Our Renovation Progress (Or Not)

Much has happened since I last blogged about our renovation, but you wouldn’t think it to look at the sorry mess we are still living in.  In my last post I wrote how hard it was to get the right people and that we were waiting on dates to start the work.  Well, now it is the end of April (we moved in November) and every room is a jumble with bits and bobs started but nothing finished.



My biggest nightmare – we have just had the new loo fitted (after almost four weeks with a bucket to flush with).  The problem arose from the fact that the bathroom was clad in a wood ceiling – rather nautical, with some sort of plastic panels on the walls.  When the plastic and wood came off, so did much of the plaster and the ceiling, so making good has taken some time.  We had the old airing cupboard removed to make more room for the shower and basin which as you can see in the picture above, were crammed together.


I should mention we have only one bathroom, so we have been showering at Steve’s sister’s home which has been a Godsend.  To add to this state of affairs, Steve and I have negligible DIY skills, so everything needs to be brought in. You would wonder why we didn’t buy a new build, but there you have it.  The bathroom should be finished by the weekend so we should be clean very soon!


Work is due to start in about ten days.  We took up the old flowery carpet to reveal this rather colourful yellow and orange vinyl floor.  The rods had been fitted over the felt and the door plate had helpfully been fitted under the door architrave.


I’ve chosen a shaker style kitchen in a colour called mussel, which should be easy on the eye.



We didn’t dare have new carpets as there is so much dust about, but we have wallpapered in this striking floral pattern and I have upcycled my old Queen Anne style side table as a dressing table.


Steve doesn’t mind a bit of wallpapering and painting thankfully!


Living Room

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Nothing to see here – still the old carpet but I did buy a pair of Laura Ashley sofas because I couldn’t resist them.  Too soon by far, but it made me happy at the time.


I upcycled the hall cupboard by painting it with grey chalk paint and we have had the floor tiled in a grey slate effect.




I’m pleased to see lots of bulbs popping up which work well with my existing pots from the old place.  I’ve made a start on the veg patch with some rhubarb, raspberry canes, broad beans and a couple of fruit trees. Most of this though will be next year’s project.

So, as you can see, not really that much to report.  However, I think in the next month, there will be significant changes and the place will start to feel like home.






The Down Side of Down Sizing

What seemed like such a good idea last summer isn’t feeling so great in dreary January.  At the moment our home is a mish mash of clashing colours, horrible carpets and a sticky back plastic bathroom…..and it still smells musty!


I have no patience you see.  I need those carpets up right now. I need that horrible plastic bathroom cladding ripped off today. I need a bedroom which is a sanctuary – not one with wonky second hand wardrobes and nowhere to put my stuff.


We have been in for two months now and I seriously underestimated how hard it is to get the work off the ground.  We are not DIYers so need tradesmen for the big jobs and everyone is busy, booked up and with a waiting list.


The good news is the central heating is booked in to be replaced in two weeks time.  This is the job on which everything else rests, as every room is affected.  The current system works, but bangs so badly you would think it was going to explode so we have to turn it right down and rely on a fan heater for the most part to keep us warm.


The bathroom suite has been purchased and should be fitted next.  I am desperate to be rid of the ‘comfort’ toilet and the plastic walls.  We have chosen some beautiful tiles and just need to find the right person to fit them for us.

We also have fitted wardrobes on order for March so I will have some space to hang my clothes, most of which are in suitcases.

New sofas are coming next month – way too soon, but I spotted them in the Laura Ashley sale and as they were perfect, they just had to be ordered.

The kitchen/dining room should be started in April when the hacienda style arch will hopefully be no more!  I’ve dithered over kitchen colours – should I have trendy grey, or maybe a classic cream.  Still undecided.


The garden is still looking pretty ugly, although some snowdrops are peeking through.


There have been many times when I’ve thought why the hell have we done this…but here we are and I know it will be beautiful a year from now.

I’ll keep you posted!



Our Seventies Bungalow: Before Pictures

We’ve taken on the job of updating this sad little seventies bungalow and making it into a home.  We picked it for its location – in a quiet little close, and for me, its generous sized garden which is south facing and not shaded – completely the opposite to my old shade garden.  I have massive plans for the garden, but that’s another blog post.

So, here we have it: the before photos.  We’ve actually already moved on from here, with a lick of white paint just to neutralise the yucky paint colours.  But brace yourselves!  It is not pretty!


I can assure you that the nets were the first thing to bite the dust!



We’ve already removed the gates and posts so that we can get the car on.


The bathroom had a few disability aids which have been removed – we’re planning to remove the airing cupboard and have a walk in shower.


The main bedroom is big so we’re having fitted wardrobes and getting rid of this flowery carpet.


This is the dining room with its peculiarly placed boiler – all this is coming out to make a kitchen diner.


The kitchen is in an extension at the back of the property and is OK to live with for a few months until we get the heating and bathroom done.  It will hopefully be replaced in the summer.

Structurally, the place is OK and it’s a reasonable size, so in 12 months time we could have ourselves a nice little home.

I’ll keep you posted on the refurb!





One Stone Lost and a Moving House Update

Today I reached my one stone weight loss target with Slimming World.  To celebrate, I treated myself to some lovely Freya lingerie from The Lingerie Room in Hoole.  I’m learning to reward myself with gorgeous treats like this and not food!  I went to get measured for the new bra and guess what – no change!  I really thought I would have dropped a cup size, but no.


I really am very slow at losing weight, but I’m hoping that this slow steady approach will mean I can keep it off.  I’m seeing it as a gradual re-education and a new way of eating for life.

In other news, we have a buyer for our house and have had an offer accepted on a bungalow.  The new property is a bit of a renovation project, so I’m looking forward to having free rein with decoration.  It needs a new bathroom and kitchen as well as central heating.  We also plan to knock a wall down to make a bigger kitchen/diner. Yikes!  Suffice to say, we will be getting professionals in for this!

As I have compromised on location (I wanted to go home to Wales, he wanted to stay close to his dad), Steve has agreed that all décor decisions are mine and has promised not to interfere.  We’ll see!

Anyway, it’s early days for both sale and purchase.  Absolutely anything could happen, so we are keeping an open mind on the new property until we have absolute confirmation.  Luckily we are old enough and ugly enough not to get emotionally attached.

The next few weeks should prove to be eventful if nothing else.


Moving On

I have some news!  After thirty three years in our home, we are moving on.  Our house will be on the market next week which is very exciting.


I’m really going to miss my garden, but I’m aiming to have a new garden project in the pipeline soon!

We’ve been extremely busy with the paint brush this week, making sure everything is spick and span.

I’ll leave the home pics to the experts for now…..we’ve instructed our estate agent and it’s all systems go!

In between painting and gardening, I’m Mari Kondoing the place, so anything that isn’t nailed down is heading for the tip or the charity shop.

We’ve also been scouring the area for our new home.  We are looking for a smaller property and currently torn between getting something ready to walk into, or buying something that needs work and taking our time over doing it up.

In other news I’ve lost two and a half pounds last week making at total of 11 so far.  I’m really enjoying Slimming World and with putting so much effort into the house, I’m not really thinking about food which is great news.

Check out the safety specs – mud splattered was not the word for it once I got going with that Karcher!





Nordic Glass By Ella Rosinkrans

When shopping in the Grosvenor Precinct in Chester I came across this shop selling the most beautiful glass.  I got chatting to the lady behind the counter and it turned out that she is not only the owner of the business, but makes each piece of art herself.


These coasters were only a fiver each and I bought a set as a gift for my niece who fell in love with them too.

Ella Rosinkrans, the artist, is Icelandic and people from all over the world collect her art work.  This is her website if you want to take a look.



The bigger pieces of art are beautiful and would make good wedding or engagement presents.  There really are pieces for all budgets.


I rather liked this glass heart dish which I think would look great on my dining table.

If you’re in Chester, pop in and have a look!  Otherwise you could check out her online shop.  I really do like to see independent shops and it is lovely to buy one off pieces now and again.

Christine x





Upcycling A Foot Stool

I saw this dress in a charity shop and fell in love with the embroidered pattern.  I bought it for £3.25 but when I tried it on it was too short (no-one needs to see my knees). Normally I would re-donate but this time I was desperate to hold onto it for the fabric.  Then I had this brainwave – I could cover this old footstool that was gathering dust in my office.


My dad was an upholsterer so luckily I have inherited a whole load of upholstery tacks.  All I needed to do was cut up the dress and tack it on to the foot stool pad.  Et voila! A pretty boho stool for my living room!


It really is worth charity shopping with an open mind as you never know what you might end up with.