Upcycled brick door stop

Hello All,

Hope you had as amazing weekend as I did! Don’t check the weather forecast just yet!

I’m popping in to show you S’s latest creation.

We’ve been building lots of things in our garden using reclaimed bricks, so the idea to use one of them as a door stop, must have struck him then.

Upcycled brick door stop

He painted one half using our leftover paint in Dove grey, and kept the other half to show the old pattern. Easy peasy!

In my opinion, it’s pretty good upcycling effort. What do you think?



Spring garden project

Dear All,

Apologies for a lack of contact for the past few weeks. I’ve been feeling a bit low, and went into hiding. But the sun is out now, and my optimism is slowly coming back.

Gardening is one of the most therapeutic hobbies known to humankind. I don’t know about you, but every time I spend time sorting things in my garden, I feel joy of being outside and my vitality increases. Viva la nature!

You know I’m a big fan of upcycling, so wanted to share with you my idea for new-old flower planters. Our old cupboard was falling into pieces, but I convinced S that we should keep the drawers, as their condition wasn’t bad. I’m so happy we did. I used them as planters in our courtyard.

secretgardenhome upcycling garden project

Also, I used one of the drawers to grow lettuce. The sign was a gift from my friend Krzysia who lives in Seattle.

grow your own and upcycle

We love cooking, especially S, so we know how handy is to grow your own fresh herbs. Hmm, tasty!
Grow your own fresh herbs

Let’s just hope the temperature is not going to go down below zero.

How is your garden/green space looking? Are you into growing your own? What do you think of upcycling? I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Have a lovely weekend.


How to brighten up your autumn and winter garden: Coloured heather

Hope your week is going well.

I’d noticed that my flower baskets and few pots started looking a bit boring. And as I’m not ready for winter yet, I was looking for some perennials to brighten up my view from the kitchen.

I spotted the multi-coloured shrubs in Homebase. The white calluna vulgaris is sprayed with food dye to create a vibrant display in our gardens.

Coloured heathers perfect for autumn and winter in your garden

I couldn’t resist getting red, yellow, blue, pink, purple and white heather. Very happy with the view now!

Apparently, heather can survive in a really cold weather, up to -20 degrees. Brr!

What do you think? Which colour is your favourite?


You gotta love wallpaper stripping

We started redecorating our main living room. The first task was wallpaper stripping. Argh!

I must say, thanks to a wallpaper steamer, this task turned to be far less laborious than I thought at first. During 4 hour wallpaper workout (you can banish your bingo wings easily doing this), we had done a lot. It turned out that we would have to replaster one of the walls again (why nothing is simple in this house!).








On a steamer note, do not smoke indoors! The previous owners did, and look what we had to deal with. Grim!

Tip: Good idea is to wrap an old damp towel on a long handle floor brush to wipe it from the ceiling.

Any more tips about removing wallpaper? Please let me know.

How to harvest and preserve herbs for winter

You know I’m very proud of my herbs, but it’s harvest time as I do want to use them over winter to make my cooking even more delicious (big smile here).

Steps by step guide:

  1. Cut the herbs back with a knife or a pruning shears.
  2. Wash them in cold water and spread them out on a paper towel or hang them to dry.
  3. When they are completely dry, you can freeze parsley and basil, just wrap them up in foil or pack them in freezer bags. The rest (marjoram, rosemary, thyme) can be chopped and store in airtight jars in a cupboard (just re-label some old jam jars).


Get on the floor


Have you ever needed to choose a new floor?! That was a difficult task and an expensive one as well. So far the most expensive purchased we have made.

We knew we wanted to go for a wooden floor in all four rooms, but little we knew that the choice of flooring is that vast. The choice was:

  • Real wood versus engineered wood
  • Type of wood: oak versus bamboo
  • Shade: dark, medium, light
  • Type of finish: oiled, lacquered or unfinished
  • Installation: tonque-and-groove versus click-lock planks
  • Not to mention thickness and width, underlay… and obviously COST

Would you feel overwhelmed? I was.

I’ve done some research (Check Which or Housetohome for more info), and we decided to approach our local flooring company, which was recommended by a neighbour – Country Flooring. We decided against approaching a standard DIY store as we required lots of advice and were hoping for a better deal (you are more likely to negotiate a price deal with a small business).

At the end we went for the Calista Oiled Engineered Wood flooring, which was fitted (yes, we had it installed) on Timermate Excel underlay with Oak Veneered Scotia and solid oak door bars and rad rose. The installers did our two bedrooms upstairs, which were painted and ready to go. They will do the remaining two reception rooms when we finish redecorating them (hopefully in the next 2-3 months).

Why we went for the engineered wood at the end? Price was a big factor in our decision (£37 per sq m instead of £45plus per sq m) as well as its resistance to changes caused by a room’s temperature.

Installation tip: make sure that you think through how you want to have it done. We had a bespoke unit, and initially we instructed the workmen to lay the floor around it, but it didn’t look good, so they need to fix it. Argh!

How to make a headboard

Even for people with little manual skills like me, making a headboard can be classed as easy.

Total cost £55. Bargain!

Shopping list

  • A piece of wood/MDF board cut to size from any DIY store
  • Foam
  • Fabric
  • Hemline brass cover buttons
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Screwdriver and piece of string
  • A small piece of wire or plastic tubing
  • Staple gun and spray adhesive
  • Some screws or flush mounts

Measure how wide you want your board to be (width of your bed) and how tall (tip: if you want a shelf at the top, make sure your arm can reach it), and take your measurements to any DIY store.

If they don’t have it on-site, just ask a customer assistant to cut it for you to size. I went to Homebase, and they were more than happy to do it for me.

Another thing to consider here is how thick you want it. We went for a fairly thin piece (approx. 10 cm) as we knew we were going to attach it to the box, but you might consider a thicker board if it’s going to be a standalone headboard.

I used only 2 inches thick foam. A good idea is to fold it few times to achieve the required thickness. I got 2.5 metres of sage green fabric to match my colour scheme and the buttons at Hobbycraft.

Steps by step guide:

  1. Place your piece of wood on two stools and lay the foam over the top. Fold as many times as you want in order to achieve the required thickness. Cut the excess with scissors or a utility knife. Fix it to the board with a staple gun and/or spray adhesive. Make sure the surface is as smooth as possible.
  2. Repeat this step with your chosen fabric. Don’t cut the excess immediately as it will be useful when stretching the material over the board (it’s easier if you’ve got some help at this point so the surface looks nice and smooth). When you fix it with a staple gun then you can cut the excess and put it to one side for the buttons.
  3. Cover the buttons with the spare material, spread them evenly and align them using a ruler. Measure the distance between them, turn the board over and measure exactly the same distance on the other side. Using a pencil, highlight where each of the buttons is placed. You need to fix the buttons to the top of the material using a piece of string. Gently drill a hole on the other side of the board with a power drill. Pull the string through and knot it twice. Use a piece of wire or plastic tubing to stop the knot sliding through. Check the buttons are fixed permanently.
  4. The last step is fixing the headboard to the box or the wall if you prefer. We screwed the headboard to the box, but you can also fix it to the wall using flush mounts.

All done. Sleep well!