House Project is GO!!!!

Saturday 25th October was a momentous day for the House Project…it was the day that the very first building task started!! Though it involved more bashing than building – bashing a hole through our back kitchen wall to be precise. I know, I know, our back kitchen wall is a long way from our loft, but if you’ve been paying attention you’ll know there’s a whole chain reaction thing going on here starting with the existence of a pesky water tank…

So here’s a picture for posterity of my lovely Dad doing the honours, and another of him and my girl in the kitchen, peering through under the cupboard to check the hole is in the right place…though not quite sure what they would have done if it hadn’t been!

House Project is Go!House Project is Go!!

More building related shenanigans to follow soon…thanks for reading!

Boilers and cylinders

I’m beginning to think that I should include the word ‘occasional’ in my blog header – despite the fact that life feels very settled at the moment, I seem to have less and less time to write. Having said that, there’s plenty of exciting stuff keeping me busy – not least the House Project!

I rather naively thought that with planning permission in place, and having chosen a builder, that we’d be done and dusted and painting our new bedroom by now. However, I should probably learn to accept that a) life does not move at the speed of Michelle, as much as I would like it to, and b)a rather large water tank in our loft right where our bed should be will definitely present a holdup.

I have of course known about the tank since the start of the journey but had long ago parked it in the corner of my brain reserved for ‘obstacles too big to think about right now’.  It’s a pretty useful corner actually – all sorts of stuff gets dumped there when I’m facing down a large project at work or home;  very often, by the time the obstacle needs to be dealt with it’s either disappeared, or morphed into something more manageable. However it seems that fully plumbed in and functioning water tanks do not fall into either of these categories – who knew? Not me!

There was no getting away from the fact that we needed a plan, and probably a better one than simply getting a really high bed and leaving the tank in situ underneath it, so I’ve been busy trying to figure out the best thing to do.

Initially it looked like changing our condensing boiler to a combi would be the best option. That way we could lose the tank and also lose our hot water cylinder that sits in a cubby hole in the kitchen. This would give us more space when we eventually start reconfiguring downstairs, so did seem an attractive option to start with – but ouch, new boilers are expensive! And despite what the manufacturers say, I hear lots of grumbles from people who have combis about the shower going freezing because someone’s doing the washing up. (If only someone EVER did the washing up!)

Then I had a chat with my Dad who suggested simply changing the type of hot water cylinder we have to one which can operate on our existing boiler but from the mains, rather than via a tank. At over a grand, a new cylinder is not a cheap option but it’s certainly cheaper than a new boiler, and it also has the advantage of an immersion so if the boiler breaks down, we can have hot water independently until it’s fixed.

So I went shopping for a new cylinder this week. Not the most exciting shopping assignment I’ve ever had in my life, though probably the most expensive… *winces*  Here it is in all its glory – it looks very grand and hi-tech next to our existing cylinder (in the cupboard to the left) and it’s certainly a better size for a family of five.  The job of getting it plumbed in will soon be under way – thanks to my lovely and very patient Dad – and then we will finally be on the journey to our 4 bedroom house! Woop! More soon…

Boilers and cylinders
That’s the first grand of the budget spent, right there…


Review – La Redoute Blackout Curtains

I’ve been thinking about getting blackout curtains for my littlest boy’s room for a while now. He is programmed to wake at first light which makes the Summer very hard work indeed, and even now, when it’s not light till a more civilised hour, I’d rather he slept a bit longer at the weekends, partly because it might make the hours between 5pm and 7pm a bit less horrendous, and partly because I wouldn’t mind a lie in occasionally!

So when La Redoute kindly asked me if I’d like to review anything from their range I was on the point of choosing some clothes for the kids, when I suddenly remembered seeing a homeware section in their catalogue. I had a quick look through and was really pleased to discover that there were indeed a great range of blackout curtains in a variety of colours and styles – so I put my order in for some Voda curtains straight away and waited in excitement for the New Era of Not Stupidly Early Mornings!

As usual with La Redoute, the parcel delivery was swift and no-hassle. I chose to have this delivered to my door but there is also an option for free delivery to any shops in the Parcelshop network, which is a great way of saving some pennies if you order frequently.

When the curtains arrived I didn’t waste much time in putting them up – they came with integral eyelets so it was a very quick job. The more traditional pinch pleats are available, as well as pretty tab-tie tops, so you can pick whatever style suits you best. Once the curtains were up I wasn’t sure how dark they would actually be, as the material didn’t seem as thick as I’d expected for blackouts. But I needn’t have worried – they did indeed keep out every speck of light, to the extent that I have had to purchase a nightlight for my four year old! And – drum roll please – he slept until the grand hour of 7.30am this weekend – it’s not much,  but I’ll take it!

I would certainly recommend these curtains to anyone looking for a blackout solution – they do exactly what they’re supposed to, and they’re much less fiddly than the blackout blinds I had been looking at beforehand. I think they are relatively expensive (my curtains were £90,  however seasoned La Redoute shoppers will know that there are regular offers and discount codes available which can bring prices down significantly.

One note of caution though – La Redoute sells and prices all its curtains singly rather than as pairs – this saves waste if you only have a narrow window, but could potentially cause confusion if you’re used to buying curtains in the traditional sets of two, so make sure you double check before you buy!

Now, I’m off to bed in eager anticipation of a lie-in tomorrow – thank you La Redoute!

**Disclosure – these curtains were provided free of charge by La Redoute for the purposes of an honest review**