House Fantasy: A wood burning stove


Credit – The Stove Store

So I am back at my desk after the Winter festivities and my inbox is full of emails, mainly of links to ideas from Mr A about the dream home we are going to build one day. We’re a way off being in the position to do it, but he reckons if we start dreaming up plans, maybe even starting a joint blog about our journey, then it will happen.

Much as I love the idea of the suggestions he sent me today – a secret room, a book den under the stairs and a hammock mezzanine – in my current draughty, rough round the edges, but much loved home, I would really just like a wood burning stove, as would Max the greyhound.  Continue reading

2013 looking utterly incredible, thanks to Photobox


Before the year ends, I wanted to show you this. Our photo album from Photobox. If you’re anything like me finding time and making yourself slow down long enough to put this together is a real achievement in itself. Actually the software is easy, it is choosing the pictures that takes the time!

I cried when it arrived, it brought back so many fab memories of our Carnival Cruise and it is just so stunningly beautiful and the photos so sharp. How cool too, is the collage cover? But this photo book just keeps on giving. Continue reading

Roll up for the Amazing Vanishing Kitchen – Betta Living

plum-1Mr A: Shall we make a new kitchen a Christmas present to ourselves?

Our plans for a new kitchen keep getting shelved for other projects like a caravan, the dog, a new computer, or quite often just paying the mortgage. However, as Winter creeps in we find ourselves at home more, bumping into each other, trying to prep veg on one tiny surface covered in tea bags and half finished craft projects. So we are lamenting the rubbish design of our kitchen and have promised each other to tackle it in the New Year.  Continue reading

Revealing our Custom Map Wallpaper from

PicMonkey CollageWhen I was little we moved area and I remember my mum having a huge local map pinned to the wall, since then I have wanted to do something similar. So when offered me a sample of their amazing custom map wallpaper I saw a chance to make a little childhood dream come true.

Continue reading

Shop Local: British Seaside Clothing and Gifts from Gone Crabbing


It has been on my agenda for a while to focus on hunting down some cool, clever and UK based businesses offering fun stuff to families. You know the sort of businesses, the ones that start from a kitchen table or a conversation in a pub?

This week I want to tell you all about Norfolk based Gone Crabbing. Seaside memorabilia has come a long way since Kiss Me Quick hats and saucy postcards, thanks to mumpreneur Susie Mason. She began her business five years ago at the kitchen table of her small cottage. The range of cosy clothes, homewares and small gifts beautifully captures the spirit of Norfolk and is perfect for the seaside lover in your life. Continue reading

Crime Narratives and preventing burglary

Time for a more grown up approach to burglars?

My favourite television programmes are crime ones. I’ve never really questioned why until a conversation I had recently with friends about burglaries.

As Mr A and I sit there watching the third or fourth back to back episode of Breaking Bad (I know late adopters) or The Mentalist, or whatever crime narrative we can get our hands on for the evening, it never makes me feel particularly unsettled. All this goes on beneath the happy suburban bubble I inhabit. Continue reading

House Fantasy: Set for the Silver Screen

Home Fantasy: Movie Nights

Today’s house fantasy is all about the bedroom. A bedroom is an escape. My dream bedroom would combine the luxury of a boutique hotel with the romance of the movies. So I decided to combine hotel chic with the silver screen, to create a room that is like stepping into a black and white movie.

I’m trained as a drama and film teacher, so it is hard not to see designing a room as being like creating a set.

The black, white and silver palette connotes the age of the silver screen. There are less subtle clues in the tripod camera lamp and camera table lamp. A bedroom that truly sets a scene.

The crisp white sateen stripe sheets, faux fur throw, metallic cushions and L’amour lampshade all scream night away in a boutique hotel. The service bell wouldn’t be out of place in reception, but in the bedroom, well, it just made me giggle.

The cushions continue the cheekiness, but also take me back to silent movie age, when well chose typography replaced the need for speech.

I am taking part in the Dream Bedroom Blogger Competition. We have a lot of antique furniture which I would never replace, so I have used very little of the £5000 fantasy budget. Amazing how you can make your dreams come true for relatively little isn’t it?

Camera table light £50,  wood lamp £225,  fauxfur throw £50, clapper board £13, 5 cushions £100 in total, white sateen stripe bed linen £57, 2 L’amour light shades £100, bell £9. 
Total £600

Jen over at Love Chic Living is judging, I think it is clean and fresh enough for her tastes and I am hoping today’s house fantasy theme appeals.

What would your dream bedroom consist of? Hop on over to Jen’s blog to enter.

Yankee Candle Happy Halloween: Is it just me or does this thing smoke bats?

I kind of have to tell you the story here, and hope it translates as well to the page.

I was at my friend Amanda’s house having coffee, she told me she had a Halloween candles from Yankee candle, in fact she had two. Amanda is a bit of a candle fan, she has a gorgeous home full of beautifully placed vintage vases, candle holders and scented candles. Really lovely, you can sneak a look at The Ana Mum Diary blog if you want to see more. Actually she is an authority on candles.

So, I started to tell her about my Yankee Candle Happy Halloween candle. How it smelt like Black Jacks and black licorice. She was…a little jealous. Continue reading

Guest Post: Top Tips When Buying Your Garage Door

rostige tore

You may think that a garage door probably won’t have that much of an effect on your home – however, you would be wrong. Your garage door is one of the first things people would see when looking at your home.

Usually at the front of the house, it is visible to passers-by as well as your visitors. This is why when choosing your garage door there a few things you need to think about, not just in regards to the aesthetics, but also any technical issues. Continue reading

New Arrivals – Preparing Your Home and Storage For The Baby Boom


I am really excited to have a guest post from a Dad today, over to Andreas!

There was a time when a weekend away meant throwing a change of clothes, deodorant and a toothbrush into a bag and jumping into the car. That was before the pregnancy, of course. Now there are changes of clothes for the baby, nappies, wipes, sterilised empty bottles, sterilised full bottles, baby food, baby bibs, baby spoons, juice, water, dummies… more than one bag can cope with, and we haven’t even started on the toys! Continue reading

Planning room to grow

front window

Family homes often find that space is at a premium and as your family unit grows you may find that your home needs to grow too. Instead of relocating, expanding the perimeter of your existing house is a viable option, whether through loft conversations, conservatories or extensions.

However, before you complete the work you need the relevant permissions and that involves plenty of planning.

There are several types of buildings to consider – Grade I, Grade II and Grade II*. The law protects such buildings so if you wish to erect an extension, open up a smaller space by knocking a wall down or add a major alteration then you must adhere to planning permission regulations.

This Sash Windows guide to listed buildings is an ideal resource for those who want to understand when they need planning permission and can help you get started with the process.

You won’t need to apply for planning if the changes are very minor, such as temporary fixtures as opposed to permanent constructions. These may include adding new kitchen or bathroom fixtures.

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Picture Credit – front window by Muffet, on Flickr