It’s been a while….

So, yes, it has been quite a long time since my last post on here, but I promise that I have not been idle, far from it in fact. Let me introduce to you the main reason for such a prolonged absence in blogging…

Eva FinalMeet Eva. Our beautiful, quirky little pickle, born on Friday, February 13th, 2015 (who says it’s unlucky!), missing arriving on our second house-iversary by just one day (she didn’t want to wait any longer, she had already kept us waiting 4 days more than she should have!).

Motherhood is proving to be exhausting, but more wonderful than I could have imagined before she arrived into our world. She sure does take up a lot of time, which is something I never quite believed until she was here. Of course people with children told me, but until I experienced it for myself I must admit that I doubted them, dreaming that with a year of maternity leave from work, I would have so much time on my hands that I would be able to work on all my little projects and still have time to spare…

I was wrong.

But it does not matter, she is a joy and I would not have it any other way. However now she is approaching 9 months (seriously, where has that gone!!?) I am determined to make some time for myself, so I am back.

We have been busy here at No.14, and I shall return very soon to tell you all about it.



Planting a Fruit Tree.


As the weather is finally looking clearer we have been doing a lot of work in the back garden. It has come such a long way since last year and I am so pleased with how pretty it’s looking now. I will do a proper update soon but today I wanted to talk about two of the most recent additions – our new fruit trees.

At the beginning of May we went to our favourite nurseries and spent a good while browsing their stock. We were pretty open about what type of fruit tree we wanted but eventually decided upon an apple and a cherry. Looking around we quickly realised that as we were only going to be buying one of each, we needed them to be self fertile, meaning that they do not need to rely on close the proximity of other trees in order to reproduce fruit each year. We also wanted our fruit to taste good, so that meant a variety of eating rather than cooking apple.

After reading all the labels and conducting a bit of online research we chose a ‘Cox’s Self Fertile’ apple and ‘Summer Sun Sweet Cherry’.


We wanted to give our trees the best possible start in our garden so we planted them carefully completing the following steps:

fruit tree one

1. Dig a nice big hole. Once done offer your tree up to make sure you have the correct depth.

fruit tree two

2. Mix some manure into the hole. 3. Gently pinch the soil at the bottom of the tree to loosen the roots, and sprinkle on some Root Grow.

fruit tree three

3. Place the tree in the hole and fill in with soil. Press down all the way around the base to pack in the earth.  4.Give the tree a really good water.

And that’s it. Easy!

One month on and our trees are thriving, busy growing their first batch of fruit.



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Now it’s officially spring our Camellia hedge has come out in all its glory. The hedge (and the pavement!) is now adorned with beautiful pink blooms, take a look…

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2014-04-14 17.37.27 2014-04-14 17.37.36

Ok it’s a bit overgrown, but we cannot trim it now until all of the flowers have gone, besides it is so pretty I don’t think it matters if it’s a little scruffy.

We also have a Camellia tree in the back garden. Sadly this one has been looking a bit poorly ever since we moved in. It has never flowered and a lot of the leaves have a sickly yellow tinge.

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I looked online to try and find a reason for this and one of the possibilities was that the tree was waterlogged at the roots; this can affect the root function and stop it taking in vital nutrients from the soil.  In order to alleviate this we lifted and replanted the tree in a new spot, using special Camellia compost and root grow. We will continue to keep an eye on it but hopefully this will solve the problem and bring our tree back to life again.

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Today we celebrate our one year house-iversay, hurrah! Twelve months ago today we finished packing up my little seaside flat and picked up the keys to our first home together. It was a lovely warm, sunny day (quite the contrast to today’s weather!) and we had both sets of parents helping with all the lifting, sorting and cleaning. After the hard work, we toasted our new home with some wine and the obligatory moving in Chinese take away.

Since then we have made quite a few changes (improvements) to No. 14, and we are really starting to feel like we have put our own stamp on the place:

February 14th, 2013 – a busy day followed by a well earned dinner…


March was a busy month; we turned the 3rd bedroom into a study, had our first snowfall in the house, welcomed the arrival of our new cooker and hosted our first (home cooked) dinner party…


In April we tackled the back garden, pulling up slabs and hammering the concrete into pieces…


In May we got cracking on our guest bedroom


June was the month we discovered that we still had the original Victorian garden tiles under the modern slabs in our front garden. We also fitted a new/old fireplace in the spare room, and watched our concrete free garden begin to grow…


In July we finished decorating the guest bedroom ready for a wedding, and planted up even more of the garden with our haul from the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show…


In August we took a break from all the work and simply enjoyed the beautiful flowers and home grown vegetables in our new cottage garden…


September saw us decide to give our downstairs living rooms a makeover for Christmas (we also jetted off to Tuscany for a glorious 10 days)…


In October we carved our very first pumpkin, and discovered that the dining room walls were not all as they seemed…


November saw us turn a corner in our downstairs renovations, and finally start to see a light at the end of the tunnel…


In December our lovely wallpaper went up and the walls were given a final coat of paint. We put up our first Christmas tree and celebrated the season in our shiny new rooms…


And finally the New Year saw us getting around to uncovering the rest of our front garden path.


So there you go, a whole year in the life of a Victorian Terrace. Here’s to the next 12 months!

P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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The funky new lampshade in our spare room has more to it than meets the eye. When we bought it it looked like this:


Some assembly required!

It’s an IQ light, and as you can probably see you put it together yourself. The concept was designed in 1973 by a Danish designer called Holger Strom, and it’s made up of a number of identical pieces that hook together to create various shapes and sizes of shade.

With a lot of patience and a helpful YouTube video, ours ended up like this:



I think it looks quite beautiful, more of a sculpture than a lampshade really.

But wait, it gets better! Check it out in situ…


Pretty impressive don’t you think!?

Lampshades are such a great way of bringing interest and character into a space. I always like to try something a bit different where I can, and I think this adds the perfect quirky touch to our guest room.

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A rainy Sunday afternoon…

Last Sunday we decided to finish taking up the paving slabs along our front garden path. We probably could have picked a warmer (and dryer) day for it, but we wanted to get it done, so there you go.

It actually did not take too long, in fact this last half seemed to come up much more easily than the section that we tackled last year..


We found a good patch in the middle…


…but unfortunately overall quite a few tiles will need replacing, mainly the red ones, so we will have to start searching for some originals to finish the job.

The next stage of the restoration is to dig up all the tiles and level them out, we might also have to raise the level in order to avoid creating a drop by the gate.



Even though there is still a long way to go, I think it looks so much better already and I am really excited for the finished results!

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For my walls…

I am suddenly in the mood to cover all of our walls with gorgeous pieces of art! This was always the plan (within reason) and is one of the main reasons why we have painted a lot of our house white.

We already have a fair few paintings between us that are just waiting for a wall (I spy a fun Sunday afternoon ahead!) but I have recently found so many wonderful creations online that it makes me want to buy a ton more.

Here are some of my favourite recent discoveries (click on the images for further info):

Christopher Clark Art

Christopher Clark Art


The Joy of Colour

The Joy of Colour


Studio Lara 316

Studio Lara 316


Kensie Kate

Kensie Kate


Black Sketch Book

Black Sketch Book


Jeremy Miranda

Jeremy Miranda


Janet Hill Studio

Janet Hill Studio





Phew, I think that’s enough for now! Although I may have to make this a regular feature…


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When we were working on our back garden last summer, one of my favourite things (apart from getting to wield a sledge hammer) was looking for treasure.  I don’t mean real treasure (although I wouldn’t grumble if I turned up a few gold coins here and there!), I mean things like buttons or bits of crockery; things that have been lost or discarded over the years and that help to paint a picture of No 14’s history.

Today I thought I would share one of  my favourite finds so far (although it was actually found in the front garden not the back),


It’s an old glass bottle which I found tucked unassumingly under the hedge.

I believe the bottle found its way there when the previous owners were digging out a space for the shed in the back garden. When they did so they carted all the excess earth around and deposited it in the front garden; I think it quite likely that the bottle was dug up with the soil and went along for the ride.  Another clue to this is that the break on the neck looks fairly fresh and clean, which would indicate that it happened not too long ago (sadly we have not come across this missing piece).

Apart from the neck (and dirt-which is proving resistant to cleaning!) the bottle is in fairly good condition, I love the soft green colour of the glass and the raised letters.


The bottle is the work of R. Fry & Company Ltd, a Brighton based mineral water company. It would have held either mineral water or lemonade. I need to do a bit more digging (!) to find out exactly how old the bottle is –  I know that the company was still going in the 1940s but I cannot find out when they started. I would guess it to be late Victorian (my fantasy notion is that it was discarded by one of the workmen who built the terrace!).

I am going to try (again) to clean it up, and then I plan on using it as a vase.
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Exciting discoveries out front!

One of my goals for this year is to give our front garden a makeover. We actually started this project last summer, but as there was so much going on elsewhere we did not get an awful lot done. We did however make some exciting discoveries, so I am writing this post as a look back over what has been done so far and what we plan to do next…

Early last summer the garden looked like this:




It’s not much to look at, but as you can probably tell from the back garden when we moved in, the previous owners were not keen gardeners. We do have this lovely Camellia hedge though, which comes out in beautiful pink flowers every spring/summer.

That is all there really was to it, until one Saturday afternoon Peter uncovered this:


A hidden path and some decorative stone edging! Very exciting! We don’t know how long this has been hidden for but none of the neighbours who have seen it remember it, and some have lived in the street for over 20 years.


It would be good to see if we can find out more about the design of this edging, and maybe even get some clues as to how old it may be. Unfortunately this section is all that we uncovered in place, so I fear that the rest has been removed or destroyed, especially as we have since found a couple of broken bits buried in the earth.

After this discovery Peter told me about his hunch that there may be even more out there. He suspected that the original Victorian tiles were hiding underneath the large concrete slabs which were making up our front path. Now, faced with a mystery like that, there was only one thing we could do…



This was not an easy job! Firstly we had to scrape out around the sides in order to make enough room to prise them up.


When we got the first one up (it was VERY heavy!) disappointingly we found a further layer of sand and tarmac underneath, but we did not give up hope and began to take this up too.

Then, finally…



There they were! Number 14’s original Victorian tiles ready and waiting to be discovered.

We carried on and ended up with this:




Some of the tiles are in poor condition and will need to be replaced, but all in all, this was a very exciting find and is really going to help bring our house to life.

We still have about half of the path to uncover before we know how many tiles will need replacing, and getting to work on that will be our next job. We are just waiting for all this rain to stop before we get going!

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14 in 14

I have not set myself any New Year’s resolutions in years, when I did I never kept them, I don’t think many people do. This year however I have decided to do something, but something a bit different. I am not going to set myself resolutions but goals; things I want to achieve so that when I look back in 12 months time I will be able to feel happy with all that I have accomplished over the year.

They might be short and sweet or require hard work and a bit of time, but they will all be satisfying and fun to tick off. Writing them down and publishing them here also gives just the right amount of pressure to ensure I don’t forget about anything!

As it’s 2014 I have set myself 14 goals…

1) Find out more about the history of our house and the road we live in.

2) Learn to screen print.

3) Finish restoring our front garden path.

4) Get organised in the kitchen.

5) Start driving again.

6) Come up with 5 new designs for my shop.

7) Create a wall of old family photographs in the dining room.

8) Find a blog design that I am happy with and will stick to for longer than one week!

9) Learn about, and plant, things that will grow in our shady front garden.

10) Find a large, wooden mirror to go above the fireplace in the living room.

11) Create a ‘Recipe’ section on this blog.

12) Clear the side alley in the back garden and make it into a useful/usable space.

13) Visit Peter’s relatives in America.

14) Give our dining room table and chairs a makeover.

These goals are in no particular order and there is no specific timescale, just as long as it’s within the year. They are all things that I am excited to do so I am looking forward to getting stuck in.

I will document my progress here so watch this space!
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