Category: Reclaiming the Home

An evening off.

Wow! I have an evening off! It has certainly been a busy few months. Let me give you a news update, now that I have the chance.

Work. There has been plenty of it, for fun and profit. Business is very busy indeed. I was a little overwhelmed for a while there and couldn’t blog or do anything outside of work. But it is easing back now and I am so looking forward to Christmas holidays.

Travel. There was loads! I went to the Netherlands, then went a second time. Then I went to India and then to California. I’m back in London now and I have lots of photos to share with you. In the spring of 2018 I am going to Washington! I’ve never been there before.

Romance. Omg! It has been really exciting. I had to check back to earlier posts to find out what I told you so far about Harry. We are getting along very happily. We had our first date in mid May and that means we’ve been seeing each other for six months! He is at my place most of the time and is on track for coming to live with me full time in the new year. His family (parents, brothers, extended family) have been informed about our relationship and are understandably very curious about me. I spoke to his older brother (27) on the phone a couple of days ago and we have invited Mum (53) out to dinner. Eek! His brother told me that after being initially reticent, Harry now talks about me a lot. I need to lose ten (30) pounds and get my teeth bleached.

Health. Fucking teeth. We’re looking at doing another bone graft in 2018 on the other side of my face.

Art. Yes! I managed to see art in the Netherlands and India, photos forthcoming.

Christmas. I cannot wait, seriously. I am going to take as many days off work as possible and clean and decorate the house so we can have a romantic Xmas holiday with the new boyfriend. I have some awesome new decorations for the tree which I will show you nearer the time. Robots, dinosaurs and various other things.

Gaming. Year of the Console Game has been on hold for the last six weeks, after my work diary blew up and obliterated everything. I am very excited to get back on it asap. We are on Month 10 and were supposed to start Dead Island on 1 October. I am much happier when I have gaming in my life and I don’t find most mobile games quite as rewarding. Harry plays chess.

As you can see, everything is basically okay. Photos and travel news shortly. We have some catching up to do.

 

Christmas Tableware

I continue to nearly drown in a tidal wave of incoming business. I am stressy and emotional. Only one thing soothes my shredded nerves, apart from Harry of course, and that is looking at Christmas Stuff that I do not need and have nowhere to keep.

Today the stuff that is attracting my attention is Christmas tableware, which looks like this. This is all very tasteful and I want some of it.

I am supposed to be decluttering so that Harry can move in, I do not have room for another complete dinner service. I am trying to think of ways to sneak it into the flat, which could be difficult because I’m never home at the moment, while he is there all the time.

Spode Christmas Tree

http://www.spode.co.uk/christmas-shop/christmas-entertaining/tableware/spode-christmas-tree.html

I really like those green bands, they are really 1930s. Spode, a British pottery, says the design dates from 1938.

Cup and saucer, £30 for a set of four.

spode xmas cup saucer

Dinner plates, side plates and dishes, £60 for a 12-piece set.

spode xmas plates 2

 

Portmeirion Holly & Ivy

http://www.portmeirion.co.uk/christmas-shop/christmas-entertaining/tableware/the-holly-and-the-ivy.html

Portmeirion is another British company, I have blogged about it before and use the Water Garden range for my everyday tableware. It is the first time that I’ve had a matching set and it gives me so much pleasure. The Holly & Ivy range is elegant and grown-up.

Cup and saucer, £19.50 per set of 1 cup, 1 saucer.

 

portmeirion holly tea cup

10″ dinner plate, £16.50 per plate.

portmeirion holly dinner plate

Villeroy & Boch

https://www.villeroy-boch.co.uk/shop/winter-bakery-delight-flat-plate.html

Villeroy & Boch is a German manufacturer of ceramics. I didn’t know about this lovely brand until recently, Harry told me about it, apparently his mother likes it. I can see why.

A delightful plate for Christmas baked goods, £19.90.

villeroy boch xmas bakery plate

I added up some prices and it came out as follows. Enough Portmeirion Holly and Ivy tableware for two people (2 each of cup & saucer, dinner plate, side plate, dish) comes to £133. Pros: You can buy the pieces individually and I only need enough china for two people, esp in light of the storage space issue. Cons: This is an expensive range. The Spode Christmas Tree range, which is also really nice comes to only £90 and a complete 20-piece set includes enough place settings for four people.

I will let you know what happens. Expect more Christmas-related posts over the coming weeks because the thought of eventually getting some holiday from work in December is all that’s keeping me sane right now. And of course I want nice tableware, of course I do.

Clean as Christmas 

A rare photo of my house looking clean and tidy and it’s not even Xmas. Look at the shine on that floor.

Still to do:

  • clean the small bathroom, replace bath mat
  • wash dishes
  • clean kitchen floor (no time to repaint)
  • swish and swipe larger bathroom
  • clean the visible bits of the fridge
  • mop hall floor
  • remaining dusting as necessary
  • clean marks off walls and woodwork that I missed last night
  • hoover floors that haven’t been done yet
  • take rubbish out
  • put towels in bathrooms
  • go to supermarket and buy a Victoria sponge
  • shower, wash hair
  • nails
  • bleach teeth
  • allow plenty of time for make-up
  • try to find a dress that is flattering and doesn’t need ironing

I hope he doesn’t want to come over too early. I’d better get on.

Tea Set

I can’t believe I was foolhardy enough to invite Harry over when I was right in the middle of de-cluttering the spare room. I had already pulled all the junk out of that room and it was all over the floor in the living room and hall. It was well past the stage where I could just shove the junk back where it came from. The only way out was through. That’s why I’ve been doing housework for 24 hours now and yet I’ve only just arrived at the stage where I can vacuum the floors.

Anyway, he is coming to tea tomorrow and I am looking forward to it. My house will be as clean as it ever gets by then and we will be able to use my Portmeirion tea set, which I have been looking forward to. I do love a nice tea set. This one even has matching spoons. You can get yours here.

Portmeirion is a pottery and also a highly unusual village and resort in North Wales. I remember my grandparents taking me when I was a kid. I’d like to return. Maybe I’ll go with Harry if we keep seeing each other.

portmeirion aerialviewofvillage

(c) http://www.portmeirion-village.com

Oh god, the hoarding.

OK, so you know that nice lady who says that decluttering your linen takes 10-15 minutes? Yeah.

  • I did 7.5 hours of ironing before I lost track of the time. 7.5 HOURS. The way it goes is you iron a duvet cover with the fancy, difficult edging, then right at the end of ironing the duvet cover for 45 minutes you discover a hole or a stain or something else wrong with it. Poppers that don’t do up. This also especially applies to fitted sheets. You can spend ages ironing a fitted sheet and then in very last bit you iron there will be some disfiguring stain or hole that disqualifies it from being your best linen.
  • I own 15-20 duvet covers. I do not know how that happened.
  • I only own about 6 bottom sheets and nearly all of them are marked or flawed in some way.
  • I have too many sets of matching pillowcases where one pillowcase has eyeliner or mascara stains on it that I can’t get out.
  • I can now fold a fitted sheet, not that brilliantly, but okay.

I’ve never felt hoarding tendencies so strongly before today. Normally I am good at decluttering, I can pitch things and not feel bad for their loss. But I need to let go of a lot of bed linen, a lot. Some of it, I was glad to see the back of:

  • Two depressing duvet covers with matching pillow cases that are 20 years old and that don’t have particularly good memories attached to them and that I don’t use. One threadbare Postman Pat pillowcase. A couple of sheets for a single bed (I own no such bed). Duvet covers that are grey and industrial and make my bedroom look like a man lives there.

Some of it is much harder to let go of!!

  • Duvet covers where there is nothing at all wrong with them except I have too many. I can hardly bear to let go of them. There’s a big part of my brain that keeps going “but you might need them! they’re perfectly fine! they might come in handy!” But realistically, what is going to happen? Am I going to have 15 guests come to stay? No, I am not. And anyway I don’t have 15 duvets that I could put that many covers on. And I don’t have the storage space for all this crap, I really don’t. It’s got to go.

Anyway. I have managed to get it down to 4 sets of linen. 4.5 if you count one duplicate duvet cover that I can’t bear to part with because it is particularly nice, this being why I bought two. I don’t know why I am obsessing. It’s not even expensive stuff. I looked on Amazon and you can get duvet covers just like this for £8 and pillowcases are going for 55p each.

Here are three of my sets of fully ironed linen. As you can see, I succeeded in making each set fit inside a pillowcase and pinned the parcels shut with dressmakers’ pins like so. That’s my Portmeirion tea set in the background, which I will show you properly another time.

folded sheets

Right, I must do a bit more ironing for the last parcel of linen, then all the rest of it is going out the door. And that’s me done for today. Needless to say, I have not started on the towels.

More horrifying scenes of domestic squalor.

As you know, beloved readers, TLYW is not just about skipping around London and indeed the world, going to art museums and operas, even though these things are very important. It is about trying to find out how to live. How to organise yourself, how to discipline yourself, how to get all your work done, how to arrange things so that they are as comfortable as possible today while not being liable to fuck you up tomorrow. How to provide for your own needs.

You would think this would be easy, being single and not part of a family unit but I think it is in some ways harder. You have the freedom to curate your home and your life the exact way you want but it also gives you the freedom to trash your house if you have tendencies in the direction of untidiness, hoarding, thinking the housework only needs to be done 2-3 times/year, etc.

I suddenly find myself in the middle of a massive episode of decluttering, the like of which we have not seen for probably a couple of years. This is because I have thoroughly filled up my so-called spare room with rails of dresses, with the result that there’s no room left for all the other junk I routinely throw in there. So, bit by bit, I am pulling it out into the hall and rationalising it as much as possible. A lot of it is just cardboard boxes of assorted crap, old papers, 19 tubs of lip balm, etc.

That’s when it occurred to me that there were sheets and towels in about five different locations around the flat, so I gathered them all together. Those two boxes on the right are all towels. That’s not counting kitchen towels. The entire tower on the left is bed linen.

linen

Clearly, this is too much bed linen for one person. Even if I have a guest sleeping on the sofa bed and we both vomit on ourselves in the night, I still only need 4 sets of bed linen in total. So I am going to use this lady’s advice to rationalise down to 4 sets, stuffing each set inside of one of its own pillowcases.

She says it is a 10-15 minute task but as we all know, I am shit at housework, so I will time myself and find out how long it actually takes.

Then I will rationalise the towels. The objective is to make all the bed linen and towels fit into this cupboard.

linen cupboard

Wish me luck. This is not particularly what I wanted to be doing, I have a lot of work on and I would rather be at the gym if I have any free time, but it is what it is. I have a lot of clothes now, and I know which I like more between new dresses and old duvet covers. Something had to give.

ironing

I’ll post photos when done. Oh god, this is going to involve folding fitted sheets and everything.

Work

For a few days after I came out of hospital, with my injured wrist and my bloaty head (both mostly recovered), I did well at maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I went outdoors and exercised every day, building up my stamina and mileage. I avoided sugar after 10am. I ate meals at set times, following a schedule that was dictated by the need to take antibiotics on an empty stomach.

Then, work. A new contract came in. It looks like a big project. We are yet to find out how much the customer is willing to spend. If they pay the full amount we are asking for then I’ve just covered my expenses for the rest of 2017. If they pay a quarter of that, it is still worth having and I can justify going on holiday, so yay for work and money.

As a result, I’ve been extremely busy writing proposals and whatnot. My lifestyle instantly plummeted into something horrible where I ate chocolate cake and ice cream like it was an Olympic event and sat at my desk for 18 hours/day.

Anyway, the paperwork is done now. I’ve gained a couple of pounds but it’s my own fault. My flat is completely and utterly trashed and I need to clean up right now even if it is midnight because that’s how urgent it is.

When I found my wallet just now, after having lost it for several days, part of my brain instantly went ‘That’s enough housework for today! Let’s play video games!’ But I am resisting because I am being responsible.

There is an exciting week ahead featuring opera, ballet and possibly a couple of dates.