S**t, I am actually a grown up…….

There are moments in all of our lives that cause us to stop and have realisations about who we are as people. I have experienced these moments like many others at key points in my life such as when I got married, bought a house, had the boys etc. These things all made me realise that I am growing up, maturing and becoming an actual adult.

You then seem to forget all that and just get on with it and find the days and weeks flying by before the next realisation hits you. This last couple of weeks I think I have felt the most grown up I ever have. For so long now we have planned on extending our house. We have had no idea what we are doing and yet have slowly managed to get plans, permissions, quotes, surveys and all manner of other building type terms that I can’t recall.

We found our builder and work was scheduled to start in Spring which at the time seemed like a million years away. Fast forward what seems like twelve minutes and all of a sudden Spring was here (well ish, stupid snow) and it was time to begin. You can imagine that we were as usual ill prepared so spent a week clearing out the old, damp conservatory which we filled with essentials such as the tumble dryer, toys, unwanted furniture from my many moves around and of course wine. Trouble is all of that needed to go somewhere so we then had to make space, recycle, condense and move everything out. My best idea was that I would be a great help by drinking all the wine. Karl didn’t seem as enthusiastic about this as I was though. Odd.

Anyway we managed it and Day one arrived. Armed with rolls, 7000 tea bags, bacon, biscuits and our most smiling faces the builders arrived and the conservatory was no more in less than half a day. We then had the start of this week where the actual build bit commenced. The trouble was I was on lates and Karl was on early shifts which meant solo parenting for the one of us who was home and all the ordinary responsibilities as well as dealing with the build.

Now I imagine you are thinking, hold on Luce, you aren’t building the place yourself and the answer is no I’m not. I would be awful at building and we would end up with a big mess. I was however the grown up here to make decisions. Decisions about patios, measurements and to answer questions about topics I know nothing about like coving, mud and trenches. I was in consultation with Karl but I really didn’t like the pressure.

On day one all went well, I got the kids to school with no massive issues, had a shower and got dressed before the builders arrived so there were no awkward flashing moments, did all the washing up, cleaned the kitchen, made bacon rolls, cups of tea and bought a biscuit tin which I filled with chocolate digestives for their elevenses. I did however do the kitchen jobs dancing to Dua Lipa who was playing loudly on my IPod and it was only when I went outside to deliver said bacon rolls I realised I could be seen dancing in only the way I can. So perhaps not such an accomplished grown up after all! We also shouldn’t mention when the builder turned up and told me that he was pleased the delivery had arrived and I told him we hadn’t had any deliveries and then for him to point at the giant digger that someone had parked on my driveway without me seeing or hearing. As if we do mention it I come across very badly!

Under the floorboards in the old conservatory we found a copy of the News of the World from June 1966 which although discoloured is in perfectly good condition. We also found a message etched into the concrete from the owner of the house before us who moved in with his wife when the house was built in the sixties, raised a family here and then sold the house to us I think to go and live with family who could care for him after his wife died.

I thought for a moment that he would probably be sad with the changes we are making but then it occurred to me that we like him are raising a family. A family that consists of two boys who eat anything and grow it seems at lightening speed.

Today being my first day off this week it has been nice to just watch how the builders are getting on, to take in the new and to let it hit me that I am a grown up. A dancing around the kitchen, awfully organised, do it all by the skin of my teeth grown up. I did get to work yesterday and after about an hour realise that I hadn’t done up the zip on my ankle boots but I’m chalking that down to tiredness!

Being grown up is an incredibly scary thing, it’s pressured, it comes with bumps in the road (or in our case storm drain pipes where the footings should be) and it tests you and your limits. It’s also amazing as you can be in charge of your own destiny, you can provide for the people you love and you can make positive decisions for their benefit. In this case the boys getting their own rooms so they don’t kill each other.

I have often thought that I would love to go back to my teenage years, to start afresh and not make all the mistakes, to learn the lessons sooner and to appreciate it more. I do though like the idea that 34 year old me is making the memories that one day I can write in the concrete about. Even if I am making them with the addition of some wrestling, screaming children and disagreements with Karl about where the log burner should go.

I will probably bore you to tears with the extension but if you are interested keep checking back for progress. You know there will be some comedy gold moments along the way!

Lucy xxx

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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