We absolutely love to travel, we love to go away, to spend nights in a different place and experience new things. We are so grateful to be able to do these things and to make these memories together. But I can guarantee that I will always have a excited feeling whenever I pull into our small driveway and turn the key in our front door after a trip away. Someone wise once said ‘There’s no place like home’ and they couldn’t have been more right.
You see, our little home, it’s my castle. I’m the Queen of it, it’s the one place where we all belong, where we all fit together nicely. Where we potter around and exist together. Some days as I potter around the house, wiping down the walls from sticky nutella fingerprints, putting umpteen cheap plastic toys back in the toy box and hoovering for what feels like the twentieth time that week, I will stop and look around and realise that this is all I ever wanted. It’s like I am living my dream.
I really do love our little home. When you stand at the tip of our driveway and take a look at it, it’s nothing particularly special. A small three bed detached on a rather large, but nice, estate on the outskirts of a slightly dubious town. Our town isn’t the nicest, it looks pretty, but it hasn’t got the greatest reputation, in fact it’s one claim to fame is being on the cover of Britain’s Worst Towns in 2010. But instead of going right once you leave our estate and heading towards the town, you can go left. And then you head into beautiful countryside, picture postcard villages and the city of Cambridge is within half an hour away- and well that’s just beautiful.
But back to my castle. It’s nothing extra ordinary. From the outside there will always certainly be our front garden which is desperately in need of a cut, one of the perils of not having a husband, or indeed myself, who is keen on gardening. But once you step inside, I reckon you can feel it from the second you walk in the door.
Our home is full of love. There’s memories everywhere you turn, whether that’s a photo on the wall, a quote that means something to us, or a piece of furniture that shares a history. Something that connects us as a family. There’s our sofa. I remember like it were yesterday coming back from a business trip to Bournemouth and seeing my husband lying sprawled out on our beige sofa. I sat on top of him and pulled out something from my bag- a pregnancy test. I found out while I was away that I was pregnant with our first little girl and I wanted to wait until I was back to tell him. I still remember him bursting into tears of shock and happiness and holding me while we discussed the future. Or there’s our bed. The bed that has seen so many things. (not just those things for the dirty minded!) It’s seen arguments, times where I cried into my pillow out of sheer frustration at my husband, happy lazy Sunday mornings with a newborn and a toddler, or breakfasts in bed on special occasions.
I often get asked on social media when I post a photo of our home, or indeed by friends who come to visit, if our home is always that tidy. I would love to say some of it is for show, but to be honest it isn’t. I keep our home really tidy, I love interior design- there’s been some effort, and it shows. I make my home somewhere I love to come home to at the end of the day, and I love to keep it clean and tidy- not to impress others or to live up to a certain ideal, but because it’s my castle and I love to maintain our little nest. Some people thrive in organised (or unorganised) chaos, I am at my most calm if the house is tidy.
It drives my husband mad, I constantly clean and tidy up, and at the end of the day you would be mistaken for thinking that no little people lived there, unless you looked closely at the photos of happy times on the wall, and a tell tale rogue Toy Story character that has escaped the fate of the toy box. Everything has it’s place, bar the girls bedroom, and I like to put everything away at the end of the day, only for it to be all brought out again the following morning.
We have lived in our little home for almost six years now. Buying it and having a mortgage felt like the most grown up thing ever at the time, and sometimes it still does, almost like we are playing at being grown ups. For a long time we couldn’t afford to put our stamp on it, we painted it neutral and slowly started to make it from a house into a home. It’s seen us through tough times, I remember Mr E being made redundant just after Mads was born and we sat at the table and wondered how on earth we were going to pay the mortgage that month. That’s why every room we decorate, every time we put more of a stamp on it, makes me feel more and more proud. I have a strange taste in interior design, bright yellow wallpaper, lots of colour and weird little quirky touches aren’t for everyone, but luckily Mr E is a fan of it too.
We have worked for this. Worked really rather hard over the years. I remember almost crying when I saw our bathroom done for the first time last year, we lived with a basic, grotty bathroom since we moved in, and I was just so proud that we had worked hard enough to be able to afford to renovate it how we wanted. We have no more rooms we want to decorate now, bar the kitchen, but to be honest we are slowly outgrowing the house and in the next couple of years it’s going to be time to start looking for our next step on the ladder. It isn’t our forever home but I know that I will be really sad to leave it behind.
So yes from the outside our house really isn’t anything spectacular. But the inside tells a very different story. It holds our memories. Our adventures. Our love. Our shared history.
It’s our castle.
And I will always be excited to return home to it.
A while ago we were contacted to see if our bathroom renovation could be featured in the new At Home magazine for May. I picked up a copy the other day and it looks great- there’s four pages on our little monochrome space.