Thursday, 29 September 2011

Chicago bound

So, here I am at 6.30am in Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport and I have a little time on my hands before my flight to Chicago departs. Finally, a little free time that I can't use to do much else (put the washing on, just do a little more work, catch up on Holby City or Torchwood, pack a box for the move) except perhaps read one of the seven magazines I packed for the flight...

This will have to be a catch-up post sans photos as I'm not au fait enough with technology yet to know if it's possible to add them from my iPhone.

Anyhoo, today I'm off to Chicago all on my ownsome to meet up with a group of friends for three days, then it's on to New York for just over 24 hours all on my ownsome (except for the credit cards...) My darling hubby and mum bought the flights for my upcoming 40th birthday - isn't that a fab pressie? I'm a very lucky lady indeed. A bit of rest, relaxation, sightseeing and, most importantly, lots of shopping! The last time I visited Chicago was when I was a student in 1992; I can barely remember it - I wonder if things will have changed?! NY is a little fresher in my memory as hubby and I were there last December and this is about my 14th visit to the city that never sleeps.

Anyway, in other news we are VERY close to moving in to our house. The builders will be round there for just a short while today before the cleaners arrive to give it a once over. We've already started taking some furniture round, plus hubby has lugged 40-odd boxes of 'stuff' that we haven't unpacked since we moved into the rental house back in April. Clearly those are 40 boxes fill of essential items... I did comment to hubby that perhaps we should just throw them away without opening them as we've managed to live for 5 months without whatever is in them, but it's difficult to let go of so much potential tat!

I promise to upload (lots of) photos of the house renovation, but it can be such a mind-numbing task. Dies anyone else fund uploading photos to their blog a real chore? In fact, it's not so much the uploading, it's the dragging and sorting into the right place that takes such an age.

I also need to tell you about our trip to Geneva, plus visits from friends, days out in Lyme Regis, Barrington Court, Bridport vintage market, West Bay and much, much more. But, for now, I will bid you adieu from Heathrow.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Busy, busy, busy

Sorry for the lack of posts, I feel like I've neglected this poor little blog because I just don't seem to find the time/energy to be writing regularly at the moment. Hopefully things will change soon once we move into the new house, but currently I'm juggling work, looking after DC, the housebuild and life in general.

Two weeks ago hubby & I had a couple of days in Geneva (he was working, I was relaxing) and I've not had time to blog about that; then in less than 48 hours I shall be jetting off to Chicago and New York for a few nights, ON MY OWN!!!! I really hope that when I get back I'll get the chance to start blogging again more consistently.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Fun on Friday (and Saturday) (and Sunday)

On Friday morning, leaving poor hubby hard at work, Granny, DC & I headed over the border into Devon (it's only 8 miles away, so not too arduous a journey) and on to the little town of Axminster. Although we've driven through and round Axminster many times on our way to and from Lyme Regis, we'd never actually stopped before. The main reason for making an actual stop-over in Axminster was to have a bite to eat in the River Cottage Canteen; hubby and I have eaten at the actual River Cottage and we've been en famille to an open day there as well - both visits were very enjoyable and the food was delicious, so a trip to the canteen was definitely called for.

First though, we had a little wander round the town, all the while trying to keep DC in check as he picked up and examined what seemed to be the entire display outside an ironmongers (ie dustbins, plant pots, sweeping brushes), ran into the newsagent next door for chocolate buttons, rubbed his hands along all the dirty windowsills he could find and generally acted like a two-and-a-half year old... By the time we'd got half way round Granny & I needed a drink; DC was in his element since the cafe we chose had an outside area with a hose and pile of logs for him to play with, and when the drinks arrived he was able to 'help' by adding the milk to my coffee and stirring vigorously.

Finally, we made it to the River Cottage Canteen, where Granny enjoyed a very tasty ham roll and I had the most delicious tomato and pesto soup with courgette and croutons -we ate in the front section of the canteen which serves more of the deli food, rather than at the back where the more substantial fare was on offer. DC had a few sips of soup and then decided he was so tired from playing with the sugar bowl/vase/tomato ketchup pot that he had to lie down. At that point, I popped him in his pram so Granny & I could spend too much money at the deli counter buying pies, pasties, cakes, beer and cider. Below are a cheese, potato and onion pasty and a pork pie; I also bought a butternut squash pie for me and a steak and ale pie for hubby, plus some cakes which got eaten before I had a chance to take a photo!And then it was time to head home - a fun trip was had by all and the food was as good as I'd hoped it would be. YUM.

On the way home from Axminster, DC fell asleep so I was able to leave him in the car with Granny and have a quick whizz round an antiques/junk shop which we've passed several times but have never had chance to visit. I'm really glad I had the chance to have a look round as I think this could become a favourite hunting ground for all sorts of tat that we really don't need. And some that we do, such as this apple rack - hope it's still there the next time we get to call in.

Making the most of a willing babysitter, on Friday evening hubby and I drove up to Bristol to see Duran Duran playing a rehearsal show; I was so pleased to have been able to get tickets for this since it was a small venue with a capacity of just 600. It was only a short show (1hr 15mins) and we arrived about 15mins late unfortunately, but it was still a really great evening and I was able to wriggle my way quite close to the front for a good view of the lovely John Taylor and the posturing/pouting Simon Le Bon (and his little paunch.) It seemed so weird (and slightly 'am I really here?'-ish) to be seeing them "in real life", having been such a fan when I was young, with a bedroom covered in posters and the lyrics to their songs constantly in my head. I was pretty sure John Taylor would spot me in the crowd and realise I was the woman of his dreams, but there was a rather annoying man in front of me who kept waving his arms and blocking John's view at all the vital moments. Oh well, maybe next time...

Although Saturday dawned grey and blustery we decided to be brave and head for the Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival. And I'm so glad we did as we had a fantastic day - there was cheese, cheese and more cheese to sample and purchasethere was cake, chocolate, fudge, coffee, liquers, beer and cider to sample and purchasethere were crafts to admire and purchasethere was music to listen and dance to, there was Punch & Judy to laugh and shout atand there was an old school friend of mine to meet up and chat with. All in all, a rather grand day out!

On Sunday I had to work at the gallery, but when I finished at 4.30pm I whizzed along the coast to meet Granny, hubby & DC at West Bay.It was blowing a gale when we got there, but it wasn't cold so we braved a walk along the harbour and had lots of fun laughing as the wind blew our hair here, there and everywhere.We managed to find a shelter where we were able to sit and enjoy our fish & chips before retiring to the pub for a drink and some ice cream (for DC)

All in all, a very busy and enjoyable weekend.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

House Renovations: Internal, Upstairs. Part I

Less than five months after work began and the house is pretty much habitable - we have a kitchen, we have bathrooms, we have running water, we have new doors and windows, we have painted walls and woodwork, we have a boiler and radiators, we have electricity and lights!

The August Bank Holiday weekend marked a whole year since we bought the house, so it's about time we were moving in really!

There are so many photos to share from the upper storeys that I've decided to split them into several (probably four) seperate posts - provisionally 1) bedrooms; 2) hall, stairs, landing; 3) bathrooms 4) offices. So here we go with Part 1- the bedrooms, in no particular order. This is destined to be DC's room - it's at the back of the house overlooking the garden. We removed the built in wardrobes and incorporated the space that they took up into the master bedroom next door; apart from that and a new window/radiator/door/plug sockets/light fitting/wall colour, not much has changed.

This room is the larger of what are destined to be two guest/spare bedrooms. They are both at the front of the house, looking over the front garden (obviously), the pretty Victorian cottages opposite and the church beyond. We removed the sink and built-in 'wardrobe', had extra insulation added to the internal wall, new crittal windows fitted, plus the usual new radiator/plug sockets/light fitting/door/wall colour.

And this is the smaller of the two bedrooms at the front of the house, destined to be a guest/spare/play room. We removed the built in wardrobes and incorporated they space they took up into the new bathroom; we also removed the built-in bookcase; again, new crittal windowns plus door/radiator/light fitting/plug sockets/wall colour.Last, but not least, the master bedroom, with ensuite. This was formed by adding an extension to the rear of the house [part of the two storey extension that also formed the kitchen], and knocking through the old airing cupboard (brown door to the right of the picture below), bathroom and separate wc. The doorway into what was the wc is now the doorway into the master bedroom, overlooking the back garden. Doorway through to ensuite, with built-in wardrobes either sidePhew, finally done - it's taken me four days to sort the photos for this post - Blogger is hard work sometimes!