The Big Kitchen Brain Dump

My brain has been whirring with kitchens, worktops and different shades of grey recently. (Only about four, don’t worry this isn’t that kind of blog post.)

Our kitchen was not the selling point of the house for me. I know my time will come where my kitchen is the hub of the house, with a Rangemaster cooker and a dishwasher. I know one day I will peruse made.com for some barstools, and sit on them to eat breakfast before doing Elliot’s tie, giggling behind the fridge door at the amount of gel he’s got in his hair, and taking him to secondary school before coming home to load said dishwasher and then proceeding to sit and write my novels all day.

But that day is not today.

At the moment our kitchen can fit one person in it comfortably,. Two people becomes a squeeze and if one of those people opens a cupboard then you’d better start holding your breath. But it’s got an oven, a fridge and a kettle therefore it will do for now.

All pictures from Pinterest.

Above are some pictures of kitchens that are a similar size and shape to my current hellhole. Grey is the colour that is probably going to flow through the entire house, as I want a neutral house, I’m sick of magnolia and I’m not a fan of brown.

At the moment, our favourite style of kitchen is a modern, sleek, handle-less one.

I think it’ll help make the most of the limited space we have, even though the kitchens above are gorgeous with handles, I think in my particular room they’ll make it look smaller as there will just be handles banging you in the eye every which way you turn.

Our favourite at the moment is the Sofia kitchen from Wickes, I couldn’t decide my favourite colour but I think I’ve finally decided on Cashmere, below. We are going to borrow a proper cupboard door from the store to hold up in our kitchen for research purposes, but I think it’ll make the room seem as nice and big and airy as possible.

This kitchen is so white it hurts me. The owner of this kitchen definitely drinks decaf coffee and doesn’t own a spice rack at all. I want much more texture and some deeper colours in my kitchen.

To start with, I want a wooden worktop so that it doesn’t have that clinical feel that I get from the photo above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both pictures are from Wickes, first is Silver Grain and second is Mystic Pine. I’ve decided to go with #2, and not entirely because of the name…but mainly because of the name. I know there’s such a difference, it’s astounding what I spend my time deciding on.

Sink wise, I would love a ceramic Belfast sink, because that goes along with my Rangemaster oven and La Creuset dreams, but then I watched Elliot blindly lob his breakfast bowl into our current stainless steel monstrosity and I decided against it.

Instead, we’ve been looking at granite composite sinks, which is something I’d never have even known existed before I began my deep-dive into kitchens.

It is the true goth sink.
The Bluci PZ100 Compact bowl granite kitchen sink in Black.  A stylish look especially with the block timber worktops and single lever kitchen tap.Premium quality, composite kitchen sinks - Lavello Sinks

One thing that really annoys me about my current kitchuation (like situation..just trying to have some fun) is the fact that I don’t have tiles or splashback behind my stove, so any mess just splatters all over the wall and stays there forever more. (I don’t think the previous owners used proper kitchen paint on the walls, so there are curry stains everywhere and they won’t move. Honestly, disgusting!)

Green and copper kitchen tile #kitchentuneup #malvernpa #kitchentile #kitchenbacksplash #greenkitchen www.kitchentuneup.com/main-line-pa

 

Browse our wide selection of metro tiles online. #metrotiles #subwaytiles

This would be the dream – I’m so drawn to those green tiles! Think they’ll look beautiful and add a pop of colour to the grey units and worktop! I do know they’ll be an absolute pain in the bum to put up but that’s ~*~not my problem~*~ thanks, Reece!

White gloss kitchen with blue glass splashback. Come and see this colour combination in our showroom!

There’s also splashbacks like this, like a full sheet of glass or plastic or something like that. I’m not completely sold on this but let me know what you think!

With regards to the floor, we’ve currently got some rank laminate flooring down that ripped when we dragged our fridge-freezer into the kitchen when we moved in and also has marks and dirt on there from approximately 1997, and I don’t think any amount of Method Rhubarb Floor Cleaner is going to save it.

I have no idea what to go for floor-wise, I don’t know what would look best?

modern white kitchen with turquoise splashback         Hellas Marble Floor Tile - customer image

My heart is telling me vinyl flooring that looks like marble because God knows, I want to live my best Kensington town house, swimming pool in the basement, Tamara Ecclestone life in a 2 bed terrace but I don’t know if it’ll really go…

I need your opinions on flooring, now! Let me know what you think of my massive kitchen brain dump and whether I should scrap the entire idea?

If you’ve actually put up with this post then I applaud you, and you are cordially invited to the honorary opening of my new kitchen, a la Joe Lycett.

 

 

 

Kids TV: The Good, The Bad And The Put-Your-Head-Through-A-Wall Terrible.

I’ve watched my fair share of kids TV over the ages.

From watching it myself, as a child during the golden age of SM:TV, Mona The Vampire and MI High to watching it at University as “research” for a housemate training as a primary school teacher, to sitting in a dark room at 3am watching Bing Bunny whilst an 18 month old does grabby hands at ice creams on screen.

Therefore, I feel like I am competently qualified to give you the run-down of the best and worst kids TV out there today.

(This is inspired by the current Pokemon series Elliot is obsessed with that we’ve been watching for the past few weeks. FOURTY-TWO EPISODES PER SERIES. Can you imagine what the last series of Game of Thrones would have been like if they’d had that timescale to play with?!)

The Best:

Dick and Dom in da Bungalow: Possibly the best TV show ever created. Laid in bed last night until nearly midnight watching clips of this on Twitter and actually crying real tears of laughter. My favourite moment remains: the girl who rang the wrong number. Back in the day when you only had six channels.

Hey Duggee: It’s actually quite aesthetically pleasing for a kids TV show. They’ve definitely had an episode where everything looked like it had fallen out of a Wes Anderson movie, and it’s given us the true gift that is the Stick Song. I won’t link to that as it’s a serious ear-worm. Or ear-stick? Not sure if that works – ANYWAY it’s really quite cool and I don’t mind watching six episodes in a row.

Waffle The Wonder Dog: Probably a bit of a Marmite program, here. It’s about a dog that can talk. But a) in the first episode, they get married and when they discover a magical dog in their house the woman rips off her wedding dress to reveal her Vet uniform underneath. Second best outfit reveal since Violet Chachki’s tartan moment. There’s also really catchy tunes, the dog is voiced by Rufus Hound and I spend all my time wondering how their house works – it has a very intriguing layout. That’s what I think of when I watch TV shows now – the interiors.

The Worst:

Paw Patrol: I could truly write an essay on the shit that goes on in Adventure Bay but I like to try and keep these blog posts under 1000 words. To sum it up: the Mayor is even shitter than Theresa May, there’s this weird man that lives at sea who pretends to be pretentious by picking particular POINTS OF PHRASE THAT BEGIN WITH P and you could probably swim in the spit that he creates. It just drives me up the wall. Also, your child will be obsessed with it one day and you’ll spend £79.99 on a Paw Patrol Adventure Bay Play Set complete with all five pups and a Bettina the cow and the next day he’ll be interested in something completely different.

Peppa Pig: I don’t think I need to explain the show Peppa Pig as everyone ever has seen one episode, or at least that meme of Peppa hanging up the phone on her friend like a bitch. It’s just absolute shite, from the fat-shaming of poor old Daddy Pig to the madness of why they all live on hills and where they draw the line at eating other animals? We watched hours and hours and hours of this and I dread to imagine how many brain cells perished.

Fireman Sam: I’m not 100% sure that Pontypandy isn’t the town where the Wicker Man takes place. Absolutely terrifying place where things set on fire every single day, and everyone has the Fire Brigade on speed-dial. WEIRD. Also, note that Norman Price is Fireman Sam’s illegitimate son and he’s obviously fighting those daddy issues by setting fire to things. Which gives me some serious serial killer vibes, to be honest.

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The “Actively-Skip-This-Trust-Me”:

Patchwork Pals: The episodes of Patchwork Pals are only approximately five minutes long, but I would honestly make those five minutes the time when you go to the toilet or boil the kettle or hang the washing out because it’s excruciatingly awkward to watch. In one episode, a chicken gets an egg stuck…coming out of them. And employs the help of their friends, including an elephant to help them get it out.

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HONESTLY, I’M CRYING WITH IT.

Show Me Show Me: There’s just something really weird about a grown man playing in a playground with teddy bears. It just seems wrong. All you need to know is in one episode, they were talking about kites and it sounded like something else. Every other moment of the show is irrelevant. Please find said moment here. But trust me, it really does sound like Something Else so I’d recommend being careful if you’re watching it with children in tow.

The Furchester Hotel: I’ll be honest, this is more of a personal beef. I have a deep-seated fear of Elmo that has haunted me to my very core and the thought of staying in a hotel where he just appears from nowhere shouting “ELMO” is…ugh. I’d rather stay in the hotel from The Shining and share a room with the old woman in the shower, honestly. I do applaud their rhyming skills though, as they concocted a whole song around the word “catastrophe.”

Let me know what you think of my choices, and if there’s anything you’d add or change. I’m sure you’ll thank me later when you’ve fallen down a hour-long rabbit hole of Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow.

 

Things That Have Made Me Cry Recently

I’ve had a bit of a funny turn recently.

Everything became a bit much for me, as life occasionally does and I took a slight step back. Not even from anything in particular, just a step back from everyone and everything and just hid for a few weeks.

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Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash

Couldn’t even particularly tell you why, just that I am still anxiety’s bitch and sometimes will still succumb to its will.

It’s been a bit of a write-off, so I’ve decided to ease myself back in gently by writing about utter tosh.

Whilst I was taking some time off from being a member of society,  laying on the sofa and ignoring the crust of Cheerios and dust that was covering my entire house, I seemed to be on an emotional rollercoaster. Having an anxiety moment meant that I was living on a knife-edge and the slightest thing could have me tearing up.

And I thought I’d share the pain, because if I don’t laugh I’ll cry even more.

Here are a few choice things I’ve cried over whilst hiding from the blog, from my inbox, from my friends and from myself.

  • One morning, I woke up and decided I wanted to wear my dungarees. I got them out of the wardrobe, only to find that somehow one of the metal bits had come undone. I had no idea how to get it back on, no idea how it had fallen off and no idea what else I was going to wear. I sat there in tears before I realised a) that I could wear anything else in my wardrobe, including my leopard print culottes with the elasticated waist which are practically pyjamas and b) that my period had arrived.

 

  • Mrs Hinch’s Instagram stories where she videos herself folding baby clothes whilst We Belong Together by Mariah Carey plays over the top.

 

  • Reece and I started watching The Office US and I just thought about the Niagara episodes. The only time where Chris Brown can be played without judgement. It’s also Reece’s first time watching it, so I got to enjoy Jim and Pam for the first time all over again through his eyes and got a bit more emotional.

 

  • After writing that last point, I found the scene in question and watched it on Youtube. Now crying again.

 

  • Sir Terry Pratchett’s hat had it’s own chair at the Good Omens premiere.

 

  • At a seriously low point, I looked at some Father’s Day cards and an Ed Sheeran song came over the shop radio. I had to leave as I was getting a quivery bottom lip and it was actually embarrassing.  When I told Reece this story, he started laughing as I said, a bit wobbly, ” I just…people out there love their dads so much they want to buy them cards!”

 

  • I had a shower and listened to Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi and cried in the rain so no-one could see my tears.

 

  • I spent a week listening to Tell All Your Friends by Taking Back Sunday in full, on repeat, as I’m seeing it live in two weeks time. Teaming that with re-living the pain of Jim Halpert in Series 2 of The Office meant I turned into an angsty 15 year old. I have since stopped listening to said album and have remembered I’m a happily married woman before I start making bloody Piczo graphics of Cute Without The E lyrics again.

 

  • Elliot put a baseball cap on backwards and started singing the Pokemon theme tune at me and it was just really, really cute. The first time. By the seventh time that day, I was wishing for a Charizard to burn me to death.

It’s been a tough ol’ week, I’ll be honest. Onwards and upwards, I spose!

Realistic Renovations: Goals For The Year

Haha, bet you thought you’d seen the last of this segment!

After our sudden burst of excitement regarding the bathroom last year, we’ve plateau’d a little bit over the past few months as we had birthdays and Christmas and New Year then Elliot’s birthday and holidays.

Basically all we have left to do in the bathroom is buy a toilet roll holder, a cabinet and get a new light fitting as our current bug graveyard is slightly depressing.

BUT I’m getting twitchy fingers and am looking at the rest of the house with critical eyes, working out who the next victim will be…

We’ve only got a tiny house, so there aren’t that many rooms to deal with so it should be really easy!

Anyway. Here’s my ideas for the rest of the house. (I know I said the year in the title but that may be slightly idealistic but we’ll ignore that for now.)

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Elliot’s room needs painting and new curtains. The accessories of the room are all orange, so we need to think of a colour that will go well with orange. I have concluded that no colour goes with orange and I’m at a standstill as I am adamant that his bedroom will not resemble the inside of a pumpkin. I’ve bought jungle themed wall stickers and have been eyeing up these curtains to give everything a bit of a theme.

Our room needs a reshuffle. We have a MASSIVE almost walk-in wardrobe but it’s currently really badly organised. I’ve been dreaming about wardrobe compartments which shows a) I’m at a turning point in my life as I’m normally the untidiest person you’ll ever meet and b) I’m really fucking boring.

Honestly, a custom fitted wardrobe advert came on telly earlier and I sighed a sigh that’s normally reserved for when I imagine a Jake Gyllenhaal/Tom Holland sandwich with a Hayley filling.

I also really want to paint it pink. WAIT, REECE, HEAR ME OUT. I’m going for a more boudoir vibe than jumble sale, since I’m a grown woman who dreams about wardrobe compartments.

The landing/hall/front room/dining room are all the same – yellow and boring. It all needs painting to give it a new life, I’m thinking a neutral light grey with loads of frames. I’d also like loads of plants but I’ve already killed Elliot’s beanstalk from school that he brought home the other week so I won’t hold out much hope.

The kitchen *rubs hands together* will be the next biggest project. This will be hopefully started this summer, as we can live off BBQ’d Halloumi and chinese takeaway whilst my 90’s hellhole is being removed. I cannot wait to live in a Wickes show room, standing there cooking some lovely fresh meal that is definitely NOT oven chips whilst admiring mug storage. Just with more Star Wars themed accessories. BB8 biscuit tin, I’m looking at you.

I love talking and reading about interiors and I’m excited to get going with this whole renovations series again.

I’m currently preparing a bumper kitchen post, full of ideas and inspiration – both Pinterest and practical, so keep your eyes peeled for that as well.

Speak soon!

 

Monthly Favourites #4

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I’m reading Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, and to be honest it’s amazing. It’s about a girl called Frances and her friend/ex Bobbi who get friendly with a couple and how things get more complicated as the four become intertwined. I didn’t know anything about it when I bought it, other than people online had said it was good – and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

It’s amazing. I’m eeking it out for as long as possible, because I don’t want it to end. Frances is such a real character as well, if you’ve ever fancied someone you shouldn’t you’ll feel twitchy with recognition at how she feels.

I’m aware I’m probably going to be reading this book for the whole month so in lieu of other books, please take my advice and read this piece by Joel Golby about what the fuck happened in this house. It honestly has me screaming with laughter every time I read it.

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I have become completely obsessed with Buzzfeed Unsolved on Youtube. It’s true crime AND ghosts, two investigators – one skeptic, one believer go to all these creepy places and see if they can solve the ultimate question – are ghosts real? The Haunting of Hannah Williams is my favourite episode by far but they’re all hilarious.

Also, I don’t think I need to say much about Game of Thrones returning. Don’t want to detail what’s happened as ~spoilers, as I’m not that girl. However, if you haven’t watched it I’d get going straight away as it’s really good. One note is this series hasn’t been thaaaaaat gory yet, I haven’t had to hide too much. PLUS you get 10 points from me if you notice Mac from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s five seconds of fame.

Movie wise, all I want to talk about is Avengers: Endgame. Oh my word. If you’re into Marvel in any way, you’ll have seen it anyway or are planning on seeing it but I cannot stress how good it is. If you’re not into Marvel, I’d recommend getting started. And get your skates on, as you’ve got 22 films to work through and I want to discuss them with as many people as possible ASAP, so hurry up.

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Although it’s not technically a podcast, I’ve been listening to Simple Creatures new EP on repeat. It’s the new creation of Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 and Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low – a recovering emo kid’s dream, right? Their EP came out on the 29th and I gave it the ultimate test – listened to it whilst cleaning my house and walking back from the school run and it passed both with flying colours. I’d most recommend the song How To Live, which sounds a bit like the new Bring Me The Horizon album (but GOOD!)

Podcast-wise, I would recommend Shagged, Married Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsay which I have been blasting through. I attempted to play it as the “Doing Housework” podcast but every time I’ve ended up sitting down cackling with laughter surrounded by piles of washing so it’s not going too well in that direction. Also: beware of listening in public, as it’s really hard not to laugh out loud.

Apologies that my favourites seem to be a bit sparse this month,  the Easter holidays really threw a spanner in the works and I’ve been sacrificing everything in my life to watch The Crown for the past week or so. Writing, cleaning, ….weeing, everything has gone straight out of the window for that show. But I’ll tell you more about that later…

Adventures: Museum Of London

Hi! How are you finding the holidays? My house is slowly descending into madness, I caught Elliot watching Masha and the Bear with audio description this morning and I genuinely felt like my nightmares were being narrated to me in minute detail.

But. Back to the topic at hand: our trip to the Museum of London.

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I am a London Geek, everything about the city intrigues me. I have been known to Google the history of random streets just to see what’s happened on them 150 years ago, I love it that much. So the Museum of London had been on my list for a long time, and I was glad to finally be able to take Elliot there for the first time yesterday.

First things first, where is it? It’s near the Barbican. We got the train to City Thameslink and wandered along (via a Boots for a meal deal) and it took about 8 minutes top. It’s also really close to Bank station and St Pauls if you’re fancy and live on a Tube line.

Elliot shielding his eyes in a random church tower we came across

Round the corner from the museum, there’s also amazing things like this church tower from about a thousand years ago. It’s a) brilliant to be able to wander around these things and b) it’s cool to see these in between all the massive glass buildings of the city. ~Juxtaposition.

When we got there, it was free entry (winner!) and they had more activity sheets available, which we collected and Elliot chose to look at the Prehistoric London gallery, so we trotted in there and saw some really cool bits, like an actual elephants foot and some horns and skulls, etc. The activites were really good as we were able to discuss things more than “LOOK AT THIS ELLIOT, IT’S SO OLD.”

Cutest moment might have been Elliot looking at a skeleton and saying “I BET SHE BRUSHED HER TEETH WITH ROCK!” That one episode of Masha and the Bear where they travel back in time is his only knowledge of the prehistoric age.

After looking at prehistoric London, Elliot got hungry so we popped outside to the Lunch Space, where you can eat your packed lunch or meal deals and planned what to do after lunch. We decided to go downstairs to look at the Galleries of Modern London. (My Classical Studies heart was a bit gutted to miss out on Roman London but…there’s always another day.)

I was genuinely surprised by the exhibits downstairs, they were really cool. My favourite bit was a Victorian street, which had a toy shop, barber shop, bank and pub on show, and you could walk along the cobbles. I showed Elliot some old toys – “no Nintendo DS here!” and we sat in the pub and imagined he’d just finished a shift as a chimney sweep and was having a cuppa tea.

A view of a Victorian shopfront in the Victorian Walk at the Museum of London.
This was the random Victorian street – very cool! Also not my photo, I was too busy repeatedly saying “Elliot, look, Elliot come back, Elliot look” to take any photos in the museum.

There’s quite a few bits for kids to get hands-on with, toy trains are always a winner! And there’s a Playtime section that’s only tiny but has a few toys in as well, so Elliot was playing with Andy Pandy and an abacus whilst I remembered just how creepy Bill and Ben truly were.

The main thing to take from this museum is: it’s empty. Maybe we just missed the busy exhibits, but everywhere we went, it wasn’t crowded and we were able to amble around and really look and enjoy everything. We weren’t pressed in anywhere – didn’t even have to queue in the toilets!

The gift shop at the end (possibly the best bit of any museum) was also really good, and had a great book selection. Elliot bought a Mr Men book and I toyed with the idea of carting a million books about suffrage, London and the plague home but thought against the idea. Dragging Elliot AND a bag of books through London is not my bag. Also, I think it’s worth noting it wasn’t MASSIVELY expensive – I thought the Mr Men book was gonna be about £7, but it was only £3.99, so you can get a souvenir without breaking the bank.

Elliot standing proudly on a bit of ancient city wall.

I’d definitely recommend if you’ve done all the big museums in London and are after something a bit different, and quieter!

Adventures: Coram’s Fields

It’s April, and the sun is out (occasionally, very aware I’m writing this and it’s hailing outside…)

Since the Easter holidays are stretching out ahead of us like the writing at the beginning of a Star Wars film, I thought I’d dedicate most of this month’s posts to cheap (or free) ideas for days out around London, since that’s closest to where we live.

You could almost call it ~April Adventures~ if you were feeling that way inclined.

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You could almost make it official with a title if you were feeling double fancy.

The first place I’m going to talk to you about is one of Elliot’s favourite places: Coram’s Fields.

I’ll be honest, it’s not the Alton Towers of playgrounds, so don’t go expecting the world’s best climbing frames. However, for a five year old – it’s an absolute dream. And for a parent – IT’S FREE.

Elliot adores it there and has can spend hours playing with everything. There’s a few different areas in the park, from a tall climbing frame with slides and a zip wire in one corner to a sandpit and some smaller structures in another, and Elliot at age five is the perfect size for both.

They’ve also got rabbits and a goat, which I think every park needs. All we have in the park round the corner from my house is broken glass all over the floor and a man asleep outside the garages opposite the entrance gate.

Elliot posing with an adorable bunny rabbit at Coram's Fields

Another good thing is that Coram’s Fields has the rule that adults can’t go in there without a child accompanying them – meaning you won’t get any strange characters clutching a can of Stella outside the chicken coop.

Oh, yeah – they have chickens too!

The adult-free aspect of the park is great, in my opinion, because I can give Elliot free reign, basically. (As well as no adults being allowed – there’s normally someone manning the entrance gate plus it’s very heavy so even if he made his way over to the access gate he’s not going to get out of it before I catch him.) I can plonk myself on a bench and half cheer him on as he goes down the same slide twenty times and half check Twitter for Brexit updates without feeling like a complete failure of a mother.

Elliot coming out of a tunnel slide at Coram's Fields

It’s just basically an adorable green space in Central London, in a really handy area. It’s just behind Great Ormond Street Hospital so if you ever have to go there for a hospital appointment, you can bribe your child with a trip to the playground. It’s a short walk to the British Museum, and will serve as a calming slice of quiet after the madness that is a museum during half term. It’s also not far from Kings Cross, so you can easily get home afterwards.

To complete the day, there’s also a shopping complex – the Brunswick just around the corner that has a Giraffe, Nandos and a Starbucks so is perfect for grabbing a coffee to go to the park with and also for grabbing some halloumi afterwards.

My final and possibly most important point is that the toilets at Coram’s Fields are some of the nicest public toilets I’ve been to. They’re not portaloos, they’re in an actual building and they must be regularly cleaned because they’re always in a decent state when I’ve been.