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My Lockdown Purchases That Just Make Sense…

September 7, 2020
A picture of me in my flat sitting on my couch.  Taken before lockdown purchases when it looked very neat!

Full disclosure I have been very active on tictok hence the title of this post! If you aren’t familiar there is a trend to show things in your home that just make sense but today I am going to do my lockdown purchases that just make sense. Prior to lockdown I thought my home was very organised and not really in need of any updates big or small. However, like you being in my home for longer time periods has allowed me to see where small improvements could really change my space for the better.

Spice Rack Clips On The Pantry Door.

I purchased this spice rack from ebay and waited the customary billion weeks! If lock down has taught us anything I have def learnt patience. They arrived and I promptly stuck them on my pantry door with the thick tape adhesive they came with. In the middle of the heat wave. Not sure if it was the heat or just this tape ain’t that great but I woke in the middle of the night to loud banging and realised my spices were falling inside my cupboard! Disappointed but not discouraged I pulled out my £20 drill, charged her up and screwed those racks into the door. Solved and now I have plenty of space in my cupboard when I am trying to find something.

Tube Squeezer.

I saw a fancy version of this tube squeezer at Liberty’s. I asked them how much and they told me they didn’t sell them but were always asked about it. What followed was my business head having a conversation with the assistant about lost sales opportunities! Later I ordered this one from Amazon. Yes yes we aren’t meant to shop there anymore but this was beginning of lock down and I was stressed. There are cheaper plastic versions but darling for for this cause she is beautiful and you know it will last. Perfect to get every last drop out of your Aesop hand cream tube!

Mini Trampoline.

Well that was an unexpected step change to exercise. The minute it became obvious Boris was going to announce a lock down I stress searched the Internets for a mini trampoline. Did you know 10 minutes on a mini tramp is the same as a 30 minute job? But better for your joints. It’s the only thing I remember from that horrendous show ‘You are what you eat’. Remember the poo samples?! If you are too young then thank your lucky stars cause we saw it all! Anyway, digression, the mini tramp. She was cheap and cheerful purchase from Argos and I exercised three times a week for three months on her before she started to break. Not terribly just a seam came undone which meant a spring dropped mid jump! I sewed her back up because by then all the mint tramps were sold out, even the £400 plus ones. Now that the gyms are back open her and I have a session once a week. She is a fragile but I am also determined to get the most out of her before she becomes landfill. Note if you want one to do serious exercise on I recommend a tramp that has elastic where the springs are. These are the professionals pieces that gyms use and more expensive but much better long term for the earth.

Making

My Entrance Hall Progress…

May 25, 2020

This year I decided to focus on making over my entrance hall that really wasn’t functioning its best. It’s a small corner of my entrance that allows me to hide a bundle of shoes and a group of coats. There is a powerpoint that I use for my hairdryer because I can squish the cord under the bathroom door and do my hair in there. I still don’t understand why in the UK they don’t trust us with power in the bathroom! The lockdown has allowed me to think through what I want and this is the entrance hall progress.

I’ve chosen my paint shapes and used two beautiful blue based colours to create the artwork. To start with I painted the teal circle using a string/pencil combo to make the perfect shape. The arch was a little bit harder to work out as it is off centre. I started with the string/pencil combo but it didn’t feel right, slightly lopsided (as above). Creating a template with cardboard from a delivery I copied the left curve and used this to finesse the right curve (below). Perfect! The arch was so big I used a small roller which meant only one paint coat required.

After much searching for a shoe rack, it had to be black and small as the space is not as big as standard sizes, I ended up making the purchase from the Conran store. Originally I had found the Japanese brand on Amazon but at the beginning of lockdown my attitude towards Amazon changed and it being out of stock made me go elsewhere. Instead of a shelf for my hair tools I got a black wire basket from John Lewis. The tools are much bigger then I realised and the though of trying to balance them on a shelf gave me stress! Initially I thought I would hang the basket on the wall but it is very heavy with the tools. The shoe rack isn’t as full as I thought it would be and the black wire of the basket blends in seamlessly.

Next step is to remove the remaining items from the old coat rack. I still put it back in the space but need to move forward! I’ll pop it out in the communal area of my flat and someone is bound to take it. Then when lockdown is over a friends husband is coming to add a second powerpoint and I’ll sort out the fairy light cord situation. I think some command stripes and hooks will help. The final piece, the hanging coat rack, needs to be ordered. I’ve decided to wait until the end of this month to make sure I have the money set aside. One good thing about lockdown is it is easier to save money!

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Life

My Birthday Wish List…

May 18, 2020

Whilst it is a few months off until my birthday, my family are already asking for my birthday wish list!  They recently sent a package from Australia that took six weeks to get here.  Normally it takes two, maximum three weeks.  With these uncertain times I’m trying to stick to items from the EU.  However, there are a couple from Canada and Australia in there.

In the last couple of years since leaving advertising agency crazy life I have taken my birthday off to celebrate.  This year’s day is loosely planned out.  A sleep in and I’ll make myself a hot breakfast.  I’ve bought a ticket to Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms at the Tate Modern.  Not sure if that will still happen!  A late lunch at a Wahaca and its delicious Mexican food.  Previously I would have then gone to a theatre show but I think this time I will head home and watch a movie.  Splurge, and pay for a latest release!

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Books

Summer and Self Isolation Reading List…

May 11, 2020

A week prior to the official UK lockdown my work sent us home, and I had big ideas on reading a lot.  Truth is the first couple of weeks of lockdown were scary here, with daily changes to rules and more and more people getting ill.  I haven’t read any of these books, once I felt mentally better I stuck my nose into Harry Potter.  It has been decades since I read those books and rereading them has been so enjoyable.  There are so many differences between the books and movies with huge sections missing that make a great story.  To read these books I have been using my local libraries digital access.  If you have a local library membership, then it is likely the library has access to an online version too.  There are a few different ones worldwide, and most run on phone apps.  All I had to do was put in my membership number and pin and away I went.

If you are interested here are the books I panic bought and plan to read over the summer!  I’ve realised that putting this list together all the authors are female.  This wasn’t a deliberate act, but I am finding the stories more authentic then the ones I have read by men.

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

Recommended by a friend, this story is based in New York about a thirteen year old boy who’s circumstances result in them being left with a wealthy family friend.  Determined to own a small painting that reminds him of his mother, he is drawn into an criminal underworld.

Character Breakdown – Zawe Ashton

I listened to Ashton speak on Jessie Ware’s podcast, Table Manners, and instantly had a crush.  Ashton mentioned she had written a book about her experience learning characters and acting so I bought it!

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

This one is all over the internet as a popular read and it was on offer when I saw it.  The story is about a cove haunted by the ‘marsh girl’, a local murder and being loved.

Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman

I first read about this because the BCC have done an adaption and it broadcast just as lockdown happened in the UK.  The first of five books that portray a world where Africa were the conquers and white people became the slaves.  The series is praised for showing how subtle racism can be and arrogance towards others.

Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams

This one has been on my to read list for a long time.  Queenie is based in London and has been praised as a very honest view on black living today.

The Woman Who Stole My Life – Marian Keyes

I have previously loved reading Marian Keyes short story collections but her main books hadn’t appealed.  I have realised now I just wasn’t ready.  After reading Grown Ups I added this one to my pile for social isolation.  I have also got Watermelon on hold with the library as all Keyes fans recommend starting with this one.

Life Making

Different Ways to Paint My Entrance…

April 27, 2020

I’ve been thinking about my entrance hallway and how I want to make it over.  I am a lover of colour, but the thought of painting entire walls is not sitting well with me.  Within my home colour is in the furniture and accessories and I’ve realised I do enjoy the calmness of the white walls.  As part of my makeover I have thought about painting and as I have been searching for options these different ways to paint have come up.

Pops Of Colour On Doorway Edges.

I first saw this idea on Bright Bazaar who credits Martha Stewart Living where colour is added just to the edge of the door.  This is a great way to create colour impact without committing to an entire wall.  A great contrast adding colour against neutral walls. I also feel that this allows me to have a bright colour that might have been overwhelming on a bigger piece.

Image from Martha Living.

Creating Frames Around Doorways.

2lgstudio are colour lovers and design beautiful spaces for their clients.  I was particularly drawn to this scalloped framing around doorways.  Again, it allows a pop of colour without taking over an entire space. 

Beautiful Doorways by 2LG Studio.

Subtle Wall Stripes.

Emma Jane Palin is a fab designer blogger who loves bold colour, creativity and culture.  Not one to stop being a renter get in her way, Emma has injected design into her many abodes.  In her previous flat she added simple stripes at the top of her walls.  I like the one she did in the bedroom that added the scallop motif as well.

Stripes from Emma Jane Palin.

Arches and Circles.

With small spaces adding colour can be encroaching and I adore the way Gen from Collective Gen has added this arch in her daughter’s bedroom.  This simple design creates a distinct space for the bookshelf.  Gen has also experimented with painting half her front door using this approach of creating shapes. 

Front Door Magic From Collective Gen.

For the moment the arches and circles idea are my favourite.  The scallop look is a close second.  I want to wait until all the pieces including the hanger are installed before I decide.

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Life Making

How To Hang Curtains…

April 20, 2020

I moved into my flat three years ago and I was flat broke! I was sleeping on the floor and had only two chairs and a table. You can read more about that here. I also didn’t have any curtains. Instead I had a very old duvet cover and a shower curtain which I hung across the windows with command hooks! Once my bank account had recovered I saved up for blinds and my dad showed me how to use a drill to hang them.

Forgive me these photos were taken ages ago when I did this and my photography and editing skills weren’t great. It is what it is!

This was the situation in my bedroom! A piece of blackout curtain was stuck permenantly to the window with hooks and bluetack. A blind pulled down in front of it to make it look nicer! Sometimes on the weekend I would take it down to let in light. The window could be open at any time. I longed for the day when I could open my curtains but the blind would stop nosy parkers as I got dressed. Not having to turn the light on would be so lovely. Saving for my lusted after West Elm Velvet Curtains took nearly three years and I thought I would share with you how I hung the curtains.

I decided I wanted the rod and hardware to be black and whilst the West Elm products are lovely I settled for these Ikea ones. It all came down to budget! First tip is that Ikea do not supply screws to hang the hardware so I had to nip out and purchase those.

Using the curtain holder I marked on the wall the gap where the screws could go. I wanted there to be enough room at both ends to tuck part of the curtain around the holder. This way when I pull the curtains the whold panel doesn’t move to the other side. For this curtain pole I left a 5cm clearance.

Using the drill bit I made the holes for one of the curtain holders. I decided to complete one at a time to not rush. Now that I have more confidence in the drill I would have done all the holes and not had to change the bits as many times. Placing the curtain holder in the right spot I screwed in both screws. Done! Once I had completed the second curtain holders I added the covers.

To make things a bit easier I left both ends off the curtain rod and threaded on the curtains. Lifting these up in the holders I was then able to add the ends. To ensure that hte curtain doesn’t move across the whole rod I made sure one curtain tab was on the ‘wrong’ side of the curtain holder. After living with this for a few hours I moved another tab over which helped to balance and also prevent any light coming through the side crack.

Using a drill does have this scary overtone but it is quick an easy skill to pick up. If you are unsure get some scrap pieces of timber and practice on those. The biggest thing I forget when drilling is to click the drill in reverse to get the drill bit out! I soon remember as the bit will not budge without it!

Now that I have lived with the curtains for a couple of months I need to jump back up and adjust the curtain holder on the left. When I was fiddling around with it and extending the curtain rod the older moved and actually it needs to be further to the left of the window.

Do you do any DIY at home? PF xo

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