Painting the town red…, just the house white.

  • Number of days decorating: 11
  • Rooms complete: nearly 1
  • Decorating related injuries: still none
  • Number of husband/ wife rows: A few minor disagreements over kitchen layout but still nothing major to report – bit boring eh!
  • Number of 10 litre pots of spackel (plaster) used: Still just the 2

So, judging by the stats it looks like not much work has been going on round here recently, but actually the decorating has been moved to the tvättstuga (Swedish for utility room). Why? Because next week, yes next week, we will order our new kitchen.  The plan, therefore, is to get the tvättstuga looking good and then that can be used as a temporary kitchen whilst the proper kitchen is being pulled out and a new one put in.

Bye bye lilac!

Husband has been working hard, 3 coats of white paint have been carefully and lovingly painted onto the tvättstuga walls. It was lilac. Yep, that terrible 90’s lilac that I blame Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and Anna Ryder Richardson, of Changing Rooms fame, totally and utterly for. Noone had lilac walls till Laurence and Anna came along and convinced what seems like most of the world that this was a good idea. Again, like woodchip wallpaper, lilac is NOT a good idea. So, now, thanks to Husband, the walls are a soft white, which match the washing machine, boiler and cupboards – cohesion is the way forward.


I, in the meantime, have been scraping away at the woodchip wallpaper. So, now the bit of the hall as you walk in through the front door is nearly done. Leaving the walls looking rather messy and tired. So, next job will be to spackel all the walls and then paint them white, so at least when you first walk in the house it gives a modern, clean and fresh impression. Note to all guests: the hall will be as far as you will be allowed to come in until the rest of the house is done!

Last week, we had a visit from one of Husband’s work colleagues. He, like us, has an 80s house, and has had to drag it in the 21st Century. Having spent 5 months doing this, he had some fantastic short cut tips for us, such as plaster boarding the entire house so that we don’t have to spend the rest of our lives scrapping off woodchip wallpaper!! I love it and we will be heading to the closest DIY store to buy a load for the lounge.

Last Wednesday we had a great day, with the morning spent at IKEA, speaking to a very nice lady in the kitchen department who has helped us plan our new kitchen. Now we have the planned layout online, all we have to do is review and tweak it a little. Then next week is D-day or rather K-day! We cannot think or talk about much else at the moment, every 5 minutes one us comes up with a comment either about an improvement we can make or just about how brilliant it’s going to be to have a kitchen that we have chosen ourselves. I guess you have to be a certain age or just at a certain period in your life to really appreciate how cool it is to choose exactly how you want your kitchen to look and function. A modern, shiny, white kitchen…bliss!


Jacky x


Sanding, Scraping and Wizards


  • Number of days decorating: 6
  • (New more realistic stat) Number of walls nearly complete: 2
  • Decorating related injuries: still non but plenty of aches
  • Number of husband/ wife rows: 1 (yep, was to do with kitchen layout!)
  • Number of 10 liter pots of spackel (plaster) used: 2 

With Husband tucked away in the kitchen, happily sanding the walls that we plastered last week, I decided to start removing the woodchip wallpaper in the hallway. I picked a wall between the door to the utility room and the door to the bathroom, about a meter wide and two and half meters high, thinking that it would only take me an hour or so to get it done, but the going was slow. I read a blog a week ago, which mentioned some magic spray that someone had used to help remove wall paper – if anyone knows the name of the spray, please, please tell me!!

 Sanding the plaster

It took a little over two hours to remove all the paper and in that time there wasn’t much to do but loose myself in my thoughts. I started thinking about what a lovely day I’d had, first with my 1 year old daughter at the local församlingshus (Swedish for parish hall) where we met up with lots of other parents and little ones for singing, playing and fika (a wonderful Swedish tradition – where you take a break, have a cup of tea or coffee, a little snack to go with it and put the world to right – fika can be done at any time of the day and can be a verb or noun!).

Later on in the afternoon, daughter and I went to collect son (3 years old) from dagis (Swedish nursery). Before heading home we swung by the local cafe and partook, for the second time that day, in a little fika. So, fuelled up on muffins and latte (for me that is) we headed home, with son on his bike and daughter in pram. Son was a little tired and also rather cold- not surprising really as it was -8c.

Son claimed that his bike kept having power cuts; hence, it was going a little slow and kept stopping. The next time he stopped, I heard ‘Stop it wizard!’ Realising that he felt there was some greater being in charge of his bike, I decided to step in. Claiming to have magic powers, I cast a spell on his bike and proclaimed it now released from the wizard’s powers, at which point son then sped off down the road at top speed! Once we managed to catch up with him, the rest of the journey was spent with both of us psychodelicly yabbering away about battling monsters, wizards, ghosts and knights. We decided that we were attempting to fight our way to the enchanted castle (otherwise known as our house) and even engaged the help of daughter, sat in her chariot, who obliged us with some hand gestures and sound effects!  In my attempt to show that violence is not always the only means of scarring off monsters, wizards etc, I then tried to convince son that singing certain nursery rhymes can actually be a more effective way of banishing and triumphing over evil. He quite likes this method and is almost convinced that its true, as when tested on the local cat – it did actually run away rather fast when faced with a bonkers 3 year old charging at it singing Ba Ba Black Sheep!

At one point on our journey home, I got a little carried away and start to quote Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan from their TV Series The Trip. There is a scene in the program where they discuss how in period dramas, the hero usually proclaims, ‘Gentlemen to bed, for we leave at daybreak…’ ( Whilst doing my impression, I glanced at son, who was chuckling away to himself, immensely enjoying all this silliness and ridiculousness!

So, thank you son, for releasing my imagination – it was well and truly unlocked and unleashed for a good 20 minutes! Too much sugar, too much caffeine, too much woodchip wallpaper.

By the way, the hall is now started and the kitchen walls look great.

Jacky x


Ready, steady spackel..

  • Number of days decorating: 5Spackel
  • Rooms complete: 0 out of 10
  • Decorating related injuries: No injuries but achy arms
  • Number of husband/ wife rows: 0 (you must be impressed by now)
  • (New stat) Number of 10 litre pots of spackel (plaster) used: 2

Now, I’ve seen Grand Designs – my claim to fame is that I stood next to Kevin McCloud on the train station platform in Newcastle upon Tyne – and I’ve seen the scenes where the person featured is literally sweating blood and tears, working day and night to complete their renovation project – but I have to say, I thought it was all slightly exaggerated for the cameras… apparently not!

Spackeling the spatula

Preparing for battle of the wall.

So, last night there we were all togged up in our decorating glad-rags and a kitchen to go to, and the spackeling (Swedish for plastering – see previous post) masterclass began. First, Husband produced a new toy – a mega light, so bright it blinded the neighbours. With said light all set up, the spackel was produced along with tools. I was first taught how to load the spatula, then how to put it on to the wall – straight forward one might think, eh – well one would be wrong. There are several variables to consider that can all make a right blooming mess. Firstly, the amount of spackel on the spatula, then getting it evenly spread out, then the angle at which one holds the spatula to the wall then changes the angle as one drags the spatula across the wall, then it’s on to bubble, lumps, bumps and unwanted lines removal, and so by the time I had considered and carried out all of this I actually ended up removing more plaster than I actually put on! 


I'm spackeling!

It took an hour or so to complete one wall, and my right arm and wrist are killing  – please someone tell me that there is an easier way to plaster?? Anyway, Husband is very happy as he now gets to go shopping again, this time for a sanding machine and an industrial sized hoover to clean up with.

I think I actually did quite a good job, the wall is not totally smooth, but that’s what the sander is for! The compliment of the day by Husband: ‘The wall looks pretty good in the dark!’

Jacky x