Reluctant Entertainer

It’s not that I don’t like my friends, I do a lot. In truth my main reason for moving is to have a bigger house so we can host gatherings, BBQs, and have friends and family to stay. I would LOVE that.

However this past Saturday when my lovely husband, tipsily suggests that the 9 people there, come to our house for a BBQ on the 1st August…well frankly I could have strangled him. Our house is a bomb site, there is stuff which I was going to put into storage *everywhere*. You can’t get into the dining room, the office is now piled to about my height and more importantly for 9 people to come to a BBQ, you actually have to have some garden furniture!  We have…a £5 leaf table I bought 20 year ago at a car boot, 2 chairs I got off a lady at work who’s mum died and couple of ancient Ikea fold down chairs. That is it!

The look of horror on my face must have been apparent as my friend’s lovely husband said ‘it doesn’t have to be fancy’…..ha ha…*SOB*…. how little he knows me!  I grew up with my parents throwing the most fabulous parties and dinners for their friends and family.  I’m not sure we’ve entertained for more than 5 people the whole time we’ve been married, we’ve never had the room.  But we have a large garden so it’s time I put my big girl pants on and actually entertain some people!

I had bit of a panic on Instagram and some of them came up with great ideas. Hay bales and picnic blankets were some of my favourites and I think I’ll do that for the kids. But my dodgy back can’t deal with sitting on the ground for hours, so we have ordered a proper grown up table and chairs from Argos. Something we should have done years ago, which I’m very excited about.

Then by some miracle Homebase who’ve I’ve worked with many times, asked me if I’d like to choose some outdoor entertaining bits! What great timing!

So I chose this rather fab gazebo (£19.99) as it’s 2.7m x 2.7m it will either do for the kids to sit under, or if it rains for Paul to BBQ under.
Picture from Homebase as it’s not stopped raining since I bought it.

This brillant Kilner Drinks Dispenser (£24.99) it’s like those ones you see on Pinterest!! So excited to make some cocktails for it!

And as the evenings are getting darker a little earlier I picked up two of these solar light jars (£7ish) they aren’t on their website anymore but they might still be instore?. They are great and really bright, they look like fireflies.

I’ve created a board of BBQ ideas on Pinterest which have some great drinks ideas, recipes and decorations. Wish me luck!

Follow Liz’s board BBQ Ideas on Pinterest.

**full disclosure Homebase gave me £60 to spend instore**

Continue Reading

{Review} Homebase Soft Furnishings

Homebase asked me if I’d like to try their new soft furnishing range. Originally it was supposed to be a rug, but it turned out that my local store didn’t sell them. So I changed to cushions – which is a good thing! I made a massive decorating error a couple of years ago when we got the new sofa’s.  They are dark grey, it was December and I went mad with festive red. We have a red rug (which I now hate!) and lots of red cushions. It looks amazing in November/December, pretty much looks ridiculous the rest of the year, it’s like the ‘Home Alone’ lounge! I have regretted it ever since, so I was quite pleased to be asked to review cushions. IMG_3071 My ‘local’ Homebase is 15 miles away from my house so it’s not somewhere I pop to on a regular basis. So I was quite surprised when I visited to see it had been made over and is now a very lovely Homebase ‘Design’ Centre. The difference is amazing, it’s gone from looking like somewhere my Dad would love to shop, to somewhere I can browse, rather than rush in buy paint and leave. it’s now full of decorating ideas and helpful staff who can advise on pretty much anything. As a result of the changes, there is now a small home furnishing section which has some cute shabby chic inspired cushions (the knitted ones are fab!) and picture frames, vases and candles (LOVE the owl candles there!) and there is also now a mini Habitat which is now part of the Homebase/Argos group. IMG_3073 They had the loveliest grey cushions, so I snapped up the super cute owl cushion which has enough red in it to go with my other cushions but grey enough to tone down the other red cushions, and a lush silver grey velvet cushion. They’re lovely and the sofa now looks a lot less ‘red’ and festive. IMG_3078 I’m really pleased with them, the lounge still looks snuggly but less…well red!  Thanks Homebase! **Full Disclosure: I received £60 of Homebase vouchers in order to review these cushions**

Continue Reading

{Tots 100 Homebase Challenge} The Garden

This month’s Tots 100 – Homebase challenge was the garden – hurray!  My hayfever is now over and I can finally get back out there and give my poor neglected garden some love.  But for this challenge I decided to concentrate on the patio which was looking a bit rough and as it’s closest to the house it’s also the the most visible part of the garden. Our patio is old, grey, prone to weeds and frankly not like you’d see in a magazine.  I’m forever out there trying to kill the grass that comes up between the cracks, and pulling weeds out.

There used to be pea shingle around the edges but the birds used to throw it around everywhere so I’ve replaced that with heavier slate stones and that’s worked pretty well. It doesn’t go everywhere and looks better next to the grey patio slabs.

I was looking for a quick fix solution for the patio – you’ll see why when I post about my bathroom at the end of the week!.  So I decided to ‘dress’ the patio to brighten it up, rather than do major work.  Armed with my £100 voucher from Homebase and gardening obsessed daughter we headed off to Homebase and bought garden wood paint in Cuprinol Willow for the bench to give it another coat, some solar lights, a bird bath (Miss L thought they needed one) and lots of pots and plants to ‘dress’ the patio with.  We also grabbed some pillows from inside and some bunting from Miss L’s room to make a pretty seating area.

I went for a pink/purple/white palette as I thought it would tie in nicely with the green of the bench and the pretty duck egg pots I found in Homebase. If it had been earlier in the season I would have bought some veggies and herbs for the pots but the growing season is pretty much over for them now, so we only bought some Swiss Chard which will be a nice autumn/winter veg and it’s still something for Miss L to grow.

I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out, it feels quite tranquil out there now and looks a lot better from the dining room window. Amazing the difference a few pots and some greenery make.  If you’d like some more inspiration about how to make a quite change to your home pop over to the Homebase Facebook Page

Continue Reading

{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 😉

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading