Friday, 26 December 2014

Holidays & Transitions

So its been a while!  As I said in my last post, Mr A’s birthday was at the beginning of November and things always go a little crazy for us after this!  With all the present buying, wrapping, delivering, normal day to day stuff, work and this year added to all this I had my NEBOSH (Health & Safety) exam retake which hopefully I have passed.

We have also managed to fit in Adam and Holly’s beautiful wedding in Lincoln, don’t they make a lovely little family.

Some pre-Christmas visits with our awesome friends, going to see the last Hobbit film with my oldest friend J and putting the Christmas tree up.


These awesome bad boys are my new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles baubles, make by the fair hand of the wonderful Mr A.

We have had a great Christmas so far and have both received some fantastic presents.  Mr A got me some lovely presents including a cutting mat and rotary cutter for making my coat and quilts, and I think that I must have got a million wife points for Mr A’s present (tickets to the Mountain Biking World Cup at Fort William in Scotland).  My little Sister put me together a lovely sewing and quilting kit in a beautiful handy carry case and I got some amazing Hello Kitty shoes from my Mum and Dad, my niece the ‘Cheeky Monkey’ is going to be very jealous!

Boxing Day has mostly been a day of shopping, we are not normally ones to participate in the rush of the post-Christmas sales……but this year we have, not the clothes sales.  For us it was all about the house!!  We went to Sofaworks, where we were looked after by a very nice lady called Abby, and ordered our new sofas (eek!!).  These are the first sofas we have ever brought so it was a big deal for us, in the past we have been lucky enough to have been given sofas by people who are getting new ones.  It is also the most we have ever spent on anything excluding the house and ours cars!!  So it was a bit nerve racking, but we await the arrival of the new sofas sometime in early March with much anticipation!  But in the mean time we have Little Neal to make us smile J

Our other shopping exploits were a new washing machine (exciting I know!) as our old one decided that it had had enough just before Christmas.  We have the spare one that was left with the house, but to be honest that is starting to sound rough too, and with the sales it seemed too good an offer to miss.  The washing machine was from Currys and I have to say the service was a shocking contrast to Sofaworks.  We got told by a women (probably the supervisor) that everyone was busy and she would put our name on a list, funnily enough she didn’t seem that busy!  Then the man she sent over was useless and didn’t really seem to know much!  Anyway the machine was almost half price so we decided to go ahead and get it.  Although there was a lot of discussion over the colour, white, grey or black, the washer dryer (when we get it) will need to match and what size of drum to get.  In the end we decided on the Hotpoint 9kg, as it is a couple of models up from the one we had, and in grey.  Who would have thought it would be this hard to choose, when I was a kid I always thought just pick one they are all the same, oh how your view point changes when you are an adult!

Other Christmas purchases include a tassimo coffee maker and pods from Amazon, which will hopefully arrive soon as I can’t wait to try it and Mr A brought a new electro acoustic guitar.  Luckily he liked it as he may have pressed to far on the buy it now on ebay, but not to worry as it was the one he wanted anyway J

As the year is drawing to a close, it is making me rather reflective and in that I realise how much has happened and how far we have come this year….

We moved out of our first house together in April, which was exhausting, rushed and slightly emotional, as it our first home together, but it was also nice to be passing it on to a lovely couple who are where we were 7 years ago when we brought it.

Then in the August we moved into our Forever Home, and I still can’t quite believe that we are here and it is ours!

I’m also very grateful for the amazing family and friends that we have and the support that we have been given this year during the long journey that was the Council Planning Permission and also the time, blood, sweat and tears that were given to help us move, not once but twice!

This year we have also welcomed (only very very recently) a shiny new addition into our extended family (I must remember to add him to the family tree) and look forward to another addition to the family around the middle of next year, and then there are the two other new little people due next year to some of our friends J  It also seems to be the time for weddings and we have been invited to another two already for next year.  With those and the gigs that we have booked in, 2015 looks set to be a good year and also the year of the house renovation!

So I end with apologies for being so nostalgic but I did worn you that I was in a reflective mood!  I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season and that you have a fantastic New Year.

Thank you for reading my blog, now I just need to work on my New Year’s resolutions.

If there’s anybody out there, bye for now!

Netty J

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Living Room

The Living Room

I’ve had a nice couple of days off work, Mr A’s birthday was last Wednesday so I came home from work on Tuesday night so we could spend some time together J  As always we have managed to cram loads in!  Including birthday celebrations (obviously), the Home Building and Renovation Show up in Harrogate which lead to an impromptu visit to Mr A’s Great Aunt, family fireworks, Christmas shopping and sofa testing!

More on the Home Building and Renovation Show another time, I had good intentions of taking loads of photos for my blog, but I got overawed by all the shiny things on show.  So I’m going to have to do a bit of internet trawling so I can show you the awesome things we saw!

Which leads me to the living room, first a quick tour of what it was like when we moved in and there was no furniture.

This one is looking from the front of the house to the back……

…… this one is the opposite way, I just love those curved walls on the bay J …….

……. And this one shows the doors that lead into the living room.  The furthest is to the front door and the stairs and the nearest one is to the kitchen.

Mr A was getting fed up of looking at where the previous owners pictures used to be, so we took a trip to B&Q to invest in some supplies.  The idea being that some temporary decorating would be good for cheering the place up and it would be good for trying some of our ideas out.

After Mr A’s hard work, this is how our living room currently looks.

The paint used on the feature wall is by the B&Q Colours Matt range and is called Cool Slate, we really like how this has turned out and will be using it for the final version of the room.

Due to the fact that we have such high ceilings (I’m nowhere near reaching them, even if I’m stood on my tip toes on one leg, with my arm fully stretched up!), we have decided to be brave and are going to have feature ceilings too!

This is also from the B&Q Colours Matt range and is called Clear Ocean.  The beam that can be seen on some of the photos (it’s about half way down the room and is from an internal dividing wall originally) this will stay white and we plan to replace the coving with some more traditional cornicing which will be wider into the ceiling (hopefully that makes sense).  We do have some nice original features in the house, unfortunately not in the living room though, I’ll cover these in their own post, were they can shine properly J  This cornicing will also be white and should hopefully provide a nice separation between the walls and the ceiling.

With all this in mind we decided to go and have a look at some sofas (a nice birthday treat for Mr A!), we went to Sofaworks as they seem to have a nice range of funky sofas and they aren’t just traditional or leather recliners.  The plan is to have a corner sofa but without the arms all the way round, I believe these are called a chaise group (it sounds very fancy).  We tried a couple in store, cue photos of sofas…..

Our thoughts on this one is that it would be too small for our living room.

As you can see this one makes me look like a hobbit and without sounding too like Goldilocks, this one was too big.

This one was just right ;) and is the one we are going to go for, just need to find time to go and order it!  We aren’t going for the orange though (it would clash with my hair!), we are going for the black and blue mix, it should really bring out the colour for the ceiling.

All of this excitement of picking sofas, lead us to marking out where to sofas would fit in the living room.  We must be mad as this followed a day of Christmas shopping in Hanley on the day when everyone else in the world seemed to be there!  So here are the photos of the marked out sofas (you can just see the brown tape)…..

This is just the chaise group sofa marked out, which fits nice and snug between the two doors.  As we are both sitting on the same sofa we are also going to get a footstool, so that we can both put our feet up J

The three seater sofa that we would also get is magically the same size as our other existing sofa, so we were able to just move that about to show us what space there would be between them for getting to the kitchen door.

So that’s about it for now, I covered some of our ideas for the living room in my last post and will put together an update post when we are a bit further along with the decisions, and when the sofa arrives of course!!

If there’s anybody out there, bye for now!

Netty J

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Update, The Plan & The Random Sewing Alteration

The past couple of weekends have been busy as usual and I have been trying to cram in too much, as I do!  I’ve have also been having issues with connecting my phone to my laptop for internet so haven’t been able to get onto the Blogger site to write my blog L But as of next Tuesday we will have fancy new internet complete with wifi! Wahoo J

The Update

I thought I would do an update about what we have been up to the pass couple of weeks.

We are still slowly shuffling through the boxes to try to find / unpack stuff as we need it, this has jumped up the priority list as it is slowly driving me mad every time I want to find something….do we have envelops? Yeap there were on the printer shelf, look in the printer shelf box, denied! Do we have any string? Yes somewhere…oh it must still be in a box, Doh!  You get the picture!  There are still loads and I must get on with it L

On a happier note, my Mum, Dad, Little Sister and nephew the Little Bean came round one Sunday, so that me and Little Sister could have a good luck at the Vogue 1419 Pattern (I’m totally shitting myself!).  We had a good morning and it was fun showing the Little Sister and the Little Bean around the house, and the Little Bean even had ago on Mr A’s drum kit J

He is so cute (I might be slightly bias).

Last weekend was definitely a music based weekend, I had the Friday off work and on Thursday after a drive home, a quick change, dinner by a certain Ronald on the go in the car and picking up the A-Laws, we made our way to Chester to see Tony Wright (from Terrorvision) and Milly (not our cat Milly) for an Acoustic set at The Live Rooms.  It was a small intimate gig, but it is up there in my top 10, the atmosphere was amazing and Tony was very funny.  One of our friends (Simon Dunkerley) who is also a photographer was there and very kindly took our photo with Tony.

This was followed by a well deserved lay-in (for me anyway, poor Mr A had work) and a day of rest on the Friday.  Saturday started to ramp up again, after a nice visit from our friend and his Dad, and then some boring house stuff, it was off to another gig in the evening.  This time it was Soil at the Manchester Club Academy, and it was yet again another awesome gig J  and may again have been followed by a visit to a certain Ronald (yeap there’s a bit of a theme to our eating habits but in our defence it was late and we were starving!).

Sunday saw me massively over estimating how much I can fit into a day.  I’m very good at this over estimating both at home and at work, which leads too much frustration on my part.  This is probably unnecessary and if I was better at estimating I would likely save myself from a lot of self imposed stress!

So my Sunday target was to peel the windfall apples from the weekend before and start to sort through some boxes.  I though I would put my lunch in the microwave (not Ronald related this time) and go to see if there were any more apples on the ground….three large baking bowls full later!  I managed to fill the sink, the little drainer sink thing and the bowl was still overflowing, I wish I had taken a photo!  After lunch around 2pm I made a start with the peeling and chopping, which I though would take an hour or two, at 3:50pm I stopped to have a brew and rest my feet.  When I came back I had a count of the apples that were left (it’s always good to have a target so you know you’ve made progress) and stopped after I got to 30 apples as it was looking like a mammoth task!  Finally after about a total of 70 apples and at 7pm, I finally finished!! As you can imagine after this nothing else was done!  If anyone knows of any better way to store apples over winter, rather than peeling and chopping for freezing please let me know!  Also if you have any good apple related recipes that would be good, as I have quite a few apples ;)

And then there was the surprise Trick or Treat visit from my nephew and niece (the Little Man and the Cheeky Monkey) this Friday J

The Plan

During the time Mr A and I have been together, there has been an overarching theme of us mostly spending time together in the car.  We seem to do a lot of travelling around, visiting family, going to H9 gigs, going to other gigs, shopping, etc.  This is where we do most of our catching up (ignoring the daily military style debriefs), organising, future planning, discussing ideas and now house planning.  So while on a journey to somewhere, we agreed the start of an outline for the house plan.

There are some ideas that we are currently toying with that effect what happens to certain rooms, such as do we pitch the flat roof or do we build up another storey.

There are also certain refurbishment works that affect the whole house, electrics, windows, etc.

So working through these and thinking about the rooms that would be least effected by these decisions and the ones that we are using most often, and would put a smile on our faces if they were tidy, finished and relaxing!  With all this in mind, this is the current starting point for the plan:

-          Electrics
o   We need a survey of the whole system, the fuse board is a little on the old side and there are sockets in the house that don’t have on or off switches!

o   This is the whole house and should be completed before any redecorating and such like.
o   If the house needs re-wiring that is our whole pot of renovation money blown in one go and we would need to start saving again before anything else major was done.

-          Windows
o   We have a range of original sash windows, wooden frames and uPVC framed windows.
o   The plan is to restore the sash windows, although the actual condition is extremely good and they are very well balanced.  Then the remaining windows we want to replace, most likely with black or grey aluminium frames (this is still under discussion, as we haven’t really looked properly yet), but triple glazing will be a must!
o   There might also be a bi-fold door in the plan too!
o   If we don’t need to re-wire the house, then we will be looking to do the windows, again this would be a massive chunk of the budget!

-          Master Bedroom
o   This room is only affected by the electrics so once that is sorted we are ready to roll for redecorating.
o   There is no ‘extreme decorating’ as Mr A likes to refer to it, in this room.  Just choosing paint and what sort of theme we want, and we can restore the sash window in the summer without causing any damage to what we have achieved J  Also it should be on the cheaper end of the scale to sort out.

-          Living Room
o   So this room needs the electrics looking at like the rest of the house, and there are also two windows that required replacing as well as the restoration of the sash windows (I love the sash windows, they are one of my favourite features!).
o   The plans include a photo wall, a wood burning stove, underfloor heating, bi-fold door, funky lighting, a feature wall and reclaiming Mr A’s piano from the A-Laws.

So there we go, the outline of a plan J  In other news, I’ve decided exactly want I want to do with the laundry room, but that will have to wait for now!

The Random Sewing Alteration

I was sorting through the sales at Tesco a few weeks ago and spotted what I thought was a top, which I liked and thought would be a good addition to my work wardrobe (I struggle with work clothes, but more on that at another time).  On closer inspection it was a playsuit, I am reliably informed by the Little Sister that this is what they are called….

….. I still really liked it, just not the shorts part of it.  On considering what to do, I thought to myself, I’m supposed to be making a coat, if I can’t alter this into a top I don’t stand a chance!

So very slowly I have measured, cut and machine sewed (the sewing machine is a scary creature) and Ta Da!!

Suffice to say I am very chuffed with myself J

If there’s anybody out there, bye for now!
Netty J

P.S.  Don’t forget to let me know if you’ve got any apple ideas

Saturday, 18 October 2014


So this post was suppose to go on last weekend, but due to a busy Saturday and Sunday morning and then maybe I fell asleep in the afternoon, it didn't happen.  Then technical issues with the laptop in The Hut and not being able to get internet tethering on my phone last night (we need wifi sorting asap!!) and there being no app for blogging on my Nokia phone it was an epic fail I'm afraid!!  But here I am now, I hope it was worth the wait :)

A large part of this house renovation game is gaining inspiration and ideas to include in your own home.  We are still at the beginning of our journey so ideas for the different rooms range from no idea, we know exactly what we want, to we have so many ideas for this room that there is no way that we can use them all!

If you hadn’t realised it already, I’m quite into my books hence the library (there were 47 boxes of books from the other house and we had to move them twice, old house to storage locker – storage locker to Forever Home!).  So I tend to look to books and magazines for inspiration, this is my collect so far (I’m sure that it will grow over time)……

I’m also a fan of Pinterest (I will get a button for this sorted on my blog at some point), there are some fantastic ideas out there.  These cover everything from new to recycled / repurposed, and I’ve already got a few to use in mind.

I’ve also recently been introduced to houzz by Mr A (he’s the design guru in our house), which I find great for overall ideas for rooms.  I like to see the ideas all pulled together so you can see the overall finish, it’s already given us an idea for the living room.

Shop wise I suppose I’m just like any other home renovator; I can spend hours in B&Q looking at fire places, paint, lampshades, the little set up kitchens and bathrooms (the kitchens are my favourite) and doors, doors and more doors.  Internal or external take your pick!  And don’t even get me started on IKEA, it’s like a dream shop, I could spend all day in there!  We once went to a gig in Birmingham and it turn out the date on the advertising was a week early!!  Obviously we weren’t happy, so to cheer ourselves up we decided to go to IKEA instead, you could get lost in that place forever.

So that’s what we are doing at the moment, gaining inspiration and ideas from anywhere and everywhere, and hopefully a plan should fall out of it at the end.

As my Dad would say ‘It’s all preparation’.

If there’s anybody out there, bye for now!

Netty J

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The End Of The Stud Wall

So last weekend was a very rare weekend off, Mr A wasn’t working (he works alternate weekends and yeap I do work away during the week, and yeap I am aware of how bad that sounds, but it all seems to work ok).  There were no gigs, no family commitments and no other plans (other than an exciting appointment for me at the bank to discuss life insurance – Yawn!), this is that rare in our house that even we were surprised when it happened.

After my exciting meeting at the bank, I came back home to find Mr A with utility bar (a crow bar to you and me, but weirdly not to B&Q) in hand.  I’m jumping ahead a bit here as I haven’t done any room tours yet, only a post with a bit about the layout of the house.  So I will take a step back.

Cue before pictures…..

….this is the Music Room 1 which was previously one of the offices for the previous owners business…..

….this is the Music Room 2, there’s a hatch because this room was the main reception (you can still see the little circle marks left by the chair on the hard tiled floor, from where the chair was moved in and out from under the desk).

This is my rather crap photo trying to show what the full length of the room is before the wall came out.  If you look through the door on the right you can see into the next room, ooh look there’s the book shelves for my library J and Mr A on the left.

Luckily there is only one stud wall on the ground floor (yes that right just one) and it magically happens to be between the two music rooms, it’s almost like we planned it!

Look there’s Mr A again, complete with utility bar….

….and the wall with all the sheets removed, you can just start to see the scale of the room through the batons.

The next two photos are my appalling attempt to show how big the room is now that the stud wall has been removed – Sorry, I will try to get better at these!

This next photo is a wide angle shot ‘borrowed’ from Mr A.  He’s done a much better job of it that I did, for a start all the edges of the walls line up!

I have put together a couple of layouts, so that you can see what it was originally, our planned use for each room, and also one that shows where the stud wall was removed from the music rooms (right hand side of the floor layout).

This leaves me with one final picture, I like to be super organised (otherwise our manic lives drive me mental and I never know what’s going on!) so in the entrance hall I’m planning on putting up a big chalkboard yearly wall planner.  I’ve seen something similar on Pinterest and thought I so need one of those!!  Well the stud wall just happened to be covered in thin (70s style) wooded sheets and they have come off ok, so I have saved one as it is just the right size J

More to come on this another time (when I get round to doing it)…. Oh and there’s or lovely little cat Millie getting in on the photo action!

If there’s anybody out there, bye for now!
Netty J

P.S. I think I’m due another monthly photo of the house, so here it is photo 2 - 10/2014 J

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Work Done So Far & The Vogue 1419 Pattern

Although we haven't started the main renovation yet (we are thinking about ideas, I promise!), we have done some things around the house & garden.

The first thing we tackled was the fruit trees in the garden. When we viewed the house back in February we were aware that there were a lot of trees, but didn't realise just how many of these were fruit. So this summer the garden was starting to look like a raid in the Tesco fruit aisle!  There are currently two pear trees, one of which the pears grow so high there was no hope in hell of us managing to reach them.  There’s a greengage tree, but unfortunately the squirrels are rather fond of these so we didn’t get a look in!  Apple tree wise we have a selection of both eating and cooking apple trees, and there are seven of these in total two of which didn’t fruit this year.  So as you can imagine it was like apple wonderland.

We have some friends, Rob and Sarah, who have started there own business (The Kitchen Swanscoe) making juices, jams and biscuits (the fudge is amazing).  So we asked if they wanted to come and help us collect the apples in return of some of them, as there was just no way that we could use / store them all.  By a random coincidence they had just started an initiative called The Random Apple Company.

So on the last Bank Holiday Monday in May August (I appear to be losing my mind and track of time!!), they appeared all ready to go to pick some apples and pears.  We decided to start with the largest tree (which was a fantastic idea as we were totally knackered after this!!).  The first thing was to pick up all the apples from the ground and put the rotten ones in a spare water butt that had been left with the house, this was to stop us picking up the same ones all the time.  Due to the size of our largest apple tree (estimated at 150 years old), we couldn’t shake it by pushing and could reach to ‘poke’ the apples.  So Mr A and Rob from The Random Apple Company tried to get higher into the tree using a ladder….

…. This didn’t fully work, so Mr A gamely climbed into the tree and started to ‘ride’ the tree, which worked much better and it started to rain apples!

It was a most productive day’s work and we got as much as possible off the trees, there’s still a lot left that didn’t want to fall off.  So I’m still going out at the weekends to collect the rotten fruit and am still trying to pass apples on to anyone and everyone that I know!!

So the photos below show the outcome of the day in relation to apples and pears, the first is the volume of rotten fruit we managed to collect from the ground…..

…. and finally the fruit (and Rob) in the trailer waiting to go to back to The Random Apple Company base.

In other non-renovation related news, my little sister has encouraged me to take part in a sewalong for the Vogue 1419 Coat!

I am a total beginner when it comes to sewing (I can do minor repairs) but am so very taken with the style of the coat I’m going to give it ago, so we shall see how I get on.  I’ll never keep up with the sewalong but hopefully I will manage to get it finished.  Although time could be a massive issue - work, travel, Hybrid 9 band stuff, house renovation, normal day-to-day house related stuff and running (I did the Chester half marathon this year and am hoping to do another next year)!!  The way I see if, if you’re not maxed out to the edge, then you’re not doing life properly!

If there’s anybody out there, bye for now!
Netty J

P.S. Hello to my first follower on BlogLovin you made my day on Thursday! J

P.P.S.  We took the stud wall in the music room out this weekend, but more on that later!