Sometimes happiness is a change of perspective.

Yesterday Husband dropped our Son and his Grandparents at the airport. They are heading off to Spain for a short break visiting Grumps (My Grandfather, Son’s Great Grandfather).

I said my goodbyes to our exhausted and sleeping boy and stayed at the house to avoid the teary farewell at the security gate which would only cause my Son anxiety.

I spend the rest of the day wracked with guilt about sending him away without us, weepily checking the flight status with a sense of constant discomfort desperate to know the plan has landed safe and sound.

My perspective yesterday was one of abandonment and selfishness. I had sent my child away.

The reality is that I planned to go out with them but with a new job starting on Friday I had no annual leave left with my current employer.

The reality is that I planned to go with them but a very sudden change of luck meant we moved into our new house this month and our funds are now depleted.

The reality is that working under the “if I can’t go, he can’t go” mentality is what is truly selfish. My role as a parent is to provide opportunity. My Son is enjoying quality time with his grandparents, having new experiences, trying new foods and meeting new people.

That is the perspective I have to keep hold of while he is away. He has not been sent away. He has been given the opportunity for an adventure.

Me x

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Moving in; A focus on aesthetics

For me, minimalism is not about a sterile pure white environment. I appreciate the clean simplicity of that look but I have a two year old and an Irn Bru addict… white is not my friend as my cream fisherman jumper reminds me every ime I feel adult enough to wear it.

What minimalism is for me is a tool, a way of creating a more intentional home and that includes the design. I don’t feel that it’s wrong to want my home to be beautiful; somewhere that I feel joy coming home to.

My parents were the classic renovators; there is not a non-supporting wall in my family home that my Mum has not has altered. Every two to three years the decorating bug would hit them hard brought on either by holiday hosting duties or one of my Dad’s wallpaper bargain finds which now reside in a priest hole at the back of the guest room wardrobe. My Dad swears he did not have the carpenter deliberately build a secret wallpaper stash but I am not convinced. My parents have hordes of fabrics, ornaments and art that have never seen the light of day.

It’s not a pattern I want to repeat.

Apart from the fact that I am not that keen on decorating; interior design yes, actual painting no, I want to choose a design that has longevity, something classic, timeless and flexible where a change of throw pillows or a fresh coat of paint will update the whole look without having to replace everything from light fixtures to the flooring.

So this is mostly a little post to put down the combination of design ideas and inspirations that are guiding me through my little refurbishment…

Son’s Room

When I designed Son’s first room I wanted a gender neutral nursery that could easily be restyled as a guest bedroom when we came to sell the house, and I ultimately chose a black and white woodland theme with yellow accents. The room wasn’t being designed with Son in mind, he really only sleeps in it, but now that he is almost three I think it is more appropriate that it reflects his current likes and encourages play. His current obsession is Mario and so we are attempting to do a Mario themed room for him, full disclaimer, I will have to bring in the big guns (My Sister) to help with this as I do not have a steady enough hand for detailed work.

The Livingroom

I wanted a big statement change to the Livingroom which was all white walls with laminate flooring which is nearing the end of its useful life but will have a stay of execution as it’s just not in the budget to re-floor the entire downstairs right now. I choose a striking dark cobalt blue (Dulux Sapphire Salute) for the living room. I wanted something vibrant but still classic and had originally wanted a farrow and ball paint but at £47.50 a tin I had to search for a more affordable alternative. I had also picked out a bold, geometric styled, wallpaper from Harlequin called Sumi in cobalt and linen which was a splurge but I absolutely adore it and my wallpaper averse Husband even likes it which is just short of a miracle. I even managed to get it 20% off which made it a little easier to reconcile and I took advantage of my parents’ long standing history with wallpaper and they hung it for me as a house warming present.

Our Front Door

Or our second front door? We have a very odd porch area at the front of the house, it is not big enough to lock the internal door and then turn around and open the external UPVC door. It’s almost completely pointless and I am not sure why someone bothered to go to the expense to add it. Our arrival at home is now a squashed fumble of too many keys, locks and handles; it stresses me out. Changing the porch would run into £1000’s,  not an option, so I am focusing on trying to de-stress the situation but making the internal door so beautiful that I am delighted to see it instead of annoyed that there’s yet another front door between me and my sofa.

My Door

The door itself is beautiful and I am on the hunt for a jewel colour to contrast but not clash with the cobalt. I think a beautiful paint colour and a polish of the door furniture will give the door a new lease of life and make coming home much more welcoming. I am most drawn to a deep coral colour, mustard yellow or emerald green.

What would you choose?

 

Me x

Moving In; is making a house a home a challenge to minimalism?

We’ve spent almost two years decluttering, paring back, identifying values and generally minimising life in general and now we’ve bought a house an empty shell begging to be filled. The trick here will be to fill it with life and not stuff.

But we still need stuff; stuff to sit on, stuff to cook with, and stuff to play with. The danger here, for me, is that it could become very hard to distinguish between needs and wants. I need a couch; I want this stunning G-Plan vintage suite, 


but I could pick up something cheaper or gently used on Gumtree/Craigslist and round and round I go trying to battle between wanting to buy quality items with classic aesthetics that will last vs. spending as little money as possible, not going into debt and not suffering buyer’s remorse which I am particularly prone to.

I desperately want to make this house feel like a home, our home, and fast! I do not want to repeat the mistakes of house no1 where we lived like tenants; not decorating for over 5 years. We also didn’t really do maintenance as often as we should, certainly not preventative maintenance, and the house because depressingly shabby. It was only the frantic nesting urge brought on by pregnancy that jolted me into replacing carpets, finishing outstanding DIY jobs and giving the whole house a fresh coat of paint or rather paying my Dad to paint. We lived without baseboards in the kitchen for over a year because we were too lazy to cut the baseboard to accommodate a new washing machine.

I do understand that our home will grow and change organically over the time we live there but I have had dream home and future home Pinterest boards on the go for years. I am prepped, I am primed, and I am impatient! I have paint colours, wallpapers and themed kids’ rooms locked and loaded just waiting for the house to apply them to and now I finally have the house.

The decoration is now officially underway. We are working during the day and then heading to the house to paint which is not fun at all but because I start a new job next month I am out of annual leave to take so there is no choice but the burn the candle at both ends. I miss my Son so much it is heart-breaking.

Here are a whole bunch of progress photos of our first day (12-8) and night (7-8.30) of painting. I will also do a very quick post on tips for painting bold colours if the blue wall settles as nicely as I hope it will, though it may be the weekend before I see it in the daylight thanks to the Scottish Autumn.

Me x



Living room before


Living room after one coat of sapphire salute. Must take pictures from the same spot…



Bedroom 2 before


Bedroom 2 afternoon one coat of Dulux first dawn. 

Bedroom 1 before and after a whitewash. 

Moving on: Does this add value to my life? Focusing on Education and Family

The masterplan for this move was focussed around our Son.

When he was born we were forced to evaluate the pros and cons of where we lived and, beautiful as it is, the rural nature of it has a drawback; namely a lack of jobs. Both my husband and I were commuting a total of 80 miles (2 hours) each day to our jobs in Glasgow him by. An added factor was that a certain level of “job poverty” in an area also impacts the standard of education, now this can be a combination of a huge list of socio-economic factors which I won’t get into here it’s just not that kind of blog, whatever the reasons behind it there just weren’t the opportunities available for our Son that we would want him to have. So on a rare date night we took some time to talk about what we wanted from our life now that we were parents and that was;

  • To give our Son access to the best education available to us
  • To reduce our commute – freeing up more time to spend together
  • To create a better living space – A space to learn and play in, a space reflective of our family values

We started with the highest priority, a good education, checking the league tables for Scottish secondary schools. League tables provide a very two dimensional view of education only really telling you how many pupils attained a certain grade level and how in how many subjects. It does not tell you about any kind of pastoral care, how improved those pupils were, how they tackle bullying or the breadth of subjects the pupils have access to which is to my mind one of the key factors in a rounded education. We are not all mathematicians and chemists, some of us are chefs, translators, historians and I passionately belief that education should provide the chance to explore new topics. But there are no league tables for these things, no database of information where parents can prioritise Japanese over Typing or Vocational Studies over French, so we went with the league tables and decided on an area of the Southside that has consistently topped league tables in Scotland for the past decade and met criteria number two, reducing our commute.

The new house is just 10 miles away from work and even in heavy traffic we will spend less than an hour commuting. On the worst of days we should be home by 6 with dinner on the go, that’s at least an extra hour together every day to have breakfast together or just unwind over dinner and that is very precious to me indeed. The best part of my day by far is the enthusiastic “Mummy!” that greets me after a long day at work and to have an extra hour a day filled with toddler silliness is priceless.

We get the keys to our new house on Friday and then the focus on creating a better living space begins. We’ve done some imaginary planning based on our visits and the pictures we have of the house but that doesn’t compare to standing in it when it is a blank canvas, free of the previous owners furniture, ready for us to make our mark on. It will be an ongoing project as we grow into the house and our needs as a family change and I’ll be posting regularly about our progress curating our minimalist home. 

Me x