Stop watching me do the dishes please.

Not all that long ago, it was easy peasy for passers by to see into our kitchen. I say kitchen very loosely of course. Nonetheless, with our driveway built and cleared of the jungle that previously resided there, it was time to get some privacy.

You can see from this picture of Joe and his dad laying the concrete driveway, that anyone from the main road could see straight down to the end of the garden, and if they really wanted, could see me doing the dishes at the kitchen window.
But now, we have a lovely new fence…..and about a trillion leaves. Cheers Autumn!

We were tempted to paint it bright blue just like the front fence but weren’t brave enough.
For anyone interested in the actual colour, here is Joe modelling the paint: Cuprinol in Forest Oak.

Looks good no?
Karen x

Building a home for our cars

Over the past month or so, Joe and his dad have been concreting the driveway. When we moved in, it was mostly overgrown bushes and a small broken fence that introduced a concrete footpath to the front door.

Well, we (read: Joe) have ripped out all the bushes, turned over all the soil, and prepared the area to become a driveway. We have 2 cars so it always made sense that this would become a home for them. Not to mention that when I park on the road, the birds in the huge tree above the house leave me daily presents – open your bowels elsewhere will you!?

With Winter fast approaching, and not wanting to park on muddy soil, Joe and his dad have worked long and hard to get the driveway concreted. They first dug down into the soil to make way for materials – It later emerged that this was too deep, but you live and learn!
They added foundations for the concrete (I think Joe actually used some old golf clubs in there somewhere to reinforce the concrete. Very creative dear!)

Gravel was then added for drainage. This was the original plan for the driveway, but because of the huge tree, it would be near impossible to sweep up Autumn leaves without making a jolly good mess. So, it’s sloped concrete instead. All around the back garden is now about a foot high with soil thanks to the digging down. It’s like we’ve got loads of mini ramps around the side!

Here are the boys evening out the final batch of concrete.

The gates that were given to us (for free woohoo!) have now been added and all the fences are now blue. Here’s a panoramic shot of the front garden! Starting to look better isn’t it?
…And we also put our hand print in the final lot of concrete with the date, just for giggles.

I didn’t get to take as many sneaky pictures for this project because Joe and his dad did so much before I would get home from work!
It took a lot of patience and time, because every time they wanted to lay some concrete, the skies would open and just heave it down – typical British ‘summer!’ The tree offered some protection and they eventually got it done. They’ve really done a great job.

Karen x

Wishlist Wednesday – Blackout!

If you know me or have been paying attention to my blog posts, you might know that i have a thing for black furniture…

I don’t know what it is. I don’t particularly like mega dark rooms but there’s something about it I’m always drawn to. I saw this display in Selfridges earlier this week. They had a white version too, but I just found myself staring at the blackout one. I think if I was given free reign decorating the house, our home would look just like this.

Perhaps one day I should treat myself to a dungeon. Joe has his man shed after all! A girl can dream! 🙂
Karen x

Blogiversary, housiversary and anniversary

So last Friday marked mine and Joe’s ‘official’ 6 year anniversary. Exciting times!

It also marked a year of living in our lovely house and as a result, a year of this blog!

I started writing on here when we moved into the house so that when we finish renovating and decorating, we can look back and have a great scrapbook of our progress. And, only a year in, we are already able to do that. The other day I was looking through my posts tagged with Bathroom and I can’t believe how awesome it looks now compared to when we bought the house.

Along the way, I’ve followed some new sites, and been introduced to other bloggers also on a DIY journey. Not only has it been interesting, but it’s been an eye opener for ideas, and helpful sources.

And it looks like some are enjoying mine just as much as I’m enjoying their – I’ve certainly had more views than I expected! I’m really glad others are enjoying this process with us and it’s lovely that our family gets to see our improvements even if they’re dotted all over the country.

As for mine and Joe’s anniversary, well, six years went by very quickly.

We kept it very low key with a Chinese takeaway and a TV marathon. It’s pretty much our favourite way to wind down and mostly due to wedding budget, we wanted to keep it cheap and cheerful.

I’ll be sad to leave behind our August anniversary though. We’ve had some great mini adventures on that date but, our April wedding anniversary in the future will definitely be something worth giving it up for.

Here’s to the next year of blogging and the next six years with Joey.

We looked so young back then!

Karen x

Wishlist Wednesday – Super shelving

This week I stumbled across a blog post on Red Hen Home on how to make an entrance in your hallway, and I love the way they’ve done it.

The blogger has re-used old suitcases as shelving. I think it looks so interesting!
Something we don’t have any of at the moment is shelving.

We have a bookcase in the lounge which is used for the enormous amount of DVDs and Blu-Rays we’ve accumulated, but I think we could do with getting one or two up in our bedroom – one of the only rooms in the house that has painted walls, ready for decoration! Then we can unpack more boxes hooray! That’s right, we’ve been in the house for a year and still haven’t unpacked. Oops! 🙂

Let’s see if i can come up with anything half as creative as this.

Karen x

The house with the blue fence

When we moved in, we were generously given a new fence by Joe’s Aunty and Uncle. The one that was already there was falling apart and along with the overgrown front garden, made the house look abandoned – which it was. But we wanted people to know that it wasn’t a free for all anymore. It’s ours.

Now, people are really going to pay attention because Joe has painted it blue!

It’s so pretty, I love it!

He used Cuprinol Garden Shades paint, and unfortunately from the state of the tin, I don’t know what shade it is! Beaumont Blue rings a bell though…
Joe’s mum says the fence makes her smile as she drives down our road and sees the house. Aww. 🙂

Next we will need a blue front door to match. Can’t wait!

Karen x

Stealth shed spying

Two weeks ago (yes, I’m slow at blogging stuff these days) Joe and I had a lovely weekend with family. I don’t get to see my mum and step-dad that often since they moved away, but we wanted to get together and discuss wedding stuff so it was a great excuse to see each other.

However, it was also pretty handy because the shed that Joe and his dad were prepping the garden for the weekend before, needed 3 men to put it up because it’s so large and heavy.

With my step-dad up for the job, he, Joe and Joe’s dad, Peter, cracked on with putting it together. Me, my mum and my sister talked weddings indoors. Doing wonders for the gender stereotype…

According to Joe (because I know nothing of sheds) wood panels outside need a special coat to avoid rotting, and then we can fill it up with outdoorsy stuff. I think Joe wants to show off his wonderful job to his friends, so here are the pictures I sneakily took while they were working away.

BUM!A very proud Joe. Although from his expression, you’d think he was in a huff! I think he was just tired. Good job Joey. 🙂

Karen x

I’m just going to go for a shower….because i CAN!

Last month we had the bathroom finished.

I have been a bit pants at blogging because we’ve just been busy with wedding things and trying to get our heads around venues and budgets and all that stuff.

But, I’ve finally taken some pictures of the finished result.

First, a reminder of how it looked when we moved in with special appearances from the rotting cast iron bath, grab rails, and pink damp walls…
Previously it was a separate ‘ye olde Victorian’ loo, but that wasn’t with us for long. Joe enjoyed ripping down the wall too. Now, we are the proud owners of a modern fully functioning bathroom!

I tried to use a 360 app thingy for a better picture…
It’s so much bigger now that the two rooms have been combined. And the shower is a monster. I can do the Can Can in there if i want to. Not that I’d want to…

I hope you’ll agree that it’s looking a lot better than it did this time last year!

There are a few more jobs to crack on with, such as :

  • PVC window
  • Buy bathmat
  • Add a cupboard somwhere
  • Buy a mirror
  • Paint the door

…but these will come with time.

We were so excited when the work was finished that we had a ‘Grand Opening’ of the bathroom with Joe’s parents and sister. We even put a ribbon on the door to mark the occasion. Oh yes. We went there!

Thanks so much to absolutely everyone who pitched in over the months to get it finished. You’re all superstars and you’re welcome to use our facilities whenever you like 😉

Karen x

A sunny sheddy Saturday

Joe is adament that one day we will have the most spectular garden of all time. Unfortunately, a British summer usually means rain and more rain, so he’s hardly had chance to do garden work since we moved in. However, he’s now accumulated enough tools to require a shed. We went shopping for sheds at the beginning of the ‘summer’ but, we’re easily distracted and Joe ended up locking me in a children’s tree house before we went home for ice cream.

Needless to say, the shed plan failed.

But, Joe’s parents have come to our rescue once more. Carol, Joe’s mum, works at a college and they were getting rid of a really massive shed. So, we’re taking it off their hands.

I came home from work on Friday to see it at the side of our house. Just look at that glorious summer weather…
We were really lucky that on Saturday it didn’t rain, considering it was supposed to be a month’s worth in one day. So, Joe and his dad, Peter, cracked on preparing the back of the garden, which is a big job. As Joe said:
“It’s like Jumanji back here!”
They found a fence we didn’t even know was there and it looks like our garden is actually a bit longer than we thought! Good news considering now it won’t take any space from our garden.
After the bushes were cleared and trees were trimmed, Joe and his dad used some of the turf from the back to try and repair some patches we’ve got on the lawn. Most of this is self-inflicted through numerous bonfires. Oops.

The rest went into a big pile that we’ll have to take to the skip at some point.
They’ve done a smashing job and now we have a space ready for the shed!
And, the only thing we liked in the garden was in that corner. A lovely huge bush that blooms with bright blue and purple flowers. Don’t ask me what it is, I’ve no idea!
So, Peter kindly trimmed it and moved it to the front garden instead. It’s looking a little sorry for itself lately since we’ve had no sun, but I’m sure by next year, it’ll look top banana.

I wish I could say I had more input to the project but I’m just pants at garden things. I spent most of the day doing laundry and wedding stuff. But, I did catch a frog. Does that count?
The next job for the boys is putting down some sort of base for the shed and then waiting for another dry day to get it put together again.

Karen x

I need more knock knock jokes in my life

Last Christmas we were very generously given a set of loft ladders from Joe’s parents, after Joe and his dad started opening up the loft hatch so we could use the space for storage (read about that here).
However, we’ve finally learned that it’s just not going to be possible to have a drop down loft ladder because of where the joists are in the ceiling. So, off they went to get an exchange, and Joe came back with a door for our bathroom.

This is the door that was originally in there.
Pretty tasty eh?

I think it’s easy to see why it needed replacing…

We’re really lucky that we have Joe’s uncle Alan, who is a pro at this kind of stuff and if I’m right, I think he once did this for a living. He spent all of today trimming down our new door to fit in the bathroom frame.
And, whilst he had his tools out, he trimmed two other doors for us as well, for the two rooms we have carpet in: the lounge and our bedroom. The low doors were damaging the floor.
Here is the bathroom door, with a lock and everything! For months we were using a bucket of grout as a doorstop to stop people coming in. This really is a luxury.
Yes the lighting is poor (sorry!) and we are eventually going to paint it white, but I’ll include that later, whenever I get round to doing my finished bathroom post. It is coming I promise! 🙂

Thanks so much Alan for all of your help!

And since doors are mostly an incredibly boring topic, I’ll end on a door/bathroom related joke. Enjoy…
Knock, knock.
Who’s there?

Philip who?
Philip the tub so I can take a bath.

Karen x