Me Tarzan. (You Jane)

Well this week Mr G may as well have stood at the doors of the workshop and banged his fists on his chest shouting the Tarzan call. He has well and truly stated his claim over the workshop as he has gone and built us a dining table in there.

Oh don’t get me wrong, he didn’t do it all by himself – I kindly provided art direction (much needed with table building) and a rough idea of the design. Yes, he may have done the technical drawing, and the sawing and stuff, but the actual idea came from moi. AND I added the white wash and waxed it – basically all of the very important bits.

But I guess Mr G did technically ‘build it’. The legs and the frame are made from chunky planks of wood and we went to a reclamation yard recently (where I could have spent a small fortune on all kinds of goodies) and purchased some lovely old wide floorboards to be used as the table top. If the wood wasn’t going to be used as a dining table (where hygiene comes into play) I’d have left them as they were and not sanded them as the detail was amazing.

dining-tableWe’re really pleased with the result. And Mr G is extremely pleased with himself as he struts around the workshop clearly very proud of his newly claimed man cave. So it seems we have both now defined our areas – mine being the office (where ‘proper work’ is carried out) and Mr G has now claimed the workshop where he can play around with bits of wood.

So I’m wondering if Mr G will eventually stop strutting to make use of his workshop and build a matching bench to go with the dining table..?

Mr G thinks the workshop is his (hahaha)

We have a large workshop, which Mr G seems to think is his ‘man space’. OK, so he has all of the gardening stuff in there; tools, work bench blah, blah but surely he can spare a little space pour moi? (Just throwing a bit of French in there). Below are two very good reasons why the big meanie should share.

  1. Some lovely people rescue cats and dogs, which have been badly treated or don’t have a home, and I’d do the same if I weren’t allergic to them. So as an alternative, I do the same thing with old wooden furniture, especially pine. (I’ve just had a flash of me in a Super hero outfit, saving defenceless pieces of over-varnished furniture).

    I have a hate-hate relationship with pine furniture, especially that really orange, shiny pine that has been varnished within an inch of its life! Any old wooden furniture we have had knocking around at home for some years I take into the workshop and lovingly give it some TLC. The big reveal is similar to when the contestants step out on stage as their pop idol in Stars in their eyes. I even have dry-ice for when I open the workshop doors. (Kidding).

    If I’m walking around an antiques fair or bric-a-brac shop and a sad-looking piece of furniture shouts “take me with you”, I just can’t resist and I bring it home to give it a make-over.

    Sometimes you have a piece of furniture that you love but is now dated and doesn’t fit with your updated décor, or it’s something that has been in the family for years and you’d feel guilty throwing it away (as your Nan would go mental), then this is where I come in with my trusted paint brush and fabulous Annie Sloane chalk paints.

    I painstakingly paint each bit of furniture by hand, then distress it slightly (shout at it) so you can see the original wood and then wax it for a nice smooth finish.

    I have a special outfit for when I’m painting furniture. No it’s not THAT sort of outfit (much to Mr G’s disappointment). It’s my trusted pair of blue dungarees which my Granddad gave me many years ago when I was at art school getting all messy. They are men’s dungarees – one size fits all, and I mean ALL! They are huge! A few years ago I used to wear them over a little vest top and shorts (trying to look cute and sexy whilst doing DIY for some odd reason), but nowadays they easily go over the top of my jeans and jumper. Once I’m in those I’m ready to go. Here are photo’s of one of my successful rescue stories:

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2.The other thing I need space for in the workshop is for my table football game. To be clear, I have never been competitive in my life. Just ask my frustrated PE teachers from school – all those many moons ago! However, when it comes to playing table football I suddenly turn into the most competitive woman on the planet! Even if I’m playing against my daughter Amelie (who is seven) I don’t let her win (bad Mummy).

I once took on all of the men in my department at work when playing table football one evening, at a hotel when we were at a department off-site meeting. You know those meetings where you go away to a hotel for two days to “bond”. Where the days have to start much earlier than usual just to sit through hours and hours of mind numbing PowerPoint presentations. Zzzz…

You drink gallons of the nasty complimentary coffee and scoff the biscuits for an instant sugar hit just to stay awake. You feel envious of the hotel staff who pop in to refill the coffee pots because they get to leave again after five minutes. You have to physically stop yourself from crawling onto the lower level of the tea trolley as a means of escape when they push it back outside the room.

The only reason you stick it out is the promise of a free bar in the evening. And THIS is when we found the games room and the table football! I played like a, er… whatever the word is for someone who is good at table football. One after the other the men would take me on and they all failed. Ha! Yes you may be a senior manager with a salary bigger than my telephone number but who cares about that when I’m the champion of tiny plastic men on sticks.

So as you can see I have at least two very legitimate reasons why I should have some of the space in the workshop. Now, where is that beach towel

Bah Humbug!

It’s October and already my thoughts are on Christmas. I love, love, love Christmas! Yes, of course I’ve already stocked up on the large tubs of chocolates when the supermarket were selling them two for £7. Cheapskate, that, I am! They are safely stored away in the loft; otherwise I would have scoffed the lot by now.

For the past few years we have taken Amelie to a ‘Meet Father Christmas’ experience at one of those farms that has been turned into a mass money making machine and has little reference to actual farming except for the token pig and lama in a pen. They’re all about indoor play centres for kids (living hell for grown-ups) and a café where they can charge a small fortune for a naff tuna sandwich and a “latte” out of a machine where the operator just presses the “latte” button and ‘voila’ half a cup of pale beige liquid with fake froth on top (can you get fake froth?) You get the gist.

At Christmas time, and for the “experience” they get trigger-happy with a can of fake snow and employ local wannabe actors or desperate students to act as Santa’s Elves for the day, who after the first five minutes become really irritating with their fake jolliness. You queue for a lifetime to see the big man in the red suit, who really shouldn’t speak like the very bored teenager he obviously is when playing Santa.

After Amelie had told him what she wanted for Christmas (It’s Christmas Eve and she has just listed items she has never mentioned before!!!), she says goodbye, to which Santa replies “see yer ‘aters”. In that one sentence all of the fake snow, irritating elves and bloke in red suit with a fat tum disintegrates in front of Amelie who was expecting a big “Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas” in a deep and Santa-like voice. And all of this for the bargain price, of a weekend away somewhere nice!!!

So this year we want to do something different. We want Amelie to meet a jolly Santa, who can say (one of the few lines he has to speak) “Ho, Ho, Ho” in traditional Santa style and at a price where we don’t have to re-mortgage to pay for it. Is this too much to ask?

We were discussing this dilemma with our dear friends who also want to find something new for their kids to do at Christmas. This is when my friend Helen said (admittedly after a couple of glasses of Prosecco) we should create a little winter wonderland at our house. My ears instantly pricked up and my imagination went a little wild.

The workshop would become ‘Santa’s workshop’ and a place for the children to meet him. (Mr G would just need a red suit, some white facial hair and ta-da!!!). We would have to hide the tools of course (Health & Safety first. Don’t want this to turn into a scene from the Texas chainsaw massacre), fake snow, lots of fairy lights and Dave (Our Christmas tree is always called Dave, who I will introduce to you at Christmas time) and it could look magical. AND next to the workshop is a stable – perfect for a donkey! And this is where I share with you my plight to win Mr G over in getting a pet miniature donkey.

I have always loved donkeys. My family used to go to Blackpool beach when I was very young and I would be overjoyed that a fair few of the donkeys were called Jenny. A few years later I realised that Jenny is actually the official name for a female ass! Hmmm… But this hasn’t stopped me loving them. They are just so cute and the miniature donkeys are just adorable. Of course I’d also have to get a miniature pig to keep him company. Ssssh!

Anyway, back to the ‘Santa experience’. I could bake Christmas cookies (GF of course) to hand out to the kids and mulled wine for the adults. We could make Christmas decorations and play games in the garden, all prettily lit with lanterns and fairy lights. I have it all planned and if we charge the same as these other ‘Santa experiences’ I’ll never have to do the National Lotto again! “Ho-Ho-Ho”.

Laptop, bikini and Uggs

No this isn’t the name of a funky new bar in London, it’s a reference to my attire in my lovely new office. As part of the move to the country, the plan is to set up my own business, which I can run from home (I want to be one of those successful ladies you see featured in Country Living magazine that have a house in the country, own an old Land Rover, pair of posh wellies and a thriving business they have built up from their shed – I can dream!).

Luckily our new house came with outbuildings, one of which is an office. Mr G regularly works from home and before he could step foot in the office, I staked my claim on it and kitted it out with bunting on the beams, pretty stationery, beautiful Susie Watson fabric blinds (I chose the lovely Pale Rose Cambridge Stripe), country style peg shelves and girlie knick-knacks. I’ve even painted the dark green door to a lovely shade of sage green (making it much more on brand with my business) and hung a heart shaped wreath on the outside. Basically if I were a cat I’d have well and truly marked my territory.

I’m not being mean; we also have a mahoosive (the word ‘huge’ doesn’t make it sound big enough) workshop, which G can play in, so he surely doesn’t need MY office as well!

I have a lovely view of the garden from the office window, great for all of that daydreaming. Sorry, creative thinking! I even have a mini drinks fridge, which is currently full of tiny cans of tonic (Note to self – must take gin over there at some point) and those little bottles of so-called ‘healthy’ fruit drinks for kids. OK confession time, I only keep these for when other people’s kids come to play as they come with a push down top so no spillages. Come on, I’m surely not the only Mum who does this…

The only downside to MY lovely office is the random temperature throughout the day. In the morning it’s flipping freezing. Yes I may suffer from Raynauds (rubbish circulation, so basically if its less than 25 degrees my body shuts down), but it’s nippy in that office. So on go the many layers of clothing until I resemble the Michelin man or when Joey from Friends wears all of Chandler’s clothes. I also have a hot water bottle, scarf and last, but not least my lovely cosy Uggs.

I must look ridiculous waddling (not easy to walk in that many layers) across to the office but I don’t care, as I know I’ll be warm, (and nobody can see me). However, by the afternoon the office mysteriously heats up all on it’s own. It seems to want to mimic the working conditions of a sweat-shop. Maybe it’s karma for me claiming the office in the same way sunbeds on holiday are claimed by beach towels being placed on them at some ungodly hour in the morning?

So one by one the layers come off, and I’m sat there wishing I were in my bikini and wondering how many calories I’m burning off by just sweating whilst I design. Well a girl can hope…