Alright my lover?
Once upon a time, the old Emma would love nothing more than to do anything but stay at home. These days, once work is done, all I want to do is sit in the house with a cup of tea and my little family around me. I think I may have grown up somewhere down the line.
Paul and I both come from typical working class backgrounds. We both know exactly what it is like to watch our parents struggle to put food on the table and panic over Christmas because there was just no money to spare. Our parents have always worked hard and now are in positions where they can book a holiday last-minute and bloody enjoy it because they know they’ve had to work their arses off for it. I guess you could say, this is why Paul and I don’t take money for granted.
I admit, I can spend and if Paul and I ever argue, which in all honesty is very rare (and when we do it’s a massive barney that leaves us feeling shit for days after because we can’t deal with the fact that we’ve actually had cross words and admittedly, I hold a grudge like a little bastard) but when we do, it’s usually over money. When it comes to money, Paul and I are chalk and cheese, I’ve never had any so I never let it worry me, Paul on the other hand, knows how easy it is to go from being comfortable to struggling and back to being comfortable again in a flash, so, he likes to keep tabs on the money and make sure we don’t ever have to worry and will always be comfortable. I often joke that as Paul and I are non smokers, he rolls over after lay down cuddles and checks his online account instead of having a quick fag. But I love him for his sensible ways and that is why, when it comes to decorating our house, we take our time and scout about for bargains even on the days when deep down, I want to buy the expenisve stuff.
In the early years, Nev and I lived alone in housing association property, I was a single parent and didn’t have a pot to piss in so we lived without carpets and curtains in the very early days. I won’t lie, it was a shit way to be living and I dreamt of having a beautiful house that felt like a home. Beth never went without and that was my priority, if she needed new clothes, she had them, we could live without fancy console tables in the hallway as long as we had each other, we were happy. Don’t get me wrong, it was never always that way for us and we soon had high pile carpet under our bare toes and venetian blinds to stop the local busy body looking through the windows. (I always remember she had hair like a lego lady and a sky blue anorak, she stopped looking after I got so pissed off, I flashed my tits at her accidentally on purpose).
Paul and I took the plunge to move in together two years ago this December. As he already owns property we looked to find a rental property. The first house we set our hearts on was one in the older side of the village, you could say it’s where the money is (or so it looks). Most of the houses are old cottages with cute doors and that was exactly what this house was. A three storey cottage with a big David Austin climbing rose in the front garden and a red door. Very instagrammable for those of you with this thing for doors. The estate agent had messed us about with viewing so many times with various excuses, eventually, the day before our viewing, she called me to say she had now Let the cottage. I was admittedly very rude to her and told her exactly what I thought, she had Let my dream house go and not even given us the chance. I went straight back on Rightmove and there was only one house available. A four bedroomed terraced house in the more “towny’ part of the village. Immediately, Paul refused to even look, he was adamant he wouldn’t live in that street but I went and booked a viewing anyway. Imagine my shame though when I called to book, only to find it was the estate agent I had just accused of being shit at her job and was as much use as a fart in a collinder.
As soon as we walked in, my heart screamed a big fat ‘Yes’. Ok so it wasn’t in our dream location and the house was far from the cottage we initially loved but, it had four bedrooms so it meant nobody had to share AND Paul and I would have the en suite. We were told that although the house was being recarpeted and decorated, it was ours to do whatever we wanted, that was it. The deposit went down and we moved in the following month (I settled for David Austin Roses potted in the back garden instead).
From the outside our home looks so tiny but as soon as you step inside, it’s like The Tardis, a corridor here and a cupboard there. My mind went into over drive and I thought I was the next Kelly Wearstler with all my fancy interior designs that I had in mind. The stark reality of it is was , and still is, we have three children to provide for. Three children that cost money. If I was to go and buy the Habitat dining table I had my eye on, we would be looking at a months wages, it was either forfeit our family days out or buy the table. Family wins every time.
I admit, I love interior perving on instagram. I sit for ages browsing through pictures of immaculate homes with fancy furniture and ridiculously expensive soft furnishings with a twinge of green-eyed monster. I often wonder, do people actually buy this stuff because they want it or because it’s instagrammable and people will admire it for the fancy tag? Fair play to those people that can afford to shop luxury, I salute you and yes, it does look good but, for me, I get a kick out of buying something from a carboot or online selling page and bringing it back to life. I’d love to pop to Oliver Bonas and hand over my card at the counter for an expensive chest of draws but I can’t find a way to justify such a big spend and eventually, we want to buy a house and get married. I can’t find an excuse for spending £500 on something that I’m not going to make full use of or a buy a fancy chair that nobody is allowed to actually sit on.
All that said, I find so much inspiration in other peoples homes, just because I can’t afford a £400 lamp doesn’t mean I can’t go and find one similar at a much cheaper price in Dunelm Mill or TKMaxx. I know that every expensive item is seen as an investment to people and that’s fine, but for me, my daughters dance lessons are also an investment (trust me, if you’d seen her dancing before, you’d get it totally. More rhythm in my piss springs to mind). My favourite insta home is by a fellow and way more popular blogger Charlotte Amor Valentine (thehomethatmademe), her house is stunning and I love how she creates a room on a low budget and gives tips on how to do it, she’s also an absolute darling and when I emailed her recently after a health issue that we could have very nearly had in common, she was so bloody lovely. I also love harleyraynorxo ,she’s new to blogging too and her home is literally my kind of home, again, she’s always happy to share a good bargain find, like us, she’s in rented property and I love what she’s done with the place.
The most expensive thing in our lounge, aside from the big tv that Paul brought in his newly single bachelor pad days is probably in all honesty, the Elephant head wall mount that I brought from Amazon for £30. The sofas were given to us by Pauls parents (again, I have my eye on two new sofas in Habitat but that’ll have to wait), all the furniture was either free or found on Facebook selling pages for under £10, I simply repainted it and gave it some love and all the little nic-nacs are bargains from discount stores or sales. I want our home to represent us and tell a story, I feel like it is doing just that. Granted, it’s taking time to get there with us both working full-time but each room is starting to develop a character and I love it.
Somewhere along the way, I will update you on the progress with our home and start to share more photos of it on instagram, why shouldn’t I? Our home is as good as anyone elses. I just need to actually finish at least one room in its entirety as at the minute, nothing is complete. (Which reminds me , I need to go on Etsy and find gold wall confetti for the chimney wall).
Sometimes I panic that my house isn’t instagrammable like most of the people I follow and then I stick a sock in it and remember that it is, it’s every inch as beautiful as everybody elses because it’s OURS. It’s our home and it’s full of love and the sounds of constant laughter and out of tune singing, there are so many memories in each room and you can’t capture all of that in a small little box on social media. Not only that, but since when did we become a society that decorates our home just to please thousands of people on social media? It’s all getting so out of control and if it comes to a point when I feel like I must have an insta friendly home, then I’m out.
But seriously, if anyone wants to donate their Oliver Bonas furniture my way, I wont say no.
The moral behind this post is quite simply, to let you know, that we are tight little fuckers and hate spending money.