Moving In Update #2

Its been just over two weeks since we got the keys and spent the first weekend in our house, and although Matthew went up the following week while I stayed down south, this weekend we spent our second weekend in the house together.

Being totally honest, I’ve found it really difficult being away from the house, and having another 4 weeks until I finish work and we can move up properly means that the few weekends we can go up between now and then are packed with us doing as much as we can to make it ready so we don’t have to do too much once we’re in for real.

Our main focus this weekend was our bedroom, as Matthew spent the previous weekend painting the wall behind our bed, which meant we could set to work in building the furniture, and by that I mean the wardrobe. The wardrobe was a real test of our relationship and our patience, not so much with the building but trying to put up the sliding doors on it.. But we did it, and it looks good now and we’ll never have to do it again.

The bed went up (even though we don’t have any bedding for it), my dressing table went into place and we hung the mirror and put the lights on the wall, and although there’s still quite a finishing touches to put in the room, its actually a proper bedroom now.

In the last week our sofa also arrived, so we finally have something other than a beanbag to sit on, yay! The living room still needs to be painted, and we’re waiting for a rug to arrive, but we did buy some really nice little plant pots from Ikea to go across the sideboard once we’ve put the TV on the wall. Unfortunately, however, in the last week half the grass in the garden has started to die, so we did the adult thing of buying a hosepipe and a sprinkler and spent Sunday trying to revive it!

The offices haven’t seen much action, although my little pink armchair arrived which I’m super happy about! The ratio of stuff in the garage seems to be tipping more towards having more cardboard and rubbish than boxes of our stuff, which means we might actually be making some progress, and definitely means that a tip trip is in order, but we’ll save that for another weekend.

I won’t be in the house for the next two weekends now at least which makes me sad, but I’m so happy with how its looking already!

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DIY Geometric Feature Wall

So after sharing pictures of the wall we painted in our guest bedroom on Twitter I had an influx of people asking about how we did it, so here it is!

The fabulous thing about this geometric paint style is that it looks so cool but its actually surprisingly quick and simple to do, its just a case of knowing what you need, and what you need to do, and hopefully I’ll cover all that in this post.

So the things you’ll need:

  • Frog Tape – this is an absolute must, and this is the only thing where I feel really strongly about not cheaping out on. Regular masking tape will not give you completely clean lines as often paint will creep underneath the edges of the tape, but Frog Tape is treated with something that stops this from happening – I swear this post is not sponsored so please take my advice on this. You need the green tape (it also comes in yellow and orange, but its the green that you need for this), and for our wall we used the widest of the three sizes that B&Q keep in stock.
  • Your paint choices – we opted for 3 colours and got 1L of each, but obviously you can have as many or few colours as you like – I’ve seen similar things on Pinterest where people just paint one colour and have the lines as the statement!
  • Rollers/paint brushes, trays, dust sheets etc – y’know, the usual painting kit

Because our house is a new build, it already had a lovely fresh white wall for us to paint over, but if you’re not in the same position then make sure you paint your wall and let it dry properly before getting started on the pattern. Also don’t feel as though you have to have a white backdrop, you could do this with any colour, but if you’re going to use a darker background, you’ll want to do a coat of primer over your pattern before you start on the colours to make sure your background doesn’t show through.

So we started off by taping around the whole edge of the wall to create an outside border. This is totally optional but it gives it a nice edge and saves painful hours of cutting in so I do recommend it. Be sure to also tape around any sockets or switches.

Now the actual pattern we completely improvised. If you want to plan it before you start taping then that’s fine, but we actually were happier making it up as we went along, and the beauty of tape meant that if we did change our mind on a certain line, you just rip it back off and do it again. With a triangle pattern, the one thing I would say to keep an eye out for is that no three triangles have the same border line if you’re using three colours as we did, otherwise you’d end up with two triangles of the same colour touching, so just watch out.

Once we were happy with the pattern, we took a little bit of tape and wrote the colours on them so we could mark out which triangle was going to be which colour, again just to be sure that we didn’t end up with the same colour touching, and also just to make sure we had a good balance of the colours. Before you start to paint just double check that all of the tape is well stuck to the wall by smoothing over it all again.

Working one colour at a time, its just a case of filling in the gaps! When you’re only painting a few little shapes its amazing how much quicker it seems to take compared to painting a whole wall one single colour. Don’t worry about going over the edge of the tape a little bit with the paint, in fact you’re better off doing that to make sure you’ve filled right up to the edge of the shape.

Wait until you’ve painted in all of the colours, but be sure to peel the tape off before the paint has completely dried as this will prevent you pulling up any paint by accident with your tape. Start by peeling the pattern, and leave the outside border to last to peel, and most importantly take your time with the peeling. You don’t want to rush and end up flicking paint into the wrong section or getting tape stuck on wet paint.

Once you’ve peeled everything back off, you’re pretty much set, just allow plenty of time for the paint to dry fully before you do anything else to the wall!

 

So just to recap on the key points that I think are crucial to making this as perfect and painfree as possible:

  • Frog Tape is a must, do not risk using regular masking tape
  • You don’t have to overplan the pattern, in fact improvising can be easier
  • Peel the tape off before the paint dries completely
  • Having a border around the edge of the design saves a lot of time

For anyone wondering, we used Valspar paint in You’re Blushing, Angel’s Sigh and Petite Pirouette, as shown below:

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Our First Weekend In Our New House and What We Got Done

So even though it feels like we’ve waited forever, in reality its only been 2 1/2 months since we saw our house for the first time, and on Thursday we officially completed and its now ours! We picked up the keys on Friday and the weekend has been the first phase of our moving process – I don’t actually leave my job until July 6th, so until then we’ll only be able to visit on weekends, but that hopefully means by the time we’re up there permanently, it will be mostly finished in terms of unpacking and decorating! (This is a bit of an unedited photo dump so apologies that some pictures are a bit dark)

We went up with my parents in a one car, one van convoy, both packed to bursting with the stuff we already have, and then once we’d unloaded that all into the garage, it was on to Ikea for the big furniture shop. I won’t bore you with the details, but 5 trolleys and one delivery coming on Tuesday, and we’re actually still not completely done as we realised we’ve picked up a few things in the wrong sizes and forgot a few little but key things like hinges and legs for cupboards.. As that was a fairly manual labour filled day, we didn’t build anything that night, and Matthew and I had what I believe is a traditional ‘first night in new house’ evening of takeaway pizza on the floor because we don’t have a dining table/chairs or even a sofa, and slept on our mattress on the floor because its our bed being delivered on Tuesday..

Our current living room set up

Saturday morning my parents brought round some food for breakfast; we got to use our toaster and kettle for the first time with toast for Dad and a cup of tea for my mum. Matthew and I then headed off to do a bit more shopping with Mum while we left my dad to start building some of the Ikea stuff. We hit Costco (for mainly cleaning supplies at this point), B&Q for paint and decorating bits and then went to DFS to order our sofa, which was a pretty easy job as we’ve had it picked our for ages! On our way back to the house we decided to try out our first local chippy to see how it was (a solid 7/10) and then after we’d eaten, again on the kitchen floor, Matthew and I set to work painting the feature wall in our guest bedroom. (I’ll be doing a full post on how we did this later on this week!)

Once the wall was painted, we could then build the bed in there and position all the furniture, and then my parents headed home. Matthew and I drove into Crewe for another B&Q trip, this time for paint for my office, plus some screws and wall plugs and a few other bits and bobs, and I spent the evening painting the feature wall in my office.

Sunday morning was another coat of paint in my office, then we headed back into Crewe and hit Home Bargains and Dunelm for some things for the bathroom, grabbed lunch in Nandos and headed back to the house where the Sky man had just arrived to set up our Sky box. I built all the bathroom bits, then while Matthew screwed them into the walls, I built the desk for my office and got that all set up.

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing some finishing touches in the guest bedroom, which is now pretty much finished apart from a mirror needing to be put on a wall and a few other little decor additions, then tidied up all the mess into the garage.

So one weekend in, we have pretty much finished the guest bedroom and the bathroom, bar a few little details, and made a start to pretty much every other room. We still haven’t decided how we want to decorate our bedroom or the living room, but as neither have that much furniture in them right now we’ve got plenty of time to decide! If you want to see how some of these rooms looked before, check out the first look at our home here.

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A First Look at Our First Home

So after what feels like forever and also no time at all simultaneously, yesterday, for the first time ever, Matthew and I got to step foot into our first house.

Its been just over 2 months since we fell in love with this plot and put down our reservation fee, and ever since then its been a whirlwind of mortgage applications, legal documents and everything else that comes with house-buying, but its all coming together in time for us to get the keys next week.

Us being in Bournemouth (my home town) and the house being in Winsford has been an obvious logistical nightmare, so while most buyers would be able to check up on their new build as and when, we’ve only been up to see it a handful of times, all of which up til now have been while work was being carried out, so we’ve never been able to see the inside of the place that we’ll be making our home.

Well its safe to say I’m in love. I fell in love with the house from the first time we visited a showhome, but this one just seems so much shinier and more beautiful because its ours. Because we bought so late in the build of the house, we didn’t get to make many choices – the kitchen and the bathroom tiles had already been picked – but we did get to pick the carpet and the flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, and while it was pretty hard when you’re just looking at samples, we managed to nail it and everything goes perfectly!


I can’t wait to get in next week and start the slow process of transforming this empty (but beautiful) shell of our house into our home, and I’m planning on doing before/after posts for each room as and when we finish them, plus everything else along the way, so be prepared for a whole bunch of house posts in the coming months!

Oh, and on top of having a beautiful house, we have the most amazing back garden! I’m feeling really super blessed that we managed to get this house, and even though I’ll probably never have savings again, it seems absolutely worth it.

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4 Shops for First Time Buyers – That Aren’t IKEA

Whether you’re buying your first home, or just moving/re-decorating, its no secret that it ain’t cheap. I mean, its a big enough purchase as it is, but all of a sudden you’ve gone from buying one thing to having a shopping list longer than your arm and a bank account that’s crying just a little bit.

For this, the world has learned to love the wonder that is IKEA. Its the answer to a whole bunch of your home needs and is pretty friendly to any budget, but despite my love for the big blue stores, there are a couple of things that you either can’t get, or I wouldn’t get there, and now I’m actually in the process of becoming a home-owner, I’ve suddenly realised that there’s a world of other stores out there that can also save me a pretty penny.

Home Sense

Sure, it can be hit and miss, but Home Sense is an absolute gem if you’re prepared to do a bit of digging. Stock is completely random, but its big brands for low prices, and you can grab yourself a real bargain – Matthew and I really wanted the pastel blue Smeg toaster and kettle for our kitchen, and would you believe that we randomly came across one tucked on a bottom shelf in our local store for £40 off the RRP! You can also find a lot of brands that are known to be a little pricey, such as Joseph Joseph and Le Crueset, for crazy good prices and there’s always a good range of Pyrex and Tefal. We’ve also picked up some amazing throw blankets and cushions for prices you won’t find in the likes of John Lewis or Next.

TK Maxx

TK Maxx actually own Home Sense, so a lot of the stock can be found in the home section of your local TK Maxx if you don’t have a Home Sense nearby, and unlike Home Sense, TK Maxx have an online store, so you can shop the deals without even leaving the house!

Supermarkets

Do not underestimate the home section of your local supermarket. Both George by Asda and Sainsbury’s home have some really nice ranges of kitchenware, bedding and soft furnishings, and even if their styles don’t take your fancy, they’re also a great place to pick up your basics – white plates, drinking glasses etc – for a good price.

Home Bargains

So the actual home decor stuff can vary from super tacky to actually pretty good – we’ve just bought some decent nest tables for £20 – but even if the home stuff doesn’t take your fancy, Home Bargains is an amazing place to buy a bunch of the things that you probably buy from the supermarket all the time for even cheaper than your rolled-back, price-matched prices; cereal, biscuits, chocolate, ketchup, all branded stuff for lower than your own brand equivalents, so its a great place to do your shopping once you’ve spent all your money on furniture!

Do you have any favourite places to nab a good deal?

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My January Sale Buys

January sales are a weird concept. We’ve just spent all our money showering our friends and relatives with gifts, and have been showered in return, yet the second we see a sale poster in a shop window, or a promotional email slides into our inbox, we suddenly forget our credit card bills and piles or presents and shop til we drop. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a bargain.

As you can see, the majority of my steals were homeware – including the gorgeous throw blanket that I’ve doubled as a backdrop here! Its the prettiest creamy-blush colour, not to mention being crazy supersoft, and d’you know where I got it from? Homesense, £16.99, boom. I’m also completely obsessed with this yellow neon ‘hello’ sign by Talking Tables which I got on ASOS. I had my eye on it before it went on sale, but as soon as I saw it was less than half price, it was in the bag!

Also from ASOS, I picked up two of these amazing pastel furry throw cushions for only £8.50 each, and also this Skinnydip ‘Time to Get Ship-Faced’ bag for future Disney cruises, which was also half price. This little plant pot is one of two which I got from Homesense for just £2 too!

Lastly, Matthew and I picked up some tealights and diffuser oil in Passionflower and Mango, which smells amazing! Both were half price and under £2 from Sainsbury’s of all places.

Have you managed to resist the sales?

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Welcome to Our Loft

Last month I made the big announcement that Matthew and I were finally moving in together, and that we’d be turning the loft into my family home into our own little space. Well I have no idea where the last month has gone, but I’m so happy with our loft and just couldn’t wait to share it with everyone!

The loft was converted into a room for me and my sister to use when we were teenagers, but over the last few years became somewhat overlooked and needed a good old clear out and a little bit of TLC. Matthew and I spent a good few days sorting out all the accumulated rubbish, donating furniture to charity shops and taking anything that couldn’t be salvaged to the tip, and then started the mammoth job of repainting, which we still haven’t actually finished completely, but our main priority was making the room ready for us to move in, and we can patch up the paint over the coming weeks.

When you come up the stairs, first thing on the right is the window bay, which Matthew has turned into his desk area, but I also have my sewing machine set up as well as a few bits and pieces for my businesses, but I’m not much of a desk person so its really his space.

We used the sofa as a sort-of room divider, which created a bit of storage space. I’m still keeping my clothes and bits in my bedroom, so again this space is really for Matthew’s clothes – hence the little clothes rail! – but its also created a nice little display space for some of our photos and my Lego Disney castle.

While the sideboard, cupboards and TV stand were new from IKEA, we managed to save on buying a new bed and sofa as Matthew already had those so he just brought them down from Manchester, along with his TV and bedside tables.

Our bed area is probably my favourite part of the whole room. At the end of the bed we have a huge beanbag, adding to the seating around the TV, and I love that it also matched the colour scheme of our bedding – in fact the whole room is generally themed yellow, blue and grey, or Donald Duck style, as I like to call it. Our amazing bedside lamps are also IKEA, and they create so much light alone that we rarely have the main lights on in the evening.

Moving into the loft also gave us the opportunity to set up the Nanoleaf Aurora that I got Matthew for our anniversary earlier this year, and I just love it!

I’m so happy with our little space, and I’m so happy that we’re finally passed the long distance part of our relationship, and the future is looking exciting!

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