Emma McNamee

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Born and bred in St. Albans, I’ve always gravitated back to my home town, albeit with a 6-year stint in Hong Kong, 3 years in Lancaster, and a year living in Italy.


I love the proximity to London, I love the open spaces and parks, I love the community feel, I love the history and buildings surrounding us.  St. Albans is a truly beautiful place to call home.  What’s more, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and bars, and it’s a great place to bring up my children allowing them independence.  I’m so excited to be joining the GirlAbout Blog Squad to share more of the passion I feel for my local area.


As for me, after a long career in the travel industry, I decided to find a better balance between work and family life. I now work from home supporting my husband in our family building business.  We’ve moved 8 times in the last 14 years – occupational hazard!  He builds, extends and renovates houses.  I choose all the interiors, from the kitchens to the bathrooms, the tiles to the staircases, whilst managing all the brand, marketing and websites for the business.  I then blog about everything we do along the way, providing tips and inspiration for others embarking on their own building projects.


Meanwhile, I’m Mum and personal chauffeur to a 15 year old girl and a 12 year old boy who keep it real for us and do more activities than I can fit on our family planner. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way and take great pleasure in seeing them flourish and doing what they love.  And I’m always on the look-out for fun things we can do together as a family.

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10 Random Facts About Me

  1. My first “proper” job post-uni was working for the Bahamas Tourist Office.   At 22 years of age I was taking an Italian film crew island hopping around The Bahamas to film a documentary.  Bahamas remains my favourite holiday destination today, it has so much to offer!
  2. The rest of my 20+ year career in tourism was spent in wholesale accommodation.  For many years I travelled most of Europe negotiating hotel rates.  I would be in Venice one week, Copenhagen the next, Prague the next…  Great until I wanted to settle down and have a family, so I then moved in to Management.
  3. I’ve got a degree in French & Italian, and still speak fairly fluent Italian.  My absolute favourite city in the world is Venice. I’ve been there more times than I can count and get withdrawal symptoms if I’ve not been for a couple of years.
  4. In May 2018 I made a life changing decision – I said goodbye to my travel career and became a stay-at-home mum whilst getting involved in the family business.  I love it and have never looked back.  I’m just as busy as I ever was, just on my own time, in the comfort of my own home, and taking breaks when I want to walk the dog or catch my son’s school sports fixtures.
  5. I’ve launched 2 new websites in the past year.  At www.revampdiaries.co.uk I blog about everything from interiors to building tips for those embarking on their own build or renovation projects, and at www.revamptradediscounts.co.uk we pass on our trade discounts to others.  If you’re looking for huge savings on Porcelanosa products, look no further!
  6. I’m a champagne snob, there you go, I’ll admit it! Every Friday night my husband and I pop open a bottle of champers to enjoy together.  To feed our habit, every couple of years we drive over to Epernay and spend 2 days visiting the local champagne houses to get stocked up at a fraction of the price of the big brands here.
  7. I’m a secret country music fan (OK, so the secret’s out now!). Thankfully my husband is from Northern Ireland and was also indoctrinated with country music growing up so it’s a passion we share.  I’ve even seen Kenny Rogers in concert…twice.
  8. I love watching rugby, be it my son playing, our Saracens home team, or England.  A word to the wise – don’t disturb me when there’s rugby on!
  9. I lost my Dad to prostate cancer over 10 years ago and lost two friends to cancer this past year –  it’s had a profound effect on my life.  Live for today as we never know what will happen tomorrow.  Don’t work yourself in to the ground. Appreciate life.  Appreciate your loved ones.  Appreciate the here and now.  Live. Love. Laugh.
  10. At 45, this is clearly the year that my age is taking its toll. I’ve got glasses for the first time and I’ve seen my first grey hairs coming through.  But I’m OK with this, at least whilst I’m still of sane mind.  I’m determined to grow old gracefully – I’ve got this…