Exciting News in the run up to Christmas
As we write this we are loading up the car to head to London for the week for Spirit of Christmas at Kensington Olympia. We are very excited to be launching our new online “Life Skills for Leaving Home” course at the fair – you can pop along and see us or it’ll be available to buy via our website from 1st November.
This course is the perfect gift for anyone who will soon be flying nest or has done so recently. Its made up of 40 bite-sized modules teaching useful, practical life skills which will help anyone live more independently as well as more cost effectively and sustainably.
The modules include:
- The most useful ways to use a power drill (putting up pictures, shelves, fixing cupboard hinges etc)
- Preventing and fixing the most common plumbing issues (how to stop a dripping tap; what is a stop cock, where is it and why is it so important etc)
- Maintenance of household appliances
- Basic decorating tips
- Quick, simple, fun & transformative life hacks
We will also be running a workshop at The Cotswold Christmas Fair. We’ll be showcasing a bit of what we do on Thursday 9th November at 9:30am.
Christmas Workshops for Kids
We are excited to offer a one off festive workshop for children aged 10 – 14 year old on Tuesday 19th December. The course will be one x 3 hour session from either 9:30am or 1:30pm at our workshop in Mid Sussex. We’ll be making unique, festive creations out of pallet timber. This course is designed to teach the children valuable practical skills (such as how to use a power drill) whilst having lots of fun and making a keepsake to take home with them and will last for Christmases to come!
It’ll include instruction on how to disassemble a pallet, sand, measure and prepare the timber and proper use of a power drill. This will culminate in the creation of a unique festive keepsake, crafted from pallet timber, to take home with them. Our goal is to empower the next generation with hands-on knowledge and experience that they can apply to various areas of their lives whilst having fun and enjoying themselves.
Where we'll be shopping this Christmas
We’ve recently discovered the brilliant Labour & Wait which describes itself as “The original local shop for timeless, functional products”. Its safe to say that our entire Christmas list now consists of products from their Book Now fantastic selection of homewares and clothing; ranging from kitchen utensils to gardening goods and stationary. We highly recommend checking them out when you’re thinking of gifts this Christmas.
5 Mins with...Greg Penn aka Man with a Hammer
Greg is four years into restoring his “forever home”. A stunning 30-room Georgian property in Plymouth on the historic Royal Naval Hospital Site. He is renovating this huge project himself one room at a time and has kindly shared lots of the tips and wisdom he has learnt along the way – thank you Greg!
How and when did you become hands on/practical when it comes to DIY?
When I bought my first house… Admirals is my 2nd – prior to that I had absolutely zero practical knowledge/experience or interest really… not with houses at least! I quite enjoyed tinkering with motorbikes a little bit, and did build myself a very basic campervan – complete with woodburner and Welsh dresser! But really was a complete novice!
Do you feel that it helps your physical and mental wellbeing?
Absolutely. Having spent my life in sales and marketing, where there was never very much to show for anything at the end of the day beyond figures and a healthier sales graph… having something tangible to show for your efforts is huge, and it’s deeply rewarding seeing something unloved come back to life!
What’s the most useful, must-have tool for someone doing their own DIY project?
Hmm, I should probably say a hammer hahaha… I wish I’d bought my Festool sander and dust extraction system years ago… they’re outrageously expensive but absolutely brilliant and might have saved me from getting lead poisoning… a multi tool is super useful too as there’s so much you can use it for and they really get you out a fix!
What’s your favourite project when you’re renovating and what bits fill you with dread?
The paint stripping… it’s really tough – it’s quite satisfying in small doses but there are over 100 internal doors here, to give you a flavour of the volume there is to strip – all with 30 plus layers of paint on them! Yey! But then, once they’re stripped and all the prep is done, I really love the painting!
If someone is feeling dauted by taking on their own project what’s the first piece of advice you would give them?
Go to the fridge and grab a beer. Seriously – works a treat for me whenever I feel overwhelmed haha! Ultimately, if you’re willing to work hard and don’t mind being dirty, cold, tired, sore and poor all the time, it’s mega!
Are there any parts of a DIY project you would always recommend outsourcing?
Plastering… especially if you’re in a more formal house and want a good finish (a bit different if you’re in a more rustic cottage)… it’s one of those jobs that is fairly horrible to do, and unless you do loads of it, you’ll likely not be very good, take forever, make loads of mess and end up with something fairly unsatisfactory. I can do it, but hate it… and it takes me a week to do what a pro can do in a day, which isn’t sensible!
What are your top websites for info & inspiration?
Instagram is mega… that’s my go to for inspo… and then youtube/google searches when I’m looking to learn how to do stuff.
Are there places you can scrimp on a renovation project and other areas you would always recommend splashing out?
All the bathrooms in my first home, were really high quality, but all second hand… similarly most of the furniture, kitchen appliances that sort of thing.. all 2nd hand and saved tens of thousands… but I would always splurge on the kitchen… it’s so well used, and by going bespoke you get something properly made… perfect for the space, and that will basically last forever and can be repainted… meaning you get something better, that lasts much longer, is more sustainable, more beautiful, nicer to use – and proper craftsmanship never dates! They’re also cheaper than most people realise, especially if you’re savvy with appliances etc…. in my first place, I had a fully bespoke handmade kitchen, for less than the price of something mass from a high street shop!