A New Year is filled with too much possibility isn’t it? A person could get overwhelmed and find herself wanting to chuck out everything from her make-up bag to her entire way of life. A person you see can get carried away when it would serve her better to allow the New Year to settle in first. To reveal itself later, when Winter Hygge has truly done its job. For wouldn’t it be better to hibernate now and re-invent ourselves later? 

I am such a person. A person who has rushed out to buy herself everything necessary to Bullet Journal and felt the flush of embarrassment when her thirteen year old looked at her sternly and said “Now is not the time for jumping on Instagram bandwagons, Mum, now is the time to blog.”

Oh yes! Blogging. That’s what I was doing. And though I have been doing it for thirteen years I worry that I have quite forgotten how and find myself more willing to deal with the midnight burglars said to be prowling the streets of my locality than turning up for my own, lovely, precious, self-inflicted work.  I am too anxious. Too twitchy to be able to make sense of myself right now. And  anyways I thought I might find myself in a bullet journal. People say they are life-changing. Sensible people say such things! But oh what a rabbit hole of pretty pattern and pointless scribing it could it could be when a person should be blogging…

Anxiety is such a funny old woman. She pokes you with crooked fingers just when you are getting in to your stride. She whispers “Who do you think you are?” just as you are falling asleep and has a way with words that ties your good intentions into troubled knots. She will not be soothed with your endless cups of rose tea. Nor accept a little round of homemade shortbread and agree to keep her mouth shut. Oh no, not her. Not she who laughs at the elaborate baths you take, chin high in restless leg improving salts and stands mocking the dreams pinned to your vision board. Instead she tries to force you to start again. Oh heckity pie yes, there is nothing Anxiety likes better than a clean slate and before you know it she has got you believing that nothing, oh but nothing, not your work, your relationship, your body or any of the thoughts in your head are good enough and thus must be re-invented right here and right now. With no time to recover from the onslaught that was Christmas. No allowances for the kind of weather that really should have you doing nothing other than sipping soup under a cosy quilt. No excuses accepted at all.

Anxiety you see is the New Years best friend. She lurks around all December, allowing you your fun but come January 1st she pounces, stabbing you right there in all the bits you are trying to teach yourself to love. Twisting her dirty fingers into your scabs and telling you there is no time to dither, one simply must GET THINGS SORTED. And by things she means all things. Every thing.  And she will not rest until you have found the perfect planner. Signed up to the diet club. Thrown money on an improving course and chucked every last edible bit of Christmas out of the cupboards. Because she is a mean old bat. The kind of mean old bat who needs dealing with by sending her screeching in to the drowning rain when you simply refuse to do anything other than practice the kind of extreme self-care that January really calls for.

For yes, now is the time to snuggle. And kiss. And read. And binge-watch. Now is the time for good red wine (instead of festive plonk), warm rounds of Camembert  stuffed with garlic and rich chocolate brownies eaten straight from the oven. For starting difficult books and playing Monopoly. It is for baking cakes for kids coming in from the cold and nibbling late night slices of hot, thick buttered toast, just because you can. It is a time for healing from the slings and arrows of family forced upon you during the festivities, for booking holidays and inviting friends over for early suppers. It is a time for soothing your weary soul, mending what has to be mended and surviving evenings when you just can’t get warm.

Just the right time methinks to tell Anxiety to sling her hook. And take her Bullet Journal with her.


 

So a few days ago I wrote about the lull and now I want to talk about the frenzy.

Heaven knows why but Christmas arriving at the weekend thrills me. Christmas on a Sunday seems just right to me. Much better than Christmas on a Tuesday! So this year I do believe we are blessed with festive order and if we play it right we can truly enjoy the week before the holiday arrives, without feeling the kind of demented we only ever experience when we can’t decide whether to ice our stockings or stuff our Christmas cake.

You see it is time. It is time to work yourself in to a complete frenzy and get everything left on your list done. While I usually try to encourage a graceful swan approach to the season (even if those webbed feet are crazed beneath the water), today I am saying, nay, ordering you to go bonkers; to work yourself in to a complete festive frenzy so that you can declare yourself done by Monday morning, and then sit back with a smug smile and truly enjoy the abundant gifts the season has to offer.

Right, so that means there are three days left to do everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

I’m talking close family Christmas cards written and gluten-free stuffing shopped for. I mean the kids presents wrapped even if it means staying up until the early hours to get them done. I mean getting to the shops at silly o’clock in order to pick up the last of the gifts on your list, taking that trip to the farm to pick up fresh mistletoe, anything that can be cooked and frozen now for Christmas dinner, cooked and frozen! I am talking about rooting out the Christmas stockings so you don’t find yourself clambering in to the loft on Christmas Eve,and wrapping that gift you bought for yourself so you can pop it under the tree.

(You DID buy YOURSELF a gift didn’t you? NO? Have I taught you nothing at all?? Add it to your to-do list RIGHT NOW and get thee to the loveliest boutique you know post-haste! And for heavens sake stop making me SHOUT in capitals please!).

I am deadly serious about INSISTING that you make a big fat long list of absolutely everything left to do before Christmas and blooming well getting it done over the next seventy-two hours…

You see work until you drop now and from Monday you will have one lovely week to just be. Right there in the bliss of the season. Work until you drop now and you can spend your free time in the week before Christmas enjoying the proper pleasures of the season. You can watch cheesy Christmas films and play board games. You can sit and stare at the pretty lights on the tree and sip at a glass of mulled wine in utter peace. You can read the kids Christmas stories mindfully, wholeheartedly, without wishing they would fall asleep so you can get back to playing hunt the sellotape in the piles of wrapping paper downstairs. You can take yourself to a steamy coffee shop, drink a gingerbread latte and feel calm in the midst of the chaos, and step out late in the evening wrapped in scarves and gloves to walk around the neighborhood feasting on the festive displays of lights and loveliness.

It would be worth it wouldn’t it? Feeling bone-tired for a few days so you can relax those shoulders come Monday and enjoy Christmas the way it is supposed to be enjoyed. It would be worth it because sometimes the after-glow of frenzied activity is a joy all by itself, and feeling smug is something we should all treat ourselves to at least once a year don’t you know?

Ready, steady… go!


 

The turkey is ordered and at least some of the presents are wrapped. The tree is up and dripping with nonsense, and all the films  I want to watch have been marked in yellow highlighter pen in the Radio Times… a ritual from childhood I am not willing to give up, though if the truth be known there is so little time at Christmas to watch anything peacefully, particularly anything that does not please this house full of boys!

But school is not yet finished and the internet has not yet delivered all the gifts I have ordered. I have not iced the Christmas Cake and I am yet to churn out a single mince pie. The weather is mushy. Drizzley and yucky. Not crisp and white as Hollywood insists it should be. For the first time Finn refused to accompany me to the Christingle service and a little drop of sad fell on my Mummy of a Teenager heart, and today I have got a little tummy bug about which you really don’t need the details.

My Christmas isn’t picture perfect. But I feel Christmassy regardless. And Christmassy feelings are most of the battle aren’t they?

(For without them Christmas can feel like the most awful drag and those who harbor draggy feelings in December really aren’t good for our souls and must be banished to festive Coventry without so much as a nod to their inner Grinch).

This then is the lull. The calm before the cinnamon scented storm. It is the moment when much, if not all of Christmas is done and there are only fripperies to be organised and enjoyed. It is the time to notice. To sit by the lights of the tree and experience Christmas. To stop and actually listen to the words of the songs piped in to every store and to savor the first sip of that oh so retro bottle of Babycham. It is time to take flowers to the graveside of those we have lost so we can wish them all the love of the season, and to spend quiet time with those old or ailing and for whom Christmas has become just another day. Time to watch the children’s nativity and to truly treasure every single second of it, (for all too quickly they are too old to play silly shepherds or haphazard fairies), and it is without doubt time to get in as many early nights as possible with a stack of Christmas chick-lit and a flask – yes, a flask!- full of cocoa…

In my own lull, I tend to contemplate and reflect. I spend evenings with my Leonie workbooks and a pink pen, tearing through sentences for my eyes only, trying to make sense of what has happened in the year just gone and fashioning dreams for the year coming, with my fingers crossed and bound for a year better than those in my recent past. Another ritual of my own devising I cannot see myself ever wanting to give up in any given December in my future… for in its own way it shapes my year and though during this year there have been occasions when I have been barely able to breathe, let alone achieve, still I have been ticking off so many of the 100 things on my Leonie list and it continues to astonish me that writing a wish down is often enough to have the universe conspire to deliver it to you…

Tonight, I have got a couple of silly Christmas novels on my bedside, lavender starched pajamas laid out on my cosy yellow eiderdown, and a row of twinkly tealights lined up along the cast iron mantel of the fireplace in my bedroom. It is cold and I am not sure I can face a bath, but I will shower quickly and coat myself in the sandalwood and germanium sleep balm I am currently obsessing over, read through the wonderful descriptions of all your Christmas’s described in the Living Room, and kiss my family goodnight.

I am tired. Tired and Christmassy. Tired and content. This then is the lull.


Audit

 

Here we are again: time to get a grip on my head and my heart by auditing the ins and outs of my world. As always please feel free to steal the graphic and do a life audit of your own, or indeed download the Life Audit PDF (it’s free) and get your pencil out…

Today I am…

Organising the Christmas budget on YNAB. Dressed in about thirty layers of thermals and the kind of slipper socks so thick I rather feel as though my feet have gone numb. Drinking Yogi Moon Cycle tea because it helps. Thoroughly unable to catch the cold that has been lurking around my nostrils for a few days now, threatening to floor me but rather pathetically turning out to be nothing more than a very irritating sniffle. Excited because there is finally grass in my garden. (Yay! Thank-you Builder Men!). Fighting a losing battle with the muddy feet traipsing in an out of my little blue-tiled porch. Receiving parcel after parcel for neighbours who never seem to be home.

Feeling…

Embarrassed after nearly knocking a woman out with a cocktail shaker. Don’t ask. Scattered. Immensely frustrated and positively demented by technical issues here at BrocanteHome. You see I just want to write but writing time is lost to endless admin issues and computer problems and I rather feel like banging my head against a brick wall. When oh when did blogging get so complicated? If I could roll back to five years ago I really think I would. I truly miss offering little snippets of daily inspiration and my work-life balance is so skewhiff I feel exhausted so something has got to give though I do not know what yet. One idea I have been considering though is a move away for printables to simply writing for the Kindle then dear old Amazon could handle the relentless trauma of lost passwords and email inboxes that swallow downloads…

Reading…

Ste laughs because he cannot fathom my method of reading: I usually have at least two books on the go (truth… maybe three. Or four. Or twenty-nine if you count what goes on inside my Kindle.): a novel for snuggling up with and some sort of self-help, life enhancing/thigh-slimming/business orientated affair on the coffee table for browsing during elevenses. Tonight’s novel then is The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery, though I have read it before, because this 1920’s fairy-tale is ultimately so life-affirming and it is Lucy Maud for heavens sake: what’s not to like on a cosy November evening? And my coffee table book is Lisa Sugar’s Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice & Build Your Dream Life because I’m hoping she is a lady who has been in my shoes and cares to share a way through the madness that is online business…

Eating…

Roasted vegetable with halloumi. Or cubes of feta and a splash of balsamic. Roasted vegetables blitzed with a cup full of stock in my Nutribullet for the fastest bowl of soup in the land. Roasted vegetables on a puff pastry base. Umm, yeah: roasted vegetables night after night after night. Roasted at the beginning of the week and stored in an airtight container and used for everything from soups to stews. Oooh and pickled onions. I can’t get enough pickled onions. I’m all sorts of wrong these days. With pickled onion breath.

Planning…

A reversal back to our old routine now Ste’s short dalliance with shift work is at an end and life can go back to normal. A new one-stop dreamy place for my membership groups The Salon and The Living Room. Beavering away behind the scenes to bring it to life as fast as possible. Staying up late with a furrowed brow and the kind of creative inspiration that has got me firing on all cylinders. A weekend away with Kath, Diane and Emma this Saturday to celebrate Emma’s birthday. And gifts for the two “brothers” Finley didn’t have just two years ago – Mark’s son Sam who is so cute he is almost edible, and who will turn two at the beginning of December, and Ste’s son Stevie who will be eleven a few days later and who arrives at my house every second Friday and quickly collapses into Finley inspired giggles that remind me how very blessed we are to be family.

Dreaming of…

A nap. Are you a napper? Oh but you must be! There is nothing quite so wonderful as stealing a geranium scented afternoon nap now is there? Particularly if the house is quiet and you can slip between the sheets for the kind of drowsy, battery-charging slumber one can only really enjoy during the afternoon slump. Pity there is so very much to do today and the chance of a nap is up there with the chance of me re-inventing myself as an Instagram bikini model. Some days dreams will be dreams and simply refuse to become reality, damn them. Speaking of geranium though… I have a new ritual that involves cleansing my face before a much coveted nap and then massaging it with the blend of almond and geranium oil I have come to associate with switching my over-active mind off…

Coveting…

This (swoon) and This and This.

Wishing…

I wasn’t growing a beard. No really. I swear I am growing a beard if seven rather persistent hairs can be considered beardy? Also wishing my bedroom was the sanctuary I need it to be RIGHT NOW -long before in fact I have got to get Ste to understand that cream paint is not just cream paint and there will be a whole lot of dithering before I actually take the plunge and apply paint to the walls. And much more dithering after that as the search continues for suitable wardrobes. For frankly what possessed me to leave my wardrobes with the new owner of my little old house is quite beyond me. I can only surmise it was the hiatus hernia tablets that send me off my head and made me thrust generosity into that young mans face.

Working On…

Everything. No really: EVERYTHING! Ste is working overnight and the plans I had for the evening were cancelled so I am taking the opportunity to print out my Leonie Dawson Life and Biz workbooks, for OH YES the 2017 workbooks are here!!  Did you hear me: the Leonie Dawson Workbooks (and wall-planners, and diaries and to-do lists) are here! Roll on my 2016 Closing Ceremony for heaven knows I am so ready to say goodbye to this year and hello to a new one blessed by certainty and security please…

Celebrating…

Ste’s new job with a meal tomorrow night with our boys at a local Turkish restaurant with great hummus, chosen because they have extensive gluten free options for Finn and a meat heavy menu for Stevie who is close to being the world’s fussiest eater but will eat meat until the cows come home. Oooh and did I mention the hummus? Its the best. 

Grateful For…

So much on this the American day of gratitude. This house – because it makes me smile when I creep down first thing in the morning and it is warm and welcoming. Finn’s understanding that clutter is the enemy and keeping all the plastic nonsense from his childhood will no more tell him who he was than knocking at the house next door and asking the nice strangers there to tell him who he used to be. For the calm of his almost empty bruise colored room now. For hope. And possibility. For a conversation yesterday that made me howl with laughter. And for pizza delivered straight to the door (It’s a lazy Mama night. Don’t tell anyone).

And finally tomorrow I will be…

Packing for my overnight stay with my bestest friends. Working on sending another lovely Brocantehome PDF in to the Salon Library before I have to get my gladrags on. Worrying that my non-existent wardrobe full of gladrags is much depleted since I got over-generous with the recycling bag too…

On my to-do list this month?

* Christmas. There’s just no getting away with it.
*  Watching The Crown on Netflix because rumor has it, it is a little bit wonderful?
*  Finding a pair of slippers that don’t threaten to end my life whenever I come down the stairs.
*  Choosing between a real and an artificial Christmas tree tall enough not to look daft in this high-ceilinged room.
*  And finding a tiny little decoration to hang on it to remember Mum. 

Happy Thanksgiving Housekeepers.x


Good morning. I hope this missive finds you cosy. 

I have been up since silly o’clock. Drinking too much coffee and trying to fix something that won’t be fixed. Frustration tempered by the bliss of working by candlelight and making Finley giggle when he discovers me somewhat drunk on caffeine. Some days hysteria rather sets in doesn’t it? Some days hysteria sets in and you find yourself dancing in the kitchen.

During the night there was a hailstorm, an auditory fright of relentless gunfire on the conservatory roof. So many ambulances went by: the blue lights illuminating a tangle of dreams during which most memorably I served Ste a rat pie and vomited in horror when I realised, before insisting that he wash it down with a pomegranate smoothie and calling the police to investigate what had possessed me.

And now I am here and it is so deliciously Wintery and snuggly I really rather wish I could invite you in. Serve you a slice of warm banana bread straight from the oven and share secrets over our teacups. I wish you could smell the amber candles burning on the tray on the coffee table. A brass pot laden with succulents glowing next to them. The blind over the window pulled down so I do not have to share my hygge with the men still nipping in and out of the outdoor loo in my garden, occasionally waving to me when I stand washing dishes in lavender bubbles or popping in to say that the fuses have blown and can they do something fiddly to my fuse box so they can carry on using our electricity to build the house in the back garden. (I do hop they aren’t powering a generator). Sitting on the wet step to remove dirty boots before they trudge in barefoot and spending so many hours just standing chatting over dirty mugs of tea that is quite astonishing that the house has gone up at all. I think I might miss them when they have gone.

I have the weekend to myself. Tonight Finley will be spirited away to Mark’s house and Ste went to work this morning and will not return until late tomorrow night. He will sleep and then return to work on Sunday morning until Monday evening. Thank heavens then for a promotion that means these endless exhausting shifts will be no more: for the blessing that a nine to five routine again will once again be. For the joy of a job that will challenge him.

But for now I am alone. My laptop my companion today and drinks with a friend planned for this evening. Tomorrow I am going to fashion Christmas for our plans have changed and suddenly it looks as though I might be in sole charge of creating the very first Christmas Day I have ever had to conjure up for a house full of guests: a rite of passage that strikes me at the grand old age of forty-four as proof that I am no longer the child someone else will look after. Though I am still blessed by Mums. My own Mum’s sister Barbie always at the end of the phone, Ste’s Mum a reassuring hug whenever I need it and Mark’s Mum, who rings me and though she has long been my shy, reassuring friend, tells me that now my Mum has gone, she is my Mum and makes me want to weep tears of relief for this unexpected kindness. I am blessed by Mums. And by those of you in my Living Room who know all my secrets and let me in the safety of our inner sanctum, spill out my sometimes ugly guts.

I quite like being alone. Watching the world go by. The girl with the mustard scarf she wears like a roll of carpet around her neck. The jazzy little geriatric in the leather pants who wanders up to the post office for a newspaper each morning pulling at what is left of his greying quiff. The Siamese cat in the little terraced house across the road. Entire days could be spent just watching other people spend theirs. But there is work to done. And as a reward for doing it, at the end of the day there will be a book so painful and elegant I cannot begin to describe the joy of it. Though joy is not quite the right word: but how else is one to describe a book that tells of unrequited love and loss in fine detail that both manages to get under your skin, create the subdued loneliness of another place and time right there in your bedroom, and have you looking forward to stepping in to that place though we anticipate only anguish when we get there? What is that? If not joy then what? The very act of reading – the experience of it, bewilders me.

I am hungry now. Caffeine burning a hole in my empty stomach, but hungry for I know not what. And isn’t that the most awful thing? To know not what we hunger for? Cheese on toast or freedom? A bowl of soup or a day lying in the arms of someone we love? I am hungry and rambling as I so often find myself doing in these morning pages. I am hungry and the kitchen floor could do with steaming. That pile of laundry carried up the stairs and tucked away. The problem that won’t be fixed tackled once again with determination. The steps up to the house sprinkled with salt so none of us kill ourselves on slippery hailstones. Maybe a trip to the shops for something that will make me feel beautiful tonight. And afternoon nap in orange blossom sheets?

I am hungry and wish someone else could tell me what for. I want to feel sated by life all over again. I want to read books like Winter for always.


And so it has begun. The season of the carrier bag. Those relentless days where one seems to do little else other than walk in to the house laden with this, that and indeed the lovely other in our efforts to create the Christmas of our dreams.

On the one hand I rather adore what becomes one long shopping opportunity and the other I feel every vein in my body tightening in dreaded anticipation of buying the wrong thing. Of forgetting to buy a little something for someone altogether. Of buying lots and lots of teeny little things I could surely create Christmas without.

Ready then for understatement of the year? I sometimes feel as though the commercialization of Christmas has gone a bit far.

Though I am not quite ready for a true Buy Nothing Christmas, some of me thinks that reigning things in a little bit might go some way to saving our bank accounts, waistlines, sanity and soul. Some of me thinks that if only we could hark back to a time where kids were happy with a tangerine and a handful of copper and grown-ups didn’t see Christmas as one long gin soaked endurance test then the festivities might just be a little easier on all of us…

Oh heck. Am I turning in to Scrooge’s lady friend? Probably not, for I am nothing if not a bundle of contrary emotion when it comes to Christmas. Take yesterday for instance when under the guise of helping her choose a unit for her lovely bathroom, I accompanied Kath to a furniture shop neither of us had previously visited.

And in we went. And with delighted eyes on stalks, and senses so very gently assaulted by quiet festive tunes that were just right and big fat candles emitting the scent of Christmas without rendering our noses outraged, we took mugs of milky coffee from polite men in checked shirts and wandered about in something akin to awe. Here was Christmas made perfect. Cabinets painted in milky colors describing a lifestyle we suddenly found ourselves desperate to step in to. Nothing too festive but on every surface a nod to the season. A tangle of seedpods. An amber scented candle. A pile of Welsh wool blankets. Rooms in which a Christmas without the garish truth of the festivities could be played out. Rooms in which we could hole up, sip hot chocolate laced with red wine (my two favorite things in one cosy bowl, oh heavens yes please!), pretend television didn’t exist and instead spend those precious few days of the holidays talking, and laughing, playing games and eating food cooked exquisitely well: feasts of saddleback ham and red onion marmalade, sloe gin and homemade truffles.

You see I want Christmas but I want a Christmas that doesn’t exhaust me. I want to choose one or two presents for those I love that are just right instead of the endless stuff of carrier bags I tend to offer people. I want to start Christmas the traditional way it has long begun for us with the Christingle service, watching Finn set his hair on fire while holding a candle and singing “Away In a Manger” (one year the Verger sprinted across the aisles to offer a wet flannel to be flung upon Finn’s singed brow!). I want the house twinkly without glitter and baubles. I want an afternoon around Kath’s kitchen table, just me, her and our suddenly teenage babbas exchanging gifts, a quiet Christmas Eve spent wrapping gifts with Ste and Christmas Day at home. Nowhere to be. No people to see. Just the pleasures of the day to be enjoyed without any pressure to entertain.

Though it does of course reek of the lure of commercialization in itself, I want a Christmas like the one in that furniture shop. A mood. An atmosphere. A sense of space in time that had Kath whisper “Oh Ali, I could cry” at which we both burst out laughing and so thoroughly and completely understood.

So much of what is heavenly about Christmas is lost to the very chaos of it and this year I want  to experience wonder all over again. While it may be hard to set aside the season of the carrier bag we can at least do our very best to focus on festive hygge, to reign in the relentless urge to throw money at that which cannot be bought and instead to indulge ourselves and those we hold most dear with the kind of joy that the bestest kind of memories are made of.  


 

It is raining here today. The tapestry of leaves on the ground sodden and untidy. There were no teabags left in the copper pot on the counter. Only a trickle of the skimmed milk I favor lingering in the fridge. My feet have turned an unusual shade of purpley-blue because I have not yet made it back upstairs to tuck them in to pompom slippers. Finley came downstairs fully dressed! And Donald Trump is on stage: a confusing mix of humility and gloating shaping his now softly spoken words. That circle he makes with his fingers slightly less pronounced now he is no longer raging against a country that just yesterday seem unwilling to bend to his manic will.

Not so long ago I used to to tell my Mum that the world scared me. And she would say that the world had always been a scary place. That in her lifetime there had always been terrorism, the threat of war, crazy men, religious lunacy. That we have learn to live with a certain level of potential fright or else we might as well retreat under our patchwork quilts and whither away.

Today the women on my Facebook stream, my sister, my friends, my readers have declared themselves scared of Trump. For the world. For their children. There is a lot of pain. Disappointment. Confusion. And anger. There is also too much rage. Too much venom directed by those who consider themselves to be intellectually superior towards whom they consider to be “the great unwashed” – on whom they are firmly placing the blame, forgetting that among that majority there are Mothers scared for their babies too. The world feels broken and they want to have someone to blame so they look to those they consider less than them. An ugly truth if ever there was one.

I am no more political than I am religious. I find any kind of division between human beings to be distasteful. I am also stupid. I want people to be kind in an unkind world. I remain bewildered by angry men and warmongering women, and care only for the politics of my my own household. The politics of step-parenting. The politics of who takes the bins out. Who gets to choose what’s for dinner. And I am telling you this not because I want to publicly declare my own ignorance, but because I suppose, I want to appeal for calm among those of us who want to live a life less ordinary. Because I understand that politics is a necessary evil and we cannot always swing a vote the way we want it to swing. Because I want us all to feel safe within our own four walls despite what goes on beyond them.

We fear change don’t we? We understand career politicians but cannot (do not want to) begin to fathom a maverick, sexist business man standing at the head of one of the most important countries in the world. We confuse personality with politics and forget that in even the smallest of businesses liking or even respecting he in charge is not necessarily key to our own success. We cringe at the toupee, feel our skin crawl at the idea of hopping in to bed with such a vile creature, allow our own instinctive, female revulsion to dictate our feelings, wonder what the heckity-pie could be wrong with that wooden, soulless Melania woman and fail in the midst of our revulsion to understand that Trump will not stand alone. That there will be some good men and women standing behind him, guiding him, reigning in his arrogance, advising him and hopefully taping up his mouth. That a person does not get to be Donald Trump without possessing some nous. Some wisdom. Despite how utterly ludicrous he strikes us. How little we yet understand about who he will be as a President. For we do not know yet whether he will be the dictatorial oaf we imagine he will be. Or whether he truly will rule the world with one hand permanently hovering over the dreaded red button. Or more, whether we will all suffer the kind of catastrophe The Simpsons predicted should this have ever come to pass. We do not yet know and that is I suppose terrifying in itself.

We fear change even when we cannot prevent change itself and must instead, if not embrace it, then at least accept it. If only so that our children are not spooked by our own terror of something that has not yet come to pass. So that our little girls are not forced to see this as the vote for women’s oppression that it so blatantly is and are not immediately reduced by it. Our boys not kept awake at night by fear of war fueled by an impetuous, impulsive man. So that they are not weeping tears for something that has no impact on what we decide to pack in their lunchboxes today. We must therefore refuse to wrap their sandwiches in anxiety. Keep appalled conversation to a minimum in front of them. So that they do not sense our fear and are instead reassured that all remains well. For that it does. For today at least, for our children all remains well. That is our job and it remains our job whoever ends up living in the White House – to make our children feel safe despite whoever walks the long corridors of power.

It could have course have been different. We could have had a woman I have certainly never related to standing in Trump’s place and perhaps we would have rejoiced anyway for it may have seemed like a triumph for sanity. For more of the same. For the safety of better the devil we know. But we haven’t. Something has happened this morning none of us could have predicted and all the wringing of our collective hands will not, in the immediate future, make any difference. We have to be at peace with that for now. Or else we allow something we cannot immediately change to trouble our own four walls. To bring a sense of dis-harmony indoors at a time when we would be better served strengthening the minds of our little ones so that the politics of the future does not stink quite so badly.

Here, there are no teabags and I am sipping coffee instead: my taste buds already recovering from the shock of Booth’s Italian Blend where there should have only been Tetleys. Finley is joking about all the builders in the world lining up for a lifetimes work building Trump’s Godforsaken wall and calling the house in our garden New Mexico as the joiner finally staples up the fence between us and them. Dad is in the shower and Ste, nonplussed by the whole affair, preparing a Powerpoint presentation for an interview.

And I am here. Typing out words that may make no sense to me in the future when we better understand the impact Trump will have on all our tomorrows. Tutting at the fingerprints on the glass on the doors into the conservatory and about to splash my way down to the crazy Post Office for a pint of skimmed. Refusing to be scared.

So you know how sometimes I fall off the blogging bandwagon and sometimes its because life is in the way and other times it is because I am entertaining the black dog and more often it is because I am being a floral- pinnied little worker minion busying away behind the scenes here at BrocanteHome? Recently has been one of those times.

You see so many of you have told me that you can’t work BrocanteHome: that some of it is in fact so mystifying as to surely be broken. That you can’t work out where the downloads you have bought have vanished to, you can’t find your account page, and you simply cannot even begin to navigate the Salon and the Living Room.

Now though I come from the rather cosy school of If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It, I do understand that sometimes I can be creating complex muddly systems I thoroughly understand because I invented them, but that you are thoroughly bewildered by and that if this is the case then whether I like it not the system is broken and I need to get on with fixing it. Preferably asap!

And so m’dears that is exactly what I’m doing. My lovely Salon, Living Room, courses and Store are all headed under one roof: The BrocanteHome School of Life, where eventually you will have just one account page with access to everything you have ever bought or downloaded from BrocanteHome and with my gorgeous members-only community organised in to step-by-step blocks you will find oh so very easy to access on the road to a life less ordinary.

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This is a huuuuge undertaking and it is costly in terms of both time and finance –which is why you haven’t seen much of me recently. Because although I would dearly love to be back to blogging the way I used to blog, my community has to take priority so you feel less confused by me and my warren like tunnel of ideas and inspiration!

The School of Life will be  go live after Christmas: I am busy behind the scenes pulling all the strings together and I am getting more excited by the day about it’s potential for all of us!

Phew! All this and Christmas to plan? Too true… but as Ste will be working and my family down South, Finn and I will be spending our very first, cosy Christmas alone and both of us are almost giddy with excitement at the very idea!

Talk soon Lovely Housekeepers.x

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P.S: 100 Scrumptious Things To Do For Christmas is available at a special pre-release price of $12.00 and will be $20.00 after launch on or after November 25th.