Why, oh why, do we have resolutions only in a new year, which in this country falls in the winter? Surely we would feel far more energised if it was in June and we had the sun on our backs wearing flip flops, than when we are seemingly weighed down with food, alcohol and late nights. But it seems to be the way it is, as we say goodbye to the old and wish in the new. A clean slate, a new beginning, heading into a new year resolving to change our habits, jobs, diets and routines, to name but a few.
OK when I say new year, I should probably have started writing this in January. I have no idea where the past month has gone, except that I had our university student daughter at home for the first three weeks of the new year. Actually it was divine and such a lovely way to start the year off, chatting, dog walks, suppers and trips to Bath and London. So better late than never is my motto. On that basis I have the greatest respect for people who write a weekly blog. Hats off to them.
Some of my happy things to do.
I have to confess I haven’t really made any resolutions this year as such, apart from perhaps to be a bit kinder to myself. Taking a little bit more me time. Twenty two glorious years of being a Mama to our fab three has been the most rewarding and at times hardest job I have done. Available and on call 24/7, for advice, food, washing, love, cuddles and of course a taxi service! They now don’t need me as much or at least not in the same way as they did when they were little, and I therefore find I have more time on my hands. It goes without saying though that I am still ‘available’ at any time for them, and the saying that ‘you are only as happy as your least happy child’, doesn’t change as they get older. But you are left with an empty nest and all that comes with it. For me the feeling I imagine would be similar to being made redundant from the job you have held for all of your career. Every cloud of course, has a silver lining, and for me this is part of the reason and motivation behind Mushroom.
So February has become my month of meditation, which combined with regular reflexology and yoga, has me on track to be a more level human being. Also spending more time in my happy places, I love being outdoors, I love swimming outdoors and am lucky enough to have Babington House nearby where I can do that. A particularly special place for me as our daughter was christened there in the Chapel. One of what should have been twins I have always felt eternally blessed we have her. It doesn’t however, take away the fact that I am an angel Mama.
I love being with my gorgeous husband and love walking our adorable dog Minty with a coffee, being beside the river in London and being on the water whenever possible. All things I am doing more and for longer. Spending time with my true friends and laughing. Remembering to look up, smell the flowers and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. A self confessed petrol head, driving with the roof down is a great way to blow away any cobwebs. If we don’t take time to do the things we love, there is a danger of becoming caught up with chores as we don’t leave our desks, phones or homes.
Weekends are still strictly for watching our youngest and last one at school play sport. This term is hockey, and if not on a touchline then we have the Six Nations rugby to enjoy. Come on England!
So that’s my makeover this year – what is yours? And if we are planning a personal makeover, why not include our homes. They are after all the place where we spend a great deal of time, and I hope relaxation time at that.
New Year, New Look
As I mentioned in my Autumn blog, don’t be afraid to move pieces of furniture around. It can make a room feel bigger and give it a whole new look. Think about moving furniture from another room to ring the changes. Have a wish list for each room, write it down, then as the year progresses you can tick things off and will feel you have made progress. With phones these days it is as easy to have the list on your phone, and therefore to hand when you are out and about shopping. Of course so much shopping and being inspired can be done from the comfort of your armchair, but don’t underestimate the positivity of visiting a shop or showroom to try out a sofa or have a proper look at a piece of furniture. And remember to measure first, as sending something you love back because it doesn’t fit is a bummer.
New Year, New Flowers
When I first embarked on Mushroom I never entertained the idea of faux flowers, but people have kept asking me for them. It took me a great deal of research to find the right quality ones, but I am really pleased with them. They have come a long way from the fake roses my great aunt had in her house.
Adding some faux flowers to any room in the house will instantly lift it and give the feeling of spring in the air. The perfect antidote to a grey and wet winter.
To care for your faux flowers a quick weekly dust with a duster, baby or make up wipe works well. Better still use a hairdryer on a low setting to blow the dust off.
Our fabulous and unique ceramic flowers and sea lettuces are designed that do nothing… except look pretty. They give a twist to the faux flower. Mix them with real succulents or display them together on the coffee table. They also make a statement hanging on the wall.
New Year, New Clear Spaces
Take this opportunity of being inside the house more to have a tidy and a declutter. Get rid of the things you no longer use. Organise your kitchen space or desk space. Make your bedroom clutter free so you have a calm place to retire to at the end of the day. Storage doesn’t have to be expensive if it is going to be hidden inside a cupboard or drawer. Save your pennies for buying the things you will see and use each day. I have invested in my first ever desk. This has created much amusement in the family, as it is glass. I love the simplicity of it, but it does need regular cleaning. The upside is no-one in the family dares sit at it for fear of leaving fingerprints!
New Year, New Accessories
The winter is invariably a time when we spend evenings snuggled in front of the fire on the sofa. Make it the most comfortable place to be, with soft tactile cushions and warm cosy throws. Buy accessories that can easily be changed with the seasons. And remember in the lovely sunny summer which we WILL be having this year, you can drag them outside, or take them on a picnic and lie on the grass relaxing. A throw is not just for winter!
New Year, waiting for New Leaves
At this time of year however hard you try, the garden will be looking a little bare and unloved to say the least. While you are waiting for the bulbs to surface, accessorise your garden with statement stainless steel or rust spheres. This will accentuate the garden lighting in the early, dark evenings. You can also enjoy them from the window during the winter days. Then when the weather is brighter and lighter, the spheres can be thrown into the pool or pond if you have one. If you don’t, put them on the table as a centrepiece for those summer barbecues.