Music to work to: BBC Radio 6 Music ❤️

grown up, Inspiration, Lifestyle, music, Ramblings, working

Diverse, eclectic and always inspirational… BBC Radio 6 has become my constant companion when I am either working or mooching about at home.  The breadth of music is really diverse, there are no repetitive playlists, and I learn about new artists all of the time and from all over the world… no hierarchy, snobbery or commercialism… just music that inspires the DJ’s.

Audio-listing-Work

Take today for instance, I was unpacking my shopping and gyrating to Gilles Peterson’s Saturday afternoon rare grooves, whilst later on I nodded my head in time as I typed away on a website article.  The latter article was relating to financial information, but PJ Harvey suited the typing speed, and now when I read it back I can hear 50ft Queenie in my mind – definitely not what the readers will hear as they read my FinTec news.

In a way it’s a bit of an addiction. I miss it when I am in the car and have to substitute another radio station to listen to.  I pine for Lauren Laverne, Radcliffe & Maconie and Tom Robinson’s dulcet tones.  If I have to listen to Jenni Murray on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, I end up enraged and comparing her to Cerys Matthews, and the latter wins hands down.  If I try Radio 1 it just seems so noisy and inane in comparison.  It’s got to the point where I’ll just plug in a podcast instead, and I am loving The Leisure Society series at the moment (from, you guessed it… BBC Radio 6).

I find that I am more creative when I listen to music as I work, and this information that follows proves my point:

Scientific research has uncovered that listening to music can actually be beneficial while you work. Although, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

A study by Simone Ritter, at Radboud University in the Netherlands, and Sam Ferguson, at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, looked at how listening to various types of music affected different types of thinking  compared to working in silence.

Their study found that happy music enhanced participants creative ‘divergent thinking’. However they found it had no impact on ‘convergent thinking’, which is problem-solving.

In their study, Ritter and Ferguson split 155 volunteers into five groups, which were then given tasks to complete. Four of the groups did so while listening to classical music aimed at stimulating different moods, such as Holst’s Mars and Vivaldi’s Spring. The fifth group worked in silence.

They found that the groups working to music they considered positive generally came up with more original ideas.

Ritter and Ferguson said: “The current project aimed to shed light on the potential association of music listening for optimizing divergent and convergent creativity, and demonstrated that listening to ‘happy music’ (i.e., classical music that elicits positive mood and is high on arousal) is associated with an increase in divergent thinking, but not convergent thinking.”

 

The upshot being, if you need to be creative with your work, then you should stick some uplifing music to help get the cognitive juices flowing.  But if you’re trying  to solve an problem, you’re better off opting for quiet solitude.  (Telegraph, Sept 2017)

 

As I don’t do problematic maths problems for work, I think I’m OK to continue….

Work-music-imporvment

Teenager’s Room & Spare Room Makeovers

before and after, chalk paint, Decorating, grown up, Interior Design, interiors, lighting, Makeover, recycling, Upcycling

THE CHALLENGES:

My youngest has always had one of the smallest bedrooms in our house. I think that is generally what younger children get actually in the pecking order of families!  Poor them… they are definitely overlooked a lot…. she also always got hand me down clothes for years, but I did always get her new undies and socks!

Our eldest has now moved out to go to Uni, and will only be back home for holidays, so we thought it time to do some switching around of bedrooms.  We have 5, so are a bit spoilt for choice, but the youngest had always had what could be called a very small double.  She is also VERY messy, so it was a question of bribery… ‘if you tidy your your room and keep it up for a while, you can move into a larger room…” It worked, and she made an effort, so I had to honour my word.

This then escalated and became a massive upheaval over Christmas, it actually always sort of escalates when I start fiddling around… I also had a pretty weeny budget and needed to be able to re-use and re-purpose existing items if possible.  An existing spare room, (which had been decorated for my mum mainly when she stays over in a very granny-friendly style), was to become my youngest daughter’s room as it was much larger.    And as such, it was not teenage friendly in terms of style.  Here it is as it was… see what I mean…?!

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And my daughter’s existing room was then meant to switch back over into being a spare room again.. this is the other room when my daughter was in it:

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Crammed, no decent storage and hideous fake brick wallpaper which I reluctantly agreed to a couple of years ago as I was in no mood to chip off all the plaster for real.  So definitely time for a change.

DAUGHTERS NEW BEDROOM:

I was shown pinterest boards with the most white, zen and minimalist interiors of dream bedrooms.  ‘Wow’, I said, ‘NICE!’…   But was I was really thinking was…’Yes, of course  – it’s not like you don’t have loads of STUFF… and that STUFF does not stay in the allocated places usually.. and the STUFF is added too with lots of my china filled with various stages of decaying MOULD”…

But I agreed as she had tried to be clean, and then spent 2 days bent at odd angles totally whitening out the room.  I forgot how much I hate rolling paint onto ceilings.  3 coats later, we had pure white.  The floor is already lovely old pine stripped boats, and there is a pretty original fireplace and victorian sink.

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We got her a new bed and mattress, and then I hunted through the house and found an oak desk, a beautiful needlepoint rug that I forgot I had and has been in the attic for years, cut work white curtains and a freestanding clothes rail (she wanted that sort of look, forget the dust!).  The mirror was originally taupe, and it got a quick coat of Annie Sloane’s Graphite for an update.

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Student flat 24 hour makeover

before and after, Decorating, DIY, gallery wall, grown up, Interior Design, interiors, Makeover, styling, Upcycling

You know when time slips away from you…I am feeling full of guilt as I have not posted for ages, and I apologise to those of you who nudge for an update.

24 HOUR MAKEOVER

I have been really busy of late, my daughter has moved to London to study music at a Conservatoire and we did a 24 hour makeover on her new abode.  It is an unfurnished flat where she will live with her partner, and I really wanted her to have a clean, safe space that felt like home.

So we hired a van, stripped my house of a lot of furniture and accessories and then headed up to the big smoke.

Apart from getting a few bits at Dunelm and IKEA, the latter which I delighted in handing over for flat-pack building lessons, we had pretty much all we needed.  Plus we had zero budget!  It went from a dark, bland place to a rather smart des-res in 24 hours with a bit of creativity and styling.

My daughter is definitely a chip off the old block, she had Pinterest boards ready to show me in the style she liked!  It is very Scandi, with lots of palms, copper accents and retro touches.

Here is the flat when we viewed it originally.

For the bedroom I made some great bedside lights from old IKEA wooden shelf brackets I had lying around.

Using Annie Sloans Graphite chalk paint to jazz them up, I upcycled them into light holders.  A long retro style pendant light with a filament bulb is wrapped around each one and hangs over the bedside tables.  These were reduced to just £5 each at Dunelm so the total project cost just £10!  The bedside drawers await a makeover with paint and new handles, I am trying to train up my daughter to embrace chalk paint!



The sitting room has to be a multi functional space- living, working, a music studio and also a spare bedroom for when mum comes to stay (that’s me!).  It is a good sized room which really helped.  We used a day bed that coverts into a full double bed as a sofa, and covered it with lots of emerald green velvet and shaggy cushions.  A leather chair from home and a cute retro table which my daughter’s boyfriend owned finish off the seating area.

Above the daybed we hung large rattan plates as the start of a collection of natural objects.  My daughter also started to map out a gallery wall with frames ready to fill.  For the moment they have wrapping paper in them!


We got two lampshades from Dunlem which are made from twisted wire and they cast great patterns across the room.


One corner is used as a recording studio, so IKEA came to the rescue with their work tables and some wall hooks for all the leads.  I have had the shelves for years in storage and never got rid of them as I knew they would come in useful again.  They got a lick of paint and have lots of baskets on them to stash things away.



The bathroom got a fresh coat of paint and some accessories to jazz it up.  It’s very small so not many options to get creative, and I fitted a nice new loo seat, (it’s my least favourite job crawling around lavatories).



Finally we dressed the sitting room with layered rugs and lots of plants, and for a student pad it is pretty nice.  In fact, my own student flat was grotty beyond belief so I think she has landed on her feet.  I drive home feeling exhausted in a large empty can, but I know she loves her new little home and it is somewhere to go and relax after very busy days at Conservatoire.



Hang on!  My daughter has nicer mugs than me 😳. There’s still lots to do such as hang pictures and sort out the kitchen, (which has a garden table and chairs in it for the moment until we find a bargain on eBay or gumtree).  But they have a lovely home now and can grow into it themselves with their own styling and treasures, plus I can visit and pretend it is my pied a terre!

Sloe Gin

DIY, grown up, Labels

IT IS READY….

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For 3 months I have daily been shaking my bottles of sloes, gin and sugar.  I picked them in the autumn, you can read about how to make them here.  They have been stored in a dark place, and have now turned the most amazing shade of deep red.  I left space in each bottle for vigourous shaking.  I read somewhere that one sloe gin maker leaves it in the boot of his car for 3 months, so it rolls around every day.  I did not risk it  myself, just in case mine broke and my car smelled like I was a gin-soaked alcoholic!

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I used a jam strainer bag made of muslin to pour the sloe gin through, as I wanted all of the sediment out of the drink where I have been violently shaking it every day.  Then I just decanted it into pretty little 500ml Kilner preserving bottles.  Job done.

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LABELS

Top 10 Home Accessories That Show You Are A Grown Up

accessories, grown up, Top 10 Lists

Following on from my Top 10 decorating mistakes to avoid, I started wondering about what objects signify that one is finally being a bit more mature and can be classed as a grown up.  Here is the list… what remains a secret is whether I have all 10.

1.  A proper coffee machine

Not just a percolator or stove top job, but the whole branded Gaggia/Jura/Dualit gizmo with bells and whistles on.  Starting at over £200 and heading into the thousands, these objects of desire channel a mature attitude to coffee, with a hefty helping of ‘I am actually a secret Barista’ thrown in.  You get 1000 extra grown-up points if it is a built in coffee machine by Miele.  Those who have any of these mentioned are obviously smug, and those who don’t are envious.

2.  A present/gift drawer

It’s that awful moment when you remember that someone’s birthday is NOW! and you have forgotten a gift, and need it pronto.  This results in a mad dash to a local shop, mainly for me the local petrol station, to get a not very good choice of wine.  Or cash if it is a child, (not good to waste wine on a child).

You know you are grown up when the above scenario does not happen, but you can stroll to an allocated drawer and pull out one of a variety of choice presents.  It will be niche, stylish and perfect.  Inside that drawer will be scented designer candles, leather goods, beautiful stationary and so on.  There is probably also a selection of droll New Yorker cards, and some rather nice assortments of wrapping paper to choose from.