Learning to Listen

As I’ve touched on it previously, you’ll be aware that my health isn’t the best. I don’t want to get into the long and complicated diagnoses and details – it’s not anyone else’s business – so let’s just say my body won’t do what most others do without effort. My mind, too, is not the same either. It would be a great big lie to say it’s been easy adapting to my “new normal(gods that’s a saying we’re all rabbiting at the moment!) but after almost 6 years, I’m finally learning to listen. My body and brain let me know what they need and when – but for the longest time I’ve ignored them both.

Acceptance isn’t Surrender.

So much of the rhetoric in the disability and chronic illness community is – in my opinion – quite harmful. We’re “warriors“, we “battle ourselves“, we “keep fighting” and so on. I find it unhelpful and upsetting; I can’t fight my own body or mind, surely that’s going to be more damaging? I’m a pacifist anyways, so why would I go to war with my own flesh?

Letting go of this idea of being “a warrior” was a huge breakthrough moment for me. I’d got it all twisted up in my head – accepting my condition meant I was giving in to it, I was abandoning my life and allowing it to beat me. What a load of bollocks! Releasing myself from this battle mindset has brought me far more progress than I ever made before!

Everyone these days talks about self love, self care and so on; how can you love and care for something if you ignore it, fight it and punish it? Having a bath or a face mask isn’t going to make any difference at all when you’re being so destructive to yourself.

Calling a Ceasefire.

Accepting one’s limitations – disabled or not – is like calling a ceasefire within yourself. It’s the first step towards having real peace, a time for you to take stock of what’s going on in side of you and start figuring out a way forward.

I’ve been learning to accept what my body can and cannot do and I’m trying to avoid becoming frustrated and upset when things don’t go the way I want. Don’t get me wrong, I still get really pissed of and angry with myself! But I’m happy to say those bursts of irritation are fewer and farther apart. It’s a daily decision and sometimes I make the wrong one.

For example; I love being outside, surrounded by nature and away from human noise and mess. It’s so good for me, it feels like food for my soul! I’m really lucky to live in a place where the wild is a short walk away….. although sometimes that short walk is unachievable. I would get so upset and frustrated that I couldn’t make that journey to the end of the street; I would rage at myself, then become really upset, then that would make me feel worse because of all the energy those feelings used up, meaning it would be even longer until I could get out! Now, I make the most of what I can do; I go sit in my backyard and look up at the trees on the hill near my home. I listen to the birds and watch the wind blowing the leaves. If the noise of the neighbours bugs me, I pop my headphones on and listen to an audiobook or podcast or even nature recordings. It’s not perfect, but it still does wonders for my mental wellbeing and ultimately means I can get to the meadow much quicker!

Poisonous Positivity.

I’m not going to bang on the “think positive” drum! While having a positive outlook can help generally with your emotional and physical wellbeing, it’s not a cure all. It can actually make things worse in the long run.

Refusing to acknowledge when life is hard – when you’re in pain and struggling – is harmful. Brainwashing yourself into believing “it’s all fine, everything is awesome” when your world is falling apart is unbelievably unhealthy. Looking on the bright side won’t cure you of chronic illness.

One of the most insulting things I’ve ever been told is “Maybe if you tried to think more positively, you’d get well again”. This is TOXIC POSITIVITY and it’s a load of bullshit. That’s not what I’m talking about.

Real acceptance means understanding that sometimes it’s shit. Sometimes life sucks, sometimes the pain is too much; sitting with those feelings of sadness and anger, processing them and acknowledging them is healthy and much better for you than pushing them down or locking them away!

Every journey starts with one step.

Maybe you’re reading this and a light bulb has pinged on in your head; “That’s me, I’m waging war on myself and it’s making me worse!” But you don’t know how to stop, you’ve been told to fight hard never give up. That accepting is weakness, that all you need is to keep going and have faith and never quit and one day you’ll have the life back you had before…

I see you, I get it, I was you.

The first step is the hardest. I know it’s a cliche but it really is; actually looking at yourself and acknowledging all the pain and pressure you’re putting yourself through isn’t a pleasant experience. Letting go of that ingrained warrior mindset is a daily choice; choosing to listen to what your mind and body is trying to tell you feels like starting to learn a new language from scratch! It’s difficult, and you will make mistakes.

I get it wrong every day. Whenever a new symptom pops up I lose my shit all over again! It takes me ages to accept another thing going wrong with me, so please don’t think I’ve got this on lock. I really haven’t!

Making mistakes, fucking it up, failing…. it’s how you learn. It’s okay to get it wrong. It’s not okay to give up trying to get it right! For me, being more tolerant and accepting of myself is very much two steps forward and one back; it’s a long bumpy road filled with potholes and I don’t have a map, I’m trying to walk in flip flops and I forgot my water bottle! It’s learning to do something I’ve never been shown how to do. It’s unlearning all the stuff that’s been drummed into me ever since I can remember.

It’s hard, but it’s not impossible.

I hope that sharing this has encouraged someone – even just one person – to begin to make peace with themselves. That would be a successful blog post in my book! If you’re that person, please do let me know. I’d love to keep in touch and see how you go on!

Take care Piglets, you’re all loved so very much xx

It’s Been a Minute….

Hey lovelies, how are you all doing? I know it’s been a minute since my last post; but things have been completely mad for a long while!

When I last updated my blog, I was sharing how thrilled we were with our bedroom makeover on a budget (you can read about it here) and I was planning other DIY projects and generally looking forward to 2020!

What I couldn’t have known is all the turmoil that was about to begin – not just for me but the entire world.

As you know, my health is not great. Well to be honest it’s not even okay – it’s stinky poopy crap bleurgh! And it’s been getting even worse, with lots of new and quite frankly terrifying symptoms. Complete memory loss, “absences”, loss of muscle control, spasms and tremors and – the icing on the cake – recurrent kidney infections. My mental health hit the fan too; seeing a PTSD flare up of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety attacks and so on. It’s been shit BUT I did the right thing and got some help.

Doctor appointments turned into Consultant meetings; scans were booked, blood was drawn (15 vials in one go, sheesh) and I had a psychiatric assessment too. Everything was plodding on thanks to the wonderful NHS – new diagnoses were almost confirmed and signed off – and then……

The world shut down.

A terrifying super virus swept across the planet, causing everything to stop. And it’s been stopped ever since; we’re in lockdown and will be for the foreseeable future. It’s a scary time for all of us.

So I figured now would be a good time to get back to blogging! I need an outlet for all the noise and chatter in my head; someone to “talk to” about my kitchen makeover, stuff I daydream about in my garden, parenting fails and triumphs with the teens…. know what I mean? If that sounds like something you’d be interested to read then stay tuned! I honestly don’t know what will be posted or when; but it will all be completely honest, unapologetic, bargain fixated and wholly me.

Stay safe loves xx

Big Ideas and a Tiny Budget; Luxury Bedroom Makeover

You know me, I love a bargain and I hate paying full price for anything! So when the Hubster and I decided we wanted to work on making our bedroom more “us” and less “white rented room” I had to harness all my money saving skills to get it done for less!

Our wonderful bedroom.


This was quite the challenge; the whole bedroom makeover was centred around a new bed – our old bed was definitely on it’s last legs after 12 years – and we all know how expensive beds can be! Especially the kind of bed we’d settled on: king size,  upholstered, with storage drawers and a high headboard. Not cheap. I trawled through eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace and found nothing. We tried local secondhand furniture shops and stalls, charity shops and Gumtree. Nothing, zilch, zip.

Brilliant, budget friendly beds do exist!

One day whilst scrolling through an Instagram interior design hashtag I came across Arista Living – or rather I saw someone I follow raving about this great bed they’d bought AND they were sharing a 50% off code! My bargain alarm was screeching BUT I needed more information first. So I scoped Arista Living out; I trawled through reviews, other accounts recommending them and so on until I was convinced to give them a go – and I’m so glad I did! Their website is ridiculously simple to use; with just 3 clicks I designed our ideal bed, then at the checkout I popped in the 50% off code and it worked! We got a king size, 4 drawer, grey upholstered bed with a tall headboard for under £290 including rapid delivery. When it arrived, the Hubster and my son put it up while I supervised using the easy to follow instructions et voila! Dream bed goal achieved.

If you’re looking for a new bed, I would really recommend giving Arista Living a try. The bed we bought is amazing quality – and I spend most of my life in bed so it’s been put to the test – and the customer service was incredible too. I had 4 emails to update me on my order progress, then on delivery day there were several contacts to ensure everything went smoothly. I cannot big them up enough! And, cos I wouldn’t let you down, here’s 50% off for you with code wholly50 so you too can enjoy that wondrous smugness of knowing you got a cracking deal. Act quick, it expires on 27th February!

That gorgeous colour!

I love it when a plan comes together.

The next thing on our schedule was to find the right paint. We decided on a shade from Farrow & Ball – Vardo – however F&B paints are quite pricey. A friend recommended Decorating Centre Online, they offer a colour-match service on their website and their prices are very competitive. Our paint cost £13.99 for 1 litre, and we used under half that.

Next up was storage solutions; we’re really lucky to have built in shelves in our attic bedroom, however they tend to get disorganised and messy very easily. We wanted some matching storage boxes, however a lot of the options were just too expensive – especially as we needed 6 altogether! Again after an afternoon of internet browsing, we stumbled upon the sale at The Range and found the perfect storage baskets for just £3 each. Amazing right? We also picked up a faux fur throw, a soft pink throw, two cushions and two bedside lamps on their website – all in the sale. The lamps were the biggest bargain, just £12 for both, down from £19.99 for one. Bloody brilliant!

Our local B&M provided the remaining cushions we wanted, as well as some bits and bobs. We sourced our wall art from a small online business with a 10% off code, and our faux sheepskin rugs had 25% off on Amazon. Because my house is basically an indoor jungle, we moved some of our plants into the bedroom – so that was technically free. Oh yeah, I made the macrame hangers for the plants from rope I already had, so that’s free too!

You can never have enough plants!

A final bargain brag….

I forgot to mention/brag about the beautiful bedding set I found. I love linen, I really do. My dream bed set is blush coloured linen, all crinkly and soft and gorgeous. My bank account however has nightmares at the thought of it. I was googling “navy bedding king size” when a result from Online Home Shop popped up. Linen effect, deep navy king size bedding for £10.99, sounds too good to be true…. To be honest, at that price I wasn’t expecting anything fancy you know? But what we got…. wow. The quality is wonderful, the colour so rich (and it doesn’t fade in the wash) and the fabric is so soft and light but warm at the same time…. just perfect. My son loves it so much he’s asked for the same bedding – but in grey – for his room makeover!

There we have it, the great brag-a-thon about my beautiful bargain bedroom! I feel like we managed to achieve a luxury, boutique hotel kind of vibe on a shoestring. Altogether, including a new king size bed, we spent £428.97 and I think that’s pretty bloody brilliant – especially as our total budget was just £500.

The next room on my list is my 14 year old son’s and to be honest I’m pretty excited; he really loves chic, minimal Scandinavian style whereas I’m a raving bohemian maximalist – so it’s going to be a huge challenge! Of course I’ll be sharing what happens, as well as any budget friendly finds, along the way both here and on my Instagram.

Have you got any big room makeover plans in 2020? I would love to hear all about them!

*DISCLOSURE* this post contains affiliate links which I will receive a small commission from*

Sweet Saturdays – Chunky Chewy Blondies.

If you follow me on Instagram – and if you don’t now’s a great time to start – you’ve no doubt already seen these glorious golden bars of deliciousness! I wasn’t surprised when so many folks asked for the recipe; and I’m certainly not one to judge if there was any phone screen licking action going on…. you should see me with pictures of Jason Momoa!

Screen licking worthy blondies

These blondies are such an easy, inexpensive bake that they’re a regular favourite in our house. I can manage to make them with only minimal help from Ed or the kids (me and oven gloves don’t get on, they hide and I forget them). IF you have any leftovers, they keep nicely in a cake tin/airtight box for about a week. You can also freeze them for three months; just cut into bars, cool completely, then wrap in grease proof paper and store in a freezer safe box/bag.

Without further ado……

Ingredients.

  • 200g light soft brown sugar
  • 75g margarine or unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 0.25 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 0.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 125g plain flour
  • 0.5 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 200 – 250g fillings of choice (for this batch I used 2 bags choc chips and 50g chopped pecans)

Method.

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 175c and place the shelf in the middle. Line an 8 inch square baking tin with aluminium foil, making sure you leave an over hang at the edges to lift out your bake.
  2. Melt the butter/margarine over a low heat until just liquid – no bubbling!
  3. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or a large bowl with a manual/electric whisk) combine the sugar, vanilla and egg until creamy.
  4. Add the melted butter with the whisk running *DO NOT ADD RED HOT BUTTER, YOU WILL HAVE GROSS SCRAMBLED EGGS!*
  5. While this is mixing, combine your baking powder and bicarb with your flour (I usually put it all in my weighing scale dish)
  6. Beating between each addition, add the flour in 3 parts. When the last batch of flour is added, beat until just combined.
  7. Fold in your fillings. It will be very thick and chunky! Transfer to your prepared tin and spread/squish out as evenly as you can.
  8. Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. You’re looking for a golden crust to form around the edges and on the top.
  9. Once baked USING OVEN GLOVES DEE remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for a few minutes. Then lift out of the tin using the foil over hang and place back on the rack to cool further.
  10. While the blondie is still slightly warm, cut it into pieces that suit you… or don’t cut it at all, I’m not here to tell you what to eat!

Fantastic fillings to try.

If you don’t like choc chips and pecans, there are literally bajillions of filling options for these blondies! I’ve made Fudge bar blondies, Twix blondies, Oreo blondies, Bourbon biscuit blondies, Caramac blondies…….. the only limit is your imagination! I think next I’m going to have a go with Curly Wurly, or maybe Rolos, or maybe Dime Bars!

What would your dream blondie filling combo be? Let me know in the comments below! And if you do decide to go for it and bake your own Chunky Chewy Blondies please tag me on social media so I can see your creations…. and maybe lick my phone screen.

Go on, you know you want to!

I Did Not Want To Do This; Writing About My Disability.

Before I get into this, please let me just say; there is nothing wrong with disability/chronic illness blogs or content. I follow and read and enjoy lots of chronic illness and disabled creators online and I enjoy what they do. So when you’re reading below, please just keep in mind that there’s no shade being thrown by me!

I Am Disabled.

There, I said it. It’s the truth, it’s out there, it’s real. Like many disabled folk I have multiple complex diagnoses and my life is a juggling act of managing these conditions as well as the various side effects of medications and as yet undiagnosed conditions. It actually SUCKS.

Chronic illnesses are like Pokemon – you gotta catch em all! Seriously though, once you get labelled with one, it’s not so long until more follow until you have a whole deck of them! Currently mine are;

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E) – imagine the worst bout of flu you have ever had – you know, aching in your bones, so exhausted you can barely hold up your own head, tired just from breathing – and then imagine living with that EVERY DAY.
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – my right knee is agonisingly painful all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, constantly. In a nutshell; there’s been extensive trauma to my knee over the last 20 years which resulted in my brain believing it should be in pain. so even though it’s actually pretty stable now, my brain manufactures pain signals in my knee, resulting in misfiring nerves and a whole lot of suffering.
  • Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS) – my joints are very bendy and slippy, which causes multiple partial and complete dislocations every week. this is part of the reason my knee is such a mess!
  • Fibromyalgia – similar to M.E with added “bonus features” such as brain fog (forgetting how to speak, what I’m doing etc), widespread bone deep pain and swelling, sore joints, headaches and on and on. Personally, I believe Fibromyalgia and M.E are the same thing.
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) – my heart has trouble pumping blood to the right places, often blood pools in my extremities. When I stand, my heart rate accelerates rapidly, to try pump blood to where it needs to be. This means there’s not enough of the red stuff in my brain, causing dizziness and fainting.
  • Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (c-PTSD) – I had an abusive childhood as well as many medical traumas which have all become embedded in me as trauma. Complex PTSD is not the same as the type you nay have heard of, it is extremely difficult to treat. Symptoms include flashbacks, audio and visual hallucinations, nightmares, black out episodes, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
  • Slow Transit Bowel Disorder – without getting into the gory details, I can’t poop often. like once every 9 days is good for me. Yep it sucks.

Those are the diagnosed ones, my official list if you will. I’m currently under investigation for Endometriosis, Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and heart murmurs.

Why don’t I want to write about it?

As I’m sure you can imagine, these illnesses dominate my life. As much as I refuse to be defined by my disabilities I still cannot control the variable impact they have on me day to day. I wanted to write and create and share about everything and anything in my world other than my conditions – because it really is so much more than a list of ailments!

During the last month, my health has taken a sharp downturn and I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my blog as well as thinking about what i want to achieve in the future. I don’t write regularly and the reason is because I’m trying to avoid writing about my disabilities (which affect me every single day) I’m left with little to actually write about, as well as little energy to create with!

I still believe that my life is much richer and vibrant than a dull list of medical problems and I will always seek to share all those moments and adventures, however I finally realised that I can’t write and build a successful online platform without including my health. As well as it being virtually impossible to separate the two, it’s also struck me as being disingenuous and I always strive to be honest and open.

So what can you expect from me in future?

More – more content, more creativity, more honesty, more sharing! I want to stress again – my life and my blog aren’t defined by my illnesses. I still love interior design, upcycle projects, nature and creating community and all those things plus more will still be here! There’s just going to be more than the occasional vague reference to me not feeling well, that’s all. Because I don’t occasionally feel vaguely unwell, it’s an every day battle and one I sometimes find hard to keep winning!

What about you? Perhaps you’re a disabled person yourself? Or maybe you’ve never heard of any of my diagnoses? What would you like to see from my blog/social media in future? Here’s a sneaky hint…. keep your eyes peeled for our latest colourful home creation….. coming soon!

Me and My Guy.

Eddie and I are celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary this year! I know it’s a cliche, but it really doesn’t feel as though all of that time has passed. I still get weak in the knees when he smiles at me, and my tummy does that weird flip flop feeling when I see him approach. Yes, I am disgustingly in love with my man – and I’m not apologising for it! We met when I was just 16 and he was 20 – at his girlfriend’s house – and the spark was there from the beginning for us both. We had an ill fated fling and I moved away so we lost touch. Three years later there was a knock at my front door; standing in the pouring rain with a his crinkly eyed grin was Eddie! I hugged him so tight, my bare feet freezing and my clothes getting soaked and my heart full to bursting. He came in to my home, and he never left. We were married just 6 weeks later. I was 19 years old, he was 23. Nobody believed we would make it past two months – nobody except us, and we were right!

Marriage isn’t always easy.

We were very young when we got married and we both had a lot of growing up to do. We both had tumultuous childhoods that still affected us; we were both broken and trying to help each other heal, and even with the best intentions things can and do go very wrong along the way. Our first years together were not rose tinted and lovey dovey!

We had our second child when I was 21 and shortly after his birth I began to behave strangely. Things escalated rapidly and I was placed on a psychiatric ward for my own protection. I had developed puerperal psychosis a rare form of serious post natal depression and I was very very poorly. Before I was diagnosed, the illness caused me to do things I never normally would do……. things that almost cost me my marriage. In fact, when I was discharged from the hospital I had to go live in a hostel for a while as Eddie wasn’t sure what to do for our future. I was heartbroken; a constant physical ache in my chest would keep me awake at night, it would worsen whenever I heard his voice on the phone or when I went to see my children. I knew why it was happening and didn’t hold anything against Eddie at all, it just hurt so much.

I still remember the day he told me he wanted to give our marriage another try. He was standing by the fireplace and I was sat with our girl on my knee reading her a book. He looked over at me and said “I’ve been thinking, and I want you to move back in. I’m still in love with you, I can’t stop thinking about you and I want you to come home. Please will you come back?”

Since then we have had our ups and downs like any couple, but we have always stayed together. Marriage isn’t always easy – but if you both continue to choose each other over all else, there’s usually a way through any problems.

Is there a secret to a successful marriage?

The short answer is NO. Except it’s not really that simple, is it? Everybody is different; we all carry our own baggage with us and that affects our relationships with everybody around us. It’s difficult to take responsibility and ownership for your mistakes – especially when they are caused by external issues such as trauma, health struggles etc – but being willing to apologise and learn from mistakes is kind of a big deal for the health of a relationship.

I saw a shirt design a while ago, it said willing to be wrong; and as much as I think I am always right, I know I make a mess sometimes. What matters is what I do with it and how I clean it up afterwards!

I think I will write some more posts about marriage/relationships in future. Obviously I’m not an expert and don’t pretend to be; however the added challenges of being married young, having teenage kids, disability and carer/care receiver dynamics aren’t covered generally by a lot of relationship blogs I’ve read over the years!

Is there anything you would like me to include in future ponderings on relationships? Perhaps you have some advice for me – I bloody love hearing how other folks handle hurdles in their love life! Please do let me know in the comments below, or if you wish to keep your question private then please email me instead,

Much love, Dee xx

Budget friendly home office make-over!

For a while now I’ve been working wherever I can find space; the dining table, on the sofa in the lounge, even perched on the front doorstep while catching some sunshine. Basically grabbing any peaceful spot possible in order to write, ponder and create whilst trying to not get in the way of the rest of my household! It’s not been easy, but I made the best of it as cash and space are precious commodities in our home; then one day my hubster was moving around his art space and decided he no longer needed the wobbly old computer desk he’d been using……. LIGHT BULB MOMENT! So here’s how I did a budget friendly home office make-over – and by budget friendly I mean very low budget!

My little corner

Chalk Paint is a marvel!

The desk on offer had seen better days to say the least! It had been second hand when we were given it, then my son used it for two years for gaming (including scratching the top with scissors) followed by my husband using it as a second work surface for his art space for another year. It was wobbly, battered and a horrible blackish brown colour; I really didn’t like it and thought a lot about just chucking it out and saving up for a cheap new one. But then my environmental conscience starting pricking me and I realised that re-purposing this battered old desk was the right (and cheaper) thing to do.

We have been upcycling other second hand furniture pieces for our living room and still had lots of lovely chalk paint left. I decided that grey would be the best option as it would blend the desk into my bedroom. Who wants their place of relaxation to feel like an office anyway? Having the desk painted this warm grey colour means that it feels like a part of the space rather than something just plonked there in the corner. Plus it only took two coats and dried within a few hours! Then Eddie tightened up the screws thus fixing the wobble.

Chalk Paint Rules!

Shop Your Own Home.

Next up I had to figure out what to do about a chair with no money. Fortunately for me, we “inherited” a set of very heavy, very large dining chairs when we moved into our house. One of the chairs needed to be moved from the kitchen as it blocked the way to the cupboards, so it had been residing in my daughter’s bedroom for a while. That is util she decided she no longer wanted it! So Mum to the rescue!

I dressed the chair up with a cushion I’ve had for a while – I bought it in Primark I think about three years ago – and I went round the house collecting bits and bobs that I thought would make my space feel, well, like my space. I made use of some old pretty boxes to display some of my essential oils and remedies and I emptied out a grey and white basket that contained odd gloves and random socks to use for extra storage. It’s amazing how much stuff you already have if you just look around you!

I love stationary – who doesn’t?

So I had the desk, the chair and the accessories. The shelves were clean and organised, heck I even had my plant life sorted and my laptop in place….. but something was missing. What does every self respecting home office need? Cute stationary, doh!

I literally spent hours drooling over gorgeous pens, journals and sticky notes sets online. In fact I seem to have developed a bit of an obsession with stickers…. I think I need help! After all that “research” there was one place for me that fit my criteria of beautiful quality with a minimal price tag – Wilko.

I love my Wilko stationary and lamp. Bargain!

My kids and hubby laugh at me for my Wilko obsession – I don’t really care to be honest because I bloody love that shop! On the rare occasions I leave my tiny town, if we’re going somewhere that has a Wilko store then it’s scheduled into the trip. I love love love it!

I bought my desk lamp and bulb, planner, desk tidy, pens, pencils, accessories and note block for under £30 including delivery and I couldn’t be happier with it all. Everything is such great quality and so well designed; the planner has space for me to keep track of our family diary, budget, birthdays and shopping lists as well as ample space for me to plan out content I want to create. For £6 you really get a lot of bang for your buck. Wilko has a wide range of stationary on offer, from your typical back-to-school things to several design collections – perfect if like me you enjoy the matchy matchy. It’s worth checking out if you have students to shop for, or if you want to treat yourself to something nice to write with.

When I say budget friendly, I mean it.

Altogether, including my new stationary collection, the creation of my home office cost just £30. I think in future if I have the opportunity/spare cash I’m going to buy an office type chair on wheels, as the dining chair is rather heavy and not easy to move. But it works great for now and that’s all that matters!

My little corner of the world.

It’s amazing what you can achieve with a bit of creativity and stubbornness right? I see so many posts on Pinterest and Instagram that encourage lots of shopping and spending for interiors, but I kinda feel like having a nice home doesn’t need to cost either a) a fortune or b) the Earth. That’s why my family and I have committed to buy secondhand as much as possible – whether that’s for our home, our clothes, even electricals/tech – because there’s enough waste in this world without us adding to it!

Have you ever gone shopping in your own house? Maybe you’ve just done your own tiny budget make-over? I would love to hear all about it! Do you have any frugal pointers for this thrifty decorator? Let me know in the comments below!

Take care and I will be back soon,

Dee xx

Boho On A Budget; Living Room Makeover.

I love my home. I really really REALLY do; from the old stone to the wonky walls, even the ridiculously steep staircase and mismatched kitchen – I LOVE MY HOME! I also really love the boho interiors popping up all over Pinterest and Instagram; macrame, vibrant colours and tonnes of houseplants just make me smile so much. But how can you achieve boho on a budget?

What does “Boho” mean anyway?

It’s a term that’s being bandied about all over the internet right now; Boho Festival Looks, Boho Hairstyles, Boho this and that and the other! But at it’s root, Bohemian means unconventional and creative. It means rebellious and subversive. It means to do things differently.

The term “Bohemian” began in Paris in the early 19th Century as a way to describe a growing community of wandering artists living unconventionally in the city. The word in French also means “gypsy”- there were many travellers and refugees at this time coming from Eastern Europe, and popular thought declared they all came from Bohemia hence the name. Gypsies were widely held in disdain and mistrust, however they were also secretly admired for their creativity and “other-worldliness” – basically people loved and hated them equally. The artists adopted the transient nature of traveller life and began to live in a way that rejected the notion of property and drudgery, instead believing in and exploring ideas of beauty and love!

Is my living room really Boho?

You know I value words and their meanings and am not one to use them lightly; I have a great respect for the early Bohemians and for the travelling gypsies of Eastern Europe and I wouldn’t use this term unless I felt I could. My living room is an outworking of that respect, as well as a nod to my own rebellious spirit!

My fireplace and storage solutions.

You see; in the interiors world of the great internet lands it’s all about how much cash you can throw at a project, the new sofa and the glass extensions and the parquet floors. I love all of that and it makes for pretty pictures, but it’s not for me. I don’t have a lot of spare money. I believe in making do with what I have, buying second hand and taking care of things we find. I do this because we already have everything we need and our planet needs us to start making less! And I know more and more people are catching on to this less wasteful way of life, but it’s still relatively unconventional.

90% of the things in my living room are second hand, old or re-purposed from other rooms in my house. In fact, the only new things we bought are four cushions (£24 TOFS) and the rug (£39.99 B&M). The large sofa (pictured below) is from a Facebook Marketplace seller in our town and cost £40 with a storage pouffe. The chest of drawers under my TV were in my Nana and Grandad’s house all my life. That triangle stone on the fireplace? We found that in the woods!

My bargain large DFS sofa and storage pouffe.

The white throws over the sofas came from a charity shop, the yellow mirror was given to me by a lovely friend and we painted it. Eddie bought the coffee table at the junk market and it turned out that it had been made in our town about 50 years ago! I love each and every piece in our living room and there is a story attached to it all. To me, that embodies the Bohemian values of Beauty and Love – so yes, I do think my lounge really is “Boho” and on a tiny budget!

Big Bertha, my largest houseplant!

I hope you have enjoyed taking a look at my lovely living room! We are really proud of it; I find myself sitting in here most days and just enjoying the feeling of peaceful joy that seems to fill this space. Do you have a favourite room in your home? Perhaps you’re just beginning a makeover and you have some brilliant budget friendly ideas and tricks? I would love to hear what you’re upto!

Thank you for reading along. I hope you all are as in love with your homes as I am – and if not, I pray you find a part of it to begin falling for! Take care loves, I’ll see you soon!

5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Low Waste Living.

The planet is dying. There is literally no other way to say it; whether you believe what you read/see on the news or not, we cannot deny that things are getting out of hand and our home is in trouble. We have done this, so now we have to do better. I don’t think it’s fair to put all the responsibility on the average person (don’t get me started on disability discrimination and the plastic straw ban) as for real, lasting change to be achieved there needs to be a complete paradigm shift across the globe! However, we can all take steps to reduce our impact on the earth – and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Here are 5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Low Waste Living that we’ve taken on at home.

Paper Free Kitchen.

There are no kitchen rolls in my kitchen! The only paper product we use occasionally is toilet paper – because my cats are idiots who like to poop on the floor now and then. I wish I could tell you my drawers are packed full of colour coordinated, hand stitched cloths but they’re not. Here’s my cloth box to prove it! The cloths we use are inexpensive options bought from places like B&M, Home Bargains and our local market – hard wearing, easy to wash and long lasting. We grabbed a set of four cloth napkins from a charity shop a couple weeks ago for £2 too; in fact they’re probably the fanciest fabrics in the kitchen! Next time you go shopping, instead of spending a couple quid on paper for the bin, why not see how many dishcloths you can get instead?

My cloth box. Told you, it’s not very fancy!

Clean Cleaning.

Most cleaning products come in plastic bottles labelled with unpronounceable chemicals and scary warnings about your health and aquatic life. Not very eco-friendly eh? We have all used them, we probably all have them in the cupboards too. I’m not saying go and throw it all out immediately – instead work through what you have, then wash out and save your spray bottles for making your own products instead! White vinegar is literally cheaper than chips and it’s an incredible cleaning liquid. Lemon juice (yes even the kind you squeeze on your pancakes) is natural and powerful on stains, grease and it shines up stainless steel like a dream. Bicarbonate of soda (yes the one you put in cakes) is a dream cleaning ingredient! For the price of replacing just two of your usual cleaners you can buy enough vinegar, lemons and bicarb to do your whole house. Repeatedly.

Swap To Soap.

This one is easy and so cheap it’s unbelievable. making the change from using plastic bottled shower gel, hand wash and shampoo has reduced our waste massively AND the amount of chemicals in our homes/on our skin/washing down the drains. Bar soap can be easily found in most supermarkets, pound shops and the like. Shampoo bars are more and more readily available and do not need to cost a fortune either – the bar we use costs £4.50 and lasts my husband and I about 3 months. Once you’ve worked through all of your products, replace them with bars instead. Saving money and saving the planet!

six bars of soap - white, purple, green, pink, white speckled, pal yellow - surrounded by a terracotta candle holder, a tree branch and a pink and green plant.
Bar Soaps are beautiful and cost effective swaps for bottles!

Cans Not Bottles.

Aluminium is infinitely recyclable, whereas plastic can only be recycled once. Most drinks come in cans as well as plastic bottles; my son loves sports drinks ad we recently discovered they come in cans too! If you like fizzy drinks and that kind of thing, next time pick up a can instead. The planet (and your body) will thank you for it!

Buy Second Hand.

I’m a bargain hunter, you all know it and I’m proud to say the majority of our furniture, clothes and appliances are second hand! My daughter is a whiz at charity shop trawling, my husband and son have keen eyes that spot amazing deals at the flea market and I am always thinking of ways to make more of hat we have already. I can’t afford to buy new, ethically made clothes and furniture all the time for my family; so instead we try to give things that have been discarded/donated a new lease of life or we make our own. Charity shops are awesome places if you just have a little patience, eBay is full of second hand bargains as is Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. It’s easier than ever to buy second hand!

A sideboard painted blue, with pink patterned paper lining the shelves.
A junk shop find, made over with a little paint and patience.

I know all of these things can seem a bit simple and obvious; when we were starting on our road to less waste we began by feeling completely overwhelmed and inadequate because we couldn’t afford to buy four sets of bamboo cutlery (yeah I know, daft right). Very few of us have the resources to live an Instagram-able low waste life with all the gadgets and accessories – but we can all find ways to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot in our own homes right?

Do you have any easy, cheap low waste living hacks for me? I would love to hear what tips and tricks you have come across!

Losing Someone Precious.

I’ve been learning a lot about emotional resilience the last few weeks. Things didn’t work out as planned with our rescue dog, my teenage daughter has been through some heart ache and my health has been terrible. These events are all equally difficult to handle in their own ways, but they cannot compare to the pain of watching someone you love grieve after losing someone special.

My husband Eddie is my world. He really is everything to me; he’s my best friend, lover, confidant and carer, and I would do anything for him. Last week, one of the most important people in his life – Grandma – passed away in hospital. He got to see her just before she died, something that I will be eternally thankful for.

Grandma was almost 90 years old and her health had been declining steadily for the last few years. This lady grew up during World War II, she raised her own children and then took in her grandsons (my Eddie and his brother) and raised them. She nursed her beloved husband Arthur, never leaving his side, until he died from Emphysema. This amazing lady fought to keep her independence as she grew older – it was only a couple months ago that she gave up her keep fit classes – and still lived in the home she raised her family in. She was a remarkable woman.

Eddie and Grandma were very close. She would often tell me “I know I’m not meant to have a favourite, but my Edward is special”. You see, Eddie’s childhood wasn’t the easiest but Grandma was his anchor in the midst of the stormy times. She has been his constant support, his loudest cheerleader and her unconditional love has been with him all the days of his life. Grandma was such a wonderful woman to so many people, to my husband she was so much more than a Gran.

As you can imagine, it’s been horrible since she passed. At first Eddie went into shock; he had literally just returned from seeing her in the hospital when he got the call to say she had gone. I was ready for tears, shouting, wailing even….. but instead he just carried on as normal. We told the kids and comforted them as best we could, then Eddie got on with his own things like nothing had happened. I think it finally sunk in through that first night, because the next morning the tears really did start.

It’s been just over a week now. His grief is so heartbreaking to watch. He isn’t weeping and wailing; rather he’s struggling to accept that she’s gone, in his head he knows that she has died but he still finds himself thinking he needs to call her or arrange to go for a cuppa. I guess when someone has been part of your life for so long, it will take time to accept their departure. And the first stage of grief is denial after all, so I know it won’t last forever.

The funeral is just under a week away; and while it’s a time of remembrance and closure, it also brings it’s own challenges for my husband. Strained family relations, a crippled wife, a long journey on public transport…… all these things stack up on him one by one. I hope he doesn’t break apart underneath it all.

As for me, I don’t know what to do to help him or how to ease his pain at her passing. I wake up in the night and hold him as he cries, I sit and listen as he tries to make sense of his feelings, I share precious memories of her with him when he wants to talk about her life. What else can I do but be here and love him? What else should I be doing? Those aren’t rhetorical questions; if you have any good ideas I would love to hear them – because I have never felt so powerless in our almost 16 years together as I do now.

Have you supported a loved one through their grief before? Or perhaps you’re in the same boat right now? If you’re in need of support, or you have any helpful suggestions then please comment below. I would appreciate any help we’re given!

Take care, hold your dear ones close and let them know how precious they are to you xxx