Our bedroom is a mess. In fact, it’s such a mess that I no longer feel I can yell at the boys to clean up their bedrooms – ours is almost as bad as theirs. Bedrooms should be a retreat – a comfy oasis of calm to escape your busy day. Our is so chaotic, it’s actually worse than staying downstairs and suffering the ongoing building work!
So it looks like the messy bit of the kitchen/dining room refurb (the wall smashing bit) might be happening soon. Next up, when we can afford it, will be planning the actual kitchen. But what do I really love? I looked at my Pinterest, and in my cupboards. I wandered around my kitchen, really trying to notice everything, I jotted down any themes, or things that seem to catch my eye frequently. And here’s what I noticed:
Not being one to moan (ahem) I’m trying to remain chipper, but HOW DIFFICULT is it to get a builder to come and do work on your house? Our kitchen/diner plans have completely stalled as the builder we thought was the best one is really busy (and also much more expensive than the others). I understand the whole paying more to get good quality thing, but it seems everyone else does too as he’s rather in demand.
So we’re cracking on with our plans to freshen up our house. It’s basically had nothing done to it except for basic maintenance for quite a few years as it’s been rented out, so it’s looking a bit tired. We started by going round the house with a notepad and pen and listed down every single thing that we think needs doing – new bathrooms, new carpets, new kitchen, flooring… Then we went back over the list to see what we can afford to do now, what will have to be put on hold until budget allows us to start work and how we could freshen up bits and pieces until they can be replaced.
We LOVE Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday this year falls on February 17th). Forget dinner, we waive it completely and go straight into pancakes. Of course, in order to do it properly, you’ll need some fantastic equipment. For perfect pancake preparation, here are my recommendations. You’ll need:
I’m SO glad that January’s over. It’s always such a long, miserable month, and with added cold weather and post-Christmas cashflow it can make you feel really low.
Happily today it’s February! My first trip of the year (on the gorgeous Disney Dream) starts next week so I’ll be getting some sun, and we’re carrying on with a few bits of house refurbishing. It’s amazing how much difference little things make.
Happy Monday! Hope yours is going well. I spent most of the weekend dreaming and drawing and planning (oh and making yummy barbecue pulled chicken too). We’ve been working and saving really hard for our upcoming kitchen refurb and it’s lovely to think that this is the year that we’ll actually be able to start making our dreams become a reality. I spend so much time in the kitchen, it’s one of the places that I’m really looking forward to starting work on. We want to knock the wall down between the kitchen and the dining room to recreate a larger, more sociable space – something that really hit home to me during our New Year’s Eve party, when I was stuck at the sink clearing plates between courses, listening to everyone having fun in the next room.
I can’t believe we’re finally going to refurbish our house! I’m so excited and seem to be spending hours (okay, more hours than usual) on Pinterest and various home websites, planning and plotting and dreaming about how our home could look.
So things on the house front have moved on AGAIN. After the third house purchase fell through, I’ve got to be honest, we were pretty despondent. I’ve never heard of it happening before, but the last one got right to survey and then the survey came in 20k under budget. Anyone else had any experience of that?
Anyhoo, it’s all change again, because we think we’ve found the perfect house – the one we’re already in! We’ve got some lovely plans to do the place up – with a spacious kitchen diner instead of our poky kitchen and separate dining room (more of this later, but my Pinterest page is burgeoning) and new floors and even bathrooms when funds permit.
Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a lovely chill-out day wherever you are. I’ve had a such a lovely week this week, with some AMAZING career news (that sadly I can’t tell you about yet – I know, I hate it when people do that too), and a visit from Sam, home from university for a couple of days (he’s loving it, by the way – London/uni life really seems to suit him). I also had an incredible time at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons – more of this later on in the week. We’ve also put an offer in on the HOUSE OF OUR DREAMS, but I’m really trying not to get too excited as it’s very early days and we’re still waiting on a mortgage too (but check out the garden – above – how pretty is that?).
So since our original offer on the House of Bodily Fluids back in July, we really haven’t heard very much. We didn’t really chase it as I guess we’re not in a massive hurry, but all of a sudden it kind of dawned on us that we hadn’t had any paperwork, and started to chase a bit harder. Our solicitors, worryingly, had heard nothing at all from their solicitors. I drove past the house and they hadn’t even STARTED clearing it, and you can imagine what a job that’s going to be. Then we started to hear rumour that the probate wasn’t going smoothly and there were issues with the man’s business that had to be sorted before the house could be sold… Ugh.
So with news that the House of Bodily Fluids could soon be ours (I guess we shouldn’t totally get our hopes up until we’ve actually exchanged contracts), we’ve started doing that nesting thing where you go out window shopping for things you’ll never really be able to afford but you’d buy if you had unlimited funds (known as ‘champagne lifestyle, lemonade budget’ in our house).
So I wrote a while back about our house dilemma: stay here or move to pastures new. We’ve been looking around for a while, and a house in the same village we currently live caught our eye. And kept catching our eye. It was in an area that we quite like, a nice size… but there it was, every time we did an internet search – that same house. It didn’t sell. And in a buoyant market that seemed a little odd. Read more
We’ve lived in this house very happily for the last three years. I love that we’re quite near the local fen, which is a lovely place to walk the pupster, and we’re also the last house before a wide, public footpath which is covered in beautiful pink rose bushes during the summer that tumble over into our garden.
We’ve got loads going on here at English Towers at the moment. There’s possibly a move on the cards (New, New English Towers?), or possibly the chance to refurbish the current English Towers. Whichever way, I’ve absolutely set my heart on a new kitchen. My Pinterest board for kitchens is getting bigger and bigger, and there are bits of magazines everywhere.
So after three weeks of back to back holidays, I have a huge amount to write, but I’m taking my time, settling back home, attacking the Giant Washing Mountain of Buckinghamshire, and doing a bit of nesting.
I love our house and, although I’ve loved every minute of gallivanting about on the med, it’s just been wonderful to come back to English Towers, find my slippers (although one was populated by a spider of epic proportions that prompted much hopping about and squealing), dig out my jimjams and kick back with a cuppa and a magazine. I’m having a bit of a magazine crisis at the moment. I’ve gone off my old favourite so I’ve been buying a few different ones to try them out. This one is really good. One of my Instagram friends described it as a ‘lovely cosy warm jumper’
But most of all it’s been lovely to get back in the kitchen and baking again. On Sunday, we had a Moroccan chicken pilaf (an easy, one-pot wonder) and then lemon drizzle cake (which seemed somewhat apt as we sat at the table and watched the drizzle in the garden):
Lemon Drizzle Cake
170g golden caster sugar
170g self raising flour
3 large free range eggs (duck eggs are fab for baking if you can find them)
2 large unwaxed lemons
2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
So it starts off just as a normal ‘pound cake’ really. Weigh everything out first, then cream the butter and the sugar until it’s really pale (preferably with an electric whisk – this should be really light).
Break the eggs into a bowl and add the juice and finely grated rind of one of the lemons, then it’s easy to just dribble it into the butter and sugar mixture, beating all the time.
If, when adding the eggs, the mixture starts to curdle, just add a tablespoon of the flour – this will bring it back together. Now stir in the flour until it’s just combined.
Pour into a buttered loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees/gas 4 for about 30 – 40 minutes. Check to see if it’s done by popping a skewer into the centre. It should come out clean. If not, put it back in for 5 minutes.
Bring it out of the oven. Put the zest and juice of the second lemon into a bowl and whisk in your sifted icing sugar, then carefully take the cake out of the tin and spoon the lemony liquid all over the top of the cake. Serve at once with lots of cream or ice cream. Or leave to cool and scoff with a cup of tea. Either way, it’s divine.
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