Tuesday, 2 April 2013


I went to my local market on Saturday. It was freezing! I can't quite believe the crazy weather we have experienced in the UK this past 6 months. It seems like a never ending winter and I cannot wait for it to start getting warmer. However I was very pleased to have made the effort to get out and about as I came back with some goodies!

I have been after a wicker basket for quite a while. I really liked the look of the Laura Ashley Kubu Storage Trunk as it's both beautiful and practical. However I could not afford the £80 price tag so I carried on looking.....

Kubu Storage Trunk
Well look what I found for £12 at my local indoor market!

I'm really pleased, this will be very useful for storing linens and look great on top of my wardrobe (when I get round to painting the wardrobe). Plus I have saved an awful lot of money! It shows that it pays to be patient and to keep on looking.

Whilst browsing I also noticed this duck jug. How cute! I couldn't resist and he came quacking home with me and is now proudly sitting on my window sill. This was only £8 so another bargain!

It's sometimes easy to forget how good markets are. My local market has an indoor and outdoor section that sells vintage goods, as well as modern furniture, electricals, toys, clothing and food. I always find it more satisfying to buy goods from a market stall rather than a national chainstore or supermarket. In terms of food produce the chain from farm to consumer is reduced which can only be a good thing both environmentally and in terms of quality due to the stall owner having more knowledge of where the produce came from in the first place. Plus it's helping small businesses to survive in an economic environment that is incredibly tough. So if you've never been to a market, have a go as you'll find it fun and you'll be amazed at what your pennies can get you!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Some good news!

We are very lucky in the UK to have the NHS and all the people who work for it work very hard. The work is difficult and the hours are long. However due to patient numbers exceeding NHS capacity it can take a long time to get answers to health issues. As mentioned previously I injured my back last year, 4 months later I had an MRI scan, 3 months on I was still waiting for the results. I was told it could take another 3 - 6 months for the results. In the end I paid for a private consultation (which I got within a week!) in order to find out what was going on. Well it has been a bit of a nightmare but it looks like I have turned a vital corner.... I don't need surgery! Yeah! I am so pleased! I have got some issues: a disc bulge, nerve impingement and a degenerating joint. So I'm now booked in for a course of physiotherapy to strengthen my core stability and £260 poorer!

To celebrate I bought myself some lovely Cath Kidston provence mugs with my House of Fraser £10 rewards voucher and £10 gift token (so technically I didn't spend a thing!)

Aren't they lovely?!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Kitchen dramas

Last year I made the big decision that we needed a new kitchen, there were very practical reasons to needing a new kitchen. However there were very impractical consequences. We live in a lovely little Victorian terraced house that was renovated in the 1980's (read original fireplaces, windows, doors and other features removed - including we think the cellar being filled). As with all old properties this one has it's quirks - you know not quite straight walls, floors and a few small cracks here and there. After speaking to a neighbour we found out that after an investigation a structural engineer had confirmed that the terraces had moved slightly when they were first built (1890) but had since settled and were sound. It's nice to know that everything's fine.

This is what we started with (we had replaced the cupboard doors initially and kept them for a few years).

Not bad but not great and with plenty of problems (including very naughty kitty cats!). Therefore we made a start.

I call it the industrial look. What, you mean you wouldn't want to relax in this fine space? But you could bake such scrummy cakes in this oven!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I had a little break

Hi, I took a little break from bloging and have now decided to return...whoo hoo!

I injured my spine last year when the handle of a box of tiles I was carrying broke. I caught them but felt a hot jolt of pain in my lower back. After a trip to physio I developed a large lump on my sacrem (lower back). So I have been back and forth to doctors and hospital and am awaiting my MRI results. I may have a prolapsed disc (no one is really sure what I have - it is not reassuring when all doctors say 'Ive never seen anything like that in my life'!). I have also been told I have a curved spine and one leg longer than the other - I never even realised!

So it's been a bit depressing and upsetting as my movement has been very limited, bizarely sitting down is the most painful and I'm unable to sit properly. It's amazing how we can take for granted painfree movement. However it's not all been bad as I've received a lot of help from my family and partner. I have to say a massive thank you to everyone who's helped, especially my mom and dad for all those shopping trips and OH for putting up with my moaning and making me lovely meals!

Onwards and upwards!

Ooops!! Forgot to say thanks to Pip for making me laugh!

Monday, 24 September 2012

High street kitchens

I had taken a good look at the handmade kitchens available to get some much needed inspiration for my own kitchen. This is my first ever kitchen of my own so I did not want to make any mistakes both practically and expensively. Now I had to get realistic and look at the high street kitchens available within my budget (which wasn't vast!). You may notice some similarities between the kitchens.

I looked at B&Q

 I looked at Wickes


I looked at Magnet
 Linton Kitchen

I looked at Howdens
 Tewkesbury - Hand Painted

I looked at Ikea
Images: B&Q, Wickes, Magnet, Howdens, Ikea

I was surprised by how nice these kitchens were and all the nifty gadgets they contain. Kitchens have come a long way! Drawer dampeners stop drawers smashing back into their units, metal basket drawers, pop up plugs, pull out larders, islands, even dishwashers and fridges that are housed in drawers! It's quite amazing really and I can understand how people can spend so much on kitchens when you look at what is available. My favourite kitchens were narrowed down to Howdens and Ikea. However as you have to use a builder to buy a Howdens kitchen and we wished to cut down costs by installing the kitchen ourselves I went with Ikea. What I have noticed about kitchens is the fact that stores are very vague with their pricing (another reason why I went with Ikea as I wanted to know exactly what everything cost). If you are considering purchasing a kitchen yourself it maybe worth getting quotes from all stores you are interested in purchasing from and then use these quotes to make the stores compete for your sale. I have heard that some people have had good reductions doing this. Also another way to reduce the cost is to offer to pay cash if a percentage is taken off the total cost of the kitchen - anything is worth a go as it's a very expensive purchase!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Kitchen inspiration

As previously stated our kitchen was in need of a complete overhaul. As this is our first house and I have never bought a kitchen before I started to browse the Internet for some inspiration. I started with handmade kitchens in order to see how the professionals design kitchens (and to see the most beautiful styles available!).

Images: freddavisjoinery.co.uk, harrisonpope.co.uk, chalon.com, handmadekitchen.co.uk, touchwoodkitchen.co.uk

These kitchens all look amazingly beautiful as well as practical. They feel homely and not severe. I can imagine baking a cake or making a cup of tea and relaxing. Of course this was all wishful thinking as everybody would love a beautiful handmade bespoke kitchen but of course that beauty costs. So I used these images as a starting point for my own kitchen. By taking ideas from the kitchens I could start to build a plan for my own. I noticed that I liked the more classic style of kitchen, the shaker style of kitchen door, deep drawers rather than cupboards, white / cream / green door fronts, double ceramic sinks with a chrome high spout tap, wooden worktops, an island and a range cooker. Now came the tricky job of finding these styles within a high street kitchen at a decent quality and a price I was willing to pay - a tall order indeed!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Old kitchen

Our kitchen was a right nightmare. It had been installed in the 80's and was in need of a complete overhaul. There was awful vinyl on the floor that was sticky to walk on and was ripped in sections so we would often trip up. The grill had stopped working, well to be honest it would set fire which meant it was too dangerous to use and then the oven only worked on the one side which meant moving our food round constantly to evenly cook it and hence doubling the cooking time. We did not have enough storage so it always looked messy and the cabinets had no backs and there were often creepy crawlies in our crockery - yuck! For a temporary measure when we first moved in we replaced the cupboard doors which were bought at a very cheap price (£1 a door!).

However this could only last so long. This year we decided that we needed a new kitchen so I started to look.......