Ikea:Make it or break it.

As part of my New Years Resolutions, I aimed to blog more but so far I’ve been to the gym more frequently than I have blogged.

Yes, 14 days into 2018 and I have been to the gym a grand total of 1 times.  Which means my blogging needs some serious TLC. Fortunately today, I can put a little tick under the blogging section of my Bullet Journal. I’m so on trend with my resolutions this year aren’t I?

Today’s topic is  something that I have been thinking about a lot lately and wondering if it’s really as a contentious issue as I imagine.

In my household we mainly argue about the following; the washing up, the Playstation (other consoles are available, preferably ones that don’t live in my house)  and our music preferences.

But since the other half has gone to get a tyre and I am happily and uninteruptedly listening to a bouncy mix of the Fratellis and Arctic Monkeys, I wonder if there is a bigger issue in our household. As if I needed further confirmation I woke up this morning to this Instagram post sent from the boyfriend himself…


That’s right folks – Ikea, Sweden’s answer to Jeremy Kyle – otherwise known as The Destroyer of Relationships. No need to take a lie detector sweetie, take a stroll into the practical, yet modern range of homeware and let the guided floors guide your partner into telling you everything he resents about you most. Spoiler Alert – the thing he hates most, is that you dragged him to Ikea in the first place (Although judging by some of the folks on Jezza Kyle, you probably should have dragged him to a dentist).

Now I just don’t get it. I love Ikea. I love that they rarely change their furniture ranges, I love that they actually put those stupid arrows on the floor, I love the promise of a plate of meatballs half way through. Every time I go to Ikea it looks exactly the same as the first time I ever went, but somehow, those arrows mean you have to look at absolutely everything just so that you can say “I still like that bookcase”. Good old dependable Billy.

But some people seem to hate it with every fibre of their being, unfortunately those are the people you often need to help you with the heavy flatpack lifting at the end.

When I went to get the wardrobe for the spare room, I stupidly went alone. Upon reaching self service at the very end, I was confronted with three enormous boxes, each of which weighed more than me – and let’s be clear about this, I eat, what is probably above the UK average amount of consumed pasta.

But in the age of modern feminism and I Don’t Need No Man mentality, I was going to get this wardrobe home. I carefully pushed my trolley right up to the boxes and with all my strength lifted the first box on. So far so good.

Unfortunately by the third box, I’d developed a hernia and my foray into independence was becoming increasingly less exciting. I therefore paid for my boxes and decided to enlist some help from Ikea staff. I asked the nice woman at the till and she said if I asked on the way out someone would come help me. So off I toddled only to find no bugger around.

Literally the place had suddenly emptied of yellow uniforms. I waited a while, contemplated going to get a hot dog, waited a bit longer. No one there. So I went outside hoping to see someone by the loading bay. There was still no one. By this point I was getting a bit upset and my hernia was hurting so I thought I’d just check once more inside. I couldn’t go in through the entrance as I’d get trapped in the yellow arrows again so I tried to go back in through the exit. Rookie mistake. Predictably the doors don’t open for people coming the wrong way – it was a bit like trying to get onto platform 9 and 3/4 and finding the wall was blocked up as the trolley, the wardrobes and myself crashed into the door and reverberated backwards.

Embarrassed, I decided just to suck it up and go to my car. With the strength of the Hulk I  somehow got the three boxes into the car. A task of herculean effort. Sweaty and breathless I drove home, vowing never to go to Ikea alone again.


You’d think that would be the end of my wardrobe worries. Nope, then we had to build it.

We didn’t have a lot of space to build the three door wardrobe in, nor did we have a lot of patience. The major trauma occurred when we realised we needed to turn the wardrobe around. There wasn’t room to swing a cat, never mind a wardrobe. Nevertheless I had one job. To hold the side panel still.

In my defence I thought I was holding it still but the loud splintering sound suggested otherwise. I’d actually managed to rip the screws out of the chipboard effectively breaking it.

Well that was it. The yelling, the crying, whilst the boyfriend looked on in horror. I went to bed 4 times that night in a strop. The sad realisation that we’d had to buy the wardrobe on a budget and then were now going to have to buy another one was just too much. Fortunately a bit of wood glue and we now had a functioning wardrobe, albeit not with the ease that the Swedes intended.


I know there is a recurrent theme in these blogs that I seem to cry a lot, but at least this time it was more warranted than over a sausage roll.

So yes Ikea I love you, but I love my relationship more therefore I’ll limit my visits to you this year and will not be attempting any more flatpack. Sorry.




60 Minute Makeover


I’ve just realised I haven’t blogged in nearly a month. That’s outrageous. I can tell by the influx of messages I’ve had, that you’re all wondering where on earth I have gone!?*

Well let me tell you.

Papilow home is in full swing, I’ve been doing a few christmas markets, and several custom orders which has been lovely. It’s so pleasant making gifts and cards for you all that I got completely carried away and haven’t so much as picked up a paintbrush for the house.

The last time I blogged I talked about our four legged friend and his foray into decorating a house, so as much as I’d love to tell you about all the Christmas markets – and I’m sure I will soon – first, let’s pick up where we left off, in the guest bedroom.

The guest bedroom used to be my room. As I would still come see my dad on weekends, that’s where I would stay. It hadn’t been decorated since Dad first moved into the house in 1995. Now my dad had asked me many times if we should decorate and even when I was 26 and coming to visit my dad once a month or so, I would still request that my childhood bedroom be left as it was. From this, you may understand the enormity of renovating this house for me now. I absolutely hate change. It makes me nostalgic and actually just feel a bit sad when I change things – probably not very healthy I know (My mum once got a new kitchen door and it threw me – for about a week, I still remember the old red one that I didn’t even know I liked until it went.) So yes, not only do I hate change but so much so, that I clung on to my childhood bedroom fiercely. Until now.

For me, this house has to change. I’ve lost my dad but just because I’m changing the house, I’ve come to realise that actually it doesn’t make a difference if I change it. I won’t feel his loss any less and keeping it all the same like some kind of twisted Miss Haversham won’t bring him back into it. At the risk of sounding all cliché, I know he’s here anyway and I hope he likes the changes I am finally making.

As I peeled off the yellow wallpaper, I studied it as if it were a test, trying to commit it to memory so I could remember exactly how it was and all the feeling and emotion around it.

The other half, meanwhile, just took a photo so we knew how it used to look. Probably easier and less dramatic don’t you think?

We were attempting to keep the old wardrobe but it kind of fell apart as we dismantled it and ended up chucking it anyway.

Then to add to the chaos, we knocked the wall down. I may have already mentioned, we knocked through into the box room about half a metre and wowzers it opened the space right up! This room looked huge! I was so excited I forgot all about my yellow haven because just look at all this space!


Over the next few days it was a combined effort, to painstakingly plaster the walls and cover over the artex ceiling. The other half did the majority of the work if I’m honest but I did help out where I could! As we were both working, it had to be an evening job over the course of a week, the room would be plastered on a night and left to dry. As it was dark by the time we started plastering, we had to invest in a halogen lamp. Not only was it brighter than the sun but sooooo warm. Tropical. In fact so warm that one day I left my pizza dough to prove in there and it did a marvellous job.

Then a couple of days later, once the plaster had dried, I would scrape it down and put a first layer of paint on it. I’ve learnt from this that I don’t like painting ceilings and quite frankly, I won’t be doing it again.

All too soon it was Friday night, and I had the in-laws coming on Saturday morning. Yikes! The final wall had only just dried and it was full steam ahead.

We gave the room 2 coats of Dulux Soft Walnut – a lovely shade of cream. Saying that, It nearly went back to home base because a test patch made it look purple. Turns out it was just bad lighting and the effects of the green patch of wall we painted it on (under the yellow, lurked a mucky mint green, yuk). The skirting was painted in “Rich black”, again Dulux, and we had it mixed in Satinwood. We also had a giant hole in the wall that we had used as an access panel to fit the shower. In case we ever needed to get back into it, rather than filling the hole we just screwed some plasterboard up and decided to hide it behind the new wardrobe.

At this point, we probably could have assembled the bed and left it as it was – because as long as the in-laws have room to sleep that’s ok yes?


So at about midnight we set about with the fine design details. I painted some strips of  wide beading in the same colour as the wall. This was to make a frame for the wallpaper.

The wallpaper had been given to me by mum and I really wanted to use it, but we only had one roll. Therefore in the early hours of the morning, out the wallpaper table came and we filled the beaded frame.

By about 2am the other half had had enough, and rightly so. I stayed up til 3, assembling a bedside table.

At 6am the next day, we got up and bleary eyed and grumpy had several arguments over assembling the bed. We also put up the customary wooden pelmet to match the one in our bedroom and some curtains, you know, for consistency.

We put a picture shelf above the bed to house a mirror and many frames, including the happily ever after one, soon to be available on my Etsy shop – just saying and I thew a yellow cushion on the bed, which I made from some beautiful linen fabric.



Next up went a rather large picture of a bird, that I had painted myself. I saw one similar in TK Maxx but I didn’t like the frame and didn’t want to spend 50 quid on it – so in true  “I can do that” style I dug out a canvas and some paint and off I went. I quite like how it turned out but I think it was a fluke. I couldn’t do it again if I tried.


Also some small hanging metal frames from Matalan, I just love these. In one, I have a small heart, which I kind of drew on a whim and then I liked it so much I turned it into a fabric for some cushions. In the other one I found some old art paper of my Nanna’s that she had done some colour testing on and I loved it, so I framed it.

The room at this point had come together quite nicely, but to me it felt cold. It almost felt like it had a bit of a Japanese style to it. Which sometimes I quite like, but it wasn’t fitting in with my house. It needed warming up.

The next week we bought a wardrobe, and had an almighty problem building it (wait for the blog post on this) and got some carpets fitted.


Finally I added a big black and gold lamp shade, a soft velvety throw from Asda(!) and some sparkly twigs in the corner.


I like it much better now, but not as much as the dog who thinks it’s his room.


until next time


*That was a joke, not one of you has messaged me to ask where my blog has gone. Thanks.




A snout to the elbow.

It’s been a busy busy busy few weeks over at Papilow HQ. The other half’s parents were coming for a weekend and getting the guest bedroom ready was a succession of late nights.

On top of this, I started an internship for a company that sells art and homeware based around the art. Therefore, I was given a small space at their most recent event to showcase my homeware, cue more late nights pattern designing, sewing and disentangling myself from threads that somehow just get everywhere.

So yes, it’s been busy, but it has also been a lot of fun. There has been one major distraction however. This distraction has 4 legs and flatulence that would make a skunk blush. It also has an incredibly powerful whippy tail and many wrinkles on it’s smooshy face.

Meet Kilo. Our 4 year old boxer.


All I really ever wanted was to work from home, with a dog running around being loveable and cute and keeping me company. But this, it appears, was a completely unrealistic expectation.

If you’re living in the UK, you will probably have seen the advert in which a man repeatedly tries to check his credit score (how often does one man need to do that? Like, not that often that he can’t wait till he gets out the bath to check it) and he is followed around by his loveable boxer Moose. Moose has been given a voice.

The voice says “What doooing?”

Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 10.56.47

My God, it’s like they got some kind of boxer whisperer. If boxers could talk – that is what they would say. All the damn time.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this dog, he’s my baby. I like to smoosh my face into his and kiss his little wrinkly snout. I like it when he puts his paw on my lap or when he fits his whole self on to my knee. I like this all on my own time.

I do not like it, when I’m frantically sewing my socks off, or writing a blog or creating new prints and all of a sudden, I have a stitch out of place or a letter mistyped or a black smudgy line across my page. I look down and there it is, that snout, tucked under my arm. ” What dooing?” the snout says.

I do not like it, when I have to use the little girls room and the paw appears on my knee. “What dooing?” the paw says.

When I’m actually in the shower and I hear the lapping sounds of water being caught in his ginormous mouth as he’s got in there with me. When I’m sat working and I have two paws around my neck for a cuddle. When I’m sleeping and I have a snout in my face at 5am.  When I just put a new throw on the guest bed and he goes and sleeps on it until he’s caught. “What dooooing?” He says.

It doesn’t end there.

There are scratch marks on the window sill in our bedroom because he likes to look out the window (he can’t even see through the blinds) to try find out where we’ve gone. The jumping up at the window extended to the guest room once we cleared it – and this time he could actually see out! We thought it was so cute.


Until I left my phone next to the open window, resting on a tin of paint, on the window sill.

The dog jumped up, the paint tin rocked, the world went into slow motion. The phone flew through the window, in a perfect curve. Through the air, out the second floor window, missing a bucket of water by centimetres, and landing on the decking below.

It took us at least 3 minutes of standing their in shock, discussing what just happened as if I’d just made a cup of tea rather than watch my hella expensive phone make like a bird and fly. The dog was still at the window.  Reality kicked in and we went to pick the phone off the floor. Somehow, it was unharmed, at least.

For a while we were unsure if Kilo had prematurely aged. No No, he’d just been laying in all the plasterboard dust as we ripped walls out. Laying against the newly painted wall. Laying all over the carpet fitter as he tried to measure up.


Anywhere we are, he has to be. If we try to shut him out we can hear him just lurking waiting for us to call him back, which we inevitably do because we feel sorry for him.

He’s a total babe but why does he find the exact spot in the room which is most inconvenient to lay in? It makes us think he’s not clever. But he is. He has devised a plan.

He’s not technically allowed in the guest room but it has been brought to our attention that he leaves his blanket next to our bed when he thinks we’re asleep, spends the night in the guest room and then sneaks back to his blanket at 6am. Creeping around  Like we wouldn’t notice. Which we didn’t for a few nights to be fair.

Is this all dogs?

Or just ours?

Answers on a postcard.



Next time I’ll stop showing your pictures of my dog and actually get back to telling you about our house progress which is coming on nicely…hurrah!


On your marks, get set…go?

NB: Before we start, you should know that I hate running. It’s in my top three list of things that I hate, closely followed by hanging the washing out and only just behind drivers that don’t say thank you when you stop to let them past. I try to avoid running at all costs and if I do run, I normally need to follow it up with a Twix and half a tank of oxygen.

Ok so, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about renovating a house it’s that there are lots of emergencies. Emergency leaks, emergency cuts and bumps and more often than not, emergency trips to the local DIY store. The level of emergency can be decided using this simple chart.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 15.51.30

So, on Sunday, we were installing a new bedroom wall having knocked down the old one to make the bedroom just a little bit bigger. I’d say it has added about half a metre to the width of the room which has actually made quite a lot of difference. At this point the existing wall was down, we’d taken all the plasterboard to the tip already and it was time to rebuild. We measured up, we looked at our supplies. There was not enough wood and we really needed some new plasterboard too. Ok, so it was another trip out but we haven’t got long before we have the other half’s parentals coming and we’d like them to have somewhere to stay that isn’t

A) a building site

 B) quite draughty, what with the missing wall and all.

The sooner this wall goes up the sooner we could start plastering, and with our time constraints on this room, it became a desperate case.

We looked at the time – 15:40. The shops shut at 4.00 on a Sunday. I referred back to my handy chart. Oh my god.

It was now officially an emergency.  .

15.40: We raced downstairs, threw some shoes on – no it doesn’t matter what your wearing, I realised, your dad’s suit socks and sliders are a perfectly fashionable and practical combination.

15.42:  We made an executive decision to take a short cut through the back roads. Emergencies are often reliant on the executive decisions you make.

15:43: The back roads were narrow, fortunately we were able to swerve out the way of oncoming vehicles – you don’t need alloys, you need plasterboard.

15.45: We adopted a tense look as we sat on a 30mph road with speed cameras.

15.47: Damn, why is there always traffic lights on red here.

15.48: I could see it!! B&Q was in sight, but wh- what is this?? More traffic? We couldn’t all be having an emergency, where was everyone going?

15.49: Oh, it was just the drive through queue for Macdonalds. On a Sunday? Heathens.

15.50: Oh crap the traffic was not moving, it was time for executive decision number two. I was going to have to run, the other half could park the car but I needed to get into the shop.

15.50 (still) : I got out the car, I pushed my socked feet firmly into my adidas sliders, regretting my fashion choices.

15.51: I started to run, the theme to Chariots of fire starts playing in my head. (I strongly suggest you play it in yours, it really adds to the dramatic effect)

15.52: It actually feels like I’m running in slow motion, the wind through my hair. I briefly think about taking up running.

15.53: I realise that the slow motion thing is just because I’m starting to get a stitch and am actually slowing down. I push through.

15.54: There are people oncoming, I barge past their horrified faces. There is a child in my path. I shove him out the way. (only joking… or am I?).

15.55: I hurdle over the man collecting the trolleys. (Ok, now I’m definitely lying but just go with it.)

15.56: I prise the automatic doors open as I hear the warning bing bongs: “Attention customers, the store will be closing in 5 minutes.”

15.57: I make it to the plasterboard section, out of puff, but victorious. The other half, having parked the car, saunters in to meet me about 5 seconds after me. I was actually a bit annoyed about it. I might as well have walked.

16.00: We’ve done it. we made it just in time, emergency averted.

You’ll be pleased to know the wall was built so we can crack on with the plastering this week, My heart rate eventually slowed down and I’ve located some trainers for emergency running. I will not be taking up running as a sport.

Fingers crossed by next week I’ll have a nice bedroom update for you…

Until then xx


The Sausage Roll Meltdown



It feels like it’s been ages since I posted and I think it probably has been.

The good news is the bathroom is almost finished – we still don’t have a floor but, much to the relief of the nostrils of our friends and family, we do have a shower now. It turns out that it is quite easy to achieve one large dreadlock when you can’t really wash your hair for weeks on end and there only so much dry shampoo can do. It’s a £2.99 beauty product not a miracle worker.

To know that we’re finally getting there with the bathroom is somewhat the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me. Not because of my tendency to over – exaggerate (which I only do like 0.4% of the time anyway) but because of the day when I tried to buy us all a sausage roll.

Last time I told you all about The Miracle of the Italian Plumber (it has capital letters because it’s now the name of an event – so sacred in our house, it has become a title filled with proper nouns and a story that we recount to each other when we need a little boost, for example:

“Oh no the ceiling is falling in and all the pipes have burst and the dog has eaten my foot!”

“Yes it’s terrible but do you remember when your Dad sent us that Italian plumber?”

It’s soothing to hear really).

So TMOTIP (keep up) was a great day and I wish it had come before the day of the sausage roll meltdown.

The day had started well enough, the other half and his brother were up in the bathroom  fitting spotlights. I was trying to make some cushions (obviously not for the bathroom) and my machine kept jamming and I broke a needle and I was having the usual struggle with zips. So far, So normal.

But then the boys were thirsty and I would put money on the fact they needed something from the DIY shop – although I’ve tried to repress the memory of it.

So, off I went to go buy some fizzy drinks and some biscuits for the workers.

There was also a Greggs counter in the shop. For those of you who are not in the UK (Hello – thanks for reading!) Greggs makes baked goods and sandwiches. It is also inordinately cheap and extremely delicious. Their sausage rolls (I haven’t had breakfast yet so bear with me on this) are a something of a national treasure, crispy, flakey golden pastry and something which I am told is sausage meat that is salty and greasy and just mmmm and bloody hell I think I’d better have some toast don’t you?

Anyway, they were on special offer and cost £2.85 for 4. They weren’t yet cooked so I did my little shop and came back just in time to be handed my bag of pastries, I put them in my shopping bag and I went home.

I proudly walked upstairs holding the bag of sausage rolls aloft.

“MMM” said the boys, “Well done Fran”.

I was awash with smug satisfaction.

“Haven’t you got one? There’s only two in here”

I paused, taken aback.

“I think there’s another bag downstairs” I offered tentatively.

I went down to check. There was not another bag.

I’d only been given two. I had just paid more for two Greggs sausage rolls than anyone has ever paid ever, even in London. I was in shock, I could not think of a rational response.

The other half and his brother hastily offered theirs to me – much in the same way you offer a dummy to a toddler about to throw themselves on the floor. However, the whole point was that I needed to feed them and if I ate their food I wouldn’t be doing my job. It then got to the point where I was almost being force fed a sausage roll and I had to get out.

“I DO NOT WANT IT!!!” I cried and fled down the stairs. Now as a child, I watched a lot of Disney and Disney 101 on how to be dramatic is to run away and fling yourself face down on the closest available floor, bed or fountain, all the while sobbing uncontrollably.

Unfortunately the floor had no space for a fully grown woman and fountain hasn’t yet been installed. So I sat down at the dining room table instead. To top it all off…

“I was only offering, you don’t need to be so rude” said the other half.

Well that was it. The anger levels up, the tears were coming, I was hungry and misunderstood. I was infuriated with Greggs and I think at one point I even threw some stuff. Yes, it was only a letter, and yes it was pointed out to me that most people throw plates or something but I don’t like to break stuff.

You see, I don’t think it was really the sausage roll at all that caused all this. It was the fact that we were still doing the bathroom, and it didn’t feel like it was getting anywhere, the new spotlights were so bright they looked like Gatwick airport but I didn’t want to admit that, since I’d insisted the lightbulbs were the right ones. We appeared to be spending all the budget on one room and it was all getting too much. I’ve never done up a house before. How does it work? Is this normal? Answers on a post card – or in the comments section if you like…

To appease me, the other half actually went back to Greggs. They wouldn’t give him any more sausage rolls but I had a ham sandwich instead and gave myself a stern talking to. Not in the bathroom mirror, because we didn’t have one up yet. Reading back over this, I can’t help but think what a ridiculous story and it is but I’m almost certain that it will not be the end of flustered meltdowns, especially when we redesign downstairs but at least then we’ll have TMOTIP story to keep us going.

So here it is, the finally, almost finished bathroom. I’ll give you a full rundown on it soon because I have to say, I’m pretty proud of it and of how hard the other half has worked.


Until then – on to the next room!




Mario, Luigi and I’m Princess Peaches.

This is hard isn’t it?

All this house renovation stuff. Let me catch you up.

About 3 blog posts ago, I told you that the bathroom was currently a mess, we had no ceiling and no floor. We’d knocked a storage cupboard (that once housed a boiler) out to create more space in the bathroom. I’d also decided to move the sink, get rid of the bath and put in a new shower. So far, so chaotic.

Three weeks later and really, we’ve made remarkable progress, but it’s still not finished. Not really, even nearly.

So I’ll just take you through how the past three weeks have been.

Firstly, we had to build a stud wall to cover up where the existing cupboard door was, we’d already lost the ceiling and when we took the bathroom tiles out we found all the plasterboard underneath was rotten. The whole wall had to be replaced. It should have been easy right?

But one trip to Wickes told us that the plasterboard (which was moisture resistant because, bathroom and therefore hella expensive) would not fit in the car so we would have to wait for delivery in a few days. Ugh, I absolutely hate waiting for things I’m so impatient.

Then whilst waiting for this, it was decided that it was a good time to move some pipes to accommodate the new sink, which led to several late nights standing under the hole in my living room ceiling shouting “IT’S LEAKING!” as water splashed unceremoniously from a bucket into my face.

We didn’t do it all on our own, the other half’s brother came for a whole week to help us out which was so kind of him even if it meant I was subjected to their Irish builder alter egos (complete with accents) relaying the progress of the bathroom to me.

I will say it now, in that week I spent more time in Toolstation, or Screwfix than anyone ever wants to spend. It was draining, it still is draining having to constantly run down the road because you need a new bit or a different kind of screw or tartan paint.

But it made me feel useful. I didn’t know how to rip an old bathroom out and put in a new one. I was just expecting it all to be done but you have to be seen to be helping and if anything it’s pretty sad sat twiddling your thumbs because you can’t really do heavy lifting and quite frankly you can’t be trusted with a drill.

It would have been a good opportunity to sit and sew some cushions or make some new prints but I felt guilty getting on with things when the boys were doing so much work upstairs on the house. But this also means that I’m not getting anything done that I need to and that’s a bit stressful.

It’s not all doom and gloom, one day I “went to work” with the other half which consisted of me learning to put some plasterboard up and then sitting on a stool and picking up all the dropped screws from the floor using the magnetic end of an extendable tape measure. Which let me tell you was a lot of fun.

But once again I was left feeling a little useless for not helping enough. I went to make some sandwiches. That appears to be my role.

In the next week, we managed to rebuild the ceiling and the floor and the other half plastered the whole room. Once again we were left waiting for it to dry so since we already took the bath out, we thought we could put a shower tray in. Simple? Nooooo.

The soil pipe runs through the house, the existing hole in the for the bath was too high for the shower tray so a new hole needed to be fitted for the waste pipe. The only problem was we had very little space and very tight angles for which to insert a long straight bit of plastic with no give. After about 45 minutes of staring, and measuring and bickering we did the only thing we knew how to do. We went to Toolstation.

And this is when I believe that my Dad sent me a miracle.

No no, wait I’m not exaggerating.

So there we were in deep discussions with our new friends, the Toolstation staff, about the kind of pipe we needed and how we were going get it in the soil pipe – another customer walked in, overheard our conversation and came over to inspect the waste part of the shower that we’d brought with us to see what fit. ” Oh that’s easy!” he exclaimed with the arrogance of someone that does this for a living and is looking at two bozos that do not, and yet are going to try do it anyway. “You just need a flexible pipe…hmm…yep thats 32ml thats what you need then connect it to a 42 and it should just fit right down if you put a boss strap on it, easy!” he said.

“But you’ll never find that now at 5pm. You want a plumbers merchant and you won’t get it now.” Warned the random stranger with knowledge of shower trays.

We felt defeated, this was more waiting and I hate waiting. “Why are there no plumbers?” Moaned the other half, “Everytime I come here there’s at least two plumbers!”

Just then, in walked another man. I stared at him, he looked uncomfortable, I stared some more.

“Daniel” I whispered to the other half, “Daniel, that man’s t-shirt says Plumber on it”.

We called him over, explained our situation. He looked a little shell shocked at being accosted in such a fashion but he nodded and when he did speak a very strong Italian accent came out.

“Waita minute, I-a think I-a have-a some-a-thing-a” (That was Italian, could you tell?)

He toddled off to his van and he returned, surrounded by bright light and a chorus of angels with the part we needed in his hand.

“Bloody hell” The shower tray fitter said, “You two need to buy a lottery ticket.”

And that is the story of how my dad sent me an Italian plumber.

Until next time



Quick Makes: Headboard Schmedboard

Since we are still putting in the new bathroom (who’d have thought it would take so long?) I thought I’d show you today how I made my new headboard.

I have to say, apart from the green wall that I cannot stop staring at, this might be my favourite part of the bedroom.

As with lots of the things I make, I saw it on Instagram, it was a video and it made it look soo easy – which actually it was.




  • timber for the slats of the headboard
  • timber legs
  • heavy-duty wood screws
  • drill
  • wood stain

Total cost: £42       Total time: 3 hours (ish)

I started by taking a trip to the timber merchant which is much cheaper than your average DIY store.

You will need some long lengths of pine wood, I could tell you the width of them, but it would involve me going upstairs and measuring it as any helpful blogger would – unfortunately, you’re reading my blog so I’ll give you a rough estimate of about 10 – 15cm.

It’s really up to you though dependent on how wide you want your slats to be and how high you want your headboard. I used about 5 pieces of wood for the whole height of it.


As we were having a double bed, the headboard needed to be 137cm minimum, however I asked the lovely fellas at the timber merchant to cut it for me to 143cm to give myself some room on either side. Since I’ve only used a saw once in my life, with great difficulty,  if I’d have cut it myself fixing the headboard together would have been more akin to a game of extreme Jenga, in which I would most likely lose having been knocked out by a large piece of timber.

Once I got the wood home I decided to distress it a little so it didn’t look to shiny new – but this step is up to you. Upon the advice of my clever stepdad I bashed it up with a hammer. You can also drag a chain a long the wood to scratch it for extra rustic-ness or just be fairly ruthless with the hammer. You’ll want to make sure your neighbours are out for this step.

Next, stain your wood.

It took me dayyyysss to find the perfect wood stain (may I tell you, that my laptop keeps trying to autocorrect wood stain to woodsman – as if I frequently write about a woodsman…he’s not even a central character in my Little Red Riding Hood fan fiction).

I quickly realised there is no such thing as the perfect wood stain, because they all look the same on the tin, but I did feel as long as it was suitable for interior use it would be ok.

In the end I went for a colour called “jacobean oak”. I was a little disappointed when I sampled it on a small piece of wood. Even when I put a couple of coats on, it was still coming out like a pale shiny varnished pine colour. Luckily my other half just shook the tin for me and it was a much better colour then. Clever, eh? Don’t forget this step.

I sloshed on the wood stain and let it dry. Then it was time to put the headboard together.

You’ll need two strong lengths of timber to make the legs (4 x 2) so that it doesn’t wobble over. This part was the easiest part because I didn’t do any of it. So you’ll need a helper who you can tell to assemble the headboard whilst you make a cup of tea and put your feet up.

But if you are insistent on doing it yourself – you’ll need to measure exactly each piece of wood in from the outside (I think we went 13cm in and 7cm up) because this is where you’ll attach your legs to the headboard. For good measure we screwed a diagonal piece of the 4 x 2 to the back of the board for extra stability.


Lastly it was time to put some lights on. You don’t have to do this step but if you want to, the original instagram post had holes drilled and lights put though, however, I got these from Clas Ohlsen, so I just had to screw the brackets to the headboard and hang the lights on it.

All in all, it was a relatively easy and cheap project which ends in a super sturdy and fantastically handmade headboard.



See you next time!


Jungle to Jungle

Hello again,

I have found an internet connection! Huzzah!!

As I’m writing this, I’m enveloped in a mass of pillows and blankets (Yes I know it’s the end of August, but it’s not exactly warm is it) and I’m watching rain drizzle down through the wooden slats of my new blind. Which can only mean one thing…

The bedroom is finished.

Well, almost.

We still have carpets to get and a new light is being fitted next week, fingers crossed. We desperately need some cushions for the bed. We have one more piece of skirting board to fit but since we’ve now moved on to the bathroom we’ve taken a little recess from sticking the skirting board up and will return to do so when the bathroom has been plastered. Aside from all that I think I can show you.

So I’ll start by saying my inspiration for the bedroom was this.

It was designed by Sophie Robinson for a DIY SOS Big Build and as soon as I saw it, I loved it. I loved the colours, the patterns, the four poster bed which I have always dreamed of.

So I did some research on the wallpaper, which really is what made me fall in love with the room in the first place.

As it turns out it’s by Timorous Beasties and whilst it is incredibly gorgeous it is more money than quite frankly is reasonable, especially in this budget central house.

After an exhaustive search into finding just the right wallpaper I found this.

At £16.99 a roll from Homebase, it’s considerably cheaper (by literally, hundreds of pounds) but actually nothing like what I wanted. However, I was drawing up a bit of a blank everywhere else – there was nothing that even compared to the Timorous Beasties wallpaper which possibly explains the pricing of it.

The more I looked at my Homebase wallpaper the more I began to design around it in my head. Despite the fact that almost the day before putting it on the wall I was still looking for something else (probably wasn’t the best sign) I bit the bullet and went with it anyway.

And boy oh boy, I’m glad I did.

Yes, it nearly broke down my relationship trying to hang it. Yes the pattern was difficult to match.  Yes at one point, I cut it too short and got blamed for almost ruining the aesthetic of the whole room (Dramatic much?). But who cares, it looks fabulous now and perhaps the other half and I were just warming up for the couple building exercise that is building Ikea furniture.

With my handmade wall hanging (that you can read about here) and the handmade headboard, it looks super. A bit busy, but I don’t really mind that…

I know leaves aren’t everyones idea of calming decor, but I was feeling quite zen in my jungle room. At one with nature perhaps, which is unusual because anyone that knows me will tell you I am certainly  not at one with nature, at all – so it’s nice I can feel outdoorsy from the comfort of my own bed.

The rest of the room we painted in a sort of off white colour, apart from one tiny wall in the alcove which is…wait for it…green!

The paint for the whole room, I got from a reclaimed paint shop called Seagulls for a grand total of £19.20 – how fantastic is that?! The poor bloke really should have charged me more for my indecision and the 20 minutes of paint mixing that it took him to get my perfect shade of green (No, more olive…No it needs to be darker…Actually, I don’t think it’s green enough do you?). It was a totally perfect shade of green in the end.

Here is the shop – look how exciting.

Once all the paint was on the walls it was time to get the skirting board on. Which we’ve painted black. Go on, make the face.

You know the one I mean, that slight grimace and a squint and you say “Black? Are you sure?”. Well, yes I am sure – “Trust me I’m a designer now (haha!)” I’ll say to you and then I’ll put my black skirting board up and sit there smugly whilst you tells me it looks quite good actually.

The window needed dressing, and we had some wood left over from the headboard so that became a kind of pelmet thingumabob, which sounds bizarre but actually I think it adds to the zen. It puts the room somewhere between modern and rustic which I don’t think is a bad combination. We also added a simple white wooden venetian blind with 50mm slats, also from Homebase. We like it so much we might get some more for all the house, and at £50 a piece you can’t really go wrong.

Finally it was the part we’d been putting off. Building the chest of drawers for the alcove.

I’d picked the 8 drawer Hemnes dresser from Ikea – I love Ikea. It was chosen partly because I have always liked these drawers and partly because Dad already had an enormous matching mirror.

There used to be a built in wardrobe in this alcove, but I needed drawer space and we will  have to hang our clothes in the wardrobe in the spare room. Unfortunately, we were limited on space and honestly this room ain’t big enough for the both of them.

To build the drawers took us at least one bottle of prosecco, an intense discussion about how much we’d be alienating our neighbours at 11pm and one early start the next morning, but now they’re in it was worth it.

I accessorised with some Ikea lamps, a mirror from Sainsburys of all places (their homeware isn’t bad at all), a pretty jewellery box – which was a gorgeous gift, some perfect candle votives from B&Q and my favourite – a green onyx lighter and ashtray that I picked up from a market in Essex for £15.

Lastly I hung all our frames above it and now I cannot stop staring at this wall.

I just love love love it.

The enormous mirror went directly opposite the wall so it reflects it perfectly and actually once we put the mirror in, we really saw the room come together.

Our bedside lights are from Clas Ohlson and are fixed to the headboard freeing up some much needed space around the bed.

My bedside table currently is from Ikea (I know, you’ve almost fallen over with shock haven’t you), but it’s actually the steps we used whilst decorating the room, it was my dad’s, it’s covered in paint from all our hard work and I think it’s just a nice reminder of what we’re doing here.

I have to say I adore this room, it’s cosy and when it’s completely finished I’m sure I’ll love it even more.  I almost don’t even mind it looks nothing like Sophie Robinson’s room. It also doesn’t feel like I’m sleeping in my Dad’s old room, which I guess is what I needed. It feels like ours now, but of course when I think hard enough I can still imagine as a kid, crawling into bed on a Sunday morning to watch Saved By the Bell with him and that’s enough of a memory for me.


There’s a hole in my bathroom, dear Liza dear Liza…

I’ll have to keep this short…I’ve been trying to write a blog post for a week now. 

The bedroom is almost finished and I have pictures to show you and everything, it’s just that in the process of moving we forgot to get internet… 

And I’ve actually got a nice draft saved which will have to be rewritten now becuase it’s been so long. 

But I have no time to actually sit and rewrite anything because here is what my house currently looks like… 

That’s taken from the loft, if you look hard enough you can see my living room. 

So please excuse me for not posting this week but as you can see my house is full of holes and my hair is full of plasterboard as we try to replace the celiling and floorboards. 

“Renovate a house” they said. “It’ll be fun!” they said.

Now if you don’t mind I’m going to go scream into a pillow or something. 

See you soon hopefully 


Neighbours and Workmen

Well hello there.

You will all be thrilled to know, that the plasterer has been.

Quick update, the first room we have attempted to redecorate is the master bedroom. Clearly I’m a novice because I thought it could be done in 4 days. Two weeks later and here we are, with not a smudge of paint on the walls.

It’s been quite a busy two weeks – before we get to that though, let me give you a quick before shot of the room.

As you may well know, we are no longer living in the past so that hideous, battered, dado rail had to go, along with the Artex ceiling. There was also a built in wardrobe that my better (and stronger) half took to with a hammer, and which ended up in the skip. Finally that cornicing round the top of the room was quite frankly an eyesore so we decided to take that out too. So far so good right?


Firstly, I single handedly pulled the dado rail off with relish and managed to pull half the wall off too. Shock horror – there was no plaster underneath! Just the cardboard underside of bare plasterboard (hence why we needed a plasterer). Still undeterred, I went for the cornicing with nothing but a hammer and a wallpaper scraper.


My dear father, (DIY expert – Neapolitan style, like the ice cream – not just because he’s from Naples but also meaning you get three varieties in one tub: bad, terrible and “oh my good God, what has he done to this?”) had only gone and stuck the polystyrene cornicing to the ceiling and walls with some kind of extra strength glue situation. It took me 2 hours to get it off.

Finally there was wallpaper – but only on the top half of the wall because why not? THIS TOOK ME 4 DAYS TO REMOVE. The wallpaper steamer was beyond useless and just made the exposed plasterboard soggy. In the end it came to scoring it off, soaking it with a sponge and painstakingly peeling off millimetre by millimetre of what can only be described as some kind of cappuccino coloured nightmare.

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Enough of my woes, there were some good bits – particularly when I found some of my Dad’s writing on the wall, it was quite nice to have him pop up unexpectedly (is it just me or is handwriting a really personal thing?)

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But by far my favourite day was the day the plasterer came, because it transpired that I had in fact moved into a house on Coronation Street*. Having lived in London for 6 years, speaking to your neighbours is rare. Where I live now, we are one knicker factory away from the Rovers Return and a far fetched storyline. I half expected to see Ken Barlow strolling down the street to say hello.

So the plasterer was cracking on with a super job in the bedroom whilst I made many cups of tea.

Meanwhile the street was more lively than Notting Hill Carnival – I was out varnishing my new headboard (expect a post on this later), two houses down were also about decorating their house and offered us a beer at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon, our next door neighbours went out for milk and stopped for a 40 minute chat about anything and everything and a house down the street had a painter outside singing at the top of his voice.

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It was truly lovely, like proper Northerners all stood around over a cup of tea (or beer apparently) talking, sorry – complaining, about the weather. We felt very much at home.

As if we weren’t having a nice enough time, the neighbours on the other side of us had the carpet fitter in. We poached him for a quote – not only was it mega reasonable (here’s to living outside the M25) but he piled us all into his van to look at carpet samples, then we all marched upstairs to measure the room for carpets around the poor plasterer and had a lovely chat about it all. I do not think the plasterer was over enamoured with this turn of events, I think we might have been in his way a bit.

You may be thinking at this point, “Poor girl, what a dull dull life she leads, and why is she subjecting us to hearing about it?”

But I think it’s nice to know that human interaction is still very much a thing. I mean, honestly, I would rather poke myself in the eye than talk to someone on the tube but here – no it’s all different. It’s acceptable to talk to other people, I almost forgot that I could do it with such vigour.

Anyway, at least the plastering got done since I got nothing finished all day because of all the chit chat but if you don’t get the opportunity to justify your eating of your second, sorry – third, bacon sandwich of the day to a complete stranger you just met on your street, then you’re not having half as much fun as me.


Here is a final shot of the room, beautifully plastered.

Until next time