Bonjour Monsieur Norman …

cest bon

I speak of Harvey… the Norman kind of Harvey… “Harvey Norman” I hear you gasp!

I usually only visit Harvey Norman to get photos developed or buy a mattress and at that it’s an in and out job!

( Admittedly I may browse around the cooker departmentt… sad but true..I have cooker/oven envy..anyone who has seen ours will understand why!)

Anyway, a friend of mine text me a photo of some new furniture she’d seen in Harvey Norman and thought I’d like them. A few weeks later I happened to have an NCT test and was in and out very quickly ( an incredible event!) so I decided not to waste my precious time out alone and nipped in quickly to Harvey Norman next door to do a little self indulgent browsing.

note: I didn’t take any photos on my first visit but returned with my little man who features in a couple of pics below..I had no choice as he kept photo bombing! A lot of cajoling went on in order to get product shots on their own!

I couldn’t believe the changes since my last photo developing session! I picked up a catalogue at the entrance and on the front page were some fab chairs which I have been agonising over for months as to whether I buy for our own dining table!

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Whilst wandering through the shop I came across two lovely ladies putting up a very intricate display in a little nook … I asked one of the girls if there was a new buyer? Yes ME! She exclaimed.  Rachel McCann,  Buyer Co ordinator for Homeware and Accessories was very helpful in going through all the bits and pieces she was knee deep in. She kindly gave me her card when I asked about photos for my blog and told me that the chairs I was looking for would be in stock in a few weeks time.

The chairs are still on order in the Little Island Branch in Cork ( the Lovely Ann informed me today, so I will have to wait to see them in person )…I am not sure I would go for a uniform all one colour around the table but they could be fab as a pop of colour in a more eclectic style Dining setting …or as an occasional chair in a recreational room or bedroom …

The vibe was very industrial, current, quirky with beautiful home accessories, vases, lamps cushions furniture .. totally NOT what I expected to find in Harvey Norman. This yellow/mustard colour features a lot across the new Spring range … not everyone’s cup of tea I know …I am very partial to it myself but even if you’re not, there’s nothing like a pop of yellow or ochre in a room … it just makes you feel sunny!


This gorgeous trinket box would be equally stunning in the livingroom, on a bedside locker or in the bathroom to hold jewellary … this is on my wishlist …love it …


IMG_4219I know I probably sound like I am gushing…but  Monsieur Norman definately took me by surprise and I felt that I could have easily bought home furnishing, accessories and gifts if I wanted to! I loved the quirky stationary and the fabulous garden/outdoor dining accessories. The new range called The Top Table which is aimed at targeting the Wedding market is full of simple and tasteful ideas for the bride to be to feast her eyes on !  I am definately eyeing up those lightbulb tea light holders for our apple trees come summer evenings!



And here is my beautiful assistant! Throwing himself in front of every single thing I tried to photo! In fairness he was very patient so he deserves his place in front of some of the lovely new range of cushions and he manages to pull it off with his coordinated orange jacket to boot 🙂



There is a fabulous Quirky, Gifty section with lots of lovely little notebooks, fabulous Bento boxes ( again on my wish list) mugs and novel bits and pieces very reasonably priced. Here’s a few examples below … they are really worth a little nose around…

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I wasn’t going to put this pic in of the lamp but I just couldn’t resist that beautiful face!! ( I am biased after all 🙂 )For such a shy boy at times … he doth loveth the camera!! Think he upstages the lamp but the base is really nice on this … kind of a morrocan vibe but blends in nicely to a more conventional classic decor aswell.


Et Voila! … Those were just a few things that really caught my eye…and what can I say..if you don’t normally go into Harvey Norman… at least take a peek whilst you’re fretting over your nct or whilst waiting for your photos to be developed …  you might just be pleasantly surprised..:)

Merci beaucoup Monsieur Harvey Norman … I will be back!

ps. If you have stumbled on anything fabulous where you least expected it I’d love to know…or if you’ve been to Harvey Norman and had the same revelation as I had drop me a line in the comments below! I know that Jenna Crotty from the Homeware Huntress blog had an amazingly similar experience to mine!

Check her out at She published her blogpost just before mine but I went ahead anyway … thus great minds must think alike is what I say!! … and am glad to spread the blog love 🙂

Bring on an Irish Summer …



Bring on an Irish Summer…

Where children are bursting to get outside at the very glimpse of a sunny morn.

Sweatshirts off and tee shirts on , running through dewy damp grass.

Picnics under apple trees at half ten in the morning.

Neighbouring children shouting through the fence.

An imaginative world filling the air where everything is possible and all problems surmountable.

Tears after accidental pushes, grazed knees and nettle stings.

Fresh air bringing happy memories, freedom to explore and inspire endless creativity.

Bring on an Irish Summer…

Done deal



I realised  three things this week

  1. Never look a gift horse in the mouth
  2. People are not mind readers
  3. That I associate haggling with telling white  lies.

( I hope my children don’t read this until they are at least 18)

I’ll start from the beginning . We were having storage issues. The story of my life!

I was doing a bit of rejigging in the furniture department  and on embarking on a little painting project I dragged the dress up blanket box into the kitchen. This was swiftly followed by the other identical blanket box from the porch ready for transformation.

Meanwhile (coincidentally) a friend of mine said she had another identical blanket box to get rid of if I fancied taking it off her hands. I graciously declined.  ‘NO’  I said’I am good for blanket boxes, I actually have two. ‘

That night I stared at the two blanket boxes in the kitchen and thought if I paint them up, throw a few cushions on the top they’d be a perfect temporary  window seat with storage for the Kitchen!



Something along these lines..only with three boxes and in the kitchen/dining area! ( these are unfinished and were just thrown together to get the idea…please forgive the forlorn is need of much TLC and a better home! Also am not sure if I shall take the legs off the boxes or not yet…the jury is out! Anyhow …

Delighted with my little epiphany I sent my friend a text the following morning. ‘Oh no’ she said, ‘when you didn’t want it I gave it to my sister in law that evening!’

MY cunning window seat/storage solution  flowered and withered all within 24 hours.

No worries I thought, I’ll find one on DONEDEAL. (The Irish equivalent to CraigsList).

Low and behold there it was in all its glory. One identical blanket box … for 50euro FIFTY EURO!! That must be a misprint…

This blanket box was from Supervalu, from years back! People collected tokens from the shopping  they did in Supervalu ( back when EVERYBODY shopped in Supervalu because there were no European supercheap recession busting silent sparcely staffed supermarkets back then!!)

I phoned the number and spoke to (lets call her) Wanda.

Me: Is your blanket box still available?

Wanda: It is

Me: Is it the Supervalu one?

Wanda:It is

Me: Would you take 15 for it?

Wanda: FIFTEEN’ ( In incredulous tone)

Me: Yes fifteeen ( enthusiastically)

Wanda: No

Me: Oh no problem, I’ll pick up another one. I saw one last week on Donedeal for 10euro

( possible exaggeration of the truth, possibly made up …  I like to call it haggling… She didn’t take the bate.’

Wanda: ‘oh really, ok’ ( followed by silence)

 I hung up.

NOOOOO … She was supposed to haggle. Now I am left with no blanket box… I would have come up in price if she’d played ball.

So, I text her.

Me : Sorry for hanging up so abruptly there, my little baby was falling over ( I had to have a credible excuse and my little baby was swaying on her play mat … that is true) What would be your best price on the blanket box?

Wanda:  I’d hold out for 40 but will probably drop it in a few weeks.

Me : perfect, I’ll keep an eye on it. Thanks a mill,

I proceeded to move our blue sideboard out of the dining area into the livingroom to make way for the new storage seating. I checked on donedeal a week later, it was still available. I sent another text.


Me : Hi Wanda, I just noticed the blanket box is still available. Would you let it go for 20?

No response.

I couldn’t believe it. What was I going to do, I couldn’t bear the idea of phoning her to offer her more again because she probably wouldn’t even pick up!

I was too proud to pursue it any further because in truth I’d be MORTIFIED to call to her house to pick it up after my poor attempts at haggling and sounding like a complete loon in the process!!


And so I let go of my disappointment and carried on without giving it much more thought.

Then the strangest, loveliest, serendipitous … some may call it coincidence, law of attraction (or maybe a saturation of supervalu blanket boxes in Irish households) … BUT… I strolled into my local charity shop and there it was…under a mound of books and vases and heavy objects.

A Supervalu blanket box. If blanket boxes had hair it would have been blowing in the wind to heavenly music right at that moment.

Me: How much is that blanket box over there?

Lovely girl: 20 euro

Me:  I’ll take it

Deal done.


House Tour … the BEFORE!

be my guest

I was saving this post for when I had all the before and after pics together…and then decided to just go for it and make a start on the makings of ‘The Happy Casa’ casa!

These photos were all taken on the day we moved in. The purchasing of our home – like many other homes- was a long, slow, painstaking,stressful process. Even typing that sentence brought all those memories flooding back!!

When we first viewed the house it was being rented out to a group of single lads – need I say more! It was – for want of a better description – a little lot lacking in some TLC. The lovely owners had moved into another house which they had built in another town and had rented it out whilst waiting to sell.

In order to make a very LONG story short.

We put in a bid. Bid accepted YAH!

Mortgage approval denied NO!

We rented the house while waiting for mortgage approval YAH!

House remained on the market although we were living in it and awaiting approval NO!

We got married and had our reception in the ‘nearly’ our house YAH!

A couple came to view our house a week before the wedding NOOO!!

They didn’t put in a bid YAH!

A Year later we finally purchased our home almost 11months after getting our mortgage approval YAAAAAH!

So now that you’re all up to speed on the very windy rocky road to getting to where we are…this is how it looked before it all began ….

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This is our Kitchen /Dining area the day we moved in …check out this monster of a stove … this has broken our hearts a good few times since becoming acquainted with it but we are finally warm friends a couple of winters later!!

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From the Dining area we move into the old part of the Cottage which is well over 100 years old … lacking in light and love when we first moved in… check out the floorboards in front of the fire …

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This is the view from the corner beside the fireplace … the stairs is in the room ..not fire safe the engineer told us … it’s an old cottage … we told him back !

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This is the door leading to the front porch from the livingroom – now my little office space!

gennaio 093Moving out of the livingroom into a little hallway which is home to the family bathroom and also leads to the playroom – or third bedroom as advertised when it was for sale!

gennaio 089Below is the view from the playroom/third bedroom back into the hallway moving back into the livingroom …

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It’s difficult to see from these photos but there is a lovely view of the countryside from here …



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And up the stairs we go …I don’t seem to have a photo of the landing … I’m laughing here to myself because we don’t HAVE a landing of any description! The Cottage was a one up one down style house which was in turn converted into a two up four down type situation … if there is such a thing … I just made that up!

Anyway if you go up our lovely stairs you are faced by a tiny landing strip with a door in front of you – the hotpress. A door to your right – the master bedroom. A door to your left – the kiddies room. fullstop. C’est ca – as they say ‘en francais’! An Air Steward would feel right at home at the top of our stairs!!

This is the master bedroom. We had no bed for the first few months when we moved in. A Trustee materass on the floor and lots of patience. Note the lack of wardrobes in the room aswell … let’s just say we had a very basic beginning!

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The children’s room is very spacious. I was mapping out where the beds would go and who would go where when we first arrived! This was one of the first rooms we tried to make homey!




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There is a lovely view of the apple trees in the garden from this room … it’s really beautiful in the summertime with the apple blossoms in full bloom.

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So VOILa! That is the official tour of ‘The Happy Casa’ in it’s pre-loved state. Hope you enjoyed the tour and more importantly stay tuned for the AFTER tour!

* well it’ll be the ALMOST after tour as we are still a work well in progress!! but hopefully you’ll notice some small changes!!

Thanks for coming, next time we’ll make you a coffee ..ciao belli …hasta pronto! xxx