Where should the Hyacinths go?


Today, guest blogger, Abigail Carpe, an Interior Designer living in Manchester is discussing her thoughts about the importance of home ecomonics and how they've become lost in our busy lives. With personal reference to her own childhood memories she counts herself as one of the lucky ones and I see why.

As an 80's child, my childhood was very different to my Mother's and Grandmother's. By no means was it an unhappy one, unlike them, I was fortunate to experience holidays abroad and have the choice to go to university. However, in the same breathe, I can't sew a button, my Victoria sponge's never rise and plucking a few weeds from my gravel stone front garden is the extent of my domestic ability. This stems from my childhood because I was never taught in the home or at school.

Our 24 hour world is fuelled by multitasking and convenience; pop-and-ping microwave meals, self checkout tills or paying someone else to do the odd household job, that's been on the to-do-list for 6 months. I'm in total agreement with Abigail, that slow living needs to be restored. Yes our lives have become significantly busier and more pressured these last 20 years but why is it that we chose to spend our precious free time on phones, iPads and laptops, when we could invest it into making our lives more full, our communities stronger and learning something to pass onto our next generation? I'll leave it to Abigail to continue ...

More and more young professionals are turning their backs on the cost of city centre apartment living, fed up with lining the pockets of the property-owning generation before and driven by a desire to get something more from life. Those who can, jump ship for the trendy suburban villages, with their abundance of Scandinavian-style coffee shops, clusters of independent bars and obligatory Pizza Express restaurants.

For most, however, the reality is that unless you are fortunate enough to receive help paying a mortgage fit for a family of five in the other parts of the country, you are left with the paved-over gardens and sleepy high streets of the less fashionable suburbs. 

Sure, in the eyes of estate agents, these neighborhoods aren’t quite as desirable: all shuttered-up shops and chippies that stay open no later than 5pm. They are however, what I believe to be the best hope for our future. We just need to put in a bit of hard graft to help forge a sense of community spirit for ourselves and our children to live by (where they will fit in or how we can afford them is another matter). 

We must take charge of our environment and get involved. If you can remember the days when your mum would potter around the garden nurturing the plants and flowers beds then you, like me, are one of the lucky ones. 

After being made redundant in the 1980s, my parents took a leap of faith and set up a business so my dad could work from home. Enabling my mum to be a full-time mother to my sister and I. By the time we started junior school we could already bake a Victoria sponge, sew those little name tags in our uniforms and successfully wire a plug. However we are in the minority. For most, as our parents lives became increasingly cluttered, gardens were paved over and important lessons traditionally passed from parent to child were overlooked.

Now, as we seek this better life out in the suburbs, we first-time buyers are finding ourselves in our homes not knowing what to do. This is where important questions pop up, such as: can a 40° silk dress go in with a 30° woollens jumper? And where should the Hyacinths go?

In this blog I hope to pass on the useful tips and advice I have managed to pick-up renovating my first home over the past three years, from the things that have gone horribly wrong to times I have surprised myself or been surprised by others around me (only last week my 82 year-old, ladder-climbing super-grandma taught me how to save a burnt pan with a stem of rhubarb picked from the garden).

Object Style is a perfect platform for us to generate discussion and I encourage you to share your own questions, stories and experiences in the comments below.

This plant originated at my great grandmothers farm in Yorkshire in the 30’s and was passed on to my grandma in the 50’s, to my mum in the 70’s and then to me in 2012.

My Grandma Beryl tending to her flower beds in the 60’s.


Abigail's follow on tutorial post will continue next week. 

Words: Abigail Carpe