Home Improvements (with children underfoot)

We have lived in our house for seven years and its been a long slow slog to try to get things done to it, mainly because for most of the time I have either been pregnant or I’ve had tiny kids underfoot. We are very lucky in that we managed to get a real do-er upper as our first house and spent virtually every evening working on it, refitting the  bathroom, kitchen, landscaping the garden, painting and decorating, anything and everything. When we sold that, we made a reasonable profit to put down as a deposit. We wanted a much bigger house but on a budget so, the obvious thing to do was to buy another house which required work. However, we didn’t realise the pressures that children and working would bring and coupled with the financial pressures of a much larger mortgage its proved much harder.

Before Windows

Slowly we have been chipping away at doing things to our house, we replaced the windows as they were so bad your could put your finger through the frames.  They also had chicken wire within the glass we didn’t really think it was the best thing to have. This made a massive difference. We then stripped wallpaper, painted walls and so forth. I then decided to save any money I made blogging to refit my bathroom, doing the majority of it ourselves and making the dreadful mistake of buying a suite from Homebase (it’s still not matching- sigh). I was 7 months pregnant and chipping tiles off the bathroom wall, but it made a difference and has been an improvement.

After Windows

The next thing we decided to do was to use a massive chunk of my redundancy money to convert the garage into a playroom. This was partially because I wanted to invest in my new childminding business and partly because toys and children’s things have begun to take over our house. This has revolutionised my life and has made our house much bigger.

My living Room no-longer looks like this!

Currently we are in a state of disarray because I decided that after living with the original kitchen (our house is 1968) for a while and putting up with draw fronts falling off, unmatching (rotten) worktops  it was about time to have a new kitchen. I was shocked at the price of things, genuinely surprised. However we realised that Ikea do 0% finance deal which has helped a lot.  I’ve been saving the money I have got from childminding and doing some major budgeting  and this has enabled us to pay for someone to fit it. This is great because it means I wont be looking at all the errors I’ve made for the next 25 years!

One of the things you need to think about with a kitchen is the appliances and for me its been a mixed thing because I want to have the best ones I can afford, but I don’t want to spend over the odds. That’s were I can only sing the praises of AO. I cant tell you how useful their website has been because you can see the reviews of customers but also loads of the products have little video reviews which explain all about them. This week we decided to buy an extractor hood and I thought the ones from Ikea just didn’t really look like what I wanted. Something like an extractor is an important feature in the kitchen so it needs to be right.

So, with baby Ned’s assistance I went through the entire range on AO, looking at appropriate sizes, phoning them up for advice and we settled on this Bosch one. Its a bit more pricey than I hoped but AO actually sell it at the best price I could find at the time (taking into account delivery etc). They offer this thing called Eco delivery where it will be delivered for free when someone else nearby is having something delivered. For us that worked brilliantly as it was next day! I got several messages telling me when they would come and the delivery men were really helpful. I’ve no complaints at all.

One of the reasons why I went to AO for the appliances is based on past experience, we have bought most of our white goods from them (replacing my old favoured choice of John Lewis) and have found them helpful, responsible and their delivery slots are second to none. They will even deliver and fit at the weekend.

Of course, all this home renovation work has had a knock on effect; the boy now wants to be a builder, Ned is showing an interest in carpentry and Fifi is enjoying helping me choose the paint for our next project which is the living room. If anyone has any bright ideas on interior design do let me know, having looked at millions of tester pots (costly!) I’m thinking I may well paint everything white…

Disclaimer: AO have treated me to some Amazon vouchers but this hasn’t influenced my blog as I was intending to write this anyway!


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