Wednesday 30 March 2011

Our Kitchen-slash-Everything

I'm (sort of) going against my better judgment in posting these pictures of our kitchen... in one way I feel it's a bit too unfinished - see to do list down at the bottom - and yet it is also our most finished room. I'm hoping that showing these might somehow motivate me to do that final push and finish/change those last few things that are begging to be done...

Originally this space was two rooms and where we have the glass roof and doors was a slightly dodgy 1990's extension with mean ivy-clad windows. The room where the kitchen is now was very dark and dingy.

Kitchen was made by a Andrew Macintosh - a local furniture maker who have a showroom just around the corner. The units are sprayed in a copy of Farrow & Ball Bone. Lights are Original BTC and the chandelier is by Flos. When Hugh and I moved into our old flat it was the first thing we bought... even before a sofa. Ah, those frivolous days...
The painting is by Sarah Bowman and gives us a glimpse of Cornish calm, we used the fantastic 'own art' loan scheme to buy it.

This is our only sofa - so when (when...!?) the sitting room is done we'll probably move it in there, but it is lovely having a sofa in the kitchen, so it would be nice to get another one. Someday. In fact this view shows a lot that needs doing or changing... sorting out the fireplace, replacing the kitchen door, getting rid of the old kitchen table and the filing cabinet, putting pictures up, the list goes on, and on.

To do:
  • Get our splash-back for behind the hob
  • Re-fit the fireplace, Hugh has stripped and repainted it but we need to decide on the new hearth tiles.
  • Get rid of horrid (but so useful) filing cabinet - need an elegant solution!
  • Get new kitchen table - this is a long way off... but... (and while we are at it a new sofa)!
  • Put pictures up
  • Sort our notice board, or somewhere to put all the paper/kids drawings/photos etc
  • Blinds for windows - need to choose fabric and make these...
  • Order and put up Original BTC Hector wall lights for under the glass
  • Replace kitchen door with a part glazed one so we get more light into the hall
  • Finish painting and draft exclusion, endless draft exclusion.

I've updated the 'our house' section to show some before and building works photos.

PS - a bit of a reality check! I took these photos a few weeks ago, and I don't think it's been this tidy since... behind me the counter is piled high, dishwasher needs emptying, the table is covered in mess. I was intending to go shopping today... but I couldn't find some vouchers I was hoping to spend so turned kitchen up-side-down, then gave up. Now blogging instead. In horrid track suit bottoms due to lack of clothes.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Kids London - Diana Memorial Playground

Deep in the midst of Kensington Gardens an owl watches over an ancient pirate ship wreck.
Well nearly, anyway.

The Diana Memorial Playground (not be be mistaken for the memorial fountain thing...) is truly a kids' paradise. And I love it too. Go back in time and the 8 year old me could have spent many happy days here.

There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore - but all safely enclosed. In fact you are not allowed in unless you are accompanying a child, so I strongly suggest borrowing one if you don't have one so you can go and have a look. Or if you are super early you can go in WITHOUT a child from 9.30-10.
I took a photo of the map on the notice board if you're that interested - it's the sort of thing I like looking at - and added some visiting facts too.

The inspiration for the playground (true to its location) was J.M.Barrie's Peter Pan, so you'll be able to find not only the pirate ship - well you'd be hard pushed to miss that... - but also teepees and Wendy houses, totem poles and hidden treasure... watch out for the crocodile lurking in the sand ready to snap!
There is also lovely planting to admire if you are so inclined and thinking about what on earth you are going to do with your garden like moi.

We were early birds when we visited... partly so I could get some pictures without looking like a child-catcher and partly because, as you can see, it was such a beautiful day. We were literally the first people in the gate. So early that we disturbed the squirrel's playtime.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Time... just give me a minute

Where does the time go? Seriously WHERE??
Nearly the middle of the week again - and I'm not even sure where last week went, wouldn't it be great if we could just buy a little extra time every now and again? My current fantasy is being able to pause everything around me, then I could just catch up on all that stuff that I need to do... especially write a few more of the blog posts that I've been planning on!

Hugh's brother made me these beautiful vouchers for Christmas... I cashed one in last week and had supper with some friends. Time well spent.

Such a great gift... precious time indeed.

Monday 14 March 2011

7 things from 7 days

This is what the last week has looked like for me...

1. We celebrated the first signs of Spring and some sunny weather with a trip to Kew Gardens. Coco collected some ‘Kew Treasure’ - I have told her many many times NOT to pick flowers... but my heart melted a little when she gave me this crocus.

2. I've been lusting after more sleep - little Henry has managed to get a lot for himself, but I'm still walking around like a zombie. Six hours of broken sleep just doesn't do it for me.

3. Veg planting; FINALLY IT'S HAPPENED. We've sown some seeds, lets hope we can watch them grow... As I write they are actually still sitting on the kitchen floor, almost feels mean to put them outside!

4. A Trip to the Tate that mainly involved coffee and shopping - not much art (except sunflower seeds) but I have to tell myself that that is the joy of living in London I can use a great art establishment as a coffee house. Stocked up on some good childrens presents too, including the Alice Melvin A-Z stamp set and a couple of books from their brilliantly curated selection, Where's the Cake? and Lemons are not Red.

5. Moo cards and stickers on the way!
Ordered some thank you cards from for all our baby-related gifts. Couldn't resist adding a moo sticker book to the order too.

6. When rain kept us inside I let Coco loose with some pots, a few straws and some soap...

7. I made my first 'mood board' as part of the Blogging Your Way workshop I'm doing. I've been having a lot of fun and making my fair share of mess... I'll be sharing more so watch this space!

When you can't help but pray...

I've edited my post from last Thursday.

Over the weekend, as the news has continued to emerge from Japan the more I've thought about how much of the beautiful art of Japan, like Hokusai's Great Wave, was born of living with the fear of earthquakes and tidal waves.

My cousin lives in Tokyo and he said that his office building "was just waving around like grass in the wind" - sitting here safe at home on what definitely feels like 'solid' ground, that somehow seems like a very poetic image. It's hard to even imagine the reality. I'm not even sure if I want to imagine what it must have been like and how grim the ongoing prognosis is. It's too scary.

My thoughts are with the thousands of people who have been effected. There must be a million individual stories that we'll never hear.

Thursday 10 March 2011

Coco's bedroom

Am slowly doing the rounds in the house with my wide-angle lens so I can show you how we are living now... first up, Coco's bedroom.

The chest of drawers are painted in 'Bone' by Farrow & Ball - mainly as we had the paint spare to be honest, but I do love this colour - you'll see a bit of a green theme in the house - my eternal search for calm maybe!?
The rest of Coco's room is painted in 'Dimity' also Farrow & Ball.
I made the bunting for Coco's third birthday - shows a picture of her every month for the first three years.
The picture on the drawers was bought in Fowey in Cornwall last summer from a lovely shop called Bird. Just found it available online at Caroline McGrath.
Above the mantelpiece is a beautiful hummingbird paper cut by Claire Brewster that we bought Coco for her first birthday... (which means she'll be able to take it with her when she leaves home... hmm, might have to get another one)!

The mantelpiece is loaded with 'fiddle-faddles' as my Dad used to call my 'things'. Super practical older sister made the FIDDLE-FADDLE shelf way back in the 80's and originally painted it lipstick red...
It really is a dust trap for small things (see the taxi below) - and houses lots of pretty or sentimentally valuable treasures. Probably deserves a post in it's own right.
I made the 'C' and 'O' letters and covered them in paper somewhere back in the mists of time and I never got around to doing the five more that Coco needs to spell her 'big' name. Money box (under the 'O') was mine when I was little.
Green tree is actually a hook that needs putting up.
The photo is of me and my Mum when I was 18 months old - check out the 70's dungarees!

Books! It looks like there are lots here, but I feel like I've read them all 1000 times each.
Puzzles! and I've put the bits back in these 1000 times too.
The book ends were a present when Coco was born - good idea for a gift I think, there are some lovely ones around. We bought the boat ones on the mantelpiece.
And can you spot the lonely little fisher-price fireman?

Lovely ceramic letters from Shelf and a tiny box especially painted for us (in 'Breakfast Room Green') by one of my parents friends.

Our print of Uprisings by Kozyndan - I love this print, it maybe everywhere but it still makes me smile. Lots of little bunnies being tumbled by the great wave!
After the events on Friday (March 11th) in Japan, I may think a little differently about this print. It may not literally meant to be a tidal wave, but it now has a haunting resonance.
Wine box shelving - further intentions here - I want to paint the insides, and probably put a few more up too.

View from the doorway - you can see how close we are to the tube through the window.
The bed has a gorgeous quilt made by my friend, this also deserves its own post - and a better photo.
I must say I look at these pictures of Coco's room and all I can think of is all the things we still have to do.
I've cropped out the bare light-bulb - I really want a George Nelson Bubble lampshade, and can't quite bring myself to compromise on that one!
We still need to paint her window frame and the picture rail, also need to frame and hang some more pictures... but note, her blinds are up. Made with my own fair hand, and the matching cushion (domestic goddess - tick)!
We'll get there one day.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Vintage Toys

I am attempting to do a 'house update' for the blog to show where we've got to in this rambling home renovation! It's coming soon, I promise. So I spent some time taking photos of Coco's room the other day and it made me realise just quite how many 'vintage' toys she has.
Now calling them 'vintage' makes me feel quite old - as in reality they were either my toys when I was little or Hugh's... so they are 30+ years old, which I guess does make them vintage, but I don't want to feel vintage. Anyway, I digress...

My parents kept a lot of my old toys, from the fisher price garage (remember that!? Surely everyone had one...?) to all my soft toys, which are probably the essence of unhygienic. The things that Hugh's mum kept seem more 'select' including a lot of puzzles which I can't quite believe still have all their pieces after four children. But the best thing about all of them is that Coco still plays with them. So most essentially, they still do the job but as a by-product they look quite nice too.

Two dolls in one. Oh, they were thrifty our parents weren't they? This little doll has two heads and then her dress is reversible, featuring some beautiful prints, very of their era!

I must have gone through a phase of labeling (start how you mean to go on, I say) as lots of my toys and books - especially the much loved Miffy ones, have my name on them in slightly determined handwriting.

Glad our parents saved us the boring task of traipsing around car-boot sales to find such treasures!

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Outside / Inside

Signs of Spring. Every year I seem to take lots of photos like this. I can't help myself. I took this about two hours ago after dropping Coco off at nursery, feeling the sun on my back, lovely.
But I will also miss the gnarly wintry trees too... and after stumbling across the images below recently am wondering where I can accommodate a lovely big bit of tree in our house?

Left: from via decor8 Right: from via door sixteen

Will have to go beach-combing... or maybe just a walk in Richmond Park? Not sure what the 'rules' are on helping yourself to branches in a Royal park though?

And... when funds allow I'd love to get one of these... been lusting after the 'A book becomes a tree becomes a book' shelf since 100% design 2009, I think it's going to stay out of reach for me for a while but you've got to have a WISH list don't you!?

Left: A tree becomes a book becomes a shelf. Right: Tree coat stand by Swedese, from Skandium

(ooh - more trees/twigs branches on walls just spotted on Bloesom this morning)!