sums her up perfectly.

After we’d decided on photos we looked back at a stash of cards; many of which Oly and I originally gave to my mum over the years. She kept nearly everything we gave her so, when clearing out her house, I came across them stashed in books and drawers. They still make us smile and we like the fact they have kind of gone full circle.

And then there’s this:

Far Side cartoon

Far Side cartoon

This was from a Far Side wall calendar from, probably, about 25years ago. It was cut out and put in a clipframe and hung in my mum’s loo  – Oly has always loved it and the sheer inanity of putting cartoons in unexpected places. So, now it is hung in our unexpected place!

Also, in need of a little explanation is the needlepoint hunting picture.

We couldn’t find a place for this in the main house and – honestly – we’re not too keen on the subject matter yet can appreciate the craftmanship. However, it was given to my grandfather by his mother (made by her) so we wanted it to have a place somewhere. Is it wrong to hang a family heirloom in the loo?!

So, forgive my dodgy photography skills and take a look at what else is included:

To figure out the gallery wall layout we measured the wall space and mapped it out on the floor with tinsel (errrrr, obviously, doesn’t everyone?).   We then created an arrangement we were happy with (with Humph’s help, of course) and took a photo to work to.

We then just transferred the whole lot onto the wall – which took HOURS!! We started with each corner, then along the line until we had the outline, before filling in the middle. We weren’t patient or anal enough to measure and calculate distances between frames, so it definitely has a homespun feel to it and is all the better for it. Well, that’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it.

It’s almost impossible to get a good shot of the full wall, given the tiny room and space to manoeuvre, but here’s my best shot(s) at it.

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So now this creation makes us smile and hopefully it will amuse our guests too – it’s very “us”.

The Disco Loo is now complete. Well, until I manage to convince Oly that we really do need that revolving glitter ball from Ikea.

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Happy new year!

Hope everyone had wonderful festive seasons and you’re full of hope and inspiration for a new year? This quote – by the unmistakable Tennyson – perfectly summed up the usual New Year expectations for me:

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’.”

So, for us, 2013 left with a whimper and 2014 entered the same –  thanks to dreaded lurgy that induced chronic asthma and even an (almost unheard of) day off work. Meh. Still, it has at least made us slow down and consider the year ahead – in house terms anyway.

As you know from our last hurried pre-Xmas post we completed what we set out to do in 2013; get all the main ‘lived in’ areas of the house sorted by Christmas. I’ll look forward to catching you up with how it all looks over the next few months, with full room reveals I promise! The reaction from friends who visited over Christmas kind of affirmed how well we’ve done!

So, what lies ahead for the house in 2014? Well, honestly, we’ve run out of money and have a big old credit card (don’t worry, 0%) to pay off but – once that’s behind us – these are the bigger things still left to do:

  1. The study. It’s the 4th bedroom, but we’ll use it as a study plus maybe a bit of an over-spill dressing area.
  2. The utility room. What was the old kitchen and currently just a dumping ground.
  3. The house bathroom. Whilst it’s had a decent lick of paint and is certainly very useable we do plan to start again.
  4. The back garden. We have a patio/paving solution to find plus some general maintenance.
  5. The steps/driveway. Again, nothing that can’t wait and – I suspect – once we find out the costs, something that will end up waiting a good few years!!

Of course, there’s lots of little things and ongoing maintenance too but they’re the big ones. Will they happen in 2014? Some will, some won’t. We certainly won’t be having such a crazy year!

So, upcoming blog posts will mostly be showing things you haven’t yet seen (because I was so rubbish at staying on top of it all) plus other random ramblings. I’m not quite sure what direction this blog may end up taking – but hey, let’s just see. I ain’t gonna plan for anything, or plan against it.

In the meantime, I have had comments that there haven’t been enough Humph pictures. Sorry, here you go:

sunlightHumph

He isn’t actually that happy about the nasty, dirty, old carpet. It’s the sun he likes. His taste is far superior, honest.

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How to varnish a table that was waxed

This isn’t the most exciting post, however, it may be helpful for anyone else deciding on a varnish. Besides, it’s a break from posts that contain the cat.

We made a bit of an error in judgement with our new dining table. We had it made – in solid oak – by the joiners who made our kitchen cabinets – the legs are painted in Farrow&Ball Railings to match the island colour, the top is wood.

(It’s an amazing table by the way, much better than what we may have afforded in a store and we were able to provide our required measurements. Anyway, I digress……)

A varnished oak table with Farrow and Ball Railings on legs

We wanted to retain the character of the wood and yet also not have to worry about scratches etc. So we were advised to go for a wax finish, which we did but very quickly realised this was a bit of a mistake!

The wax was marking with any wet ring stains from cups and glasses and, more importantly, coming off if you put your elbows on the table for too long. Now, whilst it could have been a great way to ensure proper table manners, it wouldn’t have really been a practical way to live.

So, after much um-ing and ah-ing and internet research we decided to scrap the wax and go with a varnish (laquer) instead. We had only applied one coat of liquid wax with a couple of good buffings so didn’t think this was beyond our skills to get it off and go again.

Maybe worth reminding you at this point – we’re not particularly practical and we’ve certainly never varnished anything before (unless a manicure counts?) so we were a little bit daunted and worried about ruining our new table. But after some great advice from the incredibly helpful  Wood Finishes Direct we were armed with all we needed and it actually turned out to be a dead easy job.

We stripped all traces of the wax from the table using white spirit and scotch pads (so much less messy and effective than steel wool we were advised by our friendly website and how right they were!).

Then we sanded it really well. We wetted the wood with water (once more great advice from our web friends) to check we had an even colour and no wax remained. We didn’t have an even colour, so we scrubbed those bits again with white spirit and repeated the wetting with water. An even colour was achieved – we were good to go.

We had opted not to use a wood stain as we were happy with what the wood looked like wet – an indication of what it would look like with the varnish applied.

We applied the varnish with some incredibly nifty foam brushes that made it a doddle and avoided brush marks. A quick denib between each coat with some sandpaper and, 3 coats later, we were done!

We used Manns Extra Tough Clear Varnish and it was every bit as good as the reviews said. Went on like a dream, no smell, dries quickly and was a lovely matt finish with just the slightest sheen.

A wooden table varnished with clear laquer

The result is a table we’re very happy with and has, so far, proven to have been a wise decision. We’re hosting a birthday dinner next week for a friend, so that will no doubt test it further.

Norwegian Forrest Cat on bed

Ooops, he sneaks into a post once more. Oh, come on – is this not cute?!!

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Yet another cat bed

Oly had a plan for the window in our dining room. The cat has tweaked those ideas.

Lord Humphrey

Lord Humphrey

Ol is a huge music fan and has a small collection of much-loved vinyl. He’s always wanted somewhere to sit and listen to said vinyl so we decided this window presented the perfect opportunity.

(I think he has dreams of the good little wifey in a pinny baking bread on a Sunday morning whilst he sips coffee and Ella croons another crackly jazz classic. But that will never be, I don’t own a pinny.)

Whilst on the lookout for stylish chairs Oly announced he also needed a foot stool – the Sunday morning fantasy apparently came complete with somewhere to put his feet.

So that’s how my cursor came to rest on the ‘chaises’ category on my new favourite website – made.com

To be honest, I’d been looking for an excuse to buy one since I fell in love with the beautiful curves of the Halston Panama. (They also do this in an amazing hot pink but Oly’s fantasies rarely involve pink furniture. At least, I think they don’t……)

Before we talked ourselves out of it, this was ordered but it’s only recently it went to its rightful place. And since then, it’s been a firm favourite with a certain someone:

From the rare occasions we’ve been able to sit on it we can confirm it’s super comfy and beautifully finished. We wanted to add a splash of colour so opted for a lovely cushion from David James Interiors – made from Sanderson’s Bellflower fabric, a bargain for £12.50.

I’d hoped the cushion might have put the cat off. But no, stubborn little sod.

Chaise longue and Sanderson cushion

Something new to cover with fur

We do have some friends who really don’t like cats (the fact that they’re our friends trouble us slightly). To them,  allowing the cat to steal the chaise will be sheer lunacy. But seriously, could you resist this face?

But I've been so tolerant of the mess, I only want a little sit down

For those who really don’t care about the cat (weirdos) and are purely here for the paint – the wall is Farrow&Ball’s Cornforth White and the woodwork All White.

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