On settling

Hello bunnies! Long time no see. 
Sorry, the last couple of months have been busy to say the least. You'll be happy to hear we're settling into our new home very nicely. After a rocky week following my last post, we actually really lucked out and found an amazing flat in Munster. I'm going to try not to use too many superlatives here, but god, it's the biggest and prettiest and brightest and at the moment, hottest place I've ever lived! Before I bore you with the story of just how lucky we were to end up here, some pictures of our humble abode. They're not the best pictures but I couldn't wait any longer to show you!

Some of the furniture and a lot of the layout is temporary. Please ignore the coffee table and the too-small rug and the lack of things on the wall. We're definitely still settling in.

However I have already found an addition to my collection of 50's furniture: this pretty little cabinet that cost me €20 and is in mint condition! Perfect for displaying my Japanese ceramics from San Francisco. Oh yes, one of these days I will start posting about our trip to America! So much to say, so many photos to edit... but I've started! So stay tuned...

Recognise the cabinet? The ceilings are so high here it's a little bit intimidating, but handy for storing pictures that seem to have lost their hanging wire at some point.

So now for the story of the flat: months ago when I announced our intention to move to Munster on facebook, one of my friends and former colleague virtually introduced me to one of her friends who lived in Munster. We had a little chat and said how nice it would be to go for coffees and to know someone in our new town even before living there.
After the preemption incident I posted a little ran on facebook (like you do), to vent my anger and frustration. The same day, this lovely girl got in touch, saying she was in the middle of moving out of a flat in Munster and would she like me to have a word with her landlady. After seeing a few pictures of the flat (I'm looking at you, chevron floors), I was pretty much sold. To top it off, our landlady is the sweetest (oops, another superlative) and didn't question our (financial) situation for one second. She didn't even want a bond, but we gave her one anyway. She went out of her way to make the move as smooth as possible for us and as she runs the shop downstairs, we see her all the time and get little discounts on all sorts of cute stuff. Also, her parents (who used to run the shops and own the building) live across the hall from us and have already given us a melon from the South of France (when they got back from holiday), a huge courgette from their garden, and a jar of home made quetsche jam. I almost forgot to mention that the rent is extremely reasonable and that for the first time ever, I don't even feel frustrated that I don't own a home. So the little bank incident was quite definitely a blessing in disguise. We're now taking our time and looking at all our options before we make a move towards buying a property.

Can you tell I'm slightly in love with my new rubber plant? The leaves are going brown though, I'm hoping they stop soon because apart from not watering it (apparently I overdid it) and putting it right by the French doors, I don't know what to do

Although we're on a very busy street, we do have a georgous balcony for growing plants on. With the heat wave we've been having, they're doing extremely well and I'm feeling like an accomplished gardner.  

Lots more pics to come, of our (3! Three!! As in 2 and then another one) bedrooms, formica-infused kitchen and lots of other bits. Oh and the lake that you go swimming in when it's too hot. So basically as they say in French, we're like a fish in water and pretty thrilled with our new life in the land of cheese (so many cheeses! so good!)


Falling flat on our faces

Well, we just lost our dream flat, 3 days before closing, 3 weeks before moving (across the channel). Movers booked, workers booked, paint colours chosen, ferry booked, furniture sold, French car bought and insured... and now the bank downstairs from the flat (I can't say OUR flat anymore) preempts us and buys it! And not even for banking purposes! Just so that the bank manager's mistress can have a convenient place to wash her hair and shave her skinny legs (that's what we've decided anyway). It's all perfectly legal and there's nothing we can do and no, we're not entitled to compensation.

I'm still in denial, partly. The other, more pragmatic part of me is frantically searching for a place to rent so that we can go ahead with the move. An unexciting, emergency, take-what-you-get place to rent. For how long? Who knows. Bargains like that one don't come up very often. 

So we're back to renting. I'm trying hard not to think about the money and hours spent working on this. I have to deconstruct all the things I constructed in my head. Where the sofa was going to go (how GOOD it would have looked!), what colour the kitchen was going to be. How much it cost us to fly to France and back to sign the contract that ended up in the shredder. How much of other people's time was wasted.

The bottom line is... a four letter word which I won't say on here. However, I'm very much aware of the fact that this a rich person's problem. Worse things happen. We're not homeless, we're not pennyless, and we have options. And a bottle of rosé in the fridge. The world is packed with beautiful homes. After 2 days of searching, I'm reminded that it also has its fair share of incredibly ugly ones. Let's see what we end up with this time...


Moving forward

...through treacle. At least that's what it feels like at the moment. 
On my long list of things-that-are-this-close-to-being-sorted-out-but-not-quite-yet-because..., we have: 

- booking the move to France, 
- sorting out a loan (how much? what kind? what %? why is our current bank so useless? will it all happen in time?), 
- pestering the sollicitor to actually give us a date for the final contract to be signed, 
- accepting quotes for painters and parquet floor renovators, debating over crown molding (the most fun part! but even that isn't fun because it's surrounded by non-fun tasks), 
- trying to sell our car and find a decent left hand drive one over here that will be big enough for all our junk (read: guitars, amps, houseplants),
- booking our ferry back to France 
- ordering/finding/packing a gazillion removal boxes
- getting rid of half our stuff to make up for the fact that I'm determined to keep at least some of the gorgeous furniture we bought over here (I'm looking at you, Chesterfield sofa!).
- finding more work because I've suddenly stopped getting any, and yes of course it's the worst possible time for this to happen.

Oh yes, and in the middle of all this, our honeymoon/non-honeymoon to America! A 1-month road trip across 13 States that will involve lots of historic places and forlorn little villages, good food, fancy cocktails and hopefully many memories.

Lots of posts coming your way then, when I eventually get out of this puddle of treacle.

In the meantime, here is a picture of our floors!! Not too bad, yes? I can't wait to see them after a bit of sanding and 3 coats of varnish.

Temporary unemployment has sent me on a pinning frenzy, so if you want to see exactly what our future home might look like if we had unlimited supplies of money, head over to my Pinterest board dedicated to this very matter.

Oh, and one more thing: Happy Easter, Bunnies!!!

I will be feasting on all the leftover chocolates next week as I'm currently doing this diet. Don't worry, it looks scarier than it is. I'm on day 32 out of 40 and feeling better than ever!


My personal point of view

And now for something completely different...

A few weeks ago I quite randomly stumbled upon a Myers Briggs personality test. I had never taken a personality test before and was quite intringued by the whole thing. I gave each question a lot of thought and this is what the interwebs told me: I am an INFJ. That's the rarest type! The general description seemed to fit surprisingly well so I did a bit more research and found some very interesting articles and quotes that really spoke to me.

I found a short and sweet article here that sums up 10 essential facts about INFJs. This basically blew my mind because it is spot on.

The blog also has an article about the importance of the INFJ label:

"While every person can be pinpointed as a specific Myers-Briggs Personality Type, INFJs tend to cling to our label as soon as we discover it. As we are the rarest personality type, making up an approximate 2% of the population, we spend most of our lives feeling lost and misunderstood. Once we learn that we are not alone and that there is an explanation as to why we have always felt different, we feel overjoyed and almost "normal." Even if the description of an INFJ does not fit us 100%, it still usually offers us a lot of information for which we have spent the majority of our lives searching. Those four little letters can be life-changing to an INFJ."

Now I realise that if you don't actually know me this might not be super interesting, but it might make you want to know more abour your own personality type. Personality tests aren't for everyone and I did go for 30 years without taking one, but I must say it's reassuring to get a bit of insight into how your brain works, as well as to be reminded that everyone is different and that at the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way of being (note that I say being, not behaving!).


On growing older - part 2

So in my last post I mentionned our lovely B&B and you got a glimpse of Boyfriend's full English, complete with birthday candle. Here are some more shots of our room:

While browsing the interwebs for a B&B I saw this room and was really taken with it, specially when I realised I had never actually slept in a four-poster bed. So there! Now I have! And let me tell you, it's just like sleeping in a normal bed. Well, maybe a little bit nicer...

We stayed in Windermere and although I realise now that it's one of the more touristy and less remote areas of the Lake District, you have to start somewhere! Next time we'll venture out further north into the more picturesque landscape. This time we stayed here, and it was very very nice.

I'm still not entirely sure how Flopsy came into our lives, but here he is in all his bunny glory!

Beatrix Potter "World", although sweet and everything, was a big disappointment for me. For some reason I had imagined a huge park with long walks and little animals hidden in the bushes. I think I may have just confused it with somewhere else. Although apparently you can visit Beatrix's house and that's supposed to be quite nice. I should have done my homework and researched the whole thing a bit more before we headed off! Anyway, it still made for a nice (15 minute) distraction. Specially the garden (which really is only the size of a garden).

As for the dioramas inside... most of them were nicely executed, some of them were slightly creepy... I'll let you decide!

The other thing I was looking forward to was having high tea at Beatrix Potter World, as they do a lot of advertising for it on the website and made it look pretty special. However, the cafe was a bit dark and miserable and not quite what I had in mind for my birthday tea, so we walked into town and found somewhere else. The thing about high tea (also a first for me!) is that there is absolutely no way you can eat it all and as someone who hates wasting food, that sort of kept me from enjoying it properly. Major existential problems, I know.

A friend of ours had recommended a walk around Tarn Hows, so we gave that a go despite the grey clouds and enjoyed it more than BP World. Just goes to show: I am a grown-up after all!!

Another place that didn't make us want to stay was the Drunken Duck. I may be getting this one confused with somewhere else too, but when I saw we were about to drive past and that it was lunchtime I suggested a stop as it sounded vaguely familiar and yummy. A glass of over-priced wine later, we left to look for somewhere a bit less fussy with more customer-friendly staff. The food which the other guests were eating looked nice but maybe not actually worth the amount they were being charged for it and although I like seriously good food (see our experience of the legendary PIG), I only like it when combined with a friendly atmosphere and a bit of fairy dust. To be fair though, the pub where we ended up, although cheap, was pretty rubbish!

So this was our first experience of the Lake District. Hopefully there will be more! And next time I will research every pub and restaurant very carefully before we leave home!


On growing older - part 1

Last month (err, actually 4 months ago as it's taken me that long to get this post posted), I greeted the big three O. That's right, bunnies. I'm now officially 30. Excuse me while I go and check my head for grey hairs. No but really, can you believe it? I thought it might be a good time to reflect on the good things about being old:

Throwing cosy parties in local pubs and getting the most unexpected and sweetest hand-made presents. Also looking around at 2AM while everyone is singing "Wild Rover" and feeling extremely content (not pictured).

Not being too old to visit The land of Beatrix Potter (that's getting its very own post though!), specially as it is the perfect excuse to whisk your Boyfriend off to the Lake District for a couple of days. It was his birthday too so we decided it would be nice to have a little break from work and from the valley and go somwhere we've always wanted to explore.

Being old enough to enjoy a beer outside in October without freezing my.... oh no wait, that's got nothing to do with age, and I DID get freezing cold, so we ended up going inside for some of these:

Another perk of being a real grown-up: enjoying a well-made cocktail.

And if it comes with delicious nachos, then so be it. Oh, and a bit of improvised song-writing on the side! I kind of discovered that I'm quite good at it too! Proof that it's never too late....

We went on some lovely walks and discovered a very interesting hunting technique used by these Goosanders. They form a circle, then they all dive under at once and come up again about a minute later in a completely different spot. Basically they herd the fish together and then eat them. I suspect.

Boyfriend had already opened his main present but I still wanted to get him something to open on the day so I ordered this set of fancy decanters. I wasn't too sure about them but they are actually beautiful and have been used many times already!

Basically, there was a lot of eating and walking, and eating and walking invovled.

I thought the birthday candle in the sausage was a nice touch, Boyfriend wasn't impressed. What do you think?

Next time: a few pics of the Beatrix Potter museum, some lovely countryside and a tour of our posh B&B!