Moving in; A focus on aesthetics

For me, minimalism is not about a sterile pure white environment. I appreciate the clean simplicity of that look but I have a two year old and an Irn Bru addict… white is not my friend as my cream fisherman jumper reminds me every ime I feel adult enough to wear it.

What minimalism is for me is a tool, a way of creating a more intentional home and that includes the design. I don’t feel that it’s wrong to want my home to be beautiful; somewhere that I feel joy coming home to.

My parents were the classic renovators; there is not a non-supporting wall in my family home that my Mum has not has altered. Every two to three years the decorating bug would hit them hard brought on either by holiday hosting duties or one of my Dad’s wallpaper bargain finds which now reside in a priest hole at the back of the guest room wardrobe. My Dad swears he did not have the carpenter deliberately build a secret wallpaper stash but I am not convinced. My parents have hordes of fabrics, ornaments and art that have never seen the light of day.

It’s not a pattern I want to repeat.

Apart from the fact that I am not that keen on decorating; interior design yes, actual painting no, I want to choose a design that has longevity, something classic, timeless and flexible where a change of throw pillows or a fresh coat of paint will update the whole look without having to replace everything from light fixtures to the flooring.

So this is mostly a little post to put down the combination of design ideas and inspirations that are guiding me through my little refurbishment…

Son’s Room

When I designed Son’s first room I wanted a gender neutral nursery that could easily be restyled as a guest bedroom when we came to sell the house, and I ultimately chose a black and white woodland theme with yellow accents. The room wasn’t being designed with Son in mind, he really only sleeps in it, but now that he is almost three I think it is more appropriate that it reflects his current likes and encourages play. His current obsession is Mario and so we are attempting to do a Mario themed room for him, full disclaimer, I will have to bring in the big guns (My Sister) to help with this as I do not have a steady enough hand for detailed work.

The Livingroom

I wanted a big statement change to the Livingroom which was all white walls with laminate flooring which is nearing the end of its useful life but will have a stay of execution as it’s just not in the budget to re-floor the entire downstairs right now. I choose a striking dark cobalt blue (Dulux Sapphire Salute) for the living room. I wanted something vibrant but still classic and had originally wanted a farrow and ball paint but at £47.50 a tin I had to search for a more affordable alternative. I had also picked out a bold, geometric styled, wallpaper from Harlequin called Sumi in cobalt and linen which was a splurge but I absolutely adore it and my wallpaper averse Husband even likes it which is just short of a miracle. I even managed to get it 20% off which made it a little easier to reconcile and I took advantage of my parents’ long standing history with wallpaper and they hung it for me as a house warming present.

Our Front Door

Or our second front door? We have a very odd porch area at the front of the house, it is not big enough to lock the internal door and then turn around and open the external UPVC door. It’s almost completely pointless and I am not sure why someone bothered to go to the expense to add it. Our arrival at home is now a squashed fumble of too many keys, locks and handles; it stresses me out. Changing the porch would run into £1000’s,  not an option, so I am focusing on trying to de-stress the situation but making the internal door so beautiful that I am delighted to see it instead of annoyed that there’s yet another front door between me and my sofa.

My Door

The door itself is beautiful and I am on the hunt for a jewel colour to contrast but not clash with the cobalt. I think a beautiful paint colour and a polish of the door furniture will give the door a new lease of life and make coming home much more welcoming. I am most drawn to a deep coral colour, mustard yellow or emerald green.

What would you choose?

 

Me x

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Moving In; is making a house a home a challenge to minimalism?

We’ve spent almost two years decluttering, paring back, identifying values and generally minimising life in general and now we’ve bought a house an empty shell begging to be filled. The trick here will be to fill it with life and not stuff.

But we still need stuff; stuff to sit on, stuff to cook with, and stuff to play with. The danger here, for me, is that it could become very hard to distinguish between needs and wants. I need a couch; I want this stunning G-Plan vintage suite, 


but I could pick up something cheaper or gently used on Gumtree/Craigslist and round and round I go trying to battle between wanting to buy quality items with classic aesthetics that will last vs. spending as little money as possible, not going into debt and not suffering buyer’s remorse which I am particularly prone to.

I desperately want to make this house feel like a home, our home, and fast! I do not want to repeat the mistakes of house no1 where we lived like tenants; not decorating for over 5 years. We also didn’t really do maintenance as often as we should, certainly not preventative maintenance, and the house because depressingly shabby. It was only the frantic nesting urge brought on by pregnancy that jolted me into replacing carpets, finishing outstanding DIY jobs and giving the whole house a fresh coat of paint or rather paying my Dad to paint. We lived without baseboards in the kitchen for over a year because we were too lazy to cut the baseboard to accommodate a new washing machine.

I do understand that our home will grow and change organically over the time we live there but I have had dream home and future home Pinterest boards on the go for years. I am prepped, I am primed, and I am impatient! I have paint colours, wallpapers and themed kids’ rooms locked and loaded just waiting for the house to apply them to and now I finally have the house.

The decoration is now officially underway. We are working during the day and then heading to the house to paint which is not fun at all but because I start a new job next month I am out of annual leave to take so there is no choice but the burn the candle at both ends. I miss my Son so much it is heart-breaking.

Here are a whole bunch of progress photos of our first day (12-8) and night (7-8.30) of painting. I will also do a very quick post on tips for painting bold colours if the blue wall settles as nicely as I hope it will, though it may be the weekend before I see it in the daylight thanks to the Scottish Autumn.

Me x



Living room before


Living room after one coat of sapphire salute. Must take pictures from the same spot…



Bedroom 2 before


Bedroom 2 afternoon one coat of Dulux first dawn. 

Bedroom 1 before and after a whitewash. 

Moving on: Does this add value to my life? Focusing on Education and Family

The masterplan for this move was focussed around our Son.

When he was born we were forced to evaluate the pros and cons of where we lived and, beautiful as it is, the rural nature of it has a drawback; namely a lack of jobs. Both my husband and I were commuting a total of 80 miles (2 hours) each day to our jobs in Glasgow him by. An added factor was that a certain level of “job poverty” in an area also impacts the standard of education, now this can be a combination of a huge list of socio-economic factors which I won’t get into here it’s just not that kind of blog, whatever the reasons behind it there just weren’t the opportunities available for our Son that we would want him to have. So on a rare date night we took some time to talk about what we wanted from our life now that we were parents and that was;

  • To give our Son access to the best education available to us
  • To reduce our commute – freeing up more time to spend together
  • To create a better living space – A space to learn and play in, a space reflective of our family values

We started with the highest priority, a good education, checking the league tables for Scottish secondary schools. League tables provide a very two dimensional view of education only really telling you how many pupils attained a certain grade level and how in how many subjects. It does not tell you about any kind of pastoral care, how improved those pupils were, how they tackle bullying or the breadth of subjects the pupils have access to which is to my mind one of the key factors in a rounded education. We are not all mathematicians and chemists, some of us are chefs, translators, historians and I passionately belief that education should provide the chance to explore new topics. But there are no league tables for these things, no database of information where parents can prioritise Japanese over Typing or Vocational Studies over French, so we went with the league tables and decided on an area of the Southside that has consistently topped league tables in Scotland for the past decade and met criteria number two, reducing our commute.

The new house is just 10 miles away from work and even in heavy traffic we will spend less than an hour commuting. On the worst of days we should be home by 6 with dinner on the go, that’s at least an extra hour together every day to have breakfast together or just unwind over dinner and that is very precious to me indeed. The best part of my day by far is the enthusiastic “Mummy!” that greets me after a long day at work and to have an extra hour a day filled with toddler silliness is priceless.

We get the keys to our new house on Friday and then the focus on creating a better living space begins. We’ve done some imaginary planning based on our visits and the pictures we have of the house but that doesn’t compare to standing in it when it is a blank canvas, free of the previous owners furniture, ready for us to make our mark on. It will be an ongoing project as we grow into the house and our needs as a family change and I’ll be posting regularly about our progress curating our minimalist home. 

Me x

Moving on; what we let go of and how it felt

It’s been about 4 months since I posted about our house sale. So I am well overdue on an update about how the great minimisation went.

We had just 6 weeks to pack up and move amid the usual to and fro between solicitors. We moved from our three-level townhouse mid-July into my parents place, a mid-terrace family home with nary an original wall intact; my mum loves to redesign spaces. Our Son already has a bedroom there and we have taken up residence in the guest room which in reality is the master as it has an en-suite shower room. My mum has always preferred the smaller of the rooms for its cosy feel. Whatever the reason for her dislike of the master bedroom we are very grateful to have the extra space and the additional privacy that comes with the shower room.

We brought what we thought was the bare essentials with us but in truth we could have brought half as much. We laundered and packed away a whole load of clothes into a suitcase which was promptly dumped into a cupboard and only pulled out to retrieve our swimming stuff and a few pairs of trousers for Son. I can see the entire contents going to the charity shop before we move on. I came with a plethora of baking equipment as I had our friends’ wedding cake to do just says after the big move (a 4 tier cake and 100 cupcakes… ) and since that point it has largely sat in a cumbersome box in my Mum’s dining room. It’s been a great exercise is essentialism finding out what has gone unused and what we have made mad dashes to the storage unit for; *spoilers* there haven’t really been any.

The offloading

We were lucky enough to be able to sell our very large corner couch and our bed frame to the new owner, I am truly not sure if we would have squeezed everything into the storage unit without it. It’s a 75 square foot unit which is about the size of a single car garage for scale. When it came to large items we kept Son’s bed as it was fairly new purchase, an IKEA Kura bed, bought to last him many years, and the antique sideboard which was bought as his changing table, It’s just so beautiful that I couldn’t agree to part with it so Husband and I struck a deal. If it fits it stays. Thankfully it fit in the unit, but we will have to wait and see if it will fit in the house, I feel an upcycle coming on. The antique chest of drawers went to the furniture recycling centre along with a coffee table, kitchen work unit and a bed which had been in the attic since we moved in and came from my parents’ attic before that, hopefully someone will get value from it now.

The smaller stuff was by far the hardest to deal with, and despite owning and having read Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy I did not have the freedom to do everything by category with the exception of paperwork. I did everything by room because that meant we could still live there while we packed and generally I packed from the top down leaving just the stuff going to Mum’s in each room. I have been on this minimalist journey since around January 2016 and was frankly ashamed at how much stuff we still had. There were a dozen or more boxes in the attic or garage that moved with us in 2009. Huge amounts of University coursework, text books and knick-knacks to donate, recycle and landfill. We made perhaps a dozen trips to the donation and recycling centres but thankfully less to the landfill. We tried really hard to find places to recycle things but some things like chipped crockery, non-stick pans and mixed material utensils ultimately went to landfill. The only thing that gave me any comfort in that action was knowing I would be doing everything in my power to reduce or eliminate repeating it.

I would estimate that at this point in time we have minimised at least 50% of the contents of our old house and I believe that we will shed more stuff as we unpack in the new house.

Speaking of New Houses

So two months and 5 offers later we had an offer accepted on a 800 square foot (77m2) 3 bed semi in a leafy suburb south of Glasgow and now it is just a couple of weeks until we move in. I can’t explain the relief I feel, it is like our whole world has been put on pause for the last 3 months and now we finally get to press play again. I am full of excitement about curating our dream home and will be writing about everything from the moment we get in.

I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Me x

We’re moving on; what to leave behind. 

Well we got a lovely surprise this week. After just three weeks on the market our house sold for just under the asking price. We are are utterly delighted. It feels like a reward for all of the hard work we put into the house before it went in the market. 

We are taking a well deserved rest this weekend with a food truck festival and Harry Potter in concert with a live orchestra. 

Then we have to get down to the serious business of packing. We will be moving in with my parents for a short period between selling and purchasing to put some more money into out deposits and to strengthen our buying position. 

The interim move means that we will have to store our larger and non essential belongings. It’s an excellent opportunity to really consider what we want to take the trouble to; pack, move, store (paying to do so), move again and then unpack. I still struggle with waste during this process. The plastic spatula with the scorch marks and scars from every day use still works as a cooking implement, though it’s battle scars make it useless for eggs and pancakes. I don’t want to take it, no one else will want it, but because it has a purpose, not its full original purpose but a purpose nonetheless, I can’t seem to relegate this non recyclable spatula to land fill. 

So I am torn between letting go, wiping the slate clean and making better choices for the new home. Choosing sustainable, quality goods for our new home. 

I worry that if I don’t rid myself of all of the half broken, poorly made and poorly purchased items in this home then I wil lose the chance to truly change things in my new home. 

The clutter in my home is a burden, it fills me with a sense that a series of problems and purchases are just round the corner and i feel like my world is never renewed, it just continues to decay around me. 

I need to take action now otherwise I might bring this “decay” into my new home where it might take root. It’s time for a fresh clean start. 

Me x

Six scars, two ops and minus one ovary. 

I wasn’t sure if I would post anything about my surgery but I am feeling surprisingly chipper about the whole thing. 

So the short update is that I’ve had my left ovary removed laparoscopically. I have 2 small incisions which aren’t causing me any pain and a larger one in my belly button which is. 

I have a fraction of the shoulder tip pain from last time which I put down to the lack of anti-adhesion fluid that I was pumped full of last time. 

I am able to sleep which is the single best post op tip I can give anyone. Sleep, nap, snooze, just rest and let your body heal. 

Given how different both of my surgeries have been I will do a longer post later on so that anyone looking to go down the surgery route can get an idea of the range of experiences. 

For now I am binge watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman and napping. 

Keep well folks 

Me x

Too much change in too little time. 

Life has been hectic to say the least. We have had house valuations, transitions to big boy beds, changes to diets, death, hospitals and the usual spatter of Birthdays, diy and food. 

Over the next month I will be:

  • Taking He and Him on a 2 day trip to London (stay tuned for dinosaurs and eclairs)
  • having surgery to remove my left ovary and clean up my endometriosis a bit. (Not sure how much I’ll post on that bit)
  • Putting my house on the market (because surgery isn’t stressful enough)
  • Celebrating my 4th wedding anniversary 😍

Most of 2017 has been like this, and it looks like it will continue to be full on. It’s more important than ever to focus on my values, keeping myself healthy, present and incredibly grateful for all I have in my life even when things get tough. 

Me x

Here are some pictures of delicious food that I will post about somedayone of my own cakes for a charity event. Semi naked red velvet. 

Black garlic miso tonkotsu ramen. Try saying that 3x fast. You can’t…  you’re face is full of ramen. Ramen Dayo

Gyozagluten free burger with brie, bone marrow butter, fig jam, truffle mayo, strawberry harissa, candied bacon. Bread meats bread

☺️cheese curds… drool

The best sweet potato fries