In a Sunday frame of mind

As I sit in bed, looking out of the window at the rain (finally!), I find myself thinking of rituals and comfort. We’re getting the little one ready to start school in just 6 short weeks (where the frack did all that time go!?) and the thing that is being shouted at us left right and centre is routine, routine, routing. Children sleep better when they have a bedtime routine, children behave when they are in a routine and know what to expect, children are more resilient when they have structure… If you have kids this isn’t news to you.

What about us though? Us, the fully matured (snork), developed adults of the world.

Sleep experts tell us to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Our routines and rituals are no less important than those of our smalls. I enjoy ritual. I love the comfort of things going as expected. When I’m feeling less than stellar, the first thing that takes a hit is my resilience. Usually is starts with not being able to stand the thought of someone else making my coffee. (I’m VERY particular about coffee, and there are few people I would trust with such an important job.) Baking is another ritual that calms. Taking a list of ingredients and bringing them together properly brings a reward not just of order, but of cake. I can’t think of anything more perfect. Take chaos, organise, create oder, get cake.

My life is full of little rituals. I like to start every Sunday by bing the first one awake. I fix myself some coffee, grab my laptop, and come back to bed for some reflection and Pinterest time. It’s bliss. Just a little beat, a moment in the chaos of life, but something to which I can bring order. So I do. What rituals bring you comfort?

So, half way through 2018, yeah?

I actually can’t believe that I haven’t written anything this year. It has been mental. What a year so far. Last time I went this long without blogging I was ill and growing a human (the two were related). No human growing this time. Really, really, really.

Milo is getting close to starting school now, and that totally baffles me. I’ve finally got around to finishing painting the doors in the house, which I started some 4 years ago. I’m still happily employed, although somewhat busier than I have been in a while – Both sides of the freelance line. My accidental activism continues and I’m still trying to convince the world that gender binary isn’t a thing. Still pushing outside of my comfort zone, still appreciating design and colour and all the beautiful, wonderful things.

Just checking in really.

Pantone Colour of the Year 2018

Pantone_Snipped_2017_0So! The colour of 2018 has been announced. It’s been a while since I’ve got really into the CoTY – in fact the last time I really paid close attention was 2012, with ‘Tangerine Tango’. In a fit of fashionable-ness, I colour matched some paint and painted my kitchen. Looking back, I’m not sure it was the best decision I’ve ever made. (On a side note, I do miss my old flat. It was perfect and bright and brilliant).

Here we are, hurtling towards the end of 2017, and the release of next year’s colour has got me thinking about plans. My flat is fairly static, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before I paint my walls anything that isn’t grey, so I’ll be looking at other outlets for colour. I’d love an excuse to pick up an amethyst geode to sit alongside my rose quartz and my smudge sticks, so that’ll probably be my starting point. The other element that will probably see more than a little purple is my hair. Silver grey though it is, it often ends up with a lilac hue, so a little more intention here could make my head the most consistent canvas for displaying 18-3838.

I wonder if there are hair dye manufacturers that subscribe to the PMS? 🙂  There’s a hipster market there…

Why “The Shadow Gallery”?

VweareinshadowI’ve been asked recently why I call my home ‘The Shadow Gallery’. First off, I like to read graphic novels, and I am a big Alan Moore fan. V for Vendetta is a hugely important book to me. It was the first ‘serious’ graphic novel I read, and was lent to 16 year old me by a very dear (and long, long, lost) friend. I put off reading it for a long time, and then hungrily consumed the whole tome in two days.  There is a lot to fall in love with. Let’s take all the political overtones out (tricky, I know) and focus on V and Evey.

They both grow so much in the time that they’re together, and find themselves capable of things that they couldn’t conceive of being able to do. V is always careful to present as an idea behind the mask, and never as a person. That always hit me incredibly hard – that our bodies are just the conduit for our will, and our identities exist to some extent for the benefit of others. V’s existentialism aside, the story largely takes place in The Shadow Gallery – a labyrinthine underground compound at least partially constructed in Victoria Underground Station after it had been abandoned. The Gallery was built by V and contains censored art, music and film. There are flowers and beauty and it’s a safe place for V both psychologically and physically. It is V’s home. V takes Evey in to this fantastic space unapologetically.

My home is my safe place. It is calm, it is ordered, it has everything I need. If the world is burning, it’s where I want to be. Like V, my home is a glimpse into my psyche, and I make no apologies. My home is there to please me and my family, and fit our exact needs. It doesn’t exist to please anyone else. It is not censored. It is The Shadow Gallery. It is my home. Do you like it? I built it myself you know.

The Sunday Soothe

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content”.


How true this is. As Christmas fast approaches, I find myself deep in the throes of purging. All the accumulated paperwork, Kinder Egg toys, Birthday cards for three and long expired vouchers. It’s the time just before Christmas, when you put all the presents on top of/at the back of the wardrobe and you suddenly have the revelation that you’re going to have to find a proper home for all of this on Dec 26 leads me into a slight panic. This has driven a bit of a tidy and a huge amount of reflection on my part.

I was talking to a friend this week about New Years’ Resolutions and whether we’d made any progress towards them. I think this year has been a bit of a shit-show all round really, so perhaps I should be kinder to myself and focus on what I have achieved, rather than the shortfall. My word for next year (this year if you follow the Pagan wheel…) is “Curate”. Curated possessions, curated friends, curated social media, curated clients, curated emotions. The Internet in general and Instagram in particular have a lot to answer for in showing how neat life can be. I’m a very neat monster. I like things to be tidy and ordered, and a visit recently to the Present&Correct shop in Islington really cemented how much I am soothed by order. I mean, my mental state should probably be the subject of another post, but in a nutshell, order=good, chaos=bad.


Good life advice: Buy clothes that fit.

The struggle, as the kids say, is real. Two years ago now, I KonMari’d my flat. Clothes, sentiment, practical stuff, the kitchen – the works. Two years later and we’re still in pretty good shape. My flat is reasonably neat pretty much all of the time, and I have no worries about having to tidy up before my cleaner arrives. The only area I’ve had any trouble with is my clothes. I have a wardrobe full of basic tees and sweaters and I don’t/won’t/can’t wear them (this is today’s discard pile). Why…?

I’m between 5’7″ and 5’8″ depending on the time of day, but I am NOT evenly proportioned. I have regular – even slightly short – legs, and then this ridiculous torso. I’ve literally only just come to terms with this. I’ve spent the last 20 years buying tops that don’t fit. The shoulders are never right. The sleeves are NEVER long enough. They’re basically crop tops. This is not a good look for me. A couple of months ago I finally had this epiphany and bought a bunch of tops from UK tall person shop, Long Tall Sally. MIND BLOWN. Since that fairly basic revelation I’ve scoped out Next tall, ASOS tall and some other ranges, and it’s made a massive difference. Not only do my clothes actually cover my body, but I’ve had the psychological boost of not having to buy clothes 3 sizes too big (bonus). The elbows are in the right places, the head holes are the right proportions. The waists are in the right place.

So. Whatever your body – buy clothes that were made for it. If you’re petite, search out clothes designed with your frame in mind. If you’re larger, find designers that understand your challenges. If you’re top heavy, there are stores that cater for your struggles. Whatever body you have, be kind to it, and treat it to clothes that were made for it. Your body and your confidence will thank you.


On Gender, and the massive problem of ticking boxes.

pronounsPart of my life involves being an accidental LGBT activist. I’m Bisexual (hi!) and I’m female. My sex is female, my gender is pretty much female. I’m comfortable with that. I’m a bit of a tomboy and I get stressed out by chivalry and the societal concept of gendered behaviour. I have a beautiful, long-haired boy and he wears jeans, corduroy trousers, bright chunky jumpers, and stripes, and every day someone mis-genders him. This isn’t a problem for me, I just quietly return the conversation to the correct* pronouns, and that usually does the trick. Occasionally people apologise, and that makes me chuckle because what the person is apologising for is calling my son a girl. They’re not generally apologising for making a gender assumption. Sometimes I can use it as an education and remind people that it’s easy to make assumptions, and a great was to find out what pronouns to use is to ask something like ‘how old is your little one’? Generally a parent will give a clue there, either in the name or by giving a straight up gender. Easy.

This week I’ve been running some awareness comms at work – where I chair our LGBT network – around gender identity. I’ve been highlighting the difference between sex (body bits) and gender (what your head tells you) and how to show respect to everybody. I’m designing and introducing pronoun badges that people can wear on their lanyards with space to write in their choice – be it he/him, they/them, she/her or whatever else. Personally, I’m about 99% she/her. That’s not quite the whole story though, as I choose a gender neutral name, I use the Mx title wherever possible, and I’ve been known to tick the ‘other’ box for the gender question. I’m not genderqueer or gender fluid, but I have the strong belief the gender is irrelevant. So, where does this leave me as a parent? I would never put my son in a dress or stop him from playing with diggers. I would never force him into a pirate costume for a princess and pirate party if he wanted to wear a tutu. I won’t cut his hair until he asks me to.

Finally, we’ve been trying to choose a school this past month. (Already. I know.) One of the questions I’ve asked at each school has been around the uniform policy and how strictly gendered it is. Partly I want to know that Lo will be OK to have long hair and to wear a cardigan rather than a sweater, but mostly I want to see how the schools handle that question. On our first choice school visit, I was able to ask the head teacher, and her response was amazing. She smiled and told me that the uniform was exactly that – a UNIform. For everyone. As long as the children were in uniform and long hair was tied back, she was happy. Girls in shorts. Boys in cardigans.  The fact that she didn’t baulk at the question was exactly the response we need to see. Love your children. Let them express themselves, see what they can do with no imposed limits.

*Correct pronouns: I may seem flippant here, but Milo is a boy. He is a he and will be unless he tells me otherwise. I think children (not toddlers or preschoolers, older children) are awfully astute and know themselves better than we give them credit for. However – I categorically disagree with the assertion that you can ‘give’ children gender dysphoria by encouraging free choice.

On what I do for a living and how I got there. (Subtitle: Do what you want).

So, this has been asked recently a few times, and I’m sure you can get a vague idea of my professional like from my Insta account…(recently changed from Mrs Elliott to Mx Elliott – more on that soon!!). I am…. I….. Well. I work in a small design studio. I would describe myself as a graphic designer but that’s not quite the whole story. Shall we start at the middle?

After doing a criminology degree and then working as an analyst for 6 years, I had a kid and took the plunge. I decided to do what made me happy. SHOCK! Despite my very analytical and ‘boring’ choices, I’ve always dabbled with art, illustration and design. While living with the Mista’s parents to save for a house, I decided to study study study, and put myself out there as a freelancer to gain a bit of experience and exposure. Yes, the industry has a ‘breaking-in’ problem, and working for exposure (as in, not cash) is not a good way to make a living, but as we were rent/mortgage/obligation free for a year, and I was still working full time as an analyst, I had literally nothing to lose.

So I did. I picked up a few gigs, illustrated for a magazine and some national campaigns, and even got a few award nominations under my belt. Working hard, and more importantly, working A LOT, opened the doors that I needed. Sleep is overrated, anyway.

Fast forward a couple of years and after returning to my analyst role post baby, I realised that all the ingredients were wrong. I found myself in the part-time mum boat of literally (and I mean literally) spending ALL my wages on childcare. I was going to work, so that I could afford to go to work. My role wasn’t making my happy, it was inflexible, I felt at odds with the management and I couldn’t see a future. When I went to work, I checked my crazy at the door. Age 28 and I was starting to turn into a bland, faceless corporate drone. The only thing that kept me sane (professionally) was that I had the opportunity to create and design data dashboarding, and was doing a bit of a job shadow with our internal communications team.

After a month back from Maternity leave, a part time role came up in said Internal Communications team. I applied and nailed it. The role still wasn’t the creative dream come true, but it was much closer to where I wanted to be. I was looking after business accounts and writing and editing copy, but there was an element of design to everything I did. Eventually, the other designer in the team left, and I had the chance to come in full time. I established a whole bunch of processes, and soon, the studio was formally created.

As I said, it’s a small studio, so there are lots of elements to what I do. In the last week I’ve created large format banners, digital assets, a new identifier (logo), an animation (kinetic typography – fun!), as well as headshots and videography. One day I’ll move into a creative director role, and for now, the skills I’m picking up in project and stakeholder management are definitely helping to build towards that. My advice to any aspiring creative is to do work – lots of it – anywhere you can. Whether that’s freelance (for fair pay – and I mean fair based on your skill and experience. Don’t work for free), or just starting to apply a design eye to whatever the hell is paying your mortgage right now – start. And don’t stop ’till you get enough.

On Swimming and ‘seeing it through’

When you have children, it’s pretty much expected that you will attend some form of ‘baby group’ or another. You name it – there’s a baby version of it. I’ve done yoga, music, dancing, gymnastics…and swimming. Swimming’s totally tops, best of the bunch. So much so that I’ve been doing it for nearly two and a half years. I swim with a local company called Turtle Tots and today I’m guest blogging on my experience, and why anti-social little me has stuck with the group so long. Enjoy!



Guilt revisited. One month on.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 19.58.15So…I recently spoke about guilt and I think I’ve figured it out. Where all that guilt is coming from. As humans we still very much live in survival mode. Sure we have nice houses and cars and pets and radiators and jam, but at our very heart we’re still pack runners. We find it hard to throw things away in case we ever need them, we get sleepy after we eat and we have a strong driving force to protect our young.

This generally means we do whatever we need to do for them, without too much regard for ourselves. We’ll catch a spider that’s scaring him even though we’re terrified. We’ll run into traffic to save her without a second thought. We’ll work a crappy job day in, day out, to put food on the table. It’s hard wired. I’ve spent the last two years in hardcore mama bear mode, and the truth is, there was no financial drive for me to return to work full time. We were comfortable with mt part time wage, so the decision was purely selfish. That’s right – this mama did something selfish.

Herein lies the problem. The majority of parents find it difficult to BE selfish. We’ve forgotten how to do it. Now I have a name for my guilt, though. I feel guilty for being selfish, which seems a little ironic, as selfishness is usually devoid of guilt. But, Milo has settled nicely into his new routine and is used to the way his weeks work now. Meanwhile, our weekends have got a whole load better as we really make the most of the family time we have.  I’m super organised with chores, laundry and batch cooking – but that’s another post for another day, and for now, everything’s working. It’s hard to believe that next year we’ll be applying for school places and then everything changes again. That’s life though, trying to put order in the chaos, and occasionally succeeding.


Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 19.58.15.png

Our little guy turned two recently and it was a hoot and a half. I still can’t quite get my head around how quickly he seems to be growing, but every day is awesome. Two years ago I was on Maternity Leave, which for those in the UK who qualify (read: have been working with a company with a maternity policy long enough), means you get a bit of time at almost your full wages, and then a bit of time on Statutory Maternity Pay, which is a bit crap. After about six months, you get nothing. I know that there are some countries (WTF America?!) that don’t have any form of Maternity pay and that must suck. For some women, staying home and spending time with this littles just isn’t an option, but for me, it was. I was lucky enough to stay home with my guy for seven months, and even Daddy got a month at home with us. 

After that I decided to go back to work. I realised I wasn’t happy in my pre-Mama role, so I got a job that I loved, and worked three days a week. The decision was partially financial, and partially driven by the fact that I didn’t want to lose my sense of self. I felt that it was important for Milo to socialise and spend time with other kiddos, and almost two years in, and he’s doing just great. I came to a bit of a crossroads recently, and had a lot of options available; one of which was to return to work full time, and in pretty much my dream job. It all sounds great. Milo could spend another day at nursery, which he loves, and another day with his Grandfolk, who love him. Perfect. 


All the guilt. It’s the prize that comes with having a tiny human. Parent guilt is quite unlike anything I’ve experienced before, and when it comes to guilt, I know my onions. If he goes to nursery, he won’t be spending enough time with me and won’t be a happy, attached child. If he stays at home, he won’t learn to get on with other children. If I work, I’m selfishly neglecting my kid. If I don’t work, I’m not contributing to the family and my skills are stagnating. Every decision seems wrong sometimes. To try and fix my dilemma I looked to Sweden. According to A LOT of sources, including Unicef, Swedish kids are the happiest in the world. It’s super common for Swedish parents to both work full time, and childcare is regulated and subsidised by the government. Swedish families do more in the time that they spend together, screen time is limited, they eat together. These are all things that we do with Milo. He has high quality childcare provision and we make to the most of the time that we spend together.

There’s still guilt, and I think that will be there, nagging away for a while yet. But tomorrow I will take Milo to his morning swimming lesson, dry my hair, take him to Nursery and then zoom off for my day of filming and editing. After my day is done, I’ll collect Milo, meet Daddy as he walks from the station, and we’ll have a meal that I’ve already cooked, and we’ll talk about our days. And at the weekend? The sky’s the limit.



Yep. I just turned thirty, and it’s the strangest thing. Thirty doesn’t feel like that much of a big deal to me. It’s been a good few years, and I really feel like I’ve grown into myself, into this part of my life. I’m happy with my body, my family’s ace, and I like where I live. I’m doing a job I actually love, and things are pretty swell. I want to talk a bit about my life and face and body at thirty, and who knows? Maybe It’ll be fun to look back on when I’m forty and dealing with a pre-teen? Yeah, totally fun.


I get told that my skin’s pretty good and for that I’m grateful. A few years ago I stopped fighting my skin and came to terms with its awkwardness. I have super sensitive ‘normal plus’ skin – by which I mean super dry on the cheeks, super oily on the T. I’ve found a mixture of manual exfoliation, super gentle cleansers and and a light but quenching moisturiser is working wonders. I use a Clarisonic Mia once a day with a bit of Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, followed by Indeed labs moisturiser. In the evenings I use straight up Cleanse and Polish (with the muslin cloth), which pulls off any make-up I happen to be wearing. I sometimes wear mascara and eyebrow pencil, and very occasionally I wear Benefit Hello Flawless foundation, and maybe a cat-eye flick of eyeliner.
What I put on my face.jpg


So…the body thing. I’ve always had a variety of body issues-both far too big and far too small. I’ve always had trouble matching the inside to the outside. Whilst I was pregnant I lost a fairly significant amount of weight – so I was lucky that I was carrying excess baggage or I would have been very ill indeed. So. I’m smaller now than I have been for a while and I’m trying to keep on top of that. I’ve recently completed Gillian Michael’s Thirty Day Shred and I’m about to hit it again. It was awesome and hard and yes. It kicked my ass. I’ve got stretchmarks and scars and all sorts of other stories on my body, and I’m cool with that. My thirtieth birthday present was to spend 5 hours in my favorite tattoo shop getting some flowers that will never wilt.

Rose tattoo.png


As we’ve recently discussed, I’ve embraced the whole capsule wardrobe thing and that’s working out pretty well for me. I’ve been sticking to dark neutrals, and I’ve finally found a pair of jeans that fit. I have a little waist, but a big butt and thighs, so finding jeans that aren’t gapey around the middle is kind of a big deal. I nearly always wear jeans and converse, a vest and some kind of baggy knit jumper on top. Although I’m less wobbly than I used to be, there’s still a fun amount of jiggle going on there. My corporate environment is fairly relaxed, and in the last week I’ve worn a black shift dress, and a shirt with a tie. I’m currently engaged in the search for the perfect relaxed fit tees, but that could take the rest of my days, so I need to relax and let that one happen. My main fashion goal this year is to wear jean shorts and not look ridiculous.


grey hair don't care

The amount of grey hair I ALL OF A SUDDENLY have is mental. Since having Milo, my hair has just got progressively more grey and you know what? I’m cool with that. I have no plans to dye or otherwise alter it. I think I can rock the salt ‘n’ pepper look.


And of course, my favorite thing about being thirty is this crazy kid that was a baby and then almost a toddler and is now growing into my buddy. He’s starting to use sentences and make up games and it’s amazing. A couple of weeks ago he ran into the kitchen, thrust out his hand and asked ‘ticket please!’. I have NO idea where that came from but he’s still doing it, so we just roll with it.

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Vive la fam. Vive la thirties.


The times, they are a changin’

Change. It’s such a funny thing. It seems to come around when you least expect it, when you’re least prepared, and sometimes, it comes without notice. It’s not until you look back on the way things used to be that you realise things are different now. That’s my favorite kind of change – the natural, organic, flowing change. Change when everyone’s ready and no one notices. We’ve had a few changes in Milo’s bedroom, which I shared last month, and there are still a few more to come.

Lo’s just entered the ‘climbing’ phase of toddlerhood. I love that he’s so strong and confident, but I hate finding him half way up the towel heater in the bathroom. He needs space to explore, space to jump, space to climb. Alas, as we live in a flat with no garden of our own, we must resort to indoor fun. All it takes is a little imagination.

And a swing.


Both via A Handmade Charlotte

We’ve decided that for Milo’s second birthday (which will be here before we know it, after the magic and noise of Christmas is gone), we’re going to make some changes to his room. We’ll be adding a bouldering wall so that he can climb safely, and close to the ground. Even though we’re in a flat, we’ll still be adding a swing, and we’ll be using a suspension bar between some joists. There will still be plenty of colour and homemade touches, but we need a place for rough and tumble.

Milo's LBB room

  1. DIY Letter bunting, Not on the High Street
  2. Child friendly climbing holds, Amazon
  3. Wooden trapeze swing, Amazon
  4. Moon landscape print, Ruby Rose
  5. Felt ball bunting, Not on the High Street
  6. Swiss cross pillow, Mama made using fabric from Etsy
  7. Mama in Law made crochet blanket

How I Montessori (and why)

We’ve been enjoying some really fun activities over the last few weeks with the little man. We follow a very loose Montessori philosophy, as we feel that this suits our little man’s temperament and our parenting style. The principles that we follow are:

  • Milo has free choice of activities
  • Everything is neatly ordered and accessible by Milo
  • Give direction and show the way, but never ‘do it for him’.

Milo doesn’t have open shelves at the moment, but he does have some open storage in the living room. This is where we keep his building blocks and his musical instruments, although they’re long overdue for rotation now. He has an Ikea Besta unit in his bedroom, where all of his toys and activities live. He’s perfectly able to open the doors, take out what he wants, and even (GASP!) put it away again, sometimes. In Montessori fashion, we encourage his independence, and try to give him the space to work on whatever’s taking his interest at any given moment. He has a low table and a toddler chair in the living room, and he takes his trays there when he really wants to focus. Sometimes I’ll lay out and invitation to play there for him, but usually the table is empty and ready for him to choose.

He eats at the main table with us and always has. He has used a Tripp Trapp high chair from birth, first with the newborn seat and then the baby set. He now has the chair totally open, and has been able to climb up and down since around 14 months. He helps to set the table by bringing in cutlery and sauces, and tried really hard to wipe the table down after meals. He doesn’t do a great job, but he knows what to do and he just needs to practice. We always eat together, and try to include him in our conversation.

In terms of activities, I wanted to share with you some of our recent trays and toys that have really held Milo’s attention lately.

Sorting Tin and Shape BlocksThis is a little muffin tin from a children’s baking set, and three pairs of blocks from Milo’s block box. He can test his fine motor skills by transferring the blocks from the bowl to the tin, and start to match up the shapes and colours of the blocks.

Gruffalo and HairbrushAs we don’t have a pet, we’re introducing the concept of ‘care for others’ using soft toys. Milo can brush and stroke the Gruffalo, and quite often then moves onto me or Daddy E.

First Words flashcardsMilo’s language skills are really coming along at the moment, and we’re trying to encourage better pronunciation so that others can understand him. We’re lucky that he uses signs so confidently, but not everyone understands these. I’ve added some wooden play fruit so that he can match the fruit to the flashcard too, if he chooses.

Chalkboard and ChalkWho doesn’t love a good scribble? The bonus of chalk is that it’s fairly harmless. The pens and paint are kept out of reach, but I’m happy for Milo to self-direct with chalk. I’ll let you know if anything disastrous happens…

BRIO Track and TrainsI’ve noticed more and more lately that Milo is more interested in putting the track together than running trains along it, so I’ve put together a focus tray based on that. He likes the puzzle element of putting the pieces together, and the satisfaction of being able to play with it afterwards!

And of course, there are a few toys that he’s really into at the moment…

Hape Shapes and Sizes puzzle
Milo likes stacking the shapes up and then putting them all back in. He hasn’t quite got the hang of the fact that the sizes are different, but he’s starting to tell us about the shape and the colour of each piece (Angle! Booo! (Triangle, Blue)) so it’s a start.

Galt pop up guysThis week Milo’s learned how to fire the guys out of their holes properly, so now it’s a real struggle to stop them from rolling under the sofa…

Melissa and Doug Cog Caterpillar (the ‘Cog-a-pillar’)

Great for fine motor as well as logic, Milo’s starting to understand how this one works, and to match the colour of the cog to the colour of the pin. All the cogs are the same size and shape, so it’s not self correcting, but he’s getting better.

I’ve got some new art supplies and a box of threading beads stashed in the cupboard for the next rotation, so we’ll see how we go with those, but for now the main thing for me to do is tune into his interests and make sure I keep things as orderly as I can so he always knows where to find things!

Winter Capsule 2015

Following a couple of additions and changes, my capsule wardrobe for this season is in pretty good shape. It’s looking to get pretty cold this year, but plenty of layers and thermal tights will keep me toasty.


Six weeks later…

So, it’s been a wild ride. We did our KonMari over six weeks ago and, you guys, it’s turned out just great. Things haven’t really shifted much from where we put them, so they were pretty close to being in the right place from the offing. THere are a couple of areas that perhaps need a bit of attention – getting into the habit of getting rid of paperwork is still hard going. It’s all in the right place, but there’s still too much. On the whole, the house is as neat and tidy as the day we finished the job. Not bad, considering I’m a hider.

The biggest wins for me on a day-to-day level have been my clothes and Milo’s toys. My wardrobe is still immaculate. Yes, there’s a bulk box of nappies and a bulk box of wipes in there, but my clothes are neat, uncrowded and exciting. By which I mean I like them all. It’s significantly easier to get dressed. Having lost a few lbs, I needed to replace some key elements in the capsule, and add some for the winter season. Knowing EXACTLY what I had and where the gaps were this was actually enjoyable. With Milo’s toys, they’re all organised in sets where he can reach them to get them out, and more importantly…PUT THEM AWAY. Which he does about half of the time. It’s not a rule, it’s not a chore, he just notices that he’s run out of space and starts to put things away. It’s freaking awesome.

To this end, the ‘having more space to play’ end, I moved his room around.I didn’t mention it, but a couple of months ago we got the little man a toddler bed. We had been searching for this elusive ‘perfect bed’ for months, and weren’t sure that he was 100% ready, but when a nice enough bed came up with a brand new mattress for £15? Yep. So, he hasn’t fallen out, he can get in and out by himself without any problems. As he hasn’t had crib bars since he was 11 months, the ‘freedom’ thing wasn’t an issue either. He just stays in bed.


MUCH better. The rug is still strategically placed. When he pulls toys out of the cupboard…they hit the rug and not the floor. Inside the cupboard looks like this, 99% of the time.


Because he knows where everything is, he just helps himself. Things are static, they don’t really move around. If he’s focussing on a particular schema, we’ll tend to have those toys in the living room on his table to work on, but it all comes back here eventually. I also made a new duvet cover. I love Swiss crosses SO MUCH.


Oh room, we’ve come a long way. I hope I can keep the evolution going and always meet the little one’s needs.

KonMari and Me-how did it go?

Five days of KonMari. It’s been pretty intense. Marie Kondo suggests that the Tidying should be done ‘quickly’, which in her world means around six months. I can’t see how that would have worked for us, as I think we just would have been tidying round in circles. That being said, we still need to do the powertools/DIY supplies, and it’ll take a little bit longer to learn where everything wants to live, but taking a week off work and doing a thorough, intense Tidy was definitely a smart move for me.

What have I learned about the process? There have been some things that have surprised me along the way:

It took much longer than I expected
The things that took the time weren’t what I expected
I actually had less stuff than I thought

On my mental to-do list, I thought I would get through the categories much quicker than I did – It took nearly a whole day to do my clothes, and another day to deal with arts and crafts. The traditionally difficult category of ‘sentiment’ took me an hour and a half. I guess everyone’s different, and I personally found the logical categories harder than the sentimental categories. Does this spark joy? No. It’s a cable. I guess my beloved iThings spark joy of a sort, and without their cables they’re useless, so there’s joy in the equation somewhere.

I didn’t take a whole bunch of before and after photos, but I did manage to snap some categories as I went.
Clothes KonMari
Paperwork KonMariArt and craft:
Arts and Crafts KonMariSeasonal Decorations:
Seasonal Decs KonMari
Books KonMari

The flat feels different. It’s not just that it’s tidy-really tidy-but there’s something else. It seems like there’s balance. There’s a practicality to it – I know where things are, and it’s not a fight to find the things I need when I need them. I know that cupboards and drawers aren’t stuffed to bursting, and I know that there’s nothing I don’t need or love. How could that fail to bring happiness into a home?

I’ve bought two things this weekend, and they both filled a need and were well considered. Firstly, I found that we only had one Mario Kart Wiimote wheel, so one of us always has to awkwardly hold the controller. I like Mario Kart, even if it does make me a bit sweary, so having two wheels makes sense. Secondly, I bought a new pair of grey jeans. In my wardrobe purge I felt almost total joy through my grey (maternity) jeans. If only they were non-maternity! Oh wait…they TOTALLY make grey jeans for people that aren’t pregnant. Simple.

We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, but for now all is well. There’s absolute joy in the flat right now, and hopefully I’ll develop mindfulness when shopping, too. Verdict on KonMari? Yes. It works for me.

KonMari Day 4…ish. Sentimental keepsakes

Day four of the KonMari has been something of a rest day for us. Mr E’s been tied up in the bathroom plumbing and building a new bath surround, and I’ve been able to spend the day with the little man. While he was napping, though, I managed to sneak in a category out of order. Photographs and sentiment are usually left until last, but as I had some time, and I can’t do the final two categories (electronics and powertools) until tomorrow, I thought ‘why not’?!

I’m pretty good with this kind of thing, so there wasn’t a great deal to go through – although I haven’t even contemplated my digital photos…-but there was still some pretty potent stuff in there, and it was nice to just keep the joyful memories.

The sentiment boxes before:
sentiment before
And after: Some of it got rehomed, but most of it got thanked for the lessons it had taught me, and moved on.
sentiment after

Tomorrow there’s just two categories remaining, and they’re logical rather than emotional – electronics and powertools. We also need to do more tip runs, charity shop runs and dropping some things back to their rightful homes. Once that’s all done and the house can breathe, it’ll be time to put everything away. At this point, it looks like there’s more than enough room for everything to have a home, which is something that I honestly didn’t think would be an option. I’ll do a big clean tomorrow and let the fresh air blast through, and wake up on Saturday feeling fresh and clear. Stay tuned for the mop up and final thoughts!

KonMari Day Three: Books (part II) and the Kitchen

Today has been a long day. Quite aside from the KonMari, my tumble dryer broke this morning so I had to make an emergency run to pick up an airer lest my laundry be stranded and soggy. I also had a two hour journey to pick up Milo this afternoon, so there was a fair bit of time lost…

I finished the books this morning, and they went from this:
books before
To this:
books after
Via a fairly straightforward selection method. ‘And another thing’ DID NOT make the cut.
screw you eoin colfer

The kitchen was done today as well, and I realised that I had mismatched plates from five different ranges stashed in ever more ingenious hiding places in my kitchen. Also, did you know that edible lustre dust has an expiry date? I didn’t. I haven’t even tried to take any after pictures of the kitchen because as I was taking the rubbish out, this happened:
gtfo bin bag
And I kind of gave up.