In which Alfie gets a bed…

IMG_3900Alfie had taken to sleeping on my pillow. This was, in equal parts, adorable and frustrating. Adorable, because catcatcatcatcat, obviously. Frustrating because he didn’t really like sharing, so my head kept getting bitten and kicked. Also, it didn’t seem super hygienic.

In the end, I decided that he was probably trying to tell me he wanted a pillow of his own, and I was happy to help. I bought a cheap pillow, dug some African wax print from my stash, and got to work. It was an incredibly simple make – I used a pillowcase I already owned as a template, and then kind of made it up as I went along.

Forty-five minutes later, Alfie was happily ignoring his new bed.

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And a while after that, he decided that he bloody loved it. IMG_3936

Now if I could just persuade my brain that having a pillow to itself should help it fall sleep, we’ll be set.

British Home Tours: Before

Welcome, welcome! Come on in! Here’s how our flat looked when we moved in in October 2014.

Here is our long skinny hall. We’re in the basement, so natural light is hard to come by, but we changed the front door shortly after moving in and that made a big difference. The cupboard is home to the gas and electricity meters. We need to redecorate, and I have dreams of a nice radiator cover. Exciting stuff! IMG_2276

On the right, you have the sitting room. We’ve since replaced the windows, which were single glazed and quite broken, but the rest is pretty much the same. We need to paint the walls (light grey), and the floor is a disaster (the floorboards don’t reach all the way to the wall in the bay for some reason). I’d also like to have the artex ceiling skimmed, but I’m not sure how much that costs. We’ve been told there’s only half a chimney, and we don’t know what that means, so I don’t know what we can do with the fireplace yet. IMG_2275

Next up we have the bedroom. It’s hard to judge from pictures of a square room without any furniture, but it’s quite a good size. I’m also using this as my office, so we’re trying to find good storage solutions. If it was just a bedroom, I’d love to open the fireplace up, but that is where my desk goes. IMG_2274

Onto the kitchen! The previous owners designed this kitchen so well to make use of the available space. It needs a bit of TLC, and if I had unlimited funds, I’d replace the floor (which I hate) and the worktop (I’d love a wooden one). However, we’re contenting ourselves with painting the walls yellow. We’ve already replaced the window (didn’t meet safety regulations) and the door (I think this one was an internal one – it was rotten and slugs kept getting in through the seal – RANK!). IMG_2272

Ah, the bathroom. The suite is fine, so we’ve since freshened up in here with a coat of white paint, and we’ve replaced the bath surround with some tongue and groove – this was a bit of a learning process so we need to touch some bits up. IMG_2273

And finally, here are a couple of pictures of the garden. When we looked for a flat we realised we had two options within our budget – an extra bedroom or a garden. After looking round a few places, we realised that the garden was more important to us, because we wanted Alfie to be able to go outside. This one is a lovely size and easy for us to maintain. We had a minor disaster when one of the walls fell down, but we’ve got a lovely new fence now. IMG_2278IMG_2277

So there you go! I love nosing round other people’s houses, so I hope this was interesting for you, too!

Hi 2016!

IMG_3465I don’t know about you, but I love starting afresh on 1st January, ready for new challenges and fun. I have high hopes for 2016, and one of those hopes is that I can make a bit more time for my little blog – I miss it!

2015 was a tough year for me. I was exhausted from my gruelling commute, there were some health scares in my family, I started a business with friends while still working full time, and money was tight so holidays became staycations where I beat myself up over relaxing instead of decorating our flat.

IMG_3067There were good times, too.

  • My friend Marthe came to visit from Oslo for my birthday and we had a fantastic time at Hever Castle and out and about in Brighton.
  • We took an anniversary trip to Paris and stayed in the wonderful Hotel Fabric (of course) in Oberkampf. I finally got to meet one of Ben’s French friends, who introduced us to the charming Butte aux Cailles neighbourhood.
  • I tried West African food for the first time when my Ivorian and Ghanaian colleagues took us to 805 Restaurant in London (it’s also popular with the cast of Star Wars!).
  • We formed a pub quiz team and won enough money in six months to pay for a team Quizmas Dinner. With a whole year of quizzing in 2016, we should be able to cover the drinks next time, too! GO QUIZZLY BEARS!!!
  • I took my mum on a birthday tour of a nuclear power station; something I’d been promising/threatening to do for about fifteen years.
  • I found a massive pile of zips in my favourite local charity shop £2.

I’m sure there was other good stuff, but these are the memories which come to mind right now.

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I’ve made some changes to my life already in 2016. I will now be working from home, and only 50% of my old full time hours. Taking my old working hours and commute into account, I’ll have something like an extra seven hours a day to dedicate to my business and my life. I’m really excited!

Happy new year, everyone!