How to get the most from a spare bedroom – my bedroom challenge

We all like having friends and family over to stay – I certainly do.  Everyone can relax, share some food, not have to worry about who’s driving home.  However, it’s a bit of a luxury to be able to afford to have a place, whether rented or bought where one room is dedicated to the occasional guest.  If you think about it, it would probably cost less to pay to put them up in a local hotel than take on the extra rent or mortgage fees for that bigger place.  But if we are lucky enough to have a guest room it would be great if we could keep it looking Pinterest pristine for that surprise visitor.

How to get the most from a spare bedroom. Read about my spare bedroom challenge on the blog

…… but in reality, daily living takes over the area. Before you know it can become a mish-mash of a room, bit of an office, laundry room, store room…….general dumping ground.

My spare bedroom falls into that mish-mash category. In case you’ve not guessed already the above photo of the bedroom is not mine.  I’m writing this blog in that said spare bedroom while it is draped with drying washing. I would have taken a photo, but it would not have been pleasing on the eye I can assure you.

My spare bedroom is actually bigger than my own bedroom, I chose not to use it when we moved into our place as I thought it wasn’t cosy enough. So three years after moving in I’ve now decided what I do need to use it for: an occasional guest room, a home office, possibly a dining room (I live all on one level) and a winter gym.  Hmm, not sure this is going to work.

So how can I accommodate the all the needs of a spare room without it becoming a mish-mash? Well at the moment I have no instant fixes, just vague ideas, so I’m going to tackle this conundrum over the coming months and share my progress on the blog so keep reading.

I do have some limitation, restrictions, things I can’t (afford) to change. These will influence my decisions, and they are probably not so different to everyone else.  I don’t want to throw out all my furniture and buy new things fit for purpose, that would be far too easy.  Oh, and I have a king-size bed, so no option for a sofa bed solution.

I’m thinking partitioning with the furniture and using screens, but the room is quite dark as I live in a basement. It does have a large window that looks up into the trees but light is a bit of an issue, but I’m going to go with the dark theme.  You can tell I’m still mulling all this over.

I’m going to be taking my inspiration from anywhere.

This modern bedroom is multi-functional, but much bigger than mine.  It has partitions to zone the space, and although such an elaborate partition is not an option for me the zoning with furniture is a possibility.

pexels-photo-210265 bedroom with divedes

And if you’ve read my blog in the past you know I have a handy Mr Husband at the ready, so some creative building may also figure.

pexels-photo-439227 bedroom

Oh and let’s not forget my summer visit to Chatsworth House, where even a palatial English stately home they had to have a desk in the spare bedroom. I like the clever use of a high headboard to provide a disguise for the bed, and I do have a bed to disguise and it currently doesn’t have a headboard…..

So if you have any ideas let me know, but as I said earlier keep watching this space, I do love a decorating challenge.




How to get Autumn into your home decor

I love Autumn, everything starts to get a little more snugly and you can dim those lights a little earlier.  So now is the time to get the home decor all Autumn-ed up.  This certainly doesn’t mean spending any more money on new things, as we all have too much stuff and too little money, right.  We can just make Autumn come into our homes with a few bits of colour and imagination.  For me the colours of Autumn are oranges, browns and reds inspired by all those falling leaves.  How old do you have to be before your too old to swoosh your feet through Autumn leaves on the pavement? Take my word for it you are never too old.

How to bring Autumn into your home decor. See my simple fixes for getting an Autumn vibes into your home with the minimal of effort. and cost. All at

So theses are my three simple fixes to bring some Autumn into you home decor with the minimal of effort.

Number one: Cluster all those brown’s, oranges and reds together with a smattering of green of course.

My living room is grey, as is everyone it seems.  I’m not going to redecorate for the seasons, life it just too short but I can pull all my dark things together just to make it all a little richer.  These are a few of my Autumn inspired pieces I will try and showcase this Autumn. It can’t all be white decor you know.

Have a rummage around and see what furniture combo you can put together, you know that dark old chair that sits in the bedroom, maybe and few old brown books you’ve got sitting in cupboards and if the spines are all too colourful why not stack them so you just see the pages.  The dusty library will be a look of 2018.

How to bring Autumn into your home decor. See my simple fixes for getting an Autumn vibes into your home with the minimal of effort. and cost. All at

Number 2: Say it with flowers

There are so many inexpensive flowers in the supermarkets these days but if you have a garden you might be lucky enough to get them for free.  The weekend before last there was a bit of work needing doing in the garden meaning digging up a huge hydrangea, which was absolutely smoothed in flowers.  Here’s a pic of how many there were.  I couldn’t keep them all but shared them with the neighbours and grabbed some myself for an Autumnal table centre piece which has been sitting on my kitchen bench and still looking good.

How to bring Autumn into your home decor. See my simple fixes for getting an Autumn vibe into your home with the minimal of effort. and cost. All at

How to bring Autumn into your home decor. See my simple fixes for getting an Autumn vibe into your home with the minimal of effort. and cost. All at

Don’t forget the foliage either.  Bunches of twigs, pine cones scattered about the place…get creative.

Number 3: Food food food. 

I do like my food and my cooking does go a bit more rustic  in the Autumn months, not that it’s ever fine dining in my house.  So take advantage of the season and get some squashes and pumpkins.  If you don’t like to eat them then just use then as decoration.  A bowl of squashes really dress up a kitchen.  Hey and we are getting near to Halloween too so this weekend I got myself a little pumpkin and did a bit of carving, it created a great little decoration for an evening with a good friend.  The pumpkin soup I made was not so bad too (I never like to waste)

How to bring Autumn into your home decor. See my simple fixes for getting an Autumn vibe into your home with the minimal of effort. and cost. All at

The soup was great too

How to bring Autumn into your home decor. See my simple fixes for getting an Autumn vibe into your home with the minimal of effort. and cost. All at

Changing seasons for me means changing decor.  A few tweaks here are there keeps it interesting, but it doesn’t have to mean spending money and getting more stuff  – right?

Have some fun this Autumn, it’s not too late to Autumn-ise your home




Why you should explore Cadiz

It’s been a little while since I went on my summer hols, time has just whizzed and I’ve only now got around to writing about the final leg of my holiday adventure. It was to the beautiful and bustling Andalusian city of Cadiz, Spain.  If you’ve read my previous blogs you will know why I planned the trip and how much I’d already enjoyed visiting Faro and Seville along the way to Cadiz.

I arrived in Cadiz by train and my hotel was situated in the Old Town within walking distance of the station so I was keeping to my public transport philosophy of the trip.  Throughout the holiday I’d chosen to stay in small independent hotels and this one was a little gem, Hotel Las Cortes.  It couldn’t have been more central and the rooms were airy, traditional but simple. My room was 110 appropriately named La Caleta, a reference to one of the beaches in Cadiz. There was a central staircase leading up to the roof terrace, which was definitely the WOW factor and laid in front of me the atmosphere of Cadiz in one panoramic view.

The view from the roof

View from my hotel terrace in Cadiz


View from my hotel terrace in Cadiz

This part of the holiday was supposed to be the time to relax on the beach and I was not disappointed. The beaches, of which there were a few were fabulous and I was in the sea every day.

You could go to the harbour beach, Playa La Caleta

Playa La Caleta Cadiz

Or an even longer sandy beach, Playa Santa Maria del Mar

Playa Santa Maria del Mar

We spent many an early evening meandering through the squares of Cadiz or having a chilled afternoon Manzanilla in a shaded side passage.

Cadiz Cathedral

I wondered what was going on beyond the many elegant doorways.

Now we (Mr Husband was still with me) are fairly sleepy travellers, by that I mean we amble, sit and watch as everyone goes about their daily business, we tend not to go to the tourist attractions, get into shopping (except food) or party into the night. So we weren’t up too late and didn’t get to any flamenco shows, but if this is what you like then you will find it in Cadiz.  Many of our evenings were spent on the hotel roof terrace with a large glass of white watching the sun go down and taking in the views.  For me Cadiz was the highlight on my hols.

Sunset in Cadiz

I hope I get the chance to go back, you should visit if you can. Cadiz has a long and fascinating history that you should try and dig into before you visit, it’s much more than a beach resort.


Two mini DIY garden projects

It’s been a bit of a wet and dull summer this year, but no excuse I did manage to get out in the garden and undertake two mini DIY projects.  Nothing grand but I thought I’d share.

Adding some colour to the wall

The first was adding a bit of interest to an outside wall that needed some repair. Every year we give it a bit of a white-wash to brighten up a dark corner, but this year I also needed to patch up some holes where the cement grouting had fallen off. An opportunity to sprinkle in some design I thought.  I found some glass beads in a drawer, which I’d had for absolute ages so thought I would put them to better use.

My plan was to incorporate the glass beads into the cement I was going to patch with.  This is how it turned out.  Pictures sometimes say far more than words so here we go.

The glass beads… of the holes…..the cement.

First I applied the cement and then I poked in the beads.  Had to use my fingers…. I know, I know you should not use your fingers, cement is not nice stuff.  I washed quickly afterwards.

DIY garden wall project with glass beads on the blog

Once the cement was nearly dry I just cleaned off the surplus with a cloth.

DIY garden wall project with glass beads on the blog

Then when it was completely dry I painted. I painted over the beads too as the paint easily wiped / picked off when the paint had dried.

And here is the finished product – look carefully you can see a few of the other holes I filled.

DIY garden wall project with glass beads on the blog

What do you think, was this a good use of old beads?

Adding some interest to a garden planter

Now the second project.  This was really a correction to a project from last year when we (yes Mr Husband did most of the building and correcting here) built some garden planters to use as wind screens by giving them perspex panels.  However, in reality when the wind got very blustery, which was frequently the case the planters just blew over.  What a mess.  So this year we took out the perspex but I wanted to a something instead to catch the eye and provide a subtle visual screen. This needed to be very inexpensive as I’d already spent too much money on perspex!! I used string and beads…so total additional cost £3.  Here are the pics to take you on my journey.

Firstly how the planter looked with the perspex.  They looked fine but just acted like sails in the wind.

And this is the string and metal beads plus the eyelets I needed to add to the wooden uprights so I could thread the string through.

And this is the finished look.  My mother thought it looked like beads of rain on the string…which is just what I was trying to achieve (yeah).

DIY wooden garden trough project with blog

My plan for next year is to get some plant growing up the string….. let’s see how that goes.  What do you think?  I may try adding some other things to the strings to give it an Autumnal or Halloween look.

Hope these two mini projects give you some ideas, it’s great working on a simply project in the sunshine.