DIY January


It’s the new year and we’ve decided the house is falling apart and needs attention. After years of scribbling on the walls, playing football indoors and art experiments, it needs a bit of TLC. I have been slowly going around painting over obvious fingerprints and bits of graffiti saying “daughter two is a poo” and changing the furniture around. Daughter two has caught the bug and has been doing stencils all over her walls.

The big project is the bathroom. After years of too much condensation and the death of the extractor fan, the tiles are coming off the wall. We turned the extractor fan off when only son was born because it kept waking him up every time anyone went into the bathroom since it sounds as if a spaceship is landing. However, we became a little too used to not having it on and years of teen showers and people forgetting to open the windows have done their damage. So we went to look for tiles at the weekend.

It’s not as simple a process as you might think. Daughter three wanted something artistic – a white shower area with a panel of shiny black tiles in the middle. Only son was insistent on something that looked a little like a disco ball. His parents were favouring the pack of 20 tiles on special offer. We eventually settled on a black and white chessboard approach, using the special offer tiles, but only son was a bit miffed and sat on the floor in B & Q, refusing to move. All we have to do now is get all the other tiles off, dry the wall underneath, fix the extractor fan and we’re on the way.

This is where Youtube comes in very handy. It is the go-to place for all things DIY. To tile behind the toilet we have to remove the toilet. Youtube has a handy guide. My partner is not entirely sure about this, but it’s a three-minute video. How hard can it be?

The tiles came off remarkably easily, leaving lots of grout behind. Daughter three said she would help chisel it off. “It’s my charitable act of the day,” she announced.  “No bath while the new tiles go up,” I stated to groans all round.  Daughter two was keen to contribute and seemed to be taking a bit too much interest in the abandoned tiles. I expect to see bits of them appear in some sort of art project some time soon.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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