Thursday, 26 November 2015

Are you feeling homesick for your old home? Here what to do.

What do you do when you move house and you are so, soooo homesick for your old home? I'm not just talking about the first few days now (though if that's you, see my last post here). 

I should start by saying that my homesickness for our old house has now passed and I'm truly loving the process of bringing our new home to life....BUT I really struggled when we first moved. Not only in the first week or so...but for several months. The rest of our family were absolutely in their element from day one but I'd say it took me a good five or six months to find my feet here.

This is what helped me through that time....and I hope these ideas help you if you're going through the same feelings in your new house.

Concentrate on your thoughts, rather than your feelings. You've chosen to move for good reasons. Hold on to those unchanging facts when your feelings sway all over the place. So, for me, that was holding onto the fact that our new home is a long hoped-for dream-come-true. Although it's a wonderful thing, that very fact also made me put pressure onto myself to feel that this was my forever home. I couldn't do that whilst I was still pining for our old house and still geting lost in our new one!. I've had to gradually allow that process to creep up on me. I slowly started finding myself thinking more and more fondly, and then lovingly, about our new home, as well as thinking less and less about the old house..... Give it time, and be gentle with yourself in the process.

Don't jump into the decorating part. Give yourself six months or so just to relax, to nest...for your feelings of panic to subside, and for you to realise that life carries on as normal, only better! This will give you enough time to for any any urgent jobs which weren't uncovered in the survey house to reveal themselves. Plus, it allows you to get on with those boring but essential tasks. For us, this has worked exceptionally well. For example, we needed to organise the removal of nine, yes, nine, different electricity meters and three different gas meters! Crazy! One of the perils of moving to an older house is uncovering the unexpected.....and then the fear of further uncovering the even more unexpected! We've been very lucky in that regard, our home is in great structural condition...but it's been good to bide our time to allow for this to happen.

Once the dust has settled (and been thoroughly swept away!!), it's time to begin putting your stamp on things. Start by arranging and rearranging each room so that it feels as pleasing as it can within the constraints of what you have bought with you. This will highlight what needs to go on your shopping list, and help you to really understand what it is that each room needs.

One thing that helped me so much was my husband's beautiful idea. He brought me, one sunny day, into our new home with my eyes covered and said he'd bought me a present...a gorgeous new house! And then he took me round, room by room, as though I was viewing it again for the first time, pointing out all the features, the highlights and the potential. It was magical! It completely unwound the negative connotations that I had connected to moving day, which was a complete nightmare, and allowed me to start afresh. Completely recommended!

I know there are some advocates of diving straight in and changing things as soon as possible but I've found that period of slow bedding in invaluable. 

Then, and only, then should you allow yourself to begin decorating. This process that has been wonderful.....the emotional and financial investment in our house on the lovely, pretty things is what helped to chase away any last traces of homesickness. 

Please rest assured that what made your old house a home can be recreated in your new place. The feelings of sadness and grief will pass....and you can get on with the delicious process of loving your home, your street and your life!

And now? Now, we've well and truly begun the journey of restoration and, as said at the start of this post, I feel fully recovered. Yes, I've fully found my mojo and I can't wait to share with you the process of bringing this old house back to life!

Images via Marie Claire, The Telegraph, Tak Removals

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Thursday, 19 November 2015

What if your new house feels weird and strange...?

Almost all of us move house at least once in our lives. Many of us will slot right into the new house but what do you do if your new home feel strange? Feeling like a fish out of water? Read on, my poppet....

When we very first moved into our old house, I absolutely LOVED it. From the moment it was ours I couldn't believe our luck. The location, the garden, the house itself filled me with love and joy. 

And when we first viewed our current house? I felt the all the excitement of having a new project! A rambling period home to make my own? What could be better? ...or so I thought.

You see, I've come to realise that it's a whole different kettle of fish moving out of somewhere you can't wait to move on from than it is wrenching yourself out of a home you love and cherish, even if you are moving to a place that's actually a better fit for your family.

I've ummed and aaahed about whether to share this little mini-series. I don't normally get up close and personal here on Modern Country Style but I wanted to reach out to the many people that I know have had the same struggles and just need someone to give them a virtual hug and tell them everything is going to be all right. That's what I wanted, what I I'm here to do that for you. You will get there....

Let me take you back to the day we were officially given the keys to our beautiful Georgian home. I felt as high as a kite, tail soaring in the warm wind...until, that is, I stepped over the threshold. It was at that moment that, out of the blue, this huge surge of reluctance and fear and adrenalin and nerves and the feeling of being waaaaay out of my comfort zone hit me at full force. I felt sick, I felt afraid, I felt as though I wanted to run away and hide. Now, nothing had changed in those few footsteps, nothing at all...but, let me tell you, I was shaken to the core. 

Having been through that experience, and emerged the other side alive and not just well but dancing, I'd like to give you some tips to haul you through those first few days, weeks and months. These are ideas that really helped me when I felt at sea, and I know have helped many others too...

Number one....Get stuff done. I can't emphasise this enough. In those first days of uncertainty and chaos, don't just sit there crying...get your furniture up and ready and unpack. As fast as you can, especially the kitchen and the bedrooms. It doesn't matter if everything is not in its final position. Just get your treasured possessions out of those ugly and impersonal cardboard boxes.

Secondly, concentrate on making one room or at least one area feel as similar to your previous home as you can.  It's the lack of the familiar that can leave you feeling completely at sea but, let me make this clear, you can and should create this familiarity as much as you are able, even if it feels a little artificial. So put out your best pillows, prop up lovely pictures, play your favourite music and see it as a little retreat to escape to when it's all getting a bit much.

Following on from my last point, make it a priority to clean like you've never cleaned before. Not only will this help your new house smell like home, it'll psychologically help you make your mark, as well as making each room a pleasure to enter. 

Be picky about who you invite into your home in the early days. You want to choose friends and family who will be enthusiastic and joyful on your behalf. Not those who'll drag you further down ("How will you manage the cleaning?/Won't you miss the short walk to school?/Your heating will cost a fortune/blah, blah/blah"). Slightly insensitive comments can lodge like a thorn in your heart and fester there in your vulnerable state. Be on your guard.

It's worth getting hold of all the fairy lights and lamps you can and turn them on as soon as dusk shows the first hint of falling each evening. Soft lighting covers a multitude of sins, my friends, helping you to look past the cracks, the bumps and previous people's decorating choices and to enjoy the intimate pockets of warmth you've created.

And, lastly, I know this seems contradictorym but make time to do lovely things in your new home in those first few days. Watch films with popcorn at the ready, enjoy dinner dates and generally get on with your life. Treat it this new place as your home, even if it doesn't feel like one...yet.

But what to do if lasts longer than a few weeks? You're all unpacked and it still doesn't feel like home?

Let's look at that next time...

Images va Transferwise, The Times, Your Home

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Friday, 13 November 2015

Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson: Book Review

I'm here today, as promised, to share my review of Nigella Lawson's new book, Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food.

Aaaaah, Nigella, lovely Nigella! How can anyone not like her recipes? Heart-warming and soul-tingling, click through to see more of my obsession over Nigella's old kitchen, or a book review of Nigellissima.  

Simply Nigella is the book that accompanies the very welcome return of Nigella Lawson to the BBC. She says 'What and how we cook can make our lives easier, make us feel better and more alive.'

The book and the show focuses on her new stronger, healthier self without ever feeling that you're learning from a dieting pro! It's obvious from the stunning photos that Nigella has morphed shape, to become a slimmer, svelter version of her more rounded past self, and these recipes reflect that.

Gone are the lashings of cream, butter, sugar and flour....but these are not cast aside altogether, rather, the feel-good factors of alternatives are evangelised: the sweetness of apricots and dates, the grainy goodness of polenta,....

Although I do have to be entirely up front and say that I miss the recipes of old - that happy wife at the heart of the home feeling - I also have to raise my glass to Nigella, in what must have been an impossible couple of years for her, and see that she has risen once again from enormous hardship and, to be frank, that's probably more of a lesson to us all than any Super Woman hero worship.

The recipes themselves are in her usual chatty style and range from the simple (avocado-gate anyone? Though I love her for it...) to the more complicated (Butterflied Leg of Lamb) and I can tell you for a fact: Simply Nigella is a grower. The more you read it, and cook from it, the more you love it!

Click here to buy your own copy!

Images via Amazon and unknown

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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Country-Whites Georgian House Tour

Here's another beautiful example of a Georgian house and interior but this home tour has leans more to the Country end of Modern Country....

I love the soft grey green of the front door...try Farrow and Ball French Gray for a similar look.

Look at the wood burner! We have a very similar one in our new home!

See the large sash windows...
{We'll come to the subject of draughtiness all in good time!!}

The attention to period details...

...without needing to be a slave to the Georgian look, are what give this home its wow-factor.

The fireplaces...

...the sinuous elegance of the bannisters...

Can you spot a theme emerging?
These are all features of beautifully maintained Georgian homes.

I prefer a little more colour, I have to say. Do you agree? 
Nothing garish, mind you, but a harmonious palette running throughout the house.
{We'll be looking at how straight-forward it can be to pull that off, shortly}

But before we go on any further with Georgian gorgeousness, I have to ask you this: have you been watching Simply Nigella? I've been devouring her new book! And, most definitely YES, there will be a review coming up pronto!

Images via: Ideal Home

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Monday, 2 November 2015

Modern Country Georgian House Tour

Still not convinced by gorgeous Georgian beauty? Come with me as I take you on my journey of falling in love with Georgian heritage. Let's start with some Georgian house tours. Today's home has a stunning exterior. Notice the flat front, the symmetry and the detailing.


These were the days of cheap materials and cheaper labour so solid stone and ornate plaster work could be the order of the day, even for less than prestigious houses.


Oh, those cornices! So dreamy...


I really like the way these owners have incorporated new features, such as the greyed oak parquet floor. They haven't felt the need to be ruled by the past but have still kept within the character of the house...


In fact, I'd say they've added to the character of the house..


The stunning attention to detail continues upstairs...



This house is avilable for location hire, which explains the slightly sparse assured that, as we happily share our house with five kiddiewinks, ours will be looking much more family-friendly!



So, tell me...


am I persuading you?!!

Images via 1st Option

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