A dining room makeover | A room in progress

Most of the rooms in our house could do with a makeover; but the latest one we are slowly, but surely updating is the dining room. As a family, and individuals we spend quite a lot of time in the dining room; meal times, homework, crafts, cuppa time, and I sometimes work in there. It’s attached to our kitchen too and one of the first rooms to be seen when entering the house; so it’s quite a prominent room for first impressions!

At the moment we have the wallpaper on one wall, that my in-laws put up goodness knows how many years ago; but I remember it from when I first started dating The Husband, so it’s at least 12 years old! It’s not to my our taste at all. We gave the other walls a lick of paint when we moved in (they were also an awful green colour); but we had the ceiling re-plastered last year and have been meaning to to update the “feature wall” ever since. But as usual, we take a long time to get around to it… Read more

Do bloggers move house for freebies?


Very recently there has been a blog post that has got people bloggers all up in arms – all about whether bloggers have babies just to get freebies. I’m not going to link as we don’t want HIM to get the traffic do we? (Just search on twitter instead).

Anyyyyyway…. It got me to thinking, do bloggers move house just to get freebies?

I mean, I see LOTS of blogs reviewing homewares, some of them very expensive ones at that.

Before they even move (like about 64 times in the last 3 years like that Rachel over at Parenthood Highs and Lows) they must think, “Ooh I need to email this brand, and this brand, AND this one! Tell them I’m moving, give them my new address, and they might send me STUFF!”.

When we moved last year, the first brand I emailed was Wickes, hoping they might send me a paint tray and some brushes, and some paint, and some wallpaper… No such luck.

Next up was ALL of the carpet shops as we needed the whole of the upstairs doing, and the lounge, and maybe the garden too, and as it cost us the price of the van to move all our stuff, we couldn’t afford it. But no such luck.

We had to pay for them ourselves in the end. With real money. Couldn’t even get away with using the kids play money. That we bought with real money.

I’m such a failure at this blogging shizz, it seems. NO freebies when we moved. Zero. Zilch. Can you believe it?!

But then, is anything we review ever completely free? No, I don’t think it is.


Do bloggers move house for freebies?
This actually is not a freebie.


This post might contain fibs.
This post 
might be tongue in cheek, so you know, pinch of salt. 😉 

Room Ideas for Aspiring Creatives

“I work at a 17th century elm table. I sit on a William Morris Arts and Crafts Chair.” Jeanette Winterson, 2015

It would be nice to think we were just a few well-chosen antiques away from writing that first novel, but there’s possibly a bit more to it than that. Which doesn’t stop writers giving plenty of credit to their creative space as a source of inspiration any chance they get. Judging by the number of open studios scattered around the world, artists aren’t shy about opening doors either. And don’t get us started on show-off designers. You can’t turn round these days without falling over a glamorously dishevelled Brooklyn atelier to get all bitter and envious about.

Does where you create matter? Or should you just get on with it and stop making excuses? Probably a bit of both. But it never hurts to have some nice space to call your own. So even if you’re just thinking about doing something genius-y, here are a few ideas to begin with.

Make A Room With A View

Jeanette Winterson lives in the middle of a wood because she, ‘hates being indoors but loves writing’. If you haven’t penned a word yet, it might be a bit early for such a radical move. But opening up a room onto the garden with glazed bi-fold doors is an easy way to let inspiration into your workspace – even if it’s just the kitchen for now. And when the weather’s good, fold back the doors and enjoy fresh air and sunlight too. If that doesn’t bring out the poetry in your soul, nothing will. 

Surround Yourself With Ideas

If you don’t have exclusive use of a room, think temporary inspiration. Buy ordinary lining paper, pin it up neatly on a ‘mood board’ perfect wall and let your imagination run riot while you’re creating. And when you’re done – or someone else needs the space – roll up your ideas and stow them for next time. It’s cheap, simple and gets you thinking outside your own head fast. Keep a photo-record of each of your ‘walls’ before you finally bin them for new ones, everything’s art in its own way.

Get A Serious Table

You might not have decided what type of creative direction to go in. But whatever passion you want to follow, a good table is probably essential. And it doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture. Folding tables aren’t the flimsy, wobbling, accidents-waiting-to-happen horrors they used to be. Now they’re big, reliably sturdy and look good too. Some even come with storage. So it’s not a problem to tuck away the tools of your genius or keep a work in progress safely away from prying eyes – until you’re ready for the big reveal, of course. 


Find Inner Peace

Some creatives thrive on noise and live for the thrill of an interruption. Others need absolute peace and serenity. If you fall into the latter category and you don’t want to hide in a garden shed or work through the night, room dividing bi-fold doors are a great solution. You can have quiet, enclosed space when you need it without coming over all isolationist diva. And when you want to be back in the thick of things, simply fold the doors neatly away. One word of caution, private space is very attractive so you might find yourself with a fight on your hands to keep your new room ‘exclusive’.

Shelf Everything

Even the smallest corner can be creative if you think creatively. Basic shelves are easy, inexpensive and compelling to be around if you stack them with care. Books look wonderful and they’re still the first and best source of inspiration whether you’re a master quilter, aspiring writer or trying your hand at watercolours for the first time. Pick up thought provoking bits and pieces on your travels and have them in plain sight, but nicely arranged – especially if you share some of your workspace. And if you’re old school with pens, pencils, paints and paraphernalia, collect good looking boxes at Fleas and markets to keep them tidy and safe.

According to legend, young Pablo Picasso spent his first freezing Madrid winter in a windowless hovel painting by the light of a single candle. So clearly it’s more about the work than the workspace. But if you want to start somewhere it’s as good a place as any. Now go be amazing.

*PR collaboration

Moving on & new beginnings

Other than a random three or four posts over the last couple of weeks, you may or may not have noticed that I have been a bit AWOL from blogging (again – that’s twice this year!). The reason being – we moved house, and it has been a completely different lifestyle change for us.

We’ve moved into what was my inlaws house; so we have gone from a small 2 bed flat in a town, surrounded by what I can only describe as ‘unsavoury’ neighbours who we have had endless problems with over the last year, to a large 3 bed house in the countryside, with lovely peaceful neighbours and fields!

We originally moved here to help care for my FiL with a terminal illness, and to basically take over the running of the house (and eventually the house altogether) as he just hasn’t been able to manage it by himself since my MiL passed away a couple of years ago. Unfortunately though, a week after we moved in he rapidly went downhill and was admitted to hospital. He was there for three days before he passed away peacefully. So, we’ve had that to contend with too and emotions have been rife with all of us.

Anyhow; as I said above, it is a totally different lifestyle change, for me & the boys anyway. Hubby grew up here so he is used to it, but going from being a town dweller to a country bumpkin has been major for me!
Just some of the changes that have been made for us:

  • we have gone from gas central heating and hot water at the flick of a switch, to having to light the woodburning boiler for it and keep it going. I actually had to learn how to light a fire, at the grand old age of 28…
  • we have gained a whole lot more space; for both living and the boys to play.
  • we have gone from a shared paved courtyard, to lots of land to upkeep and a proper garden for the boys to play in where I don’t have to constantly keep an eye on them.
  • we are no longer in an area with high speed cabled internet – that really is a major for me! (We had to wait two weeks for it to be installed hence the lack of posts).
  • we have completely different views rather than just houses at every angle. Farmer’s fields to the rear, and the river to the front.
  • the peacefulness and no drug smells! That’s the unsavoury neighbours I mentioned earlier…
  • we have to drive to the nearest shop when it was previously a 5 minute walk. It means money saving though as I don’t just spend for the sake of it!

As well as all of the above, we have also taken on a lot of DIY & remedial work so we have that ahead of us for the foreseeable future too. I have visions though of a – I would say quaint, but it’s quite grand, for me anyway – country house and I hope to bring them to life and share them with you.

I could write so much more on some of the things I have mentioned above but we would be here for hours, so I’m going to write some separate posts. I hope you’ll enjoy sharing our country living with us!

Have you undertaken any major lifestyle changes in the past?