Wedding scrapbook

Wedding scrapbook

Following my success with the recipe scrapbook, I decided to get cracking with my wedding scrapbook for a bit more cathartic organisation.  I started filling it with my wedding ideas from before the day, along with some memory bits like ribbon from the bridesmaids’ dresses, our flight stubs and honeymoon itinerary.  We only got married a mere six and a half years ago. I did do a bit when I was pregnant and on maternity leave, but other things soon beckoned (like the SATC boxset, hello Helen!), and it fell by the wayside.  I’ve found a renewed energy for wanting these things sorted now, firstly to keep them away from little sticky hands, and secondly to preserve them for when the owner of those little sticky hands becomes interested in mummy and daddy’s wedding and I can show her everything we (or I) did to prepare for it.

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A brief history of abodes

Today marks our fifth wedding anniversary – happy anniversary, honey!

We’ve actually been together more than ten years, since university, when our only source of decoration in the halls was books (his, sciences, mine, languages), posters (his, the tennis player with her bum out, mine, more embarrassingly, the Backstreet Boys) and interesting rugs (his, ratty strips of woven cloth, mine, a fluffy pink heart made of a wandering fibre that ended up on everything I owned).

We then moved to a shared house, where we had the whole top floor which had recently been renovated. Again, we had no power over what it looked like and function and utility reigned over beauty. The only painting Barry did was the bathroom ceiling, in a paint that just wouldn’t stick and turned out to have sand in it for some reason. It all peeled off.

In our third year, he worked in Peterborough while I lived in Spain and France. Spain was your typical apartment with tiled floors and airless rooms (pictured). My entire flat in France was smaller than our current bedroom. In the fourth year, we returned to (fancier) halls, in which I don’t think we even had posters or rugs.


At the end of that year, finally, we rented a house together just outside of the city which had a bit of character. The living room was on the third floor – very topsy turvy! The kitchen worktop had to be oiled regularly – I think Barry’s looking forward to doing that again. The bathroom was a horrendous aquamarine when we moved in, but we asked if we could paint it white and we were allowed.

The first house we bought was another magnolia kingdom. The couple we bought it from had lived in it for a few years and never done anything with it. Ha! we thought. Lazy buggers! We ended up painting this strip in the lounge a purply-chocolate colour, one wall in our bedroom green, a wall in our spare bedroom red, and the bathroom pink. Thus endeth our decorating of the first house.

Our current house is our second, and we nagged Barratt’s to death to get a cheaper price for it. It can be done! All of a sudden, the market will crash, and they won’t be able to give you it fast enough. That’s what happened to us, anyway. We ended up getting it for £25k less than next door, whose house is a mirror image of ours.

We fell in love immediately with the top floor when we saw the show home. It consists of our bedroom, a dressing room/nursery and ensuite. Light streams from opposite sides of the house and it feels huge and airy. The whole of the show home was very black and silver, but it did give us some excellent ideas, even if it’s taking until now to implement them (like black walls up the stairs).

As I’ve mentioned before, we’d love to have built in wardrobes, but they cost an arm and a leg. In fact, I’m not sure my arm and leg would cover the cost.

I was talking to Jules about house blindness (after the carpet discussion), and we’ve decided that once you’ve been in for a while, you just don’t see “it” any more. “It” can be the bland walls you see past, the nail pops you choose to ignore, the hideous (sorry, vintage) carpet you no longer look at. We’d been “planning” to decorate for some time before we actually started this January, but it took a shock this Christmas to actually make us get up and do something, because we needed a project to keep our minds off things.

As my friend Michelle says (and no, I’m not talking about myself in the third person), you always need a project.

Lists, charts and automobiles

We have quite a hefty list of things to do, both in the living room and kitchen, and although it’s scary, we do need to get it down. Then it needs to be put into some semblance of order, and Barry is even contemplating the implementation of a Gantt chart.

While this may sound like an excuse to do anything but the job at hand, there is actually reasoning behind this. For those of you who don’t know, the idea of a Gantt chart is for you to plan what you need to do, when, and by whom, and plot it on a chart. It’s all about following the critical path, and for this, you need to know which jobs depend on other jobs being done. This is the longest the entire project should take, in an ideal world. As a simple example, we clearly can’t put the kitchen in until the plastering has been done, and we can’t plaster the walls until the ones we’re removing have been taken down. You get the idea.

It’s just a little tool to set us on track and give us a plan for each DIY day. Ours would be based on weekends only, but if Barry decided to take time off work, or we decided to spend a few evenings working on it, the schedule could be altered. Perhaps one undertaking may take longer than we thought. It also also allows you to see what jobs can be done that don’t depend on other tasks. For example, although I can’t take down a wall or move electrics, I can do paint touch-ups, clean or sand walls, fill holes with plaster, etc. I’m also not too shabby wielding a screwdriver. Drills are beyond me though!

On another note, we’ve been looking at some fabulous vertical radiators for beside the dryer in the kitchen/bottom of the stairs, shown here, but can’t decide on a colour at the moment.  Wickes have a nice range, but we may end up on eBay.  It’s a good use of the space, because we’re actually losing the only three radiators in that part of the house by losing the walls.  We’re also considering heated flooring (although slippers are cheaper!).  As we’ll be able to fit a table and chairs in the kitchen when we’re done, we will hopefully be spending more time in there, so it would be worthwhile.

Barry’s now blocked off the toilet and sink, although we had several comments from friends and family about the open plan loo (pictured right).

He’s sealed the drains with a nylon expanding plug, silicone, and expanding foam.  He did notice a full length of copper pipe down the drain, so God only knows what else is down there; no wonder we had problems!

Pictured below are the spots where they were, RIP little toilet and sink.  Show some respect; a moment’s silence please.