10 Metal Songs To Add To Your Halloween Playlist

As contrary as it might sound from someone who just posted something Halloween related, I’ve never really celebrated the holiday. I like to attribute it to the fact that as an adult I have access to all the sweets I could ever want, but I guess the fact that I scare easily also contributes. Surprisingly some of my favourite songs cover subjects like a crazy scientist and a stalking monster, so it just seemed too holiday appropriate to resist compiling a whole playlist. Whether you’ve always appreciated a heavier sound or simply want to add some diversity to your party music, these songs are guaranteed to send chills down your spine! Atmospheric organs playing and howling wolves included.

You can listen to my Halloween playlist on Google Play Music here.

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Bathroom Makeover: Part 2

It is finally here! I am so happy to show you what our bathroom looks like nearly a year after it was done. If you remember from the before, the corner bath was taking up most of the room and it felt dark and dingy, whereas now I love how open and fresh it feels. It still isn’t large by any means, actually it is tiny, but it has everything I need and I couldn’t be happier with the end results.

As I mentioned in the previous post, we initially settled on an all white palette until we found these hexagons with the black dots here and there (I see flowers and you?). Now I couldn’t imagine anything but these tiles, I absolutely love them! We decided to eschew the classic designer tip of larger tiles to create the illusion of a bigger room, as we’d seen enough Pinterest examples of our tiles to know that it would work in a smaller bathroom. We actually had one contractor quote us on installing these tiles, which we’d already bought, but all the while insisting that we should rather go with something bigger. It was an incredibly frustrating experience as he was pushing us to go for a completely different style because he didn’t like installing these smaller tiles, which can be more labour intensive. Eventually though we found an incredible contractor who does both tiling and plumbing, an incredibly useful all-in-one for bathroom renovations, and he was absolutely lovely. If you are in the Northern suburbs I’d definitely recommend him! It is probably also worth noting that both our hexagon floors and subway tiles are slightly larger than the traditional/standard, so I do think that helps ever so slightly in keeping it from feeling too doll house and busy.

 

Along with choosing tile came grout choices. I spent hours poring over examples of colours and sizes and eventually we settled on a 1 mm light grey for the walls (although it looks darker) and a slightly darker dove grey on the floors. I wanted the pattern of the tiles to be pronounced, but also didn’t want it to feel too stark or modern as some of the examples with dark grey and black grouting felt.

We actually spent months hunting down the perfect bathroom cabinet as it was one of the first things we had to replace in the bathroom, even before the actual reno took place. We didn’t have the widest variety to choose from in 60 cm and found that a disappointing amount of the cabinets came with what is usually referred to as a “prego basin” (see here for reference). So we decided to take matters into our own hands and my husband built this shaker-style cabinet to fit into the space. It is everything we dreamt of and has a tonne of storage in the inside. We could have gone the other route of a custom cabinet, but as with many features in the bathroom, we didn’t want to splurge too much as this isn’t our forever home.

Unfortunately when we were looking for taps, there weren’t many options for cool taps that also had a lever. Now Flush Bathrooms have Meir’s mat black range which I’m seriously drooling over. We decided to go for the Hans Grohe Decor range as it is superb quality and we could make it work in our budget.

I knew I wanted to add an element of matt black though, so we decided to use a black curtain rod on ceiling suspenders and it works wonderfully as a towel rail. The slightly matt finish really grips the towels so that they don’t slide off all the time and as we were able to customise the size, it means we can both spread out our towels to dry completely. We also added a hook behind the door for a hand towel.

Other small details included the custom roman shade I made, the ugly boob light we replaced with recessed lights and the new trim (cornices and skirting).

All in all I’m in love with our bathroom, but it is still not done. I’d love to replace the mirror with something more special (I’ve been on the hunt for almost a year!) and my husband wants to create a custom glass shower door. We also still need to replace the cracked window pane – something we remember every now and again- and I can’t figure out what to do with the blank space above the towel rail as it can’t be something that stands out too much. All of my moaning aside, this has really become one of my favourite places in the home, whereas previously I literally rushed in and out as fast as possible.

 

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Easy Entertaining

One thing I’ve learned of myself as I’ve grown older is that I love entertaining our family and friends at our home. Over the last year I feel like I’ve really found my groove, in the sense that I have a good idea of what will work and what might be too ambitious to take on.

I never really thought about my own style of entertaining as relaxed, until I came across Kate Spade’s book which listed ridiculous suggestions like exchanging all the light-bulbs in your house to a more flattering wattage and writing “hello gorgeous”  in red lipstick on the mirror. Can you imagine trying to clean the mirror afterwards?

In contrast, my parties are usually hosted in slippers and they might not be the fanciest, but they feel special to me and hopefully my guests too. I certainly don’t have it down to the T, but I think I’ve narrowed down which things are really worth spending your time on so that you can enjoy the party with your friends. Chances are, that is all your guests care about too!

Vacuum

Parties are messy, there is no getting around it. So there really is no point in doing a full house deep clean, but at the same time no one wants to see your dust bunnies. If you feel that it is incredibly noticeable and you have time, giving your house a quick vacuum will put you at ease. When I’m feeling fancy I might even mop up some spills with a piece of damp toilet paper!

Clean bathroom

If you’re running short on time and the vacuuming isn’t an option, at least give the mirror and basin a wipe and flush a bit of thick bleach down the toilet. You don’t want your guests to be grossed out in your home.

Tidy

Some people are naturally tidy, others aren’t and it doesn’t really matter to your friends and family. Just be sure to maybe stash the wet laundry somewhere other than the dining room and create some space on the table for dining. Anything more than that really is optional.

Ensure you have alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages

My husband and I aren’t big drinkers, so we usually make sure to have some non-alcoholic yet special drinks on hands for when friends visit. If our friends ask what they can bring, we usually suggest a wine they’d like to enjoy with the meal. That way guests that like a wine with their food has their favourite on hand and designated drivers and secretly pregnant guests don’t have to make a fuss about requesting a non-alcoholic drink.

When I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll even put a bottle of ice water on the table filled with fresh mint so that everyone can stay adequately hydrated. This is imperative for board game nights!

No one likes a hangry guest

I don’t know why, but it is quite common in South Africa to be invited to a braai at 16h00 only to be served dinner after 20h00. Hungry guests never make good conversation, so try to serve the main meal within two hours of your guests’ arrival or be prepared with plenty of snacks!

Serving

This obviously depends on the style of event you’re hosting, as sometimes we serve our friends takeaway pizza out of the box, but I feel like people appreciate it when they can help themselves comfortably. How you interpret this depends on what you are serving and the type of event you’re hosting. So if you’re inviting around people for the first time, help them by setting out the glasses they can use and keep the wine they bought on the table (not hidden in the fridge).

Also when serving salads and other side dishes, be sure to go with a slightly larger bowl and don’t over fill it as it might be uncomfortable to try and help yourself without making a big mess! Been there, done that and got the t-shirt.

Do something fancy (if you want to!)

Sometimes I remember to put some aroma oils on the lamp ring burner and my home smells amazing, other times I forget. As long as the food smells amazing, I don’t think guests even notice! Fresh flowers, beautiful candles and carefully set tables are all appreciated when it feels effortless or passionately done but they aren’t necessary. If the food is good (heck, even if it is just okay!) and the company is great, whatever else you add to it will just be the cherry on top!

How do you entertain? Obviously we go to a little more trouble at birthdays and Christmas, but generally I try to keep a balance between being casual and doing something to make our guests feel special. I hope they like attending our small get-togethers as much as we like hosting them.

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Bathroom Makeover: Part One

I thought instead of sharing the horrifying before pictures, I’d start the post on a high with our inspiration. When we first moved in our bathroom had few redeeming factors, among which were the natural light from the window and an extractor fan. That was pretty much where it ended. The cabinet was cherry laminate wood and mouldy, the bath was way too big and took up most of the room. I could barely reach the towel rail that stretched over the bath, toilet and behind the door and entering the room was tricky. You kind of had to enter the bathroom, walk into the only gap between the bath, toilet and cabinet to close the door and that space wasn’t even large enough for a full bath mat to lay flat.

Here is a picture of our nightmare. At least the bath and toilet were white – it could have been much worse! The wall tiles were a textured peachy-cream and the walls were painted butternut. We put up a temporary blind for privacy and patiently counted the days until we’d have enough saved for the whole reno.

Besides actually finding a way to fit everything in, the next biggest challenge was deciding on our style. The first “renovation squabble” was around marble – I love it and he thinks it belongs on the kitchen counter. If I had my way, we’d have white subway on the walls and calacatta marble tiles on the floor.

Both me and my husband like the classics, but we also like modern touches and found ourselves attracted to patterned floor tiles. We were stuck for some time, before we finally decided on an all white bathroom (hexagons on the floor and subway on the walls) with light grey paint. We liked the more graphic flooring options like that beautiful white and grey option above, but felt that we needed something a little more timeless.

By the time the plumber was able to come around, we’d found a cheaper hexagon floor tiles (at about half the price of the original all white) with a touch of black and decided to ditch the grey wall in lieu of classic white.

The Architectural Digest image at the top, which had been pinned on my Bathroom Pinterest board a million times, became my inspiration.

As I mentioned, the layout was also a little bit of a head-scratcher. There weren’t a lot of options, but by simply changing the regular swing door to a sliding door (not pocketed) we were able to really increase the usable square footage in the bathroom. See the rough layout below.

Although there are still a few things I’d like to change, I am so happy with the end results and can’t wait to share it with you next week. Have you ever tackled a bathroom make-over?

 

 

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How To Make Mondays Bearable

I know I’m not alone in saying that Mondays are literally the WORST! By the end of most Mondays I am ready to crash on the couch and start the weekend all over again, but alas we need to carry on. So I’ve come up with a few simple things I do to make Mondays more bearable.

Make dinner in advance

I love cooking more than enough food on a Sunday so that we have leftovers for the Monday evening. Dishes like lasagne, pies and pastas are great. This way I can have a delicious meal ready to pop in the microwave. Plus we also save on dishes.

Plan something fun for Tuesday

Whether you need an evening of takeout and Game of Thrones or a dinner with friends, having something to look forward too always makes the day go by faster.

You could make plans for Monday night, but I like to chill it out and rather head out on Tuesdays.

Treat yo’ self

Whether it is a special cappuccino or a DIY nail polish, rewarding myself after a particularly hectic Monday makes it ever so slightly better. It is the little things!

To-do list

Making a to-do list is a great way to start any day, but sometimes sneaking in a few easy to complete tasks helps start a great trend for ticking off the items and getting sh*t done.

Go to bed early

Making sure you start the week well rested not only ensures a more productive day, it also means you start the day without having to press the snooze button multiple times. Now if onky there was a way for me to get to bed on time.

When all else fails, just get a cat or two! They make everything better. Hope your Monday flies by!

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Three Ways To Add Colour To Your Home

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[Alexander James]

One of my biggest design problems, and one that some of you hopefully share lest we be the only dreary and drab ones, is with regards to the introduction of colour into our home. I blame it on one too many sensible purchases and the fact that I love grey it is one of the few colours my husband agrees on (why couldn’t it be blush pink!). Anyhow sometime last year I realised that our home basically reads like a paint strip going from white to black with all the shades of grey in between.

And whilst I love monochrome homes, it simply wasn’t something we were aiming for and a well curated black-and-white home requires more restraint than we had applied. So in my attempt to make our home feel more well rounded and slightly more colourful, I’ve found three ways to introduce colour into a space.

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5 Times We Used Paint to Transform Our Home

About 95% of our home DIYs include or are solely comprised of paint. It is by far the cheapest and easiest way to transform a space! It also requires the least amount of skill, although patience definitely is a virtue (waiting for layers to dry is literally the worst!) I thought it would be fun to think of all the times Ryno and I have used paint to personalise our space. Not all projects have to be as big as our recent garage transformation witht the help of Prominent Paints. Some of these jobs could easily be completed in a weekend.

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Our Garage Makeover: After | AD

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I am so happy to bring you these pictures of our garage after it received a massive overhaul thanks to Prominent Paints. It is proof that a little bit of paint chosen in the right colours and formula can really transform a room! I was honestly ashamed to publish pictures of our garage before the makeover as it just wasn’t the best representation of our taste, I’m sure we aren’t the only ones that felt like that about our garage.

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Our Garage Makeover: Before | AD

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When we first moved into our 1980’s house my husband and I went with “quick wins” like replacing the green carpets and painting the rooms and trim throughout. This immediately made the home feel more us, but I feel like we haven’t made as much progress since. This is probably because the projects that are left are more time consuming and definitely not easy on the budget.

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Christmas Decor

Christmas Tree star decoration

I must admit that it feels like Christmas crept up on us this year, and despite the fact that our tree has been up since the end of November (enthusiastic much!) I hadn’t really spread the cheer to anywhere else until recently.

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