A Fan of the Man and Van

Some of you will know this and others won’t. Some of you might be shocked and appalled, others more open-minded. Yes folks, I’m a non-driver. You’d be surprised how many people see this as some sort of flaw however I don’t want to drive, don’t need to drive and to date not being able to drive has never stopped me doing anything I’ve wanted to.

I have taken driving lesson you know. I thought I’d give it a go after Kieran was born (you don’t know if you don’t try it) and while I wasn’t a bad driver it confirmed what I’d long since suspected; there are enough idiots on the road and the world doesn’t need another one and so there ended lesson and any inclination towards learning to drive in the future.

I am the queen of public transport, walk miles every week and Roy drives so we still enjoy days out and family visits etc all over without me having to have a car of my own. I have the bulk of my food shopping delivered via a  home delivery service (which actually saves me a small fortune in impulse buys!) and for those larger jobs when Roy’s car isn’t big enough we use a Man and Van service.

I really can’t say how fabulous a man and a van service can be, especially when you live in the middle of nowhere and like buying furniture on Ebay that needs collecting from the back end of beyond. We have a truly beautiful extending table and chairs that I bought from Ebay last year which we all adore. There was NO way that it would have fit in our car, especially with the six antique chairs. Repeat journeys would have cost an absolute fortune, not to mention taken up the majority of a day and so our man and a van fella picked up, delivered and all was well with the world and in particular my dining room.

Being able to use the service like this has saved me a fortune when you consider how much a “new” antique table etc costs. Besides, I like hunting out pieces with a story and a bit of history and character to them.

When we moved a few years ago, a local-ish move we once again used our trusted local man and a van service. They were excellent, professional, insured and moved everything quickly and efficiently (and took their boots off every single time they came into my new house with new cream carpets). The move also cost a fraction of the cost that a “professional” or specialist removal service would have done. I do like a bargain me and this combined with the flexible approach is why I use a service like this time and again without thinking twice.

Have you ever used a man and van service such as Britannia Man And Van London? When this often works out the cheaper option without compromising on quality, care or important factors such as insurance I don’t see the need to look elsewhere. With being able to enjoy a personalised quote based on how many hours you need their services for, the distance you need for them to go as well as having the man power they offer for hefting things around for you has always worked out a better (and more affordable) option than renting a van for the whole day which is often the only option the rental companies offer.

What I would say if you are considering the man and van option is like anything to check out recommendations, get a proper quote and ensure that there is insurance and what not in place. There are some fabulous man and van options however as with everything there are always those who perhaps aren’t as professional as companies like Britannia Man & Van or my local fella so do your homework.

Have you every used a man and van service? What did you think? Did you find it as flexible and as affordable as we do? I’d love to hear.



What is Shabby Chic?

I love all things vintage, this is no surprise given the items I’ve regularly posted on the blog and across social media (my recent Singer sewing machine find being a good example – I do love this machine!). While many items in my house are vintage or vintage-styled some of the items in my home also fall under the shabby chic category. I’ve realised however that shabby chic is now a blanket word for a whole range of styles.

There are shabby chic items which are very rustic in nature such as French-style wire chicken baskets blackboards and white painted egg boxes. These always seem to come under shabby chic. There are shabby chic materials such as printed cloth which is used for clothing, tablecloths and even bags which claims to be shabby chic and a popular theme at the moment seems to be sprays of roses.

I’ve seen checked / gingham kitchen items such as tablecloths, tea towels and even jam jar lids described as shabby chic too (I think these are more kitsch than shabby). There are shabby chic writing styles now (really).

I’m not convinced. To be shabby chic usually is connected to furniture and is specifically “shabby”. There are certain paint effects that look old and rubbed down which I feel represent shabby chicness and yet the interiors market is flooded with “shabby chic” items which really don’t encompass what the style truly is about.

According to Wikipedia shabby chic is:
A form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style decor, often with an affected feel is emphasised to differentiate it from genuine period décor”.

This is spot on (as Wikipedia usually is) and for me encompasses what shabby chic truly is. Why the confusion then? Have people lost the meaning of shabby chic? Has it become such a commonly bandied about term that we’ve forgotten when it actually means or have companies and individuals abused the term in order to increase sales? Often if you add the term shabby chic to any item you are able to charge a little more, just as you can when you add maternity, business or any popular word or term.

What do you feel shabby chic is? There are some fabulous shabby chic examples around the internet from authentic vintage and basically old and worn pieces which definitely fall under the category as well as a number of strong shabby chic styled pieces of furniture or home accessories. I’m just not convinced that it should be used as such a blanket term as many seem to be confused about what shabby chic actually is.

Question?Photo credit