Thursday, 25 June 2009

Lemonade Award

I am deeply cynical about awards. Particularly work related ones. I usually think they're political and having been on the judging panel for last years AOP Awards very, very difficult to win if you don't follow a strict formula. Of course, that cynicism evaporates when something I've worked on actually wins an award. On the blogging front most awards revolve around some kind of viral marketing appeal so again, I'm cynical. But as it happens Meg from has nominated this blog, so I guess I should be gracious and play by the rules.

So here goes, here are ten blogs that I visit regularly, and suggest you bookmark if you like them too.

For the winners, share the love and pass it on. Here's what to do....
1) Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post
2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude
3) Link to your nominees within your post
4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by
commenting on their blog
5)Link to the person from who you received your award

Monday, 22 June 2009

An inconvenient truth

We've just had the longest day of the year, with an inky sky just getting dark at 10.20pm last night. It's definitely a warmer summer than previous years and notably so because of our glass extension. This photo was taken at 8.20am one day last week. Yup, it was a very balmy 30 degrees, even though we'd left the three roof vents (big windows) open all night. This explains why most of our pot plants died while we were on holiday - during that week the roof vents were closed and it got up to 36 degrees (the thermostat shows the highest and lowest recorded temperatures, until you reset it). I guess the prickly cactus should be our plant of choice.

We very nearly didn't get the roof vents at all as they added around £1,000 to the cost, and we thought we'd throw open the concertina doors on hot days. Being east facing too it seemed less likely the place would turn into a hothouse than south or west facing gardens. Of course you can't leave any doors wide open if you go out, which is why we went for the vents. If you're contemplating a double glazed glass roof don't skimp on the ventilation, unless you'd like to know what living on Earth will be like circa 2050...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

German sojourn

This blog is currently less about renovation and more about my holidays. But as there's been no sign of any actual building work for some months I feel as though I should post something. Last week was spent in Germany, first in Berlin then in Munich, as I left the kids at home with Rob and went on a whistle stop tour, meeting up with two of my favourite girlfriends. (I should mention that the trip was to coincide with Depeche Mode and that seeing them in Germany is something any true fan has to do at least once).

In both cities we stayed at branches of the Motel One chain - in Berlin it was Alexanderplatz and in Munich the newly opened Sendlinger Tor. Both were unbeatable locations for being in the heart of the action, and close to the U and S bahns for adventures further afield. The decor is worth mentioning too, lots of Arne Jacobson and Castiglioni Arc lights, none of the fusty bland stuff so beloved of most chain hotels. Even better was the price - my Dutch friend balked when I suggested we try and find something for under €200 - the rooms at Motel One were only €84 a night, for both of us!

The Sendlinger Tor room was even better than the Alexanderplatz version, with a flatscreen Loewe TV, a slightly improved tap in the bathroom and more storage. Probably not so useful if you have kids (unless you can get adjoining rooms?) but definitely worth investigating if you're headed that way. Both cities are superb - cold beer, great food, good transportation (and cheap taxis) and of course, the locals go absolutely crazy for Depeche Mode. Here's a video I shot on tippy toes during the Munich gig:

Sunday, 7 June 2009

French sojourn

Two years ago we had a two-week holiday to a musty old farm house in the Dordogne. It rained almost every day in August (when it's supposed to be hot) and the house was so horrid we swore we'd never go back. Friends from NYC stayed in a holiday villa in South West France last year and said we'd love it, so we decided to go with their recommendation and duly booked the house months in advance. Eventually the booking rolled around and we stayed there for the last week of May with friends, just as the weather got really hot.

Turns out our NYC friends were absolutely right, we did love it. Not only was the house done to an aesthetic standard that wasn't a million miles away from our own, but it was situated in a wooded area 10 minutes drive from a massive and virtually empty beach.

I'm blogging about it here as it was inspiring to see such a dramatic transformation in 18 months of hard graft. What was once virtually a ruin is now a modern and functional holiday home. The wet room is massive, the concrete floors keep the rooms cool and the pool is just off the kitchen so you can keep an eye on the kids while you prepare food. We BBQ'd most meals and the only thing I think I missed during our stay was a set of good chef's knives.

The many hours I've wasted searching for holiday homes in the past are behind me now, as I've found the only French villa worth re-booking. It sleeps three couples, three singles and possibly one more on the mezzanine futon, though with two families it was perfect.

For more photos, availability and pricing check out: