All change in our gaff this week as I’m starting on an exciting new house project. With the weather, the conkers and the back-to-school mayhem, autumn’s come with a bang!
The summer holidays feel like a lot longer than a fortnight ago. It’s been wellies and raincoats for us this week but we don’t mind at all. I reckon autumn might be Family Burr’s favourite season. We spent yesterday visiting Osterley Park (above) a National Trust property a few miles away and came home with a haul of nearly 200 conkers! Not quite sure what we’ll do with them all but my wife Sarah runs a Rainbow Guide group and they’re having a Conker Olympics in a few weeks so sure they’ll find a use for them. It’s just nice to have a few in your pockets this time of year, lovely to feel them in your hands while you’re taking the dog for a walk. We also bought bags full of beautiful veggies from the farm shop there. Perfect for tonight’s beef stew.
I’m taking a bit of time off from building for other people and concentrating on my own home for the next few months. I’ve been meaning to do this for ages as even though my kitchen is only seven years old, since then, we’ve had two more kids and a dog, and the amount of baking gear I’ve got since Bake Off means we have outgrown it. So this week I knocked down the wall between my kitchen and study (that in reality had become the junk room). Don’t try this at home unless you’ve had a structural engineer give you the ok! My house is over 100 years old, and as a bricklayer by trade I get a bit misty eyed looking at work done by my equivalents back in the day. I’ll be reusing a lot of the bricks I removed in the rest of my renovations as there’s still a bit more knocking through and bricking up to do, and I really like to recycle as much from this house as possible. The knocked-through kitchen is in the picture at the top of this post – it’s going to be a great space.
The picture above is what my kitchen looked like when we first bought it in 2010. The house hadn’t been lived in for years and I had to do everything to it – every floor, wall and ceiling needed major work. Now we’ve lived in it for quite a few years we have a much better sense of how to use the space and I am really excited about our kitchen plans particularly. I’ll share progress on my blog as I go as I’ll be doing a loft conversion when I’ve finished on the downstairs. I’m also writing a building column that launches next month, so all of the valuable feedback I’ve had on my blog and social media about DIY advice you need, I’ve funnelled it into this column. I’ll post more about this soon.
I’ve been enjoying the new series of Bake Off and honestly, I think the move to Channel 4 has really freshened it up. I’m so used to tweeting along with the show that the ad breaks give me time to check Twitter and read what people are saying. Everyone’s been asking me who I think looks like they’ll go the distance from this year’s bakers but I always reserve judgement until after Bread Week so I’m holding my thoughts for now. From this week, I’ll have to watch it on catch-up though, as my art classes start again this Tuesday (there’s me thinking Bake Off would stay on Wednesday evenings you see!) I’m baking bread, cake and pastry tonight ahead of some filming for Homepride tomorrow so I’d better make the most of it while I actually have a working kitchen. I got a delivery of an incredible Firepod this week, which turned out the most fantastic pizzas and I’ll share some recipes and show how it works soon. I’m hoping the Firepod will see us through the few weeks we’ll be without a working cooker – might even try a cake in it!
Anyway, loads still to do tonight so I’d better dash. Give me a shout about anything you want to know DIY-wise while I’m doing my place up and until next week, Happy Baking!