19 Aug 2020

Home | Our Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

 Aside from the kitchen, the biggest piece of work we’ve done on our house is renovating the master bedroom. I can still remember the estate agent showing us around this house and telling us that potential buyers had been put off by the size of the bedrooms which amused me because that didn’t feel like a very good sales pitch. Our bedrooms probably are considered ‘small’ but given we can fit double beds into 3 of them, I never really got what the fuss was about. However, the inbuilt wardrobe in the master bedroom did bother us because it wasn’t actually that big and yet took up so much dead space. Similarly, the cupboard next door housed a water tank we were about to remove, also creating dead space. So we got busy. 

And by ‘we’, I do mostly mean Gary and my step-dad, plus the tradesmen. I have no qualms admitting that I mostly watched and then nipped in right at the end to add furniture and lamps. We all gotta stick to our strengths. 

Bedroom Renovation

Removing the water tank 

The first step, in August 2019, was to remove the cupboard door on the landing and have the water tank inside removed by a plumber (it then sat in the bedroom for a few days looking like a forlorn dalek). We had a combi boiler installed upstairs and the necessary piping was put in the original cupboard door frame. Which meant for several weeks, we just had a doorway to an empty cupboard blocked by pipework which sort of looked like a weird attempt at modern art. 

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

Knocking down a wall 

Towards the end of September 2019, Gary and my step-dad took on the task of knocking down the wall that the bedroom and cupboard shared, taking the wardrobe out with it. Not only did this give us roughly 1.5 square metres extra floor space, it gave us a square room as opposed to having half the wall jutting out. All I can say is; it is incredibly handy knowing people who are good at DIY. Gary and Andrew took the wall down, removed any redundant piping, moved some of the electrics and filled in the old cupboard doorway (incorporating the piping) using the plasterboard they had just ripped out. Like I said, handy.  

We then had to wait a few weeks for a plasterer to come round and plaster the freshly exposed bedroom wall, and the newly filled-in cupboard doorway on the landing. And for a long time after that, everything was left whilst we ummed and ahhed about how exactly we were going to have things. 

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

Building a wardrobe

I know it probably seems ironic that we removed a wardrobe and then immediately started talking about building another one but this project was never about making the room bigger, it was about using the space effectively. We now had the space for a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling fitted wardrobe and were keen. We took a couple of quotes but eventually, Gary came to the conclusion that he wanted to build it himself. See what I mean about handy?! I loosely sketched out the idea I had for the amount of hanging, drawer and shelf space we wanted and then Gary spent a while drawing up designs. He started building in November 2019 and it took him about 3-4 weekends in total and every time I look at it, I’m still taken aback that he built it and we didn’t have to pay anyone to do it for us. 

Bedroom Renovation

Flooring, skirting, painting 

To save money, we took the left-over flooring my rents had from when they re-floored their house (we just had to top up with a few extra pieces). Then, in one final blitz days before Christmas 2019, Gary pulled up the remaining carpet, painted the walls, lay the flooring and fitted the skirting boards. 

Bedroom Renovation

We then spent the few days after Christmas putting the room together. In a mad moment, we ended up in Ikea on Boxing day to buy the bedside tables, rug, bedding, lampshade and mirror. The bedframe we’d bought from John Lewis months previously just before we first moved in and we bought the king size Emma mattress in the Black Friday sales. 

Final touches 

Adding the finishing touches has been a gradual process over the last few months and this is definitely where Gary passed over the reins to me. The basics in the room were all white so I wanted everything else to have bold colours and patterns. The white waffle duvet cover & pillow cases were from M&S, complimented with the pink pillowcases from La Redoute and the yellow geometric cushions from Made. The sunshine yellow, patterned blind is from John Lewis and the rose gold touch lamps just from Argos! 

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

For the artwork – the bike prints are from Desenio, the wall hanging from Oliver Bonas and the autumnal print from this Etsy shop. I have a bit of a gripe about blank walls so wasn’t happy with the blank space between the mirror and window. I decided just to go a bit random and fill it with a mini gallery wall. The four colourful A4 ones are from Eleanor Bowmer who has the best prints. The heart ‘where it all began’ print was a wedding gift from my friend Susie and the petals are from my wedding bouquet, pressed and framed.  

And to finish off, the colourful dried flowers on the windowsill are baked blossoms from The Happy Blossoms

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

Bedroom Renovation

17 Aug 2020

Photo Diary: Pink Rainbows & A Sunshiny City


Right at the end of July, I got a train and went into London for the first time since March. I caught up with some of my favourite people, finally met my gal’s beautiful kitten and got a tad giddy because I was in a different place. It felt so good to get my city fix and see friends outside of a Zoom call. Friday night involved some delicious miso aubergine and a cotton cloud pink rainbow sky. And on the Saturday morning we took an hour walk along the river; soaking up London in the sunshine made me feel like I was on holiday. Probs the only holiday vibe I’ll get this year; YES I’M STILL BITTER. 

A few photos including that stunning pink rainbow sky: 

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

London photo diary

7 Aug 2020

Starting A Capsule Wardrobe

 Starting A Capsule Wardrobe

Content warning: I’m about to start talking about clothes a lot. I’m not sure what’s happened to me either. 

For the past couple of years, I have been fascinated with the idea of a capsule wardrobe. Time and time again, I find myself drawn to articles and blog posts about the concept and then sitting in front of my own wardrobe and imagining everything in there being just… less.

For those not in the know, here’s the Wikipedia definition for a capsule wardrobe – a collection of a few essential items of clothing that do not go out of fashion which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. It is obviously open to interpretation but the reoccurring themes always seem to be: to have less, to swap out the seasonal pieces at the beginning of each season, to only shop when you need something and when you do, invest in good quality pieces that will last yonks.

I have never fully committed to the idea before now because I was trying to adapt to the one-size fits all approach. Sometimes it felt like a simple concept but then, because it has become so popular, sometimes it felt a tad ‘information overload’ with lots of rules banded about like a maximum number of items allowed or only buying clothes in neutral colours. I would try and conform myself and my wardrobe to those rules and then get frustrated when it didn’t quite work for me.

As with anything, and as I should have realised – you do you. Going again, I’ve found it quite helpful to ignore most of those rules! 

Despite previous failed starts, I keep coming back to the idea. The reason it speaks to me so much is because I’ve long been frustrated with my wardrobe. I felt like I never quite knew what I was doing with it and was constantly torn between feeling like life was too short to think about clothes too much and also knowing that feeling uncomfortable or not myself in clothes makes me feel like shit. I have been guilty of making spontaneous purchases that I only wear a handful of times, shopping for something I actually already own but had forgotten about and trying to fix feeling rubbish about my body by shopping for clothes better suited to other shapes and sizes. I have long craved a wardrobe that is simple, where I like and wear every single item in it, and to eliminate any feelings of anxiety and overwhelm when it comes to what I’m wearing.

I also no longer want to engage with fast fashion which is one of the biggest polluters of our environment. We all need our clothing to last much longer and to be more sustainable. Having a capsule wardrobe is one of the ways I am attempting to do that, but I am also aiming to only buy from sustainable clothing brands in the future, to wash my clothes a lot less (the majority of us over wash our clothes) and to try and only buy clothes made of natural materials.  

So this is how I went about creating my own capsule wardrobe: 

Step 1: Finding my ‘style’

Yes I mentally cringed at ‘finding my style’ as well. Soz. So I have never counted myself as someone who is really into clothes – and I stand by that – but there is also no denying that when I’m in an outfit that feels like ‘me’, my mood is lifted. The problem is, I’ve never properly paid attention to what is ‘me’ before and have often been drawn into new-season impulse purchases without stopping to consider whether an item fits in with what I like let alone whether it’s good quality, fits with the rest of my wardrobe and ultimately worth spending my money on. Fast fashion pushes us to shop for new clothes all the damn time and it’s very easy to get sensory overload. Taking a step back and acknowledging which items I’m always drawn to in my wardrobe and what I feel fits who I am and my lifestyle the best (which took a surprisingly short amount of time) meant I then found myself baffled at all the other purchases I’d made over the years that clearly didn’t work for me. Why was I wearing things that I didn’t feel 100% comfortable in? Why was I engaging my time and money in an industry that can often make me feel stressed and uncomfortable when more often than not I push around the majority of my clothes for the same white shirt and pair of jeans?

Basically - I’m a jeans & trainers girl, with the occasional midi-dress thrown in for good measure. I’ve finally realised that skirts and shorts are almost never my thing but I’m partial to a jumpsuit every now and again. I’m happiest in a jeans-and-shirt combo, jazzed up with a colourful bag and shoes. None of this is particularly revelatory but cementing this in my mind felt like an important step when it comes to more mindful shopping in the future. 

Step 2: An Almighty Clear Out

Luckily this wasn’t too overwhelming as I’ve become much better at regular clear-outs over the last couple of years but still, a lot went. I had to be brutally honest with myself about what I was actually comfortable with and what I’d worn a lot in the last year, and to let go of thoughts like ‘but it’s in good condition’, ‘I only bought that last year’ or ‘I might wear it again’ (spoiler: I won’t). Even I was surprised by my own ruthlessness but once you’ve crossed the line, it actually becomes quite freeing/addictive. I sent three big boxes of clothes to charity shops and immediately felt lighter. 

Starting A Capsule Wardrobe

Step 3: Making Your Own Rules

I’ve split what’s left into five categories:

The basics – for all year round. Also includes a sub-category of at-home wear, which is a mix of weekend loungewear and weekday comfort (the classic shirt with leggings for Zoom work meetings).

Seasonal: Summer – swapped in around May time to go alongside the basics.  

Seasonal: Autumn/Winter – swapped in around September time to go alongside the basics.  

Workout wear – pretty self-explanatory; the stuff to sweat in.  

Occasion wear – for parties, weddings, fancy meals etc.

I’ve not bothered with a Spring category because it’s changeable enough that I know I’ll wear a mix of things from basics, autumn & probably summer should we get a random April heatwave. 

What I’m not including for now: pyjamas, underwear, shoes and coats. These are some of the things that used to trip me up when considering capsule wardrobes in the past, as I know these are ‘supposed’ to be included but I always felt they were separate to what is hanging in my wardrobe (both literally and figuratively). So I simply mentally put them to one side for now. You do you

A note on numbers 

The internet seems to band about the elusive number 37, for the number of items one has in their capsule wardrobe during any one season. I think trying to get to a particular ‘number’ of items is silly – you shouldn’t be trying to choose between two tops when you really want to keep both, just to hit a certain number. It’s about what works for you. 

The below works out at a neat 50 items all in. This is for all year round. At the moment, I have 43 items of clothing hanging in my wardrobe, including workout wear and occasion wear. My winter things are currently vacuum packed under the bed. Before I did my clear out, I would have thought 50 sounded like a lot until I pulled out every item in my wardrobe and realised that the average person has a lot more than that. Putting occasion wear (not like I’ve had much use for them during lockdown) and workout wear (as it’s for once specific purpose) to one side for a second: for the last couple of months I’ve been living with 33 items (basics + summer) in my wardrobe and so far am really loving it. If anything, I’m wondering if I could live with less but I’m trying not to get too eager given that the last few months haven’t really been representative of ‘normal’ life. 

And here’s what I’ve got: 

The Basics 

3x Jeans (2x blue, 1x black)

1x Black trousers

1x Black cardigan

2x blazer (1x yellow, 1x pink)

2x hoodie (1x grey, 1x navy striped)

3 x White shirts 

(1x long sleeved, 1x short sleeved, 1x patterned)

9 x Tops 

(3 x Breton long-sleeved, 1x Breton t-shirt, 1x pink shirt, 1 x red wrap, 1x blue, 1x white with black lining, 1x print patterned)

Basics: at-home wear (a sub-category if you will)

1x Jogging bottoms

1x White t-shirt

1x Black leggings

1x Oversized cardigan

1x Casual jumpsuit

Seasonal: Summer 

3 x Dresses (1 x yellow midi, 1x blue maxi, 1x pink patterned)  

1x Jumpsuit (black polka dot)

1x white jeans 

1x short dungarees  

1 x denim shorts

Seasonal: Autumn/Winter 

4 x Knits

3 x Dresses (all in autumnal colours)

Occasion wear

1 x Leather-look trousers

1 x Black tulle skirt + 1 x black strappy top 

1 x Red dress

1 x Wedding-guest dress

Workout wear

2x Leggings

3 x Tops (long-sleeved, t-shirt, vest)

Photos by Tutu and Amanda Vick

5 Aug 2020

Five Highlights From July

I’m writing this on the train – I know, a train! Mask strapped to my face, hand sanitiser poking out my bag… it’s a train journey 2020 style. I’ve just had my most social weekend for months, the first weekend I’ve slept somewhere that wasn’t my own bed since March – quite frankly, it’s given me a bit of a high. So whilst I’m chipper and currently blocking out my stressful work life and that fecking pandemic, here’s the good stuff from July… 

WE WENT TO THE PUB and bloody hell, was I excited about it. It was sunny, it was safe, it was five hours later and we were a tad tipsy. A great time was had by all. 

A Series Of Unfortunate Events – we binged watched the Netflix series, which I’ve been meaning to do for yonks because these were some of my favourite books as a kid, and it was 100% worth the wait. The baby got me every time; she was too funny. 

Reunited with London after 4 and a half months and even I was surprised by how much I’ve missed the city. It was bloody glorious to get my city fix, and to actually see friends in real life. Words do not describe how happy I was.   

We had a chilled out stag do for my best pals upcoming nuptials and it was super lovely. There was good food, good people, a game of Mr & Mrs and far too much gin. 

Taylor Swift released a surprise album and cor blimey it was the news I didn’t know I needed. I am probably annoying Gary by playing it so often but it’s too good not to. In love.