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In my new job as Freelance Digital Editor for IKEA FAMILY LIVE Magazine I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of home in our lives (which luckily for me means lots of times on interior blogs and Pinterest). My thoughts always return to my own current living situation, how happy my home makes me and what I can do to make it lovely.
Looking back, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you how many times I’ve moved home in the last ten years. It’s actually insane and I’m a little bit ashamed to admit it.
That’s sixteen lots of boxes, way more than sixteen rolls of brown tape, sixteen removal vans (actually, once I did it with a shopping trolley and a Ford Fiesta), sixteen times my favourite shelves have been dismantled and re-built, sixteen times I’ve packed and unpacked my life. I’ve been to Nottingham, London, back to Nottingham, Olney and Milton Keynes. Sixteen times.
My theory is that I was always striving for something to click. Waiting to move somewhere and get that realisation that yes, I belong here, this is where I’m supposed to be. But it never happened and I was always thinking: where next? Where next? I never knew where I wanted to bring my family up or where I wanted to call my ‘forever home’ (but I did know lots about where I didn’t want to live).
I also used to have a dislike of going away from home. I have no idea where this came from – day trips were fine but I wouldn’t like to stay anywhere overnight – when I look back on it now it seems very strange. These days I spend every other weekend in London and journey around as much as I can; Southampton last weekend, Amsterdam a couple of months ago. I like to adventure, explore and to visit. I spend the majority of my non-sleeping time at work or away so home has become a place of function: eating, sleeping, washing. And it’s always a lovely retreat.
I moved to my current home last year. It’s a much smaller house than I lived in before, the children have to share a room and it’s in the completely unsexy location of Milton Keynes (I used to actively aspire not to live here – love you really, MK!;) but I can honestly say this is the first place that has truly felt like home to me. I adore it: the L-shaped living space that means we’re all together all the time (usually in a bit of a mess…), the bedroom that feels like ‘me’, the kitchen my dad built, the skirting board my mum painted.
I love that the way I decorated speaks volumes about who I am, from the chevron rug to the eBay paintings and the unread magazines in every room. The kids’ drawings everywhere, the barbie shoes in my knicker drawer and the cushions and throws that I just. can’t. stop. buying. We really are home.
Home is the people you are with, the comfort you feel with your belongings around you and the happiness within yourself. It’s not your location or the sofa you bought from IKEA: they’re just fun extras that make life a bit different.
Do I want to be in Milton Keynes in this home forever? Noooo… visiting the beach for a few hours last weekend confirmed for me that my ideal will be somewhere by the sea, where my children can live an outdoorsy life. But for now home is home and home is happy, and we love it this way. So until I’ve saved up to buy my beach bar in Mediterranean Europe, our little house in MK is it.