My kitchen is cured

It’s been a long weekend. FULL of cleaning. I didn’t anticipate the Kitchn Cure to be quite so full-on, but every task so far (5 days in) has been cleaning of some sort. Day 4 was a full-on deep clean. It took me until the weekend to catch up as I had things on every night after work, and this was going to be a loooong-ass task. It took four hours yesterday, and about 2-3 today.

Can you tell the difference?

Overview-before after

First look – yes, I’ve found a home for the drill, tool box and compost bin. But closer up, I managed something I’ve not done since I first moved in five months ago.

Sink-before after

All the dishes are done, dried, put away and the dish rack is actually folded up. Never done that. Probably won’t ever again if I’m honest but this once, it’s a pretty nice feeling.

Continuing upwards, I had decided to finally clean the top of the cupboards and extraction fan. I noticed when I first moved in that there was a load of old bits of wall (I think?) up there, that I’ve shamefully never got round to cleaning up. So this was the day to tackle it.

It wasn’t just bits. There was grease. A lot of it.

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I know. Eww. I don’t know if this was my five months’ worth of cooking, or if it just wasn’t cleaned before I moved in – I obviously prefer to think that it’s the latter. But with a bit of elbow grease and my favourite green multi-cleaner, it was soon sparkling.

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Good eh? Next was the top of the cupboards, which were also pretty rank.

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What makes it worse is that I’ve actually been putting things up there for months. For example, the tupperware with Barry’s food, which I regularly take down from there and (ugh) put on the work surface. I know. So vile. I was a little bit ashamed. But no more, as it’s now gleaming!

Next it was the turn of the cupboard insides. This wasn’t too bad, just a matter of taking everything out, giving the cupboards a quick wipe down and then putting everything back in.

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Luckily my friend Rachel helped me organise the cupboards when I first moved in, so that was one less job for me to do now.

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That last photo also drew my attention to a spot on the bottom of the shelf that I’d missed…thanks flash.

Next up – that bastion of clutter. The work surface.

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Before and after, you say?

Work surface-before after

The only thing proudly mounted on there is the (mostly crossed-out) to-do list. Let’s take a look shall we?

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That makes me happy. Oh, I properly got my geek on in the middle of clearing up the cluttered work surface and fashioned a little plastic bag holder out of an egg carton. Yeah, that’s just as bad as it sounds, but I was feeling…inspired? I needed a solution for the, ahem, nappy bags that I use to clear out Barry’s litter tray. Something that’s a bit more aesthetically pleasing than just the ugly Tesco Value bag that was proudly sitting on top of the toilet cistern. I used some wallpaper sample scraps that I had stashed away to make it look a bit…prettier.

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Yes, you may point and laugh.

SAM_0527But you know, it looks a lot better now.

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Go on, mock me. I fully deserve it. But at least the kitchen is clean!

 

Cure my kitchen!

I’m about to own up to all my culinary ugly. And I mean…fugly. I’ve signed up to  the Kitchn cure in an attempt to get my mess under control before my dear mum comes over in ten days. Everyone knows mother’s visit = shame. Non? And since it’s her first visit since I moved into the new flat, I want to impress. So, without further ado…..here’s the shameful before:

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You can see where this is heading, right? MESS.

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SAM_0513Oh hello breakfast dishes. And last night’s dinner dishes…I just can’t seem to become one of those people who always wash up before they go to bed.

I also can’t seem to ever become one of those people who actually ever put the dishes away. Until the dish rack is so full nothing else will precariously balance on top. SAM_0514

Where the proverbial magic happens:

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There’s still some magic lingering….

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And here is the Bermuda work surface that never, ever stays clear. Hang on, who am I kidding – “stays” clear? It’s never been bloody clear.

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Above that, the ornamental cat food:

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And below….so much wasted yet badly organised space.

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The only area that’s somewhat organised is the cleaning area behind the door.

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But never fear! To balance that out, more disorganised mess:

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And of course, the feline fine dining nook:

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Yep, a random shelf propped up next to the radiator. Looks good, right? Wrong. So many wrongs in one room. Here are some of the things I’d like to sort out in this kitchen:

1. Find a place for the tool box + drill – not necessarily in the kitchen, but somewhere easily accessible since I use them quite often.

2. Put that shelf up above the microwave – just need to get the right screws from B&Q. It will house my cook books (which will make more room on that trolley for other things that don’t have a permanent home) and the woven basket that holds all my lunch boxes. At the moment that basket is on top of one of the cupboards next to the extraction fan, which isn’t very practical.

3.  Organise under the sink. I’ve not actually documented it because, to be honest, I forgot. But it’s in dire need of sorting out. Hopefully it can house the cleaning stuff that’s now in the yellow box on the floor, taking up unnecessary space.

Doesn’t sound like a lot when I list it, but for some reason it’s seemed like an insurmountable task which I’ve been putting off for months. So, let’s roll those sleeves up. Tonight I’ve already done the dishes and cleaned the fridge out, chucking some two year old lemon curd, a kids’ carton of apple juice (?) and an almost-empty jar of chutney in the bin. It’s a nice start, I’ll tell you. Looking forward to tomorrow’s task!

Photo collage (finally!)

This is something that I’ve been planning for almost four months, i.e. since I moved in. In the last flat I ran out of wall space for all my photos, posters and other framed paraphernalia, but here I’ve almost run out of things to hang! For my reading corner I wanted to create cosyness by hanging loads of pictures of family and friends, and since I’d never attempted a frame collage before, I thought it was about time.

First I laid out all the picture frames in a formation that I liked:
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Barry clearly wasn’t as taken with it, but since he can’t complain, I chose to ignore him. Oh, and I know that in most stylish frame collages you see on Pinterest etc, all the frames match. Mine don’t. That’s fine, as these were all frames I already had and I wasn’t about to go out and spend loads on this.

After previous failed attempts at hanging pictures exactly where I wanted them, I took some advice from this post and used newspaper templates to make sure I got the holes/nails right.
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Before I taped the bits of paper up on the wall I marked a hole where the nail should go, so that I could easily put it in the right place once the template was on the wall. Like so:
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Yep, I got to put a nail through Viggo Mortensen’s crotch.

Once I’d marked and taped all the paper templates up and put nails in all the correct places, my wall looked…interesting. Not exactly stunning, or cosy.
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Put when I’d whipped off the paper and hung the pictures – ta-daah!
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Please excuse the lilac chair. I bought it that way with plans to spray paint it, but when I finally took the time to do it, I ran out of paint. It’s still on my (long) list of projects. And the frame collage may look a bit small, but the idea is that I can build out from this shape as I want.

And just because I’m a nerd, here it is in 60s mode:

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Lunchtime mooch

I am obsessed with TK Maxx. I mean obsessed. Pretty much every lunchtime I nip in either there or in its sister shop Home Sense. Because you never know what might have popped up overnight, like some sort of magical home decor mushroom!

Today I just thought I’d share a few things that I spied while I methodically scanned the aisles…speaking of aisles, this one might be my favourite:
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All those baskets just make me want to grab a load of them and run home and dot them around my flat. You know, like in the homes of one of those effortlessly organised people you see on American blogs. I will never be one of them. I like tat too much.

Moving on! I have been pondering my bathroom scheme, having just finished putting things on walls last night (update post coming soon!). I’m thinking a combination of whites, oranges and pinks. Might sound garish but this towel I spied made it all come together like a well-oiled squirrel:
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By the way, pardon the low-quality pics today, they were all taken on my worthless phone. Speaking of towels, I also really liked these, but alas they would not go with my chosen scheme:

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Continuing the bathroom theme, I thought this would look well cute filled with cotton wool balls:

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In the clearance section I spotted this little gent, at a bargainous £3 due to a minute chip.

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I would fill him with wine corks (ok, this is starting to sound rude) as and when bottles got drunk (quite frequently in my house…) Blatantly stole that idea from one of those aforementioned blogs.

I also spotted some fairly ghastly and, frankly, quite incomprehensible things. Oversized ornamental shoes anyone?

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No, me neither.

Speaking of American…things, TK Maxx have started doing a “craft” and “scrapbooking” (never quite got my head around that concept to be honest) section, which somehow appeals to me, on some primal level. These lovely cards just made me want to be one of those people who sit at a leather-clad desk and write grown-up notes of thanks to friends.

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Yeah, never gonna happen either. I know my limits.

Love a bit of charidee

The charity shops in Didsbury are brilliant. They’re full of books, paintings, old granny tat and general things that I shouldn’t love or want, but I do. I’m such a magpie. I went on a clueless stroll around the Sue Ryder and Cancer Research shops yesterday and ended up coming home with these treasures:

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Pot + book

Now I call that painting a treasure – someone else called it “hideously amazing”. Make of that what you will. The book I only picked up because I liked the look of it. I’m that shallow.

Book

I wouldn’t just buy a book if I didn’t like the sound of it though, so what I normally do with books is I read the first page to see if I like the author’s language and then decide. This one mentioned crack dealers and death on the first page, so I was sold. The plant pot was so gloriously 70s that I couldn’t leave it behind, and it certainly breaks up the masses of plain white Ikea ones dotted around the flat.

As I always do with charity shop finds, I started off by giving the frame a thorough clean. And it’s a good thing I did:

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When I was done it looked like Barry had had a particularly messy accident.

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I like to think that someone had this in their smoking parlour and enjoyed gazing at the palm trees while enjoying a leisurely hit of tobacco.

Once it was clean, it went up in its intended place above the radiator.

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I know it looks a bit empty for now, but I’m planning on getting some small mirrors and clustering them between the painting and the lamp, to reflect light into the “living room” part of the flat.

Speaking of lamp, something that was completely unintentional was how the frame matches the lamp base perfectly! See?

Comparison

Very pleased. I’ve not found a home for the plant pot or book yet but I will try out a few different places and let you know where they end up.

Happy Sunday!

A new home/start

I’ve found a new home for me and Barry. I’m so, so, so relieved and so, so, so excited about our new home. It’s bigger and better than my current place, so maybe things do happen for a reason.

And it’ll give me a whole new blank canvas for home decor/DIY projects! I hope we’ll be as happy there as we have been here.

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On the move

I found out yesterday that I have to leave my flat. I’ve lived here for two and a half years and have loved it for every minute of that. When the house I live in was sold six months ago, I was a bit nervous that something like this would happen, but for each month that passed I stopped worrying. So this came as quite a shock. I wouldn’t move out if it was my choice.

But I’m trying to think of the positives. I’ve had a good innings here, but I have started getting a bit frustrated with the size of it. It’s VERY small. Everyone who has ever come to visit has told me that it’s really cosy, and I’ve tried to make it so, but it is small.

Kitchen

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To make my point, I have had to put seven shelves up in the kitchen to house the stuff that won’t fit in my two single cupboards. Seven shelves. And two cupboards. Not even double-doored cupboards. One houses all my crockery and one houses all my dry goods. Oh, and right next to the TV is the front door. You see? Tiny.

So I’m trying to think of the possibilities that this can present, instead of focusing on the negativity. Because there’s nothing I can do about this – I have to move. So I might as well try and think of the positive aspects of this, such as more kitchen space (hopefully), a carpet that doesn’t hold on to every single hair that Barry moults, and maybe, just maybe, even a separate bedroom.

Here’s hoping x