A Little Home Improvement & A Bit of Help.

Teenagers (specifically my own) & Houses (again, my own Victorian house renovation project) appear to have occcupied 99.99999% of my thoughts these past 2 years or so, I have thought/dreamed about/planned/cried into many many cups of coffees over both of them....
more so the house, but you get what I mean.

One step forward, one, sometimes two, back has been the story with the house....one job invariably leads to several more - and a whole lot more £££, in my experience.
Would I want to live in a brand new house...not really, but there have been days when it seems very appealing.

The house is a project, we are doing all this work in order to sell it, it's a stepping stone....and I've watched enough TV shows to know that you shouldn't get too attached to the house & to only invest money that you will get back ie, a loft conversion etc etc.

I've managed to do this on the whole, but the house has seemed like such a huge & demanding exercise, that often I haven't been able to see the wood for the trees.

Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is & ears is invaluable & I've experienced that a couple of times recently....
over the Easter weekend, I was asked to team up with MoneySupermarket & Home Improvement Guru Jo Behari as part of a project about home improvements & insurance.

I had several rooms that I was trying to finish & a phone consultation with Jo proved to be just what I needed to get me to think about what I was trying to achieve.

Jo was able to give me advice on the following :

* the loft : now finished, this is to be my 10 year old son's room
* the old bathroom : located on the ground floor, once we moved the bathroom up one floor, this room became a dumping ground
* the kitchen : a horrible & very dated room, our planned kitchen extension is not going ahead & so it needs an inexpensive & fairly quick makeover.

Jo came up with some brilliant ideas, things that I just wouldn't have thought of, using some products that I didn't even know existed....
we discussed all three rooms & I came away feeling inspired & confident.

3 weeks on & the loft is complete & my son moved in yesterday....
the old bathroom is now a breakfast room, is almost finished & is such a useful space
& I've bought all the products I need for a kitchen makeover (& will share that in another post soon).

I will say though that discovering self-adhesive vinyl tiles & one coat tile paint has been a revelation!

I had a lot of fun completing these projects, partly because Jo had given me vision & direction. I attempted things that I probably wouldn't have done & that in itself gave me confidence - as did my new toolbox, it's been a revelation & I can't believe that I was ever afraid to tackle anything!

What I've also learned is that it only takes a few projects to be completed & all of a sudden, you feel as though you're getting somewhere & it's not quite as overwhelming as you thought....
there is light at the end of every tunnel :)

Research commissioned by MoneySuperMarket showed that over 50% of those making improvements to their home would not inform their insurance provider about any renovations.
Making improvements can have an effect on your home insurance policy and it is worth a phone call to your insurer to check this out.

Jo's DIY tips can be found here  

This post was written in collaboration with MoneySuperMarket....
all thoughts, views, words & renovation work my own ;) 

all images via Pinterest

Interior Inspiration : Light, Bright and White.

We're now over halfway through our loft conversion....hoorah!
I think the most stressful days - and the messiest - are behind us & so my thoughts are turning to decor, now that moving in day is only weeks away...hopefully.
I say hopefully, since I've come to realise that all the planning and discussions in the world don't allow for the all unknown issues & problems that arise with any house project....
nothing is completed until the builders actually move out for good!

The new loft has plenty of windows but the plan is still going for white walls, 
keeping it all as light, bright & calm as possible.

I'm sure Pinterest & design blogs have a lot to answer for but I've been a convert to the all white house for some time now....
a beautifully calm blank canvas filled with not too many possessions, curated but comfortable, with colour being provided by artwork, books & plenty of cushions.
That's the plan anyway!

all images via my Pinterest boards

Hello February, Hello Blog!

"Time passes. It does. 
The fog....lifts....unbelievably. And when it did, I found that I needed to redefine myself. 
Or at least, to try to remember who I had been and who I would be from now on".

2015 was a strange old year for me, it wasn't one of my best times,... 
Challenging, stressful, bewildering & at times, it all felt a little bit hopeless & overwhelming.
It wasn't an unhappy year but it had more than its share of sadness.

If there are "years that ask questions and years that answer", then 2015 was definitely the former.

And so, in the way that downs are, at some point, followed by ups, I am determined that 2016 will be A Very Good Year, a year that answers & a year to move forward.

It's taken me most of January to figure a few things out, to plan, to plot, to leap....

I feel as though I've emerged from something & I now have a much stronger sense of what to do, where to go & what to be....I have plans.

, Perhaps not surprisingly given my love of reading, a couple of books that I've read recently have been instrumental in the gradual change in my mindset.

I've started reading regularly again & one of my January reads was 
following the death of her sister several years before, the author decides that instead of charging at life, trying to be everything & everybody in order to deal with her grief, what she will actually do is read one book a year for a whole year.

Reading has always been a refuge & a happy place for her & during this year, she finds solace, joy & healing.....
"my year....allowed me to redefine what is important for me and what can be left behind".

I really identified connected with something in this book, as I also did with "Goodbye to All That : Writers & Loving and Leaving New York", a collection of stories by writers who have loved, lived, left & in some cases returned to NYC....if you love NYC, you'll love this book.

What the book describes beautifully & what I connected with in particular is how parts of your life can be so right at one time, so much so that you can't imagine ever wanting them to change....
and then one day you wake up, things have shifted somehow & you wonder what took you so long to move forward.

Funnily enough, I started both these books last year but never got round to finishing them, maybe the timing wasn't right....the quote at that the top of this post by Ann Hood, one of the writers in "Goodbye To All That....",

I love it because it encapsulates perfectly just how I'm feeling right now.

I'm out of the woods & into the sunlight. 

2016, I am ready for you.

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