Hi, you lovely lot. Hope you’re doing okay . I know a lot of my friends find Tuesdays actually a bit more troublesome than Monday’s so I thought I’d try and get something online to distract you from any worries/stresses for at least 5 minutes or so. To be honest though, I’m only just about managing to write this blog post, as at the moment I seem to be either in overwhelming pain and straddling a pregnancy pillow to try and find some relief (I’m not pregnant by doctor just said it will help me find a position I can sleep in with less discomfort), drowning in life/financial admin and having to answer numerous phone calls a day (which you can imagine is like a real life horror story for a phone-call phobic like myself), or creating temporary chaos in an effort to Marie Kondo the heck out of my home.

I know this doesn’t exactly sound like I’m Girl-Bossing 2019, but to me these are all things that are going to have a huge impact on my wellbeing moving forward, so perhaps they are actually more important that securing a super snazzy AD campaign that will make me appear like  ‘I’m smashing it’ to my online friends. These days I put a lot more worth on the decisions I make to ensure I’m looking after my health and prioritising it in the way I should have always been. I cherish the moments where I can make adult decisions and push forward my life towards the independence I’ve craved for so many years (since my career was derailed due to bad help and unforeseen circumstances). I also love that my awareness and focus of sustainability, recycling and ethical shopping is consistently on the increase, and that I’m a  bit more conscious of my impact on the planet every single day. I’m by no means perfect, but I firmly believe if we all make small steps it can make a huge different, and I will endeavour to up the amount of steps I make, and try and increase the depth of those steps too. 

If you’ve been following my channel for any time at all you will know I’ve been on a huge de-cluttering drive. I’m trying to reduce the amount of things I own, because not only were these things hanging neglected in wardrobes, stuffed and festering in drawers, and stagnating in the loft not living out their life purposes , the sheer amount of clutter was having an adverse impact on not only my mental health, but my relationships. I’d say at least 40% of my rows with Si have stemmed from a bad atmosphere created by the chaos that is my bedroom, or directly from his complete hatred of all the stuff that fills our shared space, stuff that doesn’t appear to have a rightful place. 

I’ve always been a natural hoarder. Overly sentimental, but with the added layer of living with  a consistent fear that I’d chuck something out that would end up being incredibly useful one day. As someone who’s also had to be frugal, I hate knowing I could have saved money somewhere along the way. I’ve also worked in various jobs where I wasn’t paid in money, but in things. So giving away and chucking out those possessions made me worry that my career had amounted for nothing. That I had nothing to show for it, as unlike jobs that pay in the traditional sense (money) I hadn’t been able to put free clothes, free tech, free beauty samples towards a mortgage, towards buying a car, or accumulate in an ISA. I couldn’t even put them toward a holiday which would have at least gifted me some beautiful memories and life lessons. (By the way I have managed to have an ISA, it would have just bee a bit fatter if more people had paid me in the paper/digitised number stuff.) 

My decluttering is actually going really well. I had a go a little while ago, and while I got rid of stuff, I definitely found it more difficult to part with things, and definitely lacked the ruthless nature needed to be completely successful with it. This time round, I think since watching The Marie Kondo series something has really clicked. I’m a visual person, so her book was never going to have the impact her Netflix series has – where I can really see/hear the joy that reducing your possessions and organising your environment can have. 

I’m not really here to talk about my personal journey of de-cluttering though (head to my channel for that), but I wanted to alert you all to Barnardo’s current campaign. 710 of their charity stores UK- wide launched a new campaign promoting pre-loved homewares as the sustainable, affordable and on-trend choice. With special windows, in store displays and a Home Edit Booklet with tips on up-cycling, they’re showcasing the huge amount of benefits of decorating your house this way. 

This weekend, Si and I had another charity shop session.  As we are trying to not to splurge for the sake of it, and generally trying to only buy things that we need, because we don’t have it already or because an old one needs replacing, it wasn’t a particularly impressive haul. In fact we only came away with one thing – we got a great lampshade for £3 in a natural beige colour, in-keeping with a colour scheme we have in our minds for decorating. But that one item gave us a huge amount of pleasure because it was on our wish-list we had created, with the added joy of knowing it was a bargain and the wonderful bonus that money was going to charity as a result of the purchase. We are really trying to shop in charity shops, thrift/vintage stores and antique/knick knack stores where possible. As well as that we have been using the likes of Shpock and Ebay to find second hand versions of anything  that happens to find itself on our shopping list before we opt for buying new.

Barnados have put together some tips for those looking to think about their homeware with recycling and upcycling in mind. Their tips are in black, but I thought I’d expand with a few of my own too. 

A flash of colour using quirky accessories bring a room to life. 

When we went into Barnados today there was an incredible velvet mustard throw I was very tempted buy (anyone else still completely obsessed with anything ochre or mustard), as well as lots of cute coloured terracotta plant pots. I’m thinking it’s about time I thought about becoming a plant mum, even if I start off with some well-behaved and low maintenance succulents. 

A pouf is a perfect versatile piece. It’s ready to put your feet on, after a long day why not position it in the centre of your living room as funky alternative to a coffee table. 

As I couldn’t justify buying a new bedside table when I needed it, I have been using an old pouf we used to use in our snug room.  I have it situated next to my side of the  bed, and have a beautiful patterned silk throw on top with a copper tray which adds as a sturdy base for my candles, drinks, crystals and etc. Just a reminder that you don’t always have to use things in the way they were initially intended to be used. Think outside the box. What could you repurpose? 

Grab any baskets you find in store and epicycle them for next to nothing with your very own pom moms. If pom moms aren’t your thing, just buy some spray paints (make sure their wood compatible) and colour any ratten/wicker however you want. I’ve gone a bit wild with the gold spray this weekend, in a tasteful way of course, and it was such a fun and effortless way to glam up some otherwise fairly bland accessories. A ridiculously cheap way of updating anything. It’s also a great for anyone trying to create centre pieces snd decorating for a budget wedding.

Wicker baskets have so many uses around the home. Use them to store your throws, magazines and any other bits and bobs. When you compare the prices of the ones you find in charity shops to the ones you can buy at all the big homeware stores there’s no contest. My tip would be not to restrict yourself to one wood tone, mix and match from the start and then you won’t be as limited when you do your charity shop browsing. 

Mason Jars are a fun alternative to a classic jog, why not pop the lid on for a sustainable option for drinks on the go.  As well as being functional at home and on the go that can be a great vessel for decoration too. Fill it with sand or shells if you have a nautical theme to your room, or one that has a natural colour palette. Fill it with potpourri and make your wonderfully eclectic space smell really good, or help to set a calming atmosphere. On that theme you could also put your favourite candle in it. If it’s a large one why not fill it with fairy lights. Use it as a plant pant. The options are endless….

Picture frames are perfect for adding a touch of personality to any room. Simply Pop in a print or postcard that reflects you. 

I often pick up free postcards when I go to the cinema. But you can also find some really cool old sepia and black and white photos, vintage postcards ,and wonderfully kitsch artwork at charity shops. I personally love that they’re not the mass produced options you can get from a lot of the homeware stores. Don’t get me wrong they’re great if you have a very specific image you’re after, but if you just want a talking/focal point that’s a bit more unusual this is a great way to go. Also hunt out all those polaroids and Photo Booth strips you’ve taken over the years why not get those framed up and showcase some wonderful memories. I’ve seen lots of people even frame wallpaper cut-offs, but if this isn’t for you why not flick through any magazines or holiday brochures you have and see if there’s any imagery in there that pleases you. Gallery walls are still a big trend – I personally prefer ones that incorporate lots of different sizes and styles of frames rather than going matchy-matchy.

A turntable and a selection of your vinyls are perfect for adding  that eclectic, vintage feel. 

The corner where I have my vinyl player has always been my favourite part of the bedroom, and I intend to make that area a main focus of my living room when I finally get to the point of having a lounge to put my stamp on. I love seeing them displayed on retro wooden cabinets, with other entertainment artefacts scattered near by. In my case I have it situated near various trinkets and knick knacks that have been handed down, or that I’ve gotten from charity shops and car boots. There’s music related prints nearby in frames I’ve also sourced second hand for that intentional mix mash of colour, textures, and eras. I’d also have a drink trolley nearby which will hopefully be equipped with a vintage cocktail shaker, shot glasses and kitsch drinks stirrers, which I aim to pick up from charity shops too, so I can gather a unique and wacky collection. 

I love mix and match table-wear too. I think it’ a cute and quirky way to standout when throwing a dinner party or afternoon tea gossip-sess. I just think it looks fun and far more interesting than a matching set. It gives you more freedom too, because if you break something – and if you’re clumsy like me this will be a very standard turn of events – you can just buy whatever new plate/tea cup that takes your fancy next time you’re in Barnados. 

Look for those finishing touches. Today when I went in store their were some artificial eucalyptus , which is what I have been looking for to put in a grey vase in my bedroom. Talking of vases, a charity shop will cover all designs eras, colours and tastes, so you won’t just have the identikit instagram styling everyone has. You’ll be able to find a piece that will cause many people to ask where you got it, and you will be able to say ‘its vintage’, in rather smug fashion. It’s always a great feeling knowing someone won’t be able to copy your personal stylings piece for piece . 

So that’s just a few. I’ll do more home related posts when I’m able to offer more tips based on experience….

Everyone is talking about the need to buy less, reuse, and recycle, but we also want to make our homes our own. The Barnardo’s in-store booklet shows some quick and easy ways to accessorize rooms, while handy hints and tips like the ones above will hopefully  give you even more ideas to truly make your home YOUR home. Buying pre-loved homewares from Barnardo’s stores is a sustainable and affordable way update and jazz up your  home and support Barnardo’s work helping vulnerable children, young  people, carers and families in the UK.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan: “Our Homeware Edit celebrates the fantastic range of quality and unique homeware in our shops.

 “Choosing pre-loved furniture and accessories is an affordable and sustainable way to personalise your home.

 “All profits from Barnardo’s shops go towards transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children, young people, parents and carers across the UK.” Of course it’s not just for talking pieces; Need a few more plates, a mixing bowl, water jug or something equally practical? Think Barnardo’s before spending money on new items. New homewares can be expensive, involve harmful chemicals in production, their carbon footprint can be significant and if unloved they might end up in landfill.

I can see from the activity on Instagram that we are all getting used to the idea of 2nd hand clothes, and re-cycling plastic, but not everyone thinks of the environmental impact of homewares, so I hope this post served as a helpful reminder. Whether you’re looking for one or two special pieces to add that special something to  a room or something more practical that solves an existing storage problem perhaps, Barnardo’s and I are encouraging people to visit their local store.  What’s more, thanks to our beloved home improving angel Marie Kondo, stores are bursting with 20% more pieces than usual, so there’s never been a better time to check out Barnardo’s stores; one person’s clear-out is another’s joy after all.

To find your local Barnardo’s store go to https://www.barnardos.org.uk/shop/shop-search.htm  

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