Housekeeper’s Diary

By Alison December 31, 2019 9 Comments 5 Min Read

On the brink of a new decade my head seems filled with the muchiness of all I want to say. To do. To encourage. And to be. Excitement balanced by the relieved melancholy so familiar to many in the days after Christmas. That it is over, thank heaven, and oh woe is me that it is over for another year!

It has been a lovely Christmas. Rich in books, and films and my boys. In the peace of the days after the day, I have followed my own instructions in my first Playbook and step-by-step re-invented our bedroom. And have since taken root there, astonished by its sanctuary when the house feel noisy, aided I am somewhat ashamed to admit, by the television I have finally given in to, so that it is possible for me too, to escape football, Star Wars and the joy of YouTubers who seem to live in my living room.

And oh what quiet joy it is! Now that I am not constantly compromised, I find myself watching the slow meandering films my heart longs for. My Old Lady, The Importance of Being Earnest and Brief Encounter. One lovely, engrossing tale after the other, with a pot of tea, and my Daily Greatness journal on my knee as I plot my way to the realisation of my soul, after completing my Bliss Book.

Perhaps then this has always been the answer: a willingness to both compromise my own values (the TV) and the setting of boundaries that give me peace. I have for so long sat right in the heart of my boys and sometimes it has felt claustrophobic. Too much and not enough. I have been rigid. Abiding by my own rules and refusing to listen when my soul has whispered “perhaps…”.

So here I sit today: my laptop on the “tiny-table” my sister bought me for Christmas and the heaven that is the gravity blanket it nearly breaks my back to lift, laid over my legs, writing to you. To myself. To BrocanteHome. More often now, I am coming to understand my own need for solitude. For the space to think. And write. And dream. For a secret stash of the Scottish shortbread I don’t want to share. For the films I like. And for candlelight.

Ummm yes. Candlelight. Tell no one at all, but yesterday as I sat in my little Blissroom (won’t you too create your own Blissroom?) with all the candles I received as gifts burning on the tiny fireplace, I failed to notice that the picture hanging on the wall above the mantle-piece was melting. That the gold frame was dripping into the candles and that I was just moments away from a fire. There are perils in bliss! Danger in happy oblivion don’t you know? What a lesson there is within.

Today then. New Years Eve. Just the four of us. Though I fancy for us all a table laid with an abundance of riches: good food and thimbles of champagne – in reality there will be the trip to Nando’s that the boys consider to be the epitome of celebration, and later a blackcurrant cider for each of them and red wine for us, before once again, Ste and I, revert to the alcohol free life that rather suits us better.

And it will be enough. Though I miss the madness of wider family we so enjoyed before my Mum died, this, the family I have made, is just right. For we laugh, oh how we laugh, and we tease each other and we all squash up on the same tired old sofa and it is enough: teenage boys are long, tall bundles of sheer fun and Ste and I are finally beginning to grow the roots we have so very much needed during the battle that has been forging two middle-aged lives together, while he went to war with his own demons and I adapted to what it is to mother a sixteen year old who simply doesn’t need mothering as often as he did.

Too often this year I have felt helpless. Weary. Or redundant. I have floundered when all the tricks I have long relied upon to piece broken people back together have left us all bewildered by their failure and I have felt removed from all that usually comforts me. In the process I think I have become shy. Too shy to engage in my own community. Too shy to socialise as often as I did. I have lost confidence in my own work and hid from it, ashamed. I have told myself I am simply older. Quieter in the head. I have said, perhaps this is the new me. But in the past few days as I have left my men to entertain themselves for a while, as I have sought and enjoyed my own company, I have recognised this not as the new me: but the old one, the real one, the authentic one. She who does not believe she is in charge of the whole world and cannot fix for everybody the broken pieces of themselves they will have to learn to fix by themselves.

She who is ready to pick up her pen and step into her own light once more.

So here is to 2020. I wish for you too, a Blissroom and a conversation with your most authentic self. As the postcard above says, I wish you every last thing that is good and I hope the next decade will shower you in love.

Be happy. Be kind. Be real…

I love you all so very much.x


  1. Anna Marie says:

    Happy New Year! I hope that you continue prioritising taking care of your good self in 2020.

  2. Linda L says:

    Happy New Year. I do hope it is one that is filled with above all else, good health and then joy and peace and much success. Thanks for all your hard work, it is appreciated and so helpful 🙂

  3. Laura_Elsewhere says:

    I can’t tell you how lovely it is to read that you are finding peace, my lovely xxxxx

  4. Karla says:

    Oh darling my 2019 has been the same sort of culling. I came to this week realizing I simply feel “unmoored” and lost and adrift.
    I’m trying to find joy again, purpose other than doing everything for everyone else. I’m trying to find a new perspective and go into 2020 with the word changed from “unmoored “ to “untethered”.
    It’s a slow process.

  5. Melanie says:

    I believe this decade is going to be amazing. You do have a way with words..don’t give up???

  6. Julie says:

    Happy,Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you and your loved ones Alison. As ever your words are beautiful and heartfelt. May the peace and contentment you seem to have found stay with you.xx

  7. Linda Larson says:

    Just had to comment, such a lovely honest piece of writing as always. My daughter said to me this morning, isn’t it wonderful that when you get older you appreciate the simple things and the quiet of an evening spent alone puttering. I smiled because she is quite right, and she bless her has learned this lesson far earlier than many of us did, she is 28 years old and wiser than many I know. I too in the past year or so have learned to be still and appreciate the quiet of my soul, and I am glad of it. It seems to me Alison you have now also found it and I am glad for you too, For simplicity, peace and quiet and appreciating the little things are where the blessings abound.

  8. Kelly Gabriel Guida says:

    Happy New Year to you and yours as well Alison! ?♥️?I am so FULL of love and gratitude for you and for what you add to our lives!
    Beauty and Blessings,

  9. Your “Blissroom” sounds heavenly! Our library is where my husband and I spend quiet evenings together. No television, just a rather nice stereo system we gifted one another 4 or 5 Christmases ago. This year we replaced our mismatched, aging and broken down chairs with leather recliners. Our beloved dog, Shiloh, commandeered the sofa as his bed several years ago so he sleeps peacefully in the room with us. It’s so important to have a quiet place in one’s home. I hope you have a wonderful 2020 – you deserve it!

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