Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Broom Closet Edition

In our cottage, we have three closets-- a "wardrobe" upstairs, a cupboard/broom closet downstairs and an airing cupboard in our bathroom.  So not a lot of storage.  We have had to get really creative and very un-feng-shui (stuff under the bed, under the dressers, tools in the kitchen drawers etc.).  It doesn't help that now I have a heap of sports supplies to deal with: cricket gear, rugby gear, 2 surf boards, 3 snowboards, and a set of golf clubs.  I've never thought of guys having so much stuff as I didn't have any brothers, and my dad's always had a garage for all his stuff;)  Anyway, until yesterday, our downstairs closet looked like this:
We have had some really bad luck with rails, because the inner walls of our house are made of a chalk like substance that are about 2 feet thick, and a couple weeks ago the rail in our upstairs closet fell down, leaving a mixing bowl sized crater in the wall.  Sam fixed it with his magical powers, but it made me second guess my plan to put a rail up in the closet downstairs.  With our forces combined we came up with this:

That shelving unit had a 6th shelf, but it wouldn't fit, and since Sam can cut an incredibly straight line with a hand saw we made it work.  It's great!  I keep opening the door and looking in at all of the organization.  We were able to attach the coat hook because it's attached to the outer wall which had to be drilled through because it's solid stone.  There's no happy medium with our walls.  **sigh**  But I am obsessed with this house so I'll take it.  And now we have a beautifully organized closet:)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Confession

I cleaned the floors for the first time since we moved in this weekend.  What?

When Sam and I were sitting down and talking about budgeting and what we really needed and what we should save for, I offered that there was no urgent need to get any cleaning products at first because cleaning isn't a necessity really.  Of course Sam just rolled his eyes and proceeded to buy a washing machine and a vacuum and a whole slew of sprays and wipes, but to my surprise and delight he overlooked the broom/mop aisle, and I did not point that out to him.  It has been almost 3 glorious months of not even caring what the hideous linoleum floors in our kitchen, bathroom, hallway and conservatory looked like because we were saving money, and everything else was clean anyway.  It's not like cleaning the floors would suddenly make them look nice anyway, because like I said, they're linoleum.  BUT THEN, two weeks ago we happened to be picking up some supplies at our local home improvement store, and by pure chance passed a big, flashy display of brooms and mops on sale and I knew then that I was doomed.  Sam's eyes lit up and said something about not having cleaned the floors yet and they're "quite grotty at the moment" and I just scuffed my foot against the ground and pouted away to gaze fondly at new tiles.   But if you notice, we got the stuff two weeks ago, so I was able to put it off for a reasonably long time still.  

I am a pretty clean person, typically, and everything else has been cleaned regularly.  I even enjoy it now that it's our home and not my parents house or some crumbly old apartment.  I will admit that the floors do look better, they are a much lighter color than they appeared to be before, and it gave the kitchen a new sort of feel and brightness.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


There's nothing worse than stepping in dog poo.  Except for stepping in cow poo.  Apparently the same rules do not apply to picking up after your cows as they do to picking up after your dog.  But they definitely should.

Speaking of cow poo, when I was at the local college interviewing for a job (that I was not chosen for), I met a history teacher who is a massive fan of the US of A, and who has a rather impressive collection of memorabilia.  Including some "genuine cow patties from Texas."  I don't want to know how he got those through customs.  Or why.  But actually I do want to know why, because there is cow crap everywhere around here.  Hence the first paragraph of this post.

I live in the country ya'll.  

Materialistic Me

Although I appreciate raindrops on roses and brown paper packages tied up with string, they are not actually a few of my favorite things. My favorite things change often, hey I'm a woman. Since it looks like I wont be doing any shopping anytime in the near future (no job=no disposable income) I will celebrate a few of my favorites now, and perhaps they can become favorites for someone else too.
Cheap Mondays from Urban Outfitters. I'd sleep in these.

Positively Radiant moisturizer by Aveeno with SPF 15.

The Helmer by Ikea, one of the best storage solutions out there in my opinion.

Colorful wool socks knitted by my Auntie M., similar to these--I could use like 100 more pairs (hint hint mom).

Wellies:) A must in England.

**disclaimer: these are things that I actually own, except for the socks and Wellies which are similar. I would never promote something I did not truly love. These products have the Bethany guarantee, which doesn't actually mean much in the real world.

Update: Sam just read this and said "I'm not on there."  He also asked if these are things that I want for birthday presents (it's coming up guys, November 16), which just goes to show you that he hasn't noticed that I already have everything I love and desire.  Except for an old yellow Mini with rust spots that doesn't go over 40 mph.  And is automatic.  Or a border collie puppy, but first we'd have to have kids so they can take care of it, but that's totally out of the question.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Last 5's

Last 5 Books I've Read:

1. The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts by Louis deBernieres
2. The Righteous Men by Sam Bournse
3. The Prometheus Deception by Robert Ludlum
4. The Last Time I Saw My Mother by Arlene J Chai
5. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb 

Last 5 Meals I've Eaten:

1. Chicken tikka masala
2. A southwest risotto (see, I love the stuff)
3. A pork roast with roasted veggies
4. Macaroni made with Gouda cheese and bacon
5. Pizza and Salad

Last 5 Blogs I've Looked at:

Last 5 Un-Funny Things:

1. The freezer we got for free defrosting
2. Still not having a job
3. Seeing embarrassing pictures of myself dancing on Facebook (they're mildly funny really)
4. Spilling sour cream all over everything in the fridge
5. Changing a disastrous explosive diaper (I have two more days of nannying)

Last 5 Halloween Costumes:

1. Lucifer (As in Satan, not the cat on Cinderella. And also the sexy female version not so much the scary real thing.)
2. A cat (Not as in Lucifer, the cat from Cinderella, but just an ordinary feline)
3. A gothic ballerina
4. A news agent (News Team ASSEMBLE!!!)
5. A cat (Same as number 2.  It's like the easiest costume.  All you need is ears on a headband.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Etsy Shop Update

I have finally updated my Etsy shop with a few things I've made recently (with my lovely new sewing machine!!) and some wonderful vintage finds as well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Say "YES!" to Risotto

Getting married has certainly broadened my culinary repertoir. Sam enjoys a range of foods different from what I am used to making, so it's been great to learn new recipes and techniques--my tastebuds also aprpeciate it.

I recenlty started making risottos every other week or so because, dang, they are TASTY. Not to mention warm and comforting and DELICIOUS. I began by doing a little online research, and found that Jamie Oliver really had a good recipe going on. I love Jamie Oliver. I want to own all of his books and also be his best friend because it would be awesome to be invited over for dinner. Anyway. Luckily you can get his recipes online, and instead of copying it all down here I will share the link to his basic risotto recipe. Please please please try it. You can add all kinds of things to this recipe; mushrooms, pesto and pine nuts, artichokes (YUM), asparagus, you name it. Once you get the hang of it it's pretty simple--and I know how much simple meals appeal to the modern chef/cook/housewife/food eater. Let me know how this works out for you and how much you LOVE it.

Here's a picture of Jamie just because he's a genius and he loves gardening and he taught me how to make a risotto so that my husband would stop asking me why we haven't had it for dinner yet. Also because he's cute for a chef. Here's to you Jamie...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Found Treasures

It is rare for me to go for a walk and not come home with my pockets full of little treasures that I find along the way. It's difficult to pass up a feather, or a clump of colorful berries. The windowsills are quickly becoming cluttered with little things that nature has generously left in my path.

Clockwise from the top: Sweet corn (picked in a field right above our village. Picking things that aren't yours is called "scrumping", which is synonymous for stealing), pine cones (they're everywhere these days), holly (I know it's early to be decorating for Christmas, but I've never actually seen holly with berries before in the wild), a bowl of hazelnuts (almost ready to be cracked and eaten), miniature pine cones (love these little guys!), a Magpie feather (according to the rhyme, one is for sorrow, but I think one feather is for happiness), orange berries on an interesting stalk (I haven't figured out what these are yet, but they are stunning, and also probably poisonous.) red bowl of acorns (I feel bad pinching these from the squirrels, but I had to have a few for my collection). And there you have it.

UPDATE: Just as I was about to hit the publish button for this post there was a knock on the door and my new guaranteed-to-work-in-the-UK sewing machine arrived thanks to my loving husband Sam! Whoohoo! Now I have an excuse not to do any cleaning!

UPDATE 2: Sam just informed me that holly with berries is actually female holly, male holly is the kind without. You need both in order to have berries. Makes sense right? Female holly has softer not so poky leaves, and male holly is very spiky.