Thursday, 28 May 2015

Craving bacon and eggs

We are off to Bournemouth to make the most of the last days of the half term and I cannot wait for a cooked breakfast. Is it because I just joined a gym that I'm craving proper bacon and eggs? I mean seriously, how good does this look? 

P.S even though Bournemouth has a whole vintage quarter a self imposed vintage clothing ban is being enforced.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Visiting the Decorative Living Fair and being an interiors geek

It's official then, I am in Interiors Geek.  The 16 signs, according to Houzz, include colour coding your books, knowing Farrow and Ball paint colours at 50 paces and "finding it heavenly to be able to spend all day wandering among stalls of furniture and accessories, discovering new talent and products and swotting up on all the new trends" and that is exactly what we did at the weekend. The nice organisers of the Decorative Living Fair  sent us a couple of tickets to visit their 10th Fair at Eridge Park near Tunbridge Wells in Kent and we had a fabulous time. After the Fair we had a very late lunch / early diner in Tunbridge Wells enjoying the first of the summer sunshine. A perfect day in the garden of Kent. 

N.B Eridge Park is beautiful and steeped in history, being reputedly the oldest enclosed Deer Park in England. It is listed in the Domesday Book under the name of Reredfelle and the ownership of Odo, the brother of William the Conqueror. Today Eridge Park is a family home, a film location and work-space to a mixture of small businesses in the former farm buildings and outhouses. The views are immense.
I I have a suitcase of vintage goodies from San Francisco waiting to be unpacked so I knew we were visiting the Fair for inspiration and just in case we saw anything on the 'really really want list' we didn't; but I am looking forward to the next fair which will be at Chelsea Old Town Hall on 6 October 2015. I cannot recommend the Fair enough if brocante is your thing. There are bargains to be had, prices literally start from around £2.00 to about £1,000 so there is something for everyone. Save some pennies, grab a friend, make plans for lunch and head on over to Chelsea for some early Christmas shopping or a little (or big) treat for your home. I know I will be.

If you fancy visiting a Fair these are some coming up soon in the South East ....
The Three French Hens, 22/23 May, Tenterden, TN30 6TL
Wealden Times, 4/5/6 June, TN17 4JB
The Country Brocante, 4 July, Pentworth Park, GU28 0LY
Firle Vintage Fair,  8/9 August, Firle Park, BN8 6LP

Here's the rest of our day in pictures, and if you want to take it, the interiors geek test is here.

On my vintage shopping list is a small globe and a white porcelain door handle. Do you have a list? What's on it?

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A snapshot of San Francisco

After a week at Stanford Graduate School, more about that in another post, I was able to stay on for a few days which gave me a whole weekend in San Francisco. What to do, so much to see and do but hmm I am out of practice exploring by myself so I opted to mooch about with a sort of plan rather than even try to see everything. 

Would I go back, maybe. Was I prepared for the amount of homelessness, definitely not, and I did a lot of reading before I left.  My highlight was definitely STUFF on Valencia Street; a massive vintage warehouse with multiple traders and oh so cheap but how to get all the lovely treasures home (errm STUFF was closely followed by a little trip to Bed Bath and beyond).  Low point, the hills, yep they actually freaked me out so I stayed where everything was horizontal, not easy in San Francisco!
So here it is a weekend in pictures, in no particular order.

Crossing the other bridge

San Francisco was described to me as Mecca for the homeless

Street art

The Goodwill store on Mission Street is the largest charity shop I have ever been to

Mr Holmes Bakehouse ..... hmmm

Definitely me, if a little blurry

From the Caltrain

They saved the street-cars for ever

A viewfinder with a view

Art innit

City streets

Street Art
STUFF was full of lovely vintage stuff

and finally ... petaled streets

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

I have arrived, well at Stanford anyway

I am finally here at Stanford Graduate Business School taking the Executive Women Leaders Program. It's only Monday and I have learnt so much.

It's gonna be a great week!

The time difference in inconvenient, speaking to the Boy requires careful planning around my jet lag.
 There will be so much to share.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Mini day adventures: Shoeburyness

I do love Hackney and all that London living brings but sometimes I need to get away from work and decorating and for me that escape comes in the form of a mini day adventure to the Essex coast around Southend. Now I have never watched an episode of TOWIE, I have no idea who any of the 'characters' are, but I expect we are poles apart in what we think is a fun day out. I like deserted and wild beaches, particularly those an hour and a bit from my house.

This Easter to escape the decorating, yep we are back up the ladders, we packed up our sandwiches and pain au chocolate and headed to East Beach in Shoeburyness to see the sea and enjoy the wind in our hair. And boy was it was windy! 

For many years a large part of Shoeburyness was a garrison town. Now, much of the formally MOD site and property have been turned into residential housing. Previously inaccessible and strangely interesting military buildings are part of the conservation area and I was really drawn to this old beach front fort. Got to love concrete when you're an Urbanite!

East Beach done we headed back along the coast road to Southend and thought we'd have an ice cream at Rossi's. After paying for parking we found the ice team shop was closing for the evening so we went for a walk around the pretty Victorian Squares. How lucky were we to stumble across The Bacchus Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge. The coffee was flat and the slices of cake were large. The vibe was so nice in this quirky restaurant that we decided to stay for a light dinner.

Table 17 looks perfect for a simple wedding anniversary dinner don't you think?  We'll be back in Southend soon and I will have to start dropping hints of where I would like to go for our anniversary dinner in October.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

62, is a lot of banisters

62 is how many banisters we have over three flights of stairs. After my wake up moment last week  I have managed to get my DIY groove back and sanded 20 or so of em, we are desperate to get the the hallway finished after our little DIY 'break'. The top landing is done and those black banisters are Little Greene's lovely Furnace Black, I shared the pictures a couple of months ago. The rest of the banisters are still cruddy and in need of a through sanding before they can be primed and painted. This is a horrible, messy, boring job, not one to be started unless you are totally committed.

I tell you, if I ever meet the person responsible for all the crap paint work in our house I won't be held accountable for my actions. 

One of the many reasons I have been putting off getting back to sanding the banisters is because our old sander gave up the ghost, it was about ten years old. It really was well loved but quickly replaced with this little Black and Decker mouse and so far I have been quite impressed. It is just right for standing banisters and is on sale in Argos (£20.00). If you get one you need to stock up on sanding sheets though. We are using course (90 grade) sheets and buying those in a DIY store was a bit of a challenge.

The weekend wasn't all DIY; we did manage to get out for a walk and the watch a French animation film and guess what, I found a local florist who isn't moody!

Monday, 16 March 2015

How do we stop working so hard?

I have realised that all I have done since going back to work after the Christmas break is work 10 hour days. 

This is great for my employer but not so good for me, mine and the other things I care about. I get home around 8.00 pm, just before the kid goes to bed and I am far to knackered to even think about DIY. Obviously this over working needs to to stop, my question is "how do we stop working so hard?"

Not getting the things on my plan crossed off is super stressful, I feel like I am totally wasting my time. I know I am not but that is how I feel. I am not unhappy, far from it but I am not focusing where I want to focus so from today I am reclaiming my life. I am checking my hours and aiming to cross one thing of my to do list in addition to the day jobs. I'd love to know how you manage 'work creep' and how you keep it in check.

This is pretty much how I feel, mind full.
There is a great 'Life Wheel' on the Work Life Balance Centre website, no surprises on my results, my life is unbalanced. I like the list of books here too; Your Pocket Life Coach looks like an oldie but a goodie.

Meanwhile I feel a little DIY will help de-stress me. 

The reassuring and calming sight of a colour chart, via Pinterest

Seriously, when did DIY become a relaxation activity?

Monday, 23 February 2015

Why are florists so moody?

I like to buy myself flowers every weekend. I go to many florists and what I cannot understand is why so many florists are so moody? You would think with all those lovely flowers smiling back at you a florists would be a wonderful place to work as an owner or an employee.

Apparently not, florists, generally in my experience are moody, sullen and not interested customer service. I am thinking of developing a rating like trip advisor unless anyone already knows of one?

Monday, 26 January 2015

I am bored of bloggers and their perfect lives

Seriously if I read another post from a blogger who has spent the weekend in some cool cafe with an equally hip creative I might have to pour myself a drink. 

Where have all the real bloggers gone? I totally respect the bloggers I follow getting paid for posts, I embrace their entrepreneurial spirit and love that they get paid to do what they love. However I am so bored of the subtle plugs that are written not to look like adverts but are; didn't we used to call these advertorials?

image thanks to
This is what I did this weekend; food shopping in Lidl, went to Wilkinsons for cleaning stuff, then went to Asda for the bits I can't get in Lidl. I also did the laundry - which is now in a pile on my bed waiting to be folded, cleaned the limescale off the taps in the bathroom, emptied out four boxes of DVDs and put them in the recently reassembled bureau, took the Kid to his swimming lesson and was pissed off with myself that I forgot to pack my pencil so I couldn't continue writing the story I'm working on. 

Then I bought the Kid a donut from Percy Ingles after swimming and got him a new water bottle. Walked home via the charity shop where I got the big kid an Audrey Hepburn calendar, I hoovered the Kid's room, marked where I wanted the holes to hang a picture, didn't fancy drilling the holes myself. Hoovered up the dust. Had a shower, went to bed.

Not glamorous, not exciting but this is how some real life people spend the weekend. Disclosure I have not been paid by the companies mentioned in the post.