Royal bargains

We're slowly settling in and furnishing our gigantic home. It's looking pretty full to be honest. Now I worry about what we will do with all this furniture when we eventually move... some pieces I will definitely keep forever though, like... my new Scandinavian armchairs!! Spotted online, delivered from Reims to Paris by the seller, then delivered from Paris to Munster by our lovely friends who kindly agreed to visit us for the weekend and bring them. Don't worry though, they were rewarded with large quantities of white wine, beer, cheese and other Alsacian delights.

I would also like to introduce... my massive living room lamp that came with a hideous lampshade I forgot to take pictures of.

Well, actually...

I DO have a picture of it. Just not in its original context. Anyway, moving on...

The chairs look as good from the back as they do from the front. I had originally planned to leave the sofa where it was against the wall and to place these directly across from it, so you could see their backs from the dining room. The fact that the seller threw a footstool (that I really love using now that I'm an old lady) in for free has confused me to no end and I'm really not sure about this setup but I've decided to live with it for a while and see.

Prettyyyyyyyy... I'm not a huge fan of the covers though and I'm planning on recovering them as soon as h̶e̶l̶l̶ ̶f̶r̶e̶e̶z̶e̶s̶ ̶o̶v̶e̶r̶ I get round to it. Any colour suggestions? Something with a pattern? Something dark? Something light? I'm very new at choosing that kind of thing and don't know where to start.

Please ignore the hideous coffee table and picture something with white marble and a modern vibe. I know exactly what it should look like, I just can't find it for sale anywhere. Marble is having a bit of a moment though, so hopefully soon!

I still love my little cabinet and it's currently housing some Japanese finds from our stop in San Francisco, along with other little treasures and some pretty plates/bowls/cups that were given to me as christening presents when I was a baby! So random! The plant had a close call recently after a red spider invasion, but after several days of worrying and spraying and more spraying and more worrying, I think it's safe to say it's on the mend.

The many other plants are happy and thriving, thank you light! I missed you so much!

On the bedroom front, I found some nice marble-topped nightstands for a steal (all this "new" furniture is from houses in town that are being emptied to be put on the market. I think the more stuff you've inherited, the less you're interested in getting loads of money for it and there are some serious bargains to be had). Then I saw this idea on Pinterest and though, well why not?

I love this bedroom. It's a shame we can't really use it as it's very very noisy. The road that goes past our flat is one of only two that lead out of the Munster valley, where there are lots of touristy things to do (skiing, hiking, riding loud motorbikes and quad bikes) as well as a few factories. The lorries that rumble past (on the cobbles, naturally) at 4AM every morning actually make the bed tremble. I've always been a light sleeper and I initially thought this was my chance at getting used to noise. After 4 months though, I can't even get a proper night's sleep in the guest bedroom next door to this one, even though it's much quieter. I do like to come in here and pretend to be royalty sometimes though.

Aaaaand, as of yesterday, it's the official home of our €40 solid wook (oak?) wardrobe!

Also bought off the lady who sold us the big lamp. She gave us the matching nightstands too, but while cleaning them Boyfriend realised they were FULL of woodworm. The wardrobe has a few holes in the base so he treated it before we installed it, but the nightstands are too far gone to be used safely. They're now in the cellar waiting to be taken to... the tip? I don't know what to do with them! I don't think donating them is a good idea. They look great from the front but the backs are like Swiss cheese.

Anyway. I love my sixties wardrobe, even though we did let the big middle door crash to the floor while assembling it, shattering the mirror inside it and denting the floor...

So that's about it really. 
Next up: the kitchen!

One of these days you might get a full house tour too, but for that to happen I would have to tidy all the other rooms and run out of work, which hasn't happened since before the move. I'm not complaining though, more money to buy our dream-house with !



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!