Monday, February 29, 2016

A wallpaper time capsule...

When we stripped all the old plasterboard off the stud walls in the old part of the house we found a treasure trove of wallpapers trapped beneath....

In the hall there was this very yellow floral number.

This green and gold glitzy number was in the living room.

Some more sparkle, this time a leafy design with lots of silver dots.

This one was a little more subtle and one of the only ones that wasn't floral.  Its a sort of chain design with a touch of gold.

This one looks quite tropical!

This one looks quite hawaiian  or surfy!

These roses were in the dining room and are quite dramatic when seen on a whole wall scale!

I can't remember where this was but it's very pink...

This one would give Cath Kidston a run for her money!

This is the last one we found and it's quite delicate with pink cornflowers on a white background.

All the stud walls in the old part of our house are made of tongue and groove.  They had been papered with old newspapers first - I think probably to stop the ridges of the wood from showing through on the wall paper.

We've stripped the wallpaper right back and have repaired bits of the wood that were rotten or simply missing.  There's still lots of work to do before we can paint but I can't help dreaming of what colours to use!  Having stripped all the wallpaper off I'm definitely going to steer clear of putting anymore up, paint all the way!

I've no idea what date any of the wallpapers are from, do leave me a comment if you recognise any of them or know when they might be from!

Monday, February 8, 2016


The old part of our house was built in 1918 and now that we have a new extension (which we pretty much live in) we really notice how cold the old bit feels in comparison.  So now the new bit is more or less finished, we have started to turn our attention to the old bit.

The first thing we needed to do was take down a few walls and strip off all the old plasterboard and ceilings....

This was the hall after the first evening of demolishing.  The hall is going completely and becoming part of the living room, which is how it was originally.

Thankfully we have a handy helper who we can put to work doing all the tidying up!

We had to move all the contents of the old house into the new bit and now it looks like a very disorganised junk shop!

Once we removed the top layer of plasterboard we uncovered a treasure trove of wallpapers from throughout the 20th Century (a detailed post of the wallpaper time capsule to follow!)

There is a new roof to go on and lots of new insulation to keep the place nice and warm, it's a shame we have to cover up the lovely structure of the roof but it will be worth it for the extra heat!

Our stud walls were all originally tongue and groove so we have taken the wood off and hope to be able to reuse it as much as possible.

We decided to reinstate the wall between the front room and the old dining room at the back but rather than just re tongue and groove it all we thought a window would look nice.  We had a look on gumtree and managed to find this one which just happens to fit almost perfectly in the gap that used to be the hall!  It has a broken pane but I'm hoping it won't be too hard to fix.

Although we have been spending most evenings and weekends demolishing, pulling out nails and stripping wallpaper, a tasty hot chocolate and the promise of a much warmer house makes it all worthwhile!

Thursday, November 5, 2015


We had a halloween party on actual halloween (since it just happened to be a Saturday).  There were sparklers, a little bonfire, mulled cider and apple juice, a slow cooked ham and lots of autumn fruit pies!

My mum grew the little gourds last year for my sisters wedding and I dried them to use again this year.  The colours aren't as bright as they were last year and they are really light and hollow sounding but I think they still look pretty nice on the mantlepiece.  This year I've added some fresh pumpkins (which will end up in a soup or something in a bit) and some leaves, twigs and pinecones picked up from various walks as well as some poppy seed heads from the garden.

The smaller guests dressed up, George was a cat and meowed lots.

We had sparklers and a little bonfire in our cast iron garden stove outside.  It was so mild we even ate our tea outside too.

The sticks for the bonfire proved more interesting than the sparklers for some of the guests.

There was lots of food, including tonnes of sweets as well as these three pies which are from the left - boozy rhubarb (made with the rhubarb I strained out of my rhubarb liquer), blackberry and apple and the last one is apple.

This one was my favourite - I bought the little leaf cutters on eBay.

No party is complete without bunting in my opinion so I spent the Friday night before the party making some out of the pages of an old book and a sharpie marker!

George makes all sorts of marvellous art projects at nursery so I added these to some black and white string to make a spooky garland.

I love this glittery bat!

My sister gave me some spider web decorations which came with their very own spiders.

An autumny flower arrangement.

I had planned to carve lots of pumpkins but in the end I just did this one simple one.  Will try harder next year!  I made a pumpkin cake with the stuff I scooped out of it but after cooking for what seemed like an eternity it was still the most squishy inedible thing unfortunately.

I made this garland out of a sponge painting that George had done.  It was full of lovely autumn colours so I used my star paper cutter and cut out lots of stars and glued them to some black and white butchers string.  I love the idea that every halloween I'll be able to get this out and hang it up - whereas  the painting would have been up on the fridge for a while and then got put in a pile with the many other masterpieces he has produced. ;-)

Some more bunting, this time it's just ordinary printer paper and a sharpie marker taped to black and white butchers string.

We strung some rope lights along the bench in the hall which I really love.  They are so sparkly!

All in all it was a great party, now the back yard is pretty much finished I'm hoping we can have lots more gatherings out there.


It's been such a long time since I posted anything on here but it's been such a lovely autumn over the past few weeks I thought I'd finally get round to posting some pictures of what we've been up to lately....

We've been working on finishing off the patio area at the back of our house, helped abley here by George and ducky.

I tried to go courgettes from a plant my mum gave me. As far a I knew courgettes were supposed to be the most productive plants ever and I figured I would end up with a great glut, but no it wasn't to be, my courgette plant only managed one little courgette! Rather than stir fry it or whatever you do with just one courgette I decided it would be best off as a cake. It was yummy.

We had a lovely sunny day out in rowallane, far sunnier and warmer than most of the actual summer days!

There have been many pies and I have used my enamel dishes at every opportunity! The top one is pork and apple with a creamy calvados sauce and the bottom one is fig, pancetta and goats cheese. They were yummy too.

We had another sunny day out in castle espie looking at the ducks, and a wheel barrow of course.

We had nosy neighbours.

And occasionally Belfast city centre looked a bit like Paris.

We had fun exploring the newly cut field on yet another sunny day.

And inspected the new decking.

We crowned the winner of our first annual sunflower growing competition. (I came last)

I made a lot of jam and chutney!
(Some free downloadable labels will be up soon on the shop)

We had some froggy visitors when we put down the new stones at the back of the house.

I spent a couple of days in the autumny loveliness of stranmillis college for work.

And I treated myself to a new scarf which is as big as a blanket, but what with all the sunshine this autumn I have been roasting wearing it!

We also had a Halloween party but I'll save that for another post!