31 May 2016

Home changes and projects

I totally don't want to be a home bore - and if you follow me on instagram then you are probably sick of the sight of the inside of my house by now - but about an hour ago we finally got our internet working, and the first thing I want to do is show you a few photos of the things we've done since we moved in.  I hope that's okay - I've just never had a pretty house before so I can't help but want to share it!

One of the first things we did was hang curtains in the bedroom.  We have two large sash windows (one of the things that attracted us to the house in the first place was the beautiful light, bright main bedroom) but we didn't quite want it to be so light at 5am! We bought curtain tracks from Dunelm Mill and these lovely Portland Curtains from John Lewis (£90).  I don't think we'll carry through the nautical theme we had in some rooms in our old house much into this one, but I loved the putty grey colour and the subtle lighthouse print.  I also hung our wicker hearts from the window locks - totally copying the house across the road but I like that you can see them from the street, it adds a pretty little detail to the windows.

Curtains

We also put up the Ikea picture ledge above our bed and put a few little pictures on it.  We're going to make a gallery wall for the dining room as there's a big blank wall above where our dining table is, but this was a quick way to get some pictures up in the meantime.  We bought the bed from Asda but I forgot to take a picture of that and Asda messed me around so much with the delivery that I wouldn't recommend buying furniture from them, still the bed looks lovely in the room.  We got a king size mattress from Amazon (a Nytex Memory Foam one for £205 and it's so comfy) - I'm pretty sold on having a king size bed now, it'll be hard if we ever go back to sleeping in a double!

Picture rail

Not a project per sé but I just love the pine doors in this house.  This is our bedroom door - I bought a new dressing gown from Primark which looks rather lovely hanging on the back of it I think, and even lovelier on the back of the bathroom door which is all white (I told the lady in Primark I was buying a dressing gown to match my bathroom and she looked at me like she was about to call security).

Bedroom door

One of my favourite little jobs this week was unpacking some of my books and putting them up in a bookcase in the dining room.  I used to have all my books in bookcases along the wall in the office but now we don't have an office or a third bedroom I'm not able to have as many books on show as I did before.  Instead I've chosen a few of my favourites, and once we've cleared the spare room of boxes (if we ever manage to!) I might be able to have a smaller bookcase in there with some of my books 'to read' on.  I am seriously in my happy place when arranging books and ornaments.

Bookshelf

The lightbox and pastel letters are from Berylune (£29.95 and £7.95 for the letters).  The print on the top shelf is by the lovely Ella Masters, and the beautiful Puffin in Bloom books on the top shelf are from Amazon - I just need Alice's Adventures In Wonderland to complete my collection!

We've put my old office table in the dining room as a dining table, it looks pretty sweet with a vintage jug full of fresh flowers on it (my friend bought these round on Saturday, aren't they just beautiful?) I've tucked my dining chairs from Made.com behind the table so the table can be pulled out when we have guests.

Fresh flowers

I've also put a few little ornaments on our mantelpiece - fake plants from Ikea are all over the house now, they look pretty and I can't kill them (bonus).  The concrete '&' sign was a gift from the lovely Katy at Christmas, I've collected a few more ampersand items since too (it's getting to be a bit of an addiction!) The new home card is from Sarah - those ladies are truly the best.

Mantelpiece

We've taken to calling our living room 'the snug' as it's really quite little! But it's big enough for our sofa and my beautiful Next armchair (remember it from my Easter DIY challenge? It looks even better in this house!)

Living room

The sailor cushion is from Asda (£7), and the fish cushion is from Habitat (£12).  I could have bought everything in Habitat when we visited, they have so many dreamy things in at the moment.

Tom and I both work for the Coastguard and he was given this antique Coastguard search light a couple of years ago.  He put in a light from Ikea so we can use it as a proper lamp - I think it looks lovely in our little snug!

Search light

The kitchen is much, much smaller than in our old house so we've had a bit of trouble cramming everything in (I put all our plates and crockery out and felt pleased with myself until I realised we didn't have any space for food!) I've had to put away things like my food processor and recipe stand that I previously had out in the kitchen, and the washing machine and our big fridge-freezer is now out in the utility room, so you have to go out of the back door to get to them as it's separate to the house.  Even though space is at a bit of a premium though, I couldn't resist this vintage looking toaster (£73.79*) from House of Fraser's range of toasters - all of our appliances and kitchen accessories are black to fit with the old kitchen so this one is a nice upgrade!

Vintage toaster

... And today has been gloomy and rainy, so we spent the afternoon in front of the fire! Tom treated himself to the ash and kindling buckets from Waitrose (£10), he has also spent inordinate amounts of time at the bottom of the garden chopping wood (men, fire and wood is a lethal combination!)

Fire

I hope you haven't minded the new house spam - I can't promise there won't be more but I'll try and mix it up a bit, though what is it about having a new home that makes you forget about clothes and want to spend all your money on new home-y bits?

24 May 2016

Our new home

My life is currently mostly in cardboard boxes, we have no internet or phone line, my diet has mainly consisted of take-aways and ready meals and I have been chastised multiple times for owning (and thus having to pack, unpack, and find homes for) far too many shoes, boxes of herbal tea, handbags and packets of quinoa (what can I say, I like to stock up on my Peruvian grains).  But it has all been worth it because our new house is just the loveliest.

Due to aforementioned lack of internet this will only be a quick post with a few iPhone photos until we get a bit more sorted, but I wanted to share a quick update so you didn't think I'd dropped off the side of the earth or been crushed by a box full of quinoa.

We are now all moved in, having trotted a little way down the coast from Christchurch to Lymington.  We'd only visited Lymington a handful of times but it's much closer to my office in Southampton, and there's a lot better amenities in terms of shops, bars, restaurants (and a gym to help me burn off all the tapas and pizza we'll inevitable be eating in all those awesome restaurants).

It's a little two-bedroom cottage (built in 1910) with some pretty original features, lovingly decorated and, most importantly, a roll-top bath...

Here's our 'dining room' - the wood burning stove has already got a lot of use despite it being really too warm for a fire!


This is our main bedroom (the side of the room that isn't full of boxes)...


And that dreamy roll-top bath (I spent most of yesterday in London counting the hours down before I could hop into a bubble bath in here...)


We've gone from a three bedroom house with an office to a two bedroom house that's a lot smaller, so a lot of our life is still in boxes whilst we sort through what we need and hoof out the rest to charity shops and the dump.  It might seem funny to down-size at this time in our lives but we couldn't afford much more (Lymington is pricey for houses unfortunately) and we wanted to prioritise a lovely home over space for things we probably don't really need.

I'll definitely put a little house tour up as soon as we have internet and are a bit less surrounded by cardboard - can't wait to show you more of our little home.

19 May 2016

Goodbye Christchurch

A candle burns gently on the table, the flame bending and stretching through the fugged glass.  In the kitchen, clothes turn in the washing machine; the rhythmic thump of wet, balled up sheets and pillows as the drum rotates.  Somewhere in the distance a blackbird tweets a half-hearted whistle as he sits on a fencepost in the drizzle.  From my seat in the living room I can see out into the garden - a string of wet bunting, the apple tree (beneath which Bodhi likes to scour for fallen apples - as do the wasps in the summer), the first small signs of life in the vegetable patch where the strawberry plants were planted some years before.  We have lived in this house for five years and two months, but on Friday, someone else will live here.  Another couple will sit amongst the silence and listen out for the blackbird, will burn candles and laugh, and love and live in this house.

I remember the day we moved in (the 15th March - 'beware the ides of March!' my mother said, but no tragedies did befall us in this house, luckily).  I remember standing by the back door and looking out into the garden; the smell of cleaning fluid as we wiped down the kitchen, those big empty rooms that were ours to fill.  Tom and I bought the house in our first year of being together and so we've lived our formative years as a couple in this house.  This is the house where we celebrated getting engaged (when we returned from our trip to Wales where Tom proposed), this is the bedroom where I slept the night before we got married, and this is the kitchen where we opened a bottle of champagne on our first wedding anniversary in April.  I like to think of life as seasons, and I feel as if we are moving into a new season of our lives; stripping the walls back and starting anew, but with everything different.  I wonder what season we are moving into - or if we have moved and grown through them all and are beginning a new cycle of growth and rebirth.  Maybe you don't know what season you're moving into until it arrives; a hot, impulsive, slick Summer, a Spring of change and newness, an Autumn of winding down, a Winter of rest and solitude (and awaiting the eventual Spring).  There is no calendar, only constant movement forward, one foot in front of the other.


In the loft I find remnants of past lives.  Old CDs with songs carefully selected by people I no longer know.  Hundreds of photographs in cardboard sleeves or albums; smiling faces frozen in time.  My own face, younger, hopeful, awkward, inquisitive.  I was a different person then.  Trinkets and mementos, some that I bought for this house all those years ago and then hastily cleared away when they didn't quite fit.  Dusty cameras, crumpled letters,  thick sweaters that were sent away in the summer and never made it out of storage.  The artefacts and ephemera from other seasons.  Some things that can be saved, and some that must be abandoned.

It's impossible to account for how much you change and grow over time.  You evolve and shed skin.  The removal man looked at a dusty corner in our house today and said "You lose a million skin cells every day.  That's pretty much what dust is.  It's a shock you even still have the same DNA."  I think of that for a little while.  It's impossible to avoid change.  Not even your body stays the same.  You couldn't be the same person even if you wanted to.

And now everything has been packed into the removal van ready for tomorrow.  The house is mostly empty.  The clutter of every day life cleared away, the slate wiped clean.  In a few days it will be refilled with the contents of other people's lives - a stray sock at the top of the stairs, keys hanging on the hook by the door, washing hanging on the line.  Different lives breathed into its walls.  And us in our new house, doing the same.