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 

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

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