Sunday, 28 March 2010

A spring cleaning kind of weekend

It was yet another glorious weekend in Manchester City. The first few years I moved here I often thought about the beautiful sunshine in London and found the rain hard to accept; however with all the changes in climate it seems Manchester is now sunnier and warmer than it is in the capital; smiles all around.

For once I had a fairly calm weekend, at times the monkeys were looked after by neighbours and friends so that I could get on with things here. I unpacked yet another few boxes, measured cupboards to fit shelves and worked out a painting and wall-papering schedule. My sister is coming over on her first ever flight in a few weeks time so naturally I like it to look very homely here.

WIth boundless energy I spent a lot of time scrubbing indoors and outside, starting with the car.
Ecover had sent me a few lovely bottles of laundry liquid to try and I was all too happy to do that today. The products were concentrated so less packaging which pleases me and for the first time ever I was happy to try out a bio laundry liquid. My little monkeys are very sensitive to cleaning products so I have to be very careful with what I use. A friend of mine said this week that she always bought whatever product was the cheapest on the shelves but for me that is false economy. I tried that once or twice (and not even with the cheapest products) and the poor things came out in rashes. So now there is only one brand for me and that is Ecover.

I always love the smell of Ecover products and as I was in the mood for cleaning anyway I got out the Ecover floor cleaner as well and cleaned all the floors. Lucky me I did this twice this weekend! Well not by choice though.... The monkeys wanted a little project for Easter and remembered a puppet show they did for fathers day several years ago so they got out one of the big removal boxes, got the paints out and made a lovely Punch and Judy Easter show. They were not the only two in the room however.... the little kitten joined in too and within minutes of stepping in a big plate of blue paint she managed to get all her little blue paws all over the white kitchen floor, the new white kitchen table, surfaces, plates, you name it. I wasn't impressed. Thinking back it looked quite funny, like what you would see in an advert but I got in a panic as the monkeys had used cheap poster paint from the pound store and I was worried that I couldn't clean it up properly. Again this purchase was false economy as I found out some time ago that the paint wasn't washable even though it says it on the pot. If you buy cheap, you buy twice! Oh the wisdom of Mr Orange!

Now I also did some painting myself. Before the previous owners lived in the house, it was occupied by two ladies who'd lived here for more than 60 years. When they moved out they left some pieces of furniture that remained in the cellars ever since. I love pieces of history of places where I live (I could never live in a new house) and brought up one little cupboard as I needed storage for all my toiletries. Once cream it was now absolutely filthy and covered in cobwebs. The size was just what I needed though and the sides are made of pierced metal, really lovely.

With a little TLC, some cleaning, a lick of paint and a small piece of wall paper I now have a lovely 'new' item in my bathroom. I was "well pleased" as the monkeys would say.

I have to try my patience as I only have two hands but I really hope I can get all the painting and wallpapering done by the summer. I will keep you updated on progress....
Was hoping to put up my feet tonight but the BST has confused me a little and I realise that it is nearly 11 PM. Might just squeeze in a few chapters of the book I am reading (My Life in Orange).

Friday, 19 March 2010

Happy New Home

It has been a while. Many things have happened in the past few months the most important one probably being that the monkeys and I moved house. Well we moved into another house, removal men moved most of the stuff although I did make quite a few trips picking up the last bits and bobs. It was a long and hard process but we got there and we are already feeling very much at home.

There is lots to do and no doubt will show some of the changes here. I really enjoy moving house, it always gives me a real thrill, starting afresh, making changes to the home and I love the smell of new paint. The monkeys however are not so keen on moving house and have been really unsettled for a number of years. They feel so much happier now that they think (who knows?) they can stay here forever.

The house has a wonderful history and feels very homely. The fact that we feel so at ease has been helped by the lovely neighbours next door and across the road and the sellers. I was always afraid of the process of finding a property in the UK as I find the whole situation daunting. Everyone knows horror stories but luckily I have found some very lovely sellers who have been on stand by in the first few days to see if everything was OK. They've even come to do the garden!

The neighbours have been very welcoming. The first weekend here we found a lovely surprise on our doorstep: sunny daffodils and heart shaped home made biscuits. Isn't that lovely!

They have also been all so helpful, especially last weekend. I had the first mother's day in the house and to be honest mother's day without a father really isn't the same. It basically is like any other day but of course there are the lovely gifts made at school. To be honest the monkeys did try to make it very special for me. In the absence of a father girl monkey had gone shopping for breakfast with the neighbour and the two of them had organised a little something with BB2. On the day itself they made me a lovely breakfast (girl monkey is a master barrista!) and made the day super special by getting up early (!) in order to organise this.

Since moving up north I have really started to value my neighbours and over the years all of them have made my life so much more fun, bearable and practical. There should be a neighbours' day in honour of them!

Since moving in I haven't really had much time to myself so I am now going to put my feet up and read.