Finding a balance

Life is still hurtling along at break-neck speed. My new job is quite demanding and is taking up most of my time at the moment. R has also been working very long hours, so we are colliding in the late evening and saying bye bye

 in the mornings and not much else. Luckily R's dad and aunt are taking very good care of us. We are being cooked for, cared for and fussed over. It's like being teenagers again. 

We've been trying to have semi- restorative weekends and not spend all our time driving down to SE London to the new house. It's important to have some downtime. With this in mind we made a tripette to Portobello Road recently as it's very near to R's dad's house, and spent a relaxed couple of ours mooching, oohing, ahhing and recoiling at the prices of everything! . 

See that enamel jug? It was 75 squids!! 

We had to have a coffee to warm us up as it was seriously chilly (come back Summer!)

I serenaded R by singing "Portobello Road, Portobello Road! Streets where the riches of ages are sold!" over and over. He was thrilled. 

We made a stop at The Cloth Shop which is jam packed full of lovely things. I did a lot of touching and stroking (of the fabric, obvs) but settled in the end for some lovely turquoise batik-print muslin that I'm going to make into a curtain for the sink one of these days. 

R had to hold me back from making a lot of impulse purchases. It was all so pretty!

Clever kitty had found the sunniest spot, of course. 

This weekend, after a (very) late brunch and lots of strong coffee, we had another afternoon out, this time at the V&A. West London is so posh, man! We're not used to it! 

R put up some resistance to the Italian Fashion exhibition that's currently on, so we stuck to the permanent collection.

We spent a long time looking at iron gates (the Metalwork section). This, apparently, was much more up R's street. Then we wandered through Europe in the 19th Century. I remembered how much I love the V&A - it's so vast that you could go every weekend and still find something new. 

This was one of my favourites. Valiant pooch defeats deadly snake. 

I loved the crinoline! But I can see how it would have made sitting down very difficult. 

Afterwards we had a stroll down Brompton Road and mingled with the tourists. 

We stopped in 

Skandium

 for a browse. I'd never been in before but it's definitely worth a trip if you're in the area. It's a very peaceful shop, filled with beautiful Scandinavian furniture and accessories, and some really unusual bits and pieces.

After mooching for a while longer, we hopped on the bus and headed home for a cup of tea in front of the telly.

In other news, things are going well down in our little corner of SE London. Our builder is totally amazing and has been making excellent progress with our kitchen. We now have 4 white walls, plug sockets, light fittings and the most lovely, airy space that looks out onto the garden. It's taking shape!

Since the rest of the house is a bit chaotic, extremely dusty and frankly quite yucky at the moment, we have been focusing our efforts on the garden which was in a very sorry state. We replaced the fence to give us more privacy and have now finished painting it. It took aages but has had a dramatic effect. Next job is to put up some trellis, clear a space for a gravelled eating area and re-do the lawn. 

Unfortunately, a fox dug up our rose and it now looks decidedly unhappy. Nasty fox. 

Our new clematis seems to be happy though. 

Mr Plum Tree is doing well too. I have high hopes for him.

One day I hope we'll have a garden that we actually want to sit in! Slowly, slowly I keep telling myself. We'll get there in the end:)

Riight, now I'm going to get into my pjs and watch the final of Great British Sewing Bee:)