Ch..ch..ch..changes! (And some pretty panelling!)

Phew, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. We’ve been making some pretty big decisions around here and in the middle of it all, our little man turned 9 and we whizzed off to London for a weekend of fun, frolics and football! Birthdays are a tiring business, am I right?! We have had such a fantastic week though and school finishes for the Easter break today so we can all collapse in a heap next week! (Thank goodness!)

So, back to those decisions…remember how I said we were going to rip our ground floor apart and create this amazing new space? Yeah, that’s not happening…*smiles through gritted teeth*…When it all came down to it, (and following some late night heart to hearts, with the builder waiting for our phone call) we decided that whilst we have a dream for our home, there are other dreams that might never become a reality if we commit ourselves financially (and practically) to all that work right now. Suddenly, going ahead with the plan we had made, didn’t seem so vital. Isn’t it funny how you convince yourself something is important until you suddenly realise it’s just not! I fear I may have got carried away with something that was only really important to me! I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a roller-coaster in the last few weeks but we are making some exciting changes which will hopefully mean that those big plans for our home are just postponed and not cancelled.

So, having put those plans on the back burner, obviously, I am now thinking about all the other stuff that needs doing around here! Goodness knows, there’s enough of it! I have had an on-going desire to add some panelling to our home somewhere. Every time I think about it, I imagine it in a different area and in my research, some of the inspiration has literally got me wanting to jump up and cover every wall in panelling of some kind – whether it’s tongue and groove, wainscoting, board and batten, I love it all and I think it adds so much interest and character.

Small bathroom with panelling

Small bathroom with panelling

Since we moved in, I have wanted to ‘glam up’ our downstairs W/C and this picture shows exactly the sort of look I have in my mind. Not only is it super glamorous and classy, it’s also really practical (I think we can all agree that wallpaper on the lower half of the wall in a bathroom would not be ideal).

As I’ve mentioned before, for a while now, our son has been throwing around the idea of moving from his current bedroom into our larger guest bedroom and we had been putting him off until the renovations we were planning on the ground floor had been completed. Now that those plans have been shelved for the time-being, there is no reason to delay and I think we all agree that he would benefit from the larger room a great deal more than our occasional overnight guests!

Board and Batten in the Bedroom

Board and Batten in the Bedroom

This bedroom from Shanty 2 Chic has obviously been designed for a much younger child but I can’t tell you how much I love the look. Even the colours would be great for our bigger boy. I must show him this and see what he thinks.

Panelling and Pictures from Young House Love

Panelling and Pictures from Young House Love

Since finishing our gallery wall, I have fallen for it a little bit more every day and now I want to cover ALL the walls in pictures! This hallway from Young House Love is one of my favourite inspirations and I think our hallway is crying out for this combination of panelling and pictures.

Tongue and Groove Panelling

Tongue and Groove Panelling from Lauren Leonard Interiors

This tongue and groove panelling is also a great look for a hallway and I really like the way the pictures have been hung on the panelling rather than restricting them to the space above.

One of my favourite spaces in blogland - Thrifty Decor Chick

One of my favourite spaces in blogland – Thrifty Decor Chick

Thrifty Decor Chick has used panelling in her living area and one of my favourite things about it is the way the white of the panelling shows off the colour above. It means you can afford to go a bit bolder with the colour since the majority of the wall is white or cream.

Don’t forget, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates, take a sneak peak at my ‘homeheartmoments’ on Instagram or follow me on Pinterest. So what do you think? Should I go panelling crazy? I would love to hear your comments. Happy weekend everybody…..xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation. 

 

 

Cute and Easy New Baby Gift

Home Heart Harmony Easy Baby Gift

Everywhere I look at the moment, people are having babies! I love it! I was never really a baby person. I used to look at women that went gooey over babies and think ‘why are they behaving like that?’ Having children (or maybe it’s just age?!) has definitely changed me. Now I look at a new born baby and it makes me weak at the knees! I just want to cuddle them. Baby cuddles are the very best kind!

I’m always excited to visit friends with new babies to top up on the baby cuddles and I like to take a little something along as a memento. I was browsing the shops recently looking for something cute to get as a little ‘welcome to the world’ present and it struck me that something with a personal touch might be a nicer way to show that I care and I’m excited about each and every new arrival!

Easy to make and so cute!

I made these pictures using Microsoft Word and they are so easy. You can (obviously) choose any colours you like or, if you know what the nursery colour scheme is, you can fit in with that. The font I have used here is called ‘Avenir Black’ and I chose to use a dark, medium and light shade of the same colour but anything goes!

Perfect for a girl or boy!

Perfect for a girl or boy!

Simply choose a quote you like. I used the same one here for a boy and a girl just as an example but you could use anything that suits. I played around for a while with the size and layout and added a jaunty border. I used the three colours in turn on each letter but you could add more or less or choose a colour for each row.

Once you are happy with your final version, all you need to do is print it out (card is best for a more professional finish) and get going to receive those baby cuddles!

Don’t forget to follow Home Heart Harmony on Facebook or Twitter to receive posts in your newsfeed or catch up with me between posts on Instagram. You can also follow me on Pinterest. Until next time, have a happy weekend…..xoxo!

Home Heart Harmony Easy Baby Gift

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation. 

Top Tips to Save Money on your Grocery Shop

Home Heart Harmony Save on Grocery Shop

For one reason or another, we have been on a bit of a mission in the last few weeks to reduce the amount of money we are spending on our grocery shopping. With ever increasing utility bills, it feels like the ways in which we can save money and reduce our outgoings are rapidly declining and this is pretty much one of the only areas we can still affect. (Is it just me, or do we seem to be busting a gut to use less and less gas, water and electricity only to find our bills climbing steadily up whilst our consumption is creeping down and down?! Someone around here is laughing all the way to the bank and it’s definitely not us!) Anyhoo…climbing down off my soapbox, my point is…we gotta save some money somewhere! So, here are my top tips for saving money on your grocery shop. Now all I need to do is use some of them!

1. Plan your Meals

This is one that I am really trying hard to do more. (I so need to practise what I’m preaching here!) We have always roughly planned out our evening meals before doing a food shop but I’m stepping things up a notch and making a big effort to plan ALL of our meals. On each occasion that I make time to do this, I estimate I save around £40 in one week. Having our breakfasts and lunches planned out stops me from making a surprising amount of ‘just in case’ purchases. It’s all the extra cartons of soup, bread rolls, salad, pre-sliced chicken, tins of tuna etc that I buy ‘on the off chance’ that someone might want them for lunch that makes a huge difference.

I find it useful when planning our meals, to think about how we will spend each of our evenings – what activities everyone has on and how long we’ll have for meal-prep. When I am shopping now, I am constantly asking myself ‘is this item needed for the meals we have planned?’ and the answer is often ‘no!’ Oh, and I always plan at least one night, to have something from the freezer which gives wriggle room if our plans change and we need to switch things up for a night out or an ‘emergency’ take-away!

I created a meal plan and shopping list template which you can download for free by clicking on the link below the picture.

photo

Home-Heart-Harmony-Meal-Plan.pdf

I always take a photo of it when I’m done so that I don’t end up at the supermarket without all the info I need.

2. Shop Online

It’s no surprise that if you shop online you won’t be grabbing all those extra impulse purchases on your way around the supermarket but there are other ways shopping online saves you time and money…

You don’t have to take anyone with you – I don’t know about you but I find if I drag my kiddo’s around the supermarket, I always spend much more than if I go alone. (My hubby might argue that the same applies when he takes me!)

You save on petrol – New cheaper delivery prices from £1 (and one-hour delivery slots!) at some stores mean that if you live any distance from the supermarket, you are definitely saving on petrol driving there and back.

You can work while they shop – If you are lucky enough to work from home, you can have your shopping done for you while you clock up extra hours for your timesheet (just make sure you get a lunch time delivery so you can put it away during your lunch break!)

You can still benefit from special offers – Shopping online doesn’t mean you don’t get to take advantage of special offers (but it does mean you will probably only buy the things you really needed in the first place!) Most special offers are available online (they’ll appear as you shop each item) but you can even look through all the offers in one place on most of the popular grocery shopping websites if you want to.

3. Try a brand swap

I am the world’s worst culprit for insisting on a certain brand or product (‘Diet Coke anyone?!’) However, (diet-coke aside – obvs) the supermarket equivalent to so many of my favourite brands have turned out to be just as good. I am aiming to keep replacing one branded item each week with the supermarket brand equivalent and see how it goes. If I don’t like it, I won’t buy it again, but if I do? We save money every time. Win-win!

4. Shop your home first

This is a big one for us. We are so bad at buying things only to realise we already had one in the cupboard when we get home. This is where the beauty of online shopping really comes into all its glory! I’m forcing myself to get the laptop in the kitchen and as I go through my list, I’m checking whether we already have any items I’m not sure about, as I go. It’s a revelation I tell you! (O.k, not really, but it definitely stops me buying stuff I don’t need.)

5. Have the same person do your grocery shop each week.

I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot here as my hubby hates the internet shop and I’m insisting we shop online, thus resigning myself to the fact that if I want it that way, I’ll be doing it. However, the only way to be sure you don’t buy twice (or three or four times!) is to buy it once yourself! So, from here on, I’m in charge of food shopping!! Hear that hun?! (He probably didn’t hear – he’s at the supermarket!)

6. Stick to your list (yes, the one you wrote and left on the side at home!)

I know, it sounds so easy! So why can’t I do it?! I make a list each and every time I go to the supermarket and never, ever, ever do I come home with only what was on that list! NEVER! I’m hoping the online shop will help with this. At least I won’t have to look at all the temptation in my path, it’ll just be virtual temptation! I’m trying hard to shop from the meal plan and the list and not add anything else. (But with the online shop there’s always the option to sneak back into your order up until midnight the night before delivery and add that item that you forgot, without buying 10 you never needed anyway!)

6. Use your vouchers (they don’t just take the money off because you have them in your purse! Whaaat?!)

Most of the big supermarkets now price-match their products with the other leading chains and along with your receipt you usually get a little slip that either…tells you how much you saved compared with others, or  takes the difference off your next shop. You can use these vouchers online as well as in-store. Infact, most vouchers have a code that you can enter when you do your online shop, so don’t forget to use them like I do!

7. Ask yourself if you really need this item within the next 7 days

This one really helps me to stay focused on what I actually, properly need. If you have half a tub of greek yogurt in the fridge and you only eat it a couple of times in a week, chances are, it will last you until you need to go shopping again. If you buy a whole new tub every week, you’ll end up throwing half of it away. The same goes for apples in the fruit bowl, packets of snacks and bottles of juice. Seven days isn’t that long. Asking myself if I really need it this week always makes me question whether I really do. And if I’m reducing the amount of waste we’re creating, and saving money, that’s got to be good.

Is anyone else out there desperately trying to save money on their grocery bill? Any super tips that are going to rock my world? Please share them in the comments – I could use all the help I can get!

PS. You can check out some more of my ‘top tips’ here and here.

PPS. Thank you so much to everyone that entered my Wallcreate Facebook Giveaway. Winners will be announced at 5.00pm today!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation. 

Wallcreate Photo Canvas and a Giveaway!

Wallcreate Giveaway Home Heart Harmony

It’s been half term here this week and I’ve enjoyed taking some time to be with my (not so) little ones and re-charge our batteries. They have both struggled through to this break, I think it’s been a combination of the dark mornings, the fact that they went back to school tired after Christmas and the lack of sunshine. We have had a few beautiful days this week though so we were able to get outside with the dog and take in some fresh air.

As my children grow, and especially over the last six months or so, I am noticing more and more the fact that they are becoming more independent and increasingly want to spend time alone or with each other rather than leaning on me to entertain them every step of the way. It’s a strange feeling. I suddenly have time on my hands that I haven’t had for 12 years. There are short periods of each day where I find myself wondering what to do! This is such an alien feeling after so long and it’s definitely giving me moments to think about the passage of time and the changes that the next few years will likely bring.

Wallcreate Photo Canvas

Wallcreate Photo Canvas

I am so aware of the fact that we are creating precious memories together now that I will hold on to forever. As you know, I’m all about capturing those special memories in a photo and displaying them around the home. The photo canvas in the picture above is from Wallcreate.com and I love it! The photo was taken on our holiday in New York last summer and it was such a special moment. The best thing about it was that it was completely un-staged. We were just walking along on a beautiful day in Central Park and the kids were ahead of us chatting and laughing together and my daughter just put her arm around her brother for a bit. So cute! So glad I had my phone with me to capture the moment.

IMG_0303

The canvas is sitting in this little nook at the moment. I quite like it here but I may hang it elsewhere in the long-term. Wallcreate are a UK-based company who specialise in photos on canvas, photo enlargement, canvas art and pop art portraits.

My experience of using them was very positive. They delivered quickly, the canvas was well packaged and arrived in perfect condition. The quality of the image is better than other canvases I’ve purchased. The colours are vivid and the image is really clear. My daughter was particularly impressed by the quality and is already bugging me to let her have the canvas in her room.

Wallcreate Canvas - Home Heart Harmony

And now to the exciting bit! Wallcreate are offering one of my lucky readers the chance to win a free 30 x 40cm photo canvas made from a photo of your choosing. Simply hop on over to my Facebook page to find out more and enter. If you are not on Facebook and you would like to enter, simply email your name and address to homeheartharmony@yahoo.com and I will let you  know if you are the lucky winner. UK residents only this time I’m afraid.

If you don’t get lucky this time, all of my readers can get a 15% discount at Wallcreate.com by entering the code homeheartharmony at the checkout, so even if you don’t win, you can still get a great photo canvas for a great price. The discount code lasts until 1st January 2016 so you have plenty of time to use it. Maybe you could order a few as gifts for your loved ones? I might just do that myself!

I have also finally got around to setting up my Instagram account, so follow me there at homeheartharmony. Enjoy the rest of the weekend folks! Until next time….xoxo.

Please note that Wallcreate.com provided me with a free photo canvas for this review. Opinions are all my own.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation. 

Gallery Wall Reveal

Home Heart Harmony Gallery WallIt’s finally finished! I’m so sorry I kept you waiting so long. We actually finished this last weekend but the sun and I have not managed to be at home at the same time this week! It was quite a struggle getting these pictures to look anything other than ‘dingy’ so for that I apologise!

However, I have to say, now that it’s done, I can’t stop popping my head around the corner to take a sneaky peek. I love that some of our happiest memories are now on display reminding us of those special moments day in, day out.Home Heart Harmony Gallery Wall

I am so happy with the final result. It is quite a step out of my comfort zone if I’m honest and is much ‘busier’ than anything else we’ve done in our home. It did take a few days of ‘getting used to.’ I think a Gallery Wall is quite a personal statement but I think that’s why I have decided I love everything about it, from the pictures of our loved ones to the selection of frames we have chosen, to the words and messages we have  included.

Home Heart Harmony Gallery WallI did plan the layout quite carefully which made the final step of actually hanging the pictures much more bearable than I had imagined. I had decided to go for a largely rectangular outline which I wanted to fill with frames.

I started by sticking masking tape on the wall around the area I wanted to cover with pictures. I then measured the space and gathered together all the frames I planned to use. I re-created the outline on our bedroom floor using more masking tape and placed the frames inside the template playing around with them until I had a layout with which we felt happy.

Draw around each picture, cut, then mark the nail hole  before sticking on the wall

Draw around each picture, cut, then mark the nail hole before sticking on the wall

I then used a fantastic technique I first saw on ‘Bless’er House’ blog to finalise the wall. I got an old roll of wrapping paper and cut around each of the frames producing a template for each one. I turned the frame over and marked the spot where the hook would need to be placed on the wall. Finally, I took a photo of the layout and used it to help me transfer the cut-outs onto the kitchen wall using blu-tak. I played around with the spacing until I felt it was right and then we hammered the hooks in straight through the paper using the marks to guide us.

All laid out on the carpet and then templates on the wall

All laid out on the carpet and then templates on the wall

It wasn’t a five minute job but we were prepared for that. I hung several of the smaller frames using command picture hanging strips to minimise the number of holes we would be left with in the wall. After all, this will all be coming down again in a few months when the kitchen renovation gets going so the fewer holes there are to fill, the better.

Home Heart Harmony Gallery WallI’m so glad I planned it out as the process of actually getting the pictures on the wall was relatively pain-free and didn’t take that long. This meant I was able to do most of it myself with just a guiding eye to tell me that everything was straight etc.

IMG_0247Home Heart Harmony Gallery WallIf nothing else, there is no doubting that a gallery wall is an expression of your personality and I love that about it. When I see one in someone else’s home, I’m always drawn to it, it is such a great way to learn a little bit more about that family – a little glimpse of what they love, what’s important to them and how they live. Perhaps the best thing is that those pictures can all be changed and updated whenever the mood strikes so it can evolve with us as our lives move on.

Do you have a gallery wall in your home? I would love to hear about it in the comments or you could send me a picture by email at homeheartharmony@yahoo.com or via Facebook or Twitter. I have also just set up an Instagram account so follow me there at @homeheartharmony or follow along on Pinterest.

PS. You can see my Instagram Gallery Stairwell here.

Sharing this post over at A bowl full of Lemons.

Update – the large ‘Home’ print and most of the frames are from IKEA and the square paper-cuts are by the lovely Leah at ‘Very Cherry Gifts.’

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation. 

DIY Gold Paint Makeover Magic!

Gold Frames Title PicIs it still January? Really?! Ug! I’m so done with it now. It’s been a bit of a trying week with poorly people and sleepless nights. Let’s just say my supply of patience for this month has almost expired!

Still, what better way to cheer us all up than a little DIY project which I’ve been doing ahead of the big gallery wall reveal. After seeing this post, which I shared with you here, I was all inspired to get some gold into my gallery come hell or high water. Since I already had DOZENS of frames lying around which were either purchased with this project in mind or which had once displayed photos which had since been taken down, I couldn’t really justify purchasing new gold frames so I thought I would take this gold paint I bought AGES ago for a spin. It’s a tiny little pot and when I saw it, I just couldn’t resist popping it into my basket.

Old Frames + Gold Paint = DIY Heaven

Old Frames + Gold Paint = DIY Heaven

The two white frames pictured above sat in our fireplace for a good few years displaying photos of the children. They had been knocked over countless times and I eventually had to retire them as they were looking seriously battered. When I dragged all my old frames out to start thinking about the gallery wall, I stumbled upon these and decided a little make-over might be the way forward. Enter the gold paint….

Gold paint makeover magic

Gold paint makeover magic

I’m not going to lie to you, there were a few anxious moments early on. The paint pot advised ‘stirring the paint well’ which I dutifully did but when it went onto the frames, it was quite thin and I was concerned that the texture of the frames would mean this wasn’t going to work out. However, a few coats later and I discovered why! All the gold was still clogged together at the bottom! I gave it another good stir and all of a sudden, the frames started to look gold.IMG_0200

I searched Pinterest for a couple of quotes I liked and created some ‘artwork’ on Microsoft Word using the pink and grey colour scheme we already have in the kitchen.IMG_0191

I can’t wait to get these on the wall. I love the way the gold paint has worked out. And I think the pink complements it well.

Has anyone else been DIY’ing this week? I’m so looking forward to getting the Gallery Wall completed. I honestly don’t think anything would ever happen around here if it weren’t for this blog! These things always take so much more time to pull together than I anticipate.

Let me know what you think about the frames in the comments and don’t forget to follow along on Facebook and/or Twitter. Until next time….xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation. 

My favourite clutter-busters

I don’t know about you but I definitely feel like I am fighting a never ending battle against clutter. I always feel inspired to tackle the issue around this time of year. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot else to do in January and all the money has been spent over Christmas so it’s a great opportunity to spend some time at home clearing out ready for the year ahead. (Yes, I am aware of how sad that sounds!!)

It’s overwhelming how much stuff we have and I am constantly trying to reduce the amount of it that we hold on to. It’s hard to stay on top of it and there’s no doubt it’s an ongoing and relentless effort but I have found there are certain things which have really helped us to keep things under control so I thought I would share some of them with you.

Bag Hook

Bag Hook

This little hook in our hallway is where I hang my bag when I come into the house. Previously, it used to hang around on the kitchen worktop or the hall table but this one little thing has put an end to all that trauma (oh yes!)

Hidden Shoe Storage

Hidden Shoe Storage

This tower is from (you guessed it) IKEA and it is home to all our shoes! This one was the Expedit but the range has now been replaced by the Kallax which is very similar. Ideally, it would be in the hall but we have all got used to carrying our shoes into the den and popping them into our designated bin. (I get two because I’m both an adult and a girl and my need is greater!) This one item has made such a difference to the entry way to our home. Previously, we have tried many ways of containing our shoe clutter but none has been as successful as this and I think that’s largely due to the capacity of it. Each one of these bins contains up to 10 pairs of my shoes and boots (so, more of the children’s and less of the hubby’s).

Storage Bags for Just about anything!

Storage Bags for Just about anything!

These storage bags are the perfect way to keep piles of ironing contained! I use them to store out-of-season clothes as well as those waiting for my ironing attention but they could be used as toy storage or for spare towels or bed-linen.

Baskets to hide the clutter

Baskets to hide the clutter

Baskets with lids are a home-maker’s best friend. These ones that live underneath our coffee table are so useful for keeping our magazines and catalogues contained. I like to make sure there’s always some space in them so that I can gather up anything that’s lying around and shove it all in there in an ‘emergency tidy up’ situation. These were bought from Amazon but I have seen them in numerous other outlets.

Magazine rack for post

Magazine rack for post

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this magazine rack really pulls its weight when it comes to clutter busting. It is one of my most useful purchases ever. I try really hard to deal with paperwork as it comes through the door. I recycle anything we don’t need and quickly pop anything we do need in here within the relevant person’s file. I only deal with the files around once a month and they are not usually over-full in that time. The rack is from IKEA. We’ve just bought another one to organise our daughter’s school books – one pocket for each day of the week.

Stacking Fruit Baskets to free up worktop space

Stacking Fruit Baskets to free up worktop space

I know it sounds ridiculous but these stacking baskets have created lots of extra worktop space in our kitchen. They have a small footprint but stack up to hold lots of fruit. Previously, we had a large fruit bowl which, after grocery-shopping day was usually spilling its contents across the worktop. Now, all of our fruit sits happily in here. I bought them on Amazon.

Does anyone out there have any items that really help them keep the clutter at bay in their homes? I would love to hear about them in the comments. You can also get in touch via email at homeheartharmony@yahoo.com or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

 

Home Tour

Whenever I stumble upon a new blog that looks exciting, the first thing I look for is that little button that says ‘Home Tour.’ I just LOVE a good nose around somebody else’s place whether it be in real life or just a virtual tour. I am very conscious of the fact that I haven’t yet posted a home tour and I feel it has been remiss of me not to invite you in to take a look around before now.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and in my mind, I was planning to do the home tour when I got to my first blog-birthday but when that came, I was in the throws of embracing the new year and keen to have a look back over my year of blogging and reminisce.

If I’m honest, part of the reason I haven’t done a home tour yet is because, of course, lots of my home is not ‘visitor ready’! There are some areas that need lots of TLC to get them looking their best but with a year of renovations ahead, it’s likely the other areas won’t ever be looking any better than they are now while our attention is focused elsewhere so I may as well go ahead and share the whole shebang now and then, when we make changes and update, I will have great ‘before’ pics, right? I should probably preface this by saying, obviously, I knew you were all coming. I tidied up for you (and in some cases, I haven’t even done it that well!) My home NEVER looks like this. More often than not, it’s a mess. But that’s just part of family life isn’t it? There are some rooms that I love and some that I don’t like that much – yet! I feel like our home is always a work in progress and we will never really get to the end of it all. But that’s another story.

So, without further ado, won’t you come on in? Kick off your shoes and make yourself comfortable. Let’s start with a floor plan so you can get an idea of what you’re looking at.

The Ground Floor

The Ground Floor

The front door leads into a nice wide hallway. On the right side, double doors lead to the living room. The next door on the right leads to the den which leads through to the conservatory. All three rooms are linked via two sets of double glass doors.

Come on in!

Come on in!

Hallway looking towards the Front Door

Hallway looking towards the Front Door

The living room is probably my favourite place in the house. It is comfortable, calm and a really relaxing place to be. It’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer and if we’re all home, it’s the place we hang out together in the evenings.

Living Room

Living Room

 

The Living Room

The Living Room

The den is mostly used by the children. It has barely been touched since we moved in and it started life as our dining room. The dining area off the kitchen had a sofa area and a small table and chairs where we ate all of our meals so the dining room was only ever used if we had to seat more than just the four of us. Consequently, it became a bit of a dumping ground and we soon decided it was a complete waste of good space.

The Den leading through to the Conservatory

The Den leading through to the Conservatory

When the children were still young, my husband was always complaining that their toys took over the living room, so one day we decided to move the dining table into the kitchen and move the sofa from the kitchen into what would henceforth be referred to as ‘the den’. First, it was really just a play-room where the children played with their toys and generally made a massive mess. Then, as they got a bit bigger, it became more of a living room for them. We added a TV and got rid of the old sofa to be replaced by the two super-comfy chairs that were in our living room before we replaced them. Now-a-days, we have the X-box in there and it’s where our son plays his video games. It is well-used – and it shows!

We desperately needed to do something with this space but we have been hindered by the dreaded CONSERVATORY. (I wrote that in capitals so you could imagine it in a dramatic horror-film-trailer type voice.) The CONSERVATORY is through double-doors off the den. It is nothing but a pain. It’s too small to be useful, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, we have had to fix several roof leaks and the double glazing has stopped working so the windows are covered in a permanent (and very attractive) condensation.

It is the CONSERVATORY (o.k, I’ll stop now) that has prompted the renovations we are about to under-take. We thought about just replacing the windows and the roof but we knew we wanted to replace the kitchen too so we thought we should just go all-in and get everything sorted out at once. Note that I haven’t shared a picture of it, it’s too shabby and I can’t wait for it to be gone!

On the left of the hallway is the WC, then the stairs and finally the kitchen/dining room. There is a door from the back of the kitchen (just behind the fridge/freezer in the picture below) through to the utility room and then the garage.

Kitchen

Kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen/dining room (as it is now) make so much more sense with the large table in than the sofa we had before. We love this space and it has served us well but I can’t wait to make it even more amazing.

Dining Area

Dining Area

Dining Area

Dining Area

Through the back of the kitchen is the small utility room and under-stairs closet, followed by the garage (which looks absolutely nothing like this any more! Argh!)

Garage

Garage

The stairs curve around to the right and lead to an upstairs landing area which wraps back around the stairs.

Upstairs Landing

Upstairs Landing

Upstairs Floor Plan

Upstairs Floor Plan

Here is a floor plan of the first floor. Our bedroom is at the front of the house above the garage in a section that reaches further forward. Consequently, some of the room is in the eaves of the roof. I love this, it gives the space a bit of character and makes it look bigger than it otherwise would.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

We went for pink in the bedroom (amazingly, the hubby did not object when I suggested pink – I was expecting opposition.) I think it worked out well, I love how calm and peaceful this room is. It really is a retreat for me; my favourite spot when life gets crazy is sitting in that armchair with a book and a cup of tea. Ahhhhhh.)

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom – that’s a mirror leaning against the left wall!

The guest bedroom is not my favourite! When we bought the house, the people who lived here before had four boys so all the bedrooms other than the master were painted blue. When we moved in, we were terrified that we had bitten off more than we could chew financially so we needed to do all our updates on a  shoestring. In this room, we whipped around with a coat of paint and I bought some really cheap curtains from a mail order catalogue and paid for them weekly. Since then, we have done nothing apart from paint all the furniture white. We haven’t even got around to hanging a picture over the bed.

The most unimaginative room in the world?

The most unimaginative room in the world?

There is definitely potential in this room but if I’m honest, generally, it’s filled with piles of washing, ironing and paperwork. Does every home have a room like this? Please tell me it does?!

The Guest Bedroom

The Guest Bedroom

Our daughter’s room is at the back of the house which, because we are perched on a hill has views out over fields and then the town beyond. It’s south-facing so it gets lots of natural light and if she could only keep it tidy for more than five minutes it would be a real haven for her.

Bedroom 3

Bedroom 3

Bedroom 3

Bedroom 3

Also at the back of the house, the other side of the family bathroom, our son’s room has the same view but is slightly smaller. He does have the advantage of a wall of hidden storage though, which, in my opinion makes up for the difference in dimension. He’s not sure he agrees.

Bedroom 4

Bedroom 4

He is keen to move into the guest room and do a swap and we are happy for him to, but I’m trying to put him off until the ground floor renovations have finished as I’m imagining we will need to use the guest room as our makeshift kitchen/dining area while the work is done and the more space we have, the better!

That pretty much completes the home tour other than a quick peek in the garden which is just a patio and grass – perfect for a kick-around with the football!

The Garden

The Garden

We are not the green-fingered type I’m afraid. Our last house had a long garden edged by beautifully planted borders. We spent hours out there trying not to completely ruin it but I’m afraid the people who bought it from us may feel that we failed in our attempts!! I remember dreaming of a square of grass which required zero maintenance and what do you know? We found it!!

The Garden

The Garden

I hope you have enjoyed our little tour, it’s been lovely having you, I do hope you’ll call again! Until next time….xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation. 

Kitchen Dreaming

I was hoping to share with you today a completed Gallery wall but alas, we don’t have one yet. I have really struggled to get hold of frames that are not rectangular and I want some odd-shaped frames to add a bit of interest so I’m holding off until we are all well enough to travel further afield to find some. (Please let that be this weekend!) Then it will just be the small task of choosing pictures to go in the frames and actually hanging them on the wall! That’s a five-minute job right?!

So, since I have spent a fair amount of time this week researching kitchens, I thought I would share with you what we are looking for in our new kitchen.

I shared our current kitchen in this post and mentioned that it came with the house and whilst we didn’t love it, we certainly didn’t hate it. In our last house, we installed a new kitchen and we learned some things from that experience. (Like…. if you live in a smallish house, a new kitchen in boxes will take up the entire rest of your ground floor and you won’t be able to move for weeks….and….microwaving food in the bedroom isn’t that much ‘fun’.)

I’m trying not to think about how we will manage in this house during the building work (which will affect almost all of the ground floor!) but I know I will have to face it soon!

In the meantime, I’m only thinking about the exciting, shiny stuff! I have become an obsessive kitchen-stalker on pinterest, in magazines and on the websites of every kitchen supplier in the UK. I am the sort of person who knows exactly what they are looking for which often makes finding it more difficult. If you are open-minded, I imagine the process would be easier. I know I am going to have to make compromises but I’m really hoping we can get something close to the vision I have in my head.

So, here’s a run-down of what we’re after.

Units:

Inspiring - Kitchen Heaven at 'Sunny Side Up'

Inspiring – Kitchen Heaven at ‘Sunny Side Up’ [source]

I’m looking for cream or white units and I want a more classic, shaker-style door, probably with silver or black handles. My ideal scenario is solid wood doors like these

Solid wooden units are the dream but I fear our budget will not stretch

Solid wooden units are the dream but I fear our budget will not stretch [source]

but I think it’s highly likely that our budget won’t stretch. We will have to see. I’m particularly fond of the look of upper cabinets with glazed panels

Glazed panels in the upper cabinets are right up my street

Glazed panels in the upper cabinets are right up my street [source]

 I’m also considering adding some grey doors into the mix, possibly just on the island units but am concerned that they may date. We’ll have to see how brave we are feeling!

As a lower-budget alternative to solid wood, I am most drawn to the IKEA Metod/Bodbyn or Metod/Laxarby kitchen I met in person a few months ago. My daughter and I took a trip to IKEA to check out the kitchens and we were both lured in by the amazing storage options. IKEA just can’t be beaten when it comes to hidden storage. I took some quick (very poor quality pictures) on my phone to share with the hubby:

The Hidden Storage at IKEA was very alluring!

The Hidden Storage at IKEA was very alluring!

Having looked at kitchens elsewhere (that might be within our budget), I also like the look of the Cooke and Lewis Woburn and the Hygena Valetti Stone.

Worktops:

I love the look of dark granite worktops with the light units but again, we may be restricted by budget. Corian also looks like an attractive option and I have always loved the butchers block solid wood surfaces though having had them in our last home, I’m not sure about the maintenance involved in keeping them looking good. At the moment, I’m wondering if a mix of granite (or granite wrap-arounds) and wood might be the answer. Possibly one on the island and the other on the surrounding work surfaces. I think we need to do some more research about the pro’s and con’s.

Flooring:

At present, our kitchen has dark grey tiles and our breakfast room has medium oak coloured laminate. I have loved how practical the dark coloured tiles are – they don’t show up the dirt, or, more importantly, the dog hair! But, I hate how cold they are underfoot in the mornings. We have thought about under-floor heating but the problem with having a husband that works in the construction industry is that he gets to see all the good and the bad and he has encountered so many people who’ve had problems with their under-floor heating that he’s reluctant to make the investment only to find that it causes us a headache. The laminate is warmer underfoot and it is practical but all I can ever see when I look at it is dog hair blowing around like tumbleweed! I’m wondering if the answer to our problem is a darker coloured laminate which would hide the dirt as well as the dog hair!

We've never done dark floors before but I love the look and it would be so practical with our chocolate coloured pup!

We’ve never done dark floors before but I love the look and it would be so practical with our chocolate coloured pup! [source]

I also happen to love the look of it. Light units and dark floors are my idea of perfection!

Lighting:

In my mind, I’m thinking recessed ceiling lights along with some task lighting as well as two or three statement pendants over the island.

Now those are statement lights!

Now those are statement lights! [source]

I love the look of the industrial pendants that are fashionable now and I have found some great options all of which I love.

Love these lighting options

Love these lighting options – found at BHS, Next and John Lewis

More Lovely Lighting - swoon! Found at BHS, Next and John Lewis

More Lovely Lighting – swoon! Found at BHS, Next and John Lewis

Cooking:

Hubby is the chef in our house and he has his heart very definitely set on a range cooker. I have reservations but I don’t really have a leg to stand on when it comes to objecting. Plus, they look nice!!

Refrigeration:

We currently have a side-by-side American style fridge freezer which we will probably incorporate into the new kitchen. If it came to replacing it, I would probably go with something similar as it works well for us.

Dining:

I can’t imagine having much money left for a new dining set-up so again, we will probably stick with what we have. I am determined to get the rest of our chairs painted so we at least have something to sit on that doesn’t have dog-chewed corners which scratch your legs!

Tiles:

I am keeping an open mind about this. I think it’s a huge decision. I would love to think that I had the courage to go for something bold but I have a feeling we may end up playing it safe!! In the meantime, let’s all enjoy how gorgeous these tiles are:

Glorious tiles - can I be brave?! [source]

Glorious tiles – can I be brave?! [source]

More Glorious Tiles - These certainly make a statement! [source]

More Glorious Tiles – These certainly make a statement! [source]

 I should probably stop there as this post has already taken me waaaaaay to long to write due to the fact that I have been hopelessly distracted by gorgeous kitchens. I won’t be able to sleep tonight now for thinking about them! Must reign in the enthusiasm!!

I would love to hear your opinions on the options in the comments. Is anyone else out there planning a big kitchen update? I would love to hear about it. You can email me at homeheartharmony@yahoo.com or follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter. For those who’ve been asking, I’m planning to launch a ‘Home Heart Harmony’ Instagram page any day now so watch this space! Until next time…..xoxo!

Happy Blog Birthday to Me!

Happy New Year!! I hope 2015 is a year full of love, laughter and good health for all of my lovely readers. Thank you so much to every single person who has visited my little blog this year. I can’t believe it’s been a year since my first post! I am so thankful for each and every visitor. I’ve had a great year sharing my little adventures with you.

I thought this would be an ideal moment to have a look back over the last year and review the changes and updates we’ve made around here. When I started this blog, part of the motivation for doing so was to encourage the realisation of so many plans that have been knocking around my brain for years. I find that life has a way of forcing us to put many of the changes we have wanted to make on the back burner and I hoped that this blog would encourage us to knuckle down and get on with it. I think it has. I’m sure we’ve made more progress this year than we have in the past. Let’s take a little look back….

It all started back in January when we decided to add some much needed storage to the children’s bedrooms and get them organised.

Our Gorgeous Girl's newly updated bedroom

Our Gorgeous Girl’s newly updated bedroom

A more organised bedroom for our boy

A more organised bedroom for our boy

Later that month, we created our ‘Command Centre.’ It transformed the way we dealt with post and paper within our home and is still working its magic today. It’s definitely the update that has made the biggest difference to the amount of mess and clutter we have around our home.

Our Command Centre has been a game-changer

Our Command Centre has been a game-changer

In February, I tried my hand at spray painting and created a little nook in the corner of our breakfast room. It is still used by all of us on a daily basis whether it be by hubby to chat with the children while they do some crafts at the kitchen table, by me to have a quick cup of tea and make my lists for the day or by the kiddos to watch some TV after school. It’s a popular spot.

Our little kitchen corner

Our little kitchen corner

I also talked about the reward system we use with our children, the weekly planner that keeps me on top of all those ‘things to remember’ and ‘Decorating with Duck Egg‘ as we have done in our living room.

Our Duck Egg Living Room

Our Duck Egg Living Room

In March, I unveiled the full horror of our Garage Storage situation and told you about my plans to turn things around. I also up-cycled some boxes to use as garage storage,  threw a ‘Minecraft’ birthday party for our son and created a ‘Cleaning Schedule’ to attempt to keep on-top of that never (ever, EVER) ending task!

Boxes of Delight

Boxes of Delight

April was a quieter month and we had some time away as a family. I shared some of our favourite things to do in the school holidays and talked about how I pack my kiddo’s clothes for a trip to avoid ‘over’ or ‘under’ packing. Two potential disasters that should of course, be avoided at all costs!

In May, we finally finished sorting out that garage disaster-zone and I introduced you all to our lovely pup.

Our Garage Glee - We got there in the end

Our Garage Glee – We got there in the end

Then I got around to hanging some of our favourite Instagram prints in our ‘Instagram Gallery Stairwell’ which still brings a smile to my face on a regular basis.

Our Instagram Gallery Stairwell - We all agreed to ignore that filthy carpet back in May o.k?

Our Instagram Gallery Stairwell – We all agreed to ignore that filthy carpet back in May o.k?

I also talked about ‘Decorating with Pink’ as we had done in our master bedroom and confessed to having an illicit love affair - with my steam mop! 

Our pink master bedroom

Our pink master bedroom

In June, our daughter went away on her first school camp and I switched things up in her bedroom while she was gone to surprise her.

A Surprise Switcheroo

A Surprise Switcheroo

Then we had a lovely early summer ‘Garden Gathering’

A Garden Gathering

A Garden Gathering

which made us realise we needed to get ‘Grafting’ out there to spruce things up.

A bit of hard graft made such a difference in the garden

A bit of hard graft made such a difference in the garden

I also decided I needed to be more prepared for days out and created a little summer car-kit to make sure we didn’t get caught out on our trips.

I got uncharacteristically mushy in July and talked about my plans to carve out more quality time with my loved ones. We then threw a very girly birthday bash for our daughter and I ran my first ever give-away.

Bunting, lanterns and fairy lights made it a pretty party

Bunting, lanterns and fairy lights made it a pretty party

I finished the month off by tackling a serious clutter issue in the birthday-girl’s bedroom.

Clearing the Clutter

Clearing the Clutter

August saw us head off on our American adventure which I told you all about in two posts, one focussing on our time in New York and the other on our time chilling on the beautiful island of Hilton Head. I also made a little update to our Command Centre using stationery finds purchased in the US.

Command Centre Update

Command Centre Update

It was all hands back on deck in September and a busy month at work meant a quiet one on the blog but I did find time to make a quick update to some cheap IKEA magazine files to help us deal with all those brochures, catalogues and ‘works of art’ that needed a home.

Shiny happy....paint

Shiny happy….paint

In October, we had a big cupboard clear out in our son’s bedroom and got him organised for the new school year.

Cupboard Before and After

Cupboard Before and After

I also talked about ‘Decorating with Grey’ as we have done in our kitchen and shared my top ten tips for entertaining at home. I finished the month off by talking about Christmas preparations and shared my Christmas Gift list printable as well as my favourite apps to help get organised for the festive season.

Decorating with Grey

Decorating with Grey

I unveiled our big plans to renovate our ground floor in November as well as giving an old chair a new lease of life with some chalk paint and pretty fabric.

Dining Chair Update from Home Heart Harmony

Dining Chair Update from Home Heart Harmony

I also talked about plans for a Gallery Wall and looked at some inspiring examples.

December was a month of poorly people around these parts (mostly me!) and it was all I could do to get things ready for Christmas but I did pop in to wish you all a Happy Christmas and share a few of our festive decorations as well as some cute Christmas cards we just about managed to whip up.

Happy Home Heart Harmony Christmas

Happy Home Heart Harmony Christmas

Whew! We really did get stuff done! Looking back at all that has made me feel a little bit proud of myself and very slightly better about the fact that I achieved virtually none of my 2014 goals! Oops! Must do better in 2015!

The most amazing thing of all to me this year is that people are actually reading my ramblings! I am so loving writing and sharing and painting and planning and clearing and cleaning and I can’t wait to do more of it this year! Here’s hoping you all stick with me!! Thank you again for reading, it means the world! xoxo