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

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

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

How to ‘own’ your rented property…

Now I don’t want the subject title to be misleading so I’ll set the record straight now. This post isn’t about how to actually own your rented house as in buy it, it’s about how to put your stamp on it, inject your personality and make it your home whilst you are living in it. 


You might not realise this, but we rent the house we live in (see above photos). Don’t get me wrong, I long to buy our own house, but we met when I was 20 so we travelled before we got married and enjoyed shopping and holidays so saving for a house deposit was never really a priority. 

In hindsight (which is a wonderful thing) if we had actually knuckeled down and saved up, we’d more than likely be on about our third house by now. It’s frustrating to think about, but we have had such a great life in the 12 years we’ve been together including living in New Zealand so it’s hard to have any regrets. 

Anyway, moving on to what this post is actually about… making your rented property your ‘own’. 

Here are some obstacles that you may come across…

“I’m not allowed to paint” 

Okay, this is normally in the handbook when you move in to a property. It’s normally in there to prevent anyone painting a living room bright orange or doing a really bad, unprofessional paint job. So contact your landlord and ask very nicely if they would mind if you painted the walls white, if they aren’t already. Most rentals are magnolia which is a really yellowy cream colour. It’s not great but the reason they do it is because it’s generic so if you have to do any repairs to the walls you know which colour to get. If the landlord gives you the go ahead, then choose brilliant white as not only will it lift and freshen a room, it’s cheap, and another generic colour making it easier for the next tenants. 

Before and after I painted over the magnolia with brilliant white. 

“The carpets are horrible” 

There are three things I look at when we have viewed properties in the past. 

  • Kitchens
  • Carpets
  • Bathrooms

If I’m not happy with these three things, then it’s a no go for me. 

However, if you are living in a rental with crappy carpets, whether it be the colour, condition or both, then there is something you can do about it.

Rugs…

You might think you can only add one rug to a room but that’s not true. Vintage Persian rugs are so on trend at the moment and look great in every room. If you really hate your carpet, get some rugs and try layering and overlapping them. They will not only cover the carpet, but create a statement in the room too. Plus you can take them with you if you move! Winner! 

Images – Pinterest 

Check out Benuta Rugs they have a huge selection at amazing prices. 

“We’re not allowed to put up pictures or shelves” 

Again, this can be overcome. If you have a word with your landlord and just assure them that any holes will be filled and painted when you exit the property then most landlords won’t have a problem with this. Failing that, you can buy command hanging strips that don’t damage your walls which are great for people that rent. 

If it’s a no to putting up shelves, then look for free standing shelving units. They not only add height to a room but they’re practical too.

“I don’t see the point in spending money on a property we don’t own” 

A lot of people have this attitude, and I did in the past. It’s half true, because why invest all that time and money in to a house that’s not yours. But the fact of the matter is, it is yours!! It’s your home, so truly make it yours! 

Spend money on things that can be taken with you if and when you do move on. 

“It’s not my dream home” 

We all have an idea of what our dream home looks like. The chances are, if you’re renting, you will not be living in the house of your dreams. However, if you know your own style you will be able to inject that in to the house by using soft furnishings, furniture and accessories that reflect your personality. 

If the property is small, look at styling and space saving ideas on Pinterest, there are loads for small spaces, so get creative! 

“I hate the kitchen” 

The kitchen is a hard thing to change in a rental. 

Our kitchen is ‘nice’ but it’s not how I’d do the kitchen if we owned the house. 

If you have solid wood cupboard doors and an easy going landlord, then removing the doors and drawer fronts, sanding them down and painting them using an eggshell paint is your best option. Changing the knobs and handles is also a cheap improvement. 


Failing that, accessories will be your friend! You can buy some gorgeous kitchen appliances from brands such as Smeg and Delonghi. 

Adding plants and herbs in planters look gorgeous on a kitchen window sill as well. 


I hope this post has inspired you.

Until next time 

Hayley x 

My dining room makeover.

The day has finally arrived where I can show you what I’ve been working on for the past few months.

The reason it’s taken so long to finish was because I had plans for the room that I couldn’t complete myself. I had to rope my dad in (which wasn’t hard) but the tasks I set him weren’t easy.

Let’s start by reminding you what our dining room used to look like…


You might think, it looks nice enough. But that’s it, it’s just nice. I wanted the room to reflect my style and a room we can all enjoy.

Like when I did my living room makeover, I created a moodboard first, this helped me plan the room and get a feel for what went with what and how it would look before I bought anything.

Here is my final moodboard…

The moodboard has a vintage, industrial style but with a hint of bohemian. Who says you have to stick to one style?
And here is our new dining room…

I fell in love with the beaded chandelier on my moodboard from marks and spencer, but I was reluctant to spend £300 on a light, so I decided to try and make one instead.
Looking back it was an ambitious idea, and I won’t lie, during the making of it I felt like giving up a few times.

I’m glad I didn’t though because I think my hard work paid off. Approximately 4000 beads and A LOT of threading later, my beaded chandelier cost approximately £60 to make.

Along with hanging this light, one of the challenges I set my dad, was to make me some internal shutters for the window. Thankfully he accepted my challenge and the clever little man pulled it out of the bag! I could not be more thrilled with them.


Plant hanger from Brintage (IG – shopbrintage) 

I already had these huge lamps in the dining room that didn’t quite go with the new theme, but instead of chucking them out I decided to give them a new look and paint them black!


It was a bold decision as they could have looked crap! But I think they actually look great! (Phew!)

One of the first things I did was paint the room. I love dark interiors but also fresh white decor too. As I’m stuck in the middle I painted most of the room white but left a feature wall which I painted farrow and ball ‘downpipe’. I really love the contrast that these colours create.

Not only is this a dining room but I use it for crafting as well, so needed some storage that wouldn’t dominate the small room.

I searched and searched but couldn’t find the perfect cabinet. Then I went to Molly’s den in Winchester and came across a vintage wooden cabinet with drawers. It was reduced to £25 so I bought it as a stop gap until I found the perfect storage. When I got it home, I painted it downpipe to match the wall, and ended up taking a bit of a liking to it. So I think it can stay.

The next thing I went on the hunt for was a rug. I love the vintage style Persian rugs as I think they can add so much character to a room. I ended up finding one in really great condition on gumtree for £5!!! I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep it at first but actually it has worked really, which is a bonus!


As I had now introduced pink in to the room, I turned to farrow and ball for their range of pinks for my bench. I opted for dead salmon as it has a really muted tone and went well with the rug and ‘downpipe’ wall.
Striped House Doctor cushion is from Grey September (IG-greyseptemberstore) you can visit their website – Here.

Gumtree was an absolute gold mine when it came to looking for things for this room. I found two vintage tea chests for £5 each and have used them as side tables.

Black belly basket also from Grey September.

I also found two ercol style chairs for £20 that I have painted black.


The other chairs I have are Eames style that I bought from eBay.

I found an amazing window mirror at a carboot sale for £10, so snapped it up immediately, and hung it at the end of the table, opposite the window to give the illusion of a bigger room.

I think plants and flowers really lift a room and help bring it all together. I stocked up on eucalyptus and distributed it around the room as well as adding a few plants, that I now have the responsibility of keeping alive. 🙈

Wooden trug from eclectic homeware company Nickie Kelly. IG – NickieKelly dotcom.

I’m loving all the neon signs around at the moment but felt they might be a bit too modern for our house. However after speaking to Emma at ‘light up north’ I worked with her to create a bespoke sign on a piece of steel, helping maintain the rustic, industrial, vintage style of the room.


Neon sign from Light up north.

Adding accessories to a room is what gives it character. It shows off a lot about your style as well as creating interest.


There are ways to buy homeware to keep your house looking unique. They include, buying from small businesses, buying second hand (gumtree etc) or from vintage shops and antique markets.

One of my favourite accessories is this test tube style vase from Hilary and Flo.

You should absolutely check out their website, your Christmas list will triple in size!

I also found these Edison bulb pull lights from The Range. I didn’t like the cord or the white plastic so I sprayed it copper and added a twine pull string.


I hope you have enjoyed seeing what I’ve been working on. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Let me know what you think. I have tagged all the shops mentioned on my Instagram post.

Thanks for reading.

Hayley x