Room for Improvement

When a lovely gent working on behalf of Moneysupermarket waved £50 in front of me and asked if I fancied taking part in the Room for Improvement campaign I was unlikely to say no. You can find more details about this fab idea here however in a nutshell a select few were asked to titivate an area, redo a room or perhaps renovate a piece of furniture with just £50. The focus of the project was to show what you can actually achieve on a budget.

With £50 at my disposal my first thought was to do something for the boys, or Roy or the kitchen perhaps however it was my the long suffering husband who put his foot down and said I was to use it for something just for me for a change. With this in mind I decided to breathe some new life into my office.

I work as a freelance writer from home and seem to spend a ridiculous amount of time at my desk which as it happens is the one area of the house that has never been paid a lot of attention, until now.


 Workspace before

And after….

desk after

Small changes have made a heck of a difference!

My first purchase was for £20 and is this fabulous solid (and actually very comfortable) desk chair:

£20 chair

I adore the idea of having an older piece of furniture with a bit of history to it in my home.

Next up was Rymans where I found this faux leather desk tidy. It is bigger than it looks and has helped to clear up space on the desk.

Desk tidy

Off to Wilkinsons where I found these fabulous frames which I’ve filled with writer-related and motivational quotes, all of which make me smile!

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To the right of the desk you’ll see my water glass and carafe (Jamie Oliver) which is made from recycled jam jars. These cost me £0 as I used some Kenco coffee reward points to treat myself.

Kenco reward

Flowers are a must and this jar used to have rice in it but has now been repurposed. The lovely flowers were given to me by a lovely friend.

After all of this I had £6.01 left so bought a memo block, hardback notebook and this extremely used “Things to do” pad from Wilkinsons once again.

 Wilko stationery


This left me with 3p which I have put into my shrapnel jar; pennies make pounds you know! Am I pleased with the transformation? Thrilled would be a better description and I’m glad Roy convinced me that I wanted to do something just for me. With a bit of shopping around and re-using I think I’ve created a much more practical, motivating and quite frankly gorgeous work space for myself.
What do you think?

Whenever I take on a project like this I always set a strict budget because firstly it keeps the spending under control and secondly, I feel it gets the imagination going!

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*I was provided with £50 to take part in this challenge – thanks Moneysupermarket!

Value My Stuff

Did anyone else thoroughly enjoy watching the Antiques Roadshow and try to guess how much each item was worth before the expert let on? I haven’t watched it in years although will now that I’ve been reminded of it look it up once more. What a rush it must be to find that something in your possession might be worth a pretty penny.

(Highest valued item to date on Antiques Roadshow – and Northern in nature too!)

I can’t boast that I have anything of any real worth amongst my vintage finds (although I did pick up recently a perfectly kept Singer sewing machine in its case for a mere £5 and am sure I could, if I ever decided I could bear to be parted from it make a few extra pounds on top of it. I do regularly hit the car boot sales, fairs, charity shops and even the Facebook buy / sell pages looking for items of interest for our home.

When looking for items like these it is often easy to overlook the real worth of a piece of china or an ornament and you have to wonder if people have bargain buys sat around their garage ready to go to the car boot sale that really are worth substantially more than they know.

Carting your charity shop bags after each declutter to the Antiques Roadshow is hardly practical however if you feel you might have an item that you feel could be worth some real money there is a very easy way to check which is considerably cheaper.

Finding a service that offers Antiques Valuations has not be easy as there has been nowhere local that offers it without a hefty fee which I’m not going to pay unless I have a decent idea that an item is worth a substantial amount (not that I have yet found anything that would fit this criteria but you have to keep trying!).  Value My Stuff is a website that does the hard work for you. For my friends who are into charity shop hunting and scouring the countryside for vintage or antique shabby  chic items this site might be of use to you.

How it works is very simple. You upload picture of your item or items, send and within forty eight hours will receive an email from one the site’s expert Antique Valuers telling you what your item is worth. It really is as simple as that and valuations cost as little as £5.99. There are additional post-evaluation tools available too such as a html badge you may use to upload to Ebay etc if you are choosing to sell your item which shows how much it is worth and that this has been verified.

I haven’t had the chance to have a valuation done myself however I might well be using the site soon as I’ll be back on the car boot and vintage fair trail as soon as the weather picks up a little! In the meantime hopefully this is something that is useful to some of you.

Value My Stuff

*Consideration was received for writing this post

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