The idea of having a beautiful garden to retreat to is wonderful, but finding the time and budget to get it the way you want it can be a challenge. Our new garden is large and rambling, nearly two acres, and so I’ve accepted that mine will be a life’s work, and that it is a little legacy I will pass on to the next owner, just as the previous owners passed on so much to us.
Instead I’ve committed to to focussing on a bit at a time and enjoying what I do have time for. Sometimes you have to live with a space to know how you want it to be longer term. Finding your own path through is important too, so often visitors have amazing ideas, but you just can’t afford the time and money to do everything people suggest.
There’s no doubt about it, Storm Emma gave the UK quite a pummelling. My kids managed to score three snow days. My husband got marooned in Nottingham one night and worked from home the others. We agreed with our builder, who is renovating the vintage caravan for us ready to go on Airbnb like our barn, that horizontal ice and sleet wasn’t suitable working conditions. I spent ages trying to defrost a frozen pipe to the barn. I hunched over my laptops, numb fingers dancing frantically over an icy keyboard as the kids trudged in and out of the house demanding hot chocolates, stodgy food or more dry socks or gloves.
At best, people’s plans were seriously inconvenienced and at worst consequences have been far more serious. Fortunately, in the words of The Beatles… Here comes the sun. I actually felt the sun on my face today.
Most of us take sleep for granted. It forms a standard part of our daily lives, around eight hours of it a night. However, as soon as you start experiencing problems with getting to sleep, you’ll experience frustration like never before.
Sleep plays such an important role in our lives that missing just a few hours on just a short-term basis can cause disruption to our daily lives. Securing a good night’s sleep every night is vital to our happiness.
Here are a few changes to your bedroom and its contents that will help you along the way.
I once stayed in a water tower and it was a bit like a windmill in that each floor was basically a room. There was something quite magical about the giant shower room, you walked behind a huge screen of glass across the room and looked out across fields as you showered though an eye level window. There was no knocking elbows on glass doors or bashing your head when you reach down to pick up the shampoo, just a lovely feeling of space.
Agh so much of our furniture from the old house doesn’t quite fit in the new. It’s sad not to have Mum’s dressing table in my bedroom and gutting to say goodbye to my cast iron bed frame. The kids rooms are overflowing with books and ornaments because the bookshelves we had in our Victorian home are too tall for our country cottage.
I am a rebel, and in my own home, rules are there to be broken and my house is messy, cosy and very eclectic. But having been a chambermaid, and in furnishing our own holiday cottage I quickly learnt that when you want to make a bed or sofa look immediately enticing – and when you try to explain to your husband how the cushions need to be arranged after a guest changeover – then it turns out there are definitely cushion rules you can follow.
Here are some rough guidelines when it comes to numbers and placement of cushions that work well.
Choosing cushions can be trickier than it seems. What should be a fun, frivolous task can sometimes leave me wondering how on earth I have spent quite so long pondering over images of fluffy squares online. My biggest mistake is to get drawn into trends in shops, or cushions I just love, without thinking of the bigger picture of the whole room itself. So, here are some of my favourite tips for choosing the right coloured cushions.
First of all, take a long look at the whole room and not just the sofa, take a photo on your phone or do your online cushion shopping in the room you are looking to furnish. Look at overall colours, pictures and objects that stand out. This way themes or colours that truly work for the space are more likely to jump out at you.
Image by Cass, A Frugal Family
As I type this the snow is flying down, and those early traces of Spring I got so excited about seem far away. But it is coming I promise! So while we wait, here are some lovely indoor and outdoor creative ways to embrace Spring.
Do you have a dining room? We had one in our last house, but the Victorians didn’t live like we did and so it always seemed like too much hassle to carry food through to it. We ate in the kitchen, but sometimes that felt chaotic, especially if guests came over. Our dining room became a playroom for a couple of years, then a second living room nobody went in, then a much neglected place where clutter gathered. The issue with dining rooms is that many people never use them to their full advantage. After all, we eat every day and mealtimes are a really important part of home life.
What’s your definition of the ideal home? For a lot of people, the perfect nest offers protection for their family, a welcoming and relaxing interior decor, and a sense of warmth. Home is the place that keeps us warm, from the cold weather and as an emotional space for us to let go of our everyday stress.
Home should be full of physical and emotional warmth.
Amidst the excitement of moving home, it’s very easy to overlook so many things. Unfortunately, so many of these can lead to long-term hassle. The only way to pull it off is to get organised, and creating a checklist, or series of checklists, really helps you stay sane. I also found setting aside blocks of time to do tasks like updating people of my new address, rather than hoping they will happen in time, helped massively.
What’s your favourite vintage? Vintage means something different for everyone. Some people like to think it’s from the 80s with crazy colours and geometric designs. Some think it’s the 50s with polka dots and hair bows. However, it can mean anything, as long as it’s nostalgic and we don’t see it much anymore in the here and now.
I love to mix old and new and it’s what makes my house feel like home. I love things that have history and tell a story, but I don’t want to feel like I am living in the past, so my home and our holiday let is a delicate balancing act. I’m more of an Edwardian and Victorian lover myself, but it’s more about the story and whether an object grabs me and interests me.
Last week I looked at how to bring some class back into our rooms with some simple touches; it’s now time to do the same for vintage. No matter the timeframe you want to work with, here’s some tips for incorporating some more vintage items into your home.