Settling into my new home has become a very long process; much longer than I had anticipated. I had several trips in May and June, which meant I was away for most of the weekends, unpacking was just a bore, and only five pieces of furniture work in the new place so I’m short on storage for the time being. (I’ve had to eBay almost everything that came from the old flat as the configuration of this one is completely different.)

I was very excited to order a sofa (the sitting room was an office in my old place) and when it arrived last week I discovered that it is 10cm too high to fit around the corner of my hallway that leads to the sitting room, thanks to an RSJ in the ceiling. Woe. (I think I’ll have to take out the office sash window to get it in. Although I’m having a nightmare finding a contractor who will even return my phone calls. Camden Box Frame, I’m looking at you in particular.)

So, as I haven’t been able to do much with my sitting room until it has a sofa in place, I’ve been looking at my garden. It still needs a lot of work – I haven’t addressed the borders or any planting, bar deadheading the roses, but I have hanging baskets full of pretty geraniums, I bought big fat lavender plants from IKEA for the windowsills, The Gardening Society at John Lewis sent me a lovely wooden crate of herbs, including some rampant mint.

cantilevered garden parasol and pink hydrangeas

Furniture-wise I have been thinking only in the short-term until I decide how I want to use the space. So I headed to eBay and to buy an 8ft folding table for £50, some German folding wooden beer garden benches (£99 for two, plus a folding wooden table I can use for parties) and a big cantilevered umbrella that covers the table.

So far, so good – enough to able to eat outside and use the garden as a lovely office. I’d like a BBQ set up but I’m still researching into this – I keep being distracted by outdoor pizza ovens, but I’m not sure I can really justify one.

John Lewis Islay Bench Dog Flowers Sunlight England

The Perfect Sunlounger

The one thing I have bought that fills me with all the joy is the sunlounger above. I knew that I wanted something big enough that would fit me and Lettice. A traditional sunbed would be pointless as Letty would keep jumping into it to try to sit on my lap, and I wanted something wide enough to put a book or laptop by my side instead of on the floor. (If I fell asleep I didn’t want something falling on the flagstones, or being trod on.)

I did look at this huge round bed with an integral sunshade – but really, they are more suited for hotels or cruise ships (they had them on the beautiful Cunard Queen Victoria) than a London back garden, and I’m not sure how I would store it in the winter. I was very close to buying one though, as it looked so goddamn comfy.

And then, after quite a lot of late-night searching, I found this black metal-framed sunbed with pale grey cushions on Ebay for £118 (sorry to those of you that follow me on Instagram where I said it was from Amazon). It’s absolutely perfect. Stable, and wide enough to fit me and the Tiny Dog AND all my papers, book, laptop, etc etc. The cushions are thick enough, and although they aren’t canvas, actually the slightly synthetic, flame retardant polyester is much better as it’s waterproof, and they are detachable for easy washing and maintenance.. (I bought them in the pale grey, but they also come in black.)

It has adjustable backrests so it can be reclined to flat if you want to snooze, or moved to one of five levels. The only thing I take issue with the promise of ‘easy assembly required‘. To which I say bollocks. The entirely flatpacked contents of the box which arrived took Hannah and me forty minutes together to assemble; the instructions are less than clear and one entire step is completely missing. I mean – it’s not hard, exactly, you just need to think logically and realise that the middle support that holds the two beds together is missing from the instructions. Also, don’t expect all the nuts and bolts to fit perfectly or tighten completely using the tools supplied. They won’t.

But – it’s fab and I am super pleased with how comfortable it is. I haven’t seen anything similar anywhere else and I thought the price compared favourably with the plastic ones on the market. My only proviso is that if you are, ahem, a little heavier, or you have super energetic bouncy children – or dogs bigger than Lettice, that might want to jump up, that you get your own spanner or wrench to tighten up all the screws to make it really secure.

The umbrella is this cream cotton one with a wooden pole from Argos, which was about £32. LOVE Argos – there is one over on Camden High Street and they do same-day delivery, often for freeeeeeeeeee.

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2 comments

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If you’re looking for outdoor cooking options, I highly recommend the kettle style baby Weber, if they’re available in the UK. They are designed to be used closed but you can roast a chicken, oven roasted mushrooms, cook a pizza, pretty much anything you like for outdoor cooking.

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Have you looked at Cobb ovens? We’ve had one for years, and with the cobble stones they are ready to cook on in about 10 minutes. No smoke and you can have them on the table. Small enough to take in the car and you can even put the parts in the dishwasher. They sell them in Lakeland. (I’m not connected to the company, just a Cobb fan!)

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