Starting with me

Ok, Let us begin. I want this blog to be honest and real. I’m a straight talker. I don’t beat about the bush. I dont bs. Our interior choices speak volumes about who we are and our homes are extentions of our personalities, right? So, because my home is so bright and colourful, I must be the happiest person on earth right? Wrong.

I have my favourite colour blue in every room in my house (apart from my toilet and bathroom) which is apparently a calming and tranquil colour. Let me tell you, I’m many things, but calm and tranquil aren’t two of my better qualities!

It’s important you know where I came from. I don’t mean geographically, more, why I’m interested in Interior Styling in the first place. I’m 34 and have always thought my style was a bit weird. In my 20’s,  If I pointed something out that I liked in say, a shop, the reply from whoever I was with would always be the same. “Yes, It’s very you”. And I always took that as a bit of an insult. It was polite speak for “it’s not my cup of tea but whatever floats your boat”. But now, I take “it’s very you” as a compliment! It means that I have a recognised style, which yes, may be a bit different sometimes, but I now embrace ‘the weird’ more than fight it. It’s taken me a long time to figure out who I am, be comfortable in my own skin and discover what I actually like and I can’t say it’s always come naturally to me. I’ve never been one of those people who can just throw something together and it just looks effortlessly cool. And I constantly get it wrong!

So, here’s the thing. I’m here, writing this blog, as I quit my job in January. I’ve worked in Childcare for 17 long years in an array of different positions, from schools, to nurseries,to children’s centres, charities and cruise ships. I’ve done it all from babies to teens. Last year, my husband and I had IVF after years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive naturally, and it failed. I went back to work shortly after and I was a total zombie. It was as though I wasn’t fully present and I just couldn’t care like I used to.  I knew that my life working with children couldn’t continue. Going to work was a constant reminder of what I wasn’t able to achieve and I was absolutely miserable. It’s a cliché but on Dr’s orders (after a proper meltdown), I went on holiday to ‘find myself’ again, did A LOT of thinking, came home and handed in my notice. Simple as that.  The relief was amazing! I hadn’t acknowledged or appreciated how hard it was to work with kids every day whilst not being able to have them. It was daily, mental torture. When I quit, it’s like I’d released myself from all that anguish and pain. I could deal with infertility like a normal person! Not with it shoved down my throat each and every day. It was litreally a weight lifted.

So now being able to deal with my personal life in a healthier way, it left me wondering (well. Panicking) about what the crapping hell was I going to actually ‘do’ now I no longer ‘do’ childcare. My qualifications are in childcare. I have zero experience in anything else, minus my Saturday job working on the tills in Iceland when I was 15, although I’m not sure that counts.  So I asked myself, what am I good at? Tough question to answer for a person with surprisingly low self esteem. I thought, I’m OK at singing? Perhaps I could do weddings or something? But then I remembered that I am terrified of singing on my own in front of people. Slight glitch. I love photography and I guess I’m OK at that too but I couldnt really work out how that could make me any money when I’ve only got a shitty Cannon compact camera. So, a bit stuck, I threw the question out  to a few friends and they were like “DURRRR? Your house? Why is this even a question?”. It came as a shock to me, it really did. I’ll say it again, I always thought my house was a bit weird! I thought it was “very me” but not “very anyone else”. I didn’t really realise that other people actually liked it! But to my dismay, apparently they do! Mind blown 🔫💥

And so the story begins. I had a bunch of really supportive, encouraging people around me, telling me to do this. “Cease the day. What have I got to lose? You’ll never know what could happen unless you try”. Yada yada yada. So I’m going to go along with it.  Interior Styling I mean. I’m giving it a go! I trust those friends. They believe in me and eventually I think I may learn to do the same. So I’m currently creating new looks for two friends in their homes. One kitchen, one living room. (I’ll of course blog about their progress). I’ve signed up for a painting and decorating course. I’m blogging! *me? Blogging? As if!* And I’m basically starting to put some feelers out and see where it takes me. It’s exciting! I think?

It’s also quite scary to be professing to the world that “I can do this”, so I’m actually not going to. To say “I’m now an interior stylist” is a bit cringe for me. I’m not delusional! I’m just making an opportunity for myself because I’m unemployed! That’s pretty much it?! I’m OBVIOUSLY not an interior stylist. But what I am is someone who really enjoys styling my home and I’m going to transfer that joy I have by perhaps designing other people’s homes…. if they’d like me too! You say tomato, I say “I just like making rooms colourful and inviting”.  If I can turn this into a little job, something to fill my days and perhaps earn me some pocket money, fantastic! If not, a bunch of people in my life, husband included, have really lifted me up after a proper shit 12 months and given me the confidence to think that I’m good at something other than looking after other people’s sprogs. That’s something to be celebrated I reckon.

💛 Welcome to my colourful home💛

And welcome to my living room! It’s a sunny room, with 2 windows on different walls, which helps this to be the light, airy space that it is. It also happens to be my favourite room in my house. There are lots of squares aren’t there? Hmmmm.  This wasn’t a conscious decision by any means! I suppose I’m a big fan of symmetry. That dates back to Spiragraphs as a child. Remember those?

The shelving units were picked up half price in a Next sale, years ago. They were a horrid, mock, birch effect things. Just cheap mdf really. So I put a coat of “sticks to absolutely anything” spray paint from B&Q (not it’s official name. Just what I call it!), allowed it to dry and then brought 3 tester pots of paint from Wilkos in colours that I liked. It wasn’t a particularly ‘thought out’ idea, but my best ideas never are. My living room at this stage had lots of green accents but I knew I wanted to fade the green out and run with blue and yellow. Well. Habitat Kingfisher Blue and Habitat Mustard if we’re being precise. Man I’m gutted they discontinued their paints. They were great! I’m usually very happy with Dulux but I strayed to Habitat once and didn’t regret it.

The blue Square with the Morgan Kane print in it was inspired by the shelving. I like how angular everything is but at the same time, it’s imperfect. I purposely wanted to place the print off centre just to add a bit of interest. I often like things that aren’t quite perfect, but they’re trying! If everything looks too symmetrical or ‘placed’ that’s when I find that design starts to look a bit contrived and staged. That’s when the “show home” look creeps in. I want my home to be a home, not a set.

Behind my ‘you look lovely’ mirror is a mustard triangle.  I hated the line between the two a joining walls. One white. One mustard. It was too severe. There was no blend. It’s why I’m not so keen on feature walls. I like to try and blend the walls together in anyway I know how. So, I just started at the top corner and brought an angle down onto the white wall. I’d seen it on Pinterest and knew it’d be fitting in this room.

As for our stairs, that lead off the living room, I painted a faux bannister with the mustard that’s on the TV Wall and created a gallery staircase. It may look very “thrown together”, and I’d love to say it was, but unfortunately I did have to plan the placements of the frames quite meticulously. Nailing that many holes into the wall? I knew I had to get it right first time! This isn’t our forever home and I sometimes look at my stairs and think “the poor people who are going to buy this house are going to absolutely curse me!” for some of these decisions! 😂 Oh well. It looks great and I often feel that our stairways get quite neglected or seen as a mere passage to get from one space to another. I wanted to utilise it as it’s own, unique space. (And to stop the harshness of the blue wall meeting the mustard wall I placed a plant in the corner to break it up. Little tip there if these things bother you like they bother me!)

My teak sideboard was an Ebay find. A steal at £150. Over the years I’ve toyed with the idea of painting a design on it or putting some wallpaper on it. But I love it in it’s original form and would hate to somehow ruin it. I got it years before having a teak sideboard was “cool”. Not that I’m gloating! But usually when a trend takes off it puts me right off ‘said thing’ and I’ll turn the other cheek, not wanting to fit a mould or look like I’m following a heard. It’s just the way I am. But, I have an emotional tie to that sideboard because it was the first piece of furniture that we got when we moved in so I could never get rid of it simply because of my aversion to trends. It’s now a sentimental piece and I’ll have it forever.