Edwardian Style Standard Lamp

Isn’t it always the same…when you’re looking to buy something you can never find it in quite the right style, shape colour? And then, when you least expect it, something perfect throws itself at your feet?!

Ugly sofa too - don't worry, it's not permament!
Ugly sofa too – don’t worry, it’s not permament!

One of the exciting things about our new project here in Bexhill is that we get to furnish it too! When we set up our home in Spain it was relatively easy as we both already had furniture and we merged, purged and started making new memories. Here we had nothing. Starting from scratch is fun. Not starting anew though as we are both agreed that we like buying second hand, preloved, vintage, antique and car boot bargains. Clearly car boot bargains cost less than antiques, but they give us just as much pleasure. Half the fun is restoring, cleaning, seeing the potential.

Grubby Feet
Grubby Feet

The property is part of what would have been an Edwardian Family “Villa”. This means it was built around 1903, from what we can tell, and whilst we don’t intend to live in the past completely….we need a decent oven, tv and internet for goodness sake…some older touches will also work well.

Dashing around the other day I popped into a local shop which deals with House Clearances. Some of the stuff they have is junk, some is clearly high quality and very much loved (and priced) antique furniture. And some of it falls between the two. I spotted a wrought iron standard lamp with a very ugly pink lampshade. It spoke to me. Really, it did. I could hear a most refined Edwardian Lady reclining in the bay window of her drawing room on a chaise longue saying “Pray, take this lamp stand home. Clean it, love it and it will add some much needed elegance to your home. Oh, and your hair could do with a brush…standards are slipping”.

Clean Feet!
Clean Feet!

So we haggled a little and the bemused owner helped me put it into the car with the back window down so that it would fit and off to House Number 2 I drove where Big Man was impatiently waiting for me to arrive with a bag of masonry nails.

Looking much better now
Looking much better now

It was dingy brown and I had planned to clean it and paint it black and then buy a new lampshade. So I cleaned it and underneath all the grease and grime it was a beautiful cream colour. Then I popped out to the supermarket and was waylaid in another House Clearance shop (I know now where all the good ones are) and found a perfect sized lampshade in a gold colour and once more turned up at House Number 2 with nothing for dinner but an unexpected  bargain that I wore on my head for extra effect.

Dressed to impress
Dressed to impress

Then I rummaged in a bag of goodies given to me my Best Friend’s sister who is downsizing and used to make costumes for shows, curtains, clothes and found some beautiful lace and a strip of beading. Two evenings later it was done and I heard my Edwardian Lady murmur in approval “Beautiful my dear, very elegant indeed. But your hair could still do with a good brush”.

Fingers Crossed

Fingers Crossed…

So, I am typing away in the dusty, and as yet untouched, sitting room of our Victorian House in Bexhill. I´ve missed you all and I´m sorry I can´t comment on your blogs. Internet access here is via a dongle and after about 5 days I was told that I had “exceeded my data allowance”. Oh dear, naughty Chica. This may mean that I won´t be able to download some photos I want to show you of what we have been doing.

The kitchen was ripped out.

A damp proof course was put in, the floor was leveled and a quick coat of paint followed, although it will eventually be tiled.

Then Big Man put down some oak flooring. It was meant to be a cheaper floor, but it was a bargain and we couldn´t resist.

Next up is fitting the kitchen, the appliances and tiling. But hopefully more of that next week.

And the dogs? Of course, they still manage to find a quiet spot amid the chaos and are enjoying long walks on the beach when the working day is over.

I´ll stop now as I don´t want the internet police hauling me in for further “excesses”, but I do send you all the best from a wet, grey and rainy Bexhill on Sea (well, it is a Bank Holiday Weekend here in the UK, so it´s to be expected!) and cross your fingers that this works!

Runner Bean Salad and Back Home Up the Mountain

Another hectic few days in the UK, but more of that in a moment. It was a good trip, and I even got to meet my blogging buddy Claire from Promenade Plantings. We had a wonderful little break sitting on the sea front, drinking rosé wine and getting to know each other better.  And then she gave me a bag of her super delicious peppery radishes. How lucky am I?!

As ever, I came back with some goodies to enjoy here Up the Mountain. A fabulous Ottolenghi cookbook, which is already inspiring me with some amazing recipes. Can´t wait to try them out.

I also bought myself some cooling racks for my baking which I had wanted for ages. Well, I had been balancing an oven rack on top of tin cans which wasn´t ideal. And in the shop, next to the baking racks I spotted some adorable mini loaf tins which just pleaded with me to leap into my suitcase. Of course, I obliged them!  I expect you have also spotted my guilty (not so) secret of Cheese & Onion crisps.

Big Man had kept busy in the veggie garden in my absence and picked tomatoes, courgettes and almost three kilos of runner beans…and I had only been away for four days.

Some of the beans went into a delicious salad at lunchtime today. Thinly sliced raw runner beans, tomatoes, sweet onions and green peppers with chopped basil and a lemon and garlic vinaigrette.  All from our garden, it did make me feel a very happy Chica.

Then, just when I thought my first day home couldn´t get any better, my lovely neighbour came round with a fantastic present for me. Look at this beautiful mixer. She said she had it stored away in her garage and hoped I would make good use of it. You bet I will!

And now for some exciting news. Regular readers may have noticed that I have been making more trips than usual back to the UK in the last few months. Well, they weren´t all back to London to visit my family, but to sort out a project that Big Man and I will soon start working on. We will be heading over to a little seaside town on the south coast of England, called Bexhill on Sea. In just under 3 weeks in fact, so not long to go now. We will pack up the car with tools, supplies, two dogs and almost definitely some Spanish cheese and jamon. We will drive across Spain and France and when we get to the UK we will be setting up base in a little Victorian house which is in need of some love and attention.

Scary carpet…this house needs some love!

Hopefully over the course of about a month we will be able to restore it to a liveable condition (while we live in it ourselves). We will be polishing floorboards, putting in a kitchen and bathroom, unearthing the little garden and breathing life back into it.

I think there´s a pretty little garden hidden in there….

It´s going to be hard work, it´s going to be stressful but it´s going to be fun and a wonderful experience.  While we do this we´ll have to cook and eat and we´ll be sharing our little adventure with you before we head back to Spain once it´s all done. I do hope you join us for the ride, and please be prepared for dust, rain and laughter along the way.