Farmhouse kitchen

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          It’s taken a lot longer than it probably should have, but I’ve almost reached my goal of a farmhouse style kitchen.  Again, as with the garden, the estate agents picture above didn’t tell any lies, but there were seemingly a lot of truths omitted.

          When we first moved in, we replaced the old metal window at the same time as “The door“, and taking down the monstrosity of a giant “Lean-to” outside threw a whole new light on the subject inside.

          We had whittled down our furniture in “The old house” by simply not replacing things as they got old and broken, and if you add to that the girls moving in and out and taking their bits with them, we didn’t have an enormous amount of furniture to bring with us.   It was an amazing feeling being able to buy the new bits all in one go … I don’t think we’ve had so many matching bits of furniture before, ever.

          It was flat-pack city for a while as I worked my way through box after box of strategically cut pieces of wood, putting pieces together like giant jig-saws.  The table, the chairs and the corner unit came first in the kitchen, followed at a later date by the merchant chest. 

          The table, the centerpiece of the kitchen was a strange choice.  First of all it turned out to be of the exact style as the tenants before us had chosen, but more than that, a large table in itself is a strange choice for Hubby and me, as we very seldom cook and eat together at home.  Don’t get me wrong, we very often eat together, but our tastes in food are so different that when we do eat together, we usually eat out, and someone else cooks it and does the washing up.

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          At present, the table is laid out with just table mats and coasters.  I try to keep it as clear as I can, I tend to like clutter, (ooh… And jigsaws… I like jigsaws). Hubby is more of a minimalist so the compromise seems to be I clutter things around the outside of the kitchen… And leave the table (mostly) clear.

           However, all three of my girls like to cook and eat at a table, (they do more adulting now than I ever did when they were younger), so the table gets used for more than just big jigsaws whenever they visit.

          The cupboards were the next thing I tackled in the kitchen, Hubby liked the style of the ones which came with the house, but the doors were of an mdf style covered in white plastic and the plastic had come away from the wood on lots of them. The units themselves were new enough to be metric, even if only just, and would stand another change of doors with care, so we set off to the local DIY to see what was available.  It would seem that the last house owner had had that idea too as we found the exact same cupboard doors still available.  I took off the old handles from the broken doors and with a lot of scrubbing they came up like new so I drilled matching holes and used them on the new doors.  With 23 different pieces to replace, it was a whole lot of work for a pretty insignificant result… But think of it as a face-lift… The whole point is to raise the quality of the appearance without being able to pin-point what has been done.

          The only slight concern I have is that the previous owner bought the house and let it out to tennents for seven years.  If the cupboard upgrade was his doing, then I might be looking at more kitchen cupboards in the future… Pine cupboard doors with black cast iron fittings maybe? 

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          The tiles were next.  When we bought the house, there weren’t many features that I had looked on without changes in mind, but I fell in love with the kitchen tiles.  So much so that instead of hammering them off and replacing them, which in hindsight would have been so much easier, I bought an electrical gadget to quite literally scratch out the badly done and very grubby grout out from between the tiles.  The replacement fresh white grout made a massive difference to their appearance.

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          Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the kitchen there was the wall… The deep red painted wall, the one which had once sported kitchen units, the one which now had more in’s and out’s than the hokey kokey, the one which screamed at me across the kitchen from behind the super scrubbable shiny red paint … Not my idea of a good feature wall by any stretch of even my imagination.

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          Well, after many, many months of scratching, and filling, and sealing I was almost “Satisfied” it was ready for propper painting.

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         Just a little more preparation was needed first, the woodwork, the skirting board and door frames, had to be painted before I could move forward with the ceiling and walls, definitely not my favourite job but eventually, in the name of “Kitchen progress“, I could put it off no longer. 

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          I found some scrubbable matt paint in white and surprisingly enough, after painting the ceiling I needed just two coats on walls to stop me cringing everytime I entered the kitchen.  Of course, I’m never going to be happy with the quality of wall behind the paint, but we would have needed to have it replastered to make it anywhere near perfect and that would be a whole other story.

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          Finally the different parts of the kitchen are all coming together and the finishing touches have arrived … the black cast iron door furniture.

          Just one final touch to finish it off, but this may take a while… Hubby and I have to find a picture for the wall which we both like.

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          More from before : “Finishing and fixing” things in my “Kitchen“.

Willpower

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          I have plenty of willpower, that’s not a problem of mine… It’s the “WON’T” power that I struggle with.   I’m far happier when using the scales in the picture above than using the ones in the bathroom.   However, needs must, I do tend to comfort eat, and the whole world is in need of a little comforting at the moment.  But my problem is that little old lady who jumps in front of me when I look in a mirror, has taken up residence in my wardrobe where she secretly sews extra seams into my clothes to make them smaller.  Not only that, but she’s recently taken to standing on the bathroom scales with me too now.

          The last time I stood on the scales they didn’t quite shout “one at a time please” but I’m sure I heard them groan, so enough is enough.

          I don’t enjoy eating, I’ve never had a happy relationship with food, I eat to live, not the other way around, so bearing in mind I don’t eat very much, I’m going to have to change what I eat to reverse the upward trend of the numbers on the tape measure.

          It’s no secret that I like the sweeter things in life, my idea of a balanced diet is a custard cream in each hand, my eating habits are just that… Habits.

          I have tried to add a few healthy habits, my attempt at “Healthy snacking” wasn’t a complete disaster.  My little boxes for healthy snacks are often to be found in the fridge, I have had jellies in them on many an occasion, but the fruit portions the boxes were planned for are sometimes there too.

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         My last attempt at infiltrating my dieting habits with a little bit of healthy eating worked slightly, the “Cashews” in the “Jars” have turned into a small handful at breakfast time each day, but the apricots have definitely fallen by the wayside. 

          As a youngster I was really skinny, I could eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight… Oh how wonderful that would be now… But unfortunately I have to put a little more thought into the fuel for the body that has grown around me. 

          I’m a great believer of  “You are what you eat” – I know lots of people are skeptical here, and some with very good reason, but I read the book, expecting to just be pleasantly entertained and was surprised to find myself agreeing with so much of the “storyline” that I thought harder about what I ate, and what the results were.  Basically, if I were a car and filled up on a perfectly tailored fuel I would run like a dream, but if I just put any old junk in the fuel tank, then I must accept different results.

          My body reacts so strongly to anything I do to it that its not difficult to work out what it needs.  For instance, I’m fighting to stop a bad head turning into a migraine right now, and slowly winning, but my weopen of choice is not pills or potions and a darkened room, no, it’s water, just simply water.

          I’ve just competed my week in work, I don’t do as many days now that I’ve managed to finally reach that “Semi-retirement” stage, but I know I don’t drink enough water on a work day and need to drink more in the evening to compensate.  This week I’ve worked the extra overtime shift, plus I spent a good part of yesterday “inspecting the inside of my eyelids” on the sofa after an early shift, followed by an early night and another early start today so the extra liquid intake time just disappeared … you’d think I’d have learnt to avoid getting to the bad head stage by now wouldn’t you. No, but I have learnt how to catch it before it blows up into a migraine.

          My migraines are triggered mainly by what food I eat, or don’t eat and I’ve managed to incorporate the required balance of this foodstuff into my habit formed lifestyle.   If I can find just a couple of changes and turn them into habits then that might just be enough to tip the scales back in my favour.

          Let’s face it though, me getting up each morning and going for a ten mile run before breakfast just isn’t going to happen so I think I’m going to have to find something food related.

          Wish me luck, I’ll let you know how I get on.

          Oh, look at the first picture again, look past the scales and out through the kitchen window.  I’ve inadvertently caught a picture of the “Other end” of the garden.  This was before I pulled off the old blue cladding, and you can see the strategically placed garden ornaments to help prevent me stepping through the rotten decking.

Bathroom

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          I’ve been putting my thoughts on paper again.

          My drawing isnt to scale, but it’s not too far off, the bath is too long, and the door is too wide, in theory I’m standing with my back against the towel radiator to view the picture… If you can use your imagination and look hard, you can just about see me in the new mirror.

          The bathroom needs an upgrade.  Nothing too drastic, just basically replacing old and worn out with new and fully working.  I’ve concentrated on straight lines and ease of cleaning, no little corners for cobwebs to appear, and clean lines around the outside of the floor to easily run a mop around . 

          The bathroom update I have in mind requires a plumber.  In the last house I did most of the decorating myself and called in my plumber to do the bits I couldn’t.  This time I’m giving in and letting more workmen play with my house.   Of course I’ll be watching, very carefully, scrutinising their work and making sure they know exactly what I want them to do… 

           I’ll be sort of project manager and quality control all rolled in to one.

          I’m not sure whether to say wish me luck… Or them.

          More “Fixings and finishings“.