Friday, 24 February 2017

The Pink House - Lego loft! by Amy

I'm so excited we have another post from Amy today!  This attic makeover is simply awesome despite having minimal work done to it.  What an amazing space to play in!

In the absence of any real progress on any of the other rooms lately, I'm going to share one of our favourite rooms in the Pink House with you. It's our Lego room! When we saw the loft we knew it was the perfect place for our Lego play den and we are so incredibly happy with it and love being up there - which is a good thing as it's going to become our main living space for a while soon whilst the downstairs is being redone!

I only have a couple of 'before' pics of when it was storage - it's not very exciting but as you can see was already painted and carpeted.

We didn't have to do much in terms of decorating - just added some IKEA wall lights, and some B&Q blinds - we don't ever close these at the moment but they'll be needed when we have a full house of guests and it's being used as an extra bedroom.

The sofabed, armchair, TV cabinet and shelving is all IKEA, as are all the soft furnishings except for the blue campervan cushion which was from John Lewis. The black lamp is from B&Q and the lightbox and brick lights were gifts. The green frames are also from IKEA (I've put this in just for Bex's info 😉)

We've also added this snazzy multicoloured LED strip lighting behind the beam at the end so we can light the room up in any colour.

As you can see, I didn't bother tidying up the ongoing builds scattered around the floor by my window bench, because a Lego room is not somewhere where your Lego should be carefully tidied away, it's a space for playing!

Everyone says this is the room they can't wait to visit, and we are excited about having our first friends over to stay soon. Side note - if anyone fancies a holiday in Essex you know where we are!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Brunch Club 3 at Hartfields - review by Bex

We had a little break from Brunch Club over December and January as we were all so busy, our last one was at Oast Farm back in November!  However we were back with a bang today at Hartfields in Uckfield.  I had originally tried to book Wilderness Woods but it turns out they only do their full breakfast menu on the weekends and we didn't want to be restricted so I went with an old favourite which was on the list, Hartfields.

I've eaten in Hartfields a few times and have always enjoyed it.  Service is always friendly and efficient and nothing is too much trouble.  As there were 5 of us with 7 toddlers between us, they had to shuffle some tables around to fit our booking in so we could be comfortably seated in the window with 2 tables together.  On the day though, 2 of our usual brunch clubbers couldn't make it but we managed to recruit a willing temporary member and Tessa joined us with her son so we still had 4 adults and 6 kids.  There's a big window seat along the front of the cafe which is ideal to contain a few of the children and we had a high chair at either end of the large table.  There is plenty to keep the wee ones occupied looking out of the window (including the occasional photographing Mummy!) so we managed to eat in relative peace.

Hartfields is a deli as well as a cafe and sells local produce and amazing cakes.  Their coffee is lovely and food all freshly prepared.

We got there a bit early (I know, I don't know how that happened either!?) so I ordered myself a latte and the 1st Class Breakfast for the twins to share (and I stole some eggs and a taste of everything else since I knew I'd have vultures at my own breakfast) which came really quickly, ideal for hungry toddlers and mummy, even though they'd had Mini Wheats and banana already at home!  When Zoe arrived I ordered my Eggs Royale and she got the Full Monty to share with her kids while we waited for the others to arrive.  As usual, the food was amazing, I love their homemade beans and the scrambled eggs are delicious.

Too hungry for mushrooms to wait for Mummy to take a photo!

By the time everyone else was eating breakfast, my two were STILL hungry so I got us a piece of Plum Crumble Cake to share - it was AWESOME!  So sticky, rich and sweet and with a yummy crumbly top, I'm hoping they do this one again!

I am so thrilled with Brunch Club!  Since our very first one at The Grove in October, we've enjoyed some yummy food with fantastic company.  The twins have really come out of their shells since hanging out with their new little friends and their Mummies and I am loving having regular catch ups with some awesome ladies, they all go to our playgroup on a Tuesday too.  Both Kalyan and Priya are always asking for "Holly and Ockar" (Oscar) whenever we get in the car these days and get SO excited when I say we're going to see Martha!  I believe K has quite the crush there!

And a few phone pics of the fun, (bottom left pic of Martha taken by Kalyan)

Friday, 10 February 2017

Upcycled Boutique - A review by Bex

I've started writing a bedroom makeover post but in the meantime (until I can take some better photos), I wanted to write a review of Upcycled Boutique who helped us find some awesome new furniture and give a new lease of life to my old dressing table.   Upcycled Boutique will paint old chests (or any other furniture) to match your decor and add whatever knobs you wish.  I was very impressed with the service, value for money and quality provided.

I found them on Facebook when I spotted a chest of drawers I thought would look lovely when painted.  Unfortunately the one I had my eye on turned out to be too big and another I liked was sold to someone else in the meantime but Emma said she'd find something for me and before long, she sent me pictures of an old cherry wood chest of drawers complete with gorgeous brass handles.

We discussed the colour and finish I'd like and I have her a swatch which she then mixed up a chalk paint to match before sending me a small wooden swatch to check.  The finished result shows off the gold colour of the brass handles against the mid-dark grey which matches our bed and is so much nicer than the old Malm we had, I love it!  It cost us just £140 for a custom hand painted, solid wood chest of drawers.  You also have 14 days after delivery to change your mind if you're not happy with it which is a great reassurance when you don't really know how it will look once painted.

Now I just need to get those orangey doors painted to match the wall!

Of course I then changed things around a bit and added my new golden elephant I bought at a flea market in Seremban, Malaysia.  We still love Nik's cufflink box which we bought in Sorrento, Italy and I switched the painting from Sri Lanka for my peacock drawing from Etsy.

I was so pleased with the new drawers, I contacted Upcycled Boutique for a quote to paint my dressing table.  My dressing table cost me around £500 8 years ago and I still love it.  It's made of solid Oak with a vintage look and without being too chunky.  It just didn't quite fit in with our new, modern house like it did in our Victorian tenement flat.  It looked too dark with the brighter furniture and double aspect windows.  I wanted to freshen it up a bit and get it to fit in with our new, more modern decor a bit more.  I chose a colour to tone in with the new wall colour I have planned, as well as re-upholstering the stool in the same fabric as our ottoman and we were quoted £120 plus the fabric cost.  I'd already bought new knobs for the drawers although could only find 4 in the design I liked (with gold dragonflies on) so I decided to remove the one from the false drawer in the middle and have the hole filled in and painted over.

Obviously the same returns guarantee can't be applied when having your own furniture painted as you own the piece so choose your colour wisely.  Unfortunately, and through no fault of Upcycled Boutique, the colour I chose did not turn out as I expected and I wasn't sure of the policy in such an instance.  I had waited for a swatch to confirm the colour again as with the grey, since they were going to mix up the chalk paint to match my chosen colour (a paint swatch from Little Green which was a lighter shade of the wall colour I planned, I didn't want everything to be grey but I didn't want a bright colour so I went for this muted blue-grey-green), instead they found a place which could colour match to make up a chalk paint in any colour so they went ahead with that.  When my dressing table came back I was initially surprised by how very green it looked, despite being a perfect match to the 1" swatch, it was not the muted, fresh shade I had imagined.  It was much more intense colour than expected but I thought I should check it in daylight and artificial light to decide if I liked it or not.  I did not.  It's amazing how different a colour can look when not in a book of tiny swatches with differing shades surrounding it!

On closer inspection I'd noticed a few areas around the drawers which were showing the old wood at the edges and on the top of the stool under the new upholstery as it no longer had a trim.  I contacted them about the issues with the wood showing and Emma sent the perfect response apologising for the areas and the other issues we'd had involving some delay in getting it back to us.  She offered to repaint it all to their usual standard and when I mentioned that I was actually quite unsure about the colour and was happy to pay something towards re-doing it if it could be in a different colour, she offered to re-do it in the new colour if I bought the paint.  I was more than happy with this as a fair option and this time I double checked my choice myself by buying a tester and painting a large sheet of lining paper to see it in the room.

The new colour is Salix by Little Greene.  I absolutely love it, it's how I originally imagined it although is more blue than I thought it would be depending on the light but is still more green than a duck egg blue.  It goes much better with my dragonfly knobs too.  (I took the old middle one off as I could only find 4, in the sale from Zara Home in Saudi, and the middle is a false drawer anyway as the top lifts up.)  I had been very nervous as I was worried in case it didn't turn out as I imagined and I might regret ruining such an expensive item.  Luckily (despite the little mishap in the middle where I worried I'd done just that), I now love it even more than before and it looks so much fresher and better in the room!

Of course I then had to tidy up the top and windowsill to match too.  I bought a white glass tray from TK Maxx to make my perfumes look a bit tidier (they used to be lined up along the middle at the back - I had already moved them when I took the before photo).  I put some new white frames from Homebase on the windowsill and moved my big vase to the spare room.  The silver plated animals are from a set of four which I bought in one of Lewes' wonderful antique shops.  The little oil lamp is from our trip to South Korea back in 2013 and was the item I was using to match the new colours to.  I'm so pleased with the final match, it even goes with my favourite perfume!

My antique silver plated animals could do with a polish!

I would definitely recommend Upcycled Boutique for furniture painting jobs and beautiful up-cycled pieces at great prices.  Although we experienced a couple of delays, this is just an unfortunate result of being a small family run business, things come up and I was happy to wait.  Emma was great at communicating and answered my many questions quickly and gave us lots of advice.  I'm sure I was an awful client what with being so fussy and changing my mind about the colour but she was always friendly and helpful.  I love my new furniture!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Part 3 of our day with Baby, Picture This - by Bex

Here is the 3rd and final instalment of our storytelling photography session with Laura.  Again, she captures the real us, the twin cuddles - ambushed from behind, the badly folded jeans stuffed into socks ready for wellies, the puddle love, the sulks, the refusal to keep walking, the tears when someone stumbles, the precious moments of kisses and snuggles, the pride when climbing a stile, and of course, the love of cake!

She makes even going down the stairs look beautiful!

So there we have it.  Laura is, as ever, super talented and has captured the heart of our family with such beauty.  She just gets it.  I am eternally grateful and eternally a client!

I promise to return to normal blogging soon, I have plenty part-written that have actual proper words in rather than just a massive scroll of images but they won't be this beautiful!

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