I have spent a lot of time online the past few weeks, not working as you’ve probably gathered, more as a way of distracting myself from the sadness that fills my heart. Honestly we hear so much negativity around social media and the big bad world of the internet but besides my amazing family and friends, the internet has provided some much-needed daydreaming and security for my heavy heart.
With many hours spent scrolling through my favourite brands and artists, filling my virtual basket with clothes, accessories, shoes, books and makeup and not once following through with a single transaction, I have become an expert at ‘fake internet shopping’. Feeling totally inspired by all the fabulous yet unnecessary material things I thought I was missing out on, I decided to venture into the real world and unapologetically do a bit of retail therapy.
You all know me well enough by now to know that I love shopping. Whether I purchase anything or not I genuinely love strolling through shops, touching fabrics, piecing outfits together, trying on shoes, buying shoes! You can imagine my disappointment then when I finally got myself together to leave my apartment and spend some cash that I was so uninspired by this season’s ‘trends’. I walked and walked and came home empty-handed. There was plenty of course that caught my eye but as usual these items were more wish list than realistic purchases, which leads me here. While the shops are full of hideous off-the-shoulder numbers and copious versions of the same old embroidered shirts, I am steering clear and continuing my Wish List daydreaming over on Pinterest. Each week I’m going to pin everything that has caught my eye. Everything from fashion, beauty, interiors and food, and if I do actually make a purchase, it will get pinned here too! I’ll be updating my Wish List board throughout the week and have already started so why not take a look.
You’ve probably gathered by now that I have recently moved abode. Unfortunately the move wasn’t by choice. If I’m honest it has been rather a traumatic few months so before I go on to how I’m trying to make my new place a home I want to share with you how I ended up in the middle of Ireland’s housing crisis.
If you had the misfortune of being around me at all the past year you would know that I had only two things to talk about: My housing situation and an ill family member. Not surprisingly, I was consumed by both. We got word last year that the rented house we were living in was being sold. A house that five years ago sat empty because no one wanted it due to its poor condition and decor. Not that this that bothered Mr B and I. In fact we were delighted to find a three-bedroom house in a good area and because of its poor condition we were even able to negotiate the rent down. It became our home.
If you live in Ireland, you will know the country is embroiled in a housing crisis. The simple version of it is supply and demand. Add to that the economic effects of the financial crisis as well as the unregulated rental market (although there have been some changes in recent times and one can only hope this continues!) the country as a result has seen a wave of new homeless. As a grown woman with a decent job, I ended up a part of it. Of course it’s a home owner’s prerogative to sell their house but any renter who has received similar news probably wonders the same things: Is the house really getting sold or is it a way to get new tenants in at a higher rent? How accommodating do I have to be for viewings and strangers traipsing through my home seeing as this is not my decision? How are we going to afford to live somewhere else? The answers or the inconvenience didn’t matter as it was happening whether we were on board or not.
With the news that we had to leave our ugly but lovely home we had two options; buy or rent. We decided to take the plunge and try to purchase our own home, the cheaper option of the two. For the next few months we spent every waking minute looking for a house. If you have every looked to purchase your own home you will understand how stressful and consuming it can be. With our endless research and pros and cons lists, what started out as an adventure turned into a race against the clock. Some Saturdays felt like we were on the Amazing Race, often going to four different house viewings scheduled all around the same time! Despite all the daydreaming and way too many hours spent on Pinterest, none of this was exciting or thrilling. Our lists went out the window and we were now in a situation of having to buy a property not necessarily wanting to. It seemed every other person in the buyers market was looking at the properties we were (how dare they!) and with the volume of people at each viewing anyone would think they were giving away houses! And then there were the offers. Offers were usually at least fifty thousand euro over the asking price and that was just the first viewing! This was not a fun time.
Fast forward to December, December 23rd to be precise and we found ourselves in yet another bidding war. Needless to say you know how that ended. Another house (there were four in total) that we attempted to buy but walked away empty-handed. Part of the process I know, but we needed somewhere to live and that is all I could think about. We had hoped to make that special purchase and move from our beloved rental to what was going to be our beloved home but seeing as that wasn’t going to happen we had to come up with a new plan. We made the decision to join the hunt for a new rental property and take a break from house hunting and with that decision I felt a little sense of relief.
Not for long! I thought I knew what the rental market had to offer. Small spaces, extortionate rents and millions of people competing for the same thing. We found all of that and more! I don’t know why I was shocked. Some of my friends had been through it, the housing crisis was in the news daily and yet I was completely and utterly shocked at what we faced. I was losing my faith in humanity as we went to viewing after viewing after viewing. The combination of greed and desperation made me want to live in my car. Something I often joked about but something I was seriously considering. As my disdain for humankind increased I found the complete opposite in my friends, family and acquaintances. The kindness shown to Mr B and I blew my mind. The offers of a place to stay, the thoughts of asking those around them if they knew anyone that could help, the offers of storage space and mostly importantly an ear to listen to my endless worries, rambles and let’s not forget, the tears! I couldn’t reconcile the two extremes and both made me cry. For very different reasons of course.
I haven’t felt like myself since this whole housing situation started and I often found it hard to function. Between work, family commitments and life in general I started to wonder if this was what life as an adult was? I was consumed with worry and I had no control over it. A difficult thing to manage seeing as I love to control nearly everything (happy to admit it) and so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could control. Turns out there wasn’t much. I know we aren’t the only ones in this situation. Everyone has a story, a crisis or heart-ache of some sort. Sometimes these things are better shared but up until now, I couldn’t really say everything I wanted as I didn’t have the words. Literally. Anyone who was brave enough to ask me ‘have you found somewhere to live?’ will be all too familiar with the crazed look on my face that greeted them. Smiling and nodding saying ‘no but it will all be fine. It will all be fine’. Either that or I burst in to tears and it’s really hard to write when you’re crying and snotty. Trust me I made a few attempts and you’ll be glad I spared you.
So here I am, still believing home is where you make it but I have to admit in all of my adventures, it never occurred to me that I would have nowhere to make my home. Although I would never choose to live where we find ourselves now or pay the amount we have to in rent, I remind myself it is not the worst option we faced. I also know that we are extremely lucky to have somewhere to call home and this won’t be the last crisis that will present it’s disgusting, ugly, mouldy head. I’m hoping there will be less mould in the next crisis.
With all that said it is now time to take a breath and make the most of our cherished possessions in the four walls we live in. It is these things after all that ignite memories of past adventures, places we’ve yet to explore and our loved ones and they are what make up our home. These and a few nice cushions!
P.S. If you find yourself in a similar situation or think I could lend a hand in any way please get in touch. You can leave a comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Some of you may be aware that my fabulous parents have crossed the pond and made the very long journey to pay Mr B and I a visit. Life has been so busy the past few months, my countdown to their arrival went from over one hundred sleeps to 1 sleep in the blink of an eye! And you all know I love a good countdown!
House guests means preparations and preparations that I love. Remember the last time I had house guests? Most of my preparations this time round have been about food and what we will eat and where! I know I have a tough few weeks ahead of me!
Back home I’ve gone into guest room mode and I always have this image of how I want a guest room to look (I blame Pinterest for that) but sadly, there are lots of things in my house that are there and not by choice. I can only work with what I’ve got and it doesn’t take much or cost much for that matter to pretend like our house is somewhere worth staying. I added a few little goodies like toiletries I know they like, samples I know mum would like to try, the city essentials and a well stocked drinks trolley will hopefully make up for the brown patterned carpet! At the end of the day they are here to see us so I guess that’s all that counts!
Do you like having house guests? How do you prepare? Will I be envious of your guest room?
I don’t need to tell you again but just in case you forgot, lovetomtom (the real lovetomtom) has landed!
I might be a bit quiet the next two weeks and I’m sure you’ll understand why, but fret not as there will be plenty of blog posts to follow, including the final decision on how I styled his bedroom.
Until then, here is a sneak peek.
This week’s #OOTW is not technically an outfit but a colour.
Orange has the crown this week and although it is not a colour I usually wear (clothing wise), it is a shade I like and thanks to a little goodie I received during the week, I was reminded to get my orange on.
The goodie I speak of is this lovely notebook from Lidl. I was lucky enough to attend the preview of the Lidl SS15 collection and I have to say I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the pieces. I will do a proper review once they are out as it’s a bit of a tease to tell you about them now, but lets just say, you will be seeing me in lots of stripes and polka dots….my kind of collection!
It was a great night all round and to top it all off I walked away with this fabulous orange notebook. Inspiring quote and inspiring colour. Like I say I don’t generally wear orange but I like to incorporate it in small doses and once I started looking, I didn’t have to go too far.
First up, nail polish. Nail polish to me is like lipstick, I never leave the house without it and to be honest I don’t play around with colours. I have my standards on rotation and I don’t venture far from them. Black, red and a deep burgundy. I have the odd variation, army green (that’s almost black) and too many shades of red to count. Last summer I bought this fabulous Topshop nail polish in Smashing Pumpkin (no link available for this one, sorry but I have seen it in store) and it fast became a regular. It was a nice alternative to red without being too bright or daring, it’s more of a burnt orange. For some reason I completely forgot about it until I saw the orange notebook and I’m happy to say it is now back in rotation and I love it!
The other orange item I have is one of my favourite lipsticks from Bobbi Brown in the shade Orange. Again when I bought this I was looking for an alternative to red, something bold but not smack you in the face bright and this was perfect. It’s kind of the same situation with the nail polish, for whatever reason I pushed this to the bottom of my lipstick jar but it got a good work out this week and will stay top of the pile!
Interiors are another place that I like to see orange. Not necessarily as the main star, but as a subtle hint of colour in the background somehow, cushions, utensils etc. My current bedspread is a perfect example. Just the right amount of colour without being overbearing. I bought this one in Kmart (Australia) so not expensive at all.
I’ve also got my eye on a coat which has a stunning orange lining but that might have to wait until next season; it is spring after all!
Thanks to Lidl and Roald Dahl for an unexpected but welcomed dose of inspiration.
“If you have good thoughts,
they will shine out of your
face like sunbeams and you
will always look lovely”