Colour me beautiful

I’ve been following a few other decorating/DIY blogs, and one writer has recently come up with a couple of kitchen posts I found interesting – one about white ones and one about kitchens with flashes of colour.  It’s nice to see trends on the other side of the pond, and shows how a bit of colour can really work.  I’m unsure about the brightly coloured units in three different shades in one kitchen though – it would have to be huge to carry that off.

I love the idea of having chalkboard paint from this blogger.  We’re having one wall matt black anyway, so we’re looking into this – it’s definitely a possibility!  From the big UK stores, I’ve found this one from B&Q, and this one from Wickes.  If anyone actually has experience of doing this, it would be much appreciated.  I’m not sure how much control you would have with a spray one, and I’m not sure how much you’d need to cover a wall that goes up the stairs!

Voucher codes and cashback

I couldn’t do without the Internet.  It’s hard to imagine a world without it now.  As many of my friends will attest, I also love a bargain.  In fact, I would go as far as to say I have a reputation for it.  When a large group of us went to Pizza Express for my birthday, I had a 50% off voucher and people actually thought that’s why I’d chosen to go there.  It wasn’t, it was for the love of Padana Romana, but I digress.

The Internet is brilliant because you can visit countless shops, compare prices and get money off vouchers without actually having to move anywhere.  None of this cold weather for me, oh no.  I can get inspiration, and then find a similar item (or even the same one) at a fraction of the price.  I can choose whether we go and get it, or can have it delivered to me.  I simply love it.

I’m not trying to advertise, I’m just giving my opinion, but these are my favourite sites for saving money – not just for DIY, this is in general…
I’ve mentioned this before, but the weekly emails are great and the forums are brilliant for finding money off codes and deals.
This is my go-to for voucher codes.  If you buy anything online (and I mean anything), type the site into the box on the right hand side on the homepage and chances are, you can get some money off your purchase.
I had a bit of a falling-out with Quidco recently over non-payment of a mobile phone contract, but generally the premise is good.  They give you cashback for clicking through their website to a partner site; it’s an affiliate scheme where you get the dough for the referral.  Basically, money for nothing.

There are obviously others, but these are my top three.  To this list, I also have to squeeze in a mention for eBay.  We’ve sold or are selling everything that’s not nailed down: radiators; doors; kitchen units; sinks; even the loo!  It’s a good way of getting rid of the stuff you don’t need and clawing back a bit of cash for it.

What are your best money-saving websites?

Decorating begets decorating

Since we started decorating, we’ve found quite a few of our friends have decided to pick up a paintbrush. Do you think that decorating begets more decorating? Do you think we could use the word beget more?

Not only does revitalising one part of your house give yourself a nudge to keep going, but it seems to have a domino effect around you. The friends whose coat hooks Barry put up last weekend have decided to repaint, and I’ve even noticed that, by posting this as a blog, we’ve even influenced old school friends on facebook. That’s social media for you! I have to add a note that my old school friend somehow managed to paint her entire kitchen before 10.30am one day, but she maintains it’s a very small kitchen.

On a side note, Barry got a wall cupboard up yesterday, as well as fixing most of the end panels to the other ones. Apparently wall units are much easier; he just ran out of supplies so had to stop!

In my dream-addled brain, I actually thought our bed was in the kitchen when I woke up this morning!

Winchester Mystery House

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Right. I’m aware this is going to make me sound like a geek, and a bit off-topic, but I really like listening to the Stuff I Missed in History Class podcasts. I was listening to a few of the oldies the other day while painting and found one that was actually about DIY! While I was doing DIY!

Sarah Winchester, wife of William Wirt Winchester (of Winchester guns) went a bit mad (well, she did!) when her child and husband died, and was apparently informed by some spirits that if she ever stopped building, she’d die. So, day and night, she had contractors adding bits onto her house, until the day she died. What was even stranger was that she had them build things like stairs that went up to the ceiling, and outdoor windows inside the house, to trick the ghosts so they couldn’t get her. Check it out, it’s called Ghosts of history: Winchester Mystery House.

Imagine having building works in your house until you die, 38 years after construction began! It did make me think how important it is to have a beginning and an end to a DIY job. The planning and pricing, choosing colours and designs, can all be very enjoyable, but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as when you can lean back and look at your completed work. That’s when you know you can have a house party, let everyone look at your fantastic space and what you’ve done with it!

Barry’s been sanding all weekend and he’s started taking the old kitchen out. The new kitchen comes tomorrow! Then we can paint the walls and get the new one in. I’ve even managed to order the Next curtains that I wanted in the sale. It’s like Christmas Eve…


I know I’ve mentioned this before, but Pinterest is brilliant!  I thought you may want to see a couple of my boards as they stand.

I keep spotting some lovely accessories and pinning them to my boards, and it’s easy to see if they’ll fit with the theme, so I’d highly recommend it if you’re decorating.  I’ve pinned photos of items on there from B&Q, Wickes, Argos, Dulux, the list goes on…

As an example, I’ve just found these lovely curtains on the left in the Next sale for the living room.  I can clearly see that they complement the room’s theme.  However!  A word of warning.  I pinned this photo onto my Pinterest board and was going to wait until payday to buy them.  Then I thought I’d better get them as they’re on sale.  They were all gone, in every size, when I went back an hour later.  I’m naturally suspicious, and event one might have nothing to do with the other, but if you see something on sale, buy it before you pin it!

This is my kitchen board.  I’m lusting after some gorgeous tableware from John Lewis at the moment, but, being realistic, £9.99 for a cup is out of my price range, unless we start buying one piece of crockery a month!

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All that glitters

I love shiny things, sparkly things, bejewelled and sequinned things. Therefore, you shouldn’t be too surprised that when we got rid of the chandelier we used to have in the living room, I kept the sparkly things that used to hang from it.  Sorry to my friend Helen, to whom the chandelier was bequeathed, jewelless.

They’re not at all valuable – I think they’re just clear acrylic cut into a shape that catches the light – but I’m determined to find some possible use for these in my new living room.

I was thinking that if we had a pelmet above the window, I could somehow attach these to it and it would look really pretty. Either that, or it would look cheap and tacky, but it’s worth a try!

I still love the light we chose for our bedroom (pictured here), which was an Ikea find when we first moved in. We’re thinking about painting the wall behind our bed in this lovely rich Raspberry colour from Wickes, having the other walls Victorian White (also Wickes!), and then painting the skirts and doors gloss black.

I know I talk about Wickes a lot, but it’s our nearest DIY store so we’re up there a lot.

We were inspired by this photo in their paint catalogue, which was actually advertising coral paint, but we thought would work with their Raspberry too. You can get away with using any rich colour here, so we could even paint the dressing room (just off our room) a different colour, like this teal.

Barry’s been a busy little bee, plastering and sanding the walls in the kitchen of an evening.  They’re looking great, but it does look like a crime scene in which the fingerprint techs have been round the bottom two floors of our house searching for clues.

K – 6 days…


Some people have been very complimentary about my blog, saying I’ve inspired them (flattery will get you everywhere), and asking me where I get my inspiration from (shout out to my colleague Michelle!).

With the living room, we saw the green we chose in the Wickes colour collection 2012 booklet, but the dark grey they paired it with was too much for our room, so we toned it down a bit. We’re using a lot of our existing furniture and the photo wall just came straight out of our heads. For the kitchen, we didn’t even know what we wanted until we saw it, but it was love at first sight in the B&Q showroom!

I’ve been doing a lot of Googling lately for inspiring decorating images, and then for more specific items when we’ve made a decision on something. I came across a website called Pinterest, through which you can add a pin to your browser and, at the click of a button (or two), add any image from the webpage you’re on to predefined ideas boards.

This is great for me, as I come across some lovely pics, but can’t always remember where I’ve seen them. As I’ve set up my Pinterest account around the same time as starting this blog, it’s really just full of decorating images at the moment, but I’ll probably add more boards as inspiration overcomes me!

I’m not sure how they found me, but some people I don’t know have been reading my blog, which is very exciting! One of the lovely ladies who commented left her blog address, so I thought I’d mosey on over and nosey at someone else’s DIY. It’s very funny, and I can sympathise with quite a few of Karen and Joe’s problems – check out their blog at

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