Updating the shabby bathroom.

For some reason the bathroom has always been only half assed decorated. Although I did spend a whole two days in there, in late 2015 stencilling the floor – which by the way looked gorgeous, but I spilt copper hair dye on it, It stained, looked like I had murdered someone in there! So It needed to be covered- Other than that, I have tried to do a few quick fixes, but nothing that really feels luxurious. I’m a sucker for a hot bubble bath, I pop on some of the Harry Potter audio book, have a rifle through my most recent lush haul and soak my worries away. So it really needed to be somewhere a little more relaxing.

Before I go into project details, here’s the room before. Its messy, unorganised and all looking a little un-cared for.

 

I didn’t really have any immediate intentions on giving the room an entire overhaul, but what started out as some simple wood-work refreshing, turned into an obsessed… and here we are less than a week later.

After Cleaning up the bath panel, the box around the pipes behind the sink and the radiator cover, I nipped off to B&Q and found the perfect colour for my walls…. Devonshire green.

 

I actually found it by matching it up to a napkin I stole from Frankie and Benny’s the day before – paper napkin btw, I’m sure I am allowed to take those!- Its dark and moody, luxurious but fresh, not to mention green is Panatones ‘colour of the year’ – for those not in the know, that means interior lovers all over the country are working this colour into their rooms this year.

It was perfect! But also a little terrifying. I won’t lie, I almost thought I hated it after that first coat went up. But once I covered those patches with a second coat, oh man… I was SO in love!

 

Couple of notes about this paint, if you’re looking to buy something similar. Its mixed there and then over at the Valspar paint mixing station. Now, I had a bit of an issue with the guy who served me, I pointed up to the board with prices on, asking for the 2.5 litre (£22) in Devonshire green.. I asked if it would cost extra to have the mid-sheen, No, no problems, it would cost the same as the matt. When I came to pay it was £28.

Apparently, its not from there ‘standard range’ – though there wasn’t one single sign about their different ranges for emulsion – unless of course it was in teeny- tiny writing on a post it note somewhere. My physically pointing to what I wanted to buy wasn’t enough for him to just let me know “actually this isn’t from our standard range, that colour will cost a bit extra” Anyway, its no big deal, but it just bugged me. So beware of their “ranges” especially if buying bigger amounts.

Back to the makeover. After, finishing the painting and letting everything dry overnight. I got started on some of the woodwork I wanted to get up in there. Shelves for the back wall above the bath and one of those cool wooden  over the bath racks. Of course, I popped to my favourite supply store Savoy timber (seriously, these guys should be paying me for advertising by now! ha) and picked up my wood. total cost £7.39.

As well as the little diy accessories, I of course bought some other little pretties. Including the prettiest bath mat from Dunelm mill (£9), Two plants (both Homebase) and a new toothbrush holder and soap dispenser. (Dunelm & Wilkos.)

 

Finally, I got to put it all together and step back to admire mum new luxurious (on a budget) bathroom.

 

Now obviously, If I was allowed, I would just rip the entire thing out and start again, but seen as this is a “council house” and of course, I’m not loaded, It really is the next best thing. Its a little bit fresher, a little bit more relaxing and I cant wait to have a long soak in here. (Which will be tonight, with wine and of course the Harry Potter audio book!)

Before and afters?

And of course It isn’t completely finished yet! – when is it ever finished?!- but I do want to either build or buy a under the sink cabinet to hide all of our bits and bobs, and add coving all around the room. It might be finished then.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

2nd Blog-aversary!

Two years today I started my journey as a blogger, and published my very first post! WHAAAAT! Two whole years! If you fancy a little re-cap, here’s how that post looked…..

 

When I first started this blog, it was actually because I had closed the TLWP handmade clothing shop, but didn’t want to lose the small following that had grown, In those last months, I enjoyed writing about and photographing those wears, more than actually making them, and so I figured I’d just blog about sewing instead.

A lot has changed in these past two years, I still do blog about sewing – every now and again- but really, it turns out my passion is interiors and food, DIY-ing, making, photographing and then writing all about it, throw in a bit of family life and we’ve ended up here.

 

I love where the blog stands now, I love the mix of subjects that I really am passionate about, I love that with every new post my knowledge on blogging just grows. I’d love to say I have a plan, that I know exactly where I want to go with it all in the next year or so, but the truth is… I just don’t. Of course I’d love to blog full time, to be paid for my efforts, but realistically, I know I still have a lot to learn before I get anywhere near ‘proffessional’ status. And truthfully, I love that I’m under no pressure by anyone with my content. Sponsored posts every now and again are cool to get, but I like just going at my own pace.

So having said all that, blog plans for the next 12 months: Work harder on my photography, work harder on producing engaging/informative content, face my fear of being in photos.

I think they are good blogging goals to have, even if they are a bit general.

 

I’ve been asked a few times over these past few months about ‘how to blog’ its not something that can be answered too easily. In simple terms, you find a subject you’re passionate about, set up your blog and you post about it. In less simple terms you spend a month trying to think of a name, a further fortnight trying to get to grips with the technical side of setting up a blog, you change your mind on themes and layouts at least sixty times before settling on something thats ‘alright’ because you JUST. CANT. DEAL. with this sort of decision making. Before sitting at the blank page of your first post for a few hours, wondering what the hell to write. – Or was that just me?!

Fear not though, If you can just get past that initial though of ‘No one cares what I have to say’ or ‘This is way more hassle than its worth’ I’m sure you’ll agree it is such a rewarding experience.

I’ve complied a lovely list of beginners tips though, if you are trying to push yourself into the world of blogging.

  • Dont freak out if you cant figure out how to use your chosen blogging platform in 24hours. I use WordPress, I hosted my shop on an enfold site, so it just made sense to stick with it for blogging. Because of this, I knew the basics. It has however taken me the past two years to be comfortable with the rest of it. You’ll get a guide to help you with setting up, and from there you simply personalise and post. everything else can be googled, or questioned on the many ‘bloggers’ Facebook groups. So don’t freak out!

 

  • Don’t get lost in personalisation. Free templates are cracking!! Keep it simple, and build over time. There’ no point in spending three weeks pouring your creativity solely into how your page looks, when odds are in three days time, you’ll probably want to change it all anyway. Concentrate on your content first, let the visual style of your page build gradually.

 

  • Picmonkey is a cheap and easy way to make a blog header (logo). I highly recommend paying monthly for the deluxe version. I think its only about £3 a month, but if you’re blogging regularly, it really is worth it. You can also use it for gentle photo editing and all that fancy writing you see on post promo pics.

 

  • Photography matters! SO much. I understand not everyone is blessed with the ability to go out and spend a fortune on a dslr, or has the pro knowledge to create flawless blog photography. However, you can counteract maybe not having the best quality camera/phone by really making an effort with your styling. No matter what you blog about, you’ll need photos. Clean the lens (smudged camera phone pictures really are a pet peeve of mine!) rest your phone on something and set the timer (if you fancy a more styled selfie- though I am not the person to be taking advice from about selfies!) Rest your arm on something steady and find a lovely sunlit part of the house if you want a bright, shake free dessert shot. Making all these little simple steps to improve will really surprise you.

 

  • Social media matters! The day you set up your blog, set up an Insta/Facebook/twitter account for it too. Even if you’ve nothing on the blog yet. Around 60% of my views come from my Instagram – which is understandable considering how much of my life I spend on there! Social media will bring the majority of your readers. weather you get 10 hits a day or 1,000 most of them will come from one of those three sites, depending on where you put the most effort.

 

  • And finally, this one comes from a pro blogger friend of mine Clare over from Maybush studio, when I asked her (11 years of bloggers) knowledge on the matter, she told me simply “Pick a name for your blog that is versatile. Initially I picked a blog name that was about my location, but then we kept moving so I had to change it 3 times! I only settled on my current name 4 years ago. I’ve also changed what I blog about a lot in a decade so I’m glad I now have a url that is flexible!” Fantastic advice!

Although, on that note I should probably give an explanation on mine…. I would if I could, I just remember thinking it sounded right, I liked it. And now, its been with me so long – baring in mind I ran the shop under the same name for 18months prior- I just cant change it. Literally. I’ve tried, but nothing seems right, this is just the name of my space forever now.

So, on that note. I’m going to congratulate myself for being on here for the past two years, be grateful that -for some unknown reason- I actually have visitors who come to read my ramblings, which in itself gives me the confidence to carry on. And I’m going to go plan my projects for next weeks.

 

Thanks for a great two years!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Home life project: February.

This months Home life project, is a little different to how my usual ones are, only because I ended up splitting it up over two days. Saturday afternoon out with the girls ended up being so stressful, I didn’t really have chance to take my camera out and I really liked Saturday mornings photographs, so I just decided to finish it off on Sunday instead.

Our weekend wasn’t really that eventful, it was actually perfect. Everything been so hectic recently, I just wanted to cancel all plans and just be. Which is exactly what happened. We had a lovely lazy morning in bed with the girls. Followed by a lunch out – which wasn’t an all that good experience. I hadn’t eaten all day, they forgot my order, lied about it…. and then sent out the tiniest slither of chicken and some wilted lettuce on bread out too me. – I ordered a club sandwich. I don’t really deal with the hunger that well. Ha ha It should be mentioned they did take it back, send out a very delicious replacement lunch and gave us free desserts to compensate though, so it wasn’t all bad.

Sunday went even slower, Sam made a whole Sunday lunch, leaving me to binge watch four hours of modern family whilst the girls played. I did NOTHING! All day long, other than loading the dishwasher, putting on a wash and showering the girls… I did absolutely nothing. Perfect.

 

 

So thats this months home life project. I did completely forget about this months challenge which was Reflections. I really must start making more of an effort with those! And, I didn’t get any photos that I liked with me in them – So this month I really want to practice getting myself in some of these shots, naturally. I’m so ridiculously uncomfortable in front of a camera and it shows! But practice makes perfect doesn’t it? Also Clare (Home life project host) sent me over this really good link last week that gives some amazing tips on getting yourself in on lifestyle pics.

It should be a very productive month, photography wise. Hopefully I’ve made some progress for next months edition.

Robyn,

The home life project.

Tweed wallpaper – A quick and easy makeover.

Late last year if you can remember that far back, I started to spruce up the dining side of the kitchen, Everything came along lovely…

 

But… I made a rookie mistake. The lines of the lining paper above the new pannelling really bugged me, so before I gave it a fresh lick of paint, I filled in those lines with builders caulk. Please, I beg, if you’re thinking of doing this…. DONT! It filled in the lines alright, but it left patches going all the way down, each and every piece. I tried sanding it back, re-painting, re-paint again (x3) and no matter what I did, those patches just kept seeping on through.

 

I left it, trying to ignore it. But it just became this irritating thing that I noticed every day. Because of the wall colour, it looked like the walls had been plastered and just left bare.

 

So, I set about finding something to cover it. The grey was okay, but ideally I wanted something a little less plain, Something homely and cosy but still quite modern. I found the most gorgeous wallpaper In the form of this textured tweed paper from inspired wallpapers. I knew instantly it was ‘the one’, which is a real achievement for me, I once spent 12 whole months trying to find the perfect wallpaper for the living room… and I didn’t even really like the one I ended up choosing that much.

It actually looks and feels like a tweed fabric. It was clean and simple but still so gorgeously fancy. Ordering was as simple as any avid online shopper knows it to be, and Inspired wallpaper have a cool little “how much will I need” calculator on their site. Though I already knew how much I needed, so I didn’t really need to use it.

 

After waiting the whole of two days for delivery (Yes it really was that quick!) I could get started on getting it up. Really, I didn’t have to strip off the original lining paper, it was only thin, but I didn’t want one single flaw underneath the new stuff, so I got it all stripped off –  and it didn’t take too long really- using the steamer/scraper method.

 

Once, all that old paper was off (have you seen those gorgeous brown walls?! Ha) It was time to pop up the new stuff. I have to admit here, my height is really an issue when it comes to putting up wallpaper, I just get tangled in a a sticky wallpaper/paste mess. So obviously I just delegated this job to Sam.

 

All in all it took about 35 minutes to get that paper up and the best thing ever was that even though it was patterned, the tweed was so small and repetitive, it matched up so easily, every single time.

 

Once it was up, I left it to dry overnight before trimming off any excess and stepping back to admire the beauty of line free walls.

 

and then I could put all my pretty things back.

 

I replaced the photos in the large frames (which I actually picked up from the carboot a couple of years ago for £4 – bargain!) with some of my own photography of our Beacon fell trip earlier on in the month. And, I brought down the moose head from the office and placed him up in his new home. I like the “woodland” vibe its giving off but without being overly themed. I’m not big on themed rooms.

 

And so that was that!

 

Before and afters?

 

It really does make the world of difference, the texture can’t really be appreciated fully in photo form, but even though its very subtle, it really has made the room look so much more stylish.

I’ve STILL not completely finished with that area, I’m still trying to find an over the table light (Those Ikea ones, lovely and cheap as they were, only went up as a trial, I really don’t like how fussy it is having three lights over such a small table, or the fact that they JUST. WONT. HANG. STRAIGHT!) And I’ve still got to get some coving up to really give the walls that final finishing touch. Maybe then I’l be happy with it…. probably.

 

So what DIY jobs have you been getting on with this month?

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

*Massive thank you to Inspired wallpaper for supplying me with the loveliest of paper for my makeover! You can find the Crown cotton tweed wallpaper I used here – I went for Soft grey, but they also have it in Hessian, Buttermilk, Stone and Duck egg.*