Retro & Quirky Kitchen Stuffs

I’m such a sucker for kitchen appliances and nik naks.  I probably change my appliances every six months at least.  I was previously over the moon with my knock-off Smeg kettle purchase, only to discover that you really do only get what you pay for and the lid kept popping open randomly.  It was a “scald someone to death at some point” accident just waiting to happen.  I knew this.  But it looked pretty.  And I thought, I know first aid.  I’ll deal with the scald whilst having a pretty kitchen appliance.  I’m an idiot.  I also just kept my hand on the lid whenever I poured the water.  Not exactly the workaround I would have liked.  Anyhow, I digress.

We popped in to Asda for some essentials and happened upon the cutest little coffee, tea and sugar set.  Not that I have an obsession for foxes or anything but I do have a cute little throw cushion and a fox shaped door stop.  They just add a bit of character to the home and I instantly wanted these.

Some may say tacky, I say “character”.

We also found a matching set of tea towels and an oven glove to complete this little set.

What does the fox say? It says “you’ve got a cute AF kitchen mate”
I can’t even.  Just adorable.

My boyfriend had never experienced the world of Dunelm before so we popped in today.  He walked around touching everything and even rushed towards one of those headless mannequin things that no one is really sure if they are used for actual embroidery and sewing purposes or if it’s just for show, randomly in a room, and isn’t meant to be used.  He yelled, “look Kate!  An apothecary thingy!”.  I face palmed and said, “I think you mean an embroidery thingy – unless you’re planning on using it to create potions?”.

You’ve all seen my kitchen, in my previous posts I’m sure.  It’s not really your usual, run of the mill style kitchen.  I went for slightly brighter than pastel, hues of blue, green and cream.  I wanted to throw pink in there too but I just couldn’t put Dave through that.  He might want to invite his friends over one day. 

I ventured for a retro theme, Smeg inspired, but you know, for poor people who can’t afford Smeg (or buy Smeg knock-offs from eBay).  All of my appliances were from the Swan Retro Collection.  Even the pans and mug-tree.  Don’t be sold by a name.  They didn’t last five minutes.  We actually only have the microwave left, everything else went in the bin after the paint flaked or got burned etc.

I’m absolutely in love with retro style which has a bit of quirkiness about it.  So I fell deeply in love with this kettle.  Yes.  I’m sad, I know this.

The retro love of my life.  In sunshine yellow, no less.

My kitchen currently lacks a sunshine yellow and we thought it would bring a nice little burst of colour into the pastel.  Plus I was mostly sold by the adorable little temperature gauge.

These kitchen-character-building-essential-appliances came in a selection of colours (green, yellow, cream and blue – no pink that I could see, sorry) and were part of a collection set which also included toasters.  Sadly, these appliances were a grand total of £40 each, which I thought fairly steep given that they are only Dunelm brand, so unfortunately, despite giving serious consideration into selling a kidney or part of my liver (to which I concluded that neither organ was in “saleable” condition), I couldn’t afford the toaster as well as the kettle and had to make a life decision on which was a bigger part of my life – tea or toast.  And I ended up with the kettle.

A darling little thing, despite being bias toward right-handed people who don’t suffer from temperature-gauges-only-being-on-side based OCD.

Painting the Girl Cave (Not a Euphemism)

I’m terrible for changing my mind.  I used to do my dad’s head in by rearranging the entire downstairs of our house on a regular basis.  He would come home from work and go to put the TV on, only for it to have reappeared at the opposite side of the room.  Sometimes I could see a flicker of confusion when he walked through the front door, which was already unlocked, into a room which now had a completely different colour scheme and furniture, wondering if he’d walked into one of our neighbours houses by mistake.

Since he moved out two years ago, my boyfriend has been the latest victim of my indecisiveness.  I’ve had him completely revamp our kitchen, living room, dining room and bathroom – I mean painting the walls a totally different colour, buying new furniture and hanging new things on the walls.

When he first moved in,  my bedroom was where his man cave is now and I had the little box room as my office.  I then decided we’d move our bedroom to the master bedroom which my dad had just vacated and I would turn my old bedroom into my girl cave, giving him my little box room for his man cave.  I rearranged my girl cave a half dozen times and then six months later I changed my mind and wanted my little box room back.  So we swapped rooms again.  I had a lot of stuff to move.

I’ve not been happy with the little room since moving back into it, it was very cold and grey and not very welcoming at all.  I had also ordered a monster of a computer desk which shortly after being assembled and used, I decided I hated and desperately wanted my old, crappy, second hand wooden PC desk back from the depths of the dusty garage.  I didn’t have the heart to tell my boyfriend that, since he nearly lost a couple of fingers and mildly missed being decapitated while erecting the new monster desk.  The desk is also black and gets dusty really quickly, which used to drive my OCD insane.  I couldn’t wait to get rid of it.  And I could see the glint in my boyfriend’s eyes at getting the opportunity of a nice new computer desk, hand-me-down PC and getting set up to be a PC gamer (sort of).

I had decided from the off that I really wanted my new theme to be calming and relaxing as opposed to funky and techie.  We went to Homebase and I trawled the paint aisle, sending my best friend photo after photo of colours that I thought might be nice – pinks, purples, baby blues and pastel greens.  I decided on a calming purple (which was reduced to £7.50 because it was discontinued – bargain) and bought some wood coloured floating shelves to replace the current nasty black ones.

My old crappy PC desk was my next project.  Back when I had my girl cave, it had been a God-awful 70’s brown colour and my boyfriend had half-assed painted it white.  It still looked awful because he had only painted where he could see.  I took two tins of pastel blue spray paint to it and covered it, before applying a candy coloured backing plastic to the top.IMG_20180804_164210

I gave my boyfriend my old TV to use as his new monitor for his PC which cleared up some space on the top of my bookshelf and made the room less heavy feeling (IMO).  I put two happy plants and a blueberry crush scented candle on the bookshelf.IMG_20180804_164238

The rest of the additions included pastel pink voiles and an LED strip which I affixed to the underside of my computer desk and set it to rainbow mode to match my keyboard.  Top this all off with a lavender air freshener plug in and my entire room suddenly radiates calm.  I love being in it.  My cat also loves it because he’s spent the last two nights stroking my voiles.  He is absolutely enamoured with my curtains.  Bless him, he doesn’t get out much.

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Some Minor Upcycling…

So my boyfriend Dave got a fish tank a while ago. It wasn’t a very big one and I hated it from the start anyway, so you can imagine how annoyed I was when he told me he’d ordered a bigger one and a stand to match it. AND he ordered black – I hate black furniture, it’s far too modern for my house’s current theme.

Turns out, after seriously underpreparing for a 5k run on Wednesday, he was a bit stiff on Thursday and while he was putting the new fish tank stand together, he tripped over the cat and “ironing boarded” (as he put it) straight into the new stand, whereupon the main support promptly snapped, rendering the entire stand utterly useless. He said he was lying on the floor in a mass of bits of wood, so angry at what he’d done, but too stiff to move properly so he couldn’t get up, and just lay there fuming like an overturned turtle.

So he now has a different tank and stand that is slightly smaller and a wooden colour instead of black, so it’s appeased me slightly. Although it did mean we had to rearrange the living room.

Anyway I digress. Our current TV stand and end table are a boring brown wood colour, you can get them from any old B&M and I’ve been begging him to paint them ever since I got them and saw someone’s post on Instagram where they had painted theirs and it looked amazing. He refused every time, saying it would look rubbish.

I like to think that since he let me design and implement the current styles and colours to our house from top to bottom and I think it looks really original and cool, that he now has a bit of confidence in my judgement. So we bought the paint and he upcycled my boring old furniture.

I wanted a shabby chic sort of feel, the same as the lady on Instagram had, so we chose a chalky finish paint.

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These shades were £12 from Wilko.

It took really well to the wood and only needed one coat. The Instagram lady had some kind of diamond door knobs on her unit but it wasn’t really my style, I’m not into glittery and diamonds so I trawled eBay and Amazon and found these wicked little ceramic Alice in Wonderland themed cupboard handles that came as a set of six and each had a different picture from an Alice scene.

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These quirky little gems were £16 from Amazon

To be honest, I thought they were a little pricey, but they really finish it off and it does look really cool.

I changed the handles on the end table next to the armchair too but after long deliberation we decided that painting the drawers to that grey as well was a bit overkill and I’m not a big fan of symmetry and completely matching furniture. I like everything to have a little bit of personality by being slightly different. It was already an old and worn looking expensive end table that I got as a hand me down from my dad when he moved out so we decided it was in keeping with the shabby chic theme and only changed the handles and left the paintwork as it was, looking old and worn.

I bought a new lamp and a wall clock to finish the room off. Dave thinks the wall clock is far too big but it kind of reminds me of Alice in Wonderland as well because of all the wonky numbers and I love it anyway so it’s on the wall and it’s staying there.

The lamp I actually just settled on. I’m not in love with it like I am with my little hedgehog lamp and this is mostly because whilst it has a little bit of personality, it’s not vintage or second hand because I bought it brand new. Which means a multitude of people probably have the exact same lamp, therefore it lacks the originality that the other things in my living room have, like my little hedgehog lamp, bought second hand from eBay, straight out of 1980 and my retro (and completely vintage) coffee table which I expect is circa 1950 to 1960.

Home and Living – My Cute Little House

I’m not obsessed with many things in the world.  Only, cats, unicorns, fantasy and my house.  I am obsessed with my house.  Most normal people would ask for make-up/clothes/books/jewellery/gift vouchers for their birthdays and Christmas.  I ask for things like lamps, dinnerware, curtains and duvets.

I’m really into cute combined with quirky and when I excitedly announced to my partner last year that I wanted to redecorate the living room/dining room and make it duck egg blue with a purple sofa, cute animal scatter cushions and pink throws, he promptly told me “no chance”.  In his defence, in my head it looked amazing, but I couldn’t quite verbally express what I meant without it sounding like I wanted our very boring, brown, grown up living room to suddenly turn into Barbie’s playhouse.

Now, I get it.  Cutesy is not for everyone.  Quirky is not for everyone.  But I wanted my house to make me smile when I walked through the door.  I wanted cosy but smiley.  Cute but also quirky.

IMG_20180131_160239-01.jpgI was in two minds about the teal paint on the wall to start with but once I had sorted all the furniture I really liked it.  It brings a bit of cosiness into the room.  I was dubious because when it dried it was so dark and where my house is positioned it’s mostly in constant darkness anyway so I was conscious of not trying to make an already dark house, darker.

We decided to only paint the feature wall in teal/duck egg and paint the other remaining walls a sort of silvery purple colour, which sounds awful but actually is quite smart on.

Firstly, I’d like to point out that although I have OCD, I hate symmetry, so none of my furniture matches, everything is different and no two ornaments are the same.  I think it makes everything look a bit more interesting.

I will say that I love my purple sofa.  Not only does it bring a giant burst of colour into the room but it’s super comfy.  I always feel like the lady from the old Cadbury’s hot chocolate advert, that sinks into her giant comfy chair whilst she’s almost orgasmic-ally sipping her hot chocolate.

00000IMG_00000_BURST20180131160328437_COVER-01.jpgI did originally have a pastel blue throw on the sofa and no scatter cushions but I felt like it clashed with the single chair and my mum saw the purple and mustard throw and matching cushion (in Sainsbury’s) and thought it was a quirky addition.  I think she was right.  The mustard also goes with the mustard tones in my oversized rug, which also took a bit of getting used to but does make the room feel and look warmer than my old rug which was half the size and varying shades of brown.  I added a bit of cute to the equation with the cartoon owl cushion (from The Range).

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We initially were going for a shabby chic style to match the laminate flooring which super-partner carefully laid himself, but I decided that shabby chic in our dark house would just look plain dirty, so we went for a bit of a combination.

00000IMG_00000_BURST20180131160257553_COVER-01.jpgI’m in love with retro style.  I saw the single chair in The Range and instantly loved its 1960’s feel.  When we got it back however, it looked really plain and sort of lost sitting in the corner by itself, so I complimented it with a pink throw and that fabulously cute fox pillow (both also from The Range).

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I also thought that the chair would go great with our vintage (1950’s) coffee table which we reclaimed from an old flat we lived in.  It was sadly sitting there with no one to love it so we brought it with us when we moved out.  I finished off the vintage look with some duck-egg thick vintage curtains which are super cute.

I’ve previously blogged about that vintage hedgehog lamp sitting on the end table next to the chair which I really think sets that little area off great.  It’s from the 1980’s and I bought it from eBay and haven’t seen one like it anywhere since.  It really does seem to be one of a kind.

I really don’t like our fireplace.  If it was my choice, I wouldn’t have a fireplace at all, but my partner likes it for when it’s cold in winter, so he can light it, turn it up to full blast, feel cosy warm and ignore the huge gas bill and my rant about wasting money on gas that follows.  So I had to make the best of a bad thing.  I decided I wanted to make it cosy so I added the heart fairy lights (which I picked up from Primark) and some little nik-naks in the form of this shabby chic jug and fake flowers in pastel colours.

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I liked the country-esque feel it brought to the room and it settled my mixed feelings of wanting country style/shabby chic/cute/vintage/quirky and being told I can’t have all of those because they don’t go together.  So I put them all together anyway.

Our window cill was looking very bare at this point because I went through a minimalist phase where I threw out all of our ornaments and binned off nik-naks and clutter.  After two weeks, I decided my house looked more like a Travel Lodge and that nobody actually permanently lived there because of the lack of all personal items and I hated it so much that I went out this time and bought a bunch of new ornaments.  The star light and the Edison lamp, I saw in Asda and completely fell in love with.  The lamp is too bright to be sitting on an end table but is great on the cill out of the way and actually creates really cosy lighting when the curtains (which are in front of it) are closed.  The unicorn, my partner surprised me with (also from Asda) and the little cat ornament (not for everyone I know, but we’re crazy cat people so we instantly took a liking to it) was bought new from The British Heart Foundation store.

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With the lighting all on at night (only the lamps, no “big” lights allowed on in my house – I’ve got a Smart Meter, do you KNOW how much energy spotlights use??) it creates a really cosy and inviting space.

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For my dining room, which is still to be finished really, this sheesham wooden table and chairs really took my partner’s eye.  We bought it second hand from The British Heart Foundation and my sister finished it off with that amazing candelabra centrepiece.  It’s hard to see in this picture but there is also a Banksy series piece on the wall behind (you can see this in the very first photo of both rooms).

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I really love coming in from work on an evening and just crashing on the sofa with a glass of wine and my book, light some candles and cuddle up with my cat next to me (all of these things are apparent in this photo).

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