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 
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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

Our stay at Charlton House…

It was my 32nd (I can’t believe that) birthday on 2nd January so as a treat my husband arranged for us to go to Charlton House in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

Charlton house is part of the Bannatyne hotels, and in my and a lot of other people’s opinion, without a doubt the best one!

You can check out their website here.

My husband booked our spa break package through buy a gift, which included an overnight stay, a 55 minute spa treatment each, use of all the facilities, a 2 course dinner and breakfast in the morning. If this sounds like something you would enjoy then you can book it here.

We actually did the same thing for my birthday last year and loved it so much we agreed to return for my birthday this year. Last year, upon arriving at Charlton House we were greeted by a very friendly and attentive receptionist who showed us to our room. As we entered the room we were pleasantly surprised to hear we had been upgraded to the delux double.


You can check out all of the rooms at Charlton House by clicking here.
This year, we arrived early before our treatments and before our room was ready so we decided to have lunch in the restaurant.


I chose the vegetarian option and it was exquisite!


After we had eaten our lunch it was time for treatments! I opted for a facial and back and neck massage which lasted 55 minutes in total. The beauty therapists were so professional and made us feel so relaxed.

After our treatments we went back to reception to see if our room was ready.

The lobby was still decorated with Christmas decorations and looked festively beautiful.


The attention to detail at Charlton House is outstanding. The quirky decor makes this country house original and stand out from the rest.

I particularly loved the hot air balloon chandelier at the top of the staircase, and was in awe of all the vintage Persian rugs dotted about the building.


Next we were shown to our room, and of course after last year we hoped for an upgrade but knew we might not be as lucky this time.

But how wrong we were! Our jaws hit the floor as we were shown in to a superior room with a grand four poster bed and a roll top bath at the foot of it! Thank you Charlton House!!


Being interiors obsessed, after I had picked my jaw up I immediately took a tour around the room.


The room had a terrace area but being January it was too cold to make use of that!

The view from the room was beautiful and private.

On the bed were robes for us to wear whilst using the spa facilities as well as complimentary slippers, so we got changed and headed to the pool.

The spa is Moroccan themed and genuinely makes you feel like you’re on holiday. The swimming pool is primarily indoor but has a section that is outdoor too, which you can use all year round thanks to the water being heated! There is also a hot tub outside.

After chilling in the spa we headed back to our luxury room to get ready for dinner. Obviously I jumped straight in the roll top for a soak!


On the way to the restaurant you walk through the lounge area where you can enjoy pre or after dinner drinks around a cosy lit fireplace.


Our package included a starter and a main, so we paid extra for dessert and alcohol.

The meal was outstanding as well as the service.

After dinner we headed back to the room and slept soundly on the ridiculously comfortable four poster bed, fit for a princess on her birthday.

The next day we felt gutted to be leaving. After packing our bags we went back to the restaurant for breakfast which was just as delicious as the lunch and dinner we had eaten the previous day.


Before we left we had a little look around the orangery where they hold weddings.

I was in my element admiring all the vintage details and exposed brick walls.

If you are looking for a wedding venue, I can highly recommend Charlton house. You can find out more about weddings on their website by clicking here.

So if you live in the south of England, or fancy venturing down then a stay at Charlton House is highly recommended in my opinion. And if you’re still not convinced after my recommendation then the reviews of other guests speak for themselves.

Thanks for reading

Hayley x