working mums: your stories | Jen

working mums

Continuing my series on working mums, I now welcome Jen.

I really hope that we will all be able to learn something from reading each others stories and potentially find something which helps us individually in working out a better way of juggling going to work with having a family. It will also be interesting to see what themes, if any, run through the various answers, and what we can take from that, if anything.

Jen lives in California and works as a surface designer. She also runs a popular blog about home design, renovation, craft projects, work projects. She has two boys, Oliver (2) and Leo (1).


Hi Jen. Thanks for answering my questions and giving an insight into being a working mum.

Q: in what sector are you employed?

A: I have my degree in graphic design and work as a surface designer creating artwork that is licensed to paper and fabric companies. I also run a popular blog about home design, renovation, craft projects, work projects, and my family.

Q: how long have you been in that sector?

A: I’ve been in my career sector for 12 years.

Q: why did you follow your chosen career path?

A: From a young age I always wanted to be an artist. In college I learned what Graphic Design was (this was before it was hugely popular as a career) and immediately knew it was what I wanted to do with my life.

Q: How long did you take for maternity leave (each maternity leave)?

A: I work from my home office now, and so when I had baby #1 I only took 2 days off of work. I was working against some crazy deadlines, and just couldn’t take any time off. Luckily he was a really good baby. I would nurse him, hand him off to whomever was in the house (my husband or family), work for 2 hours, and then nurse again. Rinse repeat 24/7 for the first 2 weeks of his life. Then I finally got a little respite and went back to a less-stringent work schedule for several weeks before starting on new deadlines.

With baby #2 I vowed to take at least a few weeks off. But after the first week I got asked (begged) to design a line in a week’s time (usually they take a month). A bonus that I couldn’t refuse was offered so I took the job. My husband was out of town that week so I had to find a neighbour lady who could come over a few hours a day and help tend my older child while I nursed, worked and let the baby nap next to me.

Q: did you return to the same role after your maternity leave?

A: Yes. I have my own freelance business. So no one is there to do the work other than me! With my second child, I did drop some of my clientele and commitments knowing that I would not be able to take on as many projects.

Q: did you feel any pressure to return earlier or later than you did?

A: Definitely pressure to return earlier. Mostly self-inflicted though. I have to manage my own time knowing what my deadlines are. Working for yourself can be a bit more complicated than working for someone else. No one else can pull up the slack when you’re not feeling well or recovering from birth.

Q: what factors influenced your choice?

A: Keeping my clients happy, bringing in extra money to balance out the additional expense of another child. Overall the desire to keep my business thriving.

Q: if you breastfed, were you still doing this in some form when you returned to work and did you return date/timing either influence your decision or was your return to work date influenced by this issue?

A: Because I have the flexibility of working from home, I was able to breastfeed as long as I wanted with my kids and not have to sacrifice in either realm. I just worked breastfeeding around my schedule and enjoyed the breaks and bonding with my babies.

Q: do you have any role models in your sector, employment or generally?

A: Yes, in the industry that I work in most of the companies are own and ran by women. I’ve always had a huge amount of support from all the women that I have come in contact with. Because I’ve been in the industry so long, I’ve seen all these business owners start and build their business while having young children.

Q: why are they a role model?

A: Being able to manage and grow a business and have young kids/still having babies is no small task. Seeing them accomplish so much gave me no excuses of why I couldn’t do it too.

Q: did your own mother return to work?

A: Yes. My mother has 7 kids – I’m the youngest. My mom was a SAHM for many years, but when I was in all-day school (age 6) she returned to the workplace. I’m sure it was a lot of work for her to do both especially as my father worked quite a bit. But I don’t ever recall her having a bad day, or even yelling at us. She was a great mother and a wonderful example of balancing life and being happy with what she was doing in life.

Q: any comments on whether that influenced your decision?

A: I think it did on a deeper level. I never really thought of my mom as a working mom growing up. But now that I am a working mom, I have only felt support from both of my parents. This is probably in part to her having worked. If she had always stayed home, I might feel some nagging in the back of my head that I needed to be just like her in order to be a good mom.

Q: are you a member of any mothers/women networking events? if so, which ones/ what kind and what kind of support do you find it provides, if any?

A: I belong to the Utah Women’s Creative Guild. This is an awesome networking resource for me, and I am able to be influenced daily by women who “do it all” so to speak.

Q: do you think working as a mum is important? why?

A: I think it’s very important to me. If you had asked me that 10-15 years ago, I would have never said that though. However now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Working hard at objective-based projects helps my self-esteem and self-identity more than I can even describe. Almost daily I have a sense of pride at what I’ve accomplished. There is also a huge amount of growth being an artist. The more I work/practice, the better I get. I love knowing that I’m spending my days building a valuable skill set.

Q: what kind of childcare do you have?

A: Currently we have a part-time Nanny who comes 20 hours/week. We’ve only had her for a few months and it’s helped tremendously in being able to focus on work. We are currently designing/building a house. So every moment is booked and over- booked. Having someone we can rely on to watch the kids makes all the difference in the world. I also prefer to have in-home childcare because I want to be around my children when they are this young. Where we live child-care is more affordable than other areas.

Q: how do you balance the various roles in your life?

A: Not sleeping! There is so much that I love to do and be that I really have to manage my time well. Some things always end up being low-priority – like blogging, social media, and crafting. When I’m with my kids in the afternoon/evening I try to give them my undivided attention. I put on music and dance around – let my older son help me cook dinner, or build a fort and play with both of them while my husband is making dinner. I do my best to separate work time from family time. But once those kids are back in bed, I work for another 4-6 hours. Luckily I have an incredibly supportive husband who also works from home and a lot of hours. So we are working side-by-side most nights and can get some semblance of couple-time while we are working.

Q: do you have a partner, what do they do for work and how does this affect your ability and decisions regarding your work/childcare arrangements?

A: My husband owns his own Industrial Design consultancy. He also works part-time as an adjunct professor at BYU. Having him work from home most of the time allows me quite a bit of flexibility with needing to go to meetings or on business trips. He also understand my work craziness because he’s building his business and that takes a tremendous amount of commitment and time. We do our best to support each other by sharing child-care duties as needed. Honestly we just take life a week at a time and try to arrange our week to accommodate our individual work schedules as best we can so that we both have the support we need.

Q: do you think there is any stigma being a working mum? have you experienced any issues, either at work, or from other mums or family members?

A: Yes… and no. I live in an area where most mothers do not work. I’ve never felt judged by women in my generation – but I don’t think most understand the level of commitment that is required to have a career and children at the same time. I truly don’t have time for a lot of extra social or church/community commitments, and so I find myself somewhat isolated in a culture where most ladies “lunch”

Q: (I appreciate this is quite nosy, but I’m throwing it out there) are you any better off financially from going out to work?

A: Absolutely. I have been able to cultivate a very successful career and that helps me make sacrifices, knowing that I’m providing for my family’s future.

Thanks so much Jen; so interesting to hear from working mums in other parts of the world and how we still face the same issues and pressures.

Jen can be found on Twitter: @jenallyson and Instagram: @theprojectgirl

If you would like to join the conversation and share your story as a working mum, please email me for more details.

A Daughter


Poem for a Daughter

‘I think I’m going to have it,’

I said, joking between pains.
The midwife rolled competent
sleeves over corpulent milky arms.
‘Dear, you never have it,
we deliver it.’
A judgement the years proved true.
Certainly I’ve never had you

as you still have me, Caroline.
Why does a mother need a daughter?
Heart’s needle, hostage to fortune,
freedom’s end. Yet nothing’s more perfect
than that bleating, razor-shaped cry
that delivers a mother to her baby.
The bloodcord snaps that held
their sphere together. The child,
tiny and alone, creates the mother.

A woman’s life is her own
until it is taken away
by a first, particular cry.
Then she is not alone
but a part of the premises
of everything there is:
a time, a tribe, a war.
When we belong to the world
we become what we are.

(Anne Stevenson)

In the Space of That Year

January 14: I register her birth,

which is to say,

somebody writes it on paper. My face is a cave.

We walk round town but nowhere’s open.

She hangs from me, small weight.

I’m meat,

heavier than you’d think was possible.

Each night, she drifts in her basket

through waves of colourless sleep

I can hardly believe anymore.

She’s a small cat, curled at my chest,

searching for breast like air;

her mouth, its entire own creature.

Nobody told us a thing;

that mouth and its hunger

and nothing to fill it but me -

the mouth like a punishment – nobody warned us;

counting her life up

in gulps – fifty-nine, sixty -

in the open and shut (third time this night)

of her breakable throat.

World emerged

from the winter we willed her into,

its lights, its forest of noises

(she could not focus, she did not know us);

colour belled and pressed

like hands heeled hard against the eyes.

glowing like pain or clouds of stars;

like blood or spring arriving.

World took shape in air and its textures;

she was pushed through or lifted;

she slavered and slept; she was still

and the silence was bees.

Her arms were Africa.

her legs were Russia. Her back was

Here Be Monsters

and though there had always been voices

it was out of the dream

world reached her;

with the cold plastic skin of a mat.

With light.

With hunger and faces;

the absence of water;

with dog, and the shock

of a sneeze.

She could not lift her own head.

She could not sit up

or eat. Could not speak.

She could not find her feet

until she did

(Clare Shaw) (published in Jubilee Lines edited by Carol Ann Duffy)

Listen to it here

(image: me with Pip, 10 days old by Cara)

Pregnancy Diaries: A on… Ready or Not (or 39+6)

Welcome back to the pregnancy diaries series. While I have no thoughts about a second pregnancy myself, I didn’t want this blog to simply move into toddler land as Pip grows up. It is about surviving motherhood and that includes pregnancy and the new baby days.Suzie (Pitter Patterfollow) and A (One Half Of Usfollow) will be sharing some posts about pregnancy and planning for a baby. Their guest posts will be a mixture of the philosophical and practical.

I can hardly believe that this is likely the last pregnancy post that A will be be writing. Very soon I am sure I will be heading to Wales to meet my new niece or nephew. It is so exciting! I am hoping A will be back after the birth to share some more posts, but in the meantime, good luck my darling with the last few days/weeks of your pregnancy. And thank you so much for being such an excellent guest poster.



Right now I would like this baby to make an appearance. I can’t wait to find out if it’s a boy or girl, and to see the very long legs it surely must have to be able to kick me the way it does. In recent days the baby has been doing a series of strange shuddering movements, and I have been in and out of hospital being monitored. So far so good, but no answers as to what is happening. All in all, baby making an appearance would reassure me that (s)he is doing ok.

But ask me in a few hours and I may have switched back to thinking that maybe I’d prefer the baby to stay in: among other things, it makes no noise, requires no feeding throughout the night, and can be taken anywhere with me.

Despite swinging mentally between wanting to meet the baby NOW, and being quite happy just to be ‘us’ for a little longer, I think we’re almost ready. Physically, the baby has a place to sleep, a way to travel (both on foot and in the car), and enough clothes and nappies to last a while! We have a nursery set up, although this is still a work-in-progress as our bathroom renovation has been forefront in our spare time usage. After weeks of begging bathroom usage from friends, we now a fully functioning shower again. I spent a crazy day of clearing up and cleaning, and the house is now almost back to normal. Minus painted nursery walls and a bathroom floor, we are as ready as I guess we’ll ever be.

It hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I’m going to be a mother, but as I’m now at 39+6, it will have to soon! Ready or not, our baby will be with us before we know it.


Screenshot 2014-04-06 11.02.19 Every year my grandmother-in-law gives me Thorntons chocolates for Easter. Just as I associate daffodils and moss with Easter and my own grandmother (we spent every childhood Easter at their place in Yorkshire, with every Easter Saturday spent in the cool and damp church in the village helping my Grandmother and the flower arranging team with the Easter flowers, with me and my sisters in charge of the miniature Easter garden complete with rolled stone) I associate Thorntons chocolates with Easter. Martin obviously does too, as the first egg he ever bought me was also from Thorntons. That’s a story for another time though.

This year, Thorntons sent me one their milk chocolate spectacular egg to try, which incorporates both a chocolate egg and a box of their chocolates. And spectacular is definitely the word for it – it is enormous! It is almost 2 presents in one, as the little box below actually contains 12 chocolates.

The egg arrived at work and so I shared it with my team – one of my colleagues took a mini cricket bat to it (which proved an excellent tool) and everyone crowded round with much excitement to try a piece. It was universally popular, both in taste and in that there was enough egg to go round the whole team. This isn’t a small egg; it’s a decent size that even the hardiest of Easter egg consumer will probably have enough for two sittings…

If you’re looking for gift idea for Easter, take a look at the other Thorntons eggs and gifts. Not of all of the eggs are so large, so there’s plenty of choice. I was quite taken by the rabbits and am thinking of ordering one for Pip, as she is obsessed by rabbits.

I also happened to notice that if you spend £30 then delivery is only £1. My egg arrived safely parcelled and even passing through a corporate post room, it still arrived intact without even any box damage.

Happy Easter!

Thank you to Thorntons for the egg for review. In the interests of full disclosure, I was not paid for this post. You can read my sponsorship policy here.

Money saving tips for the new flat?

We’ve just moved into our new flat, as I’ve mentioned once or twice. It’s been a real time consuming exercise, switching all of our stuff over to the new address and the list seems endless. One of the things I’ve been meaning to do for weeks is to make a decision about the gas and electricity – stay with the previous occupants decision, or make our own.

Then I was sent this infographic, and as the last thing I wanted was some kind of Scarlett Johansson type situation, I did a little research.

What I found was quite interesting; a UK energy company. Small. Based in Bristol. Green. Not one of the dominant ‘big six’ companies. Regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or single, as per the infographic, I can’t see any reason why saving money wouldn’t be of interest.

Have a look and see you what you think. I’m going to see whether it will work for us.

How being in a relationship can save you money

Feel loved again: start slashing your bills with cheap electricity deals!

(Post in conjunction with Ovo Energy. See my policy here for more details)

on 50/50 parenting

Last night I went to an LSE lecture “Excel at Your Job, Be Home for Dinner” by Sharon Meers, co-author of Getting to 50/50: How working parents can have it all (oh, the irony, as the event was at 6.30pm and I missed not only dinner but bedtime as well).

It was actually a rather fascinating insight into the person and background to one of the authors of a book that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. They were selling books but I bought the kindle version this morning to read on the tube.

Well before I’d heard of Getting to 50/50, Marto and I set out the ways we wanted to parent and comfortingly, our goals are pretty similar to those of Meers and Strober. I’ve written before about choosing the things that are important to me and refusing to feel guilty about the rest (like choosing to go to work). Marto and I also divy up all of the household tasks, chores and so on equally (i.e. equally over say a year’s period, rather than week to week) and employ a cleaner, childcare, babysitter etc so that we can continue with the things that are important to us both. Work and socialising, mainly.

We also both try and have better habits at work (i.e. concentrating on delivering on important things, utilising our time in the office effectively, prioritising, and keeping in touch with the office on a BlackBerry in the evening if  necessary) but there are always room for improvement.

So, it seems that the 4 important tenets of getting to 50/50 are things we have already considered:

  • get rid of guilt
  • better habits at work (results, not time spent present at office)
  • welcome men to the home team
  • clear space to connect

Meers also had some interesting things to share, which I thought were worthy of comment:

  • Mums and dads are both equally flummoxed by a new born baby. Research shows that a mother is not naturally any better at stopping a baby crying or giving milk to an infant from a bottle. We therefore need to keep mums and dads equalTrust that dad will do at least as good a job as you would have. Do not allow mum to become an expert and dad to just do things on instructions if you want to have a chance at being on equal footing as parents in the future. Basically, stop maternal ‘gatekeeping’. Mums do not know everything.
            • We even extend this to friends who take care of Pip. We give some instructions and information about things we have found that work, and we tell her caregivers of routines and our non-negotiable rules (such as sit down when you eat) but beyond that, we say, we knew nothing about parenting and all we know is by trial and error. Use your judgement. 
  • Commit family agreements to writing, such as dinner time, or agreed nights off for social or travel or whatever (balanced over an annual period, say, rather than each week perhaps) but whatever works for you.
  • Ask for what you need from each other.
    • We haven’t managed to write anything down, but we do spend some time on Sunday evening discussing who has what commitments that week. We are working on planning food ahead of time to make it even easier. We also have a broad idea of what seems reasonable in terms of nights off and number of work trips, although we are both still in the career building stage, so not really in a position to say no to things.

Meers also had a lot more to say about corporate culture and so on, but I am writing a post on that for my work blog. I will post the link to that when it’s up.

Does this resonate with anyone? Would you like to hear more?

Lastly, sharing stories is really important, so I am trying to find time to continue my working mums series. I’ve a couple still left in my inbox which people have already kindly shared, so apologies for the delay, and stand by for those. In the meantime, please If you would like to join the conversation and share your story as a working mum, please email me for more details.

Did you know LSE run hundreds of free public lectures every year? They also upload lots of them as podcasts so you can listen after the event if you couldn’t make it.

Mum and Dad blog awards – last day to vote!

MAD Blog AwardsToday is the last day to nominate for blogs in the Mum and Dad awards (MAD blog awards).

Some very kind readers have already nominated me in Blog of the Year, Best Writer and Best Pregnancy Blog, for which I am enormously grateful.

As nominations close at midnight, I thought I’d just post this quick post to remind anyone that might have been thinking of nominating, that they need to do it today. (click the image in this post to nominate and enter where appropriate!)

I also wanted to thank everyone that has already voted, and say how much I appreciate your support, readership and comments.

Back at the weekend with some exciting Mothering Sunday giveaways and more updates on life including (whisper) how we might have cracked potty training…

Rachel xo


Paul Klee at the Tate



On Saturday evening we found ourselves at the Tate. We had headed down to the Southbank to meet Grannie for a cup of tea and various friends stopped by to have a drink with us. Suddenly realising that the exhibitions were open until 10pm and it was our last chance to visit Paul Klee– Making Visible, we decided to make an evening of it.

Pip thoroughly enjoyed Klee’s work. It is plain and simple enough that she was able to identify colours and shapes, and some of the paintings even made her sing “twinkle-twinkle”. It was fascinating exploring the work through her eyes and I was impressed at her knowledge of colours, shapes and interpretation. We also spent some time drawing some of his work in her sketch book. This is something I spend a lot of time doing when I visit an exhibition (here’s a post I wrote about visiting Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden) and it was a real pleasure to continue this with Pip. I also feel I really look and analyse a work so much more when I try and translate some of it into my sketchbook. Marto, Pip and I sat on the floor in the corner of one of the 17 rooms, discussing this piece:



Pip thought that the lines in Greeting (above) represented steps (‘deps’) and was able to identify the colours as blue, red and orange. We drew arrows and lines in her book and she helped colour in the various parts and then attempt to draw her own straight lines as well.

This is the one she said “star” and “diamond” and started singing “twinkle-twinkle”:


Personally, I found the exhibition fascinating and also a little sad. Something about the time in which Klee was working, the futility of the situation expressed through some of his work and then his degenerative approach to the end of his life, his inner thoughts played out through his final pieces and exhibition and death in 1940. His use of colour is beautiful, and once again, I really enjoyed placing the Klee I thought I knew in the context of both what he actually did and the canon of artists within which he worked.

(I really must tell you about our trip to the Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen (Pollack) and the Design Museum there too. One day!)

IMAGE 1: Paul Klee Redgreen and Violet-Yellow Rhythms 1920 Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1984 (1984.315.19) Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Source: Art Resource/Scala Photo Archives via Tate Modern 

IMAGE 2: Greeting, 1922 by Paul Klee: ‘charmingly titled, as if to point out (as arrows do) that a piquant encounter is taking place’. Photograph: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum Of Art/WAD via Guardian

IMAGE 3: Opened Mountain, 1914 (detail). Photograph: Private collection via Guardian

Young Adult Literature with female characters

I wrote this on my old blog for World Book Day last year, but I am retiring that blog and I think the themes are really relevant to this blog – it is very important for our daughters to have strong literary role models)

Whilst reading reviews of something else, I came across a sad statement. It said “It made me jealous of today’s teens who get such high quality literature written for them (it was a leap straight from Sweet Valley High to Jilly Cooper in my day)” Whilst I cannot be sure if we were teenagers at the same time (I was 13 in 1995) I rather felt for the author of a blog who writes about female authors that she seemed to have lacked so much in terms of teenage female role models or specifically young adult literature about female characters. Not that there is anything wrong with SVH or Jilly Cooper. I think I own almost every SVH ever written and just bought all the most recent ebooks as well. 

I read avidly as a teenager and this statement made me try and think back to those books that I loved in those early teenage years. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s world book day on Friday.

Starting this post was like opening Pandora’s box. The more I thought about it, the more books I could remember. This post will go on forever, so I am limiting it and I think it will have to be a series.

Add your favourites in the comments!

My all time favourite was Rose, in A Little Love Song (Michelle Magorian). That’s a book I still re-read to this day and such is my love for this book that my friend arranged for Michelle Magorian to sign a copy of this book for Pip. Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, A Little Love Song is one summer of Rose’s life as an evacuee, arriving a schoolgirl, leaving a strong confident woman. She gave me hope that I too would fall in love, but also that I didn’t need to. And that I didn’t need to change to be grown up and accepted; that by being myself, I’d be ok.

Nancy Blackett in the Swallows and Amazons series (Arthur Ransome) is my longest standing girl crush on a female character. I was 7 when I first read Swallows and Amazons and always wanted to be Nancy. She was a pirate, a sailor, independent, self reliant and the ring leader of all the Swallows and Amazons adventures. She could do everything that John could do, but was also a girl. I dressed up as Nancy Blackett for world book day when I was 10. Nancy is described by Sara Maitland as a childhood role model “who transcended the restriction of femininity without succumbing to the lure of male-identification” and a “hero who had all the characteristics necessary for the job; who lived between the countries of the material and the imaginary” (I realise that Susan does fall neatly into female gender stereotyping in many ways but also without Susan, none of the adventures would ever have gone ahead. Susan knew that the parental figures did not care so much for adventure but did care that one of them could be relied on to ensure everyone went to bed, ate meals and washed. All expeditions require a cook and organiser and in Ransome’s case, this happened to be Susan).

Sadie Jackson in Twelfth Day of July (Puffin Teenage Fiction) and the rest of the ‘Kevin and Sadie’ series (Joan Lingard). Sadie lives in Belfast and is a protestant; she meets and falls in love with Kevin, a catholic. The series follows their relationship from Belfast, London and Liverpool and did a really good job of educating me about the Irish troubles. Sadie was pretty much everything I wasn’t as a teenager and I think that’s why I found her so fascinating. She wasn’t going to let life in Belfast stop her from living; she was sassy and courageous and followed her heart rather than her father’s instructions. We read The Twelfth Day of July in the third form perhaps, as part of our English coursework and I then sought out every other book in the series in the library. Partly, I suspect, because the relationship between Kevin and Sadie was at the core of the series and, much like now, I love a good romance. But there was far more to it than that.

Alex in the Alex series (Tessa Duder). Alex was a New Zealand swimming school girl with serious talent, training for and then competing at the 1960 Rome Olympics.”I have always known that in another life I was-or will be-a dolphin. I am a pink human, caught in a net of ambition and years of hard work. In a few minutes I will dive into artificially turquoise water waiting at my feet. A minute later I’ll either be ecstatic or a failure.” (Alex in In Lane Three, Alex Archer). I was reminded of the Alex books when watching the Olympics last summer and have been trying to track them down again to re-read (I didn’t own any of them and had to rely on the school library).

Liz in In spite of all terror (Hestor Burton). I could write reams on this book (and did, in my dissertation). Liz  lives with her aunt and her family in East London poverty before being evacuated to Oxfordshire and a relatively wealthy family who really wanted a boy. She is geeky, determined and self sufficient and in the end, she and the family she is evacuated to find peace united in their grief. A common theme to my favourite books was strong female teenagers finding themselves set to a background of war and, as part of that, falling in love. Liz and Ben’s love is not graphic like Rose and Alec’s is, in A Little Love Song. That was written in the 1990s and shows (in a good way). Liz meanwhile remains in the late 1960s and although younger and chaster, I still wanted to be like Liz and to find but not depend on a man like Ben.

Victoria in Vicarage Family: A Biography of Myself (Noel Streatfeild), Laura in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, most of the books by Judy Blume, the list is endless. I’m not quite sure where children’s literature becomes young adult literature in some places and indeed I think the boundary can be quite blurred but basically anything aimed at 10/12 years to 18 years must be a rough definition.

the new house (or life recently)



We’ve been in the new flat for 3 weeks now but we still have done very little. I am in love with the flat and am longing for an end to my few weeks of madness so I can spend some time sorting it out. We’ve been trying to unpack one new box every evening, but, to be honest, what with work and potty training and a hundred other commitments, we’ve actually done very little.

Now, this is a rented flat, not one we bought, but if we had, I would re-consider the light situation. I love the way that light streams in but equally, (and what a nice problem to have!) sometimes it’s too much, especially if the baby is trying to nap, or I am trying to work on the computer. The blinds we have currently are nice, but they are not black out, nor are they energy efficient. VELUX has some great options for this, which if and when the blinds become my responsibility, I will trying. I have to say, though, my favourite VELUX product has to be the sun tunnel. Sadly I don’t think a possibility for us as we have a flat above, but they remind me of the beautiful Ottoman spa I spent time in during my trip to Morocco last year, and there is something very peaceful about sunlight condensed and flooding down a narrow tunnel into a cool calm dark room.

Back soon with more house details. I’m going to try and finish Pip’s kitchen this weekend, so stand by for that!

(Post in conjunction with Velux. See my policy here for more details)

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