Friday, 27 April 2012

Making it home ..... planning and updating kitchens


My old kitchen i left behind !!

Welcome to the second Making it home linky the place to share ideas, inspiration  and home improvement posts. Thank you to all of you who joined in last week there were some amazing ideas shared and beautiful posts showing the amazing improvements you have made to your homes and items you have found.

If this is your first visit and you want to find out more about making it home please take a look at last weeks post to find out what its all about.

Here's this weeks update from me !

 This week i have been trying to find the balancing act between budget and space to try to make the best use of our downstairs space on the budget available. Planning has been granted to convert our integral garage to extend our kitchen, converting a garage that is not being used for a car and is just being used for storage is a really good place to start if you need extra space for a growing family.
We had planned to re create a space similar to the kitchen we had to leave behind when we moved but that seems not to be!!

Building work was due to start earlier this week but had to be put temporarily on hold as there were some issues with drainage and re situating a soil pipe that were going to add thousands to a full conversion. Therefore we went back to the drawing board and after much deliberation we are now adapting to a partial conversion to add a utility and downstairs loo and the money saved will be re directed to adding a conservatory to give us the needed  dining space.

This was really disappointing as the room i miss the most since the move is my old kitchen i really loved the space. It was family friendly perfect for cooking and designed in such a way that although a kitchen diner the dining space felt like a separate grown up room when entertaining. The black feature wall was family friendly and very forgiving when little E was baking.
This has left me needing to re think the kitchen space in our new home as now working with a tight space that needs to work well and be family friendly. Heres how i got on with the planning and some tips that may help others planning a small kitchen

Planning a small kitchen family friendly kitchen.............

A good starting point is writing a list of must haves and thinking about how you use the space, i like to cook meals from scratch so wanted a good work top space and I'm usually trying to entertain a small boy while cooking so a place for him to sit and join in was essential.

This breakfast bar idea from a holiday cottage for inspiration

In a small kitchen you need to balance the need for storage against making the kitchen look bigger the best way to achieve this is by avoiding a rows of wall cupboards.Ideally just having  wall cupboards on one wall will make the room feel wider. This is not always an option so a double run can be made more spacious with open shelving so that in places you can see right back to the wall! Another trick is to use glass doors on some cupboards again to break up the closed in feeling.

Another lovely kitchen i left behind !!

Radiators in a small kitchen use up valuable wall space and can often be tricky to work around, if budget allows underfloor heating is a great solution or a really cost effective alternative is using plinth heaters. Now with no radiator to work around the units can run wall to wall giving a more stream lined look.

Fitting in a seating area without losing work space can be a bit of a challenge but can be achieved by breaking up the run of base units with a couple of shallower wall cabinets to create a space for a couple of breakfast stools. This gives the perfect area to seat children with some colouring books while your cooking and a nice place to enjoy a cup of tea and flick through a magazine.

Avoid too many tall units as again they can close in the space the best place for tall items such as fridge freezer is just inside the door as your eye goes past them and follows the worktop run giving a sense of space.

White or ivory is a good colour choice in a small space as the light colour will brighten the room and any glass doors used will reflect natural light just like a mirror does.

Using all these tips and tricks i have put together a plan for the kitchen that I'm really pleased with and i can,t wait for work to start next week. Once i got a plan together that i was happy with i was able to shop around for the best deal most kitchen suppliers  price match and most are happy to take some extra money off or throw something in as everyone wants the business so definitely shop around as the money off can be put to tiles or flooring etc.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks offering its always lovely to hear from you so please feel free to comment and follow.

Now its over to you lovely people to link up and share how your making your house home xx

     Feel free to grab a badge if you would like one............ here's the code
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More importantly here's the linky for you to join in with thumbnails this week to easily see your handy work xx

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Making it with the kids free rainy day activities

This week the constant rain has had me trying to think creatively of new ways to keep little E entertained in doors. Once we had exhausted all the toys we were encouraged after watching  Mr Maker to raid the recycling box and get out the craft drawers.

You know i like to get my moneys worth out of items and find new uses for things so armed with a discarded newspaper and a finished with peppa pig magazine we got busy!

We had already made good use of the peppa pig magazine little E had coloured in all the pictures practised writing his letters and read all the stories and stuck in all the stickers. I thought we had finished with it and had banished it to the recycling bin but like with any magazine the pictures can be cut out and turned into collages for children's walls.

Peppa pig craft project........

We glued together two pieces of brightly coloured  A4 paper to make the grass and the sky and cut out an oval shape in brown for the all important muddy puddle and a some yellow paper for a sunshine.
Then using children's scissors and a bit of help little E cut round the pictures he had previously coloured in and glued them to his paper.

He got a bit over enthusiastic with the glue so we got out the glitter and sequins and sprinkled them over the excess glue to finish off giving the effect of sparkly grass and sequin flowers. While the Peppa pig collage was drying and as all the craft things were out we had ago at our own interpretation of Mr Makers newspaper trees!

Newspaper craft project ...........

Taking the discarded old newspaper little E cut it up into different size strips as he is just getting used to using child scissors the pieces were all a bit wobbly and this is perfect for this particular project as i have never seen straight tree branches !!!

Next we arranged the pieces of newspaper in a tree shape on a piece of card again he was quite liberal with the glue which came out the sides of the smaller branches and formed a perfect place to sprinkle glitter that looks like sparkling leaves.

This picture turned out really lovely and next time it rains I'm going to get him making a few more as i think they will look lovely framed in our craft room when that rooms done!

Hope i have inspired you to raid the recycling and see what you can make on a rainy day if you need more convincing here is a few of my old ideas for free craft ideas my old favourite the wallpaper people and washing line art gallery.


Always lovely to hear from you, let me know what you have been up to to entertain the children in the April showers. If  you like me are watching the pennies and in search of savvy ideas for your home and family please feel free to follow me for more ideas xx

Thought of the day.................. It never rains but it pours so keep handy your craft drawers !

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Listography .......... what i wish for my baby

I love this weeks listography................. Top five things i wish for my baby.

I really should stop calling  him my baby he turns four this year but no matter how old he gets he will always be my baby and like every mother i wish the best for him. So if i could get a fairy godmother to grant him five wishes for his life this is what they would be.

1, Following his heart................ The first thing i wish for him is that he follows his heart and goes for his dreams. I hope he has lots of  self belief to keep going to be what he wants to be and never gives up on what his heart desires or just settles for the easy option.

2. Having fun............ I'm sure if he follows his heart he will automatically have a life filled with fun. I guess what my wish for him here is that he does not get too bogged down with the mundane that he forgets life is for living.

3.Health ............... I hope he is blessed with a long and healthy life.

4. Kindness and compassion ......... I wish him to have good values and morals and show kindness and compassion for others. I would like him to take other peoples feelings into account in everything he does and show compassion to those less fortunate than himself.

5. Love .............  To always feel safe secure and loved and to be loving to others.

I hope the fairy godmother will be kind enough to bestow these gifts on him but just in case she is busy i will do my up most as a parent to point him in the right direction and teach him well .

I hope you enjoyed my list always lovely to hear from you so feel free to comment and if you would like to create your own head on over to katetakes5.

Thought of the day ................Always be my baby!!


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A mothers work ..........

I have been tagged by the lovely Mammasaver to complete a mothers work meme, started by

It's a opportunity for women to give their personal perspective and experience on modern motherhood.

The rules are as follows:

  • Post the Rules
  • Answer the questions in as much or as little detail as suits you
  • Leave a comment on MotherWifeMe so we can keep track of the meme
  • Tag three people and link them on your blog
  • Let them know you tagged them
  • Tweet loudly about taking part using #amothersworkmeme
Here are the questions and the all important answers

Did you work before becoming a mum...................

Before becoming a mum i worked in retail management specialising in visual merchandising,i loved the creativity of the job although it involved a lot of time away working evenings and weekends opening new shops.

What is your current situation.............

 The moment i became pregnant i knew i had to have a rethink about the work life balance as i wanted to be there as much as possible  for those all important pre school years. Children are small for such a short time and i wanted to be there for those precious moments as much as possible.

 Going back part time to my job was not really an option i would of had to take a step down and a pay cut with the cost of child care it just did not add up.
The cost of living in our area makes it impossible to live on one wage so we have had a complete lifestyle makeover and have become very savvy at living stylishly for less. We have sold our house and are currently doing a renovation project to cut our living costs down.
 I am enjoying making over the house it is keeping my creative skills alive and adding value to our house giving us a safety net.
 I think this is an area i would like to expand further i would like to freelance helping small independent retailers with visual merchandising to increase their sales and homeowners get the best from their homes when it comes to selling. I have taken a Saturday job in estate agency to bring some extra money in and to give my husband a dad day. This has also been a really good move for my sanity as its good to keep a hand in a work environment and get a bit of adult conversation.

Freestyle your chance to put your own view across on the subject................

  I feel i have made the right decision to stay at home as much as possible for the early years although i am nervous about getting back into work once little E is at school. I feel a little afraid that i won't still have the skills i once had or be flexible enough to do the hours needed.  I feel a very different person to the one i was nearly four years ago. These are all fears i am sure i will over come and when the timing is right I'm sure the right opportunities will appear.

That's it from me i shall now hand the baton on to three very lovely mums to complete the challenge  Glasgow mummy  Bizzymum and mygorgeousboys hope you can all join in xx

Thought of the day .................  A mothers work is never done!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Making it home..... Bathroom makeover

  Welcome to the first ever making it home linky!
So many of us are renovating /redecorating and making over our homes or  bringing old items back to life or generally searching for items to make our houses home.

 I thought it would be lovely to share ideas and inspiration get support if your stuck with something and just generally show the world our handy work on home projects.  Every week i will write a post following either the progress of our house as work in progress or finished projects or generally passing on lovely items and ideas i have seen.

 I hope you will join me by linking up and sharing your renovation projects and room makeovers items you have brought back to life or any relevant post about making your house home.  It can be a new or old post either finished projects or work in progress or maybe you have seen too many nice things and can't decide and need help choosing.

Hopefully its fairly simple there is a link at the bottom of the page to link up your post and i look forward seeing your projects and popping over to and visit your blog. While your linking up take a look at the other entries and find inspiration and share the blog love xx

Here's my bathroom update.................... 

  We moved  house at the end of January this year out of necessity to a home in need of improvement so that we could reduce our mortgage add value to a property and therefore allow me more time to spend with my little boy and care for my elderly mum.

 Every room needs attention..... downstairs the layout needs re arranging and the floor space needs extending but while we are waiting for planning permission etc we are starting on the upstairs.

 The bathroom changes needed are mainly cosmetic and re doing the previous owners half finished diy!! When we moved in as you can see the bath had not been fitted properly had been put in too low and this meant the bath panel did not fit. The layout was not ideal the bath sink and loo have been fitted to close together and the blue tiles and dark floor make the small room feel even smaller. The window glass has been painted along with the frame and generally the room looks small and dark and unfinished.

Before bathroom!!
We are working on a tight budget as we need to use most of our money on the kitchen and building work so here is how we managed a low cost bathroom transformation.

First we just needed to work out how to lose the blue go faster stripes as these are really making the room appear smaller..Re tiling would of been costly so before going down that route we decided to see if tile paint would work ..... I have to say i was a bit dubious at first but once i had mastered the best technique i was pleasantly surprised.

If you fancy having ago at this really cost effective way of updating tiles this is how i found to get the best result. Use a tiny roller from a craft shop as you will get a better finish than with a brush. Go over the whole area including covering existing grout rather than trying to go tile by tile. Leave to dry for longer than it says on tin i found 48 hours better.I would not bother buying a grout pen the finish is not realistic instead leave for 48 hours and then with a small tub of grout re grout the area all over the tiles then wipe off excess with a damp sponge. Voila new tiles for the tiny cost of tile paint and grout around £25 much cheaper than new tiles and someone to fit them.

Next we tackled the layout by moving the radiator and putting a slimline towel radiator on a smaller wall to free up the big wall for much needed storage. Then we raised the bath very slightly to fit the bath panel properly.We then Painted the walls a natural colour using kitchen and bathroom paint and tidied up the woodwork. 

The next project was the floor we went for a vinyl in a light oak colour to lighten and brighten the space, and chose one with a real wood floor affect. In a small room its good to use something like this as the planks draw your eye to the widest point and give the allusion of space as a result.

Storage is in short supply in our house so the bathroom was finished off with a slimline tall cabinet to get the best use of space without taking up much room.

I wanted to continue the nature theme in our house so that the rooms link together therefore i finished the room off with a lovely ex display Laura Ashley blind which i picked up for a bargain £40 and a few nature inspired accessories.

I have been really pleased with the overall result and what we managed to achieve without spending a fortune.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks offering ............ Now its over to you to link up and share how you are making your house home.

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Friday, 13 April 2012

Adding colour and fun to a childrens bedroom

          Patchwork Curtains

Decorating dilemma ............How to add colour and fun to a child's bedroom.

Its really easy to add colour and fun to child's bedroom without breaking the bank. Painting the walls a lovely spring green and adding a wall sticker can really transform a room. I'm a real fan of wall stickers as they are easy to apply and are an inexpensive way to instantly add fun and interest. I love this owl wall sticker from next the colours of the owls can be picked out and used in complimentary accessories such as the patchwork curtains and gingham bedding.

I think when choosing children's furniture a white bedroom set is a great investment as it will last and grow with the child as it can be dressed with age appropriate accessories .It is far cheaper to replace curtains and bedding as the child outgrows it than replacing the furniture if they suddenly go off the car shaped bed or princess castle. If space is tight in the room consider something like a mid sleeper as this will maximise the rooms floor space which is essential for  playing!

Storage is really important in a child's room as the bigger they get the bigger the toys seem to get. There are lots of fun ways to store things in children's rooms from colourful boxes baskets and drawers.

Giant Mirrored Butterfly Stickers        Card Hat Boxes  4 Tub Storage

More colour and fun can added with useful finishing touches such as the little owl door stop to match the wall sticker. I think a doorstop in a child's room is a safety feature as well as being very very cute as it avoids little trapped fingers. Lighting is also really important a bedside lamp is essential for bed time stories and a little night light that can be left on gives a child reassurance.


I found the items at next to be very reasonably priced so a lovely child's room makeover can be achieved without breaking the bank.

I also spotted Next are running a competition to win £1500 home makeover

Looking forward to starting the blog hop next week called making it home and i can,t wait to see your home transformations. Everyone is welcome let me know if you would like to join in.

Always lovely to hear from you so don,t be shy say hi and leave a comment below xx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Making a house a home

I am sorry for my lack of blogging since moving house normal service will resume soon i promise. Life has been hectic we seem to of gone from one crisis to another but finally things have settled down thankfully.

My husband is now better and we have started to make progress on the house which is fantastic. The bedroom and bathroom are nearly complete and I'm looking forward to sharing some savvy tips with you. I'm really pleased with both rooms its surprising what can be achieved on a tight budget i can't wait to show you once i have added the all inportant finishing touches.

The kitchen was supposed to be the first room on our list but we have had delays with planning permission to convert our garage to provide a utility and downstairs loo as the current kitchen is compact to say the least. I am playing round at the moment with different layouts for the two rooms to get the best use of space.

I have a little journal that is going with me everywhere at the moment with every imaginable house measurement in it. This little journal has saved me a small fortune already as i can grab bargains when i see them. A great example of this is the gorgeous Laura Ashley blind i found when i went to get some wallpaper samples, it was an ex display one that would of been £349 i picked it up for £40 just by having all my window measurements to hand.  The little book also contains fabric samples etc which is really handy if you see something by chance and want to match up.

I think it would be a really nice idea to have a blog hop for everyone making over their homes i would love to hear if this is something you would like to join in with.

I guess i best get back to the decorating now, looking forward to catching up shortly with the progress. Its always lovely to hear from you please feel free to leave a comment xx