A Look Around My Home – Kitchen

Today, I thought I would share a look around my kitchen as I have shared a look around other parts of my home previously (which you can find here) but not yet shared my kitchen at all.

Just to let you know that this post IS IMAGE HEAVY… (just to warn you in case it doesn’t load on your device…)

I’m pretty happy with this room so far but I still want to finish painting it green at some point!

What is your kitchen like?  Let me know in the comments!

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House Plants

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House plants are an easy way to bring the outdoors in, they add a bit of life and interest to otherwise bare areas and can help to improve the air quality in the home.  There have also been reports, recently, that caring for house plants can help to lower stress levels, improve our mood and help with mental health.

I have several houseplants which have survived nearly a whole year, I’m quite proud of that as most plants I have had in the past have generally lasted a few weeks or months.  The trick, I have found is to assess what kind of environment the plants need, is it bright, sunny, warm spaces or do they prefer darker cooler spots?  Does the plant mind a draft or will they thrive in areas with little to no drafts?  Other things to consider are how easy the plant is to maintain, for example, does the plant need a lot of watering and caring for, or is it happy to be watered whenever?  Does the plant need regular dead-heading or de-leafing or some kind of pruning or can it just be left to do its thing?

I have learned over time that I am terrible when it comes to watering plants, I tend to forget when they have been watered which can lead to them being overwatered or not watering them enough.  I have also come to realize that I’m not the sort of person that wants to faff around with pruning, dead-heading or de-leafing, a simple routine of watering every now and again and dusting off the leaves occasionally is good for me!

Plants that I have found to be easy to care for are

Areca Fern (which I have in my bathroom) which was purchased in Wilkinsons around a year ago.

Dragon Plant (in my living room) bought from my local Wilkinsons store when I moved in last year.

Peace Lily (in my living room) which was given to me as a moving in present nearly a year ago.  This has only flowered once but I’m hoping that it will flower again at some point!

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Cactus and succulents (in my dining area).  I have had the cacti in the red bowl for 10 years and the succulents are around 3 years old.  I picked up the cacti in my local garden center and the succulents came from my local Tesco.

Avocado trees, which I grew from the stone, in my dining area window.  They are now around 4 years old.

Aloe Vera (which is thriving on my kitchen windowsill).  I bought this a few years ago from Ikea, it seemed like a healthy plant when I bought it but a week or so later it seemed to be dying, after a bit of TLC it has perked up and is now looking pretty healthy!

I am really pleased that all my plants seem to be doing well, and knowing that they can improve my overall mood and health is an added benefit.

What sort of houseplants do you have?  Let me know in the comments!

 

What Is Minimalism?

This is the second post in my “What Is….?” series.  The first post I wrote was about Maximalism and you cna find that post here.

We hear so much about Minimalism these days, its uttered like a magic word in so many different places and has been seen as a cure for mental health ailments, consumerism, hoarding, environmental issues (such as the problem we have with plastics) and a host of other things, but what really is minimalism?

When we think of minimalism images of white rooms with sleek furniture spring to mind, rooms that are soul less and personality free, junk and clutter free, but I think that is probably the most unfair, stereotypical image to have.

Minimalism is living with fewer material things, and only living with what you really need.

It’s about simplifying your life, home, your wardrobe, your possessions.

It’s about only having what you need and doing away with excess things that can hinder your life.

It’s about choosing experiences over material goods.

It is about focusing on what really matters, the things of value in our lives and letting go of the things that hinder that sight.

Minimalism is not about doing without or having a bland home, life or style.  Neither is it about being frugal or not having any fun.  Rather Minimalism enhances the fun.

Minimalism is a blank canvas on which to place your values and your goals.

Minimalism is a simpler way of life.

 

Project Make – Hallway Floor and Back Door Mat

The hallway in my house had laminate wood flooring which hadn’t been laid very well, was a bit battered and never seemed to look clean which always irked me somewhat. I really wanted to cover it with something as I was unable to remove it due to being rented accommodation.

I looked everywhere for a hall runner rug that would fit the 4 meter 10cm length and that would also fit width ways. The hallway starts off wide at the door and becomes narrow toward the foot of the stairs which made it awkward to find something suitable that would work well. The cost of the cheapest rug that I found was around £80 and came in really mundane solid colours – brown, grey and a golden colour, and most of the others I found I didn’t really like the pattern or colour of in a higher price bracket. There was nothing that I truly loved that fitted my style, that is until I started thinking about other types of flooring.

My first thought was carpet tiles as they were pretty cheap to buy and easy to fit too but, being a hallway I thought that might be a bit impractical with dirt being bought in from outside. I then thought about vinyl flooring as it is hard-wearing and can be cleaned really easily but the patterns that were available were not really anything that I liked. I wanted something bright, fun, easy to install, easy to keep clean, and even easier to replace if I needed to for whatever reason, it also needed to fit my budget. It was when I started to rethink over getting carpet tiles that a thought occurred to me… I knew what would fit my specifications perfectly and would be a pretty unique choice for flooring…kids soft foam play area tiles!

This is the outcome! I ordered these from here. When they arrived I opened up the packets and went about sorting them into colours before starting on laying them down.

I prepped the floor by sweeping and hoovering to get up every last bit of dust and dirt, I didn’t want to cause any further damage to the laminate underneath so this was a vital step.

I then chose the colour scheme I wanted, choosing to place the coloured tiles together to create a stripe effect and placed the first tile at the foot of the stairs and worked my way back towards the door. I then removed the first tile I had laid and cut one of the edge flat, removing the “teeth” before placing it back down and shuffling the tiles up so the cut edge butted up against the rise of the step.

The next cut I made was the tile to go against the door. Once I’d got this row in I was able to work my way back up towards the stairs and remove the teeth from the side closest to the wall and move the tiles into place.  I then added the next row which just needed the teeth removing from both ends.

The third row was the trickiest as I needed to cut down some of the tiles to fit the shape of the wall so that the tiles fitted snugly without any room for movement.  To do this I took each tile, laid it over the tiles that were there and made marks where the teeth and tile met.  The tricky part to this is to remember to make the marks on the opposite side of the tile to where you are measuring otherwise you will end up with the cut going in the wrong direction… so mark the left side of the tile to be cut with the right side of the tile that is already in place.  Be sure to put the tile fully against the wall before making the mark too!

Once all the tiles were in place the only thing I needed to do was to finish the edge near the doorway, this was fairly simple as I was working with a straight edge so only needed to take a measurement and cut a straight line.  I did have to go around a pipe but that too proved to be fairly easy to navigate… once Id cut the tile to the right size I laid it down and made a mark where the cuts needed to be to fit the tile around the pipe, then using scissors I made a small cut to each mark, then refit the tile to see if the cuts were deep enough to accommodate the pipe before removing the tile and making the last cut.  I then re-fitted the tile.

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I had left over tiles and decided to use these to make a back door mat in the same way!

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What do you think of my flooring idea?  Is it something you would try in your home?

Room Divider

The downstairs of my home consists of a front door that opens onto a narrow hallway with a door that leads into the living area.  The living area consists of 2 rooms that have been knocked into one with a bit of an archway separating the 2 spaces with a kitchen right at the back that leads onto my garden.  I love the main space, it feels big and airy and light, and I love that even though it is one big space it still manages to hold the definition of 2 separate spaces so well.

Having the space set up as 2 separate rooms, the main “living room” area at the front of the house – where watching tv, sitting and relaxing, chatting with friends, reading takes place, and the “dining room” area towards the back, nearest the kitchen, made the most sense to me.  I liked the idea of having areas defined by their use and making the most of the archway between what was the partition wall at one point.  I started to think about creating a proper divide for the space, the idea that I could close off one part of the space if I wanted for privacy or if it got chilly in winter and I wanted the space to feel more cozy seemed really appealing.  At first I thought about using my Ikea Kallax Unit to divide the space and had seen some really neat ideas using units in this way on Google, however I was worried that it could make moving between areas awkward, that I would lose floor space in one of the areas and that it would look more clumsy than cozy.

I settled on the idea of using material to divide the space, something similar to curtains, not only would it be cozy in the winter, it would be tactile and a playful addition to the pompoms Id already added to the space.  I thought that more texture and print would fit together perfectly.  I found just what I was looking for one evening on Amazon…  I knew that I didn’t want anything to heavy as it would be a pain to hang, I also didnt want fabric that was too thick as I wanted them to be easy to clean, wash and dry.  I also didn’t want anything to plain or “traditional” as it wouldn’t fit my style.  What I wanted was something that was bright, patterned, fitted with the colours of the room, was a little bit hippy, easy to care for and even easier to hang and live with!  I love the mandala print of these hangings, and the colours too, they seemed perfect to me.  I was a bit unsure, once they had been delivered as the colours were not as bright as I had imagined or seen in the listing but decided to hang them and see what they looked like anyway…

I hung these with Command Hooks and some pegs for the short-term, though they have been hanging since July and I’ve not changed the hanging method yet, so that may not change!

I’m really happy with the space divider, using hangings to create the divide has worked out really well, they have added texture and colour as well as being a privacy screen when needed though I have not really used it to its full capacity –  the curtains mainly stay open but as it gets colder and the nights get darker that may change!  And despite my reservations on the colour difference when I recieved them, I’m liking them a lot, they are not overbaringly bright and garish and really go well with the rest of the room and the decor!

Moving In and Decorating

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Picked Up The Keys!
I moved to my new home in July, moving, though stressful, especially when things didn’t go to plan for one reason or another, was all completed in a day.  I went with my friend to collect the keys, hired a van, loaded and unloaded then began unpacking.  I hadn’t got much furniture but that made decorating a bit easier as there wasn’t anything to work around or move out of the way.

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And…I’m in!!!!
I decorated in the first few weeks that I was here and had already decided upon painting the downstairs rooms pink and blue, leaving some of the walls the original magnolia colour.  I chose B&Q Colours silk paints in Electric Blue and Playful Pink after doing some research into colours and application, drying time and price.  I also looked into different paint application methods – roller, brush and paint pads, choosing the latter for ease and mess reduction.  I chose the Diall Paint Pad set as it came with a paint tray, two different sized paint pads and the paint pad handle and seemed to be the best value for money.  I also picked up a Harris Angled Brush as I knew from previous experience that an angled brush was easier for cutting in around the edges of the walls and allowed for a neater finish.

Once I had gathered all my supplies together (and made a coffee) I began by masking off the skirting boards and applying paint to the edges of the walls before in filling with the paint pad.  This was my first time using a paint pad and I found it much cleaner than using a brush or roller.  The basics of using a paint pad are to attach the handle to the chosen pad, pour some paint into the tray, rest the paint pad on the paint for around 30 seconds, wipe off excess, put the pad flat against the wall and drag it up and down the wall before changing direction – going diagonal until an area is covered before repeating.  I was really impressed with how easily and quickly the paint went on and had finished the first coat in under 20 mins.  I did need to do a second coat of paint but that was to be expected with such a vibrant colour.

I painted the side walls of the arches with the pink paint, using masking tape on the end walls to create a panel that was as wide as the arch sides and painting them pink in order to complete the look I was going for.  The pink paint seemed to apply better than the blue and only really needed touching up in a few places rather than fully applying a second coat.

Next time I will be sharing the finishing touches I added once the paint was dry and also share some pictures of the nearly completed space 🙂