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Thursday, 8 June 2017

IKEA AND CHANGING ROOMS



Can we just talk about Ikea for a minute…and how they get you to buy everything that you just didn’t know you needed until you saw it there?

I went on the weekend with a plan. I even did a little sketch of how I intended on styling my Kallax boxy unit thingy. I knew exactly what I was going to buy. I anticipated the odd candle or two making their way into my trolley, they always do; a new corner sofa though…I did not anticipate that! But they got me! I saw it and then just like that, decided to rearrange all the furniture in my living room to make space for said corner sofa bed.

It wasn’t a completely spontaneous decision, in that I have been considering the logistics of our living arrangements as my little one becomes not so little anymore.  We have shared a bedroom since she was born (having only two bedrooms and a teenage son, it seemed only fair that I be the one to share a room with a crying baby). However, in the last few months, whenever I have gone up to bed it is as if she knows I am there and even though she was sound asleep, the moment I climb into bed the demands for milk come. And they aren’t nice, ‘please mummy, can I have some milk?’ they are monosyllable grunts for more ‘nilk’.

Then there are the occasions when I creep into bed, think I have done my best to go unnoticed and there she is, standing up in her bed wanting to get in mummy’s bed for cuddles. There are two main reasons why I relent: 1) when working it feels as though there is never enough time for cuddles, 2) it is so much easier than trying to settle her back into her own bed.

So I have been toying with different ideas, knocking walls down, putting new walls up, finding a rich husband who would have a dream home ready for me or perhaps looking for a new house that I might have to buy myself-this just made me want to cry; I started looking at houses a few months ago, it was impossible to find anything that didn’t resemble a time warp or was so far from work and my family and friends that I would have to change more than just my postcode. I decided that I liked my little corner of London, it was home for now and I would make the best of it.

I decided against knocking any walls down, I contemplated it, got quotes for it and then the thought of the dust and the palaver of getting consent from the freeholder. For surveys and drawings, and someone to tell me if the walls were load bearing, supporting or just in the way, was going to cost me more than a new Mulberry. I thought it was just a matter of knocking on the wall a few times-apparently not.

Considering all my options, one of which was for me to move downstairs, I started looking at sleeping options for someone who had been kicked out of their bedroom and demoted to the living room. Really, at 33, I’m not sure how much I really need a bedroom-it’s not as though I have posters of my favourite band to hang on the wall or need someone to sulk in when my mum tells me off; whereas both the kiddos have far more shit than I do and I would much rather it be upstairs and out the way than downstairs where I spend most of my time anyway. It’s also not as though I will be inviting any gentlemen callers round any time soon so am really not in the need for a romantic boudoir.

I have spent quite some time looking at different sofa beds, day beds, hidden wall beds (again, not really an option as I don’t want it to be a permanent feature of the house) so whilst my Ikea purchase wasn’t completely spontaneous, I did not go there with the intention of making the purchase; I was planning on ‘just having a look’. Does that ever happen in Ikea?

With sofa bed bought and delivery planned for the next day, I then had the task of rearranging the room to make space for the new arrival. The main intention of going to Ikea was to get a few new storage boxes and maybe a few plants (which I will probably kill as I always forget to water them, until they are wilting, the leaves are curling and they are pretty much ready for the compost heap).
Quite a few hundred pounds later, I had all of that and more, including a bag of mini Daim bars-I’m not even entirely sure if I really like them {having not eaten one for years} but I now have more than enough to eat and make my mind up. *Update and verdict: I like the initial crunch, and chocolate of course, but fear for any dental work I may have had done in the past as the inside bit, I assume it is pure sugar, sticks to all crevices.




Saturday was spent rearranging furniture and faffing with shelves, boxes, plants and pictures and then on Sunday came the task of building the new sofa bed, after it was delivered. Thankfully, I am relatively handy with an allan key and having learnt to take my time and look at the instructions really carefully, on more than one occasion (in fact, it wasn’t until I was dismantling my dressing table that I realised I had but one of the front curvy legs on the back-oops) I have had to take things apart and reassemble as I didn’t get it quite right the first time round. But not with the sofa bed! I took my time {stopped for the occasional Daim bar} and managed to put it all together without any need to disassemble anything, effing and jeffing at the whole idea of flat pack sofas. And with it perfectly build and the room finally restored to {its new}order, it seemed only right to pull out the sofa bed and have a little snooze. 


Monday, 29 May 2017

CHELSEA IN BLOOM



This weekend Poppy and I went to look at some of the floral displays in Chelsea which were there to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show. I've never been to the show, although I would love to one day. I will probably have to dose up on all the hay fever tablets though, as just driving past-with the car windows open-caused me to sneeze a gazilion times.

Poppy loved all the animals, even if she was quite dissatisfied that there were no penguins. I tried to explain that penguins do not live on the safari but sometimes it's just easier to suggest we 'just keep looking' for the elusive penguins.

We started off in Sloane Square where we found an elephant, crocodile and hippo.

'He's going to bite my finger!'



Of course Poppy was more interested in the flamingos, which were not made of flowers-even though she didn't stop talking about seeing the flowers all the way there.




Then we strolled along Symon Street to find a rhino, and then on to find a lion and purple giraffe, although she would not accept it was a giraffe because they aren't purple, of course.




Making our way onto the King's Road we passed Kiehl's, where the shop assistant was taking down the last of their floral display. He kindly offered Poppy some flowers to take home and whilst he gave them some much needed water and put them in a bag, I had the chance to do a little bit of shopping. Great marketing ploy!
I am not very green fingered, in fact I have managed to kill every plant I have ever owned. I now stick to cacti and species of flora which do not need a lot of attention, or water, as I always forget until they are looking worse for wear.
The three little potted plants we rescued from the last of Chelsea in Bloom looked very much like a plant I might own. I said I would attempt to rescue them, knowing full well that the little suckers didn't stand much chance at all. However, I am going to try my best to bring the little guys back to life, even if it is until I forget to water them again.

 At least they could get no worse!

Two days later, looking a little healthier already...


We continued to walk along the King's Road and stopped off to see these two beautiful lions, they really were stunning. By this point, Poppy wanted to find a tiger so had thankfully forgotten about the penguins.



On our way back to the car, we passed some giraffes, which passed Poppy's giraffe criteria test, and she quite happily stood there in awe of them for some time {probably annoying the passers by who wanted to snap the perfect pic for their instagram-sorry}.



And not wanting to flood my instagram with all the photos {I'm sure there are only so many flowery animals and toddler pics some of my followers can bear}, here are a few more, if floral safaris are your thing.















Monday, 10 April 2017

MAKING THINGS PRETTY



Today Last Tuesday, was a very productive day; after picking up Pops from nursery and a pit stop in Crystal Palace Park to see the dinosaurs, we went home to get crafty. {I thought she would be more interested in the prehistoric monsters than she was. As it turned out, the gravel on the footpath was much more exciting. I let her play in it, to prevent a full on tantrum, despite a few disapproving mummy glances-whose children were still unable to talk or move independently..you just wait, I thought! I did draw the line when she started to, or attempted to, eat it though.}


This was when she first saw the dinosaurs; her awe and wonder lasted for about 5 minutes...



...then she discovered the gravel!



When we got home and whilst Poppy drew on every scrap of paper with her new flamingo pen-an impulsive buy to prevent yet another meltdown in a shop with far too many ceramic nic-nacs to risk it-I had three jobs to do: spray paint the alphabet fridge magnets; print, frame and hang some prints in my bedroom; draw the outline of a suitcase on a box {it will become clearer, promise}.

I've had blue alphabet letters on the fridge for a while now, and every time I looked at them I wished they weren't blue. Not that I have anything against blue, just they weren't really in keeping with he theme of my kitchen.


Then it dawned on me. Spray paint them! I don't know why I hadn't thought of it sooner as it is a little 'making things pretty' trick I have used quite a few times in the past.

I started by testing the paint on just one letter first; I opted for X as I figured, if it went terribly wrong, I probably would need that less than an A or an E. And it didn't go great. Whilst the paint says it is for plastics, it wasn't adhering very well, it was almost running off the edges.
So of course that meant I had to sand each one of the little things. I hadn't realised until doing this that I had a favourite letter; turns out lowercase L and I are my favourites- for no other reason than they were the easiest to sand and had no little nooks, crannies or holes, which are not helpful when sanding tiny plastic letters.
With sanding complete, I just had to spray them with the paint and transformation was complete. I probably should have taken them outside to spray them, as I did set the smoke alarm off, but to go outside I would have had to passed Poppy. If she had seen me going outside with magnets and spray paint, a job which took 5 minutes would have ended with one, or both of us, in tears-and probably a shade of copper. I thought the risk of solvent poisoning was worth taking.




I'm pretty chuffed with how they turned out...so much so that I have ordered three more packs of magnetic letters off of ebay. Yay! More sanding of tiny letters!


The next quick job was to finish off a project I started months ago. I'm not sure why I didn't just finish it all at the time, although I do have a two year old, so that is probably the reason. In the lapsing time, I managed to lose the black Promarker I used for the other three boxes, so when my new one arrived, I really had to get the job done {before I lost this one too}.


I foolishly started drawing the outline on the box in front of Poppy. She then of course wanted to draw with her, please-don't-have-a-tantrum-have-what-you-want, flamingo pen on one of the other boxes. With some quick distraction, involving telling mummy off for drawing on the box and then finding her some scrap of paper to draw on, I made a quick escape to the kitchen to finish off the long awaited projected. The next job will be to actually sort out what is in those boxes as I'm pretty sure they are full of things which didn't really have a home, so ended up in the box graveyard. But for now, that job can wait.

My final productive task of the day was to print and frame a few quotes for my bedroom.



Sometimes, you  just need a little reminder that everything will be fine and to just get on with shit...and being a mum, that inevitably involves having a messy bun. Maybe once a week I'll get the chance to actually blow-dry my hair so it looks half way decent, the rest of the time it's tied up in something which resembles more of a nest than a styled do.

So my productive day ended with attempting to write this post...I got half way through and then being a mum took over. It's now nearly a week later and I am finally finishing it off and getting it posted! I'm sure there is some irony in there somewhere!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

SCAFFOLDING BOARD SHELVES



I get a lot of questions on my Instagram about my scaffolding board shelves, so thought I would write a little post about where they are from.

In October last year, I had my kitchen refitted. It was quite old and had far too many cupboards that ended up full of things I didn't need or ever use. {I found many appliances that I had forgotten I had: a tiny chip fryer which seemed almost pointless as it would never cook nearly enough chips; a bread maker which I had lost the kneading adaptor for-making it useless; a steamer which when I plugged in no longer worked, and my slow cooker which I did actually keep. However, I haven't used it once since rediscovering it, so it probably could have gone to the appliance graveyard with the rest...maybe this winter I will make lots of yummy stews...perhaps!}

Whilst planning my new kitchen, I spent many hours on Pinterest collecting ideas {of course} and trying to put them all together to make my ideal kitchen. One thing which featured in several of my 'pins' were scaffolding shelves. So I set about looking into how to make this a feature in my kitchen.

Of course, I started on Google and this soon took me to eBay. I found many places which sold old board, however, many of them were far too far away to justify buying a few little pieces of wood.
Then I found a place, just a few miles from home so popped in to see them.

They were very helpful-they cut and sanded the boards for me, although not too smooth as I still wanted that rustic look to me. I also asked to have the belts on either end of the boards, which they did willingly. They asked me to come back in a few hours to collect them, so I used that time to get online and look for brackets for them. Originally, I bought some standard shelf brackets from B&Q but when I got them home and held them in position, they looked very cheap and far from the look I was going for.

After a while on Google, I finally found 'the ones'. They are from trouva.com and were available in black and brass. I opted for the black as I wanted copper hints in my kitchen and felt the brass would clash with the other little bits I had bought to strategically place on said shelves.



All in all, they cost less than £100, the brackets being the most expensive purchase. The boards themselves were only a few pounds and I paid a little extra to have them cut, sanded and the belts put on the ends. Of course, if you have the tools, you could do that yourself, saving a few pennies, but for me, it was just easier to have them do it.



And I absolutely love them...and faffing about with the things on them. They are a great space to add quirky little things or seasonal decorations to brighten up the kitchen.




Sunday, 26 February 2017

NEW YORK, NEW YORK



There have been quite a few moments in my life where I have felt as though it has been a snapshot from a romcom movie...sadly never a proposal on London Bridge or someone standing at my front door with a monologue written on large pieces of card, telling me how much they love me. There was the time where I went for a drink in The Globe, ironically the pub that Bridget Jones lived above, and after about 10 minutes my date quite frankly told me he wasn't interested and left to go and watch the football with his friends. I guess he just wasn't that into me.

Most recently, I had my own 'Holiday' moment where I woke up on a Saturday morning and booked flights to New York for the next day! Sometimes you just need to get away from everything! The trouble with booking such a last minute flight is there is no time to do certain things, like apply for a visa! Not knowing the new protocol, had my friend not told me about the fact I had to apply to visit the Big Apple, I would have turned up at Heathrow, only to be turned away. Thankfully, the Visa Gods smiled down on me and my application was accepted within the hour.

So with everything sorted, I made my way to the city that never sleeps all by myself. It was the first time I had travelled alone however, it was just what I needed; sort of like my own Eat. Pray. Love. journey, except it was more like Eat. Drink. Shop.

I knew that it was going to be cold when I arrived (I did think to check the weather at least, prior to booking) but I wasn't expecting the arctic wind which would greet me. My first shopping spree sadly didn't involve a new pair of Manolo's, instead it was a haul for an umbrella, scarf and hat. However, and not down to foresight, I did have a pair of gloves in my bag so I was sort of prepared!

My first night consisted of drinks in the hotel bar and chatting to the other visitors, some of whom had travelled to Madison Square Gardens for a dog show. They, and all their dogs, were staying in the hotel on 7th Avenue, making it pretty much a hotel for dogs.

The next morning I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5am, thanks to the time difference and my body clocks inability to adjust, so there was only one thing for it. Starbucks. I was surprised at how many other people were ordering caffeinated drinks at such an early hour-probably, like me, trying to store up on caffeine to see them through the rest of the day.

A little later on, and after wrapping up and wearing the majority of the clothes I had packed to keep warm, I went for a stroll (I'm not sure if that is the right word as it turned out to be an epic trek around the city!)

When visiting New York in the past, I fell in love with Greenwich Village, the Brownstones and tree lined streets are just so pretty and of course, there is the whole Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City vibe on those pavements.






Monday morning was spent walking around the village, popping in to shops and stopping off for hot drinks to help regulate my temperature and ensure I didn't get frostbite.





{Of course I had to pop into Magnolia Bakery, no SATC fan couldn't.}

After a few hours of wandering the icy paths in the village, I made my way back to my hotel, along 5th Avenue, to rest my weary feet before starting all over again. 

In the afternoon, I headed north and went to the public library and Grand Central Station, stopping off in Bryant Park to watch the ice skaters and warm up with yet more tea.








Tuesday was of course Valentine's Day. This year was the first in many that I haven't had anyone to give tokens of love to and I was so glad to be away from home and have a whole city to explore...rather than having yet another Bridget Jones moment with a bottle of red and 'All by Myself' on repeat.

I spent the day wandering around Central Park, snapping pictures of the beautiful snow covered grass and frozen lakes.

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A sculpture of Romeo and Juliet, seemed only right to snap a picture of them on a day for lovers. 

Adding to my movie moments, I stopped into Tiffany & Co and can completely understand why Holly Golightly found it to be her happy place. The beauty of diamonds and precious stones, sparkling under perfectly positioned lights is enough to get any girl's heart fluttering. Many of the customers that morning were men, stopping in to pick up a last minute gift for their Valentine, some carrying large bunches of flowers, others looking aimlessly at all the pretty things, probably trying to find something that would seal the deal but not break the bank. 



My final morning took me up the Empire State building, from where I could see the whole city and capture the urban beauty of sky scrapers and amazing architecture. 





The day before I visited the Empire State building, I received a message from one of my followers on Instagram, asking for a favour-to capture a moment which would she could surprise her husband with-a small, yet meaningful token of love. My brief was to make a small sign, take a photo from a landmark in New York and send it to her-New York being the place that they eloped to a few years previous. How could I not help to keep love alive. So armed with a handwritten sign, I battled the wind 86 floors up and took a photo to send back to the UK. 



I left New York with a sense of motivation to do more of the things which made me happy; to focus on all the good which is around me and to know that I can do many things-including flying half way around the world by myself. I don't plan on doing anything quite as drastic in the coming months, but I certainly plan on using the time I have to do all the things which bring a sense of contentment with myself and the new path my life is now on.  Maybe one day I will receive that proposal on London Bridge, or fall in a muddy puddle and be rescued by the love of my life, but if not, I'm happy to call action on whatever fun times lay ahead.