Spring Reset – Kitchen Planning

It finally feels like Spring and, much like the polar bears in this video, I feel like I am emerging from hibernation. Only it’s safe to say, not nearly as cutely as a polar bear and into a mound of DIY, not snow.

As I mentioned in my first post of 2017, we had an appointment with a kitchen planner in January. One thing led to another and somehow we ended up ordering a kitchen a few days later, in the January sale.

Tiverton Slate

Image Source

We’ve gone for a Wickes kitchen after reading lots of positive reviews and having eyed this one up in store every time we popped in for screws/paint/skirting board etc etc (which was pretty often!) It’s called Tiverton Slate and, like everything else in our house, is grey! We’ve opted for a natural oak worktop and white metro tiles, with integrated appliances.

Despite being half price in the sale, the kitchen will be the most money we’ve ever spent on anything (aside from the house itself!) and some of it has gone on interest free credit from Wickes to allow us the cashflow to get the work done that we need to prior to it being installed in April.

As a reminder, this was how the kitchen was when we moved in:

Kitchen before

Until we started this project earlier this month, we hadn’t really changed anything since this photo was taken, other than scoring a bargain second hand dresser to fill the gap to the left of the doorway.

We are now T-4 to the installation and this is a quick update on progress:

Kitchen wall

We’ve ripped out the old bathroom and knocked down the wall separating the kitchen and downstairs bathroom.

Terracotta floor times

We’ve removed several hundred very badly laid, but still beautiful, terracotta floor tiles (looking for a new home on eBay if anyone is interested!)
Studwork wall

We have built the studwork for a new wall to even out this little corner (as units will go on this wall eventually).

There’s lots still to do to make this room ready for the new kitchen included laying a new floor, moving the boiler, re-routing all pipework, fixing the holes in the ceiling, blocking in a doorway, plasterboarding and plastering, re-plumbing the radiator to name but a few! We’re doing most of the work ourselves to save money, so will check back with a progress update soon 🙂



Never Judge a Blind by its Cover

Our bedroom blind had suffered as a result of the damp back wall and didn’t really go with the overall scheme (it was a bargain buy before we decorated when we just needed something to block the light). I wanted a dark grey blind to replace it, but didn’t want to spend much money.

I found this John Lewis blind on eBay for £10.59; a bargain because it was damaged, but in the spirit of never judging a book by its cover, I realise it’d work perfectly with a little bit of TLC. I initially planned to replace the buttons, because as you can see, they were either missing or broken.

JL blind JL Brompton Steel blind

Removing broken buttons

N thought that buttons were a bit fussy for our simple, Scandi style bedroom and I realised that I could just cut remove the buttons, cut the blind off at the level where the buttons had been and remove and replace the rod in the higher slot.

p1020402 p1020403This worked out nicely and we now have a blind that is far more harmonious in the bedroom:

Blind before and after

Now we just need it to get a little warmer so that we can get on and paint that window!

What a Difference a Pipe Cover Makes

Spolier alert… this post contains a sneak peak of our new bathroom!

Pipe Covers

These little beauties were just 99p for a pack of 8 from the 99p Store. Not bad for 25p per radiator.

The benefit of these covers compared with the more expensive variety – like these – is that they are flexible and wrap around the pipe, thus disguising the fact that our pipes are in fact only 10mm (the covers are designed for 15mm pipes) and ever so slightly wonky!

Walls: Valspar Cottage Door Kitchen & Bathroom Paint ( B&Q £27, 2.5 litres)
Radiator: Acova 2 (purchased from eBay for £25)
Valves: Verona (Screwfix, £9.99 for 2)
Floor tiles: Bertie (Tons of Tiles, £27.54 per m2)
Pipe covers: White 15mm (99p store, 99p)
Pipe collars: White 15mm (Screwfix, £1.97 for 10)

Candle Jar Bathroom Storage

The bathroom is progressing… slowly. To try and distract me from my impatience for it to be finished, I am already planning the finer details (cotton bud storage, anyone?) even though we have no toilet, sink or bath installed.

Cotton buds in candle jar

I’m back to candle jar storage. This time, the candles are from Sainsbury’s and come with handy glass lids. Once cleaned out, they are just the perfect size for a pack of cotton buds 🙂

Candle Cotton BudsNow I just need a bathroom to put them in!

£3 Headboard Update

We’re really pleased with how our guest bedroom is looking now, but the Malm bed that we snapped up for £24 last year (it was one of the last ‘IKEA size’ beds before they conformed to regular sizes) didn’t quite look right after we’d painted the room. It just wasn’t quite so white as the newly whitened paintwork:

Malm Headboard Update

One of my 2016 goals is to ‘cosy up’ the house and I thought the perfect way to go this was to cover the headboard with something soft and cost, that matched the room a little better.

I used this IKEA Polarvide throw in grey. It was a bit of a tight fit as the blanket was only just big enough to cover the headboard, but I simply held it in place, stapled away with a staple gun and trimmed off the excess once I was done.

Malm Polarvide Headboard


It’s not the perfect finish, but it’s a nice and cheap little update that will see us through until we next change things around (or maybe one day buy a bed that’s not from Ikea!)

Seed Pot Maker

I have been wanting to make pots for growing seeds for ages. I came across this seed pot maker in Sainsbury’s and thought I would share with you as today I spotted it reduced to just £1.50. Snap it up quick!

Sainsburys Pot Maker

It’s a pretty simple idea – you get a block to wrap the newspaper around and then a base that you push the newspaper into to form a base:

Seed Pot Maker

The instructions suggest you use strips of newspaper 9cm wide and 58cm long, but after a bit of experimenting, I’ve discovered that the pots work just as well using shorter strips from magazine pages, which allow you to pick some fun patterns for your pots.

I used a selection of my favourite free magazines and pulled out an advert with an eye-catching design for these pots:
Seed Pot

Now to plant some seeds… happy growing!

Magazine Seed Pots


New House

So it’s time to share the ‘moving in’ pictures of the new house! This time, I was patient enough to get some photos whilst it was still empty.

The house is very old (nobody quite knows when it dates back to) which manifests itself in lots of ‘character’ – there are wonky walls and floors galore! It’s definitely a project and we were lucky enough to buy it for an absolute steal at just the right time. Hopefully it will last us for a long time.


The side door leads you straight into the kitchen, complete with amazing extra-long butler sink, wooden beams and vintage cooker.

Utility room


Off to the left are a very handy utility room and the main bathroom, complete with very lovely macerator sticker on the bathroom door… nice


Stairs lead down from the kitchen to the basement. I’d love to create a little gym down here and am keeping my eyes peeled on Freegle/Gumtree for equipment (I need to get there first before it becomes a man cave!)

Living Room

The living room is my favourite room in the house with its big windows and beautiful floor

My office

Big Office

Upstairs are the big and little offices (mine is the dinky one!) for our new working-from-home adventures


Guest bedroom

And two bedrooms, with a strange assortment of windows and some lovely stained walls


Finally on the top floor, there’s an amazing attic room with lots of potential. I have grand visions of an amazing master suite … a girl can dream!

There’s also a little bit of outside space with an asbestos-ridden garage to contend with, but that’s a story for another day!

Watch this space, as we begin this thrifty renovation in 2015… Why not follow along on Instagram?

Finished Flat

Exciting news (and hopefully a good reason for the lack of posts) – we have moved!

Before I share photos of the new place, I thought I’d post a few of the finished flat before moving out, as I realise a lot of what happened never really ended up on here…



Kitchen – we didn’t really need to do much here other than lay the floor, but we did fit the wine rack (oh and all of the integrated appliances – never ever taking a washer dryer up to a second floor flat again!)



Flat en suite

En suite – again, not much claim to fame here, other than sourcing the perfect mirror cupboard with lots of shelves (which I am now missing terribly in the new place!)


Flat living room

Open plan living area – my favourite project in the flat was spray painting the chairs; we sold almost all of the furniture when we moved, but couldn’t bear to part with the chairs, so they have moved with us

Flat open plan

Another shot of the living area with the ‘built in’ Ikea Besta storage we fitted

Flat office

Office – this never quite got finished (see eyesore turquoise curtains!), but we had fun creating the gallery wall and prettying up the storage after this photo was taken

Flat bedroom Pax

Bedroom – I didn’t ever share the picture frame wall in here, or the ‘built in’ Pax wardrobes… more faux built in fun to come though in the new place though, I hope!

And so that chapter closes. Here’s to fresh beginnings, a new year and a new house. Cheers!

Prettying up Storage Boxes

When I was looking back at these pictures of the Expedit storage in the office/spare bedroom, one of the things that really struck me was how mis-matched and cluttered all of the storage looked.

I wanted to pretty up some of the storage, but without buying new containers. This project cost just 90p for a roll of wrapping paper from Tesco (with plenty left for other projects/wrapping up). In addition to the wrapping paper, I used a cereal box, some leftover scraps of white card, glue and scissors, plus my alphabet stamps (mine were £2 from Hobbycraft) and ink, all of which I already had.

The problem was that the frosted fronts showed all of the contents, which on the plus side meant I could easily see what was inside, but on the down side meant they looked messy:

Office storage boxes


To counter this, I measured the front-facing panel of the boxes and cut to size some cardboard from the cereal box. I glued the wrapping paper to these cardboard rectangles and neatly trimmed the edges to size. I then trimmed my scraps of white card to fit in the label holders and used the letter stamps to mark what was inside.

Office box labels


5 minutes later, they were all slotted into place and back on the shelf and what a big difference they make!

Office storage


Pretty chevron storage

This was a quick, cheap and easy project with high impact… my favourite kind! It has now inspired me to try and tackle the rest of this room on the never-ending quest for storage that’s not an eyesore… Watch this space.


How to Create a Gallery Wall on a Budget

Gallery walls are all the rage right now and I am unashamed to say that I have hopped on the band wagon!

Thrifty Gallery Wall

The walls of the flat are very tall and very white. The second bedroom/office seemed like the perfect place for a gallery wall to fill some of the blank space, so we set about creating one that had sentimental value and didn’t cost the earth.

First up, was my old Kermit the Frog poster, which was on the wall in my halls of residence at uni (!) thank you to the grapefruit for holding the poster out flat, allowing me to pick my favourite Kermit pose:

Kermit poster

Which had to be Kermit with head in hands!

Kermit in frame

Next up was this fudge box, bought back by N’s parents from Guernsey, where he used to holiday as a child:

Fudge box for gallery

I love the cow made out of the Guernsey letters, so we chose a frame that would maximise the cow (and hide the fact it was a fudge box!)

Guernsey cow in frame

I also really like this page of The Times from the day I was born, which I picked up from the Cheltenham Literature Festival a couple of years ago as a freebie.

Budget gallery art

Or how about framing a postcard? This postcard is from my day out in Liverpool and brings a little bit of colour to the monochrome theme.

Framed postcard

The frames in the gallery are an assorted of black frames collected over the years, plus a handful of new ones (mostly Ikea Ribba), we also thrifted some fixings from old/broken frames to make sure we could hang things where we needed to:

Thrifty framing

The trinket box you can see in the shot below is this one from my new favourite shop, Tiger and was probably the most expensive thing on the wall at £10 (unless you count my degree certificate, which is up there and cost to the tune of £20k, but let’s gloss over that for now!)

Gallery Wall

We played around with the layout by measuring out the space on the living room floor and laying out the frames, or you can seek inspiration from Pinterest, which has lots of layout ideas.

I’m really pleased with the finished result, which definitely brings some much-needed personality, next up is to rid the room of those awful turquoise curtains!