Sunday, 21 January 2018

budgeting - frustrating this family since 2014


A piggy bank on a white surface
The end is in sight people, the longest, poorest month is drawing to a close. This time next week I'll be out doing something with the kids that costs actual money instead of sitting at home colouring and trying to come up with yet another "inventive" pasta dish for dinner. We'll be living the high life, visiting cafes like rich folk!

I've mentioned budgeting here a few of times over the last couple of years and every time I do I get questions about it. As it's early in a shiny new year I thought it might be the right time to share how we do it....

Badly. That's how we do it friends, really frickin badly! Things never, EVER end up as we have planned and there always seems to be money that just evaporates into thin air. But at least we try I guess, and I think we do know where we're going wrong and have decided to make a big effort to get on top of it this year.

I say "we", like it isn't a stone cold fact that it's me and my crippling FOMO that's derailing us!

Budgeting first became a major thing for us when I was at the end of my maternity leave with Max. My official leave was over so there wasn't any money coming in on my end, and we were trying to decide if it was possible for me to give up my full time job. That first month we downloaded a free budget template online and filled it in, and while we've moved on to our own spreadsheets (Gavin) and notebooks (Me) we still use the same basic idea that we started with.

Which is......that you note all your incomings (wages, children's allowance etc) and outgoings (direct debits, bills to pay every month) and then you assign amounts to things like entertainment, clothes etc out of what's left, with the idea being that you know where all your money is going ahead of time, so there are no surprises and no accidental overspending.


    Image result for budgeting meme

It doesn't work, or at least it doesn't for us, and after two years of 
being constantly surprised that we're broke again at the end of every month it's time to try something different. 

I'm surprised, Gavin is merely resigned. The man knows me. And I say "broke" when I mean "don't have the money to run around enjoying ourselves on days out all the time but all the essentials are covered". I know how privileged we are, believe me.

So this month we're going to try using cash only for the day to day stuff. No cards getting whipped out to pay for lattes and covert trips to Penney's. If I can actually see my money diminishing maybe I'll be able to control myself! 

I'm also going to try and shop for things like clothes and homewares a hell of a lot less, both to try and save money and to just cut down on the amount of crap that sits around taking up space and not being used in this house! Honestly, this month I've cleared out the playroom, our clothes and the linen cupboard and the amount of stuff I gathered up for the charity shop is crazy. And I do this every six months!!!!! It's such a waste, from a money standpoint definitely but also from a bloody environmental one. I need to start giving myself time to think before I make purchases, and I practiced that last week by going to Ikea with my sister in law and not buying a SINGLE thing!! Yep, that's right, nothing, nada, zip. And honestly, it felt amazing, and I now know exactly what I'm going to buy when I make my next trip because I got to take a look, come home and consider. I can do this people!!

So that's the plan, purchase less, make the purchases we do make more considered, and stop buying things before we can really afford them just because it's convenient or I feel like we'll miss out. Ikea was a perfect example of this, because we are planning on buying quite a few items from there, so it would have been easy to buy them when I was there with my sister in law and she was already getting a lot of stuff delivered, but no, the stuff we want won't really be needed for another month or two, and it's more important right now to fill our emergency fund back up.

Look at me being all mature and crap. 

So that's the plan folks, no more jumping the gun in this house when it comes to spending money. I'm a grown ass woman, this shouldn't be so hard!

How do you guys budget? Any tips? I need help people, for real!!


Thursday, 11 January 2018

industrial glam bathroom reveal.....finally

    industrial glam budget bathroom makeover monochrome brass                  

Cast your mind back to oh, about a million and a half years ago, back in the mists of time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I had an urge to paint something.....of course I'm was definitely only the early 90's when I started this project. I kid, I kid,it was a mere eighteen months ago,it just feels like more because I spent most of it having the same argument with a four year old about why she couldn't watch a third hour of youtube kids, and that shit drags.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

new year plans

          Related image


Hi everyone, remember me? Yeah, so it looks like one kid was easy, two I could handle, but three has me crashing through life in that kind of weird "what the hell just happened" way that's really hard to keep up with. Not that the actual looking after of the offspring is harder, cos for some reason it's not, it's just that there's so much to do that my brain can't keep up, and the days are flying past me at a frightening rate. 

My life is basically that scene from Thor Ragnarok where he meets Doctor Strange.......Anybody? No? Well you're missing out. Taika Waititi, Jeff Goldblum, what more do you want?!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

my favourite interior trends this season

FANCY! Design Blog | NZ Design Blog | Awesome Design, from NZ + The World
The New

As someone who's really into interiors I always love watching new trends emerging and seeing how people incorporate them into their homes. There are so many things I'd like to try myself, and while my own style is some kind of a scandi/mid-century/eclectic mash-up, there is only so much experimenting I can do before my home starts looking like I have multiple personalities! 

Monday, 30 October 2017

plans for a nautical, cool kids bathroom


This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own. I only work with brands I love and I think you'll love too ;)

I know, I know, I barely managed to finish my own bathroom, why am I planning another one? Well folks, this is why....


Yep, that's a light up mermaid sign friends, and it was on sale, so I literally couldn't not buy her. The minute I saw her (in The Range for €15 if you're wondering) I fell head over heels, and I knew I needed her for the kids bathroom. I hadn't had any plans to touch that room ANY time soon but sometimes inspiration hits and you just have to go with it! 

This room is the main bathroom in the house but it's only used by the kids so I can have some fun in here. I want it to be child-friendly, but not childish. So fun, and whimsical, but no primary colours, no plastic, and absolutely, positively, no cartoon characters.

Starting with my beauteous mermaid I want to go with a kind of jules vern, steampunk-y nautical vibe in here, but with a palette of soft blue greens to stop it being too heavy or adult. Here's a basic moodboard to give you an idea of what I'm thinking....

The floor in here is actually the only one in the house that I didn't dislike when we first moved in so it will stay, but I will be refreshing the grout lines. It's a nice deep blue colour, so will work well with the theme.

The wall tiles in here are also fine, so I'll just be painting the walls a nice white, and adding a feature wall of some kind. I'm thinking an ombre scale pattern? The paint colours on the board are Farrow and Ball "All White", "Blue Ground" and "Vardo", and I'm thinking of making some scale shaped stamps and trying to recreate a fish scale pattern using those colours. 

I would be getting the paints mixed in Fleetwood paints though

The shower in here only get used to rinse the kids off if one of them decides it's hilarious to pee in the bath to freak the other one out, so I'm going to replace the ugly curtain rail with a prettier, but less practical round curtain rail. The one in the picture is this one from Argos.

I'm hoping to use pallet wood to create a really cool, rustic bath panel which I think will fit in really well with the theme. I'm also going to use pallet wood for shelves, and possibly for some storage crates.

I say "I", like I'll actually have anything to do with that other than nag Gavin until it gets done.

I'll frame a round mirror with rope, and I've seen this great nautical compass wall decoration that I'll pick up. Add some vintage style art, an octopus toilet roll holder and a nautical style light like this one from and we're done!

What do you think? I think it'll be really pretty and fresh, and something that walks the line between what I want and what the kids want, cos I know they're my kids and I love them but they have terrible taste and this is my damn house.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

oops I did it again.....painted tile floor 2.0

how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

So you know how I've been saying since the dawn of time that the en-suite is practically finished and I just have to add the finishing touches and it'll be done? 

Well.....somehow last week I went in there to put up a frame and ended up stencilling the floor.

That's how it works around here, I'll put things off for months and then find myself elbow deep in paint at one in the morning, or ripping out manky carpet after just going upstairs to put some washing away. I've learned to just go with it. Gavin has learned to not ask questions. 

If you've been with me for a while you'll know that I painted my kitchen floor to make it less vomit-inducing while we saved up to have it ripped out and replaced. Well, the floor in here was less offensive, but just as dated. I had thought I would just leave it as is, hoping that it would kind of just fade into the background, but then as the rest of the decor in here came together I thought it would be a shame to have the floor sitting there, all beige and boring, ruining the look.

how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

So yeah, one day I came up here to put up a few pictures, realised I had a tin of paint, a stencil and two hours of actual free time until I had to pick Max up from playschool. It was a perfect DIY storm, and before I knew what was happening I had a coat of white paint on the floor. 

When I painted the kitchen floor I used primer and actual tile paint, doing two coats of each, and while it did do the job I definitely had to maintain it, touching it up every six weeks or so as little chips appeared in it. Plus the paint was stinky and expensive, so this time I decided to try a different method that I had seen on a lot of American blogs, namely, chalk paint covered by a protective finish, in my case matte water based varnish.

how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

I thoroughly cleaned the floor and let it dry first, then I cut in around the edges and along the grout lines with a brush before going over the whole floor with a small roller. And here's my first tip, chalk paint dries ridiculously fast, so if I were to do this again I would work in small sections rather than doing the whole floor at once, as I found I had to be very careful not to lift the paint from the areas I had cut in with the wet paint on the roller.

                        how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

                       how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

I did three coats of white to make sure everything was completely covered, and once that was dry I was ready to start stenciling!

Now, if you've been with me for any length of time you'll know that I don't have the patience for precision unless it's very easy to achieve, so I was more than half convinced that I was going to totally balls this whole thing up. I figured the best way would be to start in the middle and work out, so I eyeballed the centre, stuck it down with frog tape in the corners and got to work.

That's right, no measuring of any kind. It's either pure blind luck that I didn't end up with a total mess or this particular pattern is very forgiving.

                   how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

I loaded my roller with the darker paint and then rolled it on some newspaper to get rid of the excess in the hopes of minimising any bleeding underneath the stencil, then firmly rolled it over the stencil until all the shapes were completely filled in. Where the pattern went over a grout line I had to dab at it with a brush to fill it in.

As soon as I was done I lifted the stencil, moved it over until the pattern overlapped perfectly at the side, then stuck it down again and repeated the process. So what I mean is that after the very first one I did there was always a part of the pattern that was already filled in, because I was laying the stencil partially over my previous work. This is what gives you the continuous pattern and helps make sure everything is lined up properly. The paint dried so quickly that I never had a problem with smearing while I was doing this but I did occasionally wipe off the stencil to remove any excess paint that might have seeped under.

I realise that this "overlapping" is the crucial point of this project and probably what I should have taken a million photos of....I don't know what to tell you. I had a couple of hours of kid free time to listen to podcasts, drink coffee and paint and I guess the excitement got to me. So this is all I have......

how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

I'm sorry, I hope my shoddy description of the process is enough!

The main parts of the floor went quickly and were relatively painless, but when it got time to get right up to the edges things got a bit trickier. All I did was bend the stencil to get the pattern as close to the edges as I could and roll the paint as normal. I ended up with a small gap the whole way around but it just looks like a grout line. 

                 how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

                       how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

Once the whole floor was done I went back over it with an artists brush and the white paint and cleaned up the few places where paint had seeped under the stencil like below....

how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

Once everything was dry I went over it with three coats of water based matte varnish to protect it. I should point out that the whole time I was working on this I made sure to walk on it as little as possible and when I did need to I wore socks. Chalk paint is incredibly soft and easy to scratch. Like seriously. I managed to scratch the white layer with my bare feet!

how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile


The varnish goes on milky but dries clear, and while it does give a very slight sheen this was the matte version so it's not too shiny. Using water based varnish meant it was a much quicker process as each coat dried in an hour. Also it wasn't so stinky that it gave me a headache and it shouldn't yellow over time like oil based products do.

And so it was done!

I have high hopes for this lasting a long time without much upkeep. It already feels sturdier than the kitchen floor ever did, despite the fact that I used specialised products there and in here I'm winging it with products that definitely weren't meant to be used like this. Also it's extremely rare that anyone wears shoes up here, and it's only really cleaned every couple of weeks compared to the daily wear the kitchen got from brushes and mops.

I was honestly surprised at how relatively easy this was, and I'm absolutely delighted with the result. It's a total game changer, and now that I've seen it I can't imagine the space without it! 

What do you think? Have you ever stenciled anything? Will you be giving it a try now? I've put affiliate links to some of the products I used or similar below, and I'd love to see pictures if you end up trying it!

If you liked this post, you might want to check out:

                       how to stencil a tile floor with chalk paint to get the look of Moroccan tile

Friday, 29 September 2017

turning an old dresser into a bathroom vanity

dresser to bathroom vanity

The en-suite has been plodding on at the speed of a stoned turtle with a gammy leg, but amazingly, finally, I actually have some progress to report! Actually, if I could just get my arse in gear and finish off the last few fiddly bits the bloody thing would actually be finished and I could move on with my life!

But anyway, I really wanted more storage in here. As I talked about in my original post about my plans for this space, the room is a decent size but an awkward shape and there isn't anywhere for free standing storage to fit.  I had originally planned to make Gavin build me a full length, slim cabinet with a mirror on it onto the one small section of clear wall we have, but it didn't happen. I think it just seemed like a lot of work and he wasn't confident about how he would do it,so he wasn't enthusiastic about it, and to be honest it wasn't worth giving up hours of precious free time trying to make something that might not even work.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

profane scrabble art

I love my kids, but good god they get in the way of DIY! Hopefully someday they will actually be able to help rather than hinder, but for now trying to do anything without them when they're awake is pretty much just pissing into the wind so things are moving at a glacial pace when it comes to actually finishing anything. It's fine. After three kids I know that time to do the things I want is not something that comes easy, or often, and to be honest I've realised that the time I do have is usually better spent looking after myself or spending time with my husband unless I really WANT to do some painting or whatever. It's a work in progress, but I'm getting better at suppressing my control freak tendencies and not letting the to-do list haunt me. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

updating to add value

This post is sponsored by Velux Windows

I love my house. After living in tiny apartments all my adult life my heavily pregnant self thought the four bedrooms and a garden this house offered was just about the height of luxury when we moved in. But as happy as I was with it then (and still am now!) it was never intended to be our forever house. I would love to be able to build our own house eventually, somewhere with a bit more privacy. As great as where we live is for the kids with all the other children around here I don't enjoy knowing my neighbours can probably hear me screeching like a lunatic every time we try to leave the house, and some day I'm going to totally lose my shit with the boys who constantly batter our pathetic fledgling hedge with their ball and then we'll HAVE to move. You know how it is.

Thursday, 24 August 2017's it going?

becoming a stay at home mom update

It's been well over a year since I packed in my full-time job in order to be able to be home with the kids a lot more, and I thought it was time for an update.

Actually, a friend of mine recently said "you know people at my work regularly ask me how you're getting on, and I tell them you sell vibrators now", and that very random yet accurate description of my current situation made me think that maybe you guys would be interested in what's going on around here at the moment...and what vibrators have to do with it.