Oh Homebuying!

We bought a house! Well a flat. And quite a small flat at that, but it’s ours!

We put our offer in on January 2nd so it’s been quite a long time coming, but after a lot of negotiation about extending the lease, which cost us an extra £10,000… (more on that another day) we exchange today!

We weren’t actually planning on buying a house, but when a For Sale sign went up in front of our apartment complex we decided to have a look. The flat was a bit of a mess, but it had a second bedroom so was bigger than the one we currently live in and it’s literally over the road to the station. And we know it could be nicer as the one we currently rent is lovely. It made so much sense but we just didn’t have a deposit. So we were incredibly lucky when J’s Great Aunt offered us the money and here we are today. Home owners.

Here are some pics of the new pad:

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These are just the estate agent photos for now. I’ll post some more when we get the keys and can get inside.

Love x

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Oh Campaign Chests!

I’ve been spending a lot of time on a certain online auction site recently, in the hope that we’ll be able to furnish our house beautifully while only spending pennies. Unfortunately, since the house isn’t organised yet this is only window shopping for the moment, but I’ve got an ever-growing ‘Watch’ list that i’m ready to pounce on as soon as we get in (Yes, yes I know i should wait until we’re in so we know what we need and how we ‘use the space’).

Well recently I found this pair of campaign-chest-style bedside tables :

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They look a bit battered and I’d be worried they’d look too old fashioned with the rest of our furniture, but i’ve found so many inspirational posts of people using them that I’m not sure i’ll be able give them up.

Although, most of these posts are upcycled Ikea Rast drawers and I’m not sure I could bring myself to destroy these antiques, so maybe I should leave them. What do you think?

campaign chest bedside tables

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Sue Johnson prints

I mentioned before that after visiting the Pitt Rivers museum last week I’ve been scouring their print site admiring the beautiful images in their collections.

I really like the reproductions of Sue Johnson’s paintings. They remind me of those old vintage school wallcharts showing different parts of a flower or anatomy.

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‘Arabesque with black lacquer teapot’

 

Night at the Museum

Last Friday we went to the Museum of Natural History in Oxford as they were having a free out-of-hours event for the annual Museums at Night weekend.

Despite having lived in Didcot for over a year now I’ve only visited this museum once and that was only a couple of weeks ago. I was museum’ed out on that visit after about 3 hours but I knew there was loads I hadn’t got to see so I was looking forward to going back.

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The museum is like a smaller version of the Natural History Museum in London, with dinosaurs and skeletons of rare animals in the entrance hall to explore. But this museum has something extra, the Pitt Rivers museum is housed at the back. Have you ever been? It’s an incredible collection of bizarre and wonderful things from around the world which started when General Pitt Rivers donated his collection of  archaeological and anthropological items to the university.

The collection includes over half a million items which range from the bizarre (a spear with spikes made from a human femur?) to the beautiful (floor-length capes made from individually hand stitched feathers).

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Naturally, the shrunken heads tend to garner the most attention, and this event was no exception. These battle- trophies are gruesome in the daytime but even worse when exploring the museum by torchlight (a super-fun albeit gimmicky idea that was part of the event).

I was particularly fascinated that the hair on these tiny human heads was so intact and seemed to fit the head so well. The Pitt Rivers explains the shrinking process here, but I can’t imagine that shrinking the skin would have the same effect on the hair, so now I can’t shake the idea that these tribes employed hairdresses purely for their shrunken heads!

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Something I noticed when I visited before is that most of the objects have notes about where and when they were collected written directly onto them. While i understand the practicalities of labelling the object itself so the label can’t be lost, it’s amazing to me that the collectors of the items who had travelled half way round the world to find them were happy to then graffiti them.

When the lights came on signalling the evening was over we’d only managed to explore two of the three floors, and reluctantly we left to get the train home.

I think the Pitt Rivers is quickly becoming one of my favourite museums and I’ll definitely be going back soon. In the meantime I’ve been checking out some of the prints from the museum on this website – they’ve got 74 pages of incredible images. I’ll post some of my favourites tomorrow.

 

Oh Countryside!

Last year I moved from London to Didcot.

Most people thought I was mad for giving up my London lifestyle, complete with a trendy job in television to move somewhere most people know only because they’ve changed trains at the station, but I had a new job in Swindon and it meant my boyfriend and I could finally move intogether. The decision was made.

The move wasn’t an easy one for me but over the past year Didcot has surprised me.

Didcot Power Station

I’ve lived in London virtually my entire life and consider myself a true city girl. I love the buzz, the busyness, the constant choice of things to do and places to go and I even love the tube (well, sometimes) so I genuinely feared what ‘living in the countryside’ meant for me.

But I’ve since realised my fears were based mostly on one thing – that outside of London there’s nothing to do, and I’d be bored stiff.

Yes, the only shops in Didcot are Next and New Look, we only have one non-takeaway-style restaurant, and i’m not sure many people who live here have even heard of museums, but my lifestyle here is actually far better than my one in London.

It seems a new Harriet has been born – Country-Harriet. And if I’m honest, she’s not the sort of person I’d expected to ever find I’d turned into. Not that I’ve had some sort of Jekyll-and-hyde personality transplant, I’ve just started enjoying different things.

Country-Harriet suggests things like cycle-rides to new un-explored villages, where City-Harriet would have suggested visits to Westfield.

Cycling through Milton Business Park

She has also embraced excercise – something City-Harriet considered herself allergic to.

She’s also the proud co-owner of an allotment. An allotment! And is fully expecting much of her summer to involve serving gin-and-tonics to the people digging it up.

Ok, so I haven’t changed that much, I still won’t be the one doing the digging, and while I’m not quite ready to let go of City-Harriet yet, I’m safe in the knowledge that I can enjoy my countryside frolics but indulge my city-loving side whenever I like since London’s only 45 minutes away.

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Yes, if my friends arrange things in London on a weeknight it’s tricky (and expensive) for me to get there and back, but the weekends are fair game.

And if my London friends ever want to come and visit Country-Harriet immensely enjoys showing people that she lives round the corner from a cow in a field.