Thursday, 30 June 2016

the open-plan life

Our home has a majority open-plan layout downstairs...

Before we bought our house, I dreamed of open-plan living; I dreamed of light and airy rooms, of not being stuck cooking in the kitchen while friends socialised in the living room, and of an easy space that flowed. All about free flowing spaces, open-plan layouts are becoming more and more popular; many new builds are being created with open-plan living in mind, but an increasing number of homeowners are knocking around older homes, or adding extensions, to create their own open-plan layout.
I know not everyone is a fan of open-plan living, so today I thought I'd share with you my top three pros and cons of open-plan living based on my own experience over the last nine months...

1 | Light & Bright - thanks to a large bay window at one end, French doors at the other and a small window in the middle, our open-plan home is light and bright and I love it! Bay windows let in so much light, and I think bi-fold doors onto the garden would let in even more light than French doors, not to mention easy access to your outdoor space. 

2 | Easy Living - as we have a large living, dining and kitchen area, it's easy to accommodate everyone when we have visitors; while we've yet to have an official house warming party, we've had a number of small gatherings and it was so easy and so fun to have everyone in the same space.

3 | Togetherness - following on from point #2, open-plan living enables everyone to be in the same space while still in different areas doing different things. Just last night, Tom was on the laptop at the dining table, while I was on the sofa watching TV and we were still able to chat easily :)
1 | Noise - the biggest downfall so far is that noise travels more easily in an open-plan layout. When we first moved in, and before we got our quiet boil kettle, I would regularly have to pause whatever I was watching while the kettle boiled - this is less of a concern now, but I did find myself pausing the TV the other day while Tom washed his hands at the kitchen sink. We're lucky that we have a separate utility room, as I can imagine having the washing machine or tumble dryer within the kitchen space could be super annoying!

2 | Smells - since there is only one half wall separating the kitchen from the living space, cooking smells often spread... my solution is to have a nice smelling, long-lasting candle to hand (I'm still loving my Lime & Bay candle from The White Company).

3 | Mess - a tiny bit of mess in one corner of the open-plan space can make the entire room look messy, so open-plan rooms do require a little more tidying and a lot of clever storage (I'm thinking of doing a blog post on this soon), but it's not impossible to make it work; plus I love my house so much I don't really find it a chore to keep clean!

Home Etc
Are you a fan of open-plan living?

Monday, 27 June 2016

weekend #26

It's been well-documented that I love three-day weekend...
and this three-day weekend was extra special; it was all about my mum, as she turned 60 on Friday.

We both had Friday off work so decided to head to Hunstanton for a day at the seaside...

After a lovely stroll along the beach (looking for shells), we enjoyed a tray of chips on the sea front fighting off the seagulls before taking a mooch around the town centre... 

As a surprise, I'd organised Afternoon Tea at Heacham Manor Hotel, which I had thankfully managed to keep a secret from mum. However, as I had mentioned that I had something booked especially for her birthday, she had imagined all sorts of adrenaline-fuelled activities... so she was over the moon with her sedate and relaxing afternoon tea on the terrace with views of the neighbouring golf course :)
How stunning is that view though?!

After such a lovely Friday, I spent Saturday catching up on chores, including food shopping, cleaning, laundry and watching the week's recorded TV...

...while Hubs gave his friend (who is doing our patio) a hand :)

Later in the evening, we went for a meal with my parents, brother and his girlfriend, again to celebrate mum's birthday.
It was a delicious meal with fantastic company; I had a cheese, onion and chilli soup to start, cod au gratin for main and a chocolate ice cream sundae for pudding.

More chores (including ironing) followed on Sunday morning...

...and at 3pm we headed to my parents' house for a family barbecue, again to celebrate mum's milestone birthday - hey, if you can spread your birthday fun over three days, why the hell not?!

And we came home to our patio all but finished :) #yay

Despite many people being overcome with negative emotions and shouting loud about that which divides us, I've spent my weekend focusing on what unites us: love. It's been a hard weekend and there are so many things I think I'd like to say about the way the referendum went on Friday, but I'm choosing to see this whole situation like this: the two sides of the argument are the parents trying to decide how best to care for their child, our country. Understandably, both parents want the best for their child but at the moment they disagree on how best to do this; I'm hopeful we'll find some common ground and shared goals so we can work together to make the best of the situation, because I truly believe we're better together.

Oh and we're now officially half way through the year!

Monday, 20 June 2016

weekend #25

Summer well and truly went on holiday this weekend...
The only thing that differentiated it from October was the colour of the leaves on the trees!

Despite the nasty weather, some excellent progress was made with our patio project...
The guy doing it is such a perfectionist, which is great because I am too. He's taking his time to make sure things are level, even and that the water runs off away from the house. Whilst I can't wait until it's done, I'm thankful he is taking his time to get it done right first time :)

After spending my morning doing some jobs (such as tidying up and fetching some edging blocks for the patio), Hubs and I headed out for the afternoon on a guided young deer walk at Bradgate Park with my parents, to see the new deer babies that have been born recently; we went on a rutting guided walk back in October so it was nice to see the results of all that fighting and shagging.
We were fortunate enough to come across two babies, one born the previous night (which Tom found as he almost stepped on her) and one that was two days old and extremely feisty! It was a great way to spend an afternoon, but man were my legs tired from clambering through all the tall bracken.

After some delicious pizza and wedges, we watched Deadpool before collapsing into bed :)

My morning included catching up on some TV while eating breakfast, more cleaning, a shower, laundry and cooking bacon sandwiches for Hubs and our patio guy. Around 1pm, we headed to my parents house for a Father's Day roast, followed by a walk through the overgrown, and wet, fields...

How cute is Izzy though?!

It was nice to enjoy a relatively peaceful and relaxing weekend because next weekend we'll be celebrating my mum's 60th birthday, which includes a day at the seaside, a meal out, a barbecue (if the weather improves) and lots of love and gifts for the birthday girl (who is dreading being officially 'old' - her words not mine!).

How was your weekend?