Oh I do like to be beside the (South)sea side

Not to be outdone by all my friends who have nipped off for a spot of winter sun in far off sunny locations, we packed our overnight bags and headed down to the south coast for the weekend, Southsea to be exact (Portsmouth to the unrefined). We were visiting Nick's sister and her husband who live there. Through them I've got to know another side to the city which, to my surprise, is really rather lovely. 

My knowledge of Portsmouth had previously been limited to childhood dawn dashes to  catch the ferry to France. I have an abiding memory of being in the back of our family car in the grey, early morning light, snuggled under a duvet with my sisters sleeping either side of me, queueing up to get on the ferry and start our summer holiday. These are very good memories but I seem to remember some rather unflattering comments made by my parents en route through the actual city, something about sailors, ports and bad behaviour. Anyways, my point is that this reputation is old hat, Southsea is really nice!

Yes, it got bombed to smithereens but there is a surprisingly large number of old buildings still standing and lots of these are quirkily decorated and really interesting to look at. It's also completely unpretentious and in that way is a breath of fresh air from London. One place we went to was an amazing record shop which also serves delicious pies, appropriately named Pie and Vinyl, amazing!

On Sunday we walked down the sea front to Old Portsmouth which has an old city wall and towers dating back to Tudor times. I haven't seen the sea since the summer and it was so nice to be hear the waves again. 

The Mary Rose sank just out there

We were heading to our favourite pub on the harbour front for some fish and chips before heading home. 

I love the pub, it sits right on the edge of the channel where all the big ferries and ships come in. One minute you're scoffing some chips and the next there is the great hulk of a ship looming down on you - quite dramatic!

It's all made me want to go exploring again. We bought a new car too  so now we have some trusty wheels there's nothing stopping us. Our plan is to scope out all the countryside an hour or so from south London with a view to eventually moving out of London (but still being close to my mum and dad)- as a born and bred Londoner I still need a bit of persuading!


Shed life

Happy New Year to all of you out there in the world wide web. I hope you had a relaxing and happy break. We had a fun time with our families and then were so pleased to get back to our little home at the end of all the rushing around. Safely back in Harlesden it was time for Operation Shed.

I have always been partial to a shed, the idea of sitting in a little garden home pottering hard at work on important tasks, has always held a great appeal. I tried to create a home office in my last flat but it was too small and didn't have any electricity so it just became a storage area/spider conservation zone.

Well, I learnt from my mistakes and this time round I bought a good quality shed with an insulated floor and glass windows. It was a complete faff to put up as it arrived in about three thousand separate planks (constructing it was not for the faint hearted or DIY novices - I count myself as both but luckily Nick is not!) The biggest difference is that this time round the shed has it's own electricity circuit allowing for a central light, wall mounted heater and two double sockets. This means I can have my laptop running in there, as well as my printer... a bona fide garden office!

It's a work in progress, I have big plans for this space but it's getting there. I now have somewhere to store all my sewing and art materials as well as lots of fabric.

I've also got room to store chairs which I'm either waiting to photograph or waiting to do up, which means they will no longer clog up the sitting room. I found some LED festoon light bulbs that I had bought for our wedding party and have strung them up. Since they are LED I leave them on most of the time and looking at the shed from the house there is always a lovely yellowy light emanating from it.

The shed was put up in the summer but then I didn't do anything else to it for months. It wasn't until the lovely quiet time between Christmas and New Year that Operation Shed really began. Husbando was around to help/look after the littlun so we really knuckled down and it was an extremely satisfying experience to see it take shape. 

I have really missed being able to crack on with my own projects and find that if I try and get on with anything in the house, my baby antennae are quivering at the smallest whimper even if someone else is looking after Joseph. Now that I can work in my shed (as I am right this moment) all I can hear is the rustling in the trees and otherwise a lovely quiet, a rare thing in central London. 

And I have lots to get on with! I have my first interior design job (yay!). I've been asked to help with the layout, design and decoration of a big kitchen extension and I can't wait to get going with drawing it up and sorting through ideas. I also  have the next section of my diploma in interior design to complete, and on top of that I am going back to work three days a week in February (gulp) so  quite a bit to do! 

I have made quite a few new years resolutions this year (I have a very good feeling about 2015) the main ones are pretty prosaic: go to bed earlier, visit more art galleries, do more exercise, eat less sugar.. stuff like that, doable and definitely life changing. A few days ago I came across this quote whilst faffing around on  Instagram and it really got me thinking...

It's a cliche for sure, but not one that I had given any thought to before, but, like all the best cliches, it's almost certainly true! Sometimes it feels like time is passing and I'm caught up in a whirl of activity, not allowing myself time to stop and consciously choose my  own path, more just being swept a long. This is the year for choosing my own way and making lots of small changes (however prosaic) so that  when I look back at 2015 there will be life lived with more purpose, more love, more creativity, more honesty and less fear. 

Or in other words... "if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got." 

Peace out people x