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.


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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