Upcycling project: TV unit

Recently I completed my first upcycling project and although it’s not perfect, I am really pleased with the overall finished result and thought I would share the process with all of my readers.

I was really inspired to start upcycling by my good friend Victoria and Jo from @littlevillagehouse on Instagram, who have both created some amazing pieces through recycling old furniture.

So Victoria and I ventured off to local charity shops to see what I could find. Because Jamie and I live on a budget, most of my furniture is secondhand (from family members) or bits and pieces from Ikea so I was really excited about the prospect of having something unique to call my own. I had been looking at corner TV units online for a long time. I had been drooling over the Huxley Corner TV Stand from Next but I just couldn’t warrant the price tag at this stage in our lives/careers.

I found this sturdy corner TV unit at a charity shop in Kilmarnock for only £10. Instantly, I had a vision of how it could look with grey paint and fresh handles. I love country and farmhouse style furniture and accessories (even though I live in a top-floor flat in a busy town) so I could definitely imagine the unit fitting in perfectly.

My friend had lots of furniture paint leftover from her own projects so we used that to paint it. It was Rust-Oleum’s ‘chalky finish’ furniture paint in the colour Flint, which you can get in Homebase or Argos. Before painting, we gave it a light key with fine sandpaper to help the paint stick. It really didn’t need much so if you’re doing this yourself make sure you’re not too heavy-handed.

After sanding, we used a combination of a small sponge paint roller, for large flat areas, and a little paint brush, for corners and edges. Once the paint was dry, Victoria kindly touched up any rough spots and – voila – it was ready for its new home. Depending on the desired finish, you might want to use more than one coat but I like the shabby-chic look and felt the one coat gave great coverage.

The original handles were cute and gave a vintage feel to the unit but because I wanted to give it a complete facelift, I decided to replace the old handles with farmhouse-style cup handles and picked a cute knob for the main cupboard in the centre. These were super cheap from Amazon. The cup handles were only £2.79 for 6 and the knob was £2.90. Click on the images below to get your own!

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Overall, I am so pleased with the finished result and it feels magical that not only do I have a piece of unique furniture that I really like, and that cost me less than £30 in total, but that I made it with my own hands. As someone that suffers periodically with bouts of bad mental health, I’ve found creative projects like this to be super helpful and healing. There are a couple of chipped bits around the base, which I need to sort out, but imperfections are a part of life so who cares? There is something amazing about seeing it in my living room and knowing that it’s one-of-a-kind and special to us.

What do you guys think? Have you tried some upcycling?

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Friction Free Shaving razor subscription

I’ve been meaning to blog about Friction Free Shaving’s razor subscription for a while because I think more people need to know about it. This post is in no way endorsed or sponsored by FFS; I just love their products!

Friction Free Shaving (FFS) is a genius service that you need in your life.* This is a life-saver if, like me, you’re a bit low-maintenance or forgetful. Using old blades is so bad for your skin; is unhygienic; and prevents you from getting a really close shave. With monthly or bimonthly deliveries, I never have to remember to pick up fresh blades at the supermarket and my legs can be silky smooth at all times. Plus it’s really good value for money.

*if you choose to shave! The choice is totally up to you, of course, and you should never feel obligated to remove any of your body hair. If you rock natural hair, good, If you don’t, good. Your body = your choice. 

When you first order from FFS, you get to choose from three razors ranging from £5 to £9 (Rose, Silvia and Frankie). You can even get your razor engraved for ultimate personalisation (free engraving worth £6 if you click here*) and pick some add-ons like pre-, post- and during shaving creams and balms. The more luxurious options include a stunning rose-gold metal razor with 6 blades and the world’s first chrome razor designed especially for women. I went for the basic Frankie razor with 3 ceramic coated blades and a lubricating vitamin E strip for extra moisture. It feels heavy and sturdy and the blade has 90-degree movement, which is great for around the ankles and knees. Plus it’ll only set you back £5.

Once I received my first order (the razor and a set of 4 refills), I could choose to have my refills delivered straight to my doorstep at a frequency that suits me (every month or every second month). I get the Frankie blades delivered every two months, which suits me perfectly, as I can change my blade every two weeks. But if you would like to change them weekly, you could go for the monthly delivery.

I’d also like to point out that the customer service at FFS is amazing. I have to admit that I considered cancelling my subscription during winter because, let’s face it, your shaving frequency is significantly less than during the summer months. However, instead of cancellation, the lovely Amber at Friction Free Shaving offered to put me on their ‘winter setting’ which allowed me to either swap my next set of blades for one of their tubed products or postpone my subscription to give me time to use up the blades that I currently have. I thought this was a great personal touch because I didn’t want to cancel forever but I didn’t want to waste my cash on surplus refills. 

So if like me, you are always looking for ways to maximise productivity in your day-to-day life, subscribe to FFS and you’ll never have to remember to buy fresh razor blades again and you can feel safe in the knowledge that you’re getting a super hygienic, smooth shave every time.

Click here to get FREE razor engraving worth £6 using code NUFE9H*

 

*Total transparency: You get free engraving and I receive £3 credit towards my FFS orders whenever one of you lovely people join the FFS gang.

2017: Most Popular Posts

How on earth is January almost over? I intended to write up a ‘2018 goals’ post but time has escaped me – maybe I still can. As always, a big goal for me is to keep up the momentum on The Fourth Month. I’ve been posting more regularly on The Fourth Month Instagram account so it’s now time to produce more content for the blog.

The Fourth Month journey began back in Summer 2016 when I broke my leg and was relegated to the sofa for about 5 weeks. Since then I’ve focused on books, interiors, wellbeing and general lifestyle posts. Like I did last year, I thought I’d share the top posts of the year to say farewell to 2017 and hullo to 2018.

5. A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES BY SARAH J MAAS

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This review of A Court of Thorns and Roses was my first blog post in 2017 and you guys seemed to enjoy reading my thoughts. It was a book that left me feeling torn. I loved some of the characters and the magical world they inhabit but a lot of this story is problematic. Its troublesome Beauty and the Beast tropes (Stockholm Syndrome and sexual violence) made me feel uneasy but Maas created such a rich and exciting world full of powerful and mysterious characters with this series. I’ve yet to read ACOMAF and, at this point, I doubt I will. Check out my review and let me know what you think.

4. A PUBLISHING POSTGRAD UPDATE

The fourth most popular post in 2017 was my publishing postgrad update. It’s one of the few, if not only, personal posts I’ve written for The Fourth Month. This makes me wonder if you would like to see more personal blogs (let me know in the comments or send me a message). Since writing this in April last year, things have changed even more. I left my job at the Publishing Bureau to pursue work as a Library Assistant. Working with books and children is really my dream job! And, of course, I graduated with a Distinction in MSc Publishing in October last year, which was a massive achievement.

3. 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GOING TO UNIVERSITY

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Guest blogger, Zina, makes two appearances in the Top 5 of 2017. This is a witty and in-depth look at the trials and tribulations of University life. It’s a great read for anyone considering going to University but it also resonates with anyone who is at or has been to Uni. This uplifting list hopefully put a few minds at ease last year and I’m sure it’ll stay relevant every year as new students move on to higher education.

2. INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: BOOKS BY FIERCE FEMALES

I am so happy that this list of fiercely feminist books made it to the top of my most-viewed posts in 2017. This post was requested by a friend but it has clearly been enjoyed by many readers. The list featured some of my favourite authors from Charlotte Brontë to Jessie Burton. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books or if you would like see more bookish lists on The Fourth Month.

1. VANITY FEMME GLOW DUST REVIEW

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Stealing the limelight yet again, Zina’s review of Vanity Femme Glow Dust has made the top spot for 2017 (it was also the most viewed blog in 2016). This sparkly review of a cult-classic highlighter gets hits almost every day so I’ve asked my gorgeous make-up artist sister to start writing some make-up reviews in 2018. Follow her on Instagram and subscribe the The Fourth Month to make sure you don’t miss a thing.


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2016: Most Popular Posts

2017 is well underway now. I’ve got a lot of work to do for University – including publishing my own book and working with a group of classmates to make an exciting new wellbeing magazine – but I’m determined to get back into blogging. For anyone that doesn’t know, I started The Fourth Month in Summer 2016 when I broke my leg and was relegated to my couch for a month. It has since grown arms and legs, pardon the pun. The content has changed over time and my focus has waned in the last couple of months. To close the chapter of 2016, I thought I’d share the top three posts (according to the WordPress stats) from my first year of blogging with you all. I’m very surprised at the topic range covered by the three most popular blogs so it shows me that you guys like reading a lot of different things.


3. Why I Love Meraki Candles

The third most popular blog on The Fourth Month was a review of the gorgeous Meraki Candles published in July 2016. I was lucky enough to be a rep for these amazing literary candles for a few months and it was amazing watching Heather go from strength-to-strength last year. They are my favourite bookish themed candles, especially the Outlander themed candles, and I’m really not surprised this blog has been so popular. You can check out the candles here and the original blog here.

2. Eating Veggie in Marbella: El Oceano

While I was on holiday in Marbella, I wrote a three-part blog series on eating vegetarian in Costa Del Sol starting with a review of El Oceano. Every time I see this blog, I am filled with longing to be back there with those stunning ocean views and the delicious food. I never planned to write travel blogs but after the success of this series (which included Eating Veggie in Marbella: Terra Sana and Eating Veggie in Marbella: The Beach House) I will consider writing similar posts in 2017. Read the original post here.

1. Vanity Femme Glow Dust Review

So the most popular blog on The Fourth Month in 2016 wasn’t even one I wrote myself (maybe that’s telling me something). I welcomed two guest bloggers, Zina and Karishma, to my site last year because I wanted to include a wider range of writing and knowledge. Zina has written a few brilliant posts about beauty and food including this really popular review of the cruelty-free highlighter from Vanity Femme. I love Zina’s personal style of writing and I’m really glad that her blogs have been enjoyed by my readers. Read Zina’s review here.


What was your favourite post from 2016? What would you like to see more of in 2017? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram.

How to be a Badass and Win at Life

I’m really excited to welcome another guest blogger to The Fourth Month. Karishma has written an insightful how-to guide to boosting your self-confidence with inspiration from scholars to Queen Bey. Follow these top tips if you’re needing a boost during the dark wintery nights and the assessment period at University.

There is a TONNE of material out there that highlights the importance of self-confidence in helping you achieve your dreams and I have read, watched and listened to most of them…Yep, I was once plagued with a lack of self-love, fear of failure, inability to speak to more than one person at a time and general anxiety where my brain repelled every positive thought like it was poison.

OMG, he stared at me for a whole two seconds. Is something wrong with me? This will haunt me for three years!

I think I want to change my style up a bit and try out some new clothes. But wait, I don’t want people to think I’m trying to be cool… 

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Sound familiar? Even if these aren’t your particular fears, you can probably relate to the feeling of being so unsure of yourself that you’re terrified to even try. Take a minute and think about how CONFIDENT you are in yourself? Now rate yourself between one (lowest) and ten (highest). Before you do this, you might ask:  what is confidence anyway? Why is it so important? Does being confident result in success? If so, can I become more confident and how?

Time for a little psychology lesson. There are a wealth of different theories out there but we’re going to use Albert Bandura’s (1977) definition of the term “self-efficacy” which despite the distinction he made can be interchangeable with the term “self-confidence” and describes “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” Let me put it this way, if you had an opportunity to perform with your favourite artist on stage, would you take it because you believe that you can handle it? Or would you refuse because you’re too scared that you might end up making a fool of yourself? If your confidence rating is under five, then it’s safe to say you would probably pass up this awesome opportunity. But fret not if you have a low rating because you can improve all the way up to a ten!

One of the mistakes I made during my journey to a more confident individual was confusing self-esteem with self-confidence. A lot of sources tend to use these terms interchangeably but self-esteem reflects your personal worth – it is a judgment and attitude toward oneself. How inherently valuable do you think you are? Do you think you deserve happiness? Do you think you deserve forgiveness? Do you like yourself? Self-confidence, on the other hand, is based on ACTION and related to external accomplishments. You can have a low sense of self-esteem but be highly confident or vice-versa.

For example, if you’ve always been a popular individual – straight A student, smokin’ hot and told by everyone that you could definitely be the next Taylor Swift – then this could result in self-belief fueled by approval which you tragically become addicted to. Now, you may have achieved self-confidence but because you seek external validation you have low self-esteem.

On the other hand, you can read all the fluffy Tumblr quotes about loving yourself as you are and make Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” your anthem song but it won’t help much with self-confidence unless you strive to actually achieve something concrete. Ideally, you need both self-confidence and self-esteem to be high so you can live the best quality of life possible. But, self-esteem is a deep and complex topic that I shall leave for another day.

So why should you bother with the effort to become more confident? Because confident people are attractive, interesting, more likely to be successful and generally more fulfilled individuals! Self-confidence is POWERFUL and leads to EXTRAORDINARY living.

It doesn’t have to be a temporary feeling provided by alcohol or other substances. It can be grounded in reality. It is a skill for you to achieve.

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Below, are the eight practical steps you can try (short and long term) that work for me in building and boosting self-confidence.

  1. LIVE FOR YOUR EULOGY, NOT YOUR RESUME

    Figure out who you are and then set goals that align with your strengths, personality, and interests. WRITE them down and stick it in a place where it is the first thing you see every morning and work on it every day or as often as possible.

  1. LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD

    This is a bit of outside-inside thinking. I feel better about myself when I eat well and workout. People who put effort into their physical appearance seem like they’re well prepared and ready to conquer the day! Looking confident on the outside makes you feel more confident on the inside.

  1. THE WONDER WO(MAN) PLUS THE MIRROR TECHNIQUE

    I encourage you all to go and watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on “Fake it Till You Make it” – it will change your life. She is a social psychologist who talks about how “power posing” – standing in certain postures regardless of how you feel before it can increase testosterone levels, making you more confident and even affecting your chances of success. Every morning, adopt the wonder wo(man) power pose: stand with feet apart, hands on your hips, and chin tilted upward, look deeply into your own beautiful eyes and say positive things to yourself for few minutes. Be it empowering lyrics, feminist slogans, or just plain old self-affirmation that “I can do this”.

  1. TO FAKE IT OR NOT TO FAKE IT?

    It depends on the situation. As a nurse or a doctor working in an emergency setting, faking confidence in your job will probably result in a patient’s death. It’s obviously better in certain situations to realise your limitations and ask for help. But, say you’re a teacher who needs to give a presentation on a subject you’re knowledgeable about but lack confidence in public speaking, then go ahead and pretend you’re Martin Luther King Jr. all you want.

  1. ADOPT A GROWTH MINDSET

    Your mindset determines your belief about your own abilities. Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, identifies that people can have either a “fixed mindset” – belief that one’s ability is stagnant and cannot improve, or a “growth mindset”- belief that ability of any kind is not fixed but rather subject to change and growth. You can become your ideal self: smarter, faster, or even to be able to play the recorder with your nose. What type of mindset do you have?

  1. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

    Confidence, I’ve learned, is a muscle that gets stronger with exercise. You need to cross that bridge of discomfort because the only way out is through. Repeat as often as you can whatever it is that you’re scared of attempting – be it dating, swimming, or talking to strangers – until you’re comfortable with it. In the famous words of Beyonce:

I dream it, I work hard, I grind ‘til I own it.

  1. COMFORT ZONE CHALLENGES

    Your psychological response to a situation also affects your confidence. Despite mastering the necessary skill – say now you can play the recorder with your nose and want to do a little street performance- you find that you become increasingly nervous or are constantly worrying about what other people think. Comfort zone challenges are one way to minimise fear and maximise courage. It is a contemporary form of exposure therapy and is also where the popular “Lay down on the street for 30 seconds” challenge originates from.

  1. CUT OFF NEGATIVE PEOPLE

    According to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, you are the average of the five people you most spend time with. Do you respect the friends you surround yourself with? Do they inspire you? Even if they don’t necessarily bring you down, if they don’t contribute to your growth as an individual, let them go. Instead, develop a community of like-minded people – ones that encourage you by example to aim high.


What do you guys think? What kind of fears are holding you back and what will you do about it? Do you have any suggestions to add? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and let’s discuss! Tweet Karishma @karishma_roy and follow her blog This Curious Girl.

September 2016: Home Inspiration

Hello and welcome to another monthly round up of all things cute and cosy. Yes, it’s a couple of days late; I’ve been swamped with moving home, starting THREE new jobs and my course but better late than never.

I’ve recently been introduced to the Danish term: hygge. It’s everywhere these days and basically it is the art of cosiness. My September home inspiration is all about the bits and pieces I have filled my new bedroom with in an attempt to create my own little slice of hygge in Scotland’s capital city. Let me know what products you’re loving as Autumn is rearing its pumpkin shaped head.

Nicola Sturgeon/Mean Girls Print from The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company, £11 

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I am besotted by Marisa’s gorgeous illustrations over on the her online paper store The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company. This hilarious and imaginative Nicola Sturgeon meets Mean girls art print really sums up what Marisa is doing with her stationary and greetings cards. It’s all about pop culture, humour and making people smile.  Marisa is super talented and if you’re looking for something a little less politically charged then there are tonnes of other amazing prints on her website.

You can read more about my love affair with The Fuzzy Bee in my full blog post: Buzzing About The Fuzzy Bee Paper Company.


Honey Oatmeal Scrubby from Wee Tree Soap, £4

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This isn’t exactly home style inspiration but the gorgeous packaging and earthy design of the Wee Tree Soaps make it an essential for your bathroom decor. All you need to do is pop one of these on good draining soap dish so that it doesn’t turn to mush and let your guests bask in some skin-friendly, earth-friendly loveliness. I got this adorable faux grass dish from a nearby Flying Tiger store for like £2. Leigh’s soaps are made for sensitive skin, they don’t contain any animal products and they are packed with skin loving ingredients. I hate to mentioned the C-word but I really recommend buying one of these as a Christmas stocking filler!

For more information about why I’m loving these soaps, see Wee Tree Soaps: Part 1 and to buy yourself a beautiful vegan soap bar, go to Etsy.


Edinburgh Girl Print from Claire Barclay Draws, £10

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Okay, I’m just having a general love affair with Scottish paper companies right now. Claire Barclay is making the cutest Scottish culture pieces out there. My flatmates and I marvel at this adorable Edinburgh Girl print every morning over breakfast. The best part is: Claire creates personalised prints so you can get your hometown/favourite city scribed on to one of these gorgeous A4 art pieces! Claire also makes personalised pet portraits amongst Buckfast  and Frosty Jacks inspired illustrations. Oh yeah and you can get a BRAW 15% off all purchases until the end of October with my FOURTHMONTH15 code!!!

I’ll be posting a full blog soon but in the mean time visit Claire Barclay Draws Etsy.


Embossed Latte Mug from Tesco, £1.50

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My main goal is to promote the amazing work that local and independent companies are doing but once in a while it’s nice to throw in a bargain that is easy for everyone to find. This month I’m absolutely loving my big latte mug from Tesco. This was a lovely housewarming gift from my best friend and I drink my coffee from it every morning before facing the stresses of University and work life. It’s minimalist, pretty and it costs a mere £1.50. Next time you’re thinking about buying a Pumpkin Spiced Latte treat yourself to a new long lasting coffee cup instead. If you’re not a coffee drinker, you can use it to store make up brushes or pens and pencils in.

Here’s the link to grab your own latte mug!