Kitchen additions

Last weekend was a tiring one, full of working on the house and punctuated by a couple of hours in Ikea spent planning out our new kitchen.

It was my first virtual planning experience and I highly recommend it. We ended up changing the layout slightly enabling us to fit in our dream sink (I know, losers). But the finished plan looked great and as we used the mouse to spin around from view to view we wished we could just lift it from the computer screen and drop it into our semi.

We are tired, but definitely in the final stretch. We have the plasterer coming in early September, then it will just mean a bit of painting before cupboards go in and tiles go on. I’m getting a bit fed up of messiness and disruption now, though I daren’t complain, he’s working so hard. Seeing the room brought to life on screen made me yet more impatient to have it up and running and in front of my eyes for real.

There’s been something of a debate in our house over the last few weeks (reflected to some extent in this post) over whether to go with (husband’s preference) a very safe option – white or cream cupboards – or (my choice) something a little more 2014.

Needless to say, I won [*air punch*] so although our kitchen won’t be particularly wild or daring (that’s called compromise, readers, you have to do it in marriage so you can get your way over other things) it will be grey – yay!

It’s this one in case you’re curious, but we’re going to give it a slightly industrial edge with white subway tiles, wooden worktops and some non-Ikea cupboard and drawer handles. Great post here about customising affordable kitchen cabinets so they look designer.

I’ve also bought these few extra accessories which I’m looking forward to seeing in place.

New kitchen accessories: Anthropologie letter mugs, Asda black and white scallop mugs, Ikea turquoise patterned plate, Matalan glass printed jar, H and M wooden chopping board and box New kitchen accessories: Anthropologie letter mugs, Asda black and white scallop mugs, Ikea turquoise patterned plate, Matalan glass printed jar, H and M wooden chopping board and box New kitchen accessories: Anthropologie letter mugs, Asda black and white scallop mugs, Ikea turquoise patterned plate, Matalan glass printed jar, H and M wooden chopping board and box New kitchen accessories: Anthropologie letter mugs, Asda black and white scallop mugs, Ikea turquoise patterned plate, Matalan glass printed jar, H and M wooden chopping board and box

/ monogrammed mugs, £6 each, Anthropologie / black scalloped mugs, £1 each (bargain!), Asda / patterned turquoise side plates, £2.50 each, Ikea / glass jar, £6 I think, Matalan / rectangular box (similar) and wooden rope handled chopping board, £7.99, H&M /

Did you see my new bathroom additions last week?

DIY gold spike & bead necklace

It’s been quite a while since I’ve shared a DIY jewellery project with you. Larger scale DIY – on the house – has been taking priority! But I have a stash of projects on the go or that I’m keen to try soon and this necklace was one I made in early summer.

It was inspired by this image I saw on Pinterest from a woodland wedding inspiration shoot.

DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace

I was pretty pleased with how my version turned out!

DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace

What I used:

gold chain, 6mm x 4mm links, from Beads.co.uk - my piece was 10cm long

♥ gold chain, 3mm x 2mm links, from Beads.co.uk - my piece was 60cm long

♥ turquoise beads, mine were 20mm x 30mm, from Beads.co.uk

♥ gold spikes, 52mm long, from Beads Direct

♥ copper wire, 0.8mm, from Yum Yum Beads, Thorntons Arcade, Leeds

♥ four gold jump rings (7mm diameter)

♥ round nose pliers

DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace

1. Thread a length of copper wire through one of the turquoise beads.

DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace

2. Take one end of the wire and, using pliers, wrap it round three times to create a loop. Do the same at the other end and trim any excess wire. Do the same with the other turquoise bead.

DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace

3. Add a jump ring to each wire loop.

DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace

4. Add the thicker length of chain to one of the jump rings, and join the other turquoise bead at the other end of the chain.

DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace

5. Join the thinner gold chain to the remaining jump rings.

DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace

6. Add the spikes by opening the links of the thicker chain, making sure they are evenly spaced.

DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace DIY gold spike and turquoise bead long chain necklace

Yet to take a decent picture of me wearing it but I hope you get the idea! I really like the way the spikes hang when it’s worn.

Friends at Everyman Cinema

When I was in my first year at uni, the girls in my self-catered hall and I would spend more hours than I care to remember huddled into one of our rooms watching episodes of Friends.

One of the girls had the full box set on VHS and another had one of those TVs with a built-in video player. (I am quite aware of how old all of this is making me sound).

I’ll be honest, there were times in the early days I wanted us to go out more, but after a while our Friends nights became a real bonding experience, and every time I watch an episode now that’s the gang it takes me back to. Several of them are still part of my life now.

With such fond memories, I jumped at the chance to attend a Friends movie night at the Everyman Cinema in Leeds. It’s 10 years since the series finale – can you believe that? – and we were taken right back to the beginning, shown the very first four episodes.

It was my first visit to the Everyman and I was really looking forward to it, having heard great reports of a very different cinema experience. (“There are sofas! And a bar!”)

We were directed to screen 5½ (very Harry Potter platform 9¾), a plush room with its own bar and balcony overlooking Trinity. After a couple of drinks, the screening began and an irrepressible grin spread across my face as the opening bars of The Rembrandts’ ‘I’ll be there for you’ played out.

Friends movie night at Everyman Cinema Leeds Friends movie night at Everyman Cinema Leeds Friends movie night at Everyman Cinema Leeds Friends movie night at Everyman Cinema Leeds

The smile didn’t go away as I felt all the warmth I used to when I watched the six friends’ lives ebb and flow on screen. The genius of Friends is that, aside from its hilarious one-liners, you felt such a connection with the characters too. You were always rooting for them. We decided our favourite character is probably Chandler but, for me at least, Phoebe comes a close second.

I loved seeing them in the late 90s fashion I remember wearing, and that I’m now seeing come back round again. It took me back to the time when everyone, but everyone, wanted a ‘Rachel’ haircut.

During the night we had to choose our favourite Friends line. Husband and I agreed that the image that always makes us laugh out loud was Joey wearing Chandler’s wardrobe saying, “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?”, and then lunging as he points out he’s also going commando. It wasn’t chosen as the winner, but it kept us giggling for most of the night.

Joey from Friends: "Could I be wearing any more clothes?"

/ image /

Having thought a little longer about my best bits, I also love the episode where Chandler tells Janice he’s going to Yemen, and these moments:

Phoebe, trying to teach Joey French: “Je m’appelle Claude.”
Joey: “Jet aplee blooo.”

Phoebe, after meeting Rachel’s friends: “Look, look we have elbows!”

Joey: “Why do you have to break up with her? Be a man. Just stop calling.”

I loved scrolling through Twitter afterwards and seeing everyone else’s choices. Made you realise just how many classic lines there are.

The night was organised by Simplyhealth as part of their #shhealthysmiles campaign. They were on a mission to make us smile and it definitely worked! We walked out with a big bounce in our step, proving laughter really is the best therapy. There’s more about the health and psychological benefits of laughter here.

Are you a Friends fan? Who is your favourite character and which line makes you laugh out loud?

Bathroom additions

While husband is busy banging, building and bricking up downstairs there’s not a great deal for me to do, except keep it all tidy-ish and dream about the kitchen I’d like to have in the end. (No, we’ve still not completely decided).

What do idle hands do? They shop.

Hence I’ve bought quite a lot of little extras for the kitchen that are several weeks away from being of any use, and are just taking up space in the small area that we can still live in. They’re pretty though. I’ll share them soon.

For now here are one or two bits I’ve added to one of the finished rooms, the bathroom.

House renovation tour: bathroom accessories additions Read More →

How can women help women?

The other day I went to a support group for this difficult patch I’m going through, and it got me thinking.

First, there were only about 10 people there. It was in Sheffield, and the nearest group of its type for probably half of Yorkshire, and I know there are a lot more than a couple of handfuls of women affected by this thing.

Now I know not everyone would want to go. I mean, I’ve been putting it off for about eight months – the meetings just didn’t fall at a convenient time, or when they did I didn’t feel it was something I needed or wanted. I’m not sure what propelled me to go to a pub in Sheffield that Tuesday evening.

But I’m glad I went. It was good to meet and talk to other women who know exactly what you’re going through and how it feels. On the one hand, it made me realise I’m coping and dealing with it well, on the other hand being there lowered my spirits, because a couple of the women there had so much sadness etched on their faces, their spirits largely broken.

The easy thing for most of us to do is just to stay within the boundaries of our own lives: the “we have enough on” response.

But perhaps we should make more effort to meet and share experiences and try to help each other through things? Or not necessarily meet, but just do more to support each other?

I think there are some simple ways we can do this, and do it straight away.

Here are my five ways women can support other women better – starting today. Read More →

Le Chalet tearoom, Leeds

When I go out in Leeds eating and drinking, I tend to spend a lot of time in the area around Greek Street, sort of the city’s financial quarter. But an invitation came through the other day for a blogger buffet at a place around there I’d never noticed before.

Apparently, Le Chalet (31-32 Park Row) has been open for seven months. I don’t think there is much in the way of French cuisine in Leeds, whereas virtually every other popular foodie taste is catered for several times over.

Being something of a Francophile (remember my time in Paris, week in the Dordogne and that I dream of owning a house in France?) I was hardly likely to resist an invitation to a French tearooms and bakery. Le Chalet wanted us to try out the new August menu.

Le Chalet French tearoom and bakery Park Row Leeds Read More →

Coveting indigo and white

I often see a theme to the things I’m drawn to and collect and currently it’s this fresh combination of white with indigo blue.

Blue and white staircase in Tangiers, from Domino DIY indigo shibori dyed kitchen towels, from Lovely Indeed Read More →

Tweet 4 a Table & Roxy Lanes

Now this was something a little different. The Cooperative Food brought its pop-up restaurant to Leeds and over two days offered Twitter users the chance to win a free meal for them and three friends – just by tweeting!

I was invited along to try it out, so found myself and two of my best eating buddies in something like a double-decker conservatory in the middle of Leeds’ busiest shopping street, Briggate.

The Cooperative Food Tweet 4 a Table Leeds The Cooperative Food Tweet 4 a Table Leeds

We started with nachos covered in cheese, sour cream, guacamole and salsa, then had a ‘holey moley’ (barbecue pulled pork in a soft bun served with barbecue sauce, gruyère cheese and American coleslaw) and a ‘dirty dawg’ (a British pork hot dog with more pulled pork, barbecue sauce, gruyère cheese, mustard, onion rings and American coleslaw). And – as if that wasn’t enough – we ordered fries and onion rings on the side. Read More →

Blog hop!

Hands down one of the nicest things about blogging is the friendliness and camaraderie of the community. There’s nothing nicer than someone enjoying or valuing something you’ve written, and letting you know with a comment or a tweet.

I’d noticed a couple of my favourite bloggers taking part in a particular ‘blog hop’ – all answering the same four questions – so it was lovely when Michelle chose to pass the blogging baton on to me (see her ‘blog hop’ post here). Coincidentally and fortuitously, around the same time I was also ‘tagged’ to answer four almost identical questions by a fellow Anna.

You see a lot of these types of posts flying around. They’re a good way of finding new bloggers, and this particular one is a way of sharing a bit more about us, what makes us tick and how we do what we do.

Looking at the questions I have to answer, it looks like a good exercise in introspection, reminding us why we started and keep this pastime that I think must seem so unusual to non-bloggers, and making us consider how we might do things better.

So, here goes! Read More →

Do you work in your pyjamas?

I often think we’ve been so slow to offer home working as a real alternative to commuting to an office.

Usually those thoughts come to me when I’m on my 30-40 minute each way journey to and from work. On the occasional bad day I add up in my head all the time I’ve spent commuting in my 13 years of working so far then think about all the things I could have achieved while behind a wheel simply getting from A to B. Volunteering for a charity, reading classic literature, watching silly videos on YouTube.

As a society we have developed technology which means there are practically no limits to the ways we can communicate, and most tasks can be executed equally well whether behind a desk or atop a mountain. It does seem madness that despite this, more than half the population are thrown out onto the street at exactly the same time, twice a day, with all the environmental and economic impact that has. Read More →

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