Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Monday, January 13, 2020

Kitchen renovation on a budget

iris the cat in the kitchen of Mandy Charlton's home, photographer, blogger, kitchen renovation on a budget
My kitchen as it is currently

I've always been really self-conscious about my home, I was told over and over that it wasn't good enough or that it was smelly or dirty or what on earth did I think I was doing, or even that people would report me for the state of my home.  It affected my mental health so badly that for a period of 7 years I wouldn't let anyone visit at all.  The more it's reinforced by narcissists who believe you are always failing to be what they want you to be, the more you start to believe it.  I remember a friend coming over on the night my marriage broke down and I wouldn't even let her in the house and sat in the garden!  I started to travel a lot, always running away from my home, never wanting to be there and dreading my return because I was so uncomfortable in my own space.

I'm not sure what the change was but it definitely had something to do with Harriet who would come over whether you wanted her to or not, I also started to get friends and visited their houses and realised that most people don't live in palaces whilst I was Stig of the dump but rather that I had a pretty normal house in the big scheme of things.  If I went back at told my old self that I would be sharing photos of my home on my blog or my Instagram I would have laughed at myself.  Here I am though, sharing the story of my home renovations and photos of my favourite corners of my home on Instagram.

I have come to understand that I am something of a boho maximalist in interior design.  I like things, I like unmatched things, I love colour and patterns which don't necessarily go together in practice but actually all end up looking okay as a collection in my home.

Now I want to keep this real and say that no one is looking at my home and thinking it's some kind of aspirational dream, I spend hours pouring over some beautiful homes and interiors on Instagram and Pinterest but I know they're as far away from what I want as I can imagine.  Grey is the trend currently and I love grey, having the courage to have your entire house in shades of grey a la Mrs Hinch, is something I aspire to but something I also know just isn't me because I love colour too much.  I'm also a single mum on a tight budget, self-employed single parenting does not make great fortunes as yet but even if it did, I love the fun of thrifted items, of charity shops and of quirky handmade markets. I am a bargain hunter and I'm never happier than when I'm standing in Homesense surrounded by the colours and quirky objects that make a house a home.

I'm actually quite happy to let people into my home now though it's far from finished and I have a lady called Lisa who helps around the house on Tuesdays who I love dearly and she's become a friend as well as someone who has saved me from myself on more than one occasion.

My house right now is a work in progress, nothing is really finished, everything is in a state of flux, my downstairs loo was nearly done and then someone knocked the washbasin off the wall and when that was repaired the tiles were removed and I've still not worked out how to put them back on.
My magical garden over the festive period

Last year though, I started making big changes, I transformed my garden from being your average tiny Yarden into something which I think is really special (although at the moment it's more of a wintery dead mess).  The project ended up looking exactly the same in real life as it did in my head and so that's given me the confidence to start making some really big changes.

The colours I've chosen for my kitchen

Next Monday I am having the kitchen completely revamped, I couldn't afford a new kitchen but then I found a guy on Facebook who does vinyl kitchen wraps, now I could have had the entire room wrapped in grey but as I've already said, I love colour so I'm having it wrapped in Yellow, Blue and Pink and I cannot wait, the benches are staying but will be wrapped at a later date with an off white with a slight sparkle and I also want to change the lighting and the taps on the sink, I need help with those things and a bit more of a January budget so I've decided to go for it this year and try and shoot 30 weddings, I shot just over 20 last year and did a bloody good job so I'm hoping all of that leads to an increase in bookings and going by January so far, it certainly seems that way.  (Hurray!).

The very rough draft of how the kitchen cabinets will look after they've been wrapped.

I'm also installing a fake living wall at one end of the kitchen and then I have a big blank wall to fill, haven't decided on what colour that's going to be or what kind of wall covering but I am excited and hopefully it'll be distinctly different by the time I throw my birthday party on the first of February.  If there's one thing I know about my friends is that no one ever makes it upstairs because you will always find them in the kitchen at parties 🥳 

Saturday, January 04, 2020

How to beat the January Blues Forever

How to beat the january blues forever, new year 2020, mandy charlton, photographer, blogger
At some point during the festive season, it's not unknown to wake up with a sudden feeling of anxiety or just feeling out of sorts, blue or weepy. January is like the evil twin of Christmas, it's the antithesis to joy, it's the return to routine, the return to boring food, messages in the media that we're not enough and failed resolutions. Here's the thing though, maybe it's Christmas which has a dark side, we're convinced we should eat all of the wrong foods, we're lulled into thinking it's better to be indoors for days at a time and even worse, sometimes with the most toxic people you've ever known (aka family).
I'm trying to love January more, I'm resetting my body today with some chicken, brown rice and green vegetables, it will taste healthy and I will curse the fact I'm not eating cake approximately 23 times but I made a promise to myself and to my liver consultant that I would lose at least 10% of my body weight before I see her again at the end of March, It's probably going to be a big ask to have gotten that far but I'm willing to give it a try. A few friends are joining me on the "Grumpy Girl's Lifestyle". We called it that because we'll be super grumpy if anyone asks if we're on a diet when we're actually just on a quest to change our lives and maybe you can join in too?
The concept is simple, get outdoors more, up your exercise, we're not talking Mo Farrah type marathons just moving a bit more. When it comes to food, something I struggle with because I love carbs and cake, it's just about cutting down a little, especially on cake and carbs, I've done it before and I know I have the power to do it again. I'm not going mad though, I'm not going on any crazy cleanse plans or doing sugar-free (which worked but wasn't at all sustainable on the long term). I'm just having a word with myself and generally trying to be a little more restrained than my festive self when we all say "Ah, sod it, it's Christmas" (for at least 3 months in my case).
Routine isn't a bad thing either, I go back to work on Tuesday and although my office isn't actually that far away from my bed I am making it my own personal resolution to get dressed every day, preferably before lunch as I'll be honest, Holly Bobbins also prefers an earlier morning walk before she gets down to the serious business of snoozing, beagle style. My mental health and anxiety can generally be at it's worst over the winter with the lack of light and the quietness of my photography business but I've decided that this year I'll enjoy the slower pace of life and I shall try to get outdoors as often as possible as being out in nature, once I actually force myself out of the cosy warmth of my house, is actually really good for me and more importantly for my mind. When I went into the festive season this year I was dreading it, I thought I would crash, burn and have an awful time but for some reason, I really enjoyed all that entailed and even had my best New Years Eve I can ever remember and my first without any alcohol at all, in the past, I've tried to endure alcohol but given that it feels like poison the moment I have 1 sip, this year I probably had 1 bottle of Champagne across the whole of the festive season and I'm happy with that, I am happy being a non-drinker! Whatever plans you have this year or however blue you're feeling right now try to remember that routine isn't a bad thing, the good foods are actually the bad foods in disguise and more than anything else, that you are good enough, you are always good enough, even if you don't believe that you are. Here's to 2020 and just being the same but better!
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