Thank you very much for your suggestions and recipes for slow cooker meals. They all sound both delicious and practical, and really make me want to plan more meals cooked that way. We have a Crock Pot slow cooker, for those who asked, and it's a few years old now so I'm not sure of the exact model. I had never considered buying those packets of seasoning, that's such a good idea for when you are pushed for time, so thank you for that. Some of you mentioned using the timer on the oven. I have been meaning to figure this out for over two years and never seem to get around to it, isn't that awful? I'm not sure where the manual for our cooker is now, but I am determined to find it.
It's been a few weeks since I last shared any progress on our work on the house with you but we've been busy every weekend since then. I'm kind of over it now, if I'm honest, and there is still a lot to do, but it's good to step back and see what we've achieved. The living room has been freshly painted (all white) and the floor has been laid, then came the fiddly jobs like skirting, thresholds, and beading. I am in love with the look and feel of the floor though and very happy with it. The difference it makes to the light levels in the living room, combined with the white walls, is really amazing. Even in the evening the whole room is so much lighter and warmer, too.
We moved around some of our IKEA Billy bookcases so that they are in a run of four, wrapping around the corner where the sideboard used to be, rather than flanking the window. I had so much fun last week ordering the books before putting them on the shelves. I divided them into genres - fiction, military history (mostly John's), sport (John's too), poetry (all mine), lifestyle (also mine) - and then arranged them alphabetically. I even arranged my favourite crime fiction books into series order. Once a bookseller, always a bookseller. But I like the way this new arrangement of bookcases gives each corner of the room a different look and feel already, and gives me fresh inspiration about where to hang pictures.
I thought about hanging the same ones in a similar arrangement to before above the sideboard in it's new position, but couldn't get it to work.
I decided instead to use a completely different wall, the one opposite the bookcases, which has a very high ceiling. I thought it would be fun to work with the height of the ceiling and hang pictures over the doorframe as well as all over the wall. It's not quite finished yet but I love it already.
We bought a new lampshade to replace a few old, tired, marked one we'd had for years, and the pink velvet adds a little delicate warmth to a corner.
I also faffed around making some new tie backs for our curtains from felt balls and wooden beads. I love little projects like this.
We are just waiting on delivery of a new arm chair, which should come this weekend. Once that has arrived, and the last few pictures are hung, I will declare the room finished and take some photos to show you. I'm also hoping we can light our first fire of the season in the wood burning stove at some point soon - it's either been too mild, or the house too full of paint fumes to light it yet.
In the hall, the floor has been laid but there is still a lot to do.
Please excuse the grainy phone photos. We still need to do some plastering, filling and sanding on the walls before painting, attach the skirting boards, sand and paint the staircase, hang lights, fix shoe racks to walls....it's endless. But it will be wonderful when it's done and we already love the sense of space that greets you when you walk downstairs or open the front door. I know what I'll be doing this half term though...