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Room Revamps

My recent post on my new yellow wall (read it here) got me thinking about quick room revamps. You know, an piece of furniture, some artwork or a splash of paint that can give a room a new lease of life.

Whilst researching colour scheme and furniture for our newly decorated guest bedroom, I couldn’t help finding things for other rooms so thought I would share a few items.

A new rug can make a real statement in a room. I am growing fond of chevron and geometric print rugs and when I found this lovely grey and white one, I knew it would be perfect for our living room. The muted colours mean the pattern is not too loud but I think it is still a statement piece when you walk in to the room.


We have recently had new neighbours move in which has given me a kick up the arse to get some blinds fitted in our kitchen and upstairs landing…it only took us three years!

I love the look of wooden blinds but didn’t want to lose any light in these two rooms and I’m not a fan of net curtains either. I think these William Morris inspired blinds are the perfect compromise. They are ‘semi-privacy’ blinds so offer just enough privacy without losing any sunlight. I really like the pattern on these and plan to have these fitted in our bedroom too.

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Two simple room additions that have completely transformed the spaces! x

A Splash of Colour

Not content with redecorating one room during this holiday, I was itching to add a bit more colour to our bedroom.

I wrote about our bedroom makeover here when my Mum and I transformed it from a metallic turquoise and patterned wallpaper mess into a crisp white room with grey and yellow accents. I still love this colour scheme but was browsing Pinterest for some ideas and came across the idea of adding a pop of colour around the window.

I was wary of painting on our beautiful white walls but decided to just go for it and I bought a sample pot of the brightest yellow I could find in B&Q (Narcissi if you’re wondering) and slapped on two coats.

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It is quite a shocking shade but there is such a tiny amount of it that it doesn’t look too outrageous and when the sun shines it adds a beautiful golden glow to the room. This was my view from my bed earlier this week:


This mini-makeover only cost a couple of pounds but has really revamped the room – I would recommend it if you are a fan of white walls but want to add a pop of daring colour.

Sunday Catch-up #13

You will find me with a big smile on my face for the next few weeks as it is half term! Whilst I love my job, I love the holidays just as much with the chance to switch off and unwind. Not that I will be doing too much relaxation – work is already underway to redecorate our guest bedroom, I have had a good catch-up and lunch date with work friends, my parents have come to stay and I have a trip to London, a wedding and more coffee dates with friends to fit in before school starts again.

This week I have been…

Making: some really tasty salads

Going: for lunch dates with friends

Wearing: old clothes as I end up covered in paint after approximately 20 minutes of decorating

Eating: this amazing crumble cooked by my brother’s girlfriend – thanks Tess!


Drinking: coconut water – I’ve got a real taste for it again

Reading: endless interior design websites

Watching: the Cameron/ Milliband interviews

Buying: new rugs, blinds, paint, bedding and accessories for the guest bedroom


Planning: my next wedding outfit

Cooking: this amazing chicken and quinoa salad


Baking: nothing this week…trying to be good!

Writing: shopping lists

Favouriting: Milly’s New York trip – so many little things added to our to-do list!

Working on: putting all the clocks, watches and various kitchen appliances forward an hour

Trying to decide: if I will be tempted by the latest ASOS and Body Shop sales (spoiler – 2 orders placed!)

Wishing: this blister on my painting hand would disappear #DIYproblems


Enjoying: having my Mum and Dad to stay

Needing: to book a cut and colour soon

Feeling: very happy at the thought of not having to get up at 6:30am tomorrow morning

Giggling at: Gogglebox, standard

Football, Food Markets and Vintage Finds

The above title pretty much sums up my weekend!

After a fun Friday night spent with my brother’s girlfriend and one too many JD and cokes, I was up and out early on Saturday to meet my best friend Lu and her family for a spot of shopping, lunch and then to watch Bristol City play. We won 2-0 and the sun shone too – perfect.


Today, Ian and I headed to Frome Independent Market. I have written about this market before and we try to go each month for a wander and to pick up some treats.

I headed straight to one of my favourite stalls, Dark Matters, to pick up a few of their incredible brownies. I chose their peanut butter and chocolate one, a mint choc chip brownie and a rose, hazelnut and pistachio variety…worth spoiling the diet for!

As well as brownies, I also picked up some cheeses, some heirloom tomatoes to recreate my orzo pasta recipe and Ian found a lovely Scrumpy cider stall where we bought a few litres.


As always, we had a spot of lunch there. I opted for a dirty beef brisket baguette which was topped with pickles, BBQ sauce and a pot of the cooking liquid. Whilst eating, we watched some great local bands – my favourite was a punk band called Killing Felix who were ace.

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Finally, we had a wander around the huge selection of vintage stalls and picked up a few things for our house. We have wanted a new coffee table for a little while but couldn’t quite decide on one we both liked but when I saw this vintage trunk, I thought it would be perfect.

It has been painted in a chalky grey colour and I like the fact it isn’t a traditional four-legged table to add a bit of interest. We may move this to another room in the future but for now we are going to trial it as our new coffee table.


The next one is a bit of a strange purchase but one I have been on the lookout for in vintage shops for absolutely ages! On an interiors website about a year ago, I saw an old wooden ladder used as a scarf and belt holder leant against a bedroom wall. It looked amazing and is a great way to actually see the scarves you have whilst adding a pop of colour to a room. I will post a few pictures when I get this set up in our new bedroom.


The rest of the day will be fairly chilled out for us but we will definitely be having a cheeseboard tonight to try our new buys! x


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’?!)


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?!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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


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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.

Before and After – Hallway and Landing

Hello! I am very excited to finally share the makeover that has taken place in our hallway over the past few months. It is the first area you see when you walk through the front door so I was sick of it looking so shabby and being a dumping ground for all our bags and work stuff.

I have to admit that I didn’t do this one single-handedly. We used a painter and decorator for the bulk of the job and although I am usually a DIY advocate, I didn’t fancy balancing precariously on ladders painting the high ceilings in our hallway! We used Martin from here and I can’t recommend him enough. He was prompt, friendly, and really tidy and the finished result was excellent – definitely better than what I could have managed in a week.

Anyway, as always here some of the ‘before’ pics…

As you can see the bannisters were worn, chipped and painted with a horrible brown fake-wood effect:

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The walls were a nondescript pale blue colour with some peeling swirly wallpaper thrown in for good measure:


The previous owners seemed to love painting the skirting boards and coving in different colours and here you can see the blue shade they picked out…in my opinion these should always always always be white!

The carpet was worn and patterned and the doors on the landing were a grubby brown colour with really ugly handles:

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We did start the decorating job ourselves by trying to remove decades worth of paint from the bannisters – I think we counted over 7 different layers!


This was really slow work for us and so messy…

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Ultimately, it came to an end when I was hanging almost upside down over the bannisters with the heat gun trying to address the underside of the hand rail when my hair got caught up in the motor of the heat gun and promptly fused it – whoops!


We also had a new front door fitted, new double glazed windows and had a wall replastered before we started decorating – I’ve always wanted a red front door and I love ours!

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As soon as we called in Martin, I realised the different between my version of DIY and a professional’s! He got to work stripping the old paint off the bannisters in a few days and prepping the doors, walls, skirting boards and coving.

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I decided to go for grey on the walls. At first I wanted an off-white grey but then decided that against white woodwork, I wanted a darker colour so opted for Soft Shadow by Crown, a sort of purple-toned grey which was not too dark yet contrasted against the white. I have to admit I was unsure when the first coat went on (I thought it might be a bit too dark) but now I love it and we have enough windows so that the hallway always feels bright.

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When Martin finished, it was time for the fun part – shopping for accessories and customising some furniture!

We had a new grey carpet fitted which is so soft and springy

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To tie in with the red front door and to add a pop of colour, I chose this statement lampshade from IKEA

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On the windowsill of the landing, I added three succulents in pretty pots


I hung the print I bought for Ian on our first wedding anniversary


Martin also attached vintage-style door handles to all of the doors upstairs

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I thought for a long time about the entrance hall as I wanted it to look really good when you first walk through the door.


My Mum and I painted this radiator cover white to match the woodwork.

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Above this Ian hung a new mirror, which I thought looked quite vintage

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I also upcycled an old coffee table into a white telephone table


I had a bit of a dilemma about how to hide all the gadgets and wires but a white storage box did the trick!

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We also hung our silver antlers coat hanger (a present I bought Ian for Christmas) near our stag…I think we have a thing about deer and antlers!

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Finally, our striped chair (which we didn’t quite know where to put) adds a finishing touch and makes it look a bit more homely and cosy.

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Et voila! From old, tired and dated blue to modern, clean and fresh grey and white. I don’t think a room is ever ‘finished’ as I am constantly adding bits and bobs to different spaces but this is finished enough for me to share it and I love walking through the front door to see how it has all come together!


Restaurant Review – The Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills, Dorset

My Mum is staying with us for a few days so as well as a few girlie lunches and shopping trips, we have also decided to redecorate mine and Ian’s bedroom. Luckily, it isn’t too major a job but like all rooms in our house the previous owners’ taste was horrific and we have gaudy wallpaper and dark turquoise and metallic painted walls to contend with! And I have the most painful little blister on my hand from spending hours painting today! I’m sure it will all be worth it in a few days when I share my ‘Before and After’ photos.

Today I wanted to share my love for a pub Ian and I keep going back to when we are in Dorset. The Smugglers Inn is a beautiful 13th Century pub which is nestled along the coastline with stunning views across the bay.


It has a large beer garden which is always full of cute dogs and excitable children with lots of seating indoors and outside too. When we were camping last week, we popped in here most days for food or just a drink as it was so near our campsite and just has the most wonderful laid-back atmosphere in the summer months. It is also a Badger Brewery pub which sells some of mine and Ian’s favourite ever ales (we worked our way through all of them throughout our visits!)

My favourite is Golden Glory; a light, golden ale with peach and melon flavours. I read on the back of the bottle that it is ideally matched with my favourite food of all time, ribs, so this ale and I were clearly meant to get be!


We decided to eat here for our anniversary as whilst the food is just simple pub grub, it is really tasty and we haven’t had a bad meal there yet.

I started with a portion of whitebait which was served with lemon and tartare sauce. These always remind me of our holidays in Spain and were so fresh and delicious.


Ian had a bowl of spicy wings with a lovely blue cheese sauce and crudités. These were so good we ordered them again for lunch a few days later!


For our main courses I opted for a rump steak which was glazed with a Blandford Flyer beer and smoky BBQ sauce and served with chips and coleslaw. This was cooked perfectly and I really enjoyed it, especially the glaze on the steak.


Ian had their award-winning steak and ale pie (which I forgot to get a picture of!) but I had a little bite and the filling was delicious.

If you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, I thoroughly recommend popping in to this lovely pub for a drink or two…we can’t wait to go back!


A Little Catch Up

It felt like I didn’t have a spare second to blog last week so I thought I would start this week with a little catch up…

We have enjoyed glorious weather for the past week and I have spent most of my free time either in the garden or watching the World Cup…but the less said about England the better!

I have become slightly obsessed with my roses, which I still believe are the some of the most beautiful I have ever seen – I am even logging on to gardening websites for hints and tips! Unfortunately they don’t last very long when I have cut them and brought them inside in vases but the smell is so intoxicating I don’t really mind.

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Not wanting to turn this into a gardening post but as well as my roses, I am also doing daily checks on my tomato plants and raspberries. We are growing two different varieties of tomatoes indoors in pots in the conservatory and now have about 12 baby ones coming through.

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Whilst clearing away a huge bramble bush in the back garden at the weekend, I also uncovered five or six healthy-looking raspberry plants which have a nice little harvest ready to pick.


After moaning about my recent ceiling-painting, Ian and I decided to treat ourselves to a professional decorator for our hallway. It’s a big job and I don’t trust myself balancing precariously on stepladders to access those hard to reach places, so I think it is worth it. I spent a long time in B&Q finding the perfect shade of grey I wanted and the entrance hall, stairs and landing are already looking much better than they did before.


I went to a really interesting talk on chocolate moulding at our village hall with the local WI. I’m not a member but couldn’t resist the invitation from a friend to join them for an evening of tasting and making. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photographs but I will definitely put my new skills to good use soon.

I held a little pizza party for the England match with friends. It was a really fun evening and I will be sharing my foodie tips on it later this week.


Finally, my highlight of the week, well actually my highlight of 2014 so far, was seeing the legend that is Dolly Parton at Birmingham NEC last night.  Ian and I drove up with my parents and it was the most amazing concert…I’m not sure if I enjoyed the songs or all her funny stories in between them more! Having grown up listening to her, it was great to sing along to all the classics and her voice was just stunning. The tickets were pricy but I don’t know how many more UK tours she will do so it was a case of ‘now or never’ when I saw them advertised! I can’t wait to watch her again on TV at Glastonbury this weekend.


Phew…no wonder I didn’t have time to blog this week! x

How to…Restore an Iron Gate

This little project has been an on-going one since we moved in to this house about two years ago but with the help of my Mum this week, it is finally finished!

My priority has always been to get the inside of the house looking good with the front and back garden a kind of afterthought that we just about keep on top of with the occasional bit of lawn mowing and weeding. The front of your house however is obviously the first thing that people see when they come over so I wanted to smarten ours up to make a good first impression and all that!

We inherited a rather worn and rusty iron gate when we moved in, which I assume was once painted black. As you have probably gleaned, I am a fan of all things white so set about researching how to transform our gates. I should point out that I first started this project in April 2012 so it has taken me a good two years to finish it…sounds about right for me, although I am clearly going to blame it on the lack of good sunny outside-painting weather!


The basic kit you will need:

  • Wire brushes (a thick one for the gate posts and a thin one for getting into the fiddly ornate bits)gate3
  • Paintbrush (use an old one as unless you want to buy the specialist thinner, this paint is pretty impossible to clean off!)
  • Specialist metal paint in the colour of your choice (I chose one that didn’t need a primer or top coat)gate13
  • Hot soapy water and an old rag/ cloth

Try and choose a day or weekend when you have fairly decent weather as rain can interfere with the paint drying and wind can cause dust and debris to stick to your newly painted gates.

Begin by using your wire brushes to thoroughly scrub the gate to remove all traces of rust. With a gate of this size, it did feel like a rather painstaking process but it ensures the paint has a good surface to adhere to and gets rid of all the old paint as well.

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You can see where I used the wire brushes here:


Next, using hot soapy water and a rag, clean down the iron to ensure all traces of rust and dust are gone.gate9 gate10

Finish off with a spray of clean water but mind your toes…I got soaked!

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Once the gate has dried off, then you can start painting. You can lay down old sheets if you want to avoid getting paint on the surrounding floor or plants but I didn’t bother.

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We needed two layers of paint for full coverage and if your gate is ornate like ours then you really do need to take care and make sure every twist and curl is painted.

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Once the gates dried and I admired our handiwork, I added the finishing touch which was a number 7 sign I bought when we first moved and can FINALLY put up now!

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I hope you’ll agree the gates now look 100 times better and make our drive look so much nicer! x