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5* Sparkles

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that cleaning is not really top of my favourite things to do. I like the finished job once it’s done, but sometimes it’s a lot of effort so anything that makes it a bit quicker is a good thing in my opinion. When the lovely people at Viakal asked me if I wanted to try their products and a 5* kit to make my bathroom a little slice of luxury & relaxation, I obviously accepted. I mean, I’m not one to turn down luxury!

I don’t have a ‘before’ photo to show you because, we’re still working on the bathrooms, yes, they’re still in need of some paint – we’ve been here a year now and I’m yet to get the paintbrush out, it’s a new record for me! So I can’t really show you a huge difference as the walls are still the same, non-descript, creamy colour, which is the most boring colour in the world. In fact, the whole house is the same colour, they must have got a job lot! But, with the help of the Viakal goodies, I was able to attack the taps, sinks, shower screen and bath to get them all sparkling like they’d been hit with a dollop of fairy dust.

According to a recent survey by Viakal, gleaming taps and watermark free showers are considered such a high cleaning benchmark that 79% of cleaners religiously apply this to their own bathrooms. You’ll also find Housekeepers will always go the extra mile, with 57% providing their own visitors fluffy towels and a quarter putting out nice cosmetics and soaps at home.

The survey, revealed that some boast such a passion for cleaning the bathroom, that one fifth (21%) actively enjoy the chore, with 42% going onto reveal that removing limescale from the taps gives them the most job satisfaction. Not only that, but a perverse 2% admitted to actually enjoying declogging the plug! – That’s some serious dedication to the cause right there!

Onto the After! Despite being a serious product junkie, my bathrooms had no storage or shelves at all, so what happened was everything would end up round the edge of the bath, which is fine for a few things but it ended up being a balancing act and I couldn’t even contemplate putting my feet up in the bath, because I’d knock half of it off (I know, first world problems right there) so we grabbed a picture ledge from ikea and got creative with it’s usage. It was meant to be a nail varnish shelf but it was too long, it was, however, spot on for the family bathroom, so it went above the tiles and all my goodies now have a home. There is even room for the *gorgeous* Diptyque candle that came in the hamper! I haven’t had the heart to light it yet, I’m saving it for a special occasion!

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Obviously, white is the colour of the day in my house, so the fluffy white towels from The White Company took pride of place on the once empty double towel rail. We moved it so now it sits next to the bath. Perfect.

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My shiny taps & sink are home to the Diptyque soap, I’m torn between putting it in the downstairs toilet so all my visitors can use it and hiding it away in our bathroom so only I use it!

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And there we have it, my 5* bathroom is almost complete. With the little luxuries added I almost don’t mind the lack of paint in there, once the lights are out, the bath is run, candles lit & a good book on my iPad I’m not even going to notice the walls am I?

Thanks to Viakal for sending my the products & goodies for the purpose of this post. 

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What is it you want exactly?

I’m having one of those weeks. You know the kind where you just can’t make a decision on anything. From the mundane (dinner?) to the whole big life issue thing. I’m like a proverbial tennis ball on a court, and the players just aren’t missing. Or something like that.

I can’t decide what I want to do with myself. I’ve always been indecisive but right now I’m just a pain in the arse. Do I want more children? Or do I want to stay as we are and do new things with my kiddles. Do I want to have stability and, dare I say it, boredom, in my life, or do I want things to be up in the air and keeping me on my toes. Do I want to grab life by the balls and do whatever, whenever, or do I want to feel safe and un-pushed (not pushed? What’s the right way to phrase that?)

I know. They should all be obvious answers but they’re not. Not to me anyway! I assume I am one of those women (Princess if you must, no, dammit, Queen!) who wants the best of both worlds. Yes I want my frigging cake and I have the cheek to want to eat it too. To quote my eldest, “I know, right!?”

I just get so, what’s the word I’m looking for, URGH, when things stay the same for too long. I like to switch things around. One month I might be all about having another baby and becoming the worlds best housewife, then the following month I couldn’t think of anything worse. Will I ever make a choice and stick with it forever? I can’t imagine I will! It’s like when you finally grow your hair and you decide to cut it again. It’s the whole, the grass is always greener scenario isn’t it? You want what you don’t have. In my case, it doesn’t matter what it is, I’ll want the opposite. And when I get that, I’ll go back to wanting what I had before.

Those closest to me probably feel like they can’t win. And maybe sometimes they can’t. But in the same instance at least they know they’ll never be bored with me around. There will never be that feeling of, same shit different day, because I never know what mood I’m going to wake up in, so how will they? At the moment I’m all about travelling, smaller cars, long weekends away (without smaller people) and lots of non baby-making sex. I’m not up for routine, I don’t want the same old same old. I want excitement and risk (but with lots of lay ins attached to that, let’s not get carried away) I don’t want to feel like life is passing me by, I want to be right up there, grabbing it round the neck and riding it wherever it might take me.

I know. Even I can’t keep up with me sometimes.

 

 

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Grown ups.

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I thought I’d start my newly titled blog with a pretty apt post, I’ve moved away from parenting a little bit, but I still don’t feel like a fully fledged grown up. The Bloke and I are both in our 30’s now, and I remember thinking how grown up that sounded when I was in my early 20’s. You know, “by the time I’m 33 I’ll be……” (insert rich, famous, in Paris, a writer as you like!) and obviously, I’m not.

We’re currently discussing our next ‘big’ birthdays, he’ll be *cough* forty and I will be 35 (in two years I’d like to add, not next year!) and the plan is to visit New York together, on our own, without our little darlings. It’s exciting and feels like an adventure, but at the same time, I can’t imagine myself married to a 40 year old. I mean, there’s no getting away from the fact that that is a grown up number. It’s forty! (There’s also the fact that we will have been married for 15 years in the same year, so it’s a pretty big one! Renew vowels? Shop it up in NYC? Decisions!)

You see, while we have jobs, a house, two children and a dog between us, there is still a level of immaturity that I’m not sure will ever go. The Bloke still plays imaginary golf at any opportunity, usually with umbrellas but he’s been known to use sticks and even baguettes if he’s particularly bored walking round Sainbos. My sewing kit is seriously dismal. I have a few reels of cotton (never the colour you need) and a couple of those really weird needles that never get used because they’re blunter than play-doh. We *never* have stamps when we need them, our filing system leaves a lot to be desired (I had to search through TB’s t-shirt drawer the other day, because he was storing stuff in there to be filed “at a later date”) and I cannot find any destination without satnav. I don’t care how clear you make the directions, I’ll lose my way after the second instruction. And don’t even get me started on the fact that hangovers seem to last longer than 1 day now.

But, there’s actually a good balance going on here. Just because you have to tick the next box in the age category doesn’t mean the end of late nights and naughty weekends away. My hair is longer now than it was when I was in my 20s’s and I like it (and have dreams about getting a disastrous haircut then waking up grateful it’s still on my head!) I might keep talking about getting the botox right between my eyes but at the other end of the scale, I don’t actually look that old. Two years ago I was asked for ID, that story will be relived for a long time, get used to it people!

Yes, most of our friends are married and or have kids, so we can’t all drop everything and go for impromptu nights out, but when we do get together, we get together in style (this is where those 2 day hangovers kick in)

I’ve worked out my style and I stick to it, without trying to be a fashion victim. (I also know that a blunt heavy fringe suits nobody over the age of 12. Especially if you have chubby cheeks high cheekbones)

Then, the not so grown up points. Sadly, I still can still put my foot in it at any given moment, like the time I was discussing a photo in an exhibition and explaining how wrong I thought it was compared to the rest of the theme, only to watch the colour drain from TB’s face. The man I was discussing it with was the photographer. And one of TB’s bosses. Fun. I never have calpol/paracetemol/plasters when I need them (yet a million things fall out of the medicine cabinet when I open it?) and I don’t think my underwear will ever be 100% matching.

And lastly, we have the ‘old people who lived a shoe’ qualities, that I like to think of as secrets that must never ever be told to anyone, except you obviously. Gardening. We’re getting a kick out of gardening. You know, herbs, tomatoes, strawberries, flowers, it’s nice to see it all come together and look pretty. A decent cup of tea. I have no time for people who can’t make a good cup of tea. Don’t put the milk in first, don’t swish the tea bag around for a second and don’t use chipped mugs. Or fat milk. Simple. Quiet evenings on the sofa under the blanket with a (decent) cup of tea are almost as nice as getting dressed up and going out. Sometimes nicer. Ironing. Urgh, this one is a real bitch. Now GG is in senior school her uniform doesn’t seem to de-crease after washing, so I had to buy an iron. And an ironing board. And I am now taking great satisfaction in making sure all items of washing are ironed perfectly. I actually hid a shirt from TB yesterday because it is creased and I knew he’d wear it anyway. What am I turning into!?

The truth is, I’m quite happy with our little, young, old, oldest balance and I can’t imagine it changing, no matter how old we get. We’ll still want to blast the tunes out to annoy the neighbours, swing around anything that resembles a golf club and have a good cuppa on the go.

It’s all about balance.

 

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A few changes….

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There are going to be a few changes around here in the next week or so. I’ve decided to merge my two blogs together as one. This one started off as a little online diary about the kids, but it grew and took on a different life of it’s own, which wasn’t really what I had in mind when I started out, but it’s been great all the same. The kids are growing up now, and aside from a few posts here and there, they don’t need me writing about them, it’s hard enough growing up as it is, without your mother using events as blog fodder.

My other site, which was my grown up, honest posts only site was getting neglected. I don’t really have time for one blog, never mind two. So, I have decided to bring them together. This site will soon become Life Daily. A place where I can post all the honesty, funny, food, shopping, ranting, wish list’y posts that I want. Hopefully it will give me back my blogging mojo, and I’ll get back into the swing of writing.

During the summer holidays I have been doing a *lot* of thinking, I’m still not 100% sure on things, but I’ve made a few decisions. The first is I don’t think now is the right time to start studying. I’ve just started a fab new job, which I want to throw myself into, GG is now in senior school, TB is growing up, and I’m not sure I want to add more hard work to something that is running really nicely. I’m also feeling like the path I thought I wanted to take, isn’t quite right. While I am still really interested in counselling and pyschosexual therapy, I still want to write and be creative, so I need to find a balance between the two. What the balance is I have no idea, but when I find it, you’ll be one of the first to know!

So, there we go. My parenting blog will soon be (hopefully) a lifestyle blog. And my lifestyle will soon be pretty much perfect. There’s not really much more you could ask for is there!

 

 

 

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#Frame My View

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This time last year, if I’d looked out my living room window I would have seen parked cars, a block of flats and loads of kids running around (not mine) as we were packing to finally move out of the flat that we’d started to feel like we were forever trapped in. Fast forward a year (and god it’s gone quick!) when I sit my peachy bum down on my sofa and look out of my living room windows, I see a gorgeous garden, flowers, clouds, and my own two babes laughing and mucking about on the trampoline. Should we be lucky enough for sunshine, I know it’s too much to ask for in August, I might spot the bloke out there doing his manly thing on the BBQ.

It’s amazing the difference a good view can make to the start of your day. Even when it’s raining and grey, just being able to sit down with a cup of tea and know that we have outside space, and no one stressing us out with parking issues or kicking footballs against my window can chill me out in an instant.

In the evening, when the kids have gone to bed and our solar lights are glowing, the garden feels like a little sanctuary, it’s so quiet, whatever time it is apart from the odd neighbour cutting their grass or doing a bit of DIY, in fact, we’re probably classed as the noisy neighbours this time!

I’ve always loved a good view. It appeals to the people watcher in me, sitting and staring for hours on end is such a great way to pass the time. When we went to Paris in March I had to drag my eyes away from every sight, and I still feel like I didn’t see everything. My favourite kind of view isn’t the usual hills and green grass view that most people seem to love, I like dark, cloudy, heavy skies. Buildings, traffic, skylines. Loads of different things to lose some time in. Watching people rushing around from one place to another, imagining what their lives are like (or is that just me?)

 

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The view from my living room window is currently framed by some gorgeous new curtains from The Natural Curtain Company. If you know me, you know that I love whites and greys, so I went for a pair of ready made, lined, 100% cotton curtains in Jupiter, a gorgeous light grey which fits in with my living room perfectly. Our living room windows are actual bi-fold doors so they’re floor to ceiling, wall to wall which means we get fantastic light all day long. We did have some very thin, sheer curtains from Ikea up before but these are going to be heaven for the colder evenings that will be coming along soon. Closing the curtains, lighting the candles and pouring the wine (really need to find a good red I like for the winter!) is my idea of heaven. I can’t wait for Autumn to get here now!

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Love my new Love Seat, love my monochrome cushion (need to get back to Ikea to get some more!) and love my new curtains. If you ask the bloke he will probably say he loves the shed at the bottom of the garden because he made it all by himself! I’ve been looking at views on Pinterest, where I’ve obviously been pinning like mad as well, so if you want to see some stunning images including Paris (of course!) New York, and more then you can click here!

Follow kateagreen’s board #Frame My View on Pinterest.

{Post is a collaboration but all my own work!}

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Chance of showers

Online shopping. Not quite as much fun as actual, real life shopping because you can’t stop off in a bar and grab a drink, have dinner out, people watch, blah blah, but so much easier when you just can’t face dragging taking the kids out and listening to them whinge that we have to go into yet another shop. Silly small people.

Online shopping for household essentials, even less fun, but necessary sometimes. Like now, when our (en suite don’t you know) shower cubicle doors are hanging on by a metaphorical thread – when you step into the shower you have to slam them together at a certain angle, with a certain force at least 4 times before they meet in the middle and do their job. It’s also a really small cubicle. You can’t really move around much in there, turn around too fast to get the shampoo and you could knock yourself out and there is definitely not enough room for two people, to save water, you know….?

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I went away a couple of weeks ago on a hen do to Bath (West Country Games!) and the boutique house we stayed in had 2 huge (adjoining) showers. You could probably fit 3 people in each one! The bathrooms were gorgeous so it’s given me some inspiration to give ours a face lift.

In an ideal world I’d made the shower bigger, but that’s really unlikely because it has a raised base so (and lacking bathroom design skills here) I’m guessing if I wanted to make it bigger, we’d have to alter that and we’re not going to. If you browse shower enclosures at Mira Showers, they have loads of choice, square, bi-fold, walk in, the lot.

Ours is a square, sliding door enclosure so this Mira Beam one is top of my list at the moment, and look, the doors meet in the middle and everything! This is gorgeous, if I was going to order a shower based on how it looks then this would be right up there! I would probably stay in there for much longer than necessary!  Grey, silver, glass, this is what (Kate’s) bathroom dreams are made of!

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At the minute we have no storage at all, so I need some shelves up (we also have no airing cupboard so shelves would be really handy for the hundreds of towels we have! But more importantly, all my vital beauty products need a home instead of being spread out all over the middle floor of the house, a lick of paint and new bath mat and I’d be all set to lock myself in there and enjoy some peace and quiet away from the little darlings. In fact, if I time it right I could stay in there until the end of the summer holidays?!

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