Browsing Category


Project Garden: The Finished Garden!


Last Summer we called time on having a shabby garden. Bit by bit it had gotten away from us and turned into one of those gardens. Hands held up – I was embarrassed about the state of it (and you’ve seen inside my house, I don’t embarrass easily!). So embarrassed that I stopped asking people over to the house. You can relive the full horror here.

In the last year we have gradually reclaimed it as a space to be enjoyed not avoided and by the Summer Solstice it was looking good enough to have a barbecue with actual outsiders and everything. It may have taken us a year of work but in all reality we could have packed that into five or six weekends. Sounds simple but you know that’s not going to happen when you have children in the equation. Or lazy adults for that matter.

We all know slow and steady wins out in the end and we now have a garden to be proud of. I cannot tell you how dreamy it feels to be able to play on the grass again or how excited I feel every time I sit at the dining table – did I tell you we haven’t had an outside dining area since we moved here eight years ago?

Gone are the crumbling raised beds, the bald lawn and the numerous broken plastic toys and we’re left with a serene space. The balance beam you see was being discarded by the local school so we picked it up and brought it home. It needs a coat of paint and some marine varnish as does the bench so I still have a few jobs on my to do list!

To re-lay the lawn we roped in some family to help with rotavating the existing lawn and then allowed it to settle for a week. Mr Kat laid the turf in two sections mostly because it weighed too much to buy it all in one go! As you can see the first section of turf has taken well and is already growing long by the time the second section went down a week later. Now it has been in for a few months I can report that the grass has survived the summer well and didn’t need watering beyond the first week or so. We’ve thinned the plum tree a little to give it the best chance over the Winter in this tricky spot but so far it’s goring well across the whole garden. The rolls of turf cost around £3 each from B&Q (I did notice them on offer over the last Summer bank holiday for less) and in my opinion they have been great quality – no weeds, no dying back, all lush green grass.

I know you’re dying to see the final timelapse of the lawn being turfed (watch out for the worms and the birds in the middle). So here it is along with the reveal of the finished garden!

If you’re not seeing the video click here to view it on YouTube x


Project Garden Housewife Confidential-7

Project Garden Housewife Confidential

Project Garden Housewife Confidential-13

Isn’t it the best? I know it’s not cutting edge or likely to win any awards but when it comes to a family back yard this one is tops. So good in fact that I even invited my friends over for coffee. Thank you B&Q for helping us get our garden back and for stocking all of the best toys (because really; paint, power tools and DIY are about as good as it gets). And thank you to you guys for your advice, encouragement and for not disowning me when you saw how bad it really was. Let’s have coffee…

Project Garden Giant Pavlova Tea Party from Housewife Confidential-3

Project Garden Giant Pavlova Tea Party from Housewife Confidential-11

With thanks to B&Q for supporting Project Garden. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page. Kat xoxo

Read all of my Project Garden posts.

project garden

Project Garden: Building a Deck


Help my patio-1

This Spring we have been working on the big jobs needed to give us a garden we can use. The Winter storms blew down the fences and took our 70s wall with them. We replaced the fence posts as planned and the wall has been put to good use – see if you can spot where…

Last year you might remember that we were thinking about putting in a patio. We decided to take your advice and plan the patio well. We were in B&Q costing it and figuring out our timings when we looked across the aisle at the decking.

We just hadn’t considered it before but after a lot of research, planning and costing we decided a deck was definitely the right move for our garden. It’s more cost effective, quicker to build and less effort to take out should we need to.

B&Q, as ever, have a superb video on building a deck which I recommend you watch. We used the guidance from that video to plan our deck. We made the deck 2.4m x 3.6m, 2.4m being the length of on deck board. This gave us enough room for the expanding wooden table we bought which we love!

How to Build a Deck in One Weekend

The whole deck cost us around £200 including all of the fixtures and fittings. We bought our materials on a weekend when there was an offer on decking ahead of a bank holiday. That’s a great saving compared to a patio of the same size not to mention the difference in time to build.

There is every chance Mr Kat could have built it in a day if he had got started early and not had the children rushing around. As it was it took him a day and a half which is not bad going at all. He built it over a bank holiday weekend so by the Monday we were enjoying our first barbecue on the deck.

I can not tell you the difference having an outside dining space has made in the last couple of months. After seven and a half years in this house we really appreciate the value of creating this deck.

Housewife Confidential How to Build a Deck

Here’s a shot of the deck this morning, slightly different angle to the shot above to hide the fact that the remainder of the wall is a pile of rubble on the ground! All of our garden furniture is on the deck currently because – GRASS! Next post will be all about the return of the lawn I promise.

Here is the timelapse of deck building to show you just how simple it really is to make:

With thanks to B&Q for supporting Project Garden. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page. Kat xoxo

Read all of my Project Garden posts.

project garden

Gallery Wall Obsession

I have been planning a gallery wall for a couple of years now (you know I’m not one to rush into decisions). Every time we run Collect the Moments and we talk about using your photos I’m reminded that I have precisely four photos of the children on my walls and yes, that does mean none of them are Betsy.

Photo Gallery Pinboard

I’ve been collecting frames for a while and pinning inspiring gallery walls on Pinterest. Our house doesn’t have a large wall space you can stand back from but Xanthe’s hall of fame (totally nicking the name) really appeals. We have a large wall running from the hall to the landing which is begging to be more interesting.

I have a lot of photos from my childhood which deserve some wall space and I’ll reflect the mix of colour and black and white in our family photos too.

I’m going to incorporate some art amongst the photos. We have several prints which haven’t been hung since we moved to this house so I will be mixing them in along with some new prints – perfect excuse to bring new art into the home.

I have been looking at the prints over at Minted for a while and I love the mix of artists they have. I am very lucky that in the middle of all of this planning they got in touch with me to ask if I would like to try their service (would I ever!) so I have a little extra budget towards buying my prints.

Minted Limited Edition Art Prints as seen on Housewife Confidential

I do love to basket dance and the range of Minted limited edition art prints has so many awesome prints that I’m a little spoiled for choice. These are a few of my favourites, which do you think will fit in with family photos?

What I really love about Minted is how they have indie artists front and centre. Artists are credited for their work and earn commission on every design sold. Designers can so often be anonymous in retail so this is the kind of business model I love.

Luckily for me you can order prints in different sizes to suit your space and pre-framed which I will be taking full advantage of.

I will keep you posted with my (glacial speed) progress. I am really looking forward to having more photos and art around the house.

Minted Limited Edition Art Prints - great for adding interest to your walls

Should You Buy the Dyson DC35?

This article is a review of the Dyson DC35 Digital Slim which was sent to me by Argos. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page. Kat xoxo

Dyson v Life - an alternative video review from Housewife Confidential

When Argos got in touch with me to ask if I’d like to review an appliance I already knew what I wanted – the Dyson DC35 Digital Slim had been on my lust list for quite some time and I wasn’t about to miss this opportunity.

I first saw the cordless vacuum cleaner at my friend’s house. She casually plucked it from the wall, ran it over the mess our children had left after lunch and my mouth was hanging open. Dyson’s designers seem to have come up with the perfect model for busy family life and I was an instant fan.

Now, ordinarily when it comes to writing about appliances I’m hardly an enthusiast – aside from the KitchenAid (the best ever – current lust) I prefer my technology to have an internet connection or shutter. But I genuinely think the DC35 is near perfect – so much so that I’ve spent the last couple of months making clips of it in use for an alternative review video.


Here’s what you need to know:

  • It clips to the wall – it is brilliant having an actual place for a cordless vacuum, they are so often allowed to go flat if left languishing in the bottom of a boot cupboard for their inconvenience.
  • It automatically plugs in – not only does it clip to the wall but it actually connects to the plug at the same time. You can see this in action in my video below.
  • It is a strong sucker – I’ve managed to vacuum everything I have pointed it at successfully.
  • The motorised head – it’s brilliant, perfect for powering through daily messes and the odd pile of spilled flour. The joint at the bottom has great flexibility making changing direction a breeze.
  • It has good battery usage – the battery lasts for up to 15 minutes, around 8 if you’re using the motorised head and max power button. The battery doesn’t flag as it runs down but continues to give full power until it runs out.
  • Max Power – it has a boost button for when you need that little bit more welly.
  • It has a long nose – The long wand (as they want to call it) makes it incredibly versatile with no tedious bending or dragging the big hoover around to blitz the cobwebs.
  • It is really light – this is fantastic if you’re weakling like me, getting it out isn’t accompanied by a bunch of back pain afterwards.
  • It’s fun – I defy you to have a go with one and not enjoy yourself. Seriously.

Some of the things which I’m not so keen on:

  • Energy Usage – as it’s plugged in permanently there is a temptation to leave the plug on. Not great for saving energy.
  • Emptying  – while it pops open a treat it often needs a little help to ditch its contents.
  • Stereotypes – the product images solely featured women. Sort it out Dyson! I only included myself in the video for gender balance, it’s Mr Kat who really wields the vacuum around here.

You know me well enough by now, housework is not my thing. I’m not going to get worked up about doing chores and I don’t think I have used our upright vacuum in the two years we’ve had it. The Dyson DC35 is totally my new BFF; I’m no longer moaning about having to sweep up after the children or battling into the spider-filled cupboard. I just grab it and buzz around after the children quickly.

And that has to be the biggest test doesn’t it? Keeping the avalanche of detritus from family life at bay. Despite having a cleaner our house is a constant mess so it couldn’t be a better place to really put a vacuum cleaner through its paces.

Can the Dyson handle muddy boots? Reach the cobwebs behind my fridge? Will it last against a car which hasn’t been cleaned in a year? Find out who comes out on top in Dyson Vs Life*…

If you’re reading via email or reader either click through to the main post or watch via YouTube.

The Dyson DC35 Digital Slim lived up to my hopes. It’s light, convenient and powerful. It’s a joy to use and I totally think it justifies the £220-30 price tag. I can’t tell you how long it will last but if it’s anything like our first Dyson it’s cost-per-use will be great value. Sure, it’s not even their newest model (imagine what they have come up with since!) but it’s a life-saver when living with messy people.

*I know there will be some who ask so the on-vacuum shots were all filmed with an iPhone 4S or 5 attached with a GorillaPod. The shots off vacuum are mostly my Canon 5D Mark II.