A little while ago I was lucky enough to win a collection of prints from Keep Calm Gallery. They were very very generous and I couldn't squeeze all of my winning booty on to my walls, so I thought I would pass along my luck to two Red Boots readers by hosting a fun giveaway.
When I was little, and my gran still alive, she would call me a "tea jenny" - a Scottish term for someone that drinks a lot of tea. This love of tea has stayed with me and first thing in the morning, last thing at night and in late-morning and mid-afternoon (and any time inbetween!) I always reach for my trusty teapot and favourite cup.
Up until my early twenties I rarely strayed from my favourites: Earl Grey and regular tea (everyday tea/English breakfast), when then, living abroad for the first time, I found that I could not for the life of me find a decent cup of tea outside of Britain. Dismayed at a lack of good regular tea, I delved into a whole new world of herbal, fruit teas and other types of tea. My eyes were opened to and since then I will try any type of tea, and have a whole cupboard (yes, cupboard!) in my kitchen devoted to my collection of tea and tea paraphernalia.
I thought my beloved rooibos tea (redbush) was at the height of tastiness and health giving properties, but then Twinings asked me to try their White Tea (one of the few teas I hadn't tried before), and it turns out that not only is White Tea pretty tasty but high on health benefits too - being rammed full of antioxidants and low in tannins. It's also caffeine free which also scores top marks with me! It was also once reserved for Chinese royalty - so if it's good enough for Emperor's then it's good enough for me!
Slightly sweet, ever so slightly fruity and deliciously delicate. Best enjoyed out of a silver teapot in a pretty teacup, with a biscuit on the side for good measure :) Also take it without milk!
And if you like the words "free" and "tea" in the same sentence (I know I do!), then you can check out the Twinings Facebook page for free tea samples!
*Although this is a sponsored post all words and opinions are my own*
So, maybe this time last year we ripped out our old bathroom, and I'm embarrassed to admit we've only recently got round to finishing it properly (well, almost finished, there are still a few niggly bits to finish, like painting the woodwork...).
This is how it looked when we first moved in:
Our one and only bathroom is tiny - I had to stand outside the bathroom to take this photo, and there is no window, and there was no storage. It is difficult to see in this photo the mould on the ceiling (which got progressively worse), the extremely dodgy tiling, the poor finishing, poor quality hardware, and the general offensiveness of the place. The lighting was also terrible - one energy saving bulb which took ages to warm up. And the bath was so shoe-horned in that it balanced over the edge of a step in the bathroom (not shown). It was not an inspiring way to start the day.
So we ripped out everything. I mean everything - even the ceiling - and started from scratch. You may remember that I wrote this post last year about what we planned to do. Well, I'm pleased to say that we pretty much stuck to the plan. Here's what we did:
Replaced the bath with a large walk-in shower.
Moved the location of the toilet with a slightly smaller toilet.
Installed a new sink and vanity unit.
Created shelving up the side of the shower, hiding the pipebox.
Tiled the shower wall and sink splash back with lime green metro tiles.
Tiled the floor with wooden look ceramic tiles.
Installed new halogen downlights to brighten up the bathroom.
Installed a UPVC panelled ceiling to combat mould.
Installed a new extractor fan.
Hung a landscape mirror to create the illusion of more space.
Installed a new radiator/towel rail
Plastered the walls and shelving unit
When I say 'we' I mean the really great bathroom fitter we found as neither of us have the technical skills required. I was also struggling with the first trimester of pregnancy, where for 17 weeks I pretty much wanted to sleep and felt nauseous, so would have been useless! And as it is our only toilet/bathroom, we went away for a few days to stay with family, so it was pretty magical to leave the flat and come back to a brand new room!
All of our fixtures and fittings came from eBay, with the exception of the tiles and the toilet and the extractor fan, as we were on a very tight budget. The sink and vanity unit was our biggest eBay success story - coming in at £30 - new and unused!
We originally planned to put in a sun-pipe to let some natural light in however right before we started renovations we found out I was pregnant, so needing to reign funds in even tighter, we decided it was an unnecessary expense, especially when we were installing new lighting.
As I mentioned, we have a couple of bits and pieces to do with regards to the finish. I'd also like to find a nice print for the wall that fits in well with our decor.
I'm really rather pleased with how it turned out. It's such a bright, clean and cheery space to start the day now. The only thing I slightly regret is that we got the bathroom plastered after all the work had been done, only because we could only go away for so long, and had we got the plastering done earlier would have added on a week to the works.
And although we ripped out the bath, which some might think is less than ideal with a baby in the house we manage rather well at the moment between using the baby bath and taking Elsie in the shower, which she loves!
Being 30, I didn't grow up with the internet. The internet didn't exist in my home until I was 17. I didn't use social media until 7 years ago, when I discovered MySpace, so I don't know the long term implications of the internet/social media.
All I do know is that my mum and dad had a photo of me on their living room wall, aged 3, in my Sunday best and my 1980's short hair that my mum insisted I had. I looked pretty much exactly like Jeanette Krankie. From my pre-teens until my late teens, whenever I had friends round they would all laugh at that photo. I could handle it, just, because they were my friends and didn't mean anything bad by it. A quick laugh, and we'd quickly move on to discussing who was hotter - Jared Leto or Matthew Fox (Jared Leto, always!). But still, I always dreaded people seeing that photo and begged and begged my mum to take it off the wall.
I am still able to remember those horrible feelings of teenage self-conciousness and embarrassment only too well. And I was only inviting people I liked into my home - it was only people I liked and trusted that saw that photo. I dread to think how I would have felt if the horrible catty girls at school had seen that photo. What they would have said. What they would have did. Because like it or not, that's how some teenage girls are.
The world has changed so much from when I was 14. Now everything is only a google search away. Being a mum to a daughter, I want to protect her from harm, now and in the future. I don't want E being embarrassed in her pre-teen and teen years because of a decision I've made now to blog about her. I choose to blog and make certain elements of my life public, but E hasn't and I don't want to take that decision from her. I feel that's one for her to make when she's old enough.
And I can't imagine how awful I would feel is she was being bullied fifteen years from now because of some photos I've posted of her on here. Or having people like potential employers, future partners, and catty schoolgirls knowing so many things about her childhood. As I say, everything is only a google search away, and I don't yet know what the implications are of this right now.
I'm in no way criticising mummy bloggers, or bloggers who share photos and details about their child(ren). I think they are incredibly sweet and will be wonderful for the children to look back on them to see their childhoods documented in such a beautiful way. I just don't think this is for me.
Perhaps this is a complete over-reaction on my part, my irrational pregnancy hormones still at play, but I hope you can understand why I haven't posted much lately, and especially not about E. I've been trying to work out the focus of my blog and how to keep those things most precious to me private whilst still being able to share enough to blog. I think I'm getting there.