Design in small spaces

Our flat is pretty nice. It’s also pretty small. Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom… That’s kind of it. This, my friends, is what two graduate salaries in the Arts/Humanities can rent you in London town. I really shouldn’t complain, we’ve actually got a very good deal: a lot of the places we looked at only had two rooms, and would have involved waking up, rolling out of bed and seeing your reflection in the oven door immediately opposite. One place I looked at online genuinely had the shower in the bedroom i.e. cubicle next to the bed. Quite a lot had no fridge or washing machine. The city should really employ me to advertise the perks of London living… Anyway.

To me, home is important: I’m definitely a home bird at heart. So even though this place is rented, and we can’t hang anything on the walls or have our own furniture or replace the dodgy extraction fan on the hob, I was determined to make it nice. I also didn’t want to spend a fortune (you know, Arts salaries, see above), so I used a lot of what I already had. I thought I’d share some of my efforts with you, in a handy numbered list of unfortunate home scenarios, and how to make them nicer.

Scenario One

A small, cheap white table. Quite wobbly, with a very warped and bubbled top from where the previous tenant has spilled something. Or been using a blowtorch. The letting agent promised to remove this on the day we moved in. It is now two months later and it’s still here, so I thought I’d make the best of it.

I made a kind of runner with a scarf which I’ve had for ages- it was a present and I think it originally came from New Look. I love books as decoration, so I piled up some of my prettiest ones. On top of the pile is a candle teacup which my mum made with a teacup and saucer that they were selling for about 50p at the local British Legion, melted down tea lights and string. Next to it is a vase that I bought for £5 from Next while I was at university because somebody bought me flowers too nice for a plastic bottle. Et voila.

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Scenario Two

A space which is small enough that you put down your bag at the end of the day and it feels like the messiest and most cluttered space on earth, combined with a slight make-up/cosmetics addiction. Solution: put it all in a massive box, but preferably a pretty box. With old maps on. That you got from TK Maxx for a tenner. The space instantly looks neater and all of your stuff is still easily accessible. I used all kinds of mismatched stuff to store my makeup and brushes inside, including a mustard tin and a makeup box that is straight out of an S Club 7 dressing room in the ’90s. This is a good tip for desks and stationary, as well as dressing tables. This is my kind of tidying, just hide it all away…

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OH MY GOSH SO MUCH MAKEUP DID NOT SEE THAT ONE COMING

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Scenario Three

Your heating is externally controlled by a mysterious being/ force that does not exist along the same space/ time continuum as we do. Thus it’s sometimes freezing, especially in November. Solution: get a throw in your life. This one is from BHS. It is so snuggly and warm it will change your life (no overstatement there) and make you choose activities based on whether you can complete them from under the aforementioned blanket of joy. TV/YouTube/reading are in. Washing up is probably out.

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Just looking at it makes you feel warm

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014.

 

Baking is good for the soul

So it seems I am no longer a student. The proof is everywhere: I am the reluctant owner of an Oxford alumni card, I spend most days trawling the internet in search of an Actual Real Job and the government no longer gives me any money. And to cope with the lethal combination of little idea of what the immediate future holds, and a huge amount of time to dwell on that uncertainty, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy. So, today I did something for the first time, I baked bread from scratch AND it was edible. It’s amazing the sense of achievement I got from making these french bread rolls, but I guess it’s the little thing in life.

I followed a recipe from the lovely Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, a blog which I’ve become addicted to recently. This lady knows a hell of a lot about everything cooking related, and she has become like my cooking experiment fairy godmother. Within the post on the french bread rolls which you can find here, she has also linked to a tutorial on yeast which I found invaluable being a bread beginner, and with her expert guidance I am now the proud creator of 12 admittedly imperfect but incredibly beautiful bread rolls. (Well, 11 now.)

Russian proverb: ‘With bread in your hand you’ll find paradise under a pine tree’. I guess all I need to do now is find a pine tree.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014.