Safari Lodge Bathroom Reveal

I’ve been waiting for the final piece of the jigsaw to arrive before I wrote this post, and finally this week it arrived so I can have my ta da moment!

Our bathroom had become what can only be described as dingy so we decided before Christmas that the time had come (and probably passed several months previously!) for us to do something about it.

See what I mean? It was clean, it was just impossible to make it look clean!

We didn’t want to rip all the fixtures out and add to landfill when there was nothing wrong with them functionally, so we chose instead to work with what we already had. My Dad, DIY extraordinaire, had previously fitted panels to my brother and sister-in-law’s bathroom as well as my Aunt and Uncle’s, so we decided to go down that route and had the panels and various paraphernalia delivered just before Christmas.

My Dad and C were on standby to assist when my new nephew arrived, and he was due in February so we decided to wait till he’d said hello to the world before we got cracking on the bathroom. He arrived safely, and, thank goodness, before the lockdown so he could meet his Grandparents.

Welcome to the world Leon Rye (more about that bunny blanket another time – one of my creations!) I’m glad you don’t know how crazy things are at the moment!

So, sometime towards the end of February my Dad arrived on a Saturday with the contents of his workshop in the back of his car, and we got cracking.

Shower came off first. I was just trying to work out why both the taps are in the ‘on’ position, and then realised it’s because we’d turned the water off. D’oh!

Then we started the process of cutting the panels down to size. Mantra of the day: measure twice, cut once! It gave my Dad the perfect reason (excuse?) to buy a fancypants new jigsaw. My multipurpose tool came into use too. We ended up with blue snow all over the house, and it was really slippy! Cue much skating up and down the hall!

This is where we left it at the end of day one looking much better, and infinitely cleaner!

It doesn’t look like there was much to finish on day two, but it was deceiving. We did the window reveal and all the edging. Sometimes the smaller jobs take as much time, if not more, than the bigger jobs with more impact.

This is how it looked at the end of day two. Sooooo clean! I loved it immediately and my creative brain starting coming up with ideas for how to accessorise. This is where I come into my own!

The first thing that came to mind, was a giraffe that I knew I’d seen (and coveted) somewhere! Now this might sound a bit odd, but it’s where the whole safari idea started to form. Roll with it!

I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I found some amazing tiles from Wayfair, ordered them and then sat impatiently drumming my fingers until they arrived (I may have gone to work in the meantime, but I was mentally drumming!)

Here they are in the process of laying them. Aren’t they gorgeous!

I found the perfect shower curtain from Wayfair as well. I think it helps to make the conversion to safari lodge rather than just bathroom full of animals.

I found the Relax sticker in the background on Amazon and thought it added a certain je ne sais quoi.

By this time, the piece de resistance, the giraffe, had arrived and she now stands regally in the corner, surveying her domain. I’ve no idea where I originally saw them, but this one is a Fairtrade one.

I fortuitously decided to make a trip to the Dunelm and the Range the weekend before the lockdown and picked up the finishing pieces and also managed to find some tile paint in the perfect colour.

I’ve always hated the random patterns in some of our tiles …

… so I decided to paint them.

Turns out it was the colour that I didn’t like, not the pattern. Now they’re a lovely colour they fit in perfectly with the rest of the bathroom.

Here’s the rest of what I bought.

See that elephant hook? It’s balanced on a tack there, but I decided to be brave and drill tile for the first time ever! This necessitated a trip to Homebase to pick up a tile drill bit. The end result is, well, see for yourself.

I’d love to say I purposely gave them a jaunty head tilt, but that would only be partly true! The first one (on the right) ended up wonky due to, I guess, substandard drilling skills, so I did the second one on the slant too to balance it out. But hey, I have a head tilt due to the squint in my right eye, so maybe these heffalumps are just particularly empathetic to my plight! I’m counting it as a success! I didn’t crack the tiles and the hooks are fully functional!

The final touch is a well travelled monkey! I ordered a new light pull from Etsy and had it sent to work, but then the lockdown happened and we all had to work from home. It hadn’t arrived by then and, as it turns out, yours truly had somehow managed to put my work address with our home postcode! D’oh again! It finally made its way back to the seller and she kindly sent it out again to home and now it hangs on the light desperately catching its breath after all that to-ing and fro-ing!

It’s hard to get a decent picture of the overall effect, being the smallest room in the house, but here’s the best I could do.

I ummed and ahed about the monkey candle, but the first time I lit him, I knew I’d made the right choice.

So relaxing to have a candlelit bath.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my bathroom talk! I’m happy I’ve finally been able to do the big reveal. Massive thanks to Dad for making it possible. Just need to beat this corona business now so people can actually come and see it in person!

It’s Chriiiiiistmas!

The run up to Christmas has been a bit different this year, partly because I’ve had a much longer break before the big man pops down the chimney than usual. I’m normally still at work on Christmas Eve. We always get let go at noonish but have to take a full day’s holiday to book the day off, so it’s a no-brainer to work it really. This year though, the office closed on Friday and I had holiday left so I broke up on Wednesday – a full week before Christmas Day.

We have a tradition at work of having Christmas breakfast sandwiches on Christmas Eve picked up from a bakery near work called Wedges. This year, as we weren’t in, three of us made our way over to Wedges anyway to keep the tradition going. I live seventeen miles from the office, so you can see how much the tradition means to me!

Mmmmm mmmmmm! Lashford sausages on crusty white bread with LOTS of ketchup! Delicious. Lashfords are a Birmingham company who’ve made award winning sausages since 1889.

As you can tell, Slimming World has been slightly abandoned over Christmas! As well as my sausage buttie today, I’ve had two Christmas parties, but, you know what? It’s been totally worth any pounds that I might have put on (I don’t know yet!)

The steel industry isn’t particularly robust at present so work weren’t able to pay for a Christmas do for us this year, so I arranged our own mini party at Miller and Carter last Thursday. One massive pro of arranging our own party was that we could invite three ex-colleagues, two of whom retired this year and the other who left more recently to pursue other challenges. It was soooooo good to see them and catch up on their news.

Miller and Carter turned out to be a good choice. We had one long table for the ten of us (which turned out to be nine due to a chicken pox related issue). This meant that the people at either end couldn’t have a chat, but the restaurant didn’t kick us out when we finished eating so we were able to switch seats and have a chinwag with people at the other end. We were also able to choose from the festive menu or the regular a la carte menu. I went for the festive menu so I could have turkey because we’re having a chicken for Christmas lunch. It was really good value too at £22.99 for two courses.

It was quite dark so my pic doesn’t do it justice, but suffice it to say, there was nothing left on my plate, not even a sprout!

I don’t often have a dessert out but, well, it is Christmas! This was really rich, but I managed to force it down! Chocolate and salted caramel gold bar with orange sorbet or, alternatively, plate of deliciousness! It was all washed down with a couple of glasses of Sauvignon and great conversation and laughs. I work with, and have worked with, some fabulous people. You spend more waking time at work than you do at home so you can count yourself as very lucky if your colleagues are also friends.

The very next day I went on my gym Christmas party. This was an organised do at the NEC and it was a Moroccan Fire night. They’d taken up a whole hall and turned it into a Moroccan wonderland. It reminded me of the entrance to Islands of Adventure in Orlando, but with a champagne bar and a cocktail bar!

When we were seated we were lucky to be right in front of the show area so we had a really good view of the entertainment. There were a couple of performances of aerial ribbons where acrobats perform in the air wrapped up in ribbons of fabric and also some trapeze work – the strength that the acrobats have is really impressive.

These were performed while we had our starters (tomato and basil soup for me) and mains.

Dark photo again! I went for chicken with the usual seasonal trimmings.

The final show, after we’d had our dessert (chocolate pudding with ice cream) was really good but also slightly uncomfortable to watch! I didn’t take any photos, but essentially there was a big arm high up with a wheel on each end with a guy all dressed up in harem pants inside and then the whole thing started spinning. So the guys had to keep running or jumping so they didn’t fall out. For the finale they moved to the outside of the wheels while the whole thing was still spinning and this is about where I stopped watching in case they fell!

There were also fairground rides which was quite exciting. I went on the bumper cars and the flying carpet but, given the fact that rather more alcohol was consumed this evening than the previous one I decided that the waltzers would possibly not be a good idea!

My wine had this little octopus from my cracker on all night!

Yesterday I caught up with my best friend at a local garden centre. Amazingly we both managed to get parking spaces relatively easily. We had a wander round and a chat over a coffee and a cake in her case and a diet Dr. Pepper and some crisps in mine, and swapped our Christmas presents. I managed to restrain myself from buying plants and just picked up a couple of nibbly things which I took round to my friend’s house yesterday evening for another Christmas catch up and pressie swap.

We had some nibbles (see the lack of Slimming World continuing!) and more good conversation. My friend Jane had baked these cute little penguin biscuits.

Almost too cute to eat! Almost! My contribution was some sausage rolls which I’ve also made for Christmas Day. Does anyone else have to leave instructions like this for their husband?

And some banana bread which I’ve also made for Christmas Day …

… along with some blue fairy cakes!

I didn’t do red or green because everything seems to be red or green at this time of year, so blue it was!

Anyway, nearly time to go and pick up poor hubby who’s had to work today, and, according to plane finder, Santa is on his way …

…so I’d better do my last minute preparations.

Merry Christmas lovely readers. I hope you all have a magically festive time and I’ll see you on the other side.

Christmas has started

Hopefully just about time for a quick blog post whilst my blueberry, coconut and sultana baked oats are baking. There are six oaty muffins baking and I have two at a time for breakfast so that’s enough for my whole working week. Yep, I break up for Christmas on Wednesday! Woohoo for three day weeks.

So why, you ask, is this post entitled Christmas has started if I haven’t broken up yet? Well it’s because I’ve been in Surrey this weekend for the annual Christmas pressie swap with my Granny and my Mum. I don’t get to see them very often because there’s nearly a hundred and fifty miles between us so when I do get down there it’s always special. I listen to Christmas songs on the radio all the way there and back and it always makes me smile if Chris Rea’s Driving Home for Christmas comes on because, whichever direction I’m going in, it feels like I am driving home for Christmas.

Granny’s had a rough couple of years! I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you that she’s eighty eight but almost exactly two years ago she had a heart bypass and recovered from it quicker and with more aplomb than someone half her age would’ve done, and this year she’s had various medical issues and a couple of stays in hospital, the latest being just a couple of weeks ago when she lost a pint of blood after knocking a scab off which happened to be on an artery (her bedroom and hallway currently look like a scene out of a horror film!) Anyway, she’s bounced back from it all but it makes it all the more important to spend time with her. My hubby calls her Super Gran. She really is amazing!

Despite all of this, she’d still taken the trouble to get all my favourite things in to feed me! You wouldn’t believe how excited I was to see these sitting on top of the fridge when I arrived!

I LOVE crumpets! Especially Warburtons and I hadn’t had them since May when I started Slimming World! Of course, I could’ve rung her before I went and said I’d bring baked oats instead, but somehow, it completely slipped my mind to do so!

Ooooooh! What a treat! Hot toasted crumpets with Flora Buttery and, you either love it or hate it, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Marmite!

I devoured my crumpets whilst Granny popped to the shop to get her paper (a kind gentleman paid for it for her – Granny has an admirer (in my head at least!)) and while we were waiting for my Mum to arrive. Much excitement – hadn’t seen her since last Christmas!

Mum brought with her Christmas presents, a knitting stitch holder because I’d forgotten mine and news of my Great Aunt who’s unfortunately suffering from fairly advanced dementia. Mum initially moved away from Birmingham to help my Great Aunt when she was in the early stages of the disease but she’s now ably cared for in a home.

A home which apparently also caters for donkeys! She doesn’t look overly impressed, does she!

We had a lovely day together just chatting and catching up. Granny’s still catching up on sleep after losing all that blood and didn’t feel up to Scrabble so Mum and I had a game. My Mum is the Gyles Brandreth of Scrabble (or Suzy Dent for the younger amongst you) but somehow I managed to be winning, right up, that is, until she went and got ninety something points for one word! Honestly, I ask you! How does she do it? Anyway, she ended on something like three hundred and twenty nine and I managed two hundred and ninetyish so I don’t feel too beaten up.

I headed back up the M40 after the tea of kings! Granny’s Shepherd’s Pie! It deserves to be capitalised because it’s soooooo good! She makes it the day before and reheats it when needed. It’s some concoction of lamb mince, celery, carrot, onion salt and vegetable stock topped with potato, but believe me, even with the correct ingredients it is impossible to make it as well without the Granny magic!

It tastes a-ma-zing! Sets you right up for the rest of the day.

Today I’ve had a relatively lazy day chilling out with hubby and the gorgeous twosome …

… but, and I think I deserve a round of applause for this, I did go out in the garden, in the bucketing down rain, to harvest the remainder of my produce.

Now, if we can all just imagine that I intended to grow baby potatoes and baby leeks, then it will have all been worth it!

These are Musselburgh leeks which, according to the internet, should be ‘whoopers’ and reliable and easy to grow. Hmmmm! I sowed them in about April and this is what I got! They look like spring onions. I assure you they’re not! Oh well, they’ll be fine chopped up in a stir fry.

The potatoes are Charlottes and I planted them in bags about the end of September time. They were advertised as ready for Christmas, which I suppose they are, but I was rather hoping they’d be big enough for our roasties. They’re not!

They sprouted masses of leaves to start off with. This is how they looked halfway through November …

… but I noticed last week that all the foliage had died down so I thought I’d best check if any potatoes had actually grown.

Anyway, my baked oats are cooked and cooling …

… so I’m off to get some beauty sleep ready for my last three working days of 2019. Nighty night.