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 the 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.

The wooden floor is planks from Cushions in Norwich. Worked out £400 for the 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 ceramic 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.

[amazon_link asins='B00DDOTYW0,B00RVHJM6I,B00DDOU9IS,B073Q2QHX5,B00JAJG8EY,B00KG7XCKC,B00DDOUNA2,B01MCW24U7,B072QY5VW8,B00J04IYY6' template='ProductGrid' store='httpwwwelizab-21' marketplace='UK' link_id='e331d3c6-2061-11e8-ab9c-b9084bcc0e1c']

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

beauty salon Norwich

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

Overall I am really pleased. If I had done things differently 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!

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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.

[amazon_link asins='B010QDG9RI' template='ProductGrid' store='httpwwwelizab-21' marketplace='UK' link_id='178da19b-038d-11e8-bef2-e57e248f2874']

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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 highlighted 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 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.


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Plastic-free Norwich UK

Seven year anniversary as Elizabeth Smith Beauty

It's seven years today, 12th September, that I started my adventure working self-employed as Elizabeth Smith Beauty and I haven't looked back! It's a career I love and works perfectly around my daughter's schooling.

I would like to thank my clients who have been with me since the very start. I really appreciate their loyalty, because of their loyalty my books have actually been closed to new clients for just over a year now, but I am hoping to be able to see new clients for skincare and threading soon. I will, however, always limit the amount of eyelash extension clients I have as these people have regular appointments they need to keep up the look. My existing clients are my priority.

In the future I see me continuing to concentrate on lashes, threading and facial treatments as my main interest.  The link between diet and skin care fascinates me. Having recently removed cow's milk from my diet I have personally seen a massive improvement. It's extremely interesting how food intolerance affects your health. I am NVQ City and Guild qualified and regularly on the lookout for more courses. I have trained in something new every year.

Tonight I will be raising a glass with my husband to celebrate!





Midsummer party at Imagine Spa Norfolk

Another fabulous evening at Imagine Spa in Blofield, Norfolk. Diane organised a very chilled and relaxing evening of gin and light entertainment. You never fail to come away without feeling really relaxed. Bonnie from Adnams brewery was there giving a very informative talk on Adnams gin. It was really interesting to hear where there they source their ingredient and their distilling process. I would highly recommend chatting with Bonnie if you visit their shop in Norwich. Looking forward to more relaxing times to come to Imagine Spa!

-  Midsummer Martini on arrival – Adnams Gin demonstration – gin cocktails/mocktails to try – Spa chefs preparing tasty light bites – Spa tours – F1 simulator to try – free prize draw –

Very busy evening at Imagine Spa.
Lovely relaxing gardens of Imagine Spa in Blofield.
Gin botanicals - Adnams Gin Norfolk
Gin botanicals - Adnams Gin Norfolk
Bonnie from Adnams Brewery.
Very knowledgeable Bonnie from Adnams Brewery.


Selection of Adnams Gin Norfolk.


* Norwich Blogger *

Saving money at the supermarket

I recently discovered that we were spending close to £500 a month in 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 random items in the cupboard that I have no idea what they were even for!
  • Putting leftovers in the 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 our 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 a 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 are 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.
  • Total shape has a great article on apps to use as a guide to healthy food options when buying food from the supermarket. Comparing Noom and weight watchers.


[amazon_link asins='B077T5RQF7,B01LWTODCA,B07JMTN63G,B07BQ9KF26,B07ZRZDM76,1529023068,B07KXZ81R5,B07ZRRTNJK,1987416236,B015Q9EOLU' template='ProductGrid' store='httpwwwelizab-21' marketplace='UK' link_id='6c0d277b-6f5e-484d-baad-538767d12e24']


Save money on your supermarket shop.

My experience with online shop Wahaha

I recently ordered a selection of items from a new online shop called Wahaha. Wahaha sell personalised phone covers, iPad covers, mugs and similar. The website is easy to navigate. The only thing which I would have liked is to be able to search by type of phone instead of design as not all the designs were available in my phone. However, I do understand my phone is relatively old now compared to most.

The design process is straightforward and pretty slick, it took no time at all to import the images and add them to the custom products. It's a simple case of clicking customise on the item, uploading your image, scaling it and dragging it around to the correct location. Some handy tools at the bottom help with justification and centering, the whole process can't have taken any more than a couple of minutes. We had a slight problem with uploading image for the mugs due to file sizes, however after an extremely quick response from Wahaha and a tweak on their end resolved the issue, great customer service!

Checkout was a breeze! Absolutely no problem and again easy to navigate. Wahaha take Paypal payments, so you know you are safe purchasing from them.

The products arrived to my doorstep by Royal mail signed for delivery 4 days after online order! Which is very impressive as a couple of the items were personalised. I can't fault the packaging everything arrived perfectly and of high quality. The mugs are the ones I like which are thick ceramic. We were very impressed with the printing quality on the items. The flip cases for the phones are nice and thick and give your phone great protection all round, they even have a couple of slots for bank cards in the screen cover. The bumper cases are hard plastic and extend a few mm in front of the screen, so will add some protection should your phone land face-down. Both types of cases are perfect fits for the phones and the printing quality is great. I would definitely purchase more items from Wahaha.

Wahaha have been very kind and given me an online promo code for my subscribers. The discount code offers 40% discount across their website for first-time buyers. The coupon is valid for one transaction per customer but not limited to how many items you can purchase so purchase as much as they like.

Subscriber discount code: ESB40

Photographs by Norwich Wedding Photographer, Andy Dane

Can I have beauty treatments when I have cancer?

Many beauticians aren't insured to see people receiving treatment for cancer or who have been in remission for less than twelve months. Feeling good is really important when feeling low to help keep spirits high. It is also better to see a beautician who specialises in this field as they will have seen many cases before. When recovering from cancer you often lose your hair and your body spends less time repairing your skin.

There is a great charity linked from Big C charity called look good feel better. They run fantastic workshops on skincare and make-up tutorials all over the country. It's also a great place to meet new friends who are going through the same as you. I can't recommend enough getting in contact with look good, feel good enough as it's a great confidence boost and extremely important to look after yourself. Make-up for many people gives them the confidence to face the day!

cancer beautician



If you want to support this charity you can donate on their website or buy some of their products. Look good feel good have a good selection of products available at Boots or online with Amazon. They have a large selection on make-up brushes available to buy.

There is also a make-up brush cleaner available by look good feel good. Keeping your brushes clean is extremely important.

Caring for yourself when you have cancer.

Things to do on a girl's night in

A Girl's Night in?  5 Things to do…


While nights out are an amazing way to live it up and let off steam, sometimes our best memories are created right here at home.  We've put together some simple but amazing ideas to get you and your best friends having the time of your life... without stepping a foot outside the home!



  • Finding Balance


We all have those friends who are great to drink and party with, but here’s an idea that can improve your friendship… while strengthening your body and mind!  When you’re over-worked or you’ve played a little too hard, yoga can bring you back to your best.  Take a break from the gossip and opt for some silence together.  Grab your yoga pants and tank, push the coffee table into the corner and get comfy on the living room floor.  Yoga is great alone (especially when there are no witnesses to your less graceful moments) and even better with friends.  Whether you’re a first time Yogi or an experienced practitioner, there are some great resources online that can easily help you achieve a beautiful, healthy glow from the inside out!



  • Youtube Makeup Party



A "Ladies night in" is the perfect time to try bold, new and exciting makeup techniques.  Low stakes and all fun, use Youtube as a resource for thousands of ideas!  Experiment with a soft palette of non-traditional colours, or practice your cat-eye flair.  Try different angles or add the winged effect to widen, lift and make the eyes look younger.  We've all been nervous about fake lashes at one time or another.  What better place to experiment than in a safe space with your favourite ladies?  Don't forget a camera for some social media fun and lasting memories!



  • Slumber Party


Remember the fun, the freedom and endless possibilities of childhood?  Girls of any age deserve the bonding and ritual of the slumber party.  Whip out your favourite onesie and prepare the blanket fort--or should we say cocktail palace?  Binge a tantalising Netflix series or lie on the floor and talk about anything and everything.  But make sure you have the essentials: good food, delicious drinks and your best friends.  Go the hassle-free route and have fresh and delicious food delivered to your door!



  • Crafting



Get crafty with a DIY party.  Decorate mugs and glasses, print and scrapbook your latest holiday photos or repurpose old mason jars for potted flowers.  You are only limited by your imagination!  Check out Pinterest for more ideas.



  • TV and Sip


Sometimes all we need is to snuggle up on the couch with a cold cocktail, a good friend and a great tv show.  Take turns hosting binge-watch parties with a show that you only watch together.  Pop some corn and pop a bottle and you'll be sure to enjoy every moment!


With just a little preparation and thought, your home can be the perfect destination for an amazing and fun-filled night.  Hosting a ladies night in can be just the right balance of fun and comfort, and a rewarding experience for everyone.  A little planning goes a long way and remember-- the goal is to let loose, have fun and enjoy a ladies night in!

Inspired by Shine Media

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 ;-))!

A quick breakdown of what we have been up to! Colchester 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 at 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