kitchen renovation

Our Budget Kitchen Renovation Plans

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I wanted to share with you guys our current kitchen and our plans for its renovation.  I’m always interested in these kind of posts and I thought you might enjoy a little peek at our house!

The current kitchen is, we think, around 15-20 years old.  It’s quite a narrow, galley style kitchen and is painted quite a dark orange colour on the walls and ceiling.  It’s not quite to our taste, but when we first viewed the property we thought we could get away with removing the claustrophobic wall cabinets, painting the cabinet doors, re-tiling, and painting the walls and ceiling a light colour.  As part of this budget renovation we thought that also replacing handles, the chipped laminated worktop, light fittings, and the sink and tap would go a long way to improving things a bit in there.  We hoped to spend maybe £600 tops on it and call it a day for the foreseeable future.

Then we moved in:

orange kitchen 2 orange kitchen

Please note really high random cupboard!  We don’t know why either!

The house had sat empty for over year so the electricity and water had been switched off.  When we got our utilities switched back on we discovered the oven was broken.  We’ve been using a counter top plug in oven which kind of does the job in combination with a gridle and the microwave.  To add to the fun I don’t think the actual oven is properly earthed as I got a small electric shock when I touched the oven door.

We also discovered most of the drawers are broken – the plastic runners have worn out –  and the plastic frames of the cupboards are beginning to degrade.  There’s a leak under the sink meaning the whole cupboard has warped and the kick board under the sink has mould growing on it from the leak, which grows back within days of cleaning and scrubbing at it.  You can see it in the top photo.  Safe to say our kitchen is not a fun place to be.

Oh, and did I mention the previous owners took the cooker hood and splash back with them when they moved out?  Yes.  They did.  This was already gone when we viewed the house, so we were fully aware of this, but it still takes my breath away every day!

old kitchen

That’s our little plug in oven there too.  Total lifesaver!

After nearly five months of living with our kitchen we’ve decided to bite the bullet and replace the whole thing.  I don’t think there’s any saving it – it’s in such bad condition.  We’re also re-planning the layout to make better use of the space.  I’m really looking forward to removing those wall mounted cupboards!

While it’s exciting to renovate our kitchen, as it’s an unexpected expense we’re doing the whole thing on a really tight budget.

The kitchen isn’t insulated and is single skin brick so we’re going to add some insulation when the kitchen comes out.  It’s a bit of an added expense but will save us on our heating bills and make the cold space a lot cosier.  We added some Kingspan insulated plasterboard when we renovated our bathroom and it’s pretty amazing stuff, so we’ll probably use the same stuff again.  It also saves on plastering as you can just tape and skim the joins of the plasterboard.

When we moved we brought our A rated fridge and washing machine with us from our old house, but we do need some appliances.  We managed to buy this A-rated oven from Homebase when it was on offer, and are going to buy an A rated integrated dishwasher, because, oh my, I really really really miss our dishwasher.  Dishwashers are also less energy intensive than doing dishes by hand, so that’s another good excuse to install one!

We have quite a few left over white metro tiles from when we renovated our bathroom, so rather than buy a set of different tiles we’re just going to buy a couple of more boxes of the same tiles to save money.

I’ve sourced some secondhand drawer and cupboard handles on eBay which are coming in at over £110 cheaper than the kitchen company quoted us for new handles.

We’ll also going to have a darned good declutter to rid ourselves of all the junk and clutter we don’t need anymore.  We tried to declutter before we moved, but ran out of time.  I always think decluttering goes in long way in refreshing a space and costs nothing, but due to a very short period of time between finalising the sale of our old house, the purchase of this house, and the moving in date (we finalised a week before we moved) we were still packing on the day we moved!  Talk about stressful!

If money was no object I’d also add in a few lovely ethical kitchen accessories to complete the look, such as these beautiful mugs from Decorator’s Notebook and some storage baskets from Nkuku but these are going to have to wait a while.

I’m looking forward to sharing the end result with you in hopefully a couple of months (we’re feeling ambitious!)!  We’ve almost finished renovating our living room and bathroom too, so I’ll share these with you shortly too!

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    make your own reed diffuser

    Homemade Reed Diffuser DIY

    reed diffuser DIY

    Now, I’m not really crafty, but I’ve got a great DIY for you today.  This homemade reed diffuser tutorial is so simple it’s basically foolproof!  If you can add some liquid to a bottle then this is the DIY for you!

    I have a small old bottle collection, and I wanted to use some of them in a practical way, rather than just have them gathering dust on a shelf.  At the same time I was also looking for a way to freshen my bathroom without going down the chemical air freshener route because the smell of standard air fresheners and synthetic fragrances (especially the plug in ones) makes me feel sick, and I don’t like using essential oil burners because of having a small child in the house.

    I came up with this idea for a homemade reed diffuser because it had the dual purpose of practically using my bottles, and it scents my bathroom in an environmentally friendly and natural way without the use of chemicals or synthetic fragrances.  Win!

    It worked so well I thought I’d share my technique, because I’m good like that!  Here’s how you can make your own homemade reed diffuser for pennies, in minutes, and with only a few ingredients:

    homemade reed diffuser

    Homemade Reed Diffuser DIY


    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Total Time: 5 minutes

    Serves 1 Jar

    Homemade Reed Diffuser DIY

    Make your own environmentally friendly and delicious smelling homemade reed diffuser using only a few simple ingredients in minutes.


    • Clean glass jar (preferably with a narrow mouth)
    • 60ml of sweet almond oil
    • 30 drops of essential oil of your choice.
    • A handful of reed sticks


    1. Pour 60ml of sweet almond oil into your glass jar
    2. Add your essential oil(s). I used 10 drops of rosemary oil and 20 drops of grapefruit oil as I wanted a clean citrus smell for my bathroom.
    3. Wipe down your jar with a cloth to remove any oils that might have dripped down the sides.
    4. Add your reed sticks.
    5. After a few hours remove your reed sticks and place in upside down to help the oils travel up the sticks.
    6. Place in a spot away from children and pets and enjoy the lovely aroma!

    Homemade Reed Diffuser Notes

    make your own reed diffuser

    I bought my sweet almond oil, essential oils (rosemary and grapefruit) and reed sticks from eBay.  I’ve got plenty left of each to make heaps of reed diffusers!  The glass bottles were a gift from lovely online vintage store The Other Duckling.  They have a really nice range of antique glass bottles which would be perfect for this DIY!

    Use a bottle or jar with a narrow opening as the oil will evaporate at a slower rate than a jar with a wide opening.

    If the smell starts to go a bit flat try taking the reed sticks out and placing them back in the liquid upside down.

    The scent in this homemade reed diffuser isn’t as strong as its shop bought counterparts, so don’t expect a really strong fragrance.  For that reason I find it best to place the diffuser in a small area, such as a bathroom, rather than trying to scent your living room.

    Some people also swear by adding vodka to their diffuser as they say it helps the oils travel up the reeds.  I didn’t have any vodka in the house so wasn’t able to try this.  Let me know if you do!

    I hope you enjoy making!  The diffuser would make such a lovely homemade gift, so definitely one to keep in mind if you’re ever in need of any eco friendly gift ideas!

    ps: if you like this try my homemade beeswax candle DIY!

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      eco friendly school uniform

      Win £50 to Spend at EcoOutfitters!

      eco friendly school uniform

      In Scotland we’ve already had the annual back to school frenzy this week, but for readers in England you’ve got all that still to come!  As a kid I was always a bit miffed about having to go back to school in August – the weather always seem to be at it’s best in August, and we’d only had a few weeks of kids summer TV (which didn’t start until towards the end of July) so we only got a few weeks of it!  Then again, it was always nice breaking up in June!

      To help ease the burden of new uniform shopping EcoOutfitters have kindly offered one lucky Moral Fibres reader £50 to spend in their online store.

      If you’re not familiar with EcoOutfitters, EcoOutfitters sell school uniforms made only from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.  They offer a wide range of everyday school uniform items including: polo shirts, sweatshirts, cardigans, fleeces, boys and girls trousers, skirts, pinafores, summer dresses, shorts, socks, sportswear, etc, all certified by GOTS.

      EcoOutfitters was set up by two mums who realised that most of the school clothes on the market contained chemicals and had been treated with stain resistant, crease resistant, Teflon coatings, which aren’t always the best for the environment.  They also found that most of school clothes available on the high street are made from either a polycotton mix or plain polyester, which is essentially plastic – a substance derived directly from crude oil. These fabrics aren’t sweat absorbent, and don’t allow the skin to breathe – trapping heat – which can trigger rashes and aggravate skin conditions such as eczema.


      To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize of £50 to spend at EcoOutfitters, simply take part via the Rafflecopter widget below (NB: if you subscribe to Moral Fibres via email or in a reader then you’ll need to click through to the site to use the widget).

      All entries will be added to the EcoOutfitters mailing list, of which you can opt out of at anytime.

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      The competition is open until 12am (GMT) on Monday 31st August 2015, and open to UK readers only.

      Good luck!

      Terms and conditions:
      1. To enter the EcoOutfitters prize draw give-away you must leave a blog post comment.  There are additional options for more entries.   2. The prize is 1 prize of a £50 to spend at EcoOutfitters online shop only.  No cash or alternative prizes will be given.  3. The prize draw will start on Sunday 23rd August 2015 and end at 12am (GMT) on Monday 31st August 2015.  The winner will be picked at random from all valid entries.  5. The winner will be notified directly via email.  The winner must reply within seven days of receiving the email or a new winner will be picked at random. 

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