Happy weekend, guys! Ours has been a roller coaster of emotions so far and there is more to come, I’m sure. We finally got our house keys yesterday and were able to go back to OUR (still doesn’t feel like it) house to check it out, measure things and ponder the best course of action.
The house looked really weird without any furniture in it and even though we knew this would happen, it freaked us out a little as it exposed a lot of small niggles that were hiding behind things and also made the place look much smaller. Well, we’ve seen it with all the furniture in it, so unless the house shrunk with the economy in anticipation of Brexit 😉 , it’s all good – we will be able to fit all the necessary furniture items in comfortably.
After we’ve been able to take a closer look at the place, it suddenly dawned on us how much work lies ahead of us. It’s exciting and also slightly daunting and overwhelming at the same time. Luckily, we’ll have no spare cash for a while so that very much informs our next steps. Big expensive things like putting a new floor in or modernizing the kitchen will have to wait until we bounce back a little. So to begin with, we’ve decided to tackle the smallest room in the house – the study. It’s currently painted a ghastly lilac and the walls have plenty of screw holes in them, so that’s the room we are going to cut our teeth on. We want to put a nice floor in there too, but that will have to wait until we are ready to purchase the floor for the entire level.
Next on the DIY list is the living room, which requires some serious wallpaper stripping, prepping and painting of the walls, ripping the carpet off and getting rid of some antiquated inbuilt cupboards. These two rooms should keep us occupied for a few months and then we will see. I’m trying to fight my usual instinct to think about everything that needs doing all at once, as that only ever leaves me overwhelmed, stressed, drained and ineffective. It’s going to be a shambles for a while. We have some guests coming in April and then in June and there is a real chance that we will need to eat our meals cross-legged on the floor, but they’ve been warned and they do not seem that bothered.
I actually quite like DIY (I may be singing from a different song sheet a few months from now) as it involves a lot of learning and attention to detail and the results are immensely fulfilling. So our plan is to do as much as we can ourselves and only just hire professionals for things like kitchen installation, plastering, electrics etc.
While all this house-related excitement has been going on, I still somehow managed to finalise a chocolate cake recipe, which I think you’ll want to get your mitts on… It’s deeply chocolatey, delicious and indulgent, yet both the cake itself and the buttercream are based on a vegetable. Yes, that’s right. They utilise a sweet potato, but like Duncan, our neighbour and a few other people who got to try it, you would never have guessed. It’s delicious on its own, but for an extra special treat and a great balance of flavours, I like to serve it with a dollop of thick coconut yoghurt and a spoonful of cherry compote. Enjoy, while I shall get back to reading up on Victorian house renovation.
I used a 2 lb / 900 g cake tin of the following dimensions: 18.5cm x 8cm x 6cm. (I used one like this). It holds 8 cups / 2000 ml liquid (to the brim), but the batter should fill no more than 2/3 – 3/4 of the 2lb cake tin or else the cake may not raise.
This recipe is adapted from my earlier recipe for chocolate chilli muffins.