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.


The Giltwood Gallery Cheltenham, a great little home decor shop

I love having a good old browse around a nicely curated shop.  I’m probably not the best customer as I rarely buy anything.  However, the person I was with did buy something so I don’t feel too guilty.

Anyway the shop in question was The Giltwood Gallery in Cheltenham UK, a town in itself worth a visit if you love fine shopping and dining out amongst grand architecture. The shop is located in the Suffolks region of Cheltenham so a bit away from the high street stores, but worth a wander as there are other decor and antiques shop in the area. I’ve had a few visits to Cheltenham recently due to family connections although I’d never visited before, so I will be bringing you the odd snippet or two.

Now back to the shop again, it stocks a variety of reasonable priced stylish home decor items and not just the same old same old. The shop is much better than the website, but be aware I don’t think it opens everyday. When we visited there was a delightful aroma filling the place, and the owner was only too happy to explain the product and give as much info as needed.

Here are my stealth pics.  I was very tempted by the leaf inspired dish, but I was moved on by Mr Husband!

giltwood gallery cheltenham home decor shop front

Giltwood Gallery home decor shop Cheltenham

Giltwood Gallery home decor shop in Cheltenham

You can never have too many leaf inspired dishes, can you?

Does this seem like your kind of place? Where do you like to browse?


How to refresh your bathroom on a budget

The other day a friend of mine sent me a few pictures of her bathroom. She wanted to brighten it up and asked what colours I thought she should go for.  Her bathroom is tiled floor to ceiling with beige tiles, which she cannot afford to remove. The bathroom suite is a little dated, cream with worn gold trim, which again she cannot afford to replace. The flooring is darker beige and you guessed it she cannot afford to replace.  So, as you will see from the pictures below a bit of a challenge.

I can hear you thinking a bit of a tidy up would be a good start – I didn’t say that.  Top tip NEVER send me pictures of your home 😉

I recently discovered she enjoys relaxing in the bath and that she is really the only person who uses this bathroom, which is great as she just needs to please herself.  I thought lets go for something a bit grown up with a relaxing feel.

Easily distracted, I was straight online to pick out a few pieces from the virtual high street, and I’ve brought them together on this mood board to share with you.

A bathroom moodboard

My colour scheme revolves around grey, green and black tones.  For me bright doesn’t have to be light colours.  I think you can brighten a space equally well with dark bold contrasting colours.  These colours I’ve selected should sit well against the beige background, which we cannot do anything about, sometimes you just have to go with what you’ve got.

Here’s the detail to accompany in the montage above.

The paint, Wilko’s paint selection, we have Storm Cloud & English Sage (£10 for 2.5L). The darkest greens are Farrow and Ball’s Card Room Green and Studio Green a bit more expensive than the Wilko paint, but it’s your budget to manage.  I think the green would enhance the gold taps and handles already in the bathroom. For me there’s something I like about gold and green.

For this bathroom the shower curtain would be one of the main ways to introduce colour into the room.  I’ve gone bold with the floral. Take a look around there’s a great selection on the internet as everyone is loving flora at the moment.  The green leaf design is from Urban Outfitters £35 the more botanical shower curtain is sold on a number of online sites, if you search ‘flora shower curtain’ you will see a wide selection – take your pick.

As there’s already a bit of gold in the bathroom, let go with it and add a bit more. I’ve picked this cheeky hook but it could equally be some pots. If you shop around you can get something for less than £10. Stick to your budget but embrace the gold, it’s back in vogue.  I would also get some gold knobs for that bathroom cabinet – after I’d painted it of course.

A mirror is a simple and generally inexpensive way of adding a bit of interest or maybe, as in this case distracting the eye from the beige tiles. You could get a few, rather than one big statement mirror.  The mirror in the picture is from Dunelm £17.00

I’ve added a bit of texture with a basket, handy for all those toilet rolls, let’s face it we all need them, La Redoute £51 . I love this basket, however less expensive similar products are out there.

The texture continues with the bold patterned black and white rug, which catches the eye helping the flooring stay well in the background. The bathroom mat I’ve gone for is from H&M £17.99

So what happened to the bathroom in the end…..well early the next day before I was able to share my well considered thoughts, the same said friend sent me a picture of a half painted bath panel…….duck egg blue. As you now know from my mood board duck egg blue wouldn’t have been my first choice. However, I saw the finished bathroom on the weekend and it looked sooo much better than before. I think she had fun doing the makeover, which is always a bonus.  She can now recline in the bath with a glass of wine and admire her handy-work. Perfect.

Hope this gives you some inspiration if you’re looking to refresh your bathroom 🙂


Bathroom mood board on

My DIY kitchen makeover, on a budget

Finally I’ve found some pictures of my kitchen before I decorated.  I know it’s appalling planning on my part, we made sooo many changes and I have ALWAYS taken lots of ‘before’ pictures even pre-blog writing. To my shame I’ve had to resort to using pictures from the estate agent brochure, which I have managed to scan and annotate for you (I know, sometimes I surprise even myself).

Enough of the excuses and preamble let me set the scene of my kitchen transformation. This for me is the most important room in the house as it’s the first room you walk into when you enter the flat, and I love to cook so happy to spend the day in the kitchen.  It was the main reason I bought the flat as it seemed like such a homely space.  Maybe subconsciously I was seeing the potential as when I moved in I hated the kitchen, the colours, the layout the lack of space, aghhh.   It needed to change and of course it needed to be done on a budget.

I guess you would describe it as an ‘L’ shaped /galley kitchen, and below you can see the view when coming in from the front door (top pic) and the view when entering from the rest of the flat (bottom pic)…. hope that makes sense to you.

DIY kitchen makeover

Below is a picture I did take when I moved in, it gives you an idea of how narrow the space is between the units and you can just see where the cooker is located.  Note the Christmas card on the side, must have been our first Christmas, bless. The only space for the fridge-freezer was in the larder and once it was in the larder was pretty much full; a large cupboard for a fridge-freezer – it made no sense to me either.

DIY kitchen makeover

So, three years ago we cracked on with the decorating. The first thing I wanted to do was to get rid of the work surface on one side to expand the gangway to the front door. Having work surface on both sides meant the space was very narrow and immediately gave the feel of it being a very small dark kitchen.  This required the relocation of the cooker.  In fact, we pretty much relocated all the kitchen to the far end of the space, which we were able to do by taking out the larder room. We then enclosed the boiler into a little cupboard using the door taken from the larder, this gave us tall storage for the vacuum etc. The whole kitchen was opened up and I had enough room for an island bench, which I use all the time, cooking prep, laptop, painting etc.  What was outside the budget was replacing the stone quarry tiles, instead we gave them a good clean. We had to search and buy 5 tiles to replace the missing strip created when the wall was removed.

I turned to tried and trusted IKEA for the units and work surface as Mr Husband had fitted many of these units in the past, so he’s getting quite good at it.  As ever I wanted the units to be plain and this time went for an off-white with very minimalist brush steel (timeless) handles, the sort you can NOT hang a tea towel from, which we all do if we get the chance.  Take a look and see what you think.

This is the view as you walk in from the front door, the larder is gone the boiler is hidden, the cooker has moved.

Kitchen makeover

This is the view from entering the kitchen from the rest of the flat

DIY kitchen makeover before and after at

As you will see wallpaper and the tones of the wood bring the colour. How do you like the grouting, I did myself – the first time ever (v proud). I point it out to all my visitors, they really don’t appreciate my achievement! The wallpaper also continues through to the small entrance hall, linking the two spaces.

DIY kitchen makerover

So how much did this all cost….well to be honest I’ve not got the receipts.  However this is me and I don’t go crazy spending money on a kitchen for a place I know I plan on moving from in the next 5-10 years.  Meaning I didn’t splurge on granite or marble I went for a laminated wood surface instead (I do like a bit of sustainable wood) and the IKEA cabinets were the low to mid price range.  The most expensive thing in the kitchen was the Smeg cooker which we bought only last year as I made a big mistake buying a cheaper as basically inefficient cooker, lesson learned the expensive way. I did get a professional electrician into to relocate the electrics for the cooker and put in some spots over the cooker.  Of course couldn’t have done it without Mr Husband, but he gets paid in cider and peanuts 😉

If I ever do fancy a change (I will) in the future, all I would need to change is the wallpaper. Something more colourful and contemporary would give this kitchen a whole new feel for nothing more than a weekend’s work.  I’ll keep a look out for that must have wallpaper, any suggestions? send them my way. Maybe a blog for the future, my wallpaper wishlist.

What do you think of the transformation, how have you transformed you kitchen


Get decor inspiration from Chatsworth House

The other weekend I finally got myself into gear and went to Chatsworth House for a look around.  In the past I’ve walked around the grounds and gardens but had never been inside the House, which is a bit shameful as it’s my local stately home, everyone should have one don’t you think.  Where I lived before my local stately home was Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, which I loved to visit – great for children too.

Now back to Chatsworth, which incidentally is also great for children, everything you need to know about the place you can find on the Chatsworth House website . In a nutshell Chatsworth House is located in Derbyshire, UK with history going back to the 11th Century, and Chatsworth being home to the Cavendish family since 1549.  The 12th Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish continues to care for the house.

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

I have to say the inside of the House is very lavish (gold is the colour) and the free flow wandering lets you meander around at your own pace, lingering where your interest lies.  I did take a few snaps inside the house to share, it was quite dark so they’re not the best.

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

I particularly liked the compact ‘en-suite’ inside the fitted wardrobe, and the way the sumptuous bed had been hidden by a large scrolled bed end, creating a partition for a home-office. This is an idea I’m going to try and apply in my own home, without the bling of course.

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home


Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Take a look at the wallpaper, very on-trend theme of  nature & wildlife. And there were many many chandeliers, of course.


There’s an exhibition exploring five centuries of fashion at Chatsworth, currently going on until mid-October, so if you are a fashion fan you will have fun spotting some classics gowns as you wander through the Chatsworth House.


For all the splendour of the House, the garden and grounds are still my favourite.

the vistas….Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

the plants…..

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

the greenhouses &  vegetable garden……


On a sunny day the gardens and grounds lend themselves perfectly for getting that rug out and having a hearty picnic as part of a family and friends meet-up.

The other thing I like about Chatsworth is they have a great shop. I normally skip the visitor shop at these kinds of places but I do visit the Chatsworth shop when I’m starting my Christmas shopping as they always stock some nice quality decor pieces and jewellery, bags etc, which are within my price range (well mostly).  The courtyard outside is a great place to sit for a coffee, even in the cold if you are all wrapped up.


So why has it taken me 3 years before I visited the Chatsworth House?? To be honest I don’t know, we do sometime appear to overlook things on our doorstep, which is why I will soon be writing the ‘Ten things I love about Buxton!’

Is Chatsworth House your kind of day out?

Home Decor Inspiration at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. Read all about my recent trip to Chatsworth House and get some inspiration for your own home

DIY vintage coffee table makeover

It seems a very long time since I bought an old coffee table from the local charity shop in downtown Buxton.  Checking my Instagram feed, it was April 28th!!  It has taken me ages to get this project completed.  This was partly due to the bad summer weather – I hate sanding and painting indoors, and the fact I think I fell out of love with it when I got it home and checked out how battered it actually was.  I paid £8 you know,  I was robbed!!

DIY Vintage Coffee Table Makeover. See the before and after results with

Emotions aside, I persisted (slowly) as I did love the shape. My first instinct was to get the legs lighter but soon realised it was not doable in the time I have left on this planet so compromise was required.  Instead I decided to stain it all a bit darker, as I’m not a fan of reddy-brown, but I would paint the bottom shelf off-white just to lightening things up, cunning don’t you think.

You may recall I had stained some shelves for the Son’s kitchen so the same stain was employed Sadolin Extra Durable Woodstain, Rosewood.  In addition, I thought I’d try out a spray paint for the off-white colour just to experiment, so I chose Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch, Heirloom White (satin finish)

So here we go. You can see the poor condition of the table meaning there was lots and lots and lots of sanding – not my favourite pastime I can assure you.

First I painted everything except the base shelf with a black matt paint, just to subdue the reddishness of the current stain and the one I would be applying.  I then applied a couple of coats of white-ish emulsion I had in the cupboard to the base shelf, as when I did a little test with the spray paint the stain bled through. It was at that point I think I put it all to one-side for the next few months.

I must confess Mr Husband sprayed the bottom shelf, he was a car paint sprayer of sorts so it was a bit of damage limitation, and I just wanted to get the darn table finished. But hooray its was all completed last weekend and although not a masterpiece (I don’t think I’ve increased its value by much), its a usable table and I think it looks better than when I started.

Although I am running out of space to keep all these tables. What do you think?

DIY Vintage Coffee Table Makeover. See what it looked like before with


DIY Vintage Coffee Table Makeover. See the before and after results with

Why you should explore Seville

My recent holiday seems such a long time ago, so thought I’d refresh my memory by getting on with writing about my few days in Seville, Spain.  If you’ve already read my previous blog about the holiday planning and my few days in Faro you will know that Seville was a stop-off on the way to Cadiz, connecting my bus and train travel.  My route may all seem to be a bit convoluted but it was well worth it.

I wouldn’t class myself as someone who loves being in a busy city for more than a few hours so I was a bit apprehensive, thinking after being in Seville for a day (we had planned 2 days) I would keen to move on.   However……. I loved Seville.  Oozing in history, the pavements were not crowded, the traffic was restricted to the perimeter and the criss-cross of narrow streets balanced the expansive plazas giving the whole place an intimate feel.  It was one of those cities where every time you turned a corner you wanted to take a picture.  I have far too many to share and they really don’t reflect how impressive the city was.

The weather was fabulous, if like me you enjoy hot sun and blue sky.  But don’t be put off by the heat as all the elegant buildings provide much opportunity to walk on the shady side of the street.

It was our first adventure into the world of tapas, with delicious dishes being served whether in a prime-spot restaurant of a small snack bar down a narrow side street.  I must admit I struggled with eating so late as is traditional in Spain.  I’m early to bed but just had to stay up late (after 10 pm!) to see how the place came alive with families socialising, after 9pm was definitely the start of tapas time. I was also very presently surprised how reasonably priced the food and entrance fees to some of the major sites were… my comparison being the UK.

tapas seville


My highlight was a visit to the Real Alcazar, which apparently was used to film part of Games of Thrones. I’ve never watched Game of Thrones but this backdrop could have only have improved it.  It was much much larger than it appeared from the outside and far more impressive than I was expecting.  If you get a chance, you should go and stroll amongst luscious gardens and Moorish architecture, what more could you want.

Tiles and mosaics

We didn’t look around Seville Cathedral  just appreciated its enormity from the steps opposite.  It was undergoing a bit of clean but the scaffolding didn’t spoil the view.

The other tourist site we took a look at was the Metropol Parasol.  We couldn’t miss it as it was right outside the door of the hotel where we were staying.  It’s a massive wooden structure built to revitalise part of the City. We waited until the evening and then scooted to the top in the elevator where we strolled around the meandering walkway soaking in the panoramic views.  Underneath the structure is a large daily food market and many cafes and bars surround it. It has a friendly vibrancy in the evenings.


All in all 2 nights in Seville far exceeded my expectations (I love it when that happens) and definitely warrants another visit.  It was city in which to relax and absorb the atmosphere. I left feeling inspired rather than frazzled.  I hope I’ve given you a flavour of the city, but pictures can’t replace a real-life visit if you can.

Onwards now by train to Cadiz, backpacks attached, the beach was beckoning.

Accommodation details

We stayed room only for 2 nights at the Hotel Palace Sevilla, located in the Old Town so was an ideal base for 2 nights.  Rooms we elegantly furnished, quiet, air conditioned with a lovely soft bed and a roof terrace with splendid views across the Metropol Parasol.

Hotel palace sevilla roof terrace view