How the Kitchen Became the Heart of Our Home Again

I can now say that after seven years, I have finally reclaimed my kitchen. Rich finally laid the last pieces of flooring, a relatively small job that has brought me so much happiness. For the first time since E was born, we’ve all been able to sit around the table eating our meals together.

After such a long period of neglect, we’ve moved the large wooden table back in and it’s starting to become the hub of the home once again. On Sundays, we can start the day leisurely, eating a cooked breakfast around our table whilst the sun (… when it shines…) pours in through the kitchen windows. I can sit here at the table in the evenings, doing a little freelance work with a cat curled up on my lap, tucked away at the back of the house. At lunch, we busy ourselves making sandwiches or soup whilst the radio babbles in the background, and E sits happily in her highchair, clapping and burbling away. My house is starting to feel like a home again. This room is now a happy place.

Kitchen Heart of the Home

Of course, now the flooring has finally been done (good things come to those who wait, right?) and the table and chairs are in, we’re now looking to update the rest of the kitchen. In the 8 or so years since we last decorated, it’s started to look tired and shabby, and there is much to do. When it comes to this little tumbledown house, we can never rest on our laurels!

The first job in hand is to finish the flooring with new skirting, and replace the door into the utility room. We really struggle with light in the afternoons and evenings at the back of the house, so we’ve decided to put in a half glazed door, which will allow light to stream through from the conservatory when the utility room door is shut.

Next, we’ll be looking to convert the cupboard doors – as ever, we’re on a budget so it’s a choice of either sanding down the existing cupboard doors and oiling them, painting them with eggshell, or replacing them completely (unlikely).

One of our biggest wishes would be to insert skylights above the kitchen sink (oh how I wish we had a butler sink…). The pitched roof would be perfect for a couple of Velux windows. I would love to sit at the table and be able to see the sky, and the amount of light that it would let in to the house all day long would make a world of difference. And in summer, we could have insect blinds, like this one, so that we could enjoy fresh air without the perpetual annoyance of buzzing flies – something that’s really bothered us over the past couple of years.

Rich is adamant that he could fit the skylights himself, but as I’ve waited seven years just to get my floor in, it’s fair to say that I’m a little skeptical that I’ll get my dream kitchen just yet 😉 For now, I’m happy that we have matching chairs around a big table that we can all share. I’m happy that doors will be hung where big gaping holes have been, and soon, with a little TLC, this will truly be the heart of our home again.

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Post-Bank Holiday Blues

A sunny Sunday

August Bank Holidays in August are supposed to be damp and full of broken promises. But for E’s first birthday – which fell on the bank holiday weekend – it was hot, the skies were dry, and at times, even fine. We couldn’t have asked for much better, really.

We celebrated her birthday just with family; Rich sweated over the BBQ and I ran backwards and forwards with trays of food and drinks. E played happily with her aunties, uncles and grandparents, unawares that it was her special day of course, but thoroughly enjoying herself. It was the first time we’ve really shared our garden with family for a celebration, and although the garden isn’t picture perfect, it was good to invite people round and say “come and celebrate with us.” I finally feel confident enough to open the garden gate to other people, as we’ve worked hard to do many of the clear-up jobs that had been on the To Do list for years. It’s starting to feel like the garden I knew it could always be. My little slice of the good life.

For a week before E’s birthday, we used every available spare hour to rid the garden of years of accumulated guff – neat(ish) piles of wood, old broken chairs and benches, frost-damaged pots and seed trays, broken bricks and paving, old runs and fence panels – as well as tackling some of the denser, weedier patches of scrub and cutting the hedges back down to an acceptable height. It was tough to get it all done, but so worth it. I now feel we have so much more workable space, which allows me to concentrate on planting schemes this coming Autumn and Spring.

But after the bank holiday celebrations, and the initial satisfaction of a job well done, I’m starting to feel a little blue. It’s this feeling of only just getting by; treading water, getting from one day to the next without any solid progress that’s returned. It’s a bit ridiculous as we have made SO much progress in the garden, and the house too (after about 10 years, I finally have a full kitchen floor down, a kitchen table back in its rightful place, and four matching kitchen chairs). The house feels a little less like a renovation site and a little more like the home it once was. I think these blues are stemming from general feelings of insecurity and not feeling in control of my finances. The “treading water” is financial too; I don’t think I’ll ever feel free and settled until I have it sorted. And that is going to take a heck of a lot of hard work too.

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s up to me. We’ve already proven that if we set our minds to a task, we can achieve good things. It’ll never be easy, but I need to stop sinking and start believing my goals are actually achievable.



Thinning out Autumn King carrots

Bunch of carrots
For me, the Autumn King carrot is truly a regal offering from the veg plot. It’s always been a winner; a reliable grower with strong, straight roots with plenty of flavour.

Last night I began thinning my carrots out from a thriving patch of haphazardly sown seed. The carrots are approaching maturity and size ready for harvest – maybe they’ve got another 3-4 weeks to go before they’re really ready –  but even the thinned out baby carrots were a decent size.

And the scent as they were pulled from the earth! There’s nothing quite like it.

Little E loved the cooked carrots with her dinner, eating the whole lot along with some other fresh veggies and mashed potato. That’s always been part of my dream – to provide homegrown, fresh organically grown food for my family.

And if our little venture (see previous blog post) comes into fruition, I might be able to start making a little living off the land too.