Category: Home & Garden

How to completely change your garden

Or How renovating your garden requires blood, sweat and multiple trips to the tip.

When my OH & I bought our house over 3 years ago, it looked very different. We spent the first month pretty much painting everything we could. Trust me, it needed it. Our house is 160 years old. Throughout its history, some of the owners have lovingly looked after it. Some clearly hated it and practised their awful DIY skills on it! So we throughout the process, we’ve discovered some lovely bits and some hideous bits. But we left the garden alone. When we moved in, it looked like this.

BeforeIt was pretty neglected. Bit by bit, we started to tidy up. The more we tidied, the more junk we discovered. It was a long, arduous and uninspiring task. I can’t even think how many trips to the tip we’ve done. Whether it was the shed, the debris behind the shed, the dead bushes and shrubs… It goes on. But finally, all of that is behind us. This year, we’ve had a new fence and shed built. We’ve completely gutted the garden, with the exception of a very lonely magnolia tree. And we’ve only got about one more tip run to do with a few more bucket fulls of rubble (seriously, no idea where it keeps coming from!) We’re not finished, but we’re really close. Over the last few weekends we’ve been working really hard on the house. Here are a few things we’ve done:

wallWe found these bricks under the earth at the back of the garden. Amazingly, most of them are in great shape, so we built a small wall around the shed. The shed is on a raised plinth so we needed something around it. I’m pretty chuffed with this find. Not quite sure what the numbers represent, but they are now on proud display in the garden. (Huge thanks to my OH’s step-dad for building it!) We have an ongoing battle with weeds in the earth around the shed so wanted something to stop this. So we put down some heavy duty weed barrier and put these lovely pebbles over it. They look lush in the rain and we’re going to add some ferns in pots around the side too.

On Sunday morning, I was very anxious about the weather. I wanted to paint the original fence in the garden to spruce it up a bit. It really needs repairing or replacing but we’re running out of time and money. The weather report said cloudy all day so off out into the garden we went. It started the day looking like this:

Before_back Before_frontIt did rain while we were painting, but just as we were finishing up and it was the briefest of showers. I had to run out for more paint, as we used the whole 5L tin before we finished and these taller panels will need a second coat. Fingers crossed for no rain on Saturday! Not only did we paint the fence, but we also dug in a border on this side of the lawn. There was one there before, but when we took out all the dying shrubs, the grass took over. Three days later and my body is still in agony from the work we did! But it’s so worth it, don’t you think?

After_front

Quite the improvement! We’re going to build some raised beds out of all scaffolding boards from a local supplier. They’re going to go either side of the patio. We are also going to powerwash the patio and plant up loads of bulbs that my Mum bought me and then we’ll be done until Spring. We’ve spent most of this years budget and we’re pretty exhausted, as we’ve also been working on a few bits inside the house too. Have to say, I’m very much looking forward to planting next year and not moving any more earth! Talk about a labour of love! We’ve worked so hard on our garden and I just can’t wait for it to be finished.

Hallway Lamp Shade Dilemma

I am notoriously bad at buying lamp shades. When we moved in to our house three years ago, we needed new ones in every room. I’m ashamed to admit we bought cheap paper ones. The reason was simple – we didn’t decorate every room straight away so didn’t want to spend the money on something fancy that might not fit the room when we decorated. Fair enough. But that doesn’t explain the nasty black rose shade for the upstairs landing. Awful, hideous monstrosity! We didn’t bother replacing the one in the hallway, not quite sure why. Think it was because after buying the black rose one we felt we couldn’t be trusted so left well enough alone!

Well, we’ve finally got around to painting over the peach walls and woodwork of the hallway. The walls are white & the woodwork is a light grey. We’ve kept it light, plain and simple because the hall doesn’t get much light & is very dark most of the time, so we wanted to help it out as much as possible. Now comes the awkward bit – buying a lamp shade. The redecorating pot is running low so nothing too expensive, but we want something cool, stylish, suits the old house but nothing chintzy! A quick Google made me realise there is only one place to look for awesome lampshades – Not on the High Street. And that’s where I lost the best part of a day! (Not kidding!) These are my favourites – all a bit different, would suit the colours used & a bit quirky.

Chevron lamp shade

Geometric Chevron Lamp shade

Herringbone Lamp shadeHerringbone Lamp shade

Woodland Lamp ShadeWoodland Lamp Shade

Little Houses Lamp Shade

Little Houses Lamp Shade

Mr Fox Lamp ShadeMr Fox Lamp Shade

Flock Sunrise Lamp Shade

Flock Sunrise Lampshade

It’s so tough! I want them all, but sadly don’t have the rooms (or the funds!). They’re all reasonably priced so now it’s just about choosing one that will suit the space. I was all set on choosing one of these when I stumbled across this:

Bird Brolly Lamp ShadeBird Brolly Lamp Shade Kit

I didn’t want to make my own. I didn’t want the fuss. But I love this print & think the colour will work, plus the kit comes with everything I’ll need, including the all important instructions. How cool would it be for people to walk into the hallway that I’ve repaired & decorated and see something that I’ve made?! It’ll be fine as long as I don’t mess it up!

I really don’t know which one to choose! They’re all great in their own unique way. One thing is certain – we won’t be having a black rose situation again!

Recent Retro Buys

I’m not quite sure when it happened, but I’ve become obsessed with all things butterfly. I’ve been on the look for prints to hang in my study as well so if I can combine the two, then so much the better. I’ve also been looking out for different storage jars & containers that will be useful. Here’s what I’ve found so far.

Butterfly

I found this print at Lassco & knew I had to have it. It’s not very often I’m that decisive when it comes to artwork but I knew that this would look great in my room. The colours are so bright and look great against the plain frame.

ButterfliesI couldn’t believe it when I saw this in a vintage shop in Towcester. Not only were the butterflies in great condition but it was only £32, which is incredible! I know the frame isn’t up to much, but the colours of the butterflies are so bright and it was a real bargain.

Yellow

Blue Stripe Blue dotI’m so pleased that the colours on the wings are still so bright. Beautiful! Both of these will form part of display that I’m planning in my study, along with some other prints and some old family photographs – I just need to get some frames together, decide on an arrangement & get them up!

My latest buy is this gorgeous retro storage jar from Winter’s Moon. I saw a picture of it on Facebook & knew it would be great for storing my teabags in, as my old one has seen better days. As soon as it was listed in the shop, I ordered it! It’s perfect! The colours are really bright & it suits the vintage feel of our kitchen. I really like getting individual bits & bobs for our house and am on a bit of a mission with this at the moment.

Pink Jar

I’m always on the look out for different things to add to our home. Even though we’ve been here for three years, it’s a long way off being ‘done’. Whether we’re out at a vintage shop or I’m shopping online, I’m always keen to find somewhere new to look for things. If you know of any great places to shop, let me know!

A Day in My Shoes

So I thought it would be fun to write a post about my general day in shoes! Since I changed career and started working from home, I generally wear slippers. Most of the time, all my lovely shoes sit, languishing in the bottom of my wardrobe. But this week, I knew I was going to be out & about a bit so thought it would be interesting to chart my day through my shoes! Here we go!

Pilates

First up, no shoes needed because it’s time for Pilates. I try to do 10 minutes of Pilates & some leg exercises for my knee and back every morning. Poppy helps by climbing over me & sticking her nose in my ear!

Slipslops

Unless its really, really, really hot, I always wear slippers or slipper socks on my feet in the house. Always have. Can’t bear the thought of my feet getting cold. I got these super cute slippers from my Mum for Christmas, but as I’ve worn them so much they’re already wearing out. Need some new ones!

BodenNext, it’s time for Poppy’s morning walk. I bought these from Boden in January because the last pair of trainers I bought from their lasted me years. Sadly, these haven’t faired so well & are already worn through in parts, letting the rain in. Pretty disappointed to be honest.

MeetingNext up, I had to go to a meeting. It was with a potential new client so wanted something bright & cheery. I love these shoes! Red shoes always pick me up a bit and give me a bit of a boost.

Dog walking

After my meeting & a quick cup of tea, it was time to take Poppy out for her second walk. As it looked like it was going to rain, which it did, I wore my walking boots. To be honest, I really like wearing these! They are comfy & solid and perfect for keeping up with Poppy.

DunlopAs my trainers are only suitable for dry weather, I need a new pair all-weather trainers. Instead of stalling for months, I thought I’d get myself organised & order some new ones. I ordered these from Schuh, well, I ordered grey ones but they sent these. Not keen on the colour but they fit like a glove so will reorder the grey ones.

Purple converseI also ordered some Converse trainers, as I remember these being particularly hardwearing. After much deliberation via Twitter (mainly about whether I’m too old to wear these) I think I’m going to send these back & get them in blue or black.

slipper socksI bought these from White Stuff in the January sales & I am so glad that I did! They cover my ankles & are toasty warm. Yes, I’ll probably wear them throughout the summer, but I might only wear one pair of socks underneath. Seriously! These are my absolute favourites!

Most days, I just switch between my slipper socks & dog walking shoes/wellies so it was pretty nice wearing other shoes for a change! How about you?