Freshen with Furnishings

One way to re-energise your spaces quite easily is with some small changes to furnishings.

Years ago we bought a pair of bedside cabinets from auction.  Included in the lot was ‘and one other piece’, this small cabinet.  We weren’t sure what it was but over time found lots of uses for it.  A handy Hi Fi cabinet at one point because the cupboard is 12″ x 12″, perfect for storing albums.

As time elapsed and the family were growing, we consigned it to the loft as it no longer had a particular use.  Having remembered it was there last year, I intended to bring it back and restore it.  The bedside cabinets were given a new lease of life shortly after we bought them.


 Partly due to the weather conditions last year, and the fact that I didn’t write down my intention, it rolled over.  This year I wrote this on my year plan and it has been lightened up and updated .  Some gold detail has given it some interest, this is also in keeping with the metal element in this sector of the house.






In the process of adding the detail, I had cause to turn the piece upside down and found this label underneath which gave some insight as to what the piece is and its approximate date of manufacture.

B.O.T. is for Board of Trade.  There were B.O.T. restrictions on manufacturing furniture between 1942 and 1949.  Only inferior quality wood could be used for furniture, and the pieces made were as replacements for items which had been destroyed.  These pieces were known as utility furniture.  No unnecessary new furniture was produced during this era.  The workmanship however is of excellent quality.  The wood is indeed fairly poor quality and my husband is sure that the piece is of no value.  That said, it is certainly of historic interest.

It has been a wonderful exercise to recover this tatty unwanted cabinet, especially putting my own energy into the project to make it very much wanted and mine.  It looks great in its new position and is quite in keeping with our house which was built in 1953.

I recall and elderly neighbour talking about a utility sideboard, I now think that this might just be a small utility sideboard.

‘And one other piece’ has now been renamed Bijou Buffet!

This has started me on updating other items of wooden furniture which look somewhat unloved.  As a bit of an earth child, I prefer a natural wood finish, which takes a lot of work.  Painting is a popular option nowadays.

Do you have any furniture which with a bit of TLC could be re-loved?  With a bit of work and determination they can be given a new lease of life and re-energise your spaces as well.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself, you can always get the experts to help you. do bespoke hand painted furniture and take commissions.


Best wishes




October is here and there are lots of campaigns running to encourage healthy lifestyles.   Let me introduce #Shedtober

Looking at nature, the leaves on the trees are changing colour, ready to be shed.  After a strange year, weather wise, we have been blessed with a pleasant autumn.

What better way to get fit than get into the shed and get it in order.  Sheds are notorious for accumulating all sorts of clutter, stuffed at the back and then long forgotten.

Take advantage of the warmish weather and do what the trees are getting ready for – Shedding!

Before you pack away the trappings of summer, if you even have space, take everything out and have a good old sort through.  Those dried up pots of paint will never come in handy, nor will lots of other stuff which may well have perished over the years of neglect.

Its time to Shed the Shed.

You might even have some space at the end of the exercise to make better use of that precious space.  I am a self confessed sheddie and even I have a few bits to get rid of.

Lets start a new craze!

Lets get ready to sheddy.


Have fun




Tip of the week. If you need to take your mobile into the bedroom, turn it on to Airplane mode, this stops it sending out pulses to get a signal. If you need to plug in the charger, make sure it is as far away from the bed as possible, especially away from your head.

When you are sleeping, your brain is working hard.  During the day it is bombarded with all sorts of external stimuli, visual, aural and sensory.  Sleep is when these stimuli need to be removed so that your brain can process the information it has learned through the day.  This is the only state when the brain can detox and remove harmful chemicals that have built up during the day.

Having electrical stimuli disturbs the brain from carrying out these important functions efficiently.  We all feel better after a good nights sleep, so let your phone have a rest as well.  Unless you are a front line member of the emergency services, those e-mails and texts can wait until the morning.

Sleep well



Happy Chinese New Year

After a few weeks working to deep clean my house, I finished the day before Chinese New Year.  At Chinese new year, you shouldn’t do any cleaning or sweeping because it is symbolic of sweeping away good fortune.   There were a few other rules that were mentioned, some of these were simply things you would incorporate into your way of life, others were symbolic of bringing good fortune.

In Feng Shui there is a great deal of symbolism, this is great if you are trying to introduce an element which ordinarily wouldn’t fit in with your surroundings.

I often find that my clients have a liking for something and then go a bit overboard with that which can lead to overload of one element at the expense of the rest, the result is lack of balance.  Use of colour is a great way of bringing an element into the space without having to make major changes.

Flowering plants and flowers can be used to great effect to introduce colour and are quick and easy.  If you aren’t so keen on plants, small ornaments, vases or a splash of colour in the decor can help to restore the balance.

Shapes, textures and lighting help to create the mood that you need for each space.  Feng shui enhancements do not have to be complex or expensive, in fact they rarely are.

I have certainly learned a few things from the cleaning exercise.  There are some decorating products that I shan’t be buying again!  I also need to make sure that everything is easy to take apart for cleaning, sadly some light fittings aren’t – very frustrating.

I now have one piece of furniture to send off to charity and I am ready to enjoy the year ahead.  I have moved into a fire house which is going to be an energetic time.  What have you got to look forward to?


Best wishes



Colour your views

I hope January has been good for you.

I have certainly gone some way to getting some of my targets moving in the right direction.

My big project for the start of the year is a thorough deep clean of the house, this has also flagged up the need for some decorating.

The kitchen was in need of a freshen up, and as I mentioned last time, I remembered buying the paint for it a couple of years ago.  How our memories play tricks on us.  Maybe we looked at it in the DIY store, however there was definitely no paint in evidence amongst out collection of decorating materials.  I chose some colours to use on the areas that looked most in need of painting.  I decided to be a little bolder than usual and picked some brighter shades than I would normally have chosen.  Colour is very powerful in creating an atmosphere in a room.  The new colours have made the walls look more vibrant and cheerful.  The lobby by the back door was originally magnolia, this is now a gentle peppermint green.  The magnolia really looked as if we hadn’t finished the job since the builders were here, the area looks as if it belongs in the house now.

The kitchen is now primrose as opposed to buttermilk which was a very wishy washy attempt at a yellow which didn’t do anything for the room.  My son was quite shocked when he came in and saw it.  This reminded me of the paint advert from a few years ago when a couple painted their adult sons bedroom bright yellow, which then prompted him to leave home – worth a try!

There is one more room to paint and a bit of repair work in the shower room.  If we went mad and decorated the whole house, it would all need to be done again at the same time.  As with anything, little and well paced will get the job done well.  This goes for decluttering as well.

I hope that this years decorating session will be completed by Chinese new year, which is 16th February this year.

The cleaning is still going in the right direction but there is only so much that I can take in one session.  Cupboards have been emptied, cleaned and the contents sorted for usefulness and ease of use.  There were some horrors in the utility room cupboard, I would have chucked some of these bits out, however my husband (who is a bit of a hoarder) told me to put them in a box and he would take them to the shed, just in case!

I have been able to look at rooms from a lot of different perspectives whilst going through this exercise, from lying on the floor, to looking  down from the top of a ladder.  It is almost like seeing the spaces with a fresh pair of eyes.

I will plan the rest of the cleaning programme as well as putting some details to other goals this month ready to get an action plan in place.  Hopefully, when the lions share of the work in the house is done, the weather will be kind enough to let me get outside and get started on the allotment.

Whatever you set out to do this year, either personal or business goals, keep moving forward.  Sometimes things will flow well and other times you don’t feel like you are getting anywhere.  As long as you are going in the right direction, you will be surprised by how much you have achieved when you look back.

With Best wishes



New Year, New Opportunities

The new year heralds new hope for many people, only for them to be dashed very quickly.

New years resolutions are only for the highly disciplined who can manage to get through the first three weeks without having faltered.  For many of us, that is a tall order.  Personally, I gave up on resolutions years ago, I like to take my time to reflect on past successes and review what worked well and what didn’t, then consider how to improve on that for the coming year.

January can feel a bit flat after the busy run up to Christmas, the festivities and celebration of the new year.  The days are getting longer, albeit very slowly, and even on some overcast days it doesn’t feel like it is getting lighter at all.  The best thing to do in January is start planning for the year ahead, set some overall goals, but not dwell on the details, there is time for that when you have an overall picture of your vision.

I have started to get some clarity by giving the house a good deep clean, this will give me a fresh environment and unclutter my space so that I can think clearly.  The clean will not be a quick process, there is a lot of house to clean!

I have started in the dining room, this was where the Christmas tree was and I hope that I have managed to clear up all the pine needles.  I’m sure I will still be finding a few errant ones in June!

I have washed the ceiling, the walls and the woodwork.  Just by washing the ceiling the room has a much brighter feel and has given it a lift.  Everything had to come off the furniture and walls where possible.  Each item was assessed as to its relevance in the room before being put back.  I have to shame myself here.  Having cleared everything from the top of the piano so that I could polish it (this doesn’t happen very often), I realised that I had been picking up a photo, dusting it and putting it back.  The original intention was that it was to be hung on the wall above where it was resting.  It has been sitting there for 5 years!  It took about 2 minutes to find a picture hook and hammer it into the wall.  We get so used to our surroundings that we don’t notice things.

Curtains were taken down, thrown on the washing line and given a good clean and dust.  They needed some adjustment because over the years they had dropped and weren’t hanging very well.

The final job was to unscrew the shelving unit which has games and art materials on, take everything off and clean all the contents, the unit and walls and floor surrounding it.  This is a bit of a thankless task.  Every time I go through this exercise, I seem to have trouble getting all the things that came off back again, we just seem to collect more stuff.  The first rule of decluttering is that you can’t throw out other peoples stuff.  I put some things to one side to discuss with my other half.  Before asking the question as to what we still really needed, I did point out that our youngest isn’t a little girl any more, she is nearly 20.  With this in mind, he reluctantly agreed that all but one of the items that I had put to one side had outlived their usefulness to us.

The dining room is the creative area of the house and I hope that with this section of the house clean I can find creative solutions to make positive improvements for the year ahead.  One room complete, until next time.

Now where to go to next?  The kitchen could do with freshening up, we bought the paint for that 2 years ago!  To be fair, the house has been too busy to allow us to put the kitchen out of action for a couple of days.  We have a few weeks to get that sorted out, hopefully it won’t take too long.

All of this activity has kept me warm, active and in a positive upbeat frame of mind.  Exercise, mindfulness and feng shui all rolled into one, and I have no intention of joining the gym – maybe that is my resolution!

Best wishes