Our Mini Living Room Makeover

You know those little jobs you should do, but keep putting off? Well we have a list as long as my arm. We bought our house five years ago and three months later, I was pregnant. So most of the things we’d planned to do, back then, are still waiting to be done. Fixing the front gate, painting the doorstep, mending the outside light in the back garden…

One of those jobs is putting shelving into the alcoves in our living room. We have a gorgeous fireplace with an alcove on either side, and the space is kind of wasted.

living-room

I’ve looked at picture after picture of beautiful shelving and cupboards on Pinterest, and I think it’s such a good way to use the space and add a bit of character to a room. But here we are, five years on, with no shelves in our alcoves.

Enter: MoneySupermarket. The financial comparison site offered to ‘balance transfer my life’ – just in the way that you might balance transfer a credit card (a service they can advise you on, handily, but something that many of us put off doing, even though it could save us bundles of cash). They said they’d organise something that I’ve been putting off for ages. So this weekend, they sent a fab carpenter called Devon round, who built us some shelving.

Here’s how the alcove looked before (note our TV bench jutting out at a weird angle – behind that lies lots of ugly cables and shiz)……

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Going On A Best Mate Date To No.11 Pimlico Road

Regular readers will know I’m a huge fan of me-time. Every now and then, my best mate and I arrange a Day Of Fun. We take the day off work and organise a nice lunch somewhere, maybe visit a beauty salon or even see a show. A couple of years ago, we went for cocktails at the Covent Garden Hotel and then went to see Priscilla Queen Of The Desert. Best. Day. Ever.

Last week, we decided it was time for another Day Of Fun. We met for lunch at No.11 Pimlico Road – a gorgeous bistro-come-pub a short walk away from Sloane Square and Victoria Station. Over a carafe of Marlborough Savingnon Blanc and some lunch, we caught up on the gossip.

ali-and-kim

No 11 Pimlico Road

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We loved No.11 Pimlico Road – gorgeous mid-century decor, a massive Christmas tree and fantastic service and food. I had a steak with Béarnaise sauce, fries and a side of mac & cheese. Then we shared a cheese board instead of having dessert, which rocked. It would be a great place for a huge crowd (they’ve got a lovely private space upstairs) or a brunch or Sunday roast. I always think a good test of a place is going when it’s not that busy – what’s the atmosphere like? When we went to No.11 Pimlico Road, there were a few other groups but not many, and the place was still buzzing.

steak-and-chips

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Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree! How Lovely Are Your Branches…

John Lewis Christmas Tree

Something strange happens every year, late November. I turn into a bit of a Christmas grump. Before I go any further, let me explain that I love Christmas. Like properly love it. I think having my birthday on Christmas Day makes me love Christmas a bit more than anyone else because it’s a double special day for me (and I get to command more attention from people – yay!)

But in late November, I get all ragey over people putting up their Christmas trees ridiculously early (I wrote about it last year if you want to read it) and exchange eye-roll-type tweets with likeminded sensible people who wait until December to adorn their home with Christmas decorations.

The thing is, I’ve realised in the last week or so, that it actually doesn’t matter when people put up their Christmas tree. If they want to do it in July, then what harm does it do? In fact, if they want to have a full-on Christmas dinner every day of the year, then let them. After all, Christmas is about joy and acceptance – oh and horrible King Herod trying to kill Baby Jesus, but that’s a whole other story.

This year, we’ve put up our Christmas tree a little earlier than usual – we were sent this gorgeous 7ft John Lewis Argyle Green Fir Christmas Tree and were allowed to choose some decorations. Which was fantastic as we’ve had our artificial tree for over ten years and got it for about £11 because it didn’t have a box. So we were due a lovely new tree – and this one is a belter. Easy to erect, it cleverly has ‘cheaper looking’ plastic branches near the ‘trunk’ and then very realistic looking  pine needles on the branches that are visible.

Over the years, we have done the all-white Christmas look – white lights, white and silver baubles, and more recently, we were doing the Scandi handmade look with felt robins and knitted Christmas puddings and trees. But this year, I wanted to go colourful, bold and bright.

John Lewis decorations

So we chose some fab colourful LED lights for the tree and a selection of bright decorations, including a kick-ass tree topper with (wait for it) pom poms on it. For real. And along with bright decorations we already had (bought in the January sale, I imagine), we’ve created a colourful tree….

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Nadia Shireen for Tootsa MacGinty Penguin Knit: The Coolest Christmas Jumper This Year

With Christmas Jumper Day fast approaching, everyone’s on the hunt for the perfect Christmas jumper. A lovely blogger friend of mine posted this photo on Facebook and said she’d found a jumper that was so bad, she loved it….

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And finding a really bad taste jumper (although I have to admit, I kind of love this baby reindeer design…) is all part of the fun, but I’ve discovered a PROPERLY COOL Christmas jumper for kids. It’s so cool, it was in Stylist magazine’s Christmas gift list.

People, I give you… the Nadia Shireen for Tootsa Macginty Xmas Jumper. Isn’t it fab?

Nadia Shireen for Tootsa Macginty jumper

Featuring a partying penguin, complete with party hat and horn, it’s made from machine washable, non-itch wool/cashmere and has buttons on one shoulder for easy access and exit. So who is Nadia Shireen? Well, apart from being a lovely lady that I used to work with back in the day, when we both worked on teen magazines, Nadia is the author and illustrator of some kick-ass kids’ books. Both Good Little Wolf and Hey, Presto! are firm favourites in the Perry household, and if you haven’t got them, pop them on your child’s Christmas list.

Nadia has designed this jumper for Tootsa Macginty and 100% of the profits from the sale of the jumper go to Refuge – a hugely important charity that supports thousands of women and children escape from domestic violence and rebuild their lives.

The jumper not only helps women and children in need, but it will raise a few smiles too – who can’t love that partying penguin?

So buy your Nadia Shireen for Tootsa Macginty jumper here and wear it on Christmas Jumper Day on 12th December. You’ll get a double warm charity glow in your heart.

Thanks to Tootsa Macginty for sending me this jumper – I’ve made a donation to Refuge as a thank you.

My Name Is Alison…. And I’m A Burger Snob

When it comes to most things, I’m not a snob. I love buying clothes in supermarkets… a rummage in Wilko’s or the pound shop makes me feel a bit excited (not like that, you pervs) and buying £1 cushions in Ikea is just the most fun ever.

But the one thing I’ll admit to being a snob over? Burgers.

There’s a real hierarchy of burgers, in my mind, and it goes something like this:

The burger hierarchy

You may disagree with this, but it’s how my hierarchy is formed, and I’m sticking with it. There are some places I just won’t buy a burger (burger van) and some where I will rarely order a burger (chain pub) and from then on up, I buy burgers depending on my mood, but I never ever enjoy a burger like I do when I’m in a ‘proper’ burger joint like MeatLiquor or Shake Shack. I’m not even a huge fan of Five Guys, if I’m honest. But give me a medium cooked burger on a brioche bun and I’m happy….

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