Creating our dream kitchen

Those of you who have been following my blog will know that back in December I decided to do a DIY job on the very dated kitchen we inherited when we bought our house.

grey shaker charcoal kitchen cabinets

With a baby on the way I suspected that we wouldn’t have either the time or the money to have it totally refurbished, so I set about the painstaking task of painting the kitchen cabinets, the tiles and the walls to update it as best I could. Looking back, I can’t quite fathom where I mustered up the energy for this and would say that the maternal ‘nesting instinct’ is definitely not a myth.

Six months on, and all that work seems very futile indeed – since we decided on a complete refurbishment afterall! I like to tell myself that the DIY job I did gave us a glimpse of the potential and spurred us on to take the plunge. Either way, I can’t get too upset about it – I am now an expert on how to prime your kitchen cupboards and which paintbrush works best with tile paint. Life skills. And I also have a fantastic new kitchen!LG American style fridge freezer in modern kitchenlight grey shaker kitchen cabinets with charcoal island

We put a lot of thought into the design of the kitchen, which was a complete renovation and included knocking down walls to create an open plan kitchen-diner. For the look and feel, we knew that we wanted something modern but also something that would stand the test of time. After numerous visits to various showrooms, purchases of home magazines (I could read them all day!) and endless Pinterest boards, we decided on the shaker style kitchen cabinets choosing a light grey colour (partridge) for the wall units and charcoal for the island. We settled on white quartz for the worktop speckled with silver to add a touch of glamour. Traditional oak eight-seater dining table with white high-back chairs

We incorporated modern fixtures and fittings including brushed metal door handles and mixer tap to add a modern feel, and continued this through the appliances with an integrated double oven, an American style LG fridge-freezer and a touch control ceramic induction hob with a glass extractor fan. The splashback behind the hob is aubergine-coloured glass which adds a flash of contrasting colour to create a bit of a feature (it’s also so much more practical and easier to clean than the tiles I’ve previously been used to!) We completed the look with a dark grey vertical radiator which we sourced online from Best Heating. We also bought the roman blinds online from Roman Blinds Direct. The floor is Amtico in Mirabelle Creme which gives a brilliant stone effect – it’s extremely practical and easy to clean (or *ahem* it hides the dirt well when you don’t clean…).

tall vertical grey radiator in kitchen

For the dining area we chose a traditional eight-seater oak dining table with cream canvassed high-back chairs and invested in a statement glass pendant light from John Lewis which really sets off the entire room.

We won’t be moving house for a long, long time.

Modern kitchen accessories, statement kitchen light

Spring/Summer bedroom makeover

Almost 18 months after moving into our home we’ve finally put the finishing touches to our guest room. The rest of our house is quite neutral so I was determined to go for some brighter colours in this room (with the view that if I didn’t like it at least I wouldn’t have to look at it every day!)

Spring/Summer bedroom makeover

We visited Watergate Bay hotel in Cornwall last year and I loved how they used pops of colour in the hotel rooms to give a modern yet relaxed vibe, which inspired me (several Pinterest boards later) to go for this colour palette of yellow, dark grey and sky blue. Continue reading

Tips for creating a gallery wall

tips for creating a gallery wall

When we got married we used photo frames for our table names. Alongside this, I seem to have collected a ridiculous number of the things over the years so I decided last week to create a feature gallery wall to spruce up my hallway.

A gallery wall not only creates a great focal point, it also gives you an excuse to frame all of those photos you love but that aren’t quite professional or staged enough to warrant a place on the mantelpiece alone. It’s a doddle to do and all you need is a handful of nails and a hammer (don’t even mention it to the Mister – queue “I’ll go and get the drill”). Alongside your frames it’s a good idea to include some other decorative pieces to add a little more interest and break up the images – I had some large typography pieces around the house which I incorporated.

There are also some great online resources and blogs that offer free printable downloads such as littlegoldpixel.com, which are great if you don’t want every picture in your gallery to be a photograph.

I started by laying out all of the frames on the floor in front of the hall wall to get an idea of how wide and tall I wanted the gallery to be. I admit that I felt like my mother a little bit here, obsessing over which pieces looked best where, but it’s worth spending some time until you get a layout that you’re happy with. I then took a photo of the layout so that I could replicate it on the wall. Starting by nailing the highest frame onto the wall, I then worked my way out until I got the finished gallery. Definitely an easy and cost-effective way to make a great feature in your home!

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Cool ways to use blackboard paint in your home


cool ways to use blackboard paint

If you haven’t yet used blackboard paint in your house, I would seriously recommend it. Not only does it provide a great canvas for To Do’s and shopping lists, it also adds interest and personality, and replaces the need to fill wall space with something less useful and more expensive.  Not to mention the amusement it can bring the morning after the night before when you realise that someone got hold of the chalk…

When I completed my DIY Kitchen makeover, I finished it off with this little design and have been loving it so much that I wanted to spread the blackboard paint love.

Blackboard paintblackboard paint kitchen

I bought mine from Wilkos which is by far the cheapest I could find (the likes of B&Q charge over £10). You can paint a whole wall with the stuff, or just mark out a space like I did using masking or frog tape. I then used a chalkboard pen and inspiration from Pinterest to add the border and the mixed typography – I’ve found in the past that the chalkboard pens aren’t actually as easy to wipe off as they claim, which is a good thing in a way as it means you can use it for a permanent design and then just use ordinary chalk for the everyday additions.

There are loads of ways you can get creative with blackboard paint – here are some of my favourite ideas which I found online:

blackboard paint ideas

  1.  To paint your dresser and label your draws – never get your knickers and socks mixed up again!
  2.  To create a calendar feature wall – perfect for an office – you could also have this in a central area of the home such as the hallway to use as a family planner
  3. As an edgy canvas to an all-white bathroom – okay, so maybe not so close to the shower, bath, sink…
  4. To make a display feature out of otherwise ordinary shelving areas or wall art
  5. In the nursery or playroom – just make sure you make it clear to the kids that not all walls in the house are for drawing on!

Tutorial: Hand-made Christmas tree decorations

handmade christmas tree decorations

Now that we’re in December it’s considered acceptable to put up the tree and get into the Christmas spirit – hooray! I decided to make some of my own decorations for our tree this year and spent last Sunday setting up my little craft station and singing along merrily to Slade and Mariah, whilst Mr M sank a bottle of red wine (how selfish of him).

I consider myself a bit of a novice when it comes to arts and crafts, with very limited materials, and get frustrated if things start to take too long. So I decided on two fool proof designs…

Hanging heart tree decorations:easy christmas tree decorations

You will need:

  • Sturdy cardboard/ mount board
  • PVA glue
  • Cord/ twine in various colours of your choice
  • Wrapping paper in the colours of your choice
  • Glue dots

How to:

  • Cut out one large and one small heart shape from the mount board
  • rip up the wrapping paper in strips and dip into a bowl of the PVA glue
  • Cover the hearts with the paper and glue (think paper mache technique)
  • leave the hearts to dry (this took a couple of hours)
  • stick the smaller heart onto the larger heart using a glue dot
  • Tie a ribbon out of cord/twine and stick onto the small heart using another glue dot
  • punch a hole in the top and attach twine for hanging on the tree!

Pine cone tree decorations:

You will need:

  • Pine cones
  • Glitter spray (if required)
  • Ribbon
  • glue dots
  • Twine/cord (for hanging)

How to:

  • Spray the pine cones with glitter spray if required (I used Plastikote Project Enamel in silver glitter which is subtle)
  • Make a bow out of the ribbon and stick it to the bottom of the pine cone with a glue dot
  • Use the twine to make a hanging loop. I used glue dots in the first instance to stick it to the cone, which did seem to work initially, but after a week they seem to be dropping! I’ve taken the lazy way out, turned the pine cones the right way up (narrower section at the top) and simply wrapped the twine within the cone – they look equally as lovely (see pic). I’m sure you could attach using a glue gun or similar if you’re a more prepared crafty than I am…

Pine cone tree decorations

Would love to read about any other ideas you have – please feel free to share them with me.

Happy crafting! x

DIY Nursery wall art – why buy stickers?

IMG_0240

Having a nursery to decorate provides a great opportunity to unleash your inner child and get creative – animals, clouds, jungles, hot air balloons – anything goes!

wilkos emulsion cosy grey and cupcake

Wilkos tester pots – go mad with colour at £1 each

There are thousands of wall art stickers available to buy online from the likes of Etsy, notonthehighstreet, Amazon and Ebay etc, but after looking at these for a while I decided that I could create something much more personal and at a fraction of the price by painting a design myself (when else do you get the chance to draw on walls?)

So I took myself off to my local Wilkos store (any excuse) where I picked up a couple of emulsion tester pots for £1 each in colours Cupcake and Cosy Grey. These are the perfect size (I only needed one of each) and there’s a great vibrant colour range to choose from.

There are loads of design ideas online to take inspiration from if, like me, you’re not the naturally artistic type who can draw from imagination. I chose a tree design which doesn’t require a huge amount of perfection – you can stick branches and leaves anywhere and nobody will know if it’s not how you intended it to look!

Anyway, £2 and three rather enjoyable hours later, the nursery feels much more colourful – hopefully the little one will approve!

nursery wall art