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Home & Interiors

Features walls – im a little obsessed!

I know everybody is probably well and truly fed up of listening to my renovation tales. It has been a crazy but fulfilling couple of months. We are now inching ever closer to having the house completed exactly to the spec and design that we wanted. Yes it took a lot longer than I hoped, it also went over budget (that a whole other post!) and it probably did put some strain on marital relations!

One of the biggest bones of contention around here was under stairs toilet v under stairs storage.  I was firmly in the camp of storage, im thinking school bags, sports gear, endless pairs of shoes and runners. The Dada Fairy wanted the downstairs toilet. His thinking was handy for the kids save them running upstairs, handy too for visitors and their school pals. So after much debate I reluctantly agreed to the downstairs toilet.

bathroom sink

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The space is teeny! Add to that the fact it will actual be quite a visible room being in the hallway. I wanted to keep the base neutral but jazz it up. I have visited a local show house and they had a feature wall where the toilet and cistern sat and I really liked it.  It added depth to the small space and almost made a talking point of it.  So off I went researching feature walls. Who knew there was so much choice out there! We ended up going for stone split face tiles in grey keeping with our neutral tones around the house. The tiles are are actually suitable for indoor and outdoors.

I would strongly advise ordering samples and trying them out in your space. I originally thought I wanted the exposed red  brick look but having taken a couple of samples home it just did not work when compared to the cool neutral tones around the house. Its funny  how something can look fab in a show room or even show house however we you take it back to your own house it just doesn’t work. That’s a really long winded way of staying take some samples home!

The Dada Fairy did the work himself which was great as he is in the building trade. However for the non DIY among us there are lots of helpful guides an how to tutorials online. I’m hopeless at DIY thankfully the Dada Fairy doesn’t mind tackling it otherwise we would probably be still living in a building site.

The bathroom is almost done and ill hopefully have a big reveal shortly.  I haven’t told him yet that I think he was probably right to push for the downstairs toilet!!!

Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control




Home & Interiors

Central heating, so many choices?!

oil heating

Pic Credit: Pixabay

With the time of year that in it naturally all our attention has turned to turning back on the heat. We have been lucky to date and its been pretty mild but I think the time has come to think about it again. For most of us this side of the world the cost of home heating can be quite a substantial bill this side of year.

When we moved into our house we had lots of decisions to make regarding our central heating system.  The previous owner had gas installed half way to the front driveway and an oil burner out the back. However the oil burner was as old as myself so we need a new central heating boiler. 

Who knew there was so many choices available for boilers and heating systems available.  It wasn’t a concern in our old house as we inherited the gas system and just went with what was there but this time around having to select the type of system and type of boiler meant lots more decisions to be made.

I think like anything when it comes to home renovation or new builds it is critical to shop around and talk to the relevant tradespeople.  Its also important to know and understand your own objectives and requirements and to discuss how they might fit in with your budget constraints.  I remember somebody once saying to me invest in the items like wiring, pluming, heating buying the best you can within your budget.  Consider the longer term and the potential saving particularly for the likes of heating systems  This is particularly relevant with advent of lots more eco friendly heating systems and them becoming so much more mainstream and affordable.

Has anybody an tips or comments on their current heating system? If so id love to hear them in the comments.

Note: This is a collaborative post  however I retain full editorial control.



Home & Interiors

Top Tips to Transform a Steel Building into Another Room

steel garden shed

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Let’s face it, we could really all use some extra space in our home, but extensions are expensive and not always the most affordable thing to do. If an extension is too large of a project for you to take on right now, then you may want to instead think about transforming a steel building into another room for your home. So, no matter whether you are looking to create a home office, looking for a space to relax in, or want to provide a games room for the kids, a steel building can achieve this with just a few extra upgrades.

Carry on reading to find out more about our top tips to transform a steel building into another room.  

Installing Electricity

When creating an extra room on your home, you will want it to be a space that you feel comfortable in which for most people, this will mean running electricity to it. Whether you want to simply put on a light to complete your work or need specific electronics to be working, the process of installing electricity is crucial. Other fun upgrades that an electrician can do for you in regards to your steel building is wiring up an intercom to the main house, installing a sound system or installing the wiring for network connections.

Installing New Flooring

Before your steel building becomes an extra room that you actually want to spend time in, you will need to install new flooring. We would recommend hard flooring here over a carpet, as you may find a carpet hard to keep clean with this room being outdoors. No one wants to be constantly cleaning mud and moisture that is being dragged in by family and friends from the main house to the steel building. Furthermore, we would also recommend that you get a good sizes rug and a welcome mat to try and combat the dirt.

Adding Insulation

If you want to make the most out of your shed and give it a room-like appearance, then you may want to add insulation to it. This will provide you with a number of benefits including climate control and it will also help to buffer sounds. Installing a dry wall can then really complete the look of your steel building. You can also get your insulation sorted when you purchase your steel building by requesting it as an add-on. This is something which Armstrong Steel provide which you’ll notice if you price up a building with them through the following link: Their insulation is a heavy vinyl backed fibreglass that eliminates condensation and ultimately saves you money on energy costs.

Climate Control

Whether it be the weather being too hot where you live or too cold, climate control is something that you will need to ensure is in good working order with your steel building. A HVAC unit is a great idea here as it can be used to both cool and heat your space as you desire between the seasons.


After making your steel building more habitable, you will then be able to add the finishing touches such as lighting that will make it feel more like an extra room on your home. You will also want to add things such as blinds to protect against UV rays and furniture to make the room useable.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Bespoke Furniture – is it worth it?

bespoke furniture green chair

Pic Credit: Pixabay

I have written numerous posts about our renovation projects and one of the final pieces of the renovation is the big decision of the furniture.  We went for plain floor and walls with the objective of jazzing it up as such with some cool furniture. I wanted the basics to be neutral and stand the test of time but I was happy to experiment with fun colours and materials for the furniture.

We have some really odd and probably small rooms therefore furniture straight off the shop floor either way too big or just didn’t suit the space. So we decided to take some more time, save some more funds and go down the bespoke route for the downstairs room. We are almost there and will look forward to a big reveal shortly with some pretty impressive progress pictures.  However some of the things I have learned throughout the process is:

  • Be very clear from the outset exactly what you want
  • Consider the functionality – exactly what you want the piece to do, consider dual uses to make the most of the space particularly if its small like ours.
  • Use your budget wisely to get the most out of it, for example  consider items like gas struts to close down furniture like counter tops etc when not in use. Makes a great space saver.
  • In a similar vein – agree up front the cost – prevents surprises
  • Be patient – this took me a little while! It does take a lot more time to make a bespoke piece when compared with buying off the shelf but the end result will be totally worth it.

Check back next month to see my pieces.  This has been a total labour of love and resulted in many disagreements (arguments!) but I can finally see it all starting to come together and I am mega excited.


Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control
Home & Interiors

Top tips when choosing new windows

large window looking our over mountains

Pic Credit: Pixabay

We moved into our new house in 2014 with the decision that replacing the very old windows that came with the house was the first job we would tackle.  However….we simply couldn’t agree on what we wanted and shamefully only got the windows replaced in March of 2018.  I am not an expert not even close however I will share some tips on what worked for us in the end together with some key considerations having chatted and debated at length with a lot of window suppliers!

  1. It almost goes without staying – shop around and then shop around some more. We found some huge divergences in cost so using comparison sites for windows can be hugely beneficial especially when trying to compare like with like
  2. Drive around and look at similar type properties to see what works well and conversely what doesn’t for similar styles of houses. For example I love sash windows but they just wouldn’t suit the type of property we have.
  3. Agree key requirements before you start shopping, single, double glazing or even triple glazing- for us it was triple glazing for the back as our house at the rear backs onto a busy and noisy dual carriageway.
  4. Consider the energy efficiency of your windows as this could save you money on your heating in the longer term.
  5. There are lots of types of materials from wood, to aluminium to a alu-clad so decide which material you want within your budget constraints as there can be quite a difference.
  6. Consider options for child proofing – safety latches etc. This was critical for us with 2 busy boys!
  7. Ensure you supplier is reputable, look for references.
  8. Review whether the windows or workmanship comes with any guarantees or quality marks.

If anybody has any other helpful hints do add them in the comments section below.

Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control
Home & Interiors

Top Tips for moving house

We have moved house 3 times over the last 10 years each a different stage, before kids, with one kid and when pregnant with our second. While im no expert I can certainly share from a practical point of view what worked for us thus making a stressful process a little easier on all involved.

  • Planning – I know this may sound like im stating the obvious but planning really is key from the outset, line up the trades, the dates, the help etc.
    House for sale sign

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

    The aim is that it will flow as seamlessly as possible.

  • Removal Company – Unless you have access to a van or lots of help you will like us most probably need to assistance of a Removal companies. The key here is to shop around, get personal recommendations if you can.  You want somebody who will pack and transport as quickly and as efficiently as is possible.
  • Charity/ Dump/ Sell –  You need to be a little ruthless when packing up. If you haven’t wore it or used it in years what are the chances you will now? Lots of options to either donate good quality clothing, dump or even use site like ebay or local deal site to sell goods.
  • Labels, labels, labels – I went a tad crazy with while labels and my sharpie, every box has labels, notes, instructions and priority rankings as I was never going to  have it all unpacked in a few hours! Slightly related also is a tip from my Dad to take a pic of the cabelling for TV’s etc as for the non techie like me, trying to piece that kind of thing back together wouldn’t be the easiest task.
  • Help! – Take all the help you can for either packing or unpacking or even making dinner until you get sorted. Particularly if moving any large furniture yourself

Ill be the first to admit moving is so stressful but hopefully with these simple tips it can make it a little easier.


Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control
Home & Interiors

#WhatHomeIsToMe – some thoughts

I’ve been charting my renovation projects on the blog for some time, we are almost there. Its been a tough and at times incredibly stressful project but I know at the end ill have a house exactly as I want (within financial constraints of course!).  This post is was inspired by an ebook produced by Chill Home Insurance which looks at weird and wonderful home around the world.  It prompted me to think a little bit more about what home really is to me personally.  While in a material sense our newly renovated home will have all we want subject to financial constraints but is it a home?

Thinking deeper I think without the Dada Fairy and the boys im not sure the physical house could ever be a home to me.  In reality we could probably set up “home” anywhere and making our current house a home involved the combination of the physical characteristics we selected ourselves and the people we choose to share it with.  Very deep for a Sunday morning!!

grass houses in Iceland

Pic Credit: Pixabay

We are off to Iceland next weekend and one of the things that stood out to me when booking our accommodation was that huge variety of different types there were. Glass domes to hopefully view the Aurora or the grass covered or turf houses as they are known. They interestingly evolved in attempt to circumvent  the harsh climate conditions.

Chill Insurance have included many other example including closer to home in Co Louth is Dummond Tower.  Which incidentally I have just learned can be booked via Air BnB at certain times of the year. The listing gives a sneak peak into the interior of the Tower which has been restored preserving so much of the integrity of the building. The tower is accessed internally via a cut stone winding stair case. Its breath taking. It dates back to 1858 and I think there really is something special about how well this property was clearly loving restored.  I have just dropped some not so subtle hints for my Christmas present. I have always had a fascination with old properties thinking back to what might have went on there in a different time. To see how the features of the house have been preserved and stand the test of time. This is definitely a property to add to my bucket list.

Some other notable mentions in the ebook and much further field include, an 85 square meter almost transparent house in Tokyo! I have done lots of googling but apparently its location is a somewhat closely guarded secret! Or at the far end end of the design spectrum is a Flintstones inspired house in Malibu! Trust me google this you will not be disappointed!

Its no surprise that when asked the question over 60% of people said it was family that make the home. Its certainly my view too. Id love to here what the true meaning of home is to you….let me know in the comments below.

survey results on the meaning of home

The True Meaning of Home (Credit: Chill Insurance)


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Home & Interiors

How to Make the Home Chores Easier to Handle

cleaning products

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Dealing with household chores isn’t so bad when there’s only one of you, but when you have a family then the list of tasks expands.   Here are a few suggestions on how to make handling your household chores a little bit easier.

Divide the Household Chores Amongst Everyone

Create a weekend chores list and assign different family members to each task. Put it up in the kitchen for all to see.  For kids who are old enough, have them perform household chores to understand the value of work in their lives. Rule out the idea that pocket money – or, any money – is given freely. Developing a strong work ethic will serve them very well throughout their adult lives. Young kids can rake up leaves. Older kids can reorganise or move light furniture under supervision to help clean underneath.   For the parents, split up the chores that are best completed by adults. Treat some of them as learning experiences for the older children too. Add a fun element to it and see if they can invent new or different ways to get the task completed in less time.

Remove Vacuuming from the Chores List Altogether

Vacuuming the carpets and dealing with the wooden floors isn’t difficult, it’s just tedious. If anyone has dust allergies, it does get more difficult when an old vacuum cleaner is spewing dust up at you. Seek out the best robotic vacuum cleaner to remove vacuuming from the task list altogether. Vacuuming the house might take 30 minutes every weekend and again half-way through the week. Why not let a robot vacuum clean the floors while you’re at work?    Look for reviews of robot vacuum cleaners to see which make and models are the most reliable and the best cleaners. You can start by checking out this list of the 17 Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners to pick the one that is both effective and economical.

Keep Things Organised, Automatically

Create systems at home that everyone can follow automatically to avoid having to deal with clean up later. For instance, when there’s a tall laundry basket in every bedroom, it’s no trouble throwing a used t-shirt into the basket on the way out the door. Similarly, when having a set place to put the shoes outside the back door or in a shoe rack at the front door, none of the family tread dirt from outside the home to the interior. These items are difficult for a vacuum to suck up and dispose of.   Wash up the dishes or load up the dishwasher as the last task of the day before heading to bed. You won’t notice the little bit of extra effort when it’s something you do automatically as part of a nightly routine. This avoids dealing with sticky plates and cutlery in the morning and it just makes life easier.

When you get your thinking cap on for how to make household chores easier, then you have time to enjoy your house for what it is; a family home.


Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors, Mamma Musings

Top Tips for renovating your bathroom

You will have seen lots of our renovation ramblings on the blog over the last couple of years. Have finally (almost) come out the far side I though I share so tips on what worked and what didn’t! We ended up doing 2 bathroom projects. A total renovation and a new one.  So here are my top ten tips for renovating your bathroom.  Hopefully this will be useful and do leave comments below if you have any others:

  1. Plan, plan, plan – by this I mean discuss your plans with the relevant trades well in advance and especially before you start buying anything. For example you may want to move a radiator or bath but this may not be possible logistically so talk to the plumber, the electrician etc well before you commence. Also worth considering here is the relevant regulations affecting your refit. Your plumber should be well versed on these and be able to assist and provide advice and guidance.
  2. Features – bathroom tend to be one of the smallest rooms in the house so use what you have a feature. For example we went for heated a vertical radiator which served a nice and also very useful feature.
  3.  Storage – if like me you have a strange habit of accumulating all sorts of lotions and potions consider your storage needs up front!
  4. Lighting – consider your lighting needs well before you start any tiling and don’t go over board! (im looking at you Dada Fairy!!)
  5. Showers head/ brassware – these parts particularly the shower head maybe used multiple times a day so buy the best you can afford. Have a look at quality places like Insignia Shower Outlet  Somebody once told me when renovating the bathroom buying the best your budget can stretch to is critical.  These rooms get a huge amount of use so do look for quality. Its so worth it.
  6. Layout – really consider the flow of the room at the outset particularly given the space may be small.
  7. Tiling – Shop around there can be huge variances in prices and quality so take time to visit plenty showrooms and even take them home to get a sense of how they will look in your own space.
  8. Colours – As tempting as it is to go for the latest fad or popular colour, id suggest keep the sanitary ware neutral and jazz it up with the coloured accessories as they can be changed far more easily and cheaply. At the moment im loving Moroccan styled bathrooms. Its the beautiful use of different textures that I have fallen for. Timeless and elegant.
Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control
Home & Interiors

Spruce up Your Outdoor Spaces to Add Value to Your Home

Every time you make a home improvement it is worth thinking about how to do it in a way that adds value. Provided you do that, when the kids have left and you want to downsize you will improve your chances of making a big profit on your house sale. There are lots of ways to add value to a family home. One of them is to upgrade your outdoor spaces. A nicely landscaped garden can enable you to sell your house for up to 20% more. It also greatly improves the curb appeal of your property, which will tempt more potential buyers to view it.

Plant a tree

Perhaps the fastest way to add value to your property is to buy a tree from somewhere like The Tree Center and plant it. You just need to choose one that will grow well in your climate. When deciding which tree you will plant take the time to find out how big it will grow. This will help you to work out how far away from your home it should be planted. You should also find out how far the root system will spread. The roots of plants can do a lot of damage, especially if they reach your drains, or worse, the foundations of your house.

Maintain your guttering

Keeping your gutters clear of debris is an important task. Usually, you will only need to do it once a year.

Failing to do so, can lead to your property being badly damaged. If water does not drain away properly, it can easily get into the fabric of your building. Once it is in the roof or walls it will spread and can cause a huge amount of damage. When that happens, the value of your home will fall drastically.

Create more private space

People like to spend time outside, but, when they do so they do not like to be overlooked. As a result, planting a hedge or installing a fence can make a house more appealing to potential buyers.

Build an outdoor dining area

Creating somewhere for the family to eat outdoors is also a good idea. If you have the budget, consider building an outdoor kitchen. This article will help you to work out if it is worth doing so in your case.

Install patio or French doors

Connecting your garden to the rest of your home using full-length glass doors will improve your house in several ways. It will let more light into the room, and ensure that the view of your garden can be enjoyed.

As you can see, improving the curb appeal of your property is not hard to do. You do not need to invest a lot of money to make your outdoor spaces more appealing. This is means that you can get a great level of return on your investment. Plus, your family will be able to enjoy spending more time outdoors in a pleasant environment. So, it is hard to think of a reason not to invest a little time and money in improving your outdoor spaces.


Note: This is a collaborative post