As I type this I am sat on my bed. Next to me is a pile of magazines. A pretty big pile to be honest as I seem to have accidentally collected a backlog.

I have Woman, Glamour, Ms, Lonely Planet Traveller and Gardens Illustrated. I have already done the ‘tricky crossword’ in Woman, (not that tricky), but the rest are untouched, if possibly a little out of date. (I did say I had a backlog.)

Sitting on the bed with them makes me happy. Even better, the fact of them making me happy makes me even more happy. That probably sounds a bit of an odd thing to say but I feel a bit like recently I have forgotten about some of the simple things that have always given me pleasure. View Post

I have never been very good at keeping my clothes tidy. As a teenager my bedroom was so obscenely messy that I once trod on my guitar and didn’t realise until a few days later.

Not any more.

No more puddles of clothes on the floor or stacks of washing needing a home. Oh no. Because I have THE WARDROBES OF DREAMS. (Otherwise known as my new built-in wardrobes from Sharps.)

I admit that I was nervous during the planning process. (Read about that bit here.) I’ve never had proper built in wardrobes before and I was worried that they might look a bit, I don’t know, tacky maybe? I’m not even sure that’s the right word, but hopefully you know what I mean. I think it was just that built in wardrobes felt like such a grown up thing to have – how could they be cool at the same time??

But OH MY GOODNESS they are SO cool. (Or my definition of cool at least.)

Here’s the space pre-fitting:

Sharps built in wardrobes review

You have to empty the room and take the carpets up before your fitter arrives. They don’t fit wardrobes on top of the carpet because they need a firm, sturdy surface. The space like this looks pretty small, but here it is with the wardrobes: View Post

Owning my first house has so far been an interesting ride. On the one hand, it’s amazing to have the freedom to just randomly decide to paint a wall blue, or to get pets (yay triple kittens!) and to sit in my living room of an evening having this added peace of mind that this home is actually mine, and I’m not going to be turfed out at any second or be told off by the estate agent on an inspection about cat scratches in the carpet.

On the other hand though, it is a lot of responsibility. Of course I’m not shy to it, having raised two children almost single handily (not to mention three kittens now) but after always living in rented properties where I could just call the landlord if the boiler broke down or the roof fell in (this has never actually happened to me, touch wood) it seems like such an adult thing to have all the responsibility fall with me.

This week after a small DIY project involving screws, I seem to have ended up with some fairly large holes in my living room wall, just behind where the door is. The simple solution of course is just to hide them behind the door and pretend they’re not there, la la la la la, but at the end of the day it’s going to be ME who has to fix them, unless I want to look at them every time I shut the door, which I don’t. You’re welcome, future me.

Another pretty daunting but cool thing about owning my own house is that I get to do is get really big projects done, like really pretty VELUX windows and blinds, like the ones here, instead of crappy old single glazed windows that encourage mould during the winter, and even maybe a conservatory.

By Dave Head

One of the parts I’m most excited about is being able to do something amazing with my garden. I’ve managed to reclaim the rights to the path that goes across the back of my garden (look at me, reclaiming my own land!) so I’ll be able to extend it, and turn it into a tropical paradise in the middle of a suburban 1970s cul-de-sac. I’ve even been collecting quotes from actual landscape gardeners, which is probably the most fun and fancy thing I have ever done when it comes to home maintenance.

By Hannamariah

So far it looks as though I’m going to be spending more doing up the garden than I will doing anything to the house, but you all know how much I love plants. Besides, I’ll need somewhere nice and sunny to hang out in the evenings when Belle has left home and it’s just me and the cats.

*Imagines cats sat on sun kissed decking, book in one hand, tall glass of lemonade in the other*

So far, it’s safe to say I love my house and being a homeowner. Now I just need to remember to fix those holes in the wall…

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I had a bit of an odd moment of parental pride in myself last week. Belle had been complaining about having problems with her reading – she says that it’s difficult to concentrate and sometimes the words look blurry or have lights in front of them – so I said that the next day I’d make her an appointment for an eye test as a first step. Off we went to bed. My memory is terrible, so I set a reminder on my phone. The next day when the reminder popped up I called them straight away.

When Belle got home from school it was the very first thing she asked.

‘When is my optician’s appointment?’ she asked as she took her shoes off by the front door.

‘I made it today!’ I said proudly, thinking how impressed she would be with me for remembering.

‘Well I knew you’d make it,’ she said, ‘I just wondered when it was.’

And THAT was the bit that made me proud. The fact that it had never occurred to her that I WOULDN’T do something I had said I would do, when I said I would do it. I felt reliable and solid and lovely.

Anyway, that little anecdote was my silky smooth way of leading you into a story about National Eye Health Week and the importance of getting regular eye tests. It’s something I’ve always been good at remembering for myself, as I wear glasses, and Belle has been having them since a young age as she really enjoys them for some reason. I remember how disappointed she was for the first few times she went, being told she DIDN’T need glasses.

If you’ve not had an eye test in the last couple of years though, then you MUST. (I have mine booked with Optical Express so watch this space for my next pair of colourful new glasses.) As well as it being important to take care of your eyes themselves, there are quite a few serious illnesses that often get first picked up in eye tests.

why do i need an eye test?

Take 12-year-old Alan Watson from Edinburgh as an example. (That’s not Alan in the photo.) When Alan attended his local Optical Express clinic with his mum for his annual check-up, Optical Express Optometrist Amna Bashir noticed blurred margins on comparison of previous photos.  As a precaution, Amna called the hospital and arranged for him to be seen that day. View Post

My garden at the moment is NOT sexy.

As I sit on my sofa, gazing out onto it, the words ‘prison’ and ‘yard’ spring to mind. It’s literally just a square of gravel surrounded by fence, and the overall look isn’t helped byt the fact that I used the garden recently to spray my bed pink, and I’ve left pink paints marks everywhere. It definitely adds to the abandoned railway embankment vibe.

I have plans for it of course, once I have a bit of money saved up. It’s going to be a TROPICAL PARADISE. Or at least have a nice bit of patio. Part of me though is wondering if I should take advantage of the fact that it’s a blank canvas and go large, with bi-fold doors or an orangery or something fancy like that.

The issue of course is money. I only bought the house a few months ago, and the money I had put aside for getting work done has pretty much gone already. It turns out that really dull things, like getting your loft insulated and boarded, don’t come cheap. Who knew? (Me now.)

My neighbours have pretty much their whole garden filled with conservatory, and while I wouldn’t want to do that necessarily, I could certainly use a little bit more space inside. I’m sure the kitties would love sitting out in an orangery, warming themselves in the sun and watching the birds through the big windows. I could sit next to them, surrounded by plants, sipping some kind of evening cocktail and browsing a gardening magazine.


(I am definitely a cat lady already.)

I found myself, as you do, just having a casual look online at Oakley Green Conservatories. They’re ideal if you’re looking for orangeries in the Newbury area, or further west like me, in Bath or Bristol. They may be more affordable than you think, so it’s well worth having a look if you’re considering an orangery.

In the meantime, I may just have to content myself with sitting on the sofa and looking away from the window and towards my orangery themed Pinterest board instead.

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