Alice’s nursery

I can finally show the other ‘project’ I’ve been tinkering away on! I couldn’t share any pictures of Alice’s nursery before she came along because we had some special items that we couldn’t put out to finish it off until she arrived – those items being pink! We found out that our Bunny was a girl at the 20 week scan, but chose not to tell anybody that we found out. We just wanted to keep a little something about our baby to ourselves which I’m glad we did, but it did complicate some things! Apologies to all those we lied to … it wasn’t easy!

Here is her door …

Welcome to Alice's room!

Welcome to Alice’s room!

I bought the Beatrix Potter letters from Peter’s of Kensington and then mounted them to a canvas … well actually Buzz was in charge of the gluing and I directed. This is the extent of my crafting ability!

Room layout

Alice’s Expedit. On the top are a set of prints from Etsy that were the very first things I bought from her nursery, along with some special items including the Steiff bear that my sister brought her back from Hamley’s in London and the measuring tape used to measure and record her statistics straight after birth. Above the Expedit are some Martha Stewart paper chains from her baby shower.

I love a good Exedit!

The Expedit contains a lot of my own baby toys and books, as well as the lovely gifts we have received for her. I keep her blankets in a storage cube (and I do not recommend these horrible plastic ones from IKEA – they are a nightmare to assemble and caused a few injuries in the process!).

Some special items:

Top row, second cube from left: Alice’s Daddy chose this print on our honeymoon in San Francisco from an artist at a street festival. At the same time I chose a print of a little girl with dark hair and blue eyes, and when I bought it I told Buzz that this was our daughter. It disappeared when we moved house, making way for the real little girl to arrive. In front of that print is a modern Beatrix Potter book given to me by my aunt called “Rabbit Organises Everything”: too perfect!

Second top row: Books! The most wonderful things in the world. I thoroughly believe that children should be swamped in books. So many of my own are here, and new editions that I’ve bought for her: Anatole the Mouse, Ricki Ticki Tembo, Edward Ardizzone books, Peepo, Madeline.

Alice's Expedit

On the top of the Expedit is my childhood print of the Snow Queen, which fascinated me no end with its ethereal queen and her gossamer dress; a little shoe I wore ; Alice’s birth card; and an owl which is too pretty to be a doorstop as intended (I stalked PoK for months until they got this owl back in stock).

On top of the Expedit

On the other side are the most special of my toys. On top are my teddies: Big Ted, a handmade bear; my number one Ted, given to me by my grandma when I was born; and Little Ted, an antique with glass eyes who my Dad bought for me at an antiques fair at the Camberwell Civic Centre when I must have been about five. In the cube underneath are my Humty, Ollyfump (bought by my Dad before I was born), and Yangzom, a doll given to me by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s sister, Jetsun Pema-la, when we were in India when I was 2. I named her after my ‘Tibetan mother’.

My bears

Here is the reading corner, with my grandma’s TV chair re-upholstered and re-sprung. I love the fabric and even more love how a piece of furniture that I associate so strongly with her has been given a brand new dose of love and will be used by her great-granddaughter. On the floor next to the chair is Barkly, my wooden dog, who has been dragged around hither and thither. Penny the Penguin sits on the side table, bought by us in Sorrento while on holiday.

Our reading chair

Above the reading chair are decals chosen by Alice’s Daddy from 41 Orchard (does anyone else look at a lot of nursery decals and feel a bit sick at the overload of princessy-ness or, in the more hipster stores, owls?), and a print from Etsy (framed in a Target frame – bargain!). I love the sentiment.

Print from Etsy

Alice’s Boori cot was given to us by our ex-neighbour, so is well-loved and teeth-marked but still sturdy! Her pram (a Bugaboo Cameleon that we bought from gumtree.com in as-new condition for 2/3 of the price- score!) is also parked in here (the blanky in it is from here – I totally adore these florals).

Cot

Above the cot are decorations that reflect the same on the other side. The other half of the decal perches above the cot, and an Etsy print with matching font in the same frame heads the bed. The fishy mobile is mine from when I was a child and I love the glassy tinkle it makes in the breeze.

Print from Etsy

Alice won’t use her cot until she’s bigger, so until then it houses some toys including a big bear dressed in a footy jumper that was hand-knitted by Buzz’s aunt in the same pattern she knitted for him when he was born (and yes, I have allowed her to barrack for Daddy’s team), a giraffe from Buzz’s parents, and a bunny from my work colleagues. The teal and white chevron blanket was also knitted by Buzz’s aunt and is just gorgeous. The multi-coloured chevron minky is also from Etsy. The ‘Love’ cushion was handmade for me many years ago by my dear friend Zoe, whose latest venture, Beetle Bug Sleepwear, is utterly adorable handmade children’s sleepwear.

Special toys and bedding

The Boori changetable was a real find on eBay, in almost brand new condition and I was the only bidder. I stalked eBay for weeks waiting for the right thing that wasn’t going to go for a bomb. Who knew furniture that is designed to have babies poo on it would be so expensive?!

The tallboy was a Boori second (a couple of tiny dents!) and holds most of her clothes. The rest are in the cupboard just peeking in in the corner of the picture. A small library of books on birth and parenting are waiting for me to read them … or not.

Tallboy and change table

Over the changetable are Martha Stewart lanterns from the baby shower, and a print (Etsy again) that we displayed at our wedding with lyrics from The Pixies’ classic “La La Love You”. We sing this to each other – sometimes seriously but mostly tongue in cheek!

We also have displayed a little book called “I Like You” which is a poem by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, an excerpt of which was read by my friends during our wedding ceremony. A wedding photo and a beautiful framed print given to us by friends are also on display.

Lanterns over the change table

Naturally Alice couldn’t care less about any of this. Her world at the moment is cuddles, boobies and sleeping, which is all she is meant to do. When she is bigger I want her room to be her own space where she can learn to control her environment, explore whatever she wants, feel safe and have lots and lots of things to do. As much as I have loved making a room full of my memories and lovely things, I want it to become full of her own memories and things she likes. I just hope she keeps it a little bit clean!

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Extreme Makeover, Home Edition

Alongside all the other things we’ve been doing (work, growing a baby), we’ve been quietly plugging away at the work we needed to do on the house. We moved in not quite 8 weeks ago (which feels like forever), and had 4 weeks before that working evenings and weekends as well. We’re pretty chuffed with our efforts so far.

We were totes like this.

We have:

  • Painted the front entrance cement surface and bought some pretty plants
  • Sanded (three times) all the skirting boards, architraves and door frames – this involved sanding back five layers of paint that had never been sanded before
  • Painted (mostly three times, but less where there is still work to do) the same
  • Chiseled the paint (again five layers) off the steel window frames and painted them three times
  • Replaced broken window panes, including puttying in new glass (this was meant to take thirty minutes with our friend, a glazier, and took three visits over a week)
  • Touched up paint where said painting went outside the lines
  • Painted the front door
  • Replaced all the door handles and locks
  • Installed downlights and new light fittings
  • Sanded all the floors
  • Replaced the kitchen benchtop
  • Replaced the oven, cooktop and dishwasher
  • Replaced the kitchen sink and tapware
  • Moved the pantry
  • Painted the kitchen doors and cabinets and replaced the knobs
  • Re-tiled the kitchen splashbacks (still some siliconing and grout sealing to go, and we need to install a new window sill)
  • Installed plantation shutters and Venetian blinds on ever window
  • Painted the mantelpiece
  • Built a walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom
  • Painted the inside of the only hall cupboard, which hadn’t been painted since its first and only ever coat
  • Had a quote to landscape the front mudpatch – hopefully by the end of the year
  • About to mount the dryer on the laundry wall
  • Had two Ombudsman complaints about the gas supply … resolved after my terrier-like efforts

Not bad. I got far less done in my two weeks off than I planned, as most of it was spent on the couch with nausea and fatigue, but I’m still incredulous that a place that feels so much like home has actually been home for less than two months.

We’re also well underway in planning our bathroom reno, which makes me so happy I could cry. I’m not sure that the tenants before ever de-moulded it; it is so revolting that I wear thongs in the shower. Not tres chic.

We’ve found a lovely builder and have chosen these fittings:

This Felino vanity will be in reverse colours – white base with a dark stoney looking top. Can’t wait to have two basins!

Methven ‘Ovalo’ – love this range.

Shower/bath diverter.

Bath spout.

They’ll go with textured mocha floor tiles, white-ish wall tiles, and greeny glass feature tiles. We’re also installing a three doored mirrored medicine cabinet for desperately-needed space, and a half sized bath with the shower overhead. Not being bath people, but requiring a tub for small people and animals, we were very happy with the smaller one we had at our last house and went for the same this time. The floor tiles will continue through the laundry and toilet area (which is currently covered with a lovely set of green, white and black lino tiles) and a new toilet will be forthcoming if one can be found that will match our old plumbing.

After the bathroom project, the list is:

  • Install bookshelves in the living room
  • Waterproof garage
  • Move boxes from spare rooms to garage
  • Set up second bedroom/study
  • Insulate roof
  • Decorate nursery
  • Install dog door that won’t let the cats out
  • A bit of pottering in the garden. It’s currently bare and bogan, but is really the last of our priorities, especially in winter.

Can I do it all before the baby comes, in approximately 26 weeks?

You betcha.

How to pack

I’ve promised to ‘tell you about it shortly’ a number of times and about a number of things, and here for your delight and edification, working backwards on my promises, is the first. Yes, you can cross this promised gift off your wishlist! 😉

Oh the poise!

Packing for a holiday is like packing for an alternate you. The divine Maggie Alderson has called this person Holiday Me – and you know who she is. She’s tall, long-limbed, sun-kissed and exists in a day that has only three times: clear mediation sunrise under a palm tree; warm orange sundown on a beach; and sparkling starry night on a yacht with champagne. Holiday Me has wavy hair that never whips in her eyes or gets greasy, being perfectly cleansed and styled by the waves; on the beach she strides out of the water glistening while sand brushes off her without sticking; she’s at least four times as rich as you are; she’s much better dressed; calories are worth one-tenth to her as they are to you; and she doesn’t even need an invitation to all the best parties at her holiday destination to know that she’s a VIP.

Francie Stevens (Grace Kelly) is the ultimate beach fashionista in To Catch a Thief.

Holiday Me also has a beautifully put together holiday wardrobe, which contains only clothes and accessories that are perfectly suited to her environment. A light wrap is sufficient to keep her warm at night, or Holiday Man lends her his tux jacket. It never rains unless she’s dancing in it, in which case it’s warm. She never minds walking all day because blisters don’t bother her slender feet, and all she needs to tour European cities is a small light handbag that rests gently over one bent arm. She has a small scarf tied at her throat, a lightweight kit thrown over her shoulders where it stays without slipping, and wearing pale colours – particularly camel and white – is of course the perfect choice because is it impossible for her to attract dirt or spill coffee.

Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief: Riviera chic.

Do you hate her? I do.

Francie Stevens with the ultimate holiday accessory - a convertible.

Maggie A has also pointed out that sometimes we become a sort of perverse, warped Holiday Me when we go away – your Holiday Me may suddenly become enamoured of sarongs, or tie-dye, or any other hideous item that is covered in dolphins and is sold in tourist shops. Your Holiday Me may suddenly strain to emulate the suave and smooth locals and start buying Ray-Bans, chinos, boat shoes and man-bags. Your Holiday Me may see the light and start investing in PolarFleece.

 

This is hideous. I don't care if I offend you. Don't let your Holiday Me buy this atrocity.

The real thing about Holiday Me – and you might love turtle covered beachwear or chambray shirts in real life, or you may in fact be a person who can confidently wear white jeans – is that Holiday Me is not Real Me. And Real Me needs to pack for Real Me.

 When you pack, you’re effectively reducing your range of clothing options while preparing for an expanded range of environmental conditions. Heat, rain and cold may not bother you so much when you’re cocooned in an office every day, but if you’re sightseeing you’ll be all the more in touch with Mother Nature. So how does an organised gal remain comfortable, stylish, appropriate and under 20kg per suitcase?

A little bit of colour-matching goes a long way.

Here’s what not to do: open your suitcase on your bed and throw in all your favourite clothes. You’ll wear them more, right? Nope. Although it’s true that you shouldn’t pack that thing at the back of the wardrobe that you bought three years ago and still has its tags on because Holiday Me will like it, just dumping a whole lotta stuff isn’t the solution either. 

If you lay it all out and it looks like this – too much!
You need A Plan.
 
The steps below aren’t about the nitty-gritty of packing. It’s a different post if we want to talk about The Great Fold vs Roll debate, or how to compartmentalise your case, but below is about the big-picture stuff: how to decide what to take, not just how to take it.
Oh so pretty!

Step 1: The Situation.

  • Think about where you’re going and what time of year it will be. New York City in August will be significantly different from New York City in December. Do your research.
  • Also think about what you’ll be doing – are you going to Europe to backpack and stay in hostels, or is this a bumper-luxe trip of a lifetime? Will you be going to any fancy events, or are you pretty sure that the pub will be as posh as it gets?
  • How long will you be away? There’s no real rule of thumb (I think) about X days = Y pairs of Z item, but you don’t seriously need ten pairs of jeans for a two week trip. You will however need many more pairs of underpants than two. Come up with a rough list, eg: two pairs jeans (one everyday, one ‘good’); two T-shirts; two singlet tops; one jacket; one belt; one pair walking shoes; one pair flats; one pair thongs; one lightweight scarf.

Step 2: The Style.

  • Think about the kinds of clothes you usually wear. I am, for example, a pants-wearer. Taking a skirt or dress would be pointless. If you’re a dedicated frock-er, work around that. A skirt-wearing friend of mine bought a highly expensive but very useful pair of superdooper tights to wear with her usual denim skirt in a European winter and she loved them.
  • Bearing those things in mind, are there any colours or other themes that come through? For example, for our honeymoon I chose my two favourite colour combinations and chose separates around them (navy/white/red, and olive/neutrals). Don’t wear a rainbow. Choosing a colour scheme will help all your clothes be workhorses.
  • Make sure your style is appropriate to the places you’re going and the things you’ll be doing. PolarFleece is not ok if you’re planning on meeting The Queen, but a pussy-bow blouse is ridiculous if you’re climbing Machu Picchu.

Step 3: The Selection

  • Now think about the things you’ll actually wear. Favourites are good at this point, as are things that do double-duty, eg: a pair of sparkly flats that you could wear out to dinner as well as for a bit of wandering around would be more useful than a pair of ten-inch stilettos. Likewise, unless your plan is to hit the nightlife hard, think about a nice top that could be worn in the evening as well as the day, instead of a spangled sequinned backless top.
  • Choose accessories. A belt, shoes, small jewellery, sunnies and scarves are good, light, non-bulky ways to change the look of a basic outfit.
  • Now lay it all out. Will you wear it all? Will you feel good in it? Will you look good in it? Edit your selection. Holidays are not times to morph into Impossible Gorgeous Holiday Me, but there’s also no need to allow Ratty Scruffy Cargo Pants Holiday Me to drag you down.  
  • Is any of it dry-clean only? Ditch it. Is any of it unwearable without an iron? Seriously consider ditching it unless you love to iron on holidays.

Step 4: The Stuff

  • And by stuff, I mean fold nicely and pack in your bag. How much room is left? Does it fit perfectly? Yes? Then take it out and toss things – you haven’t even begun to pack your toiletries, electronics, and other sundries yet.
  • Toiletries are really up to you and what you feel you need, but I take shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair straightener (or dryer – just remember to check voltage!), brush or comb, contact lens stuff, medication, tweezers, nail file, polish if you’re a polish wearer, moisturiser, face wash, makeup, and anything else that I use daily. This fits in a case about 20x10x10, but it’s quite heavy.
  • Unless you’re actually backpacking, you need some space in your bag to take account for purchases, things you’ll pick up and carry about, and to make re-packing easier and less like a Rubik’s Cube. Wearables including shoes should take up about 50-60% of your space, other items about 20-30%, and the remaining space should be empty.
  • Pick up your case/bag. Walk around with it. Be honest – what needs to go? If you can weigh it, do.

Step 5: The Sit

  • Meaning: let it sit. If you have some time, allow yourself to re-think some decisions, and remember that you’ll recall a few forgotten items over the next few days (reading glasses? Only packed black bras and white shirts?).
Not how to do it!

That’s it – it seems long but a little planning will mean you will have everything you need, you’ll have confidence in the clothing choices you’ve made, you’ll not be randomly squishing strange items into your bag half an hour before you have to leave for the airport, and most importantly, you’ll always be comfortable and appropriate for the Real You.

An alternative of how not to do it.

A Whirling Dervish

A whirling dervish - know the feeling?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a little while, as you can see from the gap in communications. But it all ties in very nicely with today’s theme, and illustrates my point, so three cheers for that.

Today’s discussion is: what to do when life gets busy. How do we maintain organisation, general tidiness, and that satisfying feeling of being on top of our affairs, when we’re actually being pummelled with other things?

Here’s the rub: life is peaks and troughs. There’s no ‘end’ to the busy period; just a lull. Children will get sick; partners will go on trips; work will arc up; the party season will return. And this is exactly why we are organised!

Juggling too much?

A stitch in time saves nine

It’s in these periods when the kids are demanding every ounce of attention and endless vomit clean-ups, or a huge project lands in our lap, or when we’re out every night, that our organisation already in place will support and maintain us when we simply don’t have time to even go to the loo (yes that’s happened to me).

  • Having homes for all our stuff makes the quickest possible tidy up simply a matter of putting things back, rather than re-organising an entire cupboard;
  • Having our pantries and fridges clearly zoned makes deciding what to make and what to chuck in the 2-minute-stir-fry easy – it means you can grab what you can see instead of burrowing in the back of the crisper to discover something vaguely fresh;
  • Having a toy basket/area where all toys live all the time when not in use means that the sniffly child can actually play with their toys instead of waiting for you to locate the 1,000 missing jigsaw pieces cunningly hidden around your house;
  • Having dirty and clean laundry in designated baskets and not strewn all over the lounge room means that even when you can’t get around to the ironing and folding, there will at least be an easy place to grab a clean pair of knickers;
  • Having our bills already diarised to pay (or direct debited already) will avoid a missed payment and penalty fees;
  • Having our To Do lists up to date will mean that the mad dash to the bank/post office/pharmacy at lunch, or the miserable dragging of the sick child to the shops, can happen once instead of you getting back home and discovering un-deposited cheques, un-posted letters, and un-filled scripts smiling happily back up at you from your handbag; and
  • Having a routine for tidying, cleaning, bill-paying and other chores will mean that if you’re even semi-up to date, you’ll have a reasonable base to work off instead of hitting a busy period in an already frazzled organisational state.

Call in the troops

There are also times when you need to call in reinforcements. Organisation isn’t something you just do once; it needs constant topping up and when we don’t have the time or energy to stay on top of it, calling for help is the best thing to do.

I really wish this was an option!

I recently began a new job, which is both a promotion and a new content area. I knew I was coming up to a hefty increase in work hours and a really challenging task, and would have less time (and let’s face it, less energy and motivation) to get all the cleaning done that I would otherwise (my share of the cleaning of course!). My husband and I agreed that getting a cleaner would be money well spent, and boy is she ever! Miss A comes once a fortnight for three hours and her visits ‘re-set’ us so that we are working off a clean base until she comes again. This means that small top-up tidies and cleans are sufficient, and the larger jobs are also less onerous.

 Other professional services that you might want to engage to help you in busy times could include:

  • Household maintenance (I hate hate hate the term ‘rent-a-hubby’ but if like me you’re pretty clueless at fixing things, don’t try to mess with the plumbing yourself);
  • Gardening;
  • Accounting (seriously, who likes doing their own taxes even if they can?!);
  • Mending and ironing;
  • Meal delivery services;
  • Grocery shopping online; and
  • Dog grooming (I have to let the professionals do this one; my small dog thrashes around like a yeti when I try to clip his nails).

 You don’t have to buy your outsourcing either. There are heaps of ways you can access the wealth of resources around you without breaking the bank:

  • Would it make your life easier if you could trade kids for an hour a week with a friend (and that hour could be just as profitably spent on the couch with a cuppa if that’s what you need!)?;
  • You could ask a friend to help you with a task (folding a clothes mountain or accompanying you to the supermarket to distract the kids) in exchange for home-cooked dinner or some other thank you;
  • You might be able to access some flexi-time or time in lieu from work, or negotiate to work from home if you particularly need to be there when, for example, the electrician comes to fix the flickering light that’s been plaguing you for two years but you’ve never had time to call them in to fix;
  • You might be able to invest a little time upfront in investigating something like a budget spreadsheet that will save you time and effort (and money!)  later when it comes to your finances; and
  • You could also put the word out (thank you Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!) that you’re looking for time-saving help and ideas, and see what works for others.

So here’s the thing: organisation isn’t something you do on top of all the other things you do in your busy life; it’s what you do to manage your busy life.

This doesn't count!

An Abundance of Gifts

Hi kiddos,

Life has returned to normal-ish post honeymoon, and we are back in the land of the living – which means back to work, chores, bills and cleaning. We were completely ready to come back and were looking forward to cooking real food, sleeping in our own bed … and even doing the housework ourselves (well I was anyway)!.

I thought that after the photobombing of my daily outfits (which have their own organisational tale, which I’ll tell shortly), this back-to-earth period in our lives offers some good learning opportunities for household organisation.

Some thoughts on ‘stuff’. We were lucky enough to receive many beautiful gifts for our wedding, all of which were thoughtfully chosen. As a rule I believe that just because something was a gift doesn’t mean that you are obliged to treasure it and display it until Kingdom Come, but in our case there is truly nothing we received that we do not love and want to have around us.

This is one of our most treasured gifts, not just because of its breathtaking curves, but because it was given to us by dear old friends and neighbours who have known me my whole life. This one’s on permanent display!

So what’s a clutter-averse girl to do? Here’s what: I took stock of what we already had and what we had received. I thought about those objects that I wanted to display all the time because they were so knockout, and what of my current display pieces could be retired, rested, removed or re-homed to make way for new things – ie: I had to recognise that it couldn’t all possibly get a look in.

Why wouldn’t I want to have absolutely everything I loved and that meant something to me on display all of the time? Because there are more considerations that just wanting to be surrounded by them. I want to display key pieces properly; I want to keep my spaces clear and to direct the eye towards special things; and I want to show those key pieces the respect they deserve. All of this means not swamping them with other goods and encroaching on their space, not littering all available space, keeping them a clean environment, and keeping them well-cared for: none of which I can do if I can’t locate them for all the clutter.

Lots of things you want to display? Rotate them. Store some pieces safely and diarise every month or quarter to fish them out and create a new vignette.

Not much display space? Think about other surfaces you could use. I have arrangements on our hall table, buffet, side table, dressing table, bedside table, above the pantry, in the bathroom and in glass-panelled kitchen cupboards (not as overwhelming as you think if you keep it to a few items in odd numbers with some linkages between each display – I like to use Glasshouse candles as a cheap, useful, pretty and nice-smelling decorative theme).

Gorgeous Glasshouse.

Not much space to store items not on rotation? If you wrap and seal delicates carefully, you should be able to use high storage and darker spaces effectively. A box of vases for example can be wrapped in bubble-wrap and stored up in that top section of the built-in robe that you can’t get to without a chair, because it’s not something you’ll be using every day so the extra effort required to retrieve it won’t bug you regularly.

Just don’t know what to put out at a time? Try to stick to some basic design principles (I’m no interior designer but I do know these ones!): odd numbers work better than evens; arrange items in a pyramid shape (pointy to broad); try to incorporate a similar element in each item (ie: all silver frames) or between difference displays around the home (see the Glasshouse candles above; or you could use flowers or small tray, for example); and most of all: don’t forget that space with nothing in it is also a key design feature, so position objects in relation and proportion to one another and not just smushed up side by side.

If you’re lucky enough to have beautiful treasures around you, then you have a responsibility to display and care for them properly.

Versatility.

I have written and lost this post twice now, so I can only assume that it is now pithier and wittier than ever before.

The lovely Lilian Harlow (go and read her blog right now – lilianharlow.com ) has tagged me as a Versatile Blogger, and as I love to talk about myself I am happy to play!

The idea is to share seven things about yourself. I love these getting to know you things; they tell so much more than just the facts – what you think of as important to you is just as telling as the details.

ONE
I spent some of my very early childhood in Northern India, and I think that this had ongoing repercussions throughout my life. The rest of my childhood was immersed in the art and mythology of Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism (not in a hippie, let’s-all-hold-hands-together way but in a seriously academic way), and I learnt how many people are obliged to live through no fault of their own; how lucky I am; and how it is my duty to defend people who can’t do it for themselves and to pursue their rights to the same resources that I have.

TWO
I am vegan, which means that I do not eat, wear or use anything made from, with or by animal products. I was vegetarian from the age of 9 1/2 (January 1990) until I had a Road to Damascus moment in September 2007 and ditched the lot. I am very aware that I am often the only vegan at people know, so it is critical that I present a rational and reasonable voice, or people will continue to believe the very worst stereotypes of us (my husband had these too before we met). I am more than happy to discuss it with anyone but am seriously too bored to engage people who want to tell me that plants have feelings too.

THREE
I am scared of slipping and falling. Heights are fine, but you can’t get me up a spiral staircase for love nor money (well you can if it’s in an old castle and it’s a matter of historical education, but otherwise it will be accompanied by swearing, fast breathing, and terse commands to get out of my bloody way).

FOUR
I met my husband on a night out when both us had almost gone home already. We had a conversation that just zinged, and I told my friend before our first date that I was going to marry him. I didn’t tell him this for a long time in case I looked like a psycho stalker! The highest compliment I can pay him is that when I am with him it’s like being alone – not because he’s a non-entity! – but because when I am with him I am wholly and completely myself. This is his greatest gift to me and I hope he feels the same.

FIVE
I am a grub. I am incapable of maintaining pristine clothes, and for this reason I know I will never be able to wear white jeans. I have a theory that there are some people who no matter what they are wearing or what state they’re in always look pulled together and neat, and some people who even when dressed in haute couture would manage to look a bit haphazard. I am definitely in the latter category and may in fact be Queen of the Slightly Crumpled People. This may be one reason why I am so keen on having my physical environment organized and sorted, as I have more control over that than the mysterious stains that seem magnetically attracted to my body!

SIX
I love Tom Jones and I have very cheesy taste in music.

SEVEN
On to this organising caper. I always thought that everyone had an inbuilt ability to organise, but it has taken me a long time to realize that it doesn’t come easily to some people, or they are simply too busy to prioritize it. I love to create storage and systems that are simple and allow people to just use them so that their environment supports them in the really important stuff – life and living.

To me, organising is logic; it is creative; it is psychology; it is concrete; it is conceptual; it is helping people by working with them; it is building order out of chaos and it is allowing people live their lives in an environment that helps rather than hinders them. My goal in the next few years is to build A Place For Everything into a full-time business, and I am so excited to start working with people, build on my skills, and do some serious decluttering!

I am meant to pass on this award to up to fifteen people, but as I am not a regular commenter on blogs I am afraid that many bloggers will think “Who on earth is this strange person and why does she want to know things about me?”. Instead I will tag a couple and also issue a general invitation to anyone to participate if they also want to talk about themselves!

I tag:

Sass of Sassiest ( sassiest.wordpress.com ), because I can’t wait to have another Eldridge Estate with her once Sweetpea arrives;

Mez of Domestic Divinity ( domesticdivinity.blogspot.com ), in recognition of her admirable search for the perfect turquoise necklace; and

Sian of Miss Kitty Cat Goes To Town ( miss kitty-catgoestotown.blogspot.com ), for having the most gorgeous baby shower cake.

Here are the rules:

-Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
-Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.
-Give this award to up to 15 recently discovered bloggers.
-Contact those bloggers and tell them the exciting news!

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m ashamed to admit an organisation fail. It’s 9:11am, we’ve been at the airport for about 40 minutes, and our flight doesn’t leave until 2:20pm. Yes I misread the itinerary and didn’t double-check.

Luckily I am comfortably but not too sloppily dressed. I long for a return to the days of glamourous travel, but am frankly too much of a devotee to comfort to dress to the nines just so I can sit ravenous, squashed into a fairy-sized seat, desperate to go to the loo but unable to wake the sweating behemoth next to me (not Buzz!), pinned in by a tray table and blocked by a drinks trolley in the aisle. Add a tight and scratchy outfit to that and the Air Marshals may need to be called.

Shoes: Converse Chuck Taylor Lights in Optical. Classics.
Jeans: Hudson
Singlet: one of my bulk-bought Target specials.
Top: Indigo. Wish I’d bought two. Oh I did.
Watch: Toy.
Chunky Kate Spade cuff.
All other jewellery the usuals.

Excuse lack of photographic focus. It was early and pre-coffee.

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