Wednesday, 23 December 2009

a very happy birthday girl

Hip Hip Horray...a birthday...I only counted 21 candles on my cake....I think the bubbly failed to help me count any higher!

Anyway, it's a very welcome break from our house renovations which I am happy to announce really are in the final stages with the waving off of the builders yesterday, hurrah! The best birthday present I could wish for!

Have a happy and relaxing holiday season and I promise to be back soon and invigorated with lots of updates on the lovely things that have happened here at Friendly Cottage over the last few months.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

'kirsties homemade christmas' decorations

Well, have you started decorating your nest yet? Here are some snaps, that may help inspire you, which I took when working on 'Kirstie's Homemade Christmas' recently. (Click on images to make them bigger). Hopefully they will also give you a taste of what's to come in the three part series this week. Check out this post on my work blog for the heads up on some of the crafts to expect to see Kirstie indulging in.

christmas trees, festive hampers & this seasons decorations (the stylist bought these beautiful birds from vv rouleaux in london but i picked some up recently here in dublin (& quite cheaply at a few euros each) in flamingo display.

twinkly fairy lights

festive garlands

santa & his reindeers corner & advent calenders

kitsch kitchen

& decadent dining

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

still working hard

So sorry again for being really bad at updating our blog but thanks for popping by to check! We are still busy bees getting our nest sorted definitely seems like we are never going to get there & it certainly has been one hard slog! Here are a couple of snaps of hard work in progress....& it's not just Martin doing it, promise! Oh & I haven't forgotten to reveal our chosen stair wallpaper.....just waiting for a photo opportunity that doesn't involve stuff everywhere!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Meadowgate - Kirstie's Homemade Home

Well, I have certainly been missing in action for quite a while now, so apologies! It's been like 60 minute make-over stuck on replay here at friendly cottage with heavy workloads in the day jobs thrown in.

Now, speaking of day jobs, I have a nice little treat for you as I have been to work in Meadowgate in you remember the beautifully gorgeous house that presenter Kirstie Allsopp brought back to life in the Channel 4 series, 'Kirstie's Homemade Home'? Squeals of delight at this end as I actually got to work there....find out more about that on my work blog.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on some snaps I took of Kirstie's holiday let and stay tuned for some christmas decorating inspiration photos and some clues as to what and when to expect the three part Christmas special. This trip has certainly inspired me to get moving on getting over the finish line of turning our house into our home.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

room with a view

I forgot to show you this snap I took last week when I got back from my work trip, lol! I arrived home when it was dark, so it was a bit of a shocker to see this scene in the back garden when I woke up the next day!! Not quite the palace I had dreamed of returning to.

So, it's all systems go here now getting the house ready (well, as ready as it will be!) for the arrival of Martin's brother Trevor, Becky & our new nephew Billy from Brisbane....8 more sleeps (and lots of building, assembling, sanding, scraping, painting, wallpapering, moving furniture, trips to hardware stores, quick decisions, pulling hair out, screaming and of course cleaning in between. Oh, and not forgetting the day jobs!).

So excuse me once again if I'm off the blogging radar for a bit, but hopefully I'll have lots to share soon..

Friday, 23 October 2009

stairway to hell

Thanks to everyone for the comments on my previous post & of course for voting's a bit of fun anyhow. Just as I thought, there are completely different opinions. However, I think we have managed to make our decision...but there are four days left to vote so you can still sway us! Hopefully the big reveal will happen soon but, in the meantime I've dug out some snaps of the stairway's (very slow) progress (if you can call it that!) since we moved in....(Mel over at design heaven had asked for a snap of the area to help decide on which wallpaper but, Mel, not sure these are very helpful!)...

(L) as we bought it (R) stripping paper (with falling walls with it!)

(L) freshly plastered (R) carpet ripped up

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

which wallpaper?

We would really love your help with this one please! For ages now we have been undecided about which of these two wallpapers to go with for our hall & stairway (just up the one wall)....

I have always loved the Wistaria as the print looks great falling down a big expanse of wall....but then the Saplings one is sooo cute & retro! HELP! Cast your vote on the poll at the top right of the page. I know it's very subjective but let's see which is the favourite amongst you all & we'll reveal our chosen one soon!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

a lovely phonecall

on the friendly cottage wishlist...reconditioned telephone from pedlars

We had an exciting call today from one of my brothers, Keith, with some fab news that he has got engaged to the lovely Lisa. We're very excited and I'm thrilled that I will have a sister on the Hearne once all boy team!! Congrats guys...can't wait already for Oct 2nd next year! XXX

Sunday, 4 October 2009

adorable prints

Thanks for all the lovely comments on the previous post...and welcome to lots of new followers this week too - what a lovely surprise!...and Paula, the print reminds me of Sanna Annuka too but it's not actually, it's a screen print from a lovely girl in south east can find it and other very gorgeous goodies on roddy & ginger (home of these lovely images)....

The design is looking very cute printed on kids aprons too...

also on friendly cottage's wish list...

and for the love of all things owl...

Friday, 25 September 2009

lost in dust

Oops, sorry I have been missing in action for so long...I have a mix of excuses including being busy with work, not having a laptop (all sorted out now again thankfully!) and generally being lost in dust in this building site of ours. The renovations are cruising along nicely with amazing things happening every day. So other than the constant dust and dirt we're getting along fine! Here are some snaps of the top of our fireplace - one of the few areas of the house that is nice to turn to and remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm heading away with work for a few weeks so apologies in advance for abandoning blogging yet again! Hopefully when I get back all the renovations will be complete & I'll have a spick & span house (ahem, dream on!)

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Electric Picnic Checklist

Well, the rain is pouring down and the hail stones pounding but still we're doing it to ourselves and heading down to a muddy field in stradbally for a weekend of festivities at lecky picky! Now I'm a bit of an obsessive compulsive when it comes to organising and packing (particuluarly when it comes to one's comfort don't you know) so here's my list of what we're bringing. The husband doesn't know the full extent mind you ;). Take or leave from it what you like, it's just a handy checklist....hope I haven't forgotten anything!!?!

tent (check pegs & guide ropes are included!)
blow up bed & foot pump
fitted sheet (ok, not essential but!)
really warm sleeping bags
torches & fully charged batteries
camping light
fold up chairs
waterproof backed picnic blankie
spare batteries
locks for bags (just in case there's some not so friendly people there!)


printed out maps of site & day by day line ups
ID (unless like me there's no way you're gonna be asked for it but would be totally flattered if you were!)
phone / camera charger (or spare batteries)
phone (fully charged)
camera (fully charged) with empty sim card
post it notes & pencil (you never know!)
chewing gum
cash & cards (be careful not to bring too much - there are ATM's on site to keep you going)
magazines / cards / games (incase you're stuck in your tent with the rain!)
ipod & speakers / radio & batteries
ciggies & lighter (if you are naughty & smoke!)
zip lock bags (you may laugh, but you'll be surprised what they'll come in handy for...think sick bag & smelly, soggy socks!!)
kitchen roll (for mopping up those spillages or to use as napkins)
BIN LINERS - not just fo rgathering rubbish but essential as your seat and rain jacket throughout the weekend!

loads of warm (long) socks
plenty of clean knickers!
warm clothes for bedtime
general clothes (for all seasons!) - whether you're into frilly frocks, skinny jeans, hot pants...
umbrella :(
rain gear :(
towel (whether you're taking a shower or not!)
swimwear - thats if you decide to take a (communal) shower
flip flops
a good sized bag to take all your essentials into the arena and comfortable enough to carry for hours (& of course neutral enough to match with every outfit!)
hair bobbins & bands (for putting up that not washed hair into fabulous styles!)
jewellery (don't bring your great grandmothers jewels however!)

sun cream :)
lots of WET WIPES (festival essential!)
ear plugs (essential!)
eye mask
alcohol based hand santizer
headache tablets
toothpaste & brush
deodorant (lots of it)
perfume too!
cleanser, toner, moisturiser & cotton wool if you cant face a weekend of wet wipes!
dry shampoo
shower gel (if you're taking one!)
loo roll
any tablets you usually take (BUT NO DRUGS PLEASE!!)
make up

cool box
ice blocks
disposable BBQ
matches / lighter
disposable plates & cups
plastic cutlery

booze - 48 cans max per person permitted apparently - now, tell me who on earth would bring that amount for themselves??? or am i just being really old?! beers, ciders, ale, alcho pops, spirits & mixers, wine, bubbly...whatever takes your fancy!

loads and loads of water to conteract the booze!

We'll be scoffing cheese, crackers & chilli jam for a chilled out lunch on friday & then sausages (see tip below), bread rolls & relish for brekkie saturday. Other than that fresh food won't survive the course so we'll be feasting in the arena at all the yummy food stands & farmers market.

Some non-perishable breakfast ideas: rice cakes or crackers with mashed banana & peanut butter (or both), homemade flapjacks, cans of beans (thats if you love them cold from the can like me!), or just a plain old can of coke & packet of tayto if you're really hungover!

snacks we're bringing include pretzels, salted pistachios, marshmallows (for the barbie!), fruit & chocolate.



stick a large / visible sign in your car window (front & back if necessary) asking people not to block you in, particularly if you need to leave before monday

put a note, reminder or send yourself a text of where the car is parked!

stick some packs of sausages or bacon in the freezer - great as ice blocks in your cooler (pack them in zip locks to avoid spillages) and then perfectly defrosted in time for saturday mornings rumbly tummies!

freeze your drinks (watch out for expanding liquids freezer explosion theory!) for same reason as above (leave a few unfrozen so you're not pitching your tent sober!).

when your cool box is emptied use it as a bin by lining it with a plastic liner. easy to carry away with you then too!

stick your printouts of the site map & days events in a plastic pocket to keep it from tearing in tatters and / or becoming soggy from spilt booze or rain!

stick fake flowers on everything!! essential for fitting in with that colourful and fun festival vibe. Put them on your wellies, socks, hat, rain coat, bag, a wrist band, beady necklace & hairband & clips!

PHEW....good thing we're not travelling with Ryanair!! See you down there - call by for a beer! S & M X

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Special Memories

It's our happy 3 years married day, awh!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Sunny Seaside Sunday

We were in London last weekend to visit Mart's family when we had a lovely Sunday drive to Whitstable on the coast. Besides it being a super hot & sunny day (when everything seems so much better!), Whitstable really is an idyllic seaside town with lots of gorgeous wooden beach houses, yummy fresh seafood, a long pebbled beach & lots of very cute shops selling gorgeous things. I had been a few times before but mostly with work when I went on photo shoots to an amazing beach house - which incidently I have been trying to find photos of on the net for ages now to show you. I must try searching the meantime the bunting in the photo above has reminded me I really must finish that bunting I started so many moons ago. Here are some more sunny seaside snaps...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

mirror makeover


I bought this mirror last year on the sales when I nabbed it for a bargain
(and it isn't even one of those that makes you look short and dumpy thankfully!). Anyhow, this Roccoco or shabby chic, whatever you like to call it, style isn't top of my list but I just can't pass a decorative frill and so have hopefully taken the edge off that look with my mirror makeover...

I decided the easiest way to transform this mirror into something different that fitted in with the plans for our bedroom was to paint it. We first of all lived with some chosen test colour cards for a bit to help make that decision on colour choice. We went with a colortrend blue called St. Johns and chose a soft sheen emulsion.

Firstly, protect your work area really well with dust sheets or news papers. Marty's top tip is to make sure you double layer a sheet or even better, line underneath with plastic sheeting in case the paint soaks through onto a precious surface!

Test paint a small patch at the back of the mirror to make sure you are completely happy with your colour and paint choice. Don't forget to allow it to dry to see the true colour.

very carefully remove any staples or pins from the back of the mirror, peeling away the backing board.

Next, even more carefully remove the mirror and rest in a safe place.

Now, down to business. Scuff up the wood with a quick rough over with some sand paper. This is important to help the paint go on smoothly (great for the upper arms too!).

Using a dampened cloth, wipe the sanding dust away to give a clean surface.

You may need a paint primer first, depending on the type of surface you're painting onto - ask your paint shop for advice. Ensure your paint is well stirred up. Use a paint brush sized proportionally to the item you're painting (preferably synthetic for water based paints & natural for oil based). Brush strokes should go in one direction with (and not against) the grain for best results.

Squish and squirm (how's that for a description?!) the paint brush into awkward decorative bits to ensure the paint gets right into the groves. Use a much smaller brush for harder to reach areas if you prefer.

Leave the first coat to dry completely for several hours before giving a second coat. It's really important to give the second coat for a good finish - but at least the second coat will be quicker than the first!

Once the second coat has completely dried, then carefully turn the frame on one side - this will reveal missed or hard to reach bits at the top and particularly the bottom so give them the same care and attention. This might at this stage seem like a never ending project but it's so worth giving it time and patience.

A top tip for painting a mirror frame is to pay particular attention to the bit inside the frame that faces the mirror when the mirror glass is back in place. If you miss this bit out then you'll be disappointed to see the unpainted bit reflecting back on you once you have the mirror back in position! Don't forget to let this dry properly too.

Very carefully, return the mirror to the frame, securing it in place with the backing material. Staple gun or tack it back securely in position. Finally, the exciting reveal - turn it round to check out your creative handy work! tadaaa...


Tuesday, 11 August 2009

our new living space

Sorry I haven't been around for a while - complete laptop meltdown this time - now after a glass of water being accidently knocked into it (not mentioning any names!), it has sadly passed away...a huge scramble was on over the last week to somehow save all my files from it which I have now thankfully managed to do (& thank god for foxmarks having my thousands of bookmarks in cyber space!). Anyhow, much less stressfull surprisingly, is how our extension is flying up. It is so exciting to see our new space taking shape and overwhelming to imagine how our lives are going to be transformed with our living space. Here are some current snaps...

Friday, 31 July 2009

school chairs revamp

We bought these school chairs here and recently decided to freshen them up with a lick of white paint. Here's the before and after shots along with some shots I took as I went and then a finished chair in our spare bedroom.