I need a bit of help.

Belle’s bedroom in the new house is a little bit smaller than her old bedroom. I say ‘a little bit’, but it’s actually about a quarter of the size. I have already ruthlessly made her throw a lot of toys away, and got rid of most of her bedroom furniture, (who needs things like wardrobes anyway right?), but as you can see, it’s still looking a tad on the cramped side:

"Belle's bedroom"

‘Cosy’ I like to call it.

 

She still has several boxes to unpack, and we’ve already had to turn over a section of the living room to Sylvanians:

"Sylvanian Families"

As you can see, the kangaroo family’s apartment is a little run down at the moment, but they do have the luxury of a pet monkey in a tin.

 

"Sylvanian John Lewis"

When they have a bit of spare cash they are going to come here for a few tasteful accessories.

 

I’ve been toying with some sort of high bed, so that she can store things underneath as well as just lining things up around the edges, but I’m worried that it might be a bit much for a room this size. I remember when I was her age, I had a small bedroom with a cabin bed in, and although I loved the bed, it did take up most of the room, and was rather overpowering.

These are both very lovely, but I’m not sure they’d look quite so nice with only a foot of space between each side and the wall:

"Kidspace Oreo Bunk Bed"

"Kidspace Henry Bunk Bed"

 

Something like this feels a little less intrusive, but I’m still not convinced:

"Novara mid sleeper"

How have you managed small bedrooms? Should I invest in a new bed, or should I spend my time instead convincing her of the joys of frugal living, Sylvanian kangaroo style? (I am not getting her a monkey though.)

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A few weeks ago, I went to Totnes with my lovely friend Rin, a very talented lady who writes Glass Jars & Photographs. Rin’s passion is interiors, and she has one of those proper cameras with a big lens that comes in a case like grown-ups have. I felt a bit silly pootling about behind her taking pictures of pretty things with my phone, but actually it was great fun, and made me even more determined to get a proper camera and learn to take half decent pictures. (Camera companies looking for review take note here.)

The day was extra special as it was on the train on the way there that we decided to set up our own media training business, which is very exciting. We have a proper name and bank account and everything, so along with Rin’s camera, I think this definitely makes us Very Grown Up and Important Indeed.

I very rarely post pictures for their own sake, but today I am feeling happy in that way that makes you smile, sigh and look about in a contented way, and I wanted to be frivolous. I know the photos aren’t amazing, but I had fun taking them, and they remind me of a very serene and inspiring day out.

"A sheep wearing a sock"

A sheep wearing a sock

"The pee bucket"

The pee bucket

"Curious chicken"

Curious chicken

"Casual chums"

Casual chums

"bug"

Bug

"Flower pots"

Flower pots

"Bee"

Bee

"Another bee"

Another bee

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There are lots of things I like about our new house. I like that I can sit in the living room and look out into the garden.* I like having a garage and a driveway of sorts and not having to drive around the block for ages looking for a space to park. I even quite like having a bedroom back on the same floor as Bee and Belle and being able to hear them moving about.

One thing I’m not so sure about though is the carpets. They are cream. (Cream!) Throughout the entire house, including the bathrooms.

I’m not exactly well-coordinated at the best of times, (think me crying, unable to park a van), and will quite often just walk into door frames, but in the old house, this was OK, as we mainly had floorboards. Floorboards are much easier to wipe down when you uncontrollably slosh tea on them. Here though, nowhere is safe. I already dropped tomato on the carpet today from my mouth. My cream carpets don’t stand a chance.

The worst bit though is shoes. How do you train two unruly children to take their shoes off at the door?

"muddy boots"

Belle at Beautiful Days. I fear she will just walk into the house one day like this.

I have a few ideas:

Distraction – It only takes a few seconds for them to remember, so to avoid them getting to the middle of the hall and going ‘Oh yeah!’, I need to dangle something like a malteser from the ceiling, just out of reach. In the time it takes them to figure out how to get it, (stood safely on the mat the whole time), they will have remembered about the shoes.

Positive reinforcement – This, so I’m led to believe, is the most effective approach to parenting. Whenever they take off their shoes at the door they get a little treat like a chocolate button, a pat on the head or the chance to stroke a kitten.

Negative reinforcement – I hire someone to stand by the door, and every time they forget to take off their shoes they get punched (in a gentle, child-friendly way), in the side of the head.

Desperate times and all that.

*I make it sounds like I occasionally glance up and admire the view. What actually happens is that I find myself staring out at nothing in particular for minutes at a time. I’m tired though. I’m sure the staring will improve.

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We have now moved house.

Thank God.

The day itself was just a teeny tiny bit longer and more stressful than I imagined. “It’ll be fine!” I was practically chanting in the weeks and days beforehand. “We’ll be all done by tea-time and by the next day it’ll be like we’ve lived there all our lives!”

*roars with laughter, verging on hysteria*

Picture me at 10.30pm, standing, shivering, in the pouring rain on the van rental forecourt, crying because I lacked the basic skills to back Boyfriend properly into a space rather than a nearby car. It was not a pretty sight. Boyfriend sent me home to bed at this point, fearing some sort of breakdown, and continued the ferrying of my bags and boxes of rubbish on his own in the car until 2am.

(He is very lovely indeed.)

Now it would be fair to say that our new house is a little bit smaller than our last house, but I’m not sure it warrants Bee nicknaming it the ghetto and singing this song around the house:

 

A bit harsh I would say.

This is the point at which I end with an amusing fact or witty sign-off but I am too tired and my hands still ache from all the carrying so instead I might just go for a little lie-down amongst the bin-liners.

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Tomorrow I am moving house.

In twelve hours time I will actually be picking up an actual van and having to fill it with all of the things in the house. All of them. Not just a few of them.

And then, to add insult to injury, I have to drive them half a mile around the corner and take them all out again.

Crazy times.

"moving house"

Moving house

I thought, looking around the house when we first decided to move, that we didn’t have that much stuff. We’ve got rid of lots of furniture, as we’re moving somewhere smaller, and in my mind it was really just a sofa, a couple of beds and a few boxes of books. Oh deary, deary me, how wrong I was. We may not have masses of furniture, no wardrobes or big bookcases to speak of, but my God we have a lot of shite.

There are so many things that you just wouldn’t think of, that seem to blend into the house, so that you don’t notice them until you pile them all up in one room and stand back, aghast.

I’ve done a quick stock take of some of the things you might not normally consider, and we have:

  • 17 house plants
  • 12 outdoor plants in tubs
  • 43 framed pictures, including 4 large canvas prints
  • 3 bikes and 2 scooters
  • 3 printers. Who on earth needs 3 printers? We only have one desktop computer. It is quite ridiculous.

This is just a teeny tiny part of the list.

As we speak, my downstairs is piled floor to ceiling with the detritus that I have collected over the years and I am hiding upstairs in a now empty bedroom, afraid to look.

Wish me luck…

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