Home | The not so new bathroom

We’ve lived in this house for almost 3 years now and for 3 years I’ve hated our main bathroom. Each and every single day. It’s blue, I imagine the previous owner of our house (and I hope she isn’t reading this) thought that blue would remind her of the sea. A nautical feel for when you bathe, the sea is relaxing and siren. I can assure you, this is my most detested feeling when I bathe, the colour of the walls and tiles makes me feel cold and uncomfortable. As you can guess, I hated it. I’ve long dreamt of a new bathroom, free standing bath, waterfall shower, wooden cabinet and small Belfast sink, oh yes, thats the dream. Our budget didn’t stretch that far, firstly because we’ve done so many other projects and secondly, we live in a small 3 bedroom town house, these ideas are for our forever home, whatever that means now. The third reason we hadn’t rushed into this project was because we have been thinking about a gas conversion, it has been a long thought process, but now, I think we are going to proceed. With space at a premium in our house we would do with removing the unnecessary and have an gas meter installed easily, we’ve even seen our neighbours get it installed and it’s really simple because its in our area, I”ll keep you posted on the gas conversion chat.

With this in mind, changing the bathroom at all became the furthest thing down our to do list. I also don’t use the bathroom that much, I use our en suite every day and honestly even if it did annoy Chris, he wouldn’t dream of bringing it up, he knows the next year of DIY and projects I have planned for him, why would he volunteer for an extra project. It wasn’t until we decided to host Chris’ family for Sunday lunch that I thought, surely we can’t have people come here for lunch and use this bathroom, it’s gross, yes its that ludicrous that this was the trigger.

Start the Pinterest searching…

I started by thinking – ok, lets just paint the walls white, how bad could blue tiles be anyway if I take the blue from the walls. Then elbow deep a few hours later (we were watching a movie Chris chose, I wasn’t interested) I was practically a plumber ready to install a new bathroom.

As always I had to bring it back a level, it seemed reasonable and after reading various blogs and watched a number of YouTube videos as well as copious product searches, I’d made a list of everything I needed to do in the room and I compiled a to do list:

  1. Paint the walls
  2. Paint the tiles
  3. Paint the radiator
  4. Shaker shelves for towels (and decoration)
  5. Change the toilet seat & toilet roll holder

It all seemed reasonable and surely such a small to do list wouldn’t take that long.

What I needed to paint the tiles:

  1. White concrete floor paint
  2. Clear concrete floor sealant
  3. Sand paper
  4. White Spirit & old rags
  5. Paint brush
  6. Small roller

We headed off to B&Q. This post is not sponsored by B&Q but I wish it was with the copious amount of trips that I made! Also shop around, I picked up things cheaper in Homebase as they had a 3 for 2 on paints that weekend, wish I had known that at the start of the project. I needed paint for the walls and the floor, just ordinary white paint was fine, nothing fancy, I knew I needed a lot to cover the blue, this wasn’t going to be a one coat wonder. Secondly I needed tile paint, but I looked around, I went for concrete floor paint, whats important about this is that I read people painted their tiles with chalk paint and although it looked great to begin with, it won’t last with high traffic, however concrete garage floor paint is made for vehicles to be driven over it so it’s much more hard wearing. Sand paper to give the tiles a quick sand down with a medium grain, I used 120 for our hand sander. White spirit to clean up, masking tape for prep. I also bought a smaller roller but our bathroom floor is very small so I wanted to cover it more thoroughly and not a large wall roller.

Once I got it, the preparation started. I had to remove the towel rail, mirror and shelf off the wall, as well as actually removing everything from the bathroom, I didn’t realise just how much stuff we actually had in there. Everything out, time to sand the floor. This part is not the best, the sound was not my favourite but I do have to say this part was the most important. I gave them a good sand and went through quite a few sanding sheets (I used 40 grit), now to mask the room off, this is where the room is bigger than I actually thought. I completely masked the skirting, bath, sick and toilet. I ended up ripping of long strips of masking tape and putting it on the sink, it saved me going back and forth each time. All done, I white spirited the floor to clean it, then it was time to start painting. More thin layers are better than few think layers. This preparation took so much longer than just going straight in to painting the floor, it is really annoying but well worth it in the end. Coat one done, time for dinner, movie then bed. I will start the second coat tomorrow. I started by going around the room and grouting first with a brush then let it dry for an hour then with a roller I went over the entire floor, this way I covered the grouting and made sure to get it all covered from the first coat, I didn’t do this with every coat but every other coat.

After the first coat, my mind wondered. I began thinking about doing more than just white tiles, what about stencilling the tiles so they look like everyones super cool bathroom floors right now. I measured one of my tiles, it was 31.5cm² so I found a large stencil which was 30cm² I thought about it before ordering but thought there couldn’t be much harm, I would try it and see what it was like. This is where I began researching how to stencil but stupidly I didn’t, I thought I knew all along.

How not to stencil

Five more coats of paint go on the floor, with 4 coats on the walls, it got to the point where when we first came in from work we would get changed into our painting clothes and painted the room first, then the floor then leave to walk Piper leaving it over night to dry. I know the drying time for the floor was less and if you wanted to walk on it when it was touch dry I’m sure you could but I wanted to make sure that each layer was completely dry and hardened to the floor without it peeling. That took us to the next weekend and back to B&Q for more supplies, this time I stopped for Farrow & Ball paint for wood and metal, they don’t do tile paint but I thought it would be better than the wall paint. We came back from the cinema and I wanted to start straight into the floor (this floor became my obsession). My mum would call this, ram gansh, not thinking about it and thinking I know best. Firstly I started using a sponge but the paint was so runny, it was leaving bubbles. Then I moved on to a small brush, that was worse, the paint for metal and paint is much runner than the wall paint. I pulled out a wall paint for this where I found a sample from ages ago, much thicker but equally really difficult to work with for this project (I should say I’ve used Farrow & Ball before for it’s intended purpose and its my favourite but it wasn’t right for this!) I taped the stencil down so I thought I would leave it over night to see how it turned out in the morning. I went straight to bed then that morning jumped out of bed to reveal work from the previous night…disaster! It has bleed everywhere, my YouTubing and Pineresting to find out ways do it without bleed. Next trip to B&Q, I needed temporary adhesive but should I continue with that paint, who knew. I thought a hardwearing spray paint would work, I wanted something that was relatively quick drying and dark glue like my previous paint. I have to say, the B&Q at Holywood Exchange were so helpful, they helped me match it up after I had looped the entire painting section for about 45 minutes. This sprayed changed everything. After my disaster, I had to sand down that tile and repaint it, so I started stencilling from the other corner.

Now for the art of stencilling

What you need:

  1. Stencil to fit the size of your tiles (the stencil I bought had a quarter stencil in it which is good tiles that aren’t full but you could get two if you have a big enough room)
  2. Clear Low Tack Adhesive (I used 3 for my small room)
  3. Spray paint suitable for tiles (I used 2 for my room)
  4. Masking tape
  5. Newspaper to protect the surfaces
  6. Fine paint brush for touch ups
  7. White spirit
  8. Cotton buds

So whats important when it comes to stencilling. Firstly cover everything in newspaper, go around the entire, I covered the bath, sink, toilet and walls, with spray there can be a lot of residue spray which can get on everything. Secondly you need to pick out the full tiles first and move from one corner to the next to give it time to dry.

The best thing about the spray paint is that it drys really quickly, the one I chose was about 15 minutes to touch dry and 1 hour until completely dry, if you have a large enough room, 1 hour is reasonable to dry and spray others but my room was so small that the 15 minutes was adequate to wait then spray the tile next to it. Once the entire room is covered, you then need to start by covering the floor so that you can only spray one tile at a time, use the grout as a guide, put paper the whole way around and tape to the grout, make sure its down really tight and there are no gaps. Spray the back of the stencil with low tack adhesive, be generous, if you have an integrate stencil you want to be sure it is all completely covered. Make sure you do this on a bit of plastic or cardboard as the spray will get on the other surfaces which is tricky enough to get off. Then place the stencil on the tile, move around a little quickly to the desired location, be sure it’s all stuck down, this will help prevent bleeding. Tape down the sides, tape down newspaper all around it if there is anywhere that isn’t covered, the spray will go everywhere. Once you’re sure everything is stuck down, you can start spraying.

Leave for 15 minutes (or the time specified by your spray paint) then left the stencil and start into the next one, making sure not to step on to the new tile while it dries. Remove the news paper from around then 15 minutes later you can lift the stencil carefully to unveil your newly stencilled tile!

Moving on to the trickier tiles

When you have all the full tiles complete give yourself a pat on the back, you’re almost there and reward yourself accordingly. I chose a glass of prosecco for my accolade then its time to move on to tiles that are a little tricker.

If you have two stencils, this would make this a little easier but the one I had also had a quarter tile so I was able to work with that for the tiles that one quarter was suitable for {ideally at the side of the toilet}. When you start to work with these tiles you need to start cutting, make a note of the largest tiles first, I started with the radiator a cut little slits for the pipes then I could easier tape those bits back together again then cut slits for the next pipe. The for tiles for example around the toilet, I began to cut the edges off, I started with the largest one then it was slowly cut down until there was very little left. If you have a few awkward tiles, I’d highly recommend not cutting but used more of the low tac adhesive and really making sure what you can have stuck down is stuck down, then use masking take to tape it down so it a flat as possible,make sure there are no gaps, if there are spray a little of the adhesive on to cardboard and brush it on to any of the stencil thats sticking up.

Once your completely done stencilling then its time for the tidy up, if you follow any of my instructions the most important is to make sure its stuck down really well, be generous on the adhesive and be sure the floor is well covered with paper then you should be fine, it took me a few tiles to find my own way of doing it first so I had a bit of bleed around the tiles. I then took some white spirit, cotton buds and an old rag, I pain stakingly went round each of the tiles and tidied them up as best I could. A  cotton bud is perfect for this to lift any of the drips and because you have used concrete floor paint it won’t lift it, just be sure to run the rag over the top to lift off any excess. Don’t beat yourself up about this, it will need to be touched up and it’s also DIY so it won’t be perfect by any stretch of the imagination so it’s best to try your best to make it tidy. Here you’ll see light at the end of the tunnel, you’re almost there!

The seal of approval

Once you have completed the tidy up, then give the floor a hoover, get up as much dirt as possible then run over it with white spirits as well to be sure its completely clean. Now you are ready for your clear seal. I think this is really important as it just protects all your hard work. I used the same small roller I used for the white paint as it was perfect size for the floor and gave such an even finish to that paint. For this varnish, it did state to use a brush but hey I’m a rule breaker, I liked the roller and it was quicker. I put it on in the evening and let it dry over night, this was it we were almost there. I wanted a matt finish (just like those gorgeous tiles I’ve seen before) but unfortunately couldn’t get one so I had to settle for gloss, now its done I actually really like the gloss, it’s not too shiny and makes the tiles look less hand painted and more expensive that what they really were.

After we finished the tiles, it was time to complete the room with a little bit of decor. I painted the radiator (Farrow & Ball Down Pipe) and the two shelves we made from some spare wood and shaker style pegs for our towels. Lastly we changed the toilet seat and toilet roll holder. A few candles added in for good measure and we are done. I’m still tempted to paint the bathroom cabinet the down pipe but I’m not sure if it would look too dark, what do you think?

In total we spent less than £250, the thriftiest DIY project I have done to date. I now enjoy this bathroom and love showing people it, I often find myself leading people into it and before we know it we’re on the floor checking out the tiles.

It’s not finished yet, once we get our gas conversion we will be changing and maybe retiling the shower (goodbye weird blue flower tiles) but if we can get away with repainting them we will and changing the sink so we have some extra storage underneath then the bathroom will be complete. On to the next DIY project after that….whatever that will be.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this, if you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear about your stencilling stories or how you have updated a room on a strict budget!

Lashings of love,

K xo

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Home | Fakeaway Chicken Curry

I had a few requests for my recipe for the Mayflower Chinese Curry Sauce in my slow cooker which I posted on Instagram on Monday. This curry came to my attention when someone in work mentioned it, then I seemed to be hearing about it a lot more. It’s popular with Slimming World members as it’s low in syns and you get lots of veggies in.

This is the first time I’ve made something in my slow cooker but honestly I was surprised at how tasty it was. And here is an even bigger confession, I am not the cook in my house, my mum had spoilt me so I never had to learn to cook, anything that seems simple, I’ll give it a try but this is the most I’ve experimented and this really isn’t experimenting it’s winging it all in a slow cooker and letting that do the work. The slow cooker I have is 6.5 litre so there is more then enough to feed two of us for a week so this is perfect if you are feeding quiet a few people. If you’re cooking for less half would be fine for a family of 4. I honestly just picked up a few ingredients so you can change the meat if you want or add/change some of the vegetables.

Ingredients

Mayflower Medium Curry Powder (255g)

1.2kg of chicken

400g of peas

3/4 red peppers

2 white onions

200g mushrooms

1 chicken stock cube

Recipe

  1. Add 800ml of cold water to the whole box of Mayflower Medium Curry Powder, mix it up well.
  2. Chop up all the ingredients and place in the slow cooker, break up your stock cube over all the ingredients.
  3. Pour the Mayflower Curry mix into the slow cooker, make sure it covers all the ingredients, if not pop in a little bit more water.
  4. Turn the slow cooker on to low. I was out of the house for 10 hours so low was fine, high is you’re looking to eat it less than half that time. If the Curry seems a little runny, wind your slow cooker up to high and let it sit for 30 minutes.

I served it with brown rice and quinoa which I microwaved so when I arrived home, dinner was ready in less than 5 minutes. That’s the quickest dinner I’ve ever had and it’s most certainly one of the healthiest dinners I’ve made, lots of vegetables and protein. It’s the perfect fakeaway for just about any night of the week.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Home | Buying our first house

As we now are celebrating being in our home two years (where did that time go!) it got me thinking about the whole buying process. It all seemed so stressful at the time but now that I look back here is the advice I would give my younger self. 

Be prepared to sacrifice 

If you’re starting to save for your first home, like we did, I took a long hard look at my monthly income and outgoings, and this was the daunting start to our process. This allowed me to calculate my bills and my disposal income, shockingly I had more disposable income than I thought, by no means a millionaire, but multiple trips to the shops and online orders seemed to take a large proportion of my salary. That’s the first thing I cut back on, not completely but sacrifices had to be made. 

Save, save and save some more

Although I’ve just said I didn’t completely cut back I was very concise of what I bought, I became more aware of disposable fashion and make up and things had only to be bought for a purpose. There is much more than a deposit, there is solicitors fees, furniture and installation charges. It really racks up so be realistic with the money you can save keep that in mind for your mortgage payments. I went to a mortgage advisor to workout our budget and what were affordable monthly payments. One thing I will say was that with our salaries they were willing to give us more than we originally thought, we could have gone for a higher mortgage with higher monthly payments and probably a bigger house but really we wanted to make it manageable. Only do want you can afford, it’s important to be able to live and enjoy your new home. 

Compromise is key

Whether you’re buying on your own, with your partner or with a friend. Once you have an idea of budget, make a list of things that are ideal. Now go through this list and look through the things that you would compromise on. For us location, south facing garden and car parking were essential. It would have been ideal to have a semi detached, separate dining room, downstairs toilet but unfortunately this was not possible so we had to compromise and what’s important is, for us this is our first home, it’s unlikely we or you will stay there forever and the next house, once you get some time under your belt and maybe a little more saving, you will be able to incorporate these desirable into your essential list. 

Don’t let looks get the better of you

If you walked into a shop that is beautifully decorated and tidy you’re more likely to buy right…it’s the same with houses. The difference is there is only 1 house and lots of buyers. If an estate agent thinks a house has potential they will do an open day. That’s what happened with the first house we bid on. If a house is well decorated, you can see yourself living there. That’s exactly what we thought and although we set a budget there were multiple bidders and we seen ourselves go £12,000 above our budget and £16,000 over the asking price. What were we thinking, we got carried away and I just hope that the other buyers could afford. No matter what, when the furniture is removed and the rooms are bare, it looks completely different and then you will want to reprint walls and change things around. Interiors are not worth blowing your budget, you can and will make improvements as you go along. 

Try not to get emotionally invested 

My dream home is a old house which we can renovate. We viewed multiple houses and fell in love with this one which looking back now was completely impractical, particularly for our first home. We were sale agreed but knew it needed a lot of work and a couple weeks later we got a complete building survey, our dreams were shattered. The house was in such bad disrepair beyond our naive eyes. It need completely rewired, the chimney was about to fall in, repointing on the outside, wood root, a second damp course and to top it all off asbestos. Our surveyor (who was lovely) and we met him at the house while he was doing the survey gave us some pretty good advice. Without £40,000 before we moved in, it would be impossible for us to make the house liveable, all before we even lifted a paintbrush for the internal. This was a tough blow, we were devastated, because we were emotional involved in the house. We were annoyed that we paid £800 for a survey that proved this wasn’t our dream home, really we should have been happy, we identified the problem and saved ourselves a painful and stressful journey but at the time it was difficult not to think that we had wasted that money for a survey. That’s the trick the survey was vital for us to know that was not a sensible investment. 

Don’t be afraid of professional advice

We took advice from anyone who would help and not my mum or dad but professional advice. We went to a mortgage advisor, who proved to give us a better rate on our mortgage than going directly to the banks. We also took advice from our building surveyor on that and the house we eventually bought. Our solicitor who helped us along the way, I called a lot and I’m sure he screened some of our calls but he knows this process inside and out. Other than signing a few documents and giving them a read (I’m probably doing them no justice) but he gave us so much help. Your solicitor works for you and in this case represents you so use their knowledge and expertise. Remember the estate works for the seller of the property so if you have any problems, get advice and help from your solicitor, they are the best person to represent you. 

Be patient

This process takes time. Finding the right house takes time then conveyancing takes even more time. It’s so easy to say this once it’s complete but it’s so important to be patient, you can rush people along, and be sure to keep them on there toes chasing but there will be a lot of back and forth so don’t let that get you down. Once you get the keys and unlock the door of your new home for the first time that feeling is amazing and no one can take that achievement away from you then. 

Lashings of Love, 

K xo

Home | Burn baby burn

From my last post on our wooden floor which we finished back in August, the wood burner seems to be a long way coming. Just picking a stove can be difficult, waiting for it to arrive and then a fitter it’s a well thought through process. It all started last year when there was smoke coming back down from our chimney into our living room, I came back from the gym one night and it was so bad that Chris has all the doors and windows open, it was extremely dangerous. We had chimney sweeps out to clean the chimney and check there was nothing up there so I thought a wood burner was a great solution. Truth be told, this was how I sold it to Chris. After months of reading Country Living, I knew I wanted a wood burner from day one. Our fireplace was deceiving, like many of the fittings in this house, but this is the blog post for that rant. The fireplace was actually a heavy duty plastic, not stone like it would initially have you believe. This made it extremely difficult to clean, the black soot stuck to it, some would say it made it look worn, me, dirty. I cleaned as hard as I could but it just never looked clean. I knew there was so work to be done before we could install it.

Once the wooden floor was done, I went to the Stove Yard, outside Belfast, it came highly recommended from my Auntie who got her stove there a few years back. Thankfully they are open on a Saturday until 12.30pm so we called in on a Saturday morning. They are experts in the burner industry, we wanted a multi-fuel stove as we burn a lot of coal not just wood, without even seeing our room they were able to give us an idea of the size of burner we needed, 5Kw, which is the heat the burner will produce. This is more than enough for our small room, we didn’t even know the energy level of our fire at that time. They arranged for an installer to come out to do a home check to see that we were suitable and give us a price. The fitter called out a few days later, we had no idea of the extensive work that was required. The chimney had to change from 8″ to 6″ and they fitted a lining to that to reduce the width, we also needed a carbon monoxide detector, even though we already had one but it had to be in the room, building regulation changes and not to mention the stove itself. The best part of getting one fitter was that they do everything and I mean everything. Getting this done was going to a two day job, remove the old fireplace, dig out the hole for the new stove, plaster and fitting. We booked it, 6 weeks was all we would have to wait. Now lets talk cost, the cost of the stove was around £550, we didn’t go for a brand name, although a Charnwood would have been right up my street, the one we choose had a good warranty and there was good feedback on it. We would have looked more into the differences in the branded stoves but we don’t intend to stay in this house forever so we wanted something that was aesthetically pleasing but didn’t break the bank. The cost of the remainder of the parts and the labour was £1200 so a total of £1750, of course you can spend more if you want a more expensive stove but for our purpose this was fine.


Six weeks rolled around pretty quickly and we began clearing out the furniture in our living room, apart from the sofas, we just threw some plastic lining over them. I couldn’t wait to come home and see the progress after the first day. I was so pleased to see the old fireplace gone and the hole was prepared for the stove, the stone was laid, it looked good. However there was dust everywhere. It was difficult to understand how every inch of our house had dust in it, I suppose there were parts of our wall coming out so I shouldn’t complain. I couldn’t wait for it to be finished. The day day we came home and it was all done, we were both delighted. The fireplace looked bulky and now the wood burner looked much nicer, it made the area look bigger. Now to start with the clean up. We spent that evening cleaning the floors and hoovering (I’ve never emptied the hoover more in my life). We had to wait a week until we could get it painted so for one week we continued on with minimal furniture in our living room and our spare bedroom completely packed with whatever wasn’t in the hall and living room.



The painter arrived on the Wednesday and we picked our paint that weekend. Because our floor is such a dark wood, we wanted to keep the walls really light so we went for Farrow & Ball Strong White, this did become slight confusing for our painter who has strong white for the walls, white wood paint for the skirting board and white emulsion for our ceiling, there really was a lot of white paint. The colour was It’s the first time we have got a painter and I would highly recommend it, no mess, no fuss, just remove everything and that night we came home and it was all done. Our painter did bring 3 others with him so no wonder it was done so quickly. We began to move the furniture back and then we went to Donegal, living room still not finished, oh well, the fresh air of Donegal will help me forget about the work from home. As we put the furniture back in, we measured up the living room and made the decision on the sofas, that weekend was the last of the Laura Ashley sale so thankfully they are coming on the 8th December, but we’ll take them earlier if you need us too Laura Ashley.

With a long weekend on the cards, the last thing we needed to do for now was to get a mantle piece. As always, I made Chris put his DIY hat on. I had an idea for the mantle and we bought two shelves and we placed the second shelf below so it looked more than just a shelf.

We cut out grooves to make it more interesting and then painted it white. It was done, now just for Chris to put it up. I went up to do one eyelash appointment and to my surprise when I came down Chris has finished it by himself, I couldn’t wait to get it decorated.

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Now it’s all done, we are just waiting on our sofas and we also need a new dining table and I’ve promised Chris that is all we are doing to the living room. The next stop is the stairs, which we need painted and then the carpet put down, I’ll maybe wait a few weeks before I mention that. Time to get our current sofas cleaned and sold to make way for what’s new. As I am finishing writing this, I’m currently drying my hair in front of the wood burner on the first night that I have really seen what granny would call as the turn in the evenings (that’s darker evenings) and its bless being nice and warm, in my PJ’s by the stove, my new favourite thing.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Home | Wooden Floor

It was never my intention to do a complete living room renovation so quickly after we got the kitchen done but when we were off work I seen no better time than to make the most of it and get some stuff done.

It all started with the wooden floor. Last year when we got Piper, everyday when we came home, our cream carpet was scattered with muddy paw prints. It was time for that to change. I thought a wooden floor would be the best option for use. I just love wooden floors and I sold it to Chris that it would be super quick to clean up after the dog. Dad got the plain wood for us and Chris and him laid it over 2 days throughout the living room and hall way. I was so pleased that they did it together and so quickly.


I wanted a reclaimed wooden floor but honestly we couldn’t justify the price of it. At almost double the price of what we paid for our plain wooden floor boards and considering we would have to do significantly more work to prepare the wood before we could even lay it. So I established I wanted long boards with lots of knots in them as we were going to stain the wood dark.

Dad bought the wood from a wood merchant in his local town which had the tongue and groove already in it. We went for a redwood pine, is a lower cost wooden floor but it’s a soft wood, although redwood is a harder version of pine, so high heels can mark it easily so it has to be treated to reduce the amount of marks on it. I love the marks on the wood it makes it look distressed and older than it actually is. Although the wood was sanded, there were knots throughout it with made it, exactly what I wanted.

It all started with a day of preparation. We began removing the tiles for the hallway and the carpet from living room as well as packing away as much furniture that we could. Removing the tiles was so difficult, and when we were disposing of them, they were bloody heavy! We then had to remove the skirting boards, they were cheap chipboard so they came apart when we removed them we just through them away although if you have real wood treat them carefully. Once everything was removed and cleared the floor could be started the next day.

I have to confuse dad has done this before so isn’t completely a novice, Chris on the other hand is new to this so he watched a few YouTube videos to get himself up to speed and with dads experience he caught on to it in no time. Thankfully I have to say, both dad and Chris are measure twice, cut once guys so I left them to it. They glued and nailed the wooden boards to our concrete floor until it was completely covered. Unfortunately for the next two days, every lady who entered the house for eyelashes was greeted with a saw dust haze at the front door. Over the next two days while I was busy lashing, I could hear the chatter between the two of them, working hard to get the job done quickly, renovating a room is hard because you live without that room until it is finished, harder still for us in a tiny house where most of the furniture was then placed in the kitchen which we had to manoeuvre around.


After two days the floor had been laid but the hard work wasn’t over yet. Now to move on to the varnishing. I wanted a dark oak colour, cooler tone than the more popular mahogany teakwood. I journeyed to B&Q to have a look. I picked the colour immediately, I knew exactly what I wanted. While I was there I noticed that there was a new range of ronseal which had a simple varnish pad which claimed to be 5 times faster than a regular application with a normal brush. The problem was that the colour I wanted wasn’t available in this range. I decided to see what I could do about it. I asked one of the painting experts in B&Q who was so helpful and said that it was just the regular ronseal with a new brush included and essentially had a marked up price. She directed me to a a similar sponge brush and I bought it straight away, now to give it a go.

When the floor was complete it was time to prepare it for the varnish. I picked a matt varnish as I don’t like the look of a gloss finish but the best thing about real wood is if you don’t like it you can sand it down and paint it again. We sanded the floor, ever so slightly, hoovered and rubbed white spirit it to remove all of the dust. I then got started with the varnishing with my crafty new mop type brush. I have to admit I’m the beginning I was a little slow. I realised that although it was faster I had to go around the door frames with a small brush. Once this was done, I was quicker. The only problem was moving around the rooms, because our front and back door was being varnished we had to leave some things out the back of the house so we could leave for a few hours and let the floor dry. Our neighbours must have thought we were crazy getting changed in our back garden, hopefully none of them saw! After 6 hours we came back and we were ready for another coat with another brush so this time, two of us would tackle it. The brush was so much quicker this time but we worked in the opposite direction, from back door to front door meaning this time we locked ourselves upstairs, while I put the finishing touches to the hall, Chris heated up dinner and took it upstairs, the glamorous life of renovating. That way we could leave it over night to dry, ready to evaluate in the morning.


I was happy with it then but Chris thought another coat would be good, don’t tell him, but he was right. We added another coat and then headed out for a walk, thankfully we ran into some friends who invited us for dinner so we had an even better excuse to be out of the house for the next 6 hours. When we arrived home we ran quickly upstairs, nothing is more nerve wracking than the first step on a varnished floor. We came down in the morning and it was done. I’m still so delighted how it turned out.


Furniture back in for now until the wood burning stove. Once the room was empty we used the opportunity to rearrange the furniture. Again Chris’ idea and again he was right. The room looks much bigger now and we are really using the space better. Just waiting for the Laura Ashley sale to pick up a new sofa…can I even wait that long!


The wooden floor has helped with the muddy paws for Piper but now I see her fur more than ever…is there ever a perfect solution. I’m trying to convince Chris that a cordless Dyson would be a good idea, he’s not buying it…yet.

Next stop wood burning stove.

Lashing of Love,

K xo

Change of a name?

While I’m still pondering the thought of whether I’ll change my name when I get married I thought it was time for a new name for something else. My blog (!)

It’s official, I’ve gone full Taylor Swift and I’ve decided to take the plunge and change the name of my blog, Instagram and anywhere else you will find me. It’s taken a while but I just don’t feel that The Little Lash Room really encompasses everything I do now. By no means am I a high flying blogger, in fact I don’t even like calling myself a blogger, I’m only just trying it on for size. If you’re lucky you’ll get 1 blog a week and lots of Instagram pictures of my home, flowers and Piper the pup. Rarely will you find a picture of my eyelash work, pictures from Pinterest of Beyonce crying because she can’t get an eyelash appointment or why I think you have to come to me because you’ll look fabuLASH when you leave. The reason for the change is exactly that, I’m a fraud, when you visit the little lash rooms social media pages you won’t have a reference point, you girls are fab at putting your trust in me. And as most of you girls know, if you’ve been to me, we talk way more about life and love than eyelashes themselves.

Don’t get me wrong I love lashing and I absolutely love all my clients who have supported me over the last 2 and a bit years. This is by no means a sob story that I’m no longer doing lashes, I’m definitely still going to be working every night and weekend. If anything I’m just much more than lashing now, eyelash extensions do not define me, I’m sharing things about my life as they happen, no different to anyone else I guess.

So the new name Strand & Stripes, where did it come from. I’m still keeping a bit of eyelash love there as many of you know each extension will be added to an individual eyelash hair strand. This is the only technique I use as it’s the safest and allows for nature fall out and growth with no damage to your natural lashes. And of course for anyone who has followed me for a while you will know that I’m fond of a breton or two or three or four…. It’s as simple as that.

So there you have it. A change is as good as a rest so there seems to be no better time than the present to take the plunge.

As always, lashings of love

K xo

Change of a name?

While I’m still pondering the thought of whether I’ll change my name when I get married I thought it was time for a new name for something else. My blog (!)

It’s official, I’ve gone full Taylor Swift and I’ve decided to take the plunge and change the name of my blog, Instagram and anywhere else you will find me. It’s taken a while but I just don’t feel that The Little Lash Room really encompasses everything I do now. By no means am I a high flying blogger, in fact I don’t even like calling myself a blogger, I’m only just trying it on for size. If you’re lucky you’ll get 1 blog a week and lots of Instagram pictures of my home, flowers and Piper the pup. Rarely will you find a picture of my eyelash work, pictures from Pinterest of Beyonce crying because she can’t get an eyelash appointment or why I think you have to come to me because you’ll look fabuLASH when you leave. The reason for the change is exactly that, I’m a fraud, when you visit the little lash rooms social media pages you won’t have a reference point, you girls are fab at putting your trust in me. And as most of you girls know, if you’ve been to me, we talk way more about life and love than eyelashes themselves.

Don’t get me wrong I love lashing and I absolutely love all my clients who have supported me over the last 2 and a bit years. This is by no means a sob story that I’m no longer doing lashes, I’m definitely still going to be working every night and weekend. If anything I’m just much more than lashing now, eyelash extensions do not define me, I’m sharing things about my life as they happen, no different to anyone else I guess.

So the new name Strand & Stripes, where did it come from. I’m still keeping a bit of eyelash love there as many of you know each extension will be added to an individual eyelash hair strand. This is the only technique I use as it’s the safest and allows for nature fall out and growth with no damage to your natural lashes. And of course for anyone who has followed me for a while you will know that I’m fond of a breton or two or three or four…. It’s as simple as that.

So there you have it. A change is as good as a rest so there seems to be no better time than the present to take the plunge.

As always, lashings of love

K xo

Food | Simple Lemon Posset

Since the installation of our new kitchen we really can think of nothing better than hosting our friends and family for lunch or dinner. Unfortunately, I’m not a great cook but fortunately Chris is an excellent cook so I count my blessings. I don’t like to leave everything up to him so I always try to contribute and other than buying something pre made and with me being a sweet tooth, I thought I would give this recipe a try for lemon posset.

I began by doing a trial and error with Chris and a few of  my friends to make the necessary tweaks but I think I have it down to a fine art now. From someone who has come from a background of fussy eating and minimal cooking, it can be scary cooking for people as you wait and watch their faces to gauge their reaction. I always just want to impress. One of the things I love most about cooking now is how individual I can make it. Some would even say my confidence is growing and I’m getting a little more experimental.

It takes 15 minutes to make and only has 3 ingredients…couldn’t get much more simple than that. This serves 4 people but it’s easy to double or even triple for as many people you need.

Ingredients
  • Double Cream (300ml)
  • Caster Sugar (75g)
  • 1 1/2 Lemon Juiced
Instructions
  1. Juice the lemon and leave this at the side whilst you prepare the other 2 ingredients.

  2. Put all the double cream and caster sugar into a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer whilst stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the saucepan – it can turn into a cream volcano when it boils so be sure to not have the cooker on to full heat.

  3. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice to the boiled cream and sugar mixture and stir in well.

  4. Pour the mixture into individual dishes, I used ramekins which I collected from one too many GU puddings but you could use a shot glass or wine glasses – it is very rich so a smaller serving is better and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

    Decorate with berries and you can also serve with shortbread, but I haven’t got as far as making my own shortbread yet…let’s just say that my confidence just isn’t there yet. 

    Have fun! This is the perfect simple summer pudding to impress. 

    Lashings of Love,

K xo

Home | Footstool Frenzy

This week Chris and I enjoyed the bank holiday off, right in the middle of the week. It was such a beautiful day, we had a few things that we needed to do outside so thought we would take advantage of the sunshine.

The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
The basis for this project was this wooden palette. I thought I would try and making a fabric footstool for our living room. Chris and I did it together and this is definitely a 2 person job!

Materials you’ll need:

  1. Wooden palette: whatever size you want your footstool to be. I got mine from work but you can find them just about anywhere.
  2. Legs: I chose the gold caster legs to match my sofa…and my new sofa which I’m ordering soon. I bought this from eBay but you could get legs just about anywhere.
  3. 5cm thick foam: to fit the size of the surface area of the footstool…I used several thinner pieces but the thicker piece is definitely better as I used more than I expected, it worked out more expensive and took much more time.
  4. 2cm thick foam: to fit the surface area and around the side of the footstool with enough to be stapled underneath
  5. Fabric: a little bit extra then the 2cm thick foam to cover the buttons
  6. Push together buttons

Tools you’ll need:

  1. Drill
  2. Saw
  3. Hammer
  4. Staple gun & staples (lots of staples)
  5. Long upholstery needle
  6. Thick thread

How to:

  1. Once you have found a wooden palette that’s the right size or cut it to the correct size, work out how many buttons you will want and the distance they should be. I chose to put a row in each of the pieces of wood. I measured out and drilled a hole while they should be placed. You may not want buttons in yours, and if not you’ll save about half the time in making this. Make sure that you give the palette a brush down now before it’s covered. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  2. Place the 5cm foam on top (where you have drilled holes) and staple, as close to the bottom of it as possible, the entire circumference of the wooden palette to ensure it stays in place. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  3. Lay the 2cm foam on the ground and flip wooden palette rover so the 5cm foam is laid down on the thinner foam  then pull it really tight and staple to the bottom. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  4. Do the same process for the fabric making sure it’s pulled really tight and lots of staples are added around the base. Once the fabric is added cut off any excess and use this excess to cover the buttons. This can take a bit of time depending on the number of buttons you have. Mine were by no means perfect but once they were in the fabric on the stool I didn’t notice. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  5. Add the buttons by threading through the holes you have drilled. Make sure you have an extra long needle to make sure it passes easily through the foam. Leave about half of the thick thread on the sewing side so you can tie the tread on the underside. Once you have threaded the button, tie the two ends and make a large knot. Pull the thread tight and staple down. This creates the dimples in the cushion. The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman
  6. Add the legs and you’re done! Test it out before anyone sits on it to make sure the legs are secure…

The Little Little Lash Room DIY Fabric Footstool Ottoman

It didn’t take us as long as I thought it would. It’s probably one of our most successful DIY projects we have completed to date. It was not expensive to complete, definitely much cheaper than buying. My friend Lindsey has put her order in for use to make one for apartment. I’m delighted with the result and hope you give it a go.

Nothing left for us to do than to put our feet up on our new footstool relishing in our efforts while thoroughly enjoy this beautiful Sunday.

Lashings of love,

K xo

Home | New kitchen 

For the last 8 months we have been planning a new kitchen and honestly for my friends and family it has been relief as it has taken a huge focus on our life for the last number of months and now it’s complete. YAY! I’m so delighted, we had our ups and downs with this development and for new home owners this had probably been the most difficult job we have taken on so far. 2 months ago if you asked if I would do it again I would have said no, now I would happily do it all over again now that it’s finished and of course now  I know what I know.

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Before

Firstly I’ll take you back to show you what our old kitchen was like when we first moved it. I called it 50 shades of green. It’s ironic that this year Pantone said greenery was their colour of the year, I couldn’t agree less. After living with our previous kitchen the colour green has absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever. The green kitchen cabinet was a different green from the tiles and they were a different green on the walls, it really frustrated me.

I decided that we needed to change it but we would have to save, other rooms got the priority and we began researching how we would go about getting a new kitchen and thankfully I had friends and family who were able to advise the person to do it and all it entailed.

It all started by reading a few country living magazines and pinning like crazy. I had the luxury of seeing my aunts and friends kitchens so I had a good idea of exactly what I wanted.

Not only was the aesthetics of the kitchen important but it also had to be practical. Despite the fact I rarely, and I mean rarely, cook we had to take into account that it had to be a better solution to what we had. Initially we had an L shaped kitchen but we needed to use the space we had better and also more storage, would be ideal. We designed a U shaped kitchen for more countertop space and more cupboard storage. One of my biggest pet peeves with the old kitchen was that there was so much sitting around on the work surface so it always looked messy, extra storage would definitely help with that. Plus the colour, oh the colour, was my greatest hatred. Changing your kitchen on a budget, sounds easy right, not so much, I think this has taught us both so much.

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With completely changing our kitchen shape that involve a lot more preparation before the cabinets could even start to be made. We had to lift the whole floor, change our radiator and more some electrical sockets and add in the function for the lighting as well as remove all the tiles and completely plaster all the walls. We had a electrical but our regular plumber was off working in England so we needed to find a new one…here begins the problems.

Lesson 1
You will be let down a lot!  

Getting a plumber seems like such a simple task but trust me it wasn’t. We asked countless plumbers to come to our house and very few actually showed and when they did we had one guy who was so inexperienced we couldn’t have hired him another who couldn’t do the job for a long time and another who was so expensive we thought he was trying to price us out and chance his arm. Quotes in, now lets get the job done…not so much, we were told on so many different occasions that they would be there some not showing up at all and others messaging to say they  had to complete another job. When I spoke with one of my lovely clients whose family owns a construction business she gave me this advice, make it worth their while. These construction companies are the bread and butter for the contractors we relied so heavily on so we would always be the second preference. Perseverance is key in this game.

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Lesson 2
Your timeline is not realistic.

With let downs and changes along the way it can be an ongoing battle for quiet a while. Be patient. We thought this would be complete within 4 months but in reality it took twice that time, maybe more. Really sometimes I just wanted to give up, I’m very impatient, firstly I wanted it done before we celebrated our first year in the house (November) then I wanted it done before Christmas then I gave up setting a date for it. We had arranged and rearranged work men to come and complete jobs before a final measure of the cabinets could be done.

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You can change your mind, it isn’t too late. 

When we first began all the final decisions hadn’t been made but we did had a good idea of exactly what we were going for. I had a style in mind so we had to make all the major decisions but there were details I was not sure of. Maybe because our final design wasn’t drawn on  piece of paper, there were no auto cad drawings and colour schemes, everything was kept in a folder, clippings, quotes and design ideas, nothing formal. We didn’t decide on the final colours, door design and the tiles until about 2 weeks before. Picking the colour for the kitchen was one which I thought about a lot and the Farrow & Ball How to Decorate book became my bible. I remember the days of just picked a colour I liked but this book explains exactly what colours suit which light and gives groups of colours that work together. In the end we choose to paint out bottom cabinets purbeck stone, top cabinets are wevet and the walls are painted blackened, all of which are easy neutrals. We had wooden boards painted and checked the colours at different times of the day to see how the light in the kitchen affected them. With a north face kitchen we needed a light kitchen as the sunlight doesn’t come streaming directly through the windows at any part of the day. This of course paired with a light grey marble worktop make it light and bright no matter what time of the day it is thus making it appear bigger that what it actually is.

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You will spend more than you originally budgeted. 

It didn’t take long for us to do the sums and soon realised exactly what we wanted would be way more than what we had budgeted for. We were sourcing everything ourselves rather than one contractor who does everything so its easy to get carried away. We added more cabinets, made them ceiling height and changed from a wooden worktop to a granite one, definitely an increase in budget. At the start we thought we would just make the kitchen look better, it’s not our forever home so really we didn’t need an expensive kitchen. The difficulty with this ethos is that once you go in to look the most expensive thing always looks the best. Chris got used to my eye wondering to the most expensive thing without even knowing it, he seems to think I have some sort of gift (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t think it’s a gift but that’s what I like to call it!). Some things we did have to compromise on. Our washing machine and dishwasher are not integrated because we would have had to buy a small version for it to be integrated in and they were much more expensive that what we originally paid for our new dishwasher and washing machine. Really we couldn’t justify spending the same amount of money again although when we spoke to our kitchen maker he said it was something we could do later if we wanted so maybe we will get that done.

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Lesson 5
Let the dust settle.

It takes time but after each task let the dust settle and see what’s next. If your organising yourself its so important to keep in contact with everyone to let them know your timelines, we didn’t do this very well and I think that is why it took so much longer. Our kitchen maker came to our house to give us an idea of what we could do with the space, once we had a better idea we had some work to do. Firstly we had to get an electrician to move a light switch and out heating switch to make way for the new radiator. Then a plumber to get a new vertical radiator and move the heating pipes then of course another visit to actually fit the radiator. Then the electrician had to come back and wire the lights for under the cabinet cupboards. Then all of the disgusting green tiles had to be removed then we needed a plasterer to plaster the entire walls. Chris painted the entire kitchen and then we were ready for install. Getting the kitchen installed seemed like the end but it wasn’t, we could just see the light at the end of the tunnel. It then took a few days for the granite to arrive (once the kitchen is fitted they then take final measurements for install) and the electrician fitted the under cabinet lights and plumber had to return to fit tapes and plumb the sink…thankfully this all happened in the same week so our house was a complete mess. Dad then came a few days later and laid the floor. In all honesty we won’t keep this floor as now it is laid it is one of the most difficult floors to keep clean, not just because of our four legged friend but in general, one rainy day (and we have lots of these in NI!) and the floor is a mess. We are in talks (with each other of course) about getting a new floor in our living room and hallway so we may just change the kitchen floor when we do that. Even with it finished there are still things that need to be done, we need to change the microwave to a much smaller one that can fit behind the cupboard door which we had to remove to get the old microwave in. Its a work in progress and even when it’s ‘done’, its not really done!

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It will all be worth it in the end (this is the only thing that will get you through)!

 

 

The result, a kitchen not only that is aesthetically pleasing but also one I actually want to send time in. I’ve now found myself watching Mary Berry and writing down the recipe and planning it for dinner or dessert. I really have found a space which I enjoy spending time in. I even enjoy doing the dishes in out Belfast sink and I never thought I would say that, although I’m sure that novelty will wear off. Although this isn’t our forever home (we will still be here in a few years time) I think its a neutral kitchen which anyone can move into and enjoy. With real wood we have the ability to change the colour as we like, although the mention of this may send Chris over the edge if I suggest another project for him to complete. We have much more space now as well as much more light in our kitchen which makes it look it look so much bigger than what it was before. We built cupboards up to the ceiling and this has really increased the amount of space we have, although it most certainly isn’t for those everyday essentials, I can barely reach. More space has lead to a less clutter worktop which was exactly what I wanted, I’m absolutely delighted with it.

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K xo

New Year…New Me (NOT!)

So we are only a couple of weeks into 2017 and I have seen more posts about new year, new me but I’m always speculative about. I too am hoping to make a few changes, mostly around the house. Now that the Christmas decorations are back in the attic, I’m actually really happy to finally get a good spring clean on (thanks Marie Kondo, I’m obsessed with the joy), clear out things that are not used or I really don’t like anymore (sorry Chris there are a few of your things which are making their way to the charity shop). That’s really my goal for this month is get our house cleared out and ready for the year ahead.

I always feel that January has a way of tricking us, we are lead to believe we much change and start a fresh but are often left feeling defeated when we don’t keep up with our brilliant plans.

This year I want to set goals to achieve:

1. Home Improvements

Since moving into our house a year ago, I have absolutely loved getting stuck into redecorating, every room in this house was an awful washed out yellow colour or bright blue. We have made really good progress and some thins are easier than others to complete and of course a lot of this boils down to time, effort and affordability. On the surface I really do think we are getting there and room by room I can really start to see the theme of our home coming through. Our bedroom, ensuite, living room, hallway and lash room have all seen a drastic improvement in the first 12 months of us living here. I often wonder how quickly I could get the house in order if I didn’t work full-time but of course how would I then pay for all my great ideas!

I’ve made a list of things I want to do around the house this year, again some are easier than others and now Chris is off for a few weeks on gardening leave (lucky sod) he will be able to tackle the jobs that take longer than Redecorating the second bedroom is easy whereas completely redecorating the kitchen will take much long but plans are underway so I can’t wait to see what we achieve this year.


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2. Half Marathon 

I completed a half marathon in 2015 and although during the run at about mile 10 I thought it was awful I pushed through made it to the end and it really made me feel like I had achieved something. What was more important about it was that I set myself a target and I had to do it, not an aimless resolution of losing weight and once it’s booked there is no getting out of it!

This year I want to do it in a much quicker time, the first time I ran a half marathon my training fell to the wayside when I developed a stress fracture and had to wear a very attractive rocker boot. This really slowed me down and I had to take 8 weeks break. So this time I want to create a new personal best.

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3. Spend more time with my family & friends

Last year I worked way to much and focused on things that didn’t matter, wasting time on bulls**t. I noticed when one of my lovely clients told mum and I they were heading away to New York for her birthday mum was delighted and very jealous, so my brothers and I decided to book a trip for mum.

This year I’m making the effort to spend time with my amazing friends and family. They are so understanding of how busy I am and really go out of their way to help and support me. Really I just love to laugh and relax and that’s what spending time with them involves, it could be at mums house or on our family ski trip, it really could be anywhere doing anything.

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Here’s to 2017, new pages to fill!

Lashings of love,
K xo

Goodbye 2016…Hello 2017

 

Today on Instagram I have seen lots of amazing posts to highlight how special 2016 was for some people. New Years Eve is the day that we all look back on the year past and look forward to the year ahead. Today I will spend time looking through my jar of happiness to review 2016 in all its glory.

When I think of all the amazing things that happened this year, Chris and I got engaged, I was bridesmaid for my best friend and my cousin, Piper the pup arriving at our house and the havoc she has caused since, continued house improvements, new shoes and handbags, trips with work, the success of the Little Lash Room has grown from strength to strength and a sneaky promotion in work at the end of the year, so yes, 2016 has been pretty flipping great!

But today I can’t help but think about all the people who aren’t posting about their fantastic year. As great as this year has been, its been tough for us and ours very close to us with lose, separation, serious life changing illness and a lost career for some at the end of the year they may themselves feel lost and happy to see the end of this year and most certainly am humbled and grateful that we have made it to the end of this year and overcome these challenges.

For me, New Years is the start of a new chapter, not the end of an era, thats why my jar of happiness is so important to me, to remember the silly things that really did put a smile on my face. I have just about anything in it, from cinema tickets, boarding passes, wedding order of service, receipts and any other artefacts with a memory. I hate new years resolutions but this year one thing I really want to improve upon is time spent and refocus. Each of us are given the same amount of time, and at the moment I don’t use mine to the full of its ability. I want to make a real effect to spend time with friends and family, just grabbing a coffee, taking the dogs out for a walk and go for runs more. I need to refocus. I’ve created a project list of things I would like to complete in 2017, mostly things around the house but the odd new shoes and handbag wish list too, this steams from my mum who sets goals for each year and she always smashes them, no wonder she is my inspiration. So no resolutions per se.

So do yourself a favour, go out and get a big jar and fill it full of memories for 2017, trust me you will not regret it.

Alternative Christmas Tree

We are now well into the time when we deck our halls for the festive season. Christmas decorations are my favourite, I think I can be so much more creative around the house and the smell of fresh pine makes the house devine. 

A few months ago I got a Cox & Cox Christmas catalogue through the post box and as usual I sat down with a cup of tea and read through the brochure. I spotted the wooden Christmas Tree in the brochure and thought it would have been perfect in my hallway as it looks a little bare, the brochure was laying open on my coffee table when Chris spotted it and suggested using this as inspiration and make something similar very easily and it wouldn’t cost us a penny as we could use wood from the forest and everything else was around the house.

I began to get creative. I worked out that I needed 10 branches largest from 100cm, incrementally decreasing by 10cm each time until I ended up with the final 10cm branch. Then we went out on a hunt for them, into the woods. On my search, I looked for sticks that were roughly the same width and relatively straight but I wasn’t really strict with it, I wanted it to look rustic as though it is just collected from the forest. Once I collected the sticks, I brought them home and measured them out, laying them on the floor and moving them around to suit, I then used a saw to cut them to the length I needed. Once the wood was cut, I began marking where the holes should go and started drilling through. I cut 3 metres of twine and folded it in half at the top, then I feed through twine on both sides and tied a knot just below each branch to hold it in place, I left about 10cm inbetween each branch. When I had finished knotting each branch I cut the end of the twine and I hung it in our hallway and considered how I would decorate it.

The first thing I wanted on the tree was lights, I used 300 fairy lights. I started at the bottom, near the electric socket and looped the lights around each branch until I reached the top of the tree. 300 was a lot of lights for the size of my tree but I do love an excuse to crack out the fairy lights! When I turned the lights on I was impressed.


The tree stayed this way for about a week and although I liked it, I thought I could add the extra Christmas decorations that were leftover from my Christmas tree decorating. This year I seemed to find that I had lots left over, as I kept buying more than I needed but I couldn’t say no to some of the gorgeous ornaments from Sostrene Grene and The Range. I started to add the decorations to the tree using drawing pins, I only added about 1 or 2 on each branch then when I seen how nice it looked with decorations I kept adding until I thought it was complete.


I’m absolutely delighted with how it turned out and its the cheapest Christmas decoration I have in my house. The wood, twine and drawing pins were already in the house and the Christmas baubles were leftover from the tree. Why not try this simple DIY before Christmas, you don’t need to make it as big as I have made it you could make it half the size. Have you made any Christmas decorations this year?

Lashings of Love,

Kerrie xo

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Wonderland (in a jar)

As the house is fully decorated with lots of holly, berries and candles for Christmas, I have a lot of vases and glass pots which are just going to waste, I thought I could put them to good use.

After finding Magic Snow Powder last year at the Belfast Christmas Market, I was amazed by it, making 100 times it’s original size, thats got to be magic right! I bought 2 immediately. Last year I didn’t find any other purpose for it other than showing my friends the magic. This year I’m getting more creative and thought I would make little winter wonderland village.

What you need: 

  1. Vases & glass jars
  2. Magic Snow – I bought lots more in Home Bargains. If you can’t get magic snow, use Epsons Salts, low cost and looks just as good as snow.
  3. Christmas Decorations: I bought lots of different ones, anything that is small enough to fit into your jar – I took apart some Christmas decorations to create the forest of Christmas trees. I also took the ribbon and hook of the top of some Christmas decorations to place beside the trees.
  4. Printed houses: I found mine here – if you can find these as Christmas decorations thats even better but I think these print outs are fantastic, easy, low cost and no storage until next year.
  5. Electric tea lights: If your house has some windows, added a electric tea light it makes the jars look so much nicer and more festive but it isn’t necessary.
  6. Christmas Lights (not essential)

Instructions:

  1. Make your snow: Use a wash hand basin to make up all your magic snow, follow the instructions on your packet.
  2. Add snow to glass jars: Depending on what show you have got, add it to the glass jars so you have a good bed of snow so your decorations have a good cushion and can be embedded in the snow. Remember to clean the glass if there is any snow on the glass around.
  3. Prepare and add your decorations: I’d recommend added the bigger decorations first, like the houses, postbox, deer or whatever you have and then add the trees around your main decoration.
  4. Choose where to place your jars: I make enough to place all over my radiator cover in the hallway, I then scatter Christmas lights behind it jars to give it an even more festive feel…and Voila!

I’d love to see what your Winter Wonderland looks like? I love doing this myself but it would also be a great idea to help get your kids involved in Christmas decorating, they could help colour in the houses or decide on their own Winter Wonderland.

Lashings of Love,

Kerrie xo

Christmas DIY Decorations: Car in a Jar

the-little-lash-room-diy-christmas-decoration-car-in-a-jar-1

After spotting a car in the jar on Instagram, I decided I would have a go at trying to make it myself. When I went Christmas shopping for decorations, I was starting to see these little snow globe type ornaments everywhere I’m in completely in love. I think it’s nice to have  decorations like this around the house on coffee tables, the fire place and on shelves.

DIY What you will need to make a Car in a JARWhat you’ll need:

  1. Car (1:64 scale) – I prefer the vintage cars but I have also made one with a Range Rover for my dad – I got them mine in Home Bargains but you can get them in a range of different places, eBay, Amazon and The Range.
  2. Magic Snow – I found this in Home Bargains – a small tube makes a lot of snow and if you are making more than one Christmas decoration that will use snow, I would advise making them all on the same day and then use it. This snow will stay like this as long as it stays dry. If your not using magic snow, use salt, it looks just as good and is just a cost effective.
  3. Mason Jar – small jar with a metal lid I think is most effective
  4. Christmas Tree – I believe others have used bristle like mini Christmas trees however I thought I would improvise and take apart another Christmas decoration. this time I found a faux pine Christmas tree decoration and took a branch from it, I then removed a few of the spines from the bottom so it now looks like a Christmas tree.
  5. Red & white string – originally I bought a few meters of eBay however I have seen that IKEA now have this as part of their Christmas wrapping section, its cheaper than buying it by the meter but the white is actually cream.
  6. Bells – I used Christmas decorations and took them apart to get the individual bells. You can get them from just about anywhere but I’d recommend a cheap one especially because they will be pulled apart. I didn’t use all of the bells for my car in a jar, so I added them to my Christmas wrapping.

Directions:

1. Make your snow and add about 2cm to the bottom of the jar, shake it around the bottom so some of it goes over the windows so it looks like its snowing. o0 the-little-lash-room-diy-christmas-decoration-car-in-a-jar-22. Make your Christmas tree and tie it to the car using the red & white string and put it in the jar
the-little-lash-room-diy-christmas-decoration-car-in-a-jar-43. Close the lid of your jar and tie some red & white string around the top with some bells. Place wherever you want in your house, or even better add a gift tag, driving home for Christmas, and give it to someone as a gift.

Lashings of Love

Kerrie xo