Thursday, 27 December 2018

Fixing the house...

This post is to chart the progress of the house renovation. It's a small terraced, two bedroom house. It was clear it needed a lot of decorating but I had a good feeling as soon as I walked into the place. However, I don't think we realised how much the house needed doing to it when we bought it...


We realised about half way through the buying process that the house had a serious damp problem. The whole of the lower floor needed damp proofing in the living and dining room areas. It felt very daunting beforehand but I'm glad we did it in the end...


The damp proofing is now finished in the living room and chimney breast upstairs. The plaster was ripped out and walls drilled with damp proof treatment and then plastered again. One of the chimneys in the living room has had membrane put on it to stop the damp coming through...


It's currently drying out, I'm leaving it as long as I can until I start decorating it. In the mean time, I've been decorating the small second bedroom...


We've also just had new radiators put in. We realised that the radiators didn't work after we'd bought it and so took the decision to re - do it all. It's cost a small fortune but its worth it to have a warm home and we we're able to reposition most of them into better spots in the house. We also hope the heat generated will deter the damp...


Whilst doing the radiators, the plumber had to remove the floorboards but many of them split in the process and so we need to get the floorboards upstairs in the bedrooms replaced...


Next is the electrics in the new year. This is an old house c.1909, so there isn't many plug sockets upstairs. Then after the floorboards are replaced, carpet needs to be laid upstairs and then a new wooden floor in the living room/ dining area...


It currently looks like utter chaos and it's all costing a fortune but I think it will be worth it to have a nice place to come home to each day. Home is like a sanctuary for us both, away from the world, peace and quiet. I love being cosy at home and am looking forward to having it all completed eventually.



Christmas chocolate




I hope you've had a lovely Christmas. Ours was brief but a lovely break from work and I felt more festive this year. As we're in the process of moving soon and currently getting work done to the house we had a low key Christmas this year. We didn't get a Christmas tree and had very few decorations...


We did however do some Christmas cooking, we made our annual chocolate cake (an alternative for those who don't like the traditional fruit version) and some home made sausage rolls from this recipe...


I didn't have much money this year either to buy presents, so I made some Christmas chocolate bark, to give as gifts for family. My brother absolutely loves it, so I try to make some every year at Christmas. It doesn't look very impressive here in its box but it tastes lovely...


I thought I'd share the recipe here:

Ingredients:

500g White chocolate

500g Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

(The amount of chocolate can vary, but I use loads of it to make generous pieces and I try to use good quality chocolate)

x1 cartons of double cream

x1 bag of whole blanched almonds

x1 bag of dried cranberries


Equipment:

x 2 metal baking trays

Foil

Glass bowl

Metal pan


Method:

Before you begin, make sure you have some space in your refrigerator. Place your baking trays upside down and cover them with foil. These will form the base of the surface for your chocolate bark to set on.

Then put your blanched almonds on a baking tray and pop them in the oven for about 2 - 5 minutes. When their out of the oven, finely chop up the roasted almonds and dried cranberries and set aside in a bowl.

Put half your white chocolate into the glass bowl and put this over a pan of boiling water. You want the glass bowl to get the steam of the water but not touch it. When the chocolate is melted, pour it onto your metal trays using a knife to smooth a layer. Then cover this with your first dusting of cranberries/ almonds. Pop this into the fridge for 15 minutes.

In the mean time, put your dark chocolate and double cream into a metal pan to melt together on a low heat.

When this has melted let it cool for a while and then take your trays out of the fridge and very quickly put the melted choc/ cream ganache layer onto the white choc layer. You need to work quickly and with a clean knife so the white layer doesn't melt to much.

Pop this back into the fridge for 30 minutes to set. Using the same glass bowl as before, melt the rest of the white chocolate and then pour this onto your ganache layer quickly with another clean knife. The sprinkle the rest of your cranberries/ almonds onto this and pop it back into the fridge for 30 minutes more.

When it has set, take it out of the fridge and remove from the tray. Take off the foil underneath and place it on a wooden chopping board. Using a large knife, chop it up onto large chunks (or however you prefer) and put it into glass jars to give as gifts at Christmas. If you do make it, I hope you enjoy it :) Have a lovely new year!











Monday, 12 November 2018

Autumn


It's been a quiet sort of week here. I'm feeling a bit run down at the mo, so treated myself to some tea and cake. A quiet moment, in between all the house renovations and house work/day job is welcome..


It feels very autumnal here, our local park is lovely to walk through at the moment. I love the change of colours in the leaves and stillness in the air. I'm about to crack on with the house work and the decorating but must remember to stop and enjoy the season sometimes.


We still haven't moved yet, as we're going to get the damp work done after all. It's in the whole of the sitting room and two chimney breasts so is a big job. We're also having the electrics done and I'm getting quotes for replacing the radiators. I'm not sure we can afford to do the radiators yet but its worth finding out anyway. Then we have to replace all the carpets upstairs too, its a never ending list at the mo. I still have hope that we could move in by Christmas, that would be wonderful. But I think I'm hoping for a miracle! I hope you've had a lovely weekend :)

Monday, 29 October 2018

Happy Halloween...




We're now in the throws of autumn in the UK and I've been enjoying seeing the changes in the leaves, the beautiful autumn light in the mornings and getting cosy at home when I can. I've been sewing a patch work top for a blanket I want to make for our bed at home, I understand it would not be to a lot of peoples taste but H and I really like bright colours...


I'm enjoying making it, I'm sewing it by hand so it's taking a while to make. Its not finished yet, I still have a lot of squares to add to the top as I want it to be quite large to fit our bed, please excuse how messy our room is but I can never keep on top of all the cleaning in our place. I want to try to make our new place as cosy as possible when we move in. 


I recently went to see my sister Heidi who is very pregnant at the mo and bless her, she really made my stay there lovely, she is a sweetie. Here's a pic of her with her husband David...


We went to see a production of Dracula in an old church in Brighton. It was very well done and she bought me some Halloween chocolates...


She's been very kind to me and is helping me with the house renovations. I'm really looking forward to meeting 'the bump' as we are calling it at the mo! We also went on a lovely walk to Devils Dyke in Brighton on a very windy day but it was so nice to get out and look at the beautiful countryside...


I've also been trying to help H with his Halloween party stuff for school, made this skull piƱata last night...


My plans for Halloween are decorating and if I'm lucky a good Tim Burton film (Edward Scissorhands or Sleepy Hollow). I wanted to wish you a good Halloween, here is our Halloween cake I made this year...


When you cut into it, all the sweets tumble out the middle! I've always wanted to make a pumpkin cake and so even though this one is a bit messy I was pleased with it. I hope you have a lovely Halloween!






Thursday, 25 October 2018

All change...

I've decided recently to start blogging again, as I've quite missed it. I don't know if anyone out there is really reading anything I put on this page but I'm thinking it doesn't really matter as long as I'm happy doing it. I've been using Instagram and although I do like using it, its not the same as writing a blog. I think part of the reason I stopped was a lot of changes have been happening...


We recently bought our first home together. It's amazing to finally own a home after so many years dreaming about it, I really wanted us to settle somewhere and we finally found the house. But it needs a lot of work doing to it, so that's what I'm currenty doing at the mo...


I've made a start on decorating the main bedroom and now am about to get an electrician to put in some more plug sockets, put in new carpets and then start to decorate the second bedroom...


This house is tiny, with a serious damp problem (I may have to have the whole lower floor damp proofed) but its all ours and I'm looking forward to cleaning it up and moving in soon. I have though, got to review our finances as I didn't realise when I bought this house that the council tax is double what we pay and the general expenses of getting all the work done are daunting but I'm hoping it will be worth it. I think though I will need to get another job soon to help pay for it all, still I keep imagining Christmas and thinking it will all be worth it if we can get it all done and settle by then. Fingers crossed!