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A Perfect and Personalised Wedding Present

I didn’t have time to post yesterday as we had Ian’s parents staying with us for a few days to lay our bathroom floor. It looks lovely so as soon as I have added some finishing touches I can show you a ‘Before and After’ of our bathroom. Another room ticked off the to-do list too!

Today’s post is rather well-timed as it is coming up to that time of year where your friends and family start getting hitched! Two of our best friends got married last summer and we searched all over the place for a gift that would be really personal. On a posh wedding gift website I saw some map photographs and decided I would be able to make my own version for much less and I would probably enjoy doing it too!


This is ideal for a wedding gift but I would also love to receive this as a housewarming, anniversary or birthday present too.

All you need to make this lovely gift is:


  • A pretty frame with at least two windows in it
  • A map
  • Scissors
  • A pencil

I found this lovely frame in Sainsbury’s and I liked how it looked slightly vintage.


You need to think of some places that are significant to the recipients of your gift. For my friends, we chose the place they met, where they live now and the village they were getting married in. It also helped that these three places were quite far apart from each other on the map so I didn’t have any overlap!

Using the pencil, mark out where you think the frame would look best


And then cut them out – don’t worry if they are creased like mine were because they will be pressed flat again in the frame.


Make sure you rub out any visible pencil lines


Pop the map pictures back in the frame and there you have it…


A really meaningful and personal piece of art for your friends, all done for less than a tenner.

(I know my friends won’t mind me putting the cost as we also got them some other lovely stuff!)

Kitchen Dresser Makeover


Yesterday was glorious here in the West Country and it was like everyone came out of hibernation and were desperate to soak up some rays of sunshine and be outside. Ian and I headed out for a walk along the canal, stopping off for a few drinks al fresco…heaven!

dresser23 dresser22 dresser20 dresser19 dresser18

Today, I wanted to share a little DIY project with you which was my mission to finish this Easter. My main Christmas present from my parents this year was a pine kitchen dresser. I looked everywhere for one that I liked but the only ones I could find were over £600 and I knew a big chunk of this price was down to the fact that someone had hand-painted and customised the piece of furniture. So I decided to change my search and look for a plain pine cabinet to redecorate myself!


The corner that I wanted to put the dresser in isn’t huge so I wanted a slim dresser and found this one in Argos for just £139.99.

The first challenge was putting the thing together, which I have to say took the best part of a Sunday afternoon!

dresser37 dresser35

Ian even managed to screw his finger to the wood!


The pine dresser sat in the corner of our dining room for a few months and started to become a bit of a dumping ground for bills, pens and other junk so when I knew I had two weeks off I decided to tackle this!

dresser34 dresser33

When I pictured moving out to the country, I knew I wanted a dresser in my kitchen. In the 1930s almost every household had one and they were the focus of the room. I think they are a fabulous way to display your favourite things and you can decorate them depending on the seasons.

Knowing I am slightly messy when attempting things like this, I tried my best to minimise the mess by laying down a dust sheet in the kitchen (it didn’t help…there are tiny flecks of paint everywhere now!)


The dresser we bought came in two parts so I decided to decorate them separately to make my daily painting a bit more manageable.

I began by sanding down the wood to remove the sheen that had been applied and also to give the paint something to hold onto.




Then it was a layer of white undercoat.


Followed by 3 layers of antique cream paint. I used the same colour paint as I used on my dining table so there is some consistency in the room.dresser24


I decided that the little wooden knobs were too plain and had to go, along with the wooden feet the dresser was stood on. I found these gorgeous vintage-style knobs on ebay and ordered four in a pretty pastel lilac colour.

dresser16 dresser12


After living in complete chaos for the best part of two weeks and having to carefully avoid getting paint on my clothes, it was time to screw the two parts of the cabinet together and here it is…

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Now comes my favourite part…decorating it!


I plan on constantly tweaking this throughout the year but I grabbed a few of my favourite kitchen items and started pottering.


I began with my favourite plates, from Cath Kidston and some candles.


Then I kept adding to it with items I have picked up from vintage fairs and charity shops.




One of my favourite pieces is this tiny mug of my hometown, Minehead, found at a vintage fair in Birmingham for just £1!


With the completion of this project, my dining room is pretty much finished so I will try to put together another ‘before and after’ post…and start to think about which room I can move onto next!

Latest Purchases #16 – Why you should always read the small print!

Today I wanted to share another recent purchase with you and use it as an example to illustrate why you should never be taken in by a pretty pattern and should actually read the dimensions listed in the small print!

One of my favourite vintage bloggers recommended this tray to me and when I saw the price of just £2.99 I thought it was a real bargain. I pictured myself using it to have breakfast in bed, carry things out to the garden for a BBQ or when Ian is out and I treat myself to dinner on the sofa!


So when Ian text me saying my butter dish had arrived I had no idea what he was talking about…

It turns out that my idea and the ebay seller’s idea of ‘a tray’ was a little different although I am taking full culpability here as the measurements are CLEARLY listed on the page next to where I clicked ‘add to basket’!!!

I still love the pattern on this little tray/ dish/ platter (see, I don’t even know what to call it!) and it will make a welcome addition to my home.


It has that vintage floral Cath Kidston look to it, which I love, and it’s actually very useful.

So far, I am undecided about how to use it:

I may have it as somewhere to keep my oil, vinegar and seasonings next to the hob


I may keep near the front door so we don’t keep losing our keys!


Or I may put it next to my bed to put the jewellery in that I take off at night


I have included the link to this should you fancy treating yourself to one and there are a couple of different sizes and designs available.

Oh, and if you do happen to see a pretty, floral tray of normal proportions online, please do send me the link!

I am off to wrap up warm and crank up the heating ready for the below-freezing temperatures we are expecting tonight…hot cocoa all round! x

How to…Frame It

I have been having somewhat of a mini spring clean lately, clearing out clothes that I no longer wear, burnt out candles, old make-up and a variety of other junk.

I now feel that the things I have held onto should have their own place. That isn’t to say I want everything to match or be of a particular colour scheme, but I want the things in my home to look they belong and more importantly I want to like them too!

Annoyingly, I forgot to take a decent ‘before’ shot of the photo frame I have upcycled when it was on my window sill, but if you squint you can just about see it in the background of this shot!IMG_4206

I bought this plain brown wooden frame from Ikea years ago and it has been sat on the window sill in my living room since we moved. We also had it in the living room area of our old flat but there we had lots of pale wooden accessories so it blended in a bit better.

I think I kept it up because I just love the picture. It is of me and my two best friends on a night out at uni. However, every time I looked at it recently I thought it looked tired and a bit of a boring accessory so I decided to give it a revamp!


Bring on the vintage wallpaper…I pick these sample sheets up from free online sample sites and sometimes at vintage fairs and in charity shops. Some home shops even have a bargain bin where you can pick up offcuts of different designs too. I like to pick up any designs that have a vintage, floral look to them and I keep a drawer full for little projects like this one.


I used wallpaper because the paper is slightly thicker and more textured than wrapping paper, but I imagine you could use your favourite wrapping paper on a small frame too.


Here is what you will need to make your own Vintage Wallpaper Photo Frame:


  • An old photo frame with a flat outer frame
  • Some beautiful wallpaper
  • A sharp pencil
  • Scissors
  • A craft knife
  • A wooden board
  • PVA glue
  • A small brush

And here’s how you do it:

1)      Begin by drawing around the outer edge of the frame onto the back of the wallpaper. I gave mine a few millimetres extra either side to allow for any cutting errors!IMG_4517

2)      Cut this rectangle outIMG_4518

3)      Now remove the inside photo and glass from the photo frame and draw around the inner edge of the frameIMG_4519

4)      Using a craft knife and your wooden board, score along these lines. It is helpful to use a straight edge when doing this such as a metal ruler or another piece of wood. I wouldn’t recommend doing this with scissors as you will bend the paperIMG_4521

5)      You should now have your paper frame coverIMG_4524

6)      Paint on a light layer of glue on the face of your wooden photo frameIMG_4525

7)      Very carefully, press on your paper cover, ensuring it is placed on evenlyIMG_4526

8)      Turn the frame over, press down firmly and then place some heavy books on top to allow it to dry and set


9)      Put the glass and a photo of your choice back inside et voila! You have a new and completely individual photo frame.frame4

I love the vintage look this gives and it only cost me a few pence to do!


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This Year’s Tree

It is freezing here at the moment and this dip in temperature makes me want to make our home as warm and as welcoming as possible. I get home first in the evenings and so I have the slight misfortune of coming home to a dark, empty and rather chilly house. However, I have a little routine set up now that makes it go from cold to cosy in just a few minutes!

First of all, I kick off my shoes and put a pair of slippers on. Then, the heating gets turned up. Finally, I start to add soft light to the house through fairy lights, candles and lamps.




I’m actually rather jealous that Ian gets to come home to this!


However, my current favourite activity to do when I come in is to switch on the Christmas tree lights. There is nothing more comforting that the soft glow from the fairy lights, twinkling against your decorations and I breathe a deep sigh of contentment when I turn them on.

I couldn’t wait to put our Christmas tree up this year. Maybe it is because it is the first year in our new house which makes it feel extra special, but I had the tree up on December 1st. Unfortunately, the new decorations I bought for it didn’t arrive for another few days but that is beside the point!

I can quite often get inspiration for decorating from a simple item and when I was trying to decide on the colour scheme for this year’s Christmas tree I decided to use these Ikea decorations as a starting point.



Costing just £2.50 for a set of four hearts I chose a red and white polka dot and a grey and white gingham print. I loved the vintage look these both had and knowing we would be decorating a black Christmas tree this year, I thought the grey would soften it slightly. I also thought I would keep a few of the hearts to have hanging around the house throughout the year, from door knobs and windows as they don’t look too Christmassy.


Here is the ‘before’ of our tree; a good size but screaming out for some decorations!


We tackled the lights first and, despite taking an age to get them out of the packaging, I was glad we went for a new set of 200 because I didn’t want it to look sparse.


I’m not a huge fan of tinsel but I did find a string of white snowflakes that I have used in place of it and some small silver beads to add a bit more sparkle.



Then, it was a case of unpacking my Dotcomgiftshop haul of new decorations and finding the right place for them all:












I also wanted to do something to disguise the plastic base so reneged ever so slightly on my no-tinsel rule and wrapped some black sparkly stuff around the legs, although I’m hoping this area will soon be further disguised by presents if I ever have time to wrap them!



And the finishing touch was a lovely, big, silver star on the top!


Apologies for the slightly dodgy pictures but my camera couldn’t decide if it wanted no flash (and photos that are too dark) or a very bright flash (meaning the lovely soft light of the fairy lights is lost!)




We are having guests, including a very excitable Jack Russell, over Christmas so these decorations may well have to be moved upwards if he takes a fancy to them or mistakes a bauble for a ball but at the moment I think it looks beautiful.

Latest Purchases #12 – Dotcomgiftshop Christmas Delivery

I have blogged before about this website: it is one of my favourites for gifts and other treats for the home. I wanted some new decorations for our tree and also some Christmas presents so placed an order.

You can imagine my delight when this box arrived a few days later, packed full of goodies!


I ordered some glassware and other delicate items and they arrived well packaged and protected from any clumsy postmen!


We inherited a black John Lewis artificial tree from my parents this year, nicknamed the Goth tree! Black trees were very trendy last year but, to be honest you can’t really tell that it’s black as it simply looks dark green when lit by the glow of fairy lights.

I decided on my colour scheme for this year…silver, white and red and I wanted lots of vintage looking decorations. Dotcomgiftshop has an amazing selection of decorations for the home with lots on offer at the moment.

Here are the tree decorations I bought:

A red ‘Jingle Bell’ wreath, which was my favourite item and sounds like sleigh bells when you shake it! (£1.50)IMG_4298

3 hand painted wooden sleighs (£1.50)IMG_4290

An antique silver star decoration, with bell (£1)IMG_4300

A red and white spotty wooden star (£1)IMG_4293

A red gingham-print (slightly wonky!) star decoration (£1)IMG_4302

A silver Christmas tree decoration with a music note print (£1)IMG_4316


3 hand painted wooden heart decorations, which will still look good hanging up after Christmas and match my duck egg dining room perfectly! (£1.50)IMG_4295


An antique silver heart decoration, with bell (£1)IMG_4304

A gorgeous silver reindeer decoration, with bell – my second favourite purchase (£1)IMG_4306

A silver Christmas tree decoration, with bell (£1)IMG_4308

A silver star decoration with a music note print (£1)IMG_4310


A hand painted wooden star decoration, tied up with lovely ribbon (£1)IMG_4319

An antique silver cherub decoration, with bell (£1)IMG_4321

3 hand painted wooden stocking decorations (£1.50)IMG_4322

I also bought some things for around the house and present wrapping:

Some vintage style raffia ribbons. I won’t just use these over Christmas. I like using plain paper to wrap presents, usually brown parcel paper, then jazz it up with pretty ribbon and string, and these pastel colours will look lovely (£1)IMG_4323

Some of these retro-design Christmas cards. I usually stick to Paperchase for cards but I loved the print on this and I thought it looked very Cath Kidston but for a fraction of the price (50p)IMG_4324

A metal holly wreath card holder. I think this looks rather lovely as it is so I may not use it to hold cards (£2.95)IMG_4334


‘NOEL’ hanging letters. I like the look of the white letters against the brown string and these can be hung on the fireplace or on the tree itself (£1)IMG_4336


I also bought the same lettering spelling out ‘LOVE’ and ‘HOME’ which I will have hanging throughout the year (both £1 each)IMG_4340


And then a couple of random items:

A set of pretty paper cups, which I am thinking of using for mulled wine when we have people over in the next few weeks (£1)IMG_4314

This candy coloured spotty egg warmer in the shape of a rabbit…just because! (£1)IMG_4326

These beautiful jelly moulds which I love and cannot wait to experiment with. After trying out Pimms jelly this summer I am thinking of a Christmas-inspired jelly to serve between courses on Christmas day…maybe mulled wine or sloe gin jelly?! (£2.95)IMG_4327


A vintage-style milk bottle, which I will use as a vase (£2.95)IMG_4332

There is still plenty of time to get your Christmas shopping done and if, like me, you want to avoid the queues at the tills then have a look at this lovely website for some inspiration.

Work is getting in the way of transforming my home at the moment but I plan to have a decorating/ card writing/ present wrapping spree at some point this weekend so I will share some pictures of our tree this year and any other areas I get around to decorating! x

My Handmade Wreath

This weekend has been near-perfect for me.

It began with a well-deserved lie-in then a wander around our nearest town of Bradford on Avon. It is a pretty place, full of old buildings, lovely coffee shops and great pubs.


The river was finally under control after it burst its banks last week.



Lots of places had their Christmas decorations up, making the shops look even lovelier than usual.


Bradford on Avon has a lot of little shops selling things for the home, the type to just wander around picking up trinkets and design ideas. They even had a shop dedicated to locally made crafts and pieces of art.



We also popped into a vintage fair that was on and I managed to pick up a book I had been wanting to read for a while and these lovely floral plates which were just 20p for the pair!




IMG_4213Today’s post is all about this year’s Christmas wreath and I had a go at making mine from scratch.

I love wreaths on the front door and it is something that I do not just limit to December time! I have had this red and white berry one up over the summer:


And this pastel-coloured egg one up over Easter:


Christmas is simply an excuse to swap to a more festive offering!

Given that this was my first homemade wreath, I went for quite a small one and picked up this artificial wreath from Tesco for less than £1.


I began by removing the packaging and then fluffing out the branches so it looked full and round.


Then, it was all about having a play around! I got a few different baubles, pretty ribbon and hanging signs and experimented with them.









I asked Ian’s Mum to make me some miniature bunting which she very kindly did from pieces of felt.


I love these cute straw decorations from Zara Home:


And I got these at Ikea recently:


I finally decided on a traditional colour-combination of silver, red, white and green and was happy I managed to include some sparkle, a Christmas message and my mini bunting!



And here it is, hung on the front door and ready to welcome people in for a glass of mulled wine!



This design is not permanent and I will change it again next year so it is completely original and personal. I would urge you to have a go at your own wreath too – this cost me about £3 to make.

I spent yesterday hovering, dusting, mopping and tidying ready for the Christmas decorations to be put up and we are about halfway through. The tree is up, Christmas pyjamas are on and mulled wine candles were burning last night.




Because we could only really fit a small Christmas tree in our flat in previous years, we are upgrading to a full-sized tree this year. I felt we didn’t have quite enough lights and decorations for a bigger tree so I have placed an order with one of my favourite online shops, dotcomgiftshop. As soon as that has arrived, I can finish decorating then will share some pictures of my home with you.