Lauren Loves Blog

A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

2 Dec 2018

Interiors - Kitchen Makeover

We've renovated the kitchen! 

Before: When we bought the house, the kitchen was old, there was a shower built into the room (!) which was taking out a huge corner meaning the fridge was over a window with a cable hanging down from the ceiling to power it. The cabinets were peeling laminate and the worktop was not doing well. The vinyl floor was very annoying as the pattern looked like there were muddy footprints all over and the whole place looked messy. The light was very poor from two light points and the position meant I blocked the light with my body when I was trying to cook!

The first step was my fantastic family came around and put spotlights in and smashed out the shower cubicle so we could have a bigger kitchen. We also had a plasterer come and smooth everything over before the kitchen fitters arrived.

mid renovations - it was a dusty hell

We got a local builders to help us from Ideal Improvements in Bournemouth to come and do the stripping out and fitting of the new kitchen. They were fabulous - Nick is so calm and reassuring which I needed and had ideas for how to fit everything. He was also a real perfectionist, changing how high or low the sockets were to make it all fit just so. 

Initially, we chose our kitchen from Magnet. It's the Dunham Midnight on the bottom cabinets and Dunham White on the upper cabinets. We went to Magnet in Christchurch and the lady who helped us design it, Tina, was fantastic. She came out to measure the room, drew up a few designs and allowed us to change it many times, and recommended colours and worktops. We chose a marble-effect worktop which is actually a solid acrylic (it smelt like a nail bar when it was being installed). It's called Minerva in Carrara White and was cheaper than real marble but feels cold and solid like marble does. It's also not a laminate so wears really well and looks expensive. We got it from Locks Online as it was much cheaper than going through Magnet. 

Initially, when the kitchen of my dreams was priced up, I was really disappointed that with fitting it was going to be about £5k over budget. However Tina said to us, we should go away and google everything on the list and get it elsewhere if it was cheaper. Super Sam went away and did this one weekend and managed to get it all under budget including fitting! 

Welcome to the tour!

Out of this alcove was a breakfast bar which was taking up loads of room. We decided not to have it anymore to give us more space as the whole area inside the chimney breast was wasted. We also used that area to keep the microwave so had the builders put in an electric socket. I also now have my mixer in that nook, but when I took the photos I had lent it to a friend to make her wedding cake!

My favourite part of the kitchen is our "Welcome to Bournemouth" sign. A few years ago, the town had a new bridge installed on the main road into Bournemouth with "WELCOME TO BOURNEMOUTH" in blue neon light. It had mixed reactions with some (like us) liking it, and others thinking it looked cheap and tacky. I had our own version made by Nailed It by Holly who makes fantastic custom neon-style signs. Ours was £160 and it's huge!

Being an instagram addict, when I was offered copper handles I had to say yes! They were also from Magnet. The tiles were from Wickes who had the cheapest brick-shaped ones 

We also got a copper tap from Magnet, but sourced the sink from Plumbworld. We also got an integrated washing machine and dishwasher separately from John Lewis who were cheapest for all appliances and also come with a 2 year warranty. 

On this side of the wall, there was the fridge freezer over the window originally, a normal radiator on the wall and the boiler next to the window. Tina had the idea to have a long cupboard over the boiler and piping which has no shelves so we can store the hoover in there. The other side is my cleaning "narnia" cupboard. We also had this upright radiator put in which I love. The mat on the floor is for the dog food bowls.

We got this amazing custom table and benches from Trentside Furniture. It's the H-bar table and it's in grey finish. The flooring was from Homebase and clips together like laminate so it's easy to install, cheaper than tiles and also warmer. I also don't have to worry about cracking a tile when I drop things! 

Our in case of emergency teabag was from Glyphbox, the small rubber plant was from Crocus and the huge one was from Lidl.

With the copper, I had to think a lot about how I wanted to accessoriese. I wanted to keep some of he copper elements there, but without going overboard and matchy matchy. We chose to keep the old silver bin as it went with the silver fridge freezer and the silver tones on the appliances, but decided to get copper tea canisters from Next  However we got the black and copper touches bread bin.

Next to the fridge/freezer, is our larder cupboard where I've put all the baking things, bottles, oils etc. It's a great space and I've found it so handy. I'm looking for a tall wine rack for on top of the fridge but currently I have  wicker basket with kitchen manuals (while I learn how to work the new appliances) and our engagement champagne bottles. I can't bring myself to open them. 

Again, the oven, hob and cooker hood were all from John Lewis. I know it's really lame, but I am so impressed with the oven and hob! The oven is a Zanussi and comes with loads of different modes including pizza mode and has a self-clean function. The hob is really chunky and looks great quality. It's also got minimal features so its much easier to clean than our old one which keeps Sam happy. 

Overall, we love the new kitchen. I'm glad we went with a fitter because it took 2 weeks rather than months. We're spending loads more time in the kitchen and love having the table to eat meals at. We've not had any issues so far with a white counter - the marks wipe off really easily. The lighting is amazing and I really enjoy cooking in there. I'm so happy with it!

9 Sep 2018

Cosy Club Cocktail Masterclass #BournemouthBloggers

A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to the Cosy Club with other Bournemouth Bloggers to have a cocktail masterclass. I was super nervous to go along and meet other bloggers, but as someone new to Bournemouth I knew I needed to take the chance and go out and meet potential new friends! Luckily everyone who went was absolutely lovely

We arrived to yummy prosecco cocktails with rose petals in (delicious, gorgeous, hard to drink around the petals!) I'd had a long day at work, so being greeted with cocktails was very warmly welcomed by me!

Outfit details
Jeans - Levis 501
Crop white shirt - ASOS
Red Bag - Cath Kidston 

I got chatting so some lovely bloggers straight away - Emma from Emma's Favourite Things, Molly from Blondie Wanderlust and Kelly from Mama of a Cool Kid took me under their wings and we had a lovely time getting to know each other and our very different blogging styles and topics. 

Cosy Club was its usual gorgeous self - it's one of Sam and my favourite bars in Bournemouth and we've been a few times now. The terrace is lovely, and during the heatwave we spent a lovely few hours there before (we met after work for a coffee, I went to get a table and Sam turned up with a massive glass of wine. This is why I'm marrying him)

Then we did a cocktail class. We were all taught by Liam White (master cocktail man) how to make either a Cherry Bakewell or Rhubarb Bramble cocktail. Kelly and I worked together to make some brambles which were so delicious, and you couldn't taste the alcohol - very dangerous. 

We were then treated to some treats - it was labelled tapas but the portions were huge!  We had a selection of burgers, fish and chips (the fish was delicious), mushrooms or avocado on toast and lots of other little snacks

I tried to take some hair and makeup detail photos too, although for some reason I look like a shark in most of them 

I styled my hair in a halo braid - I have a video on how to do a halo braid here (it's the third look in the video and I did it without extensions today)

My makeup is very MAC-focussed at the moment because I had a bridal trail in August. I've been trying to perfect applying it myself in practice for my wedding day. 

Foundation - MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof NW15 (this is the strangest foundation. It goes on super pale and dries the perfect colour. Definitely get colour matched at a counter
Eyebrows - Rimmel Brow this way over a beige eyeshadow powder
Lip colour - MAC Retro Matte liquid lipcolour in Fashion Legacy (doesn't transfer when I kiss so has been wedding approved! 

Thank you Cosy Club for looking after us bloggers for the evening. We had a lovely time, and you know I'll be back. If any of the star light shades go missing don't look at me


11 Aug 2018

Interiors - Master Bedroom Makeover

We've been so busy the last few weeks renovating the bedroom that we've not had time for much else. Thankfully it's finally done!

Before: When we first viewed the house, the family were using the upstairs as their floor and had students living on the ground floor. This meant they were using the front upstairs room as a lounge rather than the master bedroom.

When we got in, it was a bare room with beige carpets and fully wallpapered in a peachy floral pattern. That had to go! However as I'm sure you know stripping wallpaper comes with risks - if we were to do it the quick way using a steamer, it can often cause the plaster to come away from the plasterboard and fall off. To prevent this we had to strip it the old-fashioned way - firstly pull off the top layer which is waterproof. Then use a wet sponge to soak the under-layer and then peel that off with a wallpaper stripping knife. This meant to took a really long time, but left behind fresh, unpainted plaster!

Before we even moved, I had a vision for the room of dark grey walls and a mustard velvet bed! Luckily Sam let me take the plunge and I ordered the bed from Swoon Editions at the beginning of June (before we even moved house). We got a delivery date for the last weekend of July so we were in a huge rush to have the room finished in time. Luckily my fabulous family all turned up for a painting party and helped us out for 2 days. 

The wall colour is Downpipe by Farrow and Ball, but as usual we got it mixed up at Johnstones Paints for half the price. I was really anxious about this paint as it was almost black! I wondered if I was crazy, but kept reminding myself that the room was large, south-facing and had a lot of windows, if any room could handle the dark, cosy colour this room could! The photos in this post were all taken in the evening while the light was golden and low which I think really enhances the colours.

Mum had the great idea of using Frog Tape to create the crisp line at the top. We were going to put up coving, but that was outside our budget for now. However it's really hard to paint the join perfectly but this tape adds a really modern touch. My Mum is a DIY expert and says the frog tape is expensive but really worth the money to make a crisp line without pulling up paint. 

The bed is the Artois by Swoon Editions in Honey Velvet - it's a king-size. We topped it with an Eve mattress which we got for half price on Wowcher, as it's a rejuvenated one (from where someone has had the 100 nights trial and returned it, they replace the top layers and re-sell for a lot less). It's comfy but still takes a bit of getting used to as we're used to a sprung mattress. The bedding from a mixture of shops. The duvet, fitted sheet, oxford pillow cases and top pillows are all from ASDA. The duvet cover and bottom pillows are from TK Maxx who I love for discounted fancy bedding. Sam said he feels we need some sort of throw on the bottom of the bed, or cushions? I need to have a think about it. 

The bedside furniture is still our old stuff from Argos which I painted white eggshell. One day we will have enough money to buy new stuff and we have plans for it. The bedside lamps are the Arstid lamps from Ikea, which I've just discovered come in gold (need!). The plant on my bedside table is a rubber plant from Crocus and has lovely pink tones under the leaves which look lovely in the grey. As usual, I have my sunrise alarm clock from Aldi there. 

The gorgeous artwork above the bed is from Handmade LUX Art on Etsy and then printed onto canvas by Photobox

The pendant lampshades are white with a metallic gold inside from Value Lights and were the cheapest I could find for £14.99 each. They're 30cm diameter so a great size and good quality. The roman blinds are from Blinds UK. Despite being white, they have a blackout lining so we still get a good sleep on light summer mornings. They were challenging to fit but totally worth it because they give the minimal but expensive look I wanted. 

The rocking chair was a bargain for £20 from a lovely Facebook Marketplace seller. It's the perfect shade of lavender-grey and came with the cushion. I popped my mint green sausage dog from Love from Hetty and Dave on the chair and put these amazing lanterns which were half price at Tesco with it. 

On the left of the bed is the chimney breast and two chest of drawers in the alcoves. We'll eventually replace these too. Sam had this photo I took of Venice printed onto canvas and hung it on the chimney breast and I absolutely love it - the wall colour really makes it "pop". We also have a copper fan in the room at the moment due to the heat recently which was from Aldi

 On the other side of the room we currently have a small wardrobe and my makeup desk. (If you want info on how I DIY-ed this from ugly to pretty with feathery top, check out my post here)

I've used a table from my great-grandmother (I think... I don't remember the full story) and used it for my skincare, perfumes and MAC lippie collection. 

The plan with that half of the bedroom is to one day have a wardrobe either side of the radiator with a makeup vanity desk between. 

If we had the money, we'd finish this room by replacing the carpet with something in a grey tone, and by getting new furniture. I've had this pine stuff for about 7 years now, it's falling apart and looks passable due to the white paint but we do need something new one day!

For now though, it's cosy and dramatic and Teddy seems to like it!


19 Jul 2018

My 30th birthday

Does anyone else have  24 hour (or longer) birthday celebration? It's been my 30th birthday today so last night and today we have been celebrating (and obviously will again at the weekend!)

On Tuesday night, we decided to go out. We both had Wednesday off for my birthday so we had some drinks and went out. This is us getting ready. I took ages doing my makeup to see if I could do my own wedding makeup. I'm not sure... it's such a hard decision

We went to a bar called The Larderhouse in Southbourne, Bournemouth. We had fancy cocktails and I tried absinthe for the first time. It's disgusting and got me drunk very suddenly. 

We then went to Baffi pizzeria for dinner which is SO YUMMY! I love it there, but I was so drunk I forgot to take any photos of our food. 

We then walked to the Tesco across the road and got a tin of G&T, beer and Cadbury Twirls and walked down to the beach to have them

Wednesday we had a lie-in and Sam brought me breakfast and presents in bed. We then got up, had a slow get ready and walked into Bournemouth town. I had a new outfit to wear obviously! This is the Bell Sleeve Lace Dress from Fashion World and it's in the sale for £22.50 down from £75. It comes in red too 

The dress is a size 10 and comes up on the big side so it was quite large on me (I'm normally a size 8). I'd say buy a size smaller than you are. I belted mine up with an ASOS belt and liked having more room since it's so hot at the moment!

I wore it with my gorgeous new Cath Kidston bag Sam got me for my birthday! I've had my eye on this for ages, so I was really touched that he listened, wrote it down and bought it for my present. I don't know how he managed as it's out of stock everywhere. I was really pleased how well it matched my Marks & Spencer Liquid Lipstick in Attraction

We had a nice stroll into town and went to 7Bone for a very late lunch/dinner. I had a huge juicy burger and halloumi fries. So tasty!

Sam had a chicken burger and "dirty fries" and a PB & J milkshake. Such a champ

Then in true 30s style, I did some wallpaper stripping in our future bedroom

Then we curled up on the sofa and watched a film! 

7 Jul 2018

Interiors: our new lounge

First up, I love interiors blogs and instagram pages. I stalk them on a nightly basis when I'm lying in bed. I love the focus on the details and where to get things so I'll try to write this post in a similar way

Our first room to tackle when we moved in was our lounge. Here are the before photos from Rightmove. The bottom half of the house was being rented out to students so the front room was used as their dining room / lounge and was a little unloved. The ceiling was wallpapered over and then covered in a stipple effect, roll on plaster. It was all quite gross. The walls were painted pink and was generally looking a little shabby. 

The walls all along the front of the house ad bay were damp when we moved in, so we had Bio-Kil come in and take down all the plaster to the level of the window sill, and then inject the walls and re-plaster. They also did lots of work clearing cavities, lowering damp courses and putting in new air bricks.

My Mum and Dad very kindly said they'd pay for us to have the ceiling re-plastered while we were still in boxes so we took them up on the offer and had someone come and strip the wallpaper off and re-skim the ceiling. Sam then spent a couple of days painting it and it looks so gorgeous and smooth now. The plasterer was also able to keep the original ceiling rose which was good. 

We then got a message saying the in-laws were coming to stay on Thursday so we went into panic decorating mode!

The walls are painted in Johnstones paint, mixed to be the same colour as Farrow and Ball Pavillion Grey - the perfect neutral for me. I'd happily have the whole house this colour again like in my old home! I think it goes so well with bright colours like the cusions and our huge map canvas. 

I'm still not sure what to put in the empty space in the bookshelf. That was all my work books but I have taken them to work now I have my own office!

The TV cabinet was from Habitat and wasn't the cheapest one around, but is currently discounted and really fits with the room. In the last house we had a built in cabinet so this was new for us. I think we're going to put our scratch off Best 100 movie poster behind the TV

I enjoy the original features and love this mantlepiece and working fire. It's apparently slate that the Victorians (?) painted to look like marble using a feather. 

I'm trying to bring more plants into the home now I've moved, and I've been so inspired by a few instagram accounts such as Rachael's, Lisa Dawson and Dee Campling. It's brought so much more life and interest to the room, even Sam commented on how pleased he was! This is a cheeseplant which can grow to 6 foot tall! I've not managed to keep houseplants alive before (I over love and over water them) but I'm going to try my best with Rachael's guidance.

We were really lucky with the blinds - they came with the house and are from Solar Sunshades. I love the thick tape - makes them look like shutters

I got these cushions from George at Asda. They're a lovely honey/mustard shade and really soft and squishy. Perfect for an afternoon knitting in the sunshine.

I found this second side table for a bargain from the Facebook Marketplace! I love that it matches our other IKEA Hemnes table and Sam can put his cuppa down too (I got fed up of passing it to him in the evenings very quickly!)

Another bunch of plants. I bought lots of small ones as they are much cheaper. Here I have an aloe vera from Ikea, and a Bird of Paradise plant from Perfect Plants on Amazon (same place I got the cheeseplant). The lovely house is a tealight holder I got for Christmas from Sainsbury's. I've put them on this cabinet from IKEA which I use to hold all my knitting stuff! 

 So what else do we have to do? Well we've run out of money for now sadly, but we've not run out of ideas. To perfect the lounge we'd love to get new flooring - we don't like laminate. We'll probably go for a nice soft, warm carpet. I've got this rug from Aldi a long time ago for the cat and dog to snuggle on for now.

We also really need new sofas as the cat has shredded these. I'm going to try trimming off the strands to see if that helps, but we need a whole new suite. Button is very, very old (around 18 if not more, we're not sure as she's adopted) so we're considering hanging on until she sadly pops off and then investing in something new. That way she can still snooze all day on them rather than having the ford closed on her to protect sofas. I've been really drawn in by the Swoon Editions sofas - particularly in kingfisher green or indigo blue velvets! I'd also like to replace the pouffe with a coffee table and to get rid of the window seat which is in front of the radiator (and providing valuable storage at the moment!) I'm also on the market for some white plant pots with saucers if you know of any. 

Do you have any interiors blogs you can recommend? Any ideas to continue working on this room? Next room - the master bedroom (and our yellow velvet bed!)

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