Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Motivational Mondays #2

10 Jan

Amazing

Euphoric You

I am working as hard as I can to launch my blog under the euphoricyou.co.uk domain rather than this one. That’s right, I’m going to self-host my blog.

Mornings can be a rushed, tiring ordeal during the week. Time can fly by and you can easily be late for work or school. However, these easy tips will help you better manage your mornings, so that you have a good, motivating start to the day:

  • Eat a large breakfast – I know you’ve probably heard this before but eat a large breakfast.It will give you more energy for the rest of the day.

  • Drink lots of water – Cold water wakes you up faster than coffee.

  • Sleep with the blinds half open – This way the natural light will start to wake you up, and you feel less sleepy when the alarm goes off.

  • Stay away from that sleep button –…

View original post 159 more words

Sex and The Closet!

27 May

So, I know I’ve been focusing a lot on storage recently, but indulge me one more time please………….I watched the movie Sex And The City again the other night (okay don’t judge me please, I’ve had a very intellectually demanding couple of weeks at work and needed some down time!), you know the one where Mr.Big buys an apartment and then proceeds to kit it out with the walk in wardrobe of Carries’s dreams?

 

Image

Isn’t that just a work of e art? Although as much as I love shoes (and IB will testify to this fact), I could never justify owning enough pairs to fill all those shelves. However, there is a little corner of our spare room that I think would lend itself beautifully to becoming a walk in wardrobe/dressing room!  And for dressing room, read somewhere in the house where NO BOYS/MEN will be allowed, EVER, unless they bring gifts! It would be somewhere where I could escape to with a book and some chocolate when life in a house full of men gets too much! Ideally (but unlikely!) it will be big enough to have one of these…

 

Image

 

I was going to mooch around the internet and look at bespoke wardrobes before I broached the idea of carving out my own little bolt hole with IB and in the process I came across an article that as someone working to a strict DIY budget, I felt I had to share. The article described how a a retired Long Island businessman hired the Sex and the City set designer Lydia Marks to build a copy of Carrie Bradshaw’s walk-in closet for his wife. Nothing too unusual in that, it might even be considered a romantic gesture by some, until you read the detail behind the tale. Lydia Marks turned a 400-square-foot guest bedroom into a walk-in closet with room for 400 pairs of shoes, for a total of…………………………… 175 THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! They could have saved a fortune if they’d shopped around on line!!!

For example Strachan do some very nice ones for a lot less…………….

 Image

And suffice to say that if this DIY Dame does get her walk-in closet, the cost of constructing it, added together with the cost of the shoes and clothes in it, will come nowhere near to the figure of $175,000!

Oh and before I sign off, let me just show you the latest addition to our bathroom. We found them in Kilkenny Design at Christmas. It’s a Dublin based emporium full of Irish handcrafted produce.  We’d been wondering where to put them. Warm, candle-lit baths here we come…………..

 

Image

Image

Sexism, storage and stairs!

20 May

So, hot on the heels of my experience with the less than politically correct builder, Mr. Awright Darlin’, last week, I read a great article in this month’s Ideal Home magazine about the rapidly expanding population of women DIYers in the world. Apparently B&Q interviewed 2,000 women last year for their opinions on DIY (sadly I wasn’t one of them even though I have a lot to say on the subject!) and 70% said they were happy to tackle DIY jobs in the home. Of those, 75% claimed to be as good at it or better than men!

 

Image

(from the National Archives and Records Administration)

 

Now I am not at all advocating yet another battle of the sexes, with DIY being the chosen battleground, but I think it is interesting that while many people think of DIY as a traditionally male dominated arena, the opposite might just be the reality. It seems there are a lot of us DIY Dames around. Unfortunately, I don’t have an address for Mr. Awright Darlin’, otherwise he’d be getting a copy of the Ideal Homes article pushed through his letterbox with the paragraph noting that 50% of men admit to being hopeless at DIY underlined in bright red ink. I wonder how he copes on trips to B&Q where now apparently nearly half the workforce are women and they’re not all backstage working in admin or finance. I’m actually thinking of inviting him back to tell him that we’re considering getting an all-female building company in to do the kitchen work, an option which apparently is just a click away via the Women and Trades website. Strangely, IB is very supportive of the idea! I think he might be imagining a posse of tanned, young women in hard hats, denim shorts and vest tops working on our kitchen extension. Even as I write, I’m changing my mind about the whole idea and thinking maybe we’ll get Mr. Awright Darlin’ in after all!!!!!

Now on to a lighter, non-gender related topic – under stair storage! What do you think of when someone says ‘under-stair storage’ to you? Maybe this:

 Image

Or this?

Image

 

Me too! Until earlier this week, when I discovered that understair storage can mean this……………….

 

Image

 from habitat.com

Or this……………

 

Image

 

Fab aren’t they? My favourite is the first one, stairs quite literally as storage! Genius! Now building us some under stair storage………….  surely that’s a job that’s got my female DIY name written all over it!!!

Bolshie Builders and other tales!

16 May

‘Awright darlin’, the man of the house around? I’ve come to give him a quote for a new bathroom.’ Seriously now, this is how builder number three – we’re doing it by the book and getting our three quotes for the ensuite refurb – responded to my friendly ‘hello there’ when I opened the front door this evening.

I truly didn’t think builders/men still spoke like this but hey what do I know! Much as I was tempted to close the door in this man’s face and prevent him crossing our threshold, ‘darlin’ decided to be polite and with a tight smile and a glint of disdain in my eye (IB is always quick to point out to me that as much as I might think I’m hiding my true feelings, my face always gives it away!) I let him in. Often when we have builders in to give us a quote for a job, I only tag along the first time – just to be sure that IB and I are definitely in agreement about what needs to be done and also because a good builder always gives you little tips or nuggets of information as you talk him through a job. Usually I will let IB take the lead for the second and third quote especially if I’m busy with the boys or have a work deadline.

Anyway this evening, I decided to tag along on the journey round our ensuite, just to see how Mr. Awright-Darlin’ would cope with my presence. And you know what? Despite IB’s best efforts to include me in any of the detailed discussions about for example the type of shower system we want, or our concerns around the tiling (there’s a whole debate raging about the benefits of small over big floor and wall tiles), Mr. Awright Darlin’ pretty  much ignored me!

Oh there was at one stage a nod in my direction and a comment along the lines of ‘bet she’s got her colour schemes all sorted, women just love all that matching tiles and towels stuff don’t they’. I’m sure he only just stopped himself from saying ‘now why don’t you just run along and leave us boys to it’.  IB could see that I was not happy but that didn’t stop him trying to wind me when Mr. Awright Darlin’ gone.  As he closed the front door, IB looked at me with a straight face and said ‘well you know I really liked him, he seems like a decent bloke. I think he’d do a really good job’ and for about 10 seconds I believed him, that was until the biggest grin appeared on his face.

So the only way to relax after that little encounter was to go on-line and mooch round for more inspiring pictures of beautifully decorated rooms. I used to trawl through fashion websites, but now I’m finding a whole new outlet for my voyeuristic tendencies. Following my discovery last week of photographs of imaginatively designed bedrooms, tonight I went seeking out websites focusing on beautifully designed living rooms. Although I didn’t get very much further than the Roche-Bobois website. Roche-Bobois as the name suggests is a French company with an international reputation for contemporary design. Their website doesn’t just feature pictures of their  elegant and luxurious products, rather their website is adorned with stylish well-shot photographs of them ‘on location’ i.e. in the living rooms of houses that are themselves a work of design mastery. See for youself either on the Roche-Bobis website or on the Home Design site where I sourced these photos ………………………….

 

Image

 

Image

 

Image

Sweet ‘bedroom’ dreams!

13 May

So the lovely thing about writing a blog is finding out that people you’ve never met before like what you’ve written, sometimes even enough to start following you.  It also feels like a massive complement when I find out that that someone is themselves writing a well-established, creative, engaging  blog. Even better is when I go mooching around their blog and find something exciting about home décor or renovation that gives me inspiration. That’s what happened yesterday when I looked at a detailed house and found the most recent posting was all about bedrooms. 

Now don’t get me wrong, we are NOWHERE near being able to start on any of our bedrooms – although if I was less busy at work just now, I don’t think I’d be able to resist cracking out the steamer and starting work on our bedroom walls, especially now we not only have a mishmash of two different colours of wallpaper (when we ripped out the built-in wardrobes shortly after moving in, we discovered no one had ever painted inside them, giving an interesting two-tone effect)……………………

 

Image

 

……………… but we also have a sheet of plasterboard where the door to the en-suite bathroom used to be! Which by the way is the last thing I see every night before I turn out the lights. Maybe I need to pin a Ryan Gosling poster on there …………..

 

Image

 

But anyway, the point is, a detailed house gave me hope that one day our bedroom might be a beautifully decorated sanctuary to escape to at night. In fact, I might just start keeping my laptop by the bed so that when I’m struggling to go to sleep at night because of the distraction of the walls and the bright red carpet, I can log on and lose myself in pictures like this (my favourite of them all)…………….

 

 Image

 

 

And this…………………………..

 

Image

Do go and look at the rest of the photos, especially if you’re thinking of doing up your bedroom and are looking for ideas.

 

Meanwhile back in the real world, when I’m not dreaming of the perfect bedroom, I’m steaming wallpaper – and not just any wallpaper, it’s woodchip – off the bathroom CEILING! Yes, that’s right, there is woodchip wallpaper on the ceiling of the en-suite which has to come off before the new shower etc can go in. We’ve almost stripped the room bare now, so this is the last thing to do before the new bathroom gets underway.  And while I work away upstairs, IB is busy downstairs, blocking up the serving hatch – which this domestic goddess is happy to live without – in the kitchen.

 

Image

Woodchip wallpaper and a serving hatch………………..told you this place was a shrine to the 1970’s! I almost feel like we should be doing our respective DIY jobs in platform heels and flared jeans!

 

Image

To sink or not to sink………..

6 May

So IB’s been getting a little bit frustrated this weekend with the lull in DIY activity. Basically we’re kind of twiddling our thumbs at the moment until we get all the quotes in from the builders for the kitchen work. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of little jobs to be done, but IB wanted something meaty to get his DIY teeth into.  Me, I was all prepared to take a break and relax and enjoy the bank holiday weekend, especially as it’s been a bit of a stressful week on the work front. In the end though, IB was not to be put off and so he decided to tackle the ensuite.

Now I’m sure I MUST have mentioned the interesting décor that characterised the ensuite in a previous post, but just in case, picture green and brown paisley wallpaper, orange carpet and an avocado bathroom suite and you’re there. And just in case your imagination isn’t up to the job………

 Image

 

Image

 

Of course, the focal point (and by that I mean ‘talking point’) of the bathroom is the sunken bath. Circa 1970, it’s like something straight out of a Bond movie (one with Mr.Connery of course!). In fact I’m sure I did see it last week in a scene when I was watching ‘Diamonds are Forever’!

 Image

 

For anyone who has never bathed in a sunken bath, let me tell you, it is quite an unusual experience. First of all there’s the odd sensation of stepping down into the water instead of throwing your leg over the side as is normally the case. Don’t get me wrong, stepping down into the tub has its appeal, it’s a more graceful and elegant way to get in the bath for a start! The real challenge for me though was when I was luxuriating in my bubble bath and one of the kids or IB came in for a chat. There’s something quite disconcerting about being in a bath, that’s sunk deep in the floor and trying to have a conversation (or asserting parental or wifely authority) with someone, when their feet are closer to you then their face is!

So, the sunken bath will go in time. But for now, IB has stripped the room bare of all other evidence of the 1970s and the room awaits its fate.  I feel a mood board coming on!

 

Image

Image

Who wants to buy a kitchen?…………. I do!

4 May

£85,000! No that’s not how much we’re planning to spend on our kitchen, but that is what the nice man from Magnet once had a customer spend on a kitchen! Apparently before he joined Maget, he worked for a company specialising in bespoke kitchens,  catering to the kitchen needs of London’s financial elite. The kitchen was not for someone famous – I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for some juicy celeb gossip – but it was in fact for a London trader trying to spend his bonus.

“What on earth do you put in an £85,000 kitchen?” I asked Mr. Magnet.  Well the long list included solid oak units, marble worktops and matching roman columns (money doesn’t buy you taste clearly) and a top of the range triangle (cooker, fridge and sink in case you didn’t know!). But even Mr. Magnet agreed that the law of diminishing returns applies to kitchens too, so there is a tipping point beyond which spending more money just isn’t going to get you anything better than the less well off Mr Jones down the road! That makes me feel so much better about our kitchen budget which needless to say falls massively short of the £85,000 mark.

So in terms of what we might be getting, well I have to wait until next Tuesday to see how Mr.Magnet suggests we fit out our new kitchen and what sort of triangle we might end up with!  In the meantime I haven’t been able to resist mouching around the kitchens section of the house to home website.

 

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

There’s also a section on all these amazing storage options which are totally dangerous for me to be looking at. I have got total storage envy.

 

Image

 

Image

 

But I wonder if these pictures aren’t a little misleading.  Don’t they give a false impression of what real life can be like? They’re the kitchen equivalent of fashion magazine photospreads!  You know the ones like ‘what to wear to the office’ that have pictures of impossibly beautiful women with perfect figures wearing chic co-ordinated outfits leaning on a desk? They sort of sucker you in (momentarily of course!) to the fantasy that if you don an expensive pencil skirt and cashmere twinset, then life will be perfect! I get the same dreamy feeling when I look at these kitchen storage photos until I snap back to reality and remember that with two young boys and a husband who is positively averse to putting things away, my drawers are never going to look like this: 

 

Image

 

And would I want them to, really? Well maybe, but how much effort would it take to keep them like that! I think maybe I can find more fun ways to spend my life!

Anyway, after I stopped drolling over all these photos I started to look at the advice on kitchen layout. House to Home give lots of options depending on the shape of your kitchen and its well worth looking at if you are considering renovating your kitchen. It comes with advice to suit the shape of any kitchen, so for me that’s L-shape

Of course I am jumping the gun a bit. Before we can buy the kitchen we’ve got to have the building work done, the biggest part of which is joining up the outside utility room (which was more of a winery it seems for the previous owners) with the rest of the kitchen and then knocking through to the dining room so we have an L-shaped kitchen diner.  It’s not as simple as it sounds given you have a fifteen inch drop down out of the kitchen to get to the utility room. This mean the floor of the utility room needs to be built up by about to meet the kitchen and the roof raised – otherwise only people 5 foot and below will be able to use the space! The good news is that because we’re using the existing footprint of the building, there’s no need for planning permission, we just have to get the building regulations people from the council to do a couple of site inspections! Easy peasy! Or not, time will tell!