Showing posts with label Wellhappy House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wellhappy House. Show all posts

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Evolving Interior Design; The Dining Room and Craving a Simpler Life

I have been craving a simpler life. Despite being a committed hippie-boho-style-clutter-loving-maximalist I find I actually want to have more space in my life and less overall stuff. This doesn't mean I will become a minimalist, I don't think that will ever be me, and I'm resigned to remaining messy! I figure that just goes hand in hand with being creative.

I do however find that I desire things that mean something. Memory sparkers rather than just stuff I like, or stuff I love.

I think the world is changing with me, I feel like this is a time of change, a reaction to lots of plastic and mass consumption. A hankering for slower, handmade, moments and feelings of contentment rather than shopping and purchasing.

As a handmade seller, I'm very pleased about this, and as an individual it just feels right somehow. With this in mind, I've joined a couple of facebook groups and started a journey to less stuff. I'm decluttering with the help of Organise Your UK Home, and feeling better about the stuff I don't want anymore with the help of Konmarie Uk.

Organise Your UK Home is the group who have helped me develop some routines to try and be less messy. It is having an impact but it will take time. 37 years of creating chaos cannot be banished in one go.

Konmarie UK is based on the principles of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I originally bought this to try and get rid of some of my clothes, and wrote a blog post all about that here. Since then I have come around more to the idea of having less in the house and have been working away on selling a few items, and donating a lot too.

In the spirit of these two groups, I thought I would share the evolution of my dining room. I originally blogged about this here. And it has changed quite a bit. I no longer use this room to blog and paint, I have a dedicated studio indoors now. I will share that at some point.






This space is dedicated to eating together as a family, having friends over for takeaways and drinks, somewhere where I can sit and natter with my bestie. All the lovely things in life really. It's also my yarn storage space and we have plans to make space to play records and more music - it's evolving, not finished! 


This alcove is a work in progress, hopefully I've just found the perfect piece of vintage furniture to fit the space. 


I've also embraced the Danish concept of 'hygge' after my brother's Danish girlfriend bought me a book all about it. It's a way to cope with the long winter days by bringing nature inside more, creating a cosy atmosphere with candles and lighting and feeling content in the moment. 



Here is my dining room and yummy yarn storage at night. It really glows, which is an amazing feeling in the dark. 

I've just made some shelves for the speakers we need to put up in the room and am thinking of planning a party to celebrate it all being the way I can see it in my head! 






Sunday, 17 September 2017

Interior design series: No more boring walls! Ten stylish and unusual ways to use wall hooks


You know that feeling when you walk into a beautifully styled shop or cafe and you get an instant wow. Sometimes it's a wow of relaxation and a kind of peace comes over you and sometimes it's inspirational and you start taking note of the design, thinking I could do that. I could totally have a giant hot air balloon in the hallway, a vertigo inducing floor in the kitchen or I could actually keep an all white space clean!! Note - I absolutely could not keep anything clean enough!

But, I do pay attention to that feeling and try to recreate this in my own home, on a smaller live-able scale. I'm a homebody by nature and usually feel that sense of peace when I get in, but I also want to create a bit more wow!

In order to achieve this, I make wall hooks, which are simple and elegant, and which are designed to enhance displays - not to distract from them. Tactile and subtle to show off whatever it is you want to display.

Here are a few images of how I use them in my own nursery...




I bought a grand total of one item of clothing for my baby while pregnant that wasn't practical white stuff. This top was it. I didn't know if I was having a boy or a girl, but I'm a girl and love to wear blue so I picked a baby blue top with gold lettering which says hello world. I love it. But my baby turned out to be rather fast growing and so I decided to display it with a dreamcatcher I made when I did know he was a he. The navy blue wrapped around the circle was the colour of his eyes when he was about a month old. Yes I did take him to a wool shop to colour match!

And then, life took over. I had a tiny baby and was shattered, and I didn't find the time to make displays or share any other images of the hooks I made. I'd like to rectify this here.

Let me share ten different ideas I have for displaying lovely items on my wall hooks. You can use any, but I would prefer you bought mine. They're £8 including p&p for one and £15 including p&p for three in the UK and I do have a few different colour options available. Purchase them here in my Etsy shop destabled.etsy.com

Idea Number One:

Fabrics - fabric quilt/ pieces. I have a tendency to hoard fabrics. I just love them. I have beautiful pieces and lots of them but despite taking a dressmaking course, I have to admit my sewing skills are just not good enough to make the things I can see in my head. Thankfully, my woodworking and crochet skills are, so I get to fulfill my making needs in other ways. I am going to have to destash fabrics and have a big clear out. Has anyone done that? I'm not sure the best way to go about it.

However, I am lucky to have very talented friends and family and my lovely Sister-in-Law has the skills and the patience and painstakingly made this stunning hand stitched quilt for my baby boy. It's so beautiful and too nice to let him get dirty at the moment, so I wanted to hang it on the wall. Heirloom pieces like this can make a real statement.



Idea Number Two:

Somewhere to hang your dog lead or leads. If you're anything like me, you are always looking around for this when taking the dog out. Having a dedicated place is so important, especially if you have an impatient dog who gets totally overexcited when you put your shoes on and then just generally is a bit annoying while you look for the lead.

Idea Number Three:

Handbags - one, two, many! It's kind of the same as above. You are already to go out and just need to grab your going out bag, rather than the luggage sized one with all your work stuff/ kids stuff / general detritus. Having them in one location makes it so much smoother to leave the house and keeps your make up looking fresh rather than ending up all sweaty and flushed before you even shut the door and get outside.



Idea Number Four:

It's very very fashionable right now to have lots of lovely plants in your house and a hanging plant is the best. It looks amazing, makes your home feel better and you get major style points, and something beautiful to instagram. I've been on the plant bandwagon for a while but this year it's started to get out of hand. Nevermind - there are worse obsessions to have.

Here is my lovely hanging plant in it's vintage holder. These plants do look amazing hanging from the ceiling but if you don't fancy drilling lots and lots of holes in your ceiling to locate a joist, then using one of my hooks makes them a sturdy holder - and can be placed where you want them and where the light is right.



Idea Number Five:

Why not use fairy lights, either at Christmas (there I said the C word), or all year round. I absolutely adore the ambience that these lights give and although I did start using these in my student days, I don't think there is anything wrong with using them forever and in every room!

Idea Number Six:

Bunting. Is there anything more cheerful than lovely bunting? Bright or pastel, triangular or semi-circle, fabric or paper, handmade or bought, vintage or new. Whichever your style or preference, this is instant make you smile decor.

Idea Number Seven:

The hooks I make are not just for the more girly items. They would also work very well to display a collection of scarves or ties or cravats. Gorgeous items that don't need to be hidden away; collections should be celebrated if you have the space.

Idea Number Eight:

Statement necklaces. I've always envied people who wear jewellery and who take the time to build up impressive selections of statement necklaces and then actually wear them. I'm not really a jewellery person but I do love the look of displaying your accessories and am sure it would help wear more of them.

Idea Number Nine:

Towels while you get in the shower. I hate leaving them on the floor and I don't think I'm alone in that, so it's great to have a place to hang them while you shower. The large round design of my hooks helps to hold larger and heavier items like towels too.

Idea Number Ten:

Tomorrows outfit - why yes I am going to a ball tomorrow! Haha. In all serious-ness though, I do try and pick out tomorrows outfit the night before, especially when I have a busy morning. It helps to start the day more relaxed.


This is very helpful for little ones too, especially if you may not get them dressed every day. For example my husband always wants me to do this if he is getting the little one dressed as one time he took the baby out in pyjamas. It didn't matter at all - he's  a baby and can totally get away with wearing pyjamas anywhere and everywhere but hubby won't choose anymore as his confidence in clothes wasn't high to begin with. I just want to add, I was super chilled about this, I'm quite laid back about outfits!



I couldn't resist sharing these baby dungarees. Aren't they the cutest little outfit you ever did see!

Do you like these ideas? What would you pick? I'd love to know how you would use my hooks. Don't forget you can buy hooks through my Etsy shop at destabled.etsy.com




Monday, 11 September 2017

Painting techniques; Three simple tips to make your wall painting as good as the professionals

I paint things, I paint things all the time. Chests of drawers, cupboards, wardrobes, plant pots, walls, ceilings, walls, did I mention walls? I run my own business making shelves which are usually at least half painted.

I paint a lot of things. I've practiced a lot. I'm a painting person. I'm hoping this answers the question why I'm telling you how to paint!

This experience has shown me the best way to paint. I've taught myself over the years and the old adage 'practice makes perfect' is true. I'm proud to say that often when I have painted something people ask me if I've done that myself or paid a professional. Because of that I consider myself an almost-expert painter. Today I'd like to share my tips.





In case you haven't watched the video, here are my three tips.

1. Not too much on your brush

Only the top centimetre of your brush should have paint on it. Don't dip it too far. It runs down your hand, it runs on the wall and causes drips and you end up with a messy - not perfect finish.


2. Start a brush width away and work back

This is how I avoid over-painting lines. It helps to automatically make you blend the paint together and achieve a better finish.


3. Go over with feather light long strokes

This does not look perfect when wet but does dry in a perfect way. It's the absolute best way to get a even finish.


In the video I do talk about my favourite materials. They make a difference but in reality you can get a great finish with rubbish materials or a brilliant finish with rubbishy materials if your technique is correct . However, once you have mastered your technique - good paint and a good brush will make a huge difference and are worth investing in - in my honest opinion. You absolutely can get a fantastic finish with cheap paint and cheap brushes but it may take you two or three times as long and if you value your time, it's not always worth the money saved.

My favourite brush is a Purdy, I also like the Harris No Loss. I occasionally use artist brushes, but I never use anything else.

I love Farrow & Ball, Fired Earth and Little Greene paints. My all time favourite is Dulux Trade. It's very thick and gives great coverage. Plus, they'll mix any colour for you which is great. I always use water based paints if possible. This is because they are much easier to clean up and that way I can use my good brushes. I tend to use eggshell paint on my furniture as it gives a lovely end result, where you can see the shape of the grain in the wood.

On a side note though. I still haven't found a white paint which takes less than three coats! Four if I'm being picky. Please let me know if you have found a brilliant one. The best I found so far is Farrow and Ball All White for wood, and Polycell 3in1 Base Coat for walls. I use this all the time in my house as it's great coverage and a really clean matt white.

Lastly, but not leastly, here is the finished wall I was painting in the tutorial. I love the finish, I love the colour and I really love how it enhances my white half-painted furniture.



Monday, 17 July 2017

About me

Hello everyone, it seems like a long time since i just chattered away and talked about me. We'd better rectify that then, hadn't we?




Life has changed a lot for me over the last couple of years and although I love change and tend to thrive on change, I'm still adjusting to this new life style.

Two years ago, I was developing prototypes of my handmade shelves with added crochet and starting to think about building a business. I was working full time and had teenage children. I was spending my spare time renovating our house, a former dentists from the 1900's.

Now, I'm a new mummy again- well new ish, my little one is 14 months old as I write this. He's walking, climbing, and trying very hard to speak to us! I'm my own boss of two different businesses. I've hardly moved the house on at all, but it's our forever home so it's ok!



Not going out to work very often and not having colleagues are pretty big changes. Working 13 hour days looking after a baby and then starting work on my businesses is also very different. It doesn't feel like work at all and that means I am exceptionally grateful to have such a wonderful lifestyle. I do take time everyday to appreciate my life, my work, my family and friends, my health and my house and businesses. I do chat away at people when I see them though as I think I am a little in danger of not having enough conversation in my life. That's one of the definite downsides of living with four boys and being the only girl. 

My days are spent dividing my time between my two businesses and making sure I have plenty of time to play with my little man. I struggle to fit household tasks around these, but just keep telling myself that there's more to life than neatly ironed clothes. The teenagers are mostly having to fend for themselves. Ideally that will just mean they grow up to be very independent. They won't allow me to take pictures anymore, so I can't introduce you to them! 

My consultancy business is as an evaluation expert. Unless you've worked on charity and publicly funded projects in the past you probably have no idea what that means. I've been a project manager for charity projects for the last 14 years and along the way I've learned that evaluation is one of my key strengths. I'm one of those weird people who loves English and Maths and is good at both. I happen to enjoy analytical work and meeting people and evaluation means I get to do all the bits I love.

How it works is that when charities and community groups receive public money for projects, which could be from the lottery, from health funding agencies or charitable trusts, they call upon someone like me to show the impact of their work. What this means, for example, is that if a group of young people are developing a project around building a community garden and they are being supported by a gardening group: I can work with them to find out which bits of the project were particularly successful, what taking part meant to the young people and what the project did for the local community, the wildlife, the community who see the garden every day. I help projects measure things like confidence or resilience and happiness among other difficult-to-measure-things. By bringing someone like me in, the project staff can focus on running the project, I can help them to find out how they should plan another project and I can show how the project was a worthwhile investment to other funders, which hopefully means more projects in the future. It's my way of helping to make the world a better place. 

I really love this work, it's flexible and I'm my own boss and I get to problem solve too!

Then the other business is destabled. As you are reading this on my destabled website the chances are fairly high that you already know something about my work here. I'm a furniture designer and maker. Each of my products is designed and refined by myself and then made by hand by me. I work with wood and crochet and make a capsule collection of products; shelves, wall hooks, bookends, and my latest design - bedside tables.



My products are designed to echo the forest, and the shape of trees but in a clean and contemporary manner. Each of my wooden shelves and bedside tables are made from solid wood which have the knots removed, to show the shape of the original tree. This means that each piece I make is a completely unique design, just like no two trees are ever identical.

I start with the wood and make design decisions throughout. Smaller knots tend to have smaller holes and larger knots have larger holes.



The larger holes are filled with crochet. These are woolen knots, again, made by me! I use the finest hand dyed yarns and then add paint to create a truly original product which is a usable item too.





I am often asked where the inspiration for adding crochet came from, and the truth is I'm just not entirely sure. I have been crochet-ing for a few years and often used to hold my work up to the light to see how the pattern was coming along. Out of nowhere I decided I wanted that crochet to be a part of furniture. I started teaching myself woodwork only because I had a vision of what I wanted my shelves to look like. It took me a long time to get them to look like the ones you see now, which is the vision I had. I kept my early works though, to remind myself how far I've come. I'm a fairly confident person on the whole, but I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to share those first attempts! 

I use dovetail joints, they're strong and sturdy and look great. Again, that was a pretty huge learning experience. Luckily I really do love learning. To manage this lifestyle I've chosen, I've pretty much given up watching TV. I catch the odd show or movie, and sometimes I put documentaries on in the office while I tidy up or do a job where I don't need to concentrate so much. 




I don't mind not watching TV. I'm quite impatient anyway and always felt a bit like I was wasting time if I just sat down and watched something. I'm quite driven and give myself a hard time if I'm not productive. I need to stop doing that so much, as life with a baby just isn't productive and I need to get better at appreciating the little moments we have together, rather than thinking of all the things I still have on my to do list. 

I don't like wasting materials, and had all these circles of wood leftover from my shelves. I spent ages trying to think of a way to use them and then I remembered that branches of trees are natures coat hooks. Is that a saying? I've possibly just made that up! Anyway - that was the inspiration and now I use the holes I remove to make simple and elegant wall hooks. I like to try and think of it as I am using all of the tree. I use hooks a lot at home, and still need more. As I type this I realise more and more that I make the products that I need. Is that what every designer does? 



I've always loved to read. Trips to the library as a child were my favourite thing to do and I still read a lot as an adult. Not as much recently, I lost the ability to concentrate when I had antenatal depression (you can read about that here) and although I do now feel healed, I just don't have the time. I could make time probably, but I want to focus on blogging, and learning to improve my photography and improving my social media skills so I haven't really put reading as a priority right now. 

Again, I was thinking of my love of forests and woodlands and places and travel and all those images combined in my head to create a vision of these bookends which are shaped like signposts and these can be personalised with any combination of six special places. I love hearing the places people choose. Making these gives me a sense of wanderlust every time! 



Our house is a forever house, as I mentioned before and it has lots of wonderful original features. One of the most amazing parts is that we have an outbuilding with a garage, a den above and a stabIe. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I think I own a stable! It's like a dream come true. The stable is my workshop, I make all these products in my stable, it's my little haven and I spent a lot of time in there designing, hence the name destabled.

It's so easy to talk about yourself isn't it! I've just kept writing and there's more to say! I'd like to discuss how I spend an average day, the spaces I work in, what I've learned setting up a business, and much more. I feel however that this post has come to rest at a natural place, so I shall save those ideas for another time.





Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Real life problems: Yarn Storage

I started to get a bit overwhelmed as I really was drowning in yarn!


Warning the following four images are just gratuitous yarn shots! 






Let's get back to the real life problem. Almost one year ago, I had another beautiful baby boy. My other boys are teenagers so our house had become a more grown up house. We have a playroom for the xbox and massive telly required by grown up boys and apart from lots of sport equipment toys were rare these days. 

Our house had become a bohemian and lovely space. Comfortable, quite messy in a sit-down-and-be-cosy-friends-always-welcome kind of way and I had (have) a lot of hobbies and half done projects which require equipment. This worked out pretty well but once we started to add; changing mats, toys, nappy storage, toys, new baby washing piles, toys, jumperoo's, toys, bouncy chairs, toys, pram, did-I-mention-all-the-bloomin-toys! I started to feel out of control. 

I like the toys, I don't think we have that many just coupled with my personal style which is quite cluttered anyway it soon felt too much and not in a good way. My son has inherited some of my personality as he loves to get every toy out, scatter cushions on the floor, empty the nappy storage (all clean items - don't worry) and we were spending most of our days living in this...





There was a while, where I thought - it's fine, he's going to have awesome orienteering skills! But it has started to get to me more as he moves around more. I want him to have space to play and I want to have space to sit on the floor with him. 

This was the catalyst for coming up with a solution. I love problem solving - it takes time, but I really enjoy it. I have spent a long time thinking through and decided that I needed to change up the furniture as it wasn't working and repurpose some of the items. I had all my yarn in a beautiful old bohemian 1970's storage unit which reached the floor. I decided this would work much better for toys and then started to think about how I could store my yarn. I like to see it, as it encourages me to not go and buy more yarn for small projects as I often have what I need already. If I hide it away, I would go yarn shopping much more often and I don't need to do that. 

I tend to make quite a range of crochet projects - toys, amigurami, blankets, flowers for my shelves and so on. Quite often my projects don't need masses of wool, which means I end up with quite a lot of half balls of yarn and I have started buying lovely hand dyed skeins of wool as they are just gorgeous and I have those rather than lots of different balls. 

I estimated I had around 100 balls of wool to store. As I am a shelf-maker (you can view my etsy store here)  I decided to come up with a wall mounted solution which would display these 100 balls and still be easy to access. I did NOT want them to all fall out every time I took some yarn from the bottom of a shelf. 

Firstly I carried out some market research and looked into what storage is already available. None really. A lot of people use Ikea shelving and while that works well in the main, it doesn't stop wool falling out. There are some beautiful glass fronted vintage armoires which work very well but I don't have £1000 to spend and wouldn't have the floor space either. 

I also asked people how much yarn they had. The answer was a lot! So I started to draw bigger shelves than I'd originally planned. I counted my yarn and there was nearer 200 balls to store too, once I'd rounded up all the stray carrier bags with balls stashed in them. 

Here is an image of my very first design. It worked really well except the elastic wasn't quite covering the way I needed it too. Some balls of wool were at risk of falling out as I reached for another. 





These two pictures above show me testing the shelves in my own dining room/ craft room. It was quite messy as there were 200 balls of wool scattered about the place and that's when I took the picture of me drowning in yarn. 

Teenage son had a lovely time chucking balls of wool at me and then photographing the results! 



You can see above that I used mirror plates to hang my shelves. I always use these as I find them long lasting and sturdy and with this shelf it can be completely invisible when the wool is in there. 

I decided to add more elastic and kept to a strict design, so that the shelf looks beautiful. I didn't want the elastic to detract from the yarn, and chose to make the shelf available with either black, white, pink or clear elastic. 

Here you can see my finished product, in use, in my own home. 



I've tested it out and it works. Nothing has fallen out. All 190 balls of wool (of varying sizes - some full balls, some skeins, some small ones and some chunky yarns) do fit in. There's even a little space to add more! 


This wall makes me so happy every time I see it now. It's a practical problem solver and a work of art! 

My yarn storage shelf is now available for sale on Etsy and all the product features are listed there. I've also protected the design so I am the only person who can sell these. 

I'm really excited to share my problem solving with the world! 





Monday, 10 April 2017

For the love of rainbows

Hello all,

I'm writing this about rainbows. I know, you picked that up from the title, but I couldn't think of another way to begin. There aren't any other words to describe rainbows! 

I'm a colour lover, which if you have ever read this blog before you already know. I like brights and pastels and am a fairly confirmed bohemian maximalist. Is that an actual thing? If not it should be. I like spaces and interiors to feel busy, homely (really-that-should-say-messy) and comfortable. Like you can put a mug down on a surface and not feel guilty. Like you can make yourself at home. Like you want to come to my house. 

When I was around five years old, I remember taking part in a 'wear as many colours as possible' charity event at school. I can't be sure if it was Comic Relief, or Children in Need but it was something like that. My school uniform at five, included a stiff necked blue shirt, and a tie, so getting to wear own clothes was a huge treat. I didn't go to a public school or anything, just no one had thought to let little kids wear t shirts and sweaters like they do now. I vividly remember having crochet socks with a diamond pattern, knee high and in white and my Mum let me colour every diamond in with marker pens. I loved that outfit and felt like a 'bobby dazzler' (Northern Colloquialism for 'outfit on point' for you Non-Northerners and Millenials!).

Fast forward a bit and I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) six years ago, and one of my first thoughts was that the front room was big enough for a rainbow wall. It was one of my first home renovation projects and six years later, it's got bigger and better and I love it still. Here it is in it's current glory! 




It says homely doesn't it? There is a mix of my handmade shelving, vintage shelves and Ikea staples in there. I do love Ikea, I just don't want purely Ikea in my home as I want it to feel like my home and not a showroom. You get me? 

And now? Now I find myself making crochet shelves, using a rainbow pattern of colours and wools or yarns. I spend my days and nights obsessed with colour combinations, crochet and interiors. I haven't really changed very much from that little girl upcycling her socks thirty years ago! Blimey, it feels strange writing that. 

I've recently designed a yarn storage shelf and when I came to display it I didn't even have to think about the look, it was always going to be a rainbow. 


It fitted into my rainbow mirror wall! This is my craft room/ office. I have the stable for my workshop but I tend to work indoors on a night. Can't be using power tools at midnight now! That sounds really wonderful doesn't it? The reality is that the space shown above is also our dining room (that's why you can see a fridge freezer in the mirror, as the kitchen is so tiny there isn't room for a fridge - cringe!). I'm being pretty honest here. It works pretty well but I do spend a lot of time moving my stuff around to make space for meal times and setting up again. Or we eat on half the table surrounded by my projects! 

All of this is my way of sharing a little of my story of how I got here. Rainbows isn't an accident and if I look back I do see this was never random. 

I've met some lovely people along the way who also do rainbows. I've teamed up with them and this Easter weekend we are hosting an online Rainbow Market Weekend. I've never taken part in one of these before, but as far as I can tell, you click this link


Press going and then facebook automatically tells you the event is live. While you sit in your pyjamas eating chocolate (or-not-perhaps-that's-just-me), you can browse some gorgeous handcrafted rainbow inspired items at special offers, with no obligation to buy! Just have a look. Take part and share the love of rainbows. 





Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Art of Slow Living



I don't mean the movement about slow living, taking time to be in-the-moment or to linger - which I think is admirable. Sadly I mean living too slowly.

I'm writing to confess something. I used to do lots of stuff. I always had projects on the go, and people often mentioned they were amazed how I got it all done. By projects I mean - learn to crochet, making toys, teach myself woodwork, decorate a house, set up a blog, renovate some furniture, keep a creative journal, make a rug. I looked at Pinterest for ideas and then went off and did stuff. I was one of those people who achieved. I don't really manage to do this anymore.

Back to the Art of Slow Living, in my case; I mean the way time slows down and life becomes slow. I am on maternity leave, It is great but there are some bits that are quite difficult. I don't have to do anything usually, but my days are so full. I don't seem to have any time to do anything. That is what I mean about slowing down. I do less, yet seem to have so much less time. Now I'm not surprised, I've had a baby before and I know how demanding they are and I know this time doesn't last forever but the intensity of the first year has shocked me.

Saying I don't have time to do anything is not really true, I could make time to do some things but I seem to find very few minutes to get anything done. I'm tired, so tired, and that means I do still try to sleep when my baby sleeps. I usually manage one nap a day. This is traditionally the time when all those other mothers rush around, doing things like showering, putting on make up, cleaning skirting boards and all that kind of stuff.

I don't do any of those things. Which makes me feel a bit inadequate.

I have a bath and stay clean, I usually have a bath with my baby though. I manage to eat, not as well as I should as I'm still living off things I can eat straight from the fridge. I have a cleaner thank god, so the house isn't a total write off but it's not tidy and I am a bit of a hurricane who blows through and often creates more mess. I've put on make up maybe three times in the last six weeks (Christmas, New Year and one party).

So what do I do?Aside from not much,  I've been trying to achieve one thing everyday. Something that ideally relates to either making me very happy or my woodworking hobby.



Sometimes it is as simple as that. 

Sometimes I do manage to do something productive; I make something in my scrapbook, I do a necessary or useful job (organise a boiler service, tidy a cupboard, put a picture up), but the thing is, is that I'm frustrated with myself. I want to do so much more. I could write a to do list which lasted many, many pages. But I know there is no point as I'll then feel overwhelmed and overfaced and do none of it. So instead I write two or three things and if I finish them, I delete them and write a couple more. 

I want to blog more - so doing this is a good start, I want to set up an Etsy shop to start selling my handmade shelving. I've signed up to Etsy Resolution, a free online course to guide you through setting up a shop as I don't seem to be getting very far on my own.  

I often set time-based deadlines on myself. I think I need to stop doing this. 

Gosh - could I be any further away from the principals of slow living?  



Occasionally I have good days. Above was the view of my kitchen at 9.46am. Below it's 10.06am. 


That is the one really good side of the time slowing down. I feel like I don't have any but when I'm motivated I can get so much done in twenty minutes. There are days where I look around and wonder at how I've tidied up, put two loads of washing on, done the dishwasher, got dressed, made breakfast and it's only 9am. (If you are reading this and think, well I do that every day, well done you. You are nothing like me. If you are reading this and think, yep - lucky to have had a coffee even by 9am if I'm not at work. Then I feel ya. If you are reading this and think 9am, when not at work, I've never seen such a thing - you are very very lucky.) 

When I manage a productive morning I feel better about myself. I give myself a hard time on the days I don't though. Thinking I am the only one who doesn't manage this kind of productivity every day. I'll be honest - I'm lucky if it's once or twice a week. 

I used to feel like I could achieve anything. I miss that. Now I often feel like I am the only mother not doing it all. 

Luckily I have a great supportive local Mama Tribe. It really does take a village, not to raise the child, but to keep the Mama on an even keel so she can raise the child. It helps to talk to others in the same-ish place, even if they do all iron their sheets and cook lovely meals for their families rather than embrace the ready meal. I see them regularly and it keeps me going. I always feel happier when I have left the house and been somewhere. I go to a lot of playgroups and baby classes and do walk as much as I can. That's my new years resolution to 'walk more'. It's always easier to add something in than to remove it. 

I wanted to write about this as I think it's the side of motherhood that not everyone admits to. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like this. I should be grateful for my lovely happy baby, and pleased that I get to spend all day with him, which I am. But I'm allowed to miss alone time and to pine for more time for me and my hobbies. 

I'm trying to be kind to myself. It's my own deadlines that are bothering me, no one else is putting any pressure on me. I keep trying to say it's ok if it takes three months not one week but I'm not that good at it yet. 

I'll keep trying. 


Thursday, 16 July 2015

The struggle is real!

I have a layout conundrum. It's related to compromise and that isn't something I'm particularly good at.


Let's start with the beginning. Are you sitting comfortably?


Our living room is a beautiful space with a very large bay window but for some reason I've never managed to lay it out very well.

I showed the original couch in this post (http://www.destabled.co.uk/2015/05/interior-design-gently-does-it) and mentioned I wanted to replace it.

Well I've been searching for second hand replacements and as usual I have managed to find more options than are suitable and now I need to narrow it down. I do think that shopping is one of my best skills.

Let's start with the requirements;

  1. Enough places for 4 people to sit comfortably and be able to look at each other and the TV (not necessarily at the same time).
  2. Somewhere husband can rest his head and watch the TV.
  3. The whole space needs to feel comfortable.
  4. It needs to be fairly hardwearing.

I think it is fairly obvious which requirement is mine, which is husbands and which are the ones we both agree on and need. It's 1, 2 and then 3&4 if you weren't sure.

Now let's look at the options I have found.

  1. A salmon pink two-seater Chesterfield which is very comfortable and which was given to me by my brother. I don't want to get rid of this as it's vintage and handmade and one of an exact pair (the other lives in my stable) which I have grand plans to eventually have recovered in some wonderful fabric - when-budget-allows-sadly-so-may-realistically-be-years. This is shown covered in some wonderful bright blue and turquoise blankets which I bought last year in Morocco.
  2. A brown leather chair which is comfortable and high enough for husband, but extra squeaky.
  3. A recovered and restored swivel chair which I have just finished, which is super comfy and looks gorgeous but I'm just not quite sure it works here.
  4. A well worn leather vintage two-seater Laura Ashley sofa which fits perfectly (millimetre-perfectly) into the bay window but which husband doesn't like and unfortunately the bay window is apparently THE best place to hear the surround sound. (Which accounts for the random wires around the room and the fact we need 1200 remotes-or-something).
  5. I have supplemented these with two large footstools - one in purple velvet which isn't squishy and one amazing multi coloured one which I picked up because-it-matches-the-exact-rug-plan-I-have-in-my-head-and-which-I-will-make and because sometimes, if you don't buy now - you cry later. (Vintage shopping motto).

I wasn't actually going to blog about this until I worked it all out but I thought, why not share? The struggle for placement is REAL peeps.

So here are a few quick phone snaps of the current pieces. I've put them all in because I'm a visual person and I thought I would put them in and go AHA! That's how it should look.





Nope.

Not at all.

It definitely looks too busy but I was expecting that as I haven't yet decided which bits to use. (I will move all the unused to other bits of the house, or maybe sell a piece, I'm not wasteful).

I think in my head that two sofa's (they are both two seater's), one chair and one footstool is kind of ideal but I'm not certain of anything at the moment.

Here is a panoramic so you can see how it all looks together....

It was pretty sunny, but I think that shows what a lovely light filled room it is (it faces East though, not South).



And here they have stayed. I've sat in them and stared at them and just overall thought about them but inspiration has not yet struck.
 
It will but again, I need to have patience and take my time. Even my phone told me this as I took the panorama. Life lessons from a computer eh?
 
I'll get there.