I have chosen a ‘thrilling’ topic this week… so drum roll please…

This weeks little ramble is going to be all about my WERK WERK WERK WERK WERK!!!

Since starting ‘at home with gem’, I have been asked quite a few times about what I do for ‘werk’ and also how I have ended up doing what I do…

Unfortunately for all of you, they are two questions with rather plain answers but I thought I would do my best to try and elaborate a bit more for you…



So, here it goes…


Put simply I…

  1. Renovate houses
  2. Try and be a good landlady

Now for the more elaborate version…

On the main, the houses that I renovate belong to Dougie and I…

We try and buy houses that need some work doing to them and then typically we convert them into ‘HMO’s’.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of that one before, a HMO is a house of multiple occupation… which essentially just means a shared house rented out room by room.




We don’t have any students rentals, only professionals and we try to make sure that the house renovations appeal to the professional market by making the houses (in our opinion) pretty nice…

Keeping them nice on the other hand is another story!!




The houses typically have 5-6 people living in them and each person rents a bedroom.

The houses we look to buy are normally 3 bedroom terraced houses, that have 2 reception rooms, a big kitchen and possibly sometimes the opportunity to extend or do an attic conversion.

We then turn the two reception rooms into bedrooms and this gives us our 5 bedrooms (or 6 with an attic conversion or extension).




Aside from continuing to buy houses and continuing to manage the renovations, I also have the very important job of looking after all of our tenants, the maintenance of the houses and the running of the business.

So I guess day to day you could also call me Maintenance Director, Sales Director, Marketing Director, Finance Director… general sh!t shoveller… the list goes on!!




Then in between all of that, I also project manage house renovations for other people…

These can either be HMO renovations, where I will source suitable ‘HMO’ houses for people to purchase. Then I will also project manage the renovation to convert the house into a HMO for them.




Or… I also project manage residential renovations and extensions for people wanting to improve their own homes… basically I will PM anything anyone wants me to help with!!

No two days look the same for me… some days I am fixing washing machines and unblocking toilets… some I am terrorising the builders… some I’m looking round ex crack den houses… some I am knee deep in paperwork… and some I am extremely lazy and do a whole heap of not a lot!!

It is an eclectic mix!!




I am very very hands on with all of the projects and I am normally down on site most days.

Every single day is a school day… but that is the way I like it. There is so much to know and every house throws up something (or multiple things) that I haven’t come across before…

Working with property, definitely keeps me on our toes!!





By accident!!

No, I joke, that’s a total lie…

I know I have mentioned to you before that my parents have been building houses my whole life, so they have well and truly given me the property bug!!




But I haven’t however always worked with property… I did used to have a corporate job working as a Recruiter for Kellogg’s and I absolutely loved it.

But as much as I loved it, property was still always in the background and whilst working for K, Dougie and I also renovated a few houses on the side…

That, was very very tough.

Leaving work after a long day and then going to strip wall paper was hell.





Back in the old days we used to do a lot of the work ourselves, but thankfully not any more…

Don’t get me wrong, when we are up against it, I will occasionally pick up a paintbrush to ‘help out’. 

But now we work with an amazing team of builders and I happily let them take control… they are most definitely the experts after all.

The hard work at the beginning was however, very much all worth it because it saved us a lot of £££ and allowed us to make a decent profit on the houses that we renovated.




That profit has essentially been the stepping stone that has allowed me to leave my ‘job’ and allowed us to start investing in property full time.

Leaving the corporate world was a very tough and scary decision…

We had days, weeks, months of sleepless nights. Back and forth with whether it was the ‘right’ thing to do.
Thankfully, so far, it does seem to have been a good leap of faith to have taken… as not only are we doing alright but it is safe to say that I absolutely LOVE what I do.

Growing up there was only ever one job that was for me and it was to work with property… so I guess you could say I am living my dream.




I literally don’t think I could ever get bored of nosing round houses and then transforming them into something better than they were before.

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea being on mucky building sites most days and it can be super stressful at times. 

But for me it’s perfect.
It allows me to manage my own time, be my own boss, get creative and the best part is the pride I get to feel every time I finish a project.

In my eyes I am definitely a very lucky girl…

Until next time.




I can’t actually believe it… but it’s been 2 and a half months since we moved into the new house.

Time has quite literally flown…

And… I have to apologise because I have been an utterly TERRIBLE ‘blogger’. (‘Blogger’ in inverted commas, because it still seems a bit bonkers that I have my own blog and clearly I’m not that great at keeping up to date with it!!)

Anyway, its time to rectify my wrongs… so here is a little run down of the new house and where we are up to with planning, the renovation etc.




Where to begin…

Well we now live in the countryside… and that’s a bit different!!

Mainly it’s very very very good different… but there are also a few ‘adjustment’ differences, that we are still working on…

Namely, the fact that it is currently the crack of dawn and I am wide awake thanks to Mr Owl, Mr Birdies and every other Fathingwood animal that feels like it’s appropriate to have a party in my garden at 5.05am.




The other is the spidey spiders who are absolutely EVERYWHERE… but lets face it, they are totally awesome and are obviously a real asset to the house. NOT.

However… I will not complain, because we are absolutely loving living here and I am sure I will become at one with nature… eventually.

The spiders… maybe not so much!!

We have moved to a beautiful little rural village just outside of Manchester. It’s not too far from the old house but it feels worlds apart in terms of way of life.

We live on a gorgeous little road and there is such an amazing community spirit here, which is something that we just didn’t have so much of in Hale.




Everyone is so lovely and friendly and I am total a social monkey, so for me this community life is a complete dream.

And… the best bit about the whole thing is we have three amazing pubs all within a few minutes walk from the house. I am absolutely LOVING it.

MR GIN here I come…




The house it’s self is a very very old, beautiful terraced cottage. It literally has so much charm that it doesn’t know what to do with itself.

It actually used to be a mid terrace back in the day, but the cottages to the right of it were sadly knocked down in the 60’s, so now it is propping up the end.




The moment I walked through the door I fell in love and even though we haven’t put our own stamp on it yet, it already feels completely like home.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been a few ‘challenging’ days and we are absolutely desperate to get going with the renovation.

But hopefully good things come to those who wait and we really need to keep our fingers crossed that the planners like our plans.


Hallbank 2


After LOTS of back and forth with the architect (he hates me)… we finally submitted our planning application a month ago.

So for now we sit tight and wait out the gruelling 8-12 weeks until they tell us a yay or a nay.

It is fairly safe to say that in terms of planning we haven’t picked the easiest route…

The house sits in a conservation area and in green belt land… so there is no permitted development allowed here. Unfortunately, you need planning permission to so much as chop down a tree…




But… we love a challenge and it wouldn’t be quite right if we didn’t complicate things for ourselves.

So for now I will stay optimistic and hope that we get told a YAY!!

As it stands the house has two receptions rooms, a kitchen, utility room, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom… plus an attic room but it doesn’t have proper stairs up to it and it isn’t properly converted.




We have asked to create 3 reception rooms (although 2 will be open plan), a kitchen, utility room, downstairs toilet, 3 bedrooms (one ensuite), a dressing room and a master bathroom.

We would be gaining the extra space through doing an attic conversion, a double storey extension to square off the back of the house and then another single storey box extension on the back of that.

IF we get planning permission, it is safe to say that the builders (and I) will be veeeeerrrrryyyyy busy.




The house is currently very quirky.

There are quite literally bits of walls everywhere…

And we also have multiple different floor levels, which is far from ideal when you are trying to create and open plan space.

It has most definitely NOT been every architects dream house to design!!




In terms of the design for the interior and internal layout of the house, we are not quite there yet.

I have of course spent hours on Insta and Pinterest swooning over beautiful homes.

I have ideas… in fact I have too many of them…

Obviously the house will be grey. Thats a given.

But unfortunately for me, I am one of these people who loves lots of different styles and it takes me months and months to make any decisions in the fear of getting it ‘wrong’!!

That said… my flavour of the month at the moment is a white company/ Neptune type feel... with a scandi influence. 

But I change my mind like the wind, so next week it will be something else… there leith another problem!!




However, I am told that before I can get too carried away with the interior ‘stuff’… I do have to deal with the fairly important task of trying to work out where we are going to live while we do the work…

We have batted many ideas around but the plan at the moment is to live on site… in a caravan… for probably 4/5 months… over Winter!!

I actually can’t work out if its a genius idea or just plain bonkers. But either way… we are currently on the hunt for a caravan to either rent or maybe even buy!!

We are complete caravan novices and totally out of our depth… so if there are any experts out there, then all advice is very much welcomed… (yes this is a PLEA!!)




I will of course keep you updated on our renovation journey and I will write again when we hopefully have some (good) news to tell…!!

Before I go I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been so kind and messaged about our new home.

It has been so overwhelming and I am really grateful that I get to share this journey with so many amazing and inspiring people…

All my love

Gem xxx


It’s no secret that I love looking at people’s houses… either in a series of pictures, or even better in real life.

It’s true, I am a nosy parker.

But the real reason is that I just get so much inspiration from seeing other people’s amazing homes and now I have our new home to start designing.

Our new home is another top to toe renovation, so, its safe to say, that the inspiration definitely needs to keep coming my way and it needs to keep coming in bucket loads.

While I have been procrastinating through photos of lovely homes and trying to pull a plan together for our new home, it has got me thinking…

There is always one common denominator that catches my eye and that common denominator is ‘open plan living’.




From an interiors perspective, I aesthetically just love the look of an open plan space, I love the versatility it gives you to lay out a room and how the same space could be designed in a million different ways.

When we bought our current home, it wasn’t open plan. So, we took the decision to create an open plan living space between the kitchen, dining room and lounge and I am really glad that we did.

It has changed the way that we live in the space and for me, it has made our house so much more social.

The plan for the new house will be to try and achieve exactly the same, or thats the hope anyway… so please keep your fingers crossed for us that the planners let us extend!!




Its not just the aesthetics of open plan space that I love, it is also the practicalities…

The biggest factor for me, is that I don’t really enjoy cooking all that much and to be quite honest I’m really terrible at it. BUT I do really love to host dinner parties. So, the idea of being stuck in the kitchen, while everyone else is having fun in the rest of the house just does not work for me what so ever.  

The other reason, (which granted may only be applicable to our household), is that Dougie has very very VERY ‘selective’ man hearing…

Quite often if we are in separate rooms (or sometimes even the same room) he magically won’t hear a word I say. He tells me I talk too quietly… I say he doesn’t listen… I will leave you to work out who you think is telling the porkies on that one!!




So, anyway, all in all, an open plan space is a must for us, as if we didn’t have one, I would A) never be heard and B) spend my evenings boring myself with my own company and missing out on all the fun. 

When we created our open plan space, we were already pulling our house to pieces, so luckily it was very easy to do.

A few visits from the building inspector and a couple of steels later, we were cooking on gas. Once the messy work was done, the fun part began… how to design and furnish the space.

As fun as it was, for us, this was the hardest part and we spent hours and hours deliberating over decision after decision.




So, with that in mind, I have popped together my 5 top tips for creating an open plan space…

1. Choose your furniture and the layout of your space before you start any building work

This is without doubt the biggest learning that we had on the whole project, ‘plan the space before you lift a finger’. You need to know what furniture you want and the dimensions of it before you can plan your layout. Then you need to know where it is all going to go so you can design the space. Think sockets, TV, sofa, side tables, lamps, radiators, internet, basically just think about everything… plan it all and draw it all out. 

2. Zone your space

Split your open plan space up into zones. Although our space is one large area, we have always tried to keep a clear divide between what is the lounge, what is the dining room and what is the kitchen. If you don’t have natural breaks in your walls to help you zone, then you can use furniture to do this. I think zoning helps to keep large spaces feeling homely and cosy. For me, it also makes things feel more organised and less cluttered.

3. Flooring is a key decision

Flooring is key for two reasons, it hugely affects the look and feel of the room and it also affects how noise travels. Carpet will without doubt suck up the noise more than a hard floor. For us though, noise isn’t an issue, as the buzz of an open plan space is one of the things we love the most. Our issue was that we wanted carpet in the lounge, laminate in the dinning room and tiles in the kitchen. I know, it sounds like a total car crash. But, thankfully, ‘I think’ we have just about pulled it off and it looks ok. So, the moral of my flooring story is that you don’t have to have the same flooring throughout and don’t be afraid to experiment with it. 

4. Think about heating and fireplaces

Open plan spaces are typically bigger spaces, so think about heating. For a lot of people underfloor heating is a good option… it heats the space evenly and it also removes the issue of fitting furniture around radiators. That said, its expensive and we are yet to have underfloor heating in our own home. So, linking back to my earlier point, we have always had to meticulously plan where to put our radiators and fires, so that we haven’t ended up blocking out any heat with furniture… especially big pieces of furniture, like sofas.

5. The use of colour

We have always used the same colour throughout our open plan spaces, but there certainly is no right or wrong way of doing it. I would say, that I find the use of one main colour does help the space to flow. My style is definitely more light and airy (and very grey), as I think it tends to make the space look bigger and more open. I do like using the same paint families in an open plan space, so in our house, we have Farrow and Ball Purbeck Stone on our walls and then Farrow and Ball Ammonite on the cupboard in the lounge. Ammonite is slightly lighter and I find that it gives the cupboard its own identity, without overpowering or changing the feel of the room.




So there you have it, my little ramble on open plan living…

I am all giddy and excited about designing the new house after writing this post, so now I am off to do some more picture gazing and inspo stealing…
Only 2 more sleeps to go…!! Eeeeek!!

All my love



P.S. We have recently had the privilege of being asked to share our open plan space with Keepmoat Homes, as they have created an amazing online Home Inspiration Gallery. So, if you want to see some more photos of our open plan space or photos of other peoples amazing homes, then head over to https://www.keepmoat.com/get-inspired



Anyone who knows me, will know that’s it’s no secret that I just can’t sit still… I have a huge case of ‘itchy feet’ and I always have to be doing something.

The same can be said when it comes to renovating houses…

My friends think that I am a bit bonkers and when I met Dougie, so did he. But ultimately, renovating property is my love and like with any love in life, I want to keep doing it better and also I want to keep experimenting with new interiors and new designs.




It obviously just isn’t feasible to keep moving house every year (surely no one can be that bonkers?!), so when I started working in property full time, I had hoped that renovating other peoples houses would curb my constant desire to keep packing up boxes and renovating our own home…

It was a nice try, but I don’t know who I was kidding!!

As much as I love renovating houses for other people, it just isn’t the same.




So… after much deliberation, it is with a very heavy heart that we have made the decision to move on and to sell our lovely home.

Yikes, that really isn’t easy to say.


Dining Room


We really do love our home. We have made some amazing memories here and we will be extremely sad to say goodbye.

But… 3 years in, I think we feel ready to move, or as ready as I think we will ever be.




We have been talking about selling our home for a little while now, but circumstances (mainly me leaving my corporate job) and that fact that we just love it here, have kept us in our house for longer than we had originally planned.

That said, I really am a huge believer in ‘good things come to those who wait’, which is totally and utterly ironic considering I’m one of the most impatient people around!!

So with that mantra in mind, I am hoping that the timing is right for us now and that we will love our next house just as much as this one… or maybe even more.




Since Dougie and I met and he started to join me with my crazy love for house moving, we have spent hours talking about that ‘dream home’…

Admittedly, I do get carried away and aspirations like the hot tub in the garden  just probably aren’t realistic for right now… but a girl has to dream and hopefully, maybe, we will get there one day!!




Like many people, we formulated a ‘plan’ on how to get to our dream home and our plan was to keep renovating and to keep moving house.

I hear you… it’s not the most innovative plan in the world and there is certainly no right or wrong way of doing it. But it’s a plan that we hope we can achieve and it’s one that we also think we will really enjoy.

Or that was the case until we realised we were completely and utterly emotionally attached to our house…




Truth be told, it was easy to sit there 6 years ago, with no ties or emotions to any houses and formulate a plan to keep moving house, but in reality when attachments and emotions get involved, it makes it much much harder.

That said, to get to that dream home, we know we need keep moving and thats why we have finally made the decision that it’s time for our beautiful little home to look after a new family.




As much as I have ‘itchy feet’ and love moving and renovating, it’s not a decision that was easy to make. 

We have spent hours and hours talking about what to do and we have gone back and forth a million, trillion times.

I’m sad, excited, scared and anxious all in one…

We are really hoping that we have made the right decision but that will never take away from the fact that we will miss our little home so so much.




I have no doubt that there are going to be a few (a lot) of tears over the next few weeks… especially when we close that front door for the last time.

But ultimately, it would be easy, safe and comfortable to stay where we are and ‘what is life for if it doesn’t involve a few risks?!’

Plus, I’m ready for that hot tub in the garden!!!

All my love



P.s. Over the next few weeks, I will endeavour to pop up a post about the new house and all of our grand plans for it…

In my Dads words… here we go again!!


Just incase you hadn’t heard, last week Dougie and I packed our bags and off we flew to France for a long weekend. 

I have to say, we both absolutely love travelling and we do try our best to get away as often as we can. Travelling is without doubt what we live for and my bank manager (Dougie) also tells me its where most of our money goes… no comment!!

But this weekend was no ordinary weekend away… we were wedding venue viewing!!

EEEEEK. To say we were excited would be a total understatement. I was buzzing.

Seeing as I plastered it all over Instagram, I am fairly confident that our little trip to France won’t be new news to some of you…




But just when you thought it had all ended, I figured I would bore you some more… so here goes a whole blog post dedicated to the momentous event!! 

I will start at the beginning…

Dougie and I met back in May 2008 while we were both at Loughborough Uni.

We were on the same course, lived across the road from each other, could see into each others bedrooms, yet we never met until our third year when we were both on placement. 

After a long 18 months of Dougie chasing me about… we eventually got together at Halloween in 2009!! 

Since then we have been inseparable, we are the jam to each others toast, the gin to each others tonic and the cheese to each others macaroni. You get the idea… 




In November last year, Dougie sat me down one Wednesday night and told me to pack a bag.

Obviously like a girl possessed I asked a million questions… but very frustratingly I was told nada, other than ‘be ready for Saturday morning and bring a bikini’.

When Saturday came, I was driven to Manchester airport and a few hours later I found myself sipping champagne… on a plane to Thailand.

Nothing like this ever happens to me… 




Then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better…

On Tuesday 14th November, I was told to get ready for dinner, to wear flat shoes and to be ready for 7.

At 7, I was handed a glass of champagne (there is a running theme here), put into a car and taken into the Thai rain forest.

When we got there, all I can remember seeing was a sea of light. 

The whole place was lit up with hundreds of candles…

It was incredible.




Then, in a moment of madness, Dougie got down on one knee and he asked me to marry him… 

For once in my life, I was speechless. 

I of course managed a ‘yes’, although I think I probably think I mumbled it… and there you have it, we became Mr and Mrs Perry ‘to be’.




I always thought I would be the type to get engaged and jump straight in to wedding planning.

I am a normally a crazy kid when it comes to organisation but by some miracle, I have managed to keep very chilled, very calm and I haven’t jumped into anything… apart from reading every wedding magazine going!!




We always knew that when the time came that we would want to get married in France.

We love France and everything about it. Plus it has a lot of meaning to both of us…

When I was growing up my parents had a holiday home in the most beautiful village on the water in the South of France, called Port Grimaud.

The majority of my childhood memories are held there, so to me it is extremely special and one of my happy places.

Port Grimaud and France have also stolen Dougie’s heart and in our 7 years together, we have spent lots of holidays there, mucking about and having fun in the sun. 




Aside, from the meaning that a wedding in France would give us, we would also really love to have an outdoor wedding. Picture… trees, fairy lights, lanterns, candles, greys… 

Clearly, you can’ t guarantee the weather anywhere in the world but we figured we have a better chance of making an outside wedding happen in France VS the UK.

So, before we went to France, we spoke to quite a lot of wedding planners.

We told them all about our love of Port Grimaud and the French Riviera and specifically about how we wanted to get married there. 

We also told them our wedding budget, well, Mr Bank Manager did…

Like with everything I seem to want in life, it became apparent very quickly that a wedding on the French Riviera was not going to be a cheap affair. 

So in an effort to try and save some pennies, we decided that we would forget the Riviera (for now) and start our search in the beautiful Provence region…




In total we saw 6 venues ALL OVER provence.

It was a road trip and a half and D tells me we (he) drove 1000 miles in 3 days.

Im pleased to say, we successfully avoided any car crashes or wrong side of the road driving and we had an absolute blast!!

The venues were stunning. All of them.

We saw two castles, a few chateaus and a vineyard and there is no doubt that a wedding in any one of them would be a beautiful day.




Everyone told us before we went that we would get a ‘feeling’ when we found the one… but as much as we loved every single venue… neither of us got ‘that feeling’. 

We have chatted and chatted and chatted some more and eventually, we concluded, that as amazing as the venues were, for us they were missing ‘something’.

As cheesy as it sounds, we decided that that ‘something’ was that none of them were in the part of France that we feel is ‘home’.

We weren’t ready for that.

We really didn’t expect that the area of France would be a deal breaker for us. It wasn’t until we were in Provence, that it just didn’t feel right.

It almost felt like we were cheating on our beloved Port Grimaud…




On our trip, we had always planned to drive down to Port Grimaud for our final night, as we knew we couldn’t go all that way and not say hello.

So after the final venue, we jumped in the car, giddy as hell and drove the 3 hours to Port Grimaud…

As soon as we got there, we knew, I burst into tears and D proceeded to laugh at me.

He laughed… but I know he felt it too!! 

So in all in all, I guess we haven’t found ‘the venue’ but we have nailed down a single small bay in the South of France where we know we want to say ‘I do’.




With all of that in mind, I am happy to announce that it looks like another trip to France (Port Grimaud) is on the cards and that as a result D will have to up the wedding budget!!

There are no complainers in my camp… any excuse for another wedding weekend away!!

All my love





Firstly, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all of the love and kindness that I have received for my first ever blog post.

It is safe to say that I was pretty blumming scared before I pressed ‘publish’, but the support has been truly amazing. T H A N K  Y O U  S O  M U C H.

So, here we go again…

For today’s action, I thought I would share the story of our home with you.

Like all renovation stories, its been a hell of a ride, so maybe grab a brew (or if you’re like me a gin) and we can get through this one together.




Doug and I bought our home back in May 2014, which actually feels like an eternity ago now.

We aren’t the most decisive people in the world… so right up until the exchange date we were back and forth, weighing up pros and cons, still trying to decide if it was the ‘right’ move for us…

Needless to say, we talked ourselves into it, exchanged, completed and like kids in a playground, we picked up the keys.




We were moving from our beloved ‘first’ home, which without question had stolen our hearts.

We could have stayed there forever but unfortunately it was a case of having to move as we had quite simply ‘outgrown’ our lovely home and we needed more space.

Actually, I will rephrase that… it was a case of ‘Dougie and his numerous drum kits’ had outgrown our lovely home and THEY needed more space… I know you feel my pain!!

The move was tough, emotional and long.

That said, after a few cries and numerous glasses of champagne… you will be relieved to know that I had forgotten all about house number 1 and was totally in love and ready to rip apart house number 2.



Our house is in a picturesque little village called Hale, which is just outside of Manchester. It’s a very traditional Victorian terrace and came with everything you would expect from a Victorian 2 up, 2 down… damp, damp and guess what… some more damp!!

In fact from head to toe it was generally just pretty run down, tired and unloved… picture yellow walls, bodge job kitchen, stained brown carpets, mouldy bathroom… the list goes on.

It had previously been tenanted, so admittedly it was in live-able condition, but there was no chance that I would have actually slept a night in it as it was.

I really wish I was one of these people that could just sleep anywhere, but what can I say, I have never been a camper or one to ‘slum’ it. It’s one of the many things Dougie has had to learn to love about me… I’m a ‘diva’.



Over the next 6 months we took apart our home and pieced her back together bit by bit.

We did a lot of the work ourselves and at the time we were both still working in the corporate world… so it was tough. Really tough.

We left the office at 6pm, came straight to the house, changed into our ‘scruffs’ and spent the rest of our evenings covered in dust. It was a case of work, eat, renovate, sleep, repeat.

There was hardly anything that we didn’t renew or change, we literally gutted the whole house and started again.

To cut a very long story short, the job sheet looked a bit like this… new kitchen, new bathroom, creating an open plan living space on the ground floor, new windows, new external doors, plastering, decorating, flooring, tiling, cellar conversion, electrics, new boiler, damp proofing, roof repairs, new internal doors and changing fireplaces.



There was quite literally blood, sweat and many many tears (all from me). We were lucky in that the build itself did go pretty smoothly, the worst part of the whole process by far was the one thing I know we all hold dear to our hearts…. woodchip.

We had 6 layers of the stuff. This is where the tears came in.

It took us 3 weeks of solid wallpaper stripping to be rid of the wattle and daube that was lining our walls. Those 3 weeks have left me permanently scarred and I will never be the same again.

But here is the best bit…

Once the woodchip came off… the walls fell down.

Yup. You got that right, the walls, they quite literally fell down. It would appear that the wallpaper was in fact glueing the walls together and quite literally holding everything in place. BAD BAD BAD times.




It was so bad that I really can’t dwell on that extremely painful memory for too long.

So, I will take us on to happier times…

In September, on Dougie’s Birthday, we spent our first night in our new home. What an amazing moment that was. There were times when we didn’t think we would make it, but we did. To say I was proud of us would be an understatement.




That said, the house was far from finished… We had put a lot of our furniture in storage, well when I say storage, I mean my Nana’s garage. Needless to say, it got wet and damaged and ultimately it was only destined for the tip.

On one hand, I was gutted, we lost a lot of furniture we loved, but on the other, it meant I got to go house shopping. WINNER.

Dwell, Ikea, Homesense, John Lewis… you name it, I was there. Like every interior lover, I didn’t need telling twice!!




Typically, I’m an impatient soul and I like to jump straight in things. Once I am on a mission, I am like a bull in a china shop. Nothing can stop me.

Nothing except from perhaps not having any money left to actually buy anything… or so I was being told by my trusted bank manager… (also known as Dougie).

Surprisingly, I acted very maturely and I took the news of the lack of remaining budget quite well.

I actually embraced and enjoyed the time that I had and I used it to really get to understand the house and how we utilised the space.

Or thats what I told myself anyway. Every cloud and all that.




Over the next 6-9 months I designed every inch of how I wanted the space to look in terms of furnishings and slowly we started to make the vision I had in my head a reality.

Truth be told I am actually really glad that I didn’t run in all guns blazing like I normally would. If I had, I’m fairly certain that the house would probably look quite different to how it looks today.


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They say that you should always reflect on your actions and learn from everything you do.

So drum roll please…

My single biggest take away from the renovation of our house is to not to make rash decisions and to really understand how I intend to utilise space before running out to buy everything and anything.

Lets hope I remember that for next time!!




So there you have it, the painful but extremely rewarding story of our home and her restoration to glory. What a journey it was and it is one that we will never ever forget.

I suppose we have Dougie’s drum kits to thank…

All my love


P.S. I hope you enjoyed your gin… or 5!!



If anyone is out there and you happened to have stumbled across my page, then ‘Hi and welcome to my first ever blog post’.

Wow, I can’t believe I am saying that!! What a massive moment. Me… a blogger, who would have thought!?

My name is Gem. I’m 29 and I live in a little village just outside Manchester, with my two favourites… my fiancé Dougie and our gorgeous little puppy Noah, or at least I think he’s a puppy… some days I’m not quite sure, he behaves more like a little devil!!




This time last year I was sat at a desk, working in the corporate world. Now I am sat here, in my home, self employed, with a full time career in property renovation and interior design, not to mention a whole load of new instagram friends and a website with my name on it.

I would never in my wildest dreams have predicted any of this, but my word, I can not tell you how excited and grateful I am for this journey. It is a serious case of ‘how the hell did this all happen?!’ Somebody pinch me.




My love for property, houses and interiors started when I was only a little girlie and I definitely have my Mum and Dad to thank… or possibly blame, I can’t quite work that bit out. My parents have been buying and renovating homes for as long as I can remember. It works out that I have moved house every 2 years of my life…. that’s 16 houses in total.

No jokes.

You must be thinking we are mental and we probably are. We must have packed and unpacked enough cardboard boxes to bridge the gap from here to the Moon… and back again. Jokes aside, I am so lucky to have grown up watching my Dad build such beautiful houses from the ground up and my Mum create the most amazing interiors within them… it’s safe to say they inspired me.


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As inspired as I was, I never really believed renovating houses would become a career for me, I suppose I just kinda thought that if I was lucky then it might lead to me owning a ‘pretty’ house at some point along the way.

How wrong I was…

Houses have not only become my career, they have become my whole entire life. My own property journey started 6 years ago when Dougie and I bought our first ‘project’ and since then we have done 7 renovations together. It’s been ridiculously exciting, extremely fun, majorly terrifying and a little bit stressful, all rolled into one.




I would love to say that we are the renovation dream team, that we agree on everything and it’s all been completely smooth sailing so far. But as amazing as it has been and as much as we are partners in crime, in reality it’s a miracle we haven’t gone grey.

To give you a bit of an idea of how it goes in our house, an interior design conversation normally happens a bit like this…

I bat my eye lids and excitingly say… ‘Dougie, I love you, what do you think of this. I think it would look amazing in the house. Did I mention I love you…?’

Dougie responds (without fail)… ‘Absolutely not, no, it’s hideous, I hate it, no chance, its disgusting, have you lost your mind, no’.

What can I say, he’s predictable!! I mean, at least I always know what I’m going to get. He gets an ‘A’ for consistency, I will give him that. Unluckily for Doug, that consistency has prepped me well for the ‘interior battle’ over the years and I’m now a master at ‘playing the game’. So a few reverse psychology tactics later and everyone’s a winner… I get my way and Dougie gets another cushion to cuddle up to at night.




You are probably wondering what brought me to this point now? Or maybe you aren’t… but I figured I’d tell you anyway…

The answer is Instagram.

I started my Instagram account ‘at home with gem’ as a way of me collating pictures of our home, in hope that I could join in with the incredible house community that I have followed for so long.

The response to our home has been overwhelming and has quite honestly blown us away. We love our house and without sounding like a numpty, we are so proud of ourselves for creating it. But opening the doors to share it with the insta world was pretty nerve wracking.

When I hit ‘share’ on that first post I actually closed my eyes and squealed like a pig… but I didn’t need to. It turns out the insta world is an amazing place full of kind and lovely people…. and it has now led me to here, to tell you even more tales about our life and home.




Truth be told, I have always wanted to be a ‘blogger’, it has a certain a ring to it. Plus, it’s what the cool kids do, no?! Im sorry to say, I’m definitely no cool kid, but here I am, pretending to be, with my very own ‘at home with gem’ blog…

If by some miracle anyone is still with me, then firstly… thank you for sharing this moment with me… and secondly… you must be totally crackers!!

No, in all seriousness, I’m so super excited to share snippets of our life and home with you and I hope that I can keep you even mildly entertained in the process.

Until the next time…

All my love,

Gem xx