Freshening up my home

As I mentioned in my monthly recap post, I’ve been having a bit of a home revamp, having got to the point where I’m dissatisfied with a few things about it and don’t want to just keep living with them. So, when Legal and General, providers of home contents insurance, got in touch to invite me to write a post about freshening up my home, the timing was perfect.

Although we live in a rented flat, our landlady has been quite good about letting us paint, so the lounge feels much better than it used to, although our furniture mostly came with the flat and isn’t generally what we might have otherwise chosen.

In a corner of our lounge, behind the sofa is a Billy bookcase from Ikea that is mine and didn’t come with the flat. It serves as general space filler, DVD rack and also home to our booze (there not being enough space in our kitchen for it). I’m getting to that point in life now where I sort of feel like the things that I own should be more than just functional, they should be aesthetically pleasing too. The Billy is definitely functional but it’s not exactly beautiful. However, it’s been through a lot with me over the years, and I really do mean years.

In fact, I found a photo from my final semester at university (2007) and the room I had after I came back from Germany, which features the bookcase and also my Peters Projection Map, which I have also had in every place I’ve had up until my current flat (even now I think it’s in a drawer somewhere as it’s hard to throw out something that was with me through so much). And yes, that is an unpainted plaster wall – the things I put up with as a student were hilarious! I’m a little surprised you can see the floor to be honest, I must have been procrastinating to avoid revising and therefore had had a bit of a tidy.

Unihouse

My Billy has done stellar work over the eight years since I graduated and has housed my books in every place I’ve lived. But it’s time to get something a little nicer and marginally less studenty. It’s an awkward little corner, big enough for a sideboard or bookcase but not really useful for too much else. So below are some of the options for replacing my trusty but outgrown Billy.

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1. Beckett Tubular Bookcase
2. Vernay sideboard
3. Vittsjo Shelving Unit
4. Matthew Hilton for ercol Treviso Desk
5. White Wide Leaning Bookcase
6. Industrial Kitchen Trolley

My most hated room in the house is our bedroom, it’s the only room in the flat with carpet and also has a big (but not built in) wardrobe together with a wall of bookcases. Basically it means it’s impossible to paint it something other than the horrible yellowy-cream it is right now. We also still have some horrible lilac curtains that I haven’t yet found a replacement for, even though it’s been two years since we moved in.

There are some things that I can do something about though, one of those things being the bedside lamps we have. They were cheap ones from Argos that I bought for my last place to serve a temporary need. Although they do have one sentimental addition, a little wooden bird that my friend Mark from university gave me. See how they match the wall?!

They are touch base lamps though, which makes them perfect for mornings when I’m generally too bleary and out of it to do much more than just swat in the general direction of the lamp. I’ve been looking at pretty alternatives that might make me a little happier with our bedroom.

Lamps

1. William Glass Bottle Table Lamp
2. Tripod Lamp
icon3. Light Up Marquee Bulb Letter L
icon4. Task Desk Lamp
5. Alice Starry Sky Touch Base Lamp
6. Hector Owl Lamp

We’re slowly working towards having a home we love, even if it might not be forever. What would you replace in your home if you were freshening it up?

This post was sponsored by Legal and General, who have kindly offered me a voucher towards something from my wishlist. Thanks Legal and General!

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June 2015: This month I have mostly been…

RainbowLondonBridge

Feeling: Simultaneously cooped up and nesty

I feel like I’ve been stuck in my flat for absolutely months now. Revision weekends (and weeks) have run straight into hayfever season and so I am starting to become utterly sick of my flat and stare enviously at my instagram feed full of people outside frolicking in the sun with the grass between their toes. You might think that at least the up-side of never going out is that I am probably at least saving some money. Wrong. Spending so much time inside makes me focus on the things I’m unhappy with. Normally I’d just live with them, as I have for the past two years, but I’m reaching the end of my tether, just because I rent doesn’t mean I shouldn’t love where I live. So I’ve been buying bits and pieces and generally getting all nesty and freshening up my home a bit (more on that to come).

Reading: Brick Lane by Monica Ali

BrickLaneNovel

Still. I haven’t been reading much this month because I’ve either been super busy at work or at home. With one thing and another reading has slipped down my list of things to do and I’ve been otherwise occupied, which is odd considering that I’ve spent most of the month cooped up inside hiding from the pollen and haven’t had revision to do, I’m not sure what I’ve been doing with myself. Maybe this month I’ll have more time for it.

Watching: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Kimmy

We started watching this a while ago on Netflix and then my boyfriend lost interest, but I was charmed by Kimmy’s enthusiasm and persistence (lessons for life) and so when he went to bed at night I’d stay up and watch an episode or two. I liked Ellie Kemper (Kimmy) in The US Office and although she’s slightly more screwball here, I can’t help but fall for her charms. I’d love to be that kind of person. Sadly I fear I am one of life’s drains rather than radiators.

Planning: Another two weeks, at least, of hayfever misery

What is up with the pollen count this year? Nearly every day for the past few weeks has been either Very High or High, there has hardly been any let up and I can’t see it getting any better quickly. After years of suffering I’ve perfected a way of coping (see my Top 10 tips on coping with hayfever) but it still doesn’t make things easy or pleasant. Roll on August when grass pollen season is definitely over.

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June 2015: Payday Favourites

I am a huge dinosaur fan, if it’s possible to call oneself a fan of creatures that died over 60 million years ago. I was obsessed as a child and even had a subscription to a magazine about dinosaurs that offered a new piece of a glow in the dark T-Rex skeleton (I’ve found this amazing youtube video about it which says it was launched in 1992, when I was six). I had the magazine every week and collected all of the pieces to complete the skeleton, although I wasn’t allowed to keep getting the magazine after 100 issues when the pieces for the skin were given away with the magazine – my friend Michael completed the T-Rex, skin and all. If you ask me now what I’d want to be if I wasn’t a lawyer, then the answer would be palaeontologist. Two years ago I got to spend the best night of my life at a sleepover at the Natural History Museum (see my blog post about Dinosnores) where I could roam the dinosaur exhibit to my heart’s content, free from tourists and children. I was giddy with excitement.

In honour of the new Jurassic Park film, Jurassic World, I thought I’d use this month’s Payday Favourites post to bring together some of my favourite dinosaur related things.

Dinojewellery

Left: Velociraptor Pendant
Right: Tatty Devine Black Dinosaur Necklace

I feel like the Velociraptor is my spirit animal, especially as I did a ‘What Dinosaur Are You?‘ Quiz on Buzzfeed and it came out with Velociraptor. So this cute little pendant is perfect. It also comes in yellow gold or rose gold and a whole host of other dinosaur options. It’s not on a dinosaur theme, but I’m also a bit smitten by these cute fawn earrings from the same shop.

As for the Tatty Devine T-Rex necklace, I’ve been lusting over it for actual years and even more so after I saw one in real life on Charlie. One day I’m sure I’ll find a way to justify its purchase. Maybe if I do well in my exam then I might consider it!

Dinobiscuits

Left: Dinosaur Cookie Cutters
iconRight: Bake Your Own 3D Dinosaurs

iconI have a gift voucher from Christmas for a Biscuiteers Icing Class that I still have to use (mental note: must book that in) and once I learn the fundamentals of flood icing, I imagine that I’ll want to flood ice everything. What could be better than some pretty dinosaur biscuits? Right now for my limited skills, the 3D ones look pretty damn impressive but without the need for icing skills.

Dinoprints

Left: Geometric Velociraptor Print
iconRight: Dinosaur Butcher Diagram Series

At the moment I’m going through a bit of a home revamp (more on that to come) and so I’m looking to personalise our flat with beautiful things and things we love. I love the Geometric Velociraptor print on the left as it’s quite understated, quite funky and not too in your face dinosaur. The muted colours would work well with our lounge I think.

The Dinosaur Butcher series on the right caught my eye for being quite fun, with each print showing the various cuts of meat from various dinosaurs, very Flintstones. Plus, as a bonus, you can choose the colour of the print background, so it’ll tie in with any theme you have going on.

Dinobagandcard

Left: Dinosaurs Tote Bag
iconRight: Dinosaur card

For the dinosaur lover in your life (I’m sure everyone must have one), the tote bag above would allow them to quietly roar about their dinosaur love, whilst this card says everything (it also comes in a variety of other options such as unicorn and pug!).

So they are just a few of the dino-related items that have caught my eye, I love that it’s possible to still have dinosaur things and totally be a very grown up and professional person, my office mug is covered in dinosaurs and I love it. Although now I want MOAR!

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The Ribman at Euston

Since the middle of April I’ve been studying German on a Tuesday evening at City Lit. Before signing up I was a little worried about how many lessons I’d be able to attend given that I often find myself working late. But with a start time of 7.35pm I hoped I’d be able to attend most of them and I think over the course I’ve only missed about two lessons, one because I was ill, one because of a client evening event. I’ve enjoyed it. I might not have been the best with my homework but for most of the course I was also battling with not only my job but also my postgraduate course (which took priority). It’s taken me a while to try and get back some of the vocabulary I once knew and the most frustrating thing is seeing a word, knowing it looks familiar but not being able to pin its meaning down. Luckily everyone has been really good about supporting each other, trying and making mistakes.

Ribman001

Our class recently moved from Holborn to Euston and so far the big upside has been that the move coincided with the establishment by The Ribman of a permanent home at Euston Station, in a new area for street food, the Junction. The Euston base complements the more pop-up Ribman offerings (Brick Lane on Sundays and outside the Boleyn Tavern for West Ham home games). My last class on Tuesday afforded me the opportunity to sample a rib roll to set me up for the evening. As usual I was running a bit late, having not left work until about 7pm, so I knew I was cutting it fine and crossed my fingers for a short queue. Mercifully, luck was on my side and there was only one person ordering in front of me.

Ribman003

I decided to keep it simple with a small (and honest to god, calling it small is so misleading, the thing is huge) rib meat roll with hot sauce. The sauces were missing their usual names (Holy Fuck, Christ on a Bike, Fuckyuzu and Holy Mother of God), presumably to sanitise them for the mass commuter market, but that’s understandable.

The ribs are baby-back ribs sourced from pigs that are outdoor reared on Norfolk and Suffolk farms. The sauces are all made by Mark Gevaux (the Ribman himself) and sold both on his stall and through his website, in case you want to add some heat to your own dishes at home.

Ribman002

I found my way to one of the communal picnic tables outside Euston Station and sat down to tuck in. It’s difficult to know where to start when faced with such a beast of a roll. I decided to go in face first, rather than be too precious and use the fork. I could feel the eyes of those sat at the window counters in Ed’s Easy Diner judging me as I grappled with my roll, invariably dropping hunks of meat and smearing hot sauce all around my face. The thing is though, it doesn’t really matter if you look like an absolute pig eating it, because you know your food choice is better than theirs. Ah smug stomach satisfaction.

Make sure you pick up a wet wipe (I made that error) and enjoy!

Open 7am-11pm everyday, there’s no excuse for not getting stuck into a rib meat roll!

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