I have been in my new home for over three months already! Can you actually believe it?! It feels like just the other day I was preparing to move…
My stuff had been in storage for over a year so you can understand my inability to recall exactly what was there when Mr Man asked how many bakkie loads I thought it would take to move everything. My blanket answer was along the lines of knowing there was a bedroom set (bedside table and dressing table), two wingback chairs, a few boxes and a dining room suite, so definitely only one load. Much to his amusement, there was A LOT more than that but luckily we managed to keep it to two loads!
I had taken an upper level storage container as I thought it would be a lot more secure since it was more difficult to break/get into. But what I didn’t think about was the schlep of having to book the storage yard’s forklift. You needed to book it for a specific time to ensure it was available depending on which other units may be moving things and needing to book it. I booked it for first thing in the morning and again for midday as I thought it would take forever to unpack one load, go to the house, offload and return for the second load. We were back for the second load around 10am! Luckily there were no other people needing the forklift so we were able to unpack the last things and get to the house way ahead of schedule.
Besides the sore muscles and bruises in the weirdest of places, the trouble with moving is having to sort through the mess once everything has been offloaded. One look at this and I was ready to climb in my car and drive away. I suppose this all could have been avoided if I stayed at the house and then directed the guys when they came through the door…anyway!
Once some things had been moved around to their correct rooms the unpacking could begin. My lovely sister came through on the Sunday after the big move to help unpack and sort the kitchen with me. (She had no choice really since I have helped her move and unpack multiple times, so she owed me! :P)
It seemed to take forever to get through the boxes. This was made worse as I had vowed to go through every box and sort through the things I wanted to keep, and those items that could be given or thrown away. It had to be done and that was the time to do it.
One day to move. One day to start sorting through and packing away. So much was accomplished in such a short space of time. Now I just need to make my house my home – put pictures up on the wall, sort out and decorate rooms to finish them, and unpack and go through the last few boxes. It’ll all happen in good time though.
Continued from part 17…
It’s been a while since I did one of these and quite a bit has happened since then. I got back into the dating game using Tinder and I definitely didn’t expect to find anything special. But I did.
Thanks to my friend Robyn, I downloaded the app one Tuesday night in November and matched pretty quickly to a few guys. What an ego boost! I got chatting to one guy in particular almost immediately and my worries about the app being superficial quickly dissipated because his personality shone through and the chemistry was palpable.
We made plans to meet one Saturday. I chose the place and made sure it was in public just in case he turned out to be one of those weirdos from the internet. I also told Robyn about my impending Tinder date and asked her to check in with me later to make sure I was fine. Everything was set and I was ready to go…except…I was too early. You see I thought we were meeting at 6pm, he said we’d confirmed for 6:30pm. I am still 100% sure that we had confirmed for 6pm as that’s what was in my diary, and we all know how OCD I am. Anyways we managed to sort out that little hiccup and off I went to meet him.
I had to document this momentous occasion. Plus he had asked for a pic of me just before I left. I’m not sure whether this was to prove that my Tinder profile pics were of me, or whether he needed a reminder of what I looked like, either way I think you can feel the excitement and nervousness I was feeling.
I arrived first and found myself a seat at the bar as the rest of the place was pretty busy so there weren’t any couches or tables available. My heart was fluttering as I waited for him to arrive…speeding up and skipping a beat with each new person that came in as I tried to be subtle in checking them out to see if it was him.
Looking back I had no need to be nervous. This wasn’t a make or break situation. If things didn’t work out like we didn’t like each other, or if there were any awkward silences, we could just leave afterwards with no further contact. I’m really happy to say though that this was not the case.
eventually arrived (I think if it had been any longer my heart would have jumped out my chest with all the irregular flutterings) and we managed to get a couch where we started chatting immediately. There were no awkward silences. There were no moments where I wondered what the hell I was thinking meeting someone from Tinder. In fact the hours passed by in a blur of happy chatter getting to know each other.
Thirty-one. THIRTY-ONE! How did another year pass so quickly?!
It sure has been a busy year, and a year filled with accomplishments!
I have been at my “new” job for over a year now and am still loving every moment. Yes some moments are more difficult to love than others, especially when you have to deal with difficult clients or crazy deadlines. But the people I work with really make all the difference. And the every-now-and-then-but-mostly-once-a-month Friday afternoon braais/drinks help to shake off the past week and build great relationships. On the staffing side of my job, we reached a set target and so our division is being taken out to dinner next week.
After having my car stolen mid last year, I bought myself a new one in February (and then “lost it” on the first day). Unfortunately for me this wasn’t a straight forward purchase as I’m still dealing with some admin…after 8 months of having the car! Part of the deal was to receive a full service history as well as the spare key. After a few months of following up and getting promised the earth, the sales consultant left without letting me know so I had to start the whole process again with someone new. Since then I have finally received confirmation of the service history. And now I just wait for feedback about when the spare key will be ordered and programmed.
February seemed to be a busy month because I also put in an offer for a place of my very own. By early March the offer was accepted and the gears were put into motion. I did a whole bunch of renovations to bring the place into the modern ages that took about two months. The difference between the before and the after is quite something! Even though it’s been a few months since I moved in, I still can’t quite get over that it’s mine!
And everything in between…
I entered the iPhoneography exhibition again this year and was super excited to find out that two of my photos were accepted. I’m waiting for the day when they are delivered so I can start plotting my Instagram wall in my house.
It’s been so amazing getting my apron back on and getting up to baking fun in MY kitchen. This only started recently and I have attempted to make something different every Sunday. Give or take a few Sunday’s where I’ve been exhausted from working events, I have done quite well. (My colleagues definitely appreciate the baked goodies I share each Monday…)
And last but not least…LOVE
I plunged in the deep end of dating pool and joined Tinder in November. And I hit the jackpot! It’s almost a year down the line with Mr Man and what a phenomenal year it’s been!
A day of being thirty-young and of course it feels no different to any other day, but I know that the year ahead will be bigger, better and brighter than this past year.
The best thing about having all my things out of storage, and my baking boxes unpacked, is being able to bake again! The smell of freshly made cookies or cupcakes is a smell that I wish I could bottle and take in on those days where I’m feeling a little blue.
As my fellow bakers will know, when you move into a new place or get a new oven installed, you need to test out the heat and thermofan settings using a tried and tested recipe. In my case this recipe is for chocolate brownies.
My first ever baking attempt in my new kitchen was some brownies for my uncle. And being something I have baked and baked and baked over the years, the chocolate brownies were the perfect recipe to test. I kept a beady eye on my oven and the batch of brownies making sure they didn’t cook too quickly with the thermofan and get too crispy on the edges. My uncle gave me the thumbs up, naturally!
Since then I have had a ball in baking cookies and cupcakes that I haven’t been able to make in 1.5 years since the recipes were in a box along with my pink measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls, etc. My plan is to bake something new each weekend. I want to test out each recipe I have collected in my treasured recipe box over the years and see which ones work out as planned and which are complete flops (which may have to be retested to be 100% sure). Hopefully I’ll come across some new recipes to add to my list of favourites.
These jam drop shortbread cookies are sinfully delish and another favourite of mine because they’re so easy to make! They are the perfect size to pop a full one in your mouth, again and again and again (when no one is looking of course). I have tried these with Nutella replacing the jam and they were equally as delish. Next time I want to try with some tinned caramel… (The pic shows the cookies before baking and after.)
These were the latest batch I made, called Hokey Pokey biscuits. I have been told that they have an ever-so-slight taste of ginger, even though there isn’t a hint of ginger used. To me they taste like the gooey filling of a pecan nut pie… They are crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I think they’d be even better if they were finished off with a drizzle of melted chocolate…
My baking adventures have just begin in this kitchen that is all my own! I bought a biscuit press that I am dying to try out, especially on some Melt-in-the-Mouth cookies sandwiched together with melted chocolate or caramel. I am also planning to make some peanut butter cookies, because although I’m not the biggest fan of peanut butter, the cookies are just amazing. And then of course there’s fudge, and cakes, and lemon meringue pie, and and and…
For the third year I submitted some of my images to be exhibited at the iPhoneography event in October. And I am very happy to say that this year TWO of my photos were selected!
It is always difficult choosing images but these are the two that were selected. I’m really pleased with the colours and the textures. And I can’t wait to hang these on my wall when they are returned after the exhibition.
If you missed the before pics head here. (And head here for the during pics.)
Seeing the end result was incredible considering what the place looked like originally. It is now more modern yet classic, with a load more storage space, and overall a better use of space.
Big hugs and lots of kisses to Mr Man who first suggested getting rid of the kitchen nook and opening up the space. From this suggestion the rest of the kitchen took shape quickly and allowed a lot more cupboard space (you know, for all my baking stuff!!).
As I mentioned before, I knew I wanted a neutral colour scheme throughout the space, but the end colour scheme began with the colour of the kitchen cupboards. The kitchen was the first contractor I had met with and I am really so glad I did as I couldn’t comprehend my kitchen cupboards in any other colour.
The bathroom feels so spacious and open now! Gone is the double cupboard. Gone is the teeny tiny shower which would suit a hobbit. Gone is the plastic sink and old-fashioned bath. Hello new and sexy! I decided to use the same mosaic detail in the kitchen and bathroom to keep things simple and create a flow to the space. The same tiles throughout the space helped with this too.
The paint colour did wonders to change the look and feel in the whole place, but especially the living areas. The colour is a very light grey that it could almost be called white. And the tiles were the perfect choice as they have texture but are also dappled in colour so they don’t show dirt as easily as a straight/one-coloured tile. Those nasty carpets were ripped off the stairs which were then sanded and sealed the same dark colour as the beams. I changed every light fitting in the house as the lighting was horrible and old.
The unpacking process is a bitch! But I’m getting there… The cupboard I had built in the upstairs little room is a life-saver for clean towels and linen, for Christmas decorations, and for all my wrapping stuff! Soon I will have a small desk in there for when I need to work late, or wrap gifts. (I’ll be using a piece of the old kitchen nook counter so there’ll be no need for extra costs besides the brackets, legs, etc.) The lounge and dining room are pretty much sorted, I just need to figure out what artwork/pictures to put up on the walls. The spare room is still the room where everything gets shoved to deal with another day. But that’s okay… These things take time of course!
If you missed the before pics, head over here.
This big adventure all started with my kitchen as the first contractor I met with is a kitchen god! Although I knew more or less the colour scheme I wanted throughout the space, the entire thing all started with a sample of the kitchen cupboards. Can you believe it?! When I saw the particular shade and texture, I just knew it would be perfect, and that the neutral and modern palette I wanted would be realised.
The kitchen required a complete overhaul so the Kitchen God drew up some aerial plans for me as to the overall layout. This was so important for me to look at and relook at since trying to picture what it would be like was difficult when all you saw is what it currently was. He also drew up the layout from my view depending on where I was standing which helped me visualise as well.
Who knew a kitchen could be removed so quickly?! It really was everything but the kitchen sink (and fridge) left and all of a sudden there was space, and lots of it!
Once the kitchen carcass started to be placed and installed I finally got a sense of the entire space and what my finished kitchen was going to be like.
I decided to tile throughout the space (including the bedrooms). Not only is this easier to keep clean and better for my asthma than carpets, but it is a fantastic way at creating a more modern and uniform style. Plus I couldn’t face the thought of carpeting after seeing the state of the old carpets, and what the floor looked like underneath since a base covering wasn’t used.
The bathroom was another eye-opener! The previous layout was such a bad use of space that there were approximately three or four full tiles that you could actually see and stand on. The space looked and felt cramped! Not to mention that the shower was a lot smaller than any standard size. Basically, I could stand inside with my hands on my hips and my elbows would touch the sides of the shower! Can you just imagine what it would have been like to try and wash my hair in there?! Plus the shower head was a lot lower than the standard height which would prove another problem if I’d kept everything the way it was.
The contractor I chose for my bathroom (and who ended up doing all the other bits other than the kitchen) was able to see a totally new layout that would make the bathroom look and feel so much bigger and make it completely different. My Mr Man lovingly drew up a layout for me after I moaned once too much saying I couldn’t see the end result. Once I got a feel of the new space and how the different elements would work, I was a lot more at ease.
A whole lot of rubble! A whole lot of space!
In total the renovation took about 1.5 months to complete which is more or less what I’d planned on. And the final product really took my breath away!
In case you missed it… At the end of February this year I found a house I wanted to make my home.
The complex has been around for years, and proof of this is how old everything is within the place. (I am sure that the kitchen and bathroom were installed before I was even born!) But because it’s an older complex, the rooms are a lot bigger which is a huge bonus when you have the amount of stuff I do. When I first started looking at properties to buy, I realised how small the new places are with almost zero storage or cupboard space, so finding an older place with such space was a huge bonus!
Because the place was old and space wasn’t being used to the maximum, renovations were in order. These are the before pics (which are actually the pics used on the online property listing).
The dining room (looking to the lounge):
The dining room with a view of the loft area:
Once the house had been transferred into my name, I started obtaining quotes for the renovations I wanted to do. And based on what I wanted to do, the place was essentially going to be gutted! The renovation process is up next…