Transforming my studio flat with Little Greene Paint (the struggles of renting in London)

little greene paint review

I recently moved. Back when I lived in North London, I had a teeny studio flat that I lived in for 4 years, then I lived in a shared flat in Shoreditch for 2 years. I'm now back in North London, and back in a teeny (but a little bit larger than last time) studio. I'm so over sharing a living space, just far too old for that!

If you've rented in London, or had a look at online listings, you'll know how depressing it can get. Spaces are tiny, and often shoddy. If I had a partner to share with, I could maybe up my rental game a little, but probably not by much! See the rental scam I nearly fell for here. 

So I've become pretty skilled at making the best of what I can rent, and making small spaces slightly less claustrophic. I think there's a lot to be said for sharing pictures of our homes that aren't blogger-perfect, because when you rent especially, you just have to work with what you've got. I don't have a blogger perfect house, but I live in London, and I think I manage to make my rented spaces feel like home. So here I am, sharing my rental reality.

When I looked at my new place, I instantly burst out that that I'd need to paint the kitchen/dining area. Who on earth moved into a small space and decided to paint it deep pink?? The tennant before me is who!

The fabulous people at the Little Greene paint company offered to send me some paint to transform my little dining area, and I quickly received a paint chart in the post. I ended up choosing a colour very similar to the paint I use in Rockalily Cuts, so its obviously a colour that calls to me! I ended up choosing Brighton, from their Colours of England range. I know you shouldn't pick a colour based on its name, but having lived in Brighton for 4 years, it just felt like fate.

little greene blog review

I painted the hideous pink with a white undercoat first (confession; it may have been just white paint, rather than a specific undercoat, but whatevs). I found the blue paint covered really well, and again I sort of cheated. Instead of doing a full second coat, I just patched up any areas that just needed a little more love. I'm lazy ok? And it looks great.

I do have a new blind too, but I need help to hang it, so that's a work in progress!

decorating a small flat

I've been obsessed with 3M picture hanging strips for years, and they're just so so so good for renters, or even for home owners who don't want to bother with making holes in the walls. They allow me to add pictures really easily, and I've even used them to distract from the tiles that cover the walls of the kitchen area.

decorating a rented kitchen

I can't change the fact that this wall has a meter and fuse box slap bang in the middle of it. I may well get it boxed in at a later date, but for now, I've shoved a faux flower pot on it. Winning camouflage I'm sure you'll agree. 

using 3m picture strips on tiles

You can see here I've used 3M picture strips to hang some light items on the tiles. It just helps to personalise your space, and tiles used to be so limiting. Thank you 3m! (not sponsored, just a genuine thank you!)

d c fix stained glass window sticker

Another cheeky tip for renters is that sticky back plastic you can add to windows. I'm on the ground floor and quickly realised the people living next door can see into all of my windows. I needed a cheap and quick way to make my windows opaque. I bought this sticky plastic from Wilcos, and its called D-C-Fix Original Deco Self-Adhesive Film Minster. It was super easy to apply. The only downside is that it wasn't tall enough for the window, so there is a silly gap at the top! Ha. I may well look into finding a taller roll and re-do it at a later date.

decorating a studio flat

Was it my childhood fantasy that I'd be renting tiny studio flats in my 30s? Hardly. However, the world is what it is, and we can make the best with what we have. Currently I'm adoring having a garden (see my garden make-over here), and I'm always much happier living alone. It's great to have a proper desk, that isn't in my bedroom, and I'm finding my productivity levels have increased. I ordered the world's smallest sofa so that I can relax and watch tv. If you're curious about my digital set up, I'm a double-screener, with my laptop and the flat screen. Once you go double, you can never go back.....allllll the tabs.

It's actually crazy hard to get pictures of such a small space, so I've done what I can. But the power of painting a rental flat is huge. I find that assuring the landlord that its a free upgrade for them works wonders, or ensuring its an inoffensive colour. They generally just say to paint it back white at the end of your lease, but if its a nice improvement on what was there before, you can expect to be able to leave it. At my last flat I think I even got a small amount of my first rent as I promised to paint the dark blue (what is wrong with people?!) kitchen white for her. Saved her the bother!

Mermaid Wigs - Unboxing Video

wig unbosing review

I own a lot of wigs. I enjoy owning a lot of wigs, and I'm harming no one, so I'm fully onboard with treating myself. You may have caught my washing line of wigs on Instagram Stories recently. I still had a whole drawerful inside....eek!

washing wigs

There was something about the summer heat, and the desire to procrastinate from data inputting that took me to a wig shop. So I did a wig unboxing. Enjoy.

Mermaid hair in London

Looking for mermaid locks in London? You've come to the right place. We fill our days with rainbow hair, and we're not afraid to push the boundaries. We adore Olaplex as our bond builder of choice (the original and best!), and we love playing with mermaid colours to create your dream hair.

mermaid in London

We'll help guide you, based on our experience with these fun and bright colours. You may have a hair type that is more suited to bold colours for example, as not everyone can get light enough for pastel shades.

We use Olaplex in all of our colour changes, as we know that it is the best protection for your hair while bleaching. Olaplex is added into the bleach, and again to the hair at the back wash, to lessen the damage that bleach does (in able to lighten your hair). It helps to prevent future snapping and general hair sadness. It also helps to repair the existing damage within the hair strand.

Blue hair in london

We're a salon in Hoxton, east London, right near Shoreditch, and we have tons of transport links, and clients who come from near and wide. We're straight talkers.....if we don't think your hair will get you to where you want it, we'll tell you so. We say no to a lot of people, not because we're mean, but because we care about your hair and wallet!

green hair shoreditch

So if you're thinking of a colour transformation, drop us a line and we'll happily offer our advice, offer a price quote and hopefully see you as a mermaid some time soon!

Review of Babyliss Pro Perfect Curl (Updated)

3 years ago I filmed a review of the Babyliss Pro Perfect Curl, and it reached a pretty large audience (over 100k). Annoyingly the video was terrible, as the audio controls on youtube are so rubbish during editing, resulting in music that overpowered the whole thing. Typical.

I was asked recently to redo the video, so I accepted the challenge. It won't get 100k views but I liked being pushed to do some video. I'm rather old school at video, propping my phone up is as technical as I currently get.

Anyhow, here it is, an updated review of the curling machine of magic on short hair. 

Official Blogger for Female Entrepreneur Week

female entrepreneur week

I quit my job and became self employed over 6 years now, and my hair salon opened about 5 years ago. Having a blog really was the stepping stone to me quitting the world of education, and becoming my own boss. This meant that my blog really followed my whole journey, and I used to blog a lot about business. More recently I blog less about this, as it feels like my life has moved on a bit, but of course, my business still fills my whole life (our jobs do fill more time than anything else we do!). 

I've sort of dipped my fingers in a lot of pies, and when I first quit I had a part time job in a cabaret club to tie me over. Then I created my lipsick brand which paid my rent for a year before I decided to open a salon instead. My lipstick brand meant that I worked solo, from home. To get me out of the house, I launched a Women's Business Support Group, called Wonderful Women: Minding Our Own Business, which ran as a subscription model for a couple of years, with regualr meetings (and homework!). Then I moved to owning a bricks and mortar business, my salon, and alongside opening this business, I also took a year away to work for a digital marketing agency. I run the salon full time, but I am not a hairdresser; my strengths are in marketing, social media, running a business and writing. I do some freelance writing on the side, and I have a book agent. Phew!

Anyhow, I've been invited to be an offcial blogger for FEW, Female Entrepreneur Week, and I leapt at the chance to chat business again! I often find that those of us running businesses with actual physical products are left out a little with all of the digital entrepreneurship flags flying, so I'm going to be bringing it all back to help those of us who have IRL products and services, not just digital ones. 

It starts on the 21st June, and runs until the 30th, and there is a facebook group to chat and share with other female entrepreneurs. There will be online seminars and all sorts, and of course I'll be reflecting on what is being said, and blogging my own take (I always have an opinion! He he!)

So if you've been missing my business chit chat, or looking to reflect on your own business goals, perhaps join me in the FEW facebook group, or keep an eye on my blog for more entrepreneur inspiration next week!

Mini Garden Make-Over

I'm 34, and this is the first time I've had my own garden. I enjoyed one as a child, but obviously its a bit different being responsible for mowing, or just playing in the paddling pool. So having moved this month, I'm now a garden owner (well, renter, but you know what I mean). I now possess that rare London thing - a piece of green to call my own.

I'm not what you'd describe as homely. I don't cook very much, and I don't have green fingers. My soul just doesn't hear the call from hobbies like gardening and baking. But I do love a picnic, and a BBQ, so now that these are in my grasp, I needed to give my new little back yard a mini make-over.

I have to confess, I got my Mother in to help. She knows gardening, and she's not afraid of getting down and dirty with some weeding. I just didn't really know where to start. She handed me the mower, instructed me to not electrute myself by cutting through the wire and let me enjoy the satisfaction of cutting the grass. You feel kind of powerful with a lawn mower! Meanwhile, she started pulling the weeds from the flowerbeds, so that sometime in the future we can start planting some prettier things in there.

Although my garden isn't a pretty one (yet?) it is now a very usable space, and an extra room on a sunny day. It took all day, but was well worth it. I now plan to do some minimal upkeep, to ensure that I can keep enjoying it. Now...where's that sunshine.

Knomo Bags and Baileys' Books

I've been rather vocal over the past 5 years about giving up high heels, and this year I've given up on hand bags too. As I've become more aware of the sexism that silently drips into everything we believe and see, I've got crosser. I got cross that women are taught to wear shoes that cause pain, and keep them vulnerable as they hobble down the street. Women are taught that these shoes make us 'sexier' and that they feel more 'empowering'. We're taught that part of beauty is pain. There are still jobs that make women wear heels (Airport staff are one that spring to mind but there are others). We're told they're professional. Sod that. They're bad for us, and they hurt. And they keep us fragile; likely to fall, likely to go slow. I'm chucking out the heels. I deserve to be as free, comfortable and safe as men. 

Bags. Women carry bags, often with a Mary Poppin's amount of belongings, just in case. Our possessions are heavy and many. The world teaches us that to look glamorous, or expensive, we should carry a shoulder bag. Often with a thin and delicate strap. Sensible back packs are for men, the gym or school kids. I'm over the pain of carrying a one-shouldered bag. Even wearing it crossed over my chest gave my back pain. I'm so over pain. 

I've been wearing a small and smart back pack only since January now, and by gosh I notice the difference. Style still matters to me, it can be fun and exciting. I'm just over it making my body suffer.

So with my new gorgeous but practical bag requirements firmly in my mind, I happily accepted a bag to review from Knomo, a bag company that launched in 2004, and make stylish but uber practical and long lasting bags. Now, I've never had a £129 backpack before, although I have had expensive handbags, and it definitely felt like a luxury item when it arrived. As ever, although I received this to review, I have no obligation to say anything specific about know the drill.

knomo bags review blue

Here I am, nonchalant and pondering, at Southbank before heading in to the awards ceremony for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction. Less than a week after the London terror attack at London bridge, enjoying the culture that London has to offer, felt vaguely political. The dresscode was technically 'Cocktail' but I'm always someone who bends most fashion rules. So I donned a Collectif anchor-print dress, and a leather jacket (what is this weather recently?!) and my new Knomo bag. It's smaller than my current backpack, and definitely dressy enough to be worn somewhere a little fancier.

ree and ella 2017

Being an event sponsored by Baileys, I was rather excited to get myself a cheeky Baileys. If you watch the video at about 0:23 you will see a rather excited Ree grabbing for a drink as soon as I enter the room! Ha!

Why was I at a fiction awards?? Good question. The fabulous Ella Masters, my blogging pal, had been commissioned to paint each of the short-listed books. How bleedin' exciting hey?!

ella masters book illustration

My Knomo bag was the Mini Beauchamp in Navy, and if you love pockets, you'll love the bag's interior.

For someone with READ MORE tattooed to their knuckles, I'm embarrassed about how little I read these days. My phone and connectivity to the online world have just replaced reading fiction for me, and attending a celebration of fiction hightened my sadness. Luckily I was given two of the shortlisted novels in the my goody bag (well I was given one, but Ella already has all of the books, so I got hers too!) so hopefully I can start to develop a reading habit again.

knomo bags review blue 2017

At least with my new back pack I can carry my books on the go, without causing my body bother. Because style really isn't worth suffering for.