Wednesday, 23 January 2013


So I promised that I would write a quick update about what happened after we were told we were going to get the keys. Originally I was going to include pictures of the house and all but I ended up having quite a busy day anyway and there is no way I'm going to start taking pictures now. Etc, etc. (Plus I'm sitting on my couch, eating biscuits. Life is good.)

So when we woke up on Friday morning we phoned our solicitor and skeptically asked if we could get the keys or not. He said that he just had to wire our money to the other solicitor, and then the keys would be our's. That would take two hours, maximum. "Yay!" is the summary of our answer. After two hours we phoned him again. The money hadn't reached the other solicitor yet. "How very strange" we thought. This went on for a while until it was found out that the money had never been transferred at all (and we were getting seriously pissed off), but that it was going to be transferred now.

At this point we were told that the key was ours but that we had to pick it up at the estate agent's office. In a town an hour away. Before they closed at 5pm. Guys... It was a race against time. (Remember it was Friday night and if we didn't get the keys then we'd have to wait until Monday. Waiting another weekend felt unbearable.) Somehow we got there in time and the keys were handed to us and we could happily drive home with the knowledge that we would finally get out house that we've waited for so long.

Have you ever been in that situation where almost everything that can go wrong goes wrong? And then somebody jokes and says "the only thing missing is...", and then that happens as well? So that everything has gone wrong? Well when we arrived back at Steve's parents' house, tired and hungry, Steve's mom said, half-grumpy, half-jokingly "This better be the right keys".

I'm sure you all know what happened next.

Luckily the estate agents also had a terrible day and were working late, so when we phoned the office they were still there. At ten at night we were all standing outside the house, trying every house key in their possession, until the right set was found. And then we walked into our house for the first time since September. (Spoiler alert; there was more to do than we originally thought. The rooms were smaller than in my head. And that dining area that I thought I had? Well, it's more like a "path from door to fridge where a tiny table might fit"-area.)

Since that Friday we have spent most of our time getting the yellow paint of skirting boards, pulling out old nails hidden in the walls, painted them, getting the kitchen and bathroom tiled, new carpet had to be put down in two rooms, building furniture and a ton of small things that I can't even remember. Our heating worked sporadically the first ten days, but it seems to be fine now. I'm fairly certain that I can for the first time in my life see a subtle arm muscle belonging to me. And although it's not finished yet, it's certainly possible to live here. So naturally, we moved into the chaos.

I'm hoping to post pictures of what the house used to look like before the end of the week, but not tomorrow because I'm looking forward to an interview + a good time with friends.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Ten reasons to smile 9.0

(I know that I haven't blogged in a very long time. Almost a full two weeks, in fact. I'll make it up to you, unknown readers. And beware, this happy-post will probably contain a lot of house-related stuff.)

Image from my severely neglected Pinterest.

One - I have a house! I live in that house! I was beginning to think it would never happen but it did!

Two - My exams are over for this time and I don't think I did too badly in them, despite stressing so much the past ten days.

Three - I have coffee at home. Coffee has been my greatest support in life lately (closely followed by Steve.)

Four - On Sunday I leave for Paris for four days with my mom!

Five - Tomorrow is the first day that I haven't got about a million things to do. I still have lots that need to be sorted (especially with the house) but I have very few appointments and for the first time in ages I feel like I'll be waking up to a day that is manageable.

Six - When it came to decorating the house, I strayed out of my comfort zone once or twice. And I think it paid off.

Seven - I have an interview for a job later this week. The chances of me getting the job are so very slim, but I'm just really proud that I got anywhere at all. I am terrible at interviews.

Eight - I won the sofa-situation-battle. And this is a seriously comfortable sofa.

Nine - Three rooms have carpets down and the walls fully painted. Just the hallway, kitchen and bathroom left! As well as a few small things that just won't work... (We still decided to move in. Who can bother with properly functioning heating anyway.)

 Ten - In two days I'm spending an evening in Belfast with some of my favourite people ever.

Stay tuned for a recap of what has happened since my last post with my super-exciting cliffhanger (ehrm). I shall blog tomorrow at some point.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

This is it.

This is it. Our solicitor phoned yesterday and said "you should have the keys on Friday". And I thought "YEAH RIGHT you weird little old man, you've given us about three dates that we should have had the key on and none of them ended up right so I'm certainly not believing you now."

But today we phoned him again, and he had everything sorted. All that is missing is the key, which is still in the other solicitor's office. So tomorrow we're getting the key from them and then we officially have the house that we've been paying for the last month. I can't quite believe it. Somewhere in my mind I had almost resigned to the fact that I would be living with Steve's parents forever and somehow we'd grow old but they'd stay the same age until we were all old together.

But now we're rapidly getting a house. This means that suddenly I felt very unprepared and had to make up a schedule of all the things that I will be doing the next few days. Cleaning, prepping, painting. Meeting with the tiler and the carpet-guy who I don't know why he's coming over but he is anyway. That's on top of going into school 9am-2pm each day to do testing on children (harmless stuff, recording them reading and stuff like that, no laboratories) plus revising and panicking about my exams. Oh, and I'm driving as well because my practical driving test is rapidly arriving.

I am so excited I can barely contain myself. Will I manage to squeeze in an IKEA trip somewhere as well?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mantelpiece Special

You may have thought that I was joking when I mentioned doing a blog post devoted entirely to mantelpieces. I wasn't. This is the kind of thing I live for. However, I will keep it short and sweet, because let's face it: This is about an object that I only own one of and unfortunately I'm not even that fond of the one I have. If I had my way it would be either a modern, plain, white open fireplace or a super-old, distressed but still white fireplace. I have neither of those. Instead I have a fairly new but wooden fireplace. In a type of wood that nothing else that I own is in. I'd rather have it than no fireplace though because I can't wait for those cozy evenings in front of the TV with the fire on. It's a travesty that I'm not writing this coming up to Christmas time because 99% of the fun with having a fireplace is decorating it for Christmas. We will make do, however. (And eagerly await Christmas 2013, when this blog will go Christmas-mad.)

In the first and third picture you see the kind of fireplace that I would like. Simplicity gone mad. (But remember, I don't have this.) I would like to retain the idea of collecting art stacked against the walls on the fireplace. I also like the pink (see picture 2) and the butterflies (see picture 3), which gives a nice springtime feeling. I love the stacked magazines in front of the fire but I have a sneaky suspicion that it wouldn't be good for health and safety purposes. And I don't even own that many magazines. Instead I think I'll keep a nice, big old pot next to it. Maybe I can get cute fire tools to stack in it. Cute fire tools are easy to get, right?

Noticing a pattern here? I do like some white. A mirror above the fireplace seems to be quite common in a lot of homes, but several? I'd probably stack them rather than hang them though, just like the art work in the other pictures. If I had a beautiful old fireplace like the one in the middle picture I would happily keep it simple. On the other hand, I like the last image with all its quirkiness. (Obviously I can't stack objects inside my fireplace, not if I'd like to keep them anyway, but I like the colour combinations.) I have a little turquoise heart object and a candle of the same shape that just might get the honour of bringing some colour to my fireplace.

You may notice that I don't show that many elegant pictures that I've drawn inspiration from. That is because although I like them, I'm not very elegant and neither is Steve. So I'll just leave the elegant homes for the elegant people. (I clearly did not manage to keep this post short and sweet. Sorry.)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Hello excessive shopping

I've just had two busy days. At least they felt busy. Yesterday I studied, went to Belfast to pick up some things for my thesis and then I spent the entire evening folding information sheets, putting them in envelopes, and labeling them. Until I ran out of labels. I got Steve to drive me to two different Tesco stores (this is why I need a driving license, clearly) until I found labels. They were too big for the envelopes however and I spent another hour cutting them to size so that it would look neat. I finished and it was night time and I was ready to give up on life, kind of. Today I studied, cleaned mine and Steve's rooms thoroughly, went into town to visit the school I'm working on my thesis with and then I studied some more until Steve's nephew came over and he's too cute to ignore. I also built my chairs that have finally arrived (see picture for proof)! When Steve got home we went to babysit the same nephew (four years old) plus his sister (two years old) which was hilariously fun but also exhausting. How do parents do this? I feel like I need a nap after an hour with them. Now I'm behind on my studying for today and I need to go to Belfast tomorrow... I'll catch up on studying on Thursday, I guess.

Here's a random list of things that I've bought the last few days:
This Kenwood Food Processor. I've wanted a food processor for ages since Steve will only eat a select number of vegetables and only if they're chopped beyond recognition. Which takes ages. And I will not give up on these vegetables. I also plan to make soups in it. We're becoming grown-ups.

This lifestyle book by blogger Emily Schulman. It just looks like it's going to make me so happy and it has pretty pictures. I admit that I'm generally skeptic towards bloggers and books (you know, Madonna and children's books type of feeling) but I bought Decorate Workshop by Holly Becker (that is now crazily more expensive) a few months ago and I read it all the time.

Ready Player One by Ernest Kline which was mentioned at HelloGiggles at some point. It's one of those books that encompass the things I value the most in life; nerdy boys, nerdy games and futuristic settings. Plus it's hilarious.

A Facial Cleansing Vanity Kit from Clarins today when I was waiting at the bus. This is going to sound gross but my nose keeps getting so dry that it flakes. Despite me using a moisturiser twice a day. If I don't sort this out the nose is going to disappear entirely. I've heard good things about Clarins from a friend of mine who's good with beauty-related stuff, and this seemed like a good deal in comparison to the usual pricing from this brand. I used it tonight and oh my god. I can't stop touching my face, it is unbelievably soft.

This may seem like a lot of shopping (and I seem to make this mistake every spring) but I've had some money saved up and all of these purchases seem necessary. Apart from the books possibly, considering that I'm still half-way through Life of Pi and the third part of 1Q84. I need to stop reading several books at a time.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Ready for January

I feel like I'm finally starting to get into the rhythm of this month, I just needed this first week to get over the loss of Christmas. Now I'm ready for January! Hello making new plans, hello wanting to decorating with pastels and light wood. Hello the million recipes of vegetable-based meals that I bookmark and plan to cook as soon as we have our house. And smoothies! I've decided that I'm becoming the next smoothie-expert of this generation, one each morning before I rush to the train. Or maybe in a to-go cup on the train? I'll be the envy of every commuter, sipping on my healthy smoothie each morning.

I've finally started studying properly as well, rather than my meek sessions during the Christmas holidays. Things are good. I usually hate January, but this year I'm beating it. Or succumbing to it, whichever way you want to look at it. This month is going to be even better because it ends with a trip to Paris and then my practical driving test. I'd rather try to not think about that part because I'm terrified. And obviously I have exams to take before that. And data for my thesis to gather. This month will pass before I know it.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Living room decisions

As a reward for revising for exams on a Saturday I decided I would allow myself to make another long-winded post about my house, just like the one I posted on Saturday about my future dining room corner. (A second Saturday in a row that I post about my house? It's as if it's a weekend series, which I haven't had since last spring when I raved about 90s music every Sunday. Fancy.) This post will be even more riveting, because this concerns everyone's favourite room to decorate; the living room! Because this is where our guests will mingle when we have cocktail evenings, or where my monthly book club meetings will occur. In my dreams. The living room is also the room that I planned out first, and then changed my mind about a million times over afterwards. This is also evident by the number of living room pictures that I have saved on my laptop; 63. And that's after I deleted all the pictures of mantelpieces. (I might make an open-fire-special blog post. The thought makes me giddy with happiness, really.)

Voila. Another homemade house layout masterpiece created by me, but this time only of the lower right corner of the house. The size of the room is not bad at all, although I wouldn't have minded a slightly bigger room... But it's a fairly good shape, there's only one door that makes my life (when decorating) troublesome and there's a big window facing out to the street so there will also be a decent amount of light during the day. And best of all... There is a real open fire. This is great because it means that I can finally face my fear of fire that was nurtured in me after not being trusted with candles until the age of 13. It also means that me and Steve will have a cozy fire to watch during cold winter mornings... The window has a radiator underneath it and so we can't put anything on the southern wall. Therefore, we planned to put our TV in the south-eastern corner of the room and the couch directly diagonally across from it, so that we have a view over the fire as well as the TV. 

A large part of my decorating dreams involve spacious, white areas, preferably with high ceilings and located in a building with lots of history. That will never again happen to me. Instead I've tried to pick my furniture with care so that there is at least an illusion of space. If you had read this blog for a while you may remember the Sofa-Situation. Well, guess what? I won. We're getting the Karlstad sofa that is not too big and chunky, but reasonably comfortable and within our budget. This sofa always gives me a certain mid-century vibe as well (and I am all about incorporating that vibe) so a couple of months ago I splashed on this coffee table from Habitat to pair it with. Don't worry, I did not pay full-price for it. I also bought a number of pillows to keep in the couch in gray and bright yellow hues, but unfortunately the yellow pillow that I ordered ended up being a little bit too close to orange for my liking (oh Habitat, how could you let me down?). Now I'm hunting for new pillows to love. 

Both me and Steve had decided that we wanted white walls in the living room, to make the room feel slightly bigger. But one of my biggest flaws is that I tend to decorate slowly, and even slower if I don't have money to buy things. In other words, my white walls that I eventually want to put paintings and other treasured items on just might be left bare for longer than I would like to. This made me consider painting one of the walls a warm, slate gray instead (like in image 7 and 10), or add an unexpected colour. I'm having trouble, because on one hand I feel like everyone has a gray wall somewhere and I'm also worried that the room is too small or that it only goes with beautiful wooden floors (rather than carpet, which is what we have). Decisions.

Either way, I've decided to keep the base fairly neutral and then I can change things up with pillows and fluffy rugs as much as I like. I also want to incorporate a few smaller things, like a little nice chair (preferably like the ones in imag. 8) or a knit pouffe and an interesting floor lamp to tower over it. Additionally, I'd like a bookshelf so that I can keep my books out instead of having to store them in an old suitcase under my bed, along with a few selected knickknacks. (Notice that the same candle sticks appear in both image 11 and 13. Clearly my subconscious wants it and it's probably ridiculously expensive.) And that's the end of this house post. My dad mentioned the other day that after reading my blog he thinks my style is "scattered". I think this post clearly shows that he is wrong, it may just be difficult to see the theme among the things I choose...

All images are from my Pinterest board, where you can see the remaining 50 images that I also adore but that either didn't make the cut for this post or just won't suit in our house. The board with my sofa and table on it was created at Olioboard.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Photo tags and pantomime

For once in my life I don't feel like January is sucking all the happiness out of me. I haven't quite figured out why that is yet, but one can hope that I've had a change of personality and that I'm now a positive, glowing person. 

But I doubt it. 

This is basically my week in a nutshell. Yesterday I studied and then I spent about two hours trying to find photo paper so that I could make photo gift tags (just like the ones I raved about in my post dedicated to wrapping presents! Yes, it's true, I have a post about wrapping) and I'm really pleased with how my gift turned out. I just noticed that the gifts that I were inspired by also use brown paper and this makes me seem really non-creative, but I'm going to ignore that for now and be pleased anyway. Not only have I organised among all my home decor stuff, but I've also gathered every single piece of paper that was lying loose and either filed it or thrown it away. One day I'll show you my filing system. It is a thing of beauty. (I don't have a home, but I have a filing system. Prioritisation.) In my spare time I've studied.

Yesterday me and Steve went with his nieces to see a pantomime. I was quite disappointed, to tell you the truth. It wasn't bad, I just wasn't expected that there would be so much.. banter. I suppose I'm the gloomy type who wants to go see a classic children's story and relive my childhood. Even though I've only left childhood properly a few years ago. This is the kind of trait that causes me to suspect that I'm going to become one of those old people that all children hate. Once I realised that the point of a pantomime is to shout and roar, I did start to enjoy it. Also, Steve's nieces are hilarious. 

My dad and my brother have ordered their tickets to come over and visit me by the end of June, so that they don't miss my graduation. I'm looking forward to having them over.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Virtual house tour

Today turned out a lot more productive than I thought it would be. Steve had to go back to work a little earlier than we expected (only because he misunderstood the number of days he was off) and so I had a full day of drinking coffee, reading books and taking a virtual stroll through my Pinterest. Oh, I was so wrong. After a night where I couldn't get to sleep (I'm either too warm or too cold, plus I cough - quite a frustrating situation) I started the day off by re-organising all the things we bought for our house the last few months into cardboard boxes rather than leaving them in giant IKEA bags everywhere. That way I can get Steve and other muscly people to carry the boxes over to the house while I tell them what box goes in what room. Kitchen boxes in kitchen, stationary boxes in the study, and so on. It also forced me to gather all the new Christmas decorations that I had bought and accept the truth; Christmas is over, and it was not celebrated in our house. Our robot-baubles (yes, you heard me) will have to wait until next year. (Those baubles are a homage to how nerdy we are. And cute and quirky! The robots, not us.) I also cleaned, studied for exams and then I made chocolate chip cookies.

What I really wanted to do tonight was to write a post like Saturday's Dining room decisions, because writing about my decoration plans for each room is really fun whilst it also makes everything so much clearer. At the moment I have an idea in my head for each room but about a million images saved on my computer and sometimes they confuse me. The images I saved for inspiration and my thoughts... It's all confusing. Unfortunately, that type of post takes quite a while as I realised on Saturday, and I want to have time to watch an episode of True Blood with Steve tonight. So I'm just gonna do a different house-related post where I just ramble about the house in general. Much less useful, but just as enjoyable for me. (I'm sorry you guys who aren't interested in my house. I'm just obsessed with it at the moment. Plus my mom is too, so... I feel like those reasons are enough to justify my never shutting up about it.)

This is my bungalow. More specifically, this is a paint-made drawing of the layout of my bungalow. The thicker black lines are supposed to be doors, I couldn't be arsed drawing the windows (sorry) and the gray stuff is where I imagine some of the bigger pieces of furniture will go. Again, I take no responsibility for the proportions here. I have trouble remembering what size my feet are relative to my body, never mind an entire house. Anyway, the most southern door leading into our hallway is the front door. The hallway is as expected; not very roomy. Yet I could fit a console table, or possibly an Expedit bookshelf from IKEA on it's side I think. It really comes down to the fact that there is just not enough storage space (never in my life has there been enough storage space) and I'd like to make the most of the situation.

The boiler room is a British invention (I assume) where the boiler basically has its own little cozy room. There's shelves above the boiler however and I plan to store towels or something there as soon as I've been given a green light. The last thing I'd want to do is store my towels someplace damp, and then get mold on them. Ew. Also, the boiler room isn't nearly that long. I have no idea what I was thinking. The two bedroom are the same size but the southern one faces the street so naturally we'll be sleeping in the northern one. The kitchen and living room are also the same size but as they don't have to share space with a bathroom/boiler room they're both bigger than the bedrooms. Which makes me feel like the kitchen is massive, at least in comparison to our old kitchen. We can fit... Wait for it... More than two people in the room at the same time! The kitchen leads to the utility room, which leads out to our tiny garden. It's really only a small patch of grass but it's enough to house a line for clothes to dry and a chair where I can read. Plus a giant, ugly oil tank. It's not ideal, but whatever. I'll have a garden!

So this post turned out longer than I planned. Sorry about that. I just get over-excited when I think of our house. We spoke to the solicitor today and for some reason the sellers switched solicitors over Christmas and that's why it's taking ages. Ridiculous. (Moving in date is steadily getting closer though.)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2012 list

I've seen this list on several famous Swedish blogs (like here, here and here), but I haven't seen an  English translation for it yet. So I did one. Maybe it'll spread!
In 2012, did you do anything that you had never done before?
I visited Derry and made cookies. (What a fascinating life I lead!)
Did any of your friends have children?
Yes, one of my friends from school had a beautiful baby boy!
Did anyone close to you pass away?
Fortunately I didn't lose anyone this year. 
What countries did you visit?
I visited Sweden once. And technically Ireland and Denmark I suppose. Airports, anyway.
Did you miss anything from 2012 that you would like in 2013?
I would like to do some more travelling in 2013, especially with Steve. He hasn't been in Sweden for two years now!
What date from 2012 will you forever remember?
I don't remember particular dates, really. Just moments.
What was your biggest success 2012?
I think towards the end of 2012 I started dealing with my emotions in a much better way. I wasn't as sad etc.
Biggest mistake?
I wish I had been better with money, to spend in moderation.
Best buy?
I bought these black boots that I've worn more than any other pair of shoes, possibly. Such a good buy! (The house is a close second though.)
Did anything make you really happy?
Lots of things made me really happy. Coffee dates with friends and late nights out. Steve always makes me really happy. And Pinterest, and writing these posts works surprisingly well.
What songs will forever remind you of 2012?
I listened to I Don't Want To Get Over You by The Magnetic Fields a lot this summer. The entire album is brilliant, but the sad atmosphere in this song is exactly how I felt when I was jobless during June/July.
Were you more happy or sad than previous years?
I'd like to think that I was happier, especially during the latter half.
What do you wish you had done more of?
I wish I had studied more. So much of my time is spent procrastinating, and I really need to be more motivated.
What do you wish you had done less of?
Stressed about things.
Did you fall in love this year?
I'm in a constant state of in love!
Favourite TV show?
Homeland was excellent, but I finished the second season of Twin Peaks and it rocked my world. Also, I watched all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, and I still miss it daily. AND DOWNTON ABBEY, my goodness.
Best book you read this year?
I loved reading The Hunger Games, especially the first one. The level of excitement is so rare for books! And The House of Tomorrow and Looking for Alaska (both of which are excellent young adult-reads, in my opinion). I also loved The Blind Assassin, Kafka on the Shore and The Bookthief. 
Biggest musical discovery?
The Magnetic Fields. 
Anything you wished for and got?
I wanted a job and I got it!
Anything you wished for and didn't get?
Nothing in particular.
What did you do on your birthday 2012?
It was my brother's secondary school graduation, so I was in Sweden and spent most of it cleaning, getting ready and serving other people food. It was still a brilliant day.
Anything that would have made your life better?
Seeing my family a little bit more.
What made you feel good?
Steve. All the things I mentioned that make me really happy.
What celebrity did you have the hots for?
No one really.
Who did you miss?
My family and friends in Sweden.
Best new people you met?
I met friends of friends and friends' girlfriends that I'm so very happy to have met.
Biggest pride?
Proud over Steve who received a 1st in his Engineering degree.
Highest wish right now?
For things to speed up with our house so that we can move in already. And so that the exam period is over.

New Year's Day shopping

You know that feeling when you wake up and your voice is completely gone, last night's curls are still in and a faint smell of greasy late night pizza surrounds you? That is the exact feeling I woke up with today. Although going out with a cold was probably not the best of ideas, I don't regret it. It's only New Year's Eve once a year and I'm all up for celebrating holidays that I'm told bear some type of significance on my life.

I just bought this shirt and the skirt from Urban Outfitter's online shop. The shirt wasn't even on sale (woops!) but I've seen it pop up in all kinds of places and I finally found a blog post that credited the shirt to Urban Outfitters. There's just no reason not to buy it, really. The skirt was only £15 and I have been looking for a quirky pencil skirt to wear casually for ages. As soon as I had paid for it I started feeling the angst though. Will I ever wear it? What will I wear it with? I'm thinking simple t-shirts. That's as far as I've gotten (truly a bad sign). I probably don't have anything else in my wardrobe that I dare wearing with this skirt. The dotted shirt however, that'll just pay for itself within no time at all. 

What can I say? This is the first year that I've had any money around New Year's Day, I need to make up for lack of shopping in previous years.