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.


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.


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.


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!)


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?


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.


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.


A healthy lunch hour

I've been really trying to step up my healthy eating over the last couple of weeks.  If I had three things that I've realised are the absolute key to staying on track and making good choices it would be preparation, preparation and preparation.  I've started logging everything I eat on MyFitnessPal, and my Personal Trainer has given me a nutrition plan to give me a rough guide to what to have for each meal to get the right amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates.

It might sound very regimented but it's not at all - I'm not weighing my food or sticking to a concrete food plan, I'm just keeping an eye on what I eat and trying to get the right balance and roughly hit my calories each day.  The times when I've slipped up have been the times when I've only got 20 minutes between minutes to grab something on my lunch hour and I end up grabbing a less than healthy sandwich and being tempted by the crisps aisle.  For this reason I've tried to pack my lunches every day this week - I've been taking in homemade granola or protein bars made from The Food Grinder instagram page, and then cooking up steak, burgers or chicken from Muscle Food along with sweet potato fries, brown rice, quinoa or other yummy accompaniments. It's so much easier to have something I can just warm up for lunch than having to try and find something that's healthy and fits my nutrition goals in the local Co-Op.

dreamy packed lunch right there...
img credit: forbes.com

One other item that's been a bit of a godsend recently when I'm packing my lunches and I haven't had time to cook some things up the night before is the pots of Kabuto Noodles.  They sell them in our all our local supermarkets and come in mouthwatering flavours like Thai Green Chicken Curry (a rice pot), Chicken Ramen and Beef Pho.  Several of their rice pots and rice noodle pots are also gluten-free which I'd imagine is very handy if you're coeliac.  Personally I absolutely love all of the Kabuto Noodles flavours and they're perfect for my packed lunches - they keep me full all afternoon (which sandwiches totally don't - am I the only one who is hungry about an hour after eating a sandwich?) and with some at only 263 calories a pot they really don't eat into my calorie goals.  The Chicken Ramen flavour is also high in protein too so it's a great one to have before my Tuesday spin class!

Kabuto Noodles Kabuto Noodles Kabuto Noodles

Lately things have been so busy at work that I've often had only a short amount of time between meetings to grab my lunch, and it really doesn't set you up for the afternoon if you have a rushed lunch break.  I always feel better when I do take proper time out, have a healthy lunch and have some time away from my screen.  I always feel much better come mid-afternoon if I have a lunch break where I...
  1. Read a book, either at my desk or in the park if the weather is nice.  Even reading a magazine or the newspaper is a nice way to switch my brain off from work for a little while.
  2. Go for a walk, even if it's only 15-20 minutes (getting fresh air really wakes me up for the afternoon and it's a good way to get my Fitbit steps up!)
  3. Spend 10 minutes either meditating, or even just mindfully eating or focussing on exactly what I'm doing on my break (rather than letting my mind wander).  I know it's difficult to imagine meditating at work (though we do have a Contemplation Room at the office) but just finding somewhere to zone out and clear my mind a little bit really helps.
  4. Go for a run or to the gym.  I don't do this often as I don't have quite enough time to shower and wash my hair afterwards, but when I have I do feel really good all afternoon and it's nice to have a workout already ticked off by the time you get home.
  5. Run errands - even though it's not always relaxing, when I've ticked a few things off my to do list like going to the Post Office or grabbing something from the supermarket I always feel like I've lifted a weight off my shoulders and it's one less thing to worry about.
  6. Catch up on blog emails - I always try and have a break from the computer but if I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with blogging emails or blog writing I will occasionally catch up on these on my lunch break.  I do prefer to get out and get some fresh air but sometimes if I'm a little stressed about the blog to do list then it's a good way to get something ticked off.
  7. Meet friends - sometimes my weekday evenings can get quite busy but I'm lucky that I work in the same city as several other friends so I love meeting friends for coffee or lunch during the day as it's a great way to have a quick catch up.
  8. Do some writing in my notebook - sometimes inspiration will strike whilst I'm at work, so I really enjoy having a little scribble in my notebook on a lunch break.  I often find myself jotting down ideas for blog posts or maybe some snippets of poetry.
What are your tips for having a healthy lunch hour? What sets you up for the afternoon?

*post in collaboration with Kabuto Noodles but all opinions are my own (they really are superrrrr yummy!)


Boots to beat the path

Oh hello little corner of the internet, how have you been? I feel like I've really been neglecting my blog recently. Things have just been so busy with work and house move related bits that I've not had a spare second to take photographs or write, which makes me feel a bit down as I still love blogging as much as I ever did.  I hear a lot of people say recently that they feel really disengaged and disconnected with blogging, but I feel more appreciative than ever that I have this little outlet to put up words, and pictures, and share what I've been up to (as well as read what you've all been up to).  I'm really hoping that once I've moved house and work has settled down I'll have more time to blog again.  I really want to share more writing and personal posts as well as the odd outfit post worked in for good measure.

Talking of outfit posts - I thought I would share a quick outfit featuring my much-loved new Jones the Bootmaker boots.  I fell in love with them when in the shop in Southampton and had to take them home with me - I know they're going to be the perfect pair of boots to take me from Spring into Summer, and they go with everything. I love the colour; I think the grey shade is really versatile (couldn't resist adding some bright colours into my outfit though, the sun was shining after all!)

Jones Bootmaker Boots outfit post
Jones Bootmaker Boots outfit post Jones Bootmaker Boots outfit post Jones Bootmaker Boots outfit post
Jones Bootmaker Boots outfit post
jacket: h&m {old} >> top: anthropologie {old} >> treggings: uniqlo {old}
bag: kate spade - bought from tk maxx >> boots: jones the bootmaker, similar for £77*

I treated myself to the Kate Spade bag when I got my new job last month.  I remember pinning it from Sincerely Jules blog a couple of years ago (albeit she has the larger version), so I was excited to see it in TK Maxx for £175 and I couldn't leave it in the shop.  I am still unsure whether I should have gone for the bigger version (they had that one too for £190) as I love a massive bag I can throw everything and the kitchen sink into! But this one is a good size and I like having something a bit smaller than most of my other humongous bags - I'm sure I don't need to carry around as much as I do.

I hope you're all having lovely weeks so far and that someone, somewhere has some sunshine! Please keep all of your fingers and toes crossed for me that we exchange contracts on our new house tomorrow - all being well we should be able to move in next Friday which would be very exciting! I can't wait for life to be back to normal as we started looking for houses last September - it's certainly been a long journey and I'm so ready to move onto the next chapter...


A playlist for May

It's no secret that I'm a total podcast addict, and most mornings I can be found catching up on my favourite podcasts during my drive into work.  But sometimes I'm just not in the mood for spoken word, and I need something a little more musical to sing along to whilst stuck in traffic driving.

May Playlist

I'm a total Spotify addict and the monthly subscription fee is one of the more worthwhile direct debits I have - I love listening to playlists on the go, and their Discover Weekly function is totally genius.  Here's what I'm listening to on my journey to work this month - and you can too, here's the link to my May playlist on Spotify.

1. Lost Boy - Ruth B
2. Friends - Ed Sheeran
3. We Are The People - Broods
4. Stronger (RAC Remix) - London Grammar
5. Panther - Made In Heights
6. Try to Make a Fire Burn Again - Dawn Landes
7. Home - Daughter
8. Turn Your Love - Half Moon Run
9. With The Ink Of A Ghost - José González
10. Coast - Dry The River

May Playlist
May Playlist
>> Vasa Earphones, Sudio, £55*

When I'm not listening in the car, I always take my headphones out running or to the gym with me.  My beautiful earphones are the Vasa from Sudio - in white and rose gold they are the dreamiest of colour combinations, and the sound is amazing (did I get my priorities wrong there?) They're wireless so they're perfect for running as I can just put my phone in my running belt and totally forget I'm wearing them (plus no getting tangled up with the dog lead or caught in bushes as I'm running - yes that has happened!) You can get 15% off these beautiful (and incredible sounding) earphones with the code RosieOutlook.  Totally worth it.

What are your music recommendations? I'm always eager for some new finds!


Happy things

I've been such a busy-bum lately I've barely had a chance to go on a proper explore with a camera, or take any nice outfit photos.  Whilst I get back into my groove, I thought I'd share some phone snaps of happy moments over the last few days...

001. Catching a bird mid-flight, along with the just visible moon, when photographing frosty rooftops.  The end of April has given us freezing temperatures, hats and gloves, seeing my breath in puffs when standing on the train platform, and de-icing my car in the morning.  I hope May is kinder, I would like to feel some warm sunshine on my shoulders soon.

002.  Blue skies and sunshine - May gave us a beautiful day yesterday, if not t-shirt appropriate warmth.  We walked around Poole Quay, drank cider and ate a Ploughman's at The Stable (and resisted spending my whole pay check in Lush).  I wore my most summer-y outfit, of course.  I feel really stuck in a style rut at the moment, I do probably need to get out of my denim comfort zone...

003. Having time for reading - I went to London twice last week, which is just over two hours each way on the train.  With all that time on my hands I took the opportunity to catch up on some reading. I finished Dept. Of Speculation by Jenny Offill first, which is just the most wonderful book - I can't even describe how perfect the writing is, it is pure poetry.

After that I read In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, which was very suspense-ful and readable, a nice easy read.  I then started The Bones of You by Debbie Howells, which I'm enjoying so far, it's another crime novel which I'm sure will keep me hooked and not be too taxing on the brain! Both of those last two are about £3.50 on Amazon at the moment, so good for stocking up the holiday read list if you're going away soon.

Is there anything more perfect than staying cosy in bed and getting stuck into a good book on a Saturday morning?

004. Pretty things spotted when out running - I've been keeping up with my weekend runs, though my stamina is so rubbish at the moment that I have to do a lot of walking in between running.  I must admit I am a total fair-weather runner and I didn't really drag myself out in the freezing temperatures, but now I can run past pretty hedgerows, blossoming trees and chirping birds, it makes putting my trainers on that bit more bearable!

005. Brunch with friends - we've had friends staying this weekend and we went for brunch in Southbourne at a cool little cafe where we've had really good food before. 

Unfortunately the food wasn't great this time (cold, dry toast is what you have when you're poorly, not when you're out ordering brunch!) but it was still perfect to be out with friends whiling away a Monday morning (I LOVE bank holidays) drinking tea and catching up.  

How are you enjoying May so far?