Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The guest bedroom

It's been a while since I posted any more about our house renovation. I've been wanting to post our guest bedroom for a while, but to be honest it has been too messy to do so! It's the guest bedroom/my dressing room/Scott's study, so it gets a lot of use really for a spare bedroom. However, it also gets very messy being used as my dressing room! I am not the tidy person that most people imagine I am (although I am getting better) and I am a big fan of the 'bedrobe' (contents on wardrobe emptied onto the bed!). My friend is coming to visit at the weekend though, so it forced me to tidy it last weekend and try to keep it tidy all week. So far, so good (well it is only Tuesday).

When we first got the keys (nearly a year ago now!), the back bedroom was plain except for a purple wall. I am not a purple person at all and it made the room look way too dark.

Guest bedroom

Guest bedroom 

 The first job was getting rid of the purple with many coats of white paint. The purple paint was really thick and uneven so we tried sanding it down and then filling in the holes, but this just resulted in LOTS of dust which meant the white paint we painted over it wouldn't stick and would just bubble and peel off.

Guest room
Yay, the white paint is sticking (at last!)

Guest room
Choosing which shade of green

Guest room
Nearly finished

In the end, we had to peel back some of the purple paint right down the bare plaster and then fill this in and seal in all. It was the most infuriating room to paint to be honest. Lesson learned anyway: don't be overenthusiastic with the sanding and clean all the sand away thoroughly. We eventually got the paint to stick and stopped being perfectionists and it doesn't look too bad now.

Guest bedroom

Guest bedroom 
Hi Pumba!

Guest bedroom 

Guest bedroom 

Guest bedroom 

Guest bedroom

The room is quite mismatched, pretty much because we can't afford to buy new furniture. The bed and wardrobe are my old ones from my parents, the bureau is from a second hand furniture store and the bedside table is Ikea. The curtain, lamp and lampshade are also Ikea. The mirror is an old charity shop find of mine from years ago. We purchased an old 1934 ordnance survey map off eBay of the area we live in - it's so interesting looking at it! It even has the street that my Grandparents first lived on when they came over from Spain, which has since been demolished; and the street that my other Nana grew up on. We also have our Kate McLelland Edinburgh print which we purchased on our little trip there in 2010. We've made it a tradition now to buy bits of art for our home whenever we go somewhere. So far we have things from Edinburgh, Valencia & York. We also want to purchase something Liverpool-y (how could we not?!) and perhaps Parisian to remember our trip there for my 21st. The Russian doll carafe is from Funky Honey.

I really like this room despite the mismatch feel to all the furniture. I especially like it even more when it's clean and tidy like this! It has a very calm feel to it and as we just overlook some trees at the back, it's very serene. We slept in this room for quite a while as we were still decorating our room, and I loved waking up and just looking out to green trees. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Down by the river

York - River Ouse
Skirt - Topshop
Shoes - Clarks
T-shirt - h&m
Coat - Topshop
River Ouse

York walls

Just a few more photos from York. This new skirt is from Topshop and I wore it to travel in on our first day. Unfortunately it creases terribly and for someone like me who hates ironing; it isn't good! I've already had to iron it about 3 times and I haven't even washed it yet. I prefer low maintenance clothes, but I suppose that is a risk you take when buying clothes online. However, the colour and cut are lovely and there is a little bow detail on the waistband, so I think it will become a firm favourite. 

On our first evening we strolled down the river and over the city walls. I loved walking around the city walls, it's a really great way to see the city (and nosy at houses, don't tell me I'm the only person who loves nosying at houses in different cities/countries?!). The river had a lovely feel on an early summer's evening, with the rowing club practicing and people generally enjoying the outdoors. It felt so much calmer to the River Mersey that I'm used to ha. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Mocha cake

Mocha cake

Mocha cake

For father's day I made a delicious mocha cake, as both my Dad & Grandad are big fans of anything coffee flavoured. I remember growing up, my Dad would always sneakily take the coffee ones out boxes of Roses and then I fell in love with them too. I'm so sad they don't seem to do as many coffee flavoured chocolates anymore; coffee & chocolate is such an amazing combination. 

The recipe is from Rachel Allen Bake, but adapted slightly by myself. 

For the cake
175g Plain Flour
3 tbsp baking powder (or 2 parts bicarb and 1 part cream of tartar like I used)
50g cocoa powder
225g soft light brown sugar
175g butter, melted
4 medium eggs, separated 
60ml very strong coffee, cooled
3tbsp water

For the icing
100g butter, softened
250g icing sugar
3tbsp very strong coffee, cooled
Cocoa powder for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 190c/Gas mark 5. Grease 2 springform 8 inch tins. 
2. Sift the flour, raising agents and cocoa powder together and stir in the sugar. 
3. Beat in the melted butter, egg yolks, coffee & water. 
4. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold into the cake mixture with a metal spoon (ensuring you keep as much air in as possible). Make sure there are no pockets of egg white left in the mixture. 
5. Split the cake mixture between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean. 
6. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to finish cooling thoroughly. 
7. When the cakes are cooled, make the icing. I simply blended all the ingredients together in a food processor, but using an electric hand whisk will also work. Ice the cakes as you wish. Sprinkle with a light dusting of cocoa powder for decoration.

I really recommend making this cake, the sponge is so light and moist! If you don't like coffee, simply replace the coffee with water and you'll have a lovely chocolate sponge. 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The trumpet of the swan


When I posted this photo on Instagram, I had SO many comments and likes! I guess everyone loves swans. I love that this dress is called Jubilee swan print. The queen owns all the wild swans in open water in Britain and to kill one used to be classed as treason, so the swan print is a nice nod to the queen without being OTT jubilee-ish. I will also wear it for years to come too. I bought my dress from the petite section, as I often do it Topshop if what I want is also available in petite (being a diminutive 5 ft 2). It just so happened that it had sold out in 'normal' sizes and was only available in petite! Score! The petite section in Topshop has actually been pretty boring until this. I was saving the dress for it's first outing in York anyhow.


I look pretty miserable in here but I had about a million photos taken by Scott while he tried to get a decent camera setting for the hotel room so this was the best of a bad bunch (no offence Scott! Thanks for putting up with my posing and the bad lighting). I wore it with my shoes from Duo and a plain black cardigan. I think this dress with be so lovely in the summer when I can go bare legged (or perhaps I should just buy some flesh coloured tights - I've always been a bit against them for some reason but I suppose they have their uses).


I wore the dress to Ask, which we mainly went in because it's inside the Assembly Rooms in York, which are beautiful. Usually when we travel, we like to try independent restaurants that you won't be able to visit again, but convenience and the pretty surroundings convinced us to try Ask. The food was ok, but the service wasn't very good at all. At least the price of the food was alright. The previous night though we went for an amaaazing italian called Little Italy. The service was lovely and attentive, the surroundings cosy and the food was immense. I had the spaghetti aurora which was prawns in a creamy, tomatoey sauce. I almost wish I had took my swan dress on another outing to there to try more dishes! We did return on our final day to pick up some breasola from the deli so that we can try to recreate the starter that we shared. It was so delicious.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Bettys in York





We're back from a lovely few days spent in York, it was very leisurely and I've overindulged in way too much nice food, but it was worth it. We couldn't go all the way to York and not visit the legendary tea room, Bettys. I have been to Bettys a few times, as my friend studied at York Uni and we visited and I've also been to the Bettys in Harrogate with family but Scott has never been. I knew that Scott would like it because they are members of the Tea Guild and serve amazing scones. Their tea also comes with extra hot water so you can top it up to your hearts content. The only possible downside is having to remember to put the little strainer over your teacup as they use loose-leaf tea, Scott forgot this quite a few times!

I had the traditional afternoon tea and Scott just had the cream tea but with a sandwich on the side. We also tried the homemade lemonade which was amazing. The afternoon tea comes with a selection of mini patisserie cakes and my favourite out of these was the coffee/chocolate one, I wish I could eat it all over again now! 

This weekend will mostly be spent mentally preparing to go back to work (Sunday nights after an amazing week off are always hard, no matter how much you love your job) and of course celebrating father's day! What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Shoes - Topshop
Dress - New Look
Cardigan - H&M

Just a quick outfit from yesterday. I'm on my way to York today for a few nights with Scott, it should be a nice break. I used to visit York a lot when my friend was at Uni there and really like it, but Scott has never been and I really want to take him to Betty's for afternoon tea. Here are some old photos I took on my LCA before it broke. (sadface. I don't know what is wrong with it, films just keep coming out completely blank.)





Oh that has made me miss that camera! I really ought to try to get it fixed.

I had a bit of an odd weekend really, I didn't end up running the Mersey Tunnel 10k as I woke up ill on Sunday morning and just knew it wasn't a good idea to run with a dodgy tum. I was quite sad that I missed out on expanding the medal collection and the chance to run through the Mersey tunnel and see the amazing view as we come out the other side, but I can always do it next year. (I think if it was a one off run I would have cried and/or forced myself to run!) I don't really know where to go with my running now. Hoping that when I get back from our mini-break I can get back into it. 

Yesterday we went to see some more wedding venues and we still have some thinking to do, but we are hoping to book our date soon! 

Thanks for all your comments on my last post - I have some nice ideas for prints to buy for the hallway and general inspiration. Now the only problem is finding a spare weekend to do it all in! June and July are looking busy already. 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Our boring hallway

I have a confession to make...our hallway is MAGNOLIA! Yes, after all the magnolia bashing I've done in other interior blogposts, and our hallway; possibly the most important area as it gives first impressions, is magnolia. Now, we decided it would be best to keep it neutral and just decided not to paint it. After decorating 4 rooms and re-doing the kitchen and everything, we were pretty knackered. The hallway would just do, for now. I said 'we'll re-do it over Christmas when I'm off work.' Well, it's now 6 months after Christmas and it still remains exactly the same. And I HATE it! The only thing that we have done is install a new light fitting in the hallway downstairs and buy a trunk to hide our shoes in and also a closet to put on the top of the landing. Other than that, everything is the same as when the previous owners moved out. We haven't even changed the green light shade on the landing OR the coat hooks! 

Magnolia hallway
The entrance hall when you come through the front door. 

Magnolia hallway
And the view from the top of the stairs. 

We originally put off painting it because it would be such a big job - especially on the stairs where the walls are so high and impossible to paint. But now it's got too much. I'm going to set aside one weekend soon and re-do it. I've been thinking about wallpapering the wall on the right handside of the landing in the second photo, getting a new lampshade, putting up some pictures in the hall downstairs and putting up some new and more 'us' coat hooks. 

                                                                        Source: housetohome.co.uk via Helen on Pinterest

                                                                            Source: Uploaded by user via Helen on Pinterest

                                                                         Source: letter2mom.com via Helen on Pinterest

I am also tempted to paint our trunk and the closet after looking at these photos for inspiration but I think that will be quite a bit DIY job! I could get really carried away if I had time I think. I want to find some new prints to hang up in the hall too - does anyone have any recommendations on their favourite Etsy shops for affordable, bright art?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Accessorise with mustard



Mustard handbag

It's no secret that I love mustard yellow. It's probably second to red in my favourite colours. Our bedroom is even mustard! The shoes are from Topshop from summer 2008. I remember trying them on the Liverpool store but they were too big and had sold out of my size, so I sent my mum on a wild goose chase across the north-west for them while I was working lots of overtime in a cafe. She found them and brought them into work for me <3 I still love them so much now, but they are looking a bit worse for wear. The handbag is from ASOS, a Christmas treat for myself in a January sale the other year. The yellow nail varnish is currently my favourite, it receives lots of comments! I've been searching for a mustard yellow nail varnish ever since I bought those shoes, but all I could find weren't quite the right shade. I think this bourjois one in Jaune Trendy hits the spot though. 

What is your favourite colour to accessorise with?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Red, white & blue

Jubilee outfit
Dress - Topshop (2005!)
Shoes - Topshop
Cardigan - Debenhams
Necklace - Hobbs

I decided to dig out this dress for the jubilee. (I have always loved the colours of the union jack, but now whenever I wear them everyone is like 'oh, how patriotic are you!'. Yes, and I also just like the colours and wear them lots anyway!) I bought this dress in 2005 for my sister's 21st birthday. I was in the first year of college and about to turn 17 and I hardly wore dresses myself but my Mum treated me to a dress from Topshop. It's so crazy to think that I hardly wore dresses! Now I am the opposite and barely ever wear jeans. I guess it was the start of a good relationship.


Victoria sponge

I have been baking so much this week! We had a jubilee party in work so I baked 36 cupcakes and a Victoria sponge for work, then a Victoria sponge for a party at my Mum's and a honey and walnut loaf for another afternoon tea today. So much sugar and dairy! 

Beetroot, carrots and spring onions
Sudley House

Sudley House

I've also been really enjoying the lovely weather we had in the past week (before the typically wet bank holiday!). We had our first barbecue last weekend before watching eurovision and have been enjoying walks around Sudley House which is just down the road from us.  

Anyone else wishing that every weekend could be 4 days long? I've had such a great time off! I've been to a barbecue in Didsbury, party at a lovely twitter friend's, family barbecue and an afternoon tea at a friend's new craft studio

How cute is this photo of us in the photobooth they had made?! We might have to pinch it off them for the wedding. (If you let us, please Jenny? Hehe) 

A 3 day working week and then we are off work for a week! We are going to York for a few nights but will also hopefully be able to squeeze in a few viewings of venues. Oh and did I mention that I'm running the Mersey Tunnel 10k in less than a week? So. Scared. 

How have you been enjoying the jubilee and the extra days off work?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Liverpool wedding planning

In the past few weeks, we've started thinking about our wedding. We've been engaged for over a year now and I never really wanted to have a long engagement. I know some people start planning their wedding straight away after getting engaged, but finding our perfect house and getting that how we want it was our priority. We've been homeowners for nearly a year now, so now that we've ran out of DIY projects to talk about together, we've had to start wedding planning to have something to talk about. (J/K!) It just feels like the next step.

We went to see our first venue the other day and are both quite smitten with it, but we want to visit a few others before we settle on one. We a pretty sure that we want a wedding in Liverpool and have spent forever scouring different wedding blogs and local photographers blogs to scout out the venues that we really like that have good photo opportunities. I thought I'd share with you today some gorgeous Liverpool weddings.

                                                                 Source: boho-weddings.com via Helen on Pinterest

This gorgeous wedding at Sefton Park Palm house is shot by Assassynation (the wonderful photographer of Sarah's - A Million Dresses gorgeous wedding!). The palm house is just down the road from us and we did consider it but we think it is out of our budget. I love the vintage car.

                                                                   Source: zoephotography.co.uk via Helen on Pinterest

I absolutely love this wedding! The gorgeous Candy Anthony dress, the photos in Faulkner Square, the views from the Hope Street Hotel, it's so perfect. I think a Candy Anthony dress is sliiiightly out of my budget, but I know that I don't want a traditional floor length dress (they're too impractical! I want to be able to dance around and go to the toilet easily on my wedding day.)

                                                                     Source: rocknrollbride.com via Helen on Pinterest

This couple were married in Italy and then had a huge party for all their family and friends who could't make it at the Liverpool club, The Kazimier. The Kazimier has an awesome fairground feel to it and I can imagine it being a pretty great place for a wedding party. The 'Penelope' sculpture also makes an amazing backdrop for photos.

                                                                Source: rockmywedding.co.uk via Helen on Pinterest

Another Hope Street Hotel wedding! I love the bright colour pop theme here and those balloons are a great prop idea. Ruth & Rob are too cool, I love their graphic design and brightly coloured accessories (especially the bright yellow socks of the groomsmen!)

                                                                      Source: annahardy.co.uk via Helen on Pinterest

Lambanana! A Liverpool icon, it makes a great backdrop for these photos. I love that this couple had their reception at the ace real ale pub, The Ship & Mitre too. Anna Hardy's photography is absolutely gorgeous. The bride, Rose, wore ACE tights and fab earrings too, I love interesting bridal accessories that aren't traditional and/or Melissa x Viv Westwood shoes.

                                                                  Source: rocknrollbride.com via Helen on Pinterest

And finally, a wedding on the iconic Albert Dock. I'd love a wedding near the docks to have the famous Liver building in the background, however it is windy about 99% of the time and I don't think that I will make a great windswept bride. This couple had a steampunk circus themed wedding at the restaurant Circo.

Liverpool has some amazing wedding venues for both the ceremony and reception, it's making it hard for us to decide! We know that we don't want a church ceremony as neither of us are religious and it wouldn't feel comfortable to us, but that almost makes it harder for us to choose as there's too much choice out there. Do we have the ceremony and reception all in the same place or have a separate ceremony and move on for the reception? Registry office or country house ceremony? Where can we have nice photos taken after the ceremony? So many questions!

Anyone have any words of wisdom for us for deciding on a venue?


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