I may have mentioned that I’ve just moved house once, twice or maybe twelve times? That’s because this house move has been one of the longest, most drawn-out processes ever. In the time from when I decided to move into my new house and the actual move approximately four and a half months elapsed, so for four and a half months my home was a haven for boxes, brown tape and bubble wrap and my mind was full of plans that were on hold until our address changed. I’m one of those glass half-full people who is constantly moving forward and needing to know what plans are afoot in life so to be in the limbo of a long house move? It was torturous.
I’m going to take you through the new house room by room soon, not just because I love the self indulgence of LOOK AT HOW PRETTY MY NEW HOME IS, but because I’ve managed to furnish and decorate the new place with old pieces of furniture I owned as well as freecycled and ebayed masterpieces. I’ve spent about 80 quid at the hallowed alter of IKEA and I’m pretty proud of myself for putting thought and effort into my interior rather than just throwing money at it. The process of thinking about how I want each room to feel has been a long and fun one, and dare I say it, I’ve enjoyed the trips to B&Q for spray paint, researching Annie Sloan colours, looking out for eBay and Etsy bargains.
When I thought about the way I wanted our new home to look, I just wanted it to scream “girls live here!” (sorry Hux, you’re an honourary girl). I wanted to go wild with patterns and colours that I have never been permitted to use before: florals, patchwork, all that fun stuff. I wanted lots of softness so it felt warm and homely for the kids, but enough grown-up touches so that I didn’t feel like I was living in a playroom.
Interiors-wise I’m pretty clueless. I admire Cherry Menlove‘s all-white country cottage aesthetic but worry it would be too high-maintenance for me, and love anything Jenny Komenda does but lack the artistic vision to pull it off. I know I like certains colours, random gold-framed pictures, patterns and cushions as well as motivational artwork (hooo yeahh) and trinkets. I like to feel warm, I like vintage-looking items, I like items in my home that really mean something to me. I enjoy the light given off by lamps rather than ceiling lights, I like muted colours and I like photos of my family. I wanted to throw all these elements together to create a place we would all feel relaxed in.
We all seem happier in this house. I am no longer carrying the weight of living in a house that doesn’t really feel like home, that I couldn’t afford and that was really too big for the three of us. I no longer stress because there’s a beige carpet in the dining room and my Baby-Led Weaning toddler consistently drops his dinner on it. There are no faux-beams in this place to make me feel oppressed (the 90s house builders have a lot to answer for… ugh) or old-fashioned burgundy carpets, and I now have an actual radiator in my bathroom (delightful!).
The kids both seem happier, too. Elfie no longer drags her heels on the way into pre-school and adores the fact that she shares a room with her brother. She may wake him a little earlier than I like but they are both so happy to play together in the mornings so I don’t mind. She’s only once in the last week tried to get in bed with me for cuddles and reassurance in the middle of the night, compared with every single night without fail at the old house. More sleep means happier faces all-round and that is something I can definitely get on board with.
The move itself is something I hope never to have to tackle again alone: you never really know how many belongings you possess until it comes to transporting them seven miles down the road, am I right? I was convinced I’d fill only two vans but nope, we did four, plus countless car loads in the weeks leading up to moving day. The local charity shops have done very well out of my wardrobe purge, and though the thought of getting rid of all the kids’ ‘noisy toys’ did cross my mind I feel very proud that I kept hold of them all. I didn’t sleep for 48 hours and unpacked instead, which was important to me because I wanted the kids to feel settled as quickly as possible. My dad taught me how to hammer nails into the wall without taking out huge chunks of plaster so I hung all my own pictures (and my own gold stags head, of course), so 8 days into the new house and it feels like we’ve been here for a lot longer.
Every night I go to bed and feel proud that I’ve tackled one of the most stressful situations we go through in life: alone and with two children in tow. I kind of feel like Wonderwoman but with smaller pants and without the banging body.