The Bathroom

Blergh what a miserable morning. It’s cold, grey and it’s raining. The kind of morning when you just want to be curled up on the sofa under a blanket reading a book, not getting your DIY clothes on to grout the kitchen tiles. I know, I know, first world problems.

As I’m starting to flag a little on the let’s-get-this-house-finished front, I thought it might be a good method of procrastination encouragement to see what we have managed to do. It would be lovely if we could look back in years to come and remember, ‘Oh yes, I’d forgotten that the bathroom was purple and we lived without a working shower for 2 months’. Ok, let’s be honest, we’ll probably never forget that fact, but it helps to look back on it and be grateful for what we now have.

So, we will start with the bathroom.

Now before we moved in, I literally banged on about getting this room finished non-stop. Like, seriously. In the end, we didn’t actually start on it until we moved in, and it required a lot of work (which we did nearly all of ourselves with a lot of help and guidance from a plumber friend), hence the living without a shower for 2 months (there were even a couple weeks without a sink..!). I don’t have a proper ‘before’ shot, but picture this: purple walls, striped wallpaper (purple, green and cream), peach door and cupboards, black lino flooring. It was quite a sight to behold.

I wasn’t present for much of the ripping out of the bathroom – I was painting our bedroom – but my hubby and his friend (who used to be a plumber) pulled out the old shower and the pipes that went round the wall to the boiler, smashed the cast iron bath to pieces (I’m surprised they didn’t go deaf afterwards…) and got rid of it, then pulled out the sink and tore some of the plaster off that had just gone horrible (there were no tiles around the shower so all the moisture had just been absorbed…lovely). After they’d made channels for the new shower pipes, it was looking something like this…


…! The toilet is just out of shot but thankfully we were never without a working loo. Praise the Lord.

Once the shower pipes were in and the wall had been bonded (a kind of rough plaster), it was time to install the bath.


Once that was in, as was the sink by this point, it was time to tile. We went for metro tiles with grey grout, cheap and cheerful from B&Q, and off we went.

There were a few mishaps – tiles not sticking which then fell off, having to cut awkward corners (thankfully we borrowed an electric tile cutter)…and grouting was a NIGHTMARE. It dries soo quickly and is basically concrete, so impossible to work with once it’s dry. But it was on, and didn’t look too bad!



We began to fit the shower, got the shower screen in place, and the moment had arrived…the first shower in the new house!

Sadly, all did not go to plan. I woke up at 6am the following morning and went to the loo where I could hear this dripping sound. It wasn’t coming from the shower head to I peeked under the bath. My heart literally dropped. There was water coursing down the back wall where the shower pipes were, and there were water marks on the floor the length of the bath. I switched the valves off and went downstairs where you could see the water making it’s way down the wall. Thankfully it wasn’t dripping, but it wasn’t far off! So basically, the shower was leaking, badly. Turns out we’d cut the pipes too short, so we had to break some of the tiles off (sob!), knock the plaster out and pull the pipes out.


Such a sad moment. It was all fine though – we got plumbers to fit the shower this time and HOORAY no leaking pipes, and finally, 2 months after moving in, we could shower in our own house!


The bathroom remained untouched for about a month before the painting began. I’d had enough of those purple walls – so we went white. Everywhere. Walls, ceiling, cupboard…the room now looks like an igloo. In a good way🙂 Here is a very blurry picture of where we’re up to now…


…finished touches are being added, you’ll notice that we still need to put the floor down, but it is so so nearly there.

And with that, I’m off to cut plywood for the bathroom floor, ready to put some rather lovely vinyl tiles down – let’s get this room finished!

[Insert a good title here]

Oh boy. What a whirlwind of a summer. I hardly know where the whole season went or what we did (aside from a lovely holiday), but Autumn is most definitely here and I’m beginning to reflect a bit on the past few months.

It has been…not (always) manic, but busy. Very busy. A new job for my hubby, me leaving my job and becoming a full-time lady of leisure house renovator, said house making progress at varying speeds, the fostering process tripping and stumbling along as we navigate the house renovation and try (sometimes desperately) to get it finished. That has mostly been it, but man ALIVE is it a huge project, one that I do not want to take on again in a hurry (or ever, for that matter).

Giving ourselves the deadline of fostering maybe wasn’t so wise; we might have been better off (read: I might have been less stressed and overwhelmed) putting the process on hold until all things house-related were complete and all loose ends were neatly tied up. But this is life, and sometimes you make decisions that you don’t fully understand for reasons that you can’t quite articulate, so although I know that from an outside perspective we look mental, I’m trusting that God has this in hand – His timing trumps ours every time.

So yes, house renovation is huge. And I’m finally calling it that – for a few months I didn’t really think that we were renovating our house. Even when the bathroom had been ripped out, we had no shower or cooking facilities and there was a huge hole in the kitchen wall, I still didn’t call it a house renovation. I now realise that we have indeed renovated our whole house, not a single room or hallway has been left untouched, and we *might* be able to say that it only took us 6 months (19 days left to see if that statement will ring true or not). It is huge, and it is exhausting and overwhelming. I have cried many times and given myself headaches by making mental to-do lists and constantly planning, planning, planning.


It’s not been all doom and gloom though :p I have learnt new skills and discovered amazing things. Like caulk – covers up grotty edges like a dream. And baby wipes can clean anything. I can now tile fairly confidently…


…fit a carpet to a not-too-horrendous standard…


…hang curtains (soon to add ‘make curtains’ to that list….hopefully!), build kitchen cabinets (as easy as Ikea, honestly), build kitchen drawers (NOT as easy as Ikea)…


…and fit handles! None of these jobs are beyond the average person, especially not with the help of YouTube – an amazing resource.

The end is now in sight. There will have to be one final push (and a pretty big one at that) to get it Health and Safety ready for fostering if we want to make panel in time (it’s already been pushed back three times), but we are so nearly there. We have a fully functioning house that we can actually live in and enjoy without clambering over ladders and toolboxes and finding random pieces of sandpaper everywhere. We have nearly, so very nearly unpacked, hey we even managed to host family this weekend! I can finally plan meals again and cook in our very own kitchen that we built and fitted ourselves (with help from my hubby’s Dad, obvs..), and the to-do list is gradually getting shorter. Yes, it has been a whirlwind of a summer, to the extent where I think it’s still Spring because we didn’t do our usual summer stuff of getting out to the Peaks or visiting family, but here’s to a more relaxing autumn…until kids arrive and we head into a craaaazy winter…!

Fruit and Flowers

Another year down! We’ve made it through 4 years of marriage…wahoo😀

Reading my post from a year ago, it’s strange to think about what’s changed. As a couple, what’s different? Is anything different? Probably, not sure I can articulate it though. You can see the practical changes much more easily: we’ve moved house twice in the last year, bought a house, we’re applying to become foster carers, my hubby got a permanent job, and life is looking a lot more…predictable than it did last year. Not that we can envisage how life will look when we have kids in our home, but this time last year, there was little that was certain about our future. We had plans and ideas, but nothing was concrete.

Yet here we are, 12 months later, with a mortgage, one job for life, and me having clarity on what I want to do, for the next few years at least. Whaaat.

Marriage is as fun as ever, and I’m (still) learning every day to appreciate the wonderful man that God has blessed me with. We have a long way to go in this wisdom-in-marriage malarky, and I’m sure the Five Year Post will see much more noticeable change in us as a couple (I hear that kids do that to you…). Year Four has been fab though, let’s see what the next one brings!

Alice & Phil   256