Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Master Bedroom

With Matteo away in Australia and me taking on more work in the mornings, there has been nothing happening with the house. In the mean time I thought I'd post some more pictures of the house as it is now.

My favourite room in the house is our bedroom, it has a lovely light and a nice view of the garden from the window.

Thankfully at least one room in the house still has these fabulous tiles on the floor and they'll look amazing when they're polished up a bit. In every other room the tiles have been replaced with something terrible from the 60s! The floor underneath is in a really bad condition so all the tiles will have to come up and be re-laid.

I really love the ceiling / roof of the house. However, it's in really bad condition and will need to be completely replaced. I want to re-use the original materials but it's apparently too expensive and impractical. It breaks my heart to get rid of this amazing roof and I'm still hoping we'll find a way to save it. Any suggestions?

Thursday, 18 February 2010

My First Blog Award!

When I started my blog last year I had no idea that there would be people out there who would actually read what I have to say. I'm so surprised that people take the time out of their busy days to read my posts and even show their support by writing lovely comments. I was even more surprised today when I had a comment from Sara Louise at Le Petit Village saying she had awarded me the Lovely Blog Award. I really enjoy reading Sara Louise's tales about her life in a small French village and can really relate to some of the challenges she faces every day.

The rules state that I have to share 10 things about myself that you don't already know and then pass the award on to other blogs.

So here are the 10 things that I'm sure you are all just dying to know!

1. I grew up in the countryside and had a truly idylic childhood. I believed (and still do) that there were fairies living at the bottom of our garden.

2. I asked my fiancee out using a knock knock joke. It was so corny but he said yes so I guess it worked! We have quite a corny relationship altogether.

3. When I was little I dreamed of being a ballerina and now whenever I watch ballet I still wish that I was a dancer. Apparently I have the perfect shaped feet for a ballerina (not sure about the rest of me though!)

4. When I was 5 years old the Queen came to visit our school. As she walked around speaking to all the kids and accepting flowers I noticed that Prince Philip had a hole in his umbrella. I thought it was very strange that with all of their wealth they couldn't afford to buy a new umbrella!

5. I believe that in a previous life I was a fly who was killed by a spider. This would explain my irrational phobia of those horrible creatures and why I panic when I get tangled up in the bed covers!

6. I have a system for washing the dishes which borders on being obsessive compulsive and I get extremely upset if anyone messes with the system!

7. I lived for a year on a Caribbean island which was an amazing experience. I basically spent a year on the beach.

8. When I was 17 I went on a 5 week expedition to Mongolia to work on a project renovating a children's home. It's an incredible country and sometimes I think I'd like to go back there and live in a yurt.

9. My favourite favourite thing in the world (after family, friends etc.) is tea. I drink about 5 cups a day. I'm very lucky to have a wonderful fiancee who brings me a cup of tea in bed almost every morning.

10. It's been my dream for a very long time to live in a foreign country, marry a foreigner and renovate a really old house. Now my dreams are coming true and I can't quite believe it. I hope that all of my dreams will come true (except for the one about being eaten by a giant spider)

I want to pass this award on to my little sister who has also just started blogging. She is studying textiles and has done some amazing work which she is starting to show on her blog Loulou May

Monday, 15 February 2010

St Valentine's in San Valentino

We decided not to exchange gifts for Valentine's Day this year since we are saving money but Matteo did take me out to a lovely little pizzeria in the nearby village of San Valentino - what better place to visit on Valentine's Day! Matteo is going to Australia tomorrow for 2 weeks with work so it was nice to have a romantic meal together before he leaves. This picture is one of my favourites of me with 'mio amore.' Hope you had a love filled Valentine's Day too.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Enneagram of personality

Last night I went to a very interesting seminar about Enneagrams. It's basically a system of defining personalities and behaviour patterns which can be used as a method of self-understanding and self-development. I'd never heard anything about this before and I was hugely sceptical, however, I was asked by a friend to go along so I thought I'd give it a try.

They started off by describing the first personality type "The Reformer" and I swear that they could have been talking about me - they described my personality so perfectly.

This is what the Enneagram Institute say about Type 1:

Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.

Everything else I've read about Type 1 seems to fit me just perfectly and I feel like I now have a better understanding of who I am, what my strengths and weakenesses are and what I can do to improve. My main fault is that I'm extremely critical of others. I want everyone and everything to be perfect and I get extremely nervous and uptight when things aren't done perfectly (which of course is all of the time!). I'm also really hard on myself and think that I should always do better or work harder. The seminar last night made me realise that I should relax a little bit more and not 'sweat the small stuff.'

So, now along with my spending hiatus and my 12 weekly goals I have a new set of challenges. I'm going to try to be less impatient and critical of others and of myself. I want to keep the positive side of being a type 1 but lose the negatives. The idea of the enneagram is not that it puts you in a box but that it helps you to get out of the box your behaviour has put you inside. I'm definatley on my way to getting out of my box.
Righthand (female):
Enneagramfree enneagram test

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Great Giveaway

Since I can't buy anything new for the next 7 weeks I was very happy to see this giveaway from Marley & Locker. Ness is very generously giving away 2 sets of clay tags and 2 of her beautiful cushion covers. I hope I win!

Monday, 8 February 2010

No more spending.

Today is the first day of my 7 week spending hiatus. It was Engracia at Lynwood Musings who gave me the idea which she got from Simple Lovely. I've decided to stop spending unnecessary money until the Easter holidays, 7 weeks away. I am allowed to buy essential items such as food, toiletries, phone credit, petrol etc. and I can also spend money on experiences such as going to the cinema or out for dinner (I don't want to become a hermit!). The idea is to become more mindful of what I spend my money on and to try to 'make-do and mend' as much as possible. This is going to be a really expensive year for me - I need to save as much as possible so that I have enough money to do the house the way I want. I am not usually very good at saving, I'm easily tempted by pretty things and I love the feeling of having something new, so this is going to be a really tough challenge for me. Wish me luck!

This book from Cabbages and Roses is my Bible!
It has lots of useful tips about recycling, reusing,
home-made cleaning pruducts and remedies and so much more.
Hopefully it will help me through the next 7 weeks
although it does also tempt me to buy a lot of pretty things from their shop!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Save the Tiles!

At the weekend we were finally able to do a little bit of work in the house. A family friend had been storing furniture in there and finally we were able to move it all into the garage which was being used by a neighbour but is now empty.

We were working in the downstairs room which would originally have been used to keep the animals but since the 50s had been used as a kitchen. The room has been divided in two but as you can see from the following picture, originally there was an arch in the middle. We plan to open up this arch and make a big kitchen / dining room.

The first room is tiled from floor to ceiling, the top part with these amazing blue and white tiles.

Our job on Saturday was to painstakingly remove these tiles without breaking them so that we can clean them up and use them in the new kitchen.

Some of them were already cracked and broken but we managed to save quite a lot.

It felt really good to get into the house and do some actual physical work, even if it was just a small job. Next week Matteo has an appointment with the solicitor to change the house into his name and then finally we'll be able to submit our plans for planning permission. Things are starting to move albeit a bit slowly!