Home Truths: Because Not All Bloggers Live in Pristine White Palaces

I might not have a big to do list of resolutions this year, but I do have a big to do list. Or, rather: Steve and I have a big to do list. It's just that it's in my handwriting because I'm the one who likes to note things down and score them through.

The to do list is everything which still needs to be tidied up or finished off around the flat. We moved in eighteen months ago and, initially, we achieved a lot: four rooms, one hallway and one fireplace painted; a new boiler installed; various bits of furniture either bought or donated; some electrical work done; three rooms carpeted; eleven shelves hung; and a whole host of tiny jobs like hanging pictures and tightening the screws in the toilet roll holder ticked off.

What with one thing and another, work ground to a halt for a while there, but with my second trimester came renewed energy and an awareness that we are working to a deadline. At the very least, we had to get the roof done and we need to overhaul the second bedroom.

I have had moments of panic. I'm very limited in what I can do at the moment and I don't like the lack of control, having to rely on help from friends and fit the work in around their schedules. Luckily, I've been able to be honest with everyone about how anxious this is making me and, between them and Steve and me, I feel like we're on track.

While everybody else dismantles wardrobes and rips up carpets and carries heavy things up to the attic, I'm getting on with all the little stuff - the online purchases and the gazing thoughtfully at colour charts.

But I think it's worth repeating that we've been in this flat for eighteen months and it's still not done.

The internet is full of perfectly pinnable pristine homes with bright white walls and an artfully arranged eclectic mix of junk shop finds and designer furniture. I want to raise my head above the wall of flattened boxes and say, "Not all homes are like that. Not straight away. It takes time to make a place you're really proud of."

Eighteen months on, for example, we have two bare light bulbs and an uplighter which really has to go. We have temperamental plumbing, one door hanging off the bathroom cabinet and an inconveniently located litter tray. We have an ugly hall carpet and misted windows in the attic. The big cupboard study has holes in its walls, some hideous decor and - because we haven't hung the shelves in there yet - there are five big, ugly bags of DVDs cluttering up our living space. The shed is so leaky it's unusable and the dead plants in the kitchen wilted weeks ago.

Despite all of this, I love our home. If I turn my back on the messy bits, it's the most relaxing place I know of to be. The colours calm me; a lot of the contents have stories attached; there is a cupboard full of different kinds of tea and a shelf given over to big, rounded mugs which are perfect for hot chocolate.

My routines are built around this building. I know where to sit for the morning sun. From my current spot on the sofa, I can see artwork by friends, gifts from loved ones and mementoes of brilliant days out. My favourite books are gathered together; there's an ottoman full of music; my photos hang on the walls.

Our home is not perfect. And it's an old building - we will always have to keep an eye on it; it will always need care and repair.

But it is ours. It's home. It's where we're starting our family and we love it.

So, at this time of year, when everybody's trying to live perfect lives - and this year in particular, when I have reasons to feel in a rush - I wanted to stop for a moment and appreciate the place where I am happiest, creaky floorboards and all.


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