This month I’m doing better than ever keeping up with Fat Mum Slim’s Photo A Day challenge. Do you play? If you don’t know about Chantelle’s amazing blog and this photo challenge, have a look here for all the info.
I’ve just checked on Instagram and 4,551,500 photos using the #fmsphotoaday tag have been shared there. That’s a LOT of people snapping and sharing, and I’m part of it! (My #sundaybakingsunday tag has 296 photos, which is AWESOME! Only 4,551,200 to reach Chantelle’s lofty heights!)
Maybe I’m doing better because I’ve downloaded Chantelle’s very first app, which is called Little Moments. You can buy from iTunes. You should totally download it right, now – it’s okay, I’ll wait…. oh, at the moment, it is only available for iPhone users, but I think its popularity will mean the Android fans won’t have to wait long. Got it? Super cool isn’t it?
Anyhoo, this actually isn’t an advertorial for Chantelle – she’s doing quite well without my dedicated, attractive, smart but numerically intimate readership’s help. But please download her app, and join in, it’s awesome fun!
Today’s photo prompt has me pondering something larger than just snapping a photo and sharing – and as a blogger, when you ponder, you hit the keyboard.
The prompt for today is HOME. Such a simple word. One we use everyday, many times a day, a place we retreat to, dread cleaning, want to run away from, share with people, feel alone in; home is the keeper of our memories, the place where we first experience family life and so much more than merely bricks and mortar, windows and weatherboard, or paint colours.
According to my trusty Dictionary app, one of the definitions of home is ‘a place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates’.
That just about perfectly sums up my home. It is truly the place where I’m flourishing. Not in styling, though I do love an eclectic smattering of cushions or a neat stack of magazines. For me, home is where my soul flourishes. It is the space where I am 100% myself.
When I’m away, even just for a few days, this is the place I long for. I think it is why I don’t have a passport. I love to be at home.
I love that my home is my place – this is where I cook, watch TV, think about my life, entertain, pull up the drawbridge, and create. Home is where I can be still, or have a good cry, it’s where I bust out dance moves in the kitchen, it’s the place where my #favouritehuman comes to visit and hang on the couch with me. It’s the home with the dishes piled up in the sink, and my rag-tag collection of spices is overflowing on the counter.
Judged physically, my home is no beauty queen – the walls shake and shudder on a windy day and the floors creak, there’s cracked plaster, breezy spots in every room, a carport with a leaky roof and occasionally a small plant grows up through the brickwork in my bedroom. It isn’t insulated, or painted a beautiful colour, in fact it’s kind of dowdy and ‘retro’ – but it is my home, and I love it.
My home reminds me of that great definition of how can you tell if you’ve been loved in The Velveteen Rabbit – the fur is a bit scruffy, there’s only one eye left… you get the picture.
With the rise of social media and the cultural phenomenon of sharing so much of our lives online, there are millions and millions of pixels floating around between our devices, depicting perfectly plumped cushions on taut linen sofas or oozy velvet chaises with cable knit throws, styled to look utterly effortless. We all know they’re primped and photoshopped, bulldog clipped or taped into place, ‘vignetted’ almost to the point of being completey soulless (especially if the images come from stylists or magazines) – yet we seem not to be able to release ourselves from some very limited notion of what a home should look like – at least if anyone but our eyes are going to see it. I think that’s both understandable, culturally, and kind of sad. Our homes should be as diverse as we are, not as stock standard as cartons of milk. Homes are alive and dynamic, houses are static. I want to live in a home, not a photo-shoot ready set!
Anyone remember learning this song at school –
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
Llittle boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same…
My house might be boxy, but there’s nothing ticky-tacky here, except for the dirty kitchen floors!
The photos I’ve taken today are not painstakingly styled or edited – I turned a cushion around, and moved the sugar jar slightly to the left from where it was, but that’s about it. (I think I’ll share some more of my snaps on Instagram this afternoon and tag them #verbsathome.)
This is my home. This is my life. I’m typing this post wearing trackies and a windcheater (people from the 1980s will know what that means). I’m wearing slippers and my washing machine is beeping that it has long ago finished the load of laundry I put on earlier.
This is my life. It’s not an exercise in glamour or styling, and my home certainly isn’t about trying to impress anyone. There are plenty of glossy, shiny places where you can find that kind of ‘inspo’, if that’s your bag.
I love Real Living magazine as much as the next girl, but this is Real Life.
What is it about home that is so potent?
A term I picked up from Dr Phil many years ago (yes, I like Dr Phil – deal with it!) is the idea of everyone needing a ‘soft place to fall’. Granted, he’s usually talking about people – how children need their parents to act as their soft place to fall, or how that operates in a marriage, but for me, I see my home as my soft place. I know we like to idealise family as an all-encompassing hugfest, but it isn’t like that for everyone – so we create soft places in our friendship groups, or in who we choose as a life partner, and I think we can translate that to our homes.
I know my home can’t literally hug me – but I do feel a real sense of comfort here – it’s my place, my things are as I want them to be, I can see memories, things that tie me to my grandparents and reminders of special occasions. There are cards from blogging girlfriends I’ve ‘met’ but never seen on my bookcase. I have photos of family and a notice board I’m filling with bits and bobs above my desk. I have a space to paint and draw, which I love. My pillow has the shape of my head smooshed into it. I know which drawer is for socks, where the forks are, and could probably pull tinned tomatoes from the pantry blindfolded.
The more important stuff of home is etched in my mind’s eye too – the time I flopped on my bed after a terrible day at work and sobbed and sobbed, the happiness of sharing meals with friends here, hurriedly tidying up before my dad calls in for a cuppa and a computer lesson, the peace that I feel when I just sit on the couch, thinking about my life and who I am, and how when someone compliments my home’s ‘style’, it truly feels like they’ve seen inside my heart and they like what they’ve glimpsed.
And the best thing about home is that, even after this building has been razed to the ground, I’ll still be at home, anywhere I am, because home isn’t where the heart is, for me, home comes from what’s in my heart.
Are you flourishing at home? I’d love to hear about it. What brings you joy there? Got a photo to share? Pop it up on Instagram if you like, tag it #verbsathome and add a tag that describes your soft place to fall.
I better hang that washing out now, it’s almost photo-shoot time!
From my home to yours,
23 thoughts on “Where’s my favourite place? It’s here, at home”
A soft place to fall-Yes! Home for me isn’t my physical space at the moment. It’s the place where I can breathe. When I stand on the top of my favourite headland and the wind whips past me, I know I’m home. I was just thinking of that song as google earth zoomed in on a house I’m inspecting tomorrow. I actually sang it and then thought-just boxes where humans shelter. But it’s more than that isn’t it? I realise now it’s the soft place to fall.
It’s so much more than that – but you can get the feeling of it away from home too.
I loved this post Annette! All of it, every bit. But most of all I loved that photo of the light switches. I won’t say it is perfection – because I know how you feel about that word. But it is just something like it. x
Thank you so much Kate. It’s a nice shot isn’t it? Didn’t even really look at it until after the post was up. I’ll allow it in this case. #perfecto
Annette, what a lovely post! I love that you are ‘real’ and document things the way they are, theres an attraction right there in the simplicity of that. As I write this in my ‘temporary home’ or Casa I am sitting in my oldest shorts, complete with old my favourite old shirt that has smudges of chocolate on it from the chocolate banana bread I have made hours before and I am like you loving just being in my space and take me as I come. Home for now is a make shift apartment filled with other people stuff (semi furnished when we took it over) and its surprising how you can make a place your home by putting our simple touches on it…. a poster from a free art gallery we went to, some flowers in vase picked from the park, photos stuck to the fridge of friends and family back home, a favourite throw, or cushion that I made… very simple things, but when you come in and shut the door and close the beating world out – its our home, just as you find it.
I love the essence of what you’ve shared – closing the door on the world, and you’re home, just as you find it. That’s it in a nutshell. I call it ‘pulling up the drawbridge’. Thanks so much for your lovely comment and support Natalie.
I love my home. We’ve only lived here a few months so I don’t think I’m in the “it wraps its arms around me” phase yet, but that will come. I love that I feel like I can be ME in here, and that my children will grow up here and leave their grubby finger-prints on the walls and build our memories.
It’s important stuff isn’t it – a place to make memories together.
What a beautiful post Annette. That dictionary description of home really sums it up doesn’t it. That’s how I feel about my home – a place where my family and I flourish. Love it! I think it’s time I joined in with the FMS photo a day movement. Looks like so much fun.
Deb, the Photo A Day challenge is heaps of fun – just a simple way to put a little more creativity into the every day. I loved that definition of home, I definitely rate that as my top priority for wherever home is.
I definitely flourish at home. It is where I feel most comfortable and cozy. It has all of my nicknacks and memories of everything that I love. My husband is there for me to hug and support me, and my little birdie pet for extra though silent company.
And each room is different and has different furniture and decorations and different vibes altogether. I find myself gravitating towards different ones depending on my moods.
You are right, homes are definitely so much more than the cookie cutter (though beautiful) houses pictured in magazines. And none of them would feel like mine does!
That’s the best part – how our homes are all unique! Even if there are common elements, like IKEA sofas, each home is a reflection of its inhabitants. Or it should be!!
They’re special places! I love the way you’ve described the moods of your home. That’s how it should be I reckon.
Home and I are experiencing a bit of a fractious relationship right now. She has been good to me, has kept me warm and safe while I’ve had my babies, but I long to move on to a more expansive playground. I look around, and she is me; from the bits and bobs I adore to the slightly dog-eared edges of pages I need to straighten up. We’ve discussed it, and it’s time to put Home on the market. However, Home has decided that’s a fabulous opportunity to make us aware of leaking pipes and aging hardware. I am ready, and yet I can’t move on until each new ‘issue’ has been addressed. I think this week, I’ll take some inspiration from you and just appreciate those parts that feel most like Home. Maybe, I’ll even take a picture. 🙂
I love that you and Home are in negotiations. Maybe the pipes are just leaking at the thought of losing you??
Annette, lovely warm post. My mum was a passionate home maker and taught me your home is a reflection of who you are from within, what your heart desires to feel loved, treasured and cosy.
What you express in your decor and surroundings really is what you portray as a person.
You have feel very comfortable coming in through the front door and just being.
My home right now is my camper van or where ever I lay my hat when I am housesitting, as I have just left the town I was living in for 10 years to start traveling around promoting my business.
So all that is my camper van is what I own, (after a long major clear out) and looking at those things, they are all reflect who I am at heart. My heart loves adventure and travel and all things health and fitness.
Its so nice to feel liberated from things that do not serve me anymore and only be with a few things I love, and that is a few items.
Saying this, I am sure I will get to the place in my heart again where I will need a place of bode, and be surrounded with bigger nicer things I adore but I want to own the brick and mortar rather than rent this time.
I think your home is what you own, it feels more yours when you own it rather than looking after a house or renting it. don’t you agree?
Thanks for your kind words Jane – sounds like you’re off on a big adventure.
Home is definitely where I feel the best – but I don’t agree that ownership has much to do with it.
I’m much more settled and deliberate about the way my home looks – putting my stamp on the space – than plenty of mortgage holders! My home has soul, and that’s got nothing to do with whose name is on the title. That’s my touch!
Hi Annette. This has been such a thought provoking read for me. I am currently in a situation where I feel ‘between homes’. I moved back in with my parents about 18 months ago (for which I am truly grateful as it allowed me to follow my dreams) – this home is a place I have flourished and it is my soft place to fall. But I know it can’t be forever; a souce of much emotional turmoil and grief. I am planning on moving in with my b/f….soon. But it’s about 4 hours drive away from everything I currently consider to be ‘home’. The act of Making A New Home fills me with so many different emotions; fear, hope, sadness, excitement. But that thought “a soft place to fall” – that is so poignant and something to keep in sight. Thank you.
Lucy, I’m so glad that you enjoyed this musing about my favourite place – home.
This post makes me reassess my home, it’s a lovely home but I constantly look at other homes because despite thinking this was my forever home, with little people under foot it doesn’t 😦
I want to live somewhere that makes my heart sing, looks like it’s back to the home hunt!
That’s a huge decision. See how you can look at where you are with fresh eyes. Get a friend to help you rearrange the rooms that are making you crazy. I am a big believer in moving a couch, flipping everything to make me see things differently.
Thanks for reading, I’m glad this one made you ponder your home – such an important space.
Annette, such a lovely time reading and ‘making my way’ through your home 🙂 I once heard Oprah say ” your home should rise up to meet you”. And it sounds like yours does. My home is my sanctuary. A relief as I come through the door and close it behind me. It’s modest and comfortable, and though I’m handy, it’s imperfect. Just fine. And I can live with abandon in a singlet. Love that! Thank you for sharing your home and it’s special personality 🙂
Hey Laurie, that’s a great quote isn’t it? Home is so important, definitely a place I consider my sanctuary.