Christmas is Coming

Winter is well and truly here, and Christmas is coming fast. With all the excitement of the 1st of December this Friday and the Toy Show that night, we decided to take down our Christmas decorations last night. It was the only night that suited, so we embraced the excitement. Sean went into the attic and started to gather the decorations, I was at the bottom of the ladder as he passed stuff down to me and the boys ran up and down the stairs bringing everything to the sitting room. It was great fun and for the first night in ages there were smiles everywhere, and the boys were in great form.

I started by unpacking the boxes and the bags, getting all the decorations out and organised. I put up the tree and fluffed out all the branches making sure there were no gaps. I took out my lights and wrapped them around the tree. I didn’t feel I had enough, so I didn’t decorate the tree last night. I have been getting inspiration from a few of the pictures I have included below, and I hope to try recreate this feel. These photos might help give you some inspiration too.

Over the years we have picked up decorations for the house and with the help of the kids we placed these around the sitting room. We call them our Christmas family and for 4 to 5 weeks of the year they keep us company and then they are carefully packed away into the attic for the next year.

I have also gathered a few garlands and every year they end up in a different place. They have been up the banisters, wrapped in lights, along the tops of the radiator covers and over mirrors and fireplaces. This year, however, I have put them in the kitchen. It is a room in the house that seems to miss out on the Christmas spirit as there are very few places to utilise. But I found the perfect spot. We got a new kitchen put in 2 years ago and I insisted on ceiling high cabinets as the gap above the previous presses was used to store a lot of junk. There is a small gap between the pelmet and the ceiling and the garlands I picked up in the 2 Euro shop fitted perfectly in here. I can’t remember what price they were, but they are adorned with acorns and berries and festive season to a more practical room.

I have a good garland that I bought when we first moved in and a set of lights to go with it over the radiator cover in the hall. This garland used to be placed over the fire place but as this was removed it was left without a home. Trying to bring Christmas throughout the house is an expensive task, so little touches here and there helps keep me from getting carried away. I find the best time to pick up the more expensive pieces are in the sales after Christmas. Last year I was able to get some outdoor lights and some hanging decorations for the tree.

The decorations used on my tree were purchased from Home Base in Portlaoise 2 years ago. I had changed the colour scheme in the house and wanted the tree to be more pinks and silver. At the time they had some beautiful pieces in stock and they were really good value. I also picked up a small tree for the boys to decorate, which was usually placed on the landing outside their door. However, this year there is a book shelf in the way and we decided against putting it in their bedroom in case it upset their allergies. It has been carefully placed in the sitting room on a table and will draw your eye as soon as you walk in the door. This was a bargain in Home Base 2 years ago and when I pick up extra lights later today the boys can decorate it.

Taking inspiration from the first photo I purchased white fun fur from Whyte’s Fabric shop on Cutlery Lane in Newbridge. I bought enough to wrap around the tree and also create a bed of fur underneath. The woodland creatures look amazing in this picture and I am on the hunt for a few to add to my collection. The lights on the tree are the warm white LED lights from Argos. They are great value and currently on 3 for 2 mix and match.

Christmas is an amazing time of year to just appreciate what you have, spend time with your loved ones and make sure your children have a great day and understand the importance of love and kindness. This year has been extremely tough for Sean and me, emotionally and financially with all the treatments. It’s a lot of stress to put on any relationship, but things happen for a reason and we have matured and become closer and more loving and respectful. The rest is up to faith and hope. This year Sean has taken the week between Christmas and New Year’s off, the first time since Nathan was born and I am really looking forward to spending our days visiting family and friends or just sitting at home playing board games with the kids and eating our way through all the treats – yum yum!!!!

I would like to wish you and all of yours a happy, warm and safe Christmas and maybe we could all try give back to our local community or to those less fortunate than us.

To be continued

 

Our Christmas Decor

img_4283img_4289img_4294img_4297img_4300img_4301img_4305img_4306img_4309img_4307

 

Christmas Inspiration

img_4264img_4265img_4266img_4267img_4268img_4269img_4271img_4270img_4272img_4264-1img_4273

My Little Piece of Heaven

We moved into our house 9 years ago, in October. It was a new house and there was nothing done with the garden. We were coming into the winter and would soon find out how water logged the garden gets in the wet months. It was destroyed and we just looked at it with the door closed as you wouldn’t dare walk on the grass from the fear of disappearing into a muddy puddle.

When the spring months came around we decided to build a shed to house our washing machine and tumble dryer and also to store tools, a lawnmower and other pieces. Then I got the bright idea to dig foundations for an extension that we would eventually build. Crazy I know but there was a method to my madness. I wanted to lay cobbles on one side of the garden – going from the back door to the newly built shed. I thought that if the foundations and sub floor were laid and poured and I would then have a clear area for the cobbles and once we built the extension the cobbles would be in the right place and not need to be moved. Crazy, I said that earlier, because as the years went on the extension that I had originally planned for is only a fraction of the size I would like it to be.

The cobbles were laid and the concrete was poured into the extension, which served as a seating area over the following years. We planted some flower beds, using log rolls to line them out and tried to enjoy what we had. The kids were small and it suited us at the time. Nathan loved to kick football and ride his trike around the back and when Jacob started to crawl in the Summer of 2013 it was easy to open the back doors on a fine day and let them enjoy all their toys. We kept the garden as nice as we could, painting the fences Wild Sage from Cupirnol and the posts were Inisfail from Dulux to match the house. We put trellis to the rear of the garden with netting behind it to stop Nathan from losing so many footballs. This was a waste of time as the day it was installed Nathan cleared the 12ft height at only 2 and half year’s old.

The grass was always a torn in my side and for years I fought with the idea of digging it up. I tried everything in my power to save it. I dug it up and put down stones and drainage to allow the water soak away. I sowed grass seeds every year, trying to thicken it up. I even spent one summer forking it weekly and throwing sand down along with seeds and feed. Nothing worked. Last summer, 2016, there was no growth, I barely cut it all summer. And when the winter months came around the surface water was worse than ever. However, the straw that broke the camel’s back was Christmas Day 2016. The boys went outside that morning in their new runners with a new football that Santa kindly brought them and they both came back in destroyed. That was it, decision made, the grass was gone.

After the Christmas madness passed I spent the next few weeks planning what I wanted. Ideas danced through my head and the excitement started. I decided to go with paving slabs. A nice concrete base and if I ever go ahead with my extension I won’t feel too bad taking then up, as opposed to if I spent a fortune on granite or some other expensive garden tile. Grey was my new love, so the slabs worked out perfectly. To add some texture and not to have a plain surface I chose the cracked ice slabs from Strong’s in Emo. They were reasonably priced as I was getting 300 or so and they delivered them within a few days. I also got the gravel, sand, bags of cement and the brick shaped curb that I used to mark out my flower beds. I thought these were a nice touch and they matched in with the colour scheme.

Another idea I had was to replace the wooden fence panels. Sean and I would spend days every year or every second year painting these panels. As you can see from the pictures they have an in and out design and the fence posts to the back were a nightmare to paint. There were also a few of the panels starting to rot and fall apart and it was either replace them with identical panels from 50-60 euro or get concrete panels for 45 euro per fence. It was a no brainer. The concrete ones were more private, easier to maintain and have a lifetime guarantee – as in, unless someone purposely tries to smash them – with great difficulty – they are not going anywhere. We replaced all the panels down one side of our garden, with our neighbours blessing and to the rear of the garden.

While all of this was being planned out and actually the day after the panels and slabs were delivered, two fence panels blew out during the night. It got very windy and when we woke up there were two panels broken on the ground. This was a sign they had to go. On the far side of the garden we decided to go with ship latting instead of the concrete panels. This was my father’s idea and adds great character to the garden and also provides great privacy. These latts come in 16ft lengths and it’s a very cost-effective way of replacing a fence. The latts were attached to the concrete uprights and run from the house to the shed. There were loads of offcuts leftover from the fence so I asked for the wood on the shed door to be replaced. It ties in nicely with the fence and gave the shed a makeover.

Before the slabs were started another phase of the design needed to be perfected – the pergola. I really wanted to define and frame our seating area and loved the idea of the pergola and in years to come having it draped with plants, climbers and fairy lights. It was suggested that I install the 6×6 uprights in steel boots to prevent them from rotting, this way they wouldn’t be in the ground and open to the elements. Concrete was poured under the four post positions and allowed to set over night. The boots were then drilled and set into the concrete using special bolts. This then provided the size and shape of the pergola and the slabs could be started. I got all the wood for the pergola and fence from Laois Sawmills in Portlaoise. Tom in there was a great help and talked me through my drawings and what I needed.

The pergola took shape quickly once the posts went up and the guy we had working for us in the garden was brilliant with his hands. Within two weeks we had our garden back and it was time to start planning the plants and the accessories. The first thing to go in was the rattan effect outdoor furniture we bought the previous September from Willoughby’s Hardware in Monasterevin. We purchased it on sale at a bargain 599.00. It is a large table with a glass top with 6 seats in grey. It came with seat pads for each of the seats and is a very sturdy set. For my birthday in February, Sean bought me the large lantern that is positions beside the pergola post. It is such a beautiful addition to the garden and I have battery operated candles inside that light up to create a nice ambience.

We widened our flower beds and most of what was there got destroyed during the build, so we were starting from scratch. But before we could plant anything the fences had to be painted. Sean sealed them with PVC Polybond and then I gave it three coats of white paint. My intention was to paint them a light grey but when the three coats of white was finished I loved it. It just made the whole place look so much bigger and it was so bright. I used the grey to paint the pebble dash at the back of the house so as not to waste it and it helped finish the area with block colours. I used the left over white paint to paint the shed and window sills.

The canopies to the back of the house are door canopy’s and can be found on done deal. I ordered them in April and at the time I couldn’t find anything like it in Ireland. We ship a lot of equipment from China through work so I contacted the supplier over there and ordered what I wanted. It was important to have a good overhang from the house as I wanted to be able to use the BBQ pictured even if it was raining. The overhang I requested was 1.5m from the wall and each panel or canopy is 1m wide. I got 5 of them and they slot together like a jigsaw. The gutter at the top of the house stops any water coming down the wall side of the canopy and then the overhang of 1.5m gives great shelter when it’s raining. I can open my back doors in any weather and not worry about the rain coming inside or even wetting the doors.

20170921_163933374_ios

Leading onto the BBQ. This started out as just the BBQ, which is in the centre of the unit. It was gifted to be in February as a birthday present. I always wanted an outdoor kitchen and ran the ideas by the powers to be in work. It spiralled from there. The BBQ was built into a 2.4m mobile unit, with drawers for storage and a bottle cooler for all those parties that I hope to have. On the right-hand side of the BBQ is a 2 ring cooker and the other side is a work surface. The BBQ is a 4 burner Smeg Commercial BBQ and is very powerful. It comes with a drawer for water underneath the burners to aid in cooking, and this helps keep the food moist and not charred. The fabricators in work built a hood for the unit to finish it off. It’s on wheels and open to the back for ventilation. I am in love with it and hopefully will have loads of lovely meals from this over the years.

The next thing to arrive was the playhouse. I got very claustrophobic in the house with all the toys and they were taking over everywhere. This was purchased from Moody brothers in Kildare and as soon as its insulated in the coming weeks and the electricity is in it I will do a separate blog post about it.

20170921_163900090_iOS

The idea behind doing the garden up like this was to reduce the maintenance and to try enjoy it more. I wanted to create a space outside that felt like an extension of the house and like an extra room. On a sunny day with the back doors wide open and a light warm breeze in the air, it’s like a little bit of heaven. The boys don’t use the garden to play or kick ball anymore now that they are that bit older. They love to be out the front on the green with their friends, so it seemed like the perfect time to turn the garden into a space we could all use.

I bought a few pieces from Homestore and More to stick up on the fences and some picks to stick out between the flowers. This will all add to the character of the garden. I also have some windchimes to add a melody to the wind. With the good weather coming to an end this year, the work outside has come to a halt. It is my intention to light up the pergola with fairy lights and hang an outdoor heater on one of the overhead rafters. I have gazebo curtains to surround the pergola on a cold night and some cloth canopies for overhead. With some more growth on the climbers the pergola will be a vision of beauty, wrapped in green foliage and draped in blossoms.

As I said earlier the flowers I planted this year were all new with one exception, which was the Californian Lilac in the corner of the garden. I bought most of the plants from Glanbia/Country Life in Monasterevin and a few climbers and bedding from Pat Coopers Hardware in Portarlington. Pat gave me a feed to sprinkle over my garden and told me it would take up to two weeks to work. He wasn’t far off the mark and when we returned from 10 days away in June the garden was like a jungle of green, with amazing colours peeping through and beautiful scents. I will add the details of the plants below, I should have most of the tags at home.

I hope you enjoyed the tour around my little piece of heaven …………………………..

 

To be continued

Before and After 2Before and After 1

Make-Up Room

This room in our house has always been used for the boys, when they weren’t sleeping in there, they used it as their play room. It had cream and blue walls and nursery stickers of animals scattered around the place. With all the fuss in the last couple of months and the feeling of not being able to control my own body or make my own decisions about my future as a mother, I thought it was time to take it back for me. Create a sanctuary that I could escape to. And instead of it being referred to the baby’s room by everyone in the house it is now “Mammy’s Make Up Room”.

It wasn’t long after my operation that I made the decision to change the room. I took the week off work after my op and during that week on my hands and knees with tears streaming down my face I started to remove the stickers. A few of them were ok to get off, but the majority took some wall with them. It was a relief that day to take some control back. I organised the painter for a few weeks down the line and then I started to plan the décor.

I had to work around what was already in the room, like the built-in bed and the radiator. I wanted to keep the bed, as its always handy to have an extra bedroom. When Nathan was 20 months old we decided to move him into a bed. I am a space saver at heart so tried to think of the best way to utilise the room while not making it feel tiny. I bought a single bed and tried to run it under the window as pictured. However, it didn’t fit and this really frustrated me as it was only milometers out. Luckily my friends partner was a carpenter and it was Brian to the rescue.

I asked him to cut the bed in half and shave off those extra unwanted milometers. Then to somehow reconnect it and put four doors on the front. To the back of the bed there is a piece of wall the sticks out and I asked him to build me a box for book storage. It is shelved off at the height of the bed so that the kids didn’t disappear into Narnia when trying to pick a book out at night. This was all built from MDF and painted white. The mattress fits in snuggly between the two walls and it was the perfect room when the boys were growing up.

Brian also made the shutters on the windows that you have previously seen in our bedroom and it was because of this room that we decided to get them. For some reason, that I can’t figure out this room can get very cold in the winter. The temperature instantly went up 5/6 degrees when the shutters were closed. They were a great asset to keep in the heat as they are fully sealed around the edges and they keep the light out, so it’s easy to get the boys to bed in those bright evenings and to stay in bed longer in the mornings. These are made from Pine and have been stained. I’m toying with the idea of sanding them back and white washing them – but we’ll just have to see.

The bed provides great storage in such a small room, as I mentioned earlier the book box to the rear of the bed is still full of books. I am reluctant to get rid of them as the boys enjoy story time so much. Then under the bed is extra storage. I have the full size of the bed to store quilts, toys, boxes etc. There is also a wardrobe built in behind the door. When we moved in this was just shelved so we bought two rails and so we could hang up clothes. Now it’s just used for all the extra hangers, but hopefully when I get my cleaning hat on I will be able to move in my handbags, shoes and other accessories into it.

The bed is dressed in Ikea bed sheets that I got recently, which were only €12.00. They suited the colour scheme perfectly as I had chosen grey for the walls – which is Dulux Silverwood – and white for the furniture. Grey and white is the perfect combination, creating a crisp, clean feel to any space. But once you let grey into your life and into your house it takes over. I have a white sheet on the bed with no need for a valance with the freshly painted doors at the bottom. These are a feature in themselves. The pillows are duck feather and down. They are my preferable choice in a pillow, I just love how my head sinks into them at night and they nearly surround the sides of my head in a world of cosiness. I bought these on offer in HomeStore and More a couple of months ago, along with the quilt, protective pillow cases and a protective sheet for the mattress. Homestore and More is such good value and quality. A deal is always on hand to inspire you to make changes at home.

The radiator cover is an Oxford brand. It’s really heavy and sturdy and good quality. It was very simple to put together and just finishes the room perfectly. This cost €110.00 from Morrison’s catalogue in medium. I got two, one for this room and one for the boy’s room. The radiator had to be moved years ago when we were building in the bed as it was tight up against it. Our plumber, Tom, moved it with no hassle at all and it gave us more room to tuck in the sheets and now to fit the radiator cover.

Moving on to the makeup table in all its glory. This is from Ikea too and is the best buy I have ever made. Sean and I put it together in a few minutes and with its drawer for storage and the glass protective top hopefully it will last me a few years. It was a bargain at €100.00. The mirror is also from Ikea and cost only €19.00. I bought chrome plated wall lights with 5 bulbs on each for either side of the mirror as pictured below. These need to be wired in and is on my to do list, or at least on the electricians to do list 😊

To fill the drawer, I found plastic desk organisers in a pack of 6 i.e. one long tray, two half size trays and three small trays for €6.00 in Homestore and More. I got two the first day I was over there and went back a week later and they were on sale for €2/€3 a pack, so I picked up a couple more. Such great value and so beneficial for separating your make up. All the decorative heart lights, in white, are also from Homestore and More. I both these at half price and I think they are still reduced. The white pots that I am using to store my brushes are from Ikea and are only €2.50 for the small ones and €6.00 for the large ones.

Also on top of my make-up table are a few pieces from Homestore and More. A cotton pad dispenser, only 99p, a swivel box with three tiers at only €3.99, the black mirror with LED lights around it was €9.99. The grey heart hanging on the mirror is from Dunnes Stores, which was only €3/€4 and the LOVE wooden sign on top of the mirror was €5.00 from Dunnes. The tab boxes behind the bed are also from Dunnes ranging from €3.00 from the smallest one to €8.00 for the larger one. The big white cushion on the bed was moved from our room which is old stock from Dunnes Stores.

To finish the room, I want to get a nice chair or stool, I shared a few of my preferences yesterday on the shop page of my site. I want to get some nice frames for the walls so I can put some prints and pictures up and maybe a few more decorative pieces. Send me your suggestions if you like………

To be continued

thumbnail_IMG_2700thumbnail_IMG_2701thumbnail_IMG_2706thumbnail_IMG_2712thumbnail_IMG_2708

 

All the links to each of the pieces is below:

048755_large046809_largerostvin-quilt-cover-and-2-pillowcases-white-grey__0356130_pe547461_s4oriwaterp01_medium044508_large

malm-dressing-table-white__0132192_pe286972_s4

nissedal-mirror-white__0459572_pe606202_s4musik-wall-lamp-wired-in-installation-chrome-plated__0482669_pe620318_s4

064224_large064222_large064223_large

043190_mediumskurar-plant-pot-in-outdoor-off-white__0114579_pe267096_s4057810_large

7784409_assorted

 

 

 

Master Bedroom from Drab to Fab

You spend a lot of time in your bedroom over a lifetime, it needs to be somewhere you can relax and switch off from the world. And that’s what I set out to achieve.

We moved into our house over eight years ago, we were only 23 when we bought it. So as you can imagine we didn’t have our life’s savings behind us. Everything was done on a budget and we were happy that way as we had our own house, independence and we were standing on our own two feet (more like four feet). Over the last number of years we’ve got engaged and married, had two beautiful kids and all the other things that come with owning a house and running two cars to contend with. Now was the time to spend a little money on us and start to update the house room by room. Over the next few posts I will show you what we’ve done and hopefully give you some tips. But for now let’s start with the master bedroom.

First to go was the old, worn, stinky carpet. From those of you that have kids you will know how often you are on your hands and knees cleaning up mess from the carpets after little people. Spilt drinks, baby puke, toddler puke, big child puke, too much puke. It was time to go. Grey was my colour of choice and as you will see from the pics of the rest of my house, this colour carried through. I love it, it’s neutral but has depth and warmth, depending on the tone of grey you choose. I like to go with the greys with a hint of purple in them, makes it warmer. The carpet I chose was carried into all three bedrooms and on the stairs and landing so that there would be a continuous flow throughout the first floor. I bought it from Denis McGinley’s carpets in Portlaoise. He’s on the Mountrath road and can be found on Facebook. He is very reasonably priced and I have bought all my carpets from him since moving in to our own house and my Mam has bought all her carpets from him as long as I can remember.

But before the carpet could go in I wanted to get paneling done on my bedroom walls. I just love how it changes the look of a room or hallway. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but when finished it looks expensive. I approached a childhood friend of mine who is a carpenter to see if he would do the job. Alan Kirwan Carpentry Ltd (he can also be found on Facebook). He sent one of his guys into do the job. I’m quite handy with a measuring tape so already knew what timber I needed to get, but for those of you who wouldn’t know where to start your carpenter is the one to ask. I ordered sheets of MDF in two different thicknesses to create the box paneled effect and I also ordered beading to finish off the edges of each box. I tried to find a dado to finish off the top but I couldn’t find any I liked, so the carpenter, “Murty” suggested using the cut offs of MDF and rounding the edges on them, creating a layered effect.

The headboard was also designed from the MDF using the box panel effect, I wanted it to look grand so decided to bring it up very high on the wall and I used a large dado to finish the top of it, giving it a wide flat top. And to finish the room off nicely I asked him to make me a radiator cover. I just bought a sheet of patterned wooden MDF trellis and he inserted it into a frame. The top was then left open so as not to block the heat in the room. This was all messy work as there was a lot of sawing and trimming causing a lot of sawdust and mess. And then it had to be painted. Oh the drama. 

First I bought an oil based undercoat and gloss which was a nightmare to apply. Three coats later I couldn’t see the finish line. I called the hardware and explained the trouble I was having and they suggested a water based satin wood. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this in the first place. I had to buy another undercoat, which was to counteract the oil base and then the water based top coat. I forgot to mention that before I started to paint I also had to fill all the nail holes and joins in the timber, sand it down and refill again where necessary. Although all of this sounds like tedious work, it was worth it in the end and the finished product looks amazing.

I chose a grey colour for the walls in the room, I thought with the white paneling a crispy grey would be nice. It was Dulux “Moderism”. It turned out really well and I was able to get the two coats done in a few hours as there was very little wall left in the room. The carpet was now safe to go in, no more messy work to do, only accessorizing. All the furniture was brought downstairs from the three bedrooms and when I got home from work the carpets were finished. A thorough Hoover and it was time to enjoy the sponginess under my feet. We want this carpet to last a good few years so made sure we chose a good thick underlay to help it last and give the feel of luxury as you walk on it.

To add some character to the room I painted a cut off of the MDF in the same colour as the wall and stuck a wall decal to it. It is an inspirational quote reminding us to take the good with the bad. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, It’s about learning to Dance in the Rain”. I bought a cheap extendable curtain rail from Heaton’s which I mounted at the top of the wall and from this I draped four white voile curtains from Ikea. Such good value and they look voluptuous. I added some icicle battery operated lights to each side to create some mood lighting. I also bought these in Heaton’s in the New Year sale. A bargain at €4.00 per set.

The bedside lockers are from Homestore and More. I had my heart set on French boutique lockers and was searching Done Deal for a set I could upscale. I couldn’t believe my luck when Sean and I came across the ones in the pictures attached in Homestore and More. They were exactly what I wanted and weren’t too expensive at €70.00 each. After securing that find we went into Homebase for a noisy. They had a sale on in their lighting department upstairs and we were thrilled to come across bedside lamps. The base and the lampshades were separate but I think they make a good combination together. The bases are really heavy and the glass globe helps disperse the light around the room. The lamp shade on the ceiling was bought in Dunnes Stores for €20.00 and blends in with the grey and white colour scheme. The bed linen was also bought in Dunnes Stores. I chose a light purple duvet and matching pillow cases to add some contrast to the room and then a deeper purple sheet and matching pillow cases for underneath. 

I recently picked up the heart shaped mirror in Homestore and More reduced to €4.99 and the small grey heart shaped clips used to tie back the voile curtains are also from there at €4.00 each. It’s the small touches that give the room character. These heart shaped clips are hung up on the wall using command strip hooks, no holes, no screws and easy to move if you ever change your design. 

You might also notice the shutters in our room at the windows, these were made for us years ago by a very talented carpenter friend of ours, Brian. I told him what I wanted, gave him a quick design brief and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. These block all the light from the room, you can sleep in pitch darkness. They are sealed all around the edges, which keeps the heat in the room, which was the main reason for getting them. There are two latches on one door on the inside, securing it at the top and bottom and then a lock on the outside to keep them closed. They actually help retain so much heat in the room that we usually sleep with ours open, as I said in a previous post I am always warm. They proved really beneficial in the boys rooms and eliminated any draughts you might get from the windows. They are made from solid pine and have been varnished once to maintain them. They were reasonably priced but asthe  MasterCard ads would say the benefits were “Priceless”.

Moving onto the wardrobes. I’m a divil for trying to optimize storage. In a small three bed house there are not too many opportune places to steel a bit of storage but I was all over it in our bedroom. There was a chimney breast in the centre of the back wall dividing two alcoves. Originally when we bought our house there was a small double door wardrobe in one of the alcoves that barely held all my clothes. Poor Sean had to go to another room to get his. When we saved up a few pound we decided to up scale. We contacted John from Robe Design in Kildare and he designed the finished piece. We asked if he could incorporate the tv into the unit somehow and he definitely did not disappoint. The chimney breast was covered in white timber and the tv was then mounted to it. The distance from the tv to the doors was carefully calculated to allow the sliding doors pass safely. We bought got double height hanging room, a selection of drawers and shelves and I even got a long area for dresses and two pull out shoe shelves. Very fancy pancy! It was amazing to have all that wardrobe space and sean was allowed bring his clothes back into our room 😂. The colors I chose a few years back for the doors would probably not be what I would pick now but they are neutral enough to get away with it and I won’t be rushing out in the morning to change them for aesthetic reasons.

Finally, to the famous “Wall of Love”. This was something I was really passionate about doing. The bedroom is Sean’s and my room and our relationship should be celebrated. I think sometimes we got lost in the small things, bickering and fighting and we don’t look at the bigger picture. With these pictures of the happiest moments in our relationship displayed on the wall, at least every morning we wake up and every night we go to bed we get reminded of these times together and it grounds you and reminds you of the love we both share ❤️. Corny I know, but with all that is going on in our lives it’s nice to have something just for us. I bought the frames in dealz for €1.49 each. I arranged them on the floor first, getting the sizes right and the layout I wanted and then I stuck them onto the wall using Velcro Command Strips. I carefully chose the best pictures from our wedding day and made sure to include our 21st kisses to each other. How nice is it to say we are together that long and we were both each other’s 21st kiss. Seems so long ago now, but it was very important back then. 

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and detail put into our bedroom and maybe it might spark some DIY or Interior Design desires in some of you. I have posted some videos and pics to Snapchat @dawnheavey, Facebook @Insidemammysworld, Instagram @insidemammysword and on Twitter @insidemamaswrld.

Sitting Room Makeover

Your couch is a very important part of your family life, from the obvious relaxing and watching tv to all its other functions such as:

  • Changing baby’s nappies
  • Eating your Saturday night takeaway
  • Kids enjoying popcorn and a movie with their friends
  • Your almost one year old pulling himself up and getting steady on his feet as he walks holding on to it.

It’s a very special piece of furniture but ours was looking old and tired. We bought it about 7 years ago, pre-children. It replaced a leather suite that Sean had picked out when we first moved in, but it annoyed me deeply and I didn’t find it comfortable. One day I decided enough was enough and I put it on Done Deal. It may have been briefly discussed at some stage, maybe when Sean was falling asleep but it definitely wasn’t agreed on, as I was later told. The ad was up with pictures and within the hour Sean received a phone call from a local man coming to collect his furniture. Oooops I should have put my number on the ad, that was an awkward conversation. He got over it!!!

The suite we replaced it with was a newer version of the couch you can see below. It was so cosy. We got a three-seater couch and a one seater. Within the first two weeks I came home one evening to find a hole chewed into the seat cushion on the three-seater couch, all the stuffing was pulled out and that was the end of the new couch. From then we covered the seat cushions with blankets.

The poor couch had threads pulled out from everywhere, the cushion was ripped as I said, the frame on the three-seater was shaky and broken as we later found out and it was time for a makeover. I contacted local upholster Quality Upholstery. I sent them pictures of my suite on Facebook messenger and they sent me back a price and the amount of material I would need. I decided that it would be great if I had a two seater to replace the one seater. Trying to expand the family and room for visitors to sit, it would definitely be more beneficial to have more seats. I scoured Done Deal and narrowed it down to a few options. I finally settled on a couch in Wexford as pictured below. It was €40 and a lot worse than mine, but who cared, all I needed was the frame. Off my husband and his friend went on a warm summers evening down to Wexford and back after work one evening. He must really love me!!!

That weekend my sister and I went to Newbridge to the Fabric Outlet to pick out fabric. I knew I wanted grey but I had so many options to choose from. You need another person with you to help choose, you have to pull out rolls of fabric and place them beside each other to make sure they match and another pair of eyes is essential. After an hour of trawling the shop we settled on the Grey and White Triangular patterned fabric. It was easy to pick the base, I needed something darker as that is where little toes first touch as they are climbing up with dirty shoes. It was harder to pick the cushion fabric, the accent colours. The staff in the Fabric Outlet were run off their feet, the place is so busy but when it came to my turn they were very helpful and full of ideas. They cut extra fabric for me as I had changed from a one-seater to a two-seater and off I went. The fabric was so reasonable only 4.95 per metre. You can find them online at www.fabricoutlet.ie or on Facebook @fabricoutlet.ie.

Phil and her husband Murt collected our furniture on a Thursday evening, including our ottoman and said they would be back in a few days. I asked for our ottoman to be converted into a storage box so that I could use it for storage of dvds. Nothing could have prepared me for the finished piece, it was amazing, out of this world. You can see from the pictures below that it was a total transformation. The frame was fixed on the three-seater. We were lucky to pick up three large cushions in a warehouse that were going to be thrown out, for the back as these are expensive to buy and they really help fill out the back of the couch and make it look so much grander. The two-seater looks great and was a bargain and they look amazing in the sitting room.

While the couches were gone, we repainted the walls with a lilac/grey colour and changed the wall paper on the chimney breast. We also previously ripped out the fire place as it was never used and placed an electric stove into the alcove for effect. Removing the hearth off the floor has given us so much more room and floor space. The new floor boards were laid and it looks like a new house.

To add some cosiness I ordered a mat from Dennis McGinley carpets in Portlaoise. I wanted a large mat to fit between the couch and the ottoman and I wanted it very high pile and cosy under your toes. The boys love to sit and watch telly on the mat and they play on the floor a lot so it was important that it was comfy and warm. It was a bargain, I chose the carpet I liked and Dennis arranged for the size I wanted to be piped around the edges from a lady in Portlaoise.

It didn’t help that I had bought a mat two weeks previous in Dunnes for the sitting room that was put down for a day and is still rolled up upstairs. Oooops again!!!!

14088403_1104274436315289_4961007315625444743_n14022293_1104274269648639_3020521235330133234_n14067501_1104274292981970_4987530675430028399_n

13934872_1104273682982031_3668110886205287547_n

So Tired and Sad – Help Me!!!

14068177_1104274096315323_2870772970025148867_n14045992_1104273789648687_6014346141172689063_n14045608_1104274356315297_8240585861524978412_n

Party Planning

I’m taking a step away from the serious stuff today and going to give you some ideas for planning a party. I love party and event planning. When my sister decided to have her 30th in my parents’ house it was all systems go to make sure everything ran smoothly. I offered to sort out all the decorations and make the cake.

Decorations

We decided on pastels and started to search all the party websites. Then I landed on Party Parlour (www.partyparlour.ie) and found amazing pieces. We had to get enough to decorate two Marquees and the garage. We are very lucky that in my parents’ house we have all the facilities to host outdoor events and I was blessed to have both boys Christening parties there after their ceremony’s.

You will see from some of the pictures I attached the decorations that we went with. Floral buntings, tissue pom poms, honeycombs, paper lanterns, hanging fans and much more. By picking a colour scheme of pastels it was easy to mix and match decorations creating an array of colours and styles. I had some old fairy lights which we used to light of the ceiling in the garage along with the DJ’s lights.

Photos

I thought it would be fun to get some photo props and decorated an old frame for taking pictures. These pictures could then be added to the album I created for my sister with photos from her childhood and all the major happenings in her life. I contacted most of her friends through social media and asked them to send me pictures for the album. This was the best gift of all as it was from everyone there. All the pictures were printed by the local pharmacy Adrian Dunne’s, the girls in there are so helpful and efficient and the photos are reasonably priced when printing in bulk. I spent most of the night with a camera around my neck making sure I captured all the fun. Documented memories forever.

Drinks

The idea was that everyone brought their own drinks and there was a bit of everything in the house too for the all-night partiers. Mam and I ordered a cocktail bar for the party as a surprise. Cocktail Mocktail from Portlaoise and they seemed to have been in festival circuit last year from their pics on Facebook. The bar is inflatable and the set up takes no time. You can find them on Facebook @cocktailmocktailirl. It was a great addition to the night and added a bit of colour to the décor with the neon lights.

The Sweet Table

So as usual when I say I am going to do something I do it times ten. I offered to make the birthday cake but thought we wold need some cupcakes too. And as there was going to be kids there it was suggested we might need some sweets. So, the birthday cake soon spiralled into a Sweet Table. You can see the pictures I attached. I made the cake and the cupcakes on the Friday night and then Saturday morning as I mentioned in my last post between meeting with the fertility advisor, decorating and beautifying myself I had to ice 60 cupcakes and decorate them. Sean was in the kitchen beside me during the mayhem and asked “why do you always do this to yourself”, I don’t know, maybe because I am crazy!!!! Someone needs to restrain me, I get so excited. There were very little cupcakes left so I don’t feel too bad.

I raided my house to decorate the table, some birdcage battery operated lights I picked up in Heaton’s on sale and a large birdcage tea light holder that I picked up in the local €2 euro shop. The jars and scoops were borrowed from a friend and I decorated the marquee in lanterns and battery operated candles to add some ambience. These were borrowed from my cousin and originally purchased from Dunnes Stores.

The night was a huge success and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A local events caterer provided food and the music was provided by a friend of my husbands, he comes highly recommended. He had a mixture of music for all eras and genres and kept everyone on the dance floor all night.