Our Renovation: Kitchen Before vs. Now

We are finally nearing the end of our full house renovation journey (hallelujah!), so it seems like a good time to start posting some renovation updates! Our kitchen was probably the room in the worst condition when we bought the place. The oven wasn’t working, the washing machine was in THE most awkward position you could ever imagine (tucked away behind the fridge, so you couldn’t actually fully open the door), and there were clear signs of well meaning but poorly executed owner DIY.

Excuse the dust, grime, and floor cover over the kitchen floor in the photos. The building work in the house hasn’t completely finished yet, so we will remove all the protectors and get the entire house professionally cleaned once everything in the house is done. But the photos below will give you an idea of the style of our kitchen.

Before

Now

So there you have it. A pretty drastic change! There are still bits to be filled, sanded, and tidied up, but it’s almost there. I don’t actually have proper photos of the other side of the kitchen yet, but we’re making a kitchen banquette. We had a corner bench with storage made which arrived last week, and it’s both gorgeous and practical. I can’t wait to get seat cushions for it, and a round table to go with it!

There are lots more updates to come on the rest of the house, so watch this space! This renovation has been a long and crazy journey, but one brilliant part is that Dan and I have got to stay in lots of different houses around London, so we’ve explored super cool areas that we would have never thought of spending time in. We’ve lived in Kings Cross, Leyton, Bow, Orpington and Wapping and it has actually been a blast! For every cloud, there’s definitely a silver lining.

It has also made us think about what we will do with our house once we’ve finished. While I am excited to make this house a home, we have toyed with the idea of renting the whole thing out, or letting it out on AirBnb as we live pretty centrally in a very popular location. Let’s see. All I know is that once it’s done, I will just sit in front of our open fire (YES WE HAVE A WORKING OPEN FIRE!!) and just be still. For hours, maybe days, possibly weeks. I can’t wait to just be still.

Reflections from 2018

I really feel that 2018 was a good year. It didn’t come without its failures and hardships, but I’ve decided to take them on as valuable lessons. Last year I quit my job and started my own company as a consultant lawyer, I landed Microsoft as one of my first clients. My husband and I bought a house. I finally learnt how to drive and I spoke at some great events alongside people with whom it was a privilege to share a stage. My husband and I started a property business towards the end of the year and we’re currently doing our first deal.

Here are some of the key principles and lessons I learnt this year.

Taking risks isn’t so bad after all

99% of the world is convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre middle-ground. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming.

I really wanted to do something different in 2018. I was working really long hours as a City lawyer and I yearned for more control over my time. I wanted to pursue my passions; music, business and content creation. So I started on a journey of wandering out of my comfort zone and taking somewhat calculated risks.  I emersed myself in the wisdom of some entrepreneurs that I love and follow closely, such as Tim Ferriss and Gary Vee.

One principle from Tim Ferriss that really stood out to me in 2018 is that “99% of the world is convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre middle-ground. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming.”

That blew my mind, and I found it to be very true. When I quit my job and started as a consultant, it seemed like I had moved into a lane with a lot less traffic. Most lawyers are heavily risk adverse, well, in fairness our jobs do revolve around mitigating risk for our clients. Therefore, not many lawyers step out on their own. Whilst I’m new to it, I believe there’s more opportunity in the space I operate in now than there was when I was following the career path that everyone told me that I must follow.

Few people really believe they can achieve greatness, so they don’t aim for it. I’m certainly not where I want to be (yet), but I’m really happy that I took small steps towards my goals. It taught me that being uncomfortable really isn’t that scary after all. It’s exciting to take risks, I truly feel alive.

I’m not afraid of an unknown future because I trust it to a known God.

People don’t care

Okay, this sounds like it might not be a good thing, but let me put it into context. A lot of us don’t pursue our dreams or passions because we are afraid of what people might think or say, we are afraid of failing in front of everybody. The opinions we think other people have become discouraging narratives in our mind, a straight jacket which prevent us from going after what we truly want.

Then I realised, people really don’t care. No one is thinking about you as much as you think they are. No one is sitting around and constantly refreshing your social media page, waiting for you to slip up or fail. People are just too busy for that, they really don’t care that much. That was so freeing for me. I was so wrapped up in my own world and felt pressure and fear from the thought that everyone else must be watching me closely. They are not.

I need people in my life who are where I want to be

Almost every book I read about pursuing your dreams and achieving greatness spoke about the importance of mentors. This was quite frustrating to me as I don’t have a network of successful people who are where I want to be, so Dan and I prayed that God would bring such people around us. It turns out, you can find them in the spaces you exist in every day. We found three fantastic business and financial mentors; two of them are people we know from our Church, the other is a previous client of mine. The advice and support they give us is invaluable.

This year I need to find mentors who are in the music industry, so I will begin my search. Just so you know, I’m really open to introductions…holla!

There is so much value in having good people around me

Dan and I learnt a hard lesson that not everyone you call a friend is for you. That doesn’t make them a bad person, it just means they may not be the ones that you’re meant to bring alongside you on your journey. We realised the importance of having good people around us, and also the intrinsic challenge within that which requires us to be good people to those around us.

When my family struggles, I struggle

When you’re doing okay it’s easy to assume that everyone you care about is doing okay. That isn’t always the case, you should read my sister’s incredible blog post. Some of my family members struggled a bit this year. It’s really important to ask and find out how your family and friends are really doing. When you are strong, it’s a blessing to be able to support your loved ones, and when they are strong they will support you.

What I watch and listen to is incredibly important

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

In 2018, I let in some damaging voices into my head through what I watched and listened to. It can get real toxic real quick. I learnt that I am responsible for what I consume mentally, and I must be ruthless with weeding out negativity.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

So, 2019?

This year I want to chase dreams so big that they scare me. I want to build on my knowledge that it’s okay to fail. Failure is often necessary on the journey to success. I want to take more risks, I want to run further away from my comfort zone. This year is all about faith, music, business, generating passive income and content creation.

And I’m really excited.

Great books from 2018:

  • The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
  • How to Be a Bawse by Lilly Singh
  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
  • Crushing It by Gary Vee
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama