Thursday, 31 March 2016

positive #1

At the start of 2016, I vowed to be more positive, to count my blessings and generally feel happier.

We've reached the end of the first quarter of 2016 now (seriously, how fast has that gone?) so I wanted to take stock and look at how I'm doing...

Count my blessing daily - When I chose 'positive' as my word for 2016, I did plan to write my daily blessings in a notebook at the end of each day, but I've not done this for at least six weeks. I wrote my blessings down religiously at the start of the year but as time wore on, it became a chore, so I think I will revise my plan and instead vow to write my blessings down once a week, which is more than I'm doing now and still manageable. I am trying to mentally count them each day though.

Find the positives in every situation - I have tried so hard with this. When my nana passed away in January, instead of crying because I'd lost her, I focused on the fact that I had been blessed to know her. Obviously I was sad she had passed away, but I was pleased she was no longer in pain, scared or confused and chose to truly believe she was reunited with my pop-pops and her family. 

However, there are other things going on in my life, things I'm choosing to keep private, that have been harder to remain positive throughout. These situations are on-going. Some days it's easy to be optimistic and have hope for the future. Other days I feel overcome with despair and grief for the future I feel I've lost. However, I'm choosing to believe that 'what will be will be' and if certain things aren't meant to be then I'll survive; my future may not look like I imagined, but that's ok... at least, that's how I feel today. 

Generally feel happier - Understandably, some days this is easier than others, but generally, I think I do feel happier. Moving house has helped with this; no longer do I dread going home after work in fear of hours of loud music from the neighbours vibrating our walls and floor. Home is now the sanctuary I always dreamt it to be and that makes my heart sing.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

weekend #13: Easter

Four-day weekends are the best, aren't they?
I hope you all had a great Easter break. I did, despite the fact that my parents and Hub's mum and step-dad both went away for the weekend (albeit not together). It was lovely to spend so much time with Hubs, and we had Hub's youngest sister stay with us for a few days as she was visiting from Leeds, which was nice.

Friday started bright, and seeing as the weather people had given out rain for the rest of the weekend, I decided to crack on with a few jobs, including completing a blog post, planting some seeds (sweet peas, cosmos and sunflowers) and sorting out bits and bobs in order to start a spring clean...

Just before 1pm we tucked into some lunch, before cracking on with an upstairs spring clean and finally putting up blackout linings on our bedroom curtains (we still want the occasional weekend lay in during the summer)...

No Good Friday would be complete without a couple of tasty hot cross buns; I actually bought some traditional hot cross buns, as well as some double chocolate ones, which were absolutely de-lici-ous!
Although I didn't leave the house on Good Friday, it was a really lovely day; I got jobs ticked off my to-do list, enjoyed feeling the sun on my face while breathing in the fresh air and spent quality time with Hubby, who was feeling a little under the weather thanks to an office cold.

As predicted, Saturday started grey, dull and wet.

So, after a lazy morning, drinking tea, eating cereal and chatting with Hub's sister, we headed out for a spot of retail therapy. As I'm sure you've already guessed, I bought bits and bobs for the house, including new pizza trays, a garden planter, a light shade for the hallway, new (light blue) cushion covers and a boot cleaner, which now sits next to the front door...
... while Hubby treated himself to a new jacket, which I must say looks really smart and will be perfect for the summer. 

Knackered from five hours shopping, we had tea and collapsed on the sofa in front of the England/Germany game, before hitting the hay fully prepared to lose a precious hour of sleep for the arrival of British Summer Time.

Sunday started dull but not wet, thankfully.

With Hub's middle sister, her boyfriend and son due round at 2pm, we took the opportunity to do a spring clean downstairs on Sunday morning...

...while keeping one eye on the roast dinner (lamb and beef) cooking away in the oven :)

With full bellies (and after my gorgeous hairdresser cousin gave my mop a much-needed trim), we took advantage of the extra hour of daylight and went on a beautiful walk, where we were joined by my sister-in-law's friend, her two daughters and two dogs...

It was great to get out into the fresh air and to see the kids enjoying the mud and trees; Hubby often comments that kids spend too much time indoors, either watching TV or playing computer/App games these days, and our nephew is no exception, so it was wonderful to see these three children playing outside, laughing and running around like we used to when we were kids! (This is no judgement on parents, or parenting styles and I am aware that times have changed and it's no longer safe to let children play outside unsupervised all day like we used to, so please don't take offence; our opinion is based on what Hubby has observed as a Scout Leader over the past five years and is no reflection on your children #endofdisclaimer)

Once calm and quiet was once again the order of the day, we settled down, with the last of our hot cross buns, to watch The Theory of Everything, which we both loved - Eddie Redmayne is a fantastic actor!

It seems as if The Midlands escaped the wrath of Storm Katie, but we did wake up on Monday to rain, again!
After another relaxed morning, we said goodbye to our house guest and while Hub's was busy fixing his step-dad's computer, I raided a few cook books for some new, more summery meal ideas to incorporate into April's menu...

Computer fixed, we headed home for some lunch, and while I was busy editing my mountain of photos from the weekend, I had to stop a capture another rainstorm and subsequent rainbow...

What a great way to say goodbye to a fabulous four-day weekend!

Friday, 25 March 2016


It's hard to believe, but Hubs and I moved house six months ago today!
We left behind a 1940's ex-council house and moved into a shiny and new three-bed semi - a blank canvas. Things have developed over the past 25 weeks - we've really put our stamp on the house - and while there are still two bare light bulbs and no curtains covering our rear French doors, I'm not rushing, because this once-blank-canvas is home.

Because it's fun to look back and see just how far we've come, I wanted to share with you some photos which show just how our home has blossomed since we moved in on 25th September 2015...


The lounge is my favourite room in the house; it is absolutely filled with natural light, even on dull winter days.

This room is extremely functional but, as yet, not very pretty.
I want to paint this wall sage green and get some artwork on the wall. I also have plans to buy these curtains from John Lewis to cover the doors and add a bit of privacy to the rear of the house, which so far has not been an issue, but neighbours are starting to move into the houses behind us so it's time to think curtains!

We've done a lot to the room which was unpacked first #alwaysthinkingofmybelly :)
Just before Christmas, we added a dishwasher and a breakfast bar - we did consider an island but decided to go with a breakfast bar instead because it would still offer us a great deal of floor space whilst providing extra storage and more seating.

A real sanctuary now, our bedroom took a while to sort out. We spent the first week or two in the spare bedroom as we'd ordered a new, larger bed so had to get new linen; then we needed curtains and a carpet.
You can see a full tour of our bedroom here.

Looking back at these photos, it's amazing to see how much our house has changed over the last six months; it really feels like our home now. I've really enjoyed furnishing and decorating this house, although it has been stressful at times. I do imagine a little more stress on the horizon because we'll soon be able to pick out paint colours and, because I don't want to get it wrong and make a costly mistake, I'm sure I'll bore Hubs silly with colour charts and Pinterest images of paint colours (which he will hate because he's colour-blind!). As you can see, all the walls are the nasty builder-grade magnolia, which while being clean and bright, is bland and uninviting. I'd love to get a splash of a different colour in the hallway, kitchen diner and our bedroom before 2016 closes but I'm not going to stress if we don't. 

This home is long-term; it's not a quick, get-on-the-property-ladder house like the last one. This is somewhere we hope to spend the next 20+ years of our lives, so the plan is to enjoy it, and let it evolve organically, as all the best things in life do!

Home Etc

Happy Good Friday :)