Tag Archives: cottage

Dust? What Dust?

Dust? What Dust?

I think I need a blindfold like this! I’m in the process of thoroughly gutting our pantry. This is no small undertaking. Especially when I discovered that some of my beloved art history books had been ruined by mildew. Because, unbeknown to us, we had a damp problem along the side wall of the pantry, where the bookshelf is. Now, those gorgeous books are in the recycling bin as they are completely and utterly in disrepair.

We have been living in and amongst chaos all week as most of the pantry is sitting in various piles in our den. We live in a very tiny cottage, in fact, so tiny, we could have started the “tiny house” movement that is all the rage today. But, as I write this a storage bin we have ordered is winding it’s way to me through the streets of London today. So hopefully by nightfall, I can have everything neatly and safely stored and the pantry more organised, so you don’t have to move like a Ninja to grab something.

It is exhausting yet cathartic completing this process. It’s amazing to realise how much crap you accumulate and I’m not ashamed to say that a good portion of it was mine. I have cleaned off my “crafting” shelf and all the little magazines and scraps I’ve kept for so long, have now been gone through with precision. There is no point in keeping an entire magazine for only one page, is there?  I’ve been ruthless.

We are pairing down, stripping back and streamlining. By the end of today, we should be nearly there and then I can take a break before starting our next room overhaul, to work on a project that is very dear to me. I’m keeping my fingers, toes and anything else that can be crossed, crossed, in the hopes to be published soon.

Here’s to Wednesday, we’ve almost made it through the week!

{Image: Anne Taintor}

The Monday Morning Blues

Jennifer Michie Star Man

Do you know that scene in Adventures in Babysitting, where they end up in a night club and once on stage are told by the band that “No one leaves this place, without singing the blues!”? That is how I feel today, I’ve got the blues, the Monday morning blues.

I have so much fun during my weekends, I just want it to keep going! I’m sure I’m not alone in this feeling?

Mr. Michie was sick this weekend, so we were quiet. There was music, candles, movies, homemade chicken soup and fresh bread. We stayed snuggled under blankets and rested. After such a hectic first week back to school, it was a wonderful way to spend two days together, even though Mr Michie was under the weather.

Enjoying the art of everyday living is something that the Danes have completely figured out. Mr. Michie and I feel like Denmark is a second home. It is a magical place. Heading out to find breakfast in the morning, you will find coffee shops with candles lit in their windows and blankets laid over the outside seating to keep yourself warm. Everything is cozy. And the Danes have a special word for that: Hygge (pronounced hue-gah). There is not an exact translation. It is more about a feeling; the ritual that comes from taking joy in the simple pleasure of everyday living; in making the ordinary – extraordinary. We try to do this at home. From the moment we wake-up at the weekends, candles are lit, music is on, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee permeates the house.

I feel that making things cozy becomes even more precious to me when the sun is late to rise and early to bed. I love the Winter, but I like it on my own terms. I want to be able to go for walks; to bake cookies and bread; to stay indoors and be cozy. What I don’t like is leaving for work in the dark and journeying home in the dark. However, following our “Hygge Mantra” makes for a happier household and definitely fends off some of the Monday morning blues, no matter how dark and cold it is.

Don’t Fight It

Let Me In Arthur Sarnoff

“Don’t fight it!” That is something that my Grandpa, used to say. When something just wasn’t working out and you were trying your damnedest, he’d say, “Hey, don’t fight it!”

I’ve taken his advice to heart this week as everything seems to be breaking. The fan in the bathroom, a leak in the bathroom that is causing water damage on the kitchen ceiling and the dryer deciding that it was ready to give up. I’ve arranged for the calvary to arrive, but that won’t happen till next week.

So, I can’t stress about something that I can’t do anything about. I just take a deep breath and I don’t fight it, because everything will eventually just fall into place.

A Cactus

Jennifer Michie Coral Cactus

We played in our dollhouse size garden yesterday. Planting a few new things here and there. Mr. Michie chose the most dazzling yellow dahlia that I have ever seen, it is almost neon. We also separated and repotted some aloe. I have a gorgeous aloe plant given to me by a friend of mine, it is from a cutting of a plant that belonged to her grandmother. It’s appears to be very happy on the windowsill and is growing at Jurassic proportions. A very dear work colleague, has traded me some Danish marigold seeds for a cutting of my aloe. So yesterday I set to work repotting some clippings so in a few weeks time, when they take root, I can uphold my half of the bargain.

We have the most beautiful nursery not far from where we live, so we spent a good hour there yesterday, traipsing around, trying to decide on what we were going to pick. I love that smell of wet earth and the explosion of color that exists all around you. I love the feeling of soil on my fingers. Gardening soothes my soul. As we went inside to pay we passed the cactus stand. I fell in love with this guy and so Mr. Michie bought him for me as a treat. He is sitting very proudly on the windowsill now. I love the pop of coral that splashes out at you.

New Hair, Hot Soup and Party Lights!

Jennifer Michie Wonton Soup

Yesterday, I pampered myself to a hair cut, mani and pedi.  I work hard for my money and I think that everyone has the right to treat themselves once in awhile.

I have been through a ton of hairdressers since living here and I have finally found the right one! And it isn’t just the hairdresser, it’s the atmosphere as well. My hair salon of choice in London is the Aveda Spa in Covent Garden. I have been going there for over a year now and I always walk away happy. It is an oasis of serenity.

I hadn’t had my hair cut since the beginning of December. Between my work schedule, weekends being pretty busy and my lovely hair stylist being fully booked, it meant I had to wait ’till this Saturday. But it was well worth the wait! I got a lot of hair chopped off and I LOVE IT! I had numerous compliments; one by a complete stranger that passed me on the street, which made my day!

To celebrate the weekend and a new haircut, Mr. Michie took me out on a date. It was so very cold yesterday and all I wanted was some soup, so off to Cha Cha Moon we went. I had a delicious, warming bowl of wonton soup and a glass of their lemon iced tea. Heaven!!

We spent today, re-organizing all the Christmas decorations. I ordered some storage bags and they arrived this week, so we went to work. It was another downsizing exercise, just keeping what we need and donating the rest to charity. The house has been thoroughly Spring cleaned. It was a lot of work, but it was well worth it. I’ve put out a few of my Copenhagen surprises and a set of very happy party lights are now adorning the mantle.

One bag of unsorted items remains, but it will have to wait until next weekend. It holds the key ingredients to three separate packages that I plan to mail home. Still, I’ve accomplished a lot, so now I’m sitting back with a glass of wine, next to Mr. Michie, staring at our new lights. Here’s to weekends!!

Cleaning House

Jennifer Michie Red House

We spent a part of our weekend cleaning out our bedroom. I know, I know, it’s the old January organizing cliche, but I love cleaning house. We went through the closets, the jumbo sweater and blanket bags and the storage bags underneath our bed which we managed to downsize the sheets and towels that we need to one bag. By the time we were done, we had a giant box, two XL paper bags and two garbage bags worth of items to take to the charity shop.

We are really working on downsizing. It is wonderful! I find it very therapeutic and mentally cleansing. It’s funny, because the things we got rid of you can’t really see, they are behind doors, but yet when we came back in the house, Mr. Michie said it just felt “lighter” in the cottage, and it did.

I love when we declutter and organise. Little by little we have been doing this in the cottage, choosing one area to tackle and working through it. It means our house only has what we need. Everything has a purpose.

Gertie

Jennifer Michie Gertie

Today is my first day off from school! I’ve spent my morning drinking tea, reading a cozy prairie Christmas story, cleaning and hanging out with Gertie! She’s pretty good company. Although she prefers hot chocolate and marshmallows instead of tea, but that’s pretty easy to fix, I’ve even topped her little mug with whipped cream and a few green sprinkles, much to her delight! Happiness is…

Listening in the Quiet

Wildflowers

I’ve done a lot of listening these past few days. School is over, no children about, so all is quiet. I have systematically been going through the studios, cleaning up, cleaning out and re-organizing. Through this process I have been plugged in, catching up on podcasts, listening to music, or simply working in silence, very aware of my surroundings.

I have also been using my cleaning time to meditate, focusing on some of my yogi practices. I am finding my quiet at work, now I am looking forward to being able to find it at home. The last few weeks of school always keep our house in a state of flux. It needs a thorough cleaning, more than the spit and polish it has been getting. As long as my kitchen is clean and my bathroom is clean, I can deal with anything else. But I am ready for everything to be in it’s place.

I shall have a few days to myself soon and I plan to work through the cottage, like I am working through the studios, systematically, carefully, with love and listening in the quiet.

{Image: Found}

Re-Organizing

Plastic Couch Cover

We have spent the weekend doing a spot of spring cleaning. The cottage isn’t quite finished, but we have made a big dent. There is something so satisfying about cleaning up, cleaning out and getting rid of things. However, I always feel the same way, once I work on truly cleaning a space, I almost can’t bring myself to use that area or make a mess in it where it has just been thoroughly gutted and cleaned. I’m not quite to the point of plastic couch covers, a house is supposed to be enjoyed after all, but it is nice to see the space you worked so hard to clean and organize stay that way, at least for five minutes.

We made three runs to the charity shop yesterday and will have more to make next weekend as we have gotten rid of more books, cds, dvds and other odds and ends. Some corners of the cottage look a bit bare now and I actually like it. We are just working on sections; one at a time. We picked what we wanted to focus on and then worked through that. That way the task isn’t as daunting and we stay on course. Streamlining is a good thing, every now and then!

{image found here}