DIY ‘home sweet home’ banner

Hillarys Blinds are running a brilliant competition at the moment and this DIY fabric banner is my entry.

Bloggers could choose from four fabrics from Hillarys’ new Country Retreat range - I chose the pretty painterly ‘Calluna’ - and we received a square metre for a craft project. That’s not all: the winner gets £1,000! Told you it was good.

There are some great bloggers taking part so I don’t expect to win but I really enjoyed thinking about how best to use the fabric, and finally creating the banner wall art I’ve been wanting to make for ages.

DIY Home Sweet Home fabric banner | Read More →

What’s on in March and April

Spring is a great time to be getting out and about to events and I wanted to give you a heads up on a few things happening in the north in the next few weeks that have caught my eye. I’m hoping to get to them all so if you are too, say hi!

Advintageous spring vintage fair

♥ The Advintageous spring fair is at the Ridings Centre, Wakefield on Sunday 30 March, 10.30am-4.30pm

It’s fair to say I loved this event last year, so much that it won a permanent place in my heart. The organisers told me they were coming back bigger and better next time so I’m looking forward to seeing what else they’ve got up their puff sleeves.

It’s on mother’s day and it could be the perfect place to take your mum for a day out: browse the stalls, have a vintage makeover and a dance. What would be better?

Advintageous spring vintage fair, Ridings Centre, Wakefield | Read More →

How do you cope in tough times?

A couple of months ago, I wrote that my new year’s resolution was to be as happy and positive as possible.

I’m not doing too well at that to be honest.

So I thought I’d ask you: how do you cope with tough times?

There’s this thing going on in my life that I do want to share with you because I’m sure you’d help give me strength. But I can’t really tell the World Wide Web when I haven’t even told all of my family.

So I’ll write in pretty vague terms and hope it isn’t too annoying. The reason I’m saying anything at all is because it helps me to write things down, and I could do with some advice, even though my being necessarily cryptic will probably make it pretty impossible for anyone to give any.

What I’m asking is this: what helps you get through difficult times that you don’t have a lot of control over?  Read More →

I love antlers (and I don’t care!)

It’s hard to explain to a co-habitor why you want to put something in the house you share that seems completely incongruous.

If only my husband spent as much time on blogs and Pinterest as I do, he would immediately understand my love, and need, for antlers.

I know we live in a three bedroom suburban semi in Yorkshire, darling, and not a Scottish hunting lodge, but trust me, I said. 

That trust was tested when the first pair I ordered from Achica arrived. We both cracked out laughing at the size of them. He labelled them ‘mouse antlers’ and he wasn’t too far from the truth. They went back. He remained deeply sceptical.

But when the second pair arrived they completely hit the spot for me, while he said very little, which I’m taking as a victory.

Antler decor: stag antler shield from Rose and Grey | Read More →

Outfit of the week: pastel green

Blimey it’s been a long time since I blogged an outfit post! I’ve been waiting for the sun to come back out.

Pastel shades have been around for a while but I’m really pleased they’ve had staying power. These delicate, ice-cream colours were plentiful on the spring/summer 2014 catwalks (and at the more recent autumn/winter 2014 shows, for that matter) usually mixed with more macho metallics and shiny embellishments.

It’s a winning combination, especially when the sun is shining. I wore this outfit on a glorious Saturday when I had lunch here with friends.

Pastel green sweater, gem jewellery, black jeans and Jones Bootmaker Mercy boots | Read More →

DIY geometric bowl

This old black and white bowl had been hanging around in our various bathrooms for a number of years.

It was about to go in the bin, but its life was saved because it happened to be the perfect size to fit on a particularly awkward shelf below the new bathroom cabinet. I’ve been shopping around for something to fit – I’m thinking rectangular trough-style glass vase – but haven’t found anything yet.

I realised the bowl – albeit updated to better fit our new, modern space – could be a good stand-in. Even better, the way I had in mind to revamp it involved dusting off my humble Sharpie marker, responsible for by far my most popular DIY project, which continues to be be shared around the world. (Still amazing!)

For now the new-look geometric bowl is empty, but I’m thinking of planting mini succulents in it, just as soon as I find a place to buy them. (Do you know anywhere?)

DIY Sharpie project: monochrome geometric bowl | Read More →

Bathroom reveal!

It’s been a while – we started it in November – but I’m finally ready to share our finished bathroom.

The majority of the renovation work was completed before Christmas but since then we’ve been tying up loose ends and adding the all-important accessories.

First, let me remind you how horrible it was before – resplendent in 1970s blue and with all its ridiculous quirks – and all of the work that went on before we were even ready to put the new bathroom suite back in. It is weird (but also makes us proud) to look back and see how it was before and how far we’ve come now that we’ve lived with the new bathroom for a few weeks.

Bathroom makeover |

Bathroom makeover | Read More →

Let the light shine in

If you were designing your dream house from scratch, I’d put money on your ‘must haves’ including lots of glass at the back.

It’s hard to find an episode of Grand Designs that doesn’t have floor to ceiling windows or doors that open wide onto the decking or patio.

It’s not hard to see why, especially at this time of year when you’re thinking about throwing open your curtains and letting the light of the longed-for sun pour in.

That dream house would no doubt have an open plan kitchen/dining/living area with the wall of glass helping the inside merge with the outside.

In Britain, we may not have too many days when these big doors could be pulled and left wide open but when the temperature does rise, you sure want your house to be ready to make the most of it.

As I said in my post about spring, this is the year we demolish the downstairs: replace the brown, 1970s kitchen and change the outdated layout, from a through lounge diner and separate kitchen to a separate lounge and kitchen diner that stretches across the back of the house. We’ll also be replacing the dining area window with doors leading out into the garden. We’ll be pushed for wall and cabinet space in the kitchen so doors going all across the back are out, but we’ll definitely be making the opening as wide as possible.

Bifolding doors create open indoor space in boathouse | Read More →

A year on from dreaded diagnosis

Last May, Alex wrote this piece about our dear friend Emma who had been told her baby son has chronic liver disease. A year on from the diagnosis, and as a tribute to her sons, her inspiration, Emma wanted to write this piece about how she dealt with the news no mother ever wants to hear.

After the diagnosis she and her family began fundraising for a children’s liver disease charity, aiming to raise about £1,000. The total now stands at £13,500 and their fundraising efforts are continuing. If you’re moved by this story you can donate through the link at the end.


Tomorrow it will be a year ago since our previously perfect little world was turned on its head, when our gorgeous little boy Freddie Jack was diagnosed with a rare, life threatening and incurable liver disease.

We’d previously had six months of inconclusive tests, which had also given us six months of hope that, as Freddie thrived, whatever was causing him to jaundice may not be anything sinister and may just clear up of its own accord.

This couldn’t have been further from the truth and that hope was shattered as we sat in a meeting with a consultant and liver nurse on the afternoon of Monday 4th March 2013.

I thought I was prepared for the worst news. My husband absolutely would not think anything bad until we were told for definite.

The consultant sat opposite us on that day, asked us how Freddie had been, went through a couple of changes to his drugs and then told us, very casually and quickly (this isn’t a critism of him):

“The biopsy shows that Freddie has chronic liver disease.”

My head immediately felt like it had taken a very hard blow with a spade and I remember immediately thinking that maybe I hadn’t heard him right. I tried to focus and surprisingly managed to recover myself.

But then quickly came the second blow to the head, as the consultant continued delivering his news.

“Freddie has Alagille syndrome.”

I knew this was bad. A million times worse than I expected it to be. I wasn’t prepared at all. Read More →

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