Isn’t she lovely…

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Beatrice Evelyn Norris arrived yesterday at 11.14am and weighed 6lbs 5oz!

She is super cute, feeding like a pro and we are all totally blissed out. And I’m doing fine post c-section.

We will be spending some time as a family this week but look out for some sporadic posts from next Monday and an update if you’re lucky. ;) Oh and keep an eye on my Instagram for lots of updates!

Love,
Rebecca, Pete & Bea
xo

The Master Bedroom : Version 1.0

I’ve realised that I’m very good at telling you all what I’m planning in the house but actually showing the finished article is happening a lot less. That is partly because nothing is yet ‘finished’ – or what I would call finished anyway, as I don’t feel done with a room (actually, am I ever done with a room?) until all the finishing touches are complete too. In the case of our grey bedroom, in some ways it is finished – the decorating is done, we’re back in there and it’s functioning, but in others it is very unfinished. We don’t have a door handle for example (just a small matter,) the walls are pretty bare, the bedding is less than perfect and the walk in wardrobe is still something of a dumping ground with a solitary rail, Billy book case and shoes all over the floor.

However, it’s going to be a bit of a wait before we get it exactly the way I want it and I’ve been asked before how I approach decorating a room so I hope this will give you some insight into my thought processes. Here’s the finished bedroom Version 1.0 :)

As you can see, we’re sticking with the white bedding, a perennial favourite of mine, but I’m still struggling with the perfect combination of cushions. I’m totally torn between the modern geometric look and the more subdued pink and grey. The problem is that the coral and mint tones in the geometric pattern are just not sitting quite right to my eye with the lilac and slate in the curtains or the perfect pale pink I found at H&M.

There’s also the matter of getting the right size/shape combination going. I can see there might be some re-hashing of the covers I have bought, particularly the cheapo H&M ones. At less than £10 each, I don’t mind taking some scissors to them. They are also on our old bed which we plan to replace, (this one will go in another bedroom elsewhere,) but again are just waiting for the cash to materialise!

This lamp is totally wrong… the base I could live with, but it’s one of a pair so they will probably be utilised elsewhere together. It’s the yellow shade that is throwing a lot of the room off I think, but I haven’t seen a suitable base or shade to replace this one. The plan for bedside lamps is to have wall lamps above the headboard and I’ve seen the ones I want, they’re just not in the budget right now. While we are on lighting, the capiz shade was an old bargain in BHS lighting dept from our old bedroom, but we have plans to replace this with something a bit more ‘design-y’, if that’s even a word.

One thing I am really pleased about is the art in here. I bought Pete the surfers print a couple of years back and went back for the print of Rincon Island off the coast of California just recently as the peachy pink tones were the kinds of accents I wanted to bring into the room. They both remind me of our travels on the West coast and a lovely afternoon we spent in Miami watching surfers on South Beach and I’m really happy with everything about them apart from the fact they are crooked after being put up approximately 2 minutes before I took this photo, by Pete mid-argument, as we were late leaving for something! ;)

I had also been lusting after a Lulie Wallace print but she only releases prints (instead of original artworks) a few times a year and none had come up int he right colour combinations until this spring when this grey pink and peach tones print called ‘Flowers for Hope’ popped up and I snapped it up.

The doors to the walk in wardrobe are bifold and so slide right back allowing plenty of space and I’m really happy we chose them. What’s behind them is not so pretty and whilst I could have tidied it to make it look presentable, I really didn’t have the time or energy so this is as much as you’re seeing!

The curtains were bought before we even moved out of the room. Because of the height of the ceilings and windows, we have to have custom curtains made, but thank goodness, I have been using a place in Southport for curtains for years. If you happen tot be local or around the area, it’s well worth a trip – the fabric is ridiculously cheap (and often John Lewis, Prestige or Sanderson,) and the making up is also cheap. To give you an idea, these were £300 for a 3m wide bay with over a 2m drop. The equivalent in JL, for something in their own range, mid price point fabric, would have cost at least double. They are black out lined which is essential and has been amazing as it’s an East facing room and very sunny in the mornings.

As you can see, we also have the stained glass back in now which was taken away when we replaced the windows and encapsulated or sandwiched into a triple glazed panel. Unfortunately the glazier who did the work was taken ill, hence the 6 month delay but they were worth waiting for.

The carpet is the same one we had in the lounge in the last house. We searched high and low for the right pale grey that didn’t look ‘silver’ and it wore really well in the last house too so we just ordered the same again. It also has a subtle fleck of naturals in it which hides a multitude of sins (mainly cat hair,) that a monotone carpet wouldn’t.

So, I think that’s it for now. I hope you like it or if not, at least found the process and sources useful – I have put a comprehensive list at the end of the post for you. I might do another one soon with some finishing ideas that we’re yet to purchase.

Happy Monday readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Where did you get that?
Walls: Cornforth White, Farrow & Ball
Woodwork: Brilliant white (eggshell)
Glass Wardrobe door handles: John Lewis
Curtains: The Fabric Shop, Southport (open at weekends but the warehouse is only open Mon-Fri)
Reproduction Eames RAR rocking chair, Redbrick Mill
Geometric Cushions: Conran at M&S
Pink and Grey cushions: H&M Home
Velvet cushion: The White Company (old)
Bedding: Linea at HoF
Mirror: Next
Photographic prints: Ian Baguskas, at 20 x 200
Flower art: Lulie Wallace
Frames: Ikea Ribba (with custom mounts from a local art shop for £5.)

What I have learned: About Marriage [5 years on]

Almost five years into our marriage, in someways, nothing has changed between Pete and I, and in other ways, everything has. Five years down the line I feel qualified to reflect on that, although of course I also hope I have the chance to reflect again in ten, twenty and fifty years time of course! I always wanted to be married to Pete and I knew he was the done for me only weeks into our relationship. Looking back, it was about security, feeling he would never leave me, even though realistically I never expected that he would leave me married or not! So 3 days before our wedding anniversary seemed like a good time to reflect on how I now feel about marriage and I’d love to hear what you guys feel, if you are married, (or even if you’re not and think it’s a waste of time!)


At a black tie dinner in June 2013

So here are my thoughts…

Things do change when you get married.
Before Pete and I got married, we were like many other couples these days. We had owned our own home together, been together a long time (8 years by then) and were in what felt like an extremely stable and happy relationship. There will always be those who say that marriage is just a piece of paper and maybe for some people it is, but for me, it wasn’t. We felt differently straight away, more bound together, like a special team. We privately refer to ourselves as Team Norris, not least because together we are pretty forceful at getting things done, but in a more metaphorical sense, it’s that feeling that someone is always on your side.


Bude, Cornwall, 2013

Marriage changes with every passing year.
Although things felt different straight away, the change hasn’t really stopped and our marriage grows and changes with every passing year and challenge or triumph. We know each other better and love each other more as time goes on and if that’s sounds schmaltzy, it doesn’t mean the little things that annoy me don’t annoy me even more too. ;) In the early days of our marriage we had somewhat of a (traditional) role reversal and it was Pete that kept house and home together as I was blogging. He really showed me what it was like to have somebody who always has your back, and whilst I started out wanting to preserve my independence (not changing my name as an example,) my feelings changed as I realised I should be proud to be part of his team.


Outside our old house, on an emotional moving day, Sept 2013

Your marriage doesn’t have to be like everybody else’s.
Pete and I were 27 when we got married, 25 when we got engaged, amongst the first of our friends to get married, (the third couple,) and relatively young for our friendship group too. Of all the friends who went on to marry after us, the vast majority had babies by the time their first anniversary rolled around and we couldn’t think of anything worse at the time. We are still more independent of each other than a lot of the couples we know, with separate friends and pastimes, although of course I think a lot of that stems from the fact that we don’t have children yet so are relatively free to do as we please. It’s easy to look at other peoples marriages and struggle to understand how they tick along, but as long as yours works for you I think it’s important not to hold others up as comparison.


In Barcelona, March 2014 (22 weeks pregnant)

This year has been a crazy one for us, with the usual roster of holidays taken over by moving, saving and the first 7 months of a new chapter, my pregnancy with baby Norris. It’s been frustrating at times, not much fun at times, but also joyful, as we work towards our family and family home.

So readers, what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. Previous anniversary reflections:
4 years: Never go to sleep on an Argument
3 years and Counting…

Barcelona Day 1

I promised after asking for all of your Barcelona tips that I would share what we did on our Babymoon back in March.

We stayed for 4 nights at the RoomMate Emma for about £300 and I would definitely book again. The breakfast was amazing and the staff were lovely too. We were woken up one night by screaming European teens but that can happen anywhere and the reception sorted it straightaway. The room was clean and modern, the only thing lacking was an exterior window. We were offered a very cheap upgrade when we got there which we normally would have taken but figured we wouldn’t be in the room and it wasn’t worth it. In fact I wish we had, as we banked on staying out for evening drinks as we would do normally and felt obliged to because the room was a bit dark, but really given how tiring the sightseeing was, it would have been nice to have some downtime back at the hotel in a slightly nicer room. Don’t get me wrong though, it was still great, cheap or not.

So what did we do?


Our walking tour day 1 – Port Vell, Port Olympica, Barcelonetta, Parc Ciutadella and the beach. Click here to view an interactive version of the map.

Well, the answer is a lot of walking. Normally when we’re on a city break we do everything, but this time we didn’t want to go into museums, enjoying the sunshine instead, so we saw everything from the outside while walking. The first day was predicted to be the best weather, so we got the underground metro to Port Vell and wandered around looking at the boats and enjoying the weather.

We walked though Barceloneta which was cute in parts and quite run down in others so we kept going. It didn’t take us long to get to the beach so and we carried on all the way along until we reached Port Olympic, and then walked on to Parc Ciutadella. The fountains and space there was great. If we hadn’t been going to the beach later I would have parked myself on the grass there to read and enjoy the sun.

By then we were starving and headed onto El Born, where we ate a tapas lunch at one of the places on Placa des les Olles before heading back to the beach where we just lay on the sand for a couple of hours and read. Bliss!

Once we were ready for home, we headed in to the atmospheric gothic quarter and stopped in Placa Reial for a drink. I loved this square – there aren’t that many in Barcelona which are big enough to hold the sun into the evening, particularly in March but this one is so pretty and great for people watching.


I was so exhausted that night after walking so far that we ate at an Italian just down the road from our hotel and collapsed into bed early.

I’ll be back with Days 2 and 3 soon!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Five on Friday…

This week the building work on our new kitchen has really got under way. The final pieces of steel are going in today to make way for the chimney breast to come out and the bifold opening to be knocked through. As each day goes on it brings with it a ton of questions we haven’t anticipated and essentially being project managers is stressful, frustrating and bewildering at times. Right now we are deciding on flooring (including my last minute doubts re Amtico/Karndean vinyl wood look flooring versus real wood,) exterior lighting, how and where to move some newly discovered pipes to, and of all things, window sills.

Here are some links to keep you going in the meantime!

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If you didn’t see yesterday, don’t forget to go and comment on yesterdays baby names post – I am loving reading your thoughts and suggestions! It’s so helpful. (We actually had our first productive conversation last night about names over dinner!) We’re off to Brimham rocks this weekend for some family birthday celebrations. I hope you have a great one readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS I’d love to know if any of you have any experience of engineered wood in a kitchen versus vinyl floor tiles like Amtico or Karndean? Let me know! (We want a wood ‘look’ either way.)

Gone Fishing…

I hope you’ll excuse the change in schedule today… January has been hectic for me with work and home stuff, and frankly I felt with all the tidying up and sorting out, I just haven’t had time to clear out too. It’s on the agenda but maybe I’ll come back to it in a few weeks.

I’m going to take a couple of days off from the blog to get sorted out and I’ll be back mid way through next week with a proper house tour (more pictures that didn’t go in to the house feature in Good Homes magazine,) a post about the Paleo diet and some spring fashion…

Have a great weekend readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

#JanuaryJoy: Learn something new…

One of the things about New Year is the opportunity for self-improvement. Some of you in your new years resolutions mentioned learning a new skill and that is what today is all about. It’s something I am particularly bad at because I let busy-ness get in the way, yet there are a ton of things I would like to do.

I’d love to learn to sew so I could save money by making my own curtains!

Italy is on our travel agenda this year and so I’d like to pick up some Italian…

You don’t really ‘learn’ Yoga, but I’d like to get better at it.

I can already take photo’s using the manual settings on my camera, but I’d like to learn more about it and get better.

Ironicly, I’m currently doing a personal development course for work and writing a 2000 word essay on personal development plans. We have to make these every year at work for our appraisal and demonstrate our progress, but we have to make them achievable and measurable. I hate doing it for work, but I can see the benefit of making tangible plans to develop your desired skill. For example, for my goal of learning to sew, I could say I would attend a sewing course and demonstrate it by making my first pair of curtains. :)

So, now it’s your turn. What skill would you like to learn this year – maybe you have already planned one? And how are you going to make it happen?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

#JanuaryJoy: Make some resolutions

Happy New Year readers! I am (as usual) full of enthusiasm for a new year, fresh starts and all the exciting things that are bound to happen over the next 12 months. Not least of those is #JanuaryJoy, which after last year’s success seems to be an integral part of the New Year and of course the perfect way to navigate the dark lull after the festivities.

Today we’re kicking off traditionally with some resolutions. I know many of you don’t like to make resolutions, preferring to change over the year, but I like the fresh slate feeling of January and think the more positive changes we make the better, so why not start now?

As well as my own, I have invited my lovely gang of contributors to pitch in with theirs this year – you never know, it might get you thinking!


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This year’s resolution for me is to streamline and simplify my life. To achieve more balance with my work, make the blog less of a burden and generally make more time for me. It would be cheesy to allocate this time to exercise, which is just one thing I haven’t made enough time for this year, but I also want to feed my creativity and look after myself emotionally as well as physically.


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Victoria a.k.a. ‘Girl about Town
I have a quite a deep New Year resolution. Sorry! First, a bit of background: Back in 2012 I promised myself I’d say “No” more, so that I would take more time out for myself and stop doing things that make me sad or unhappy to suit other people. Much like all my resolutions, it was a non-starter. I still did lots of things out of guilt or a false sense of duty or to keep the peace and often ended upset, drained and unhappy. I was being selfless for people that gave me not a second thought, rather than looking after myself and my own heart and feelings. Then in 2013 it all changed. Something happened and I said my first “No” and the metaphorical excrement hit the fan. I weathered the storm (with the help of a few special people) and I’m just now coming out the other side of the emotional mess that I was in. Looking back I know I made the right choice and I’m happier, stronger and better off for it. So, for 2014 I’m going to stop being such a pushover and I’m going to do what I want to do. I did it once and I survived and so I can do it again. That’s my main resolution; say “No!” when I really don’t want to do something and to look after myself in the same way I look try to look after others.

My less emotional, and deep, resolution is to absolutely get my photos sorted. I make this resolution every year and get nowhere. Since having a digital camera I’ve done virtually nothing with them – maybe printed a few, made a few photo books and an Instagram collage (using Inkifi.com) but other than that I have about 600,000 pictures sitting on an external hard drive under my bed and a few thousand on Facebook. In 2014 I’m making albums, photo books and filling all the empty frames I have all over the house (other people do that too, right?)! Let’s check back in on Jan 1st 2015!


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Penny, all round music Guru and author of Bad Penny Says
Last year on New Year’s Eve I was 20 weeks pregnant and was envisioning that by the dawning of 2014 I would be free from baby weight and pushing for a new personal record of fitness. Seems I had all these high falutin’ ideas about how much free time I would have to tricep dip and train for marathons on maternity leave. Not sure what I thought I was going to do with my baby whilst I was doing all this – get him to time my laps? Anyway, this year is going to be different. This year I have one sole fitness resolution – to do one unassisted pull-up. One! Some of you will be able to do this already. But to me, the act of hoiking my body upwards on the pull-up bar that’s been bolted over the spare room door since my now-husband moved in four years ago is my fitness bête noir. I know I ought to be able to do it, but somehow I just can’t. Instead I dangle there like a lump of meat, wondering if my arms will pop out of their sockets. I have always believed that the elusive unassisted pull-up is within my reach….I just need a bit of focus and commitment to get there. That’s why this is the perfect New Year’s resolution- both simple and yet difficult enough to make a difference. It will inspire me to work on the weakest area of my fitness (upper body strength) and on de-chunking other areas without making one of those horrid “I will lose X pounds” negative type statements. So there we go. 2014 is time to keep it simple, realistic, achievable when it comes to fitness. No marathons. Until at least 2015.


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Gemma – Florence’s Editor
Hello! My new year’s resolutions were worked out the night before last with my husband over a pint at one of our favourite central London pubs which was a lovely way to do it!

  1. Take better care of my skin and general health. My skin is my biggest ‘thing’ – it’s an ongoing issue – prone to severe acne and painful blotches and I want it to be the best it can be so that includes eating healthily, investing in good products which I know work for me rather than faffing with cheap and cheerful bits, taking off makeup before bed (on a clean pillowcase!) and cleaning my makeup brushes regularly as well as speaking to my gp about it.
  2. I started my dream job 2 weeks before Christmas and I’m resolving to get the most out of it I possibly can by putting in my all. I know I’m really lucky to have a job I love and I’m mindful of something my dad used to say: ‘work smarter, not harder’. This year, when I’m in the office, I’ll be working smart – doing my best to learn from some of the best people in my field, and pushing myself to fit the most in and get the most out of my 9 to 5.
  3. We bought our first home in May this year and I’m resolving to look after it and keep improving it – including renovating the bathroom which is something we’re constantly moaning about!
  4. We also bought our first dining table (just in time for Christmas dinner!) and I hope that R and I will make time to sit down for dinner together at the table at least once a week with no tv, no phones and no distractions! I also want us to do alphabet dating as seen here on FF.
  5. More writing! My new job is different from my old role, which was heavily based on copy writing. Now that I’m not writing nine to five I hope I’ll fit in more creative writing at home!
  6. Finally, I want to be better at keeping in touch with family and friends in Australia – I’ve been a bit rubbish in 2013 because they’ve all been visiting – in 2014 I want to send more letters and parcels and emails.

Becky – Author of Florence’s Florals and First Time Mum
I try to avoid making resolutions as I have been known to take them too seriously and put too much pressure on myself (ahem!) however, this year my list is endless so here are a few…..

1. Get organised……this covers a multitude of resolutions really…..I’m talking house, wardrobe, paperwork, finances, photographs, and food shop.
2. Spend more time with my husband…..date night style.
3. Get time with family and friends better organised in our diary.
4. Get my bra size re-measured and treat myself to some new underwear. I’ll then burn my nursing bras!
5. Find time to run – even if it’s just once a week.
6. Find time to contribute more to FF.
7. Go to bed earlier (at least one night out of 3)
8. Spend less time ‘thinking’ and more time ‘doing’

Now it’s your turn readers… tell me your resolutions and I might just steal some!

Love,
Rebecca
x

Here comes #JanuaryJoy!

It’s that time again readers! Time to reveal #JanuaryJoy 2014! I’m super excited to get going and make January a lot more joyful than dreary December was!

A little bit of background in case you’re new to January Joy…

The numbers in the image above correspond to dates. As per usual here at FF, there will be no weekend tasks. You don’t have to sign up to do everything and you don’t have to do them in order. Dip in and out as you like.

If you would like to follow along with January Joy feel free to spread the word on your own blog (and use the image above,) or tweet about it using the tag #JanuaryJoy. You can even post it (and hashtag) on Instagram!

So let’s get excited about 2014! See you tomorrow!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
Last years January Joy

Christmas Gift Guide #5: The Mini Me’s

Today I’m moving onto the mini-me’s. It can be hard to buy for the little ones and that old cliche about the cardboard box being more interesting than the present really does ring true. I also find that toys veer far too much down the plastic-fantastic route and try my best to steer well clear of those, preferring instead to buy choices I know the parents of any little one will love just as much as the little one themselves, if not more.

Christmas Gift Guide, Kids Gifts, Childrens Gifts, Kiddies, Little Ones, Christmas, Festive, Gifts, Pocketful of Dreams

What do you think readers, do you have little ones to buy for? What are your top tips and finds this year?
Michelle xx

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