Things I Love

Good Morning Housekeepers. How the heck are you? I do so terribly hope you are well and fit enough to get to work with another hefty dose of Brocante style inspiration?

Things I Love2

You see when you have been haunting the internets as long as I have, the curious amongst us, frequently get around to asking the same questions: Who is your favorite author? What housekeeping books do you recommend? Which internet courses have you done? Which iPhone apps do you heart? Are there things you cannot live without? 

So I have taken it upon myself to throw together a permanent page answering those very questions. A Things I Love page that captures the very essence of Brocantehome and shares with you, all those things I rely on for inspiration, encouragement and organisation. Tres wonderful, mais non?

The link will live permanently on the top menu of each page on Brocantehome and I will update it seasonally as and when my authentic self finds her place in this world…

In the meantime I also have a short list of notices to share with your lovely selves…

* Brocantehome is now donning her spring 2013 glad-rags – a brighter take on the usual polka dots to gladden the heart and lift our spirits. I do hope you like…

* The Puttery Companion for February will be on-line tomorrow for all those who are signed up and the re-designed Puttery Year for all my Housekeeping Superstars is now available in the Superstar area

* I was thrilled by the response to my rather spontaneous little podcast, included with the last Housekeeping Superstar post and as soon as I have stopped sniffling I will be doing more…

* And finally my all new Housekeepers Coaching service will go live in the next few weeks: so if you want a personalised housekeeping plan, pep talk, and snail-mail from yours truly, then do keep your heads up for further information.

That’s it Sweetheart: have a lovely day won’t you?


Housekeepers Diary

Uncertainty is wrapped around you like a blanket and so you are nesting. You imagine yourself as a magpie. Flitting out on short trips cosseted in scarves and gloves and too many layers, and returning ladled with this and that to scatter around the house and build a pretty, rose covered bullet-proof wall between you and the rest of the world.

Yesterday you shopped for nothing at all and came back with bags full of stuff.

Today the skin on your neck is red raw and you are scratching an itch that probably isn’t there. You take meat out of the freezer for a stew and you take vitamins for a litany of imaginary deficits. You feel a strong need to be still and meditate for twenty minutes as soon as your little one is spirited away to school, the scent of frankincense and myrrh drifting around you as you try to lose yourself in it’s smoke.

But it is too cold to concentrate. You are almost permanently cold. Despite the layers and the radiators and the warm soups, your bones are cold and stiff. So you add another cardigan to the befuddled, ever so slightly glamorous street lady look you have got going on and drink a cup of chai stirred with a stick of cinnamon and sweetened with agave.

Now you have money spread across the dining room table. Cash to be distributed into envelopes for this and that so you will not squander it on needful things like more candles or another pair of cosy slippers. You are astonished now by your clarity of mind. How easily all those things normal people have always done, now come to you, so very used to living in chaos. You are changed. Something changed you.

It is Tuesday. That means a trip to the post-office and another to the bank. It means tidying up your life. Throwing out twenty -seven things. Gathering the recycling ready for collection. Buying yourself a bunch of flowers for the vase now sitting on the new, but old oak bookcase bought for a song, and now living on the landing between your bedroom and his nibs…

Tuesday. Scouse and bread still warm from the oven for the evening meal. Scouse. The most basic of foods: meat, carrots, potatoes and onions. A Liverpool stew streaked with the violent pink vinegar of red cabbage. Winter in a bowl. Something to look forward to.

Sustenance for cold bones and nourishment for your soul.


Email Fail

I am taking a quick break from a morning of mango smoothies and lavender and chocolate chip shortbreadmen to tell you that I suspect I am not receiving many of your emails because I am sitting here seething about replies I have been expecting and feeling befuddled by some of the emails I have received following up enquiries already made, but not received on my end.


This is probably no mystery. Those emails missing in action have probably been swallowed by a number of filters and plugins I jazzed up my email account with one cosy afternoon shortly after Christmas and as we speak are probably lingering somewhere: apparently anywhere but my in-box which is the only place I ever look!

So my Darlings take from this short missive these five truths…

* I have not fallen out with you and presumably (fingers crossed!) you haven’t fallen out with me!
* I would be really, truly grateful if you could re-send anything you suspect I have missed as I have now uninstalled the silly little fancy nothings I saw fit to attach and would truly love to re-connect with you…
* Alison May should not be left alone with whizzy little buttons and snazzy little add-ons because she will mess with them and cause Brocante chaos!
* Life was simpler when the only thing liable to cause mis-communications of this kind was the failure to attach a stamp to an envelope and/or post the darn thing!
* And finally as soon as I hear from you I will answer as soon as I can.

Ok Sweeties, happy Sunday, now as you were…

Aromatherapy For Listless Ladies

You know those days when you have got blah running through your veins? The days when you munch your way through too many biscuits and leave wet washing hanging around the house because those bones of lead just haven’t got the strength to carry you to the washing line? Yes. Those days. The listless, can’t be bothered days.


This little aromatherapy recipe is for them.

Simply spill 10 drops of Clary Sage oil, 16 drops of Grapefruit oil and 4 drops of Fennel oil into the water in your diffuser and  light it. 

Place the burner on the opposite side of the room to your favorite chair and let it warm up for ten minutes. Then make yourself comfortable with cushions and a blanket if it is chilly and close your eyes.  Not to sleep – simply to sit quietly and let the aroma tickle your spirit back to life.

And it will. I promise you, it will.

Trolley Treats!

It’s the small things isn’t it? The tiny treats. The daily delights which make life worth living? Which is why I am going to hold a teeny  weekly celebration of all the little joys I make sure to pop into my trolley (virtual or otherwise) every time I shop…

housewives choice

You see I still vehemently believe that every mundane domestic task offers us opportunity to dress it up in smiles. Our smiles. Not the kids. Or his. Ours. And let’s face it shopping for the groceries and sundries we all need if we are to eat and keep the house in light-bulbs has to be the most ground-hog, relentlessly mundane task of them all!

So each week I seek out a little puttery something to chuck into my trolley. Nothing expensive. Just a little something that will add a little thrill to something dull. Something just for me. Something I use. Something I know I will anticipate. Something just for the sheer pleasure of it…

This week my shopping was brought to me by Ocado. Because it was snowing. And the world and his Mother had come to a grinding halt, except for a man called Mark who delivered my shopping in color-coded bags and warned me not to venture out the door, for the roads were treacherous and only the mad were going a-wandering. So I did as I was told, battened down the hatches and got to work opening up the weekly surprise that is the vegetable box, this week full of Jerusalem artichokes  and chard, and while pilfering through  the rest of the order, I planned a batch of watercress pesto and some big fat chocolate flapjacks…

I pulled out loo rolls and white vinegar, I put away pine soap from Sweden (Grumme Gron Sappa!) and stood little trees of broccoli in glasses of cold water in the fridge, and then there, nestling at the bottom of one of the carrier bags was this weeks trolley treat: a block of Housewife’s Choice butter: a brand I had never seen before but one which kicks off this series in true Brocante style! I mean really, what could be more perfect for us Vintage Housekeepers than a block of gorgeous creamy butter apparently loved by the housewives of  County Tyrone, Ireland?

So won’t you raise a cup of tea with me, to a week of home-made bread, toasted and spread generously with Housewife’s Choice butter for elevenses? This trolley treat has inspired me to start a search for the perfect lidded butter dish and one gorgeous butter knife just for me, and soon toast, whenever it is taken, will be a pleasure, because when life seems a bit rubbish, the heart is still open to tiny, temporary joy. This I know for sure…

Won’t you treat your trolley to a little bit of wonderful too?

Scrumptious Links For Today

These are the links that have made me smile recently ~ enjoy!

Credit: Album / akg-images

Su Blackwell
Her book sculptures are wondrous and astonishing…

Ancient Industries
Nothing but the most needful of things…

Gratitude 365
Make gratitude a daily habit with this app…

Wonderful quotes straight to my in-box daily.

Sweater Love
Turn an old sweater into something lovely…

Home-Made Crock Pot Granola
Yes please…

The Good Life Project Creed
More inspiration from Jonathan Fields.

Plum Pretty Sugar
I am so in love with this robe…

My Own Business – Garance Dore
I loved this little peek behind the scenes of this uber famous blog.

The Story of Stuff
I have included this link before but I think we all need a reminder…

Wives With Beehives
A TLC show causing a bit of a stir. Not least because of mis-representation.

Men: New and Unimproved
“She’s always right, and I always get mad…”

What Happened to Downtime?
I wish I knew…

Thinnest Oatmeal Cookies
They really are.

52 Lists
I’m a little late to the party (so what’s new?) but I’m going to join in…

I Want To Be Unruly
Oh so do I!!

How To Clear Up Your Life
Is less the new more?

Hypo-allergenic Laundry Day
If it’s good enough for Polly, it’s good enough for me…

This strikes me as such a good idea.

Doing “Morning Pages” From “The Artist’s Way” Led Me To Get Divorced, Lose 40 Pounds And Revitalize My Career.
what could Morning Pages do for you?

Naturally Dyed Tea Towels
Simple, natural and beautiful.

There Is No Secret
Tough talk from Jess Lively

And finally this song…