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Before and After – Our Bedroom

My latest labour of love in our house has been the redecoration of our bedroom. I can’t quite believe how long we lived with such hideous décor but suffice to say waking up in our new room is a much more calming experience than before. Let me show you what I mean…

Firstly, every wall was a different colour and/ or texture.

Wall number one was covered in turquoise metallic paint, complete with visible brush strokes where the previous owners did such an awful job.

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The next wall was adorned with a rather loud and slightly metallic (sensing a theme here?!) flower wallpaper.

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Then we had a bolder turquoise coloured wall (hmmmm, did someone say the word ‘clash’?!)

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And finally, the fourth wall which did contain a long set of fitted drawers (which we removed) and the old double glazing which was a horrible criss-crossed square design, blocking out the stunning view of the fields we get from our room.

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The first thing we had to do was to remove all the previous screws and nails that had been left in the walls…the previous owners were big fans of shelving EVERYWHERE!

Can you guess which one I did and which one Ian attempted? Who said you need a man for DIY?!

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After these holes had been filled and sanded it was time for the white paint. I called in reinforcements in the shape of my Mum and we spent about 4-5 days on this makeover.

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I used a steamer to remove the old wallpaper then we set to work trying to cover up all the turquoise. Nobody tells you how difficult metallic paint or dark turquoise is to cover up but it took us about 5-6 coats on the walls!!!

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Then we painted the cornices, sanded and glossed the skirting boards and I sanded and repainted the radiator.

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My plan was to just get the whole room painted white and then decide on a colour scheme (Ian is colour blind so paint decisions all fall to me!) It may have been the fact that we had lived in such a colourful room for so long but as soon as the room was white, I just knew that I wanted to keep it like this. It was clean, crisp and fresh and felt almost peaceful which is exactly what I wanted from our bedroom.

However, with our all-white furniture, it did border on slightly stark and clinical so I decided that I would introduce colour with the bedding, art and accessories. This would also mean that should our tastes change in the future, we can simply change the colour scheme easily too.

I was inspired by this piece of art for our colour scheme. There is something about it that is so fun and quirky plus it reminds me of our first trip to New York where we did in fact do a great hop-on/ hop-off bus tour! Once I had decided on this grey and yellow scheme, I decided to invest in a few key pieces to bring bursts of colour to the room.

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I love this geometric grey and yellow bedding set. I usually like much prettier, floral designs but I felt this was more unisex and not too girly for Ian.

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We also bought new chests of drawers and bedside tables (which prompted a huge spring clean of our clothes and several bin bags donated to charity shops!)

On our bedside tables, I found these cool yellow lamps. I know they are desk lamps but I kind of like that industrial look and breaking the rules!

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In our kitchen cupboards, we had these cute yellow saucers which I decided to rehome in our bedroom for loose change, jewellery and those kinds of bits and bobs.

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Ikea also had this cool yellow lantern which looks rather nice on our window sill.

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The finishing touches were the grey chair I upcycled, the picture that inspired the colour scheme and a couple more grey prints.

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As always, this isn’t the finished product for me. We still need blinds to be put up, some more art and a carpet or rug too but I am really happy with how our room turned out. Instead of being a chaotic and mismatched place we crashed out in, it is now our sanctuary where we sleep, relax and watch endless Netflix series with tea and cake!

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Cleaning Your Make-Up Brushes

First of September, first day of term and the first day of my new diet. Well, not a ‘diet’ per se but after an indulgent summer I am trying to cut out the rubbish and make myself really tasty and healthy lunches to take in to work. It was my first day back at school for a training day today and I have to say I am totally shattered. I’m off to Pilates in a bit and I am hoping I don’t nod off when we do our relaxation breathing on the mats!

I promise this isn’t going to be a preachy post on cleaning your make-up brushes because until a few years ago I had no idea washing your brushes was even a thing.

However, it really made sense when I thought about it – why spend all that money on good brushes, skin care products and lovely make-up to then apply it with brushes full of old make-up, oil, dirt and germs?

Now, I try and do it on a weekly basis and today I am sharing the way I do it and two products that help me keep my brushes clean.

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My first product is a relatively new one but I have used this Dr Bronner Magic Soap a few times and I am a convert. I use this as a ‘shampoo’ for my brushes and I know the anti-bacterial qualities will leave them clean and the rose scent makes them smell lovely. They dry really soft too – I have used washing up liquid in the past and some brushes have dried a little ‘crunchy’.

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Next, the Daily Make-Up Brush Cleaner from Sephora. I picked this spray up in America after reading lots of positive reviews about it and as long as I’m not in too much of a rush, I use it daily.

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I really like the fact that this is in a spray bottle as it means it is so quick and easy to use. You can either spritz this directly onto the brush and let it dry naturally or spray onto a clean face cloth or tissue then run the brush over it.

To do a ‘proper’ clean of my make-up tools, I grabbed my brushes to be cleaned, a towel and my Dr Bronner and headed to the bathroom.

Begin by wetting the brush head under warm water. I usually keep my brushes facing downwards to avoid too much liquid running back into the brush where it may loosen the glue.

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Then I pour a few drops of soap in my hand and rub the brush in a circular motion against my palm, rinsing it under a running tap continuously until it runs clear.

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You will be surprised by how much product is left in your brushes!

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Once the brush is clean, I give it a gentle rub with a clean towel then leave to dry naturally.

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And that’s that job out of the way for another week!

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Latest Purchases #57 – Back to School Buys (An ASOS and Primark Haul)

Today’s haul is a nice mixture of fashion and beauty buys. I have called it my ‘Back to School Buys’ but really it was more a case of me getting myself organised before work kicks in again and I find myself with much less free time than I have been used to this holiday!

First up, my ASOS goodies. My ‘uniform’ so to speak for work tends to be a dress with tights, boots and a cardigan in the winter and leggings and sandals in the summer. Therefore, when I buy a dress, I usually try to make sure it will look good the year round with either of these combinations.

I LOVE this floral skater dress from Oasis. I like that it has three-quarter length sleeves and the darker colours with a pop of neon mean I can wear it to work or dress it up with heels for a night out.

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I also bought this floral and striped dress with a Peter Pan collar from River Island. I think it is the perfect colour for Autumn although unfortunately the sizing is huge so I am returning this for a smaller size…never a bad thing!

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Obviously now is a great time to pick up summery items for next year as the shops begin to promote their Autumn/ Winter range and this little black strapless sundress will be great for holidays worn over a bikini. At £7 it was a bargain too!

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As well as the dresses, I also picked up a few beauty items.

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Top of my list was a bottle of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap, another product that beauty bloggers seem to rave about! These 18-in-1 formulas claim to wash everything from your hair to your sink but I wanted it as a make-up brush cleaner and when I saw there was a rose version I had to have it.

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I also decided to try a shade from the Rimmel Apocalips in Aurora. There was so much hype when these were released that I wasn’t sure it would live up to it. However, I was pleasantly surprised! Aurora is a reddish-coral shade which I wore out to dinner earlier this week. The colour pay-off is great and it applies with a great glossy finish before it dries to a creamy matte. I found it lasted well too so would be great for those times when you don’t want to be constantly reapplying your lippy. I think I will be picking up a few more shades in this range!

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I spotted two Barry M nail varnished in the sale too. Surprisingly, I don’t really have that many glitters or nail toppers and these two looked like they were packed full of glitter.

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I bought Yellow Topaz Glitter from their Jewel range, a formula packed with gold hexes and tiny holographic pieces. I also got Pink Sapphire Glitter, with pinky-purple hexes and silver bars.

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After a dentist appointment earlier in the week, I decided to pop in to Primark for a few bits to cheer myself up. I went at about 9am and it was lovely and quiet – much nicer than the usual crowds!

My main aim was to buy a few more sporty/ work-out items for Pilates and PE lessons. I tend to associate work-out gear with comfort and can sometimes end up wearing slouchy jogging bottoms and loose-fitting t-shirts which can look a little scruffy. While comfort and practicality are still my top considerations, I thought I could do with smartening up my sporting attire!

First up are these jogging bottoms. Slightly fitted so not too baggy, these have a cool leopard print design but aren’t too loud either – exactly what I had in mind!

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To pair with these, I bought a loose-fitting t-shirt. I will probably wear this with jeans too as I love the details such as the folded sleeves, slightly sheer material and distressed effect on the fabric.

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I also picked up a gorgeous white, glittery jumper to wear before it’s time to pull on the thick woolly tops. This looks great over jeans and will be ideal to layer up as it gets colder.

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Finally, a pair of cute slippers to replace my flip flops around the house.

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I was surprised at how much the Primark beauty stands have grown in recent years. They now have a whole make-up line as well as stocking various bath and beauty products from other brands. I also love looking at their false nail designs although I’m not really a fan of wearing them so it’s purely for some nail art inspiration!

I picked up a few things from this section:

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Some cute nail files with a floral and owl print

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Hair ties

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And Primark’s version of the Beauty Blender. I usually apply or blend my foundation with a brush but I have heard so many bloggers rave about these egg-shaped applicators that I thought I would give it a trial.

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Finally, I picked up some jewellery. I love the look of layering up several more delicate bracelets and these black and gold ones will look great together. There are some really pretty pieces in this set and for £2 you just can’t go wrong!

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Looking back on this post, I ended up buying more than I thought…isn’t that always the way?!

The sun is shining today so I am going to pull on my running shoes and head out before undoing my hard work with some cupcakes I plan on baking later on! x

Recipe – Tuna and Mixed Bean Salad

This week, my mind has been on back-to-school matters and my thoughts soon turned to food (obviously!) and more specifically my lunches. Now, I’m partial to the odd sarnie but taking in sandwiches every day can soon get very dull and so I am always looking for ways to keep my lunches healthy and interesting.

When we were in Majorca earlier this month, I tried a delicious tuna and bean salad and was determined to try and make my own version when we got home. Despite it being a salad, there are actually quite a few store-cupboard ingredients which means that it is something you can make even when you’re running a bit low on the fresh stuff.

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I really love this simple recipe as it’s colourful, fresh and full of different flavours and textures – one of those meals where every mouthful is different. As always, feel free to add or omit certain ingredients – I am planning on adding some cherry tomatoes, green olives and diced cucumber to my next batch, simply because that’s what I have in the fridge!

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Ingredientstuna6

1 tin of tuna

1 can of mixed beans (mine included chickpeas, soya beans, black eyed beans, pinto beans, kidney beans and aduki beans)

1 small can of sweetcorn

1 small jar of black olives, sliced

1 small jar of cornichons or gherkins, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons of capers

1 red pepper, diced

Half an onion, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

A drizzle of olive oil

Mayonnaise (optional)

How to make it

  • This is a real ‘throw it all in a bowl’ kind of recipe! Drain, chop and mix your ingredients together in a large mixing bowltuna8
  • Season well with salt and pepper, drizzle over some olive oil and if you want, add a few tablespoons of mayonnaise

It really is that simple! I plan on making a big bowl of this on Sunday night to see me through the first few days of school.

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This Week’s Nails – Porchester Square

Today is the last ‘proper’ day of my summer holidays so I am spending it doing a bit of school work and trying to get myself back into work-mode again.

I have been trying to hold on to the fact that it is still August and we just might have a few more warm and sunny days in store for us but I actually found myself wearing proper boots for the first time in months when we went out for dinner last night and my mind started wandering to warm tights, scarves, apple crumbles, pies and blankets on the sofa…are we there yet?!

As I am often being told, I have too many a lot of nail varnishes in my stash but there are certain ones that just stand the test of time and look good no matter what the season and no matter what colour or nail art design is on trend.

My go-to great shade is Porchester Square by Nails Inc, a colour they have now labelled one of their ‘Hero Shades’ and one that inspires a lot of dupes from other brands. It is hard to describe this beautiful colour as it can look grey, nude or a lavender lilac depending on the light.

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This is one of the few shades I own that I actually repurchase once it has run out and although I have always used the regular nail varnish, I am keen to try Nails Inc’s gel effect version too.

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As you probably know by now, I couldn’t leave this as just a plain manicure so I highlighted two nails with Barry M’s Confetti Nails in Marshmallow. These delicate pink iridescent strands look soft and almost feather-like over the grey shade and the combination of the two give a very wearable manicure.

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The ‘confetti’ can dry slightly raised on the nail so a good layer of Seche Vite seals the look and also gives it a smooth and glossy finish.

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What’s your ‘hero shade’ for nails? x

Restaurant Review – The Stable, Bath

Well, wasn’t there some drama in the Bake Off last night?! My best friend Lu came over for a catch up so I made us veggie burgers and sweet potato wedges and an incredibly sickly chocolate cake to get us in the mood for the icy stares of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood…anyone think Mezza Bezza has turned in to such a villain this series?!

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I wish I could accompany these pictures with a lovely recipe but to be honest, I had a very lazy bake thanks to good old Betty Crocker!

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Today’s restaurant review is actually from a visit a few weeks ago but it was that good I still remember every bite!

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The Stable is a South-West chain of restaurants specialising in three things: pizza, pies and cider. Whilst I love a menu bursting with tempting dishes to order, I also admire a restaurant that has the guts to limit themselves to a few items but done incredibly well…it seems to be working for all these burger chains that are everywhere at the moment!

Located in the old Hole in the Wall restaurant, The Stable is cosy and has a really friendly and relaxed atmosphere. I visited with my Mum and Ian for dinner and we managed to get a booth for optimum people watching.

We started with a cider each and the menu for these was pretty impressive. My Mum opted for something sweet with berries, Ian had some true Somerset Scrumpy and I chose a ginger and chili sweet cider which was delicious.

The menu was so tempting but in the end Ian and I ordered pizzas and my Mum had one of their pies.

The pizzas have an amazing sourdough base and the toppings are really inventive and much more interesting than your usual options. I had The Lamb Roast which included roasted lamb, goats milk cheddar, thyme-roasted sweet potato chunks, caramelised onions, tomato and mozzarella. This reminded me of a really good flatbread and it was honestly one of the best pizzas I have ever had.

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Ian surprised  me slightly by going for a veggie option, The Fitzwilliam. This was topped with herb-roasted potatoes, Bath blue cheese, caramelised onions, spinach, tomato and mozzarella. We swapped a slice of our pizzas and his was really good too.

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Like me, my Mum is a fan of a good, hearty pie and she ordered the Chicken, Leek and Ham with a thyme crust served with chunky potato wedges, salad, chutney and a seriously good picked onion. The pie was really good but it does feel like they have taken something traditional and hearty and tried to make it a bit posh by putting it on a trendy serving platter with some salad…what’s wrong with good old mash and gravy?!

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We also had unlimited bowls of salad and didn’t realise until the bill came that Tuesday nights had an offer which meant a pizza or a pie and a cider was just £10!

Overall, I cannot recommend this place enough for a good pizza and a pint of local cider. If you go on Tuesdays you get a bit of a bargain but for the quality of the ingredients and range of drinks, I would eat here any night of the week! x

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A Spot of Upcycling

I popped in to school yesterday to start getting my classroom in order for the start of term. It made me realise just how quickly these summer holidays have gone by but also how much I have managed to squeeze in to them – 2 holidays, many catch-ups with friends, days out and (with the help of my lovely Mum) I managed to finish redecorating two rooms in our house…not too bad!

I have to admit that the novelty of owning a house and being able to redecorate it has kind of worn off now I have realised what hard work it is. However, once the more demanding jobs of sanding, prepping and painting the walls are done, I can move onto the part I love; filling the rooms with the perfect accessories!

Obviously there are some things we had to buy, such as new carpets and bedding, but I love looking around the house at pieces of furniture and items we already have to see if they would work in a new space. I managed to find a new home for our striped armchair in the hallway and am always moving pictures and pieces of artwork around the place.

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There were two specific items I needed to finish off our entrance hall and bedroom and they were a telephone table and a chair. Luckily, I had two unloved and unused pieces around the house which would be perfect once they had had a lick of paint and it would also save me the time and money of having to source them new.

The table was an old coffee table we had in our last flat which was a rather boring pine colour and had been moved from room to room since we moved as I tried to find a place for it.

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The chair was a really basic one from IKEA. Again, we bought it as a set of 4 in our old flat but I have since been given some nicer ones by my parents so this one was living in the spare bedroom underneath a pile of blankets.

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I began by giving both items a good sanding down with some sandpaper. This helped to get rid of any grease and grime and also gives the primer something to grip onto.

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Once sanded, I gave the table and chair a wipe over with a damp cloth to remove any excess dust or powder.

The next step was to paint on a couple of layers of wood primer. I used white for both pieces as it’s a good base even if you are going to paint a different colour on top.

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The table then received two layers of white gloss and I also removed the old plastic feet that were attached. If you look really closely, you will probably see a few brush strokes but I don’t mind that it isn’t completely perfect!

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I wanted the chair to be a matte grey so I actually used some of the paint we had left over from decorating the hallway. This worked really well and was the exact shade I wanted.

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And here are the two items of furniture in their new homes…

The telephone table looks great in the hallway and is a handy place to put keys and post when you come through the door.

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The chair is in our newly decorated bedroom and is handy for leaving clothes on although I am determined it won’t become hidden underneath things I can’t be bothered to put away!

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I’ve just realised that this post kind of sounds like we have several spare rooms full of lovely furniture…we really don’t! Nevertheless, I do think that when you decorate, your first stop shouldn’t be the internet to buy new stuff – just have a quick look around the house for any bits and bobs that could be upcycled or even just moved to another room to save you a bit of time and money.

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