Saturday, 25 February 2017

Latest Netflix/box set addictions

I think many of us are partial to a bit of a TV binge now and then, I go through phases of that or binging on books so I feel it balances out ;)  The bonus about watching TV shows is that I can edit photos and/or blog while I watch, not possible when reading.  I'm watching iZombie as I write this!

Anyway, we've had Netflix for a while and I always meant to write about some of my favourites.  We also got a temporary upgrade to get Sky Box Sets with our package until March so we started watching Elementary as we enjoyed Sherlock so much (after being rather late to the game last year).

Elementary is fab!  We weren't sure if we'd like it as Benedict would be hard to beat as a Sherlock Holmes interpretation but we really like Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu in Elementary.  I'm sure you don't need me to tell you anything about Sherlock Holmes but both Sherlock and Elementary are great at portraying his personality while solving the exciting mysteries.  We're still on series one of Elementary so I hope we manage to watch them all in time before our box sets subscription runs out!

As for Netflix, I long ago discovered the power of binge watching, I watched all 8 seasons of Dexter during our IVF - it was the perfect distraction, I loved it!  If you don't know, Dexter is a blood spatter analyst who just happens to also be a serial killer.  He has his reasons and only kills people he knows to be bad.  It's very tense and has brilliant characters like his sister who swears like a trooper and Angel, a lovely detective he works with among others.  It changes quite dramatically as it goes on, with some proper cliffhangers!

iZombie was recommended to me by a friend and I'm only on episode 2 but I love it already!  The premise is a trainee surgeon who gets turned into a zombie changes career track to work in the morgue so she can eat the brains of dead people.  She soon discovers that she gets visions from the people whom she's eaten and turns investigator to solve their murders!  It's brilliant and right up my street as it has a bit of police drama, emotional drama as she struggles to keep her zombification a secret from family and a bit of gore for good measure!  It's also got a bit of comedy in the M.E. who becomes her friend, he's quite funny.

Person of Interest is about a slightly odd tech wizard billionaire (the creepy guy from Lost) who has invented a machine which monitors everything and every camera and sends information to the government about "relevant" people who are about to commit terrorist acts.  It also records "irrelevant" people who are about to be a victim or perpetrator of other crimes but these are deleted as there are only so many resources.  He therefore takes it upon himself to try to save these people and hires "The Man in the Suit", the rather hot Mr Reese who has skillz!  He and Mr Reese make a great TV couple and we also like Detective Carter and a few other characters who are introduced more as it goes on (I don't want to give any spoilers but I do love Shaw)!  We're halfway through series two as we can only watch it together so it's taking a while to get through!

I adore Once Upon a Time!  The town of Storybrooke in Maine is under a curse and all of the residents have forgotten that they were once fairytale characters, Snow White and Prince Charming for example, and actually from The Enchanted Forest.  Regina's evil queen is fantastic and I have more than a little crush on Hook!  Robert Carlyle is especially amazing as Rumpelstiltskin, amazing acting.  As the seasons move on, more and more fairytale (and Disney) characters are introduced, some I like more than others but it's still good adventure fun!

I've also recently managed to watch the whole series of Santa Clarita Diet which came out recently on Netflix.  A dark comedy which also has a zombie angle, Drew Barrymore's character suddenly becomes undead (we don't know how) and her and her family have to deal with her new desire for eating human flesh.  It is funny and extremely gruesome but I can't say I find it hilarious, it's a good one to have on in the background while blogging, etc. though.

I also started watching Orange is the New Black and loved series one and two, but I struggled to get into series 3 a while ago.

Another great easy watch is Gossip Girl which Roz recommended when the twins were born, it was what I watched during those long lonely night feeds and loved watching all the beautiful people with their dramatic social lives.  Perfect middle of the night viewing!

What are your favourites?  Are there any I should have on my list??

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!

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