Thursday, 26 June 2014

Making over the smallest room in the house

Finally, after a very little emotional blackmail - yep I had to go there - the Husband has ripped out the nasty loo and sink in our cloak-room, the smallest room in our house. I couldn't take looking at it anymore. No one used this loo as it was sooo gross and it has been weeks and weeks since I asked the Husband to get started on making the room over. So after a little silent treatment, it did sadden me to go to those extremes but on Friday I came home to find the offensive items in the front garden, so job done.

Ready..... this 'before' picture comes with a warning! As you can see someone clearly smoked on the loo! Gross, gross, gross. Underneath that nasty torn vinyl floor was some quite nice vintage lino, but that currently is in the front garden also waiting to go to the dump. Yipee!!

You may remember a few months ago I was collecting white tiles from Freecycle, I figured everyone with a garage has standard square white tiles hiding somewhere in their garage so why buy them? One man's trash, is a creative woman's treasure etc and when off-set like subway tiles and finished with grey grout I think bog standard white tiles can look pretty cool. We have enough tiles for the walls in our cloak room now and we even managed to score grey floor tiles and some tile adhesive too.

Of course I have been collecting everything we need to complete this little vintage inspired cloak-room renovation. We have had the sink for ages but it's a wall hanging one and we have established the wall it needs to go on is not strong enough to hold it. Like I needed one, this problem offered a great excuse to visit the reclamation yard.  A super quick visit to south London's Aladdin's Cave managed to throw up the base of a metal table which almost perfectly fits the dimensions of the sink. The table is a little too tall but nothing a hack-saw can't fix.

I am loving the idea of using a vintage door knocker as a towel rail and Pinterest is of course giving me more and more helpful suggestions. I hadn't thought of placing vignette on a toilet cistern before but even the smallest room needn't be boring.

I am hoping the Husband has time to get the tiles done and the fittings installed in the next week, in time for my birthday. Yep, where did the last year go. I'm thinking a new camera would be the best birthday present but a gift wrapped short projection toilet is far more likely.

Monday, 16 June 2014

When in doubt, bake an emergency cake

On Sunday I was feeling a bit down, I was wallowing in too much to do, not enough time to do it in and wondering when the decorating will ever end. Two days of prepping the hallway walls hardly made dent in what needs doing. Then I got a phone call letting me know my favourite uncle was rushed to hospital on Sunday morning. Not really knowing what to do with myself I decided the best thing to do was bake an emergency cake and eat it. I made a classic Victoria Sponge, using the same recipe I was taught at school. I am actually mortified that 'domestic science' isn't taught in schools anymore. Knowing how to bake a cake is, in my opinion, a life skill.

Just in case you didn't learn it, or you have an emergency, here is a fool-proof Victoria Sponge cake recipe.

225g/8oz butter (room temperature)
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 medium eggs (beaten)
2 teaspoon (tsp) vanilla extract (about a cap-ful)
225g/8oz self raising flour (sifted) - I add a 1/4 tsp of baking powder to the flour
a milk bottle cap-ful of milk to loosen

Cream the sugar and the butter. Then add the beaten eggs slowly, making sure they are fully mixed into the mixture to avoid curdling. Add the sifted flour and mix until totally smooth. Add the vanilla and the milk, give it all a final mix and you're done. Really what could be simpler?

Split the mixture across two butter greased cake tins (lined with grease proof paper is better) and bake for about 25 minutes at 180C (350F/Gas 4).

Check the cakes are done by sticking a skewer into the cakes - the skewer should come out clean and once cooked leave the cakes to cool on a wire tray. I tip mine out of the tins after around 10 minutes.

When both the cakes are cool load with jam (I used Bonne Maman Raspberry Conserve) and freshly whipped double cream, sprinkle the cake with icing sugar, cut yourself a large slice, pop the kettle on, make yourself a cuppa (Twinings English Breakfast for me) and enjoy.

My uncle is in the best place and while we wait for news I will eat cake. And yes, I have stopped feeling sorry for myself.