How to bag a bargain…

We all love a bargain no matter how much or little money we have. I do live by the moto ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ most of the time, however, if you gave me £1000 to spend on what I wanted, I’m more likely to buy loads of things for £50 each rather than one expensive thing for £1000. I just love getting the most for my money. We all do don’t we? 

That’s why, whenever I want to buy something for our home, I check gumtree and eBay first. 

Gumtree is great because you don’t have to faff about with bidding like you do on eBay, which in all honesty gives me palpitations. 

You can narrow down the search so that it only finds items within your proximity. Seriously if you haven’t got the gumtree app on your phone, you are missing out!! 

Top tip – when searching on selling sites, try misspelling the item you are looking for. For example if you are after a ‘chest of drawers’ type ‘Chester drawers, chester draws or even chest of draws’ you’d be surprised at the amount of items under misspelled listings. You could bag yourself a really good bargain! 

Ebay is the worlds leading selling site, which means an abundance of choice but also a lot of competition when it comes to bidding. If you see something you want and it has a few days to go with no bids, why not message the seller and ask if they would accept a buy it now price? I have asked in the past and it has paid off. 

Facebook selling sites. 

I’m sure you have seen things being sold on your Facebook page. This is a great way of finding a bargain, if you have the patience to sift through it all. They have added a search icon now, which helps. 

Car boot sales…

People have mixed opinions on car boot sales. Agreed, there is a lot of shite being sold, but you can also find some really great stuff. Especially if you are after vintage items.

There are some items I would never buy second hand but for furniture and general homeware, providing it’s in good condition then second hand is the best way to get the most for your money. 

Until next time 

Hayley x 

Spring cleaning…

Have you ever wondered how ‘spring cleaning’ became a thing? 

Well if you have, I have saved you the trouble of googling it…

“Spring cleaning comes from the days when homes were heated by fireplaces, and efforts were made to prevent heat from escaping. The coming of spring and warm weather was an opportunity to air the house and clean it of soot and all the grime accumulated over the winter months,”

Well there you have it. 

Maybe it’s in our blood, to clean at this time of year because I always have the urge to give the house a really deep clean, come spring. 

This spring I have been fortunate to have had a little help from some amazing products from Tincture, who create natural and cruelty free cleaning products based on antient knowledge of active botanical ingredients. 


In a nut shell you can spray away knowing it’s not been tested on a hamster. 😜

The natural ingredients have the most amazing scent as well. If only our phones had a scratch and sniff app. 🙄

My favourite has to be the all purpose spray. I use it on the kitchen sides, to wipe down the kitchen stools and cupboard doors. The reason I love it, is not only because it’s as effective as a leading brand, but the smell is incredible. I sometimes just wipe the side down as an excuse to have the aromatherapy oil like scent filling the kitchen. 


We have a dishwasher, but if we have a few things that need cleaning, I will just wash them in the sink. The Tincture washing up liquid again has an amazing aroma but is extremely tough on the hard to clean pots and pans too. I am impressed. 




For me, the bathroom cleaner is the most ‘natural’ smelling of the products. 
I keep it in our downstairs loo and use it to wipe the sink and toilet on a daily basis. 

The furniture polish has a more masculine scent and is as effective as any other brand I have used. 



I have to admit knowing that the products are natural and cruelty free makes me more aware of what I was using before. I am 100% converted and will definitely order more of Tincture products in the future. 


If you would like to give some a go please visit their website here, or follow them on Instagram here.

Thanks for reading. 

Until next time 

Hayley x 

My utility room makeover…

You might be thinking, your what? 

Many people, including people that have been to our house didn’t even know we had a utility room, because I was always ashamed to show anyone. 

It joined on to our kitchen and has a corrugated roof. So kind of like a glorified greenhouse. It was freezing out there because of the bare painted concrete floors. There was damp coming through the walls, and we used to store all the crap we didn’t want in the house in there. 

Here is said utility room before the makeover, which can only be described as the crack den of dreams (without the crack obviously)… 


I’d had enough of hating it and decided to think about how I could make it better. First I bought some special paint for damp walls and got rid of the gross stained magnolia walls. 

Then I needed to figure out what I was going to do about the cold floor. 

I thought about painting it and putting a rug down but I read that painting a floor isn’t easy and with a broken leg I didn’t fancy trying it to be honest. That’s when I started looking at carpet. Strangely there was a lady selling brand new carpet off cuts on a selling site so I bought some grey carpet from her for £12 and luckily there was more than enough for the space. My very lovely dad laid it for me and it instantly transformed the room.

The worktops were drab so I covered them with self adhesive from Pixers who do self adhesive called pixerstick for any surface including walls. I chose a very bold palm print for the worktops and a monochrome geometric print for the cupboards. Daring choices but I think you’ll agree they work so well together. 

Here is our new utility room…




A closer look at the self adhesive… 


I put a bench in there so that the boys have somewhere to sit when they put on and take off their wellies after our walks. 



This stunning laundry basket is from Artisanne – it couldn’t be more perfect! 

Artisanne was born when two sisters, Elizabeth and Emma discovered they shared a love for the work of local artisans in Senegal. They work directly with a team of talented weavers to ensure they receive a fair and secure income to help them to earn a good living. 

You can read more about their work on their website here.



The prints are from Desenio and I will popping a discount code on my Instagram page on Tuesday if anyone is after some new prints. I can highly recommend them. 


And these all natural and cruelty free cleaning products are from Tincture and smell like aromatherphy oils. I’m completely converted! 🙌🏼


As the utility room leads out to the garden I wanted to bring the outside in, which influenced the items on the shelving unit. 


I hope you have enjoyed having a look at my newly madeover utility room! I absolutely love it and I’m actually quite enjoying doing the laundry! 🙈 

Let me know what you think over on my Instagram page @iamhayleystuart.

Until next time 

Hayley x

Not ready for summer? 

Spring has sprung and it’s time to start thinking about summer, which means summer holidays, summer clothes and swimwear. 

I’ll admit it now, a few weeks ago I panicked and thought I’m not ready for summer. My skin is as white as Casper, in fact it’s so white it’s almost transparent. I’m definitely too overweight to feel comfortable in summer dresses and don’t even get me started about putting a bikini on. 

After having a children my body confidence has dropped dramatically. I have a belly roll that I can’t see to shift, my boobs have gone south and anything that can give those things a help in hand is welcomed with open arms! 

Last year I discovered an amazing vintage inspired swimwear brand called For Luna Swimwear. When I browsed their website I was like a kid in a sweet shop, choosing my favourite was near on impossible. 


For Luna not only sell ridiculously flattering all in one swimsuits, they do two piece bikinis and accessories too. 


When I chose my first swimsuit from For Luna I picked the cherry all in one and I couldn’t wait for it to arrive. I never in a million years anticipated it would be such outstanding quality. It had boning, support, and most importantly it really flattered my post baby body. I felt amazing in it. 


Now when I go swimming with my boys I don’t panic about getting my body out. I actually feel confident in my swimsuit which is something I never thought would happen without a tummy tuck and a gym membership. 

Now I have two swimsuits from For Luna and I can’t wait to wear my new green one on the spa day we have booked once my broken leg has healed! 

In case you haven’t already entered, in running a giveaway on my Instagram page @iamhayleystuart. All you need to do is follow myself and For Luna, like the post and tag three friends to be in with a chance to win a For Luna swimsuit of your choice! 

Competition ends tonight (sun 19th) at 8pm! Don’t miss out! 

Until next time 

Hayley x 

Upcycling 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I love a bit of arts and crafts, in particular upcycling. 

If you have been living in a cave and have no idea what I’m talking about then you should probably know that upcycling is extremely popular these days and it basically means taking an existing item and turning it in to something else. Whether that means keeping the item in tact and just using it for another purpose or turning it in to something else.

I do a lot of upcycling for a number of reasons. I enjoy being creative and love taking on projects. It makes my home look unique and I love that something old can become something new.

I’ve done a lot of upcycling around my home, both simple and difficult so I thought I’d share some with you…

Shelving 

Luckily my husband is a scaffolder so scaffold boards (yes boards, not planks) are easy for me to come by, but if you don’t know any scaffolders then eBay or gumtree are a great place to start. Scaffold boards make excellent shelves, and can create anything from a rough rustic look, to a polished, stained look. You could even sand and paint them. 



I also made a shelf from a plank of wood from home base, drilled a hole in each corner, threaded rope through and knotted it and then attached to a picture rail above our bed using picture rail hooks. I won’t lie, the first night I thought it might be ‘death by terracotta pot’ but it’s been up for a couple of months and hasn’t killed us yet! 



Lighting

In our downstairs loo, that I never photograph because it’s just plain boring, I turned a Mason jar in to a light. It was easy to make and ridiculously cheap. I got a Mason jar for about £1 from homebargains, made a hole in the top for the light fitting, along with a few little holes to let the heat out, and attached it. Easy! 


I also got a filament bulb on a string from The Range for £3.99, I didn’t like the string so I replaced it with twine and sprayed the cheap looking white plastic with copper spray paint. 


In our bedroom I converted a bamboo basket from ikea in to a light shade by turning it upside down, making a hole in the bamboo and attaching to the light fitting. 


And by far the hardest upcycling project I have ever done was making a beaded chandelier for our dining room. The tutorial is on my blog if anyone fancies a challenge! 😜 



Furniture 

Ikea furniture is so easy to upcycle, it can be as simple as changing the knobs on a chest or drawers, or giving it a lick of paint. 

In our bedroom we have a large chest of hemnes drawers. I wanted to give them a bit of a makeover so I bought some marble self adhesive from Homebase and covered the top. I have to say it was reasonably easy and extremely effective. 


In our living room we have a singer sewing machine table underneath our TV. It doesn’t serve much purpose but it looks nice. 

I was looking for some side tables to go either side of the bench in the dining room when I came across some vintage tea chests on gumtree. They were only £5 each, so I gave them a clean, stained them, turned them upside down and whacked some lamps on them! 


Painting vintage furniture is probably the most popular way to upcycle something, which I have done a fair bit of. Annie Sloan chalk paints are great for upcycling, and if you want to put a bit more graft in then farrow and ball works amazingly too! 


Because we live in a rented property there are some limits to what we are allowed to do. Therefore upcycling things temporarily is something I am always exploring. 

You may have seen my kitchen tiles that I recently have a makeover to using tiles stickers. I was apprehensive at first but once I got going I couldn’t believe the transformation. They have made the kitchen look completely different! 



Fabric 

In my son’s room my mum transformed a duvet cover in to a tepee. Always try to see the possibilities with fabric, it doesn’t have to be on a roll to make things with it. 


Before I decorated our bedroom I had a runner on the bed that I have made from some vintage curtains. The possibilities are endless! 

Most recently I made this plant stand out of copper pipe! I got the tutorial from Pinterest and it was really easy! 


I’ve got loads more upcycling planned as I’m giving our kitchen and utility room a makeover at the moment so keep your eyes peeled! 

I hope I have inspired you to get creative and think outside of the box! 
Until next time 

Hayley x

A passion for fashion…

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to a Fashion styling event hosted by a lovely lady called Melissa Murrell at a very cool boutique in Stockbridge, Hampshire called Hero. You can visit Hero’s online store here.


Melissa Murrell runs her own styling company as well as a styling academy for aspiring stylists, teaching you about the rules of styling different body shapes and how to create a dream career from your passion for fashion. Find out more here.


The event I attended gave me an insight of what Melissa can offer. As a fashion lover I already knew some of the things we spoke about from watching years of Trinny and Susanna and Gok Wan, but one thing I did realise was that I wasn’t applying the knowledge I had gained to my own body shape. I was in fact just buying things I loved rather than buying things that flatter me. It has certainly made me think about how to compliment my shape.


Melissa explained about all the different body shapes and how some people can be a combination of two. We looked at different items of clothing and what is and isn’t flattering. She told us about how she had changed clients lives and given them not only the confidence to wear well styled outfits but the confidence to enjoy shopping again.

If you LOVE fashion and would love to embrace a flexible, rewarding career in fashion Styling then please check out Melissa’s courses here . They are only three days and you’ll be a qualified stylist on completion! Sounds good to me!

Hayley x

 

 

 

 

 

My bedroom makeover…

Here I am again, with yet another room makeover. Change is something I’ve always loved, so giving a room a new look is something I really enjoy doing. 

I only gave our bedroom a makeover last January and embraced 2016’s ‘botanical’ interior trend, however I never actually finished the room so by the time I got round to doing that I had other ideas buzzing around in my head. 


I only planned on adding a few things to finish it off, but I’ve actually quite drastically changed the look and it was all because of a vintage Persian rug! 

I had been hunting for one for ages and after watching about a hundred on eBay I took the plunge and bought one to go at the end of our bed. 

Firstly I created a mood board, which is something I do with all my rooms, so that I can get an idea of the final look and feel. 


I love neutral bohemian style bedrooms with statement Persian rugs and used that’s trend as part of my inspiration. My other inspiration was a big trend for 2017 ‘all things natural’ which inspired me to choose natural wood, baskets, and different textures for the textiles. 

The first thing I did was paint the room white, it was magnolia before which I personally don’t like. By painting it white, it brightened the room as well as creating a blank canvas.

Upcycling

I saw a £40 bamboo light on the ikea website that I thought would be perfect for the room, however after I drove all the way there, it was out of stock so I had to rethink. 

Then I walked past a basket and I had a brain wave! I picked it up, turned it upside down and thought I can totally make that in to a lightshade! When I got it home I made a hole in the top and attached it to the light fitting. Not only does it look great, but it only cost me £9! Bonus! 

Another thing I got from Ikea was their infamous ‘steps’.

Instead of using them as steps, I have used them as a bedside table. 

I wanted to put a shelf above the bed but without any wall damage. We are lucky enough to have a picture rail around the room to hang things from. So I decided to make a shelf using a plank of wood and rope. 

I got a natural wood plank from Homebase which was about £10, drilled a hole in each corner, threaded some rope through (also from Homebase) knotted the ends and secured to the picture rail using picture rail hooks. 


You know if I go quiet on Instagram then the shelf has fallen down and killed me in the night!

The details

I bought quite a few throws for the bed, all different textures and patterns. I am so in love with my real sheepskin from a local shop ‘La di da’ it is so soft and is a great addition to the room. You can visit their homeware website here.

The cushions are from ikea and next. 

Obviously I had to keep my suitcase shelves from Urban Outfitters, as they go so well in the room. 


That gorgeous gold vase is from eclectic homeware company Tin Design who have just launched some amazing bohemian products.  Check their website out here

Another thing I’ve kept is my beautiful macrame wall hanging from ‘Brintage’ you can find all of Amy’s masterpieces on Instagram @shopbrintage. 


Even though the instructions said it was a two man job, I managed to build these ladder shelves single handedly!  




I bought a new round mirror from The Range, but wasn’t ready to give up my old one, so I’ve put them both on the wall! 

I really really wanted a reclaimed vintage bench for the end of the bed. It seems they are hard to come by so I ended up settling for one from ikea. My husband absolute hates it as he keeps banging his leg on it as he walks by. I’m sure he’ll get used to it, if not I’ll get him some shin pads! 😂

I got loads of plants from ikea as well, definitely the best place to get them from. Personally I don’t feel like a room is finished without flowers or plants, so I really went to town. 


I hope you’ve enjoyed having a look at my bedroom makeover. 

Let me know what you think on here or Instagram. 

If you want to know where something is from that I haven’t mentioned, please let me know. 
Until next time 
Hayley x