Category Archives: Rock n Renovation

I Bought A Custom Neon Sign For My Office!

I have always dreamt of owning my very own neon sign for my office, something custom designed just for me that would make a big statement. But I assumed this was probably a bit of a pipe dream because of the expense and logistics. That was until I discovered bag&bones who were able to make my neon sign dreams come true!

Offering a large range of pre-designed signs from as little as £59, as soon as I stumbled across them on Instagram I was hooked. I then discovered that they offer a bespoke design service, where you can bring your own vision to life. So, of course, I emailed them immediately to find out the cost and if my rainbow sign dream could be made into a reality.

Their prices for smaller custom designs start from as little as £225 (mine was closer to £750 because of the size and number of colours), and bag&bones can translate everything from brand logos, classic lyrics and favourite quotes to energy efficient LED neon.

You can be as involved in the design process as you like, either submitting your own logo/ design or giving them some ideas and letting them come up with something fabulous. I actually spoke to our lead designer here at Rock n Roll Bride, Shauna, to ask her for font ideas (obviously I love her aesthetic and designs so she was definitely the person to ask for advice!) and she suggested this classic neon font. bag&bones were then able to take this, add the rainbow to the top and voila! Delivery was free and it took around 6 weeks to arrive once I’d confirmed my order.

I can not even TELL you how happy I am with my sign! Even Gareth loves it… Now I wonder if he’ll be up for getting another for the front room!? The sign is made of LED rather than traditional gas/glass neon, which not only keeps the costs down but means it way easier to install. You literally hang it on the wall like a picture, plug it in and go!

I’m yet to hang it on the wall, but I’m going to make it the centrepiece of a gallery wall in my office. I’ve bought some super cute prints from Society 6 and white frames from Wilko. It’s going to look amazing (if I do say so myself!)

Henry is a bit of a fan too, he loves the pink light and seems to want to stare at it just as much as I do!

BEST. PURCHASE. EVER. The end.

Rock n Renovation: Transform Your Furniture for Less Than £10

I have a new obsession: Coloured contact paper. Since I’ve discovered I want to upgrade all of my inexpensive furniture items with it. It’s usually less than £10 a roll, easy to find (Amazon has an enormous selection and I’ve also seen it in B&Q and Wilko) and comes in a myriad of colours and patterns. It’s also the easiest thing to do, honestly if I can do it, anyone can!

You simply clean the surface you want to stick it, cut it to size and then carefully stick it down. I run a credit card over it as I go to make sure there are no bubbles or lumps. You then use a sharp blade to trim the edges. I was going to do a step-by-step DIY tutorial for this post but it really is that easy.

So far I’ve done the top of my desk in a marble effect (which I found at Wilko) and my IKEA chest of drawers in a copper metallic finish (from Amazon) and honestly it looks so good. Even Gareth, who’s harsh critic at the best of times, has commented on how great both of them turned out – praise indeed!

The hack will work on pretty much any hard surface so whether you have a bedside cabinet, a coffee table or even your kitchen work top that needs a cheap upgrade, I’d definitely encourage you to give it a go. It’s pretty hard wearing and really easy to wipe clean too. You really can’t go wrong and if it looks terrible you can just peel it right back off again. If we weren’t planning to redo our kitchen imminently I’d be covering our kitchen counter tops in a marble effect too believe me!

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Rock n Renovation: Out With the Old, In With the New

There’s something about moving into a new home that makes you want to finally replace those things you own that have really had their day. You might have made do with the slightly past it sofa in your old house, but there’s nothing like a brand new setting to make you realise how desperately it needs updating.

Since moving in we have updated no less than three major things: Our saucepans (which we’d got as a wedding present nearly 10 years ago – definitely time to go!), my chest of drawers (my old, secondhand one really didn’t suit my very exacting plan for my office – ha!) and most recently, our mattress.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that Gareth and I have only ever owned one mattress and we got it when we first moved in together, oh over 12 years ago! So when Guru Mattress got in touch and asked if we wanted to try out one of their memory foam ones, we jumped at the chance!

Their revolutionary “bed in a box” arrived this week, and after unpacking it and letting it air out for a few hours, we excitedly put it into our bed, ready to test it out.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like sleeping in a cloud? Well that’s what this mattress is like! Funnily enough in my former life (pre-Rock n Roll Bride!) I was a producer for a shopping TV channel and we sold A LOT of memory foam mattresses so I could bore you to death about all the features and benefits… But let me just say this, YOU WILL HAVE THE BEST NIGHT’S SLEEP OF YOUR LIFE.

Sleeping in memory foam is like your bed giving you a cuddle. It supports every part of you, moulding to your shape, and you don’t get any of the lumpiness that you can with the pocket sprung variety. The only problem is it’s REALLY hard to get up in the morning!

Another nice touch is they have removable, washable covers. Now, I don’t know about you, but I always find it kinda gross that you can’t really wash a ‘normal’ mattress!

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Rock n Renovation Homewear Haul: Things I’ve Bought & Things I Want!

Shell de Mar Photography

Things have been moving very slowwwwwly for the past few weeks. I have a pathological need to always be doing something productive, so it’s been quite frustrating to not feel like we’ve made any progress. But I keep telling myself that a) we’re really, really busy with work stuff right now and b) there is literally no rush. We are perfectly happy with the house as it is (although it’s a little rough around the edges!) and we’re going to be here FOREVER. I also know that if we got everything done really quickly, in five years time I’d want to change it all again anyway!

So I don’t really have any proper updates or developments for you this week so instead I thought I’d focus on something fun – SHOPPING.

I am suddenly OBSESSED with all things interiors. Our old place was so small that even though I wanted to fill it with knick knacks, trinkets and about 76 pink chairs, it was an impossibility (which made my husband very happy – ha!) But, sorry Gareth, now we have space to spare I am on a mission to buy All. The. Pretty. Things.

And because sharing is caring, here are some things I’ve bought for the house recently.

Copper Pans: Lakeland, from £63.99.

I’ve been dreaming about owning copper pans forever and these were the best priced (for really good quality) that I found. We got the 16 and 20 inch saucepans and we also plan to get the frying pan and stockpot when funds allow. The only thing is, they do tarnish with heat. I quite like the patina of an over-used copper pot, but if anyone has any tips on how to polish them up to keep them looking their best please let me know!

Storage Pots: Zoella Lifestyle, £6 each.

I might not be her target audience, but I actually love watching Zoella’s videos, and when she launched her new lifestyle range these immediately spoke to me! I actually use mine as mini plant pots and I have them sat beside my desk. They are super cute and at only £6 each you really can’t go wrong.

Pink Sand, Rose Quartz and Pastel Waves Art Prints: Society 6, from £19.

My office is coming along really nicely (just a sofabed, big mirror, neon sign and rug to go!) but the walls are very WHITE. I needed something to brighten them up and so many of you recommended Society 6 that I went and checked them out. The prices are really affordable for unframed prints (I’ll buy some simple frames from IKEA) and I love the mix of different, independent artists.

Candlestick: IKEA, £10.

A neon pink candlestick! I mean, this one doesn’t really need much explanation does it?

Sheepskin Rug: IKEA, £30.

This is one of the first things I picked up when we moved in. We currently don’t have any carpets and although they look lovely, I’m not a massive fan of the coldness of wooden floors. I bought this to put right by my side of the bed so my toes have something soft underfoot when I first get up in the morning.

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Rock n Renovation: How to Buy a Project House

I’ve had so many messages since I started this series from people who are either buying their first house, or buying a renovation project, and are wondering if I have any advice. If you read my first post in this series you will already know that we had a DOOZY of a time trying to secure this place (I’ll tell you all about it over something alcoholic one day) so actually, I do have quite a few words of wisdom/ warning (delete as appropriate) for you!

I’m going to focus on buying a renovation project home here, as there is so much advice out there for first time buyers already, a quick Google session should set you right.

Do your research

Once you’ve found your dream home, ask the estate agent lots of questions such as how long it’s been up for sale, it’s history and if any previous sales have fallen through (and why). This will help you when it comes to negotiating. If the property has been on the market for a while it could mean the owner will take a lower offer, however if there’s been lots of interest it might end up going to sealed bids.

It’s also important to work out if you’re getting a good deal so look into house prices in the area (you can find what things have sold for in the past on Rightmove). Our house was on the market for at least £200,000 LESS than similar sized houses on the street. When we looked around inside we could tell why (because of the level of work) but another house went up a little after ours for nearly £800,000 and still had to be completely gutted. Funnily enough that one is still on the market now!

Get a builder’s estimate

The price of the house is one thing, but if a lot of work needs doing it’s important to figure out how much all that is going to set you back too. We’ve decided to go down the rather unconventional route of doing almost everything ourselves, but that didn’t stop us getting estimates from contractors to work out how much they’d be charging us if we were to hire them. This has really helped us figure out if a job is worth DIYing.

For example, replacing the joists in the ground floor was going to set us back around £5000 to get a professional in but when Gareth priced up the materials they came to less than £600 (including buying some new tools he needed!) Gareth is brilliant at figuring out how to do things like that himself (lots of forum and YouTube research) so for us, doing it as a DIY was a no-brainer. Yes it takes longer (wayyy longer!) but for us anyway, the huge saving made it worth it (one room down, two to go – ha!)

Be realistic

Gareth and I were very much driven by our hearts with this purchase. It was the only house we saw that even came close to being what we were looking for and as soon as we walked through the front door we were both smitten. However, having never taken a project of this scale on before we had to be realistic about a) What we could afford b) How long it was going to take and c) If we actually had the time to do it.

In the end we decided the risk was worth it. Luckily the house was perfectly liveable as is, so we were happy to take the leap! The electrics were old but functional, the heating turned on and warmed up whole house, and having a working kitchen and two perfectly functional bathrooms meant we would at least be able to eat and bathe properly during all the work.

Look beyond the decor

If you’re buying a project it stands to reason that you’ll be looking past the terrible wallpaper and dodgy carpet, but be sure to also look beyond that. What state are the walls in? Are there lots of cracks everywhere? Do the floors need replacing? Will knocking down walls solve any layout issues (and if so are they structural)? What about the electrics or the water? Is it connected to all the utilities? Is there excess damp?

Not only will sorting any of these things be an expense, but if you’re living in the place too you have to be sure that it’s going to be safe.

Get a full structural survey

After you’ve had your offer accepted it’s time to get a structural building survey (if its an older property your mortgage company may insist on one in fact). This will give an idea of the condition of the house, the extent of any necessary repairs and the likely cost. A survey may also highlight issues that you weren’t aware of that can be used to negotiate before you exchange.

Your mortgage company will do their own valuation too, but this literally just means someone will go in and have a quick look to check whether they think the price you’re paying is reasonable (so that if you default and they have to resell it they think they can get their money back). It does not replace a structural builder’s survey. A full structural survey will cost you somewhere between £600-£1000 but it’s vital! You could end up making a very expensive mistake if problems crop up that you could have known about before you bought.

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Rock n Renovation: The Greenhouse

When we viewed the house and spotted the weird 1960s, curved, brown greenhouse stuck to the back of it, the first thing we said was “Well that’s gotta go right away!” It had broken panes of glass everywhere, you have to walk through it to get out to the garden, and carpet… YES CARPET on the ground. I didn’t think there was ever anything worse than carpet on a bathroom floor, but apparently I was wrong.

When we moved in, we realised the washer/dryer that came with the house was actually just a washing machine and with no extra funds right now to buy a new one, we decided to turn the greenhouse into a makeshift drying room. It actually works really well because, oh sweet baby Jesus, does it get hot in there.

Our cats have also now completely and utterly adopted it as their new Catio. Our two Maine Coons are indoor cats (although we take them around the garden on leads once a week – yes, I know, we’re those kind of crazy cat people) but when they discovered that space, and that sitting in it was almost, almost like sunning themselves outside, well, we basically can’t get them out of it.

So the plans to knock the thing down almost immediately have fallen to the wayside, at least until we extend the kitchen in a few years time. But what to do with it? It’s not massive, only about 2.5 metres squared, which does limit things somewhat.

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