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Showing posts from 2015

And then he was One

My little baby boy is one today - he's gone off to Nursery with a Caterpillar cake as is tradition.

I don't really know how we went from this small squishy little thing that you could put in one place and he'd stay there - through a year of feeding, food, crawling, to almost walking and eating like a champ to the amazing little boy we have now!

We had an awesome birthday party for him on Saturday - Softplay, birthday cake, pineapple hedgehogs, Caspar Babypants - the works and he was surrounded by friends and family.

So thank you to everyone who's helped make this year special - and to him, for being wonderful and filling our home with laughter and reminding us how to have fun and how to play.

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Bedding In

I don't remember what the old kitchen was like! For the 2nd time this week Pete and I had tea at the kitchen table - there's so much more space, and flow.Cooking is a joy, the beast of an oven is being tamed and we're almost done sorting things out and putting things away.We've changed some things, got rid of the massive cooker hood that sucked all the joy and light out of the room but everything else fits nicely.The floor to celing bookcase still needs to be built and there's a vintage angelpoise lamp on the way. Really though it's minor things, it's pretty much done - and it's perfect =D

"Tastes like Sadness"

I was sold at a review that said "texture of a cheap sponge, and tasted like sadness but my boyfriend liked it :')"Pete is out, Brit is asleep and work has been hard and long and even after a tasty Spanish Omlette and Salad for tea I still had a cake shaped whole in my life.I contemplated proper cake baking but didn't fancy the clean up - even if tgey new kitchen layout makes that a lot easier so I figured it's time to try a mug cake.[5 mins later, including googling time]Yep, that is cake - I wonder why no one has started selling 'cup o' cake' like tasty cup of soup.It's not great cake, but I've made worse with more effort and I have a little bit of that warm cakey hug.Maybe something to be refined, maybe I should just make more / better cakes - I made a satsuma upside down cake the other day and having slices of that was little slices of sunshine.

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Cooking on Gas!

We have an oven back - oh gosh I'd missed having an over - I was starting to go a little bit crazy - especially since our good intentions to start with - raclette, slow cookers and by week 3 it was microwave meals and takeaway. I'll be happy not to see another pizza box till NYE (Where Pete is off playing a gig and I get to look after the boy)

So, we have a 'new' oven (and by new we mean brought off ebay for £150 from an angry man in Wallsall) - it's a might beast of a thing - but it's glorious. It's also blimmin' efficient (which you wouldn't expect if you'd have paid £1K new for it)

Of course, it would be that on the Friday night it was installed we spent so long starting to put things away we actually ended up getting a takeaway - because our planned toad in the hole would have taken too long (and when we had it for Sunday lunch it was amazing)- but the cake I baked the next morning for Clandestine Cake Clubs Sweet Shopped themed event was a gr…

#WearnKitchenMakeover - End in sight

It's almost all there - the tiler has finished, the 2nd plumber we got came in and oversaw attaching the new oven and we're fully in the throws of sorting the chaos back into tidy, labelled drawers.

It's looking good, the space we needed is now there - and the layout works - we had to re-jig a few things as we moved the furniture in, but site lines work, and it felt really good yesterday where Pete was cooking a toad in the hole and I was putting away plates in the colourful storage (that obviously was a bit of a memory jog for a lot of people judging by the facebook likes) - Brit was in a high chair and it all worked - no jostling, no tempers fraying - it was really nice.

We think we have enough storage, I'm using more of the brand new space in the utility more then I thought I would straight away - mainly for 'party' items - and we have a crate full o'booze but we're also being ruthless with getting rid of things - and that filing cabinet is amazing …

#wearnkitchenmakeover - getting there

The trades are done, the oven works, tiles looks pretty, floor is wipeable, furniture is in (and bigger then we rememeber) but it's getting there!!

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Presents for the Kitchen

We have a lot of kitchen stuff - we cook, and bake and both of us have done since university - so over the years we have accumulated stuff - so we're going to be a bit choosier about what goes back in. but we've also brought the kitchen some new presents - a new bin, a kettle, tool, ceramic saucepans and silicone oven gloves - that kind of thing

I love the fact the most of the stuff in the 'new' kitchen is old / vintage / retro, but it's really exciting to have new things to look forward too as well.

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Walls and Progress

Progress is happening, it's slower then we thought (although I have a theory that Pete's excellent coffee making skills isn't speeding things up at all) - but once the walls are done then and grouted that's it - and it's getting there.

Here's the sink unit in place, but not plumbed in. It had to be in place because these beauties are being tiles around it. Tempting as it was to go a bit crazy with the colours of the tiles, I made a a grown up decision to pick up two packs with some overlapping tiles in the same colourway. 
Since we've kept the mint green ceiling we painted ages ago (when we painted the kitchen white and got rid of the magnolia in an attempt to freshen it all up) it made sense to keep the same pallet - especially since the oven is British racing green too.

I think Pete had to do a little bit of explaining about how to get the desired effect, I'm not sure random comes easy to a tiler - but they look amazing on, just enough colour to pop a…

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Midway point

We're on Thursday - the floor is over half done - and should be finished by tomorrow. We've got the weekend to fit the sink, box off some pipes and cover up that delightful yellow squares.

Getting the sink unit in will make a big difference - once because although we have hot and cold water thanks to another trip to b&q - trying to do washing up in a little bowl isn't great. it will also give us a little bit of storage back - so we can start moving some of the detritus that's in the dining room out so we can move around again.

Finding the right sink was a bit of a battle - we looked at lots of butler / belfast sinks and some industrial ones before finding a now discontinued Ikea Varde unit in Knutsford. It's going to look awesome - and hopefully all done and finished by this time next week.

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Hipster Storage

We first got the idea of a free standing kitchen in our head - we were inspired by the sink unit in Pete's barber shop - which was an old vanity unit with a new sink in it.
When we got home to have a look at our kitchen we released we were already there to some extent - having brought a 50's larder in Liverpool, and used it extensively since then. We already had a kitchen table and neither of us are fans of integrated appliances. 

We know that's big enough to keep all of our food in, however since we've got rid of all of the built in cupboards we were suddenly very aware if what we didn't have - which was storage. Cue frantic ebay hunting.

The first thing we brought was this:

We actually only popped around to have a look at it - since it was local - and slightly awkwardly ended up buying it for the listed price since another 16 people were watching it and we were there - and it is huge. I've come to realsie that if you're hunting for 2nd hand furniture on …

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Living in Chaos

I admit it now, I wasn't really prepared for the chaos of renovating a kitchen - and this in my eyes a fairly simple project - 2 trades (plumber / gas man and a tile man).

I hadn't really thought about what not living with a kitchen for any length of time would be like - let alone with a small person - who gratefully is fed 3 square meals a day in nursery and isn't hungry when he gets home. I'm not sure how you'd manage this with a stealthy small person at home - hats off to anyone on Grand Designs that does.

We have a mini kitchen set up in the dining room - microwave, toaster, electric kettle (we usually use a gas hob), coffee grinder and beans - very important - and we still have a sink etc so it's ok - but I'm finding not having space for anything, or prep anything hard going (and I admit not really the time or inclination to sort out the dining table when I get home - although that might be tonight's job)

What is good is we have everything in a sto…

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Microwave Cuisine

Until I have an oven back I'm a little stuck on what to cook - luckily Brit is in Nursery full time and gets fed plenty there so week days so far haven't been too much of a issue - I'm not entirely sure what to do over the weekend although I'm pretty sure it's going to involve eating lunch out.

I've also been pretty determined not to fall into the takeaway trap - and since our last one from somewhere that used to be good was really disappointing I'm saving that up for a treat. So, we've been good - sort of.

So far we've utilised the racelette, the slow cooker (Morocco veg strew, with the left over raclette potatoes and veggies) - I'm also grateful for whichever website / pinterest that recommended using the microwave to perfectly cook sweetcorn. I do have a camping gas ring I could use, but I don't really have anywhere safe to put it.

I also decided to raid the exciting world of freezer to microwave cuisine. I don't usually buy convenience …

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Cooking in Chaos

I am currently between ovens - as we're mid way in the 2 week kitchen renovation - which I know is a terribly short time in the scheme of things, but it doesn't help. It boils down to this - you don't notice how much you use the hob, or the grill till you don't have one.

We've set up a makeshift kitchen, set up in the dining room - all the essentials - microwave, toaster, kettle, toastie maker, coffee grinder - and the dishwasher is still working - which is good since what little room around the sink is full of ramekins full of nails.

The worst of it is the not being able to find things - the dining room is currently full of boxes, which also means there's no room to put anything, or do anything - it took me 10 mins of going through bags of things to find chocolate spread to put on some french bread for pudding (I gave up trying to find a bread knife, so I tore it in satisfying hunks of baguette)

I know it will end soon - I'm not entirely sure when the plumber…

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Bonus Utility room

When we moved in there wasn't really a utility room - just a tiled space, next to another tiled room / outdoor pursuits storage / mudroom / downstairs loo. We were informed they'd had washing machine and chest freezer there and following suit it's where our washing machine and fridge / freezer lives.

It also came to house a wine rack, the recycling, plastic bags etc - and was an unloved, slug trap dumping ground.

No more!! Clever and handy Pete has reused cupboards and counter space from the kitchen - This feels like a real bonus to the project - and has made a difference to the entire back of the house.

#WearnKitchenMakeover - Opening up the space

This doesn't look that exciting, but it is - that relocated dishwashers heralds the end of the peninsular unit of doom

It used to take up so much room - and really only served to house the stopcock and plumbing that had once been along the wall of the kitchen before the extension. We're assuming in some jaunty way they used it as a breakfast bar, maybe - but we'd had to keep the front on with cabin hooks, hoped the tiles around it didn't disintegrate any further and wonder why inside the cabinet bit was a double plug connected but inaccessible.

And now it's gone, and it opens up the space nicely. Between the wall cabinets coming down and this being taken down the potential for the space in the kitchen is beginning to feel a very real reality.

#WearnKitchenMakeover - floors in progress

Pete has a thing about Red quarry tiles - we looked at reclaimed ones, and that worked out at about £3785 (it's a big kitchen) and the cautionary tale that my brother picked up a load to do something with and they are still in the shed because of the effort to clean them.
Anyway - new red quarry tiles are very cheap and a bit of a conversation about how to lay them led to this image in my mother in law's Country Living - perfect inspiration.

Assuming it was just concert underneath the existing 'floor tiles of death' Pete has just sent me this photo - he's in charge of the manly task of stripping out the kitchen.

So we were bang on what we wanted, period to the house - we've just no idea now how many, in what condition or if the lovely tiling guy can work with them - but it feels like a good sign we're doing right by the house not going with a modern fitted kitchen.

How to do a kitchen make over - Casa Wearn Style #WearnKitchenMakeover

The story so far..
Step 1 - Collect 'inspiration' on Pinterest from the day you move in Step 2 - Eventually squirrel together some money Step 3 - Be Brave and go and talk to every kitchen salesperson on a wet Bank Holiday Monday Step 4 - Pick up so many brouchers you get confused, and realized despite your collective advanced education neither of you even have an idea of how to start pricing up a kitchen, you're not even sure you want - and no one seemed that enthused about selling to you. Step 5 - Buy another pint, and something to entertain Brit while you work out what to do - because the kitchen is starting to get on your nerves and make you sad. Step 6 - Get excited by the idea of just getting the utilities moved and the place tiled and filling it with awesome furniture Step 7 - Start a New Pinterest Step 8 - Obsessively scour EBay for things, and then working out how you get them home Step 9 - Start stripping out things in a bit of a panic because the plumber can fit…

Condiment cooking

Pete is away again, which is cool - he was away gigging last week too - I'm getting quite good at this whole 'not just eating toast while I'm on my own thing' - last time I conquered making omelettes, this time I'm on a mission to clean out the fridge and not buy anything much - so I'm taking a leaf out of a post I think I saw on Lifehacker and using up condiments and bits of pieces of things.

If tonight's experiment using burger relish to make a pasta sauce is anything to go by this could be a good week =D

Jamie Oliver taught me how to make The Perfect Omelette

So, it's never too late to learn a new skill - and with Pete away being a rockstar I decided to perfect something I'v also been a little bit weary of - omelettes - not sure why but they've always ended up more sad scrambled eggs with burnt bits then the fluffy eggs based meal of my dream.

So I decided to take a masterclass...

.. and it worked - tasty mushroom omelette the other night, yummy chorizo and olive one just now.

Nailed it!

I don't win at many things...

... but it turns out I'm really good at walking
I'm also very much enjoying having a fitbit to track everything

Kitchen planning #1

We are saving money for a new kitchen - something the house needs and I suspect by the time we save the amount (and we haven't worked out how much that is yet) it will be much more needed - the floor is already falling apart and is covered in what we call 'Tiles of Death' because they turn into an ice rink when water spills onto them and crack every time someone drops something.

It needs love because various past residents have done bits and pieces but we really want to start afresh. Which means the following:

Moving Water pipes / stopcock
Relocating the Gas Oven / Hob to the other side of the kitchen
Removing the world's biggest radiator
New Floor
New Tiles
New Units / Worktops - (we have our eye on an Ikea one that looks a bit like this)

So I've been doing some measurements and of course we have a pinterest board of ideas (the important bit)
Follow Nia's board Pretty Kitchen Ideas on Pinterest.
So, here's a rough sketch of the area if you want to play alon…

More post like this please...

When you're saving for a kitchen it all helps =D

Reddit's r/lifehacks actually has something good for once...

Salad Spinner

No one should be this excited by Salad