Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Domestic Bliss


Ok, not quite bliss exactly, more domestic pleasures. This morning I found myself with an empty diary and a few hours at home, but also a very long mental list of housework, errands to be run and jobs to be done. I decided that, rather than resent these tasks, I would make the effort to pause and notice small domestic achievements, to celebrate those small triumphs over dust and dirt. I will never be the sort of person who has an empty ironing basket (and our tumble dryer just broke so there is washing draped all over the house which I hate). Don't ever look in my oven or hope to find anything in the under-stairs cupboard. But sometimes, when you step off the domestic treadmill for just a moment, there is so much pleasure to be found in tackling a dusty corner and turning it into something fresh, pretty and welcoming.

Simple pleasures like clearing away all the clutter from my bedside table; old magazines, last month's book club title, dirty cups...



...and replacing it with a plant and a scented candle. I bought this plant yesterday in the supermarket for £1.50. I can't remember what it's called but, since I have banned myself from buying fresh flowers these last few months, found I was craving the idea of having some fresh, living greenery in the house. Pine cones and feathers weren't going to cut it.



Simple pleasures like changing the sheets and a freshly made up bed.


Like replenishing the fruit bowl and using up the old, wrinkled apples that no-one wants to eat by turning them into Dutch apple cake.



Like using my washcloth, crocheted last night from all the cotton yarn scraps left over from my Christmas gifts, and enjoying using something I made for myself.



Like re-stocking the cake tins with my friend Jennifer's recipe for Magic Cookie Bars. I used the cup method for measuring out ingredients, which was a first for me. They are good.




Small domestic pleasures are there when you look for them. Hiding under the washing, usually. But they are there.

46 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post. The pictures are so fresh. I'm glad you enjoyed the cookies, they're well-loved around here. I'm also glad you had a peaceful morning to yourself.

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  2. Bravo! Thank you for documenting your homemaking expertise in such an honest and inspiring post, Gillian. I appreciate your efforts :) ... they encourage me to appreciate the sorting and cleaning I have done today, and spur me on to other creative pursuits!
    Gracie xx

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  3. What a lovely post about remaining in the moment and finding the pleasures in living your life. This is something I am notoriously bad at and need all the reminders I can get.

    I think the little plant is a kalanchoe (sp?)

    I also made your lovely bunting card for someone this evening. I was totally thrilled with it and so were they, thanks so much for sharing this. What I do want to know is how do you get the bunting bit precise as they are so sticky!!

    Enjoy the rest of your week.

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  4. That's a lovely post. There are so many satisfying and fulfilling activities in homemaking, and we sometimes forget to take pleasure in them. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  5. Lots of loveliness here Gillian ... the little touches are what makes a house a home ... Bee xx

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  6. What a wonderful post. I'm going to have a day like that tomorrow. I have a long list of household tasks and baking. And I shall enjoy it all, especially the feeling once it's done. I think the plant is a kalanchoe. You can make a whole new plant by pulling of a leaf and planting it! £1.50 was a real bargain I think. I've got a supermarket cyclamen on my bathroom windowsill that's flowering and flowering, and I love looking at it. Hope you have a good week Gillian.

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  7. You have such a great eye for making everything look so wonderful through your photography. I'm super inspired by everything here, and want to jump right in to achieving some small domestic pleasures of my own :) x

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  8. It has got to be one of my favourite feelings once all the house is clean, tidied and dusted with all the ironing and washing put away. I did this all on Sunday afternoon and felt really relaxed knowing that all i needed to do was superficial cleaning in the week.
    I am so glad you managed to make your own face cloth and that you found some time to bake some yummies, it's always in the small things I definitely agree xox Penny

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  9. So lovely Gillian. Your little plant is a Kalanchoe, it will last for ages and ages and if you cut the flowers off when they are done and keep watering it, it will flower again! So that has to be a good investment. Love your pillowcases/shams on your bed too, lovely and colourful for this time of year. I hope that you enjoyed your little time of domestic bliss. xx

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  10. Kalanchoe is the proper name but I prefer the popular name... flaming Katy! Small Things make a happy world x

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  11. There is something so satisfying about making something that is messy look good... maybe that's why I have messy corners, so I can enjoy cleaning them up. Love your new cloth :) xx

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  12. Just the words I need today (or for tomorrow). I've been feeling rather blah and yuck about my house because it needs a good straightening. Thanks for your inspiring photos!

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  13. Hi Gillian
    You just can't beat a day pootling round the house, and absolutely nothing is better than new bedding - lovely !
    Kate x

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  14. It's always the simple things that give us the greatest pleasure. Jacqui x

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  15. Please could you come to my house!! Sarah xo

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  16. Your house looks good with beautiful arrangements and bed spread...

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  17. what a lovely post - you've reminded me how nice it is to take time to enjoy the small things!

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  18. Oh yes. These are the things that make life good and they should not be underestimated. My fruit bowl is looking very similar to yours and an apple cake is now on my to-do list.

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  19. Yes, the simple things are the best. Lovely post with beautiful pictures :)

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  20. what a positive post. it's all on the little things and the mundane that very often peace and beauty can be found.... i love your patchwork quilt in my favourite colours.... Pati xx

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  21. Sounds like the perfect morning to me. I just love time like this, doesn't take a lot to make me happy these days xo

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  22. Hi Your plant is called a flaming Katie. I don't know the botanical name. I try and do a day of that every now and again and it is very good for the soul. Love Jo x

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  23. Thank you for this post, a reminder to enjoy the day-to-day things I usually do mindlessly, or while fretting about all the mundane tasks that need to be done...I needed to read your words today! Chrissie x

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  24. Hi Gillian, WOW!!! You really made me look at my house with different eyes this morning!!!! What fun I had going around with the feather duster!!! Have a fab week!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  25. I have one of those plants too but have no idea what it is either although I see that Jo says it's a flaming katie. My daughter is Kate and sometimes I could refer to her as flaming Kate, so perhaps it's fitting that I have this plant on my kitchen window sill.
    I love empty days when I can fill them with things I fancy doing. Your day looked perfect!

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  26. Looking good, I cleared my windowsill on Sunday and had a little tidy, just that small act lifted my spirit for the day....cleaning can be good sometimes.....

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  27. I look forward to 'the big clean' before all the Christmas stuff comes out. At the moment the house is shrouded in a layer of dust, so I've had to relinquish my hold on the domestic reigns for a little longer. I've turned into a slob far more quickley than I thought I would!

    I bought a couple of those little plants as a cheer up for my sister in law last week. Theyare very pretty.

    Leanne xx

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  28. Dear Gillian, lovely post, so cozy ... Have a good week!!!! :D

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  29. I love it when I have time for that sort of cleaning and tidying. Makes me really appreciate my house. If the boys go away, I always leave myself a day to go around with a black sack and get rid of "clutter and stuff". It frightens the life out of them as to what will have changed when they get back! But I find it really therapeutic! :) x

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  30. Thank you for this post! I'm a new reader of your blog. :-)

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  31. A lovely post- all about the simple things in life that make us happy- fresh linen and baking certainly get my vote:)

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  32. Love this post!!! Sometimes you do need to look at things differently to enjoy things - even if they are the jobs you hate :-( lol

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  33. Gorgeous, gorgeous post. I concur, wholeheartedly.
    Jo x

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  34. Your home sounds just like my home! Lovely post - thak you.

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  35. Oops, that should read "thank" you (!!)

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  36. Thanks for sharing this, my home is messy! Most of the time I hate housework, my spare time is too precious but occasionally I can get in the right zone and enjoy restoring order, not the ironing though I hate it! Yummy cakes, and isn't that one of the good things about the colder weather, cake seems a necessity! Xx

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  37. Simple and beautiful, a beautiful post today.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  38. What a lovely post and a wonderful way to see things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, they definitely give another perspective. This Dutch cake sounds yummy, I will have a look at it.

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  39. Oh domestic bliss indeed! looks amazing. lovely simple pleasures x

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  40. It's so noice to see how things can be turned around and looked at in a different way. I like a bit of general house pottering every now and then. The little things make such a difference.
    N

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  41. Clean sheets and pretty pillowcases are definitely one of life's little pleasures.
    I'm now off to investigate the magic bars which sound like they could become another one!
    Lisa x

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  42. Such a simple yet really lovely post Gillian. I feel like I want to come over for a cuppa, your house looks so lovely and homely! Enjoy your weekend xoxo

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  43. wow, you almost make housework sound fun! The bakes look amazing and your bedroom a pleasure to go to. Laughed at your bedside table, very familiar scenario to me. Hope the drier gets sorted out soon, damp clothes everywhere is definitely not a good look! xx

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  44. Your bed looks so cosy and inviting, and I love the garland! I also love the little bedside plant! The Magic Cookie Bars look really delicious, too. Your home always looks so warm and cosy!

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