Sunday, 11 April 2010

Pottering in the garden

After some drilling and sawing I finally had the chance to potter around the garden today. It was yet another glorious day in sunny Manchester and the monkeys had all their sports equipment set up in the garden leaving me to deal with my own things.

My lovely friend had come over from Chester and got me these Sweet Peas, apparently they can grow up to three metres. I am not really a gardener but I am learning as I go along.

I am a lucky girl because I have a shed where I can keep all my little pots, seeds and tools and I was very happy organising it all on the shelves and hooks. I can now see how happy my father has always been in his shed.

Having grown up in the country side in Holland I added some sentimental touches to the garden: I found an old brush in the cellar and got the old wooden clogs out. I have said before my cellar is a treasure trove and after some rumbling around I found a sweet little hen that I had hidden amongst the plants but when the monkeys found her, they made a little shrine for her.

I then spotted an old wind lamp that I put on the "new" garden table.....

... and then we found a little treasure in the garden too:

a beautiful mushroom. I told the monkeys not to touch it as I heard that mushrooms in the garden can be poisonous, I think we better get a garden guide and wise up!

Monday, 5 April 2010


For years girl monkey had wanted to choose her own colours for her bedroom but I always had to tell her that the landlord might not like her choice of decorations. Now finally she is allowed to have what she likes. I never thought I would agree to paint her room pink but she really deserves to have the room she wants.

The colours throughout our new house are a little dull (apart from the salmon pink hallway!); they are all shades of beige with a hint of mauve although it doesn't really show in this photo. I have got great plans for the rest of the house but had to start somewhere so I started at the top. Girl monkey helped me a little and is now really proud of her 'new' room.

After a few days of decorating this is the result : a candy floss room ....

.... and I put up a family tree decal. The little picture frames with family photos will go up later in the week and I will have to repaint some of the woodwork but so far the work has been appreciated.

Of course I now need to start planning boy monkey's room. He'd like a football room and has settled on a red white and blue theme as these are all Manchester United colours. I am trying to find some classy wall paper though, perhaps striped or some vintage wall paper. I really liked the Cath Kidston football wall paper a few years ago but sadly that is not in the collection any more. If anyone knows where to get it, please do let me know.

I think I have overstretched an arm in the process as my shoulder is a little sore, I might run a relaxing bath in a little while but for now will enjoy the Comedy Gala on C4. Awaiting my favourite comedian.....

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Jellytot toasting

Although there seems to be no change to my daily routine (still getting up early and looking after the monkeys, thinking about work, doing the chores and coming up with new designs) I do have a holiday feeling. The last few school holidays were really hectic with work and/or moving house but this time it seems I have a bit more time on my hands.

I was able to paint a few more walls today, thanks to the neighbours who were looking after the monkeys and cooking me a lovely Sunday lunch.
As it was such a nice day again the little ones spent the whole day outside. They put up a tent in the garden and even persuaded my neighbour to sleep outside with them. I happily declined, it is far too cold still to sleep outside. The monkeys were very keen however; they'd never been camping before. They had made a little pantry in the tent and taken food for breakfast and their midnight feast. They'd also taken about all the cuddly toys and cushions from two houses to make the tent cosy. Nicely wrapped up in about 5 layers of clothes with about another 5 layers of duvets/sleeping bags/blankets and a hot water bottle they were all ready for bed. Well nearly anyway. What else is needed for a camping adventure? A campfire! So as the hot chocolate was being made the little ones gathered around the campfire to toast jellytots (in the absence of marshmallows). It was getting dark just after eight and by half past eight they were all nicely tucked in.

I then went back home, feeling slightly sad to miss out on the fun but feeling more sorry for the neighbour who was leading this adventure on her own. It wasn't to last though.... half an hour later I got the first phone call to say that boy monkey wanted to come home to mummy and five minutes later girl monkey came crying in as one of the other monkeys had made her scared in the dark.
Bless them. Not sure if there is going to be another camping adventure soon. I think next time I will have to come along but will only do this when it is warmer. Call me a Sissy but really it's got to be more exciting than sleeping in my own back garden if it is going to be 0C!

Happy Easter everybody!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Wood Craft

It was a glorious day today in Manchester. I had planned to paint girl monkey's bedroom but after the ceiling I needed a break. Her room is not of the straight forward 4 walls and a ceiling kind of variety but has an alcove and many different nooks and angles. Besides I wanted to join the wood folk for a bit of fun in Paupers Wood.

A truly unique place where children can run around a wood without having to stick to the paths and be worried about where they are walking. Here they have the experience that we had when we were little. Building dens, finding bugs and simply running around the trees and bushes. It is a wonderful place to teach children about nature; you can even have a party here. The lady who runs the woods is such a lovely person and she has really made this into a community project.

Today there was an easter egg hunt. This wasn't just a chocolate egg hunt but the young ones had to spot different colour cardboard eggs that had a letter on them and guess the word they made once they'd found them all. For the little ones there was a hunt for role play eggs that were collected in a basket made from an egg carton and a lovely little glittery handle. At the end they all got a medal. Again this was home made, from gold plated clay and string. Everyone thought it was the best prize.

There was also willow weaving. Local crafts girl Juliette Hamilton showed us how to make several willow items. I truly hope she is going to run some courses because she had the most gorgeous items on show. The kind of things I'd see when I go back to Holland everywhere but never see here.

I made this little basket that can hold a tea light. I proudly hung it in my garden. WIth my recently acquired wooden garden furniture it feels like the garden is turning into a real outdoor room. I am hoping to turn it into the most adorable garden based on the place where we stayed last summer. I can only try.....

Friday, 2 April 2010

Make do and mend

The Easter holidays started yesterday with a trip to the DIY store. I needed to get shelves to build a cupboard, a curtain rails for the utility room and paint for this little cupboard. However I only came away with a few pots of paint; turquoise for the chest of drawers and Candyfloss pink for girl monkeys bedroom. The little thing has never been able to choose a colour for her wall but now that she has her own room she'd want to put her stamp on it. I let her choose whichever colour she wanted, even though I am not a fan of a pink bedroom.
I forgot the measurements of the shelves and couldn't find a nice curtain rails, and just as well as I found a lovely one with glass knobs in the cellars later on.

My first project of the weekend was this chest of drawers.

One of my friends is leaving the country at the end of the month so she is trying to get rid of many household items and furniture. I was in need of more storage so I picked this one up earlier in the week, I knew it needed a lick of paint.
I started with a pale blue (Dulux Seahorse Blue) as I had planned to give the chest an antiquated look by rubbing some paint of with steel wool.

Once dry I gave it a few coats of turquoise and put some antique doorknobs on the drawers that I picked up in Portobello Road several years ago. I was really pleased with the effect so in the end did not sand of any paint around the edges to show the first layer. I know it is there so if I ever wanted to do that I can.

Tomorrow girl monkey and I will start playing with the Candyfloss pink, can't wait. It is great to put my stamp on the house too!