My daughter Saoirse has become a little bit obsessed with the PS4 Game The SIMS, but only the house building and design section. I have to say she has quite the eye for detail and I would love to live in many of the houses she has designed.
Beautiful co-ordinated décor, everything in its place, all of Saoirse’s houses are like show houses and they are inhabited by the tidiest of residents. Surprisingly Saoirse is one of those residents, in this case life doe not imitate art – Saoirse is the child who has more clothes on her bedroom floor that in her wardrobe and a science experiment occurring at the bottom of my favourite mug that has been MIA in her bedroom since early 2012.
I often visit the home of one of my closest friends and every time I visit, as I breathe in the divine petchuli and white musk aroma, I breathe out a heavy sigh as I enviously gaze around the beauty of her home. It is immaculate and so tastefully put together that my senses are in over drive, over her perfectly quaffed drive.
She doesn’t bat an eyelid though when I plonk my sweaty backside on her designer chairs after we’ve completed a 15km walk, handing me an Orla Kiely mug to dribble over as I regain my breath (also after the afore mentioned 15km walk) or when my children decide her spectacular suite of furniture would actually make a much better trampoline/drive board/fort. I’m not quite sure Cath Kitson planned on her cashmere blankets becoming unicorn castle roof, but hey! whatever works!
Her beautiful house is a home and a very welcoming one to anyone who visits. It pretty much mirrors her heart – I know that sounds a bit soppy but in all the shit that happens in this world I think it’s important to call out the people who make it a better place.
Although I have to admit, it does make me feel a little inadequate, her show house versus my house that is a show! My house is also definitely a home, but an insanely messy, disorganised and battered one.
My beautifully painted grey doors have now become adorned with sticky sun cream finger motifs, the black tiles I thought I was being so clever buying as they wouldn’t show the dirt, in reality they never look clean and they are now great at celebrating diversity as they are decorated with a rainbow of play dough, moonsand and nail varnish, stubbornly positioned in the corner of the grout that not even my husband’s electric toothbush will move (sssshhh don’t tell him he’ll never notice that’s what I used it for.)
I have to admit to being slightly perplexed at all of the people who suddenly became super cleaners during lockdown, I am the woman who bought a broom because it was so much hassle getting the hoover out. I mean – the only reason I tidy my house is in case we get surprise visitors and lockdown put pay to that as the only time to doorbell goes now is the DPD delivery man, who knows my obsession with buying shite I don’t need is what pays his wages. My view on lockdown cleaning was, there was no need to bother! Is that the wrong answer??
Every time I go to have a big clean and clearout I can’t decide whether or not I should donate my ‘1001 House Cleaning Tips’ books to the charity shop, but it always gets put back on the shelf along with my neon pink legwarmers ‘just in case I might use it one day.’
In the fifteen years we have lived in this house, I could tell you every colour, every room has ever been. This isn’t because of my fabulous memory, but because there is evidence of it on all of my skirting boards because I didn’t use masking tape every time I went wild with a paintbrush. Although to get a true reflection of the actual colour I would have to wipe the dust away first. Otherwise it is interspersed with 50 shades of grey. I’ve never read the book, but life in my house can get very dirty and I do like to blindfold my visitors to avoid them seeing the mess!
When I was younger it wasn’t the raunchy American movies I used to love, it was those cheesy ones, where everyone had fabulous homes with beautiful photographs on every wall. I do have that, all be it most of them are a little wonky due to a Mick’s erectile dysfunction with a drill. I often straighten them when the doorbell rings unexpectedly and I saunter to answer it, calling out “just a second” as I run my finger along every photo frame at eye level and wipe the muck on the inside of my sweatshirt so as not to destroy my white jeans.
When I smile sweetly and let people passed the threshold of my home, I am always kicking the stray shoe, dirty sock and nerf bullet behind the door from its usual place strewn across the ha;; floor. As people enter my home they are always greeted with the aroma of home ’slightly stinky’ home, because:
- The bins need to be emptied.
- I spilled milk in fridge last week and missed a bit when I cleaned it up and now it has gone off
- The dog has been outside in the rain and is now sharing her aroma selflessly throughout the house.
As a parent to a child with additional needs, so much of my time is taken up with organising appointments, suitable child care cover, supports, and talking to other Carers who are struggling with what the absence of proper support brings. So, most of my time and energy are consumed long before the idea of cleaning the oven appears on my radar.
I have learnt to multi task and when playing hide and seek with the kids you can always find me, in the wardrobe putting t-shirts aware, behind a curtain wiping windowsills or occasionally hidden under the duvet having a nap – but the little buggers always find me!
For many years, I used to spend a huge amount of time worrying about this, ironically if I’d actually re-directed the worry time to cleaning time, then there wouldn’t have been a problem in the first place. I used to dream of the day Mick would lean over and whisper those words in my ear that would make him totally irresistible, making my knees go to jelly “let’s get a cleaner!”
Nowadays I no longer hide in the en-suite, pretending to be out giving the loo a quick bleach whilst I’m in there. I just open the door to anyone in the vague hope that they brought chocolate with them and they may leave with my one or all of my children, at least for a few hours. I have lost to urge to jokingly say ‘come in, just step over the dust.’ I no longer even give the passive aggressive death stare that says ‘mention the mess and I’ll headbutt you!’ when I’m actually saying ”oh, you didn’t mention you were calling”
Much like my will to clean, my will to give a toss all went out in the big de-clutter of 2018. My house may not be the typical show house, but is does show that I am a busy woman, it does show that my personal priorities are not at the bottom of a bottle of Cif and it shows that I will always favour writing over washing.
I don’t judge my fabulous friends that live in show houses, especially not the ones who show me that my family and I are always welcome even with mucky footprints and sticky fingers, and all I ask in return is that they don’t judge me for my personal ‘show’ house and if you do, don’t forget to wipe your feet on the way out!