Ask anyone who knows me what I like and the word ‘home' will probably make its way into their reply. As much as I enjoy travelling and discovering new destinations, I'm also a bit of a home girl.
You see, my home is my safe haven; I'm in my ‘forever house' and I've spent years getting it just right.
Don't get me wrong, there's still a long way to go yet – and plenty of unfinished tasks (and rooms) waiting to be updated, but I'm getting there.
And the same can be said of the garden. But where I don't mind donning an overall and tackling wallpaper and painting indoors, digging up tree stumps and laying bases for summer houses is not exactly my forte.
Instead I prefer the easy life in the garden – and this means sitting back, enjoying the view and admiring VIP's hard work…
Admiring the view
So my clever VIP has managed to save us thousands of pounds by building a decking area at the back of our house. He did it one week during the school holidays when it was cold and damp. I just watched from the kitchen window – feeling
happy helpless that I couldn't do much in the way of help.
And now it's (almost) finished, I'm really admiring the view. No longer do I have to contend with black matting flapping about in the wind; I can walk straight out onto the lovely wood in my bare feet.
And it is actually lovely wood. I requested that VIP didn't install the usual decking – you know, the one with the ridges. I've walked on them before in my bare feet and it's not pleasant. First World problem, I know, but if we were going to spend a few hundred quid on buying the wood, then naturally I wanted something that I'd appreciate – and use.
And do you know, everyone who has seen it has commented on how lovely it is. The only thing we have to be careful of is not slipping on it when it's wet. But then again, if I see VIP take a fall, I know it'd give me a laugh.
Getting a soaking
Do you remember long hot days of summer? I know it's hard to imagine, but they do show up every now and then.
And when you're hot and bothered, what better way to cool down than a frenzied water fight with the kids! It burns off calories, gives you a good laugh and gets the family laughing together.
Other games we like playing in the garden are football, swing ball (although ours broke recently), frisbee and our absolute favourite – table tennis.
We were really lucky as our neighbours, who were emigrating to Singapore, kindly donated the table tennis table to us and the kids love in. In fact, they've got really good at it. It won't be long before they'll start winning.
My bird house obsession
There are a few things that I'm a bit obsessed with in life and none of them involve shoes, handbags or makeup. I know, I'm not a typical ‘girly girl', but I've always liked that about myself.
My weaknesses instead are novelty birdhouses, glasses (the kind you drink from), mugs and good quality candles. And if I walk past any of these in a shop, I just have to stop to take a look.
My birdhouse obsession has gone from buying novelty bird boxes and feeders to building my own. It's getting a bit ridiculous now as I've counted 22 birdhouses in the garden so far – and people might think I have a bit of a problem.
But the best thing about my birdhouses is when they're being used! I wouldn't say that I'm a twitcher, but I do appreciate it when I see the little dickie birds making full use of the caravan or owl birdhouses.
Weeding out the weeds
There's something about weeding that I find very therapeutic. Some people hate it and see it as a chore, and although I'm not much of a gardener, for some reason I just enjoy clearing the weeds.
I think it harks back to my mini obsession with having to have everything neat and tidy and in its place (I blame my genes), but for some reason, once I've cleared an area and made it looking nice and neat, I suddenly feel in a much better place.
It's the same feeling I get when I've done some filing or cleared my desk or the kitchen. I feel ‘in control' somehow and much less anxious – and the feeling of overwhelm starts to subside. Perhaps I'm in the wrong job.
Garden glory relaxing
‘Just relaxing' isn't something I have the luxury of doing in my day-to-day life; when I'm not working, I'm looking after the kids. And when I'm not looking after the kids, I'm working on my blog – or the house!
There never seems to be enough hours in the day and there is always something that needs doing: shopping, washing, ironing, helping with homework, cleaning, cooking…the list goes on.
I think many of us feel this way, whether we work full time or not. And sometimes, VIP (or my mum) will tell me that I'm getting too stressed and need to go and ‘put my feet up'.
But putting my feet up and relaxing is such an alien concept to me. I can't just sit there doing nothing; heck I even find meditating bloody hard work.
And then one weekend in April the sun shone, and it was lovely and hot. Sitting indoors working seemed like such a crime when I had the opportunity to boost my vitamin D levels. So I decided to take myself outdoors and just lie there on my Zero gravity chair soaking up the rays.
And for those blissful 30 minutes of doing nothing but lying there enjoying myself by doing NOTHING AT ALL, it was almost as if someone had clicked a ‘refresh' button in my brain.
For the first time in a long time I felt chilled out, easy going and without a care in the world: words that are never used to describe my personality. But I so needed it.
And do you know, I was much more productive after 30 minutes on my lounger than if I'd been cooped up inside.
Incidentally, if you don't have a ‘zero gravity' sun lounger you really are missing out. Even with my weak back, it's really supportive and feels like you are just floating in the air (set the recline to the almost horizontal position and you're laughing). Plus they're cheaper than what you'd think too, so there's no excuse not to treat yourself!
So I've made a pact with myself: at the weekend if the sun is shining, I'm allowing myself time on my sun lounger. It will be ‘me time' where I'm free to watch the kids play at annoying each other, watch VIP build something else from wood or just watch the clouds go by while I think about how lucky I really am.
All that I need now is for the sun to come out and stay out; then I'll be in my ‘garden glory!'
What's your favourite garden activity?
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