Aint This the Truth Housekeepers?

Keep It Simple: A Guide to a Happy Relaxed Home

By Atlanta Bartlett & Dave Coote

It doesn’t do to complicate things does it? Which is why I adore the very premise of Atlanta Bartlett’s latest book: Keep It Simple.


Because in decoration, as in life, simplicity elevates all that is to be enjoyed without complicating the minds eye with frippery…

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And I don’t know about you, but despite Pinterest, the Kindle and all the other wonders of modern technology, there is still room on my shelves for pretty books packed with inspiration…

Buy It Now Me Darlings

Housekeepers Carousel

June 2015

Hello Housekeepers! Wanna climb on the back of a pretty pony and come for a spin around the carousel with me? Of course you do! Though it’s been so long I do believe I may have forgotten quite how to get saddled up…


* First up I want to say a huge thank-you for your patience while we work behind the scenes putting in place the kind of systems and routines my little business has never quite had before. Ste is in the midst of tackling my overflowing inbox and some of you will already have received emails from him answering queries and righting wrongs. Please rest assured that though he is able to help with all manner of question and inquiry, he will always pass along anything personal or important to me, and I will be available wherever necessary.

In the past two weeks we have worked our socks off setting up the kind of back-end systems, spreadsheets, and plans for the future, that dear little BrocanteHome has never quite had in place before as I flew by the seat of my pants and made it all up as I went along. Its so odd for me being organised in any other arena than my housekeeping and as I am so very prone to worrying and time-wasting on the kind of details that no-one notices but me, Ste is right there hauling me back to the job in hand.

You will over the next few weeks, notice even more changes: First up, by special request I have created a new “archives” page that so many of you have been asking for. Nect both the shop and my membership scheme, Housekeeping Superstars will be back online, as will The School of Life and the forum. A more consistent newsletter will be coming your way and I am endeavouring to blog more frequently, because quite frankly nothing delights me more. Next week The Art of Homemaking will be available on Amazon for the Kindle, though no new downloads will be released until those that remain outstanding are tucked safely in to your in-boxes.


Next up: Some big news! My very first free BrocanteHome App has just been submitted to the Apple App Store and news of when you can download it to your iPhone and iPad should be available very, very soon. (Squuuuueeeal!)


Now: Happinez Magazine. If you haven’t yet laid your hands on this little delight then I rather insist that you step away from your screen and hurry to your nearest stockist, where you might just be lucky enough to procure the first English Language edition of this aesthetically beautiful piece of gentle, quarterly inspiration. Already well established in Europe, Happinez is visually stunning and each page resonates with the kind of modern take on New Age wisdom that doesnt make me want to stick pins in my eyes, but instead speaks to the part of me desperate for a more meaningful way of life.

* Next Julia Roberts as Mother Nature: such a simple, engaging message surely destined to speak directly to even the most hardened of hearts?

mischief - fay weldon

* Tell me – is your reading attention span shorter in the Summer months? I seem to go to bed later. Tired. More wired. And I struggle to pick up where I left off the night before. And so this Summer I am reading short stories. Latterly Mischief by Fay Weldon. Not just because the tactile butterfly swarmed cover makes me swoon, but also because Fay Weldon, better than any other female writer gets to the underbelly of our souls in a way few other authors could make bearable to devour.

womanhouse - linen cupboard

* Next: this installation by feminist group WomanHouse from 1972. A representation of woman’s place between the sheets and on the shelf. Heavens.

booze teacup

* Now… My entire gin sipping, vintage loving heart is yearning for this little teacup from Urban Outfitters

* And finally a poem. Because I love a good poem I do. This one, from Deborah Landau, speaks of who we could be if only we would allow ourselves a moments pause from all this technology…

You’ve Got to Start Somewhere

I had the idea of sitting still
while others rushed by.
I had the thought of a shop
that still sells records.
A letter in the mailbox.
The way that book felt in my hands.
I was always elsewhere.
How is it to have a body today,
to walk in this city, to run?
I wanted to eat an apple so precisely
the tree would make another
exactly like it, then lie
down uninterrupted
in the gadgetless grass.
I kept texting the precipice,
which kept not answering,
my phone auto-making
everything incorrect.
I had the idea. Put down the phone.
Earth, leaves, storm, water, vine.
The gorgeous art of breathing.
I had the idea — the hope
of friending you without electricity.
Of what could be made among the lampposts
with only our voices and hands.

Have a lovely weekend Housekeepers…x

Audrey at Home

Memories of My Mother's Kitchen

If I did not adore Audrey Hepburn quite as much as I do, I do believe I would hate her in the same way I rather secretly despise those Boden wearing, immaculate, Range Rover driving, Mothers of twenty babies so common around these parts. But hey ho: I digress…

audrey at home

In Audrey at Home, Luca Dotti, Audrey Hepburn’s son has compiled a collection of his Mother’s handwritten recipes, alongside anecdotes form her life and over 250 previously unpublished family photo’s to create a book that simply goes to prove that Hepburn was as close to perfection in womanhood as it is surely possible to be.

To combine elegance, intelligence, humour and such assured domesticity in one beautiful package is rare, which is why she must remain the treasure so many of us consider her to be…

Vintage Housekeeping. Again.

If you are eagle-eyed, I do believe that you may have spotted that the BrocanteHome logo has gone back to “Vintage Housekeeping” instead of the “Vintage Well-Being” tagline I had here in the first six months of this year. You see, I, Alison Joanne May, am a woman in the habit of constantly re-inventing my own perfectly good wheel. And I am also a woman perfectly willing to admit when the shoes don’t fit my proverbial feet.


Heck yes, People: I get things wrong. In fact sometimes I get things so spectacularly, shockingly wrong, it is all I can do not do inflict a little corporal punishment upon myself. While changing the tagline on your website might not be up there with selling your babies’ kidneys, in the whole scheme of my world, it is pretty high up on the list because it meant I lost both purpose and focus and a person needs focus and purpose if a person is to keep on turning up at her desk everyday with some understanding of what she is supposed to be doing!

When I first made the change it seemed like the most excellent of all excellent ideas. I described Vintage Well-Being thus…

What is Vintage Wellbeing? – It is not diets and botox, it is eating three wholesome meals a day and seeking out the best foodstuffs you can afford. It is not chemical peels, Paleo or aerobics, it is gentle stretches while you wait for kettle to boil and face-masks conjured up from store-cupboard basics.

It is a walk in the woods with a pram or a dog. Holding hands on the beach. Creating a bedroom that feels like a sanctuary. Spending entire evenings in the bathroom. It is routine and ritual. Journalling instead of gossiping. Asking for help when you need it (and accepting it even when you don’t).

It is organic housekeeping, candlelight and self-help books. It is sea-salt baths and early bedtimes. It is holidays at home. Blogging, seasonal scrubs and board games at the kitchen table. It is fresh bed-linen, fresh flowers and fresh ideas.

It is about visualising a healthy future, creating a home that reflects the very essence of who you are, and living a sustainable lifestyle that ensures the future of both our bodies and our creative minds.

It is all this and it is so much more.

This then is the Brocante way of life…   

And it is Housekeepers. It really is. But BrocanteHome was always about creating a home that feeds our spirit. About having a home that acts as a springboard for self-improvement and creativity. About creating a sanctuary inspired by the routines and rituals of yesteryear. And while “well-being” encompasses all that and more, I suspect it rather fails to capture the essence of what Brocantehome has always been about in the eleven years it has been on-line.

And so my lovelies, Vintage Housekeeping it is. Welcome home…x