Renovating our 1930s house with a bit of retro


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Since becoming home owners at the end of last year we’ve been all consumed by doing up the house. My phone has been taken over by renovation Instagram accounts, home decor on Pinterest, Checkatrade and of homeware websites (keep scrolling for a list of these).

To get the house we wanted we had to move out of the ‘nam. Which was the first compromise, the second was buying a house where I’d want to decorate every room - which at first seemed daunting but then I remembered I was an absolute PRO at The Sims. How hard could it be? Thanks to Google (and our parents), we have learnt to skim/strip/prime/paint/repoint - along with getting a few tradesmen in to sort out the old school ceilings and fireplaces.

I never thought we’d be keen DIY-ers, but it’s been the opposite. Have loved doing it together (*vom emoji*), from spending 3 days of the xmas hols painting an entire hallway to the creative bit of deciding which lampshade to get (why is a good lampshade so hard to find…).

Here are a few pictures of the finished results (‘before’ pics at the end). Along with some of my favourite Instagram accounts and the sites I usually trawl to buy stuff without having to pillage the money tree too often.

Many moons ago in the seaside town of Clevedon


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One place we visited on our mini moon that I felt deserved it's own post was the seaside town of Clevedon. Walking along the pier, visiting second-hand shops and popping into the 100 year old cinema meant we felt like we were stepping back in time. 

In true blogger style I discovered Clevedon via another blogpost (ta Bath Mag) - which led us to places like 'Murrays Deli' and 'Midgley Green' along with a few others.

We started the day with a visit to the pier (something I was excited about, especially as I'd heard One Direction had also graced the wooden boardwalk). There wasn't much at the end but the view was enough and the visitor centre had some artwork for sale where we purchased a few prints/cards. Lunch at Tiffin on the pier was sumin' else...maybe slightly too early for crab salad but it was really good. Wes had 'the best fish finger sandwich' he'd ever had (and he's had a few, I also liked that it was served up in newspaper wrapping.

Shopping wise, we ventured a street further to home decor/gift shop - Midgley Green where we bought some lovely bits. Across the road Sakers Stationery was designer heaven - filled with notepads, prints and pencils.

Even as we walked into Murrays Deli for dinner (make sure you book), I was told by a customer how good it was. Mostly italian dishes on the menu, I went for lamb meatballs covered in ricotta and tomato - I wish I remembered what 'the husband' had but I only hesitated long enough to take a photo of my own. Lovely spot for dinner followed by drinks at The Limehouse.

Cheltenham bake-off cakes & floral finds


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Living walking distance from local goodies makes treating myself at weekends all the more tempting. I've also discovered that my local Flower Man (actually called 'The Flower Man') sells country-inspired beauties like hydrangeas and delphiniums - miles away from your standard squished petrol station carnation. One (or two) of these at the weekend make the house look good for well over a week, and inspires me to keep the place tidy (ish).

In the spirit of keeping tidy - we decided the time had come to get rid of our mis-matched plates, when we moved in together a couple of years ago we amalgamated a bit of a weird collection. After some research and debating ('no I don't want plates with dachshunds on', 'how much?!') we settled on some black and white ones from made.com - this site is pretty reasonable for good quality decor when you compare with the high street.

Another local treat includes some chocolate swiss rolls (that were actually inspired by a technical challenge on bake-off) and blonde brownie from my old haunt, Brew & Bake. Getting my full gran on, I also went to the charity bookshop for a Cath Kidston covered edition of 'The Provincial Lady'.

So so old, and florally bold.

Creative cakes and street art in Bristol


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Yes public transport is good, let's all use it etc. etc. This isn't one of those kind of posts, I will however, travel via train for good cake (and art).

Me and my fellow train buddy headed to Bristol with the aim of satisfying our craving for shopping, good food and gin (in that order). On arriving we decided to head straight for the cake, and not any ol' cake but at the bakery that shall be tasked with creating my wedding cake. Therefore, a tasting was 'needed'. Ahh Toots not only creates quirky looking cakes but also quirky flavours like lemon and courgette (actually delicious). On our way there we got a little lost and ended up stumbling around St Nicholas Market which was a great find, full of vinyl shops and street food stalls. Only wish we'd gone full force on our lunch here - but we were saving ourselves for something special later...

After a Zara stop in cabot (not quite so photogenic) we headed towards 'dinner'. A restaurant I'd seen on Instagram called 'Le Poivrot' which provides copious amounts of wine, cheese and posh food. En-route, just past the Christmas Steps, we found shops with beautiful prints and a candle that smelled like a hot man (Oakwood & Tobacco) at Dig Haushizzle.

Dinner was pretty on the mark - the menu is pretty small but what they do, they do good. I went for wood pigeon, and Nic went for Steak Tartare. All topped up with a big cheese board and bottle of red. On our way back we stopped at The Glass Restaurant for a (probably not needed) gin.

At risk of becoming a regular, me and the man visited Bristol only a few weekends before to see Upfest in Bedminster. A graffiti festival which covers every street corner, park and stadium (!). Lots of inspirational stuff...

Starting the New Year with fish & chips and cushions


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We started the New Year the best way we know how - with fish, chips and champagne. From the best chippy in Cheltenham (and the UK...), Simpsons Fish & Chips. I like the fact they do battered king prawns (my fave) served with a side of lemon. 

Whilst all my recent posts have been about home decor updates, that is my life now. The life of a renter who can do little else but buy funky cushions to make home feel like 'home'. In particular, more leaf print (THE visual trend of 2017!). I've also got back into the world of eBay - with the discovery of some urban outfitters-inspired cushions for our dining chairs (yes, more cushions), a retro (albeit broken) clock and an aztec rug. 

Another home decor update was for the bathroom - which we've given a lick of paint ('Pebble' or 'light lavender' as it actually turned out to be) and some wire basket shelves found in Sainsbury's.

As if these purchases weren't enough, I also took a visit to the Antiques centre in Cirencester - nothing short of a labyrinth with it's hidden rooms and tiny corridors. There I found a useless mug and song sheet print, which I'm yet to find a frame for. 

Here's hoping your 2017 is also full of beautiful (sometimes useless) things.

 

 

Winter breakfasts, red red wine & a trip to the Wilson.


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As soon as I felt the first cold gust of wind on opening the door, I knew I wouldn't be leaving the house much this winter. Apart from special occasions like a birthday or a pre-arranged visit somewhere within a 2 mile radius. Or to eat.

After making this realisation, I also discovered how much I love red wine and listening to UB40 on the turntable ('there's a rat in me kitchen...'). The man has also upped his game with mackerel breakfasts and home-made 'tomato sauce' (I might bottle it up to sell). I've also been trying to read more books and scour less pointless websites... 'The woman who went to bed for a year' by Sue Townsend (inspiration for my new lifestyle) and 'Love' by Angela Carter are recent reads.

If you live in Cheltenham and are thinking of going a small distance, take a look at 'The Last Word in Art?' at the Wilson Gallery. With artists like Tracey Emin, David Hockney and the opportunity to create your own work of art - it's one not to miss.