Making Our House A Home

When we bought our current house, 3.5 years ago, it was love at first site (see what I did there?). Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but it looked and felt like it could be our forever home. And it still is, but like every romance, the early days are very rose tinted and you can see no flaws, or in my case, floors.

Not long after moving in I began to realise that we had a fundamental problem on our hands. The flooring of the house was dog shit ugly. Mismatched pink glossy and matte terracotta tiles, broken grouting and jut plain ugly. No matter what I did decor wise, it was basically lipstick on a pig.

When I was pregnant with Carter we redid his bedroom floor and it became the nicest room in the house. I began to hate my flooring, it was cold, unattractive, pink and kitsch.

I started whining about the need for new flooring, and the more I whined, my husband, who quite frankly has the same interest in decor as he does in the Kardashians, would roll his eyes and just tell me to be patient. I also really never thought that we would be able to afford renovations. People who do are clearly laundering money or prostituting themselves. We seemed to be living month to month and I couldn’t fathom the idea of how we would ever save enough to actually fix the problem.

When I took on a second job, I knew it would be demanding, but I also knew it would financially free us up somewhat. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough photoshoots in the word that can cover all the work we needed to do, especially with my time frame (“before we have another baby”) and so we did the only logical grownup thing; We maxed out our bond. I’m telling you this, because I’ve spent the last 15 years of my adult life scratching my head and wondering how people afford nice things. I hate the shadiness of some people when they just wont tell me how they make it work. Even worse, when people are sponsored by the bank of mom and dad and then pretend it’s all their doing. So yes, peeps, our renovations are courtesy of Standard Bank and our 3 job incomes. And those random R2 coins I find in couch cushions. You’re welcome.

So, after 3.5 years of waiting and saving and praying and drinking, we started our renovations today. I am so excited I could platz. (Remind me of this joy in 2 months time when I’m sneezing dust and have no where to live, k?)

Some of the work we are doing includes finally knocking through to the cottage on the property which has been a glorified storeroom since we moved in, and turning that in to our bedroom. Redoing all three bathrooms, re-flooring the whole house (Oh yes, no more pink beauty), updating the kitchen, the patio, the jungle gyms and the garden and adding a playroom/photo editing study for me.

I think I just wee’d a little bit.

Someone ased me if I would be sharing the before and after pics, and as mortified as I am to show you all the existing tiles, I think I have to. And as someone else pointed out this morning: “The worse the before, the better the after”

So, the blog might deviate slightly from babies and booze to home stuff and decor, my other love. I’m going to be sharing and recommending suppliers as well as progress pics along the way.

So, cheers to our little family as we break new ground and begin turning our house into a home.

PS – To confirm just how excited I am, this is a photo of me and 2 taps. Because they’re bronze, and beautiful and ohmygodimfinallyredoingmyhome.

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Readers, Lend Me Your Brains.

I have a lot on my mind – everything from finishing a rather massive race in 9 day’s time, to re-doing my entire house décor. So, seeing as you bunch are so freaking smart, I thought I’d try a new crowdsourcing exercise and get feedback from my readers – all of you! So, if you can help/answer any of the below queries, then I will send you a package of dolphin tears and glitter

  • I want to try do these concrete kitchen counter tops at home – does anyone know of a supplier or someone who does this? Also, because its concrete does it mean I will need to reinforce my existing cupboards and doors? (Look at me sounding all building savvy).

Concrete kitchen countertops

concrete counter 2

 

  • I need to make a photobook – who are the best suppliers/website/template makers out there?

photobook

  • I love this wood wall look for behind my TV in my lounge. Do I need a specific wood and does it have to be treated? (The husband is convinced it’s a breeding ground for termites). Then, is it easy enough to do as a DIY project, or should I rather go the trusty builder route?

wooden wall 2 wooden wall 1

  • Under eye fillers. I can’t stop thinking about having this done ever since my GP gently encouraged me. I’m also convinced it will stop everyone from asking me if I’m tired. All.The.Time. Yay/nay? Have you had fillers done? Where?

under eye fillers

  • Weight loss. After 4 months of religiously training for Half Iron Man I’m still sitting with a lump ‘o lard around my tummy, and feeling very sorry for myself. (I was SO sorry for myself this morning and almost tripped a skinny bitch in the change rooms as she waltzed around in a G-string and non-mom boobs). I think after the race I’m going take up more Pilates and strength training. I also want to adjust my eating plan slightly – I can’t do banting as I don’t eat any meat. What’s worked for you? I know there’s a lot of talk around fermented foods and how much it aids your digestion – I think that’s definitely a route I’m going to explore.

skinny

  • Shaving your face. Ok… so this has been met with much division, but I recently read this article on the benefits of (ladies) shaving their faces to aid skin renewal, exfoliate and slow the ageing process. Thoughts??

shaving

So looking forward to your comments and feedback. Especially from my mother around the eye fillers.

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Baby Sprout Nursery Ideas

One of the most exciting parts about a baby on the way is undoubtedly the baby nursery. Hell, I will find any reason to decorate and buy things for the home, and here I have the perfect excuse. But, unless you’ve always known what your dream nursery looks like, it can be a daunting experience.

Thank goodness for sites like Pinterest – but also, not thank goodness – because, so much choice!

Luckily for us we know the sex, so that eliminates half the options. I’m also very firm on the ‘no theme’ rule. I’m just not a Disney or Teddy kinda gal.

I’ve always loved prints and have decided this is the perfect-time to pay round with contrast. We’ve decided to keep the nursery neutral – with tones of grey and white and pops of colour. I initially wanted mustard but was met with a raised eyebrow, so we’ve changed it to royal blue.

Friends and family have been totally amazing, and we have been so fortunate to receive a hand me down crib and compactum. Both these pieces need a lot of work, but if now’s not the perfect time to unleash my inner DIY’er, then when is?

Here are just some of the ideas I’m playing around with… but with just over 4 months to go, it’s time to get cracking on making a firm commitment.

I wish we had Etsy in SA
I wish we had Etsy in SA

Grey + Felt - What's there not to love?
Grey + Felt – What’s there not to love?
Look, more deer heads :)
Look, more deer heads 🙂
I just love how calm and airy this room is!
I just love how calm and airy this room is!
I love the raw wood in contrast to the chalk board wall
I love the raw wood in contrast to the chalk board wall
Current obsession: Anything deer head and horn related.
Current obsession: Anything deer head and horn related.
A rocking chair needs to be plain and simple so it can be integrated into the rest of the house once I'm done with it
A rocking chair needs to be plain and simple so it can be integrated into the rest of the house once I’m done with it
This is the linen company we have chosen... now just to decide on a print and a colour.
This is the linen company we have chosen… now just to decide on a print and a colour.
Love the mosquito net draped over the cot.
Love the mosquito net draped over the cot.
A rug adds the perfect finishing touch to  room.
A rug adds the perfect finishing touch to room.
The one new item we've bought is a bookshelf. I can't wait to fill it with hundreds of stories!
The one new item we’ve bought is a bookshelf. I can’t wait to fill it with hundreds of stories!
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It's Our House-Baby!

In January of this year Barry and I decided that 2014 was the year we would buy a house. Not a cluster in a complex, a house house, with rambling gardens, DIY and fixer upper opportunities, a pool, a covered patio and room to run around. A few large trees were also a plus. We gave ourselves a year and our deadline was Christmas time – so we could have people round in groups, and not invite them Noah style – in groups of two’s.

We told everyone about this house, we stared lovingly at the sales brochure and I spent my days Pinterist’ing imaginary furniture into rooms that did not belong to us. We decided (despite the slight over-budget part) that we would make an offer.

To cut a long story short (cue offer being accepted, then lost, then accepted again, The current house we owned that needed selling, sold, then lost, then sold again) we were finally told the place was ours.

You know when new moms say giving birth and looking at your perfect, new infant is the most awe inspiring feeling on earth? Well guys, we gave birth (C section of course) to a one story 3 bedroom child. She’s not new, she’s not perfect, but she’s ours.

Because the folk who bought our house were moving from Durban we had to move relatively quickly – which meant a few months of occupational rent and ‘don’t touch ’till its yours‘ rules. Well today friends, the house was lodged and it is now 100% FNB’s ours.

Cue champagne and excited pig like squeals!

So here she is, our number 73 pride and joy – I cant wait to tuck in, fix ‘er up and make this into a home.

Also, if you’re an out of work landscaper or interior decorator looking for some pro bono work… you know where to come.

(These photos are all taken before we moved in, so yes, we do have furniture and food. And wine, It’s very important to stay hydrated)Image

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…And the lived in debt happily ever after!

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My April Must Haves

It’s that time of the month again where I count down my top 10 must-have items for the month:

1. Labello Lip Butter

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It’s creamy, it’s pink it smells angelic and it works. ‘Nuff said.

2. Home decor.

Obsessed doesn’t even cut it. I spent my last ronds on this rug today which leaves me with R7 to get through the month. Worth it? Totally.

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3. Antiques and quirky collectibles

We have been helping my almost 90 year old Oma move out of her home, and with that comes a treasure trove like you cannot believe. I’m lucky enough to have been given some gorgeous items, including (my favourite) being this chair. It’s currently resting under a window in my entrance hall. I’m not sure if I should recover it though – your thoughts?

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4. Up-cycling

Keeping in mind that I have a mere R7 left to my name, I’m becoming quite thrifty and learning to use old things in a new way. My friend Amy gave me some gorgeous leftover fabric and I convinced my mom to sew new slipcovers for these revolting old orange ottomans I had lying around. The result? Gorgeous! (Clearly Bella’s also a fan – shown here inspecting the before and after)Image

5. Triathlon training.

Yes, I’ve entered another one. Its happening in Durbs, and because of that my training needs to step up a notch (by stepping up I mean removing myself off the couch ad doing some bloody exercise. I find that new workout gear always gets me motivated – and I’m loving the selection of fun sports bras and tops from Cotton On.

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6. My TV

Sies – bad habit I know but in my defense we didn’t have one for a month and I Nearly Died. It’s good to have you back, TV actor friends.

7. Living Seeds

I’m a huge fan of planing herb and gardens and up until now have used this formula:

Buy Seeds

Buy Potting Soil

Plant Seeds

Hope for the best.

Thankfully, help has come along in the form of Living Seeds – a local website dedicated to all things that grow. The site tells you what is grown best, when, planting tips and you can also buy online. I’m currently growing garlic, garlic chives, beetroot, onions, lettuce, kale and cauliflower.

8. My Dogs

I flipping love these frogs! Rupert and Bella are just fabulous. They eat my furniture, dig holes, at times cannot wipe their own bums, are awful watch dogs and can fart bad enough to empty a room, but I love them. Here they are in all sorts of glorious pictures.

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9. My Stove

Nerd alert right. I don’t care. She’s silver, and shiny and cooks with gas and I.Love.Her

(If anyone feels like tossing some ideas for a splash-back for the wall as well, that would be super)

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10. Woolworths cappuccinos

It’s been a tough call, deciding between Seattle and Woolies in the competition of ‘who makes the most delicious cappuccino’. However, Woolworths wins by a fraction. (I think its the kraft paper coloured cups and the extra creamy froth that did it for me)

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A Pink and White Themed Baby Shower

So we all know that one of my favourite things in the word to do is plan a party – and after our wedding my fingers were itching to get crafty and creative again. Luckily my sister in law Bev is very close to popping out a baby girl and so a pink and white themed baby shower was in order!

The theme of “Baby Raisins”(Name to be revealed) room is “Tatty Bear” – so the decision to have the same theme for the baby shower was a no brainer.

I decided to paint her a Tatty Bear for the baby room:

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The Baby Shower was scheduled for a Sunday morning – and as with most events I decided to make use of my parents gorgeous garden. I hate being restricted by venues and their rules and food – so this was the perfect choice. The day started out very rainy and overcast but thankfully the sky cleared and the sun came out to play.

The guests were also all asked to wear a touch of pink, grey or white.

Here are just a few things I did decor wise. A huge thanks to Bevs bestie Lauren from the UK who brought out a bunch of Tatty Bear themed goodies – as well as pink MnMs (apparently they have a 4 storey MnM store close to them…jellies much?)

Balloons on the deck
Balloons on the deck

I bought tons of pink and white sweets and filled all my old jars and containers (some call me a hoarder, I call it up-cycling) and used these as the centerpiece for the table.

Marshmallows
Marshmallows
Pink sweets
Pink sweets
Pink and White Sweets
Pink and White Sweets
Pink and White Sweets
Pink and White Sweets

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Thanks for the cake pops Welly – YUM!

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I looked everywhere for pink and white popcorn boxes with no luck – so eventually settled on those grey toasted sarmie bags – you know the ones you used to get at the school tuckshop? To brighten these up a bit I made small little ‘Ready To Pop’ (get it?) labels which I stuck on – these were then filled with salt and vinegar popcorn. (Side story – the night before as I was making all this popcorn I had a few girlfriends round for drinks… things got pretty out of hand and I think for every bowl of popcorn I made, we ate 3!)

"Ready To Pop" Popcorn
“Ready To Pop” Popcorn
Popcorn
Popcorn

The food was all delicious and a huge thanks to my mom in law and Lauren’s mom in law for the platters as well as Maureen – ‘The Cake Lady’ for the awesome cupcakes and Tatty Bear cake – genius!

Tatty Bear Cupcakes
Tatty Bear Cupcakes
Tatty Bear Cake
Tatty Bear Cake
The Table
The Table

For the drinks I filled small glass bottles with berry juice and made little labels which I glued on. Finished with a pink and white straw these were a really cute welcome cocktail for the guests.

Consol Bottle Cocktails
Consol Bottle Cocktails
Consol Bottle Cocktails

I thought a cute keepsake for the mom-to-be would be a fingerprint from each of the guests. I decided to draw the outline of a Tatty Bear on a canvas square and the fingerprints would then become the balloons. I joined these up and it turned out quite nicely.

Tatty Bear Fingerprint Painting - Before
Tatty Bear Fingerprint Painting – Before
Tatty Bear Fingerprint Painting
Tatty Bear Fingerprint Painting
Tatty Bear Fingerprint Painting
Tatty Bear Fingerprint Painting
Tatty Bear Fingerprint Painting - After
Tatty Bear Fingerprint Painting – After

To make the photo booth I brought a plastic table cloth and cut out coloured hearts to stick on (Confession – I ‘stole’ some paint colour samples from the hardware store in various pinks and purples and greys – and think it turned out quite well!). I also brought chalk and chalkboard hearts for the guests to write personalised messages on.

Posing at the photo booth
Posing at the photo booth
Photo Booth Background
Photo Booth Background

 

To complete the look I strung white lanterns from the trees and roofs and put big clumps of pink and white balloons all over.

Balloons and Decor
Balloons and Decor
Balloons and Decor
Balloons and Decor

We also played ‘The Price is Right” and the gals filled out “Wishes for Baby” cards for Bev and Raisin.

The Price is Right
The Price is Right
Wishes For Baby
Wishes For Baby

Now we sit back and wait for baby to arrive!

xxx

 

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12 Things I’ve Learnt About Planning A Wedding

Yesterday marked 5 months until our wedding, which means we have officially been engaged longer than the amount of time left until we say ‘I Do’.

Planning this wedding has been relatively stress free, give or take a few hurdles, and I wanted to share the 12 things I have learnt.

1. Enjoy it – I got engaged and was immediately told by an ex-manager that there would be ‘no wedding planning or talk in the office’. That completely broke me and I found myself avoiding the topic and ignoring the experience all together.

2. Involve your grooms parents – I am very non-traditional when it comes to who wants to get involved and believe that both moms should play an equal part, after all it’s just as much her child’s day as it is mine.

3. Don’t mention the ‘W’ word – Suppliers have literally doubled a quote upon finding out it was for a wedding. That being said, some suppliers do need to know as they will be there setting up on the day. If you can avoid letting someone know (retinue outfits and gifts, non-traditional cake toppers and accommodation/honeymoon) then do so.

4. Don’t expect too much – Sadly, the first few months of wedding planning felt more like a business transaction. Venues treated us like a cash injection and suppliers were more interested in our money than our vision. 

That being said…

5. Work with suppliers you love – I bought my dress from a boutique who treated me like a princess from the second I walked in the door (even though I was hanging like a fruit bat and not wearing any makeup). My flower and decor ladies Carey-Anne and Donna from The White List have gone over and above, meeting me after hours (with wine!) and have used their resources to ensure my end vision is achieved. My photographer, Laura Jane, is a gem and every time I see a blog post with her latest images I get goosebumps. 

6. Don’t be bullied – at the end of the day it is your wedding. If you mom/gran/mom-in-law or friend insists on a sage green paper for the wedding invite because its just ‘soo dreamy’ you need to Learn.To.Say.No. Appreciate any monetary contributions towards your day, but remember that the decision in most cases should always come down to you and your hubby to be.

7. Accept help – I’m still battling with this one as I hate inconveniencing people, but if someone does offer assistance, grab it with both hands.

8. Shit is gonna hit the proverbial fan – We lost our venue a few months ago and I thought this wedding was never going to happen. Turns out the new venue is even better than the first and I cant wait to get marred there. Often, these things happen for a reason.

10. DIY is King –  What’s the biggest joke at a wedding? The Budget. Weddings, my friends, cost a fortune. If there is anything you can make by yourself, or get a friend to make, then do it. We are so blessed to have a friend Kim who has designed all our wedding stationery – she has saved us money, time and made the experience a more personal one. Plus she’s bloody talented and just ‘gets me’.(Blatant flattery and bribery, Kim ;))

11. You will change your mind – Growing up most people dream about their big day and envision the dress, the decor and the groom. I had a very set idea in mind. Then I started planning, and everything changed. Be open minded about trying on different dress styles, looking at different venues and opening your mind up to alternative ideas.

12. It’s too soon to panic – No, really. You can only control the controllable. When in panic mode I suggest a 3 step process:

– Pour a glass of wine

– Phone a friend

– Pour another glass of wine

Here’s to the next 5 months of planning and enjoying every minute!

I would love to hear your feedback on your own wedding planning too and any advice you have for me 🙂

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