Monday, 19 January 2015

the WC before and after

Recently I had ten days off work and without the where withal (or perhaps the inclination) to go away anywhere, I chose to spend my time in the water closet, the WC, the loo, the lav, the littlest room !

Regulars here will know that I decided to decorate the hall, stairs and landing just before Christmas.
Well it's almost done, apart from the floor. In fact it was all almost done before Christmas.................apart from the floor.
I'm procrastinating.
Bending down, sitting cross-legged on the floor, all hurts, so I diverted my attention to the WC.

I'll show you part of the hall first, the chalkboard wall. The hall is so narrow that I couldn't stand back and get a better shot.

I've had blackboard envy for a considerable amount of time, and when I did this (and my friends wrote over it and the neighbours children drew all over it) I loved it so much, that I decided to paint the loo walls (and ceiling) black too.

I also took up the carpet and painted the panelling and door frame in brilliant white.
I seasoned the blackboard paint with chalk.
I've always loved this picture that I put on my Pinterest board Wall Displays, where a collection of cameras is highlighted by putting them against blackboard walls and I realised that if I had some blackboard walls of my own, I could try and replicate it a little.
I have loads of framed photos of friends and family, but they were in the ex old geezers loft, so I got them back and painted and distressed most of the frames with black and graphite, leaving a few gold ones in their original state.
I went through a massive trunk full of photos (an afternoon that was spent reminiscing) and found some more and painted yet more frames.

And now I have a blackboard photo gallery in the WC, with names of friends and dates of days gone by, memories of travels in far off places, and memories of family also gone but not forgotten.

The ceiling worked out way better than I imagined, when I found the perfect quote to wind round the light.

From quiet homes and small beginning
out to the undiscovered end
There's nothing worth the wear of winning
but laughter and the love of friends
- Hilaire Belloc
At face value it seems to fit because I wanted the words to spiral out to the ends, and I've been to the 'ends' of the earth, and also the water closet is all about friends, but I think it's a great quote with a great meaning.

As you can see I painted the floor white, but this is the only section I've done, so that it would be photo worthy.

I had no plans for putting up the pictures, I didn't lay them on the floor, I just put my favourite photos on either side at eye level and just let the gallery grow randomly.

I don't really like pictures of myself but this one I can cope with. It was 25 years ago exactly that I went on an amazing overland trip from London to Kathmandu and the best thing about visiting the Taj Mahal was that we were the first people there at 6am and we had it to ourselves at first and you have to take your shoes off, so walking on the cool white marble made it even more special.

I've been spending a lot of time in the water closet, and now you know why.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

the reason for my blogging downfall.....

When I took another break from blogging last year I worked on a few small areas in the house. One thing that was really bugging me was the sofa.
The sofa is pretty new and pretty nice, but it's hard to relax at night, the back cushions make it too upright.
That's great in the daytime when I might want to sit upright and blog, but not so good at night when I want to relax, throw the laptop on the floor and watch something on tv.

I had the idea of switching the back cushions for smaller ones that would be far easier to throw around or sink into, rather than trying to lift the cumbersome original cushions onto the floor (which I did.....often.....I've mentioned before, I'm pretty lazy and I love watching films).
When I got the extra spondulies from this job, I went straight to a Next superstore and found three cushions straight away, which put me on a mission to find more.

As I'm always trying to be eclectic I went for different styles. The grey velvet (only £8), green ruched velvet (£14) and devore velvet (the most expensive at £25) were the first buys.

I couldn't resist the printed blue and white cushion and it was a steel at £6. Also from the same shop I got the duck egg blue, brown and green check cushion (14.99) and the grey felt cushion (can't remember how much that was but it was inexpensive).

The linen cushion with the green stripes came from H & M online, I think it was £7. The brown check was a £2 remnant I made into a 50cm cushion for the back row (the other three being the same size).

Then I just needed one more to tie it all together, something with green and blue and definitely a pattern and I found it online, in the US, and it looked right when I put the computer on the sofa to try it for size.

When I received it, I found the background a little yellow for my liking but I love the pattern and all the other colours, so it stayed.

And this has actually become the reason for my blogging downfall, because it's way too comfy and the laptop gets discarded early in the evening.

And in true blogging style, let me just show you the other end of the room that is in slight disarray, due to staging the sofa (I had to take the throws're guests after all)) and numerous painting projects, and of course my favourite little photo bomber is never far away.

I'm currently off work because the boss has closed the café for 10 days for essential maintenance but I still haven't finished the hall, stairs and landing because I'm slightly obsessed with the WC. That sounds weird but I had a little idea to make it more interesting and it's all coming together, more on that soon.........

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year xx

If you've been here before and read the last post...................
no, I haven't finished the hall...........but I did manage to get out all the Christmas decorations and decorate the café where I work.

So, here are some pictures and few words because I'm rather late with this post.

The finished cabinet makes a better backdrop to the Christmas tree....................

 last year it didn't look quite so good.

I managed to get a fake wired branch this year to make a Christmas mantle, it works better than the lights I used last year and I can get more of the decs on it, so the tree isn't quite so packed.

The kitchen got a little Christmas too, with metal decorations on some branches I now keep out all year long and my latest additions, a pair of cute reindeer on springs.

At work, I recycled the recycled decorations from last year, the camembert boxes with string, packaging and bottle tops and added a garland made from cutlery, orange slices, chillies and light bulbs.


I was also asked by the boss to make some 'things' out of marzipan. He's half German and he says the cafe's and cake shops there are filled with marzipan sculptures - so here is my tiny offering (that drove me nuts).


so have a very

and a

Friday, 28 November 2014

it's not Christmas yet !

While some of you will have had Thanksgiving, and many of you have decorated your homes, and written more than one Christmas post, I am the lunatic who has decided to decorate my hall, stairs and landing AND the toilet in a cupboard, right at the end of November.......

because it's not Christmas yet !

The quatrefoil grille on the rad cover has to go, I really don't like it any more. The rather pink display on top, that went ages ago, it was just too pretty.

We originally painted the walls in a pale blue - that's gone.

About 10 years ago I did the woodwork in a cream then aged it with a glaze - that's gone too.

That horrible carpet - gone - I'm going to paint the lovely old floorboards.

My favourite part of the hall ? The hook on the end of the rad cover for Rufie's leads, it's neat and tidy and makes me smile every time I use it - that'll be staying !

The landing ? Well cleverly I never took any photos of it, but it's pretty much the same but with an old bannister rail !

What will the colours be ? Well there's a clue in one of the pictures.

What's left to do ? A second layer on the walls, the topcoat on all the woodwork, virtually all of the toilet, sanding all the floorboards, painting and sealing them and a few little surprises.

Then there's Christmas decs to do here and at the café - wish me luck !!!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

a bit of this and that and a little chicken wrap !

No, I've not been gone so long because I've been working on changing this into a food blog !
A little chicken wrap is not about my favourite sandwich (it wouldn't have chicken in it anyway), but something entirely different.........more on that later.

First, I need to tell you about dear Nancy over at A Joyful Cottage, who wrote a lovely piece about my home and me and made me realise that I seriously need to pull my finger out (not the nicest expression in the world, but very apt) and get on with some creating and decorating.
You can read all about it here.

The reason I haven't posted for so long, or visited y'all, is not for any particular reason, just a chain of events.
Friends who know me here will know that I have a lazy streak, and I'm very good at allowing myself to be lazy, especially after the workload I had during our busiest summer at Coast Café.

In fact summer seemed to go on and on and on - the last time I wore 3/4 length trousers (because the kitchen gets unbearably hot) was only three weeks ago during half term, when the café was once again as busy as it had been in July !

Something else happened, I lost some weight. I didn't notice at first that I'd dropped 6lbs. But the 10 or 11 hour days (I know chefs in top end restaurants do much longer days than this) on my feet with no break, then feeling too tired to eat at home, took their toll. It was easy to carry on because the busy schedule carried on. To date I've lost 17 lbs. When I lose weight I start to think about clothes more and more. So instead of buying stuff for my house, I did more clothes shopping and less crafting.

Feeling better about the way I looked made me realise that I'd like to go out more. I was turning into a bit of a recluse, and my brother kept remarking on it. I was quite happy though, happy to be in my own space without the old geezer, happy to be at home, happy but perhaps wondering if it was a little unhealthy.
So I've been asking friends to go out for a drink (which they find extremely bizarre) and we've got quite a few evenings planned from now till Christmas.
I'm still not much of a drinker because I can't bear feeling rough the next day (and a certain party in my twenties made me realise I didn't want to ever be out of control again - maybe that's another post for another day !) so I don't go crazy, but it's been fun.

So, the chicken wrap....................
My poor wee dog got a grass seed in his paw in August. They can be extremely dangerous, as they're like thorns that can travel up to the heart or lungs. Luckily the vet realised that it was probably a grass seed when we went for a routine vaccination. I thought Rufie was doing his normal summer scratching and itching but the vet realised it was more serious. He was booked in for the next day, and when I collected my sad little dog who was very sleepy and kept 'crying', this is what he looked like........

with his little chicken wrap !

And even though he was totally exhausted and could hardly hold his head up, he followed me everywhere, because he didn't want to be alone.

And I felt like a very bad Mum who had taken my fluffy baby for torture, and I knew we had to visit the vets twice more before the ordeal was over.

About two weeks later when the chicken wrap came off, Rufie had a slightly alien looking foot, but it had healed up nicely and he seems to have forgiven me.

From Tuesday I have a week off, so I'm going to make a start on my hall, stairs and landing. Something I've been putting off for months but Nancy has inspired me to get on.
I'm not sure how much I'll get done because I'm going to London with my bf Pandy (one of the teenagers at work told me that saying bff is uncool, so I've cut it to bf !!) on Friday for a couple of nights, because we're going to see Strictly Come Dancing at the BBC studios in Elstree. She got everyone she knows to apply for free tickets (for every single Saturday that it's on tv) because she loves a certain pro called Anton du Beke, and I couldn't believe it when I won. This is the best present I could give someone who has done so much for me over the years.

I've also just finished watching the latest series of Downton, which ended in an incredible climax and now we have to wait for the Christmas special to see what happened next. And because I used to work for Spode and Royal Worcester (selling their wares in a reputable department store !!), let me just tell you that Lord and Lady Grantham and their friends and family drink their tea from Spode's Stafford White, just in case you were thinking of investing in a new tea service.
And if you're feeling very flush a little Stafford Flowers would mix in very nicely !

I've also been trying to catch up with all the posts I've missed. I've caught up with a few people so far, but I've still got a lot of reading to do, and I'm determined to read everything and thank you to those of you that asked after me. And while I'm here a friend has a Christmas giveaway that I know you'll all love, and she made it very easy for me to catch up with her because she doesn't post much (!!!) so thank you Diane, and this is the link The Checkered Apple

I have actually made a few minor changes at home, so I may be back with them soon - or maybe not !
Thanks if you've made it to the end
Fiona x