Interiors: Accessorising with Plants

I’m not brilliant at keeping plants alive, however the Mother-in-law’s Tongue that I have in my bathroom seems to be doing well. The success at keeping this alive (although I think it is a plant that’s difficult to kill), has encouraged me to bring more plants into my house. I’ve been scouring Pinterest for ideas, and here’s what I’ve come up with for inspiration.

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Adding detail to a window ledge

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Using plant stands

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Hanging pots

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Large plant adds colour to a blank wall

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Succulent display

Making friends & the MeetUp app

My kids are able to make friends instantly with fellow little people. Whereas, for grown-ups the process of making, and keeping, friends is tough. I’ve got lots of friends, some of whom I see regularly, others less so. However despite having lots of friends, I sometimes still feel lonely. I desperately miss one of my best friends Ailsa, who emigrated to Australia a number of years ago. There is also my little sister, who is another best friend, but she lives in Aberdeen and I really wish we lived closer together.  I find that a lot of my friends are busy with their families, work etc and get togethers have to be planned weeks in advance rather than being spontaneous. Don’t get me wrong, being organised and planning ahead suits my personality… I just need to make more of an effort, and I’m sure that I’ll be able to do so when the house is complete.

Before meeting Kevin, I had decided that rather than looking for a boyfriend I would instead look to widen my social circle. If I spent my time doing things that I enjoyed, I would meet more like minded individuals. I joined MeetUp, an app that you can download to your phone on the recommendation of Ailsa who used it when she moved to Australia, and I was amazed at the number of groups there are available to join locally… so many different categories, events, gatherings etc. A few are targeted towards singles, but in essence the app is for meeting people (as the name suggests!). 

The first event I attended though put me off slightly. I had put my name down to go the cinema, which perhaps isn’t the most social of outings, but we were to meet in the pub beforehand for an hour. I was the first to arrive (which apparently isn’t normal, as there should have been a host there), and I was joined by a couple of men who were perhaps a little socially awkward. It was ok though and we made polite conversation for half an hour before going to the cinema.

However, it was in the cinema that I made a total fool of myself and I’m sure they all left thinking I was a bit strange.

The movie of choice was Kong: Skull Island, which perhaps wasn’t a movie I would have chosen to see but it was on a night that I was free so I decided to go anyway. When we got to our seats, there were a number of people from the group, and we were all sat in neighbouring seats/rows. The movie was all about King Kong who was the protector of Skull Island and basically the good guy. The baddies were these prehistoric looking alien creature things who came out from under the ground. There were also a host of other weird and wonderful creatures… like a gigantic spider… yuck!

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So unlike other cinema trips, where I might be chatting quietly to the person I’m with (offering popcorn, making comment about the film) I was quiet, and super engrossed, as I didn’t know the people I was with. Can you see where this is going?…

Cue a scary scene where one of these creatures literally jumps out at you… and what did I do? I screamed (out loud) and jumped out of my seat.

I have never screamed out loud like that at the cinema (I was the only cinema goer that seemed to scream at that bit too, which makes it worse!) and combined with the fact that my bum left the chair… it was all just a bit embarrassing. I proceeded to then spend the rest of the movie trying to discreetly hide behind my hands and not make any further noises!

Since the cinema trip I’ve been to one other MeetUp event, this time a hill walking group. It was a totally different experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went on an 8 mile hike along part of the West Highland Way, with about 40 others. There were lots of friendly faces, and people to chat to. It really was a nice day out, and some of us stayed for coffee & cake in the cafe at the end of the walk too.

Morale of the story… if you fancy trying something and perhaps your friends aren’t up for it (hill walking, climbing, yoga, a new restaurant, book club, gig or whatever), or if you want to widen your social circle… have a look at MeetUp. I’m pretty sure there will be a group out there for you. As well as social groups, there are also career & business groups. There really is something for everyone. It may be a little daunting attending your first event but I say go for it…you’ve nothing to lose.

 

My New Kitchen, Part II – Glenlith Interiors

Hurrah… after a loooong 14 weeks I now have a kitchen again. I should point out that this is at no fault of the kitchen provider, the build has been very slow and tedious and the kitchen instal had to be delayed as a result.

Anyway, I have been absolutely delighted with Glenlith Interiors that I wanted to share the full details with you here (this is not sponsored, they are a fantastic local company and I am very happy with their service/product so wanted to share).

The before photographs of the space can be seen here, and below are a few of the ‘in progress’ shots:

The space will hopefully be ready for the ‘final’ photos soon… it’s in the middle of being painted (white) and then it needs a proper clean. I also don’t have the floor fitted as yet, as we are awaiting the underfloor heating being installed.

Kitchen Planning

Kitchen planning began absolutely ages ago… I originally was going to use Gideon Robinson, but the kitchen that they designed included an island and I just wasn’t convinced that there was sufficient space for it and so I decided to try another company. Next, I had a few consultations with Kitchens International. Rather than an island, they suggested a peninsula breakfast bar and I ended up paying a deposit for this design. However, the planning permission with the council took forever, and in the time that I was waiting I had a change of heart and decided instead I wanted a more traditional solid wood shaker style kitchen compared to the sleek Kitchens International one (I blame Pinterest!).

My architect recommended Glenlith Interiors, a local company run by Mike, and I have been so happy that I made the swap. I shared with Mike the design by Kitchens International, and he made a few tweaks/suggestions before coming up with the final design that I’ve gone for. Glenlith don’t have a showroom, which keeps their costs down and ultimately benefits the customer, so instead Mike and I corresponded mainly by email/phone with a few face-to-face meetings at the site. I knew what I wanted in terms of colours/worktops etc so the process of picking these was super quick. Mike popped over with the colour swatches and examples of the doors for me to mull over, but I chose the final colour in about 2 minutes and I loved the in-frame door style so I quickly picked that too. We went together to the stone supplier, which is based in Glasgow, and I was able to see large pieces of the worktop before choosing as I had found it difficult to pick from a small sample book. The one item that took the most time to choose was one of the smallest – the handles… I knew that I wanted cup handles and a simple pull knob, but there were so many in the book to select from. I got there eventually though with some suggestions from Mike.

The Installation

The space that the kitchen was to be installed in ended up being a little smaller than the plans, and so a couple of the units had to be reduced in size to accommodate this. I didn’t need to worry though as Mike liaised directly with the architect and builder and just got it sorted with no stress for myself.

On the day the installation started, Mike’s guys arrived to deliver the carcasses, doors & other materials and then they basically just got on with it. They were grafters (unlike my builder & his men, who often downed tools at 2pm, and frequently didn’t even show up) and that immediately impressed me. It really only took 3 days, and then the kitchen carcasses & doors were in. We then waited a few more days until the silestone worktop was cut and delivered before it was fitted. The worktop transformed the space, and I absolutely love it! I think the combination of the grey cabinets doors with the marble effect top is just fantastic.

What let us down was the electrician, which was the responsibility of my builder rather than Glenlith, because once the appliances were in we were unable to switch them on and use them as there were no plugs fitted. Very frustrating, but we’ve got there eventually.

Snagging & Finishing Touches

There’s been a couple of things with the kitchen that have been delayed/need changed. There was a part missing for the hot water tap, which has to be shipped from Germany, and it’s yet to arrive & be fitted. This hasn’t bothered me (I still have my kettle!) and Mike is keeping me up-to-date via text with this which is good. It’s nice to be kept in the loop. The other thing that I’m not liking so much is the cabinet door catches. They’re difficult to get closed, and you need to push the door with force to get it to clip in properly. Mike is going to change these to magnetic closures for me. Other than that, it’s been a very smooth process and I’m just delighted with the end result.

I’ve cooked dinner, granted just the once, in the new kitchen and it is glorious! Compared with previous kitchens, I’m spoiled for choice with where to prep… there is just tonnes of worktop space. The kids can’t wait to get stools for the breakfast bar (currently we sit on a selection of chairs huddled round a large plastic box for meals, as my dining table can’t come back into the room until the underfloor heating is installed) and we’re already planning cooking tutorials for my YouTube channel!

I’ve been so happy with Glenlith Interiors, that I’m going to get them to supply and instal the flooring too. Huge thumbs up from me, and I’d most definitely recommend to others. Watch this space for the final photos… they should be up soon!

Farm Antics

Regular readers will know that my boyfriend is a farmer, and so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with him at the farm. As you’ll have seen from the previous posts, I am loving the farm life.

I’m a city girl though, and so life down at the farm is very different to what I am used to. When Kevin is there telling me what to do, then things seem to go ok… although there was one evening where we were trying to get a cow that was in labour moved from one shed to another, and that didn’t go to plan. I felt a bit useless and was told to block the road as best as I could, but she managed to get past me… oops! We got her eventually.

Watching a cow give birth was a strange experience. It was relatively quick, and the calf (which was huge in comparison to the size of the cow) was pulled out by Kevin using a rope! I’m pretty squeamish though and all the yuck that goes along with giving birth was not pleasant to see!

Today I’ve been left in charge whilst Kevin is away at the silage. I had two jobs… let the chickens out and take the dogs for a walk. Easy, or so I thought.

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Half way down the road with the dogs we came across a lamb that had escaped from the field. It was desperately trying, and failing, to get back to its mum. The dogs were so excitable, and despite me shouting at them to ‘heel’, ‘lie down’ and ‘stay still’ they were trying to grab the animal. The lamb, which was now pretty big, was just too heavy for me to pick up and throw over the fence and it was wriggling around too much. In the end the dogs chased after it, and the lamb went running back towards the farm. I guess at this point I should admit that I’m not brilliant with animals. Yes, I have two pet cats, but the sole purpose of these were to ensure that my kiddies didn’t grow up as fearful of animals as I was. I remember as a child having a pet rabbit, and I used to get it plonked on my knee, on top of a cushion, and I would wear oven mitts to pat it. As soon as it moved, I’d be asking for it to be taken away!

Anyway, back to the story… I went running back up to the farm, and put the dogs back in their pens. With them out of the way, I could deal with the lamb. I failed to get it into one of the sheds, and it ran back down the road. So frustrating! I tried calling Kevin, but couldn’t reach him. So instead I called my dad as I thought he might have some words of wisdom. I told him what had happened… and the two of us were just in fits of laughter at my situation and he didn’t have any helpful insights.

After walking up and down the road a few times… I still haven’t been able to find the lamb! Goodness knows where it’s disappeared to, I just hope it turns up.

I called my dad about 5-10 minutes after my first call, to tell him I still hadn’t found it, and he was still crying with laughter. I’ve been told ‘don’t give up your day job’!

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Life Update.

The house is very delayed (we were supposed to finish on 12 May) but progress is more obvious now. Weeks went by whilst at the groundwork stage and we just never seemed to be moving forward, but once the timber kit was constructed, things have moved along. I was going to say at pace, but it’s been a slow pace rather than the fast pace I would have liked (given that we’re now weeks and weeks behind schedule). The kitchen should finish this week – hurrah – and I’m told the whole build will be completed next week (I’ll believe it when I see it… at the moment we still don’t have the skylights installed, the electrics aren’t finished, the bathroom needs plumbed, the plastering still has to be completed, the stove needs to be fitted and the place needs painted and floored!).

My sister and her fiancé Robin welcomed their beautiful baby girl Fleur into the world at the start of June. I’m a delighted Auntie, and after what was a very difficult labour I am happy that both mum and baby are now and home and doing well. She is just the cutest wee thing. I’ve been up to Aberdeen twice now to spend time with them, and I’m hoping to travel up again soon.

Things with my farmer man are going very well. He’s a bit camera shy… hence all the photographs of the animals rather than him! I’m still loving the farm life and just wish I was able to spend more time there.

What else have I been up to? I made it along to the new menu launch bloggers event at Black Dove. I’d say the food was mixed… some dishes I liked more than others. The puddings were gorgeous though and definitely the highlight for me. I also attended the All You Can Eat Sushi evening at Wholefoods with Dawn. I managed two platefuls, but was quickly full! There was so much sushi… but I felt it was missing some miso soup, edamame beans or pickled seaweed (is that a thing?)… I had thought for the ticket price there may have been more than just the sushi itself.

I’ve also been on a few trips… of course I’ve been to Aberdeen following the arrival of Fleur, but in May I stayed at Ardoe House Hotel for a few nights with the man. It was an enjoyable weekend spent relaxing, eating & drinking… unfortunately the spa let us down as a therapist was off sick and my treatment had to be shortened from 1 hour to 30 minutes which was really disappointing. The food was good though, and the service in the restaurant was excellent. The kids and I also had a few nights at Crieff Hydro… it was my first time there as a parent and I have to say the set-up is just fantastic. It was a superb few days and well worth the money. On the night of our arrival, the kids had their high tea, and then went off to play in the Big Country kids club leaving the grown-ups (my friend Claire was there with her family at the same time) to have a cocktail or two and a civilised dinner. The Hemmingway Daiquiri that I had was amazing (as recommended by Claire!).

Needless to say the restricted diet has not been followed this past month or so… I need to get back on it as it really was helping with my Crohn’s symptoms.

Last, but not least, I have decided to revert back to Glasgow Mummy. My Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages have had name changes already, and the blog will be next. Watch this space for the re-launch!

 

Wardrobe Refresh

I’ll happily admit that fashion isn’t my strong point…I’m great with interiors and will easily spend a small fortune on furniture, accessories etc for my home. However, I don’t seem to be as able or willing to spend money on clothes, particularly when it’s fleeting trends. What I’ve subsequently found is that I tend to wear the same clothes over & over, preferring comfort over style. Most of my shopping is either done online (staple black dresses from Baujken for work, or Boden Breton stripe tops) or in the supermarket as I do my weekly food shop! I’ve been literally living in a Trespass parka, despite having multiple other coats & jackets…but with the ever variable weather in Glasgow I prefer to be safe with my waterproof outerwear & hood… rather than have to cart about an umbrella with me. 

Anyway, enough was enough and it’s time to give my wardrobe a proper refresh. To get me started, I had organised to join Victoria at Braehead for a free 2 hour personal shopping trip. I have used the personal shopper at House of Fraser on a few occasions previously and do recommend getting some help if clothes shopping either isn’t your forte, or if you’re short on time.

We started at Starbucks for a cuppa and to chat about what I was looking for, my current style etc. Victoria quickly put me at ease & with that we hit the first couple of shops. I was drawn to my usual black or navy tunic style tops/shirts/dresses but Victoria managed to steer me towards brighter colours and different items that would accentuate my waist rather than cover up my body shape, which is what I’ve been doing lately. The bright colours actually suited my skin tone & hair…who knew! 

The experience was a huge success, with multiple purchases…a few tops from Warehouse & Oasis, a necklace, a pair of jeans (Topshop Jamie – so comfortable and much more flattering than the ones I’ve been sporting recently), and two pairs of shoes from Next. We also found the perfect pair of cropped trousers for work in M&S but I needed the longer length, so I’ve since purchased these online. I’m definitely going to make more of an effort to shop in person in the future, online shopping is quick & easy, but I can totally appreciate the benefit of browsing the rails and actually feeling/seeing the items.

Next on my list is to dig out all my existing clothes and have a proper declutter.

Kitchen Accessories

My new kitchen, which is now in the process of being installed (see Instagram for some pics!), is going to be grey shaker style doors and a white stone worktop with a grey fleck through it. The hardware is going to be brushed chrome… I’ve picked cup handles and simple round knobs.

I’ve chosen to have some copper accessories in addition to the silver…I never used to mix metallics, but I think it’s permissible now in both fashion and interiors and is still on trend.

Above my breakfast bar, there are going to be two pendant lights and I’ve chosen an industrial style light fitting from Cox and Cox:

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Whilst browsing the items on the Cox and Cox site, I also picked up a pair of copper bowls, which I imagine will sit on the window ledge:

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Other copper accessories that I quite fancy are, a clock such as this one from notonthehighstreet.com, but it’s pricey at £155:

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There is a similar clock at a more reasonable price of £29.50 at M&S here.

I also love this copper tray from H&M Home, and would anticipate having something like this on the breakfast bar with perhaps a candle and a plant on it. Reminds me of Kate La Vie‘s kitchen as she has a lot of little trays for keeping her kitchen things organised.

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I’m also going to need some stools for at the breakfast bar. It’s not a high breakfast bar, so I’ll need to carefully measure up before I make any purchases. I really fancy some old school stools… the metal & wood ones that I used to sit on in science class! They’re stackable too so if I need to move them out of the way to create some more space, then they’re easily packed away.

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In the corner of the dining room, there is a perfect space for a floor lamp or a large plant. This Devon floor lamp is £179 from Marks & Spencer, and it caught my eye:

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Lastly, I think I will need some new artwork for the walls as the poster ‘Tea Revives You” that I’ve had in my dining room for the past few years doesn’t really fit in with my vision for the new space. I need to give this a bit more thought… for now the walls are going to be painted white – an ideal backdrop for a large canvas. Perhaps I’ll attempt to paint one myself after the art classes I had been attending!