The street where we live

 was looking quite insanely pretty the day we moved in.

Note to self.  Don’t ever, ever, ever move house and pack to go away on the same weekend. (Written sitting in the bathroom in the middle of the night at our hotel in London. I love jetlag.)

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Pizza the action

More good news about the Wallingford area of Seattle, where we’ve moved.

 

Excuse quality – picture taken with mobiile phone 

It is home to Tutta Bella  - one of a handful of pizzerias in the US certified as serving authentic Neapolitan pizza.  And having spent quite a lot of time in Naples eating authentic Neapolitan pizza with my relatives, I can vouch that the pizzas here are truly excellent – better than any I’ve had recently in London, the ice cream by Bottega Italiana is pretty darn good and the espresso is the proper pulled Italian version and not any of this Starbucks nonsense.

Excuse quality – picture taken with mobiile phone 

And they could even do a proper Italian affogato.

The sad thing was that I was delighted to see the serried ranks of highchairs piled up at the entrance, when two years ago such a sight would have would have sent me screaming with terror in the opposite direction.  I have a feeling we have moved to the ‘Nappy Valley’ of Seattle.  

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Housewarming present

Yesterday we bought the house its first present.

On the way back from signing the closing documents with the escrow company, we decided to pop into fab new Seattle children’s furniture store tottini, ostensibly to try and find a beautiful storage unit for the Minx’s new playroom.

They didn’t have a storage unit but they did have the above ‘Storytime’ rocking chair on sale for an excellent price.  There’s nothing the Minx and I like more than cuddling up together in an armchair and reading a story and I’ve been looking for a rocking chair for ages.  This has been specially designed to be extra wide to accommodate an adult and small child, so I’m hoping we’ve years of snuggling ahead of us. And I have a sneaking suspicion that when she’s a teenager she might still want to have it in her room.

The only slight issue was the colour.  The one on sale was upholstered in bright pink felt (see below).  I didn’t particularly want the Minx’s room to have too much pink (though some is sadly inevitable).  However I think I can just about live with this.

Speaking of furniture for the Minx, the first thing I need to buy as a matter of urgency, given all the cr*p she has managed to accumulate,  is a functional but attractive modular storage unit.

But I have no idea where to find such a thing so far.  The one I like best online so far is this by John Lewis, though the picture below doesn’t do it much justice.  It comes with mix and match cubbies and bins in lime green, lavender. aqua and pink and also with single cubes, so you can create more interesting shapes and add to the structure over time.

 

 

I also quite like these from Letterbox, another UK-based company, though they’re more expensive, and I don’t like the colours so much.

 

So, where can I get something similar in the US?  I’d like something functional, funky, and not too expensive (given that it’s for a kid’s playroom), preferably with bins or drawers rather than shelves as they look tidier and in colours which aren’t too hideous (though I will paint as necessary). Oh and I don’t do twee.

After browsing for an hour or two online this afternoon, I can’t find anything and have no idea where to look next. While I was searching though, I did find this cool blog about good design for children – Coochicoos.

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House proud

So today we closed on the house purchase. 

I can’t quite believe it’s happened.  You have no idea how many phone calls at 1 am we’ve had to make, chivvying up mortgage brokers, solicitors and bankers.  In fact it was touch and go until this morning whether the money would make it into our US bank account in time.

Tomorrow all the stuff which we last saw way back when will be unpacked, leaving us to gently move from our apartment to the new house on Saturday and Sunday.

Which is just as well, as then we’re flying out to the UK on Monday for a week or so.

Great timing, n’est-ce pas? 

And I’m so itching to get a paintbrush out and go shopping and start lining up contractors and making plans etc. Still, it will be nice to have something to look forward to when we get back from the UK.

 

For those of you who have enquired whether the upstairs panelling was as bad as I was making out, here is a picture of the upstairs ‘party kitchen’. Note too the worktops/countertops which are the same delightful green as the exterior of the house. Pleasedon’t tell me you like them.

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Pimp My Filing Cabinet

A blog I’m really enjoying at the moment is Casapinka. ‘Pink‘ in the US is re-designing her home with the help of an interior designer who lives in Australia, whom she met on line, but has no plans to meet in person.

Pink says she’s only recently discovered that she’s a creative person, but reading her blog you would beg to differ.

I’m particularly liking her decoupage filing cabinet and the cherry blossoms she painted freestyle in her entrance hall.

I’m finding the idea of an online interior designer intriguing.  I’m sort of wondering whether to get a designer in to help with the new house.  In many ways I’m looking forward to doing it myself, but I’m slightly intimidated about doing up a home here as I have no clue about the best local suppliers – oh for access to a Seattle designer’s little black book! – and am concerned that I’ll create something which is too ‘European’ and won’t resell well in the American market (still can’t get over the fact that you guys like the dark green exterior paint!).  And it would be good to bounce ideas about with someone else.

Unfortunately I doubt very much that our budget will stretch that far, though I might see if I can find someone who will act as a ongoing consultant.

As for the actual move, the remortgage funds have been released in the UK, the mortgage in the US is sorted (are you getting some idea of the moutain of debt we’re taking on here?) and all systems are go for completion on the 22nd and moving in over the weekend of the 24th/25th. Which, scarily, is in just over a week’s time. A small added detail is the fact that we’re then flying back to London on the 27th for a week or so (the Husband has managed to wangle himself a business trip and we’re tagging along for the ride). 

Is life always meant to be quite this complicated?

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The Turquoise Dress

This is mostly for friends and family who read this blog, but I took some photos of the Minx wearing the beautiful dress her godmother gave her for her birthday and I thought you might like to see how grown up she has become.

She has also become immensely chatty and opinionated (have no idea where she gets that from); is very sociable, affectionate and friendly; has a definite, though rather slapstick, sense of humour; has managed to grow enough hair to warrant the use of a hairclip (though she never actually keeps one in for more than thirty seconds) and has become most decidedly pesky.  She is also showing signs of having inherited her maternal grandfather’s nose (and believe me that’s not a good thing).

I feel sad sometimes that I’ll never see my baby again, but I am enjoying my little girl so much more.  I just wish she hadn’t turned into a teenager quite so quickly.

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Food porn I

So this morning we decided to check out our new neighbourhood-to-be. 

Wallingford looks like it will be a lot of fun, full of quiet tree-lined roads, some funky shops on its main thoroughfares and lots of families.  It reminds me a bit of Battersea in London – great views of the downtown area across the water, still urban in feel, but with a definite separate identity and even a zoo quite close by.

After being a bit disappointed by somewhat down-at-heel Gasworks Park (which I’ll blog about separately), we were thrilled to find the best children’s playground we’ve found so far in Seattle and, after following a recommendation from Not Martha, the most gorgeous little cupcake shop - Trophy Cupcakes and Party.

We brought some cupcakes home for our lunch and I can say that they were without a doubt the best cupcakes we’ve had so far in the US - richly flavoured, not too sweet (the chocolate buttercream was wonderfully chocolatey), with a soft but dense crumb and a slight bite to the top.  We tried the Red Velvet, Chocolate Vanilla,  and Vanilla Vanilla and they were all superb. 

Add the fact that on Friday night we went to the cutest little art house cinema not very far away, and I think I’m going to enjoy living here very much.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I have a plan bubbling around to open a ‘mirrormirror’ shop and teashop when I get back to London.  And I think this teashop is going to have to sell lots of American-style cupcakes, cookies and brownies.

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Pink Pearls

New for Spring on mirrormirror  – this absolutely stunning bracelet by young Scottish designer Abigail Percy.

The beautifully matched freshwater pearls are handwired by Abigail and then attached to an oxidised sterling silver belcher chain.  I’m having a bit of a thing about oxidised silver at the moment – it’s really wearable, the grey colour is bang on trend and it gives jewellery an unusual contemporary edge.

I was thrilled to see that Abigail had posted up a picture of the bracelets in progress on her Flickr site.  I love getting a glimpse of designers and craftspeople at work and getting to understand a bit more about the process.

Abigail has a beautiful blog which gives loads of insight into the way she makes her beautiful jewellery and a gorgeous Flickr site which has a fascinating set of pictures of work in progress on her jewellery bench and the most inspiring glimpses into her sketchbook.

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