Good afternoon Sweeties. I hope this sunny hump-day finds you giddy with hope and possibility.

I am popping in today to do a quick round-up of all that is happening at BrocanteHome right now, and so without further ado, let’s jump right in…

 

A New Brocante BuJo Layout!

This weeks layout is a weekly gratitude planning page and like the other layouts it costs just $1.00 to download once and use for always. Lets get back in to the gratitude habit!

As always it is available to download FREE in the BrocanteHome Salon, if you are a member.

 

A Scrumptious New Salon Members Only Blog Post…

This week about “love-bombing” your house and available to read right now in the Salon…

 

A Rather Lovely Pen-Pal Exchange in the Living Room…

Yep – organised by my lovely members in our private facebook community we are stepping out from behind our computers and writing each other real-life letters! How utterly blissful…

 

The 90 Day Trash IT Challenge!

Oh my. This has been fabulous and reading your lists of things you have chucked out has been, to coin a silly phrase, totally amazeballs! Every time I read about something trashed that has been an emotional wrench for you, I feel like a proud Mama, and every-time you chuck out something so preposterous you really shouldn’t have been giving it house-room, I want you to imagine me doing a little happy dance for you! Deal? You chuck, and I dance.

 

The Bank Holiday…

And finally a quick notice to let you know that I may be missing in action from Friday morning, because it is Mark’s Dad’s funeral that afternoon, and then we are throwing a small party on Sunday afternoon and I am going to be in full party-planner mode over the weekend….

Not yet a member of my lovely School of Life? Then it is time to hop over and explore your options! Membership costs from just $3.00 a month and includes a FREE copy of my best-selling Housekeeping 365 System

Just click the button below to join the Living Room or the Salon .

 

 

I have got this black cushion. It is velvet with a spray of  dark florals. Like a Dutch painting in textile form. I cannot sleep without it. I clasp it like a teddy bear and hold on for dear life, my back and my deaf ear to Ste, in case he breaths (because people who dare to breathe next to me are candidates for homicide don’t you know) – snuggling my cushion and facing whatever terror my relentless nightmares might bring, staunchly alone.

Each and every morning I wake up still clutching it. Breathing in its sweet lavender scent and wishing it was still the wee small hours. But not this morning. This morning I woke up with my Kindle wedged firmly between my ample bosom and for a moment I panicked and rooted around the bed in an effort to dis-lodge that which felt like a bad case of indigestion and trace my cushiony friend. Shocked that it should abandon me. Bewildered for a moment by a dream in which I appalled the congregation of a wedding by dressing in head to foot red and sobbing whenever anyone looked at me.

All this to tell you that last night I happened across a little book of literary wonderful. And though it was late and Ste was not only breathing, but taking his life in his hands by ever so gently snoring, I found myself capable of rising above my horror (and natural born killer instinct) because I had been transported in to quite the most wonderful of early twentieth century middlebrow domestic fiction.

“Everything that’s happening to us—yes, everything—is to be regarded as a lark. See? This is my last word. This. Is. Going. To. Be. A. Lark.”

The Lark by E. Nesbit is everything us BrocanteHomers, believe a book ought to be. Full of delightful young girls and domestic detail of the sort that includes knitting and flowers, black rabbits and pinafores fashioned from tablecloths. But most of all The Lark is resplendent with good cheer of the kind exclusive to the hybrid that is a result of a children’s writer creating grown-up fiction.

Which is why as I turned over the last virtual page of Elizabeth Fair’s also charming Brampton Wick, I hopped straight into The Lark and almost immediately regretted it for here were words too delightful to be put to bed. I don’t want to tell you too much, because I want you to read it (Read it I tell you!!), but suffice to say I fell asleep with my bedside lamp still glowing and abandoned my cushiony lover in favor of falling asleep still clutching my Kindle.

So there you have it. Not a book I have to apologise for reading, but a book so good it saved a mans life. For heaven knows when the snoring turned to snorting, he deserved to die.

Buy The Lark on Amazon.Com here ($3.99) and on Amazon.Co.Uk here.


 

Today. A good nights sleep. Two cups of tea. A single magpie the size of a chihuahua hopping over the grass in the back garden. Good Morning Mr Magpie, how is your wife today?

Ivy creeping through the cracks in the wall of the little laundry room. A front door filthy from the relentless traffic outside. Ste shell-shocked by the kind of truth even Jeremy Kyle would frown upon. Finley in odd socks. Again. A boy-man lurking outside school I have no choice but to report to the police because I nearly ran him over. So sorry boy. But you cannot get away with what you are clearly doing.

Hebes to be planted. A border to be dug around the lawn. A blue watering can with teeny flowers starting to tumble out. Wet sheets to be bleached by sunshine we cannot guarantee. Plans for a dinner party tomorrow evening. Which starter to cook? This or this or this?  A trip to the farm to buy the kind of steak that melts in your mouth. A horoscope that says evil is lurking all around me. Oh joy.

Teenage acne on my middle-aged face. An office to be created in the Far-Away room at the end of the kitchen. A stack of books that must be moved. A wander through the Faerie Glen with a little picnic of cream cheese bagels. Bird-spotting. A little slice of heaven just a few minutes down the road. We love living here.

A weekend without the children. Just us. Flipping the mattress again because we are both hunched with back-ache. Time for a new one. Time for bigger dreams. Time to accept that there is nothing to be scared of now and I can breathe again. So odd that the absense of fear creates a very particular kind of anxiety it is too difficult to describe to those who have led peaceful lives. Time to stop playing small.

Spritzing the kitchen with the fragrance of a Hummingbird Garden. A lovely, nonsensical description of a scent that smells so very pretty.  Feet grubby with the garden. Must wear garden clogs. What is wrong with me that I don’t?Clumps of shorn grass. Endless raking. My first proper garden. A darling little stone shed with a teeny window that would make the most perfect BrocanteHome office. A hidey hole for tiny baby frogs. An outdoor loo that appalls me. Drains full of leaves. Singing as I wander about with the brush. Lovely neighbours on one side. The outwardly pleasant but passive-aggressive sort on the other.

A funeral soon. For Marks, lovely, mad Dad. Finley’s Pops. The death of another Grandparent too hot on the heels of Mum’s. Mark, broken but always so very steadfast, yet in his own confusion telling my child that Pops had stopped breathing. To which Finn responded, what, for always? And I had to step in and say Yes Baby, for always.

Now, a pink face-mask. A prescription to be collected when I am presentable again. Another hole in another pair of trousers because there is a nail in the corner of the bath we can neither pull out nor bang in. Kim Wilde singing about the Kids in America on the TV. All this life.

Life and work. Life and family. Life and vintage housekeeping. Life and love. So much life. Happy Weekend Housekeepers.x

 

Hello my lovelies, I hope you have all had a wonderful Easter break and you are no back feeling suitably full of the chocolatey feel-good factor and ready and willing to hop back on your journey to a life less ordinary…

A few months ago I took it into my head that I wanted to join the Bullet Journal bandwagon. Because I like doodling. And pretty pages.  And I wanted to be like all the cool kids and mutter about writing in my BuJo.

So I dragged Finn to the shops. And filled my basket with a lovely dotted journal. And fineliners in all colours of the rainbow. And a pink ruler because a person who is bullet journalling has to draw lots of boxes with straight-lines and pretty flourishes. And I was full of fire and determination. And Finley who is infinitely wise walked around behind me muttering about bullet journalling being a “fad” and that it wasn’t proper work and that I wasn’t going to do it anyway so why on earth would I waste my money? And I hushed him. And bribed him with sweets. And tried not to see my own conscience wearing his outrageously judgemental face.

And two months later I had to admit that every word out of his too sensible mouth was right. And I can’t even find the pencil case with the pretty pens in it. And the journal I paid silly money for has got just one layout in it and that took me about a day to do and frankly bullet journalling and me were never ever going to be bestest mates.

I could not be sadder. Because one does so hate to concede to a thirteen year old and my whole being knows that gathering all my litle trackers, inspiration and affirmation in one place would be good for my soul. And Bullet Journalling is so pretty and I’m all about the pretty don’t you know?

And so I invented my own method of creating a journal I could use but would not have to draw. And within an afternoon I had three layouts I could use and print out whenever it took my fancy and I could track the parts of life the Brocante way I wanted to track in my Weekly layout and remind myself of the affirmations I use during my Miracle Morning hour (to which I remain utterly dedicated) and choose a focus word from a lovely list weekly and frankly carry on designing and printing every last aspect of this life less ordianry of mine until there was nothing left that had not been tracked or reminded and all was well with the world!

Phew!

Anyways I am telling you this, because although what I have created so far is not really a bullet journal at all, it WILL help you create a life less ordinary of your own and committment to the routines and rituals laid out will guide you towards life the BrocanteHome way, and so today I bring you The Life Less Ordinary BuJo.

Each of the layouts are scrumptiously designed and cost just a dollar each for immediate download. I am pricing them individually so you can pick and choose those that suit you, and that over the weeks as the collection of layouts grows you can also add to them as you please, while you focus on creating the specific routines and rituals that will make a difference to YOUR day.

To get started there are three layouts available:

A Life Less Ordinary Weekly Planner.

A one page layout to be filled in weekly (perhaps as part of your Organisation Sunday ritual?) to help you keep track of your commitment to your morning and evening rituals, the puttery treats you are planning on doing for yourself and the house, your weekly focus word and daily affirmation, your to-do list, shopping and meal idea list. All in one place.

Daily Affirmations For a Life Less Ordinary.

Another one page layout with a pretty collection of affirmations you can use to reinforce the values at the heart of life the BrocanteHome way.

And finally for this week…

Focus Words For a Life Less Ordinary


A collection of inspirational words to be used in conjunction with the Weekly Planner to help you choose an area of focus for that week and to concentrate your heart on your desired feelings. A pretty little one page layout, just perfect methinks for printing out on good paper and framing for your desk…

Click Here to Download For Just $1.00!

Each week I will be adding new layouts to the collection and you will find them all here, but don’t forget that as a member of my lovely Salon you will have access to absolutely all the layouts and EVERYTHING ELSE in my store absolutely FREE as part of your subscription…

Enjoy.x

 

Ok me Darlings, ready for the first School of Life Challenge?

All the details are over in the Living Room section of the School of Life, along with the downloadable Challenge sheet and the group challenge begins on the Facebook Living Room page next Monday, the 18th of April.

Not a member yet? Sign up for just $3.00 a month or $15.00 a year here.  

 

The washing never gets done.
The furnace never gets heated.
Books never get read.
Life is never completed.
Life is like a ball which one must continually
catch and hit so it won’t fall.
When the fence is repaired at one end,
it collapses on the other. The roof leaks,
the kitchen door won’t close, there are cracks in the foundation,
the torn knees of children’s pants …
One can’t keep everything in mind. The wonder is
that beside all this one can notice
the spring which is so full of everything
continuing in all directions – into the evening clouds,
into the redwing’s song and into every
drop of dew on every blade of grass in the meadow,
as far as the eye can see, into the dusk.

Jaan Kaplinski

 

So you know how sometimes you get a bit happy and hormonal and run-down all at the same time? And you do too much and decide you have got too much to prove to the world and you don’t go to bed early enough because you are busy having a nice time and all of a sudden there is a cold-sore on your lip and you are shuffling around feeling a bit bonkers and looking like death warmed up but you have lost two and a half stone and all of a sudden you don’t care? 

Well yes. That. Last night, with Ste working late and Finley lost in a book, I took myself to bed early because cold-sores make me feel horribly grubby and I have no desire to inflict my grub on anyone else even when there is no-one else to admire it beyond my reflection in my candle-lit living room.

So I made white rose tea (I like Numi) in a tiny cup, switched off the lights and headed to bed with my beloved Kindle under my arm, then got cosy under my yellow quilt and puffed my pillows with lavender and laid back and then leaned up again to swat them about in a violent fashion until they were comfortable and then I switched on my Kindle and found myself unable to commit to any of the lovely books lurking in there because they required way too much thinking and some nights thinking isn’t something I can manage.

Now once upon my fourteenth Summer, my best friend Debbie and I dedicated every waking moment to reading the Rainbow Romances in the Harlequin section of our library. There were hundreds of these chaste Mills and Boon-esque delights and we were a little bit thrilled with the giddiness of stolen kisses and unrequited love and thought nothing of wasting whole afternoons reading together and eating crisp butties and then the Summer passed and I for one, never, ever picked up another romance of the kind.

In fact I rather decided that romance of any sort was a bit low brow and pretended I only ever read from the literary women’s fiction shelf  or the kind of 1930’s domestic drama I dedicate my life to discovering (with the occasional dalliance with Liverpool WW2 sagas and a certain section of the cosy mystery shelf to boot). Until last night. When my brain wouldn’t work. And I needed comfort, ease and escape and though I had in my possession a book that described itself as a modern-day Madame Bovary, I couldn’t quite face the coarse hurly-burly of the chaise-longue and instead settled upon Shabby Chic at Heart.

Because it had Shabby Chic in the title.  And it was about real estate and a furniture shop. And it talked of distressing things and cabinetry and it had a cosy Auntie Winnie in it and I used to have an Auntie Winnie! And a furniture shop! And I made a living distressing things (mostly men)! And what could be lovelier than spending an hour or two in a world I understand even if the writing was a bit you know and the whole business an obvious set up on the road to romance that veered between irrational spikiness and sickly sweet description.

Oh but Readers, it was perfect.

Now hark this: I am not necessarily recommending it. It is chippy, shabby fluff and pretty, frilly nonsense. But should you ever find yourself in bed without a brain for thinking much, or in possession of a yukky cold sore and you are the kind of person who rather adores description of shops filled with the kind of shabby treasure most of us only happen across once or twice in a lifetime then I rather think you will enjoy what I can only describe as bookish comfort food for the minds of the lost and hormonal.

Oooh and there are three books in the series… #justsaying.  

Buy Shabby Chic at Heart on Amazon.Com here for just $2.99 or read it absolutely FREE on Kindle Unlimited (My favorite thing in the WHOLE world!).

 

It is half term in our neck of the woods and I have already had the little joys of Wrestlemania, a book-shop dash for the next in the series Finn is reading, and a traipse around the woods during which I slipped down a hill, hung on to a branch, gave up and tumbled to the bottom while Finn roared laughing and reminded me yet again how utterly inept I am at almost everything, (including standing up straight) and I wiped mud off every part of my astonished person.

Today I am putting the finishing touches to the Kindle Version of The Summer House (after the lovely success of The Spring House) , and dilly-dallying with a web-site  storage issue that is going to require a little faffing behind the scenes.

This means that the site might be behind a maintenance screen for a few days but panic not, I will of course be back as soon as possible! In the meantime I will send out a newsletter announcing the release of my lovely Summer House book and I shall be continuing to engage with all those who are taking part in the Salon Pep-Talks at The School of Life….

This feels like a new season in so many more ways than one. Spring is so much wonderful isn’t it?