Paint: tick! 

The husband took a day off work today to finish the painting in the living room. We are so so pleased with the end result, the colour is fab. We used a Dulux ‘Endurance’ paint in Breton Blue and couldn’t be more pleased with it. 


He gave the skirting boards two layers of an eggshell white paint and has attached them to the wall, apart from the two pieces that meet the skirting board, around the fireplace, as one needs tinkering with as it’s a mm or so out (he’s a perfectionist!). He’s bought himself a new mitre saw, which has made cutting the skirting boards so much quicker than in our last house, when he did them by hand (!). 


This evening he’s caulking around the top of the skirting board. As this room is 160 years old, the walls aren’t completely straight so it will make the skirting flush to the walls. 

He’s also sanded a couple of spots on the floor by hand and is putting a final layer of wax on the floorboards tonight. Here’s a few pics of the inbetween stages from the last 24 hours: 


We are almost done! I’m so proud of my husband. He has worked like an absolute trouper on this room but I’m very much looking forward to having our evenings back, when it’s all done! 

N x

Blue walls! 

I spent a lovely Tuesday evening out for dinner and the cinema with my girlfriends, and popped into the living room the next day to see how the husband had got on in my absence. His plan, when I left, was to do all of the cutting in. He expected that to take a while because of getting a neat line of dark blue under a white picture rail, but he managed to get an entire first coat on! Superstar that he is and all… 


The picture is blurry because I was holding a toddler! 

We’ve decided upon a mantel piece that will just sit across the top of the fireplace, with corbels coming down, in white. Just need to find one online now. We decided against using the old mantel piece because of the size of it, plus the wood was a few mm too close to the wood burner for safety. Now we’ve opened the fireplace, we’ve decided we’d like to see it fully and felt that having a big mantel piece would distract from that.

The husband spent last night re-plastering the sides of the fireplace to get super straight lines. In a couple of days it should be dry so that he can paint it and put the second coat on the room:


I’m so pleased with the blue. It was definitely worth trying out a few tester pots. It’s just as a imagined it, so exciting!

This morning we were up early at B&Q to get some varnish for the window frame and a couple of other bits. 


We have also chosen the sofa, but need to check measurements before we order it. It’ll take six weeks to be made and delivered, so we might not get in the room for a while! We’ve also chosen two different styles of armchair; one which we will order and one which we’ve brought home today. We’ve gone bold! It feels exciting to be confident with colour in this room. In our other houses we’ve always played it safe, but this house feels quirkier and I’m so thrilled to be going with that feel. 

Today, once he’s collected the armchair, the husband is going to cut and paint the skirting board. We’ve gone for the classic ‘Torus’ design that we’ve used before. It suits the 19th century features of the house; I imagine we will use it all the way through the house eventually. 

That’s it for now; progress update complete! 

N x 

Emma Bee Designs T Shirts

This summer our little lady has been chosen as a brand rep for the wonderful Emma Bee Designs (@emmabeedesigns – Instagram; Emma Bee Designs – Facebook). This means that we’ve been sent two beautifully soft, hand-sewn t shirts that she gets to wear, plus a discount code for future purchases, in exchange for a few photos. 

I chose a brilliant white and deep cerise pink, and then you can choose the fabric design. Each t shirt has a capital letter on the front (ours is, obviously, an R!) created in the fabric of your choice. Because our little lady is all about the animals and making their noises at the moment, I chose the dogs and cats design. Every time she wears them, especially the white one with dogs on, she just points at it and makes the noise! 


It’s safe to say we’ve been really impressed with them. They’re excellent value for money and they wash brilliantly. Message Emma for orders. 


📸Pinterest

I’m loving finding small, independent brands at the moment, especially ones that cater for little people. They grow out of their clothes so quickly, it’s lovely to support small businesses and find quirky designs. Would you recommend any?

N x 

Sanders sanding

Over the weekend we hired a sander and the husband and brother in law set to on the living room floor. Bless them, after five hours they got the original 160 year floor boards to look amazing. Lots of hard work, tea and squash later, and we have a floor! 

It will have a rug on it, once we’ve chosen our soft furnishings, but already it’s looking more like ‘our’ room. I can, already, feel touches of our old house in there (which we adored but simply outgrew) and can imagine us sitting in there with a glass of something tasty and an epic film. 

Here are some pics (hopefully you can make out the finished one!):


I believe that next up is painting, skirting board and mantel piece decision making. We are undecided at the moment and after inspiration. Does anyone have any suggestions? We’ve also requested more fabric samples for the blind, as the ones that came weren’t right. 

Very exciting though! Getting there. 

N x 

Fire! 

Wahoo it’s a very exciting end to our week today (bonkers and busy this week, but they’re always the best) as our chimney is finished, the slate hearth is in and we’ve got a wood burning stove! Success. 

Paul, our chimney chap, worked all day yesterday with his assistant to sweep, line and cap the chimney. He said it took 11 metres of lining so took him a while! We’ve had awful rain and 40mph winds here, just off the river Severn, so I think that might have hampered them a bit. Nevertheless, the stove is in and we LOVE it! It seems crazy to think back a few months to Bee Gate and see the transformation from the oppressive gas fire to what we’ve got now. 

Here it is:


We are still undecided about which type of surround to go for, but are eyeing up a few options. I’m so glad that we went for quite a plain, taller woodburner (as opposed to the squarer, squat ones) because it matches the height of the room and doesn’t look too “cottage-y”.

Next, the husband is sanding the floor this weekend with the help of my brother in law. Skirting board has arrived, wall paint has been delivered and swatches of fabric for sofas and blinds have been ordered… THE BEST BIT! It all seems to be coming together and we are starting to think of bathroom plans…! 

A few more pics for the chronicles:


So, from the biggest slate hearth he’s ever fitted to it all being in place, we are thrilled.

N x 

Floor to walls 

The husband has made swift and impressive progress in the living room; the floor is now insulated and back down, extra boards in place to replace some damaged ones and the walls have been painted with an undercoat. As well as this, he’s filled a few nicks and put the first coat on the ceiling/picture rail. 

I’ve said before that this blog is really a means for us to chronicle the changes to the house, so here are the steps that have happened in the last week or so…

First, the next steps on the floor, including the plastic wedges he’s used to lift the boards onto the joists and firm them in place, as well as the insulation he’s used underneath. The window frame is also off in one of them. 


The floor’s looking much better now it doesn’t have such a rise in the middle of the room… 


A couple of wall pics, not too much to see yet but we’ve tried two tester pots and have more on order:


It’s already looking more like our home in there. Getting rid of the wallpaper and painting the picture rail has made such a difference. Can’t wait for the paint to go on the walls now! 

N x 

The Void

The living room floor renovation is in full, erm, swing. The husband’s taken a couple of days off work to take up the floorboards and level them so that a chap can come and lay the slate hearth this week. 

I’ve mentioned before that the room is one of those places where each time you move something, another issue is discovered, but we are hoping we have uncovered all of its surprises now! It seems that we’ve come a long way since Bee Gate, in fact the room is unrecognisable, but that is a good thing. We said a fond ‘so long’ to the red carpet this morning and the banging from downstairs is definitely confusing the toddler. The husband’s way of informing me what he’d found under the floorboards was to use words like “the void” and “the chasm”, which made me laugh until I saw it and had visions of Brookside from back in the day! Luckily, it’s just dust and bricks down there. *shudder* 

Here’s some pics so that we can chronicle the stages. This blog has already served its initial purpose, as we are enjoying looking back at the little steps. 
These first few are from the end of June:


The husband’s first ever attempt at plastering has been a real success, I’m so proud of him. He spent many an hour studying videos on YouTube and reading up about it and, as you can hopefully see, the wall around the fireplace is smooth and prepped. 

A couple more of recent developments – the plastering, starting the strip the varnish off the original window frame and bringing up a couple of boards:


Finally, a big thank you to our two friends who popped in for a buffet lunch yesterday and were dragged into getting dirty by lifting the radiator off! Sorry about that, guys! These last few pics are where he’s up to this morning:


Has anyone taken on a similar project? Wish us luck! 

N x 

Humpday vibes 

Disclaimer: this post is more of a muse. It may be really dull. 

What is it about Wednesday that makes it such a turnkey in the week? It feels like a hill to climb up that, once surpassed, you can freewheel on down to Friday. Was it always like this? Or has it just become like this since the “humpday” hashtag started? I honestly don’t think I can remember. 

For me, Wednesday has always been alright. Better than Tuesday, but not as good as Thursday. When I was teaching, it was often the day that we’d have meetings after school so it was quite a long day, but I always enjoyed the chance to catch up with other staff (sometimes it can be a lonely profession, where it’s easy not to speak to another adult if you’re teaching all day).

Nowadays, nothing much seems to happen on a Wednesday. The things I’d like to happen seem unattainable (@Knottage 😘) but everyone else is still in work mode so, often, it’s a day of mooching about for the toddler and I. Luckily, she’s developed a fascination with making a den out of cushions and dive bombing it in hysterics, so my input is merely as a bystander (unless I pile on, too, of course). 

I love popping in on friends and, if I’m organised, this always makes me smile. It’s that age old meme of “trying to get a date in your diary with your Mum friends before 2020” kinda vibe over here though.  
So basically, this Humpday musing has got me thinking that there must be other people, like me, in my area who must be living the same thing, no? My toddler is too old to lie in my arms or on a blanket and do baby sensory/massages/sign classes, but she’s not quite old enough to be let off solo in a (dreaded) soft play *shudder*. Does anyone have any recommendations of activities that are suitable for one year olds that don’t involve hideous soft play or sensory lighting? We hang out in the library a lot but it’s shut on Wednesdays; any ideas always gratefully received! 

N x 

Regeneration 

If you follow me on Instagram (@severnsidemum), you’ll know that I’ve been a very lucky and busy bee this week. Not only did my beautiful sister get married (more on that in a future post), but I attended my first two networking events as a freelancer. 

Firstly, I went to The Forge in Bristol; a stunning, open space with views over the city run by the lovely Silkie, to Social Butterflies’ first ever event. It was hosted by Amy, who has (very) recently started Freelancing and is the owner of https://wearesocialbutterflies.com/ Its a great website, with interesting and creative content; a space for women to learn about the digital world, help each other and progress creatively. Amy had a successful career at The Guardian, before moving to Bristol when she had her children. This was the first event that she’s ever put on and to say it was a huge success would be a massive understatement! 

She had Hayley Southwood (from Southwood Stores https://southwood-stores.myshopify.com/ and Southwood Social Hub) as a guest speaker, who was majorly inspirational. If you haven’t listened to her, I really suggest finding out where she’s talking next. Her life story is wide-ranging and you can’t help but be moved by her story. As someone who is moving from one career and regenerating into something new, I found her tip to ‘pivot’ a breath of fresh air. When we left, she asked if I’d walk her to the car park (she lives miles away) and I took the opportunity to speak to her 1-1. It felt like one of those moments that you mustn’t waste or mess up! Let’s just say, I’ll be chasing the dream. 


We listened to Hayley talk and then had 15 minutes where we had to make three new connections, in a quick “speed chat” kinda way. I was dreading it, but it was great. I met some lovely women, learnt about new businesses that are local to me and expanded my own knowledge about alternative primary education. It’s amazing who you meet if you put yourself out there. We were treated to a beautiful, printed goodie bag with some fab treats in, which was just the icing on the cake.
On Thursday night (I know: I never go out and then I go out twice on the trot! Don’t worry, I’m feeling it) I drove up the M5 to the stunning Cowley Manor http://www.cowleymanor.com/ I have never been to a hotel quite like it. It’s about two miles off the main road and the track feels like you’re heading to the middle of nowhere! Just when I was wondering if I’d gone wrong (as per!), I came across a beautiful Manor House, complete with lake, grounds and church in the grounds. After having a shocker trying to park and walk in heels (told you!), I arrived at Cara Sutherland (https://withinthesewallsblog.com/) ,Kate from Cheltenham Maman (http://cheltenhammaman.co.uk/) and Infiltrend’s Instagram event. I’ve been using Instagram for a while now and thought who better to learn from than these these ladies! Both Cara and Kate are people who I follow and read their blogs on a daily basis, so it was super exciting to meet them face to face. I picked up some fab, technical tips for improving how I use Instagram and enjoyed a delicious tea party, too. Again, we networked and chatted and met some great new connections and friends. 

Kate and Cara led the event with humour, honesty and integrity; it was an inspiring evening, not to mention the ladies’ loos were blooming gorgeous! I was a very lucky lady to leave with the most amazing goodie bag – why did party bags ever die out of adults’ parties?! Definitely the way forward. 

So, why have I been gallivanting on week nights to these events, you may wonder? Well, mainly, because I am loving using social media as a means to reach out and connect with new people. Being a stay at home mum can be lonely at times, and these new friends have been a saviour. My work for Mama Tribe (www.mamatribe.uk) has allowed me to make a lot of new friends, but they’re all behind the screen, so I wanted to get out there (so to speak) and actually connect on a human level. It was terrifying. I’m not going to lie, I was really scared to walk into new places and I felt a bit like a fraud, but I left both feeling like I belonged. 

I’m, also, really keen to develop my own business in time (lots of time) and so wanted to listen to those who’ve made it work; any advice is really welcome. The world of blogging and social media is still so new, in some ways, and when you move into it from a completely different field it can be daunting. It’s also quite difficult to explain it to people who don’t use it; so I was really keen to see the people behind the posts. I couldn’t stop smiling on the journeys home and will definitely be attending more in future.

Good old Sheryl Crow was right: a change can do you good.

N x 

Living room baby steps

Long time no post. June is a crazy month for us so it’s taken a while, but here we are. 

The husband is making great progress in the living room so I thought I’d post a wee update. He began by removing the (beautiful) fire, hearth and surround. We turned the gas off to the room (our house is heated by oil; the previous owners used calor gas canisters for the fire. Yikes.) 

Much fun was had hacking away at the bricks, revealing a great arch and parts of an old hearth. We’ve decided to recycle the mantel piece. Originally we thought we’d expose the arch, hence him going back to it, but we’ve since decided that it will look too “cottage-y” and wouldn’t be in-keeping with the period of the room. So, we’ll strip and paint the mantel piece to frame the wood burner. (See pic with a kitchen door in situ so we can estimate the size we need!)

Next, he removed the old mortar between the bricks and cleaned them up a bit. He re-pointed them and then cemented the base, to make it flat. 

We’ve got our trusty chimney chap coming in a couple of weeks to lay the hearth. We’ve chosen a rustic, Welsh slate. I’m really excited about it – well, as excited as you can get about slate at 34 – but it’ll be fab to see it in situ. 

Currently, we’re choosing the wood burner, as that will go in later in July. 

The floorboards are wonky – this is clear just from walking on them – so the husband is going to pin them up at either side so that they’re flat. Then we will sand them back to their original and, possibly, varnish them. We are really thrilled that they’re in tact, hopefully they’ll look lovely when finished! 

Taking the heavy red curtains down made a huge difference to the room. Fortunately, the previous owners left the original window shutters for us, so we are going to strip all the varnish off to take it back to its original. Eventually, I’ll have a blind made to sit within the window, but we want to keep the lovely window frame visible. 

Here’s a few pics:


We’ve made a snug on the top floor, in the playroom, whilst all of this fun takes place downstairs. Hopefully, once my current work project is completed in a few weeks, we’ll be able to step up the pace on it and get that wallpaper off soon!

The bathroom awaits…! 

TTFN,

N x