For someone who has their feet planted firmly on the ground (practical and pragmatic are the two words which have featured in pretty much every report and appraisal I've ever had), I've been feeling a little displaced over the past few weeks. Whenever I have a difficult decision to make, I always ask myself what do I think about it and how does it make me feel. I have a tendency to opt for head over heart, but never at the expense of happiness. However, sometimes, despite being 99 percent sure of something, in an almost near-perfect cocktail of both head and heart, that one percent can unexpectedly sneak up on me and flip everything I thought I was sure of, right on its head.
We bought our home almost five years ago, without really intending to ever live in it. We were happy in Switzerland at the time, but the UK property market was beckoning and we thought it would be handy to have a place to quickly return to should we move back. Yes, we picked a nice village and a nice house (more for the rental potential, though, to be honest) but we didn't give it a great deal of thought and simply passed the keys from the builder to the tenant on the day of completion.
Our dream location (other than Wentworth but that's highly unlikely to happen) is limited to a single street. Actually, it's limited to just five or six houses on that street. And they don't come up for sale very often. Rarely, in fact. Except for one did a few weeks ago. It's an awful house (but we'd be happy to knock it down and start again) on a fabulous plot of land and within our budget (if we lived on bread and water for a million years and never bought new shoes, again).
In my heart, I've always wanted to live there, and in my head, I saw the potential for it to be the most amazing family home (after a lot of work). It should have been an easy decision. But we walked away. After a couple of weeks of talking things through and going round in circles, we listened to that one percent niggle. Why? I don't really know. Despite it being the dream, it didn't feel right when it came down to it. And? I couldn't be happier. It's almost as if a weight I never even knew I was carrying has suddenly been lifted off my shoulders.
In fixating on the perfect forever home, we'd lost sight of the fact that we're so lucky to already be living in a really, really happy home. We can pick apart all that is wrong with it or the things we'd improve, but with every laugh at breakfast and every splash at bath time, and even with every paint stroke in getting the boys' bedrooms the way they want them, the house which I'd been quite dismissive of has gone from being a practical purchase to four walls which absolutely feel like home. It has been quite the revelation! Will we live to regret it? I really don't know. But since I shook off the thought that our current house is merely a stopgap, I've looked at it with new eyes and have pretty much fallen in love with it (which is probably why you're seeing a bit more of it on Instagram ... I can't help but snap away).
One of the reasons why I love working with Great Little Trading Co. is much because they have a similar philosophy ... they want to help make every house the perfect home. In fact, their motto is, 'everything we make, makes a happy home' and I really do believe they achieve just that with their thoughtful and well-designed products.
On Saturday, we made the trip down to Wandsworth for the VIP preview of GLTC's flagship London showroom. It's opening to the public on Friday (April 29) but we were allowed a sneak peek of stunning space and to test the beds and play with the toys (and eat ALL the cake pops).
Oh my goodness, my boys were in absolute heaven. It's exceptionally rare for my littlest to leave my side when in the company of strangers but he felt so much at home that after the first couple of minutes, he was happy to run off and check out the wooden garage and gorgeous café all by himself. My eldest was transfixed by the pirate ship and only raised an eyebrow to question why I hadn't told him that GLTC made such amazing toys and why had we only been testing furniture, so far? Well and truly caught out, there. And I had no answer for him. Oops!
I love online shopping but you can't beat being able to see products with your own eyes and actually touch them to be sure of the quality. Ambling around the showroom, I saw a desk and a bed which I hadn't been entirely convinced of when browsing the website but which I adored in the flesh. And on the flip side, a patterned storage box which I'd liked online but didn't work for me close up. It was really interesting.
Here are some photos. I took rather a lot but wanted to share with you what an amazing place it is (all the details are here in case you'd like to visit).
Of course, the most important factor when it comes to having a happy home, is the people you share it with. And the GLTC team are amongst the best! It was a day of big smiles all round and we were so incredibly grateful to be a small part of such a proud moment for Annie, Jamie and the GLTC family. I've no doubt that the showroom is going to be a massive success.