Thursday, 15 January 2015

A Moment Of Silence

Last week brought such sadness to Paris and France. I like most people in the world have an opinion on the events, in fact I like most have many. I also have questions and feelings about the whole week. This blog is not the forum for that but I live here in Paris, I have friends who were directly effected and such events have a ripple effect for us all so I could not let it pass by without doing something here.

What I have decided to do is to step away from recipes, craft and fashion to have a moment of contemplative silence. Tomorrow will mark the first of twelve days of no posts on Archie & The Rug. During that time I will think about not only the 12 journalists/satirists who died but all of the 17 deaths. I will think about all of their families. I will think about Raif Badawi the Saudi blogger who is jailed and publically lashed for publishing his thoughts. I will think of Ali Ferzat the Syrian cartoonist who had his fingers broken one by one for his anti Assad cartoons.

There will be no tags on this post as it is just to inform my readers of my absence. I will return on the on the 28th January with regular posting.

Many Thanks
Nicolette

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

What I Wore - Light Layers

Once again I was expecting a freezing winter, and don't get me wrong we have had a few of those days but mostly it has been just cold. In fact we have had many days of changeable weather, cold one moment, too warm for a coat when the wind drops. Those days and the days when you are in and out of buildings are perfect for light layers.
If there is one thing that I have learned living in Paris is that age does not matter. In fact this was something I already believed but it is nice to live in a place where everyone else is on board and shop assistants don't look at you like you are too old to be wearing their clothes. Women of all ages embrace all fashions and are not afraid of looking, well really sexy. Granted living in Paris has its drawbacks, the pressure to look well turned out is huge, even their scruffy casual wear has a well ironed class air to it.
In Paris I am happy to wear my fox jumper and long socks and not care that it is not 'mum' attire. In fact my sage femme (midwife) said something to me that has stayed with me, "you are a woman first then you are a wife and mother it is important that you feel sensual for yourself". I was happy to hear this as I have no intention of changing how I look. This is one of the rare what I wore post that I am wearing my glasses as despite being half blind I am convinced I look like a tool in glasses.

Outfit Details

Skirt -Monoprix
Shoes -Fluevog
Shirt  -Monoprix
Headband -Handmade
Socks - C & A
Jumper - Bizzbee
Biker Jacket - Etam 
Bag - c/o Paperchase

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Naming Day & One Year On

My little boy turned one on the 3rd January and I have been far too filled with emotions to share anything about it until now. I have never had a year fly by so fast. Each moment with him has been nothing short of amazing. In 12 months he has not slept for more than 3 hours at a time, he refuses a bottle so I am pretty much breastfeeding, although with solids that has lessened, I have not had more than a 3 hours apart from him and that was once. In the last 12 months he amazed me every moment of everyday, made me smile, showed me have more love in me than I ever thought possible, made me laugh, shown me he has a personality, will and force to be reckoned with and I love that. In the last 12 months he has become a tiny person. In the last 12 months he has shown me that my whole life all I ever wanted to be was his mummy.
At Christmas I started a book for him, the first thing in it is the letter that I wrote to him on his half birthday which you can read here. I plan to fill it with all the things I want to say to him as well as funny stories about him so I don't forget them and that he can read them wen he is older still. He has another book that friends and family are contributing to filled with advice for the future, ideas for inventions, things to make him smile on dark days, the book did the rounds at his naming ceremony.
Joe and I are not religious people but we felt it is important to have a welcome to the word and make public declarations. As with our wedding there was no need to say or do formal or legal things so we pretty much made this ceremony up too. I like this as the things that need to be said get said, the importance is set to our own perimeters and you can have an altogether less stuffy affair. Children were running around and playing, people could speak up if they wanted, a really beautiful day.
I made sandwiches, salad boxes and puddings, (click on the links for the recipes for the coffee & doughnut trifle and the chocolate tiffin). The garden was decorated with ball pool balls on string.
Our friend Sara, who wrote and performed a poem at our wedding read from Le Petit Prince and we had a few short words from his back up parents who are insisting on redundad and remumnant as titles. 
It was a pleasure and a privilege to have my friend Sarah photograph the event. I cannot recommend Sarah Mason enough. You can see more about her on previous posts here and here.
Thank you once again to everyone who helped us welcome Sebastian Felix Lafonseca-Hargreaves to the world.

All photography c/o Sarah Mason Photography

Thursday, 8 January 2015

How To Design A Space With Visio

Living Room
Let me begin by telling you a story of my first house. I was excited to have bought my first home, I was a hoarder so I had already accrued quite a lot of stuff including furniture from junk stores and charity shops. Now these pieces had sat quite happily in the 1 bedroom flat I had been renting so it did not occur to me that these items would not fit into my 3 bedroom house. You can tell by now there is a twist in this tale, the fact of the matter is although my flat only had one bedroom it was the ground floor flat in a huge Victorian villa so the room dimensions were immense. My new house was technically bigger but as a 1930s semi the rooms had much smaller dimensions. So moving day arrived and my army of helpers began to unload the van and carry things upstairs, at this point I fast discovered that my method of just deciding that furniture would fit into a room without measuring the room or the furniture was a flawed method. A very flawed method.
Fast forward to my third house, you may assume that my lesson had been learned but no. Moving day again, this time in the rain and the army was only 2 strong, plus me. After a day of battling rain and carrying things that were so heavy I wish I had been an ant I was exhausted and could not wait to collapse onto the sofa that was only a few months old. The sofa had different ideas and instead of being sat on it was wedged on the staircase. It was a laugh or cry situation and I collapsed onto the kitchen floor laughing uncontrollably. Luckily we managed to get the sofa back into the kitchen and some young chap picked up the bargain of  a lifetime on Ebay.
Given my history and my love of collecting thrifted furniture the kind that you have to be prepared to buy when you see it I am determined to plan my spaces effectively.
Master Bedroom
Dining Room
The drawings in this post were done in a Microsoftt program called Visio. I will cover the pros and cons of using this system. I am in a positive mood so let's start with the good news.

Pros
  • It is a Microsoft product so it is full compatible with Word, PowerPoint and Photoshop. 
  • It is easy to use.
  • You can save the images as jpegs.
  • You can draw your room and items to scale 
Cons
  • You have to work in feet and inches so you may feel that you do not have the same level of accuracy as millimetres or centimetres.
  •  You can only create a birds eye/ top down view so you cannot get a feel for scale and how things will look only if they will fit in the footprint of the room.
  • You need to be creative with how you use the items, for example most of the squares/rectangles in my rooms are tables.
As I said it is very easy to use but here are some tips to get you started.
Now you can plan your home effectively.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Simple Washi Tape Walls

I am so excited about all of the projects that I have shared with you so far and plan to share with you about the house renovation in Yorkshire but at the moment I am living in a rented furnished apartment in Paris. The trouble with renting, especially a furnished place is that things rarely meet your needs or your taste. The walls are bland and you are left trying to feel 'at home' in a space that is not your own. 

Out of all the spaces in the apartment I wanted to improve Sebastian's room. I wanted an engaging space with colour and interest for him to play in. His room is multifunctional as I share the space and it is where people sleep when they come to visit.
The world is alive with washi tape projects and I was really excited to use the extra wide tape I had found. I would not have gone with such a conventional blue design but the range here in Paris is limited. If you shop online there are many wonderful designs to choose from.
In order to have an even design I measured the wall and the divided it by the width of the washi tape. That way you can get the spacing right. Now in order to get the tape straight you need to use a plumb line, all this means is a weight at the end of a long string. The weight will pull the string in a straight line. Don't just measure from the edge of the wall all the way down as even in new houses no wall is straight. I will go into this fact in more detail in a future How To Wallpaper & Pattern Match post.

I love the effect and it really adds  lot to the room. Washi tape can be removed from the wall without damaging it so perfect for rentals.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Christmas Highlights 2014

2014 had so many wonderful things happen most of which I discussed in my Christmas & New Year Address but here are the visual highlights of another fantastic Christmas.