As it turns out, in terms of styling, the new bathroom doesn’t look anything like I planned it would in my musings before we moved in.
There are a few of reasons why not.
Firstly, regrettably, this is not a country cottage, Scandinavian chalet or the renovation project French barn I dream of putting a bathroom in one day.
Secondly, there are two people in our house and the other one is entitled to an opinion – especially as he’s the one doing the lion’s share of the donkey work (apologies for mixing animal metaphors).
Thirdly, sometimes it’s harder to start with a firm idea of what you want, then shop for it, than to go shopping and just go with what you like when you see it.
All three had an influence. When I asked my husband what kind of look he wanted the bathroom to have, he said (and he probably wouldn’t want me sharing this because it’s not in keeping with the masculine image) “something like a spa.” This didn’t help me visualise what was in his imagination because, as far as I knew, he’d never set foot in a spa, except when I dragged him in one briefly on our recent wedding anniversary.
While I was still semi-committed to white subway tiles on the walls, he found these in Al Murad. I can see now what he meant, and I have to agree it works. After that decision, many other things fell into place.
Things have been a little quieter on the blog over the last couple of weeks because we’ve been tackling the next major jobs on our house ‘to do’ list.
We’re aiming to get all of the upstairs done by the end of the year, so that means renovating the third and final bedroom and the bathroom.
You’ve seen the master bedroom and I would show you the smallest bedroom, destined to be the study, but it’s full of junk that has been displaced from other parts of the house that are being worked on.
Some people moan that bloggers only show the pretty parts of their houses, or themselves in full make-up and fresh from a manicure.
Well here’s our horrid bathroom, warts and all.
It’s probably been like this since 1973, when the house was built, and while everything worked fine its looks have been something of an embarrassment.
It was turquoise blue, the tiles were awful, the floor was lino and, well, the shower set-up was a little out of the ordinary. It’s also tiny but there’s not a great deal we can do about its physical size. The refurb won’t really make it big enough for the both of us, but we’re hoping that making it lighter and brighter will make it feel more spacious.
It was a Friday night and Leeds’ grand town hall was full of hundreds of the city’s most fashion-conscious people.
The DMB (Dress Me Beautiful) fashion show has been going a eight years but this was my first time. The organisers are all about supporting local, up-and-coming and recently graduated designers.
Even better, it raises money for charity. This year’s beneficiary was Bethany’s Smile, started by a 12-year-old girl whose dance school also opened the show with a Gatsby-inspired number.
The atmosphere and energy had no problem filling the huge hall and I was really impressed by the whole show, with many of the designs really capturing the imagination with their courageous style, colour and flair. There was androgynous tailoring, wearable prints, punk and sportswear influences, mixed textures – fringing, feathers, velvet and sheer fabric – and metallics nearly everywhere.
It included a competition for young designers and the unanimous winner – Mabel – will go on to be stocked by expanding Leeds designer clothes store Accent. Mabel’s green ombre dress with exposed midriff was probably my favourite design of all.
I’ll come clean now and apologise for being a bad blogger: this event took place more than three weeks ago, but I’ve been busy renovating two rooms in our house (more to come on that soon) and I took so many pictures at this show it’s taken forever to sort them out.
But here, finally, are some of the most noteworthy looks of the night.
There’s nothing to make you feel old like the regurgitation of a fashion trend you remember clearly the first time round.
This is what I’m going through with the comeback of 90s grunge.
I would say I was a clean-living grunger. I was in my mid-teens. Nirvana was genuinely the first band I loved: I played my Nevermind cassette over, and over, and over, while many of my peers lusted for Take That. But the rips on my jeans were perfectly positioned, my checked shirt ironed and my hair washed regularly – and permed, tragically, because a true grunger would have worn it lank and straight with a centre parting.
A lot of the stuff I’m seeing labelled as 90s grunge isn’t really, at least not in the purist, what-I-remember, first-time-round sense. It has a naughties slant: it’s a bit more glam, which isn’t altogether a bad thing, as in the 90s grungers were rather grubby, melancholy young things who frowned upon the use of shampoo. Courtney Love was a hero to many girl grungers but she was not one it was sensible to aspire to (still isn’t).
Nonetheless I’ve felt a warm nostalgia while shopping recently. The clothes coming through remind me of being in my best friend’s bedroom, wondering how to get the most popular boys in school to notice us and tearing and fraying our new Levi’s jeans – to the horror of our mums – with a nail file (this is still my no. 1 DIY tip for a natural ripped denim look).
I’ve never completely grown out of the 90s. I still prefer casual over dressed-to-kill and a big, chunky knit can do no wrong.
To embrace the look, you shouldn’t be scared of stealing from the boys, tie your check shirt at your waist, make the army surplus store your new best friend and fray your jeans (just don’t let your mum find out you did it on purpose).
The nights are getting colder and darker, the leaves are changing colour and falling from the trees, and all this is reflecting in my wish lists and Pinterest boards. Here’s what I’m currently coveting.
Sheepskin and leopard print, especially rugs thrown on furniture, heels and these slip-on Kurt Geiger pumps…
We all know that if you’re prepared to put the time in, TK Maxx is a prime place to find a one-off designer gem at a bargain price.
The Leeds store on The Headrow is one of my favourites around because, well, it’s huge. It also has a Gold Label section which is where you will find the high end labels at a fraction of the recommended retail price.
I went along to the store recently for TK Maxx’s Style Tour event, when top stylists Anna Dowd and Claire Wacey were giving shoppers advice on how to dress. The pair had picked out some of their favourite pieces, grouped into their key trends for autumn winter 2013: prints, greys, checks and winter pastels. They talked to shoppers about how to keep their style individual, while giving a nod to the trends of the season.
There was also a DJ and hair and beauty makeovers by Vanity Van.
I wish I could have bottled up the atmosphere in this place and somehow presented it to you on the page.
I was kindly invited to the Trinity Kitchen preview last Tuesday, ahead of its opening on Thursday, and thought the 45 minutes-or-so I had allocated to check it out would be enough.
Not even close. There was so much more to take in; it’s the kind of place you could go for a lengthy evening and then immediately make plans for a return visit.
I had completely underestimated the options and the feel-good vibe, which was like few things I’ve experienced before, and certainly not in an indoor, glitzy shopping mall in the middle of a Yorkshire city.
As soon as you’re across the threshold the mood changes and the energy of the place hits you like brightness of the neon lights overhead. The noise and activity is not dissimilar to a small outdoor market in south east Asia. Immediately your senses are alerted and the choice of what to do and where to go is overwhelming: you want to do it all.
There are few shop names that people the world over are familiar with. And of them all, Harrods is probably one of the best known.
It’s a brand that immediately conjures ideas of indulgence and luxury. Dropping by the London store is often a must do and special treat for visitors to the capital.
But did you know you can shop it online from the comfort of your own home? You may also be surprised to hear not all of their products will completely break the bank.
Man, the weather turned cold last week didn’t it?
I know, it’s tempting to hibernate at this time of year, until your body is over the shock of the temperature drop, your eyes accustomed to the dark and your wardrobe starts knowing again what on earth you’re supposed to wear.
We’re in a slight post-summer no man’s land, at least until my birthday (end of October, so still time to get a gift) and bonfire night. Refusing to mention the C-word yet.
But Yorkshire isn’t giving up on life that easily. There are still loads of great things to get out and do. Here are my suggestions for this week. Read more »
Do you remember my report of the SS13 show?
As you’d expect from the prestigious retailer, the big designer names were in force – Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Louboutin et al – and were joined this season by new arrivals Casadei, Guiseppe Zanotti and Brian Lichtenberg.
Booming music created a dramatic atmosphere under the Victorian arcade’s high glass roof. This complemented the season’s darker looks, which had replaced spring’s brights and whites.
For autumn winter the show had been injected with a serious dose of glamour and more man bags than you’re ever likely to see in Leeds in your lifetime.
Womenswear showed androgynous tailoring, rich jewel colours and plenty of black for the party season, but when Amanda Wakeley’s serene white gown with jewelled bodice and ostrich feather fishtail skirt emerged the wooping crowd were wowed by the contrast.