Blog Posts

A Dotty Delight- How we created a stylish Girls bedroom on a budget

Those of you who follow my Instagram will know that we have just completed renovations of Isabella and Sophias bedroom. I knew I wanted to go bold and had seen Dalmatian print decor whilst browsing for inspo, but as always my fear of following current interior trends was playing on my mind. I am very conscious that I don’t want to come to the end of the renovations and hate the interior looks that we created in the early days. Once I knew I could create this look without wallpapering I was off! I have had some questions on how we created the overall look of the room so thought I would put this post together to answer any questions.

The room when we viewed the house.
On completion day.
Stripped, plastered and ready to go.

Before- Just like the rest of the house, the room was covered in woodchip wallpaper, so once again before I could even consider what to do with the room, we spent hours stripping the walls, sanding down the most yellow woodwork I had ever seen and getting to work on prepping the floor. We had the room plastered and have done with all of the rooms, this is because we want to know that the walls are not only in perfect condition but that they will also stand the test of time. Expensive yes… worth it 100%.

Decorating – Then of course it was time for painting. I had seen the colour Oval Room Blue by Farrow and Ball and knew it would be the perfect colour to clash with a pop of pink and the monochrome of the spotty walls. I had this mixed by The Decorating Centre Online and was very impressed with the quality. This was my first experience of using them but I will be back. The Dalmatian print wall was created using this stencil from Ideal Stencils. We used our standard Leyland trade white paint that we have used for all ceilings, as the base and then purchased a small pot of B&Q Matt black paint for the spots. We used a small, foam roller for the black and found this covered much better than a brush. The stencil was easy to use and as long as you are careful to lift it into place each time and not slide it across it should be smudge free, we did wipe a bit of excess paint off the back of the stencil a few times. Once we had covered both the shelving and fireplace walls we stepped back and decided the spots looked slightly too uniform and repetitive, at that point we decided to cut the stencil up and place random stencil spots in-between any gaps that looked to uniform. This worked really well and we could not be more thrilled with the end result. We painted the fireplace and wardrobe in Valspar wood and metal paint, in a colour match to Sulking room pink. The gold wardrobe handles are from Amazon and a pack of 5 was less than £10.

The Dalmatian wall stencil was a great alternative to wallpaper.

The Floor- I have had so many questions about the floor! We had never painted a floor, we had used varnish in our bedroom but getting advice on painting floorboards was near on impossible. We scoured the internet looking for what prep the boards would need, what paint we would need to use and how to apply it and found no consistent answers. As we wanted a rustic and imperfect look, we decided we had nothing to loose, we removed or hammered in any visible nails, lightly sanded any raised drips of paint that we had caused while decorating and gave all of the boards a thorough hoover and mop. We decided on Dulux Pure Brilliant white Diamond Eggshell paint for Wood and Metal. We painted half of the room at a time as the girls bunk bed was too large and heavy to remove from the room. This has given the room a really light and airy feel and I am considering painting floor boards in other areas of the house.

We preferred the look of a more rustic floor so did not sand them to a perfect state.

Finishing Touches- A big factor on my mind when choosing accessories for the girls room, was that I wanted it to still feel and look like a child’s room. It is easy to get carried away with the idea of the ‘perfect home’ but ultimately they are still very much children and I wanted the room to represent a fun and happy place for them. We ordered the fabric reading nook from Amazon, this is filled with some baskets of books and cushions so they can kick back and read in peace. The floor mat in the reading nook is from H&M, and is actually circular but we folded it into a semi circle for a better fit. I sourced the beautiful prints from Make My Day Stationary and put them in IKEA gold frames, these worked out at around £10 per framed print and I was really impressed with the fun styles that Make My Day Stationary had to choose from. The rug was a total bargain from George at Asda, this was the largest of the sizes available and using a discount code, I paid less than £40 for it! I feel like the rug ties the room together really well and at that price it is one of my best buys. The shelving and storage unit are from IKEA, the shelving is their LACK range and the storage is Kallax with wicker baskets. The light fitting is from Matalan, I love Matalan homewares as they provide designer style at a fraction of the price. I had been looking at similar fittings for over £150 before finding this light fitting. The cushions and bunting are also H&M in the sale and the mini cactus plants, timer and gold pots are IKEA. Finally the pink and gold baskets on the shelves are from Homesense.

The Finished Look.

So will the girls bedroom décor stand the test of time? Who knows? Maybe not? but stepping out of my décor comfort zone and creating something so vibrant and fun has been a blast! The Dalmatian wall may go out of style in a few years but the great news is, it’s only paint and for now we all love it. The girls are enjoying spending time in their new room and it feels great to have another room finished and feeling like home. I hope I have answered all of the questions I have received but if I have missed anything please do comment below or send an email.

Chynna xxx

If blush decor is your thing, check out our panelling tutorial.

2020 Goals

I am, and have always been that wanker who loves a new year! There is just something about the feeling of a new and fresh year ahead of me that I just love. I am not going to lie, every year I set resolutions that I NEVER keep, maybe they are unrealistic? maybe I don’t handle the pressure of resolutions well? or maybe I have just been doing it wrong? That is why this year I am ditching the word resolution in favour of goals. For me this year is going to be about small changes that give big results.

Write more

Staring this blog mid last year has opened up something inside of me that I did not know still existed. I spent most of my school years being distinctly average in every subject bar English and this was purely because it was the only thing I have ever been truly passionate about. Writing, reading and all things words feels good for my soul. As I have touched on before, being a stay at home mum for near on a decade has been incredible but has also left me feeling a bit lost now that I am no longer attached to a baby or toddler 24/7. Not only am I hoping that 2020 will bring more success with my blog and social media but I am also learning that writing anything seems to help me be the best version of myself. I treated myself and my sister to Goodbye 2019 Hello 2020 by the inspirational ladies at project love and I am hooked! Putting my dreams, goals and feelings on paper has been incredibly therapeutic and the questions really provoked me to dig deep in myself to answer what I truly want moving forward-seriously recommend.

Lose Weight

Ok so if I write this down I am more likely to stick to it…. I hope. I don’t deal well with stress, upheaval or change. I can tell you exactly when it all started going wrong and it was during the process of buying this house, then followed the move, the loneliness of leaving my friends, and of course the craziness that renovating brings. As a really rubbish result I have gained weight and it’s time to stop ignoring it and do something about it. I have always been a bit of a yoyo dieter and the older I get, the more I am realising my weight is greatly affected by my mental health and my mental health is greatly affected by my weight, it is a totally vicious cycle but I feel that recognising this and my pattern of behaviour has given me the determination to work on myself this year. Following on from my love of writing, I ordered a three month food planner from Fox and Moon which includes a daily food diary, meal planner and weight loss pages, I am finding writing all of these down really helps to keep me on track and visualise where I am and where I want to be.

Less Screen Time

Of course on first glance this goal does not exactly go hand in hand with my goal to Blog more, but the screen time I am talking about is not blogging, emails and working on content, it’s the mindless times when you realise you are looking down at a screen when you should be looking up. I am the only person in the family who takes photos…. seriously if you checked my husbands camera roll you would not know me and the kids existed, with that said I will still be taking my phone out with me but handing it over to my husbands pocket as much as possible so I can keep my mind focused on family time, especially at weekends. The children are growing too fast and I don’t want to miss a thing.

Whatever your 2020 goals are, I hope you all have a fantastic start to the year.

Chynna xxx

The Relocation- One year on

So it has been just over a year since we relocated so I thought it was about time that I updated those of you who have been following our story as we reach this milestone. I can’t actually believe it has been a year already! It has gone so fast and I am truly loving our decision.

When I did our 6 month update we were at the beginning of our first summer living on the beautiful South Coast of Dorset and WOW what a summer it was, we were at the beach at least four times per week and would often head to the beach for dinner after school and work. We made the absolute most of it and life felt like a constant holiday. One thing I am very aware of this year is that as we head into Summer 2020 we need to watch the pennies more than last year. Let me tell you, ‘That holiday feeling’ did not just come from spending time at the beach, it came from living a life of maybe a bit too much ‘sod it lets get a round of ice creams’, stopping at the supermarket to pick up beach picnic food and a few too many cheers bubbles! The little treats all add up so this summer although I intend to have just as much fun, I also know we need to rein in the holiday vibes ever so slightly.

I believe my last relocation post was one of my first ever blog posts. I am now further into my blogging journey and it is one of the best things I have ever done, at a time where I was feeling a bit lonely and daunted with my new social situation i.e.. new place and no friends, blogging rescued me. I joined the Bournemouth Bloggers network with a bit of encouragement from my lovely friend Emma who runs the network, who I had met at a local messy play group. I have been to some incredible events this year and met some truly amazing people. As someone who has suffered with anxiety over the years, the blog is a great outlet for me and the social aspect of the events has really pushed me out of my comfort zone at a time it was needed. I have been fortunate enough to see huge growth on both my social media and blog and this in turn has led me to work with some great brands in the past 6 months. I am and will always be extremely grateful for opportunities that come my way and the continuous support of my followers and readers.

The littles have settled in to school very well and no longer have that newbie feeling. It has amazed me how accepting they have been to change. They had the best summer of their lives and now 2020 is here we are all on the countdown to those warmer days. My husband started a great job shortly after the move and not only is he loving it but he also spends a lot more time at home than he ever has done before, with the added perk of an early finish on a Friday meaning we get extra weekend time, the balance has been perfect for adjusting to our new lifestyle and it has been great having him around more for extra support at a time of such great change.

The house is coming along well, we have near on completed all of upstairs, which including taking a wall down and a full bathroom refit isn’t bad going. We will be taking a bit of a break after we do the landing, stairs and hallway to recoup some money, enjoy a bit of rest and save up for phase two. We are hoping to begin planning and potentially starting our extension in 2021 but we need to pay down some of the debt we have encured from renovating to make sure we are in the best possible position when it comes to taking on an expensive and time consuming task like an extension. As with the renovations we have done so far, even when we stop for our break we will still have plenty to do! With buying a fixer upper half the battle is making things temporarily liveable and that is exactly what we will be doing with downstairs. With potentially another two years until the extension is done we need to give downstairs a temporary makeover, also on our hit list for this year is the garden, doing up some furniture and snagging some of the finer details of rooms we have already done. So don’t worry, there will still be plenty more renovation updates coming from us this year.

As always being honest and real is my priority and while this blog post seems sickeningly happy of course there have been obstacles, darker times and struggles since my last update. Renovating around three children is tough, tougher than I ever thought it would be, I feel a lot of guilt sometimes that they live in an imperfect home with busy and often stressed parents, but like everything in life I try to keep in my mind that this is a phase and will pass. I love renovating and we are enjoying making our house a home but I can’t deny that we crave a bit of the old normality that we used to have at sometimes. I have always struggled with anxiety, especially in times where I feel out of control or like life is a bit upside down, life is often upside down these days and I feel as though doing up the house has meant that we still do not have much routine even one year on. As a result I have gained weight this year and my mental health has been a bit up and down at times. This year I will be tackling becoming more healthy and concentrating more on my wellbeing, these tend to go hand in hand with me and tackling one naturally results in improvement in the other. All in all a whirlwind but very exciting year, I look forward to updating you all again in the near future.

Chynna xxx

Aladdin at the Bournemouth Pavilion

There is nothing I love more than a pre Christmas trip to the panto to get me feeling festive. This was our first Christmas panto since the move and I could not wait to see what the show had in store for us. When we arrived the Pavilion Theatre was absolutely buzzing with the excited chatter of children and their families, with the show still early in it’s release it was a full audience.

As with most pantomimes the story of Aladdin came secondary to the hilarious one liners and audience participation, I think the balance of story telling, singing and laughs worked really well in this performance. The undoubted stars of the show were David Ball as Widow Twanky and the hilarious Noel Brodie as Wishee Washee, their energy throughout the whole performance was amazing and they kept the children laughing all the way through with plenty of adult humour thrown in for good measure. The audience were up on their feet and singing along a number of times. With the show being quite new to the Pavilion there were still a few teething issues however these were dealt with seamlessly and the ad libbing from the characters made the show even more entertaining.

Eastenders star Richard Blackwood played the villain faultlessly and the clever use of lighting meant that he was portrayed as a baddie without terrifying the children. X Factors Amelia Lily was brilliant as the Spirit of the Ring, her powerful voice had the children captivated whenever she spoke or sang, a true star!

On a whole the show provides a great couple of hours of entertainment for all of the family. We left the show feeling festive and with the children singing songs from the show. There were a few moments where I felt that the adult banter and innuendos were a bit much for such a young audience and could have been toned down slightly in places. I also found an Ed Sheeran number between Aladdin and Jasmine a bit of an odd choice due to it’s raunchy wording, when the song first began I thought they would be changing the wording however this was not the case and bar a few lines of the song, most of the lyrics were not really fitting. Regardless we had a great time, the children were entertained throughout and a great night was had by all.

If you are looking for some family fun over the festive period you can catch Aladdin at the Bournemouth Pavilion until 5th January 2020. Tickets are available to purchase Online, from the box office or by phone.

We were kindly gifted tickets to see the show however all words and opinions are of my own. Images provided by BH Live.

How We Deck The Halls

December has finally arrived and I could not have been more ready to get the festive decorations up. Although 60% of our house is unfinished, anyone who follows my Instagram will know that I love nothing more than rolling a turd in diamonds…… my house being the turd and fairy lights, Christmas trees and all things festive being the diamonds. I thought I would give you a little insight into a few things we have done to make the house feel festive this year.

The Tree

Lets start with the obvious shall we? The pinnacle of all Christmas décor is of course the tree, we go for a real tree and have done for around five years now, I did almost order an artificial tree in the January sales this year but held off, there are some really fantastic artificial trees on the market now, but I just love the smell of a real tree and going and collecting it with the family. This year we were kindly gifted our Christmas tree from Pines and Needles, I am really impressed with the quality of the tree. We headed to our local Pines and Needles with the children to pick our tree, we were greeted by friendly staff who helped us pick out the perfect tree. We lived in a new build previously and the ceilings were very low in comparison to our current 1930s renovation so Aaron wanted fill his boots and go for a big tree, many an annual argument has occurred whilst sawing the top off of a tree far to big for our old house! We settled on a lush, green 7ft tree and I could not be more impressed with the service and quality from Pines and Needles. I am quite minimal when it comes to tree décor. We have been slowly phasing out some of our cheaper decorations by each buying a ‘fancy’ bauble every year. Five new baubles every year has meant that we now have a collection of really pretty baubles that we love.

Garlands

I recently brought this stunning garland from a local garden centre, I had been on the hunt for the perfect garland for a while. With them being such a big trend for Christmas 2019 I was very conscious that I wanted something minimalistic that I could add baubles, berries or lights to each year to create something tailored to our house at the time. I am really pleased with the results, we draped ours over a mirror but these look great anywhere in the home, from surrounding a fireplace to being used as a table centrepiece, it is no wonder that garlands are so popular this winter.

Candles

You all know by now that I am candle obsessed, my absolute favourite types of candles are warm, spicy, winery candles. I have a handful dotted around each room and will light them all of an evening to fill the house with delicious scents. I also love the ambient lighting and cosy feeling that candles offer. A staple for festive décor.

A Wreath

While the inside of the house is where most of the festive décor is in it’s glory, we love hanging a wreath on the door. We are yet to venture into illuminating the house with lights so a wreath is our only exterior festive décor. I recently made this wreath at a wreath making workshop, it is the first wreath I have ever made as we usually have an artificial one, I had so much fun making it and love the look achieved when using real foliage. I will definatly be either making or buying a real wreath moving forward.

Chynna x

Although my Christmas tree was gifted from Pines and needles, all words and opinions are my own.

My experience with permanent Makeup

My experience with permanent Makeup

Let me start by saying the 90’s over plucking trend hit me HARD. Unfortunately my brows never fully recovered from that era and I am in total awe of anyone who came out of the 90’s with anything other than three wispy hairs that they called eyebrows. I had discovered microblading about three years ago. I had visited a woman in my old home town who came recommended however the experience wasn’t the best and I was never 100 percent happy with it at the time. Now that we had relocated I sought out looking for someone in the local area who could give me the brows I had been dreaming of for so many years. This is when I found Alex at Bournemouth Permanent make up.

Example of my thin and patchy eyebrows

Originally I was looking to have my eyebrows Microbladed but when I saw the services Alex offered I was intrigued by the eyeliner too. I have now had both done and I love that I don’t have to wear much makeup and find it has saved me so much time in my makeup routine. I thought I would write this post to answer any questions surrounding Semi permanent make up and to give details of my personal experience and why I chose to have it.

Bournemouth Permanent Makeup treatment room.
The Lovely Alex of Bournemouth Permanent makeup.

Eyebrows

Although I had had it done before, I was still feeling a bit nervous about my journey. Any nerves I had were quickly dissipated, Alex made me feel totally at ease and I found that chatting to her both before and during the treatment helped to take my mind off of any potential fears. Alex’s treatment room is a calm and tranquil space overlooking the rolling hills, the perfect retreat for a bit of TLC. As with any treatment, the more relaxed you are, the more comfortable it will feel. We began by discussing my 90’s brows, Alex asked what shape, thickness and shade I thought would work but ultimately what you expect isn’t always what would suit you, I put my trust in Alex knowledge and had done my research into her previous work. She measured and mapped out where my brows should begin and end, then drew them on in lots of detail so that I could see exactly what the finished product would look like. Now I may be easily impressed but even drawn on they looked a million times better!

I found both treatments very comfortable, Alex uses top quality numbing creams and once these had kicked in I could really relax into the procedure. I had my Eyebrows done on my first visit. When I sat up I could not believe the difference. They were better than I could have ever imagined. It has made an amazing difference to the framing of my face and my confidence. I love wearing minimal makeup at the weekends when we are out walking and having my eyebrows done has given me that extra confidence when going makeup free. I find that when I am wearing makeup, the time that I am saving by not having to faff around drawing my own brows on has been so helpful. I used to dread drawing my eyebrows on and could never get them quite right while still looking natural. The hair strokes in the microblading make them look natural while the darkness of the shading I had done really makes them look defined.

Eyeliner

Now… I have never been one to wear a lot of eyeliner, it is not a part of my daily makeup routine, however I have always worn upper eyeliner when going out of an evening or weekend. When Alex discussed eyeliner with me I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this can not only be used to create the thicker line of eyeliner that we have all tried oh so hard to perfect, but it is also the perfect way to give your lashes a natural looking enhancement. We decided to go for a thin liner and an enhancement of the lash line. The procedure itself did hurt slightly more than the eyebrows however eyeliner is faster than brows so the little discomfort did not last long, I actually found it more of a strange sensation than painful. On my initial appointment Alex had concentrated on the lash line, this looked great, it was very subtle but really made my eyes pop. By the time it was time for my top up I had got used to my new eyeliner and fancied going ever so slightly thicker. Once again the appointment was super speedy and when Alex showed me the end result I was amazed! For someone who rarely wears eyeliner I now can’t imagine being without it, the difference that a small line of eyeliner can make is amazing. As you can see in the photos this gives a really subtle but effective look. I am so pleased with how my liner looks, even when I have my lashes on the eyeliner just helps to give my eyes a pop.

Overall my experience with Bournemouth Permanent Makeup has been amazing. Alex is a true professional and is clearly passionate about what she does. Her advice was faultless and I am thrilled with my new and low maintenance look. The Bournemouth Permanent makeup website is full of useful information, offers and testimonials of Alex’s fantastic work so keep your eye out for some great deals. Alex is currently looking for models and offering a huge discount on her services, so if you are interested please click here to register your details. For a look at Alex’s extensive range of before and after photos, check out Bournemouth permanent makeup Instagram and Facebook page.

Chynna x

Although my treatments with Bournemouth Permanent makeup were offered on a complimentary basis, all words and opinions are my own.

Christmas Gift Guide- Food and Drink

If ever there is a time to indulge yourself, it’s Christmas time. Food and drink make the perfect gifts for your loved ones and of course don’t forget your selelf. Here is a little collection of delicious items to make your or someone you loves Christmas that bit more luxurious.

Lir Discovery Collection

Perfect for sharing with friends or family the Lir Discovery Collection oozes luxury and decadence. With 16 pieces, each chocolate is encased in a perfectly smooth Belgian chocolate exterior. This box has something to suit everyone, from Salted Caramel to exotic Persian Lime, guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Pick up in your local Morrisons, Tesco or Co-op or from Lir direct, here.

Jam Shed

Well known and loved, this medium-sweet Shiraz is rich and opulent. With it’s sweet red berry flavours, balanced perfectly with subtle hints of vanilla and spice. Perfect on its own or with some cinnamon, cloves and orange thrown in for a delicious twist this Christmas. The perfect Christmas tipple for you or a loved one. Find yours at most major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsburys and Ocado.

Tomatin Whisky

Founded in 1897, the Tomatin whisky distillery sits at an altitude of 313m just to the west of the village of the same name. With twelve active stills and an output of around 5 million litres per year, Tomatin is one of the largest distilleries in the Highlands. They offer a huge range of the highest quality Whisky. The perfect gift for the whisky lover in your life. Check Tomatin out here.

Popcorn Shed

Who doesn’t love popcorn? Popcorn Shed offer a huge range of delicious gourmet popcorn options. The incredible flavours and adorable packaging is certain to make someone smile this Christmas. With a Great selection of gifts on their Website, from savoury to sweet, Popcorn shed is a great gift and is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.

Jeffrey’s Tonic Syrups

The perfect gift for any gin lover. Jeffrey’s Tonic Syrups come in a huge range of unique flavours from fresh and fruity to winter warmers. Made to pair beautifully with different blends and flavours of gin, these syrups are easy to mix to craft your own bespoke tonic water. Made with completely natural ingredients these syrups contain no artificial flavourings and are vegan friendly. Great for cocktails, spirits and non alcoholic drinks these are a great gift or addition to your festive shop.

The Summerton Whisky Club

Know a whisky lover? A subscription to Summerton Whisky Club may just be what you have been looking for. Summerton offer unique, top quality whisky delivered to your door, chosen by their team of experts, every bottle of whisky is gauranteed to please your loved one and offer an unusual gift idea that will keep on giving. You can select whether to have whisky delivered bi-monthly for 3 months, 6 months or 1 year. Treat someone you love to something totally unique and special this year.

Taste card

Know someone who loves dining out? Tastecard works with over 6000 partner restaurants to offer huge discounts on dining out. With the likes of family favourites such as Pizza Express, ZiZi and Frankie and Benny’s to choose from, as well as hundreds of restaurants local to you, this is a great gift for all. Save your loved one as much as 50% off meals out this year. Tastecard also offer discounts for local attractions and cinema trips. Order yours here.

Thorntons Chocolate Models

Perfect for the little ones this Chrsitmas, Thorntons have an adorable range of chocolate models which are a great foodie gift for children. Previously featured in my Children’s gift guide these are sure to be popular this Christmas. Head to Thorntons website to choose yours.

Don’t forget to treat yourself……..

All of that foodie Christmas shopping must have made you hungry? Why not treat yourself to one of these continental advent calendars from Thorntons to reward yourself this December.

*This post features gifted items however all words and opinions are my own.