Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Sunday 13 January 2019

Our Utility Room

When we were planning the new layout of our home, a utility room was one of the major ‘must-haves’ a space where we could have the washing machine and tumble dryer out of the way and space to hand up and dry the washing away from food smells and out of the entertaining space. 

I had originally wanted to have a navy kitchen, but when we decided to go for a more neutral look, I thought why not go for this look in the utility space instead. The utility is situated where the kitchen was originally, which is the darker side of the house, so in choosing navy we were embracing the darkness, rather than fighting with high gloss white, which was what we initially had planned. We chose All White by Farrow and Ball for the walls which is a warm off white.

We got quotes from the big highstreet retailers, but opted for local Sanctuary Kitchens for the units. I loved the colour (Hauge Blue) and the smooth finish. On one wall we chose full height cupboards where the boiler is hidden and space for the hoover and mop as well as draws and shelves for extra storage - I may well have 2 draws for just candles... not that my husband thinks this is a waste of space!!

The laundry appliances were to go on the opposite wall, along with the sink and undercounter fridge which was to be for drink storage. Thank goodness we did get an extra fridge, as our main fridge-freezer died and this has been our only fridge since September!

For continuity we kept the same quartz worktop that we had in our kitchen running through into this space too. I wanted to go for brass handles and taps as I think this looks stunning against the navy. The tap is from Franke and the bee-hive handles are from Neptune and I’m so pleased with how they look together.

I wanted some patterned tiles and I have been obsessed with these Mandarin Stone 
Palladio Grey Mix Decorative Porcelain tiles for about 4 years, originally we were going to have them on our boot room floor, but when this turned out to be above budget, having them on this smaller area seemed a good compromise. We added in a few of the plain tiles to stop it looking too busty but in hindsight I think I would have used the patterned tiles throughout.

I had always wanted a matching washing machine and tumble dryer, so when we were approached by Siemens Home Appliances to collaborate with them to try out their new Home Connect appliances I was delighted. Not only do these appliances look stunning side by side (especially when they are on and matching blue lights around the door are gleaming!) they are SO quiet, seriously…. my last washing machine was so noisy on a fast spin and you can hardly hear anything with these appliances.

The Siemens washer and dryer also have Home Connect technology, which is linked up to the Wi-Fi so I can control them with my smart phone. Rather than guessing when to set the timer for, I can put a wash on as I’m about to leave work so it’s ready to unload when I get home (as long as I’ve loaded it already!) and I’ve found the alert on my phone when a cycle has finished really useful - so if I’m upstairs I don’t forget about it.

The touch screen menus are intuitive so we haven’t had to spend ages reading through the manual. I’ve also been impressed with the intelligent cleaning system on the tumble dryer which collects any fluff and stores it with an alert telling you when it needs emptying - far less often than our previous machine which needed de-fluffing after every use.

As we had to replace all the windows in the house, we decided to for obscure glass for the lower sash. As this window looks out onto the driveway we didn’t really want guests to see all our washing... and it’s not this tidy most of the time...! 

We had been indecisive when it can to whether to fork out for underfloor heating in this space, but our builder came up with a nifty solution as all of the pipes from the other UFH areas feed into the boiler, he spread them out over the floor area not covered by cupboards giving us the warmth through the floor. This means not only is it warm under foot, but the washing dries so quickly.


Sunday 6 January 2019

Microblading and Powder Brows in Weybridge

The Little Palour gave this as a complementary treatment, but all options expressed are my own.
I've never been happy with my eyebrows. In my early teens they were unruly (I remember my best friend referring to them as slugs!!!) until I plucked them into near extinction before trying to grow them back without much success. Since my early thirties I've pencilled them in or used brow powder to give a stronger brow and evening them out, as the lady that threads my brows had told me that they were uneven too... I'm painting beautiful picture aren't I?! When I heard about semi-permenant make-up, I had instantly dismissed it as an option for me. I thought it sounded faddy, a bit scouser-brow and most importantly, what if I were to change my mind?!

Years later, after seeing loads of before and after pictured of microblading and just how natural it looked - I became tempted. Saving moments in the morning, having the perfect shaped brows, rather than fining out I've pencilled in a wonk or gone heavier on one side then another sounded very appealing! The Little Palour in Weybridge has always been a salon I've trusted. I went to them for eyelash extensions and a spray tan before my wedding - serious trust!! So when I found out that salon owner Naomi was experienced in Microblading I started thinking about it a lot more seriously.

So back in the summer, I want in to discuss options with Naomi. She totally understood my reservations and promised me she would be able to create a really soft and natural look - no scouser brow! We discussed a couple of options, microblading, which is where individual hairs are 'drawn' and powder brow, which creates a softer look - like you've used a brow powder on your brows. We decided to use a combination of the techniques to create the look I was after. At the same time she performed a patch test and gave me some numbing cream.

The 'before' shot
An hour before the treatment I popped a thick layer of the numbing cream onto my brows which I then covered with clingfilm (a strong look!) don't worry, I wiped this off for my walk to the salon...!

Naomi then set to work designing my brows with pencil, measuring them to make sure they were even and consistent.

When I was happy, Naomi started. The procedure wasn't painless; uncomfortable rather than unbearable with some areas being more sensitive then others. The powder brow sections were achieved using an electronic needle, not too dissimilar to what is used by tattoo artists. The Microblading - which creates the individual hairs, uses a little (micro!) blade, to make a small cut in the skin, to which the dye is added.

At the end of the treatment (which lasted about an hour and a half), I was a little alarmed, my brows were looking much bolder than I anticipated. Larger, darker and quite shiny. Naomi assured my that they would fade and shrink and not to worry... but I felt a bit nervous still I must admit!!!

Just after the treatment
I was given instructions on how to look after them, I needed to wipe them with cool boiled water every 2 hours for the first day, and applying a small amount of Savlon every 4 hours. This became less frequent over the next few days and then after 5 days I just needed to use oil to keep the moisturised.

Four days after the treatment, my brows started to scab, which is totally normal. When I was told this was going to happen I thought it sounded horrible, but in reality what happened was that the top layer of skin just gradually came off - it wasn't painful or uncomfortable at all - I just had to resist the urge not to pick, as this can make the final brows patchy.

After the scabbing had finished, my brows looked much less intense and over the next few weeks they gradually got a little darker as the skin healed and went back to being translucent.

I was meant to go back for a top up a 5/6 weeks later later, at the end of August but this is when I found out I was pregnant and as the procedure isn't recommended when you're expecting I had to cancel the follow up. As a result, my brows are a little patchy, but only to the extent that I would notice. If I had been able to have the second appointment, I would have been a bit more daring, knowing how much they do calm down, and would go for a slightly darker shade, as because I was so nervous, Naomi went for a shade slightly lighter than my natural colour.

Three months after one treatment

I do LOVE the result, my brows are now the perfect shape - and I don't need to pencil them in saving precious minutes in my hectic routine.  Having stronger brows rally suite my face and is really flattering. I would totally recommend if you are considering it despite the cost. At The Little Palour in Weybridge, the two treatments costs £395, comprising of the two treatment sessions with the aftercare products. The results last up to two years, when you can have them topped up.
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