October At BrocanteHome...

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Happy Monday Honeybuns! It's October and I'm gearing up for a busy month here at BrocanteHome, with all manner of loveliness on its way...

First up I want to say a million thank-you's to those of you who have joined my Secret Society. It is such an honour to be supported in this way and I need you to know that I felt so overwhelmed by your kindness this weekend that I ended up having a little weep. To Ste's horror and bewilderment. But kindness never ceases to make me cry...

Next I want to tell you that this is the first of a new monthly round-up to let you know where I'm up to, what I'm working on and what you can expect here over the next four weeks...

Ok so without further ado...

October In the Salon...

1.The House Rules Bundles!

Oooh yes, It is finally arriving! House Rules is your guide to establishing personal and domestic habits, guide-lines and boundaries, and will, with a commitment to its principles help you dream up a way of life you can adhere to without going off track, whenever hormones, financial problems or general chaos get in your way!

What's included in House Rules?

* Getting out of your comfort zone, and using organisation, discipline and aspiration to change your way of life.

* Writing your very own "HOUSE MISTRESS PLAN"

* Choosing yourself over everybody else and understanding why their co-operation isn't important.

* ;Understanding domestic discipline. And why it matters to your heart, health and home.

* Establishing domestic goals and creating "house rules" to support them.

* Cultivating personal aspiration and not being scared to demand more of yourself than ever before!

*  Using lists to support new habits and routines, and using The Four Agreements to stay true to your rules.

* Apps, books and other media to inspire you.

* Planner pages, worksheets and journal prompts.

This is, my dears, a complete manifesto for change.

How do you get it?

It is absolutely FREE in the Salon with all the other truly lovely resources to be found there, and memberships costs just $20.00 a month...

OR for one week only you can grab it using the button below for just $30.00

2. In the Salon Library (Hint: IT's Christmas!!!)

Yup. In the Salon Library this month you will find The Christmas of Your Dreams Workbook and THREE lovely new Trello boards specifically designed to help you create your most organised Christmas ever! 

These lovely resources are only available in The Salon so hop over and join ASAP. You are missing out!

3. In the Salon Living Room...

Over in my precious Salon Members only Facebook Group, The Living Room, we have started a new timetable of daily prompts that have kept the conversation truly buzzing and better than that give form to our week so we can all share our hopes, dreams, wishlists, gratitude and commitments with each other. And long may it last, for the Living Room is the beating heart of the Salon and though I have been a member of many homemaking and women's groups on Facebook, though I do say so myself, ours is quite the loveliest and indeed the most nurturing I have ever encountered. We genuinely care for each other and new members find themselves instantly at home...

October In the Secret Society...

During October I will be sharing all twelve months essay lists for the BrocanteHome Book of Days, getting to know my Velvet members during their FREE coaching sessions and generally finding my flow as I share the book writing journey with all of you...

 October At BrocanteHome...

Here at Chez Brocante my calendar is busy with my FREE getting to know you Pep-Talks. I can't tell you how fabulous it is to actually put faces to names and really get to the heart of those things that are standing between you and domestic bliss...

To get started on your own domestic bliss coaching journey, please click over to my calendar and book your FREE session with me, so that we can get to know each other and work out a plan together to improve the aspects of your life that are standing between you and and authentic, chaos free way of life...

There is no obligation at all and I promise I am not remotely scary!

And Finally my October Book releases...

Any minute now (literally ANY MINUTE!) The Winter House will go live on Amazon. The Winter House is the penultimate title in my Seasonal house series and it is quite the cosiest little ode to all things Wintery so I will be sure to let you know as soon as its available!

It will be followed in just a few weeks by The Festive House so we can get our Christmas on together...

I do hope you are as excited as I am... I am working so very hard to help you create a life less ordinary and it is sooooo exciting to be bringing you all this deliciousness...

Happy October Housekeepers!x

Housekeeper's Diary

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Light-bulbs keep pinging. The smell of cigarette smoke still lingers in the bedroom though nobody here smokes. A puddle of water under the sink without discernible source.  I am reading too many ghost stories. Crawling into bed each night on my knees with exhaustion and a mithering migraine, but still so eager to fall into a world where rooks haunt little boys and silly ideas seep into the velvet folds of my mind.

Do you think we read to hide from ourselves? To discover more about worlds we will never live in? Do we read to escape our own reality? Or to become more ourselves by discovering things we couldn't excavate alone? What is reading for? I am demented by why's lately. So many questions bubbling about my head and a distinct lack of acceptance or experience for the sake of it.

Autumn then, renders me introspective. Self-absorbed. And hypochondriac! So damn hypochondriac. An hour lost to investigating why the skin that ties my tongue to the floor of my mouth feels wobblier than usual. Over-long consultations with Doctor Google. Opening my mouth and insisting my son stares into the abyss and diagnose what ails me. And then just as quickly forgetting that the wobbly bit feels wobbly and going about my business in a house flavored constantly by the chicken stock simmering almost permanently in the slow cooker. For soup season is upon us and our menu has been reduced to roast chicken, balsamic sweet potatoes, broccoli and soup fashioned from whatever I find in the fridge. Sipped from big cups together at lunchtime. Staring at the candle burning on the red box in the conservatory and counting our blessings over and over again.

Outside the grass is sodden and the gardener who broke the gate told to sling his hook in no uncertain terms because he will not abide by our request to tell us when he will be arriving and instead climbs over the fence or takes the gate off its very hinges with a screwdriver and surprises me just when I have managed to manoeuvre my hefty self into the downward dog. One does so hate to be surprised by a man who chirps "mines black with one sugar" whenever one dares to peek at what he has taken it into his head to do, despite being told to only attend to the lawn... 

Inside my favorite fur blanket has been talked out of its Summer hidey-hole. The television is abundant with compelling drama and Ste is happier than I have ever known him. At night, when the kitchen has been spritzed with Wild Rhubarb and all the doors are locked, we squash up on the sofa together, me in floral pajamas and him in shorts, sipping sleep tea and making plans. Finn mutters about "love-birds" and we laugh at him and ourselves and he wanders contentedly between the fridge and the x-box with a pit-stop for homework in-between and all seems well with the world for it is Autumn and while worry is forever nudging at our door - Mark's brother so desperately ill, bills that just won't stop - the blessings of Autumn, the hug of the house, prevent us being consumed by it.

Home comforts then: a book my lovely friend Mimi has been asking me to read forever, discovered in my Kindle and ready for my company this evening, and another about sex of all things, that I am dipping in and out of because I adore Isabel Losada.  A bag of teeny little cinnamon rolls just right for nibbling on with tea. New slipper socks. Flannel sheets (blessed be thy name), a candle burning permanently on the fireplace in my fairy-lit bedroom, Moments magazine, a secret stash of Velvet Green + Blacks. Tonight, tonight, tonight...

Now. A child, the tracker on my phone reliably reliably informs me, is almost home from school. Popping down the hall to the door to see if I can see him ambling up the lane. A towel ready to hug him dry. Cookies to be warmed to go with milky tea and a cartoon or six. Stories from his day and snuggles with my overgrown boy. The possessor of feet sized nine and a half. Taller now than his Dad. 

A homecoming that never grows old and is still so anticipated. My boy. My house. My world. Autumn. Beautiful rainy Autumn. And a wobbly bit under my tongue.

Join My Secret Society Today (Pretty Please?)

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BrocanteHome has been online for over thirteen years now and since the day I wrote my very first post I knew that there was a book I would have to bide my time to write. 

A book that would piece together all that I know about the living well, the many tenets of living life the Brocante way and within its covers the only guide to living a life less ordinary you will ever need.

In my mind I have always known what that book would say. What it could mean to those women already committed to living a life less ordinary and those who have no idea how very easy it is to be whole, even when your domestic life seems determined to peck you apart.

In my mind I have already written the book, but in reality it has always been on the backburner because I have never been able to afford to write it, because I am so busy writing all the things I need to write to keep my head above water.

You see here's the thing: blogging is hard. And more than that, blogging is expensive and it doesn't pay quite as well as all the famous bloggers would have you believe UNLESS you are willing to sell your soul to the sponsored post. The sidebars cluttered with paid adverts. The constant affiliate sale posts. The SEO posts designed to shoot the blog to the front of Google and sacrifice reasonable writing in the process. The constant selling of this, that and the other disguised as recipe posts, or other tutorials. Because all this happens everyday and we have all got used to clicking past pop-ups and navigating around adverts and though we are tolerating it all because we understand that for many blogs compensation is so very necessary in order to stay online, I don't think anyone of us believe it adds anything to our experience of the blog itself.

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When I moved from Wordpress to Squarespace I wanted your experience as a reader of BrocanteHome to feel pure. I have kept the design as simple as possible because I know so many read blogs on phones and tablets now and I know from my own experience how difficult it is to do battle with pop-ups on a tiny screen.  I wanted you to come to Brocantehome and only experience all things Brocante, so that each and every piece of information here relates only to living a life less ordinary. So that you are never distracted by shiny things, but simply find my message in everything you read or see here.

I wanted BrocanteHome to be as pure as possible so that your decision to live a life less ordinary was never compromised by an advert for a product that wasn't quite on message or an affiliate link to a download bundle I know you have probably already received fifty other emails advertising. I wanted those of you who love BrocanteHome to feel that I value you as a reader and I am not here to just keep on shoving this, that and the other down your throat, because I want to help you become more yourself each and every day you spend in my company.

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But truthfully? It is a daily battle staying afloat. And staying afloat means that true creativity is always hampered by the need to provide a roof over our heads. And so today I am asking for your help to write the book I want to write and you want to read.

You see once upon a time the starving artist or author attracted Patrons of the Arts: those who adored the artists work and provided them with the financial security to be able to create more. These days such patronage has been re-invented and we have been blessed with crowd-funding where the artist or authors community come together to provide a tiny sum that adds up to a bigger whole.

In my case I have signed up to Patreon, to ask you to pay upwards of just $1.00 per month (up to whatever sum you can afford) each to enable me to really focus on writing my Books of Days For a Life Less Ordinary: a 365 day guide to living life the BrocanteHome way and in return you will accompany me as I write the book with exclusive access to the format of the book, the sections and chapters as I write them and much more in my Secret Society...

Great! Where can I learn more?

You can hop over here to learn more, read the Patreon benefits I have conjured up and sign up to donate $1.00 or more per month to help me bring A Book of Days For A Life Less Ordinary to life...

Really?? Aren't you embarrassed to be asking for money like this?

Yes and no. Yes, because, well, just yes, of course I am... and no because I think you know me well enough to understand that Brocantehome is a labour of love and sometimes I need a little help to help you...

Are you writing a real book this time?

Yup. This time I will be releasing this book as a hardback, a paperback and an e-book. So, yes, a real book you can keep on your bedside table, a book you can scribble notes in and underline meaningful paragraphs in and a book you can carry in your bag, and give to your favorite ladies. The book I have wanted to give you for such a long time. 

How long will it take?

Honestly? I don't know. It's going to be much longer, and more detailed than any little book I have written before so I guess I am asking you for faith in the process, with the knowledge that you can of course end your Patreonage anytime you choose to.

What's in it for me?

As a member of my Secret Society you will have access to an entirely separate blog and you will be able to read the book as I write it - though not all of it, because you want to have something to look forward to right? At higher levels of Patreonage, you will also get free access to other Kindle books I write before they are published, a free signed copy of A Book of Days when it is finally published and so very much more, I am not going to share because, well its a secret! All this and I suppose, the feeling that you are helping, because although it is just one dollar to you, to me it means the world. It really does.  

Can I sign up anonymously?

Yes! If you would rather I didn't know who you were, that's fine. Patreon allows you to support me without providing any details I can access.

Anything else?

Nothing but a heartfelt thank-you for even considering supporting me in this way. For reading BrocanteHome all these years and knowing me and understanding me and above all else for believing in me. Brocantehome is my life's work and I hope it means as much to you as it does to me.

So again, thank-you.

Nourishment

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I do believe that it is when things are alright, or maybe even when things are more than alright, that we recognise a kind of hunger: a need for something we can't identify.

I call it the gap. An emptiness. A space inside us we do not know how to nourish.

I'm feeling it again. We are old friends, the gap and I, and all too often I circumnavigate her and hope that life, the everyday, will find away to nourish her. But it is rarely so, and all too often the gap requires a shift in thinking. A determination to change. A commitment to the routines and rituals that will fulfill me again. 

When the gap comes I experience the world differently. I am more alert to danger. To worrying about the fox in the garden roaring at my son. The odd smell of cigarette smoke lingering in my bedroom last night, though nobody here has ever smoked.  

When the gap comes for a while I try to fill it with things I know are bad for me. With doorstop sandwiches of white bread and cheese. With an extra glass of wine. TV that appalls me. The picking of a fight. Or like last night, numerous fights with almost everyone. Screeching while they stare in astonishment as I spill myself all over the house, and they (the men) look at each other bewildered and reassure themselves with mutterings about female hormones.

While it might be true that hormones are a-raging, it isn't their merry monthly dance that causes the gap. No. The gap arrives without bidding. She has no timetable and she is as pervasive and unwelcome as the common cold. 

In my wiser moments, when the gap has been nourished for a while -hungry monster that she is - I recognise what she is for. I see that she is needling for change. She is the chasm, motivation causes, to push us forward again. The gap exists to remind us that resting on even the loveliest of laurels will not serve us and that we risk the kind of static life we have long abhorred, if we will not seek to nourish our very soul.

For me nourishment means making plans. Taking baby steps towards new goals. Banishing bad habits over and over again, (for they turn up like bad pennies and offer sanctuary from the gap). Picking up the routines that sustain me. And sitting with myself. Not filling up my head with games and magazines and apps, but sitting without a phone or tablet in my hand. Sitting in silence without fearing what I might hear deep inside.

Nourishment then isn't food. Or noise. Or words. Or even a hug from someone who cares from us. Nourishment requires acknowledgement of the gap and observance of that which our soul knows and is trying so very hard to tell us. It means nodding our heads when the truth about our current circumstances surfaces and above all else it means taking decisive action to remedy all that ails us.

 Today that means getting my finances in order so money worries do not derail me. It means banishing all the food I have acquired recently in an effort to fill the gap. Sitting in meditation with my candle lit. Sipping soothing tea. Fixing myself without merely sticking a plaster over the gap. 

 It means acknowledging that I want a home of my own. Throwing myself whole-heartedly into learning everything I can about the courses I am taking. Focusing on the next four years and working out exactly what has to be done if I am to change the direction I am currently heading in and committing to, and no longer resisting the hardships that achieving those dreams will require.

I think I have been self-indulgent. The gap says nourish me now, Nourish me with what matters, Not with what you want, but with what you really need. The gap says, you have never been happier, so now is the time to chase your dreams. And you see, she might be a bossy cow, but I do believe the gap knows of what she speaks.

How then will you begin to truly nourish yourself?