Here we go!

The flooring is here!  We had a manic day yesterday.  Barry had the opticians in the morning, and of course, that was the time when the pallet of floorboards came.  The man couldn’t get the pallet trolley thing up the path, so left it in the road.  I was literally running in and out of the house, just in case a car reversed into the pallet.  Then Barry came back, and wondered why I was running round shouting “Cones!  Get some cones!”.  We don’t have cones, but he thought it was funny.  I did not.

He then started laying the flooring in the living room.  I tried to help, but I’m relegated to underlay (because it doesn’t matter as nobody sees it).  I’m also permitted to put little protective feet on furniture and unwrap the next pack of flooring.  Oh yes, I know his game.

We also squeezed in a cinema trip (Wrath of the Titans, 1.5/5, don’t bother) and a trip to Nando’s to see some old uni friends.

We’ve got two sets of visitors coming over the Easter weekend, so the pressure’s on to get the flooring in (although we still need to paint the skirts and radiators in the living room before putting the beading in, but that can wait).  The paint’s cracking at the bottom where we’re hammering flooring against it, so that needs sanding off and redoing.  Also, Barry’s working in London all week, so he’s not going to be productive from there!

Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest.  It isn’t in our house!  Onwards!

Photos of the flooring so far…

Kitchen excitement

Well, the new flooring arrives tomorrow, and I’m very excited!  We are also going to Nando’s tomorrow, so Barry’s very excited!  This is our kitchen floor as is – a bit industrial for my taste.

We’ve got the table and chairs I wanted from Argos; they’re winging their little way to us now (well, in the next 35 days).  There’s a bit of a story behind this.

My mum came round for tea the other night and I had a fantastic menu planned: to start, grilled flat mushrooms filled with dolcelatte, with a balsamic glaze and small side salad.  For the main event, a lamb tagine with La Kama spices, honey and fresh ginger, with a variety of fresh vegetables and a side of spiced couscous.  For dessert, buns fresh from the oven, baked by my own fair hand.

Mum was supposed to arrive after 7pm, when she’d had her hair done and driven over to Bradford.  In the meantime, I was going to get my skates on after work – jump on the bus, nip to Morrisons, dash round the shop and get home.  Unpack the shopping, stick the tagine in, get changed, clean the bathroom, and start preparing the starter and dessert.

Instead, this is what happened: Mum text me at 4.30pm with the following:

Hi love i am in asda bradford do u need owt ? Hair cancelled x x

My heart rate immediately tripled and my work colleagues had to tell me to calm down.  I replied:

Oh bugger, I’ve got to go to morrisons to get some shopping because I thought I had time!xx

I will get it here darl if u would like me to x x

My colleague Michelle T told me to just tell her what I wanted from the shop (thereby skipping the trip to Morrisons myself).  I text the list back:

Would you please get: big flat mushrooms, dolcelatte, bag of baby spinach, lamb, courgettes, 1% (or semi skimmed) milk and a cauliflower?  Oh, and a bottle of asti.xx

This is when it started falling apart, because the shop didn’t have everything I needed for my careful plans.  She thought dolcelatte was a type of mushroom, and picked up cauliflower and broccoli pieces because they didn’t have a whole one.  Trying to direct your mother to a very specific blue-veined cheese in a shop you don’t frequent, while trying to get home in time to beat her (be quicker than her, not hit her) is quite difficult to do.

In the end, she suggested that we just get a curry.  We both agreed that a curry was, indeed, the best course of action, would be cheaper, and that she definitely still needed to bring two bottles of Asti back with her.  I beat her back to mine, did a rush cleaning job, got changed and spoke to my brother before she got back to my house with the vino.  Phew!

Anyway, she had been trying to buy us a kitchen table for three-and-a-half years as a housewarming gift, but we’d never had the space before.  She’s taken pity on us, and is finally buying us the table and chairs.  I realise now that this has nothing to do with the meal story, but I’ve kept it in anyway as an idea of what my life is actually like.  I live on a knife edge.  Hurray for future breakfasts in the kitchen!

Tiles, floorboards, floorboards, tiles

We’ve been looking round at tiles again and nothing’s striking either of us, so we’re thinking we might just stick to white floorboards for the whole of the bottom floor.  It would match, although there might be a bit too much white in the kitchen then, so I may finally get my wish of it being painted pale grey.  We definitely need to stop the new radiator from dripping first!

The other option is to have a darker wood on the kitchen floor (think dark grey).  I prefer the white, myself.  Bracing myself for the bill that’s over £500 just for some floorboards though.

The old kitchen, hob and oven are selling well on eBay – finishing this weekend and then we can wave goodbye.  Can’t wait – we’ll have a bit more space in the current kitchen (not that that’s a huge issue now), and can carry on painting the room.

It’s our five-year wedding anniversary this weekend, which ironically, is our “wooden” anniversary.  Spoiler alert, Barry: if a new kitchen and flooring don’t count as an excellent wooden gift, I don’t know what does.

And the Lord said go forth and multiply your lights

Or something like that.

My husband seems to have harboured a heretofore unrealised passion for lights.  Our living room previously had two ceiling lights – one over the living area, and one over the dining area.  We now have 13.  I’m not kidding.

As mentioned previously, I fell in love with the Argos lights which we’ve built our room around, and this involved changing a single chandelier-style light to two of those instead, leaving a giant hole gouged in our ceiling.

We replaced our huge red light over the living area with a Belize light from Argos, which is a lot more discreet, and will make guests feel a little less like they’re being questioned when it’s on.

Then the husband decided that he’d quite like spotlights across the back wall.  We went for these inoffensive ones from Wickes, and initially he only wanted to have five or six, but I convinced him he really meant all ten.  As it turned out, joists run across where he was drilling, and he ended up having to drill holes in between every light he put in just so he could carve a notch to hide the wiring.

We spent a weekend plastering these holes, and all of the other various dents in the walls that we hadn’t noticed until now, and I got a brief lesson in grit size of sandpaper.  That may or not have been when I took the Reader’s Digest DIY Manual to bed.

Anyway, we’ve now got the bulk of the painting done, just the edges to tidy up, and we’re pleased as punch with our choices so far.

While all this was going on, we decided to have a mosey on down to B&Q and see what the kitchen situation was.  Over Christmas, we were telling my mother-in-law how we can’t use the downstairs loo as it emits a terrible smell.  Actually, it does that whether we’ve used it or next-door-but-one uses it, I think the pipes haven’t got enough of an angle to clear the waste.  Our house is over three floors, and we currently have a toilet on each floor, but our guests are asked to use the one on the middle floor anyway, due to the building problem (yes, we complained, as have our neighbours; they cleared them once but it’s recurring and we’re wasting our breath).  She made a passing suggestion for us to knock down the walls around the loo, as well as one of the kitchen walls, to make a giant kitchen!

I’ll post separately about the kitchen situation, but the long and short of it is that we’ve bought one, but decided to fit flooring in the living room after we’ve fitted the kitchen so that it doesn’t get wrecked.  RIP to the cream living room carpet, by the way, which now looks like it’s been attacked by paint.

I’ve fallen in love with this first white flooring by Quickstep, called Elina Wenge Passionata.  I’ve seen varying prices between £11 odd and £30 per square metre, and at 24m2, plus all the extras, it’s quite expensive (to us).  Cheapest we saw it at was NCS Flooring.

Ever practical, my husband ordered samples of a similar (but not the same!) flooring, which is Quickstep Girona white chestnut.  It’s got more of a grey tinge, which doesn’t offend me as the walls are grey, but I think the white would have lifted the room more.  We’ll have to see, but I think we’ll have to go with this as it’s almost half the price!