Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Ropewalks Food & Drink Lounge

Ah, Ropewalks... Another eatery I can add to the list of places where I failed to stick to my 'don't visit the same place twice in six months' rule. After the success of a knock-out lunch at my last visit, they launched a new menu so I returned for dinner (or tea as it is correctly called in Liverpool) to see if it was still as good.

The service is still as good as ever, although there's perhaps no surprises there as I've yet to visit anywhere in Liverpool where anyone's been rude to me, and I always think visitors to the city who are staying upstairs in the Novotel must really enjoy their stay with such friendly staff everywhere.

A lovely couple in their 70s were celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary nearby and were looked after extremely well by the staff. I do hope they had a lovely weekend in Liverpool. We took some photos for them with their fancy dessert, which I hope they enjoyed showing their family. Makes you smile, seeing old(er) people in love, doesn't it?



I didn't try any cocktails because I had to keep a semi clear head for Breakout Liverpool after the meal (it's against the rules to turn up drunk although I'm sure my friends would agree it'd probably help my clue solving skills if I did) but a little liver bird tells me that the Scouse Bird cocktail is to die for so maybe I'll pop in next time I'm buying my false eyelashes in Home & Bargain and try one out.

Instead, the focus was entirely on the food; and three courses was definitely on the cards. I went for the ham bon bons, open ravioli, and mango sorbet.

The starter was made with lovely tasty ham hock and a quite delicate, sweet mustard sauce on the side. Let's not pretend I didn't also help myself to nachos and hand-stretched pizza during my visit but on the whole I tried to keep my choices on the light side.



I'd spied the unusual smoked haddock scotch egg on the menu but thought eating nothing but balls for dinner would be a step too far even for habit-forming little old me, so I chose the open ravioli with tasty pine nuts which was very well cooked although probably a bit more gentle than what I'm used to - I'd have whacked a load of nutmeg in and made it a bit more punchy. But a good choice if you don't want any overpowering flavours (and I didn't fancy a garlicky reminder of my tea while I was in a locked room at Breakout afterwards).

The mango sorbet was both mangoey and sorbet-like which is always reassuring. A nicely refreshing end to the meal, and I was pretty chuffed with myself for not choosing the most stodgy and chocolatey thing on the menu which is usually my default setting.




If you've never been in before, then it's worth a visit. It's comfy, the decor is nice, the staff are friendly and the menu is varied and affordable enough to make it a good option for either lunch or dinner (*coughs* "tea"). Because it's part of the large open plan ground floor of a hotel, it's family friendly too. And even if you've got older kids, you can safely leave them to play pool or Xbox nearby while you finish with coffee or move to the bar area for drinks.

Besides, it's never overcrowded, which means you can eat up and go back to your shopping, carry on celebrating your Golden Wedding, or go and find your way out of an Escape Room, in your own time.

For more news and offers - plus cocktail pics galore - follow the guys at Ropewalks Food & Drink Lounge on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
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Friday, 11 August 2017

Hip Hop and You Don't Stop


It's the 44th anniversary of the birth of Hip Hop, so the internet tells me, and this would be a great opportunity for me to burst out of my snug suburban mum cocoon and drop some knowledge on my unsuspecting readers; to do some serious name dropping about the time I met Busta Rhymes in a cake shop, or bought DMX an apple pie in McDonalds, or (in yet another food related claim to fame - there's a pattern here) gave the Black Eyed Peas a lift to a late night pizza shop back in the days before Fergie joined them and they turned pop.

I could even, if I was able to find them, show the pictures of me with Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa. Never heard of them? Well they're legends. They're the pioneers. And because in real life I am very much still in my snug suburban mum cocoon, and writing this sitting up in bed in my big knickers and nightie, I can't give you the history lesson that you might need to truly describe their importance, along with others, in the emergence of probably the most successful musical genre ever.

The Bronx's Finest: Kool Herc

But luckily for you, whether you are unfamiliar with the formative years of the Hip Hop scene, or a lifelong fan, there's some shows on Netflix that are worth checking out: The Get Down and Hip Hop Evolution - one fictional one factual - that I'll have to go off on a tangent about another time.

I love Hip Hop. It was 1988 when my older sister came home with Straight Outta Compton and Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. This stuff wasn't the same as Kylie Minogue and Bananarama (and no disrespect to them - 'Robert De Niro's Waiting' is still my jam) or whatever little girls were supposed to be listening to. This was protest music.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I was entirely unaccustomed to music with a message. My Dad was always kind enough to take the time to explain songs to me so I listened to what was being said in Anti-Vietnam lyrics, in Irish rebel songs, and in the words of Billy Bragg. But my Dad didn't have to explain any of this new stuff to me. It spoke for itself. It was an eye opener.

It was the new rock n roll, frightening the shit out of well-to-do parents, and stirring up emotion of all kinds in its young listeners. I remember wanting to take my brother's vinyl copy of The Beastie Boys' License to Ill to the parish disco when I was 7, and I've never seen a look on my Mum's face quite like it.

As relevant today as ever: Love this Public Enemy inspired print from Etsy


It wasn't just the eye opening lyrics of these records that I enjoyed early on. Native Tongues groups like De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers and a Tribe Called Quest seemed to be offering a gentler more 'conscious' vibe that I loved just as much as the aggressive stuff, and got me into the Pharcyde and Jurassic 5. Plus I adored all the samples all over their tracks.

Many years after first being introduced to Hip Hop and the music coming out of the East Coast of America formed the soundtrack of my teenage years, intermingled with Brit Pop, early jungle, and whatever I'd inherited from my siblings and parents. Seriously; what a time to be alive.

Don't even get me started on the women. Here they were, Salt n Pepa, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, up to Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and Rah Digga - talking unashamedly about sex, having control over their own bodies, making their own money, succeeding in an industry dominated by men.

But for me, it was the beats and rhymes coming from what was termed by some as the Second Golden Age that moved me the most. Nas, Mobb Deep, Biggie Smalls, Das EFX, Big L, Boot Camp Clik.... God, we'd be here all day if I listed them all. Put it this way - there was a lot of music listened to back in the day.


Representing BK to the Fullest: Mister Cee's Biggie Mixtape


Even after the turn of the century, I was listening to Common, Mos Def, and used to love those Soundbombing compilations. I was encouraging my own friends with their endeavours: writing press packs, sticking labels on their mixtapes, showing them love with they got on the radio or television. British Hip Hop had never quite got off the ground (it had some wonderful artists and a strong underground scene), but grime was emerging and the UK was creating its own unique sound which eventually took the mainstream by storm.

And then, as if by magic, *poof!* - it all fell by the wayside for me. You move on, you move areas, you lose touch, that kind of thing. I didn't keep up to date with new music, and here were are today: reminiscing over the old days and vaguely aware of who's who these days but getting their names a bit mixed up, not knowing any of the lyrics apart from the odd Drake chorus and wondering if those verses you sometimes hear about cooking stuff up in the kitchen are at all Mary Berry related.

Those were the days. So today, 44 years after the birth of Hip Hop, I'm gonna just take a brief moment to remember those artists who've passed away that were there on my Walkman and car stereo growing up: Guru, J Dilla, Biggie, Prodigy, ODB, Adam Yauch, Eazy E, Jam Master Jay, Big Pun, and Big L - Rest in Peace.

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Thursday, 10 August 2017

This Is The Week That Was #22

Remember the time I had a cold and practically expected the Red Cross to set up a field hospital by my bedside?

It happened again. A summer cold. I was very 'woe is me' - I'm appropriating Man Flu and making it my own. And it wasn't just me. Everyone had it. The kids, the grown ups - I think it was even spreading by whatsapp at one point.



And without wanting to bore you with my medical history (I'm saving those kind of treats for my old age when bunions and skin conditions are absolute conversational gems) my uncanny ability to pick up colds and my seeming inability to shift them, is a manifestation of my shitty overall health.



In short: I've been letting myself go. So I'm planning an overhaul. Top to bottom. Physical and mental. Expect lots of enthusiastic posts from me like I've just burst out of Love Island with a fistful of sponsorship deals (I haven't got any sponsorship deals but I'm looking at you Morrisons and fluttering my eyelashes cause I've been getting my big shop from you for the longest time and I feel like we should make things official now).

Actual footage of me getting off my arse once a year


Anyway I won't bang on about that now; not least because part of feeling better surely has to be thinking more positively.

So I've given myself a (figurative) slap round the face and reminded myself not to mope about not going on holiday, or to festivals, or actually doing much fun stuff these summer holidays. I mentioned the other week that my car broke down - it's been two months now - and after relying on driving my entire adult life I feel really quite lost without it and haven't been able to visit anyone or go much further afield than the local shops and park independently.

My 'Positive Mental Attitude' might need a bit of work


Instead of dwelling on what I have been missing out, on I'm going to accentuate the good stuff. I know, I know - this should be common sense, right? Those tricky little buggers Anxiety and Depression will do that to you though; turn nice stuff into a negative and make you think everything is shit even at times when it isn't.

So, I've written a whole heap of stuff over the past weeks which if you haven't read yet I'd LOVE you to catch up on and there's pretty much a theme - me Dad and me favourite city in the weeerld!

Who Do You Think You Are - Part One & Who Do You Think You Are - Part Two
Striking Stories: 30 James Street and History Walks With My Dad

9 Things My Dad Taught Me

The Perfect Base for Sightseeing in Liverpool

There's a Place: A Visit to The Beatles Story at The Albert Dock

And I'm still busy with new stuff to write about and things I've been up to, too. I want to tell you about where I've been to eat (Almost Famous, Ropewalks), entertainment (Unlock Liverpool's One Night in Rio party, Dunkirk at the pictures), and some other stuff I fancied featuring on the blog (Children's bedrooms and men's grooming products) - and that's just for August.

I honestly don't know how these full time bloggers manage it. I can't manage anything full time!

Until next time, high fives all round.

B x
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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Almost Famous: Tackling the Frickin' Hell Mann Burger


The northern powerhouse of burgers, Almost Famous, hooked up with the Kings of condiments Hellmanns Mayo (yeah I said it - you can keep your ketchups and barbecue business - give me mayonnaise any day of the week) to bring the good people of Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds the limited edition Frickin' Hell Mann burger. And guess who went to try it? Yep. You're welcome.





Almost Famous 


Never been to Almost Famous? Neither had I. Which, yes, is very surprising given my love of all things carby and cheesy. Anyway, it's one of those trendy places with exposed, slightly industrial ceiling work, splashes of quirky decor and lovely friendly staff. I liked it loads.

The Liverpool restaurant was bustly but not too busy at lunchtime with mate dates, work lunches, parents and teenagers, and us: professional eaters.

Sunny Parr Street, home to Almost Famous Liverpool


The food and drink menus include names like the vegetarian Alicia Silverstone burger, the Smash Up On Interstate 5 Philly cheese steak, the Baddaboom fries, and the Frat Party boozy sharer.

But I was there to check out a very special limited edition burger...



The Frickin' Hell Mann Burger


The lovechild of Almost Famous and Hellmanns Mayo boasts quite the combo of ingredients. A double beef patty, a 'skirt' of grilled cheese, luxuriously gloopy mac n cheese, tasty pulled pork, and fat frickles, topped with mayo (of course). Geddit? The Frickin' Hell Mann? Genius.




How To Eat It


As burgers are getting bigger and fabber these days there's always a certain amount of dexterity needed to conquer them. And I'm not saying it's like Ultimate Wipeout but...

Contestant A chose the deconstruction method: dismantling some of the filling first then eating the burger whole.

Contestant B went for the 'cut the whole thing in half' approach.

Put it this way: there was no winner.

Whatever way you choose, it's packed so full that you'll end up with some of it falling out anyway so just embrace the abundance and try your best!



Verdict


It's filling. Very filling. You do not need to order a side of fries. Just trust me on this.

We are some of the greediest and most permanently hungry people you'll come across and it still wrote us off.

Perfectly cooked, great taste. Get them while you can!




Hellmann’s and trendsetting burger joint, Almost Famous, have created a new limited-edition dish, the Frickin’ Hell Mann, available from 27th July to 24th August. Enjoy at any of the Almost Famous restaurants in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool between 27th July and 24th August, priced at £12.

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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Who Do You Think You Are Part Two


My Dad and I took a history trip around Liverpool, recreating our own little take on the BBC's 'Who Do You Think You Are' and exploring our family's city throughout the ages. In Part One we checked out Liverpool's part in the Battle of the Atlantic at the Western Approaches war museum, visited Blitz memorials, and researched our family history at the Central Library records office.




Museum of Liverpool


There's no better place for Scousers to visit than the Museum of Liverpool. It's great for everyone to visit, of course, but the People's Republic, Wondrous Place, and The Great Port galleries especially are a real treat for home grown Liverpudlians. I'll never ever get tired of visiting. I love the space, I love how it's curated, I love everything about it. But most of all, I enjoyed visiting with my Dad, who offered a narrative alongside that of the museum's: my family's story.

The Museum of Liverpool (Visit Liverpool)


Wondrous Place

I'm really lucky to have a Dad who lived in the era of Merseybeat and Rock n Roll, and Liverpool in the 1960s has always seemed like a magical time to me. Growing up, I loved all the late 50s/early 60s acts - the Beatles, Billy Fury, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and the impact it had on music coming out of Liverpool and beyond for years to come. So I really enjoyed the Wondrous Place gallery, named after native Billy Fury's 1960 hit song. From July 2017 to January 2018 there's also a fab exhibition dedicated to Gerry and Pacemakers which all Merseybeat fans need to check out: Hit Makers and Record Breakers.


The stunning Billy Fury statue at Albert Dock


The People's Republic

We explored the People's Republic gallery which included a wonderful reproduction of court housing - dank and overcrowded buildings which were still inhabited by many scouse families like mine until they were finally phased out in the 1960s and replaced with more sanitary and spacious housing.

I had originally hoped to take my dad to the last remaining example of original court housing in Liverpool - at the historic site of Pembroke Place - which Ricky Tomlinson was able to visit on his Who Do You Think You Are episode, but at the time of our visit there was a gap in funding so no work was taking place on the project. The reconstruction at the Museum of Liverpool was a good alternative though, and in the meantime, I'll be keeping an eye on progress at Pembroke Place by following the project's Facebook page.

The Great Port

Lastly - and there is so so much more to see at the Museum of Liverpool but you didn't come here to read about every single artefact and picture in there - I loved the Great Port gallery on the ground floor, just behind the gift shop. Dedicated to Liverpool's role in transport, industry and trade, I was able to grapple with dockers' hooks that my granddad will have used, seen original molasses vats salvaged from Tate & Lyle where my Nana worked, and learned about the Mersey and canals - where my Great Grandad would occasionally fall in as he wheeled coal from the barges up a gangplank to the furnaces of the same sugar factory (and annoying my Nanny with his constantly drying socks in front of the fire back home).

The beautifully curated Great Port gallery at the Museum of Liverpool

Liverpool Dockers: My dad told me some great stories about striking workers in the 60s

The Beatles Story


Expanding on the brilliant Wondrous Place gallery in the Museum of Liverpool, we headed to The Beatles Story at the Albert Dock which had some brilliant memorabilia and recreations. There were a couple of parts I particularly enjoyed - along with a little story about the early Beatles and my Mum & Dad meeting in the 60s - that I've written about in There's a Place: A Visit to The Beatles Story at The Albert Dock.



Vauxhall


Similar to the sound of Bow Bells in London's East End, you can't get more scouse than the Vauxhall and Scotland Road areas of Liverpool. Now a landscape of empty pubs, car mechanic yards and bookies, it was once a bustling community of small homes set (extremely uncomfortably by today's standards) amongst thriving factories and lively watering holes.

When the area became host to a large influx of Irish immigrants escaping the famines in the 19th century, it became one of the most overcrowded and impoverished slums in Europe. Rife with Cholera, crime, malnutrition and every social plague known to man, it bred a tough and wily populace who did whatever it took to survive.

There is so much more that could be discussed here - what occupations were realistically available to Catholic communities in a wealthy city heavy with anti Irish sentiment for one - but you'll have to get me in a pub with a few hours to spare to unpack that one.

Court dwellings off Scotland Road, Liverpool at the turn of the 20th century


Given my interest, it's perhaps no surprise that this is where both sides of my family tree stem from. Before the slum clearances that sent families to Norris Green and as far away as Speke and Belle Vale, my relatives lived alongside each other in the streets off Vauxhall and Scotland Road and in some cases, all in the same street.

We explored what was left of these streets (some completely eradicated to make way for the Mersey Tunnel), pubs that had long since stopped pulling pints, where the wartime air raid shelters were, and roads that were on my Dad's collection of old maps but are unheard of today.


Some of my Dad's collection of old maps

Gusto at the Albert Dock


History tours are hungry work so naturally we went to fill our boots at the end of a long day of learning and re-discovery. Italian bar and restaurant chain Gusto is a favourite in our family - my son particularly loves making his own pizza when he visits - and we weren't let down when we headed there for tea during our history trip. Booking is a good idea as it's always so popular, but if you just turn up like we did you can always hang out dockside with a drink from the bar while you wait. I enjoyed prawns and lasagne and my dad chose salmon followed by seafood pasta, which he said was "spot on".

Sofia and sauce: Filling our boots at Gusto, Albert Dock

Accommodation


During our history tour we stayed at the Travelodge Liverpool Central The Strand which I gave a review of separately - but essentially it's a fab location for getting around on foot, sightseeing, shopping, eating and drinking. The staff are friendly, the rooms are clean, and the breakfasts are boss with Lavazza coffee!

Who Do You Think You Are?


Wherever you're from, I'd urge you to go back to your roots too. If you've still got your parents or grandparents in your life then ask them questions, maybe even interview them or film them (I've got my Nana on VHS somewhere talking about the old days). Your family history doesn't have to be that which is captured in certificates and old documents. It's also the minutiae of day to day living. Smells, sounds, and feelings. The little things that only your family can pass on to you. And which you can pass on to yours.
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Saturday, 29 July 2017

Who Do You Think You Are - Part One


My Dad and I recreated our own version of the BBC's 'Who Do You Think You Are' with a little history trip around Liverpool - exploring the heritage of our own family and the city. Liverpool is a wonderful city with so much to see and do for visitors from all over the world, but nothing beats taking the time to appreciate your own roots.



Western Approaches


Our first stop was the Western Approaches museum on the edge of Exchange Flags. With my grandparents and uncles in the Royal and Merchant Navies, the Army and the RAF - as well as those 'on the home front' - my Liverpool family knew all too well the cost of war. It's a wonderful peek into an underground world of wartime operations and all credit to the dedicated people who got the Western Approaches museum off the ground in the 90s, as it's a really important part of Liverpool's military history.

Unlike the Imperial War Museum North in Salford, the many museums in London, or the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, Liverpool doesn't have its own dedicated war museum despite its proximity to the North Atlantic and many scousers to this day coming from historically seafaring families. There's some beautifully done displays in the Museum of Liverpool but the Western Approaches is unique in being a dedicated wartime museum on an original site.


Western Approaches War Museum


On the downside, the tickets were on the pricey side, and the exhibitions could have been improved. They have iffy opening hours (understandably, as they are often staffed by volunteers so I don't mean to be unduly critical) and I'm being brutally honest here: if you've ever visited the Cabinet War Rooms in London then this isn't going to knock your socks off. My Mum always says if you identify a problem you should also identify a solution and I'm only sorry that I can't volunteer my time to somehow make it a better visitor experience but the wealth of information and insight into what went on in secret there is second to none.

It especially strikes me as fascinating and frustrating in equals measures the amount of staff - and in particular women - who must have worked there in secret and were probably only allowed to tell their family and friends that they were typists!



Slug & Lettuce and beyond


We went for a nice lunch at the Slug & Lettuce on North John Street and Dad regaled me with stories of his first job in town in the 60s, the pubs he used to drink in with his mates, and the time he tried to join the Army but the recruitment officer said he was too spotty.




From the Slug & Lettuce we went for a long stroll through town, with Dad pointing out old municipal buildings where he'd once sat exams for work, been for an interview, or been sent on errands. He pointed out offices my aunties used to work in, pubs my uncles used to drink in, and the junction where my Grandad's horse, having been bought for cash "off a Gypsy" only a few hours earlier, dropped dead in the middle of the street and held all the traffic up.

We walked down to Standish Street to see the Holy Cross blitz memorial, and talked about how the German bombing shaped my family. From the fire bombs dropped on my Nana's house, to the devastation of the air raid shelter and school of her neighbours, and the direct hit which took the life of my Great-Grandmother and many others.



Central Library & Records Office


This was the part of our adventure that was meant to be just like on telly. There's was going to be those white gloves to handle aged documents, shocking family revelations, and an 'emotional journey' that would hopefully reduce one or both of us to tears (or at least a cursory raise of the eyebrows from my Dad).

That's not quite what happened though. My Dad spent hours pawing over baptismal certificates scrawled in Latin, notices of births death and marriages, and trying to sift through records of about 20 different people within our family who all seemed to be called John or Mary.

Meanwhile, I played around on the microfilm machines trying to find a picture of my Mum and a sea lion in the Liverpool Daily Post until kicking out time (don't ask).

It sounds like a waste of time but the records office is brilliant place to begin your family history journey (as well as online resources like you see advertised on telly). There's staff on hand to help you get started, as well as a friendly firm of Golden Oldies who visit regularly to trawl the archives.

Even if researching your own past doesn't appeal to you, the library is an absolutely beautiful space. Grab a coffee (or a "cuppa tea an' a bun" as my Dad says) in the ground floor coffee shop and have a flick through some of the local history books just a few feet away - from Victorian gangs, football teams, slavery, murder, architecture and social justice to wartime Liverpool, underground tunnels, piracy and music - you can discover so much without going more than a few yards into the library.




But don't miss out on the magnificent glass atrium overhead and exquisite Picton reading room which, if you've never had cause to visit an academic or private library before will whisk you back in time. It was designed by someone called Cornelius Sherlock which is reason enough to at least stick your head round the door for a quick nose. Better still, grab something off the shelf, sit down and learn something new (or old!) and enjoy the simple but immense pleasure of living in a part of the world where such wonderful resources are availability to all, for free, in such a lovely setting.

The less said about the death knell being sounded for smaller local libraries across the country, the better. That is very much a story for another time.


You'd be forgiven for thinking that'd be enough for a whirlwind history tour of Liverpool, but that was only Part One, and because I'm on of life's chatterboxes, it all spilled over in a Part Two - where we relived Beatlemania and stepped back in time to see where the Scousers of yesteryear lived...



You might also like:

'Striking Stories: 30 James Street and History Walks with My Dad'

"9 Things My Dad Taught Me"

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Sunday, 23 July 2017

DIY SOS: Holidays, House Guests & Home Improvements

Nursery has finished for the summer. This heralds a welcome reprieve from early starts, a break from routine, and 'quality time' with my only child. But with it comes having to face facts: my house is in no fit condition to have play dates in, and so the holidays are going to be time for replacing picnics with plastering, days out with decorating, and fun with new furniture.



I've been looking forward to the summer holidays more than ever this year as my 3 year old is getting ever closer to big school. I like the break from that early morning chaos of getting a little person out of the front door with their shoes on the correct feet and preferably without too many tears (from either of us).

A lot of the friends he's made are moving on to big school this September but we have another full year of pre-school before starting primary, so the next 12 months will hopefully be chance to make some little friends that might see him through to Reception.

It seems like only five minutes ago he was learning to walk and talk, and he wasn't interested in 'friends'. Now he's asking for play dates - something which I've always managed to avoid because I didn't do the whole baby group circuit and join a gang of mummy friends.

So, sweating with panic at the idea of potentially having strangers in my house, I've realised I need to do the house up, sharpish. Don't get me wrong, I'm not someone who seeks the approval of strangers (or friends for that matter!) but I can count on one hand the amount of people who visit my home - and even fewer the amount of people who I'm comfortable with witnessing me in my 'natural habitat' as David Attenborough would say.

I've got some big ground floor projects to concentrate on this summer: an expensive plastering job to save up for, new flooring, and finally trying to get some semblance of furniture that complements each other.


Got my work cut out


I inherited some great original teak mid century furniture that I want to drag into the garden and renovate in the good weather. I also want to move away from IKEA stuff which can look a bit cheap and studenty (I remember the days when my entire flat was birch veneer errthang and it was great at the time but can really date), in favour of mixing and matching my old G-Plan with some more 'grown up' homestyle oak furniture and - dare I say it - try and scale down the sheer volume of toys all over the house or at least find a proper home for everything.

So far a lot of people hours have been dedicated to sourcing a slimline sideboard and maybe a console table, and I haven't even begun to think about the walls yet - framed prints, picture shelves, artwork - there's potentially days worth of googling there. And plants - I've got to get plants!


Googling inspo for days: Pinterest (above) and The Bedstation


It probably sounds a massive overreaction to the prospect of a simple play date but as someone who's lived with anxiety for an number of years now, this isn't an unusual feeling for me. And if there's one thing past experience has taught me, it's that I can almost guarantee that once it's all done nobody will want to come anyway!
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