Living Room Furniture gets a Reshuffle!

So I finally decided to put my plans into action, and rearranged the furniture in my front room!

I think this is going to work for us, as it won't obstruct the route to the kitchen.

What do you think?


My First Christmas

So 2014 is my first Christmas in my new home. Not ever, obviously - I wasn't born yesterday. However, celebrating Christmas in your own space is a stark contrast to celebrating Christmas in your student digs, or at your folks', because I get to decorate! (and there are no underpants on the living room floor, ruining the effect)

This year, I want to channel Scandinavian rustic simplicity (like everyone else and their grandma too). It's my favourite aesthetic; wood, foliage and an almost monochrome palette really floats my boat and would match my minimalist home*.

source here

I have actually ordered a REAL Christmas tree this year, which isn't something I've ever had growing up (my parents have dogs - enough said). T, in contrast, usually has TWO real McCoys in his home and I felt like the atmosphere they create are just that little bit extra-special.

As an environmentally-friendly individual, I did a bit of research. Turns out a real tree isn't as bad for the world as you would expect and it's actually more responsible to get a real one, as long as it's locally sourced. We bought our tree from Berkshire Christmas Trees; delivery for a 5ft tree was an incredible £35!

However, there isn't a great deal of a market out there for natural decorations (although here is some great DIY tips and ideas from Wyvale Garden Centre) and I'm not able to drive about to collect material. Looks like I'm going artificial on the garland/wreath front....

Here are some items I've spotted in Marks and Spencer which I utterly adore.

available here
Available here
Available here

Available here

The other issue I have is the lack of surfaces - I don't have a mantel piece, or a coffee table, or a side table - so everything needs to hang on the tree or the walls.

What look are you channelling this Christmas? Where are you shopping? I'd love to hear from you.

Sarah Jess
The YUP Blog

*let's not mention that it's minimalist due to lack of funds rather than conscious choice.

None of the images in this post are mine and a property of the retailer or blogger credited.


Bathroom Renovation becomes Bedroom Upgrade

current bathroom; I love the velux!
What do all good houses need? Plenty of LSD.
According to Chris from Skins, anyway.

What they ACTUALLY need is storage, and I haven't got much of that. I suppose that's the down side to buying an adorable Victorian terrace which has been chopped and changed to add plumbing and an attic room.

Current floorplan.
As you may or may not know, we're planning to knock our super-weird twin toilets (see picture, right) into one SUPER bathroom. When I say super bathroom, it is of course quite a normal-sized bathroom to most normal-sized people. In this house, however, it's going to feel gargantum.

We spent a long time discussing what we could do with 3.1 x 1.9m of space. We toyed with an amazing walk-in shower. We toyed with turning the bath into a bath-shower combo and installing storage where the bath is. Then, a friend came around.
She took one look and went, 'well, why don't you have a built-in wardrobe?'

Makes perfect sense.

Here's what I hope it will look like:

CAD from here
 We'll build a small closet into some of the space where the shower is currently, just deep enough for a hanger, and as wide as the current wall. However, this is a supporting wall and therefore we'll require a lintel and potentially planning permission to knock it through. It's going to be expensive.

If it goes ahead, however, our master bedroom will have a compact yet functional built in wardrobe. The floor of the extension is also 30cm lower than the landing and bedroom so we will have space for a rail of clothes, plus a 'trap door' like compartment for shoes. It'll be tucked away behind the bedroom door.

This is a huge job and rather daunting, but I hope it'll pay off...!

The Yup Blog


Bathroom Renovation: Tile Crush

I'm still lacking in inspiration for most of the aesthetics for our home. Although I know the kind of 'ethos' and 'personality' I'd like our home to have, I'm drawing a blank when it comes to exact aspects.
I decided to pin down how I'd like the bathroom - which is the first room I want to change, based on 'need' rather than 'want' - to look (seriously, it's gross)

Pinterest Inspiration
source here
source here

source here

source here
  Floor Tiles
As our house is Victorian, I'd love to nod - in a subtle way - at the house's heritage. The house predates indoor plumbing (for the average Joe - Queen Vic had an indoor shower in the 1890s!) so the bathroom and kitchen are situated in a new extension, so I'm not worried about staying too canon.

Available here

These are the Camden Blue Floral Lys from Topps Tiles and I love 'em for their bright, crisp colours. They're £46.12 m2

available here

Best Tile do a great tile for £48 per square metre, and the company sends out free samples... grand! I feel like this design is a bit busier than I'd ideally like but I really like the pattern.

available here

Another great option is this Hammersmith Feature Tile from the Bath Store. The great thing about this tile is that the neutral palette would allow me to rock a dark grout, which would save me cleaning.... and I hate cleaning. Just ask my mother.

These are £39.02 per m2.

available here

There's also these absolute beauties from Fired Earth but, for £224.70 per m2, I would actually have to win the lottery. Tiling the floor would take up half my budget. Alas, a girl can dream. 

Wall Tiles 

White Subway tiles. That's what I'm thinking. It's rather boring but they should hopefully make the room look large, and reflect light from the velux window. I think we all know what they look like* so I shan't bother with pictures. 

I think I see a clear winner in the Bath Store, which surprised me. I did visit the Bath Store in Reading and found the staff incredibly helpful and they were very happy to throw together a CAD of the bathroom for me. I'd recommend a visit.

Is there anywhere important I'm missing? Please do leave a comment.
I did try Victoria Plumb and Homebase but there was too much beige for my liking. Beige is the colour of student houses and the diet of 14-year old boys. Yick**. 

Thanks for reading,

Sarah x
The YUP Blog

*clue: a subway. However, I have only ridden a 'subway' a few times in my life, and because I was 17 and in New York for the first time without my parents, I was not particularly interested in the walls. Too busy being indignant about the drinking age

*sorry if you like beige.


I love the sofa.... but is it right for us?

The living room is THE most important room in the house, lest we forget, and therefore the furniture needs to be on point. In case you missed my post about choosing a sofa (and if you missed it, you should go read it: it's a good'un) we picked a 'Ritchie' from Made.com. We stared at it online, visited the show room, checked the measurements over and over again.... I am 100% sure this is the sofa I want.

The sofa is beautiful. The fabric looks luxurious yet feels really durable. It's got a sturdy weight to it and the seams, stitching and buttons appear to be well finished. It really says everything I wanted to say with my living room.
 However, I'm very concerned about the space.

Sofa against the wall; view from the hallway door

On paper, the sofa fits. There's more than enough space. It's great. In reality though, it feels cumbersome. I bought a 3-seater and I just can't find a place for it.
Our living room is small and quite awkward, as all sides of it requires access. We have a vital cupboard in the top-right corner, a door to our garden in the top-left, kitchen access in the bottom left and access to the dining room in the bottom right. Therefore, we have no corners, and no full walls.

At the moment, we've placed the sofa opposite the fireplace but it just doesn't feel right.

Here are a few options I'm considoring.
(awesome 3D CADS generated here)

How have you dealt with a piece of furniture that doesn't quite fit but is just too perfect??


Cycling: why everyone should get on their bike

My Dawes Duchess

I am obsessed with cycling. Absolutely obsessed. If you follow me on instagram or twitter, you'll know that I take photos of my bike like most people photograph their dog/child/partner. Yes, I take a lot photos of an inanimate object.

Why am I so obsessed? Well, here are some of the reasons why I love cycling.

1. Keeps you fit

Cycling is an amazing kill-two-birds-with-one-stone activity. It gets you where you need to be, and burns calories too. Don’t have time to go to the gym? Cycle to the pub/workplace/shops instead.

As a mode of transport, a bike is incredibly efficient, so a 30 minute cycle burns only around 200 calories. That’s just a little more than a small glass of wine, or a little less than a chocolate bar. However, if you cycle to your dinner date, it’s like you never ate that pasta bake. Monitor your expenditure with an app like Fitness Tracker, so you don’t over-compensate.
Cycling to work is my personal favourite: it’s really hard to fit a workout into a 9 hour day, but I can always cycle to work. I live five miles away and it’s an excellent distance for a ride that raises your heart rate but doesn’t exhaust you. If you’re much further away, have you tried substituting some of your ride with a train journey?

How do I cope without a shower at work? Baby wipes and body spray, darlings. It’s like year 10 P.E all over again.

Thames Tow Path

2. Makes you HAPPY

‘Don’t ride to add days to your life. Ride to add life to your days.’
That’s one of my favourite sayings, and it’s true. Cycling allows me to appreciate things like a gorgeous sunset, the smell of rain and the exhilaration of beating my car-driving colleagues home. Plus, exercise is one of the best cures for stress and depression. Cycling home is like having a free counselling session – pedal out that office rage!
My favourite thing to do is plan a weekend cycle with T. This summer, we went to the New Forest and cycled over thirty miles in beautiful countryside. We regularly use the site Sustrans to plan a bike-friendly route.


 3. Saves you money
 I save £5 every day I ride to work. Not running a car has, over the last 5 years, might have saved me around £17,000 (a guesstimate based upon numbers from this Daily Mail article – pinch of salt though, y’all!) which is a staggering amount. I managed to put all that towards buying my house.

My bike requires very little maintenance – maybe £40 a year – and the only fuel it needs is FOOOOD. 
Plus, there are some AMAZING not-for-profit organisations around which will show you how to maintain your bike, like Reading Bicycle Kitchen! Prices start from just £4, which is great value. Teach a man to fish, and all that...

New Forest
4. Helps you to arrive on time

‘First Great Western is sorry to inform you that the 17:33 service to READING is delayed by 10 minutes.’
GOD I hate that announcement. I also hate queueing to get on the motorway, off the motorway, on the roundabout, past the school, and around the one way system. Most modes of transport suck. On a bike, however, I can normally overtake cars, take short cuts through parks... it’s AWESOME. The only thing to make me late is my terrible outfit-choosing ability.
Google Maps has a ‘bicycle’ mode which is really rather accurate, but I would always recommend doing a ‘test-ride’ before you take a new route to work.

Thames Tow Path at 7am (near Theale)

5. It’s really very safe

…if you wear a helmet, follow the rules of the road, and wear lots of lights at night.
There is a lot of press at the moment about cycling casualties and fatalities. These are inescapably tragic and really, every single individual should work to safeguard the cyclist. However, this starts with the rider. I am shocked by the number of cyclists I see jumping red lights, undertaking other vehicles and taking risks on roundabouts. If you behave in the same way a car would at give way signs, zebra crossings or traffic lights (I know, those are tempting to skip) other road users will respect you more. They’ll also be able to predict your behaviour. There will always be bad drivers on the road. Stick your middle finger up. They're idiots.

There is also a lot of debate surrounding helmets but I'm not one to believe the here say on the internet. I recently slipped on some wet leaves (when cycling - I'm okay at walking!). I was ‘only going over the road’ on a five-minute journey, but I lost control when braking. I was actually on the pavement, but I still could have been seriously hurt - get your lids on!

The bottom line is: I’ve been riding a bike in a busy town for five years and I have never had any accidents, but I do play it safe.
The only time you'll see me without a helmet is when these amazing invisible ones are a bit more affordable


Thames Tow Path (near Reading)
I hope this post inspires some cyclists! Do you ride, or have a favourite way to exercise? I'd love to hear it!


Ikea Buys That Caught my Eye!

So it feels like IKEA is the god of interior decor at the moment. It's cheap, it's cheerful, it's a little bit sassy. And, with some free time finally in sight, I'm ready to start some home improvements. Here are some things I'm hankering after.

Picture Rail, here


Ain't much to see here kids, just a rail, move along-
Oh, wait.

These guys are the hardest working pieces in interior design at the moment. Now, I'm not one for mindlessly chosen typography or kitshy, cutesy sayings, but they appeal to my fear of decisions. No commitment! I can change my pictures whenever I like, without smashing open my thumb! (I am very prone to thumb accidents...) Plus, the frames are great value too...

frames available here


available here
available here

I am sick of seeing the stained, rusted chrome light fitting on my low kitchen ceiling. It makes the room look depressingly dated. I'm leaning more towards the Centigrad as it's just so tidy and has very little footprint. Additionally, I might paint the ceiling - and white goes with everything.


available here
My living room is in desperate need of something to tie it all together. I love the colours in this rug and it's not too thick, either - it won't look 'chubby', which is another pet hate of mine.

I haven't bought any arm chairs yet but the colour scheme is playful and forgiving, so I could probably place any colour alongside it. It's a big splurge at £120, though.


available here

 I fancy a bench to go in the dining room. This is a really skinny, short bench that would fit perfectly under our dining table - or in the hall, if I wanted a change of pace. It's also got the added bonus of storage space - just a little cubby-hole, but I could certainly hide something away in there.

What are your top IKEA buys?
I'd love to hear!

the yup blog

None of the images in this post belong to me; click for a hyperlink to their original source!


Work wear for winter: bad girl, gone good

This year, I'm making a really concerted effort to move my career forward. I had some very good advice recently;
'Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.'

It's stuck with me; its hard to emit experience and credibility when you still dress like a student.

I don't think there's anything wrong with wearing low-end high street brands in the office. However, I think you need to particularly conscious of wear and tear. I haven't bought much new for around two years and my outfits are looking tired and washed out.

Here are a few things I've bought (or have 'put on my Christmas list') to smarten up my wardrobe.

all images belong to the respective retailers
H&M Shirt £12.99, DKNY Bag £169, H&M Dress £14.99, H&M Skirt £7.99, Clarks Loafers £45, New Look Blazer, £24.99


Vintage Shopping; Molly's Den, Winchester

visit the website here
I was brought up in the deliciously quaint city of Winchester in Hampshire, and I popped back this weekend for a bit of family time. This glorious city has a slower, gentler pace of life (unless you're under 18, of course - living in Winch feels like the epitome of cool when you're not old enough to know better).

The city is home to an array of kitsch shops and unique boutiques, perfect for a long, musing peruse on a Saturday afternoon - you're never really searching for anything in Winchester, you just happen upon things!

It is rather fitting, then, that Winchester is now home to one of the most creative, imaginative, and expansive retailers I have ever visited. Molly's Den is situated in an old warehouse in Winchester's Winnal Trading Estate, which has expanded through a warren of bright storage containers. It is an enchanting place to while away an afternoon.

Here are just a few of the gems that caught my eye...

Giant world map

'Henley Rowing, 1912' Life Preservers
Victorian Utensils

Beautiful French glass

'Upcycled' Trunk, with initials A&H -god, if I had the room for this...!!
 The contents are constantly suprising and inspiring, which is the result of having way over a hundred vendors and small businesses under one roof. I could have walked away with a lot - but I was very restrained, and limited myself to one amazing piece of furniture...

Vintage school desk - complete with graffiti dating back to 1963! (£47)

It's monthly rental rates are also encouragingly low, so I hope to see it continue to grow and flourish Molly's Den is a joy for shoppers and sellers alike.

There is also an AMAZING cafe which I hope to visit next time; I had a taste of brownie, and it was dreamy :) I really implore everyone to visit Molly's Den; set aside a whole day, go insane, and let your heart to the talking. They also accept card!

I'm looking for more interesting retailers to visit, including websites. Recomendations welcome

All the best,

the yup blog