This section of Cheshire Mum was added in July 2011 as we got ready to move from our old, fully removated, remodelled and finished, house to our next home and project.  A 1960's place with 1980's updates - pure potential!   Here's the timeline:

  • 25th July 2011 - moved house
  • January 2012 - started search for architect
  • May 2012 - appointed Innex Design as our architects
  • June 2012 – developed initial designs & measured up
  • June 2012 – great feedback from blog readers & twitter community
  • July 2012 – second revised & to scale plans developed
  • December 2012 – plans finalised and agreed
  • January 2013 – planning permission application submitted
  • 3rd May 2013 – planning permission GRANTED!!
  • December 2013 – downstairs WC makeover & new kitchen window blinds

How to Get The Dream Cheshire Home Without The Drama

Cheshire Claire : September 11, 2020 11:57 am : Home Building

There are some magical, beautiful, and outright outlandish homes within Cheshire and the surrounding area, making it a great place to pick up a property or two. However, no matter where you are buying, the process of purchasing a home can be a drama heavy and difficult one, with you having to navigate mortgages, bids, and other nightmares.

However, despite the difficult process, there are ways to allow you to get your dream Cheshire home without any of the fuss involved. 

Find the Right Mortgage

Getting a mortgage is the most critical aspects of buying a new home, so you must contact the right one for you that has the right repayment plan to suit your needs. You can get your mortgages from the bank; however, there may be better options out there that have your interests more at heart.

Going through an independent broker and advisor such as East Cheshire Mortgages can be one of the best decisions you make, because they have no ties to influence your decision-making process, giving you peace of mind that you can find the most suitable deal for you.

Getting a mortgage from the bank can be difficult if you haven’t got a good enough credit score, however using these independent options gives you more of a chance as whatever the circumstances, there should be reputable places capable of helping.

Pay Off Your Current Home

This step might make some people want to groan, but it is a vital one to assist in making buying your dream home a reality. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re still paying off your old home while simultaneously paying off even more on your current residence. For some, paying off their existing home may seem like an impossible task, but there are ways to do it. As you progress through your career, try to save 15% of your earning each month and use that on your repayments. Try to pay as much extra as you can afford, as doing so will whittle down the debt a lot faster, making it an obtainable goal if you focus and put your mind on it.

Even after this suggestion, if you feel like this is an impossible task, then it may be worth having the conversation if now is the right time to upgrade. Further things you can do to help is to live a more modest lifestyle and avoid any unnecessary spending, and things should start looking good.

Save For a Deposit

One way to decrease the size of your mortgage and make that dream home more of a reality is to save up a huge deposit. Doing this will mean that you won’t have to require as sizable a mortgage meaning you won’t have to borrow as much, also meaning that you’ll be able to pay off the mortgage a lot faster. The easiest way to save money is to create a detailed budget and monitor your spending and try to put as much disposable income away as possible, as doing so will help.

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3 Things You Will Need in Order to Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

Cheshire Claire : September 11, 2020 11:46 am : Home Building

The topic of wheelchair accessibility in a residential home can be a tricky one, particularly when the home you are looking to make such alterations to is on the smaller side. The fact of the matter is that in order to have certain pieces of equipment that are necessary for wheelchair accessibility, you need to have a bit of space to work with. That being said, there are certain things that you can have installed that can help the majority of standard residential properties to be more wheelchair accessible.

If you are looking to make alterations to your home to make it more wheelchair-friendly, here are three things that you will need to have installed:

1. A Lift

First and foremost, you will need to evaluate the stairs in your home and have a wheelchair lift installed. There are a variety of wheelchair elevators that have been designed specifically for residential use and are more compact than the ones you might see in commercial spaces.

The specific type of platform lift that you have installed will depend greatly on the amount of space that you can dedicate to a lift in your home as well as the layout of your stairs. You might be able to go with a smaller vertical lift if your stairs aren’t on too steep of an incline. The wall that you use for such a lift will also need to be able to bear the load of the lift. Otherwise, your choices might be limited to a horizontal platform lift.

2. Ramps

Once you have the main stairs in your home fitted with the right wheelchair lift, you will need to evaluate any entrances to your home that have a small set of steps leading up to the door. If you have an entryway that is already accessible to a wheelchair, then you are good to go. If not, though, you should look to have a ramp installed.

The same will go for any areas inside your home that have a set of one, two, or three steps. A ramp can easily make these accessible for a wheelchair without the need for more machinery.

3. Bathrooms

The other areas in your home that will need addressing in order to make them more wheelchair accessible are the bathrooms. Individuals who require a wheelchair have different needs when it comes to the layout and accessibility of a bathroom. For example, the sink will need to be situated lower so as to be accessed by someone sitting down. The shower or bathtub unit that you have in your bathroom might also need to be changed out for one that can be entered and exited easily by someone with a disability.

You will need to have grab bars installed in key places in the bathroom such as in the shower or next to the toilet. There are some cases where it also might be necessary to have an alarm installed that someone can pull in case of an emergency.

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6 Must-Know Tips for Buying Your First Family Home

Cheshire Claire : September 3, 2019 4:54 pm : Home Building

It’s incredibly exciting becoming a homeowner for the first time, especially when you’re moving out of rented accommodation where you may have felt like a lodger in someone else’s home for a long time. However, it is true that the process can also be incredibly overwhelming, especially once you consider all of the different costs that go towards buying and then moving into a house. If you’re wondering where you should start with the whole process, then here are six simple must-know tips that will help you get on the path towards purchasing your first home in no time.

Pay off as many debts as you can

Owning a home is much more expensive than renting thanks to upkeep costs and home maintenance, so you don’t want whatever extra income you have to be spent on paying off debts. Before you move, do your best to make sure you are debt-free.

Build an emergency fund

Cultivating an emergency fund that will cover you for around a few months to half a year is incredibly important, as you cannot afford to default on your loan payments if your income or personal circumstances were to change.

Work out your finances

It is important to know what kind of home you can afford before you start looking, as you don’t want to become attached to a house that is out of budget. Make sure to properly track your incomings and expenses and account for any differences that your new home might make to your current lifestyle.

Save for a deposit

The more money you have saved for a deposit, the more likely you are to get a better deal on your mortgage. While a good credit rating is really helpful for getting a higher loan rate and repayment period, getting a mortgage with bad credit isn’t impossible. Once you have been pre-approved for a loan, you’ll be safe to start searching for the perfect house. 

Account for closing and moving costs

As well as your emergency fund, you’ll want to make sure you have enough cash stored away to pay for your closing costs on your new home. These fees cover some of the most important steps in purchasing a house, including getting an appraisal and home inspection, paying any estate agent fees on your existing home, and purchasing things like homeowner’s insurance and broadband when you first move in.

Find a house within your price range

Once you have all of your finances in order, the final thing to do is find a home within your price range in a family-friendly neighbourhood. Some important points to remember are looking at the local schools in the area, making sure the speed limits on your street are safe for young children, evaluating your commute to work, and finding out where the local shops and amenities are based. Try to get the whole family involved in picking a new home that you’ll all love, as then you’ll know that everyone is happy with the house from the get-go. 

6 Must-Know Tips for Buying Your First Family Home


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Finding the perfect style of shutter for your living room

Cheshire Claire : August 23, 2019 10:11 am : Home Building

The living room is one of the most loved rooms in our homes. It’s a space we share to entertain friends and family at the weekend and where we spend our evenings relaxing. The lounge hosts all types and varieties of events, so keeping every inch of it looking its best is essential. Did you consider what a difference your windows make? The perfect window treatment makes all the difference to your living room, and chosen carefully, shutters are the ideal choice to spruce up your lounge windows.


Living rooms are usually located at the front of our homes, which if you live on a busy street reduces your privacy levels. Just like bathrooms and bedrooms, you want to keep your living room’s interior hidden from outside eyes. Whether you’ve got nosy neighbours, or regularly have people walking past your house in the city, you can control your privacy. Though all shutter styles are great for privacy, café style shutters, in particular, are designed with privacy in mind, as they cover the bottom half of your window, making them easily the best choice for blocking out prying eyes.

Even better, shutters aren’t the unwelcoming type of privacy either. They look elegant and will be admired by people walking past your property.

window shutters outside


Does your living room get a lot of sunlight? Natural light is heavenly, it brightens up the room and helps you cut back on electricity usage. With shutters, when open the solid panels let in all the light, naturally creating a spacious feel to your living room. Alternatively, slatted styles, like tier on tier shutters, are also a great choice, you can have the bottom tier slats closed and the top tier wide open, and enjoy the sunlight flooding the room.


Just like natural light, fresh air makes a living room feel light and airy. A lounge can easily get stuffy, and sometimes it can put you off spending any time in there – it’s time to fix that! Louvred shutter styles allow air to flow through and your all-important privacy is not sacrificed. Full-height shutters on living room bay windows are a match made in heaven, adjust the slats to let in as much or as little light and air as you like.

traditional house window shutters


There’s no point denying it, shutters look lovely. No matter the colour or style, they are the most attractive type of window treatment. What’s most appealing about them, is their versatile nature in decoration; they can serve as an attractive feature in any interior décor scheme.

Your personality, style, and taste, is reflected by your choice of home décor, with the window dressings being an important element when considering room design. If you like to spend a lot of time in your living room, then it’s fundamental you feel comfortable and like the interior feel. Choose a colour that best suits your style, a neutral white that fits in nicely with your furniture, or go wild and find a rich and vibrant shade that really blossoms amongst your current décor.



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Extra Room in the House: Why We Need It and What to Do with It

Cheshire Claire : June 10, 2019 2:03 pm : Home Building

An abundance of options and ideas for designing exteriors and interiors makes the house building business a rich and colourful market. Homeowners, if only they have the adequate resources, can do a lot to make their vision come to life. Organizing an empty space can be rewarding and fun, and if you find yourself in the process of arranging a whole room, you are in for a treat.

Extra living space is not always a given, even in the biggest of houses. More often, we’re looking to expand the available area around us as much as possible, with clever tricks, neat capacious furniture, or if all else fails, construction work. When we do manage to clear out an additional room in the house, there is no going back. Most of the time, it comes out of a necessity. Whether it is the need to establish a home office or some other work-related solution, build a garage workshop or set up a nursery, the possibilities are endless. Even preparing a room for your guests can become an art of its own.

However, a much more exciting way to utilise a little bit of space is to dedicate it to recreation and relaxation time. Who wouldn’t want to be able to enjoy their own game room, media room, home cinema, basement bar, library or a meditation room? A little more specific but equally interesting proposition for the purposes of chilling out is a special place, often in the basement or garage, devoted to simple pleasures enjoyed by men. That is the main idea behind the concept of man caves. Among the commonly appreciated applications for those are hanging out with buddies, throwing some darts, watching action movies, setting up a home poker game, playing pool or enjoying sports in like-minded company. On the other hand, the ladies’ version of this concept could include much more of a designer aesthetic with all the furniture, decorative cushions and ornamental details to go along with it. Either way, the goal is still the same: To have fun with friends.

Lastly, an extra room in your house could as well combine all the practical and sentimental things in life. It could be an outlet for creativity for anyone in your household of every size and age and a place where the magic happens. Such suggestions could involve but are not limited to, a crafting space or homework station, sewing room, art studio, woodwork shop, music room and much more. The possibilities are endless.

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Five ways to make your living situation more affordable

Cheshire Claire : May 20, 2019 3:57 pm : Home Building

Rent and mortgage costs account for the biggest monthly expenditure for most people in the UK. With the average one-bed home costing £600 a month to rent and London topping European charts for being the most expensive city for monthly living, younger adults in particular are finding themselves under serious financial pressure.

With that in mind, the UK population are generally becoming shrewder when it comes to organising their financial situation.

If you’re looking to take control of your monthly living costs, here are five ideas to consider.

Know your benefits

The UK is known for its excellent support system, with an array of benefits and grants available to those struggling in one area or another. Obviously, it’s better to be in a situation where you are not applicable for benefits, but if you do find yourself in a tight spot, have a look into what benefits are available and check your eligibility.

There’s no shame in getting a little help if you require it.

Look at your utilities

Alongside rent and mortgage payments, you’ll find utility bills up near the top of the monthly expenditures chart. Average yearly household costs for gas, electric and water sit at just under £1500, with monthly payments of over £100 eating into budgets.

You can’t simply cut out such basic services, however, you can investigate managing them better. This starts with more conscious energy management, such as turning plugs off at the wall and staying disciplined with the thermostat.

Beyond more efficient energy use, look into your tariffs and providers; are you on the best deal? Often, you’ll automatically be put on a ‘standard’ tariff when moving into a property, which isn’t likely to be the most cost-effective option for you.

Find a friend

New home owners find themselves burdened with reasonably sizeable mortgage payments after forking out for an initial deposit, which can make money a bit tight for the foreseeable future. One way to relieve some of that pressure is to rent out a room, where a tenant could effectively pay some of the mortgage for you. Do you have a friend or colleague who needs somewhere to live? Ask around and the results could really help you out!

Beg and borrow

The power of freebies, especially when it comes to things like furniture and appliances, should not be under estimated. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so they say, and there’s nothing wrong with taking on some second hand goods that others no longer want.

You can often find people looking to shift large pieces of furniture or perfectly functional kitchen appliances, either for a few quid or free to anyone willing to come and get them.

There are plenty of scenarios out there for you to take advantage of which could save you hundreds rather than buying new.

Make a move to suit you

Finally, if you’re struggling to find the right value in your current living arrangement and have the flexibility to move, find another place that better suits your requirements and budget.

This could mean moving to a less expensive area of the city, downgrading on space that you don’t need or moving closer to work to save on time and travel costs. This is one particular advantage of renting; it allows the flex needed to make key adjustments when you face hard times or a change of circumstances.

Naturally, it’s not ideal to just up sticks and leave, but if it makes practical sense to you, don’t be afraid to make the move.

The good news is you’ll likely be able to make quick and easy changes that could offer significant savings on a monthly basis. Carrying out better living practices will not only benefit you now but set you up for the future as well.

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Tips for Settling Your Family Into a New Home

Cheshire Claire : May 20, 2019 3:50 pm : Home Building

If your family has recently moved into a new house then it can take a while before it begins to feel like home. While this is completely natural, it can be difficult as everyone needs to feel settled and relaxed when they are at home as otherwise it can interfere with other areas of your life. With this in mind, here are a few tips for ways that you can quickly settle into a new home.

Unpack Immediately

It may seem obvious but unpacking and getting the home set up as quickly as possible can make a big difference. After the stress of a big move, it is easy to delay unpacking but it is hard to feel settled when your life is in boxes.

Create Familiarity

One of the main reasons that it can take a while to settle is because everything will feel different and we are creatures of habit. You can create familiarity by trying to recreate aspects from your previous home, such as hanging the same photos and having the furniture in a similar setup. Additionally, it is also a good idea to keep your routine similar (eating dinner at the same time, going to bed at the same time etc).

Sleeping Environment

Many people find that they struggle getting to sleep when they move into a new home which can be problematic. You can avoid this by creating a comfortable sleeping environment – this might involve buying new bedding, purchasing blackout blinds and improving the fragrance of the room.

Create A Welcoming Fragrance

Leading on from this, smell is an incredibly powerful sense and can impact how we feel about a space. Therefore, creating a welcoming smell in each room can make a big difference and help you to feel settled quickly. Reed diffusers and mists from places like Neom Organics are an effective way of doing this and will make the space more attractive to visitors too.

Get To Know the Neighbours

Another reason that it can take a while to feel settled is that you are unlikely to know anyone in the area. It is a good idea to introduce yourself to the neighbours as soon as possible so that there are familiar faces and you do not worry about awkward encounters on the street. You should also spend time walking around the neighbourhood to get your bearings and find out where everything is.

Moving home can be a stressful, challenging and emotional time especially for youngsters. It can take a while to feel settled in your new home but the above advice should help to make this a smoother and faster transition. Once you begin to feel settled you can enjoy your new surroundings and look forward to starting a new chapter in your life.

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Help Children Achieve A Better Night’s Sleep

Cheshire Claire : January 25, 2016 5:13 pm : Home Building, Interiors

Although I am pretty confident that most nights and certainly across a week my children get enough sleep but I was interested to check how much sleep they “should” be getting. My best friend Google tells me my 8 year old and my 6 year old should be getting 10-11 hours a night.


Research from the Sleep Council suggests that children in the UK are not getting enough sleep, contributing to the rise of illnesses like obesity and a reduction in cognitive ability and learning. Making sure children have enough sleep is a top priority for any parent but often environmental factors can be difficult to control and are compounding the quality of children’s sleep.

Duette Energy Saving BlindsDuette® Blinds are an innovative window blind, which has a clever honeycomb design and special fabric coating, can help parents across the country to reduce noise levels, and control light and temperature in children’s bedrooms, achieving a more restful night’s sleep for children. Duette® Blinds are made with SmartCord or LiteCord operating systems, which remove the need for dangerous dangling cords.

The blinds are available in a Kaleidoscope of colours, so they are perfect for creating a peaceful and restful children’s bedroom.

Duette Blinds Kids Bedroom

Duette Energy Saving Blinds Nursery

Duette Energy Saving Blinds kids bedroom 3

Duette energy saving blinds yellow bedroom 3

Bad dreams, rooms being too light in the sumer or being cold are the top three reasons for my two ending up in my bed during the night so Duette® Blinds sound like an all round great idea and are on the 2016 home wish list.

Is that the same in your house? What about the sleep needs – do you agree with how much sleep children need by age? Let me know your thoughts.

To find out more about Duette® blinds visit

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New Window Dressing Ideas For Contemporary Homes

Cheshire Claire : January 20, 2016 1:12 am : Home Building, Interiors

By day I work, as many of you know, in PR and Social Media mostly with home and interior clients. Allow me to introduce you to the latest addition to fold, Clover and Thorne, a new online store for made-to-measure blinds and curtains.

All the latest trends are catered for and their site is packed full of inspiration and top quality products for modern homes. All the choice of made-to-measure but the difference is you measure yourself, following their guidance with the reassurance of a mis-measurement guarantee and order online. All at a much better value price – now this I love.

Here are some of the latest popular room looks for contemporary homes that can be found on Clover & Thorne:

Clover and Thorne Curtains Touch Collection

Clover and Thorne roller Anoushka Snow

Clover and Thorne Roller BEDROOM _Flutter_White

Clover and Thorne venetians OFFICE

Clover and Thorne White Window Treatments

Made to measure Blinds and curtains from Clover & Thorne: Prices start from £32.86 for Curtains, Roman Blinds from £44.59, Fusio Blinds from £55.04 and Vertical Blinds from £23.20. Available to buy from

To see more Clover and Thorne made-to-measure blinds and curtains visit or call 0800 0124613

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Home Wants: George & Willy Studio Roller

Cheshire Claire : September 26, 2015 10:20 pm : Home Building, Interiors, Life

I love lists. I live my life by lists. To do, to make, to buy, to watch, to call, to send. And yes anything I do that wasn’t on the list I add it on just so I can tick it off! Lists are how I roll! This studio roller rocks my world, perfect for the kitchen and Diva G would love one in the playroom too. My home needs this studio roller in it. Doesn’t yours?

George & Willy Studio Roller 1



Studio Roller, available from, £120

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