Monday, 29 December 2014

Le grande weekend dans Paris

I was lucky enough to go to Paris a couple of weekends before Christmas. It was freezing. I wore by massive fux-fur coat, brought Christmas gifts for others and maybe a few too many for myself and I became re-acquainted with Martini Bianco.  

Thanks to Les Jardins du Marais for the photo.

We stayed at Les Jardins du Marais which is close to the Le Musee Picasso Paris (Picasso Museum). We were lucky enough to get a great Black Friday Special on the room booking. I thought the hotel was great value and if you book online you also get breakfast included. For us lazy birds this was an added bonus and by French standards the breakfast was a feast. The hotel is made up of lots of small buildings centered around a courtyard which is super pretty at night. Double bonus the hotel is right around the corner from the Metro.

My pre Christmas trip to Paris is becoming a bit of an annual tradition with a dear girlfriend. We start planning our trip around August or when we get an email notification of a EuroStar sale. Even though it is only one night away we always have an absolute blast eating, drinking coffee, maybe enjoying a few cocktails and just watching the world go by. The older I get I really appreciate spending time with friends with no compromise or complications. 

My weekend in pictures......

We walked and walked around Marais.

A Parisian haul.

I finally got off auto and used the manual settings on my camera!

Coming to a picture frame in my living room soon.

Ahhhh Paris, is always a good idea and well worth saving up for.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone.

Our Santa from Lisbon

For those who follow this random little blog thank you. Your comments and encouragement do make me smile and when this house is finished you're all invited to the party!

I hope you have the Christmas season you want with those you love. But mostly I hope you have some rest - we all work too hard and think too much don't we?  Yes my greatest wish for this festive season is sleep.

Bonne Noel et Bonne Nuit xx

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

An actual living room is finally in sight.

I am dreaming of a living room that is stylish and not full of boxes and after Christmas that will actually be a reality.

Currently thinking blues, lots of velvet and vintage gold. In our living room we need to work around our brown sofa, our fake wooden floor and that's about it. If we were flush and time rich the living room would get the wood chip removed and the ceiling replaced but we're not so all that is happening is the room will get a paint job in January. Cheap and cheerful but maybe with a few vintage finds along the way.  Here's a little summary of what my rummage around Pinterest found that looks like what is inside my head. 


Mostly I will be shopping what we already have to pull the living room together but there is some Ebaying and vintage shopping to do.  

I think I am shopping for vintage sky blue curtains to turn into cushions and seat covers.  A pale blue Persian style rug.  I have a Louis XVI style chair in the basement it just needs updating with some black paint me thinks.  I've got a fab three panel mirror, one of the mirrored panels is broken so I paid the princely sum of £1.00 for it. I just need to pop along to the glazier to get that sorted.  I will have to buy some lamps and maybe a side table or two and we definitely need some new blinds - grubby brown is not a good look. 

Overall, now the boxes are finally, FINALLY diminishing I think we will have a proper living room by the end of January, a perfect start to 2015.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Done, a 30 day DIY challenge

November was all about a 30 day DIY challenge to focus our minds and get some jobs completed. I was totally fed up with only seeing things that needed doing and not spaces that were decorated. Apart from five days where a leak, yes, a leak, stopped play (we won't talk about that) we did a little bit of DIY every day and I am so happy with the results. Of course there is still a lot to do, everything took longer than I expected but having a challenge really does focus the brain on getting the big jobs done. 

BEFORE - plaster walls and doors that need sanding and painting after having beading added.

I wanted to get the upper landing walls painted. The three doors on the upper landing painted, along with their frames and the banisters sanded and painted. The boiler cupboard needed a whitewash and a new floor covering and some proper shelves. And then there were the pictures, we have lots of pictures, none had made it safely onto a wall. The little loo as we call it needed a blind making and finally the upper landing needed it's light updating and fitting. So did we do it all? No of course not! But we came close, the only things on my (our) list that didn't get done were making a blind and putting a new floor in the boiler cupboard. If the Husband hadn't tidied away the fabric for the blind, I actually have no idea where it is, I just might have got that task done. 

Ahh black doors.

The challenges were few but major. The biggest pain was painting the frames. The first paint I used was crap (DIY store brand) and even though I sanded down the frames they just looked poop and the paint was much to shiny for my liking. More filling and sanding was the only way forward. Dulux trade satinwood was matt enough for me. Nothing like doing a job twice, but better now eh?

Shiny satinwood paint is not an option in our house.

Matt is where our paint is at.

Paris is always a good idea.
This Paris print was sat in an envelope waiting to be framed. Not a big job but another on the list that I was glad to do. Now it sits on the floor. When I have wallpapered the bedroom wall it will find it's rightful place. Everything is a chain reaction isn't it?

This little picture fell off the tiles a few weeks ago and every time we pushed the flusher it squeaked against the tiles. Again, not a big job but something else that needed doing. I stuck the picture back on the tiles with command strips so nasty holes in the new tiles. 

Back to black.

White walls, black doors, black banisters, pictures on the walls and a rewired vintage light fitted. What do you think of my pictures?  I have imagined these up on the wall for months, another Ebay bargain. The brass handles came via Ebay too.

AFTER - black,black and black.

Black banisters, I actually,love them. We used Wickes grey undercoat and Little Greene Furnace black to paint on the doors and the banisters. Have you been tempted to paint your doors black?  And can we just take a moment to appreciate how the doors have been transformed from nasty flush to smart paneled ones?

By days 29 and 30 I have to admit I was a bit bored of painting so I decided to treat my jewllery to not being in a pile on top of the dresser.  I found this great arrow jewellery holder tutorial from Lemonade Making Mama via Pinterest and it is sooo simple to make. I got the wood from Hobby Craft and the hooks from the pound shop and surprise - I had the paint. The whole thing cost less that £6.00.

Decorating around children, running businesses and putting in the hours at the day job has certainly slowed down the progress in our refurbishment so for me setting a short sharp challenge was a really good way of focusing the brain on getting some work done.  We are lucky to have so much hall to decorate and it is going to take us a few months to get the whole thing done, but breaking such a massive task into manageable chunks is certainly the way forward for us. And it beats giving £7,000 to a decorator. Do you set yourself short challenges to complete big tasks? I think I am going to tackle a double height wall next, I hope it doesn't take a whole 30 days to complete!