The world’s most vintage fireplace……

Hi all, how are we? 

As many of you who follow my ramblings on Instagram and Facebook will know we have finally commenced the first stages of project extension.

When we bought our two bed bungalow back in 2015 we knew we would outgrow it however we looked beyond the here and now. As two beds went it was quite a large one and the large driveway and big back garden (plus the stunning view with cows) were all something we knew we would struggle to get elsewhere in Whitstable. Property prices are through the roof and we simply couldn’t afford an extra 100k (not many of us can!) 

So the plans were made for extending the house at some point and creating not only more living space but extra bedrooms also. One of the first jobs we always knew we would have to tackle was this bad boy. 

Which believe it or not was our boiler. When we first viewed the house which had been renovated throughout we just couldn’t understand why they would keep such an ugly fireplace when it had a lovely modern kitchen and bathroom. It was only when we asked some questions that we realised that it was actually a back boiler with electric fire surround (and sexy mood lighting as you can see). We got some quotes and realised that we would likely have to make do with it until such a time as we could afford to get it replaced (around 4K).

Initially I had lots of plans to cheer it up, a bespoke wooden surround for example but this wasn’t possible because of the potential build up of carbon monoxide so I then decided to wall paper it. Realising I didn’t have the patience of a saint I then got creative with washi tape and it became a multicoloured delight (can you sense my sarcasm there?!) I finally painted the surround and the hearth in chalk paint which was the best it had looked in a while! 

I did always like using the shelves and the hearth for displaying my stuff, anyone who knows me knows I love a bit of clutter but alas I did find the boiler a bit embarrassing and always felt that it detracted from the other lovely things in the room. When we got the plumber round to talk about our options he told us that it was such a shame that they are so ugly as they are so simple they very rarely go wrong and in fact would continue for another forty years. Our one was in its fifties and still going strong we found out! 

We decided to have the boiler and delightful surround pulled off and the wall, the new boiler put into the loft and the hot water tank in the giant airing cupboard in our bedroom removed with new piping installed. We needed this done prior to the extension beginning so we knew where the pipes would be to box in so two weeks ago with a two day slot our plumber arrived. 


We could never use this room for anything other than a living space all the while the back boiler was here as you cannot sleep in a room where there is one incase of carbon monoxide poisoning. We have CM alarms but I still wouldn’t take the risk. In the build this room will become two so we needed the boiler gone.

We were left however with a bit of a dilemma. We didn’t want to spend loads of cash on making the fireplace beautiful as it’s likely when the build is done we will want to change it or it will get filthy with dust so we blocked up the open hole with insulation and made a wooden square to go over the top of it. It sounds awful and to be honest looked a bit odd but did somewhat resemble a fireplace. The hearth stayed in place. It occurred to me that we could quite easily paint a surround with limited cost (we have lots of chalk paint) and then give the illusion of having a fireplace without actually having one.


So I painted the wooden panel, the hearth and a surround with chalk paint in ‘charcoal’ that I got from Aldi. I then waxed everything other than the wooden panel so it was a slightly different shade than the surround and hearth. I did manage to get some paint on the carpet but that’s a lot better than I usually manage! 

Karl then cut me lots of tiny circles from logs of wood. All in slightly different sizes and ever so irregular. There are some that are shaped a little bit like hearts, different colours and none of them in anyway uniform. I then used wood glue to stick them onto the wooden panel to look like a stack of logs in an open fireplace. 


All of this cost £2 for the panel of wood that Karl cut to size, nothing for the logs that were cut down as we already had them in the wood store, £4.99 for some chalk paint and I used Annie Sloan wax that I already had for the waxing afterwards. The wood glue was a tube from B&Q that we already had. 

It may not be to everyone’s taste and the Dark is taking me a while to get used to but I absolutely love the results. It looks like it was done by someone far more professional than me and my old paint brush and Karl got to use his big chopper which always excites him massively. 

I would love to hear what you think and more importantly cheap ways you have used to upcycle your home.

Have a fab weekend, Lucy xxx

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A sign of things to come? 

Hi all, how are we? 

Another week has literally flown by as have another set of ‘rest’ days where I’ve not managed to get many jobs ticked off my list and feel like my head is spinning.

It’s funny how we seem to move in periods of time and assure ourselves that those periods will change how we do things. For example I said to myself numerous times over the summer that once the boys were back at school I would write more (ha ha) and that I would be able to get back into running (rolling on the floor laughing) I have no idea how I am filling all this time other than working, mumming (is that a word) and sleeping which seems to be all I want to do currently.

I have so much to do and so much that I love to do as well as the stuff I absolutely have to do such as paying the mortgage, food shopping, raising tiny humans and making sure all the various school letters are replied to (how many each and every week?!) that my head is spinning and I’m not sure that will stop anytime soon.

I keep thinking, ‘Luce, you just need to be more organised’ like there is some magical switch I can push and all of a sudden I will be chilled, calm and meal planned to the max but for me that just doesn’t seem to work. I have watched Fantastic Beasts and where to find them at least three times in the last week and it’s not the special effects that I marvel at it’s the ability to wave a wand and clean a room, fix anything that’s broken and the ability to move from one place to another in seconds. If only I were a witch. Imagine how efficient I would be then! 

But I digress, it is of course all my own fault, I have my three jobs and I have to do them all to the best of my ability. I’m a writer and I love all the things that come with it I just have to fit writing and creativity around my most important job being a mum, the one that will mean the most in the future and will potentially make a difference to the world (prime ministers, sportsmen or the inventors of some crazy video game, who knows!) then of course is the one I go to most days of the week that pays my bills and keeps us topped up in Lego and me in Aldi almond milk chocolate. 

I’m not the only one either, so many parents are doing exactly the same as me each and every day without a total lack of  understanding how the clock works and how to double the number of hours in a day. So….. how do you do this? Any suggestions please let me know. I would love some input. Or a life coach who will also act as a mentor and personal trainer. That’s not too much to ask surely?! 

Happy new week lovely people xxx


Depression…. you b*****d

When I speak to people who read my blog (my mum and Auntie Bev…. hello!) they say how they like how honest I am about mental health. That I speak about my struggles openly and that others respect me for that.

Things have been good lately, life has been busy, tiring and there has been lots to organise and remember but I’ve been okay. That is the thing about depression and anxiety, you can be in control, on top of them, managing and smiling then all of a sudden the clouds come over and you start to doubt everything you are doing.

I’ve known it was coming this week and smiled through my working week thinking once I’m home it will be okay. The first day off was fine, the sun was shining and I went shopping for new work clothes with my mum. We had a nice lunch and talked about life and I enjoyed every minute. 

When I started trying on clothes in the shops I knew that it was inevitable I would have a wobble, I’ve gained weight, around three stone since 2014 when I went down to only nine stone which for someone of five foot seven was too small. I do now though feel bigger than I should be and am having all the feelings that go with it such as thoughts of being unattractive, disappointed with myself and in short an elephant in jeggings.

Yesterday was tough, it was pouring down with rain when I woke up and as Karl was on earlies I was on school run duties and Leo as he often does at the worst possible time decided to be the child who calls his mother an idiot and refuses to do anything. I got to school with tears in my eyes and felt like I could manage nothing more than sitting under a blanket and pretending the world outside didn’t exist.

The problem was that I had booked to go on a photography walk with the very lovely Karen at ‘Love your Camera’. Karen is becoming a friend and I really enjoy hers and other creatives company however I couldn’t deal with the thought of being sociable. There was a question mark over whether the walk would go ahead due to the weather and I emailed Karen and asked if it was okay for me not to go. All the other participants felt that they wanted to brave the rain so I somehow picked myself up and made myself go and of course had a fab time with some amazing people. Still knowing though that the bastard black cloud was hanging over my head.

Today was the start of four days off with Karl and two days off with the boys after their first week back at school and Nates first week at junior school. It started with swimming lessons which involved Leo refusing to get in and then once he had faking sickness so he could get out. 

We then went into town and had breakfast rolls at Champs, one of our favourite bakeries and cafes. The food was yummy but the boys were hard work with Leo managing to spray Ribena all over his face and Nate wiping his greasy bacon fingers over my bright and cheery floral kimono I had worn to lift my mood.

I knew when we got home I would have to embrace it, not everyday is going to be sunshine and happiness and if it’s a down day tomorrow will start afresh. I can’t let a bad day become a bad life. I can’t let myself get into the cycles I was in before where my lack of self esteem made me the saddest and most unrecognisable version of me I have ever been. 

I think being a woman (or a man) with MH issues you need to embrace the fact that you will always be more susceptible to bad times than others. Then add all the shit life can throw at you and it would be foolish to think you will be able to be on top of the world every moment and all sunshine and flowers. Well I suppose my life is more full of flowers than most but you know what I mean! 

Tonight I plan on eating a bar of my favourite chocolate and being okay with me. Okay with being a little bit off my game and embracing the fact that sometimes the clouds get a bit dark. It is just that though, they won’t be like that forever and soon the sun will shine again. Until then I have candles, blankets and the aforementioned chocolate (no you can’t have any!) 

If you are feeling crappy and low tonight know you are not alone. Millions of people all over the world are suffering with their mental health but none of them are you. You have the power over your mental health and only you can understand it and deal with it accordingly. Therapists, family and friends can help us get the skills and tools we need to deal with it but it’s us who has to pick up those tools and go forward. Pick up that axe and smash the fuck out of your anxiety and depression because although it’s a part of you it’s not who you are and never forget it. The people who love you won’t.

Sorry about all the swearing, it seems chocolate makes me aggressive! Get in touch if you need to. Lots of love, Lucy xxx

Parents versus children

As we come to the end of the summer holidays it is often a time for reflection and excitement for what is to come. In our case it’s excitement that the boys are going to be back at school! Do I feel guilty for saying this? Yes I do, massively but as I look around my shit tip of a house I realise just how much changes over that six weeks each year that the boys are off. 

We have got up to some amazing adventures over the last six weeks and although some times have been stressful as is often the case with two young boys we have had great fun.

We have also had limited time to ourselves and what with work, childcare and all the other normal jobs you need to do as a grown up it feels like we have become useless at it. I haven’t kept of top of tidying because the times I do get it done it then takes less than ten minutes for it to be in an even worse state than when I started. You almost get to that point where you think what is the point in trying. 

Of course when no one can find clean pants or the washing up pile is taller than me I need to reconsider slightly. I would dearly love to know how other mums manage to keep a tidy and organised house with two monsters running around like loons. I can honestly say that I think Karl and I have both drunk more over the last six weeks than we have all year! 

I know that we all know that what you see on social media isn’t real, people take pictures of the things that look good and the tidy corners of their home all the while there is a pile of clutter and toys all over the floor somewhere unseen. I do of course do this. There are only very limited points of my home I can ever take pictures of for this very reason but I honestly think that our home seems to be worse that most others. 

I’m not sure how to drum in into the boys that cleaning doesn’t just do itself. I’ve been given hints and tips before about how if you don’t touch their mess they will eventually get so annoyed of it they will clear it up without you asking. This is not the case with Nate and Leo who I genuinely believe would prefer to live in a rubbish dump and be covered in mud all the livelong day. 

They don’t want to get dressed, wash, brush their teeth or hair, they don’t care if their clothes match or have holes in and would rather walk around all day with jam or chocolate spread across their faces than god forbid wiping it. I get so tired of repeating the same requests over and over and trying to show them how much better it is to have lovely clean teeth only to find toothbrushes shoved down the back of the sofa. 

I’m not asking for the answers, I get that as a mother and wife I need to be able to handle these things and to try all possible options to get the message into the boys. This is the problem, it’s absolutely exhausting and the rewards are few. I have two beautiful, bright and healthy children and I will be grateful and love them everyday forever more but I also have grey hair, lines around my eyes, a permanent pursed lips face and a headache from not only the noise of banging and arguing (them) but also my own voice from telling them off.

At some point in every parents life I’m sure that you think that your child is behaving worse than anyone else’s and how awful it feels and the majority of the time this won’t actually be the case at all and you or they are just having a bad day. Well I think this at some point everyday, when old women tut at me as the boys rush past them in the High Street, when they run around the supermarket like a pair of overexcited donkeys and when we are somewhere where you should be quiet and they are shouting about poo bums and stinky pants. 

Still as of Tuesday I will be moaning about missing them and sitting in my superclean living room in the quiet missing their laughter and high jinxs. Right off for another glass of wine before I drive myself mad (well more than usual) with my misery and moaning!