budget kitchen

Post 4 on Victorian house renovation – kitchen extensions and finishing off

Previous posts are :

Our new house

Victorian house renovation – living rooms and starting hallway

Post 3 on Victorian house renovation – Hallway and bedrooms

Two and a half years later we have "finished" our main changes to the house. The kitchen extension is completed and I am loving it! We knocked the outside coal shed, and outside toilet down, removed the back wall of the house, then re-built it into our new kitchen / family room. We also built the salon on the side of the house.

I have been thinking a lot about storage recently, but read a brilliant quote online- "If you think you need more storage, then you probably need less stuff". So I have been having a massive de-clutter and in fact don't need any extra storage now.

The kitchen itself was done on a budget for a couple of reasons. 1. being I wasn't really sure what units I actually wanted and where. 2. I prefer my money to be spent on holidays and not stuff 3. Very important I have a young child that I wanted to enjoy the kitchen and not be shouted at her cutting on the solid wooden tops I liked haha!

budget kitchen

budget kitchen
Dining area
budget kitchen
wood burner
budget kitchen
Kitchen area
velux in kitchen
Velux in kitchen
cheap wooden floor
Wooden floor from Cushions in Norwich
dated kitchen
Our old kitchen - pic off Zoopla,

So the budget for kitchen was set low! I found second hand bits on Gumtree and spent hours trying to figure out where I wanted all the units. In the end we estimated it costed £300 (three hundred) for our budget kitchen. The kitchen doors are mostly solid oak doors I got for free off Gumtree. I sanded and painted them up. We got a few flatpack units and built them ourselves. This is extremely easy to do! The kitchen carcass for our sink was less than £40. If you are willing to purchase bits separately and do the bases yourself you can save a lot of money. We paid a local carpenter to fit the worktop for us, but put units together and designed it ourselves.

Wooden floor is planks from Cushions in Norwich. Worked out £400 for kitchen floor for materials. It's 25mm thick, so can be sanded and restored a lot before needing to be replaced.

I wanted a full cermanic sink, so found one secondhand off Gumtree for £30.

My husband wanted a Range master. This was extra at £250 including hood on ebay.

Kitchen tiles were £40 in sale at B&Q. I did this job. It's extremely easy to do. Only tricky part is cutting them around electric sockets. I used black grout in hope it would look cleaner for longer.

Middle room got finished with office under the stairs for Andy.

office understairsmiddle room in Victorian house

White floor didn't work in Jessica's room, so we sanded it back to wood. I am really pleased with the simple look of white walls and wooden floor. I aim to do this throughout now. Every 6 months I go through the house and touch up the areas which get dirty.

wooden floor white walls

My work room on side of building: Only 2 metres wide, but perfect for me. Toilet and utility room at the back.

beauty salon Norwich

Driveway done too ! Secondhand slabs used making it around £400 with materials and labour.

Overall I am really pleased. If I had done things different I would have project managed the extension myself getting specialised trade men in for each job.

Next project is to make the garden feel like a tiny oasis in Norwich city centre. Not an easy job when my daughter loves her ugly trampoline. The de-cluttering is helping loads as we are now going to downgrade the size of our shed.


Books I read in 2017

Now Jessica is older and enjoying reading herself, I am able to be able to read again myself.

I pushed myself to be able to read on my kindle and haven't looked back!

I added the overdrive app and linked it to my local library, so I am able to enjoy some books for free. You just need your library card number to register with the app.

When I can't find the books I want on Overdrive I find them on Amazon and they are instantly added to my online bookshelf. I would say my favourite book this year was 'A boy made of blocks'. It's a great book about the difficulties of parenting with a child with autism it was a real eye opener for me and had me in stitches and tears throughout! Absolutely loved reading the amazing progress made by the young child and the progress of the father to being a great parent.

Products from Amazon.co.uk

Please feel free to comment below with any recommendations you have for me to read next.


plastic free Norwich

New years resolution - going plastic free


It's been a while since I last really blogged. I have been busy with work and family life. This blog is all about going plastic free, or at least creating less waste. It's shocking that all the plastic ever made is still on earth! It takes over 300 years to decompose

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. This year mine and Jessica's (plus Andy being dragged into it) new years resolution is to use less plastic. It's great how it's been high-lighted in the media so much now. It's going to be a gentle move over to more recyclable items. I personally see no point in getting rid of items we already own and Jessica is adamant that Lego isn't to be included in this new years resolution hehe! We mostly buy second hand, so I'm justifying it that way! I have seen wooden "Lego" bricks before, but as most eco friendly items seem to be it costs a fortune! Our biggest problem is going to be the supermarket for going plastic-free and I begrudge paying loads more to be environmentally friendly. Don't get me wrong I don't mind spending slightly more, but seems daft to spend a great deal more and unfair.

plastic free Norwich
Plastic free Norwich

In the salon I am aiming for a plastic free shelf! I moan about Tesco enough that I feel I should take the first move. It's not going to be easy. I currently have in bulk nail varnish remover, I am able to do refills on that if you have your own bottle. I need to have a really good think about what I am going to stock. Please note I am not an open salon. It's by appointment only. I am not an open shop.

.Jessica is in her final year of infants school now and going to be doing for first SATS this year! Not that we have told her she has exams. Her school is great and they are very laid back about them, so the kids shouldn't even be a aware they are taking them.

Last year I de-cluttered the house and cut back on our spending as our new year resolution. It's been great and now just feels natural. I am amazed by how many people have no idea how much they spend on food a month! I still have a lot more de-cluttering to do sadly.

Chat soon,


Here are a few of my fav alternatives to plastic items. Most of them remind me of childhood.



Plastic free Norwich UK

Saving money at the supermarket

I recently discovered that we were spending close to £500 a month on our supermarket shop each month, which horrified me as it's only two adults and a 5 year old! So I have made it our mission now to get this down to around £300 a month. No more mid week visits to the local shop for red wine!
My supermarket tips:
  • Two big-ish online shops a month. I budget £60/£70 for each one. I do this with Tesco, but open to changing this if someone recommends somewhere cheaper? I use the Tesco app and scan items as I nearly run out of them, so it takes very little effect and no need for paper shopping list now. 
  • Meal plan covering two weeks
  • List everything you normally buy so this can be checked before ordering to keep little shops to a minimum.
  • Make meals that have similar ingredients to each other.
  • Jamie Oliver Save book. We cook loads from this book.

  • Non packaged snacks for kids ( and adults) - carrots, boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, seed/ nuts, fruit etc. It's awesome in the Summer when the raspberry bush is in fruit in the garden! 
  • Everything is bought on Tesco credit cards for the points and at the end of the month I highlight all the corner shops/ market/ supermarket related trans and work out the total. We never use cash, so it's easier to add up. 
  • Only alcohol & chocolate twice a week :(
  • Don't have too much food in the house. It's dead money!
  • Our leftovers I tend to eat for lunch the next day now instead of binning it.
  • Buying more frozen veg than fresh. However I do prefer fresh.
  • New recipes aren't allowed more than 3 new items. Andy is a nightmare with this ;) I have LOADS of randoms items in the cupboard that I have no idea what they were even for! 
  • Putting leftovers in freezer. So if we use lime in our gin I chop up what is left and that goes into the freezer. 
  • Growing berries in the garden. 
  • Grow your own herbs. I replant the tiny end bit of garlic in the garden and it grows back! Does anyone know if there is a seed/ plant swapping group in Norwich please?
  • Special offers only on things you will use and need. I only buy washing up liquid now when I see it on offer. 
What are your tips? Which supermarket do you think is the cheapest? 
We are rubbish at using coupons. However we are good at using the Tesco points. It's currently four times the value on day outs and Pizza express. We buy EVERYTHING we can on the Tesco credit card now for the points. Including when we got our new for us car!
This is very much a working project. I am always looking for more ways to save money.
list of household items we regularly use.


Two weekly meal plan
Fav meal at the top and two weekly meal plan below. If we are having a lazy evening I have waffles in the freezer and just do these with poached egg or similar. 

Comparing supermarkets website: My supermarket 

I used this website, which compares 15 supermarkets and if I switch on this shop I would save £1.23. However if I switched some items I could save £7.59. I can definitely see me using this website more often. Lidi and Aldi don't deliver, so this shop I personally think it's a better idea to stick with Tescos. 51 club card points.


Compares 15 supermarkets.
Money I would save if we switched these items for cheaper ones. Actually not cheaper to swap on vits... must be a problem with website on that item.

The diet green/ orange and red is awesome! It's Easter coming up, so I have cooking chocolate on our shopping list this month. However still looks like we are pretty healthy. This is a great feature.  However for us it just says 'there are no direct swaps'... they suggested swapping chocolate for fruit, but this won't work well for Jessica's Easter chocolate nests!

Items in my shopping basket that are high in fat/ sugar.

Save money on your supermarket shop.

Summer holiday fun

Jessica has just turned 5 and the summer holidays are sadly nearly over :'-( I have been instagramming our adventures because, as always, I don't feel like I have done a lot with her. Looking back we have had an awesome time and she has been a delight to spend time with (on the whole ;-))!

Quick breakdown of what we have been up to! Colcheseter zoo, playdates run by Norwich city council, camping in Wales, climbed to the peak of Snowdon, long country walks, days at the beach, camping with friends, flying a kite, riding bikes, meeting up with friends at the park, party in the park .... the list goes on! I got Jessica a fab book from the National trust, '50 things to do before 11 3/4'. We have really enjoyed working our way through this. I would highly recommend it. It's been really lovely looking through it and chatting about all the different things. Reminds me a lot of my childhood and the adventures I got up to as a child. Please comment below with any other books you recommend for outdoor adventures for kids.

This Summer holidays I decided to take quite a bit of time off work and I'm planning to do the same again next year. Children are only little once and I don't want to miss this lovely age. I have already set the online calendar up for next year. So please tell free to book ahead. Please don't hesitate to contact me during this time. I would prefer you contacted me with any problems, bookings or anything! Once again I will be working more in July and September to make up for the time off in August. Please do book early as ideally I do want to keep days completely free for quality time with my daughter.

I have put my holidays and sorted out my working hours until December 2017 in the diary. Subject to change with school things like sports day/ school trips/ disco etc. Sadly the school never gives me much notice of these things, so sometimes I need to rearrange dates due to that.

Waterloo park in Norwich
Waterloo park in Norwich
Norwich party in the park 2016
Norwich party in the park 2016
Peak of Snowdon child
Peak of Snowdon
Camping in Wales
Camping in Wales
Colchester Zoo feeding the animals
Colchester Zoo

Summer holiday fun

Post 3 on Victorian house renovation – Hallway and bedrooms

Previous posts are :

Our new house

Victorian house renovation – living rooms and starting hallway

It's been 6 months now since we moved in and we are slowly but surely getting there. I am now ready to take a bit of a break from DIY as it's now the builders turn to take over.

Middle room - dining room/ living area at the moment

Middle room has had a ceiling rose added and over the top fancy light fitting! Andy has had ongoing knee problems for the last 4 months or so, so this means the wooden floor in there is going to take a while till it's completed.



Too much stuff in this room at the moment to take a nice photo!
Slowly filling the floor boards with wedges... long boring job!


The blue old wallpaper had to go. It had peeled off in places and was looking very worn. The whole hallway ideally need to be plastered, however I feel the new extension might take up more funds than planned, so for now we have painted it with a coat of magnolia. It feels so much cleaner and fresher the instant you walk in now. The carpet on the stairs was extremely worn and dirty, so has now been removed and for now I have painted the floorboards. It seems pointless laying carpet when I have builders coming in the next couple of months. However the floorboards look fab to me, so we might be keeping them now. It's a lot easier to keep clean with a 4 year old and lots of people in and out of my house. The floor tiles have had a linseed oil and white spirit mix applied and scrubbed. I am not doing any skirtingboards until the winter now until again I sound like a broken record the builders have gone. I don't want white gloss, so need to decide what I do want for these.



Jessica's bedroom Read more

Knowing my colours. Colour analysis by Claire Bunton

Claire Bunton Norfolk's image consultant gave me a long and extremely in-depth colour analysis this week and it was fabulous. Claire uses the most precise method of colour analysis there is and instead of just being one of 4 seasons, you will find out your precise colour pattern which is one of 48 colour patterns. She really looks at you as an individual and strongly believes you can't be put in one of four groups.

Claire placed me in front of a mirror and over the period of the morning placed different fabrics in front of me checking if I am bright or muted, warm or cold... so many different things I can't even blog about them! Read more

Eek! What’s my wardrobe personality?

My wardrobe personality.


Claire Bunton image consultant from Norwich came to see me at my home to chat to me about my 'wardrobe personality'. Which was just a bit crazy to me. I didn't really feel like I fit into one group, however Claire's softly softly approach really changed how I felt from the beginning of the session to the end. I always thought I didn't really care about clothes to be honest. I just wear comfortable clothes, 'natural', 'hippy' like my friends would sometimes refer to me as... which was never really said in a nice way more as a derogatory term. So I just sort of got put into the 'natural' category.

I think it's really important for Claire to come to your home as it's somewhere you feel relaxed and when Claire was chatting to me I could soon see I had myself completely wrong and was almost underselling myself. Claire mentioned that she felt I was a romantic at heart and then that got me thinking looking around my living room that she was right. Even though I had never really thought about myself like that. This is why I feel it's really important for Claire to come to you because I personally feel happier with my style around my house, than my actual clothes style. Looking around my living room I could see the wall hanging I got on my travels with the delicate lace and dainty details, which instantly takes me back there. On the other wall I have a canvas over looking NZ harbour where Andy asked me to marry him. I would never have a shop bought canvas of somewhere that I had ever been for example! Most of the little bits around my house have a great deal of meaning to me and I am always really upset if I lose a bracelet, which was bought for me or on my travels. So when Claire softly approached that maybe I wasn't this 'natural' personality I thought I was, it suddenly clicked.

Claire has the perfect personally for this job. If she had come in all bold and said 'no, you are wearing all the wrong clothes' I think I would have asked her to leave, but her soft approach of getting to know me first and chatting things through soon gave her a clear understanding of me. Looking at the mood board for 'natural' looked similar to me, but just didn't feel right. I couldn't point out things on there that I actually wanted to wear. It all looked very unexciting. No little nice bits of details. I would never dream of leaving the house in jogging bottoms, even if it was just the shops. However if you asked me yesterday I would say I am easy going, just wear relaxed items of clothing that I feel comfortable in and don't really care to be honest. I do love my heels, but still being comfortable is important to me. It's a really refreshing great feeling of excitement to feel happy in my own skin and know what I want to be wearing now.

The next stage is to work out what clothes, colours etc I should be wearing to complement my 'wardrobe personality'. For me after years of backpacking and being a Mum to Jessica, age 3, I think I got 'lost' in what my personality was. When I was backpacking all my clothes had to fit into a 20 kg bag and there wasn't much room for style. Chatting to Claire made me realize even though I thought I was a 'hippy' (but not meant in the nice way) actually I do really like my girly things. I used to backpack with a little tiny box for my jewellery, the safe black dress and a pretty scarf to liven up my outfit. I feel like I am repeating myself a little now, but it's really is a lovely feeling to feel now confident in which style of clothes I actually like instead of when backpacking for example what had to be brought to almost to suit the situation.

I really wish I had met Claire prior to my wedding as I really didn't have a clue what I wanted to wear for the day. I knew very much what I didn't want, but didn't have a clue how to put it all together and find the 'perfect' dress. I had a bit of a nightmare with my dress that I went to get made, but because the lady wasn't a 'style coach' I had the completely wrong dress made for me and ended up buying the dainty, lace finish dress I wanted from Phase eight. I knew I didn't want a long satin dress and ended up with this because neither me or the seamstress knew how to coach me around to understanding what exactly I wanted and what would look good on me. A wedding dress is the most important (and expensive) dress you will probably ever buy, so I can't imagine why I didn't think about getting this done before my wedding instead of going in blind! If I had met Claire prior to my wedding I think the whole dress experience would have been completely different and a lot less scary. It was awful getting a dress made without a 'style consultation' first as I just felt worried the whole time that I would hate the end result, which in fact I did. I felt hideous and unsexy in it. Even after the steamstress took it in 4 odd inches to make it more feminine, it just wasn't me and something I would never have bought off the shelf. After the seamstress told me I couldn't have my fabric backed buttons of the same material as the dress and instead I had to have these plastic pearl buttons. I remember feeling really upset, which to most people may seem silly. However I think Claire has me spot on as a 'romantic' it really is the attention to detail which matters to me.

Claire has now gone home to write up today's wardrobe personality, which I can't wait to read. I normally do my blog posts around 300 words, however I can see that this blog is nearly 1000, so as you can see I am feeling very empowered and excited about my next meeting with Claire. Image consulting personally to me seems more like life coaching as you really get to know the person doing it and get to understand yourself better.


Image consultant & coach Norwich

Victorian house renovation - living rooms and starting hallway

Following on from my last DIY post - Our new house – DIY project living rooms

We found the fireplaces! After spending lots of time on Gumtree  we found some fireplaces within our budget. We saw loads of gorgeous ones on specialist websites, but way more than we wanted to spend. Even at the local rec yards, Reproduction Victorian fireplaces were £350 ish.

Front living room

We installed this ourselves to save some money. It probably cost us around £200-£250 in total to install. We reused the fireback and rubble, which wasn't fun having to reposition it for the new fireplace. For the hearth we decided to keep it level with the floor as we feel it's safer with a toddler. So we laid leveling compound down and then tiled directly on top of that. We installed an air vent, which draws in air from outside. The air vent was from Cast In Style, it cost a little more than normal vents. However it opens and closes while looking pretty too. Next is to decide if this fireplace needs a mantel or not. It's a small room, so I can't decide if a mantel would be too much. This fireplace is strewed to the wall. I covered the screws with play- dough and then painted it black. There is no way it's coming away from the wall!

flat hearth
The chimney draws really well with air vent installed in hearth.
no mantle
We can't decide if this fireplace needs a mantel or not?

Read more

Liebster Award Nomination

Liebster Award Nomination


Ive been nominated by the wonderful Emily Walker. To do the LIEBSTER AWARD so here goes!

The point of the LIEBSTER AWARD is to help new blogs (200 followers or less but can be anyone you want). This is to get their name out there and to help them a bit, this also shows why I was nominated and I'm grateful for that so Thanks!(:

The rules are- when you get nominated:

1) Answer the questions sent to you
2) Nominate 11 bloggers
3) Ask them 11 questions thought of by yourself
4) Notify them that they have been nominated

If I haven't nominated you please feel free to comment your answers because I want to know what you would put!

Here's the questions I was asked:


1.Who or what inspired you to start blogging and why?

I started blogging for my business to start with and then quickly realised I really enjoy blogging. It's great having clients come in and ask me questions about places I have blogged about in Norwich or on holiday. I love doing product reviews, but I'm always secretly worried that I will be sent a rubbish product in the post and have to do an honest review. I hate upsetting people even if I don't know them. I also find it great to hear when people/ companies I blog about get custom from my blogging. I have had some really lovely thank you emails from other businesses around Norwich.

2.When was the last time you laughed so hard that it hurt and what was it? (if you dont mind sharing)

My little 3 year girl Jessica daily! This week she told me that it is her homework to watch the Minions movie! (Despicable Me)

3.What are your pet peeves and why?

People parking in child/ parent spaces at the shops or parking too close. Never used to notice how annoying this was until I needed to get a child out of a car seat! Also parking too high up on the curb, so I have to push the pushchair out onto the road to get pass.

4.What type of music do you enjoy listening to or to sing along to?

Mostly listen to children's music at the moment. Anyone know a child-friendly station we can put on when Jessica is about?

5. Star Wars or Star Trek? Which geek are you?

Star Wars

6.What is your favourite memory and tell us why that is?

Hundreds of awesome memories from my travels and from my little girl. Too hard to answer. Jessica being born, getting married, seeing the sunrise in New Zealand with my two favourite people... list is endless! I feel very lucky.

Jessica - 1 day old
Wedding day

7.Hidden talents? What can you do that not many other people can do?

Ummm can't think of one! haha Not sure what this says about me...

8.Do you have any weird phobias or any phobias for that matter?

I used to be mildly afraid of ants until a random Australian tour guide made me lick a green ant, which helped me over come it. Poor little thing. Tasted like lemons. I am still quite disturbed she ate it afterwards.

9.If you were able to pick your name, what would you choose and why?

I quite like my name, so would probably be boring and pick the same.

10.Are you mostly a clean or messy person? How tidy is your room?

I am mostly clean... Jessica and Andy however aren't. They might say different, but they would be lying.

11.What the one rule you preach but never practice?

Telling Jessica to say please and thank you all the time. I only use those words when I think they are actually needed not the British way in every sentence!


I nominate Norfolk, Norwich based bloggers:

Jess Wilkins @Norwich_photos

Claire Bunton @StyleGuruClaire

Retro chick @Retrochick_uk

Enjoy Norwich @enjoynorwich

Heidi @Him_Me_Three

Adventures of Adam @AdventuresAdam

Bearded one 

Renee @Closeenoughmag



Norwich girl probs @nchgirlprobs


Here are the questions:

1. What is your favourite place in Norwich and how often do you get to go there?

2. When you are feeling down what is the thing that instantly picks you up again?

3. What do you blog about?

4. Best restaurant in Norwich?

5. Best park in Norwich?

6. Favourite shop?

7. The most amazing thing you have ever done in Norwich and don't understand why everyone else isn't doing it too?

8. Places to avoid in Norwich?

9. If you were planning a romantic/ awesome night in Norwich where would it be?

10. Best place to see sunset and sunrise in Norfolk?

11. Which photo always makes you smile?