Friday, 26 April 2013

Please Can I Have a New Bathroom?

Rich and I got engaged around seven years ago at a beautiful little castle in Scotland and it feels like a lifetime away.  Back then we could spend time with each other without griping about who was the most tired.  We used to go out and drink cocktails all night, have long lie-ins on Saturdays and, you know, actually paid attention to each other.  These days, we have a very-nearly-four-year-old and castles, cocktails and sleep are but distant memories.

One of the reasons he chose the castle for our engagement was the bathroom in the honeymoon suite; a deep, delicious bath in next to windows with shutters that could be closed or left open so that you could look out at the highlands as you bathed, glass of champagne in hand (a handy window ledge providing a resting place for the glasses), candles flickering, piles of soft white towels in a basket.  The pièce de résistance was the ceiling which contained hundreds of tiny fibre optic lights that gently flickered.  It was the bathroom that dreams are made of.

I tried to take pictures, but I have to admit, they are pretty poor.  This is mainly because we were so drunk on champagne that anything that required any vaguely technical skill was rendered impossible by this point (as evidenced by the barely legible text message that I fired off to inform everyone of our news while I lay face down on the sofa, phone in one hand, one shoe on, cackling hysterically having fallen  over whilst trying to get my shoes on so we could go down to dinner).

There you go - you can just about see the lights of wonder on the ceiling.

Oh, for shame.  Serious drunken blurriness.

*sound of turntable needle abruptly scratching across record*

Lets cut to life seven years on.  My bathroom would not inspire anybody to drink champagne.  I can kind of imagine a tramp lying in the bath, swigging from a can of Special Brew though.  The whole room is a disaster of awful tiles, ill fitting bath, flooring that stop 3 inches short of where the bath starts, huge cavernous holes in the walls, kamikaze toilet seats and spider sanctuaries.  It looks seriously grubby even when it's freshly cleaned and even though I try my best with it, I'm sure that the holes around the sink and toilet can't be hygienic.  And you know what?  I actually feel guilty about the state of our bathroom because if I'd gone back to work when Rory was 6 months old as planned, we'd have been able to afford to replace it by now.  As it was, we decided that I'd stay at home with him, and as much as it's been brilliant for us all, it's felt like a very long three and a half years of having no money.  I'm fed up of having to apologize for the state of it every time we have visitors and damn it, this is not how I envisaged my life would be in my mid thirties.  

However, I could have a saviour in the form of  Bathshop123 who are running a competition to win a new bathroom suite and £500 towards the cost of fitting and the rest of the bathroom.  Got to be worth a try, right?

I've had a look on their website and as a traditionalist and lover of old things (insert joke about husband here), I like this suite the best.  It's perfect:

On with the design:  What I'd really like to do is refit our bathroom in the style of the one in our long lost engagement castle.  Either of the traditional style suites above tick the box, so following on from that, I'm thinking white painted wood panelling half way up the walls, clean white tiles, pale green paint everywhere else, shelves that I'd paint myself and a little wooden cupboard or chest so I can hide all of Rory's hideous tat store my son's beloved bath toys somewhere.  This is a must as I am sick of climbing into the bath and coming perilously close to getting a bubble wand wedged up my flue.

Getting more creative (not to mention ambitious), I would salvage (not buy - salvage - am Kirstie goddamn Allsopp) some old window shutters and paint them white to recreate the look at the hotel.  The fact that leaving the open would not result in a view of the Scottish highlands but one of John-From-Nextdoor hanging out the washing in his string vest is to be glossed over here.  I've also done my research and found that you can buy fibre optic lights for the ceiling just like the ones at the hotel.

Look - here's an example (imagine a bath instead of that cot if possible) - pic from

It's indulgent.  It's frivolous.  I know.  But I so want those lights, and not because I'm a spoiled princess, but because as much as I adore my little family and love my son, it would be lovely if day to day life could contain a reminder of  our relationship pre-child.  I want to sip champagne in the bath with my husband again and indulge in idle chat rather than a frenzied exchange of the latest office politics and how on earth we're going to manage to get Rory's latest felt-tip masterpiece off the radiator.  I don't want to forget that spark, because without it, we wouldn't have Rory.  And quite apart from the sentimental reasons, what four year old wouldn't love a starscape to watch during their bath?

Finishing touches - in keeping with the theme, we'd need lots of tiny tealights, an old fashioned bath rack for the positioning of champagne glasses (or a beaker of milk for Rory), piles of fluffy white towels, Crabtree and Evelyn soap (because I'm pretty sure that's what was in the hotel bathroom - I'd draw the line at a bowl full of plastic shower caps in boxes though) and a vintage looking bucket.  Why the bucket?  Because as much as this is a bathroom reminiscent of our time as a couple, it is also a family bathroom, and, as a friend of mine said recently, every family bathroom needs a bucket in it.  It can be disguised as a receptacle for ornamental shells or whatever to disguise its true role, but it very much needs to be there.  Anybody who doesn't know where I'm coming from has obviously never had Norovirus.  I would also add a sieve to the list of things that a family bathroom needs.  If you haven't got kids, you'll be drawing a blank here, but parents of toddlers will be nodding along sagely.  Believe me.

Fresh green and white, wall panels, vintage accessories, restored shutters, a token bucket - all this and ceiling stars.

Fingers crossed then.  Lets hope the bathroom Gods are smiling down on me.  And lets hope that they're sentimental types.


  1. Awww, I remember when you got engaged :) Hope you win Lise, you deserve it! x

  2. My toddlers are now 26, 28 and 31 but I'm in total agreement about the need for a bucket and a sieve. Some memories never fade. We are living in a house with no bath this year. It's a lovely house, it has direct sea views from nearly every window and direct access to beach path, so I'm not TOOOO upset - but it is impossible to lounge in a shower with a glass of wine and a trashy book. Believe me, I've tried. So when we move, a bathroom with a BATH is much nearer the top of my list than I thought. Good luck!

  3. Just don't let that foppish twat Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen anywhere near your bathroom it will end up a complete fuster cluck.

  4. Thankfully our bathroom is ok (nothing close to ceiling stars, but white and cleanish)
    However there is very little I wouldn't do for a new bedroom. Our carpet has stains ranging from coffee to juice to 'just don't think about it you'll get nauseous' and the mattress of our bed has had a loose spring for at least two years.
    Where does the money go?

  5. I have to agree with you about your old bathroom because it doesn't really look as appealing as your current one. Remodeling your entire bathroom would take time and a hefty amount of your savings. Having said that, I guess your efforts have really bore fruit. I wish you luck on your next projects.

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