Oh but is so very good to be back! Here I am again… back in my spiritual home. My laptop on my knee and a cup of minty green tea at my side. It is unseasonably sunny today. Though my heart yearns for the russet gold of Autumn, an Indian Summer seems to be upon us and I am trying so very hard not to wish it away.
I have in fact being wishing away so many of my days lately. Wishing my house was sold (it is!). Wishing the pain in my chest would go away (it has!). Wishing the Summer holidays were over so I could reclaim my routine and myself (they are!). Wishing it was time to move house (just two weeks to go now!)…
That old adage I repeat so frequently, this too shall pass, turned out to be so very true. I guess it is just a matter of believing that this is simply the nature of all things: nothing lasts for always. Faith in that during hard times would I think, make all the difference and yet so often we are too paralyzed by fear, to do much beyond wring our hands and weep when no-one else is looking.
And still I cannot help but ache for Autumn: for a few weeks in to the future when the hurly-burly of the packing, unpacking and enduring two house moves in as many months is finally over and done with and I greet the dark morning of late October with candles and cosy warmth, in our new red-bricked Victorian house. When Finn can walk to school and I can experience what it is to pick up the strings of routine and ritual all over again.
Impatient though I may be, I no longer feel petrified by stress, and though I swear my doctor’s face lit up with excitement when I told him I had both a pain in my left arm and a peculiar tingling in my left breast, I am rather hoping that all the heart tests and scans he has got me lined up for will reveal nothing more than the pain and movement of the hiatus hernia I have got tucked away in my chest wall. I feel so much better. I am back to practicing the rather comical version of yoga I indulge myself with, and though I am still struggling to eat much, I am nibbling at a number of mini-meals each day and remembering to have the voice inside my head speak kindlier words to myself daily. We women are so very hard on ourselves aren’t we?
Here on BrocanteHome I have finally got around to making a few of the changes so many of you have requested. As sometimes we have to move backward to move forward, the home page has gone, so you can once again hop straight in to the blog; all the Salon and Living Room resources are now living on one lovely page; and there is a log in and log out button right there on the menu bar so you don’t have to waste time hunting around for a way into our inner sanctum anymore.
There is much to catch up on and it has been nothing short of infuriating to not have been able to throw myself in to writing recently. But I am here now. Though I may have to come and go according to the whims of moving house and having working broadband in the process, I am here again. In mind if not always in body…
Autumn, dear darling Autumn cannot come soon enough.
I am neither here nor there. I am in fact all of a fuddle. Between houses. Between seasons. Between two minds.
I am scattered and exhausted and so I am going to take a blogging holiday. To complete The Autumn House and a few other projects currently outstanding. To answer emails and make plans for the last quarter of the year. To spend some time with Finley, in this the last Summer of his childhood, before he turns thirteen at the beginning of September (thirteen!). To pack up the bungalow and say goodbye to the house when it finally completes on the 26th of this month. To sew labels in to new school uniform and sit in the garden watching ruby red butterflies flutter around this proliferation of icy blue hydrangeas.
Though I have had barely anytime at all to blog over the past few weeks, the guilt is very real: when I’m not blogging I truly wish I were and a fluster of emotions from frustration to obligation has me demented. And so rather than post half-heartedly I am simply going to do as so many other bloggers do in August and sign off until September.
Just two weeks me Darlings? I will still be available via the Living Room, but otherwise I will be joining Bill Bryson as he meanders around Britain in The Road to Little Dribbling, walking the dog on the beach before he goes to live with my Dad, setting up new routines to allow for the shifts Ste will soon be working, and basically trying to glue myself together after the relentless stress of the past few months.
Do enjoy the end of your Summer too won’t you? Switch off all social media and remember what life was like before it revolved around Facebook. Make time for just sitting quietly in the garden. Mix up delicious salads, take fragrant lemon showers, read The Little House on the Prairie, wash vintage linens in a dolly tub in the back garden and seek out the shady cool of the deepest, darkest forest near you. Hold hands. Go jogging on the beach. Eat fish and chips on the prom. Dance in the moonlight…
Till September then…x
Today contracts will be exchanged and the house will no longer be mine. I will eat Meze in a new Turkish restaurant with friends and spend many hours before hand in search of something to wear. I am fat with discontent. Grey under the Summer tan. And I have developed a hole behind my right ear. A hole!
I have never understood stress before now. I simply didn’t know how physical it is. How your heart booms and your head aches. How shaky you get inside. I have known pain and trauma but stress is different. Stress renders you devoid of emotion but riddled with anxiety. And though you know anxiety isn’t real, though you are more than capable of rationalising every fear your demented mind presents you with, still it has you trembling. Wide awake in the wee small hours. Snappy and strained.
While there are huge things to worry about, it is the little things that have me coming undone.
A wasp in the car that had me screeching at Ste “What part of “I’m scared!” do you not understand??” as he edged his way through a crazy road he could not possibly stop on and looked back at me in bewilderment while the kids stared in amused horror at the woman once thought of as sane.
A meltdown because he will not go to the corner shop and buy me a Pot Noodle though I have become utterly convinced that a chicken and mushroom pot full of pretend food is the only way I will possibly manage to get anything down a throat closed in fright.
Tears in the bathroom just because no one is looking and I can.
In the midst of stress there is a red hot rage. Rage is new to me too. I can’t usually manage it. But during the five months between the offer to buy my house and the completion of the sale that won’t happen for another two weeks because my buyer has not got around to getting his funds in place, I have witnessed so much incompetence and been told so many lies that I frequently find myself ranting at estate agents and solicitors to no avail at all beyond making me feel momentarily better and getting rage off a chest that seems to be expanding by the day and will soon be walking in to rooms before the rest of me.
So ummm… yes. Stress makes your bosom expand. And makes you want to round up every estate agent and solicitor in the land and have them lick your boots with their lying tongues. Stress makes you irrational and mean and gives you a preposterous yearning for Pot Noodles. These m’dears are your take-aways for the day.
Very, very soon I hope to be back to dispensing sensible advice and encouraging you to live lives less ordinary. Lives less ordinary but hopefully not as downright bloody ludicrous as mine…
Do as I say not as I do and we will all be better off. I have got a HOLE behind my ear don’t you know?
Apologies for not being around in the past few days: life is to say to the least, absolutely mental and at the very last minute my house sale seems to be delayed all over again. But hey ho these things are sent to try us aren’t they?
Last month’s Salon and Living Room competition prize was a copy of The Complete Book of Home Organization and today I am here to announce that the winner has been chosen by random number generator and the results are in!
Catherine I do believe it is YOU! And as soon as you send me your home address your book will be delivered directly from Amazon…
Next months prize? 52 Lists for Happiness because having list prompts is quite the most inspirational way to journal your way to authenticity… and the easiest.
The Prize Thread will open in our lovely LIVING ROOM Facebook group next week, but remember you have got to be a member of either the Salon or the Living Room (membership starts at just $15.00 PER YEAR!) to enter our lovely monthly prize draw….
Congratulations Catherine: may every inch of your home be organised…x
I am probably a week away (fingers crossed) from saying goodbye to my house for always and the mixture of both relief and sadness is palpable.
I shall miss this little house of mine, but it is no longer what it used to be. In fact I haven’t lived here really for six months and now a house that was once fragranced by lavender and love, smells musty and neglected.
But it wasn’t always so: once the little walls of this tiny Victorian terraced cottage were a celebration of all that puttery and lovely. An ode to the kind of abundant domesticity I have been recommending to you for the past twelve years.
But houses are more than just the pretty. More than just the routines and rituals of daily life. They are memory boxes. The walls lined in our own history. And I had to move out because that history had started to stain my rosy wallpaper and I couldn’t escape it.
Of course there are good memories as well as bad ones. I brought my baby home to this house and found it filled with balloons and flowers…
I spent so many happy hours here laughing. Playing. Singing. And content.
Sometimes I hugged the house and sometimes the house hugged me. (We all need hugging sometimes don’t we?).
Even when the bad times came the house still felt like a sanctuary. I put everything I had in to making it into a gallery of my soul, and I loved nothing better than closing the door on the world and hibernating there.
But if I have learnt anything it is that life cannot be static. And that sometimes we have to be brave and move on from places and people that are no longer serving us.
Doors close so we can open another don’t they? Though I am so very grateful to my little house and to how it shaped me as a homemaker and I do believe I will miss it for always…
I can’t quite believe that I have reached the last in the four seasons of my House series, and that in just two weeks time, The Autumn House will be sitting among my Winter, Spring and Summer editions.
How the years fly by! And oh how very much I have enjoyed focusing on the pleasures of each season in turn: gathering up seasonal books, writing lists of lovely puttery treats and loveliest of all, for each of the four seasonal books, writing an essay designed to inspire all the particular joys of each season at home, in your hearts.
“With a life in the day of a Vintage Housekeeper in Autumn, a list of seasonal puttery treats, some advice for preparing for cooler weather at home, and adding a layer of cosy calm to your Autumn house alongside the three housekeeping recipes you need to give the house a hug, an Autumn reading list and a list of journaling prompts for meditating your way through this gorgeous season of so much promise…”
This then is the snuggliest way to enjoy Autumn at home: a collection of Brocante-esque advice designed to inspire you to make the most of this season of change…
The Autumn House is available for PRE-ORDER right now at the discounted price of $8.00 and will be delivered to your in-box on the 18th August- when the price will go up to the usual seasonal series price of $10.00… AND my Living Roomers will find a voucher for an extra 25% off the price on the group page today…
Finally If you are a member of the Salon you will find The Autumn House in the Salon library on the 18th of August absolutely free of charge (along with all the other downloads in my lovely store) – and at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I just want to remind you that the option to pay for the salon MONTHLY is once again available…
So to sum things up: there are three ways to buy The Autumn House.
- Pre-Order it today for the discounted price of $8.00 here.
- Join the Living Room today for just $15.00 and get a voucher to buy The Autumn House for just $6.00 when you sign in to the Living Room Facebook Group …
- Or join The Salon, get all the benefits of Living Room Membership, all existing downloads and everything I create for the life of your membership absolutely FREE, Salon Only posts and coming soon monthly podcasts and webinars, and one on one Pep-Talks with yours truly for just $20.00 a month OR the lowly price of just $169.00 for an entire year of BrocanteHome wonderfulness!
I know which deal I would grab…x
In my best-selling twenty -five part clutter-busting program “Trash It or Treasure It”, I describe four main types of clutter I have long observed: both in my own propensity for hoarding and in that I observed during my years working as an interior designer.
Much of it is kind of sad. For here’s the thing: clutter IS sad. It speaks of yesteryear and yearning. It has you holding on to a past that is no longer relevant and aching for a time in your life now lost. It speaks of greed and disappointment. A refusal to live in the here and now, or to understand that today you are vastly different to who you were once and that is ok.
It is ok to no longer fit in clothes that once swam on you.
It is ok to have loved and lost.
It is ok to have a host of uncompleted projects.
It is ok to let someone who has died go.
It is ok to have different taste in music/furniture/shoes now.
It is ok to have learned all that you are going to learn from the books on your shelves.
It is ok to have failed. To be unable to learn something that once fascinated you.
Addressing it takes guts. It takes more than the simple weighing up of whether a single object brings you joy or not and instead asks you to examine thoughts and emotions you would probably prefer to keep buried, while losing much of this one and only precious life to shuffling stuff around your house, and worse, oh so much worse, around your head.
Ugh. Enough already.
We haven’t got time for keeping dust of a stack of 1990’s magazines we are NEVER going to read again. We cannot look our bestest selves right now if every time we open the wardrobe we were once younger or indeed slimmer. We will never move on from the death of someone we adored if we insist on keeping reminders of that loss cluttering up each and every surface. So much stuff we just don’t have time for.
And then there is emotional clutter. All that blocks us living a life less ordinary. For make no mistake, there is nothing, oh but nothing, more time consuming than emotional clutter. A head full of regret. The lies we tell ourselves. Emotions that do not serve us now.
It has to go Honey. It has to ALL go.
Clutter, physical or emotional is ruining your life. It is the enemy of clarity and CLARITY is the only emotion we truly need to forge ahead with our own lives: to see what is true. Real. And essential if we are going to thrive as authentic beings.
Start then by considering which of the type of clutter best describes that which is stifling your heart and home…
This is the kind of clutter grasped on to when you experience LACK and thus seek to shore against your own ruin by harbouring stuff and nonsense to protect you from emptiness and relative poverty. It is the shabby evening bags you are stashing though they are long out of fashion. The chipped ornaments. The ugly curtains. The man who clearly doesn’t love you, but you cannot (will not) let go because you have got it in to your head that something or someone is better that nothing or nobody.
Rainy Day Clutter
When you are storing rainy-day clutter you have probably once experienced times when frugality felt necessary and as a result still imagine that despite its passing, planning for times when frugality might once again rear its ugly head are necessary. She who is harbouring rainy-day clutter then keeps things “just in case” and struggles to trust in relationships because she has been let down in the past.
She who keeps Hey-Day clutter is living in the past. Believing that she still has the means to live as she once did. Insisting that she will once again squeeze in to clothes that fit her back in the day. Allowing her house to go to rack and ruin because it is still decorated in the way it was when life felt blessed. Keeping the materials for projects associated with happier times. Comparing existing relationships to ones now over, or times now passed.
Ah the saddest kind of clutter. This then is the kind of clutter accumulated in the aftermath of sorrow. Holding on to all that our parents left behind. Yearning for a relationship now over. Trying to stuff all the furniture we once had in our now empty nest in to the apartment that we now live in. Heartbreak clutter then is about not being able to let go and it is probably the hardest type of clutter to liberate yourself from and also, so very much the most necessary to escape.
Now CHOOSE to do the work.
To lug the boxes. Drive to the tip. Change your phone number or call the lawyer. Choose to get really, really BRAVE. Dig deep and be honest about what you really need to move forward and what you can happily leave behind. Seek CLARITY in every aspect of your life.
Are you ready to take the Trashy Oath? Sign up for The Trash It or Treasure Program while it is half-price (just $20.00 instead of the usual $40.00) and you will recieve 25 PDF’s – more than 250 pretty pages full of soothing words and feisty inspiration? One download for each of the twenty -five weeks I believe it will take you to achieve absolute, total freedom from all that is standing between you and authenticity…
* The Trashy Oath.
* An introduction to the giddy theory behind the program (!)
* The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Housekeepers.
* Putting you first.
* Starting at the beginning.
* Getting organised on-line.
* Creating Housekeepers Central on-line.
* Your domestic heroine.
* The four types of clutter.
* Getting to grips with Poverty Clutter.
* Understanding Hey-Dey Clutter.
* Identifying Rainy Day Clutter.
* Letting go of Heartbreak Clutter.
* The four questions you need to answer.
* Habit, routine and ritual.
* Extreme self-care.
* The problem with perfection.
* The Trashy Mission Lists
* Function before form.
* Clearing the entrance into your home.
* Making space to really live.
* The heart of the home.
* The inner sanctum.
* Personal sanctuary.
* Dealing with other people’s chaos.
* Tackling the internal war!
* Getting shut of emotional baggage.
* And eight final thoughts and actions…
P.S: Don’t feel ready to tackle the clutter? Maybe you need to Get a Grip first my darling?