Friday, 28 October 2016

The Year So Far....

Partly for my own OCD tendencies I thought a recap of the year so far might be in order? I may do further posts in more depth on certain events or subjects but for now I'll tell you what's been happening chez Shabby Chic Sarah....



January I'm not a fan at all of the period from Boxing Day to around March and so to brighten up the place I added some Cath Kidston Rainbow Rose wallpaper to the kitchen. Mr G once more object to the floral nature of the print until it was up and then (as always 🙄) he liked it!!

February I was brave and flew to Ireland to visit Vicky (my Bestest Friend In The Whole Wide World). We've been friend since we were 15. I'm pictured here with her sweet youngest daughter.

March Brought stress. Our 16 years old nephew Alex (my sisters son) had an accident at a skate park and broke his leg, tibia and fibula. This in itself should have been relatively straight forward, however he developed compartment syndrome and for a short frantic time it was touch and go as the toxins spread. As it was he had to have over 50% of the muscle of his lower leg removed because the tissue had died. He now has no feeling from the knee down and may yet go on to lose the leg. He has amazed us with his resilience and strength but of course such a life changing injury has been and continues to be hard.

April Even though we were up and down to hospitals while poor Alex's leg was reconstructed I managed to get a rare haircut. My hair was over halfway down my back but it was straggly and wispy so I had over 6" lopped off. My mother didn't speak to me for three weeks. I Kid You Not.

May This month we welcomed a new member into the family, Aegon is a citrus bearded dragon. Our eldest H asked for a dragon for his birthday and as we had always rather fancied a lizard we obliged. Aegon is a real character and has even somewhat helped H's depression.

June Our youngest, W had his last day of school - how time flies!! Both H and W had birthdays turning 18 and 16.

Mr G and I had a lovely weekend in Somerset and W had his prom at a fancy hotel.

July started with a shock when I received a phone call to say one of my horses, my beloved TC, had died. We rushed to the field we rent hoping the farmer was mistaken but indeed my glorious ginger boy, at the age of 26, had lied down in the field he loved, surrounded by his friends and gone to sleep for the last time. He was my equine soulmate and took a little bit of my heart with him. I stitched a portrait of him as a memorial. 

August I began plans for a kitchen makeover. I love the bespoke, handmade look but without that budget I set about designing what I wanted and commissioning a cabinet maker to revamp and add to our existing kitchen.

I accompanied Mr G up north where we indulged in chips, scraps and gravy (not available in southern chippies), visited my beloved childhood home and then had a picturesque drive across the Peak District before staying in a quirky hotel. The following day whilst Mr G did motorbike related nonsense I went to Burnley to a fabulous, super cheap fabric shop.

I also started riding my other big boy Bobby as I was reminded that our time with our animals is all too short.

September Plans for the kitchen continued and it was my 44th birthday. Mr G and I had another weekend away, this time in Devon and W bought me my first Emma Bridgewater mug - I adore that they still call us Mummy and Daddy (rather than mum and dad you see!!)

October Has seen the start of our home improvements with the laying of real wood flooring to replace the tatty laminate; new marble style Quartz worktops; a fresh new butler sink and vintage taps. We have also had limestone tiles in the kitchen and after a gas leak a brand new Rangemaster induction cooker which I love. The tiler has fitted the tiles and we have had a preview of the lovely oak plate rack the carpenter has made.

Hopefully in the next two weeks it'll all be completed - watch this space?!!

Thanks for reading....

S x

Getting Back Into The World Of Blog....

I place the blame firmly on the doorstep of Instagram.

I think that's when a lot of us amateur (as opposed to the "big" blogs that do it as a career) fell out of love with blogging.

Instagram was so, well, instant.

You could pop up a photo and interact with your online friends in a matter of moments.

You still had a record of what you'd been up to but it was all so much less effort than blogging.

When I started this blog five (yes FIVE!!) years ago I had a laptop. For the last three years or so I have had an iPad and Blogger is still tricky on a tablet - you'd think they'd have sorted it by now TBH.

I'm writing this post via on a new app I've downloaded (I was using Blogsy which was pretty good when it works, but it often plays up and your post that looks perfect in the app is all over the place once posted to your actual blog) so I'm hoping it'll be "the one" to make blogging via iPad as easy as it was on my elderly laptop....

But I thought I might try and blog at least weekly again - will you read if I do?

S x



Monday, 1 February 2016

Another Makeover....

Hello my lovelies, I hope you all had a good weekend?

Today I'm going to tell you about my next makeover which was the entranceway.

It's really the hall I guess as you open the front door into it and then there is another door into the lounge but it's so tiny we call it the porch.

Our son H calls it "the airlock" because he says it's like the entrance to a spacecraft, shutting out the outside with a double door before entering the living quarters.

As with the bathroom on first glance it looked OK, but on closer inspection was rather tatty.

It had my trademark patchwork wallpaper made of samples liberated from B&Q....


I wanted to keep a patchwork wall, especially as we have done away with the other ones in the house and I wanted a more vintage feel.

I gave the right had wall a coat of F&B Parma Grey paint.

I had several wallpapers including vintage Sanderson and Laura Ashley as well as three types of Cath Kidston paper and so using my quilting ruler I cut them into 6" squares.

I hate removing wallpaper and so a bit of child labour was employed - our youngest W was paid the princely sum of £10 and he did a stirling job.

I applied the squares using watered down PVA glue - previously I have used regular wallpaper paste, but I didn't have any so PVA it was.

It was one of those projects where you get halfway through and think "what have I done?"!! The edges were being stubborn and one of the papers (a Cath Kidston one) didn't want to stick down at the edges at all!!

I then ran out of glue with about a metre to go and so had to wait until the next day to finish, fortunately everything had dried flat....

The radiator cover was another bargain from the tip £4.00.

The mirror has been "rustically" decoupaged and although it's a bit more shabby than chic I still rather like it

The louvre doors need a little catch to keep them closed. Behind them is "The Cupboard Of Doom" which houses our shoes and coats It's the sort of cupboard whereby no matter how carefully you place your shoes on the top when you come to retrieve them you will only find one (if you're lucky!!)

The amount of times I've had to dig around while cursing is too many too count!!


S x



Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Bathroom Makeover - Vintage Style....

First off a quick thank you to all of you still reading!!

Now I know that I'm not talking to myself I thought I would tell you about our bathroom makeover.

On first glance there was nothing wrong with the room as it was, it had one of my patchwork wallpaper walls and was pleasant enough....

However, on closer inspection the paintwork was tatty and TBH my taste has moved on from the sweet pastel shabby chic style - what I really like now is a more eclectic, colourful, mismatched, vintage style.

The kind of style that looks like it's taken many years to collect - still definitely shabby chic but mixed with industrial, French and English country.

I was inspired by vintage style bathrooms....

I began to look around for some wallpaper as I had decided that I wanted to paper the whole of the room about the tongue and groove panelling.

This was trickier that it sounds as:

A. I'm picky

B. I have expensive taste

C. With the floor being Cath Kidston floral I had to choose something that went with it

After much umming and ahhing I decided on Cath Kidstons Birds and Roses wallpaper in the green. If you've not seen CK paper in real life do check it out, it has a lovely, hand painted look I've only seen on much more expensive wallpapers....

I wanted a darker blue on the woodwork and had some vintage linens to make faux blinds with.

When I'm deciding on new decor I find it helpful to use a photo collage app to make myself a mood board....

After hearing everyone singing the praises of Valspar paint I had some mixed up in a medium blue. The paint is highly pigmented and nice to work with however, it has not been a good choice for woodwork.

I've always used emulsion on the panelling (it has been a multitude of colours) and never had any trouble but this Valspar is not holding up well at all. In fact I keep the tin under the bath for impromptu touch ups!!

Don't let you put that off the paint for walls though, we have it downstairs in the conservatory and its wearing really well in there. It obviously needed a primer on wood.

I spent a couple of days wallpapering - you may remember I loathe wallpapering but love wallpaper -

it's a conundrum.

This room with all its corners and angles really tried my patience, especially as I ran out with just two drops to go and had to wait several days while another roll arrived!!

So the reveal (apologies for the poor quality, it's just so dark here ATM!!)

I made a couple of faux blinds using vintage tablecloths and completely defied Mr G and painted the side of the roll top pink!!

My StepDad made the shelves and they are filled with various charity shop and car boot finds. The picture is a 1940's advert for Knights Castile soap which is the brand both my Mum and I took into hospital when we had our babies....
Another of my vintage mirrors, I have about 15 now. They have rocketed in price recently but I've never paid more than a few pounds for one.

These are original vintage Palmolive soap ads....

I'm really pleased with how it turned out, I wanted it to feel like you were stepping back in time (but with indoor plumbing!!) and I think I achieved that look.

Now if I could just get the boys to stop leaving their pants in the floor it would be perfect!!....


S x


Monday, 25 January 2016

Is Anyone Out There?

I've not blogged in so long I thought I'd ask if anyone is out there still following me before I start up again?
I've done lots of redecorating so would like to tell you all about it, if you're still there?
Post a little comment for me, if you're still reading?

S x

Monday, 20 July 2015

Lounge Vintage Makeover...l

They say only hotels and airports have lounges

But it's called that in our house too.

It was the first room I tackled in my mini home make over.

As you can see it was perfectly nice and all but it just wasn't grabbing me.

The other wall which you can't see in this pic had patchwork wallpaper in duck egg shades and the chimney breast was painted in a teal colour.

I started by searching for the perfect wallpaper and decided I would paper the whole wall, chimney breast as well as the alcoves either side.

I checked out all the usual places I turn to for wallpaper - Laura Ashley; Cath Kidston; Next; Wallpaper Direct but it was eBay where I succeeded in finding the perfect paper:

Vintage Sanderson - I couldn't find any info about it online so I emailed Sanderson with the label info and a photo and they said it was printed in the 1970's.

Isn't it just gorgeous?

I was delighted when my searching though eBay proved so fruitful but I was, however, a wee bit nervous about what Mr G would like as he always said "No" to full on florals in the lounge.

Naturally, I did what any self respecting girl would do and I didn't tell him and bought it anyway!! *blushes*

My friend says "better to seek forgiveness than ask permission"!!

I managed to get all four rolls for £40 - Sanderson wallpaper is about £70 PER roll so as well as being just wanted it was also a super bargain.

Luckily, when I broke the news to Mr G he reacted in his trademark laidback style!!

And so we spent a Saturday wallpapering.

I hate wallpapering.

I swear I'm never going to do it again every time I do any.

But I love wallpaper, so what's a girl to do?

We can't have a real or gas fire in the chimney breast as the flue is not right and we'd never found an electric one that didn't look totally fake. Then when we were on holiday we saw these stoves by Dimplex from their Optimist range - you fill a reservoir with water and a light shines through the steam, this creates ever such a realistic flame effect.
They were priced at £500-£700 so we thought we'd save up to get one but I decided to check good old Gumtree and low and behold there was an almost new top of the range Optmist fire for the princely sum of £125!!
So we collected it on the way home and it fitted right in. The mantle shelf was £20 from eBay and I just waxed the bare pine with Annie Sloan's dark wax to get an antiqued look.

It's impossible to capture in a photo but the flames have that real flickering look.

The wallpaper gives the vintage look I was after.

The china cabinet was my £6.00 bargain from the tip!! The chairs belonged to my Mum and we had them when she got a new suite.

The hare lamp is by Abigal Ahern for Debenhams and is last Christmas's favourite present.

The portrait is of my beautiful horse TC and Mr G had it done for me a few Christmases ago.

As you can see we have a lot of photos in our home - I love the way they are a daily reminder of treasured memories - I once read that lots of photographs is a sign of a happy home.
The cabinet they sit on is Art Deco and was another bargain (£8.00) from the tip!! The clock on the sideboard belonged to my late beloved Granddad and though it no longer works it's something I treasure.
This cabinet is an Ercol Court coup board and was a bit expensive for us at £40 - once the paper went up I knew it needed a colour change....

I decided to pick out the gold/mustard colour in the wallpaper and I used Miss Mustard Seeds Milk Paint to re-paint it. It's proper old fashioned paint that comes in powder form, you mix it with water and it creates a beautiful, authentically chippy look....

For the sofa (which I'm not keen on but is very practical with a houseful of animals and teenagers) I made a stack of cushions out of Sanderson fabric remnants and used a beautiful vintage crochet throw that my dear friend Dawn gave me for Christmas....

So that's the lounge. I need to change the curtains at some point, I'm rather fancying some heavy, interlined ticking ones so I need to keep my eyes peeled for some bargain fabric, I think....

Thanks for reading!!


S x


Monday, 13 July 2015

The Inspiration for Redecoration!!

You may remember back in October 2013 our home was featured in "Style At Home" magazine?

The photoshoot took place in the May and so we had to wait several months to see our home in print.

When the copy arrived I noticed something that showed up in the pages that I had never noticed IRL - all the rooms seemed a bit, um, samey....

I guess a person has their favourites and their style but I didn't realise just how similar each room was.

Our house is just a small three bedroom semi but even so walking from room to room the similarities didn't hit me as they did when I saw them all together on the same pages.

Let me show you what I mean:


Very duck egg (my favourite colour) and pink and a bit sugary sweet.

Don't get me wrong I loved it for a long time but lately my tastes have evolved a bit and I'm liking a more authentically vintage, bolder, less pastel and more eclectic look.

For example, I love Sarah Moores vintage style:

I've also been inspired by several bloggers, including Lisa Loves Vintage and

Sarahmaguire_myvintagehome on Instagram:

And of course the lady who inspired both my home decor and the starting of this blog

Jane Goble AKA Posy:

Next time I'll tell you how I changed things to get more of the look I was after....

Thanks for reading!!


S x