P!NK concert FA!L, but a nice day out anyway…

After many months of suspense and anticipation, the Pink concert which we had been really looking forward to was cancelled, 3 hours before it was due to start! Pink called in sick so had to make alternative arrangements. We even saw her tour bus pulling into the NEC parking area.

Here are some pictures from around the Birmingham NEC area…

NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 03 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 04 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 06 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 08 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 10 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 26 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 12

So, what do you do when you’re 7 miles from the centre of Birmingham, after having just received a text message saying your concert has been cancelled?

First thing – there’s no way we’re going back home now when we’ve got the day to ourselves! Second thing – let’s go see a film. Ok, nothing really inspiring on (Tom Cruise being the top target). Let’s head that way and see. While on way to cinema, we see the high rise towers of the centre and decide to head to the Bullring for some shopping/browsing and some food.

Really glad we did that and had some really nice Thai food at Selfridges. A fair bit of browsing the shops and being shocked at the prices of clothes but a potentially bad day turned into good day out.

NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 23 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 18 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 33 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 27 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 29 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 31 NEC + Selfridges 22.04.13 - 32


Painted stairs…

The stairs are nearly done! Might just need another coat on one or two of the risers. Claire did a great job with the colours and painting!


Painting pink…!

I came home on Thursday and half the garden had been painted and the boys were running around painting each other pink! Great fun.

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Coloured plastic tubs…

A cheap colour filter effect using some plastic sandwich tubs! The boys also liked looking around with them and seeing the world in green, purple and pink!


Jamie picture…

Interesting picture of Jamie’s finger taken with Claire’s mobile phone camera…

Plus another from January taken with his camera. Love the abstract and experimetal quality of both the photos.

He’s taken loads so far and i’ve setup a photo blog for his images but I just couldn’t find the download cable for the camera. I’ve now found that and will update that soon.


Pink hallway…!

Ok, yes, it is as crazy as it sounds!

Claire has been wanting to paint the hallway and kitchen more exciting colours for a while and we’ve sort of decided to go for it. We bought a strong red paint for the kitchen a year ago but haven’t got around to painting it yet, but will once the render work is done and the last few bits are finished in the bathroom.

So, she came back the other day saying she wants a bright blue in the hallway, to which I said, ‘anything but blue – it’s soooo cold!’. I even suggested pink would be better! Well, I should really keep my mouth shut.

We’ve looked through the Dulux and Crown hard finish paints and the colours are generally more muted and dull than other paint ranges. There are only a few which stand out, Red Mid and Shocking Pink (both Crown Ultimate) being 2 of them! The current favourite is Cheeky Wink (Easyclean). This sounds crazy but it might just work.

We also want to stamp a bit more of our creative spirits onto the house, now that we’ve gone a long way to getting the structural/building things done (insulated render, solar panels, bathroom moved upstairs, landing area plastered, living room insulated – storage areas made – doors blocked up – walls plastered – shelves put up – stove installed etc etc). We’ve painted the rooms but have only just put some pictures up in the living room and want to do more.

So, a couple of ideas to go with the vivid hallway area colour is to create some large scale art/mural type decoration, maybe in the form of a twisting tree which will start at the ground floor hallway and spread over the walls and up the stairs to the top landing area. The ‘tree’ could be made up of letters and words, maybe from songs or stories we like. Black and white letters would both contrast well and stand out against the pink background.

A black swirling pattern could also be added behind the main word tree. This would create a nice range of strong forms in complimentary and contrasting colours: black, white & pink.


Home insulation…

Exciting insulation-related news… You could save a bit of money and CO2!

A colleague at work sent around a link to the Energy Saving Trust website which has a grants section. Apparently if you have kids under 16, you can get a grant for 100% free loft insulation. This is one of the cheapest (usually) and most effective ways to save on the heating bills. I had already gone through the EST to get a couple of quotes for installation which came back as only £125, which I thought was a really good deal, considering the time and materials involved!


The other insulation we’re in the process of investigating is insulated render, for the side and back of the house. As we’ve just installed new double-glazed windows to the front + as we like the brick and render character of the house type, we’ll leave the front alone and just focus on the rest.

We’ve been researching any suitable rendering companies who can fit this sort of system. There was a guy in Stroud who did this but he went under or just stopped doing it! So, after 5 or 6 calls around and lots of web searching, I found a contractor in Bristol, called the Joyner Group. I talked to the MD Mr Joyner, who sounded really enthusiastic and into the subject. He got Paul, one of his surveyors to contact me. He came around today to measure up and get some details. I found out a lot more about the various processes and there’s nothing stopping us going for it, except the cost!

So, the system is either a 50-60 mm phenolic insulation, or a 90-100 mm polystyrene type, both to achieve a U-Value of 0.35, which is the current buildings regs standard for new homes – toasty warm! The system Paul suggested was the Weber Therm XM K1.5mm acrylic, with stippled finish.

Data sheet here: 07_001_weber_therm_XM_01

This sounds technical, but it’s basically the insulation, stuck to the wall, with plastic reinforcing fixings, with several coats of different render material applied over it, with a coloured and stippled finish, with acrylic for water-proofing. It’s designed to be flexible, to respond to extreme variations in temperature and has a 30 year guarantee.

We can choose any colour for the render – Claire immediately said PINK! I said…ummm….NO! Well, i’m open to something bold, but maybe not pink, although i’ve stayed in a couple of pink cottages in Ireland which actually looked really good, particularly the contrast with the green landscape!

So, with this plus the internal insulation upstairs, we should be toasty over the winter, assuming we can actually afford to go ahead with the render. Paul’s going to get us the quote back in the next week and he said from placing the order to the end of the work is 2 weeks! Bloody hell.