Makeup drawer before & after

Decluttering is an ongoing process, usually requiring you to revisit the same areas periodically. It’s not often that I’ll do it just a few months later, but that’s what I just did with my makeup drawer.

In this post from our old home five months ago, I got rid of a ton of rarely used and out of date cosmetics. The ‘after’ photo was looking ship-shape but it wasn’t the whole story: I still had a couple of zip-lock bags filled with spare items (samples and gifts) and several lipsticks in every handbag.

So while I had already done a big declutter before we moved, starting Project 333 has made me take a closer look at other aspects of my getting-ready routine.

I chucked* a whole pile more items, this time focusing on getting rid of colours that don’t suit me, samples I’ll never use and spares that could have lasted me two lifetimes (seven blushers/bronzers – really?!).

I consolidated my lipstick collection and now only put the current day’s product in the single handbag I’m using this season. There are some similar colours in there that I do use but could live without so I won’t replace them when they’re used up.

Apart from getting rid of the zip-locks, the biggest downsizing was the eyeshadows. I managed to find the ultimate (for me) silver-taupey-grey palette that suits everything from a subtle highlight to full-blown event makeup so I was able to get rid of four others that were less versatile.

The only non-everyday items I kept were a couple of super bold lipsticks and a crazy eyeshadow palette that I’m keeping for costume parties. I put them in the difficult-to-access section at the back for now but I could even move them to the costume box.

I moved my brushes to a jar on the vanity as they kept jamming the drawers, but apart from that, this is now my entire makeup collection. Still not minimalist by any means but it’s a far cry from what I used to have.

My next task will be to consider my toiletries and hair products to further streamline my mornings.

Do you like to have a lot of variety in your makeup or do you have a simple routine that suits you everyday?

* Put aside to donate to a women’s shelter.


keeping warm this winter

Picture The Man and I on the couch, wearing our thermals (the ones we bought to survive a European winter holiday), multiple jumpers and even scarves and beanies, with a nanna rug up to our chins and hot coffee in hand.

Yep, that’s pretty much been our reality for the last few weeks as winter has set in. We feel like total wusses – I mean, this is Adelaide, it doesn’t get that cold – but it seems our new home is fuh-reezing. Great in summer, but winter? Yeahnotsomuch.

It has an old double-sided oil heater in the formal living areas at the front of the house but it doesn’t function so we’ll be ripping that out. The man we bought the house from was in his 90s, I have no idea how he managed without heating but he was obviously made of tougher stuff than us!

We have been surviving with nothing more than a tiny blowy heater but of course they are terribly inefficient to run so we feel guilty even switching it on. (Even as I write this, I’ve just got up to put my dressing gown back on over my clothes so I can turn the heater off.)

We bought an electric blanket which we used for the first time last night which is a total lifesaver. But we are still hanging out for a more permanent solution for both day and night.

We’re planning on having ducted airconditioning installed before summer (there is only one tiny old aircon unit and it’s in the living room that we won’t be using yet) so we’ll likely get a reverse-cycle system to kill two birds with one stone. To be honest I prefer a radiating heat rather than a blowing one, but there are so many other pros (only one system to install, single set of ducts, no loss of floor/wall space, will heat entire house in zones) that I’ll have to get over the one minor con.

Til then, let’s compile a big list of winter survival tips. What heating system do you have in your home and how else do you stay warm?

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lounge progress

It was a long weekend here (cheers, Liz) hence the delayed post but it did mean we had an extra day to finish painting the lounge. Phew!

The Man and I actually nixed the light grey paint colour outlined in this post and went back to my original idea of black walls (‘Domino’ by Dulux to be exact). Working about as dark a colour as you can get in such a large room meant for painstaking cutting in, proof of which is my sore neck today.

You can see a strip of white poking out at the top of the skirting boards, that’s the primer coat. We decided to prime the walls for a few reasons: we wanted to seal in any wallpaper glue residue, to provide an even base (we had to re-plaster quite a lot so it was looking like a patchwork quilt) and to cover the message wall from our 30th. Remember we were planning to go for light grey so we used white primer, if we’d known we were going to go black we would have used a dark-tint primer (thankfully two coats of cutting in were sufficient but we needed three coats of rolling).

On the advice of an interior architect friend we’ve also decided to switch up the pool table and dining table (to give more clearance room for playing pool) so this room will now be lounge/dining instead of lounge/games. (Here is the floorplan to refresh your memory.)

The room is very large but we wanted the spaces to feel intimate, so the dark walls will help to cosy things up. The other big reason I was keen on black walls is to disguise our TV so I’m really happy how that’s going to work out.

Excuse the shoddy photo, by the way. We’ve removed the wall lights and there’s only a single ceiling light in here so it feels gloomy (and hard to photograph) no matter what wall colour at the moment.

This room has come a long way! The next step will be ripping out the carpet and installing new flooring. We’re not 100% set yet but we’re considering timber-look vinyl planks, floating hardwoods or floating laminate floorboards. Have you used any of these floors? I’d love your opinions on installation and the finished product.

lounge moodboard

As promised, here is the visual take on the lounge floorplan that I shared last week.

We’ve gone for Dulux ‘White Duck ‘ for the walls, a lovely soft warm grey that will complement the feature stone wall. It’s the same colour we used in our former office but this time we’ll be using it at full- instead of quarter-strength.

I love our existing Freedom sofa (so big and comfy!) but I suspect it may look a little lost against the similarly-toned stone wall. Still, I’m finding myself craving calming interiors so perhaps I’ll end up loving the neutral look? Failing that, both of us are smitten with the teal sofa (also Freedom).

More critical is the entertainment unit. I really dislike the el-cheapo flatpack beast of a thing we currently have. The Man and I have agreed to get rid of the vast majority of our CDs and DVDs (we’ve already gone digital but haven’t dealt with the physical copies yet) so this will give us much more flexibility in terms of finding a more compact and attractive unit.

To be honest I haven’t given much thought to the colours in this room, let alone the accessories. Once we’ve finished all surfaces (walls, trim, floors) we’ll set up our existing furniture and feature artwork and let the room evolve from there.

Moodboard: Shelving unit | Reading chair | Pendant light | Sofa | Media unit | Armchair | Coffee table | Rug

Lounge floor plan

We’re going to be painting the lounge this weekend (yay?) so I’ve been thinking about how the finished room is going to work. (Here is what it looked like before and in progress.)

As you can seen in the floorplan, it’s a very big, long room with doors through to the dining room, living room and front yard. There are so many options with a versatile space like this, but it still posed a few challenges.

Lounge floor plan

We’ve decided to divide it into three zones: lounge/TV zone at one end, games zone at the other and a mini library zone in between.

I initially wanted our huge painting to hang above the pool table so it could be a striking feature visible from the dining room and entryway, but in truth it’s such a bold and colourful piece it’s actually really hard to decorate around. Instead, we’ve decided to give it its own wall across from the library area.

The other dilemma was the arrangement of the lounge area. In such a big room, you would think we’d have no trouble arranging the furniture in any number of successful layouts. But we were dealing with a beautiful stone wall that we didn’t want to put any holes in to mount the TV, another entire wall being a glass sliding door and owning a very large sofa and entertainment unit. Couple that with my desire to maximise the seating (we entertain a lot) and have it work for both conversation and TV watching and it was surprisingly tricky.

The solution? A new, smaller entertainment unit (eventually), a swivelling TV wall mount and slimline armchairs.

Most of the furniture you see in the layout we don’t actually own, but it helps to have a grand plan to work towards.

So that’s the practical side of things, I’ll bring the pretty next week with a visual look at the plans for this room!



Happy Monday! We had our first weekend of actually feeling like we were living in a proper house for the first time in, oh, four months. It wasn’t packing central, or renovation central, or party central. We’ve had a couple of people over for dinner and finally set up the couch and TV.

That said, I did spend a bit of time up in the attic sorting out my stock. As I mentioned last week, I’m no longer doing any more readymade stationery products for my business Akimbo so I am clearing out all of my existing inventory.


I packed up a bunch more of these Lucky Dip packs (thanks to everyone who’s ordered one so far!). The piles are shrinking a little every day so I’ll soon be able to start painting the space and making it into an extension of my shiny new office!

baby-pack-photo-S  mixed-bag-pack-photo-S party-pack-photo-S sweet-home-photo-S  wedding-pack-photo-S

You can pick up a Card Survival Pack or one of the other themed Lucky Dip packs here.

Thanks for your support, everyone!

birthday message wall

The Man and I threw a huge joint 30th slash housewarming on the weekend. In keeping with the era of our new home it was in a mid-century theme so we had some seriously cool Mad Men inspired fashions.

In all the prep/hosting frenzy I didn’t take a single photo (bad blogger) but my brother-in-law took a bunch so hopefully I’ll be able to share some soon because it was a pretty rad party.

We were originally hoping to have the lounge painted in time for the party but with the kitchen makeover, office makeover and our Hawaii trip we realised it was not going to happen. Instead, The Man suggested we embrace our in-progress-ness (totally a word) and use the de-wallpapered but unpainted walls as a message board for the party. We commissioned our very artistic sister-in-law-to-be to draw a giant ’30’ design and we got some lovely/funny messages by the end of the night.

The idea is we’ll paint over it and our well wishes will become part of the house. Elsewhere on the wall someone drew some balls (seriouslyareyoutwelveyearsold) so we’ll have to get onto the painting sooner rather than later. I don’t think ‘Public toilet chic’ is going to take off.

Office makeover

Besides the kitchen, the upstairs office was the first room I tackled after we moved in two months ago (has it really been that long?).

As I showed in this post, I painted, painted and then painted some more to cover up all the wood panelling and light brown walls. I also ripped up the carpets to reveal the (pine?)  floorboards.

Office makeover

They were not in great condition so they were the perfect candidate for my plan: to paint them.

Office makeover

To prep the surface I puttied up the holes from where the carpet tacking was nailed in. I also filled in any major knot holes – I still very much wanted to retain the texture of timber so I only filled in holes that met my (very technical) criteria of ‘would I catch my socks on this?’.

Office makeover

We’ll definitely hire a special upright floor sander when we (eventually) do the floorboards downstairs. But for this smallish room where imperfections were being covered with paint I made do with a handheld sheet sander.

I gave it a thorough vacuum and mop to ensure the surface was completely dust-free.

Office makeover

I used Feast Watson’s Floor Paint which is specifically designed for that purpose so it’s hardwearing and scuff-resistant. It’s water-based so the cleanup couldn’t have been easier.

Office makeover

I poured the paint into a rolling tray and used the broom-like applicator with wool ‘sock’. The thick paint makes it feel like it’s dragging a little but once you get used to that it was really easy.

Office makeover

To achieve a seamless finish I tried to keep a wet edge… except where doing so would literally paint me into a corner. So I did the right of the room, then the left, then the centre, backing towards the door.

Office makeover

The coverage was excellent (the shots above are after just one coat) but I was after a totally opaque look so ended up doing a total of four coats. Each coat only took around 15 minutes though so it was no drama.

I finished off with a brush to do the cutting in and to paint any depressions that the applicator missed.

Office makeover

And here it is now!

Office makeover

Sadly it doesn’t show up in the photos (especially because my good lens is in for repairs so I’m using my old kit lens) but in real life you can see the planks and the timber texture.

Office makeover

Just LOOK at that sunlight streaming in! I always knew this room was going to have fab natural light but it needed some brighter surfaces to make the most of it.

Office makeover

I haven’t bought a single new item for this room. You’ll recognise the furniture from my old office, the Urban Outfitters rug was used for Akimbo‘s market stalls and the ladder-style shelf was in our former bathroom.

Office makeover

Meanwhile our old bar cart becomes a nifty craft cart.

Office makeover

I’m so excited to have an office again after months of working from the dining table, let alone one with a view!

Office makeover Office makeover

Some art waiting to be hung, amongst other finishing touches required.

Office before & after

Just a slight difference from eight weeks ago.

Product was generously supplied by Feast Watson. Opinions are my own.


White Knight tile & laminate paint

Thank you for the lovely feedback about our new kitchen! I had some questions about the benchtops so here is the nitty gritty about that process.

Firstly, you may recall that this was not our Plan A. I actually painted the benchtop with laminate paint but we chose a colour that looked horrid against the newly-white cabinets (oops).

DIY concrete benchtop

We considered our options and ended up deciding on concrete after a friend recommended it. The first thing we did was to give the benchtop a serious sand with coarse grit sandpaper to give the concrete something to adhere to.

We also used a jigsaw to slice off the curved overhang on the end of the kitchen island as we figured it would look like more of a legit concrete slab that way. We weren’t worried about losing a small amount of bench space and in fact the room feels more spacious because the shorter island doesn’t close things in so much.

DIY concrete benchtop

Moving onto the concrete itself. My friend generously gave me her leftovers of Ardex Feather Finish so we used a 10kg bag between the two of us (with a bit to spare).

I mixed the powder with water with a putty knife in an ice cream container until it formed a smooth paste. It was a bit of trial and error: too runny and it didn’t provide enough coverage and would come off with the sanding; too thick and it would dry too quickly and be impossible to spread smoothly.

White Knight kitchen makeover

We used a broad knife to apply and spread the concrete to get it as smooth as possible. I’d say the coats were about 2mm thick, roughly a quarter of which was then sanded off. I was hoping to get away with two coats but my handiwork was a bit patchy (it was hard to gauge even coverage because the wet concrete was a similar colour to the laminate) so in all I think we ended up doing four coats.

DIY concrete benchtop

DIY concrete benchtop

After each coat we left it to dry overnight and scraped off any rough patches on the surfaces and beneath the overhanging using a narrower knife. We followed up with a coarse sandpaper and then a smooth one. The surface isn’t perfect but too much sanding resulted in shiny patches so we are left with a bit of texture which we don’t mind.

DIY concrete benchtop

DIY concrete benchtop

We The Man removed the sink and cooktop which was a total PITA to be honest. It was totally worth it for the superior finish around the edges but the project will take a fair bit longer. You’ll have to be willing to take on some basic plumbing and possibly electrical work depending on how your cooker is connected (thankfully ours could pop up without being disconnected).

DIY concrete benchtop

After the final coat went on we left it to cure for a couple of days.

DIY concrete benchtop

The Man and I had decided we wanted to keep the natural texture so we were looking for a permeating sealer rather than a topcoat. The sealer we opted for was Stonetech Professional Heavy Duty Exterior Sealer purchased from a local tiling trade supplier.

It went on super easy (like water). I was advised you can get away with one coat generally speaking but we did two to be on the safe side.

White Knight tile & laminate paint

It was one of those rollercoaster projects. You know, where one minute you’re like ‘BOOM! I could be a professional concreter.’ and the next you’re chucking a tanty because ‘Waaaaah, NOTHING is going to plan!’.

In fact I was so over it – having spent the best part of two months in the kitchen, doing the majority of the de-wallpapering, painting, tile/laminate painting solo – that The Man swooped in and took care of the final coats. It is not a job for when your patience has run out so I was grateful to step aside into the supporting role.

His approach was a lot more successful than mine. The key is to do the smallest patch at a time – I thought I was doing a small area but in hindsight I needed to go even smaller (maybe 30cm²?). Otherwise your concrete will dry too fast and won’t go on as it should.

Kitchen with DIY concrete benches

The verdict? Well I’m not in a hurry to try concreting anything else, but we adore the kitchen. The combination of an industrial look plus a natural, textured feel is a winner in our book. It was harder and more time-consuming than expected (isn’t that always the way?) but the result was worth it.

The only thing is, despite our total paranoia we have had some staining from splattered cooking oil around the cooktop and another couple of drips on the island. So if I was doing it again I’d use a matte topcoat instead of a permeating sealer. Unfortunately if we did a topcoat now we’d just be sealing in the current stains so we’re not quite sure how to deal with that yet (suggestions welcome!).

If you missed the progress or want to remind yourself of the before photos, here is the kitchen makeover part 1, kitchen benchtop dilemma and makeover part 2.


This post is sponsored by White Knight.  

White Knight laminate primer in kitchen

When we left off the kitchen looked something like the above. With the brown-on-brown-on-brown scheme a fading bad memory, it was time to apply all the new finishes.

White Knight kitchen makeover

Kitchen makeover

We chose a grey-tinged white for the walls to make the white-white cabinetry pop. A soothing neutral is a definite treat for the eyes after the previous patterned wallpaper. Unfortunately the nicotine-stained ceiling took five coats of paint, including one of stain-blocking primer – ew!

White Knight kitchen makeover

We ummed and ahhed about the benchtops but ultimately opted to try out hand at concreting (which is a post unto itself). I love the textural and earthy aspect to complement the other sleek, white surfaces.

White Knight kitchen makeover

Having painted tiles in our old home’s kitchen, bathroom and laundry I was pretty confident and it turned out just as well as expected. I did the whole thing with a brush, because being oil-based it is somewhat self-levelling (although it’s important to use one with very fine bristles to avoid brush strokes). The paint is super thick so unlike the ceiling (along with two coats were sufficient as promised.

White Knight tile & laminate paint

Next up were the cabinets. I painted them in situ and used the same fine-bristled brush, which meant I could do the cutting in as I went along (gotta love saving an extra step). I thought I might have to switch to a roller but the first coat turned out nice and smooth so I stuck with it. I did two rounds (inside and outside) each with two coats.

White Knight tile & laminate paint

The difference after the tile and laminate paint was like night and day. The tiles are a high gloss while the laminate is a satin so together they reflect so much light; a godsend in such a dim room.

White Knight kitchen makeover kitchen-makeover-54 kitchen-makeover-56 kitchen-makeover-57 kitchen-makeover-59 kitchen-makeover-62

Remember what it looked like before?

White Knight kitchen makeover

What a difference! We are still planning a few finishing touches (lighting, primarily) but I’m happy to say we added three decades just with a few tins of paint and a bag of concrete!

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