A Fresh Coat of Paint Can Change the Whole Feel of a Room

A fresh coat of paint in the kitchen/dining room

It’s been a little hectic around here lately but as we’ve had a couple of months of getting more rooms decorated, I’m starting to feel a bit more organised. Early September we had our kitchen/dining room redecorated and it’s brought a new lease of life to the place and allowed me to shift some more clutter. The walls had been a blue colour for around five years and… it… just… needed… to… go…!

My daughter (who has a good eye for what goes with what) hated the colour for years and now it’s decorated I’m so glad she kept on about it, ha ha. I’m so pleased that we made the change because the space is so much brighter and more welcoming and I love it!

This is what it used to look like…

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An Exciting New Loft Space to Organise

Yesterday I was feeling a bit anxious because of all the things I had on my to do list. My main focus after work was to remove the Christmas decorations and suitcases from the loft and bag up any final bits of rubbish. I stacked all the stuff I wanted into the spare room and shut the door knowing that the next time I went in there would be to GET ORGANISED. I was worn out at that point though and only just about had enough strength to vacuum the hallway (which didn’t go too well as it stopped picking up the dirt properly – a job for another day). I then got as far as writing the first few lines of this paragraph before I eventually fell into bed absolutely shattered.

I took ‘before’ photos of the loft space after I’d emptied most of it, including one of a poor little stuffed piglet shown below (which I know didn’t belong to us) hidden under a pile of insulation.

An almost empty and messy loft space ready for new boarding and shelving

The Transformation

Josh and Marrcin from The Loft Storage Company turned up just before 8am and got to work on removing the centre structure shown above which was where the old water tank used to be. The few existing boards that were down were also removed as well as the old ladder and water tank. They then raised and strengthened the existing loft joists and added high grade moisture resistant chipboard.

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Getting Motivated to Clean the Bathroom Clutter and Grime

A nice clean bathroom

I usually have a bath in the evening, but yesterday I had an early morning one instead and because it was light (can’t have a candlelit bath in the morning, ha ha) I noticed yukky mouldy marks on the ceiling as well as dirt all around the shower head and extractor fan. The whole room was in need of a good clean and as I had this morning off, and had a good night’s sleep last night, I felt motivated to do this very task.

Getting started

Balancing on the edges of the bath, I sprayed a HG Bathroom Mould Spray on the ceiling and wall tiles around the shower and left it for 30 minutes to do its work. When I went back into the room, the solution started dripping on my head so I got a shower cap and protective painting shirt (and my goggles and mask again 😂) and took EVERYTHING out of the room.

I couldn’t believe how much we’d packed in there. To be absolutely honest, I have only been cleaning the bits I could see for a while now in my weekly clean (tut tut). One of my daughters mostly uses the main bathroom and I have a bath in it some evenings, if I’m not using my ensuite, so it’s not even everyone’s stuff in there, it’s just ours.

With all the clutter out in the hallway, I sprayed and scrubbed everything in the bathroom, particularly the tiles in the shower area (I’d been dreading it but it was actually very satisfying). It’s also quite nice cleaning when there were no bottles etc. in the way.

The marks on the ceiling came off with just a wipe so it wasn’t that bad. I then asked my husband how I should clean the extractor fan and he said ‘that’s your area of expertise’. I didn’t quite know what to say about that so I decided to become an expert on cleaning extractor fans 😀.

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Finally Getting Around to Emptying the Loft

Emptying the loft is hard work but very satisfying. You can definitely break a sweat and it’s great exercise with the multiple trips up and down the loft ladder and stairs in order to get the stuff out of the house.

Yesterday I put on my protective goggles and face mask (due to allergies) and emptied quite a bit of the loft which consisted of items that we’d put in sealed boxes up there over the years and random items that the previous owners (13+years ago) left all over the place. Due to the fact that we have limited boarding in the loft, it was all crammed in and difficult to access therefore I’d forgotten what we’d put up there.

Part way through clearing, I found a few offcuts of carpet which the previous owners left. It’s the carpet that we’re about to replace around the house so that can go! They felt quite heavy when I tried to move them yesterday so my husband is going to help me tackle that one today. I also spotted a three drawer bedside cabinet in the corner which I definitely didn’t put up there – not sure how I’m going to get it out without taking it apart. It’s in good working order so it might be worth keeping it up there to store bits and bobs in.

Luckily, the loft is not as full as the garage so not really much to go through but it was just awkward to get to the stuff as I needed to balance on the joists in order to get to certain areas. Our loft hatch was made larger length-ways last year and it made me feel very nervous when I was balancing on joists near the opening.

A trip to the tip today

After many trips from loft to garden yesterday, I ended up with a full patio of boxes, bags and random items ready to sort out.

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A Cold Bank Holiday Monday is an Opportunity to Potter Around the House

Today is a dreary and cold bank holiday Monday… and it’s not ideal because it’s still August and it’s the last bank holiday in the UK before Christmas. Having said that, this weather is perfect for getting things off the to-do list. You don’t feel guilty about doing things around the house when it’s not sunny outside. It also helps if you do some sort of exercise first such as a brisk walk as it’s known to increase motivation and this helps you get started.

Being inside and not having plans to go anywhere today means that I am ticking things off my to-do list. Some things are not even on a list at all; they are just constant reminders as I walk around the house of things I haven’t done, such as:

  • accumulated recycling by the back door,
  • batteries that need testing to see if they are new or used,
  • washing that needs doing,
  • bins in every room that need emptying,
  • clothes that need washing or putting away,
  • paperwork accumulating (old and new stuff)
  • other general clutter

These reminders of jobs not done are never-ending. Today I’m getting things done one by one and it’s actually looking tidy around here.

We had a full day out yesterday and we have a full day out tomorrow, but today is just a potter day. I do love those kind of days sandwiched between two days out.

So, wherever you are in the world, whether it’s a bank holiday or not, and irrespective of what the weather is like, is there still enough time left in the day to have a potter about and see what you can get done? Arm yourself with a black sack, a recycling bag and a charity bag, set the timer and take the bags around with you as you go. I’ve filled one large black sack, one large recycling bag and even though I already took three bags to the charity shop on Friday, I still managed to find a few more items.

I guarantee you will feel better after your allotted time of pottering about. You can even reward yourself with a cup of tea and a treat afterwards.

Until next time…


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A Little Self-care for Hair

This evening I washed my hair with a new shampoo and conditioner that my daughter has been using. To set the scene, my daughter is in her mid teens and later this week she is going to have the ends of her hair coloured. The style she’s going for is called ‘Balayage’ (a new word to me, but the photos that she’s shown me look amazing).

I looked up the word ‘Balayage’ and it’s French for ‘to sweep or paint’, and the way the stylist does it is freehand using a painting technique to apply the colour very naturally and only where needed. She’s very excited about having it done and I’ll be going with her to watch the work of art taking place.

Although this style is pretty low maintenance, does not touch the roots, and is more natural looking during the regrowth period, someone recommended that my daughter uses a thickening shampoo and conditioner called Plantur for the week leading up to her having it done. This way her hair will be at its thickest and best condition when she has the colour added to her hair.

Plantur shampoo and conditioner

When the products arrived, I read the packaging and liked the sound of it as it’s actually recommended for women who are 40+ and pre-menopausal as it protects the hair roots when estrogen levels start to decrease.

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Giving Away Clothes That Don’t Bring Me Joy Anymore

When I was decluttering last year, I gave away quite a few items of clothing but I never finished going through all of them. Today I decided to get everything out and have another sort through. As I value my husband’s opinion, I asked him to help me decide about each item as I tried it on. I also asked my girls about one or two items (which they quite rightly laughed at).

I was surprised at how quickly I was making decisions today. Clothes were being tossed in the charity bag pile without hesitation. This pile of clothes was the result of my efforts today. I’ve already booked a slot to give three more bags to charity next Friday, and these will fill one bag nicely.

Clothes to be donated

The only item that my husband and I disagreed on was my blue denim jacket. He said that I would never wear it, but I decided that I might one day. I asked my teenage girls what they thought and the youngest said ‘keep it, but please don’t wear it with blue jeans’ 😃.

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Letting Go of Even More Stuff

I’ve talked about getting a skip or going to the tip many times over the last few years and a couple of days ago I actually booked an hour’s slot at our local household waste and recycling centre. It was easier and quicker than I thought and free!

Feeling pleased with my decision, I part-loaded the car last night with the contents of the medium sized hippo bag that had been unnecessarily taking up space in the garage for the last year. This morning I finished loading up the car with bits of the old sofa that we had destroyed a month or so ago (more on that in another post).

On arrival at the Household Waste and Recycling Centre

I didn’t really know what to expect when I entered the site but the workers there were extremely helpful and showed me where to put everything. My eldest daughter came with me (to which I am very grateful) and helped me carry the stuff to each designated areas. We were in and out in 20 minutes and when I got home the next thing on my list was to take four bags to the charity shop (a task I’ve been consistent with over the last year – I think I’ve donated over 60 bags so far).

I actually went round the house this afternoon looking for things to fill the fourth bag, and succeeded. It included a pair of welly boots that someone donated to me and I never wore, as well as a pretty pink bag that my daughter found at the back of her wardrobe.

2 of the many items donated to charity today

So, things are looking up for me. Now I know how easy it is to get rid of bulky items, I shall be finding more and more stuff to take to rye recycling centre. I know that I could have just got a skip but that would have cost money and I actually got a lot of satisfaction in throwing things into the large containers today.

Next steps

Over the next couple of weeks I plan to get rid of some items in the loft and also more from the garage and garden. I can book the recycling centre four times in any four weeks which is good news.

All and all a productive day and I’m feeling very pleased with myself, particularly as I don’t have this monstrosity in my way in the garage anymore.

All taken to the recycling centre today

Until next time…


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Putting What I’ve Learnt into Practice and Finding Balance

I recently studied for a course called ‘Children and Young People’s Mental Health’, and whilst doing it, I got the chance to put what I’d learnt into practise. Amongst other topics, I had been reading and answering questions on stress, anxiety and depression, learning about various definitions and the impact that each one had on children and young people.

More importantly, I learnt how to identify triggers that could lead to mental health issues in children and young people. Having two girls in their mid-teens this is very important to me and something I felt should be on my radar.

Putting what I’d learnt into practise

To set the scene, I was studying in the shade in the garden. I was two weeks behind with finishing the course and had to apply for an extension due to working such long hours in my day job.

I was overwhelmed with my growing list of things to do and was quite stressed myself and finding it hard to concentrate. It was at that point that my youngest daughter came outside and told me that she was worried about her mock exams and needed some help looking through some practice exam papers.

I literally stopped worrying about my own situation, and recognised the stress signs that I’d been learning about. It propelled me into action and we went through a past exam paper together.

Our actions impact our children

I have so many examples of where, when I look back, I would have done things differently. This is why I continue to learn and improve my ways so that I can try and get it right. I feel very passionate about doing the right thing and my newly learnt skills are shining through. I passed the course by the way!

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Making Family Time Essential

After a busy working week, I just wanted to ‘do my own thing’ so I went for a walk and was then going to plan my day around what was on my to do list. I wanted to potter about the house tidying things up as well as sit in the garden reading a book that I’d bought. Just the thought of asking anyone else what they wanted to do made me feel stressed because everyone usually wants to do something different and then I end up trying to please everyone.

My youngest (almost 15) had a different idea and announced that she wanted us all to play board games together. I really didn’t feel in the mood to play games so I said ‘maybe later’. She looked sad about that and walked out the room. I felt bad.

How a book I was listening to changed my mind there and then

I was listening to Essentialism by Greg McKeown and bizarrely the very next thing he was talking about was how important play is for creativity, creating memories and how ‘the essentialist knows that play is essential… and sparks exploration’. You can probably guess that the whole point of me listening to the book was to learn the benefits of being an essentialist.

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