New Home Festivities

I know it’s late January, but I was so proud of our new home at Christmas I had to share it!

Coming from a little terraced house, I wasn’t sure our decorations would stretch far enough to fill this house – well, it was a nice excuse to go and treat ourselves to a few more! Lots of new baubles and miles of ivy from the garden and I think we succeeded in making it cosy and Christmassy…

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We had so much fun decorating the house, and these are a few tips I’m going to remind myself of next year…

  • You can never use too much ivy – drape it over anything for an instant festive feel.
  • Put fairy lights everywhere. I wanted a festive window light but couldn’t really afford one (probably after spending a small fortune on baubles!) I used a few different sized jam jars from the cupboard and put a string of fairy lights inside. Hide the cables with more ivy and you’re left with a gorgeous window light.
  • Put silver bells in jam jars among t.lights. They look so lovely and gleam in the glow of the candles.
  • Use a vase as a make-shift hurricane lamp and string ivy around your candle inside. This made a gorgeous centerpiece for our Christmas table and was so simple and cheap to do.

Now all my Christ-moose has to do is wait patiently for next Christmas to come around so we can do it all again!

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There’s a Mouse in this House

Our second day in York started off a bit damp, so as soon as breakfast had been munched we set off on a little adventure.

In our room was a book about York; where to go and what to do and while perusing the pages the night before we’d seen an advert for the Mouseman. A quick look on google maps told us it was a 30 minute journey to the visitor center where you’re introduced to the life and work of Robert Thompson, the craftsman who became famous for carving a mouse onto all his makes.

After a bit of a random journey (think relying solely on a sat nav that appears to be taking you deep into Yorkshire farmland and away from civilization!) and we had arrived at our destination. The place we had found was Kilburn which is where Robert Thompson’s original workshop is situated.

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So where did the mouse come from? Thompson was carving a screen for a local church and one of his craftsmen commented he was ‘as poor as a church mouse’. This little creature was then carved into the screen and onto every one of Thompson’s creations ever since.

If you’re in Yorkshire and want to see some rare traditional skilled craft, go and visit the Mouseman in Kilburn.


Happy Days in York

A fabulous three day stay in York was the perfect end to our Summer. After all the house moving, a little bit of ‘us time’ was just what we needed.

After arriving, we pottered into the city and went in search of some of our favourite finds from our last visit. Not far from our hotel is Priestleys at No. 36. A gorgeous mix of antiques and design led gifts where we found this present for a porridge loving friend.

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Further in is another lovely shop called image which is home to quirky homewares , gorgeous cards and artwork. We passed it every time we walked in which inevitably led me to end up with a sweet vintage jelly mould candle holder.

Yet another amazing find is Wild Hart which sits along a gorgeous cobbled street. No shop front is the same as the next and there’s plenty of character-full pubs nestled inbetween.  This was pretty perfect as I was able to keep bribing Ed along the shops with the promise of a drink or two!

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Very much in love with this shop, which has a new room since our last visit. It’s full of vintage furniture and Christmas decorations! Can’t wait to visit again a bit closer to the festive season to see what other treats they have….

Uncle Bill’s Shed

Anything you could ever want or need was in my Uncle Bill’s shed.

A collection of flower pots to cater for any size of plant and all the various fuses you could need in a lifetime filed into old tobacco tins. Ladders of all sizes hung onto specially made racks on the walls and any tool you could ever need all organised into a system only Bill could fathom.

A lifetime of collecting and storing and it’s amazing how much you can accumulate! A few weeks ago, we went over to the house to try and sort through some of the bits and bobs there.

Dad was the only one brave enough to go in the shed for risk of spiders while I waited outside – as long as said spiders weren’t clinging to anything he passed me. We discovered Bill had at least 3 of everything, including a separate shed full to the brim with pots and planters. In between these, were some very plain wooden boxes which caught my eye. They looked like they had once been containers for seeds and small garden tools. More little boxes were filled with dusty electrical bits and ties.

Hiding among all these was a lone red vintage OXO tin, and in the corner, an undisturbed pile of papers was sitting on another lovely find. A very old suitcase with the letters WHL on each end. This made it even more special, as these were Bills initials, William Hanby Lowe.

These things probably wouldn’t mean much to anyone else, but most of them would have been made and used before I was even born! This fascinates me and they will be looked after from now on.

A Domestic Goddess Life For Me

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’m not someone who could be described as a domestic goddess. I imagine such a person to have an insanely tidy house at all times, to have sparkling windows all year round and who has always just baked something. Rarely a day goes by where there isn’t a little pile of random objects – usually keys, bills and receipts, on our coffee table (and if we have people round, they’re underneath!)

I try to keep on top of cleaning and aim to run the hoover round regularly. We have dark carpets in our house which show up any tiny molecule of dust or fluff. Being the savvy house proud genius that I am, I put down gorgeous huge cream rugs that instantly lighten and lift the rooms and also hide some of the fluff. They also instantly look grubby when you waltz across them in your shoes once.

I’m a bit of a clean freak and at my happiest when my house has been scrubbed from top to bottom and I can sit with a glass of wine and admire my handywork (and elbow-grease!) What is it some people say about everything having its place? Ok, so I’m not that bad but when you get in from a busy day, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to tidy up before you can sit down.

My work room is the one place I make a huge effort to keep tidy all the time. It makes me smile as my mum always used to say to me;

“If you tidy as you go, you won’t have a big mess to tidy at the end.”

Twenty-odd years later and I’m still listening to this piece of advice! My desk could potentially look as though a bomb has hit it – there’s always tins of paint, string, buttons and other crafty bits dotted around.

Not too messy today – but the mug is dangerously empty!

Knowing of my worries about ‘keeping house’ my sister bought me a book for my birthday which really hits the nail on the head. Domestic Sluttery by Sian Meades is a light-hearted book based on a blog and it’s for ‘…anyone who aspires to be a domestic goddess without having to work hard at it…’

She looks at general home life and food etc. and helps you to realise that not everything has to be perfect. Life is too busy to be worrying about the state of your house, so there are little shortcuts to perfection and some tips with storage and display. In its own words ‘…this book won’t magically transform your life…’ but I had a smile on my face from the first page and have come away with some fab ideas. definitely worth a read!