My garden is falling apart. The bike basket – the one with a broken attachment which I removed before planting flowering heather in it – is now more absence than wicker. There are old speakers, which a house move consigned to obsolescence so I spent a happy half an hour removing the electronics and planting the box with nasturtiums, and then with sprawling water hyssop. Well, the side has fallen off, now propped back up as a pretence to civilised living. This has been our garden for a few years, and time is taking its toll.Continue reading
I don’t enjoy shopping. Saturday afternoon in a shopping centre is my idea of time poorly and stressfully spent. I do however love an hour spent pottering around a street lined with charity shops, taking the time to hunt for bargains and to marvel at some of the stranger donations that have arrived onto the shop shelves. I’ve written in the past about second-hand wares in the home (read ‘the why’ and ‘the how’) but I’m immensely satisfied that most of my clothes are secondhand. Without the opportunity to pick the version of your desired item in any colour or size, shopping second-hand can be more challenging, but more rewarding for it.
Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years to help make the most of secondhand shopping: Continue reading
I headed off to university accompanied by a newly bought laundry basket, a fabric symbol of soon to be tested self-sufficiency and independence. It was perfect for my transient life – just material and a spring, it folded down flat for storage during the weeks outside of term-time. Ten years on, my life is a bit more settled but that laundry basket is looking pretty tired.
With the exception of a couple of emergency bookcases (too many books!), all of the furniture in our home is second-hand. In Part 1 I considered why we’ve made the choice to source our furniture second-hand; Part 2 looks at how we’ve managed to do this, from a combination of free sources and some requiring us to spend a little money: Continue reading
This May is mostly about moving house. We came to this home as newlyweds, so there is a definite sadness in leaving it. It has its imperfections (shabby around the edges, an awkward staircase for negotiating a bike up, a distinct lack of cupboards), but it is the first place we made ours, and it will always be special for it. It’s time for a new adventure though, and it seemed a good moment to start decluttering our lives. Continue reading
Last year our neighbours moved out and for reasons unknown left behind enough furniture, decorations and one particularly tragic looking teddy bear to fill the garden. As lots of perfectly good yet abandoned stuff was slowly ruined by the autumn weather, I salvaged a couple of cork noticeboards that were beginning to warp in the rain. I was tempted by a lovely set of brass fireplace tools despite currently lacking the necessary fireplace. I’m glad I resisted; I wouldn’t want them to become a symbol of thwarted ambitions if we ended up transporting them from home to home, never acquiring a fireplace. Besides, we are trying to avoid excessive consumption in the form of unused items (even if they’re second-hand). Continue reading
I grew up describing myself as ‘not creative’. I had great ideas that I was incapable of bringing to life in art class. Apart from a weekend of book-related inspiration when I was nine, I never chose to paint or draw. I was reasonably content that this was not part of my skill set. Continue reading