Sunday, 27 February 2011


Today GG and I trekked out to Wimbledon (15 minute bike ride, 15 min wait for the train, 15 min train, 15 min walk) to Wimbledon Stadium, where they run greyhounds or 'the Dogs' as they are called.  Not, of course, to witness this travesty of barbarian entertainment (although judging from the posters around the joint it is a très classy event). Instead we went to check out the weekly car boot sale.

A car boot sale is a strangely UK phenomena. It involves everyone driving into a large dodgy looking carpark or field with their boot full of stuff that to get rid of, opening up said boot to display wares, and playing trashy dance music from crappy car speakers.  I think it might only be this last part that is unique to this country.

And did we bring home some booty.  Well, as much as you can get for the grand sum of £6.50.

Item 1, a small 1970's metallic drinks tray featuring a map of the Maltese islands, 50p. Super exciting because we have been there but would never considering purchasing such a tacky souvenir, yet somehow it seems so right 3 years later and right in our home town.

Item 2, a Midwinter green and gold stripe tea cup, £1.  Hardly a standout, but it is green, and I felt bad after the lady rummaged around to pull out a whole box full of the stuff after I picked it up for a quick squiz.
Item 3, the crowning glory, a drawing of a Rough Legged Buzzard, £5.  I've since discovered this is a hawk found in Europe, Asia and North America, with an average wingspan of 134cm and an average total length of 53cm. Thankyou Wikipedia. Its special because its the only hawk of its size to regularly hover over one spot, which (aside from those awesome beaks) is what makes hawks so interesting in the first place. Woe is the hawk who can't even hover. What a loser. This guy was part of a pair, but the his partner wasn't so cool and so he got left behind.
He's hanging in the hallway, which you may never have seen before now. A sunless, dog-legged room with 5 doorways and a warped floor thanks to the leaking roof issue before we moved in. This is the view looking towards our bedroom at the back of the flat.
You might have noticed GG's little addition to spice up the hallway decor, a postcard of Rocky, in which it looks like Rocky is holding hands with Michael Jackson circa 2006 wearing a long skirt.
And while I was getting busy with the screwdriver in the hallway, I thought screw it, why not hang the mirror that's been sitting in the corner of the room on a chair for the last 14 months (seen most clearly here, behind the dining room table)?  After all, doesn't matter how many pock marks we put in the walls, they're all getting a new paint job in the next few.

Voila! £35 from Camden market when we first moved over here and I got confused and thought £35 was cheap.  Its a great shape though, and will hopefully reflect a little more light around the place.
Are you loving the industrial-ness of those pipes in the hallway?  They're similar to the one running through our bedroom, but they all originate outside our flat, and are probably whisking away the cooking fumes from all the other tennants.  They all disappear into the laundry cupboard (around the corner to the right in this photo), which is a veritable spaghetti mess of gas, water and electricity pipes and meters, along with the upstairs neighbours poo shute. The joys of apartment living.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Bedroom upgrades

I haven't posted any photos of the bedroom before now (except a snapshot of the beside table, and I'm sure the suspense has been killing you.  Here's a photo taken in the first week after we moved in.  That silver cylinder of loveliness streaking through the room is actually the kitchen exhaust, winging its way to the atmosphere at the rear of the building. 
Note the ubiquitous Ikea Malm double bed.  In birch veneer no less.  Well, it was inherited so I can't take the blame on that one.  But I ask you, what is wrong with Black-Brown? Or even oak veneer? Basically anything is more interesting than Ikea's birch blandness.

Anyway, we've made 3 key improvements since this photo was taken. (1) We changed up the position of the bed so the head of the bed is opposite the window. (2) We replaced the ugliest blind in the world, and (3) I bought a new duvet and cover when we were in Australia.

The previous owner had rented the flat with a very fetching cream blackout blind, which would have been extremely functional (albeit very ugly) - if only they had bothered to get the right size so that it covered the entire window! As it was, the blind was fitted a couple of inches below the top of the window, and when fully extended the blind left about 5 inches of free space at the bottom of the window.
From the looks of the additional plug holes, it looks like they made at least 2 attempts to finally end up with it in this genius position.

Anyway, our new blind was bought online, hassle-free from  It is African Blackwood, which translates to "cheap wood painted black". Either way it is 100 times better than what we had. GG has filled the old holes so now it looks the finished product.  We did discover a rather large crack in the brickwork while drilling the holes, but hopefully its nothing serious.

It is such a large window that the blind is ridiculously heavy to lift, so much so that I'm afraid one day I'll rip it out of the wall.  And it actually does a pretty poor job of keeping light out in the morning, but that's not a problem because there are few things that can come between me and a good ol' shut-eye.  These days the only thing that keeps me awake is GG whinging about noise from the neighbours.  Sorry for the poor quality photo, the rooms not very wide and the window is so tall its hard to get a good perspective (or lighting conditions!).
The second major improvement was the purchase of new linen - a black and white graphic duvet cover and grey coloured sheet and pillowcases.  I am incredibly fussy when it comes to duvet covers; it is virtually impossible to find one that I like and that GG won't hate. Originally I wanted something asymmetrical, with trees and bird silhouettes but I was unable to find anything that had the right colours (i.e. blue/grey tones with not too much white in it) and wasn't too trendy.  I'm pretty happy with what I found, and was even happier with the price: $AU50!  

I've since been using the old duvet on the couch for watching TV, and last night I accidentally ripped a huge hole in it. So it was probably a rather timely purchase.
The one thing the bedroom is really lacking is storage, at the moment we only have a couple of rails on the wall for hanging clothes (to the right in this photo), and consequently we are still living out of suitcases. 13 months after moving in.  I can't even bring myself to take a photo of that horror show.  But in the works is a wall-length floor to ceiling wardrobe that will solve all our storage problems and probably yours too.