05. October 2008 · Comments Off on house – before and after · Categories: Home · Tags: , , ,

A full set of “before and after” photos of the flat are online now, here

And here is a picture of the belly last week, at 20 weeks:

This morning Squirt was kicking hard enough that we could actually see my tummy moving from the outside. We have the inaccurately named “20 week scan” this Thursday (at approx 22 weeks) and if Squirt is cooperative then we should be able to find out whether we should call it a he or a she.

20. September 2008 · Comments Off on Amazing lounge transformation · Categories: Home · Tags: , , ,

Today we got our new sofa and chair, and the lounge is complete! Here is a before photo, and a couple of after photos – the rest of the pictures are here

Before:

After:

It doesn’t seem a fair comparison when the “before” photos were taken just after the chaos of moving in, but I don’t have any other old pictures to compare with.

The flooring is strand-woven bamboo, which is both environmentally friendly and extremely hard wearing. The walls are a lighty mushroomy-beige colour, that doesn’t really show up accurately in the pictures. Overall we’re very pleased with how it all turned out!

12. August 2008 · Comments Off on garden update · Categories: Gardening · Tags: ,

Here’s some of the wildlife seen in our teeny garden recently:

And here’s the progress happening on the grape vine:
And, happily, the rose that we moved some months ago has survived its ordeal and is flowering!
19. June 2008 · Comments Off on strawberry harvest · Categories: Food, Gardening · Tags:

Here were our strawberries, ripening up a couple of weeks ago:

And here they were last week, when I harvested them:

And shortly after that, I found some dark chocolate in the pantry (thank you Tracey!) and shortly after that the strawberries looked like this:

And then they went into the fridge, and then after dinner we yummed them good.

17. May 2008 · Comments Off on The amazing garden transformation · Categories: Gardening · Tags: ,

Following on from the amazing spare room transformation, we bring you the amazing garden transformation. Ta-daaaah!

The fine weather over the last couple of weeks inspired us to get out there and clean things up. We pulled out a lot of plants that we didn’t like much and didn’t want to maintain. We also tried to move a rose which appears to have killed it. But it seemed to have an aphid infestation anyway, and I am not too upset about losing it.

I still need to find some “before” pictures for a comparison, meanwhile all the “after” hotos are here.

PS: Hi Ulla! 🙂

06. May 2008 · Comments Off on The amazing spare room transformation · Categories: Home · Tags: ,

At last I have a full set of photos of our DIY makeover on the spare room. We did everything – stripped the wallpaper, filled and sanded and painted the walls, took down the door & repainted it, painted the skirting boards, painted the radiator and the heating pipes, replaced the door handle and light switch and power points and pipe holders, added a new doorstop, and laid the carpet.

A full set of pictures is here.

Here’s a before picture:

And here’s an after:

02. January 2008 · Comments Off on wow – what a year · Categories: Photography, Travel · Tags: , ,

yes, it’s time for the obligatory let’s-look-back-at-2007 post. what an amazing year! it feels like the first half passed in a frenzy of wedding organisation, but we did still manage to take some trips away, including a memorable easter in marrakech and yet another weekend in paris. i also took a fantastic girly weekend away in february, escaping to budapest with theresa, toni & tracey. we also visited knutsford several times in the first half of the year, to take advantage of the never-ending hospitality of aunty angela & uncle paul while i had my dress fittings with their neighbour.

the wedding week fairly flew by, and we enjoyed every minute of it. it was great to have so many people join us in sweden, and to be able to spend some extra time with those who stayed on a bit longer. we had a month back in london before heading over to NZ and having our second wedding reception, which was another great day. i caught up with old friends who i hadn’t seen for many years, and it was great to introduce Linus to everyone and to show him a tiny bit of my home town. from there we long-hauled it to the maldives for two weeks of blissful honeymoon.

since the wedding & honeymoon we’ve been mostly housebound, and starting to make improvements to the flat. we’ve replaced all the windows & doors with brand new double glazed ones, much more secure and much less breezy! the next step is to get some paint on the walls and some new flooring.

2007 was an interesting year for my career. in march i wrapped up my job at that big investment bank i was working for and headed for a new job at lastminute.com. as i threw out piles of “business casual” clothes i told myself i was leaving that industry behind forever and i fully embraced the jeans & sneakers environment again. it didn’t turn out to be all that i hoped for though, and i decided to make another move after just 3 months. i did a couple of weeks work for my old company – artists first – before heading away on honeymoon, and then started contract hunting when we returned. and lo and behold, i ended up buying a whole new business casual wardrobe! yes, i’m now back in the world of banking, but it’s a whole different world when compared to the last one. plus, as a contractor you don’t have to care about shmeltzing yourself into the “company culture” and don’t have to sweat about whether you’re doing enough networking to earn yourself a bonus. and i get paid more too. why wasn’t i doing this before?!

of course, the year wasn’t all sunshine and roses. you win some and you lose some, and we lost some very special people in 2007. early in the year Linus’s friend Rob was killed in a motorcycle accident, and not too long afterwards we were travelling to Sweden for the funeral of Agda, mother to Linus’s Dad’s wife Ulla. i had met Rob only a few times, and never met Agda (though i really wish i had – she was a knitting legend!), but it was obvious that they were both really special people and were well loved by many.

most painful for me was the death of my nana, just before we were due to come to NZ for our wedding party. she was a cunning old bird though, and let go just in time to allow us to attend the funeral, without having to see her in the sadly bed-ridden state she was in at the end – i do believe that she quite deliberately chose her time. i miss her terribly though. the world was a richer place for having had these three individuals in it, and we’ll never forget them.

sadly for nana, she missed out on one of the happiest occasions of the year – the arrival of her first great-grandchild, my nephew luke. he’s the cutest baby of all time – although i may want to retract that statement when i have one of my own!

and now it’s 2008 and there is much to look forward to. in february/march we’ll be back in NZ for a while, to catch up with the family and to be at the wedding of my very very dear friend paula. in june we will be taking possession of a little house in sweden by the sea, and there’s every possibility we’ll be moving into it before the end of the year.

so here’s to a new and exciting year, bringing more good changes and hopefully something great for everybody.

happy new year!

04. July 2007 · Comments Off on Hailstorm · Categories: Home · Tags:

The BBC has some more pictures of that crazy hail from yesterday

03. July 2007 · Comments Off on yes, it’s july · Categories: Home · Tags:

but you wouldn’t believe it from these pictures i just took in my back yard

when one of my workmates said it was snowing this afternoon, i was so incredulous i didn’t even go to the window. but on the bus home, i saw a number of cars covered in something that did indeed appear to be snow. and when i got to queenstown road, the pavements were covered with the stuff.

on closer inspection i saw that it was in fact hail – a much less disturbing explanation. it was pretty bloody big hail though, as you can see from the bottom picture, and it looks like there was a hell of a lot of it. i’m pretty glad i wasn’t outside at the time

the hailstones range between nurofen size and M&M size. there was a pretty thick slab of the stuff on the deck, so much so that i had quite a lot of trouble getting the back door open. you can see from the pictures how much hail i had to shove aside in order to get out.

unfortunately some of my plants have taken rather a beating from all this. the tomato has lost a lot of branches, the lavender has developed an even worse lean than usual, and i’ve found shreds of mint up to 2m away from the mint patch. oh and the strawberries are pretty much buried. it will be interesting to see what surivives after this much abuse.

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02. July 2007 · Comments Off on · Categories: Food · Tags: ,

exciting
i picked up my wedding dress in the weekend. it feels a little weird to think that it is finished, and hanging up at home, rather than being this abstract incomplete dress far away in Cheshire. Gerd has done a lovely job and she sewed a horseshoe of tiny blue roses inside the lining, which she informs me is a scandinavian tradition.

disturbing
those terrorists are at it again, but luckily they’re being fairly incompetent so far. however it looks like all summer leave is cancelled if you’re a police officer – they’re very much out in force on the streets and in the stations and airports and so on. i had a tiny twitter of nervousness when i took a bus at lunchtime today, until i noticed there were 3 coppers on the top deck, and i have to say it did actually make me feel a little safer.

disappointing
last night on our return from Cheshire, dad & i went for a meal at le pot lyonnais (formerly known as le bouchon) on queenstown road. ever since the change of management that came along with the change of name, things have been going downhill. the breakfast has slowly eroded in quality. they were once an extravaganza of taste and good value, but each time we visited after the change over, something had gone bad. first the juice, which was once freshly squeezed, changed to standard issue from-concentrate carton juice. the quantity of toasted baguettes provided dropped to about half. and the tiny jars of bonne maman jam – the yummiest jam there is – are the same jars but are now refilled with very ordinary catering jam of approximately the same quality that you can get on your toast from benjys.

anyway, back to the dinner. the menu used to be a large A4-sized hardback edition that gives you the impression that it is changed with some frequency. now they are a tatty triple-folded cardboard menu. the food still sounds good, however, so i tried not to let that deter me and we both ordered the moules frites. they do make delicious frites, i’ll give them that, and the sauce was delicious, but the mussels were holding onto an unecessary quantity of grit, which does detract from the dish somewhat.

of course i’ll still go to le pot lyonnais, because it’s so close and it’s a pretty nice place to have a pint of 1664 and some frites. i’ll still try the restaurant again, but i will probably skip the mussels next time. our favourite waitress is long gone, as is the slightly dim one (who once asked me, in all seriousness, how i’d like my chicken cooked), but they’ve always had a quick turnover of staff so it’s fairly irrelevant. and it’ll be an even nicer place for that pint now that we have a smoking ban.

but i do find myself wishing just a bit that something new would open up nearby, to take up the place that the old le bouchon held in our affections. somewhere to get our sunday breakfasts would be a good start.

exciting, again
only 19 days to the wedding!

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