A Day In My Life.

By Alison February 10, 2006 21 Comments 7 Min Read


You will be pleased to hear that I have received some hatemail. Oh yes.  Now,  I think, I can consider myself a housekeeping celebrity and revel in the fact that I am "a fake, intent on singlehandedly destroying a century of feminism".

And not only that:

"It would be impossible to do all that you describe in a day and it is very wrong to go on perpetuating these lies to vulnerable women…"

Really? Gosh I thought my readers were a strong, real, fiesty lot. But apparently not…

"What you are doing is compromising the mental health of thousands of women who had come to accept that they could not have it all, and making them feel like failures because they aren’t fragrancing their knickers with lavender. Please stop. Own up to the fact that you are in reality a figment of your own imagination and give up perpetuating the myth that women in the 1950’s were happy."

Well somebody (who I have never heard of and shall remain nameless- mostly because any reply to their email box bounces back) has got their knickers in a right old twist haven’t they?

Now I could, if I was in the mood, launch yet another line of defence against the very idea that BrocanteHome is about tying women to the kitchen sink or making them feel like inferior frilly aproned versions of their Mothers. But the truth is that this argument is getting old. It has been debated everywhere from here to Timbucktoo and it is dull and frankly irrelevant to women intelligent enough to understand that keeping house does not turn you into a slave to patriarchism. I’m not even going to go there.

Instead I am going to tell you what I did yesterday. So you can compare your lives to mine and see that I am not only real, but just like you. Grace in homemaking is a choice we don’t have to make, but on the road to contentment it is neither servile, nor when it is undertaken, an insult to feminism.

Click below to read about my day. But please be careful to  guard your mental health.

I woke up at 6.45 and lay awake listening to Finley cough and trying to decide whether it was the kind of cough that would keep him off nursery.  Creeping out of bed, so as not to wake Mark, I went downstairs, lit some candles in the kitchen and made myself a cup of coffee, which I drank whilst browsing through last months Vogue.

Mark came down about 7.30 carrying a puffy, bleary eyed Finley and it was obvious by looking at him, he wasn’t going anywhere and the morning of blogging I had planned was out of the window. So I flitted around the kitchen, preparing breakfast, emptying the dishwasher and loading the tumble dryer, while Mark rang the nursery and the Doctor, and then I  went and snuggled with my babba as he drank his milk.  Mark came down showered and ready for breakfast and we all sat down together and ate. Then I cleared the table, while Mark washed and dressed Finley, then I loaded the dishwasher, switched on my housekeeping music and started my very quick version of my morning routine, before nipping upstairs to get showered, dressed and check my emails before Mark left for work and I folded the towels out of the dryer and bundled a very miserable Finley into the car to go and see the Doctor.

Waited in the doctors for a billion years, while Finley played with some blocks and I made a list of prescription foods for his Celiacs. Saw the doctor who said Finley’s chest was clear and happily didn’t prescribe anti-biotics. Then we drove to my Mum’s house so Finley could have a cuddle with his  Nana and GanGan, where I drank their delicious coffee and Finley ran riot before collapsing with exhaustion.

Said goodbye and drove to a  little local  row of shops, where  I dropped in Finleys  prescription at the chemist, and our sheets and duvet covers to the ironing shop (I iron everything but.), then selected some daffodils and  some potted paper whites at the  flower shop, before buying  a newspaper and a bar of chocolate for Finn at the newsagents…

Drove home and chopped the last of  last weeks organic veg into a pan of chicken stock  for broth, then cut up  some apples for an apple crumble I would later burn.  Force fed Finley some medicine for his temperature, then took him up for a sleep, while I changed the flowers in the living room, hand washed my floaty nightie,  went out and brushed the yard,  and then polished the  reclaimed pine table in the dining room with my  own lavender  beeswax. Took delivery of the organic veg box and rang the farm to pay, before  spending a happy half hour blogging until I heard Finley kind of whimpering and choking. So I woke him up, stripped him down because he was baking and made him a cup of juice, and myself a cup of jasmine tea, we drank watching Bob the Builder, while the soup bubbled  away on the hob.

Did a quick  27 fling boogie, then poured two bowls of scrumptious soup, and sat down to eat it and watch Finley pour it everywhere. Cleaned  him up. Cleaned the kitchen surface and re-laid the table for tea, then settled a now very poorly looking child on the sofa with a cold drink and a blanket, while  I sat next to him and cast on a new knitting project  (garter stitch baby blanket in the glory  that is Rowans cotton braid). Managed fifteen rows, before Finley started to feel a bit livelier and demanded a "Thomas" story. Told many, many Thomas stories. Made us both some hot chocolate, lit the candles as it grew dark, and pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon with a child on my lap, while I did my best to read a book over his shoulder…

Went into the kitchen to make a shepherds pie. Popped it into the oven and nipped upstairs to make Finleys room cosy for the night (dimmed the lights, pulled back his bed, plugged in his vapouriser, tucked eucalyptus soaked cotton wool balls into his radiator and spent ten minutes searching for Mummy Bear without whom there would be no bed for anyone…).Then into the bathroom to warm it up for bath time, get towels warmed on the radiator, and everything we needed for bath time out. Then served tea on a tray to my poorly babba, before sitting down to eat myself, scandalously in front of  "Neighbours" which is just about my favorite soap…

Tried once again to force feed Finley some medicine, only to have him spit it out all over me, so up we both went for a bath. Splashed a little less dementedly then usual then dressed Finley all snugly and myself in clean jamas, before going into the kitchen to get Finleys milk. Came back to find Finley flat out asleep on the floor, but woke him anyway  to have his milk, because I had had to mix his medicine into it.  Snuggled for half an hour with a very sleepy baby, before  carrying him up to bed, and doing a silent dance of joy that he was finally there and my evening could begin…

Went downstairs to begin my evening routine. Then upstairs to get our room ready for the night. Then because I was already bathed, I did an hour of heavenly blogging before going downstairs to watch Anthea Turners "Perfect HouseWife" with a cup of chamomile, taking notes for Brocantehome. Then I started knitting again, keeping one eye on "Hotel Babylon" on BBC One, and one eye on the clock, as I waited for Mark to come in at ten…

When he finally arrived home after  a very long day, I poured him  a glass of wine, and force fed  him some burnt  apple crumble, before going  to put  the kitchen to sleep , while Mark  watched the  sports headlines. Then we both went to bed, calling in to tuck Finley up, then getting into bed ourselves , where  Mark fell promptly asleep and I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open…

And that’s it.  A very normal day. I’m not performing miracles, I just have my time arranged so that there is plenty of time to do the things I enjoy. I  read, knit, cook from scratch, blog, bath, look after a sick baby and still stay sane.  And if that compromises your mental health, or if I am indeed a "disgrace to Betty Friedans memory" then I am sorry, but I’m sure you will understand when I say it’s "tough".   


  1. Meredith says:

    Why is it that people who are supposed to be so enlightened as to our "roles" in life and so blissfully happy in their own choices have so much TIME on their hands to search websites as lovely as yours and try and criticize and tear them up and make you feel like being content, blessed, and happy are a bad thing?
    Seems to me that your critic is searching for his/her own answers in life and obviously doesn't "get" your site. We get it, we love it, and we wish that your critic would find a life that would make him/her so content that making a nice meal, sharing time with family, or enjoying the pleasures of a warm and inviting home wouldn't seem threatening to him/her.
    You don't have to defend your day to anyone. You're trying to make the best of your life and make it as pleasant and lovely as you can. Your glass is half full. God bless you for it.
    "Critic" can start his/her own website where he/she can whine, moan, and complain about how scenting laundry with lavender will tear apart the fabric of our lives and end feminism as we know it. Guaranteed no one wants to visit his/her site!! Stick to the real problems in life, "Critic" and stop picking on happy people just b/c you're not one of them.
    Keep on Alison!!

  2. Agh! The mental strain and torture! Save me! You mean, you actually lit candles, bought daffodils and made dinner?! Surely at any moment there will be a knock at the door and you will be arrested for such heinous activities!
    Really though, really! Brocante Home has had such a positive effect on my home and life, and I really don't think my mental health has suffered any strain!
    If people spent the same energy being positive and lovely as some do being negative and unlovely, how wonderful the world would be!
    Now I am off to water my own pot of paperwhites!

  3. Kristy says:

    I think that you once said Alison how good the blogosphere is for like minded people to connect.Anybody who doesn't want to be inspired by your scrumptious site can just blog off somewhere else.I for one have had a sense of relief to know that although I my be different to alot of my friends I an by no means abnormal!Thank you,thank you,thank you!!

  4. Maureen says:

    I totally concur with the other girls !!! Why cant people live and let live ??? There is always somebody waiting to tear you down for having a lovely life. Why dont they go get a life of their own and leave us to enjoy ours !! Dearest Alison, you have changed my life and I am forever grateful. Keep up the wonderful work…we are all behind you one hundred percent. Hugssss

  5. julie says:

    You and your site are imperative! Don't ever stop!You provide such inspiration for us all. This person who criticized you is simply jealous and well, obviously, not very intelligent. Our lifestyle is one of choice and we are quite happy with having made our decisions…
    Your site is such an asset. We are all very grateful for everything that you do, so simply ignore the ignorant!!!
    Much love and admiration,

  6. Teri M. says:

    Obviously these snotty comments are from someone with an already tenuous hold on their mental health. I would like to join in the chorus and say that you inspire me. Thank you! (and hope that your Finley is feeling better!)

  7. Ali … we've just about talked ourselves to death on this subject. All I can say is … don't bother ~ you'll just be wasting your breath! There'll be another waiting in line to knock you down. Aren't you just SICK of minds so feeble they need to be concerned (and therefore feign defense of) a flock of 'imaginary friends' who are so obviously unable to stop themselves from looking at your site.

  8. keeping house is not a new 'thing', Mary loved to housekeep and make life pretty for Joseph & Jesus. so this person needs to really chill out. Maybe they should fret over the terroists in the world or all the other injustices that are occuring daily. Inpsiring women to pretty their homes up and enjoy it, is a great thing Alison – for years homemakers like me have been made feel that our 'job' is not worthwhile and to find Brocante home a year ago kinda helped me realize that what I am doing is really wonderful – sad but true that I had to be told by someone else – so stop fretting, forget this weirdo and do what you do best.

  9. Sandi says:

    Wondering if you got my email this week? It certainly would have cancelled out the other one. I sent you an absolutely gushing fan letter about how wonderful you are and how much I loved your site and what you are doing. I just found this, and have been reading everything you write voraciously.

  10. Suzie says:

    As someone who has been on both sides of the blanket (so to speak), as a working mum and a SAHM, I would much rather be at home. I love to look after my family and home and make it lovely for Yog and the kids. And for me too. Apparently now, it's a crime to want to cook, clean and do the laundry with lavender water! Your detractor needs to be aware that the way we live is by choice. We would be doing it with or without you, Ali. But I'm so glad we have you, to pep us up when we think it's all a bit hard, to give us scrumptious new ideas. I for one, am so happy that there is BrocanteHome – and I'm pretty sure I'm not a loony tune!! Which by the way, I find very insulting. Fancy implying that we all have a tenuous grasp of our own mental health – how rude.

  11. Mindy says:

    Don't get me started!!! Who are these people that think they know what is best for us??? Last time I checked I thought that we as women have choices!!!
    Alison, I have learned so much from you, I thought that I was the only one who yearned to stay home with my children and raise them, and to make my home lovely and cozy. Then I found your site! You continue to encourage and inspire me to be not only a true vintage housekeeper but a better person!!!
    You my dear are AWESOME!!!!

  12. Paola says:

    De-lurking to say that your day sounds both wonderful and inspirational, but I still have absolutely no idea how you manage to fit it all in.
    Have recently discovered your blog and am having so much fun with it. Thank you!

  13. ms*robyn says:

    actually Alison, I have been reading this post again and again,shaking my head that it has come to this – hate mail. A scary world.
    however, in reading – made me realize we ALL have the same lives – day in day out – boring stuff if we let it be – you make it fun and can relate it in fun way.

  14. Sara says:

    Alison, it is truely sad that people feel the need to tear others down to make themselves better.
    I also find it sad that this person apparently claims to be a feminist and yet fails to recognize just what feminism was about. It wasn't about getting women into the work-force to be "productive members of society." It was about giving women a choice. Just as some women choose to go out into the work force and hold down a steady job whilst also trying to maintain a house and family, others choose to stay at home and raise their family. There is nothing wrong with it and it certainly does not set feminism back at all.
    In fact if your detractor was paying any attention to society at all, they would realize that more and more women are making the choice to stay at home because they don't want to do it all anymore. They've been there, done that, and it is enough that they have the opportunity to make the decision for themselves as to how they will live their lives.
    So keep on doing what you are doing. You are an inspiration to many of us (even those of us who don't want to stay at home everyday) and well the others don't have to read your site, now do they?

  15. Lorelei says:

    Hi Alison…I love Brocante and find your writing both fun and inspiring.You have far more many ladies loving you than not..so keep it coming. :0)

  16. Petah Hatcher says:

    Oh Alison, All I can say that this person (and their supposed friends) obviously has nothing better to do and my mental health has actually improved by reading your gorgeous site! I have also been on both sides of the fence and love being a SAHM and your site has given me so many wonderful ideas not only on homemaking but it is also a wealth of information on other websites, books, etc. Shame on you for having lavendar smelling knickers! Hope your curly haired mop top is feeling better. Petah

  17. June says:

    There's an old saying (I think it is Native American) that I try to remember when others are unkind about me: "what they think of me is none of my business." Bottom line, Alison, is that you cannot control what others do, think or say, you can only control youself. Your efforts have brought many people joy but mostly, I think, brought joy to your own life. Be true to yourself and continue your happy homemaking. I appreciate you and your efforts.

  18. Susana says:

    Oh Alison reading about your day has me in a tizzy. My vulnerable little mind just can't take it. How ever can I live up to your expectations? That person who wrote to you is out of HER mind! How silly! Those people say they are about choice, but the only thing they are about is THEIR choice! I can't beleive this person actually thinks we're vulnerable idiots! Duh! Give us some credit lady! She's the one making women look like narrow minded dodo's saying things like that! Thank's for doing what you do Alison! Lot's of Love! -Susana

  19. Allie says:

    Well, heck, I buy flowers, light candles, and all that… I don't scrub the bathtub, though. Ever. It's scary.
    For the record, your cup of tea is not mine. But – the world is more cheerful and entertaining with you in it.
    I used to hang around with some medieval recreationists. There are Civil War recreationists. Why not 1950's housewife recreationists? No one accuses the medieval recreationists of being a shame to feminism and wanting to drag women back to the 12th century!

  20. susan says:

    Delurking to comment that, as a professional woman and coincidentally a mother of three, it continually irks me that others feel perfectly free to decide what's in my best interest. The unhappiness Betty Friedan documented 40 years ago, "that has no name", was brought on by just such absolutist attitudes. It's equally wrong to insist that women have to work outside the home as it is to insist that they must not. And can't we try to inject some grace into our home lives, regardless? Your site is a bright spot, and I don't even feel inadequate when I read it!

  21. Nicole says:

    I can talk for myself thank you very much…. and no MAN would ever want to try to tell me what is good for me. This man is is not defending anyone.. I believe that any decent woman should be able to defend themself.. and not stand behind a man's shirt and tie. Obviously this man does not have a good woman propping him up. I am sorry if I have offended anyone… I just think that Alison is doing a wonderful thing and no one should penetrate the preciousness of her blog. It should be tenderly cared for and respected. Otherwise… leave well alone! Hugs to Alison.

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