Category: Home Is Where the Heart Is

Parting is such sweet sorrow (aka the clear out update)

Following on from last week’s inspirational article read from Stylist magazine, I decided to put the concept into full practice. Ruthlessly pulling things from my wardrobe, at times I was discarding based purely on gut instinct – the fact that I didn’t say “oooh” was enough to realise an item had to go. It was pretty satisfying to see the charity bags filling up, especially with things that I know have escaped previous culls by a hair’s breadth and still haven’t been worn since.

The process was somewhat helped by my change in work circumstances, and the fact that I now have a casual dresscode. “Work” shoes that maybe had slightly scuffed heels but were still good enough to wear to the office have gone. Pencil skirts that are too tight but I’d convinced myself would fit me again at some point are out the door. Auf Wiedersehn to t-shirts that have gone a bit bobbly. Au revoir to dresses that are past their best. Ta-ra a bit to jeans that are so low rise I can’t believe they ever fit me. And, to anything that doesn’t totally ding my dong, a big fat feck off!

Even my underwear draw got a look in.

I now have a pile of stuff hung on my spare bedroom door waiting to be ebayed (I have, at least, taken the photographs, just need to get round to writing the descriptions and actually listing them).

20150521_073222

Plus a bin liner stuffed with the real rubbish, and bags full of cast offs for the charity shop with more still to come.

20150521_073316

Did I feel liberated? At first, yes. There were things that I was aware should have left the safe haven of my wardrobe a long time ago, that were taking up valuable space and just not being worn. And that bit’s great! But it also made me slightly sad. OK, a lot sad. Sad to the point where I was so sulky I went very quiet and withdrawn and didn’t talk much for the rest of the night. Because it felt like an admission that a part of my life has ended. Disposing of dresses that I still really like but are probably too short for me to wear these days. Trousers that are too tight around the waist. Things that just don’t fit my wardrobe because I’m not in my 20s and going out partying like I used to.

I guess, ultimately, it made me feel old and fat. Which is very dramatic and I feel like I should be putting my hand to my brow and throwing my head back in consternation. Because, at 37 and just under 10.5 stone, I’m neither of those things. But I’m also not 25 and 9.5 stone anymore. That’s the real problem!

I’ll get over it, of course. I rediscovered some things I’d completely forgotten about which is good. And it did give me the kick I needed to stop being such a greedy pig and actually start working to lose the half a stone I need to feel better about myself (instead of just hoping it will happen!) With a tidier wardrobe I’ll actually have space to store my new trainers, so I can go out for a run rather than spending half an hour hopping round wearing just one and cursing my untidy self for losing the other one.

Having a clear out – have I been doing it all wrong?

Like many women / people, I have too much stuff. Specifically wearable stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I like stuff. I like choice. I don’t want a capsule wardrobe, shoes that go with everything and a colour palette theme amongst my clothes. But I do want to have enough space for the things I do love, so I can stop draping things over doors / stacking stuff in piles on the floor and having my husband threaten to put everything in a bin liner and chuck it out (he wouldn’t dare, but it’s a recurring conversation).

Clear out

(needless to say that is not my wardrobe. And if it was I would not be having a clear out. EVER.)

Contrary to my husband’s seeming opinion, I don’t like being untidy. It’s only because I have too much stuff. Trouble is, when I have a clear out, it’s never as thorough as I’d like. And I think the reason is because I’m looking for things to get rid of, not things to keep.

It sounds like a very similar process, but there is in fact a difference. And this is the article that made me see that difference.

http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/the-golden-rules-of-tidying-up-to-joyfully-de-clutter-your-house-life-and-mind-clear-out

“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’. If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”

I always look at what to get rid of. And then I split it into categories – ebay or charity shop. Ebay stuff invariably sits in a bag for ages, waiting for me to get round to the arduous task of photographing, measuring and listing. and then, when it doesn’t sell straight away, the bag of stuff clutters up valuable space.

But the stuff that’s left behind, well. Based on the advice above – ‘Does this spark joy?’ – I could clear out a lot more. There’s stuff that I keep because it’s “too good” to part with. I may have only worn it a couple of times and feel bad about getting rid of it (especially if it’s doubtful that it will sell on ebay, or more likely I can’t be bothered). Or it’s just not me anymore. But, in truth, when I pick it out to wear, it often goes straight back. Because it doesn’t make me feel fabulous, and who wants to feel anything less than amazing? And so it sits there, taking up valuable room in my overstuffed wardrobe.

This can also be exacerbated by being a bargain hunter. Because sometimes, something is just a really good bargain, and that can totally affect my judgement. I know the “rules” – don’t buy something unless you’d buy it full price. But I find that impossible, because my heart gets all of a flutter. So I’m my own worse enemy.

What a palava! I’ve actually bored myself with this post. But I am going to try and take the advice and actually apply it. Stop hoarding stuff with the intention of ebaying it and never getting round to it. Donate it to charity shops and don’t regret it.

Donations

And don’t fill the space I create with brand new stuff!

Earning my stripes

I’m not really a stripy person, although my recent purchases would say otherwise!

I decided I liked the idea of monochrome stripes in my new casual work wardrobe (which still doesn’t come naturally to me at all), to wear with turned up fitted jeans and heels.

Rather than dipping my toe in to see how I liked it, I went stripe crazy!

Black and grey (£5.59 – 30% off), cream and black (£6.69), blue and pale beige (£7.79) – all from H&M current stock.

Grey stripe top Black and white stripe top Blue stripe top

I also got these skinnies from New Look sale (reduced to just £9).

Stripe skinny £9

We stayed at a hotel earlier this year which had the most amazing striped carpet. I quite fancy introducing some monochrome stripes into our home (although I’m sure the husband will veto it).

How great are these looks?

Stripe wallpaper Stripe chair 2 Stripe carpet

Stripe wallpaper 2  Stripe cushion Stripe chair

Throw some light on the matter

I’m looking to decorate my hall and will therefore need new accessories, obvs. As much as I say this tongue in cheek, because who doesn’t like buying new stuff, I do actually need a new lamp.

In true me style, this lamp must be a bit different, and not cost the earth. Because, like, going out and holidays and stuff!

This is my current hall lamp.

Current Ikea £39

It’s from Ikea and it started off life in our lounge. Then last year I replaced it and thus relegated it to the hall. It’s still a cool lamp, but it’s been around for 8 years now, since we moved in, and it’s looking a little tired. Plus it doesn’t throw out enough light in our narrow enclosed hall. It’s still available from Ikea, for £39.

Here are my picks after a quick mooch round online.

This one is my favourite, from George at Asda. The metalwork looks black on this pic, but it’s actually chrome. £15.

Glass globe lamp £15

Also from Asda:

Letter A lamp (£30) – shame they don’t do this in other letters./ Black and silver lava lamp (£14) – I’ve never seen this colour combination so may just have to buy it for somewhere else because it’s so cool.

A lamp £30 Lava lamp £14

Lightbulb lamp (£20) – quirky style, although the wood base wouldn’t work with my décor / mosaic base (£20) – this would probably give off unusual patterns where the light is reflected on the mirror pieces.

Lightbulb lamp £20 Mosaic lamp £20

Moving onto Tesco Direct

Frosted globes in blue and purple (£19.99 each) – probably wouldn’t throw out much light but great for a pop of colour

Tesco blue frosted £19.99 Tesco purple £19.99

Silver sculpture (£19.99) – doubling up as an ornament during it’s “off” days / white retro spotlight (£17.99) – there’s something futuristic and robotic about this that I like.

Tesco silver sculpture £19.99 Tesco spotlight £17.99

New York skyline shades (£17.99 each) – quite chic and unusual; be interesting to se the shadows from the printed shades.

Tesco NY £17.99 tesco NY 2 £17.99

Now on to Ikea, where pickings are thinner on the ground then I expected.

More coloured balls, fnar (£13 each)

Ikea plum £13 Ikea turquoise £13

Glass vase style in olive green (£13) – wouldn’t throw out enough light, and white frosted (a bargainous £7) – this could be a contender for a nice bright corner

ikea olive green £13 Ikea white £7

Dunelm Mill have some nice offerings.

Crystal hanging ball (£24.99) / rattan hanging ball (£29.99)

Dunelm - £24.99 Dunelm ball - £29.99

Lantern (reduced to £13.99) / antler base (£19.99) – I’m especially fond of this one.

Dunelm lantern - £13.99 Dunelm antler - £19.99

“Urchin” (£14.99) / black spotlight (£19.99)

Dunelm urchin - £14.99 Dunelm headlight - £19.99

And, finally, the good old High Street stalwart, Argos, with 25% off at present.

Sculpture (£13.49) – another ornament as well as being practical / hanging shade (£18.74) – simple but chic

Argos £13.49 Argos 2 - £18.74

Touch lamp “mushroom” (£18.74) – this reminds me of a buzzer on a gameshow / touch lamp bulb (£18.74) – quirky styling.

Argos touch - £18.74 Argos tough bulb - £18.74

As usual I have quite overwhelmed myself, and think I definitely need more than one lamp for more than one room…

Officially unemployed

Today, after 3 weeks of “consultation”, I’ve been officially made redundant. I feel relieved, resentful, angry, frustrated, elated, exhausted, mentally weak, mentally strong, excited, scared, hopeful. So many mixed emotions. Even though I’ve known it was coming since the end of last month, it’s still an odd sensation. Not that I was hoping the company would change their mind – indeed I’d have been disappointed if they had – but even when you’re content with a turn of events, its still an upheaval.

The sun is shining and I can see the rudiments of spring on my balcony. It feels like a sign.

Hyancinths ready to flower / a cute pansy face popping out from the undergrowth

2 year old snap dragon which keeps fighting back / spring berries

New shoots on my strawberry plants / pretty blossom tree

<<end of Spring watch!!>>

Persistent petals and seeing the sea

A couple of weeks ago I bought some pre-potted bulbs. I never think to plant bulbs; partly as I only have balcony pots to put them in but mainly because I always forget until it’s too late. With the job of potting some up already done by the shop, along with the fact they were starting to sprout, I invested in some red tulips, hoping for a sunny day to get them outside.

I carefully transferred them home in a carrier bag…and promptly forgot about them.

So, now that I have remembered them, they’re ready to be thrown away, right? No water or sunlight for more than 2 weeks, stifled in a plastic bag in a corner. They’re bound to have withered and given up.

Wrong! Look at my beautiful tulips!

Curved tulips 2

Not only have they miraculously continued to grow, but they have done so in the most peculiar way; obviously growing towards the air and trickle of light that was available. Searching out the life force to not only survive, but flourish. That’s pretty bloomin’ special.

Curved tulips

I’ve now popped them on my kitchen window sill, flooded them with water, and hopefully they’ll straighten out and grow upwards towards the sunlight; after which I’ll transfer them to my balcony.

I still have some snapdragons from a couple of years ago that refuse to throw in the towel; I thought I’d cleared them all out at the end of the summer but they sprouted back up in November and came into bloom.

Here’s a couple of pictures from the North Welsh coast from my weekend trip.

 

It all looks rather gloomy, but I quite like the power of a wild and windy seaside in cloudy weather. Not as much as I like a clear blue sky and white sandy beach, but the chances of that in Wales in March are slim to none.

And how quaint is this cottage?

Hafan y Mor chalet

Its one of the holiday park rentals; looks like something from a fairytale.