mardi 31 janvier 2012

Off again...Kristiansand

The problem with Alain's business trips is they happen a lot and he tells me at the last minute, like today, well at 11.23 via email. He's just left and it's tough on family life and children's routines....Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself.

lundi 30 janvier 2012

Finally, mudroom finished

After fifteen months of living here  I am happy to announce that we have finished our mudroom. You'd think that a small room like this  just wouldn't make a difference to the  organization in our home, well that's what I thought, but no.  Now we have freed up the entrance, no more muddy shoes to trip over, everything  has its place, it's so much tidier too.  
I have commissioned Gaby to complete a canvas (see above) that depicts what one might find in a mudroom and when she's finished it will be placed in front of the electricity meter which is rather ugly.
The two trail shoes here were drawn by Marie-Kate, Gaby wasn't too happy when MK actually smeared some soil from a plant pot below them, but in reality it looks great.

Gaby's work a long with a mouse that she says is a rat.

This is the door to the MR that's leads off the entrance, a lick of Charlotte's locks to liven it up a little

I used chalk board paint so we could write memos down, especially for stationary shopping as the children always need stuff and tell me after I've been shopping!


I bought some sky planters for the window (see the blinds have gone), I really like these.
I made the coat rack you can see, initially I wanted to just an old pallet (I think I talked about this in another post) but in the end opted for new wooden planks, two different sizes that are screwed onto a wooden frame.  I used all of my left over Farrow and Ball paints (Charlotte's locks, Arsenic, Brinjal) and one yellow paint

And I bought some new plastic baskets for gloves, hats et cetera...

This is where the children hang their coats, unfortunately coatless today as they're all at school

There's a door behind those shelves that we never use, but rather rush and block it completely, we've insulated it and put some tongue and groove in front and then shelves.  I need to find a little mirror or something for the space above the last shelf.
Next to the shelves is cupboard where we keep all the backpacks (for now), the doors have been painted with chalk board paint too. If you turn after the plant, you'll find a welly rack and then the door for the basement.


Well that's it, our tiny 5 square meter mudroom finished and crossed off the to do list.

Time for me to rest, I'm sick with a sinus infection and am feeling very sorry for myself.  I did manage though, before becoming ill to run 8 kilometers, it was really muddy and very cold. Alain came too and I used a i phone application called Runtastic that is great and for one of my split I ran an average of 19 km per hour, this is fast for me.


jeudi 19 janvier 2012

Thursday in the mudroom...found a bench

I've been thinking about making a bench, no let me rephrase that, I thought about making a bench....but considering the amount of time it has taken me to cut wood for one wall (and a bit) in  our mudroom, as well as a shelf and little bits and pieces like that, I gave up on that idea yesterday.  Since then I have been debating between a vintage bench or a modern one like above(Atlas).  I didn't think I'd find a vintage one, so I was getting ready to tell Alain that 280euros wasn't so expensive for a mudroom bench.... (he's back for Korea tonight last I heard)

Then today after picking Gaby up from school, I decided to pop into my local thrift shop, this place is amazing, especially since Christmas, I just keep finding things, even today I found an amazing bridge chair (photos to come) for 12 euros (Gaby has since, taken it and it's now her desk chair, this wasn't the plan, but she can keep it. I'm in a good mood because I found the ideal bench, and it will fit perfectly into the mudroom once finished.

 A 1960's vintage school bench and it was a steal,  priced like the chair( 12 euros).

I'm not going to paint it, just leave it as it is, minus the chewing gum still stuck underneath.

mardi 17 janvier 2012

Tuesday in the Mudroom


I've almost finished screwing and nailing the tongue and groove wood, this proved to be difficult because of the walls and angles.

I have put up a shelf (that's straight) below the window.  this will be painting in Farrow and Ball's Skimming Stone along with all the wood, mainly because it's the only eggshell paint I have enough of left (I'm going to try and paint the room just with paint colours I have left.
Now I have three F & B colours left for the wall leading into the room and I think I prefer Charlottes' Locks (the orange one) although the Hardwick white is fine too.  But the Brinjal looks too dark I think.  And yes my Charlotte's Locks is only in estate and so that would mean I'd have to buy a 2.5 liter pot.
(5.30pm update 3 children prefer the orange and Gaby's vibrant and colourful friend loved the purple.  Just Oliver and Charlotte to ask, I bet that Oliver choses the grey and Charlotte ...not sure, depends on her mood, and that changes all the time.




I found via Shelterness this coat rack and if I can find a pallet I shall do this with it  for sure

lundi 16 janvier 2012

Potato clock

Marie-Kate has been making a big effort in English recently (only passive speaker in the family until now) so we treated her while we were at the Palais de la Decouverte to a potato clock.   
She has been also carrying out some experiments with seeds.  
And soon it's going to get messy in the kitchen as she wants to experiment with corn flour.

Alexis' first term

One B for using computer software (everyone had a B for this), otherwise A's for everything. 


Alexis loves school, so much so that he watches the clock from before 8 to be ready to leave at 8.16 on the dot, yes this boy has a routine that he sticks too without fail.
In March he's going with his class to the Auvergne region of France for 10 days! 
Thinking of the number 10, Alexis turned ten on the 8th February, my little boy is growing up fast.

Mud Room...bit of progress, just a bit though


This room is the second smallest room we have in our house, and it's proving to be a hard room to get done, it's such an embarrassment now, that we have to finish it and quickly. 
Here's a view from above the room, half the window is on the first half landing and the other half in the dreaded mud room.
I probably won't keep the blinds when the room below is finished.
 Last week I starting filling in all the cracks in the walls (still not finished) and yesterday Alain started the wood that you can see here.  We *I am going to carry on the wood under the electric counter and then stop.

 This is the wall look up and towards our entrance, the marks you can see are where I've filled in many holes with plaster.  I was thinking when it's done to paint it in Charlotte's locks and then put this coat rack here, see below (yes why here?  well my kids are lazy, and I reckon that there's more chance they'll hang their coats up just inside the mud room, than having to go down 3 stairs and walk half a meter.

I find this rack pretty awesome, it's called "slastic" and was designed by Ana Mir and Emili Padros and what is so good about it is that you are allowed to draw on the walls with it, well when ones hangs ones coat, thanks to the five colored pencils it comes with.




Here's a close up so you see what I mean.  You can put a sheet of paper behind on even a canvas...I try in with paper first, and when a lot of mess has been made (which won't take long, as they are going to just love it) I thought I'd take in down and then get them to complete it,  then frame it.


Back to the hard reality of this room...this is the wall and door that leads down to our basement.  No photos, it really is worse than ever with all the mess that's been stashed away down there.


* I'm on my own this week (as of this morning) Alain has abandoned ship and flies off to South Korea this lunch-time....the question is, am I am to finish it on my own?

dimanche 15 janvier 2012

New find at our local thrift shop...before and after



 This is the piece of furniture that we bought for our house in Sanary, it was great there, it held most of our crockery (one side) and art stuff for the children and our English club on the other.
However since we've moved, this piece just hasn't felt right and I've been looking for something a bit more rustic or 60's style ever since.
 I didn't find what I was looking for, but Alain didn't do too bad.  Probably 1950's, in oak and just a perfect fit for between our two windows.
 I did think about painting it, but I think I'll wait, I like seeing the contrast of wood against mizzle, it warms this area better.
Bad photo, but better than nothing.  We moved the picasso (ebay find) above and the Italian oil painting has been put it's place, next to our computer (not on photo).  I like Alain's bronze next to Picasso's flute player, they belong together.



Paris...Le Palais de la Decouverte


Things have been rather hectic here of late, hence the lack of being able read blogs (that I love) and blog.  Yesterday, though, we did manage to visit Le Palais de la Decouverte in Paris, but not before our 5 km trail run in record time.  Oh yes, I forget to add, it was really cold, minus 3°c.  
 This place was great, and I preferred it to La Villette, maybe it was something to do with the architecture which is just amazing.
  There were lots of activities to keep Marie-Kate amused...
Here she's trying to guess by smelling, which rabbits belong where

She was good and got it right fast (unlike Alexis and co..see below)

 Zapping back, you see what I mean about this place.

 Alexis and co....Alexis and best friend Jeremy, they had a great time and love the planetarium.  We have been to quite a few, in the Uk and in France, and this one was by far the best.   We've all learnt a lot, even Alain who now knows what a "lune gibbeuse" what that means in English, well I'm not sure myself.
 The boys had a race to see how quickly they could cycle up Montmartre in 30 seconds...Jeremy managed 86%, Alexis less and Alain 100% (show off)


We have a year pass to visit as much as we'd like, and we'll be going back soon, next time with Gaby and co (she didn't come yesterday as she went to a party, as for Charlotte, she stayed over night at a friend's house and then hit the sales, while Oliver revised).

vendredi 6 janvier 2012

Official First Run

Our names are down on the list for our first run (since school for me), and as it's close to Saint Valentines, we are doing the couples race.
Alain checked the best couple's time for last year and it was around the 19 minute mark...before seeing this, we had planned on doing it in less than 30 minutes (yes that slow) but now have revised it, and hope to do it in less than 25 minutes.


We're going to do the Eco-trail de Paris, unfortunately  fortunately there wasn't any places left for the 30 km trail so we are down for the easier 18 km one and this one is not a timed race, so I'm less stressed.



dimanche 1 janvier 2012

After our New Year run

 we beat yesterday's time by a minute, but I found the last 100 meters uphill at 17% really tough
 Alain trainers are were brand new,  mine aren't , and they aren't really adapted for cross country running..but maybe someday soon I'll get a new pair
Gaby likes taking photos from strange angles, I think this one is really great.



Happy New Year Bonne Année 2012

                                                          Hello 2012
Happy New Year.  Woke up late, still dark outside at 8.30, and since then we've been waiting for the rain to stop so we can go and run jog, and now it's stopped, off we go for another 6 kilometers mainly cross country.  Maybe we can beat our time from yesterday which was 43 minutes (8.4 km per hour, our goal is 9 km per hour...but probably not today)