Almost there…

So the re-wire went pretty much without a hitch, and in the end it was done in a day and a half which was quite amazing!. This week the builder has been in filling the chasing and then skimming it so it is level with the backing paper. I literally cannot thank him enough for getting it right, the thought of taking off all the backing paper in the house was giving me sleepless nights!

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It’s currently drying back today and tomorrow it should be ready for him to sand down and then I can re-paint either touch ups (my bedroom which has recently been done) or the whole rooms – everywhere else!  I’m having lots of fun with paint charts at the moment and driving everyone mad with tester pots. But we’re pretty much doing the house up to sell now, so I’m thinking light bright and neutral to make it look fresh and clean.  I can’t wait to see it done.

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Day 1 of the Re-Wire

Well all in all day one, which is the hardest day wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Walls were channelled out for the new switches but my lovely electrician managed to keep them neat and to a minimum. In Miss L’s room there is a channel to the ceiling as hers were throughly plastered into the walls. But in other parts of the house only a few inches were needed.

Our ‘new’ kitchen lights from 2 years ago were indeed illegal and never should have been fitted. They are metal and went into an unearthed circuit so they had to be remedied. Instead of pulling out the bathroom or taking down the kitchen ceiling like some electricans had suggested there has been a neat hole cut, new wired are in and it is now all safe. Hurray!

Top tips if you are ever in this unfortunate position.

1. Get a LOT of quotes, and talk to a lot of electricians until you find one you are happy with. They all have different methods of working find one that suits you.

2 Dust sheets, buy what you think you’ll need and then triple it. You will need them over everything sometimes twice! Also don’t get them from Tescos they suck as they rip far too easily. Wilkinsons did the best ones by far and were only a £1. Duct tape them down to keep the dust out.

3 Go outside when they are creating the dust, seriously your lungs don’t need it. I was wishing yesterday that we had a summer house to hide in, the dog run had to do 🙂

But the lights are in downstairs and today they are working on upstairs lights, new board and earthing. Almost there!

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The Re-Wire

So this started innocently enough…I was getting electric shocks from my kitchen sink!

Mr VP though I was going nuts but it only happened when you stood on a certain part of the floor with bare feet. But when I convinced him that I was going mad and to replicate it then of course it was a ‘real’ problem.

So I popped on Facebook to ask friends if they too had ever had shocks off their sink. Responses ranged from laughter to TURN THE ELECTRICITY OFF NOW!!!

Heeding my wise friends, I called out an electrician ASAP. Now we’ve lived here 10 years and in that time I’ve had new kitchen lights and more recently we’ve actually had National Power here fixing the main incoming power to the house and they were here a whole afternoon checking the place out. So I wasn’t expecting anything major…oh how wrong was I!

Electrician had a look and there was a sharp intake of breath – this is never good. I need a new consumer board (fair enough it looks old) and then ‘and did you know your house isn’t earthed?’ WHAT??

That’s why I was getting the shocks off the sink the power was looking for an out and not finding one. A not earthed house is basically a death trap waiting to happen.  After my initial freak out he called an older colleague in and they put a temporary earth in while I got some quotes for the work. At this point it was standing at £1200 plus VAT.

I called in 5 more electricians for quotes only to be greeted with more horror. Because standards change all the time our lighting circuit also has to be replaced or none of them will change the board and do the earthing. One electrician even walked into my new bathroom and told me he’d have to rip it all out! He was told his fortune 😉

This means that I have to pull up all the carpet in all the bedrooms and upstairs hallway, move large furniture etc. And because its a 1930s house it’s likely most of the cables coming down to the light switches are in the plaster and have to be channelled out and then replastered.

Because all of our rooms have backing paper on the walls due to the previous tenants, it will mean stripping and repainting ever room that’s channelled.

Yes I cried – A LOT!

Quotes in ranged from £2000- £4000 and it’s a bit like garages who do you know who to trust? In the end my plumber recommended me one if his friends and he came in at £1700 and he likes to make minimal mess so here’s hoping.

So next week, work starts. I’m trying to be positive and see this as a reason for a re-paint and freshen up of the place, but I’m finding it quite difficult with the worry of just how bad it could get. Miss L’s bedroom ceiling has a massive crack and I’m hoping that wont get worse.

Wish us luck!

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How to Clean Your Oven with Baking Soda

My oven has been needing a good clean for YEARS but I’m a bit scared of those oven cleaning products. You know the ones that always seem to need you to have a gas mask and industrial strength gloves?  Our local oven cleaning man, apparently is very good but is £50 which I don’t have spare ,so I’d left it and left it.

But my oven was getting to the point where I thought that I’d probably burn down the house because it was so grotty.  Mine’s not a self cleaning one but shoving the wire racks in the dishwasher got those clean, it was mainly the door that needed the most work.  I’d been ignoring it until I saw this video on YouTube:

and then the results here

Without being mean I thought if he can do it, well then so can I!

So off I went to Amazon to order a large 450g box of Arm and Hammer baking soda for £4 (why can’t they sell it that size here in the UK?) and the next day it arrived. So it was time to play!

Here is my oven door, please don’t judge….well actually judge all you like it was pretty grim.

beforeoven

As you can see…well yeah if you can’t see through it then it needs cleaning.  I followed the YouTube instructions and mixed the baking soda with water to a pancake batter consistency and you will need a lot of baking soda for this.  Once it’s batter spread it over the glass.

spread

Once I’d evened it out I left it for an hour. Now this is where I went a bit wrong, I probably should have left it for 2 or 3 hours but I was a bit impatient to see if it had worked!

sraping

I started rubbing it off with a washing up sponge and well, it got it up in the thinner areas but it was taking ages and wasn’t doing much.  Then Mr VP came up with the great idea of using a metal BBQ scraper to get it off. Be careful if you do this because you don’t want to break the glass, but hopefully your’s isn’t as bad as mine so they’ll be no need to use one!

10 minutes of scraping, wiping and cleaning later….

clean

You can see your face it in and no nasty scary chemicals or men who cost £50! I can now actually see when my Yorkshire pubs are done 🙂  I’ve got half a box of baking soda left, just trying to figure else what to clean with it – American/Canadian readers have any ideas?

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A Cautionary DIY Tale

I feel like a right idiot – no change there for those of you who know me, but last night was exceptional even for my clumsiness!

I decided that I’d wax Miss L’s desk and I knew I had some clear beeswax wax in the cupboard from ages ago so I’d just use that.  I’d bought it ages ago – maybe 4 years ago and never used it. So grabbed a brush and started painting it on the desk, and it was all looking good. Then I knew I needed to wipe it off, so grabbed an old cloth and started wiping, took me like 10 minutes.

Washed my hands and then the tingling in my hands started……and then my heart started beating faster and then my breathing went funny and I started shaking. So I grabbed the tin, looked at the back and it said – always use with gloves, don’t come into contact with skin. It wasn’t beeswax….CRAP!

Decided to phone NHS Direct – had no idea what the number was, so had to try and google whilst shaking – that’s not easy!

Got through – after 5 minutes of ‘we’re busy, please wait’, talked to the woman at the end of the phone who them put me straight through to the ambulance service and I spoke to a lovely controller who calmed me down and told me a paramedic was on the way.

Miss L was being so brave, and texting Paul to let him know what was happening as he was on the train on the way home, and then she went and unlocked the door to let the paramedic in and keep watch that they were coming.

20 minutes came and went and I wasn’t getting any better, and Miss L was getting quite distressed. She’s seen on TV that ambulances turn up in 2 minutes, so I called a friend and she and her daughter came down to look after Miss L and me, I can’t thank them enough for that. It’s scary being on your own when something bad happens.

Luckily the wonderful paramedic turned up about 2 minutes later and stayed for nearly two and a half hours in the end to make sure that I was ok. He realised after I made him touch the wax that I wasn’t having a panic attack, and it was something to do with the wax, it gave him a tingle too. So he thinks it was an asthma/allergy attack (I’ve only had asthma 6 months so I didn’t know what it was – I normally have a cough) bought about by all the VOC’s in the wax.

Thankfully after a piraton, asthma spray and lots of care, I finally could breathe and stopped shaking about 3 hours later.  I can’t thank my friend Nicola and her daughter enough, Dan the paramedic and poor old Paul and Miss L for looking after me.  This morning I’m tired feel a bit sick still but my breathing’s ok and I’m not shaking – so all good in my book.

But you know from now on I’ll be reading the instructions of any products I use!

 

 

 

 

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Headboards Up

After much swearing, re-screwing the supports in (it needed eight more screws than were provided to make it safe) and general faffing about. Our headboard is finally up!

I really love it!  Thanks Paul for all your hard work xx

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{Tots 100 Home Club} Starting the Bedroom Makeover

This month’s Tots 100 Home Club –  Homebase makeover challenge, is about making your bedroom luxe.  Most parents end up with a room which has a bed in it and a bunch of other stuff just lying about – yeah that’s us!  The last time our room was decorated was nearly nine years ago, when I was the exhausted mother of an 8 month old baby who slept for 2 hours a day. The paint job really isn’t the best!  So as you can imagine this is quite exciting for me, I’m looking forward to reclaiming our room and making it more grown up.

After a morning spent fanny about, I got distracted by paint charts, adding images to my Pinterest ‘Bedroom’ Board and going through ideas on Houzz.  Then it was deciding which Homebase to go to. The guy in one one of my local ones thinks I’m a shoplifter, after the amount of time I spent looking at storage for the last challenge. So I chose to go to the one with the nice staff, who don’t mind me taking an hour looking at the paint – which I did again today.

When I finally got home with my sample pots, it was time to start the to the boring bit of preparing our room.  Originally I was going to strip the walls of the horrid lining paper that’s been there forever and just paint onto the walls underneath….

Or so I thought!

I learnt today, if you have 80 year old plaster on the walls and you peel off old wallpaper – the plaster will come with it. Eeek!  Thankfully I’ve only done a couple of small areas so I can fix it but I think that in hindsight it can be left there and I’ll fix what’s needed! Otherwise this is going to take a lot longer than the three days I’ve allowed for it.

The other thing that’s become apparent from the stripping back of the wallpaper is that our windows were really badly installed and the previous owners had put the lining paper up to hide it *sigh*.  It explains why I’ve been able to hear traffic noise and it’s freezing in our room in the winter – mystery solved.

So this isn’t going to be the straightforward job I thought it would be, I’m going to need expanding foam and a lot of pollyfilla stat, before I can start thinking of how I want to decorate it. I hate doing the boring parts, I want to get some colour on the walls…off to look at Houzz again 😉

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The Tots 100 Home Club with Homebase

Tots 100 Home Club Parent Blogger

Just before I went off on holiday, I was thrilled to be asked to be a founder member of the Tots 100 Home Club in Association with Homebase. I’m in some good blogger company with the ever creative thrifty Jen who blogs at Mum in the Madhouse, Karen who has the gorgeous The White Approach (shhh don’t tell her that I want her blog!), Heather who an incredibly beautiful home and blog over at Growing Spaces and my good friend Kelly at Domestic Goddesque.

Our first challenge from Homebase has been to create a Storage Solution, they’ve given us £100 worth of vouchers and we are to go off and create a storage solution in our homes. Sounds like fun!

Now my first thought was to tackle Miss L’s room *AGAIN* and then I thought I’ve done her room to death and frankly it’s like painting the Sydney Bridge, you do it and then you have to start again a few months later. So this time I am spoiling me! Oh yes I am going to have my own space, Miss L has her room, Paul has his office and I am going to have my own cupboard!

In our bedroom, there is a built in 1930’s cupboard it’s not wide enough to hang anything (1930’s folk obviously didn’t have a lot and folded it all) so it has become the ugly junk cupboard you can throw stuff in, shut the doors and forget it all. So I’ve decided it’s going to be my little space house my paperwork, to-do stuff, magazine’s I want to stash and maybe some design books?. I don’t have the DIY skills to make it into a desk, but I think I can still make it into a useful space.

Here are the before pictures – the outside which is surrounded with stuff!

And the inside which is filled with stuff!

As you can see I’m a bit limited by the depth of the cupboard, but it’s a large dead space and it’s really not being used to it’s best advantage. So I’m hoping to paint it, and get some nice storage in there. I’ll post the after pictures when it’s done.

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{DIY Makeover} Blue Chair

I’ve started making our old painted chairs over again.  In 2008 I painted them white and added some white and rosy Cath Kidston fabric to the seat to perk them up a bit as they were dark wood with tapestry seatpads.  I liked the ladder backs on them and hey they were free so why not!

Unsurprisingly three and a bit years of wear and tear have now made them a bit grubby and the paint has worn off in patches. So time to go again!  This time I’ve gone blue as I think it should last a bit longer than the cream.  I’ve used some Cath Kidston fabric from eBay and a tester pot of Farrow and Ball and some wadding from the market.  So I think so far it’s cost me just under £10 for both chairs, plus a bit of elbow grease.

I’m just waiting for the seat pad foam to come from eBay now, and then when I get time I can re-staple the new fabric to the pad and my chair will be done and I’ll post a photo. Hopefully before Christmas!

 

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