Inside

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In Inside

Preserving Jam

Hold a jar of homemade jam or jelly up to the sunlight and it’s like looking through a beautiful stained glass window. A little pot of love right there. There’s something so satisfying about the whole jam making process; from using up a glut of berries, to creating a perfect blob of jelly to spread on toast to sharing jars of the good stuff with friends, through to the taste of summer fruit on a dark winters morning. I didn’t make any jam last year as we just weren’t eating it. Then I felt the urge again and it seems I’m not alone. There was …

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In Inside

Small room, big trouble

To misquote Swifty, I knew it was trouble the moment I walked in to the toilet, and to sort of  quote Pulp,  it had ‘woodchip on the wall.’

After a prolonged hiatus on getting the inside of our house finished I am on a mission to get most of the downstairs completed by Christmas. When I say ‘I am on a mission’ it is actually me doing as much of the work as I can, paying only for the skills I don’t have or need an expert, like the electrics, but otherwise saving the money where we can to get the house fully renovated.  I …

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In Inside

The art of slow decorating

Prising open the encrusted paint lid, I get my wooden stirrer (one tip already covered in dry paint from a previous project) and carefully submerge it, all the way to the bottom of the tin where I can feel a thick layer of sediment. In steady slow circular motions the chalk, china clay, titanium dioxide and pigments come together once more turning through the tones of grey to resemble one of the fifty shades with which I have painted our house. I delicately pour it like double cream onto a pudding into my painters tray and carefully climb the step ladder.

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In Inside

Mistletoe and December skies

He is nothing if not stoic, brooding on his watch tower  like a mottled tawny and brown drowned rat,  tail feathers scraggly forlorn and drooping down, raindrops dripping off the ends. His head turns and he looks straight down at me before swooping off silently over the fields beyond the road side hedgerow. This is how December has greeted us too; swooping and silent.  And somewhat schizophrenically with dismal mornings of endless rain giving way to glorious afternoons of blue skies and long shadows and back to evenings of gales and streams of rain. I yearn for a properly cold spell.

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In Inside

We are on a break

It’s slightly incongruous to be writing about the inside, when I am literally writing this outside, and spending so much time out doors at the moment. In fact, I have been taking a break from painting and decorating. Since the start of 2018 I have done nothing to the interior, save for a few touch ups and ordering some carpet for the stairs and landing. It is no understatement to say that I get daily pleasure from the soft woollen pile under my toes. I actually take time to notice it everyday because I am so grateful not to have floorboards anymore or the old …

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In Inside

Love handles

What makes a house into a home? Or more accurately what makes a house into an Instagrammable home, because that’s all that matters these days. Right? For me, it starts with the details. I don’t mean the obvious things, like artwork, textiles, ceramics, (although of course I love spending time finding the right finishing touches).  But I’m talking about one layer down from that, the things that are designed to have function, but which can still be aesthetically pleasing in their own right. The things that perhaps weren’t originally intended to be noticed; handles, knobs, doorplates, keyhole covers, locks. They can tie the rooms together, …

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In Inside

This old house

We bought this house nearly four years ago and whilst it was perfectly habitable it hadn’t been lavished with the love it requires. It’s not a particularly old house by British standards. It was built in the Victorian times around 1880 we think, for the local vicar. I wouldn’t call it a pretty house, but he is proud and handsome, solid with thick walls. I would love to see the original plans, for the bathrooms have been squeezed in, and new layers of pipework (and endless electrical cables) put on old. We had to remove some original old lead piping from the family bathroom which …

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