Mahogany mirror hallway update

About a year and a half ago my parents gave us their mahogany mirror for safe keeping. Unfortunately, it went to waste for a long time and sat wrapped in the corner of our bedroom [as seen in this blog post] that is, until last week!

I had every intention to hang up said beautiful mirror, but I wasn’t sure exactly where to hang it. For a long time I thought about hanging it in our room, but I wasn’t 100% certain so it continued to sit. It finally dawned on me to hang it at the end of our hallway behind the front door. It was the perfect space for it! Long before we moved in our landlord stuck a cluster of IKEA mirrors to the wall behind the front door. They definitely were a functional addition to the hallway, but their charm had well and truly warn off in recent years. At the very least, they were impossible to keep clean.

It’s not too noticeable from this photo, but not all the mirrors were flush [to be honest, as we found out when hanging the mahogany mirror, the wall itself is not flat]. If you were standing in the hallway trying to use the collective cluster of mirrors to inspect your outfit, your knees may be left entirely out of the equation thanks to the different angles of the mirrors. There were many blind spots and some of the mirrors tilted outwards vertically leading you to believe you were wider than you actually were. Not something anyone, let along a pregnant woman, wants to see. You can kind of see this effect on the mirror Juniper appears on. 

Using a metal ruler, I carefully removed the mirrors by filleting the ruler behind each mirror and scraped the sticky pads off of the back of each mirror, one at a time. I sanded the leftover sticky marks and applied about 4 – 5 even coats of paint to the entire wall [those yellow marks proved tricky to hide]. I carefully stored each mirror on top of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom and will put them back in place when we eventually move out. 

Dad DIYer, along with help from Robert, hung the mirror last week and it has made such a HUGE change to our hallway. We’re no longer warped-looking when checking out our outfits and it’s such a welcome and more put-together addition to our hallway. Also, mahogany. When we grow up and have a real house ALL OF THE THINGS will be mahogany. 

DIY Friday – contact paper table top

To backtrack a little, I had been thinking for a while about a renter-friendly way of updating our landlord’s coffee table. Importantly, in a way that could be undone easily in a matter of minutes. The wood on the table had a particularly awful orange undertone to it, not to mention hadn’t been looked after so it had aged rather disgracefully. I decided to cover the table top with contact paper to not only protect my eyes, but to also protect the table from being ruined further. 

There were two other changes I wanted to make to this area [paint the cat basket and table tray] which I shared a couple weeks ago a peek in a little gif mock-up … 

There was a resounding response to painting the cat basket black, faux-marbeling the coffee table and a majority of either painting the tray in either black or burgundy. I was the most unsure about the tray as I wanted it black and burgundy. Then it struck me – the inside was already burgundy, so I just sprayed the outside black. Boom. Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts! It really did help. I am massively indecisive sometimes.
I painted the tray and cat basket, rushed out and got some marble contact paper from Woodies. I bought one roll of d-c-fix’s black and white marble contact paper and within 20 minutes, the table was covered. But I wasn’t happy. 

I really like the strong black and white marbling effect, but for some reason it wasn’t working in this situation. It was too strong in such a dark space. If our room was brighter it would work perfectly, but it kept catching my eye and in a bad way. It was fighting with our rug. It made the [ancient IKEA] TV unit look yellow. I didn’t like it. I went back to Woodie’s to see if they could order in a lighter shade of the marble paper [light grey veining vs. the darker black], but unfortunately they couldn’t. We checked B&Q and alas, they had the exact role I wanted! We went home and I peeled off the darker marble contact paper that was already on the table …

As you can see, some splinter-like pieces of wood from the coffee table peeled off with the contact paper. I panicked. Using a piece of fine sandpaper I lightly sanded the coffee table, wiped it clean and it was as good as before. PHEW. It was a damaged coffee table from the previous tenants to begin with, so I’d say that’s more so why the wood peeled off. It was incredibly minimal damage and totally fixable, so it’s not something I’m worried about, but for the sake of being transparent, I wanted to share this. I was hoping to reuse the darker contact paper to cover a couple of books, but thanks to the little flecks of wood, it was rendered very unsticky. Welp. It went in the recycling at the very least.
There was such a difference in the shades of the two contact papers [as seen below]. I waited for the coffee table to dry after I cleaned it, then got to work. Here’s how I applied it. For a second time …

What you’ll need …
– Contact paper in a colour of your choice
– A card to smooth any bubbles from under the paper as you apply it
– A pair of scissors to trim
– Something heavy to make sure the contact paper doesn’t scooch while you’re working [ie – a toolbox]

1. Remove the top of the coffee table and place it top-side-up onto something, like our storage box shown, so you can easily work on it. 
2. Centre the contact paper onto the table top and if you’re working alone, place something heavy like on top so it wouldn’t move. Peel back the paper backing about 6 inches and stick a strip of the contact paper onto one end of the table, smoothing the bubbles out as you go.
3. Continue in this manner by peeling the paper backing from underneath bit by bit, smoothing with the card as you go. If you encounter a stubborn bubble, just peel back the contact paper a bit and reapply it. Do this until you reach the end of the table top and trim the roll leaving a couple of inches overhang. 
4. When you’re happy all the bubbles are removed, flip the table top over and secure the edges underneath using your card again to ensure it sticks securely. Screw the table top back onto the legs of your table, et voila! 

I’m actually overjoyed with how it turned out. It doesn’t make my eyes want to bleed anymore and the softer marble effect really brightens and adds to our living room and doesn’t fight with anything. This is one DIY I foresee happening over and over again. And our landlord will be none the wiser. 

Making an environmental New Years resolution

Over the last few months I’ve been thinking an awful lot about climate change, sustainability and consumption [more than my usual crippling level]. I began thinking of setting myself an impossible New Years resolution of not buying anything new. I thought about it. A lot. I talked to Robert about it and weighed up the difficulties that would arise. I eventually concluded I wouldn’t be able to do it and was actually quite upset. I’m very conscious about what I buy and most times if I buy something new I end up returning it out of guilt [unless I really, really like it]. But it got me thinking about the options out there and changes we can all make. And maybe make one a resolution to start.

We all consume. There is no way to avoid that. But what we can do is become more aware and conscious about how we consume and see what changes we can make. I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but the reality is that climate change and what we do to the planet is everyone’s responsibility. I want to take a positive approach to this. Below are a few of the topics I think about the most when it comes to reducing, consuming and thinking about environmental impacts. Ways we can all kick ass and save money and an idea or two you might like to take on board this year … 


Making the decision to buy a second hand item vs. a brand new item does more than you can imagine. When you buy second hand, you’re directly reducing the demand for new products to be produced and reducing the amount of products that get dumped into landfills. Second hand means sourcing something that isn’t new. It doesn’t mean scavenging through a skip [which, for the record, is an awesome way to find stuff but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea], but it does mean you’re not buying directly from a producer. Second hand can be from an antique store, checking out an online marketplace such as Craigslist or [sometimes with brand new items available at less than retail price], hunting through flea markets, swapping with friends and family, heading to your local charity shop or recycling centre, even choosing to buy a pre-owned car vs. brand new and buying an existing house instead of building a new one. All of these reduce the demand for new items to be produced. 

In case I still haven’t convinced you, buying second hand SAVES YOU MONEY [insert statistic of the price of a new car dropping the moment you drive it off the lot + a GIF of someone make it rain]. That’s right. The more money you save going second hand can go directly towards something. Something like booze or tiny outfits for your cat.  

Obviously, there are some things it is not advised to buy second hand for hygiene reasons; mattresses, underwear, pillows etc. There are also going to be things you just want to buy brand new. I have my moments when I walk into a shop and see something shiny [I usually say to myself “do I really need this?!” and sometimes I do need it, or it’s just fabulous]. We’re only human. What I want this year is the majority of what we buy be second hand. I’ll of course share my finds which will hopefully encourage anyone out there who may be sceptical! Buy something second hand. Fix it up. Make it yours!  


There are huge benefits that come with supporting local retailers, producers, creators and makers. Not only are you supporting their trade and helping to keep people employed, but you’re also reducing an unnecessary carbon footprint. Why buy peppers flown in from half a world away when you can buy locally grown peppers? Are the former peppers cheaper? Probably, but by something like 20 cent. If you decide to buy local, you’re helping a local farmer in your county, province, or country. What happens when you buy far away produce is it’s packed in a refrigerated truck, driven to a warehouse, packed into bigger packing, driven to a port where it’s packed onto a ship, travels X mount of kilometers to your closest port, driven to a warehouse, possibly redistributed to a smaller warehouse and then driven to your local shop. By buying local produce, you reduce this effort and emissions exponentially. 

The same goes for retail. If you’re looking to buy new lamp, in stead of ordering a slightly cheaper lamp online from 1,000km away, consider sourcing a similar style much closer to home and from a local designer. Yes, you may end up spending a bit more money but you would be supporting a local designer and would be cutting out a huge amount of unnecessary waste such as mileage and packaging. 

There are some things though you can’t avoid buying locally if they’re not native to your country. We’re guilty as we buy food such as limes, avocados and coconut milk – none of which come from anywhere near Ireland. During spring, summer and autumn the vast majority of our vegetables are from Ireland or at a stretch the UK. We make an effort to pick produce as local as possible because in the winter not much is naturally available so we have no other choice than to buy fruit and vegetables sourced from elsewhere. So by buying local, you’re helping people closer to home. Maybe even someone you know. 


This next point will be a touchy point and I’m prepared for that, but I wouldn’t be writing about it if it didn’t have a huge impact. Something for you to consider this year is to become more conscious of the animal products that you use. Unfortunately one of the biggest contributors to methane emissions is livestock agriculture [which are worse than C02 emissions. If you’d like to learn more, I would highly recommend watching Cowspiracy or Kat von D’s video]. I don’t want to get too heavy into the details because I don’t want to sound negative. All I’ll suggest is to consider what you eat. You can make a change as small as you want. Something small like trying something new in your tea or coffee as a substitute for milk, or looking into introducing more vegetable-based meals more regularly in your diet.

We’ve unfortunately become too desensitized with the animal products that we consume. One of the main reasons I became a vegetarian was because I wasn’t comfortable eating something I couldn’t kill myself. That was my personal reasoning. I then made the step to a vegan diet for environmental [and continued ethical] reasons. I don’t want to sound judgy and better than thou because that’s not how I feel. I haven’t always been a vegan. Hell, there are times all I want is a fat steak and scallops! I’m not telling you to stop eating meat or dairy, but just to be more aware of its treatment and impacts and to consider eating less of it. If not for environmental reasons than for health reasons [I dropped 10lbs without even trying by simply cutting out all dairy from my diet]. The food I’ve been eating recently is some of the tastiest food I’ve had in recent years so you sure as shit don’t miss out on flavour on a vegan diet. When people ask “what do you eat?!“, I simply say everything else


This is how I think of it – anything you pour down your sink, toilet or drainpipe will eventually come back through your tap. There is nothing that makes me more upset than seeing toxic cleaning products being advertised so nonchalantly. These products are so toxic that should someone ingest them they’re rushed to the hospital. Products so corrosive the label says to seek medical attention if you get any on your skin. And they’re encouraging us to POUR A WHOLE BOTTLE OF IT DOWN OUR SINK. To me, this makes absolutely no sense. 

A toilet cleaner that’s tough enough to kill 99% of bacteria. News flash – no one eats out of their toilet so why should we need to nuke it with chemical warfare? In stead, clean your toilet regularly with an eco alternative so limescale doesn’t build up. Yes, toilets are going to have bacteria. Because IT’S A FUCKING TOILET. People don’t lick toilets so why should we pour chemicals down it? [perhaps you should change your diet if your doing something to your toilet that requires that many chemicals to clean it]. There’s a huge range of eco-friendly cleaning products available nowadays and some I’ve found to be even better than their chemical-ridden alternatives. Think about our future generations. Hell, think of your future self! Down with this sort of thing; just not down the sink. 
I don’t mean any of the above to sound preachy, so apologies if you found any of it sounding so. I’m incredibly passionate about these things, always have been and always will. A lot of my reasoning can be paralleled to how I feel about any rental we live in; we try to leave it in better condition than when I found it. And in all honesty, we’re all kinda renting our time here amiright? Climate change is real. It’s already effecting us on a real level [there have been horrific floods here in Ireland and the winter isn’t even over]. So make a point of being more conscious of what you consume, starting this year and lets leave 2016 in better condition than we found it.