Tag Archives: home

If only I had a porch

floral porchWithin a week of breaking my leg I started wishing for one thing. I wished I had a porch.

When I talk about porches I’m talking about the Deep South. A porch with proper swings as chairs, where you sit and chat with passers by over glasses of iced tea. A place that provides a change of scene and that special kind of companionship with people you don’t really know.

I’ve never visited the Deep South so my knowledge is a stereotype gleaned from too many books and films. For all I know the pretty picture I’ve painted in my mind is a lie; can anybody save my dreams and tell me this type of living exists? Is it as magical as I wish it to be? Continue reading

sunday selection

Sunday Selection: Valentine’s Day

I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day but I do love a good DIY craft activity! Here are four of my favourites from around the blogosphere this week.

18 Valentine’s Day craft projects

Framed quotes

Valentine’s Tags

Cute Valentine’s Day cards for boys

Do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day?

Twelfth Night Geffrye Museum

Twelfth Night at the Geffrye Museum

A quick apology for the lack of blogs recently. Life was a long and bumpy ride last month with lots of sad things happening. It feels nice to be writing again.

I had a brilliant London weekend walking around town and visiting a couple of attractions in the East End that I highly recommend. On Saturday I went to a rare opening of 19 Princelet Street – but more on that another time.

On Sunday I went to one of my favourite museums in London to attend their annual Twelfth Night celebrations. For the past 21 years the Geffrye Museum of the Home has hosted an afternoon of carols, stories about Epiphany, mulled wine and twelfth night cake to bid farewell to Christmas.

Twelfth Night Geffrye Museum

Twelfth Night ‘Farewell to Christmas’ celebrations at the Geffrye Museum

I got there early and waited on a bench for my friend to arrive. We then collected our free mulled wine and twelfth night cake and made our way towards the large fire to keep warm outside the museum. We grabbed a carol sheet and when the festivities kicked off proceeded to sing our little hearts out for 45 minutes.

Apparently record numbers made their way to Hoxton yesterday to bid farewell to Christmas, and I heartily suggest you pencil the event in your diary for next year. A big thank you to all the volunteers at the Geffrye Museum who handed out drinks, food and song sheets in the cold for all of us to have a fantastic time.

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Pinterest Finds: Autumn

Autumn might almost be over but as the pavements are covered with beautiful leaves I thought I would take one last shot at celebrating my favourite season. It’s been a while since my last Pinterest Finds so I hope it has been worth the wait!

I love London during Autumn, when the mornings are foggy and there are golden leaves on the ground. I love walking down the street with the cold air pinching my cheeks – there is no need for blusher in this weather! I like eating soup for lunch and dinner and painting my nails a deep, dark red. Getting the nice boots and a winter coat out of the wardrobe (or treating myself to something new). I love the scarves, drinking in front of the fire in a pub, baking homemade apple pies and cosy nights in with Midsummer Murders on the television.

What do you love most about Autumn?

Source: tumblr.com via Wendy on Pinterest

Source: eatliverun.com via Carla on Pinterest

Guest post: Hilary Osborne – Tottenham Borders

Thanks to Hilary Osborne for writing a guest post about the patch of London she calls home. As the Editor of guardian.co.uk/money, you may know her from such stories as ‘House prices rise’ and ‘Shock fall in house prices’. I took that from her Twitter bio because it makes me laugh… follow Hilary on Twitter @hilaryosborne.

Tottenham borders is a phrase unlikely to be used by estate agents any time soon – they prefer to herald proximity to Turnpike Lane station and talk of tree-lined roads – but it’s the best way I have to describe the part of N22 I now call home. It’s just north of South Tottenham (or Soto as I’m led to believe it is known to some) and just south of Noel Park (Nopa anyone?); to the west of N17 and to the east of Turnpike Lane tube. The population spans the generations and seem to have made it here from all over the place. And once they get here, they seem to stay.

I had to think very carefully before upping sticks and making the move here from my old manor – a place that I had lived in and loved dearly for 10 years. I could make the walk from my flat to the train station with my eyes closed, I could trust the men who ran the local corner shop to watch my baby as I ran to the back of the shop to fetch a bottle of milk – I even knew some of my neighbours to speak to. Moving seemed a wrench but we wanted more space and the houses there cost upwards of £400,000. It was with a heavy heart that I waved off the removal van on its journey to my new property, some 1.2 miles away.

Anyone outside the capital would snort at the thought of that kind of distance making a difference, but you know how it is in London. When I swapped life in N8 for the other side of Green Lanes I was moving to an area with a completely different feeling and I was genuinely worried I would not like it nearly as much. Fortunately the past 10 months have shown me that life is beautiful in the Belmont CPZ.

Picture a place where terraces of late-1920s houses sweep down from roads of sturdy Victorian villas. Where all the homes have neat front gardens, and old men stand out in the sunshine painting their front gates. Where local shops (like Ordu-One) charge less than Tesco for chickpeas and Halloumi, a proper newsagent sells comics and the kind of old-fashioned greetings cards you actually do need to buy sometimes for elderly relatives, and there’s even a brand new Sainsbury’s Local in case you really do want to earn Nectar points on everything you buy. Where you don’t need parking permits on a Saturday so people can drive over to visit. Sounds like the stuff of dreams, doesn’t it? And I haven’t even mentioned the parks …

The sprawling Lordship Rec (technically just inside Tottenham) has just had £5m spent on it, a fact celebrated in September with a big festival. The makeover included the restoration of its Model Traffic Area – a faux-road system which children can use to practice riding bikes and scooters which apparently made the national papers when it first opened in 1938. It also brought some new bridges over the River Moselle which runs through the park and a new eco-building which will apparently one day be a cafe and environment centre.

The park is part of a route my friend Emily calls the ‘Three parks walk’. It’s not strenuous enough to earn you sponsorship, unless you are under five, but is great for pram-pushing mums and scootering toddlers. The walk takes in Downhills park, just across the road from Lordship Rec, then sweeps back to Belmont Rec.

This is the site of Belmont Junior School and nursery. The school, which was rated outstanding by Ofsted, has recently been a battleground for parents after the council decided it needed to expand to cater for Haringey’s recent baby boom. A campaign by parents seems to have brought a halt to the plans, but Haringey council says it will appeal. It’s seems unlikely that the fight is over yet.

So we have great shops, parks, and a great school, and some local controversy, but I will admit that we do have to travel a little way for culture. Not far though: Turnpike Lane now boasts art by creators of international renown – not many places can say they have a Shepard Fairey mural and that there’s the Banksy on the side of their Poundland. Moreover actual famous authors come to the local Big Green Bookshop (it’s even played host to the Gruffalo). And if you want local history you can head the other way to Bruce Castle Museum.

To be honest, there’s no great local pubs – you need to hike down to the Salisbury on Green Lanes or head up to Hornsey or Crouch End. For food it’s also a bit of a walk – either across the parks to The Banc on West Green Road or onto Turnpike Lane for the legendary Jashan. Unless of course you invest in a takeaway and a bottle of wine from the shop – why on earth leave Tottenham borders if you don’t have to?

Notting Hill, London

Competition: Where would you like to live in London?

Notting Hill, London

I have written a bit about property in London before. You can’t really escape the effect it has on the capital – with recent research showing that the average monthly rent across the UK rose for the third year running, you can be certain that London is leading the trend.

According to Endsleigh Insurance, the ‘figures indicate that despite the challenging economic times, the lettings market has remained buoyant’. This is particularly true in London, where demand for rental properties grows as jobs and the London lifestyle continue to bring people to the city. I could bore you all day with the latest property data, but instead I want to take a look at the lighter side of London property!

You may have noticed a new feature on this blog – a weekly (amateur) photo of a place in London that I would rather like to live. I thought it might be nice to hear where you would most like to live in London, so how about a little competition to get you talking?

Please leave a comment below stating where in the capital you would most like to live – and if you can give a reason, all the better. I will collate the comments and we can see where most people would like to call home.

I will pick a winner at random who will win £200 worth of vouchers that you can spend on hotels, theatre tickets or in restaurants – and if you want any suggestions on how to spend them, I’m sure I can help!

Competition ends 4 November at 23:59pm

Notting Hill, London

Notting Hill, London

Now unlike Kensington, Notting Hill IS one of my favourite areas of London. I have many happy memories visiting ‘the place Bedknobs and Broomsticks was filmed’. It is home to two of my favourite independent bookshops, has some great charity shops and is a dream to walk around.

This is a classic Notting Hill image and I think, after years of deliberation, I can say with a degree of certainty that it is one of these homes that I would like to live. Here, or that road in Primrose Hill that Sylvia Plath once lived (actually, she lived in two homes in Primrose Hill, but I’m not fussy). Either way, there would be a strong literary connection – George Orwell lived on this street in Notting Hill at one stage too.

Notting Hill, London