Category Archives: House

Post-natal realisation


The trouble with motherhood, I’m finding, is that although it’s pretty relentless physically and emotionally, there’s quite a lot of brainspace to contemplate What Am I Doing with My Life? As anyone who’s been in this situation will know, it’s not always a Good Thing. The sort of thoughts that rattles around in my dusty head at the moment are not always stuff to be proud of either…

  • What are those weird spots on the landing carpet? At least I managed to galvanise myself to blast them with half a bottle of Vanish this morning; so they’re now weird blotches rather than dodgy looking spot trails.
  • Please can you get out of my house! Thoughts vigorously directed at the carpenters who’ve been laying our hall floor here for the last two days (pretty competently, to be fair), but who came round today to spend 10 minutes ‘finishing off’ and another 30 minutes repeating ‘As I say, it’s the attention to detail, and I can’t help it, that’s what I’m like‘. I know!!! But please go!!! It’s my one day in the house with no children, and I want to eat my weight in chocolate, watch the Good Wife and tackle hemming curtains.
  • Aagh, where on earth do I start? With endless family, house, business and personal to-do lists I’ve spent most of today starting one thing, remembering something more urgent, and moving on. Consequently DH arrives home to find the kitchen still full of porridge bowls, and the study still looking like an EU paper mountain. The bedroom floor is probably covered with pins that DS2 will eat when he settles down for his pre-breakfast snack of carpet fluff tomorrow morning. The more trivial my list of jobs, the more indecisive I become. And when I find my iPhone ‘To do’ app can’t sync with my computer I go into a dizzy spin of failure to achieve.
  • Why am I doing this at all? I could instead spend hours surfing around American ‘home’ blogs and immerse myself in the world of manic crafters. Curtains shmurtains, I should be sewing book holders for the boys’ room (see right) and drawing gorgeous things on our blackboard door (instead of just a scribbled ‘The Loo’). I used to love all this stuff, and 20 years ago I would have yearned for a Kirstie Allsopp life.
  • So why aren’t I enjoying myself doing that then? In between then and now I also became Corporate. I earned my own money; I managed big budgets; I ran teams and projects and Made Things Happen.
  • Oh my god I’m a walking cliche None of this is helped by the fact that I am very lucky to have two lovely healthy children, a house that is finally taking shape and feeling like a home, and a DH who has shown a surprising patrician tendency for someone who was almost a member of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party to cheerfully fund house improvements, nursery days, and even give me a little bit of money each month for ‘pretty little trinkets’ (our joke. In fact it enables me to keep the Home Counties branches of Costa afloat).
  • Could I / should I get a job again? Slightly complicated by the fact that I set up my own business shortly before becoming pregnant with DS1. Determined not to let children get in the way of my quest to become Businesswoman of the Year I have striven for the last 3-4 years to keep everything afloat, but it has been hard, loss-making, and ultimately quite depressing. Hence extreme levels of navel gazing now. And no salaried job to go back to anyway.
  • Should we have another baby? Currently it feels like the only thing I’m good at doing, but bearing in mind it’ll take a good year at the earliest to pop out and we’re both hurtling through our 5th decade, and the hideousness of the first 6 months, and the side-effects of pregnancy – even a good one – in practice that doesn’t appeal. Though if we had more there’d be more of them to look after us in our dotage. But we’re lucky enough to have two delightful, healthy boys. Would we be pushing our luck?
  • Why aren’t I happy being a housewife? Should I set up a support network for Housewives with MBAs? Why did I bother with all that? Would I be happier if I were doing regular exercise [I know the answer to this]. The boys will be at school in just a few years and everyone I know who’s working says they miss the time they’re not with their children. Stop moaning, think yourself lucky and just enjoy it.
  • Should I buy a running machine? It’d go in the garage and I could beetle away on it while DS2 is having a nap and become lithe, fit and full of endorphins.

Basically I am suffering from a post-natal malaise that comes from no exercise, too much chocolate, a degree of weariness at being thrown up on (admittedly compensated for by cuddles), lack of contact with a non-baby world, guilt at not appreciating what I’ve got, and, in my darkest moments, the thought that the rest of my life will go as follows: 20 years looking after children, 10 years looking after aged mother, 10 years looking after aged DH, and finally a bit of time to myself when I’m about 80.

So, off to load the dishwasher. I think the treadmill will be the answer, as long as my pelvic floor is up to it. I did a star jump the other day and my uterus nearly fell out (not funny). The rest of my problems will be solved from there.

September house help from Livingetc


I know how I work; browse, dream, turn down page corners, and then the magazine slides under the sofa and that’s the end of that until it’s rediscovered a year later, trends are moving on, and I have to trawl through it all over again. I Do Not Have time for that! And we need to get the house finished by Christmas. To avoid a nervous breakdown.

So, officially, this is What I Like from this month’s issue of Livingetc:

  • Log holders from Chesneys for our fireside
  • Gorgeous dragonfly mural from John Lewis (though disappointed by the other design options. We’ve enough maps already in the house thank you very much).
  • Grey. In the bedroom. We’ve so far just painted the whole house white. But I am, oooh, missing some colour (and so going a bit overboard in the boys’ room). But how classy does it look? (Rhetorical question; I’ll have to scan it in…)
  • Conran designing for M&S – looking forward to seeing it (RIP Habitat)
  • Bench from Another Country. If only it were for outdoors. Would be perfect on our porch for me to sit on slurping coffee monitoring DS1 on his scooter.
  • Mirrored panels on the bath. Although in actual fact what I think I’m really yearning for is a nice clean bathroom, with no rubber ducks spouting mouldy water.
  • Swedish designed oilcloth (god I love Scandi stuff) from 10-Gruppen. A somewhat expensive and lengthy way to get something to protect the table when DS1 is drawing (please can we just fast forward to the time when he can keep it on the paper?)
  • Cubit modular shelving system. While nothing could beat our house’s love of Vitsoe, this looks interesting (and I’ve spent more hours than I care to remember looking at shelving over the last year or so). I like it.

And finally a linocut by Paul Catherall coming up at the Affordable Art Fair in October. Colour, you see, I’m desperate for it. Even if it does come in the form of a powerstation in Chelsea.

12 days to go. And fed up.


This is partly to do with the tedium of sleeping first on one side (trying to bias towards the left), and then eventually when hips start hurting, lumbering over to the right, and then feeling the baby readjust itself, and then rolling into the middle of our prehistoric bed, and then either getting too hot, or too cold, and then having a nightmare featuring an exboyfriend, which always makes me feel fed up and cross for the rest of the day.

It’s also to do with having an email from one of my best clients late last night who just wasn’t happy, and now having to sort that today (but it’s 9.55am and I clearly haven’t put on my work cap just yet.)

And a general malaise left over from yesterday, after dinner the day before with a friend whose business is now turning over £3m. Whereas my most recent accounts showed £3k. For the uninitiated, the difference between the letters ‘m’ and ‘k’ in this context is 1,000.

And BF and I can’t agree on carpet colour for the bedroom; he wants something bright and exciting; I want something neutral and sophisticated. It’s a big space so this is a bit of a once in a lifetime decision. I think I’m going to have to resort to polling friends on Facebook to get a critical mass behind my argument. 

And we are overdrawn again, mostly due to extortionate decorating charges.

And BF remarked this morning over breakfast (with me in my dressing gown) how “astonishingly beautiful” one of the BBC presenters was who was being reviewed in the paper (he’d met her once in a lift). I’m sure she is (and he did caveat it by saying that she wasn’t very nice), but more irritatingly in this housebound role I have I don’t even have much opportunity now to come across astonishingly gorgeous people with which to counter his comments. When I was swanning around the streets of Londinium in days gone by there were all manner of possibilities for having Deep and Meaningful glances with highly attractive males, but when the postman’s typically the only chap I see all day now (and he is not a looker), I’m definitely on the losing side in this department.

Is it too early for elevenses? I need some chocolate…