Monday, 31 January 2011

Ooooh It's good to be home!

I'm back in the land of the living!

The holiday was lovely and it was so nice to get away, just me and W for a few days.  We had decent weather, a few glorious days as these pics will attest and a few overcast ones as well.  Unfortunately I got quite ill whilst there which put a little bit of a damper on things for our last 36 hours.  Thankfully, I was starting to feel a little bit better by the time we boarded the plane to get back home and I was seriously ready for my own bed by the time we landed in considerably colder Manchester!  I have to say, going from 20-23 degrees C to -1C was a bit of a shock to the system!

Funny because as lovely as it all was, we both really missed our house!  It's the first we've really been away from it since we moved in and it's become such a part of us that it felt great knowing we were returning to it again.  We're such sentimental gits, eh.

I must say as well it was so nice reading your comments and messages when I got home and I must thank you for the lovely birthday wishes! 

The only mishap whilst we were away was the kitties getting on the dining room table... Now, they NEVER do this (we don't like the idea of animal feet where we eat so that includes the dining table and the kitchen counters) but I can only blame it on boredom that they decide to explore the top of the table.  W's mum did come round most days to check on them and feed them but obviously, they decided to get into some kitty mischief.  With quite disasterous consequences.  Seems they pulled the runner off... which in turn knocked over the candleabra (with it's little glass tealight holders)... which in turn smashed the two glass candleholders that sat beneath.  Ahh well.

I'm glad, first and foremost, that  there were no injuries with all that glass.  Secondly, and I've gotta be honest here, I've had that candleabra for probably 8 or 9 years now.  I'm kind of tired of it but it was such a big awkward shape that it was difficult to find a suitable place for it other than the dining table.  The two glass candleholders were a January sale item I got from Homebase for £1 each.  So not a huge loss.  Of course, I'm quite happily on the lookout for something to replace these items and find something else! Any old excuse eh?

I also had British Gas come to have a look at the boiler today.  The shower isn't the greatest (aside from being rather ugly but that's a project for the future) as the water tends to go from hot to cold to hot again and it's difficult to get the temperature to remain consistently hot.  We have flushed the system, had a filter put on it, replaced sensors, etc etc but nothing has worked so far and the boiler guys said the boiler itself seems to be working fine.  So they are coming back on Thursday morning and running what is called a 'Sonic Clean' - sounds like something from Dr. Who doesn't it?  Let's hope that with this procedure (which is supposed to take 4 hours, now where the Timelord when you need him) does the trick and we can have nice hot showers again!

In better news, my fabulous brother M is coming to visit me on Wednesday from Seattle, Washington.  I haven't seen him in years and years and we've always been very close so I'm super excited!  I've been living in the UK for almost 10 years now, it will be like looking at it through a newbie's eyes again when he comes I am sure.  I am quite looking forward to introducing him to all the things I love about living here.

Despite all the excitement, I'm going to try to get as much blogging as I can done in the coming days so do keep checking back here at Swoon Worthy!

Have I mentioned how nice it is to be home?  Now, I have SO MUCH to catch up on in the blogosphere!  Can't wait to get stuck in!  How has everyone been getting on?  And more importantly, WHAT HAVE I MISSED??

Image credits:  All my own with my trusty little point-n-shoot.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Take Me Away: Teneriffic...

Sorry that was a bit of a crap twist on the word Tenerife but I'm in holiday mode yo.

You may have noticed my absence (all 3 of you, Hi Mum) but never fear, I'm just temporarily indisposed.

My fabulous, generous, wonderful boyfriend W has decided to wisk me away somewhere where it's not foggy, horrible, wet, cold and miserable.

So if we take this...

Add some of this...

And a little of this...

And you put it all together...

Amazingly you get this...

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thank you, Gorgeous Guy...

See you in a week sexy chicas!

Image credits.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Kitchen Dreams: If I Were a Single Girl Living in France...

I would so have this kitchen.

And the chairs and those floors and the doors and everything else in the flat as well please.

Ooooh Pretty.

Image via decorpad

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Kitchen Inspiration: Deciding on a Style

If you've read Sarah's excellent advice on Modern Country Style, you'll know that when making decisions on your kitchen, you should make sure your kitchen inspiration pics are rated no less than a 9 in your mind and scratch everything you don't feel is absolutely swoon worthy.

Well, I think that's pretty fabulous advice so I'm going to show you some of the images that have been floating around in my 'Kitchen Inspiration' folder for a while that I find myself coming back to again and again (even before I had a kitchen to work on!).  Because I've had many of them long before I had a blog, I don't know where the majority of them are from so if you know, just let me know in the comments and I'll be sure to give credit where credit is due!

I'm going to start with my absolute all time favourite.  Every time I revisit this photo in my folder, I swoon just a little.  I love the dark wood counter tops, the pendant lighting, the pops of white china against that greeny-grey in the open shelving, the pull handles, the shaker style cabinets, the dark flooring... just everything. No idea where this is from unfortunately!  If anyone knows, please share because I would love to see more of the kitchen or the house if possible!

Here are some others that make my favourites list...

I love the contrast here between the dark wood floors and the white of the cabinets.  The glass fronted  shelving and the windows are fab too.  And of course, more pendant lighting.

Shaker style cabinets here too plus the dark wood contrasted with white subway tile.  Gorgeous.

Here's where you'll start to see a pattern emerging... Pendant lighting, white shaker cabinets, open shelving...

On this one we have again that dark flooring against the beautiful white cabinets.  I adore the dark grey, it just looks incredibly sophisticated.  It's the home of Christopher Peacock, the kitchen designer.  Go figure he'd have a fabulous space (and how cute is that pup?!).  The image was found on Traditional Home.

This kitchen is from the home of the multi-talented Mrs. Limestone and I think it's been in my inspiration folder for well over a year.  It's got most of the elements I love with pendant lighting, shaker cabinets and natural elements.

Small can be beautiful.  I'm working with a considerably smaller space than most of these images but this appealed to me because the kitchen is 'UK sized'!  I love the open shelving, the pendant lighting, the shaker cabinets and that amazing wood floor... I don't know where it's from unfortunately.

This one I found on desire to inspire.  It's by Helen Green, a London-based designer.  Definitely Best of British going on here.  The dark butcher block counter tops are fabulous.

These pendants are just gorgeous.  They have a bit of an industrial feel.  The white subway tiles with dark grout are fab too.

So as you can see, there is little doubt which way I'll be going here!

Here is my list of hopes and dreams...

Dark flooring

White shaker style cabinets

Shell-style pull handles

Open shelving with contrasted back

Pendant lighting

White subway tiles with dark grout

Butcher block counter tops stained in a dark rich brown

Now, I am a woman so I can't guarantee that once we start the project I won't change my mind at least 20 times.  But at least, with this little exercise, I can see what I'm drawn to and what elements are must-haves.

What's on your must have list?


For all you lovelies who have come from Modern Country Style, welcome to my little blog!  Come on in, pull up a comfy seat and have a cuppa.  Sarah is just a complete sweetheart isn't she??  If you want to see how the kitchen progresses, click on that little 'FOLLOW' button on the side there so you don't miss a post! ;)  So nice to have you here!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Getting It All Done: Deciding Priorities

In my last post, I teased we have a big project coming up here on Swoon Worthy.  The question is really, what do you choose to do when your to-do list is a mile long and you've got a limited budget?

When I walk around my house, I have a list in my head that's practically endless of all the things I want to do.  Surely I'm not alone in this?  But how do you make a decision on what actually gets done?

When we first moved here in June (over 6 months now, it goes so fast), rather than have every room in the house in a state of disrepair, we decided the first room we would concentrate on would be the living room.  This was so that after a long day at work or a busy weekend of DIY, we'd have a comfortable relaxed place to escape to.

Ignore the crooked candle in the window.. *ahem*

(Cat Haters can skip this next paragraph by the way) As a side note, the kitties seem to appreciate the warm cozy space as much as we do.  We normally keep the door to the living room closed during the day because a velvet sofa is the last place we want the hairy critters to 'adopt' as their own but to be honest, even when the door is left open, they never venture in there.  They will actually wait until we retire to what we affectionately refer to as the 'Chesterfield Room' (makes it sound grand, doesn't it?) to join us there in the evenings.  Sometimes, if we are still in the dining room after 9pm, Pablo will roam in and meow at us as though he is saying, 'Well? When are you getting up and going on that nice soft sofa so I can walk around on top of you guys until I settle myself on your laps?'  He will continue to meow until we actually sit on the sofa.  I swear he thinks he pays the mortgage around here.  Senna normally takes her place on the arm of the chair, usually facing backwards away from the television.  I don't think she appreciates our taste in television.  Either that, or she really likes the wallpaper.

So anyway, with so many individual projects and purchases for this one room, we only did minimal work in the other rooms to make it feel more like 'ours' over the last few months. The living room at the moment is about 85% completed.  We still need to install trim around the skirting board and I need to choose fabric for the curtains and sew them (which will be a major project in itself for a novice seamstress like myself), do something fabulous with that chest of drawers and eventually, much further down the road, I'd like to replace the black leather chair with a couple soft tufted beauties... Mmmm.

These are $5,600 and are in San Francisco.  
One can still dream though, can't one?

As it's just odds and ends left however, I kind of feel like we've lost a bit of focus, doing bits and pieces but not really accomplishing anything substantial.

I suppose the dining room has been the next room to get proper attention but until we can do the flooring (which will entail quite a bit of disruption in the middle of a cold winter) I would never be able to call the room 'done'.  Plus I still have yet to complete the 'gallery wall' and paint the sideboard plus choose a fabric and complete all the sewing on the soft furnishings.  And so work continues on this room...

So this past weekend, W and I were talking about our next big focus. As it's January, its an opportunity as always to think about the year ahead and what we'd like to do and plan for within our minute budget. What will we be able to afford accomplish this year?

Here was your hint from Sunday...  did you guess what it was?

Well I'm very happy and excited to say it's going to be the kitchen.  I think part of it is because W gets bored when it's all zhushing and no building, being that I'm the Master Zhusher (I'm sure that's a word) and he's the Master Builder.  And part of it is because it's starting to REALLY bother us how much it simply doesn't reflect our taste.  We'll be completing the project in stages over the next few months as we get funds in place but we will be starting fairly soon.

I'll get into all the gory details in upcoming posts and share it with you as it unfolds...  How exciting, my white kitchen awaits!

Image credits:  All my own except fabulous slipper chairs from here.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sideboard Aboard: Declutter in the Dining Room

You may remember from this post that I scored this sexy number from eBay for a mere £50 on Christmas Day.  What? You don't surf eBay on Christmas Day?  Just me then? Ok, that's not entirely true, it just happened to be the date the auction ended and so I'd kept one eye on the auction and one eye on the turkey just in case I was outbid in the last moments.  Happily, I wasn't.  Oh yeah baby, Happy Christmas to me.

Anyway, because we won it during the holidays, we hired a van to pick it up on Monday, 3rd January because we were both off from work.  W booked it online with no issues (lots of van rental companies weren't open on the Bank Holiday as you can imagine) and I spoke to the kind Yorkshire gentlemen who had listed the sideboard to make arrangements for pick up.  Well, imagine my disappointment when the van rental company called us later in the week to advise us they had taken the booking in error and that they had to cancel unless we wanted to rent the van for 3 days.  Ummm, at £70/day, I don't think so.  Booooo.

So we started asking around and W's ever-so-helpful brother in law said he'd be able to borrow his father's estate vehicle but because of his work schedule, it would be a couple weeks til he had a free day to help us out.  Bless him, the kindly Yorkshire gent allowed us to postpone our pick up for 3 WEEKS after we'd won the auction.  Well, today was finally the day we got to pick it up!

I have to say, despite there being so much left to do, the dining room is finally starting to look like a real room.  Just as a gentle reminder this is what it looked like the morning after we moved in:

And shortly afterwards:

We finished the doors and added new hardware...

We decided to go with a deep dark grey on the walls and I painted the mantle white.  I then proceeded to arrange and rearrange said mantle ad naseum...

But what you haven't seen is how bad the wall to the right of the fireplace actually looked.  I've spoken before of our reasoning for having a large LCD television in the dining room and my plans for creating a gallery wall.  However, prior to bringing home the sideboard, we had the most inappropriate glass console table we were using to house the stereo, the remote controls, two games consoles and countless other paraphenalia including an absolute MESS of leads.

Those with a delicate disposition may want to look away now.

Yeah, I know.  Bad.

Now you know why I was so desperate to get a sideboard to house all this stuff!  Happily, it now does!

So here's my  new baby in place.

As a side note, the wall colour is more accurately represented 
in the pics above this one. Perhaps it's the lighting that has made the colour 
look more brown here rather than dark grey?

As lovely as it is in it's current state, I'm very much leaning towards painting it white.  I won't be able to wait too long on that one because it'll drive me mad so yeah soon, people, soon... Oh and the top will get 'prettified' in time too so I've just put a few vases there in the meantime.

You may have noticed that rather fetching white 'tube' that runs between the middle of the television and the sideboard.  We initially thought about creating a 'gutter' in the wall and concealing the leads inside but with a 100+ year old house, the walls are more brittle than you would think so chipping away at it wasn't going to be the best option.  So basically we have used something like this which can be painted to match the wall colour.  Let's hope once it's painted it does indeed blend in and become less of an eyesore.

One other thing we did with the sideboard once we put all the games consoles and various other bits and pieces in it was to allow the items to have some air circulation around them.  So we cut this hole into the back which could easily be patched with another piece of wood should we ever decide to sell it.  To be fair, you can't even see the hole once it's against the wall so I'm not that fussed about using the furniture in a way that works for our needs.  So, when the PS3 is in use, let's say, we'll also open the door a bit to allow for it to 'breathe'.  Then, when it's not, the door gets closed and it's back to being hidden.  Most of the items are controlled via bluetooth so there's no reason for them to be visible.  Happy Days.

So what about the little glass console table?  Well it's been repurposed at the moment as a sort of drinks station until I get my proper one.  What do you think?  (I know the bottles are mostly empty, what can I say, we like a drink...)

I'm definitely going to paint that tray but as I did this all on the spot today, I didn't have time to do that just yet. Another project for another day coming up soon!

I also would love to add a cover for the console table to hide the ugly radiator like so:

The other thing about the dining room you couldn't really miss may have noticed is the very very poor state of the wood floors.  Yeah, we know.  If you recall, our living room flooring was actually in a worse state initially and the plan is to eventually redo all the wood flooring in the downstairs (the upstairs is fully carpeted).  However, it's a pretty big job with a lot of disruption so we are going to have to hold out on that job for just a bit.

But don't you worry, there's another very big project in the works so no slacking here at Swoon Worthy!  Oh no, I wouldn't do that to you guys.  Want a hint?  It's in the picture below...

And no, it's not Senna but if you can find her 
in this picture, I'll give ya extra points.

Can you guess what it is?  No?  Well, you'll just have to keep coming back until I tell ya.  I know, I'm a tease.

I suppose for a room we really didn't set much money aside for and truthfully have spent next to nothing on (we're talking less than £150 here), we haven't done too badly in getting this room - at the very least - presentable.

As you can see, the list is still fairly substantial (and I haven't talked about the roman blind I want to make, the slip covers for the chairs and the new runner I intend to sew and the vast number of items I'll need for the gallery wall) but being able to finally walk into the room and not think of it as a 'before' picture isn't too bad...

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Room Lust: Grey, Olive and Gold

Two entirely swoon worthy images from the interwebs this week that I had to share...

The curtains, the chandelier, the chevron floors, the touches of gold, that wonderful chair.  There is so much about this room I love.

The play of textures and the deep sultry steel grey velvet settee with that rather amazing gold throw.  Totally touchable.

Images via:  1. This Is Glamorous and 2. Bella Notte via Greige

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

New Look: Swoon Worthy gets zhush'd up

A few updates on Swoon Worthy...

First of all, I figured it was about time I updated my blog header considering I threw the original together when I first started my blog and before we'd really gotten down to any proper decorating...

Here's the old header...

And the new header as you may have noticed above...

I think the new header reflects my personal style better as not only are all the images my own but the colours are really more in keeping with the colour pallette I'm using - soft greys, white, yellows and olive greens.

In terms of functionality, you can now search Swoon Worthy for whatever your little heart desires!  Woohoo!

I did want to mention as well that I had a 'Say Something Nice' form set up recently but I've only just realised it was asking for a user name and password in order to send me a message - WTF?  I didn't want anyone thinking I was trying anything dodgy so I've removed it and replaced it with this page which will give you a contact email address:

And as a bonus, if you click there, you'll see a really foxy picture of me without any pants!* 

So what do you think of the changes?

*Ok, I'm lying but I know it made you look, you dirty perv!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

All That Is Gold: The New Issue of Lonny

The newest issue of Lonny is now out and it doesn't disappoint.  Having access to online magazines is fantastic in this digital age.  I can't subscribe to numerous magazines in other countries so this makes it that little bit easier to get my fix.

And the gorgeous images I've clipped for my inspiration files include the following...

So many touches of gold... talk about swoon-worthy!

Go check out the new issue here.

All images:  Lonny
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