Life recently

We are getting firmly into the house-renovation groove. I've been thinking (and jabbering on) obsessively about sinks, worktops, fridges, kitchen cabinets. I always get like this – it was exactly the same when we were planning our wedding. I’m an all or nothing person and I'm not very good at being patient! I find myself furiously writing lists, making notes, scrolling through pinterest boards in a slightly manic way. Several times over the last couple  of weeks R has had to physically drag me away from the laptop and tell me I have to brush my teeth and go to bed! I sound unhinged don't I? 

Anyway, we are making slow but steady progress. Over the last few weekends we’ve managed to strip most of the walls. Some of the paper came off easily (the rose-gold and cream stuff), some of it was stuck on like a bitch (the evil orange).  Underneath we found mottled remnants of years of paint, cracked and speckled, actually quite beautiful. It made me think of the people who had lived there, the changing walls and changing fashions that the house has witnessed. 

The plan when we've finished stripping is to whitewash everywhere, and then maybe add some colour bit by bit after we've got used to the light in the rooms. I’m planning a little experiment in wallpaper too (got to get that past R first though). We’ve also been spending a lot of time planning our kitchen layout (much harder than you would think), and researching kitchen units and flooring. Again, the plan is to keep things simple and white, to avoid to many wall cupboards and allow as much light in as possible.

Mum and Dad came to help. It was Dad’s birthday so I baked him a cake (Nigel's chocolate muscovado banana cake), presented him with his presents and then set him (and Mum) to work on house jobs. They were brilliant (thanks Mum and Dad). 

Dad was a little confused by the pom poms, but he seemed to like them. 

Oh and I burnt the cake a bit, oops. 

He was very pleased with his pressies!

At the new house Dad and R had a great time flexing their

non-existent

muscles, talking about tools and hammering/hitting/banging on stuff. Me and mum were a paper-stripping power couple. We did so much stripping I now have repetitive strain injury in my wrist. Clever.  

We made sure to take regular breaks for sandwiches /crisps / boiled eggs and TEA.

R had a lovely time carrying his new manly ladder around and showing off about it.

We've listened to ALOT of radio 4, radio 6 and, when times got tough, Magic.

A little housewarming pressie from Mum

Break for cake and more tea.

Our totally rotten back door. 

We made some miraculous discoveries that filled us with glee. 

Like these beautiful original Victorian hearth tiles in the sitting room, in need of a bit of tlc. 

And an original arch under the stairs that the tenants had boarded up. 

And under the stairs, hidden behind layer upon layer of plasterboard, we discovered the original wooden panelling. Why would you do that??

We also made a few slightly stranger discoveries.....

Like this hole in the floorboard with a length of string inside it..... hmmm.....

We have also made a start on stripping the skirting, which has been painted over and over and is now covered in nasty chips and holes. I cannot lie – this is a hellish job. It involves burning tiny sections with a  heat gun and then scraping away the old paint to reveal the lovely wood underneath. It will also probably kill us, since in all likelihood the paint is made of lead and will poison us.

It took R about a day to do just one room, so for the whole house we’re talking weeks or even months, when you include all of the door frames and wood panelling and banister and staircase……

Our other plans are to sand the floors, reinstate the Victorian fireplaces, dip the doors, replace the bathroom (eventually), opening up the loft and countless other things……

The best thing about house renovations? The long, hot bath you get to have afterwards:)

When we haven’t been slaving away at the house, we’ve been having lovely times meeting friends for dinner 

at

Café East

(amazing, GO – I’ve been fantasising about their pho ever since), seeing Wolf of Wall Street (again, amazing, GO, although it did make me want to run away to the countryside and live in a little cottage and keep chickens). We've been eating takeaways from

Babur

(mmm, mmm) and taking the tram to Ikea on a Monday night (why did we do this?).

We’ve been cooking lots, eating lots, packing up our house (sob).

I made yummy apple and blackberry compote to liven up our morning porridge.

Pretty tulips from R 

And after all that we've been falling into bed exhausted,  we've been planning, chatting and dreaming.