Coming Home.

By Alison April 19, 2006 47 Comments 3 Min Read


It is a beautiful day. All early spring sun light  and  washing lines.

You know when I started BrocanteHome nearly eighteen months ago I  saw it as an opportunity to document my way of life: to show other women that quieting the raging wants we all experience daily was possible by redefining the way we lived at home. I saw it as a way of marking the passage of time in a life I adored. A life I still adore.

But this morning, the first morning I’ve really been well enough to get back to my well honed routines it struck me that I miss my life the way it used to be- a life less blogged.

I’ve been a hopeless housekeeper for a while now. Mostly because I’ve been sick. One infection after another has taken it’s toll, and I’ve found myself swinging between running around like a headless chicken trying to catch up with myself and lying almost comatose whenever the opportunity presented itself.

This morning I woke up feeling kind of half dead as usual. I dragged myself down the stairs and revived myself with a strong cup of coffee and realised that this can’t go on. I can’t go on living the way I do: it is exhausting me and more than that my constant need to push myself on and on is comprimising my life to the degree that every aspect of it seems to be crumbling around me- from the peeling paint on the walls in the living room, to the management of Finleys Celiacs, my almost constant failure to look after myself properly and the way I’ve been running BrocanteHome lately- without any of the passion that inspired it in the first place.

So I didn’t switch the computer on. I washed and dressed, tied on my pinny and begged my lovely Mark to take Finley out for a while. And then I went to find myself in the kitchen.

You can live your life in a house day after day and not really notice the decay seeping into it’s walls. You go on doing what you do,  one week after another  and the fact that chaos reigns goes unnoticed as you pacify yourself with the fact that life is  more or less what it should be because who really has the time to notice the dust sitting atop  the crystal sugar bowl?  And haven’t you got more important things to worry about now, like three hundred unanswered emails and a post or six to get up before Bob the Builder finishes and you are once again at the beck and call of your babba?   

This morning, in my silly pink kitchen I remembered why I invented Vintage HouseKeeping. Why I created BrocanteHome. I played Classic Fm on my Roberts radio, opened the windows a wide as can be and set to scrubbing my sink  into a Flylady frenzy. I baked a chocolate cake with a bar of the most divine  pink peppercorn chocolate and  sat on my  wobbly pink stool and drank Kuzmi tea from a scrumptiously perfect violet teacup. I wiped down surfaces I’d forgotten I had, watched my parmesan loaf rise, re-labelled my flour cannisters,  and felt calmer than I have done in weeks.

I need to re-claim my life before I felt the urge to blog, analyse and photograph every aspect of it. I need to bring the house back to life. To live gently again. To re-ignite enthusiasm for who I am and who I want to be…

So I’m calling time on BrocanteHome. Not forever. Just till my house and life are in order again.  Till I know where I want to take Brocante Home and more than that, where it wants to take me.

Is that alright?


  1. Sandy says:

    It's more than okay, it's all good. You are a lovely lady. Rest, revive, refresh your vision. But, I just long to see that wobbly pink stool and your pink kitchen. May we have a peek before you rest? Please!? And, is your Roberts radio pink, too, dearheart? What a srumptious morning, was it only a dream, or did you really do all of that? Best wishes.

  2. Savannah says:

    Dearest Alison,
    It HAS to be more than all right if you need some time. I've always said you were doing so very much, too much, because thinking, writing, and coaxing us all into our best selves took so much of your energy. You surely know that you will be missed terribly by everyone, and we so hope you come back to us when and only when you are ready. Those of us who have been with you from the start have seen the staggering amount of "daily stuff" you have been dealt (Celiacs, your own illnesses, your family's illnesses, and much more. . .) and we appreciate your spirit and excitement. Rest up, heal, putter, and continue your journey as you know best for yourself and your dear, dear family. I hope we keep in touch because you will forever be a rich and beautiful part of my life. I feel very sad about this but very very proud of you for taking care of yourself. After all, that is the very first stone in all our lives, to self care and to then family care….
    We forget that often, and then we are left with castles in the air and nothing for them to rest on.
    The biggest hug in the whole wide world from someone in Missouri who will always and a day love you, little Finley, and Mark… Take care, honey.

  3. Meredith says:

    Of course you must take that time!! It is so addictive to let the computer whisk you away…I know! Take care and let us know what adventures you discover. But, that being said, I'll miss you!

  4. julie says:

    Oh Alison, it's more than okay if you take time to reclaim your life and your 'vision'…You are so special, you deserve the best in life–so please, please do take care of yourself! We are all most supportive of everything you do, so by all means, refresh and renew!!!! We are all here for you (despite the geographic distances) and we will all keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Have a wonderful springtime renewal!
    Love, Julie

  5. Teri M. says:

    Well, of course! What would be the point of this without the passion? We all adore you and want the best for you. So, have a lovely re-charge, and we'll see you when you get back.

  6. mandy says:

    I only discovered Brocante home a few weeks ago, and I have enjoyed visiting, and had many giggles at your stories, hope you feel better soon,
    bye for now.

  7. Crystal Trosper says:

    Never have commented before. Just want to let you know I think this blog is wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to do it. I think you taking some time off is A-OK. 🙂 I hope you enjoy some time off. Enjoy yourself!!

  8. Kristy says:

    I totally understand Alison.Only last night I posted about my break from blogging and I've only been here for a few months!
    Just remember that the passion is still there just buried a little under everyday life.Allow yourself to fall in love again and the fire will burn even more brighter.That's got to be good for everyone hasn't it?

  9. Claudette says:

    I found the site by accident a month ago and I revel in all that it stands for. I am a thoroughly modern miss with very traditional values and tastes. When I log in (I always have Classic FM on as well) it takes me to a world far away from the city that I have come to loathe. I completely empathise with the sickness, I have never had so many maladies as the past 18 months. Relax, repose and re-ignite your verve and enthusiasm. I wish you all the best and anticipate your "comeback".
    Best wishes

  10. melissa says:

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I completely understand where you're coming from. Absolutely. Take time. Take plenty of time and find that quiet place again.
    This makes so much sense…

  11. Rhonda says:

    Take care of yourself and your home, we can all read and enjoy your archives whenever we want.
    You and your family need you more than we do!
    but we love you and will be here to read whatever you blog in the future.

  12. Josee says:

    Take good care of yourself! That is very, very important. And when you feel better, we will be here.
    Make yourself a priority.
    Wishing you all the best.

  13. Leanne says:

    Is it alright, she asks? Ever polite and proper, even when life is at it's most chaotic. YES, a thousand and one times, YES! Get yourself away from the computer and go back to being Alison May, Vintage Housekeeper, Mommy, and Partner extraodinaire at home. You've done so much for us all, and we truly appreciate it. It's time to what you do best for you and your family. We'll always be here when you return. And when you do return, we'll be very happy to see you rested and back to yourself. Because you are most important — it's the same as the oxygen mask on the airplane analogy. You must take care of yourself to be of any use to anyone else. And Mark and Finley need you. We'll miss you, but our thoughts and prayers are with you as you recharge!

  14. Sandi says:

    Wishing you a nice rest and a recharge of your brocante batteries. You have put so much of yourself into this site that I'm sure we will all have plenty to read. I am always finding something new here. Take some time to enjoy your puttering. Hoping you will pop in whenever you feel like it.

  15. Barbara says:

    How can you give to us, if you don't give to yourself. Bless you for all you have given and one day will be giving again. Rest. Relax. Regenerate, and Enjoy, and know that you are well loved.

  16. June says:

    Alison, finding balance in life is a quite precious but precarious effort. Taking care of yourself will enable you to care for those you love. I experienced much the same things you did a year ago and you helped me find my balance. Your blog is the first one I ever read; I've learned so much and am ever so grateful. However, now it's time for me to get off the computer so much and live my life. I think that's true for you as well. I just know your endeavor to regain your health, spirit and joy will be successful. We love you and wish you the very best.

  17. Paola says:

    It sounds like a very wise move to me. Have a wonderful break, get your health back – which is the most important thing – enjoy just 'being' and get your house in order. BrocanteHome will survive – have no doubt about that. (Actually put like that, a break sounds very tempting – and I'm dying to try the pink peppercorn chocolate cake. What a great idea!)
    Lots of love

  18. Alison,
    I often wondered how you managed to juggle all those balls! I am glad you are putting down the balls and looking at them and saying, this one ilike, thisone I'll put in my pocket, this one will make a lovely splash in the puddle, this one can roll away and I won't notice…
    Take time, be happy, enjoy your wonderful life and come back when you are ready with less balls, we will love you all the same!

  19. Mindy says:

    Alison…please take the time that you need to care for yourself and family. At times we need to re-group and re-prioritize our lives. I understand completely! Having a chronic illness as I do,I often have to step back and take a deep breath. I have learned much from you,and have more to learn too…please do take care and know that we are here for you Alison…much love and well wishes to you!!! XO

  20. Jennifer says:

    Of course! Rest. Recover.
    Figure out what you want so everyone gets the best Alison, especially Alison herself!
    Take care! I'll miss you in the meantime.

  21. Amber says:

    The best way you can teach us to love ourselves is to love yourself first! Please rest, enjoy your time off, but don't stay away too long! We feel like personal friends of yours, so you must come back after you're rested and keep in touch!

  22. Hi Alison – I just found your blog in the last few weeks; have been enjoying it so much. I heartily endorse your need to take time out for yourself and your family. Yesterday I wrote a piece about searching for balance in life:….
    You might find it interesting. Will look forward to reading your lovely posts again in the future. Take care of YOU!

  23. Suzi says:

    Alison: I will miss you, but I totally understand that you have to do what you have to do. Take care. Suzi

  24. Renee McCrory says:

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
    – Theodor Seuss Geisel
    Enjoy your life!

  25. Anne says:

    Alison – It may be self indulgent of me to encourage you in this round about way…..I make my living by telecommuting via my computer and I have my baba by my side every day (he's about Finley's age). I feel, every day, exactly like you described – a long way from being the mother, wife, and housewife I'd like to be. If I could walk away from the chain that binds me to my computer, I would. More power to you.
    Have fun rediscovering the things that make you happy.

  26. Fortiesbaby says:

    Enjoy your life, and enjoy watching your Babba grow. He'll never be this age again.
    Yours is the blog I go to first each day, and although I'll miss you, better that than you missing out on what is really important in your life.Take time for you and yours, and enjoy your vintage home.
    Take a deep breath, and let your inner compass direct the course of your life. Bon voyage…

  27. happyapple says:

    Just think of how fresh you'll be when you're back, think of all the stories you'll have to tell, all the advice learned. I have moments like these too — when I just have to take care of me for a while and all those who have grown to depend on me providing the entertainment (that is, a washed, dressed, happy 1-year-old to play with)just have to wait! 🙂

  28. pam says:

    Alison, please know that while we love your blog and will miss you while you regroup, we totally support you! We look forward to whatever you might choose to share in the future and thank you for giving all that you have.

  29. Cookie says:

    Dearest Alison, thank you for all you have given us! Take good care of yourself and your little family and only come back when you are completely rested and revived! Hugssss

  30. ms*robyn says:

    Hi Alison, much like I blogged about awhile ago – it all comes down to balance. A balance that suits you… you will be surely missed but you and your family & home should always come first. have fun taking time out and if and when you decide to return to our gorgeous blogging community, we will still all be here, I am sure. hugs & love to you xoxo

  31. Kerry says:

    Alison … as always your garbage friend will tell you that there’s a longer letter on the way (huh!) and of course I totally endorse a ‘stop and smell the roses’ method of reassessment … it’s important to your sanity to create that elusive balance … but all of that has been said previously.
    What I really want to know (if you have a spare two mins to spare hon) is the recipe for this delicious pink peppercorn chocolate cake. The parmesan loaf sounds great too but that PPC … mmmmmmm!!!
    Love to you.

  32. Rosemary says:

    I am very sorry to see you go as only found the website a couple of weeks ago and it is the best I've seen in 10 years of surfing.However your health must come first,I had several bouts of flu and bronchitis last winter and ended up with chronic fatique syndrome, which I'm glad to say eventually cleared up, as some people never really get over that.That is the last thing you'd want with a small child to bring up!!So look after yourself and get well.Love and Good wishes.

  33. Melanie says:

    Take care of yourself and I'm sure we'll be here when you return! Hugs!!

  34. laney says:

    …my one and only comment…how refreshing of you…if you did anything else you would be a fraud…now we know that you truly ARE a homemaker and hearthkeeper…blessings laney

  35. Karen says:

    Enjoy your time with your family and take very good care of yourself. I will REALLY miss you, but this is a very intelligent thing for you to do. You need the rest. I can't wait till you are feeling better! Wishing you and your family all the best.

  36. Jody says:

    Rest, rest, rest and be at peace dear one. We'll all be here.

  37. "…realised that this can't go on. I can't go on living the way I do: it is exhausting me and more than that my constant need to push myself on and on is comprimising my life to the degree that every aspect of it seems to be crumbling around me."
    "I need to re-claim my life "
    How I understand you! I feel the same.
    Take your time.

  38. ~Vicki says:

    i don't think your alone in feeling this way, not at all. others often comment on blog demands vs real life. "feeding the blog monster" can become all consuming for some. i hope you find a balance, because i love visiting you here. it's a strange kind of "friendship", this whole blog thing isn't it? a real love/hate relationship! take care. . .xoxoxx

  39. Danielle says:

    Oh Alison. I have a love/hate relationship with my computer too. It's now 11.08pm and my babas will have me up at 6am if I'm lucky, why am I doing this to myself? Well I just "had" to check BrocanteHome before I turn in to bed. I LOVE your site. You have inspired me and completely changed the way I look at my home and my role in it. I am proud to stay at home with my babas and I love trying to keep my 1930's house in a Vintage way. I will miss you, but maybe I too should use this time to tear myself away from ebay, myspace, flylady, brocantehome et al? Lord knows my skirting boards would benefit from the extra attention! Maybe we should use Flylady's timer method on our computer time? I think I'll start limiting myself to 30 minutes in the evening!! Maybe then I'll get some vintage housekeeping done! Bye Alison, I dearly hope to hear from you again soon. x x x x

  40. Tracy says:

    Dearest Alison,
    You are such a treasure. I am a vintage housekeeper who's been living vicariously through you while fighting a little bout of cancer. Rest is a good thing, so do take plenty of it. In the meantime, I hope you don't mind, I'll make myself comfortable here in your BrocanteHome and continue to dream while exploring your site.
    Best wishes.

  41. Rosa says:

    We will miss you but the thought of you doing well will outweigh our missing housekeeper. You do what you have to and take care of yourself. As I am so fond of saying, "No one else can (take care of you.)" So best wishes and get well! xo

  42. Posy says:

    Dear Alison,
    I totally understand – this blogging milarky can be all consuming. Get rested and balanced and maybe see you soon.
    Go well…….XX

  43. Sara says:

    I know I will be missing your posts and clever comments, but you and your family and your dreams should always come first. Take care of yourself and when you're ready to come back, we'll love you all the more.

  44. Joy says:

    Alison, I can completely relate…blogging, though enjoyable and completely fun, is very time consuming and it can feel pressured at times (though my site is much less busy than yours!). I think it's great that you are calling a time out and taking time to care for yourself. I'm sending a hug and virtual cup of tea your way…

  45. Gina L says:

    It sounds like this is something you need to do. As a mother and a housewife myself, I completely relate. The computer can be great thing but if it's not keep with in limits and a balance it seems to be a burden that drains the enjoyment, friendships and connections away. I do hope you can find a middle ground, as I enjoy reading your blog.

  46. Carol says:

    Oh my Alison, that sounds like some kind of burnout syndrom to me. I've always been wondering how you can keep up with all the work that Brocante Home must make, while having a husband and a little boy etc.pp. Sure it is okay! Take all the time you need. I'll check back for news from time to time. Just don't feel under pressure, okay! Hugs x

  47. Barbara says:

    Dear Sweet Lady, Take time, take care, take heart. You are wonderful.

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