Sunday, 19 March 2017

My dream.... living room

This is my second installment of my ‘My dream…’ series where I talk about what my idea of a dream home would be. My previous post, My dream… kitchen, is already live so if you haven’t seen it, please check it out!

My living room is my favourite place in our flat and the living room has always been my favourite place to relax and spend time in. I spend most of my time in my living room and although I don’t watch much TV, I do like to watch films and read a magazine or book whilst snuggled up on the sofa.

I’m really undecided on how I would like my dream living room. Part of my really wants one wall to be painted a lovely navy or jade green, but I’m not sure if it would look amazing in the summer as it would in the winter and darker months.

I also love crisp white walls with pops of colour, with prints and canvases. Light walls also make a room look and feel bigger and so much lighter too. I really want natural wood floorboards as I love the look of real wood floorboards. In my room back at home, I had floorboards that were painted white and it made my room feel so much lighter and airier. Here at my flat we have like a light hardwood flooring made to mimic real floorboards. As this was a old school, it’s not real floorboards as the building is divided up into 60 or so flats, but it’s nice and light.

I love cushions, so in my dream living room I’m going to have a tonne of cushions on the sofas and armchairs! I would love to have one sofa in a neutral grey or another colour and a couple of armchairs in a really bright colour or pattern. I think it would really help break up the room and make a focal point of the sofas.

I really love my living room. We go lucky that everything is my style and like a blank canvas. The sofas and a really nice colour and are super comfy! I made the little coffee table by upcycling an old footstool. It had a padded lid which I took off using a screwdriver, I then gave it a good clean and painted it a few coats of a matte grey paint that I got from Wilko. I also have a couple of copper door knobs that are beautiful and I’m going to add then to each end when I have the time.

We have a lot of art and posters around the flat. I love the Marvel canvases and the framed movie posters, all of which belong to my boyfriend. We also have a lot of framed prints around and a lot of photos as I really love displaying my favourite photos to remind me of happy memories.

P.S - All photos, apart from the ones of my living room!, are taken from Pinterest.

FIND ME ON: Twitter |  Instagram: @katiebearx 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Papergang subscription box review

Subscription boxes have quickly become a regular monthly treat for many people. The idea of paying £10 or so a month and receiving a lovely box full of treats in the post every month is my idea of heaven. Despite saying this, I’ve only ever ordered one box, and it was the limited edition Harrods version of the Glossybox, wayyyyy back in 2012. You can now get so many different types of boxes, from beauty and makeup to boxes with goodies for your dogs.

One day I decided I really wanted to see if you could get a stationary box and stumbled across Papergang. Papergang is a paper themed box by Ohh Deer, and you can get things such as washi tape, greetings cards and notepads in the boxes. After falling in love with photos of previous months, I decided to order one and wait with anticipation for my box to arrive.

The box is £9.95 plus shipping per month, or you can bulk pay for 3, 6 or 12 months. I decided to pay per month, as I want to be able to choose when, or if, I want to cancel my subscription.

The box for February was designed by Nina Cosford and it’s kind of jungle/travel themed. As it was my first box, I received an iron-on patch of Drew, the mascot for Papergang. He’s really cute, I think I’ll iron him onto a tote bag or something!

I love these organisation pads and this one allows me to write what I’m doing during the week, or a meal plan. It also has space for notes which is useful and doodles which is a really cute addition. I also really love the notepad too. The design is lovely, it’s lined which is really handy and it’s A4. I feel like I don’t often come across nice A4 writing pads.

The greeting card will come in handy for those times when you’ve forgotten to get someone a card. I’m trying to build up a stock of birthday cards so I don’t always have to make the dash to the card shop. The stickers will look great in my scrapbook that I’m currently working on. The calendar is also very cute and it’s currently hanging on my wall in my flat. I like the tropical birds and the green colour. I’ve really been into the tropical interior trend that’s been around Pinterest and blogs.
Overall I’m really impressed with the Papergang box. I’ve signed up for the next box and I’m really excited to see what goodies I get!

What subscription box are you signed up to?

FIND ME ON: Twitter |  Instagram: @katiebearx 

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Tips for renting

I’ve been renting for three years now and I’ve had mostly positive experiences since I took the plunge at moving out of my parents. I first got onto the renting market in my second year of university, when my brother and I, and four friends moved into a lovely 6-bed terrace house in the student capital of Leeds. We rented through a private landlord who was the dad of one of my brother’s friends, so we didn’t have to pay a deposit and if we came across any problems, they were solved with a quick phone call and a visit by the landlord. I loved the house and I really didn’t want to move out too!

I moved into a detached house with one of my very close friends who I met from work and her friend in my final year. We had a few problems with my second house and it wasn’t the best experience. Mice, an infestation of flies, mould and broken tiles were just a few of the problems my housemates and I had to put up with and our landlord wasn’t the nicest person either.

Now, in my first year of graduate working life, I’m living in a beautiful flat which I adore. Three years isn't a long period of renting but I like to think I’ve got enough experience to give some decent advice for renting. So here are my tips and advice for renting.

Do your research
It’s best to do your research when you’re deciding where you want to live. Look into how far the area is from work and what amenities are close by. Where we live isn’t far from the city centre, so it’s convenient for us to get to and from work. It’s also in a fairly quiet area too and our flat faces away from the main road so we don’t get any traffic noise in our flat.

Don’t rush into anything
Our flat was the third place we looked at and it’s important to not get carried away and sign for the first place you look at. It might be your dream house, but go into viewings with an open mind and consider other houses that are available. We booked several viewings and some got cancelled and some houses left us feeling a bit deflated, but then one day when we walked past our estate agents we saw our flat advertised. The rest is history!

Have some savings in the pot
Whilst signing on the dotted line for renting doesn’t cost as much upfront as buying a house, it is still expensive. You MIGHT have to apply for an independent reference which is what happened to us. As this is the first non-student house for us, we didn’t know we would have to get a reference and it cost us £200 each. The deposit was one full month and half of a month of the rent price which had to be paid in full. We also had to pay for a van to help move our stuff and we had to pay for other bits and bats for the house on the day we moved. So it’s a good idea to save some money for the upfront costs of renting.

Make a list of problems
Our estate agent gave us a full list of things that were broken or damaged in the flat when we moved in, and it’s useful so when we move out we won’t get charged for any damaged caused by previous residents. There were a few things that weren’t noted down, including a mirror that was broken, so make a note of anything broken or damaged and pass it to your landlord/estate agent. Not only is it useful for making sure you don’t get charged for the damage, but it also means it’ll get fixed for you.

Sort out your bills asap
Aim to sort out your bills and utilities within the first week or two of moving in. We sorted out our internet, council tax and other bills within the first few days of moving in and it meant we didn’t have to stress and worry about sorting them out. Make sure you shop around for your bills too, and use websites such as Money Supermarket and Compare The Market to compare utility prices and make sure you get the best deal for you.
Keep a budget in mind
Keeping a budget in mind is useful for any aspect of moving. We stuck to a maximum amount that we wanted to pay per month and our flat is just under that limit. We also like to have a budget when we do the food shop, so we don’t over spend on things we don’t really need.
Shop around
One of my favourite, and most useful bits of advice, is to shop around. For things such as washing up liquid, tin foil, sponges and cleaning stuff, I always get what is on offer. Wilko is one of my favourite shops and you can get all of the household bits and pieces you need for cheaper than most places. For food shops, we always do them online and we always find a discount code online for some money off.

I really hope you all enjoy my post and if you have any advice that I haven’t mentioned, let me know in the comments!

FIND ME ON: Twitter |  Instagram: @katiebearx