Thursday, 30 March 2017

Dreaming of Pleather Jackets

I wear pleather jackets with just about everything, so I love that they are having such a moment right now. There are so many different faux leather jackets out there right now, I love that we have so many options for them in plus size fashion. Seeing a trend come over into plus makes me so happy, I just had to share some of my favourites. A good biker jacket can last for years (yes, even a pleather one!), and be worn all year round as a great investment.

This New Look jacket is a classic biker style dream. This yellow colour is amazing, but if yellow isn't your thing, they also sell it in red and green, and a similar but slightly more expensive silver version that is totally lush too! I love biker jackets and I feel like this is my Pokemon jacket. I want to collect them all!

Pins are such a hot trend right now, and if you don't want to customise your own jacket this is a cute way of following the trend without the DIY effort. Pins generally start at £5 a pop at a minimum, so this is also probably a cheaper way to do it.

Embroidery is another trend that I am absolutely loving right now, and an embroidered faux leather jacket is the perfect mix of feminine and rock and roll. The way that the embroidery is placed on this is lovely too, I tend to wear biker jackets undone and the detailing on the lapels is just begging to be worn open.

Painted jackets can cost a small fortune, I've always wanted a custom painted jacket but this is a way more affordable option. The roses are a classic for a reason and the style has a hand painted look to the writing.

Alice & You are quickly becoming a new favourite brand for me, and this jacket covered in patches is a great example of why! It is the priciest jacket I'm featuring, but it is much more detailed than a lot of the others on this list. This is a bit more 'funky' than a flowery embroidered jacket, perfect for someone who loves tattoos.

For an instant classic, this jacket from Navabi is a bargain at £38.99. This feels much more chic and high fashion that most of the other faux leather jackets because it doesn't have the collar. It creates a totally different silhouette to most biker jackets and Zizzi as a brand are always fantastic quality.

New Look have really killed it with these biker jackets, and this one is a real star. It has a more worn look than the others which appeals to me a lot. It's not often you see a faux leather jacket that is a bit bulkier and worn looking so this is a treat.

I have 3 faux leather jackets, and might just have to add a couple more to my wardrobe this spring.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Curly Girl Method

I've always dreamed of my waves being ringlets and getting amazing curls all over my head, but always thought my hair just wasn't that curly. My Mum's hair is stunning ringlets and I had such hair envy, so when I saw Curvy Wordy mention the 'Curly Girl Method' I was intrigued. Her hair is absolute goals, so maybe mine hair would like this method too! I did a bit of reading about it but it was when I found the Facebook group 'Curly Girls! Conditioner only washing' that I really got to grips with understanding what it entailed. I highly recommend joining the group and reading all their files for way more info than I could possibly share in one blog post.

This is my 'before' hair on a good day. It has some texture to it, and some waves, but no real curls. Every now and then I'd get the odd ringlet and be hopeful for more, but this is a photo from a pretty standard good hair day for me.

The first step of going CG is the prep. You'll want a good shampoo for your final wash, and a CG friendly conditioner, and a CG friendly gel. The general aim is to avoid all sulphates, silicones, drying alcohols and various other 'bad' ingredients. Your final wash is the last time you'll use shampoo on your hair, and the aim is to remove all the silicones from your hair using a sulphate shampoo. A baby shampoo will work a treat, or even a diluted washing up liquid. You'll want to really scrub and cover your hair to try and get rid of all the silicone build up you have.

Then, it's time for your first co-wash. Co-washing is short for conditioner only washing. Instead of using a shampoo, you use just a conditioner to clean and condition your hair. You'll get through a lot of conditioner! My personal method is to put a big glob of conditioner in one hand, and use my other hand to really scrub it into my scalp, starting at the front of my hair and working back, making sure to also get all round my ears and fully scrub my whole scalp. I spend about 15-20 minutes doing this to make sure my scalp is really clean. Once I've done that I give my hair a really good rinse out whilst finger combing through my hair to get rid of any knots. Then it's time for the second condition, this time I do the 'squish to condish' method. I take conditioner and I scrunch it into my hair from the ends up, leaving my roots till last. I tend to leave this on my hair while I do everything else someone might need to do in the shower, and once I'm done, I dunk my head under the shower, but do not fully rinse my hair out. The aim is to leave a milky dewy sort of look to my hair so that the conditioner is left in. Then I wrap my hair in a microfiber towel and leave it to take the bulk of the moisture out.

When it comes to picking your conditioner, different products work differently for different hair types. They key thing is that you need to avoid certain ingredients. These tend to end in -cone, sulphate, certain waxes and oils and drying alcohols. This Wikihow has an extensive list for you,  it can be tricky to find good products but don't worry that you'll end up using super expensive products, there are own brand Superdrug, Sainsburys, Aldi and Tesco products that are CG friendly for example! I'm not going to recommend specific products in this blog because unfortunately products are reformulated so often that they might be CG friendly as I type this, but in a week's time they might not be. The CG Facebook group I recommend are always happy to help you determine if something is CG friendly, and they have a list of approved products too.

Once my hair has been in the towel for a little while, I then add gel to my whole hair. I worried at first that this would weigh my hair down but it doesn't. I apply the gel using scrunching motions and make sure all my hair has some gel in it. Then it's time for to 'plop'. A plop is the term for a way to let your hair dry and get volume in the roots without crushing your curls like a towel wrapped around your hair might. The YouTube video below shows how best to do it, and you'll need a 100% cotton t-shirt to avoid creating frizz in your wet hair. I bought a long sleeved men's t shirt from Tesco for this, super cheap and works a treat!

I tend to sleep in my plop overnight because I usually wash my hair at night, in the morning it's not 100% dry, so I then use a diffuser on a hairdryer on the cool setting only. No heat! Heat is bad for your hair. This usually leaves a crunchy look to your hair that is called a 'cast'. Once your hair is totally dry you can then 'SOTC', or scrunch out the crunch. A micofibre towel or cotton t shirt is fine to use for this, and you'll be amazing at how different your hair looks after!

This is my hair after my second ever co-wash and my first successful cast. Look how ringlety my hair is! The difference is amazing. I never knew my curls could be this defined and well.... curly! I'm easily getting 3 days out of my curls without having to wash them. In the mornings I refresh my hair using a spray bottle I've filled with water and a good blob of conditioner and then diffuse to dry. Super easy and quick for those mornings I'm in a rush!

One of the other things I do to protect my curls is sleep on a satin pillow, as a satin or silk pillow will create less frizz, and I sleep in a 'pineapple'. To make a pineapple, flip your hair upside down and pile your hair into a pony tail right at the top of your head and put it in a very loose bobble or scrunchie. I've been using a bandana so far as I don't actually have much hair, but I need to invest in a scrunchie! It helps keep all the volume in my hair and means I'm not squishing my curls. Other key things to note are that to really optimise your hair, you need to avoid all heat on your hair, and not brush or comb your hair. Finger comb only when you are washing your hair with conditioner to avoid breakages. Microfibre towels are much better for your curls than regular towels and can be bought from most sporting shops or online easily.

I'm so excited to see how my curls improve over time, most people experience a transition stage for 4-8 weeks and I've been pretty lucky in my opinion, but I need to work on less frizz at my roots and being less afraid of using gel in my hair. All your products need to be CG friendly, from any mousse you might want to use to hairsprays etc. While I use gel currently, there are CG friendly mousses people use instead, but as gel is so cheap I'm sticking with that right now as it seems to be working well for me!

If you've got any questions do feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer them, but I highly recommend the CG Facebook group, everyone is friendly and helpful and there is all the info you could ever need in it. This is a method that women of colour have been using for a long time to look after their hair that was introduced to the masses via various books. I think it's important to acknowledge that this method of hair care has it's roots in Afro hair care, and comes from women of colour.

Much love,
Kitty xxx

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Things I Love About Being Tall

Last week I shared 6 things that suck about being tall, so this week it seems only right that I share 6 things I love about being tall!

1) Being able to reach the high shelves.

We just had a new kitchen fitted and we had the shelves made higher than a standard kitchen cupboard to give us extra storage space, and I'm the only one who can reach everything we store on those high shelves. It's given us extra storage space which is really handy, something we couldn't have done if I was shorter.

2) I have a built in good view at gigs.

Even at venues that don't have a sloped floor, I can pretty much guarantee that I'm going to be able to see what happens, even in flats. It means I can let my shorter friends stand in front of me when we head to the barrier at the front so I can make sure they can see, and also still know I can see!

3) Being the big spoon is pretty awesome. 

Typically in hetero relationships it's expected that the guy is taller than the girl. I however am taller than Stu (who is wearing heeled cowboy boots in this photo for reference). This tends to mean at night when we snuggle up, I'm the big spoon. And I have to say, it's pretty awesome. It's warm and cosy, but I also feel kinda powerful and protective and I love that feeling. There's nothing wrong with being taller than your husband!

4) Men are intimidated by my height.

My height has given me certain advantages in life, and one of them is that men can have a tendency to find me intimidating and don't find me approachable. I've been lucky to avoid a lot of harassment because of this! When I stand up tall, especially if I have heels on, and look down at men, they tend to not hassle me so much. I know it's a kinda petty one to celebrate, but hey, being taller than a lot of men and making them feel small when they try to intimidate me. Not today!

5) I'm easy to spot in a crowded room.

Even without the pink hair, which is currently all washed out because I'm lazy and haven't redyed it lately, I'm easy to spot in a room. At 6 inches taller than the average woman, and taller than the average man, I'm usually a pretty good target to look for in a crowded room. It also means it's easy for me to find whoever I'm looking for in a busy place because I can see over so many heads too! I have social anxiety so I like this one a lot. I tend not to panic too badly about having to leave my group when I know I can usually pick them out of a crowd easily.

6) I give awesome hugs.

This one is probably my favourite. When someone I care about is sad, I give the best hugs. I'm taller than most of my family, so when I wrap my arms around you to look after you they truly do envelope you. You can lean your head on my chest and feel safe and small and secure and I will protect you in that hug. I'm soft and squishy, and a small giant, a hug from me is something special. Sometimes you just need a good hug, and I am your gal.

Are you tall or petite? What are your favourite things about your height?

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Colourpop Pressed Eyeshadows

I love Colourpop's super shock eyeshadows, so when they announced they were releasing pressed eyeshadows I had to order some. They sell them in individual pans and you can make your own palettes.

The palettes are classic Colourpop packaging. White with silver stars and font. They feel nice and sturdy in your hands and can be wiped clean if needed. It has a window so you can see the eye shadows inside without needing to open the actual palette which is really handy.

The inside of the palette is metallic, it has a silver base with room for 4 eye shadow pans.

The top of the palette is metallic purple with silver, the 'made you look' is a really cute touch! There isn't a mirror in the top of the palette which I would have liked, but because it's a make your own palette you need the space the mirror would normally be in for the window so you can see what is inside. 

The eye shadows are sold individually, and come in cardboard slips, and inside they are safely contained in plastic wallets that totally cover the eye shadow. 

Each eye shadow is inside a small metal pan which fits easily into the base of the palette. The base of the palette is magnetic so once the pan is inside the palette it is totally secure. They are easy to remove if you want to change the shadows, I used a kirby grip to just pop the shadow back out. The shadows have their name on the bottom of the pans, so you can know which one you are using.

Most beauty rules will tell you that if you have green eyes you shouldn't wear green eye shadow, however I absolutely adore the combination so screw the rules.

Left to right this is Team Captain, Checkmate, Sideline and Changer.

Left to right - Play by Play, Up and Up, Backseat and Goody Two-Shoes. This palette is a bit more of a random mix of colours but I couldn't resist. 

I love the idea of making my own mini palettes. Often palettes contain colours I won't use which seems a bit of a waste, but this way I know I'll use all the colours. The pans are $5 each, and when I bought these if you bought 4 pans you got a free palette to put them in too. You can get pre-made palettes that are $18 each but none have been my sort of colours so far. They are fairly inexpensive, so even with customs fees to get them into the UK I'm still happy to pay for them.

I'm excited to see what colours they do next!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Pin Haul!

It's been a while since I shared any of my recent enamel pin purchases, mostly because I'm saving them for my denim waistcoat that will make more appearances in the summer, but I figured as I've not shared the last few on Instagram I'd post about them here instead!

These first two pins are both from Finest Imaginary. I absolutely adore cacti and succulents, so when I saw these pins I had to have them. The bottom one with the terrarium was bought on sale as a 'second' but I honestly can't figure out what is apparently wrong with it! Finest Imaginary have seriously adorable pins that I want to add to my collection!

All 3 of these pins are from Pin Club, which is a monthly subscription of a surprise pin! I love not knowing what I'm getting each month and they've all been stellar so far. The pins are usually part of a collaboration with indy artists which is something I really love. This Amour pin was designed by Joanna Behar, it was the February Valentine's Day pin.

This is March's pin and I bloody love it! Anything mermaidy is always good, and this was designed by the kick ass Shop Sassquatch. They are a US pin designer so this is a great way to get one of their pins without paying for shipping from the US and customs fees.

And finally, the Pin Club from January is this adorable sassy 90's throwback by Elleinadart. The blue hair, the freckles, this is so so cute. One of the really great things about Pin Club is that when a pin is on the larger side, or an awkward shape, they put an additional pin on the back so that it doesn't rotate or droop when you wear it. I have so many cute pins that end up upside down so that they do this is awesome.

Where are your favourite places to buy pins from? I'm always looking for new ones!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Things That Suck About Being Tall

Now first, a disclaimer, I'm 5ft 11. I'm not exactly a giantess, but I am pretty tall by societies standards. According to this article on the BBC the average woman is 5ft 5 in the UK, and the average man is 5ft 10. So I'm a full 6 inches taller than the average woman, and am taller than most men. I certainly don't claim to be the tallest out there, but I'm tall enough that it can be a bit of a pain in the arse. So here are some of the things that can suck about being tall!

1) No clothing is ever long enough. 

This dress is about the shortest is could be on me without me getting arrested for public indecency. On the model on the website it looked a reasonable length... once it arrived not so much. I always check the height of models when websites list them in the hopes that it gives me an idea of how long something will be. I swear some websites just list every model as 5ft 9 regardless of how tall they are, which is not actually helpful. Sleeves are never long enough, the waists on dresses sit under my bust rather than anywhere near my waist, and finding jeans that cover my ankles is just hilarious at this point.

2) My hair seems to take forever to grow.

Here me out on this one. If you are 5ft 2, your hair doesn't have as far to grow before it reaches your bra strap, and therefore mermaid length hair, as my hair does. I used to think my hair grew reeeeeeally slowly, till I realised that I was comparing it to my friends who are anything up to a full foot shorter than me. Of course their hair looks longer than mine does, it's not got as far to grow!

3) Being tall has meant having giant feet.

I suppose if I had size 6 feet I'd be even clumsier than I am now. My feet just had to be a UK size 10 so that I don't fall over constantly. However this also makes shoe shopping a total nightmare. Thankfully these days options are growing, but I spent years wearing unisex/men's shoes and not being able to get cute shoes. And I'm lucky to have size 10 feet, I know women with size 12 feet, and how hard it must be to find feminine footwear! I often share my top picks for size 9+ plus shoes on She Might Be, so keep an eye out for more wishlist posts over there.

4) When you wear heels, people think you are being obnoxious.

 I love high heels, platforms in particular, but some people really see it as a personal affront to them when someone who is already tall wears heels. I dated a guy who banned me from wearing heels because he found it insulting to his masculinity! How utterly ridiculous. I've had complete strangers ask me how I can dare to wear heels when I'm already so tall, why would I need to? Um, mostly I wear them because I think they are cute and it's as simple as that. When I split up with the guy that hated me wearing them you best believe I wore heels any time I might have to see him just to be petty. There is no height limit on wearing heels, and a tall person's choice to wear heels isn't something you should take personally.

5) Strangers feel they can pass comment on your height in a negative way.

I know I'm not the only tall person out there who has had strangers make inappropriate comments about their height. A dear friend of mine is taller than me, and when we've been out together people have made transphobic comments towards us, assuming we are both trans women. I'm not offended by someone assuming that I am transgender, but I am insulted by someone who makes vile comments about this as they believe it is a negative thing. People translate my height to being unfeminine, and think it makes me masculine. It's not a bad thing to be feminine or masculine, but it is bad to assign those assumptions to something as daft as height, which is something I have literally no control over. I've heard people discuss how weird or gross it is that I'm tall, I've overheard people laughing at me for being taller than my husband. News flash, he doesn't give a shit and you shouldn't either. If I wear heels to the pub, I know I am going to get at least one comment from someone about my height, that's how often it happens.

6) Sometimes I'm too tall for places.

Let's pretend this is my 'ow I hit my head pose'.

Where I work, there is a section of the office that has a clearance space between the floor and the ceiling that is about 5ft 10. So if I need to go in here, I stoop. Realistically, I am too tall for my car. My head touches the roof of the car at all times. I once looked at buying a classic VW Beetle, and was horrified to discover that my dreams were dashed because I was too tall to get my legs under the steering wheel to even try to test drive it. I would have had to have taken the back seats out of the car, and put the driver's seat on the back seat rails to drive that car. No more dreams of a classic VW for me. When I bought my first car I wanted something small, and therefore easy to park. My height made this surprisingly difficult because my legs were too long to drive a lot of models of small car! There are door frames that need ducking under, no leg room on any kind of public transport ever, and the amount of times I've hit my head on the lights in my Grandparent's house is unreal. And I'm not even 6ft tall. 

Of course, there are also advantages of being tall, but I'll save those for another time!

Are you tall? Or maybe you're really petite? What sucks about your height?

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Colourpop Blues Baby Liquid Lipsticks

I love a good liquid lipstick, and in my opinion, Colourpop's are the best. They totally beat out some of the higher end ones and are much more reasonably priced than a lot of the really popular ones. Whenever they bring out new value sets I always have to have a look and see what colour ranges they cover, and when I saw Blues Baby, I knew I had to have it.

A mix of red and brown tones, all deep and autumnal, which is so my sort of lip colour, all year round!

They come in a relatively flimsy cardboard pack. They tend to arrive a little bit bashed up, with cardboard you can't really expect them to survive the trip across the Atlantic in immaculate condition. Once I'd photographed these, I threw out the outer packaging, it's not designed to keep your lipsticks in long term, I'm fairly sure it would fall apart if I put it in the vortex that is my handbag for more than a day or so.

Top to bottom these are - 

Notion, Avenue, Play Date, Smitten and Minx. These come in limited edition black matte packaging, I like the matte tubes but they seem to attract dirt and dust as soon as they are out of their outer packaging. 

The doe foot applicator is nice and soft, and the wand is a good length. It's not too thick so you can be precise with your application.

As above, this is Notion, Avenue, Play Date, Smitten and Minx.

Notion is a classic deep red with blue tones. Avenue is a traditional bright red with blue undertones. Play Date is a lovely purple toned pink. Smitten is a deep red toned purple, and Minx is a gorgeous cool toned brown. Minx applies the most evenly, this is one dip and one layer of all of the colours. They dry within a minute and don't budge without an oil based remover. They are also transfer proof! These liquid lipsticks are my go-to product for nights out, I don't have to worry about them budging at all for hours, until that post-pub pizza!

These colours were part of a limited edition set that is no longer available, but Notion and Avenue are both still available for purchase as individual liquid lipsticks.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A Chronic Pain Update

It's been a little while since I talked about my chronic pain, but as last week I had my three monthly Botox top up I thought it seemed like a good time to update you guys.

The short version - I suffer from chronic hemiplegic migraines and chronic atypical head pain. This means a 24/7 headache and migraines that mimic strokes and put me in so much pain that I end up in hospital. I have Botox every 3 months and it is the only treatment I have ever had that works.

For the longer version, I've written a bunch of blog posts about it, but the majority of that is here, 'Living with chronic pain'. 

I started having Botox about 16 months or so ago, and have had it every 3 months since. It has been the most wondrous and miraculous thing I could have ever dreamt of. I am so grateful to the NHS for this treatment, I am so lucky to have found Doctors that listened to me and believed me, and I am thankful for the neurologist who changed my life by agreeing to give me Botox.

Botox is not your typical sort of treatment, it was discovered as a treatment for headaches and migraines completely by accident. People were having Botox for cosmetic reasons and began to report back that they no longer had the migraines they had always suffered with. Without people having Botox for cosmetic reasons, this treatment would never have been discovered, science and medicine are pretty amazing! It works by freezing the muscles in my head that cause my migraines and constantly spasm, causing my head pain. Once those nerves and muscles are frozen, no more pain.

Botox, for me at least, is incredibly painful. I sob every time. I have 36 injections in total, in my forehead, the base of my skull, the top of my neck/back, in my scalp around my ears. There is very little skin or flesh, this makes it very sore to have injections into those sites. The thing with Botox is, that the needle going into your skin is painful, but the feeling of the Botox going into your skin is even more painful. Botox is a poison, and it hurts. I bleed a lot, my forehead is usually a mess of blood afterwards. I have a lot more Botox injected than someone would have for cosmetic reasons, which is usually only a handful, whereas I have 3 large needles full of Botox. It hurts so much I can't concentrate afterwards, so someone has to drive me back and for my appointment, which isn't at my local hospital, but one 40 minutes away. For a few days afterwards I am incredibly sore, I bruise badly at the injection sites and I am not allowed to wash my hair for at least 2 full days after the Botox so as not to irritate the sites.

I am no longer on any medication for my chronic pain. I spent almost 7 years on various intense medication regiments, taking everything from tramadol, to morphine, to various SSRIs, all sorts of medication, even beta blockers despite being asthmatic. Beta blockers can cause asthma attacks and they certainly did in me, so whilst I tried to cope, desperate for anything to work, I couldn't continue. Not being on medication means I am allowed to drink alcohol if I choose to, something I had not been allowed to in years. I don't really drink, but it's nice to have the option if I want to. 

The Botox I have last for 3 months, I can always tell when my appointment is getting close because I can move my right eyebrow again, and I start to get a headache again. It is usually just into the moderate pain rating by the time I have my appointment. Thanks to Botox, I have not had to visit the hospital because of my pain even once. I can wear sunglasses again, tie my hair up, sleep comfortably, wear a head band if I want to, stay up late at night and not be in agony the next day, it changed my life.

I get real, pain free days. I have not had a single migraine since treatment began. I live an almost normal life without having to constantly worry about how many spoons I have left, or how much I will pay for those spoons the next day. Towards the end of my 3 months I do have to think about this, but to not have to do that every day... it's something I couldn't have ever dreamed of happening.

No more hospitals, no more medication, and most importantly, I am no longer in pain all day, every day. I love the NHS.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Our New Kitchen : Colourpop Haul

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Our New Kitchen - Before & After

One of the things about our house that most needed updating was our kitchen. It was terribly old fashioned and literally held together with sellotape. See the photos for proof! We spent a long time figuring out what we wanted to do and finally, we've had it done. When we moved in we had a wall ripped out between the kitchen and the dining room making them into one long room, rather than a long kitchen and a tiny dining room. We also had new windows fitted as our house had the original tin window frames, and replaced the patio doors in the dining room area with french doors. This meant we had a few areas with bare plaster, and a gap in the flooring in the kitchen from the removal of the old door too. This irritated me for so long, I hated seeing that bare cement under the floor! About a month before Christmas, our fridge-freezer gave up the ghost. We debated buying a new one but when we looked at it, it didn't make sense to do that when we planned to have an integral fridge-freezer in the new kitchen. It was the push we needed to commit, a few calls and quotes, and Cleethorpes Kitchens were who we opted to use for the kitchen itself, and we used Mat Carlisle Decorators for the painting and wallpapering.

I didn't take many before photos, it wasn't really the nicest kitchen to take photos of to be honest, but I'll share what I have.

The hideous kitchen work top we had.

Cupboard handles held together with sellotape. The amount of times these came off the doors in my hands..... rage. 

Plain white doors and drawers, with the terrible handles.

The cheap vinyl wooden flooring we had fitted when we had the wall ripped out. Biggest waste of money ever, I swear anything you spilt stuck to this floor like you wouldn't believe!

Even seen a plug socket like these? Nope, neither had I until we bought this house. Those bottom holes are for an old fashioned style of plug too apparently!

The ugliest extractor fan you ever did see. Rusted and awful, and only worked intermittently, which meant spiders really liked living in it.

And this is post-ripping out some of the cupboards. Check out that wallpaper hidden exactly behind the wall cupboards! Grim.

And now, for the afters.....

Our beautiful new gloss black cupboards, with pale wooden worktops. I can't get over how much bigger the room looks now!

We bought new appliances to match with some money we got from selling our old washing machine and dishwasher, black with chrome for a modern but timeless look.

My husband's beloved Tassimo is one of the only flashes of colour in the monochrome theme, save for our kitchen chairs. I don't drink hot drinks, but he loves them and this is one of his favourite things ever.

Our new extractor fan is hidden inside a cupboard, much more discreet and easier to keep clean.

One of our favourite parts of the kitchen is our new sink and tap. Black granite sink with a 25 year guarantee and a tap that looks like it belongs in the Jetsons. I love the spiral shape of it, it has a shower spray option, and the tap is flexible meaning that rinsing the basin out after use is incredibly easy. Having black does mean water marks are very obvious, but a quick wipe soon solves that.

Our new (but very empty) integral fridge-freezer. I love that it blends so seamlessly into the rest of the kitchen.

The dining room end of the kitchen. We had the table and chairs before hand and felt they worked really well in the new kitchen still too. A glass table is a bit of a pain when you have 3 cats that are fascinated with being able to see through the table, but it's lovely. We bought the wallpaper from Ebay, lots of sellers stock it, just search for birch tree wallpaper. I am so glad we went for this, it really brings the room together.

The tiles! I was pretty set on white tiles with black grout, I think the contrast looks so good. They have a slight texture to them, and they act as a splash back as they go right up underneath the extractor above the induction hob too. We talked about getting an acrylic panel behind the hob in a contrasting colour, but then that would limit our colours options for the future. By sticking with monochrome we could add in any other colour we want via accessories.

The black marble floor tiles weren't my first choice, Stu preferred these, whereas I preferred a black marble without a border. When we went to order the ones I liked they had been discontinued and they didn't hold enough stock for our long room, so we ordered the ones Stu liked more. I am SO glad they were out of stock as I absolutely adore how these ones look. Stu was right!

Is it a bit weird to really love a utensils drawer? Because I really love ours. The holder is custom made to fit the drawer which is really long and underneath the hob. Our old drawer that holds utensils was a really awkward size so nothing fitted in it properly, this one is a perfect fit.

When we moved in the kitchen had long strip lights which we swapped for spot light style lights, similar to these new ones. They were however, ridiculously awkward to change a light bulb in, so when we found these black metal theatre style lights they fit the new kitchen just right.

We also got under cupboard lighting, it's totally hidden unless you are looking up from underneath the cupboards, and has these cute little strip lights.

Our old oven functioned on one setting, at one temperature only. We opted for a new single oven and a combi microwave oven. While there are only two of us most of the time, Stu has 3 children who we often have over for dinner, and now we have a fancy new kitchen-dining room we can host dinner parties and will need the extra oven space!

We also got an integral dishwasher and washing machine. That everything could be integral helps give the illusion of the kitchen being bigger than it is. Because it is a galley style, there is only so much room, but we now have so many cupboards we don't even know what to put in them all!

Another new favourite part of the kitchen is the new plug sockets, which have USB ports! I had no idea these existed, and this day and age that is so handy.

The other thing we also got in our kitchen, was new doors. Our kitchen has 3 doors in it, one to the garage which had a new door as we put the door in when we moved in, a door to the hallway, and a door to the living room. The living room door never shut properly, the door was too big for the frame, which meant never being able to keep the animals out of the kitchen, no matter how much we might have needed to. The other problem with our old doors, was that they had door handles. Even if we could shut all the doors to the kitchen, Ashen our rottie-cross can operate door handles and that means never being able to shut him out of the kitchen. We picked out chrome door knobs for the new doors, because unless Ashen grows opposable thumbs, he won't be able to operate these. Makes moping the kitchen floor much easier without dog-faced interruptions!

We are so utterly thrilled with the new kitchen, all the new cupboard space means everything has a home. Previously lots of our pots and pans had to live in the garage because we had no room for them, we have the room now! All that work top space, without anything bar the essentials having to live on the side, so wonderful. I can't wait to host dinner parties now!

Much love,
Kitty xxx