Sofas, cushions and crockery

It’s been quite a while since our new sofas arrived. June in fact. Remember they were chosen and bought in record time, on the last day of the Habitat sale, which is actually a good time to go sofa shopping as we did get a good deal and extra discount for buying in store, rather than online. And when we let on to the salesmen we wanted two sofas, not just the one, they really couldn’t do enough for us. In most cases I’m sure people want the sofas they’ve just bought pronto, and so did we, but we weren’t so keen on having them in the house while the work took place in the conservatory, so that was something we

But this is the first time they’ve appeared here - and looking objectively at the picture below we need to sort out our power arrangements - but they’re just what we were after, and now we have the final cushions, the ones we bought recently by Carola Van Dyke I’m really pleased with how it’s all worked out. Originally the cushions behind the stag and hare cushions were supposed to be the colourful ones, but as soon as we saw the collage cushions, they were instantly demoted - it’s easy to see why, isn’t it?

our new sofa bedecked with cushions

Not only is the design of these cushions very us - we have a thing for hares and this is our second stag cushion, so it could be said we have a thing for stags too, but I’m also in awe of the textured collage, and you know how much I like a bit of colour. What’s even better is how well they go with the throw that’s been deployed over the arm of MOH’s end of the sofa, to save it wearing out and discolouring. I couldn’t have planned these to go better together if I tried.

A hare cushion for MOH
A stag cushion for me

Over Christmas in one of the craft groups I’m in on Facebook, someone posted a picture of a cow that takes a similar approach and many of the exceptional craft brains have suggested ways to reproduce that. I’m very tempted, but on a much smaller scale, perhaps on a card, one day. But back to the cushions, I never thought of myself as a tweed kind of person, but these cushions are just my thing, and if it’s possible to be in love with cushions, I’m in love with these.

You might be wondering what crockery has to do with my new sofas and cushions, and the photo below starts to explain that. They’re also my Christmas present from MOH, which I’m doubly grateful for as he doesn’t see why I need more plates, as surely we’ve got enough… Ah, but when they’re as pretty as this, and match our cushions, I think that changes things.

crockery to match the cushions

Now boiled eggs are on the breakfast menu more often than before - and they really are rather good. I’m on the lookout for the matching espresso set, which still seems to be out of stock everywhere - I’ve a suspicion that I may even make my own cow collage, before I find that set online to buy!

double sofas and twice as many cushions

So one last shot of our living room, which is the view that greets us as we walk down the stairs. I’ve gone for different cushions on the smaller sofa, as the whole matchy-matchy thing really isn’t me. I’ve still a cushion cover to make, and when that’s ready I’ll share more on the velvet cushions (with pom poms - I told you they’d be big in interiors) it’ll sit alongside.

But with ten new cushions in 2018 - there’s three more on the grey sofa in the conservatory, you’ve already seen the orange stag cushion and a sneak peek at the cushion mum made, also with pom poms - I think I’m almost at my cushion fill, well for a little while at least!

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Dinner at Bill's in Greenwich

What better way than to deal with the darker evenings than head out for a celebratory dinner? And that’s just what we did on Tuesday after the team at Bill’s got in touch. They’ve recently refurbished their restaurant in Greenwich and invited me along to experience it for myself. Working in Greenwich, I’ve walked past the restaurant many a time and having spotted they were having some work done, made a mental note to pop in at some point. Of course, I promptly forgot - my brain’s even more of a sieve than normal at the moment, and so I was pleased to have the perfect excuse to take a closer peek at their new look.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

Lights feature heavily in the decor, and the whole effect is characteristically quirky - the decor I mean - if you’re here to learn about the food, I wasn’t disappointed with that either. Sometimes I struggle to choose off a menu, but it was good to be torn between a couple of the options. I deliberated for a while, but in the end went for the burger as I often think you can tell a lot about a restaurant by its burger. This one with the extra cheese and bacon was good, and MOH helped me finish it all (and his own meal too).

LARGE SHADES, DARK NIGHTS

LARGE SHADES, DARK NIGHTS

My photos don’t do the space justice, but it’s cosy with multiple light sources which you’ll know I think is important for any space. When we arrived at the restaurant we were pleasantly surprised to find it moderately occupied, it’s always a worry isn’t it on an early in the week night, that it might just be you and the staff in the place, but that wasn’t the case.

In fact arriving from a chilly, dark evening our welcome couldn’t have been more different. All of the staff were cheery and friendly in a way that felt genuine rather than forced, and that says a lot about the team at Bill’s. That’s hard to achieve and make natural if it isn’t, or if staff aren’t happy - we’ve all been to restaurants where they plaster on a smile and go through the motions, and this wasn’t that place.

INDUSTRIAL VENTING, AND WHAT LOOKS LIKE A STATION CLOCK

INDUSTRIAL VENTING, AND WHAT LOOKS LIKE A STATION CLOCK

MANY DIFFERENT LIGHT SOURCES, ALL OF WHICH I ADMIRED

MANY DIFFERENT LIGHT SOURCES, ALL OF WHICH I ADMIRED

We shared a calamari and Bill’s spiced tortillas to start and both didn’t hang around for long. I remembered to take some pictures of the food, yes I know that makes a change, but that all went out the window when our main courses arrived; mine was a burger with the trimmings and MOH opted for the pan-fried chicken with truffle and wild mushrooms. I didn’t need to ask him if it was good, as he wasn’t for sharing and that’s usually what it means, and I wasn’t wrong.

CALAMARI

CALAMARI

PRETTY CROCKERY

PRETTY CROCKERY

TEALIGHTS

TEALIGHTS

GIANT TORTILLAS

GIANT TORTILLAS

Of course, I was keen to check out the loos. Not only because that’s a good indicator of elsewhere in the restaurant, but also because given the decor downstairs, the signs were good. Once I got upstairs, the signs were better; the upstairs dining space had an air of a twenties-inspired French restaurant to me, with the same lights from the downstairs space used again here for continuity.

DINING ELEGANTLY

DINING ELEGANTLY

A COSY TABLE FOR TWO

A COSY TABLE FOR TWO

The loos had their own personality too with their almost arsenic green walls and gilt mirrors. The space was relatively small so I couldn’t stretch to its own #LooSeries post with just two photos, but perhaps on another visit. As I’m sure I’ll be back, whether it’s a team lunch, a night after work with my girlfriends, or with MOH after work when a decent meal is needed, but neither of us want to cook - I’m not the only ones that has evenings like that, am I?

OF COURSE I CHECKED OUT THE LOOS!

OF COURSE I CHECKED OUT THE LOOS!

YOU EXPECTED ME TOO, RIGHT?

YOU EXPECTED ME TOO, RIGHT?

Remember that I said lights feature heavily in the decor? Well, that’s before I’d even seen this chandelier which hangs above the staircase. Isn’t it grand?

HOW ABOUT THAT FOR A CHANDELIER

HOW ABOUT THAT FOR A CHANDELIER

I said before the decor was full of character, but it’s also full of the unexpected. The chandelier above and the textured anaglypta-like bar below. I love this style, but I know it’s the style that makes MOH twitch, remember he is the man that tried to dust a bottle of wine once that had been given the “dust effect” treatment. I’m certain I’d struggle to swing this as decor in our own house, and so when we’re out it’s the kind of eclectic style I drool over.

AN ANAGLYPTA TEXTURED BAR

AN ANAGLYPTA TEXTURED BAR

BUTTERFLIES TOO

BUTTERFLIES TOO

Once I’d explored the restaurant, in my usual understated way (or at least I hope it was understated) the best dessert on the menu arrived, and clearly on the best plate of the restaurant too. Sticky toffee and date pudding which arrived with a golden date and clotted cream ice cream - I think we both had a moment where we wished we hadn’t agreed to share.

OFFICIALLY, THE BEST PUDDING (AND PLATE)

OFFICIALLY, THE BEST PUDDING (AND PLATE)

We had a great night, the restaurant had great ambience, the decor was just up my street, the service was good and MOH’s company was pretty good too. What’s even better is that the wait for the bus home was minimal too. I’m sure I’ll be going back to Bill’s and when we’re out and about I’ll be checking to see if they have restaurants nearby, hoping that they could match our “home” restaurant in Greenwich.

* With thanks to Bill’s Greenwich for the invitation to try out their recently refurbished restaurant. As usual all views in this collaborative post are my own.

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A map on my wall

It's been a little while since my post on loving maps, and the fear of wallpaper but the good news is the map is on the wall, and I love it.  Things didn't turn out quite as I planned for the actual putting it on the wall part, and so I didn't have to face my fear of wallpapering after all.

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly my Wallsauce mural arrived, in fact I couldn't believe it was here just a few days after I'd made my choice, they most certainly don't hang about.  It arrived well packaged too, in a sturdy cardboard tube within a wallpaper sized cardboard box. There was wallpaper paste too, and as I discovered a visual plan as well as some written instructions, which are also available online.

THE MASTERPLAN

THE MASTERPLAN

But because life happens we needed to change our plans of tackling this ourselves. I'm certain we made the right decision as not only were we nervous wallpaperers but our attention, and time, has been taken up by those life events I mentioned on Monday, and neither of us wanted to ruin, or even slightly mess up, what is quite honestly, beautiful wallpaper.

And so we asked our conservatory builders to do the job for us, or the decorator anyway - I use builders as a generic term, and were confident they were up to the job, I wouldn't have asked otherwise.  They were just as keen as us to see what was inside the package that arrived, and so we peeked.  My first view was of Alaska (from Panel 1 of the plan above), and I was smitten, although in truth I think it could have been anywhere and I'd have had the same reaction, because as I said in my first post, because, well maps.

A peak at Alaska on the Wallsauce map mural

Now the builders had seen the wallpaper, they were keen to see the wall it was going on, which was the tricky bit, as we'd yet to tell them it was the curved wall around our spiral staircase.  Their faces were a picture, and while they might have been a little incredulous they were soon checking the wall for what prep needed to be done.

I know from dad that it's all in the preparation, so I wasn't surprised to come home to a wall with some extra filler.  Actually it was great to see tradesmen taking pride in their work, reading the instructions that came with the wallpaper, consulting with us and confident in their skills to do a job well, that we'd all be happy with.

FIRST THE FILLER, THEN THE DUST

FIRST THE FILLER, THEN THE DUST

But of course where filler goes, dust follows.  Luckily I'd thought this through and moved the duvet and as much as I could out of the room.  The room was covered with plastic sheets and dust sheets, but my reasoning was if it's not there in the first place it's not going to get dusty, is it?  And that's something I'd recommend, even if a builder says there'll be no dust.  As it's likely your definition of no dust will be different to theirs!

The result which wowed

I'd been keen to follow progress as the paper went up, and cups of tea were made, proffered and gratefully received so I could keep a bit of an eye on proceedings.  And progress was quick, relatively speaking (and definitely much quicker than I would have done) and the paper, and the design got the thumbs up from the builder too.

Even among the dust and detritus it was clear this was something spectacular.  I hadn't thought how having a map on a curved wall would give it a "globe" effect, but of course now it's been pointed out I'm going to claim that as the idea all along, what do you think?

A map on a round wall has a globe life effect

In my first post I shared my potential choices from the world map wallpaper section on the Wallsauce site, but didn't share which one I'd chosen.  This is the Antique world map and is the perfect choice for our room as it tones well with the wardrobe, and as both are things that I expect to be around for some time, that's a good thing.

the americas next to the wardrobe

The more eagle-eyed among you will have already spotted that Australia and New Zealand are missing (sorry guys!) - my wall just wasn't big enough to get you in and I chose to include all of the Americas, rather than cutting that off of the final design.  It's nothing personal, but as we're more likely to travel to the States it made sense to have that on our wall, as I'm pretty sure this wall is now going to become a key tool in our travel planning,

I wasn't expecting to be able to choose where to make the cut on the design, but thinking about it logically it makes sense as not all walls will be the same size, and not all images work if stretched to peculiar dimensions.  In fact the customisable-ness of the image size and position is one of the pluses, and imagine how this could work if you chose your own image. It was also easy to do on the site and to check your design.

You'll see that our map has a textured effect (look to the right of the text South Atlantic Ocean in the photo below) and that's in the wallpaper design rather than actually being raised, and it's very effective and I think adds to the overall result.

A wallsauce mural map on my wall

I mentioned that we would most likely use this while planning our trips, but it's already had its first use when at the weekend I looked to see where England's game against Panama was taking place in the World Cup.  You can clearly see Nizhniy Novgorod to the right of Moscow in the photo on the left below, and my light switch in China in the photo on the right.  

Checking where the England match took place at the world cup
China and the lightswitch

There's going to be many happy hours poring over this map, which has entirely transformed the room.  You've probably worked out I'm completely thrilled with it already and impressed with the quality and service I received - and I am - but I'm keen to know if you have, or would consider mural wallpaper in your house, and of course what do you think of my wall.

* This is a collaborative post but all views and opinions are my own.

PoCoLo
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