Saturday, 29 June 2013

The search begins...

So, the time has come when I have finally started searching in earnest for my first property to purchase. I've stalked the Internet for months, and have also spent the last few weekends driving around the suburbs on the outskirts of south-west London that I thought would constitute my search area...the result of which some original options have been discarded and new ones added.

Yesterday I spent time registering my details with about ten agencies in two of my favoured areas, and I have a viewing arranged for this afternoon (for which I don't hold any hope but I need to start somewhere!)

The thought of purchasing a flat alternately fills me with anticipation and disappointment. I'm very excited to finally be in a position to be able to dream and design and make a space my own. On the other hand, I find it quite hard to reconcile how little my budget can procure in this leafy corner of London. The property market in London survived the GFC with very little impact, and consequently I do feel that I'll be paying a large sum for not a great deal. The only positive is that the London market is expected to continue to slowly rise, and if I at least get a foothold in the market now, I'll stand myself in good stead in the future.

Perhaps it is the fact that I have waited so long to take this step (moving from one side of the world to the other 5 times in the space of 10 years impacts property acquisition somewhat) makes me feel more apprehensive that I would otherwise...I am so concerned about making the wrong decision.

So, my fingers are crossed that this search doesn't prove too traumatic or disappointing, and that by the end of the year I am in my own little flat surrounded by paint charts and my Pinterest boards!


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Trooping the colour and other weekend pursuits...

In what is becoming an annual June event for us, my friend K and I met on the Mall on Saturday morning to watch the guards and royal family process down to Horse Guards Parade for Trooping the Colour (the celebration for the official birthday of the sovereign). We were joined this year by K's mother who is currently visiting from Australia.

The guards from the various Household divisions were first to pass, followed by the Household Cavalry. Of course, it is also a wonderful opportunity to see the Royal Family make their way past in carriages.
 The Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry

Her Majesty, The Queen accompanied by the Duke of Kent

She received such a warm reception as she passed which was lovely to witness. It was also lovely to watch the news coverage later in the day and see her smiling so beatifically throughout - it is obviously an event she enjoys immensely.

The Serpentine, Hyde Park

After the procession we meandered up to Hyde Park for lunch at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen. We arrived just as they began serving lunch and found a table easily...just as well, as seating was at a premium by the time we left.

Today I spent in a quite different range of pursuits...

Baking this morning

Followed by a little excursion to one of the little village suburbs of south-west London where I am looking to buy a flat - for a bit of a reconnaissance, a browse in the bookshop and a coffee in a very sweet newly-opened cafe.

Finally, for supper this evening I decided to try this new recipe, as first seen on Alicia's blog...highly recommended!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

A solution to the coffee table quest...

Last autumn I shared my dilemma over trying to choose a coffee table for my small that was not overwhelming for the space, was available in the UK, and not to costly.

I had to reconcile that a lovely tufted ottoman was not feasible in my current space, and that the brass and glass versions over which I was hankering were few and far between here in London.

So, whilst I was trawling ebay back at the end of last year I came across this little version. Glass top (so as to take up less visual bulk in the room), and some nice detail and curves to the design of the legs. Best of all, it only cost me £5 (plus petrol and 90mins of driving each way half way around the M25 to collect it!)

So, it has sat in its 'lovely' varnished state in my sitting room ever since whilst I gathered up the impetus to give it a makeover - though I do blame my travels away for having been so tardy in getting on with this project.

Finally, with the bonus of a lovely sunny weekend, I pulled out the ASCP (old white) and gave her a makeover.
That varnish was incredibly stubborn and even after 3 coats of ASCP it was still bleeding through. I caved in at that point and went and bought some white primer...another coat of paint later and I was much happier with the end result.

...and a gratuitous shot of the lovely stocks gracing my coffee table this week!

Monday, 3 June 2013

On white tiles and grouting...

Image via


I spent quite a few hours over the weekend repairing the grouting in my shower. The picture above is, unfortunately, not one of my bathroom. I didn't even bother taking any because a) my bathroom has no natural light and therefore b) no photo is ever going to show any detail that is not cast in the hideous light cast by the combination of magnolia walls and a less than useful light fitting. So, I thought I'd include a much nicer picture of glossy white tiles which is one of my inspiration pictures for a future bathroom renovation (the possibility of which is becoming tantalisingly close...but that is a story for another post).

So, the tiling in my over bath shower was looking a little the worse for wear. I debated contacting the agency that manages the flat to see about getting it repaired....but then I remembered what a palaver it was last year when I had to get my heater replaced. So I decided to try a little repair myself.

Having practised re-grouting on a section of my mother's bathroom last year, I wasn't particularly daunted. Armed with a couple of products and a handy re-grouting tool set from Home Base and I was all set. Firstly I removed the grout from the sections where it had become cracked and was starting to fall out - and it quickly became apparent that mine wasn't the first repair of this type! Some ready mixed white grout in a tube made quick work of replacing the grout lines. After waiting 24 hours I then applied a grout whitening product over the remainder of the grout lines so they matched the new section. Quite a few contortionist poses were needed to finish the job, but I'm sure that is all to the good in terms of keeping myself flexible!

So whilst my bathroom doesn't look as lovely as the picture, I am delighting in how much fresher and cleaner it looks every time I walk in to the room...and now looking forward to taking on a much bigger bathroom project in the future.