Right peeps, in it to win it and all that I have BIG plans for some home renovation. I had them the moment I laid eyes on this house. In fact I even said to the Mr, I’m only buying if we can do this, this and this. He said ok and although I was aware my dreams would cost big money I was prepared to wait after all, it’s not like you move house every five years is it?

So after a fair bit of squirreling away the money was saved and it was time to get some quotes in. I got one from a local builder who everyone speaks very highly of, see his blog for yourself. That was at the beginning of the summer. The quote came back at around £9000 for the complete project with no new kitchen – that would be extra and then the Mr and I went on holiday to France.

A few glasses of wine, oysters and lots of moules marinieres and we found ourselves talking about getting married! We’ve been engaged for years and a wedding has always been put to one side because of the expense involved, money that could be spent more wisely elsewhere, right? (like home improvement for example)

Wrong! The more we talked the more our wedding came to life and then he came out with.

‘Well you can’t have the home improvement AND a wedding, you’re going to have to choose.’ Damn.

I went for the wedding, I don’t know why, I just thought it would be a good idea and so my home improvement plan was put to bed for a while longer. *sigh*

Then TOTS 100 announced that ratedpeople.com were offering £2500 for the best home improvement project. They threw down a challenge for bloggers to take up.

Tell us which room in your home you’d like to transform, and how you’d do it, and you could be in with a chance of winning£2,500 worth of tools, materials and expert tradesman advice. RatedPeople.com will provide you with the tradesman and pay for his/her time – and there’s no rush – we’ll be there when you’re ready to start your project

It is far too good for me not to try, after all should the judge, Fiona Fullerton just nip down and take a look she could see for herself how my idea would look simply beautiful and so practical too. Take a look at my Kitchen Pinterest board where I’ve been collecting ideas

Kitchen Pinterest board

The area I have my eye on is the main living area, the heart of the home where we spend the majority of our time as a family. In a nutshell I’d like to knock down the wall separating the living room from the kitchen and put in those fabulous sliding patio doors, you know the concertina ones that look really cool leading onto the patio.

In order to do this the kitchen will need to be moved back to it’s original home and I’d keep it all open plan, which is the choice of most interior designers these days and because that area is quite small, well I’d need to knock down another wall, make the bathroom smaller and ideally fit in a utility area because that would be so damn posh wouldn’t it?

bathroom pinterest board

As for the bathroom it’s very tired, it will need a complete overhaul.

So, that brings me on very nicely as to how I will spend my £2500 should I win.

I think the only way to make this project do-able is to break it down into smaller parts and I think as much as I’d love the open plan bit completed like yesterday I’m going to have to settle for the bathroom for now.

  1.  Rip out the whole lot; tiles, fake dropped ceiling, old bathroom suite and floor. I would only keep the boiler as it works and that would cost £2500 alone to change
  2. Change the two windows as the double glazing is blown.
  3. If I can – knock out the fake walls housing the shower and sink. Replace with a glass shower which drains directly into the floor with one of those large rose heads that are so pretty.
  4. Add a large sink unit which attaches to the wall but has no pedestal allowing for easier cleaning. This is a well used bathroom as part of the main living area.
  5. Rip down the formica homing the boiler and home with something less ‘In-Yer-Face’ and possibly construct a cupboard to home cleaning products and so on.
  6. Re-tile the entire bathroom in delightful bright, luminous and modern ceramics
bathroom

So surely ratedpeople.com could come and take a look? Surely they could tell me the best way to use my space and be able to tackle this project in three stages to make it easier to accomplish? They could advise me on where to get windows, the best bathroom suites and which tiles would illuminate the space to the best advantage.

And when that’s all over maybe we could look at decorating the hall and stairway too but that’s another blog post.

So there you have it TOTS 100, that’s my plan. Can you help?

ratedpeople.com renovation

Disclosure: The video has been made with the fabulous Panasonic V700 camcorder that I have on loan and I still haven’t discovered all of it’s uses yet. It’s a beauty to work with

January, a time for planning ahead and imagining yourself on a hot beach; kids playing in the sun, other half behaving himself and you wondering how to spend the evening? Eat in? Eat out? Wear the maxi dress or the shorts combo?

The hard life eh?

But holidays are important as the memory will stay with us forever, we are creating good moments for our kids to look back on and remember. TOTS 100 and Thomson Al Fresco holidays are offering the prize of one of their holidays to France for one blogger and their family (me, me, me) all I have to do is write about my favourite holiday and that’s where I’m becoming stuck.

After all, a lot of thought, time and preparation goes into planning this annual event and looking back they were all brilliant. I have favourite moments from each one.

As a child my grandparents had a villa in Majorca and we spent all our summers out there. I learnt to swim, ate my first paella and I played crazy golf.

Upsy Daisy beach towlesThen I became a parent and living in Italy I had Europe’s top beauty spots on my doorstep, we travelled up and down the boot from the Dolomites to Sicily, I visited Florence, Rome and Venice, I swam in the seas off Sicily and Sardegna and I stared in awe at the beauty of the Costa Amalfitana. The memory of our camper van trip around Puglia has an indelible mark on my soul.

I scuba dived in the Red Sea, I swam with shark and barracuda, I witnessed a shoal of fish laying their eggs on the sandbanks and I giggled at the sight of a shipwreck of a boat carrying toilets that had been sprawn across the seabed. ‘Don’t be tempted to sit on them to take a photo,’ our instructor warned, ‘the Mornay Eels like to live in them and you don’t want their teeth in your backside!’

Before the twins arrived Paul and I did The States. We chose a tour starting in New York, a dream come true as I yelled ‘Taxi!’ on Broadway and how I cried as I walked around Ground Zero witnessing the devastation, the loss of life and the immense force that is the American people. That holiday was unforgettable, eating Seafood Chowder on Pier 39 in San Francisco, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and the National Park of Yosemite, each and every stop has a ton of photos and memories.

See what I mean? How can I choose just one? The first trip to Rye in Kent with the twins aged 5 months? (Oh yes we did! A monumental organisation went into that 3 night stay!) My favourite fishing photo from Torquay? The best crab sandwich ever in Dorset? Beer o’clock on the Costa Dorada? Or a mini tornado at Lake Garda?

Or maybe the holidays yet to come, new places yet to explore, languages to stumble with, new food to taste and more memories to make? I’ll leave you with a short video of last year’s holiday in Sardegna…sigh