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

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Travel | 48 hours in Barcelona

Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination for people across the world. Particularly it is renowned for the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, honestly I didn’t have a clue who he was before we went, time to Google.

Situated in the Catalonia area in Spain, it’s easy to get to Barcelona. We flew there a few days before, spent 5 days in France and got the train back to Barcelona again for a 2 day visit. We have exactly 48 hours there. Time to get planning. We made a list of a few things we wanted to see and started a plan.

When we arrived at the train station, I opened Uber to find that it’s not available in Barcelona. What no Uber, how would we get round. Straight out to queue for a taxi and with more than 100 people waiting I. The blistering heat we knew it would be a long wait. I spotted an information desk and walked over, there was a bus tour which went straight past our hotel. Why not, find out more about the city for the same price as a taxi over the 2 days we were there. €39 each, sign me up. I always go away and do a bus tour, I’ve turned into my granny it would seem. But a few years ago Chris and I were travelling to Oxford, a city steeped in historical landmarks so a bus tour became the easiest way to get around and find out more. Since then, we’ve just always done it. For a city like Barcelona, a bus tour is essential just because it’s so big and taking taxis everywhere really wouldn’t be that cost effective. There are 3 different routes of the city so it well worth the money with buses coming to stops every few minutes. This way you get to take in the most of Barcelona and hop on and off for the spots you really want to see. We started sightseeing before we had even arrived at the hotel – result!

img_0843
We got off at the end of Las Ramblas and made our way to our hotel. Las Ramblas is a long meandering street with connects the port with the city centre. We got checked in, checked out the room, freshened up and then began to walk further up Las Ramblas to get on the next stop in the tour. It was extremely unfortunate that just over one week before we arrived a terrible terrorist attack happened on that very street with people killed and injured. I don’t really know what we expected, less people, quieter streets but it was the exact opposite, it was hard to believe such a horrible act had happened. There was hustle and bustle and the sellers on that street kept their shop doors open with many giving away free candles to add the the memorial which continued to grow at pace every day. We stopped at each of the memorial sites on our way to the Plaça de Catalunya to get on the next stop and travel around some more.


As you travel around the city on the bus you will hear Gaudi mention a lot as his works become very familiar after a while, like mosaic tiles. We then journeyed to Park Guerl another one of Gaudis works to be told we couldn’t get in until 6pm. We spent a while walking around the Park Guell and think goodness for the people selling iced water, after walking up a fairly steep hill, to find out we were going in the wrong direction and then having to walk up another steep hill to get to the park we were exhausted by the time we got there. We had a beautiful walk about the part of the park that you don’t need a ticket for. There were buskers and painters around with lots to see. Normally a walk like that wouldn’t seem at all strenuous but in the searing heat, it seemed almost impossible. We stopped for lunch just outside the park, tapas as always and a good drink of water to hydrate before heading on again. A good spray of deodorant wouldn’t have gone a miss then either!! The one stop I really wanted to make was the Sagrada Familia, we got back on the bus and made our way there to find that the next available time for 6pm, we were told to book online for the following day. Everything was booking up so fast, especially because it was the weekend. In hindsight, I wish we had booked online for Saturday but we didn’t know what time we would get there but my advice, estimate a time and work around that. We wasted most of Saturday afternoon trying to get into places which were fully booked. We got back on the bus to get back to the centre and came across Barcelona Football Club. We got off the bus to have a look and to Chris’ delight we were able to go in straight away. It would have been a waste of an afternoon if we didn’t go in and do some sightseeing so I agreed. Not footballs biggest fan I thought I would go anyway and see what it’s like. We began by walking around and reading the history of the club, honestly I was shocked how impressed I was. When they say that it is more than just a club they really mean it, it was really interesting and the stadium itself is breath taking. It’s safe to say that if I hear any news about Barcelona Football my ears may just prick up, I’m emotionally invested now, you can only imagine my interest in transfer deadline day…like what is that about! We left and missed the last bus back so we got a taxi. It’s easy to hail a cab in Barcelona, if the green light is on, just hop in.


We got as close back to our hotel as possible as there was a peaceful protest. The huge number of people who attended with flowers, candles and signs was truly astonishing. It’s amazing to see how people come together over such sadness and show such strength. They walked up and down Las Ramblas and within minutes the memorials grew phenomenally. It was amazing to see and something we will not forgot. We walked back to our hotel and watched the goings on from our balcony while we got ready for the evening and booked our tickets for the next day.


We headed to the Barcelona Square for drinks and dinner, no surprises for guessing we ordered tapas and paella from Ocaña. Truly delicious all washed down with a few glasses sangria. We walked up Las Ramblas to see what else was going on, we stopped along the way for a few glasses of wine (NOTE: why does rosè taste so much better on holiday!). We called it a night and wandered back to the hotel.

We got up on Sunday morning had breakfast and got on the road. I imagined we would have got up earlier but I think the rosé wine had taken a much greater toll. We walked around the port and then continued the bus tour to the Gothic Quarter before making our way to Sagrada Familia for the tour we booked.


We booked it for 3pm which allowed us to go up the façade 15 minutes later. We went up the Nativity Façade rather than the Passion Façade. Nativity isn’t as popular as the Passion Façade is much higher so we took what was available. The views from the bridge between the Façade is amazing, we seen the whole east side of the city. The bridge isn’t that wide and if there are a few people on it there is just about room to squeeze past them. The walk down is less than desirable. The narrow spiral staircase is one to walk slowly down, especially if you look down the middle and see just how far there is until the bottom, as you look down you’ll notice it looks like a shell, the whole way to the bottom. I’m not the greatest fan of heights and if you’re the same hang on tight to the railing. We then collected the audio guides and went around the Cathedral, to say it’s impressive would be an understatement. It’s difficult to comprehend Gaudi’s vision for this incredible building as the amount of detail couldn’t be completely covered in one tour. The pillars inside are like a forest, the stain glass windows are cooler colours on the side of sun rise as this cooler in the morning and the sun set has warmer colours. Whether you are religious or not this is definitely worth a visit, it was my favourite spot on our tour.

*insert awkward scared face


After we walked back into the town for dinner and drinks. We went to Rossini for dinner, give it a try, their tapas were much better and the paella was to die for. Earlier night for us tonight after a walk home and then off to bed to catch the early flight in the morning.

We both said that we would definitely visit again there was so much we didn’t see and only a 2 hour flight from Belfast so perfect for a weekend city break. There is an endless amount to see and just walked through the streets of Barcelona taking in the atmosphere is amazing.

So where is our next destination? Any recommendations?

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Travel | 48 hours in Barcelona 

Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination for people across the world. Particularly it is renowned for the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, honestly I didn’t have a clue who he was before we went, time to Google.

Situated in the Catalonia area in Spain, it’s easy to get to Barcelona. We flew there a few days before, spent 5 days in France and got the train back to Barcelona again for a 2 day visit. We have exactly 48 hours there. Time to get planning. We made a list of a few things we wanted to see and started a plan.

When we arrived at the train station, I opened Uber to find that it’s not available in Barcelona. What no Uber, how would we get round. Straight out to queue for a taxi and with more than 100 people waiting I. The blistering heat we knew it would be a long wait. I spotted an information desk and walked over, there was a bus tour which went straight past our hotel. Why not, find out more about the city for the same price as a taxi over the 2 days we were there. €39 each, sign me up. I always go away and do a bus tour, I’ve turned into my granny it would seem. But a few years ago Chris and I were travelling to Oxford, a city steeped in historical landmarks so a bus tour became the easiest way to get around and find out more. Since then, we’ve just always done it. For a city like Barcelona, a bus tour is essential just because it’s so big and taking taxis everywhere really wouldn’t be that cost effective. There are 3 different routes of the city so it well worth the money with buses coming to stops every few minutes. This way you get to take in the most of Barcelona and hop on and off for the spots you really want to see. We started sightseeing before we had even arrived at the hotel – result!


We got off at the end of Las Ramblas and made our way to our hotel. Las Ramblas is a long meandering street with connects the port with the city centre. We got checked in, checked out the room, freshened up and then began to walk further up Las Ramblas to get on the next stop in the tour. It was extremely unfortunate that just over one week before we arrived a terrible terrorist attack happened on that very street with people killed and injured. I don’t really know what we expected, less people, quieter streets but it was the exact opposite, it was hard to believe such a horrible act had happened. There was hustle and bustle and the sellers on that street kept their shop doors open with many giving away free candles to add the the memorial which continued to grow at pace every day. We stopped at each of the memorial sites on our way to the Plaça de Catalunya to get on the next stop and travel around some more.


As you travel around the city on the bus you will hear Gaudi mention a lot as his works become very familiar after a while, like mosaic tiles. We then journeyed to Park Guerl another one of Gaudis works to be told we couldn’t get in until 6pm. We spent a while walking around the Park Guell and think goodness for the people selling iced water, after walking up a fairly steep hill, to find out we were going in the wrong direction and then having to walk up another steep hill to get to the park we were exhausted by the time we got there. We had a beautiful walk about the part of the park that you don’t need a ticket for. There were buskers and painters around with lots to see. Normally a walk like that wouldn’t seem at all strenuous but in the searing heat, it seemed almost impossible. We stopped for lunch just outside the park, tapas as always and a good drink of water to hydrate before heading on again. A good spray of deodorant wouldn’t have gone a miss then either!! The one stop I really wanted to make was the Sagrada Familia, we got back on the bus and made our way there to find that the next available time for 6pm, we were told to book online for the following day. Everything was booking up so fast, especially because it was the weekend. In hindsight, I wish we had booked online for Saturday but we didn’t know what time we would get there but my advice, estimate a time and work around that. We wasted most of Saturday afternoon trying to get into places which were fully booked. We got back on the bus to get back to the centre and came across Barcelona Football Club. We got off the bus to have a look and to Chris’ delight we were able to go in straight away. It would have been a waste of an afternoon if we didn’t go in and do some sightseeing so I agreed. Not footballs biggest fan I thought I would go anyway and see what it’s like. We began by walking around and reading the history of the club, honestly I was shocked how impressed I was. When they say that it is more than just a club they really mean it, it was really interesting and the stadium itself is breath taking. It’s safe to say that if I hear any news about Barcelona Football my ears may just prick up, I’m emotionally invested now, you can only imagine my interest in transfer deadline day…like what is that about! We left and missed the last bus back so we got a taxi. It’s easy to hail a cab in Barcelona, if the green light is on, just hop in.


We got as close back to our hotel as possible as there was a peaceful protest. The huge number of people who attended with flowers, candles and signs was truly astonishing. It’s amazing to see how people come together over such sadness and show such strength. They walked up and down Las Ramblas and within minutes the memorials grew phenomenally. It was amazing to see and something we will not forgot. We walked back to our hotel and watched the goings on from our balcony while we got ready for the evening and booked our tickets for the next day.


We headed to the Barcelona Square for drinks and dinner, no surprises for guessing we ordered tapas and paella from Ocaña. Truly delicious all washed down with a few glasses sangria. We walked up Las Ramblas to see what else was going on, we stopped along the way for a few glasses of wine (NOTE: why does rosè taste so much better on holiday!). We called it a night and wandered back to the hotel.

We got up on Sunday morning had breakfast and got on the road. I imagined we would have got up earlier but I think the rosé wine had taken a much greater toll. We walked around the port and then continued the bus tour to the Gothic Quarter before making our way to Sagrada Familia for the tour we booked.


We booked it for 3pm which allowed us to go up the façade 15 minutes later. We went up the Nativity Façade rather than the Passion Façade. Nativity isn’t as popular as the Passion Façade is much higher so we took what was available. The views from the bridge between the Façade is amazing, we seen the whole east side of the city. The bridge isn’t that wide and if there are a few people on it there is just about room to squeeze past them. The walk down is less than desirable. The narrow spiral staircase is one to walk slowly down, especially if you look down the middle and see just how far there is until the bottom, as you look down you’ll notice it looks like a shell, the whole way to the bottom. I’m not the greatest fan of heights and if you’re the same hang on tight to the railing. We then collected the audio guides and went around the Cathedral, to say it’s impressive would be an understatement. It’s difficult to comprehend Gaudi’s vision for this incredible building as the amount of detail couldn’t be completely covered in one tour. The pillars inside are like a forest, the stain glass windows are cooler colours on the side of sun rise as this cooler in the morning and the sun set has warmer colours. Whether you are religious or not this is definitely worth a visit, it was my favourite spot on our tour.

*insert awkward scared face


After we walked back into the town for dinner and drinks. We went to Rossini for dinner, give it a try, their tapas were much better and the paella was to die for. Earlier night for us tonight after a walk home and then off to bed to catch the early flight in the morning.

We both said that we would definitely visit again there was so much we didn’t see and only a 2 hour flight from Belfast so perfect for a weekend city break. There is an endless amount to see and just walked through the streets of Barcelona taking in the atmosphere is amazing.

So where is our next destination? Any recommendations?

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Beauty | Charlotte Tilbury just take my money!

A few weeks ago I journeyed into town after a hard days work and thought I deserved a treat. I needed to pick up a few bits and while I was there I thought I may as well have a look in the sale. What harm could that have. 

I walked with stealth through House of Fraser, straight past Mulberry (well I’d seen all there sale items online, no point in looking there). I came to an abrupt stop, right at the Charlotte Tilbury counter. I remembered a friend of mine recommended the overnight bronze and glow mask. When I seen her with no make up on, she looked amazing, glowy and tanned skin, I had to have this miracle worker. But of course I didn’t stop there. I decided to buy the all in one palette as well. £87 later I walked out, happy with my new buys…I then splurged a little more in the sales. 

But I’m not here to talk about my other purchases for it is Charlotte Tilbury that has really impressed me. I’ve bought a few things from her, mostly lipsticks and I love how every time I hear her speak she addresses us a darlings! 

The packaging is devine, slap on a bit of foil printing and I’ll pay double, it’s simple. The packaging on the overnight glow mask did throw me a little. Clearly there was a rebrand at some stage before this product was launched. On the tube a white and gold foiled sticker was carefully applied, not noticeable to the disconcerting. It most certainly hasn’t put me off. 

The overnight mask states that a thin layer should be applied over the face and décolletage, washing hands afterwards. Having very dry skin, normally face tans leave dry patches around my face but this couldn’t have been more hydrating. I woke up in the morning with a natural glow, one which I would have been happy to run to the shops with no make up whatsoever. It took the grey look out of my skin. I applied for 3 nights and left for 5 days. No funny fake tan smell either which is a huge plus for me! It wears off naturally with no patchy marks. I do my normal skin care routine with cleanser, toner & moisturiser afterwards, it didn’t notice this having an impact on it, but the glow is so natural, I doubt it would. 

Moving on to the instant look in a palette. I’m no make up artist but I do love a new palette. It’s taken me years to allow myself other eye shadow palettes without feeling like I’m cheating on the Urban Decay Naked range. There’s no doubt I still love it, and it is a tough one to beat. In all honesty I just never felt like I needed another range of colours, I keep it fairly neutral. But this palette was different, it’s not just eyes it’s so much more. 

By combining eyes, blush, bronze and highlight, it’s the perfect palette for travelling and is perfect for when I spend a bit of time away from home every now and again. I brought very minimal make up with me last week as we only brought hand luggage with us (light packers) and it was perfect for the whole trip! Perfectly pigmented and this will be my new go to for the foreseeable. 

It’s started to make me think about anything else I’m missing from my Charlotte Tilbury collection, I’ve focused most of my time wondering about my next Sephora buys that I forgot all about the fabulous brands we have here at home. Plus the staff in House of Fraser were so friendly and helpful, if they had shown me anything else I would have added that to my basket as well. 

What other Charlotte Tilbury products would you recommend? I think it’s time for another visit! 

Lashings of Love, 

K xo

The latest investment : Chanel

For many the word Chanel brings many different thoughts, classic, timeless, quilted, and even Karl Largerfeld. It was not so long ago that I used to believe that I was too young for a Chanel, my mum and aunt were more likely to be seen with with one, obviously this is not the case. Perhaps I thought it was way too out of reach for me, a much higher price point than any other bag I had ever bought before. From a young age my mum and aunt have been been my fashion influencers if you like. I remember the first Louis Vuitton which entered our house is one which I will never forget and the packaging opening and the dust bag uncovering the screams of excitement. Once I began going shopping with mum and seeing the service and packaging…my addiction started. Making a luxury purchase is just that, luxury. It’s not one that is done everyday and when I do it, it’s really special. Believe it or not I once started with a Burberry pochette when I was 16, more than 10 years ago. The collection has grown from there. I’ve discovered new designers along the way like Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Gucci, YSL but Chanel had always remained the pinnacle. 

Nothing haunts you like the things you didn’t buy, when I was in Heathrow Terminal 3 earlier in the year and spotted a Chanel, I had a quick browse but made no purchases. Afterwards mum spouted some sh*t about how it wasn’t the right time, I was changing the kitchen…blah blah blah….but it played on my mind. She talked me down that time but I couldn’t be talked out of it this time. 

A couple of weeks ago, I made the longing decision and took the plunge to buy a Chanel. I have been thinking about this for a while, as many of you know I travel with work, and when a trip to the states flying from Heathrow Terminal 5 popped up, I began to think of my next purchase. Terminal 5 doesn’t stock core Chanel stock so I knew the 2.55 was out of the question. To make the first step I would have to start smaller. I wanted something small and classic. TaaDaa…the Classic Quilted Wallet on Chain was the perfect choice to start, well classic was in the title, how could I say no. It is a versatile bag, that is surprisingly deceptive, it can be worn as a clutch, cross body bag or the chain doubled up for an evening bag. It’s much bigger than I first thought. It fits in all your everyday essentials, I can easily fit my phone, lipstick, concealer & sunglasses as well as money and cards. There are 6 credit card slots with a zip pouch for coins. Not to mention the secret long compartment in the opening flap! There is also a small pocket on the back of the bag. Albeit, I’m not able to keep my 6 lipsticks and diary that I have in my normal day to day bag but for this I am willing to make that sacrifice.

Now what colour. Lots of people choose black but I have a number of black bags so I needed something that would do with navy, I really wanted nude but was happy to settle for navy. Hardware, if nude it had to be gold by if navy it had to be silver. 

In the end, as you can see, the nude wasn’t available and as I have learnt from Chanel, taking what’s available is a good choice. Lamb skin and calfskin is a decision to be made before you arrive. Lamb skin is the classic soft Chanel leather, but it does mark very easily. The calf skin is a much more durable leather but it is grainy. I could live with grainy leather, as I know I need a tough bag to deal with my clumsy ways. From first sight, I was in love, but really I was rushing for my flight so I was trying to act cool, despite the fact I was sweating with both excitement and nerves that I may miss my flight. 

Now on to pricing, some of you may be wondering why I keep mentioning Heathrow Terminal 5, that’s because you get the bag duty free there…my own justification to buy it. Brag my Bag is the best place to find out prices about Chanel items, whatever it is you intend to buy and it’s spot on. Chanel website leaves much to be desired but then that is the allure, the desire. 

No matter what, like all my bags, they are an investment…or so I keep telling Chris. Even I’ve surprised myself just how much use I’ve got from it, dinners out, runs to Tesco, even a walk in the park with Stormont (no poo bags were added to the harm the Chanel in this walk!). It has been worth the saving for the short lived splurge. The price of these bags are only going to continue to increase so choose life and go and buy the Chanel. 

Lashings of Love, 

K xo

Travel | Overcoming Jet Lag

After just returning from a trip, I am beginning to feel back to normal. I spent the week on the west coast of America, 8 hours behind my normal time zone. Travelling west seems to be much easier, as I just head to bed earlier and walk up earlier but when I’m away that’s fine, I spent most early mornings out for walks or runs to prevent tossing and turning. Travelling east long haul to come back home can be tough and in the beginning I found it tough, much more difficult than my more experienced and well travelled colleagues. Honestly I found it tough to bounce back to home time without being completely exhausted but I have come up with a few tricks to shake myself out of it. 

Prepare before you go

Make sure your home is ready for your return. Clean, tidy and ready for you to relax. Coming home to a clean and tidy house makes it easier to get on with unpacking and getting the boring return home tasks done. 

Before you leave pack your flight bag to make sure you have your cleanser, moisturiser and tooth brush to run through as normal of a night time routine for you as possible. I always like to travel with no make up on so my skin is as clean and moisturised as possible with the rubbish air conditioning my skin dries out so quickly. 

Night flights are your best friend 

Use the flight to get rested as much as you can. Night time flights usually serve dinner and drinks before dimming the lights but I’m well prepared and have eaten in the airport. That means more time for shut eye. I always bring a eye mask, ear plugs and cosy clothes so I’m nice and warm and get relaxed as quick as possible. 

I don’t really enjoy flying but I’ll be the first to say that a sleeping tablet has revolutionised my long haul travel. Now I use the term sleeping tablet loosely, I use a melatonin supplement, which is the natural hormone that your body produces to make you feel tired and fall asleep. It’s great for travel to get you over to sleep on a flight. Realistically sometimes flights are full and there are no spare seats and sometimes you don’t even get a window seat. 

Drink Lots

Try and drink as much water as possible to stay hydrated throughout your travels. Ideally in the airport so your not up and down through the flight which is your vital sleeping time and if your on a window can be awkward to get in and out. I would avoid alcohol as much as possible, it often dehydrates and gives me lots of energy. 

Eat Regularly 

When it get home it’s important to eat at regular times. Get up and have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Depending on what time your flight is it’s important to eat to ensure you get back on schedule. Let’s face it though, airplane food is rubbish. The choice of chicken curry and pasta really seems to get boring. They are carbohydrate rich which I think makes me lethargic and really full.  This is perfect for breakfast but for other meals throughout the day it just doesn’t suit me. Go grab a tasty meal in the airport when you land if you have a transfer or head to a local eatery if your at home. 

Keep Busy

Once you land and arrive on home ground try and keep yourself busy. It’s easy to sit on the sofa and fall asleep quickly (I’ve honestly done this more than once) but it really makes things worse. By doing that I can’t sleep at night, then could easily sleep all day. As soon as I get in I put a wash on (or Chris is more likely to do that) and then I’ll go for a nice long shower to wash my hair and freshen up. This helps me waken up and feel ready for the rest of the day. I’ll tend to go for lunch or dinner and walk Piper getting as much fresh air as I can to stay away until it’s night time and I’m ready for bed. 

Set Alarms

If you have stayed awake your first day home, you’re winning. Now getting up at a regular time will also get you back on track. I always have a lazy day around the house in sweats the next day always give me time to catch up on how tired I am from the night before. 

Travelling is one of my favourite things so jet lag is just an uncomfortable result of travelling so far to see these amazing things in the world. I’ve seen times where I’m unreasonably grumpy as a result of having to do all these things but in the long run, I know it’s worth it. 

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

Happy 2nd Birthday 

So today I’m celebrating the Little Lash Room turning 2, yes 2! The first year was filled with twists and turns and I learnt so much along the way. I suppose this year I feel like I’ve got my sh*t together and let’s face it, things come better in twos.

Why lashing? 

This is without a shadow of doubt the most frequently asked question. When girls first uncover that lashing is not my full time job they are immediately inquisitive, and understandably so. A couple of years ago I wanted to do something just for myself, prove to myself that I can do just about anything I set my mind to. I had just finished my masters degree which I had been studying part time for 3 years so I had a lot more time on my hands so couldn’t just sit down. I had been getting eyelash extensions for a while and became obsessed with them, never having them off. I wasn’t happy in my last job and really that was the push to make me go for it, something new. I took the plunge. I went for the training and quickly became addicted to my new craft. Looking back now, I needed a lot of practice but I was content with my progress. It took a long time but I pushed myself. Fast forward 2 years and I’m fully booked every evening forweeks and months in advance and couldn’t be more delighted with what we have achieved.

Sometimes I think it’s just me doing it on my own, but really it isn’t. There are lots of people in the background. I can’t go without mentioning my friends and family who have supported me along the way, I don’t know where I would have got to with out you. The likes, shares and telling all who listen. Mummy the eternal guinea pig who will let me try out any new product on her, so I knew exactly what I was offering. Chris, the receptionist and chief tea maker, many of you will meet Chris when he answers the door to tell you that I’m running late, usually because I’ve nattered on for much longer than I should, but hey, that’s all part of the experience. I’m so grateful for each and every girl who has ever crossed my door and given me your time, you girls are my therapy and when I’m asked how I do it, my answer really is you!

I now feel like I could do just about anything. This time 2 years ago I was sitting with no likes, followers and an appointment book with a lot of empty spaces. Honestly I didn’t really know what I was doing. This is my baby and I’ve watched it grow into something way more than even my expectations.

But there is more…Guess what, there is more than lashes, I’m no longer just the Little Lash Room. Along my journey you will have seen me reach some of my mile stones, I’ve bought a house, got engaged, planning my wedding, got a puppy and now celebrate 2 years of the Little Lash Room. Where did time go hey! Did I miss anything, probably yes, I spend very little time reflecting and look forward to whats ahead. But equally every day isn’t about milestones, some days it’s just having a good old moan about life, a walk in the park or a ginsecco with friends. Milestones are just a reference point on the road to show us how far we have come, but there is a big open road ahead and who knows where that can take us!

Looking back I can reflect on where I started and what I was and how I have evolved. I’ve become a real life adult, adulting all day long. The amazing girls I have met over the last 2 years and the friendships that have flourished! I’ve found my voice. It’s not just lashes, I’m so much more. I found my passion in so many other things than lashing and it’s honestly given me the confidence to try just about anything!

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

Life | Taking time

If you hadn’t already guessed it from Instagram, I spent the weekend by the sea. The beautiful tranquil sea. The sound of the roaring white horses never sounded so good, well that was until we went to watch the sunset and I heard a bottle of prosecco pop! Two golf widows headed to a part of the world that means so much to me. Fresh air, beautiful views and a dog to walk we set out on our adventures. Now I feel totally relaxed. That’s another Monday over, but why the Monday dread?

There is absolutely no doubt that life is stressful in all aspects. People feel stressed for so many different reasons whether thats work, family or relationships.  I spent most of my time counting down the week and days until I’m off and can finally relax but why.

I love my marketing job, I love doing lashes and I love doing things around the house. These are the things that drive me, make me tick. So why do I count down days and weeks when life is already so short. This year has went by so quickly and maybe that’s just a sign of getting older. Months feel like weeks and I can’t believe 2017 is already over half way through (like when did that happen)!

It got me thinking, I know a very dangerous past time for those who know me. I have worked out the problem. I get stressed. I see stress as a sign of weakness, which of course it isn’t. To overcome that weakness I need to be busy to ensure that everything is running to plan. I’ve begun to understand that stress actually means I care about what I’m doing whether that’s work, home or play. It is not that I can’t do it. It is more about my determination to prove myself right. There are just a lot of balls to juggle and I really don’t want to drop one.

I’ve found that by taking myself away from the city to the seaside over the last couple of weekends has been a welcome relief. Not that I’m anymore stressed than usual. I think I just jump from one stress hurdle to the next, I can see the build up coming, I reach the peak and then I make the jump. Escapism is key. Whether it’s an episode of Love Isand (yes I love it…no shameful ) or a weekend away. We are very lucky to have the luxury of a seaside getaway. Now I need to find other ways to relax, whether thats yoga, mediation or just a walk with Piper. When I’m at home I actually find things to do that don’t really need to be done. I just can’t sit down, but that’s the problem. I need to sit down and enjoy life more. I really think we all do. In a world where I see more of my phone screen than my boyfriend, answer more emails than calls to my family and never switch off, I think I’ve found a new way to relax and it’s just bloody brilliant. Counting down to weekends like this really aren’t too bad. Every weekend won’t be like this, but it’s good to know I’ve somewhere to go to totally relax.

Let’s all go out and enjoy life a little more! Next step is a digital detox…maybe not just yet.

Lashings of love,

K xo

Travel | In flight essentials

Today I’m off travelling again, this time with work. Travelling is one of the most rewarding things we can do, no matter where your destination is or what the purpose of the trip is there is always something to learn and pick up along the way. Not to mention, even if it is a busy work week there is always duty free to keep you motivated eh! Travelling with work is probably my favourite aspect of my job but it can really take its toil and although I don’t mind when I’m travelling by myself, but it can get lonely. Now travelling alone doesn’t really bother me at all, it’s more the flight that I’m just not fussed on and let’s face it Northern Ireland isn’t flourishing with direct flights so there is usually stop overs and that’s were it can get a little more challenging. I once had a terrible fear of flying and although not completely away, one turbulent and my knuckles begin to turn white and I start to say a prayer. All that being said, once I’ve landed and I get to finally enjoy my destination I can see that it’s all worth while. Through my travels I have found that there are a range of things which I need to not only to keep me entertained but keep me on top form to ensure when I land I am ready to roll quickly.

Cleanse & Moisturise 

As soon as the fascin seatbelt sign is turned off I skip out to the bathroom to give my face a good clean and moisturise. Before we land I love nothing more than to wash my face again to remove any dirty from the artificial air to try and prevent any break outs. I have found that a facial spray really will help to reinvigorate the skin as well as the beautiful scent which makes me feel much fresher.

Endless Entertainment 

Most long haul flights will have a tv in the head rest in front of you but it’s more for the boring lay overs and terminal hanging around. I always bring my iPad with movies and books galore and a couple of magazines so I’m well entertained while I’m waiting. Patience isn’t an attribute I possess so I really need to make this as enjoyable as possible. I make sure to pack my Belkin charge pack to be sure that I never run out of battery on my iPad or phone…now that really would be a crisis.

Home Comforts

Sitting for an extended period of time in economy can get a little uncomfortable. I always bring a pair of leggings, hoodie and some fluffy socks. Getting comfortable with a pillow and blanket makes it’s even better. If it’s an over night flight I bring along an Optrex Warming eye mask to help settle me over to sleep.

Relax & Rehydrate

Once you’re relaxed it is important to rehydrate. I wouldn’t travel without berroca. I allows find planes are really dehydrating and with the air conditioning coughs and sneezes can spread infections s quickly. I always bring a berroca and have one on the plane just before we land. Trips work or pleasure are usually hectic so I take one everyday to be sure I stay at my peak during the trip.

Travelling is amazing but most importantly, if you are travelling alone, be safe. If you don’t have a transfer organised, be sure to ask the taxi driver how far away your hotel is if you don’t already know and then call (or at least pretend to call) a loved one, then they will know that someone is waiting for you. Most importantly enjoy it, take in the new cultures, try new foods, see something you have never seen before. My philosophy on travel (if you can even call it that) is to get up early and stay up late to maximise your time there, just think about the next week you’ll be back home and there is plenty of time to catch up on Netflix when you get home.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Beauty Edit | Sephora Splurge (again)

Upon landing in America, it never takes me long to sniff out a Sephora and as I find it I can almost hear the money falling out of my bank account.

My perception on beauty has changed since I have got older. Naturally enough. I’ve began to work out that no matter how much I conceal and powder over, nothing will help if your base isn’t in good condition. I’ve learnt a lot about skincare of the last year of so from countless YouTube videos and even more articles. Maybe my budget has changed as I’ve got older and I really won’t fall into the new products so easily and I’m more keen to spend a little more on a good cleanser and moisturiser than a foundation. First thing I purchased was the Clinique 3 step guide after I watched Leigh’s Instagram story on just how good it was…influencers alert…I’m easily persuaded. I started using it straight away and I can tell you Leigh knows exactly what she’s talking about it. I’ve since bought full sizes.

Keeping in the theme of skincare, I picked up a number of face masks to help with dehydrated skin when I got back. The Sephora face masks are super cheap but really good quality. I haven’t found a comparison in the UK yet so I’ll have to keep stocking up each time I go.

I also had to pick up another IT cosmetics your skin but better foundation. I bought a medium this time thinking that I’ll be a little more tanned throughout the summer. I find this foundation divine after I first purchased it back in January when I was in New York. I’m still not finished my first tube which I use every single day. With my increased use of retinol, each morning I use a factor 15 SPF and then add the CC cream which is of course a factor 50 SPF, perfect to help defy aging skin and reduce the number of freckles I start collecting throughout the summer. I’ve also just seen that we can now get IT cosmetics in the U.K. so I’m delighted that I don’t need to stock up when I’m in the US.

Although I absolutely love this foundation, I journeyed into the Make Up For Ever territory, Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation. One of which I’m not as familiar with but seem to see on just about every YouTuber who then he beautifully flawless skin and has a much fuller coverage and I believe has a longer staying power (18 hours I’m told by the Sephora assistant however I’m sceptical but I’ll put it to the test). Of course no liquid foundation would be perfect without a setting powder which of course I bought. I’ll be keeping this for nights out as it’s a bit heavy for me everyday but I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

I bought another Tarte eyeliner which is my favourite. I don’t usually wear eyeliner everyday but I do have a go at the weekend at a flick. I first bought this is January, with my IT cosmetics CC cream, and again it’s not yet finished but I love that it has both a kohl pencil, perfect for tight lining, as well as the perfect liquid liner which slides on so easily and allows an easy flick, even for an amateur like me. Most of my lovely lash ladies will ask me about eyeliner and I do have to say when my lashes are about 1 week before infills I do tight line most days just to fill in gaps rather than using mascara.

Finally I love the section in Sephora around the checkout where you can pick up sample sizes to try products that you maybe don’t want to invest in right away. I picked up the tarte blush and lip stain, I haven’t tried them out yet but I’ll be giving them a go this weekend. I also picked up a Caudalie set of moisturiser and serum to try out since I love their beauty elixir spray so much.

A non Sephora purchase (!) but it kind of falls into the beauty category was this canvas bag I got from Sugarboo & Co. they have the most gorgeous slogans and it was so difficult to pick just one. Just go and have a look and imagine decorating your house with all of their lovely items.

Until next time Sephora.

Lashings of love,

K xo

Stars & Stripes (well more stripes)

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Orlando, for work not pleasure, I just happened to be staying a short distance from a premium outlet (YAY!). Of course after a long day, I just had to journey over. Premium Outlets in the US are ideal for people who love a bargain from a premium brand, like the idea of TK Maxx but who don’t like going through the rails. These shops are in pristine condition, very tidy, organised and there are lots of everything in each size. Some of the shops are huge and the entire outlet will definitely have you making your step count for the day. There are so many sales people in each shop, the cut throat world of sales in America is one which us Brits can feel a little intimidated by, if you have never experienced it, upon entry you’ll be greeted with “how are you today”, “that’s a really cute outfit” or “can I help you with anything” and these questions flow constantly throughout your time there. Some people love this, I am not one of those people. I enjoy isolated shopping, thinking on my own and when I need help I’ll ask, this culture is very different. The bargains make it all seem a little more tolerable.

Now with a limited amount of time, I had to be strategic, I first found a map at the information booth and marked out all the places I had to go to then others I wouldn’t mind visiting if I had time. This should be everyone’s first point of call, here you will receive a discount book, some outlets there will be a small charge for this, but it’s worth it.

Basically I went to all the shops that mum and I had enjoyed when we first went to a premium outlet in New York a few months ago. This one was slightly different but all the core shops I needed were there. I first went to Tommy Hilfiger. Nothing haunts you like the things you didn’t buy right? When in New York, I seen a pair of espadrilles and for some unknown reason I didn’t buy them, maybe I’d already spent too much money or maybe I wasn’t thinking about summer when I was freezing in New York, whatever the reason, I have thought about them ever since so I knew I had to try. I made a dart for the shoes and thankfully there they were, I couldn’t have been happier and despite it being 11pm at night in the UK, I called mum to confirm they were in my possession. I looked around and picked up a few things for others and moved on. No time to waste.

Next stop Ralph Lauren, I wasn’t here for myself as I think I have every colour shirt that you could find or I will ever need. I picked up a few things for Chris, mum and my brothers and went on my way. When I’m here I like to make use of gathering up some items for what I refer to as ‘The Buffer’, these are items which I gather throughout the year for Christmas and birthdays so I won’t feel the pinch, especially at Christmas.

Kate Spade was next on the list and what I needed was a light grey bag (I use the term ‘needed’ loosely). I love the leather of these bags which make them perfect for a night out. No spill is a problem. I found a cross body bag which had both a long and short strap and could be used as a clutch for only $60…now that’s a bargain no one can turn down. It isn’t as grey as I would like but for that price I almost ran out of the shop with it.

I made a few other stops, Nike, Adidas, Converse but nothing there that really interested me.

I finally stopped in J Crew and I never have been into this shop before (!) but it’s lovely, quiet a few things caught my eye. I ended up with two stripped tops. Yes you got it, I’ve added more to my breton collection. I’m a breton addict and I admit it. By this time it was 10pm and ready for me to head home and settle with all the shopping I had obtained.

Lashings of Love,

K xo

Stars & Stripes (well more stripes)

A couple of weeks ago when I was in Orlando, for work not pleasure, I just happened to be staying a short distance from a premium outlet (YAY!). Of course after a long day, I just had to journey over. Premium Outlets in the US are ideal for people who love a bargain from a premium brand, like the idea of TK Maxx but who don’t like going through the rails. These shops are in pristine condition, very tidy, organised and there are lots of everything in each size. Some of the shops are huge and the entire outlet will definitely have you making your step count for the day. There are so many sales people in each shop, the cut throat world of sales in America is one which us Brits can feel a little intimidated by, if you have never experienced it, upon entry you’ll be greeted with “how are you today”, “that’s a really cute outfit” or “can I help you with anything” and these questions flow constantly throughout your time there. Some people love this, I am not one of those people. I enjoy isolated shopping, thinking on my own and when I need help I’ll ask, this culture is very different. The bargains make it all seem a little more tolerable.

Now with a limited amount of time, I had to be strategic, I first found a map at the information booth and marked out all the places I had to go to then others I wouldn’t mind visiting if I had time. This should be everyone’s first point of call, here you will receive a discount book, some outlets there will be a small charge for this, but it’s worth it.

Basically I went to all the shops that mum and I had enjoyed when we first went to a premium outlet in New York a few months ago. This one was slightly different but all the core shops I needed were there. I first went to Tommy Hilfiger. Nothing haunts you like the things you didn’t buy right? When in New York, I seen a pair of espadrilles and for some unknown reason I didn’t buy them, maybe I’d already spent too much money or maybe I wasn’t thinking about summer when I was freezing in New York, whatever the reason, I have thought about them ever since so I knew I had to try. I made a dart for the shoes and thankfully there they were, I couldn’t have been happier and despite it being 11pm at night in the UK, I called mum to confirm they were in my possession. I looked around and picked up a few things for others and moved on. No time to waste.

Next stop Ralph Lauren, I wasn’t here for myself as I think I have every colour shirt that you could find or I will ever need. I picked up a few things for Chris, mum and my brothers and went on my way. When I’m here I like to make use of gathering up some items for what I refer to as ‘The Buffer’, these are items which I gather throughout the year for Christmas and birthdays so I won’t feel the pinch, especially at Christmas.

Kate Spade was next on the list and what I needed was a light grey bag (I use the term ‘needed’ loosely). I love the leather of these bags which make them perfect for a night out. No spill is a problem. I found a cross body bag which had both a long and short strap and could be used as a clutch for only $60…now that’s a bargain no one can turn down. It isn’t as grey as I would like but for that price I almost ran out of the shop with it.

I made a few other stops, Nike, Adidas, Converse but nothing there that really interested me.

I finally stopped in J Crew and I never have been into this shop before (!) but it’s lovely, quiet a few things caught my eye. I ended up with two stripped tops. Yes you got it, I’ve added more to my breton collection. I’m a breton addict and I admit it. By this time it was 10pm and ready for me to head home and settle with all the shopping I had obtained.

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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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALashings of Love,

K xo