Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sundays - The fantasy versus the reality!

Sundays, in my head, are all about lazing around in comfy clothes, reading the Sunday papers and then lighting a fire and curling up on the sofa watching a good film.....possibly Great Expectations ( John Mills version) or something like that. The children will be playing together harmoniously or sitting doing their homework, unaided.

The reality is not quite this. We did watch a film. Postman Pat the Movie. Quite good....but not my choice. Scruffs? Not quite. Half way house with that one. I'm not dolled up to the nines, but with the possibility of a visit from friends, I thought I'd better make half an effort, at least.

In this respect, I have not learned from my mum. I once turned up at my parents' house, unexpectedly, to find mum in the garden wearing what I can only describe as the outfit of a mad woman. This consisted of short wellies, knee socks, cut off trousers and my dad's jumper. The piece de resistance was a scarf tied round her head with her hair poking up above like an erupting volcano. Not exactly The Good Life's Barbara! I was accompanied by a friend  (male) who had not met my parents before....Goodness knows what he thought.

The homework challenge is always something we look forward to. It's a battle of wills really. The combination of a  nearly 11 year old who will not be told when her answer is not quite (completely wrong) right and a 5 year old who is just not interested, full stop. (Unless it is crafting an imaginary creature out of toilet rolls and paint.) Harmonious it never is! I rarely feel as hot and bothered as I do than after homework sessions.....and I know I am not alone on this one!

I did get to have a quick glance at the property section of the paper. There was an article on range cookers which caught my eye.

I have never hankered after a real range....of the Rayburn, Aga variety. Always makes me smile (inwardly, of course) when, on property programs, house viewers enter a kitchen and coo the minute they spy a range or a Belfast sink....both, and they are unable to contain themselves!  Those I know that have ever owned a range (the real deal...not an electric version) complain of the inefficiency of running one in terms of fuel costs and the impracticability of having them on all the time.

The article concludes with a section on  quick and easy ways to cut your bills, in addition to ditching the range, taken from Good Housekeeping. Always of interest. I'm stealing their pointers....but they sounded like sensible ones.

  • Put foam strips on draughty windows and doors and this claims to save £35 - £50 per year. Secondary glazing also a worthwhile and cost effective solution.
  • Turn off the television instead of leaving it on standby. Claims to save £50-£90 per year.
  • Install a water efficient shower head for as little as £30. Could save a family of 4 £75 a year plus a further £90, if, like us, you are on a water meter. And/or, for a couple of pounds, add a shower timer.
  • Turning down your thermostat by just 1ÂșC can cut heating bills by around £75 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust. Save even more by turning off the radiators in rooms you rarely go in.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Post Christmas blues...and greens and neutrals....

Well. It's all over for another year. The tree is down and all the dec's are wrapped in tissue and back in their boxes,  tucked up and hibernating until next year.
The one good thing about de-Christmasing the house is that it is never cleaner!  Dust, like tumbleweed appears from behind the tinsel and in corners where furniture has been temporarily moved in order to house the tree.
With Christmas bringing a much needed respite from all things decorating related (in my own home at least...), I am now refreshed and ready to launch into 2015's projects.
A possible wallpapering of the downstairs cloak maybe?
Here are a few choice examples of contemporary wallpapers that I think would look great in a bathroom, downstairs loo or anywhere else for that matter!
Papers chosen from Zoffany, Cole & Son, Farrow & Ball, Sophie Conran for Arthouse and Harlequin.