Hank Meets World.

I've heard people remark in the past that they are wearing 'two hats' or have 'two heads' when they have a lot on their plates and have to try and keep some perspective. I've never really understood that. Until now.

During the day I am a fashion sales account manager. In the evenings I am a house renovator and in between that I'm a wedding planner. To say this is a little overwhelming is an understatement. But so far I'm managing to keep my head. Ask me again in 5 months when I have a hallway to paint, a wedding in 4 weeks and 2 collection deadlines looming. You may not get the same even-headed response.

As a result of this my diary is a precise animal. I know my movements more than 4 weeks ahead, I can tell you the dates of the next 12 Saturdays off the top of my head and I stick to my plans. If only to keep some sanity.

Last weekend was a good example of 'The Heads' at work. On Friday I had some major meetings in the London office so had to focus entirely on them. Once they were wrapped up I hopped on a train back to Manchester upon which I looked at marquees for 2 hours on my iPad (I know, crazy and exciting times *ahem*), then on Saturday morning we had to get up at the crack of dawn and get over to where we're getting married (about an hour from us) to meet the vicar who will be officiating, then to meet one of my bridesmaids for a dress fitting, then back home to a dinner party. But not straight back home. Oh no - of course there was a renovation associated pitstop at a B&Q megastore sort of on our route home.

So within the space of 36 hours I'd been 'work-Sarah', 'wedding-Sarah' and 'what-the-heck-are-you-doing-that's-an-awful-lampshade-Sarah'. These things combined do not make an easy Dry January. If B&Q sold gin I'd have been off the wagon!

But what had started as a foot-dragging (yes, like a moody toddler) trip for me soon became quite exciting. You see, our local B&Q is a small store - good for paints, plugs, power sockets and the like. But this was a 'megastore' and I think I could have actually set up home there.

So off we set careering about the aisles with our trolley and laughing that'd we'd become 'that couple' Oh dear.

I don't know what's happened to B&Q but they have really upped their game.
Look what we came away with...

These have REALLY pleased me. We are so far over-budget on the renovation that the budget is now a tiny dot on the horizon. As a result this means some of the details have had to take a hit for now. I have been pining for Tom Dixon shades since I can remember (by the way, am I the only one who gets annoyed when a designer they have loved for ages suddenly seems to be everywhere?! Hmf.) but they are almost £100 a pop and when you need three this isn't really ideal. But B&Q have definitely not disappointed; at £29 each these were a no-brainer. We'll be changing the cord, length and rose at some point very soon but we were both too excited to get them up asap.

Then there's this beauty...

Our house was built in 1907 and while the majority of the original features remain downstairs some of the more beautiful ones, like ceiling roses, have long since been torn out. Well I am here to put them back in. And with the help of my now firm favourite B&Q I can do this for such a reasonable amount. I think this was around £35 and I know it will look amazing with the lighting I am planning for it. Ooo I can hardly wait!

Definitely the most 'boring' of the lot (but still thrilling to me) was this new mat for the front door. It ticks all the boxes, great design, strong colours and actually cleans shoes. Marvelous all round.

Now...the next one we did NOT buy in B&Q. We acquired him some years ago and he is probably one of my most prized possessions. For a while he was re-located to a bar in Farringdon but I was heartbroken when he went and OH spent weeks negotiating his safe return to surprise me. Last week I came downstairs to find him hanging in his new home. Ladies and gentlemen - meet Hank.

He lives in the back fireplace space where we keep the wood for the wood-burner. He (literally and figuratively) lights up my life. When I found out OH had squirreled him back up North for me I almost cried. His lights are a little tricksy and are special order from a company in America who still make these lights for circuses. No biggy. I have 100 on order! Now, I know his name shouldn't really be Hank. I know he is in fact a she - she is Laika. The first dog ever to enter space. But she died up there and that is just too sad for me to think about every day so she is now a he and Hank it is.

So we're getting there - the fact I am begining to start to nudge in the direction of actually dressing the house is very exciting but we still have a long way to go. Namely burning lead paint off original mouldings verrrry carefully ready for some fresh new shades. This is back-breaking stuff and takes hours upon hours. But when it is done I know it will all be worth it and I'll be so pleased I took the time to do it. More updates in the very near future. OH also built a man-cave this weekend...

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