We’re engaged!

Yesterday, Joe popped the question and I, of course, said yes.

Wooohoooo!

My mum, step-dad, sister, and baby niece, came to visit yesterday morning. I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I’d like because the family is scattered between Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Worcester at the moment. After they left, Joe said he’d like to take me to the Manchester Museum – we’ve been planning to go for ages, because:
1) It’s something to do for free, and…
2) I just love dinosaur exhibitions, and they have a T-Rex there.

So off we went. Being the nerdy person I am, I took far too many pictures…
This elephant walked from Edinburgh to Manchester…

They had a zoo section, which I didn’t know about. This guy was my fave…
I also love Space. I did a little sqeal when we got to this area…
Stan the T-Rex!

After what I thought was just a lovely spontaneous afternoon outing, when we got home, there was a box in our lounge…
…with another box inside…
…and another…
…and another…
…and another…
There were actually 10 boxes altogether! The lounge became a bit messy…
And inside the smallest one was a note…

I was so suprised.

I turned around and Joe was on one knee with a ring. He’s such a softy 🙂

We rang around our immediately family to let them know the good news and in the evening we went out to celebrate at a chinese restaurant that we’ve been going to for years.

In fact, we were planning on going there this Saturday night anyway, because we have a running joke that we always tell them it’s our anniversary, and we get free wine. We’ve probably had about 8 anniversaries there, and we joked that we’d go for a ‘special occasion’ this time around too. Turns out, this time it was genuine!

It was an amazing day which I’m sure we’ll never forget.

I was going to post a picture of my ring, but I think I’ll wait. I absolutely love it. It’s gorgeous. But, today we took it to get resized and unfortunately, my fingers are so small they don’t even stock the ring size in the country. It will need to be specially made and could take up to 6 weeks. I’m pretty gutted that I won’t get to flash it to everyone just yet, but I’m sure I will make up for it when it arrives!

For all those congratlations and nice words, thank you! I haven’t had chance to thank everyone individually yet, but I will!

I know I usually talk about housey-type things on this blog, but it’s called “Well I guess this is growing up” and I couldn’t think of anything more fitting than our wedding plans. I’d best get started!

Karen x

Where’s Pebbles?

I’m thinking about creating a book called Where’s Pebbles? – It will be just like Where’s Wally? but a bazillion times easier. Let me explain why. I’ve previously spoken about the neighbour’s cat that just wanders into our house and makes herself at home. We don’t mind it at all! She’s good company and all she wants is a cuddle. But from time to time, I genuinely don’t know how she got inside!

Here’s a few snaps of Pebbles popping up unexpectedly this month.

I’m sure I made the bed this morning…

No Pebbles, you cannot get in the bath.

Waiting for me to get home…

Just chilling on the windowsill. We see you cat!
Mmm bathmat!
She’s a stealthy one. One minute I look outside and she’s in the garden, the next, she’s rolling around by my feet. Ninja cat.

Karen x

5 DIY sites I love this week

I often wonder what I did with myself before the internet as I’m sure many others do, but I ask it now more than ever as a homeowner. With this blog, I’ve enjoyed ‘meeting’ other people in similar situations, trying to tart up their homes. They’ve given me inspiration, tips and sometimes, praise.

Joe & I don’t actually have much to report in terms of the house at the moment. We are in a ‘saving up’ phase and getting price quotes for the bathroom (post to come on this later) but this doesn’t mean I’ve stopped nerding out to interior blogs and DIY videos on YouTube.

So, to show that I’ve not completely abandoned my blog, I share with you some of my favourite finds on DIY this week. If you’ve seen any, throw them my way! 🙂 Enjoy!

1. Smart tips to make life easier.
These funny pictures will make you kick yourself whilst questioning; “Why didn’t I think of that first?”
This one is my personal favourite. Reminder to self: buy post-its.

2. Tips on choosing paint colours.
One thing we’ve learned whilst decorating is that if you pick a colour of paint you want, you then have to pick a shade. But there are millions of shades in existence. It’s hard work!
However, if you’re stuck with picking a colour – full stop – then I thought this would be really helpful: a guide to picking paint colours.
I love how we picked green for our bedroom, which acording to this, promotes sleep. Woo, go us!

3. Could decorating be the answer to the flagging sex lives of Brits?
Erm, can it? This article is clearly a pile of PR hogwash, but it sure made me chuckle, as well as the Dulux advert on TV at the minute.
(P.S I actually met the Dulux dog about a month ago at an exhbition with my old job. It was so cute!)
4. The You Can Do It YouTube channel. 
I personally think that B&Q is pretty overpriced, but despite this, we do find ourselves wandering around their warehouses looking for inspiration a couple of times a month. One thing they really do well though is their Youtube channel. I’m sure I’m not the only one that, when I get stuck, I either Google/YouTube it before I even consider asking an actual human. Well, B&Q have some pretty decent video tutorials on basic DIY, for basic people like myself.

5. Nest design studio blog
This blog does a feature called Interior of the Day, which always makes me wants to drop everything in my life, run home and decorate my house. It’s pretty simple: just some stunning pictures of some amazing interior design. I love it. You should go love it too.

Karen x

Venturing outside

The sun may keep disappearing behind cloudy skies (the buggar) but that hasn’t stopped Joe taking an interest in our jungle garden.

For a long time now, Joe has been itching to get his hands on some garden tools and get stuck in. It’s a big job but it’s something that he really missed when he left his parent’s house and moved into a flat with little old me. Well, he’s got his wish. We finally have a garden and slowly but surely he’s gathered some tools.

Last weekend, we added to this and bought a lawn mower. With a 50-ish foot garden, it was about time really. As the garden was untouched for almost a year before we moved in, it’s pretty wild out there with weeds, mushrooms, moss, and all that wonderful stuff that you just don’t want in a lawn. But it gives Joe a project for when I want to watch terrible embarrassing TV, so I’m all for it.

(For some reason, he loves to strut his stuff in a really camp way when he does the lawn. I have no answer for why this is)

We’ve got a few plans for the garden so far in our heads. We know we want a lovely wooden shed at the back right corner, and we know where we want a table area that catches the most sun, but for now, it’s really a case of killing what we don’t want, and trying to even out and grow some nice grass. We’re hosting a big family BBQ this summer for my sister’s birthday so Joe is hoping to get it in a reasonable state before then.

We are going to try and get a design idea sketched out soon so we can get a better idea of what to buy and when – so far we have discussed that we want a pool, water feature, shed, trampoline, tree house and zoo. I fear these may be unrealistic…

Amongst the weeds and general ugly shrubbery, we have had some nice surprises so far. One is the flowers. They pop up in all the wrong places (where we want to park the car – typical!) but they’re really pretty so I may move them as soon as I learn anything about gardening.

 We’ve also, got HEDGEHOGS! I haven’t seen them yet but Joe snagged a picture this week when I was out (I’ll post this at a later date). I know they’re in decline in the UK so I wonder if there’s anything we can leave out for them? I need to do some research. Send me some info if you know much about it! I hope we see them again.

I also hope the sun returns soon so we can do what we really want in the garden – drink beer and relax 🙂

Karen x

April Bathroom Update

Just like I said last month, when we got the keys to the house in August, I didn’t think I’d be writing an April bathroom update. BUT, we are very close to getting the final wheels in motion. Hoorah!

Joe has done an enormous amount of work himself, from piping to tiling, but it has now got to the point where we’re going to have to get in the professionals and we’re due to have some quotes this week.

Here’s a few reasons why:

This right here is the window that used to be behind the toilet. For those that have been keeping up to speed with my bathroom updates, you’ll know that the toilet has been moved and this is going to be a double shower. Where the window is, will be the piping and mixer for the shower. Something we never considered before was this window. If we put pipes in here and then tiled over, there’s a good chance they could freeze in the winter. We’re going to have to knock out the window and brick up.
And whilst we’re at that, we need the main window for the room replacing. We had a window company come round about a month or so ago to give us some quotes for the last 4 windows in the house that need double glazing (luckily about half of the house had already been done by the time we moved in. I’ll give you a clue who gave us the quote. If you buy one you get one free. I SAID, you buy one, you get one free! That will probably only make sense to my UK readers).

However, what we thought would be the cheapest turned out to be the most expensive – the bathroom window. Apparently, because of it’s height, there are safety regulations that mean you need enforced glass in bathrooms as well as different types of glass for privacy. Typical. Quite frankly, getting the shower fitted takes precendence over the window for now, but I’m adamant we will have a new window in before winter.

Another reason we need a professional in is the big one – the shower.
As you can see, it’s finally in it’s deginated spot! Not quite installed yet, but soon.
If you look closely, the new floorboard area is what Joe has put in, as it used to be a hole for the toilet. He’s also had to do bits and bobs of piping for the…you guessed it.. shower. However, these pipes were put under/over/through the floorboards/joists that are underneath and unfortunately that is something we can’t do with a waste pipe. The waste hole for this shower just happens to fit exactly over one of the main joists that is keeping the upstairs of the house from becoming the downstairs.
This means we’ll probably need the shower floor raising slightly. I obviously have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to the batroom – it’s Joe’s big project and he’s the expert but as soon as we’ve got some quotes in the next week or so, expect to see some action, and hopefully, soon enough, some finished bathroom pictures! Watch this space.

Also – and this is not necessarily something we need a professional for, but we’ve got it ready for when the room is done – Joe’s parents gave us these for Easter.
Joe and I are always joking that we want to completely replicate his parent’s bathroom. It’s been re-designed in the past few years and it’s just generally a really nice looking bathroom. We haven’t yet bought any “finishing” bits for our bathroom yet (toilet roll holder, soap dishes etc) because we just didn’t see the point until the actual room was all built and put together. But, we now have our first lot of bathroom accessories! Woohoo! I love these dispensers. It makes the room look so much neater instead of having a million different shampoo bottles around. The only dilemma with this is, how do I stop Joe from using my fancy girly shower foams?

Karen x

Wishlist Wednesday -11th April 2012

I’ve not done a Wishlist Wednesday for a while because I’ve simply been too busy! For those that are interested (mostly Joe’s mates from work – hello lads!) I’ll keep them coming, but maybe not every week.

The other day I stumbled across a blog post from Lily Loves Lola talking about an Etsy store called ClosetCat.

She showed a picture frame called In case of emergency, and I just love the idea. Joe absolutely adores Monopoly but maybe I’ll try and create something a bit more personalised for us. I’m thinking about doing a gallery of fun art somewhere in the house and I think this would make a great addition.

There is this baby one as well, and I thought of all my pregnant mates when I saw it. How cute!
I need to think of something personal to me & Joe – maybe a cocktail umbrella and minatures of our favourite drinks would do the trick? (Southern Comfort for me, Cognac for Joe) Perhaps this is one to add to the “finishing touches” list for when we get a kitchen in a year or so.

Karen x

RIP my little furball – take 2

On Saturday, Joe and I said goodbye to our pet rat, Shee-Ra.
She has been suffering for a long time with a tumour under her arm, and more recently, one in her face. It was interesting because, although she had a tumour, she was the most active and playful of all three of our rats. But, the last few days, she got very quiet, and started to lose weight rapidly.

I remember when we got the girls. They were all terrified of us the day we brought them home as they hadn’t been handled before, and they were still very young. They had a little cardboard box in their cage which was given as a bed for them, and they all hid in there for a good hour or so. I sat for about half a day by the cage with some treats on my belly and my arm in the cage door, hoping that they would get used to my smell. We had bets on which one it would be to come out of their box/bed first. It was one of the twins with the dark tail. She suddenly turned hyper and ran furiously around her new cage, and encouraged her sisters to do the same. We named her after He-Man’s twin sister – Shee-Ra.

I don't like crusts on toast, so we would share.

I’m glad she’s not suffering anymore. We’ve buried her next to her sister who only died a few weeks ago. Luxor is the last one standing and she is fit as a fiddle. I just hope that she stays her happy self, as I know that rats can die from depression and loneliness, and she’s always been so used to cuddling up to her twin, Shee-Ra.

You see that tail in the biscuit packet? Yup, that's Shee-Ra.

After Halloween, she would sit in our pumpkin and watch TV with me

I feel that the house is a little bit less like a home with the other two girls gone. I know once our house is fully decorated , we will be less inclined to let animals run around on our nice floors/furniture. But, I’ll always have that hole under the couch where they tried to make a hidey-hole and nearly gave Joe a heart atttack. Funny little furballs.

Karen x

Excuses, excuses

So blogging has taken a back seat to life this past fortnight. Sorry!

In a nutshell, here’s my excuse:
After Jeany died I couldn’t even stick around for her to be buried as I was sent to London with work for a few days on business. I then finished working for that company at the end of the week and went to Leeds to visit Joe’s sister for her birthday at the weekend. I then started a new job the following week (yay!) and went away this weekend for Joe’s sister’s wedding – which was amazing.

Needless to say, we’ve been busy and I’ve simply not had time to blog, or had all that much to blog about! The house hasn’t changed a smidge in the past 10 or so days. I’d even say it’s a bit messier from all the packing/unpacking.

Here’s what we are going to be working on this April (fingers crossed)…

  • Joe has hit a wall with the bathroom and getting the shower in. It’s definitely about time we got in some professional help.
  • The house opposite ours is currently having a new driveway built. Their old gates are no longer needed so they offered them to us for free, as they were just going to scrap them anyway. We, of course, thanked them wildly, giggling like Hyenas who had just won the lottery (we must have looked like utter geeks) and now we just need to find a way to make them fit. Some new posts perhaps? Either way, it looks like we may get a gate up soon – stop all those dogs attacking our front garden with their ass.
  • This weekend, we were given the centre piece from our table at the wedding to take home. It currently has a candle and stones in it, but as soon as the candle burns out, I’m going to make one of my dreams come true: fill it to the top with peanut butter M&Ms and have it on the dining room table. 24/7 access to my my favourite sweet. (If a future fat me is reading this, I’m sorry)
  • I’m also looking for a place to host this piggy bank. It was one of the activities on the hen weekend for the wedding. I painted it, and gave it a moustache for Joe. It’s going to be a starter for our kitchen fund. Or perhaps a ‘cash to get the bathroom finished’ fund. I haven’t decided yet.
  • I’m also on clearout duty this month. Before we can get any other major jobs done, I need to stop being such a hoarder and carry on chucking/recycling/donating general stuff. I’m hoping to do my wardrobe as part of this which is surely going to be painful. Wish me luck!

Karen x