What made you decide to write this book?
The Diy. On a Budget. group moves so fast, with over 2 million members adding around 700 posts per day. Amazing tips are often missed. We wanted to bring them together in this book to make them easily accessible for everyone.
Who do you think is your typical reader, if such a person exists? Who would you love to read your book?
Our group members are mainly female, aged from 25 to 50. I would love anyone who needs some inspiration and help to have a beautiful home on a budget to read this book and be empowered to have a go at their own room transformations.
What’s your favourite tip or task from the book?
I love the fact that the book has its own budget planner. We wanted the book to be interactive like the group and the budget planner is a terrific tool that can be used by anyone for any room, whatever your DIY plans.
Your Facebook community is HUGE! How do you engage with so many contributors and fans?
I'm very fortunate that managing and engaging with the Diy. On a Budget. community is my full-time job, which is brilliant as I have the time to get involved in the group on a daily basis. It’s basically my dream job.
The online community you’ve fostered is positive and supportive. Do you think that’s why so many of your members are women?
Yes, I think it helps women feel empowered seeing that other women are achieving what they wish for themselves.
What’s the most common question you are asked about DIY?
What colour grey is a real grey. We even had Dulux go live in the group and explain this – it was a fantastic session as there’s nothing better than getting key information straight from the source.
People are much more confident about tackling home improvement, partly thanks to TV shows and online channels. Is there anything you’d suggest people didn’t have a go at?
We have strict rules with the aim of keeping people safe at home, for this reason we do not allow posts in the group regarding gas, electric or structural changes. We also have to be very careful around posts that deal with asbestos and lead-based paints. For all these jobs and materials, a professional should always be called in, advice which is included in the book.
Would you consider taking part in any DIY or home improvement shows?
I would absolutely love to; one aim we have in the group is to give back to our members. A dream of mine is to be able to go to people's homes and help them decorate on a budget.
Have you thought about running courses in DIY, and if so what would your speciality be?
I haven't actually, but that’s a great shout, maybe I’ll look at doing this in the future. They would have to be focussed on getting everything done as cheaply as possible whilst achieving a beautiful end result.
Have you got a favourite interior design style, and what do you think will be the next big thing this year?
I simply love cottage interior design, which is a mixture of French vintage and shabby chic, because of its homely and comfortable feel. That said, I’ve seen a huge increase in bold interiors and colour clashes which I believe will be the trend of 2022.
The COVID-19 situation has affected us all in different ways. How did you manage during the lockdowns?
This is where the group became my biggest support. The members are all incredibly supportive of each other. I had just moved to a new area and didn't know anyone, so the Diy. On a Budget. community really kept me going. I also did lots of decorating in my new home, trying out new tips and tricks. I’m most proud of the stencilled floor I painted in my kitchen, a tip which is explained in the book so you can try it yourself.
Practical activity can be very therapeutic. What’s your go-to stressbuster?
Painting, a lot of people find this a very tedious job, but I find it very therapeutic.
You’ve created a huge social media community. What’s next?
I would love to take Diy. On a Budget. offline and launch a range of budget friendly products, from paint brushes to paint.
What would your perfect day look like, and what’s a place you’d love to visit?
I always ALWAYS start my day with a look in the group, approving posts and answering member requests. I don't like to leave people waiting too long for the help that they need. My perfect day would still involve work. As sad as that sounds, I love my job. Then I'd head back home to Essex for dinner with my mum. I love my family and as long as I'm with them, my day is perfect. I’d love to visit France and take tours of all the amazing chateaus.
Do you have a favourite genre or author? What books or authors would you say were significant influences on you?
This has nothing to do with DIY or decorating, but I have spent I don't know how many hours with my head stuck in a Martina Cole book. I love her work, as her books normally include strong female characters. She is a patron for Gingerbread, a charity which champions the voices and needs of single parent families, providing effective support services for them. I find her inspiring.
What are you reading at the moment?
This may seem very boring, but over the last year I’ve been mainly reading business books with an emphasis on how to be a better manager. Hopefully everything I’m learning will help me better serve the Diy. On a Budget. community members. I never went to business school or learned how to manage such a large group, so I’m learning every day.
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Borrowers. I read that book over and over.
Thank you very much for speaking to us, we wish you every success with the book.
Thank you for asking me, I have enjoyed it very much x