Discovering that gardening is therapeutic 

Our house on the lake is still a place I look forward to returning to after a day at work and I still can’t quite believe it’s ours. As you know we’ve been doing lots of DIY on our little gem and although there is still lots to do it’s spring and that means our DIY takes us outside!

One of the essentials when we were looking for houses was an outdoor space and we’re lucky that we have 33 meters of garden at the back of the house:  

Its actually quite difficult to design a garden that’s that long and narrow (I know, first world problems) but we’ve decided to divide it up into four parts – a patio, a classic english garden, a herb garden and an outdoor kitchen. Again Pinterest has become an absolute obsession, it’s very easy to get carried away 😉 

However, we’ve started with the classic English garden, which we dug out to fit beautiful lavenders, box hedging, hydrangeas and hornbeam:

A few before and after photos:   

               In total we planted 180 box hedges but being outdoors, sitting in the sunshine and letting your mind run wild is actually quite therapeutic. Although I had a lot of this:   Finishing one section of the garden gives you a real sense of achievement and puts us one step closer to finishing our project, which puts a big smile on my face 🙂 

What’s your spring project?

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Appreciating my hood

I think the last six months have been about the act of appreciation. When I say this I mean appreciating the people I love, my love of food, my new house, finding new ways to exercise and of course my holiday. However, now I’m starting to have time to admire and explore my hood.

To me Christmas is the time of year where family and friends make the most time for each other and, you guessed it, appreciate each other the most. This week I’ve had time to really wonder around and see my hood during the week so what did I do?
– I went for a run – I love sprinting and the outdoors here is fantastic, this is my garden:
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– I went to the market in my town and realised I have a date with the French in a few weeks – I love diversity:

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– I went for a walk to find my advent decorations for 2014 – red cheeked and happy I made a few:

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– I enjoyed the last few days of autumn and it was beautiful:

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Have you taken time for appreciation this year?

Herbs – growing my own

I love herbs, I put anything from tarragon to paprika in my scramble eggs, love a good flavoured water with mint and cucumber and my homemade guacamole is full of coriander and chilli! I don’t go a day without adding a herb or five to my meals.

It might come as no surprise that I couldn’t simply stick with the shop bought dried herbs and had to not just buy fresh ones but actually grown my own too!

First things first – select your herbs. Then all you need to do is get some soil from the garden, find a pot to grow them in and remember to water them. That’s it!

I picked mint (because it’s just fab), parsley (because I need to eat more of it) and oregano (because I love Italian food) – all perfectly fine reasons right?!

Here’s how they looked at the beginning:
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The good thing is that herbs are incredibly low maintenance so after a few weeks we got to this stage:

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We’re currently at this stage and I’m hoping to start using them in two weeks time 🙂

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Which are your favourite herbs?

Do you ever stop dreaming?

My blog is personal to me and as you know from about me I set out to write it as a sort of therapy / reflection / diary of life.

One of the things I’ve been contemplating is whether we ever stop dreaming? I see myself as a realist, I get up and get on with things, I get things done and don’t dwell on them – it’s who I am, take it or leave it. However, as you get older I think your dreams slow down a little bit and I’ve learned that you don’t have to hurry to get there. So I had a cuppa:
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I can be impatient, which is why Welly is probably good for me. I tend to want everything at once but he once said that he doesn’t want our lives to pass us by and I love that. However, when I invited my sister to a walk and a pub lunch in the country and her reply was ‘we’re not 50 yet’ it really made me think. So I made myself a cocktail:

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I think that as you get older your goals and dreams become long term rather than short term ones – for example you can’t renovate a house in a month or even two and that’s OK.

I am still a dreamer and I don’t ever want to give that up. I’m also a doer and I will make my own dreams come true, they will just take a bit longer to get there which is AOK with me!

London, this one’s for you!

It’s a tough one to crack sometimes, I should know – the countryside or city life? Well, what if you don’t have to choose?

This week has been one of incredible highs in the city of London. I’ve been part of something pretty awesome with work, met some of the social world’s most inspiring people and worked with an amazing team.

After eight years of living in one of the world’s most inspiring cities I still fall in love with its harsh, cool and yet welcoming atmosphere. Who says early morning starts are so bad http://instagram.com/p/tW3gb4RuO5/

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There is always something to discover and as I walked down Bricklane with the crew from Alternative London I realised that you never stop discovering things in The Big Smoke. Who knew that there is art on most posts in Bricklane made by a 62 year old east end metal worker? I didn’t, but it blew my mind:

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People always say to look up when you walk in a city but yet most, including me, look down. I’ve made a promise to myself to start looking up, love the city I’m in and appreciate how truly amazing it is to see this place develop each day.

Thank you London, this one’s for you!

What do you love about your city?

DIY – slow and steady wins the race

DIY – it’s rewarding, fun, exciting and grownup but it’s also slow, hard work and a little frustrating at times, mainly because it’s stuff we can’t do ourselves!

My good friend over at Let Her Eat Clean once said to me ‘slow and steady wins the race’ so that’s what I’m standing by and letting the experience of doing up our first house together be an enjoyment!

I’m learning new skills, which is great and putting late victorian features back into the house on the lake is so rewarding. My latest project has been restoring a fireplace for the second bedroom – this eBay wonder that Welly won:

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Paint stripper in hand, protection sorted – it all began:

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Two hours and two layers of paint later:

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Four hours and four layers of paint later (I was starting to wish I had just applied a fifth layer of paint at this stage):

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Meanwhile Welly had made room for the fireplace by exposing the original ‘hole in the chimney’:

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And it went in, got sanded down and got plastered up:

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Now we just need to sand the floors, paint the room, put a radiator back in, put down vintage victorian tiles, paint the fireplace and most importantly decorate the room. It might sound like a lot but we’re more than halfway there and it’s all still pretty exciting 🙂

Are you living the DIY dream?

Dreamy bank holiday – diy, friends & food

It just so happened that the last bank holiday of the year was the first bank holiday in the house on the lake for Welly and I.

We have extensive plans for the downstairs of our home so we wanted to paint a bit and put in some colour before we get going with our kitchen extension next year:
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I love Habitat so safe to say we paid them a quick visit. Our eBay antique and history-filled furniture are perfect backdrops to a punch of colour:

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Upstairs is another story. We’re currently getting the second bedroom ready for mama and papa Hansen’s visit in September – check out Welly exposing the fireplace:

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And ripping up the gorgeous chocolate brown carpet:

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Between all the diy and interior goodness we got to have our first dinner party with my favourite gal over at the house called abe and her hubby herringbone kitchens which was just dreamy! We followed this with a BBQ with good friends enjoying the fab weather until the bats came out to play!

This weekend has been one we’ve dreamed of for a very long time and the fact that we did it all is another tick on the to-do list 🙂