Five on Friday…

Check out this amazing kitchen make-over, with a few simple steps to update what they already had – clever! I love the yellow stools.

How to turn an IKEA bookshelf into a storage bench – great idea for a playroom or family room.

Love the calm simplicity of the bedroom.

I met up with friends yesterday and one of them was wearing this cardigan – it looked fab and such a bargain for £23!

I’m really focusing on the house again now we are back and just need to zone in on where we should start… This moody dining room is fabulous for the darker days ahead.

Happy Friday readers :)


Big Kitchen // Little Kitchen

If you follow me on Instagram (you can here,) you might have seen my post this sunday sharing the Ikea Hack Pete did (I take no credit for the labour but it was totally *my* ahem, Pinterest’s) idea. ;) Now it gets more attention than the actual kitchen does when people come to the house.

I thought this kind of thing was pretty commonplace but guess thats what you get from being a Pinterest addict as many of you asked me to share it… so here’s what we did to make Bea’s mini-kitchen.

It was pretty straight forward. Our kitchen cupboards are painted and we had some of the paint left over so they got a coat of undercoat and then 2 coats of Farrow and Ball’s Dove Tale grey. You can buy the Ikea Duktig play kitchen for £45

We have marble worktops so I found a marble effect adhesive vinyl (basically sticky backed plastic) they we used to cover the worktop, folding it around the edges and cutting in to make it smooth round the corners and under the sink and hob.

We sprayed painted the handles and tap gold (Wilko’s is my favourite for the best gold tone.) I always wanted gold hardware in our kitchen but it didn’t quite happen so I thought why not for Bea?! We are thinking about sourcing some knobs to add to the front of the kitchen above the door with the window to make an ‘oven’ for her but I haven’t got around to it yet.

Of course you could do anything with your IKEA kitchen, and this doesn’t have the upper part that you buy separately – Bea is as yet not tall enough to reach it so we though we would save it for a future birthday ;) . I’ve seen these kitchens done in vintage style with pink cupboards and frilly gingham curtains, or putting a wood effect vinyl on (or real wood top) and adding some metro tiles to the backsplash would be awesome as a country style kitchen.

I hope it has inspired you – it was so quick and easy, and dare I say, although Bea probably doesn’t appreciate it yet, I love that it looks great in our kitchen!


PS! more inspiration here

Art Attack…

I’m always talking about how we never get around to finishing our rooms with real art on the walls and our Lounge, completed before Christmas is no exception. We partially remedied this with Pete’s birthday present to me, an Yvonne Coomber print, but there is still a large blank wall opposite the bay window and to the left of the sofa that looks very unloved. As the room already had a blue theme with a lot of jewel brights in it, choosing something has been tricky so I decoded to mock up a couple of ideas and I’d love to hear your thoughts…

One option would be to put up a single large piece, mirroring the other wall, but I’m not sure if that won’t look a bit odd. The wall, although it’s actually the narrower length of the room, looks long because of the radiator I think and it certainly needs a landscape print.

The other option would be to combine a few images. We are terrible at getting family photos printed out and I thoughts about combining some black and white prints with another print I spotted on Etsy from Clare Elsaesser. (The black and white images are of our bump shoot and Bea at 6 weeks by The Lawsons.) It’s just always difficult to choose images that don’t feel too personal or too ‘in your face’ for what is essentially a public space. I don’t want to do a more ‘gallery wall’ style of display as I think lots of pictures may look busy in here, in what is essentially a formal room and I have plans for one elsewhere downstairs.

What do you think readers? Any other ideas or suggestions?


Five interiors trends to Obsess over…

After a hiatus of apathy and fatigue, I’m getting my interiors mojo back, ready to tackle another 3 rooms in our house over the next 6 months. Cue a pinning spate and lots of inspiration to share here. Some themes keep resurfacing though and one or two have taken me by surprise – not being my usual style, but now I can’t wait to shake things up a little bit.

1. Patterned tiles

Metro tiles have their place for sure, but recently I’m loving the idea of geometric or moorish patterns in kitchens, bathrooms and on hallway floors as a modern twist in an otherwise simple space.

2. Monochrome

I never thought I’d see the day I toyed with monochrome patterns and prints for a modern look instead of my go-to brights but theres something about how clean it looks that makes it the perfect foil for a few bright colour pops… you didn’t think I’d forgo them all together did you?!

3. Making bedding the focus of the room

I’m usually all about white bedding and a patterned wallpaper backdrop but as we work on another of our attic bedrooms I’m drawn to super simple spaces with minimal furniture and brightly patterned bedding as the star of the show. Watch this space.

4. Out with art, in with texture

Filling the wall space is something I’m really bad at getting round to finishing but instead of looking at prints recently I have been drawn to more textural or sculptural pieces for walls. I might just try and DIY something to rival this stunning ombre hanging.

5. Scandi style Multi use spaces

Right now we are busy with a couple of other rooms, but before the winter I want to tackle our dining room and plan to make it a multi functional space, to make up for our lack of dining/kitchen/family room. I’ve been trawling for inspiration on how I can make it warm and cosy yet light and bright.

What interiors trends are you obsessing over right now?


PS Follow my pins here

Spotted: x Living Etc

Imagine my excitement when joined up with my favourite interiors magazine to design a collection of design pieces with that extra modern edge? This summer’s isn’t the first collection but it’s the first that has been right up my street in terms of my own home’s decor and I’ve got my eye on quite a few pieces. Our master bedroom after being initially finished (i.e. no longer a building site) has languished at the back of the queue in terms of finishing touches and we’re on a renewed drive of enthusiasm towards getting the house more ‘finished’. And that includes those finishing touches. You can see our bedroom here.

As you can see, I was going for a grey and pink theme but really struggled to get the right shade of pink for what I wanted. We were still looking for a rug, cushions and throw, which I might have found in one go with this collection.

You can view all of the current x Living Etc collection here (including the pieces I have featured;) – Let me know what you think!


PS More of My House Here:
The Attic bedroom
The formal Lounge
The Kitchen

Secret Linen Store

Happy Monday readers! Now who is up for some bed linen inspiration, and interior style with a discount to boot? I thought so, read on!

Artichoke in Navy

Secret Linen Store were recently kind enough to send me some of their Navy Artichoke bedlinen for my bedroom. When I wrote about the yellow room which featured the Dotty Coffee spot bedlinen, I was a little sad it would only get used by guests, ;) so I am thrilled to have some to use myself. It’s breaking the habit of a lifetime for me to not have white bedlinen, so it’s different, but it’s so luxurious in feel I can’t help but love it. (You can see it on my bed here.)

Coastal Stripe in Navy

It seemed like a good time to share some of the current collection as the room sets themselves are rather inspiring, as well as the bedding!

Teasels in Dove Grey

Aside from the quality and feel, I think Secret Linen Store have really nailed the balance between style and colour. The designs are modern, fresh and stylish yet won’t date easily because of their timeless feel and classic choices like the coastal stripes. I particularly love the abundance of chic grey designs! ;)

Graphite Ferns

Giant Purple Artichokes

Coastal Stripe in Natural Linen

So if you are looking to update your bedlinen for summer, you’re in luck!I have collaborated with Secret Linen Store to give a reader offer of 10% off everything with the code SLEEPY at checkout! Offer ends on the 16th of August ;)

Luxury 600 thread count white bedlinen

And there’s still all white if you’re a die hard white bedlinen fan ;)

Happy shopping!


PS! A Cow Parsley Attic bedroom

KItchen lessons (and living with Cararra marble worktops)

I promised I’d write a follow up to our kitchen reveal, talking about what I’d do differently and I should first of all say, I’m really happy with our kitchen overall. There are however always things that pop up with the benefit of hindsight and if you are using a space differently to the original layout, then things have changed again for us with the addition of a little one.

But lets get started…

The biggest thing I would change is the handles on the doors and drawers. They are actually a very fancy Italian brand but we just got them with the kitchen as they were the display handles. We could have changed them but I actually like the modern edge they give to what is a very traditional kitchen style. What isn’t good is that they are so long, occasionally when you pull one end, it puts the draw out of line instead of opening it and the drawer catches. They are also very shiny and get finger marks all the time, and lastly they have very sharp pointy corners, which kind of worries me a bit as Bea is now more mobile and pulling up around the kitchen.

The herringbone Karndean floor and long kitchen drawer handles

I also wish we had put a socket in on top of the upper cupboards so we could plug in a sound dock or speaker and keep it off the work surface.

You might have noticed we have no tiles… this isn’t necessarily something I would change, but it’s something I kind of consider unfinished. I don’t feel we need much behind the worktops, but behind the hob is inevitably messy, (we just wipe it with a cloth,) I just can’t decide what I want!

I also wish we had had a bit more flexibility and given a bit more thought to the configuration. Being an ex-display kitchen we were limited to what the cupboard set up was, but we didn’t give enough thought to waste and recycling storage and because we have a lot of drawers and only a few cupboards, which are glass fronted, we have nowhere to put chopping boards and nowhere to store bottles that are taller than a large jar – the hidden cupboards have three shallow shelves in them.

The beautiful veining and natural marking on the island slab.

Living with Marble worktops…
Before we chose marble work surfaces I did some serious research. What I found was a lot of bloggers who had fallen in love with marble and nothing else was going to do. All of them were warned off it by kitchen companies and the majority were still happy with their choice. You can read about the research I did and some of the blog posts I read here. For those of you who don’t know about marble, it’s a natural stone and as such has certain qualities and characteristics that you need to take into account before buying it. Marble can stain, chip, etch (marks to the surface of the stone that don’t change the colour but change the finish, making it matte when the light hits that area,) and stun (bright white dots that appear if it is banged with something heavy and pointed – for example a pan going down flat won’t ‘stun’ marble but the corner of a bottle will,) and scratch. Marble is NOT like granite.

When we got our worktops I was terrified of them. Not in a ‘didn’t want to use them‘ way, but in a ‘very expensive thing I wanted to keep nice‘ kind of way. We babied them, told everyone (read:family,) what not to do on them and tried to keep them perfect. They still etched. Then we had a baby and didn’t have time/the inclination to baby the worktops too and people were in the house ‘helping’ all the time. They etched some more. But they still look almost exactly as they did when we got them unless you get your nose down to the worktop level to inspect them.

Etching on the marble. As you can see, it required a certain viewpoint and particular settings on my camera to capture these. From the same place stood up normally, they aren’t visible.

My main concern with the worktops was staining. I didn’t want (essentially) white worktops with horrible yellow or orange stains on them. I didn’t need to worry at all, I’ve found coffee and blackcurrant cordial on them from goodness knows how many days previously and it simply wipes off with no residue. They have been sealed before and after installation and it works. What has happened a LOT as I said before, is the etching. You can be as careful as you like and etches will appear. They happen when anything acidic hits the worktop so fruit, cleaning products, some drinks and tomatoes to name but a few. It’s pretty instant too and you can even spread the etch by wiping the offending item along with the cloth. But, you can hardly see them. Our worktops are honed (so not shiny,) marble and the etches are still more matte, but less noticeable as a result. You really can’t see them unless light is bouncing off the work surface where the etch is. We have also had a few stun marks (where I keep banging the oil bottle or condiments into the up stand) and scratches have appeared. You can never figure out what caused them, but there they are.

The big question is would I get them again? And the answer is definitely yes. I like things with natural character and the veining in our worktops is stunning. (I actually went to the stone yard to choose the slab and am so glad I did – I thought it might be a bit OCD but the one that was ear marked for us was quite spotty and dotty and not very clean and white looking. I ended up choosing this one from 3 others and I’d recommend making sure you choose yours if you want marble. The variation is huge.) Our house is old, the skirting boards are bashed, the walls aren’t straight and stairs creak. On first glance you would think our house was pretty perfect but look harder and scrutinise the edges and you’ll see the signs of its age. The worktops fit in with that. I got them because I was completely obsessed with grey kitchens and marble worktops, but now I look back and I really can’t see any alternative still. There is nothing else that I wanted. And I should add, many of the issues I have mentioned above can and will happen with other work tops. I have friends with Corian worktops that have chipped and stained and granite that has scratched and has smears on it all the time. Marble does it easier, but I love it and I’m still happy with our decision. If you’re a bit OCD, like everything to look super modern and stay looking like that in your home, they will not be for you, but for me, nothing beats the cool feel of smooth marble and that beautiful, elegant look. They also were the least expensive option, saving us hundreds if not thousands on some other choices.

The secret cupboard as it was…

I should probably list the things I am really happy with too, while we’re at it!

I love my hidden cupboard. Someone commented on the last post that I either didn’t have a kettle or it was tidied away. We did plan to get a boiling water tap but cut it from the budget so I do indeed have a kettle, and a toaster and a coffee machine, none of which are on show, and thats not blogger behaviour styling the room! This is how it always looks (with the exception of a few stray papers and toys cluttering things up,) because they are hidden in my secret cupboard. ;)

…and as it is now – the toaster broke and we changed the coffee machine!

We love the floor – it was a great option, is wearing really well, (actually people told us Karndean was bullet proof and it hasn’t bean at all, it scratched really quickly but they seem to have disappeared!) and look so good in the parquet style.

I’m glad we kept the old tap – it actually looks great and saved us loads of money! I’m also glad I pushed for a 1.5 bowl sink, its so useful. The only think I didn’t anticipate with the sink was that the square shape means the edges get a bit dirty, which I hadn’t anticipated.

The square edged sink

And thats it I think. I’d love to hear your thoughts on anything you wish you had done differently if you have recently re-done a kitchen (or other room) and if you have any questions about the marble, feel free to ask!


PS Our marble was sourced from Manchester Marble, honed at the stone merchants and templates and installed by Manchester Marble.

Nursery Update: Open wardrobe storage

When I shared Bea’s Nursery I mentioned that there were a few more things we needed in there, including some hanging storage for Bea’s clothes. We have a chest of drawers but I hadn’t anticipated the need for hanging up her dresses and decided to create some open storage so I could also admire them ;)

The walls are very thick in our house and so the chimney breast alcoves aren’t that deep. We had a funny sized alcove in Bea’s room, only 66cms wide and about 30cm deep, so a wardrobe was difficult and shelves seemed to work better. I wanted rails, with a shelf above to add boxes or folded items, but wasn’t sure how to get a rail attached to the wall. Eventually IKEA came good with a typical cheap as chips solution, pimped up with a bit of Wilko’s gold spray paint!

Ikea BYGEL rail £1.50
EKBY HEMNES shelf £12
EKBY VALTER bracket £2

The rails are screwed in under the shelves (after spray painting) so I can hang her clothes from them. I decided the leave the brackets untreated as the wood fits in with the wood blinds and floor in an otherwise very white room. The hangers are from Dunhelm in case you’re interested. I was intending to spray paint them white too but decided to leave them coloured for now (too lazy!)

The whole thing cost about £37 and I’m so pleased with how it looks. I hope you like it too and it inspires you to get creative! ;)


#JanuaryJoy: Make something with your hands

I’ll ‘fess up now and admit, this isn’t the ‘Make something with your hands’ prompt I had planned to share but what d’ya know, January has whizzed by and instead of feeling it has passed me by, I’m happy to say I’ve enjoyed all of it with Bea. :)

This is however something I have been planning to do for ages. I’m a huge scented candle fan and often buy them or am lucky enough to receive them as presents. What always bugs me though is that last centimeter or so at the end when the wick runs out of lovely scented wax. I’d always wanted to do something with it and now I finally have. I melted down each of them and layered the wax with a fresh wick and made ⅔ of a new candle with the leftovers from just 4 other candles that would otherwise have been binned!

So, you’ll need:

  • An assortment of old candles (scented or otherwise)
  • Some new wicks (I bought 20 from Amazon – 10 Pre Waxed Wicks For Candle Making)
  • A clean, dry container for your recycled candle
  • A medium sized saucepan and a small plastic pot
  1. Use a knife or something sharp to scrape the candle ends out of the pots
  2. If you are using scented candles then you will have to melt the wax individually and layer the scents, but if it’s just old wax, then you can melt the whole lot together. This is similar to melting chocolate for cooking, so just bring a pan of water to a simmer and float your plastic pot with the old wax in it on the water until it all melts. Keep an eye on it, it’s usually quite quick, and you don’t want the pan to boil dry and melt your pot to the pan! ;) The wax will melt clear and you’ll see the old wick floating around. Remove the wax from the heat and fish out the old wick carefully – it will be hot!
  3. Centre your NEW wick in the clean and ready container for your new candle – you might want to balance it against something (like this knife in the photo) to keep it centred, which is important otherwise your wax will melt unevenly as it burns. Then pour in your wax and allow to cool.
  4. Repeat the process for each separate candle and scent, allowing to cool between each layer.
  5. Finally trim your wick to about 1cm long then light and enjoy!

Of course you can also clean up the empty glasses and containers that the other candles were in (I just use hot soapy water after melting the excess and wiping them out with kitchen roll,) and use them as vases or pots around the house for pencils or make-up brushes. If you’ve got any you really love you could even buy some wax chips online and make new candles so you can keep enjoying the decorative pot.

Did you ever make candles when you were younger? I had loads of DIY craft kits for candle making – it was fun to do it again in a grown up way!

Have you made anything this January?