There I am , on the left. Alison Joanne May. Ali to her friends. Al to her Mum.
1976. The hottest Summer any of us remember. Showing my knees for the last time, because thereafter they are destined for a life in trousers...
I grew up near Liverpool, oldest daughter of Sue (Ludicrously, naturally glamorous) and George (Man with a moustache). Developed an irrational but amusing fear of snow and did a horribly stressful and life-forming foundation year in art, before deciding that a girl who drew people without heads, hands or feet, probably wasn't destined for the Tate Modern and gave it up to work in an office for a year. No really. A life insurance office. And when the excitement of life insurance got too much for me I went to the local university (because I loved my Mommy too much to move away) and did a degree in communications and art, which involved a whole lot of batting my eyelashes and sobbing on the shoulders of my poor (gullible?) lecturers when yet again I'd failed to meet a deadline...
I met Mark when I was nineteen and by the time I was twenty five we lived in a huge flat, (a stones throw away from the little house I live in now), and ran a shop full of my hand-painted furniture and custom designed stencils, together. In the evenings I held interior design classes in our flat, and taught myself to cook... anything as long as it included a tin of tuna and a paper bag full of nutty brown mushrooms. We watched Friends religiously, saved our pennies for the little cottage of our dreams and bought a cat, called, wait for it... Tuna.
By this time the extortionate rent on the shop had got the better of us and I gave it up for five years of interior design and ruining peoples walls with bad paint effects and too much terracotta colourwashing. We swapped the cat for a baby called Finley, (who I dreamt into life in all his curly haired wonder) and I gave up work to stay at home and re-invent myself in the image of the perfect housewife....
And so, eleven months into my babbas life, in November 2004, BrocanteHome was born- the daily dalliances of a devoted Mommy, a house decorated with soul and a relationship slowly but surely, coming undone.
Thus began a document of domesticity and matters dear to my heart. The routines that sustained me, the diagnosis of finley's Celiac Disease, a scrapbook of poetry and books adored, thoughts on abundance, loneliness and contentment. A life well lived. But a life Mark chose, in 2006, to leave for another woman.
And to me this is when BrocanteHome really found it's voice. When I finally began to discover the authenticity I had long sought. When everyone of you held my hand as I fell apart and picked me up again when you could see that I was ready...
And so here I am, more than a year on. Happier, skinnier and less demented than ever before. The veteran of too many silly first dates, a house probably not as neat as it once was but beaming with all the joy of the mundane things I couldn't live without, and a future glistening with dreams acheived and dreams I haven't dreamt up yet..
***** Things You Don't Need To Know.
I write a lot of lists. I waffle. About myself. A lot. And I combine the two in lists of lots of things you don't need to know about me. But will probably relate to regardless...
And just in case you feel the urge to bring a little joy to my door...
Best of The Best.
So with more than 1500 posts on BrocanteHome I appreciate that finding the good stuff is getting a tad difficult. And so to save your legs, I hereby offer a collection of the posts I believe best define my personal philosophy, tell my story, demonstrate a range of subject matter and chart the waters of blogging a life I adore, in all its messy glory..
The Star of the Show.
An angel and a little monster. My raison d'etre. And the raison why I never get a lie in and spend far too much of my time pretending to be Kirsten Dunst, while he swings from the staircase in a Spiderman suit.
And The Rest of the Cast.
GanGan. Otherwise known as my Dad.
Na-Naaaaaaa. Otherwise known as my Mum.
And Helen. Otherwise known as my sister and best friend.