Update update!

Argh – I have neglected my blog. I feel bad about this as I was so passionate about keeping it up to date for so long. I think the problem is two fold…

  1. I was playing catch up, telling our story room by room with historical photos and tales. Now I am in essence updating in real time so have much less to work with.
  2. The changes we are making now are much less seismic. We are even re-renovating things we renovated when we first moved in.

But just to get you all up to speed on progress – here are some pics from this summer. A summer where we were visitor free for the first time since we bought the house so in theory we should have had loads more time. Our first project was to redecorate the kitchen.

Here is how our kitchen looked when we first bought the house, complete with Flintstones grotto..


yabba dabba do!


And here is how it looked once we’d painted and added in a kitchen.


overtly olive in 2011

But this summer we decided to give it an overhaul. It was the first thing we decorated when we moved in and as such it was looking a bit tired. And I’d also tired of the Overtly Olive walls that we’d plumped for when we first moved in.

So I headed to B&Q and bought myself many tubs of Valspar Smoky Lashes and some Dulux Egyptian Cotton. And voila – add in a metal sign we found in a Vide Grenier and we have a brand new kitchen. The ceiling still needs to be painted but we both feel a it sick at the prospect of forty or more in between beam sections.

Next visit I am replacing the floor but may stick with a black and white theme as it feels like part of the house.

And I simply can’t part with the ‘ugly chair’ I bought after a fight with a woman in IKEA’s bargain corner. It was one of the first things we got when we bought the house and just needed anything to sit on. It has housed the bum of all our guests who sit in front of the fire checking their emails or reading a book and despite stains, burn holes and general wear and tear, I think it has to stay.

image image

Kitchen on a budget


OK so for all the interiors lovers reading this blog I thought I should start doing some ‘get the look’ posts. I am, after all, a journalist – so if I can’t do the research for you then its not much of a blog. You want links right? You want to be able to buy the stuff I’ve bought for my house and recreate it in your own home. Such an interiors addict am I that some of my children’s first words were ‘tear books’ and ‘mood boards’. So here in the first of a series is my GET THE LOOK page…. first up – kitchen

VÄRDE Base cabinet IKEA Free-standing; easy to place and move. Adjustable legs; stands steady on uneven surfaces too.

Ikea varde base unit

Kitchen units – IKEA VARDE and as I already explained – my particular Varde units were bought via ebay making them even cheaper than IKEA! As this is a freestanding kitchen, it seems that people quite often buy these as a temporary measure while having a kitchen fitted so there are lots of them on ebay in really good condition. And they come with worktops so you can just buy and throw into a room and you are done!

VÄRDE Wall shelf Width: 50 cm Depth: 21 cm Height: 140 cm

ikea varde wall shelf

VÄRDE Drawer unit IKEA Freestanding unit; easy to install and move. Adjustable legs; stands steady on uneven surfaces too.

varde drawer unit



We had planned to mix and match a bit more with our kitchen but having bought all this varde stuff I also had a tear in my famous tears book for some amazing wicker lampshades that came from IKEA. And so I decided to get those too. Full price. Imagine that?

LERAN Pendant lamp IKEA Handmade shade; each shade is unique. Gives both directed and diffused light, good for lighting up a dining table.

ikea leran pendant

And then we have amassed loads of great rustic looking things. We have loads of open shelving with our Lincoln crockery piled high which Peter buys up on ebay all the time. The best place to buy it is chinasearch or ebay. It originally came from BHS in the 1980s and sadly they no longer do it. But in later posts you’ll see my other great BHS finds. Im not saying I’d buy clothes there BUT the homeware is really great and the sales AMAZING. Check out bhs.co.uk


BHS lincoln – rustic from the high street

And we have loads of French yellow confit pots. Some provided by Madame Landauer and some picked up for next to nothing at Vide Greniers. In the UK they are quite desirable and some places sell new ones for a fortune. ImageYou can find something really similar in terms of french rustic cook pots at Toast.


French pots from Toast.co.uk


Or for more french style homewears try Plumo where I stumbled upon this lovely vase that looks just like one of our vide Grenier finds.

amphora vase from Plumo

And finally, I love giant clocks. And the best place I have found to track down giant clocks is Graham and Green. I have clocks from there in my London home and I splashed out and bought this one for my french kitchen.


Wall clock from Graham and Green

So there you have it. Add in lots of blue and white plates which I am adding to all the time buying them up at vide greniers for 1 EURO or less and lots of empty vanilla yoghurt pots lined up on the fireplace. I could tell you where to buy the pokemon game pictured on the worktop here – but it is possibly the worst thing we’ve ever bought. Kids love it. Its interminable. Stick with the cook wear!