Bathroom Update

Welcome back!

We began renovating our bathroom in 2013, at the time I was very pregnant with our second child. Around 3 weeks before my due date we started to knock down walls and rip the bath out… I went and stayed at my parents house with our eldest. I’m not sure why we thought that was a good idea… but it was one of those intense nesting things that you decide is a *really* good idea and SO important that it simply cannot wait.

IMG_5183

As with everything we undertake, progress is slow. Having a husband who can turn his hand to almost anything is brilliant, but he has to spin so many plates, it can feel like he’s forgotten about some of the projects I am more excited about, and he is rather forgetful..

When I plan out projects I think it will take X number of days or weeks, usually turn one of my days into a month, and one of my weeks into a year!

I started to get ideas from Pinterest, I made a board which I showed to Paul every 5 minutes until he started to give me “the look” when I brought it up… But I would say my style is “country house”. Classic rather than trendy? I struggle to put myself into a box.

We tore out that gorgeous blue bathroom suite, and put in a white one, knocked down a wall, installed a shower – which was a last minute decision and not in my original plan- built units, put in underfloor heating, tiled the floor, made a bath panel, and some panelling behind the bath, built the huge shelves, more tiling and did lots of painting. Thats it in a nutshell, as I said it’s taken years and we have done it all ourselves. Each time we reached a new stage, especially getting rid of the blue bath and toilet, I would update my social media saying good riddance!

My father in law helped us a lot, he is a diamond, and as our house is very old there aren’t many right angles, for that reason “bespoke” is the only option. I loved the colour Pigeon from Farrow and Ball, so that inspired my paint choice. I really love shaker style cabinets and carried that look through to the bath panel and the wall panelling.

We ordered underfloor heating mats and wire, and installed that all ourselves.  This was a learning curve as we hadn’t done anything like this before! However the instructions were really easy to follow. We got prices for this from local shops but they were three times as expensive. We do always try to buy locally and got the floor tiles and work top along with the suite from a Shetland supplier. Sometimes getting things sent here can be a nightmare!

I did most of the painting, in-between feeding babies and everything else, when we were trying to get all the units finished I spent a lot of the boys nap times in here with my paintbrush.

So here is the finished, well as finished as its probably going to be, article. I think with a few more shelves around the window, a mirror on the blank wall and a fake plant or two it would really be “complete”. I am so pleased, even if it has taken forever and a day!

Mega thanks to everyone who has listened to me moan.. and super huge thanks to my husband and my in-laws.

d3z4Za1rR4iJuzZVBd%V9w8IGoAH3DSW6qTODK7hDpUQcfCfCtRjRKqGYvs9T49rOw2dVFIV83R9m46jjhx1p1mwWHCxz9GGThOautdd2Rj13wP1PknR9ZR%qhcgxOnbXPHw

Thanks for reading, Hazel-Ann x

What do you do all day?

I remember once telling someone that I was “just a Mam”, and their response being “so what do you do all day then?”

What do I do all day? As “just a Mam”…

I am intrigued by how society judges and treats people. How families have to defend their decisions.  Who earns the money, who does the “work”, is there an easy option, are some people making it harder for themselves??

I am a stay at home mother, I don’t have a “normal job” with a monthly wage, my work is not measured in an hourly rate. And that is fine. Another mother will be working full time,  maybe because she loves her job, maybe because she just wants to. Some mothers work part time, some work from home, some have their own businesses, squirrelling away during nap time and after bed time. I am talking here about mothers because I myself am a mother of young children. The exact same goes for anyone at any stage.

Your worth is not measured by this.

I believe that we are now so trained to think that our contribution to society is measured purely on how much tax we pay. I don’t see it that way. Whatever your “employment status”, it doesn’t change “how much” of a mother you are.

We all need money to survive. There is no arguing that point unfortunately.

I think of roles people take on as volunteers, how much that work adds to other peoples lives and to society as a whole. I have “side line” things I am involved in, some generate money, some don’t, none of them feel more or less worthy. I believe that my own “role” in this big world at the moment is to raise my little people. That is what I believe I am meant to be doing, it does not mean I think that everyone else needs to be the same as me. Really I am just tired of the competition and judgement that I feel is constantly pushed around. Everyone can feel the same sense of overwhelm whatever they are doing.

I have friends who fall all over the “working spectrum”, they all love and worry over their family the same.

Another time someone asked me when I was going back to work, I said that I was staying at home with my children, his reply “what a waste of a brain!”

A waste of a brain! I was so offended and wanted to shout or say something really clever.. instead I was too gob smacked to really say anything. I brooded over those words and then quote from Dr John Trainer came to mind “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” (This quote is often misattributed to C S Lewis.) I felt as though this man was saying that staying at home was somehow “beneath” some people. Maybe that there are some for whom its ok to stay home? Others need to go to work?

I bumped into this man again just a few days later while on my way to an appointment, child free, and had a moment to reply to him. He appeared to be a bit taken aback, assured me that it was “ok” to stay home for a while. There wasn’t time to expand on the point then, I still wonder what he really thinks.

It was a clear example of how I am sometimes made to feel, for staying home. And I can only imagine that mothers who work suffer even more judgement. When I have an appointment and need child care,  I am particular about who I leave my children with. Anyone who is leaving their children for longer periods while working, obviously puts a huge amount of thought, time and very careful consideration into where they choose.

But really, this post is just about the way culture has made us all feel as though we have to constantly justify our choices on this, casting this judgmental shadow over things.

I was at a seminar last year where the speaker talked about how our society has changed over the last one hundred years, the impact the war had on family set ups. It was the beginning of a lot of change and I am fascinated by that history.

Part of human nature is to judge, if I have ever come across as making someone else feel less for their choice I am so sorry, I really believe that everyone makes the choice that is the best fit for their own family and circumstances. I am starting to ramble now, so I am going to sign this off.

Hazel Ann x

 

When we met Henrie

If you follow me over on Instagram, you will have watched my pregnancy with Henrie (and if you’ve been there for a while – my pregnancies with Maxie, Drewie and Agnes too!)

With Henrie, I really did feel like I was “smashing it”, eating well, working out, taking time for myself, reading positive birth stories and affirmations. All the things that I tell other pregnant women to do. I was managing the anxiety that accompanies pregnancy for me. Taking my supplements, talking about things. As my due date approached I felt so full of excitement about the birth, ready for labour, to finally meet this little human we had been growing so carefully for the last 9 months.

Then that aspect of it changed for me, a scan a few days before my due date to check on the growth of baby revealed a large stumbling block to the plans we had been making. Our beautiful little baby was in fact breech. After three straightforward deliveries, labours with my second and third which I *enjoyed*, a breech baby at 39 weeks was not something I had been planning for. And I am a planner!

So we were flown away to a big maternity hospital, where we had been before for the birth of our first baby.  A valiant attempt, by a wonderful doctor, to turn my “upside down” child was unsuccessful. I was left with no options, no one who would entertain the idea that I wanted to try and deliver a breech baby in any way other than by C section. C SECTION! (If you know me, you’ll know that this was the very very thing I was not on for.) I don’t like being interfered with, I don’t like not being able to do things. I kept saying “I won’t be able to drive for 6 weeks”, but inside what I really thought was, and I do mean that this is what I felt, I am going to die. From when we were told this was what was going to happen, I was sure that I would die. I asked the doctors about it, they said “well the chances are very very small”. What I couldn’t get over was how normal this was for them. It didn’t really seem like a big deal at all! Oh it’s ok, we are just going to cut into you… hah.. no big deal, right?

The day before my “elective” C section I thought was my last day on earth. I was trying to have peace, give it all over to God. We went to the movies, bought a packet of super high waisted M&S briefs (these are the most comfortable underwear ever!), had a MacDonalds because if you are going to die anyway – why not!? I tried to have a good cry but I felt suffocated.

A sleepless night, an early start, taking my medication and drinking my lucozade. Walking down to the ward, speaking on the phone to my children, still thinking this was the last time I would hear their voices. I know I sound like a right drama queen. There really wasn’t a sense of excitement that I was going to meet my baby. One last scan to confirm that baby was still breech, yep. Surgery was very much happening. Got my gowns on, sat in the waiting area, people tired to talk to me but I couldn’t hear them.

In the theatre itself, the atmosphere was like a birthday party. The team were kind, supportive, understanding. They could see I was terrified but they didn’t laugh at me or play it down. They helped me help myself, practised the hypnobirth breathing I had been doing at home. Once I was lying down and the spinal kicked in, my body was numb and I relaxed and finally gave in to what was about to happen.

Then we met you Henrie. We found out you were in fact a boy! Realised you looked exactly like your siblings. The love was there full force.

And I was so grateful that I didn’t die.

Yoga photos on beach by Sophie Sunshine Photography

Thanks for reading,

Hazel Ann x

Kitchen Transformation

When we were first married, our house looked very different to how it does now. It is an old property which has always been in my husband’s family. When I looked at the old photos it really seems like a life time ago.

1930105_503796758500_4901_n

This is what we started out with for a kitchen – an old bedroom which had not been slept in for a long time. As we ripped everything out we found old newspapers and cigarette packs in the walls, peeling back years and years of history. Once we were back to bare walls and a bare floor we could start creating our dream.

Our first year of marriage was a little different, I was still finishing my degree in Edinburgh, coming home odd weekends when we could afford it. When I returned for Christmas our Rayburn had been delivered. This was probably the most exciting delivery ever. We had talked so much about getting a Rayburn and were over the moon when we found somewhere that sold reconditioned older models and re-enamelled them. We built our kitchen around the Rayburn, and even now it is the focal point.

I fell in love with the look of a Fired Earth kitchen, however it was never going to be a practical option due to the cost and that our space was small. Paul and his father instead said they would make it themselves, they are my dream team.

On our loft we  found a set of doors from an old press. They were a turquoise blue colour and provided the inspiration for our colour scheme. We repainted them and bought black hinges and handles. There wasn’t enough of the old doors for the whole kitchen so we made the rest from MDF, adding the grooves to look like wooden boards and distressing them to match. (Look how cute baby Maxie was!) I knew I wanted a Belfast sink, I couldn’t imagine anything else in this space.

For the worktops we looked at granite, it was going to be a big expense and neither of us were 100% convinced it was going to fit in with the look we wanted. We had put down the solid oak floor and had this brain wave to use left over floor boards for a worktop with tiles inserted. A lot of people thought it was going to be awful, maybe they still do, but for me it was the right choice.

There was a long wait to finish the  upper cabinets and they stayed looking like open shelves for a long time. The plate rack above the sink is another of my favourite features, we don’t have a dishwasher, so I they go into the rack to dry over the sink.

Our mothers put up the wallpaper, there is a crease on one side of the chimney breast where they had to stop to answer to phone when we called with the news that Maxie had been born, apparently they had to tell each other to stop crying so they could get that sheet finished!

IMG_6668

The mantle piece was also custom made by my dream team. The brass bar is perfect for drying wet socks. Our Rayburn is solid fuel, we burn wood and peat which we cut and dry every year. The Rayburn provides all our hot water, heats the kitchen and is where we do all our cooking. We had talked about getting a “normal” cooker, and set ourselves 6 months before we got rid of our old cooker to see how we would do. In those 6 months we used the old cooker ONCE to bake a cake after an 8 hour flight delay. And now its been 9 years since we got rid of the old cooker and have not missed it. We got rid of our microwave for the same reason.

I think that concludes our kitchen transformation. I am so proud of this room and so thankful to all the people who help us so much.

IMG_2010

Truthfully there is no where I would rather spend time. I am currently sitting typing sitting on the couch by the fire having spent the morning baking with Agnes.

Final mention has to go to the view from the window… image

Thanks for reading,

Hazel Ann x

Corner of my home #1

Hello, and welcome back to my blog. It has been neglected for 5 years, over that time I have penned posts but never published, have taken photos but not been able to find words. Here I am, attempting to start again!

I love my home, it is small, cosy and full of the people who I love. When people visit for the first time they all usually say the same thing – “it’s like a tardis!” And that is true! From the outside it appears to be a bit like a match box, only after crossing the threshold do you realise how much is crammed under this little red roof.

With four children I feel like I spend a lot of my time tidying up one mess only to turn around and discover three more. Storage in our house is a bit of a problem. Things seem to build up in one place and look so unsightly that I can’t bear it… then I reorganise that area and am left with three smaller piles behind me. (I was blaming my children for all the mess, perhaps I am the most guilty!)

I love the sense of accomplishment when I have an area organised the way I really want it. That feeling is what washes over me when I open my larder cupboard.

My husband and his father built our kitchen. None of it is from a shop or showroom. I had flicked through lots of brochures and cut out many pictures of the look and feel I wanted. This particular cupboard was inspired by a something I saw in Fired Earth.

I am always on the hunt for these mason style jars, the blue lidded ones I bought from JMe when Jamie Oliver did those home shopping parties, they are my favourite but are discontinued.

 

Thank you for stopping by,

 

Hazel Ann x

Scripture For Labour

image

After going crazy looking on Pinterest .. I decided to make my own scripture cards for labour.

I found some printable verses, but instead of printing them out, I used some card and decorated them by punching out some patterned paper and sticking the shapes on.

Im going to use these during my pregnancy to remind me of the Lord’s faithfulness to us ❤️

Hazel-Ann x

 

This is a really old post I wrote when I was pregnant with Agnes,  which I never published at the time.

New recipes – money saving

Last week I bought Jamie Oliver’s new cook book “Save with Jamie” (I paid £12 in store at Tesco)
I chose recipes to make this week- Sunday was to be the “mother ship” roast beef, then Monday Korean fried rice using the left overs. Tonight was to be fish pie. (This is a pure coincidence that these are the three recipes he did on the first show last night!)

The roast beef was truly amazing. I’ve never really made gravy without good old bisto before, but honestly this gravy was better, you add blackcurrant jam and red wine vinegar 🙂

Last nights fried rice came out lovely too. I never usually stick 100% to savoury recipes as I like to use what I have in rather than buy more ingredients. So I made some substations.

Recipes can be found here

We just had mashed potatoes rather than roast on Sunday, and we used silverside not brisket – we have a freezer of cow! For the rice I didn’t add chilli sauce and used some mangetout instead of the cabbage.

The fish pie tonight came great, was really different from my traditional fish pie. And a great way to use up fish from the freezer, we used Coley that we got from someone who had been off fishing a few weeks ago, and no salmon.

20130904-000509.jpg

20130904-000523.jpg

Here are some snaps of the finished products, super tasty and purse friendly. I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from this super handy cookbook.

Happy Cooking