Kitchen diner – the builders week 5…

With the floor now dry enough for work to continue in the kitchen diner, the builders moved onto the next phase of the project. The exciting phase, the putting back together phase.

The builders sub-contracted the plastering and it has to be said, he didn’t do a great job. If we had hired him, we would have asked him back to finish the job properly, but the builders decided to cut their losses and finish the job themselves. So they set about filling and sanding all the walls. We are hoping that after a few coats of paint it will all look fine!

Next up was second fix electrics and plumbing. We decided to have spot lights over the kitchen area and a single pendant over the dining area. We also had to think about the location of plug sockets, forcing us to commit to our kitchen design.

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For the radiators we decided to go for traditional column, but unlike the living room and master bedroom we decided against the dark grey, anthracite colour. Partly due to cost (anthracite adds a third to the cost of an already expensive radiator) but also, like the bathroom, we wanted a cleaner look for the kitchen diner so went for white.

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All starting to take shape!

C x

Kitchen diner – the builders week 4…

Whilst the builders waited for the floor in the kitchen to dry out, they turned their attention to the patio.

Once the concrete slab and steps had been removed and everything was levelled off, a low retaining wall around the entire patio area was built. This will eventually be rendered and painted white.

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The builders then started to lay the foundations for the patio – first a layer of hardcore, then sand and finally cement.

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It was great to see the space taking shape. The garden used to have lots of unusable space, so having the patio all on one level suddenly made the garden feel so much bigger.

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Our chosen patio stones – Indian sandstone in kandla grey

C x

A week in sunny Devon…

With the builders working away on the kitchen diner, we thought we would escape London for a well-earned week away.

Having to pay for the builders meant that the holiday fund was looking a little bleak (to say the least). So we set our sights on a ‘staycation’.

My brother recently bought a caravan in Devon, near Salcombe and it seemed like the ideal spot to spend a week relaxing, walking, reading and enjoying all that Devon has to offer.

It is a part of the world I know well. Growing up we would often go on family holidays to Salcombe and I have a lot of very happy memories there.

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Family holiday in Salcombe, December 1991 (I am the one in the pink coat)

We drove down straight after work on Friday, stopping over in Bristol on Friday night. On Saturday we woke up to glorious sunshine, an excellent start to the holiday! We hit the road straight after breakfast so we could be in Kingsbridge for lunch.

We arrived in Kingsbridge and immediately stumbled across this place.

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We drank cold wine in the sun, feasted on delicious tapas and felt the stresses and strains of life ease away.

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In the afternoon we found our way through Devon’s narrow, winding roads to our home for the next week. We took a stroll along the beach, feeling the sand on our toes and basked in the afternoon sun.

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The view from our caravan

On Sunday we had a lazy morning, reading and eating breakfast, before meeting with some friends. These are old friends who David met whilst at University in Bristol. They moved to Devon a few years ago and we have been meaning to visit ever since. It was great to spend the day with them and their two lovely girls, catching up on life and enjoying a perfect English summer BBQ.

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The following day called for a trip to Burgh Island, walking distance from where we were staying. Burgh Island is a small tidal island that is cut off twice a day from the mainland.

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But don’t worry, if you get stuck on the island at high tide, you can always get the sea tractor!

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Me on the sea tractor, 1991
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Me on the sea tractor, 2014

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In the afternoon we drove to beautiful Salcombe. We meandered through its little streets, popping into its charming seaside shops.

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Once we reached the harbour we found the ‘Salcombe Dairy’, the mother-ship of Devon ice cream, and of course we could not resist.

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On Tuesday we decided to put on our walking shoes and stretch our legs and lungs on a nice long walk, Slapton Ley to Start Point. But before we embarked on our hike, we needed a good breakfast. Having heard rave reviews about Aune Valley View café, we headed there first thing for a ‘butchers breakfast’.

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Glorious sunshine, stunning views, delicious breakfast, me and hubby – could life get any better than this?

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The walk was perfect and we both just loved being outside in the sunshine in a very beautiful part of England.

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The lighthouse at Start Point

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On our return to Slapton we sat on the beach, cooled our feet in the water and enjoyed a well-earned fish and chip supper.

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View from Slapton to Start Point

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Slapton Ley

Wednesday called for a slower day, mainly reading and snoozing. But come 4pm we were ready to do some exploring. We stumbled across the quaint village of South Pool, having heard good things about their local pub, the Millbrook Inn. South Pool was a charming place for an afternoon stroll, we felt like Peter rabbit might pop up at any minute.

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And of course we had to visit the Millbrook Inn for a scrummy supper!

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On our final day we decided to explore another beautiful stretch of Devon coastline and headed to ‘Bolt Head’ for a long walk. We followed the foot path along the dramatic coastline, along Bolt Head and towards Salcombe.

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Once you reach Salcombe the path leads you into Tor woods and finally through fields before joining back to the coastal path.

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This part of Devon truly is spectacular and on a sunny day, you could not ask for a more beautiful holiday destination. Of course being England, sunshine is not always a given, so we do appreciate how lucky we were to have such fantastic weather all week.

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Me and David are always tempted when we visit such beautiful places, to sell up and move to the countryside…

…but for now it is back to London and house renovations.

With a date booked in for the bi-folding doors to be installed, things are getting exciting!

C x