just for the record


I feel that I should start the year with a disclaimer, a confession, a statement of reality.

A good friend of mine, who also reads the blog, recently said to me something along the lines of this:

‘I saw you on the school run yesterday, and you looked like you were having a really bad day. Then later, I saw you had posted on your blog: something all pretty and calm. I feel sorry for the people who read it and don’t actually know you- they must think that your life is really like that!’

I imagine that, as blog readers, this will come as no surprise to you, but I wanted to say, just for the record, that only the very calmest, loveliest and most harmonious moments of my life do make it onto this blog. I like it that here, if nowhere else, I can try to create a space that is serene, and beautiful, and exactly how I want it. If I posted photographs of the mess, the chaos and the muddle, I wonder whether anyone would visit this blog at all.

A question that I have been asked more than once in the year since I started this blog is: ‘How do you do it all?’ To which the simple answer is, I absolutely don’t! All I do is repeatedly clear a space amongst the debris and take a photograph, often to the annoyance of my ever-patient family!

The picture above? Yes, I confess, it is the most photogenic bit of disorder that I could find. Not for you the piles of dirty laundry, the high chair covered in rice cake crumbs, the empty tea mugs stacked by the sink, the bags under my eyes or the endlessly squabbling children. Please believe me, though, when I tell you that they are here, and that life behind this screen often feels like a near-constant state of disorder.

This blog is where I come to breathe. I’m glad that you come to visit me here. Now, shall we return to the pretty pictures?

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  • I’m glad you photograph the lovely bits. It gives me a feeling of calm amongst the chaos of life! Carry on doing what you are doing is what I say!! Have a lovely 2014. Love Penny L xx

  • I come to blogs like yours to escape from the chaos and destruction around me. And I know that you had a new small person last year so I have a fair idea of what reality looks like! I do love your blog though, and I even love your photo of disorder (great mugs and table).

  • Ha, I think most blog readers realise that behind the beautiful and serene images, are often stacks of mess and crying children!
    My mum once said to me that my blog made out that I just went on woodland walks all the time – yes, that would be because photographs taken around Aldi would be much less lovely! It’s all about sharing the loveliness, but acknowledging that real life is going on as well. Keep the pretty pictures coming! x

  • Any blogger would understand and know this. I don’t know many people who use their blog as a place to focus on the negative, and if I did, I probably wouldn’t carry on reading it. It is important to point this out from time to time, that we are all human. I worry about the impression that being a blogger gives out to non bloggers. While I want to keep things focused on the positive, does it give the impression that I think I am above/tidier/more creative anyone else? I have mess/chaos too, even more so because I try to fit blogging into my life too. I quite like Helen’s comment above. I think from time to time, it’s ok and important to show reality. And it doesn’t have to be negative just because it’s mess. I could be a great favour to someone else. I love seeing a friend’s mess, so that I know that I am not the only one, and that I have been honoured to share the reality with them. Photographs from Aldi could be quite an interesting insight into someone’s real life!

    • I really like your point that bloggers may have even more mess/chaos because they have to squeeze in time for blogging too. Agreed! x

  • My brother once said to me that my blog is much more positive than my twitter feed and actually I’m
    OK with that. Twitter is spur of the moment. My blog is a little more considered, I hope. When I’ve had time to be more balances about how I feel. For the record, I read lots of blogs and reality comes through on yours much more than many others. A good balance, I think.

  • I once drove around Cramlington for 20 minutes looking for Aldi, I never found it. no photo opportunities there then………………
    real life photos taken here today would include the teenager still in pj’s at 3.30pm, a mountain of laundry the size of Mount Doom and an empty fridge.
    I’m glad your blog is your serene and happy place, it makes it such a nice place to visit x

  • It’s your blog and you can write whatever you love here, no sticky fingers or runny noses! I think every mother needs a space she can call her own. I love reading your posts. Natalie

  • I don’t think there is a difference between your blog and your reality, it is just that you use the blog to record the most positive moments of your reality, the highlights. If it takes clearing some of the mess to realise just how beautiful a new dish looks, or how much comfort there is in a cup of tea with the effort made to put it in your favourite cup and saucer, it is still real. Part of my reason for blogging is to register the meaning behind the mundane, to help stop life passing by unnoticed. No disclaimer needed, the prettiness is truly yours as much as the mess is.

    • I love the idea that a blog is the highlights of life. And your description of the motivation for blogging is spot on. Thank you, I shall go forth and own the prettiness 🙂 x

  • Sometimes, my blog is the only element of life that is orderly. For sanity’s sake, I need it to stay largely that way. Anyone who writes a blog will get it. Though others, perhaps not. My own father once remarked that he thought I was nicer on my blog than I was in real life. Thanks Dad!

  • Blogging is about finding your happy place – creating a space where you can express yourself and maintaining this amongst the chaos of everyday life while attempting to make sense of the world around us – it isn’t an easy job, but easily becomes a passion, especially when our lives are so mixed up! Keeping this happy place calm and serene makes it a place you, and others, want to return to.

  • I don’t see anything wrong with posting pretty pictures. I do exactly the same. I did once post a picture of a pile of laundry, but where’s the fun in that?! I didn’t do it again. Nor do I post pictures of wonky sewing or shameful basket failures but I’m sure everyone must know I have plenty of them 🙂

  • Jeez Louise we gotta have somewhere we feel calm. There’s enough chaos going on without filling our blogs with it! I know full well my life isn’t perfect, who’s is? I have enough dealing with the crappy bits in real life without posting it all on my blog. Keep the pretty coming I say! Jane x

  • This is something I think about a lot. It’s also true of photographs; I realised early on after having my first baby that much of my experience of newborns was photographic, i.e. without the incessant crying and waking. An image can portray one hundred words but it can also shhhh the truth as well.

    I have a little line on my blog about why I blog:
    Why do you blog?
    Alain de Botton recently tweeted: ‘Fully recognising certain moments as the good times and drawing value from them – that’s also an art.’ Pretty much sums it up for me.

    I think there’s a lot to be said for holding on to the prettiness. It’s good for the soul.

    • Ah yes, I have read that Alain de Botton quote on your blog, and it resonates with me too. Exactly right, and yes- the prettiness must indeed be good for the soul.

  • Yay to you and all you say! So true so true! If I blogged every day I’d lose my mind because there just isn’t the time, plus it would probably get a little ugly messy. It’s nice to know that we can share the misery in a sense, you know, be aware that we all have difficult times and family life is crazy, hectic and so wonderful all at the same time. It helps to know we are okay.

    That being said, I love reading blogs that focus on the positive, quiet time with words and imagery that sooth. It calms me and makes those few moments I get to read other blogs so worth the time! xx

  • Loved this post and the comments, we have to see the good bits on their own to appreciate them. We need to see the wood and the trees and take time to contemplate and remember that life is not just chaos, washing mountains and gym bags.
    My blog started to record the renovations in the house so I have shown the chaos but it has become much more to me now, it gives me time to stop and reflect.
    Your blog is brilliant, always interesting, thought provoking and beautiful, i love it. katie x

  • As you know, a favourite of mine is “not every day’s a good day, but there’s good in every day”. I think it’s good to give a nod to the every day, but focus on the positive, pretty and happy…when we look back, it reminds us of what we can achieve throughout the rest of the chaos :0) xx

  • I have only recently found your blog, but when i did it seemed to speak out to me, and i enjoy every time i visit it. From the outset it all seems very idyllic and to be honest i didn’t image the chaos that might be behind the lens. I find your blog inspiring and aspirational. You have the life i dream to have one day. But having read this particular post i realised that these pictures are you thoughts on the bits of your day you want us to see and its about appreciating these moments. Being in the moment and be mindful is so key to being grateful and more content with life. I decided i wanted to capture the journey that this year will take me on with a picture a day. Interesting though, so far i have only captured the most ‘pretty’ moments but perhaps i will photo the more mundane ones too. Basically its about noticing your surroundings, your life and being thankful. By looking back over my pictures i can appreciate it all so much more, and it helps to focus on the positive in every day. I look forward to seeing how your blog takes you this year. Thank you for making the time to share it with us all!

  • The word escapes me right now (as it normally does) but there is a theory, pretty much backed up by research that if you are surrounded by ugh then your life will become a bit ugh by default. That’s why town planners build in parks and nice things and we try to avoid living in tower blocks if possible. It’s the same with writing and reading blogs, we want to create a beautiful space that we can exist in. And then, hopefully it will start to become reality. But with toddlers. So probably not so calm…

  • I am new to your blog today and it is lovely. You are definitely meeting your serene objectives. This girl may be a good friend but my message to her is “How rude!”. It is your blog and it can be what you want it to be. She might as well have criticized one of your children…..anyway just my reaction. Now I’m going to dip into the rest of your blog. I came over from Knitsofacto to see about joining your reading program.. j