Monday, 6 January 2014

Settling In


Someone said on the radio earlier that today, the 6th January, can be a depressing day for many. It's cold and dark and the return to school and work after the Christmas holidays and New Year celebrations is generally unwelcome. And I have to say I did want another few days of holiday; after so much time away visiting family, the four of us had only just settled into some quiet time which found each of us engrossed in our various new toys. But the alarm went off for the first time in two weeks this morning, and back to routine we went.

I have been doing a lot of housework, and happily too. On Saturday we took down our Christmas tree and packed away all the decorations.  I tidied, dusted, swept and mopped and gradually reclaimed our house from the festive dust and glitter. It looked a little bare at first but I am appreciating the extra space. I am never sad to pack away the Christmas things. It's wonderful while it lasts, but it has to end sometime. And today, with both children at school,  I tackled the upstairs of our house. I stripped beds and dusted, I washed and folded. I moved furniture and vacuumed behind things - I even cleaned windows. I cleared surfaces that hadn't been cleared for a long time and made space for new toys. It was incredibly satisfying. I remember how, when the children were really small, it seemed impossible to achieve even the smallest domestic task. Just emptying the dishwasher and folding the washing seemed to take all morning as it was so frequently interrupted with feeds, nappies, demands. It was incredibly frustrating at times and I still very much value the feeling of being able to just get a job done - like clean the bathroom - alone, in peace, with the radio on and just my thoughts for company, and it not take all day long. After seven years at home with small people I still appreciate that time to myself, and I love the feeling of order and satisfaction that follows. I feel mentally lighter. I appreciate my home more, the space we have, and feel inspired and energised to do more with it.

Actually, today was extra nice because I unpacked and made space for some of my Christmas presents. I made up the bed with my gorgeous new pillowcases. I stopped for a coffee break and drank it from my pretty mug and I may have eaten a few naughty Christmas chocolates at the same time. I admired my tea caddy and butter dish - I really appreciate it when the things I pick up and use ten times a day are beautiful as well as useful. I was particularly grateful for the the colour and cheer my new towels bring to my grey, January kitchen.  I opened a jar of homemade chutney at lunchtime when I made a sandwich and thought that edible gifts are as fun to receive as they are to give. All little things which made me happy to be in my home today.

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The weather has been really dreadful these last few weeks, with endless high winds and heavy rain. Many areas of the UK are flooded, including some of the coastal villages we walked around over Christmas. I really feel for the people who live there. My parents went to check on their beach hut this afternoon after hearing that the water was very close. It is set quite far back from the sea - about 200 metres at least - and there is a very steep bank of shingle you have to walk over first, so the thought of it being near the water's edge is hard for me to comprehend. It is fine thankfully, but it's quite shocking how the sea has risen right over that huge mound of shingle and carved a ridge right through it. My mum texted me some photos of beach huts actually floating away into the sea this afternoon. The whole shape of the beach has changed in this storm, it's very dramatic and very sad. 


54 comments:

  1. I am so looking forward to being able to do as you describe Gillian ... simply get on with cleaning without little interruptions ... we packed Christmas away yesterday and I am glad to see some clear space again too ... your new pillowcases are beautiful ... perfect to sail into dreamland on ... Bee xx

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  2. First, I hope that your parents beach hut stays safe and that they are safe too. Your busyness is lovely, so productive. It sounds as though you had the day that I had planned! Oh well, perhaps I will get it later in the week. Your new things are lovely, I like the towel and the butter dish especially. We have very similar tastes - we have the same benches in our kitchens I noticed!! Hope that you have a good week. xx

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  3. Our tree came down today it's amazing how much bigger and brighter the lounge looks, I do love a bit of Crabtree and Evelyn handcream (I think I can spy some) The weather has been quite scary really the power of nature and all the damage it can cause both here and in the US and Canda my heart goes out to people effected.
    Clare x

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  4. Your house is looking so clean and tidy, I'm jealous! We took the tree and all the Christmas bits down yesterday and as usual took far longer than anticipated. Now we have the festive debris and decay everywhere and now that we're both back to work and have stinking colds, I think it won't be until the weekend that we manage to get a grip on place. Groan! If only some fairies or elves would come back, but I guess they're on their annual post-Christmas holiday! x

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  5. I am never sad to see our Christmas decorations go. I really enjoy them while they are up, but once Christmas is over I am glad to pack them away. It's amazing how much larger our home looks now, and brighter! Your cookies look yummy! And I love your bright kitchen towels. I always think your kitchen is just the loveliest space. Your living room looks really nice and cozy. And I love the new pillowcases... they remind me of spring! I always feely very satisfied after a day of housework, too!

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  6. I'm always very happy to have Christmas put away for another year. I feel the same way about all of these tasks, it's just really good to be able to get them done. I'm rarely alone, and I am feeling pretty desperate to finally have time like that built into most of my days. A little over seven months and I will. Your new gifts are beautiful and I know you will love using them and they will brighten every day this winter.

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  7. My Christmas is still up. Hopefully tomorrow I will take it all down. I didn't put as much out this year so it shouldn't be too hard. My daughter and her family just went back home today or the tree would have been down. Sounds like you had a very productive day. Good for you. So sorry to hear of the flooding. Sad when it gets so bad that it changes the landscape. It is freezing here with snow flurries. Just hoping the heat stays on. (((((HUGS))))

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  8. So happy you had some time for yourself and I really hope your parents cabin does not suffers with the weather. Hoe you had a wonderful holiday!

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  9. I started yesterday beck at work feeling quite energetic and positive which lasted until about 2 o'clock! Oh well..... Me house is a mess I'm afraid. Gemma and Dan are not good at housework, even though they aren't working. Still roll on the weekend! Xxx

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  10. I feel the same as you about the xmas decorations. Your home looks lovely!

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  11. I know exactly what you mean about taking down the Christmas decorations - suddenly you have space. It sounds like you had some lovely Christmas gifts - I love that sort of little, beautiful version of a useful thing - often it is something I'd never have bought myself and then once I have it I can't live without it.

    Back to work is such a shock to the system after the holidays - I am looking forward to a good old sort out of the spare room at the weekend, over Christmas I just kept shoving things in there and I can't wait to get it all organised again.

    Hope the beach hut stays ok - I can't believe the weather, so glad to be safe and relatively dry in West Yorkshire.

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  12. Your home is looking fab and I love those little splashes of colour, yes it's just those little things that make life so pleasurable isn't it.....I've got new placemats, every time I look at them I smile! Have a lovely day :) x

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  13. Your pictures and your home are lovely. I too have had a declutter and tidy up, you are right it does brighten up the greyness. Roll on dry weather.................

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  14. Your home looks lovely and fresh especially with the new additions. Happy New Year xo

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  15. These are my exact plans for today, children and husband are back to school / work today and the house is starkly quiet and extremely messy.
    Love your new pressies, I'm a huge lover of beautiful 'everyday' items, they always cheer my day up too, it's the little things that make the big differences.

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  16. I can identify with every single work you have written. My children are still young, still dependant upon me for almost everything, but they are no longer babies, and occasionally, I manage to get jobs done. The sense of satsifaction and achievement is overwhelming! I can almost hear the delight when you write about changing the bedding and dusting around. Such small simple things, but such great pleasure.

    Love your new Christmas items x

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  17. Like you I was flying round the house yesterday putting away, finding homes for new things and saying buy to old things that will fair better in a new home.
    I created a bright sewing space for me to be creative and set aside today to do just that.
    And so now this morning it is dark, wet (again) and murky and my sewing space needs some help with lighting. I think just one more coffee and then I'll get started!

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  18. Hello Gillian
    What a lovely post, and so many lovely pictures of your gorgeous home.
    I totally agree with you about everybody who's been affected by the floods, it keeps everything in perspective doesn't it.
    Kate x

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  19. Oh I sooooo see what you mean. I felt so free after dropping the boys off at school today and even though I felt a tiny bit guilty that I was so glad to get rid of them, it felt really good too! And the silence!!
    I'd never seen your embroidery hoop wall, I love it! I've always wanted to have one too - as soon as we have our own house and I can make as many holes in the walls as I like!!
    I see you're an Orla Kiely fan ;), me too!
    Enjoy your free time!!

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  20. Lovely post! I can empathise completely! I was pleased to pack all the xmas stuff away and tomorrow i gwt my FIRST.EVER.COMPLETE.DAY without either kiddie! So im looking forward to house work!

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  21. A lovely post- it must seem quite cathartic putting everything away and getting new things out. Your house looks lovely- I would quite happily live with all of your décor- And our taste in hand cream matches too! Enjoy

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  22. What a lovely post. How shiny is your kettle?! gorgeous home so tidy and homely. I hope your parents beach hut stays safe the weather has been dreadful here in wales blowing a gale now and raining! xx

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  23. I'm enjoying my first day at home alone, with kids at school and pre-school, and I feel just the same as you! The joy of my own radio choice, getting a bit more cleaning and sorting accomplished, and appreciating the calm...your home is so lovely! Chrissie x

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  24. I'm afraid that it would take me considerably longer than one day for my house to look anywhere near as clean and tidy as yours - and my children are 19 and 21 so I can't use them as an excuse!

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  25. In love with all your gorgeous Christmas pressies! Your post today is so relevant to my life right now: I can't get any housework done! I'm hoping that when school starts up again I'll be able to do more to keep the house clean and tidy. So difficult with a baby though and I know I should just relax about it but some days the mess really does just drive me up the wall!

    I've seen the storm pics online and they are very scary indeed. I hope your parents' beach hut stays safe!

    By the way, who designed that print of you and your hubby? I know you mentioned it ina previous post but I can't remember the artist. It's my 10th wedding anniversary this year and that will make such a great gift. x

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    1. Hello Col! The print is by Isa Form and it's called "Iris and Frank" - you can personalise eye and hair colour and add names and a date, which I thought was a nice tough. I ordered it for our 10th wedding anniversary last year - it must be a good anniversary gift!

      The link is here: http://www.isa.nu/shop/eng/iris-and-frank-p-459.html

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    2. I mean a nice touch! It's been a long day... x

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    3. Thanks Gillian! I'm off to have a nosey! x

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  26. I like to pack away the Christmas things and have a good clean after it's all over too. And I would have loved another week (or two) of the boys being home from school. But off they have gone, and like you say, it is nice to have some time to restore order. I'm glad the beach hut is okay. The power of the sea is a scary thing indeed. Hope you have a lovely week, CJ xx

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  27. I have pillow case envy!

    I also still have the 'can't get anything done' problem sometimes ... too many whippets!

    I hope that beach hut stays safe x

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  28. Hello Gillian
    We too are sort of enjoying the freedom of our lounge again, I have kept 2 sets of fairy lights up though and are just hunkering down in the evenings with this hideous weather. I do hope that your parents beach hut remains solid on the ground, they are saying there is more foul weather to come.
    I love your butter dish, such good fun and a pattern to survive the ages. I too was spoilt with some C & E cream, Wisteria which is so gorgeous x hope the rest of your week goes well x P

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  29. Hi Gillian, how lovely, tidy and homely your house looks. Love the new pillowcases and the fabric hoops in your living room. I hope all is well with your parents beach hut. Sarah xo

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  30. I look forward to the day I can get jobs done, it is hard with little ones at home. I would love to be able to spend the whole day cleaning, organising and tidying incredibly satisfying. Maybe only one day though xx

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  31. Just love your pillowcases ... the blues are just fab. I especially like the lampshade next to the bed .. stunning.
    x

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  32. Hi Gillian! I like your lovely Christmas presents especially those pillowcases and your new kitchen things. Your house looks tidy and so lovely!
    At the moment I struggle to do any housework when both my girls are awake. It must be great to get housework done without any interruption. It makes me look forward to when they start school.
    Hope we'll see the end of this horrible winds and bad weather soon.
    Marion x

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  33. I have that butter dish too and it makes me smile every day. I constantly crave time to be able to get on with jobs, but when my little man starts reception in September I will miss him desperately!

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  34. Love that you are getting all tidy and happy in your home. I have been doing a bit of that myself lately, I do not know what has gotten into me. But it feels good to get organized and ready for the New Year.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  35. I feel exactly the same way after Christmas. I get so excited and motivated to straighten things up and organize. Your home looks lovely! Yay for you! Saying prayers for all those affected by the weather there in England.

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  36. Your house looks so neat and tidy! I love putting away all the Christmas decorations, they're lovely when they're up, but it's so nice put them away and have that feeling of space again! I love your gorgeous Orla Kiely accessories in your kitchen and your pillowcases are beautiful :)
    I hope your parents beach hut is safe and sound.
    Caroline xx

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  37. So sorry to hear of the destructive storms, Gillian. We are supposed to have rain all week, but nothing wild. I appreciated your report of youe industry in cleaning your home, and have done a bit of cleaning around here, as well :) Thanks for posting! xx

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  38. Yes, I would have welcome some extra days off, but honestly just alone, for myself (I know, selfish, right?). I took my Monday off and enjoyed the time at home. But with many things on the agenda, I was not able to already tackle the post Xmas tidying and cleaning. It will come, in the coming days/weeks. I will be happy to organise, declutter and find new empty spaces in the house. As I wrote in a comment earlier, it is pretty motivating to read around blogs people January energy, so I am up and ready.

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  39. I love that feeling too. Today is Wednesday - Both children are at school and nursery and my maths tutoring courses don't kick in until next week Whooo Hooo! A day to sort and feel totally satisfied - when I stop blogging that is. Jo xx

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  40. I find I'm constantly picking up books and toys as my preschooler and baby (almost toddler) love emptying stuff out :) One day I'll be able to have a completely tidy house...one day :) We packed away our decorations but they've not moved back into the loft yet...don't they go there ghy magic?? I'm back to work now so at least I cant see the mes in daylight hours :)

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  41. It does make a difference having nice things for the bits and pieces you use regularly. Lots of lovely colours and patterns in your house.

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  42. I do like a good spring clean but now the children are all at school I seem to go to work more; I'd ideally like more time at home alone to do jobs properly! Your house looks beautifully with those splashes of colour everywhere. I hope your parents beach hut remains safe.

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  43. Hey Gillian,

    I do love looking at your home. It is so gorgeous. I'm such a nosey parker. The butter dish is a beauty. I love how Orla Keily prints translate onto homeware so well. And I may well use your way of plain white bed linen with colourful pillowcaes. Are they Orla Kiely too?. And I'm with you on an uninterrupted job well done. The sea has battered loads of beach huts in St Ives, and my favourite beach cafe has had it's decking ripped apart by the waves. I hope that your parents beach hut stay clear of it all.

    Leanne xx

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  44. Isn't it satisfying when things are tidied and clean again, I actually enjoyed cleaning the windows in my front room on Monday!
    Hope the beach hut is safe.
    Lisa x

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  45. Thanks for your lovely comment Gillian especially as I think the washcloth envy was inspired by you in the first place. I cant quite recall but you might also have been the one who wrote about the Yorkshire soap co too? I got lost during the summer and ended up in Hebden Bridge and now their organgery and orange peel soap has replaced my usual L'Occitane lavender as I love the smell of neroli/petitgrain.

    I love your post above and your house looks wonderful with all the touches of colour and even the hanging lights. Your use of colour accents and clean white seems to give your house the feeling of light and air from the photos and it looks very comfortable-very much a happy house!

    Hope your parents beach hut survives, the weather especially down south has been some of the worst I can recall. All very stunning but utterly devastating for those affected.

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  46. Our presents usually stay in piles over the Christmas period, it's when everyone's back at work and school that they get put in to their proper places and they start being used. I love noseying at what other people have received. you got some wonderful gifts. We've been very lucky with the weather in Leeds, haven't we? It's been dreadful around the country, I don't hope your parent's beach hut will be ok.

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  47. I've forgotten that feeling, to have a clean house without children making more mess as you're doing it! I enjoy this time of my life, but look forward to having some time at home alone too. You're right, you can really enjoy the peace of your own home when you are home. Love all the bits in pieces in yours! Especially those pillowcases!

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  48. I was sitting reading about all your cleaning and sorting and thinking if only I had the time to myself to do that then laughed when you then mentioned how difficult it was to do that when your children were younger. You're so right. I'm at that stage now with a 1 and 3 year old. Everything takes an age. I've managed a bit of after Christmas sorting but not much. I love being at home with my boys but do look forward to a little more 'me time' and homemaking time. Love all the pictures. Your pillowcases and the little shelf above your bed are especially lovely. Fiona x

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  49. I love all the gorgeous images in this post! Your home looks so lovely, neat and cosy.
    Marianne x

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  50. the pillows and lamp are lovely together, very pretty. Love that large granny blanket!

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