Posts tagged life matters
Breaking up...
olive tree.jpg

No, not with my husband (I still kinda like him!) Or the blog (though it's tempting!). Or sugar (NEVER gonna happen). Or anyone. But with... things. Physical things. Mental things. Annoying things. Things. A year ago I was sitting at my dining table that was piled high with papers, half-finished kids crafts and an overflowing washing basket. I had approximately 10 minutes before Annika woke up (I knew this because I had just put her down - the child does not sleep!) and basically I just wanted to enjoy the sunshine coming through the back doors and some peace and quiet before it was back to my one-arm life (she also only ever wants to be held...) I looked over to my sideboard for a spot to put the washing basket and my eye just saw things. Too many things. A pile of books with a shell and glass dome on top, a brass stork I bought from a charity shop, about 8 different vases with nothing in them but the shapes or colours were nice so they'd been collected over time. There was a clock that didn't work that was a gift so I felt obliged to keep it there, candlesticks, decorative letters that once adorned a wall somewhere, random picture frames, some white ceramic animals I don't recall buying and a pile of magazines. Oh the magazines. That was just one pile - I knew there were cupboards full in my cabin from my previous life when I worked for them. I realised I couldn't see my sideboard properly - obviously there was a piece of furniture there, but you'd be hard pressed to notice its beauty. The map on the wall - one of the favourite things I own - was barely noticeable for the crap that lay beneath it and the string lights I had draped over it. The two items that I loved in that whole space - my Parker sideboard (roadside find!!!!) and vintage world map (one of the first things my Dad bought when he migrated here from Germany) were hidden by things. Things I didn't even really care for. Or - as was the case for a lot of them - things I didn't even like.

While these "things" had been styled to some degree into vignettes you see in magazines (assorted heights/ layers/odd numbers!), there were too many of them. The sideboard is so large, I thought it was the perfect space to show off some pretty things. But in that moment I realised how stupid it looked. It looked cluttered and pointless and dusty. The only reason stylists do these decorative vignettes in magazines is to promote as many products for advertisers as is physically possible - after all, most of the time it's all about getting you to buy something. I suddenly hated it all. So instead of enjoying the sun, I picked up a box and put pretty much everything on the sideboard in it. Then I walked around the rest of the living areas and boxed anything that just screamed at me "WRONG!" There was quite a lot. I grabbed a few other things I had piled in a box in my bedroom for when our house was big enough to display them again. And I grabbed all my


magazines from storage, chick-flick DVDs I just don't watch and a couple of chairs that were just taking up space outside and piled everything on my dining table. I made up signs and had a spontaneous mini yard sale the next morning. Whatever didn't sell went straight into the boot of my car and to the charity shop. I felt so happy. I felt lighter. My house instantly looked cleaner and tidier and nicer. Better than that, the emptier space made me want to ensure it was always clean and tidy. I started to enjoy cleaning - there were less things I had to move to dust or vacuum. It was addictive to keep it pristine and good for my soul to see clean, empty surfaces. I started making my own cleaning products to enjoy the experience even more - it was creative DIY that didn't clutter my space or look like a shonky DIY project (which, let's face it, so many do). It was a nice feeling but I wasn't finished.

I've never been one for excess. I rarely buy things for the sake of it. I don't own or want a cupboard full of kitchen appliances or five different sets of crockery - I don't care to spend a good chunk of a pay cheque on a Thermomix or even a Kitchenaid. I


to want a Kitchenaid mixer - I thought being the baking-lover I am it would be worked into our kitchen budget and look smashingly good sitting on the kitchen counter. I never bought it. I like my little hand mixer and I like my almost-bare counters even more (There is a toaster for convenience, though, and fruit bowl and knife block). Even when I worked at


magazine, I didn't spend all my money on clothes, shoes or going out - we had a mortgage we were keen to pay off as quickly as possible. We bought things only when we needed them or in terms of the big things like a house/car/boat/renovation, when we could afford them - we have never owned credit cards or gone into debt for anything other than the mortgage on our house. We don't buy the kids things for the sake of it. They get a few things at Christmas and their birthdays. They get new clothes when they need them and at the start of each season. There are no cupboards of make-up or beauty supplies. There are more than enough towels for each member of our family, but only one set of linen for each bed. There is one vacuum cleaner, one broom, one mop. There is not only nowhere else to PUT extra of anything, but there is no need for it either. And to me there is still too much stuff in this tiny house. And with four children and two adults and so much noise and chaos every day (and night!), I need calm and order and quiet in some aspect of my life and I feel I can get those instantly to some degree with less things and a tidier home.

I started being drawn to Instagrammers with clean, simple spaces. Those magic "people you might like" suggestions that Pinterest and Instagram do are amazing - they always get it right and soon I found myself following a whole bunch of new people who loved their homes, who lived with less and who were happy. One day I saw a comment on someone's Instagram about a book called

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

by Marie Kondo. I'm pretty sure you've heard of it - hasn't everyone by now? Well I hadn't at the time and so Googled it. And read review after review of it - I was a little obsessed. In fact, I probably didn't need to read the book because the reviews and constant articles or blog posts about it told me all I needed to know. But I wanted the whole context so I bought an eBook version and read it during Annika's feed/nap times. Honestly, the last time I completed a whole book that wasn't a children's book was before any of my children were born. I haven't read anything - completely - in almost nine years. That is a whole other issue! I lapped that book up. I read every page. I eye-rolled so hard and questioned her mental health several times throughout it (and also mine - I was reading a book on TIDYING? What was wrong with me?), but sometimes even the most blindingly obvious things in life can be missed and in this case, it took a book to tell me that I should only keep things in my home that bring me joy. How simple and obvious is that? And yet... I realised I wasn't really living that way. I started her method immediately. 

I didn't stop at the contents of my home (to be fair, I'm still going, but with our home all upside down in parts due to our cabin being torn down a few months ago in preparation for our house extension, I have to hit the pause button on some areas). I felt the need to apply the konmari method to other areas of my life. For each of the new people I started following on Instagram, I unfollowed about 10 more who didn't inspire me or who started to bug me. I said no to invites to things I wasn't interested in. I stopped blogging for ages because it was a huge chore. I even turned down all work - even crafts for Kidspot and other offers - because making the kids do forced crafts for photos wasn't bringing them OR me joy. Instead, we started exploring more of our area on the weekends with bush walks, we got obsessed with nature and creating things with it. We realised it was ok to do absolutely nothing some weekends except watch movies or sport and let the kids run crazy outside all day and play computer games or YouTube videos at night till really late. Because sometimes, being ignored by my children and ignoring them for hours on end doing frivolous things brings me joy.

I even got rid of niggling thoughts that were stressing me out unnecessarily; the main one being my lack of career. All my life growing up, all I wanted to be was a news journalist. I became one. When that got too heavy, scary and depressing and I craved the lighter side of journalism, I knew magazines were for me and that's where I ended up. Once babies came along, I watched that life and the determined, ambitious me, drift further and further away. Ideas for various things would pop into my mind and ultimately be brought to life by other people. I watched shops start up, business ideas flourish and careers I'd maybe have considered had the time been right, all be taken up by someone else. My mind became muddled and I didn't know what I wanted to do anymore. I still don't. I have NO IDEA what I want to do with my working life when the time comes to go back to it. It's a horrible feeling and a new one. So I recently decided to not worry about it anymore. Not right now, anyway. There is no need for me to work. We are incredibly lucky in that respect. Steve has a good wage and Annika is still young. I never wanted to work outside the home when my kids were little so why worry about it now? Why not be grateful I can enjoy this time time with them. Why not put that energy into enjoying being AT home? After all, playing house - buying, renovating, decorating, living, being around the home - has been my obsession since forever. So I might as well take this time to revel in it - in those little things like nice-smelling, homemade cleaning products, tidy, organised spaces, edible and pretty gardens, play spaces for the kids, designing and organising our extension... These things are bringing me joy, so I'm sticking with them.

You know what doesn't bring me joy sometimes? Instagram. This week I just stopped using it. Not for ever; maybe not even for another day, but I just couldn't stand being on there anymore seeing the same images, the same selling of souls for free gifts and money, the same waffling tones that make you think you're doing motherhood wrong if you don't write in poetry the fact your kids ate breakfast or tied their shoes. The same sameness. Social media is a funny thing. For something that inspires so much and brings me in contact with great people and ideas, it completely, utterly does my head in at times. From watching small businesses get ripped off by bigger companies (I'm looking at you, Kmart), to seeing a product I love become a trend and done to death in a matter of months or even weeks hurts my brain. I'm now even seeing this "less is more" lifestyle, the KonMari book, the simplicity and beauty of little things become "trendy" on Instagram and it makes me question every thought I have now when I decide I like something: am I liking it because I like it or because I have seen it so much, I assume I'm meant to like it? Am I doing this because others are? Or because I want to? What is harder to deal with is when you do it BEFORE it hits the "trend" bandwagon and then you feel like everyone will assume you jumped on it too. That is the most annoying one... Oh no wait! The most annoying aspect of it all is seeing people spend a lot of money buying a lot of new things in order to live with less. Seriously, if you're doing that, you're doing it very wrong and for the wrong reasons! The truth is, I don't want my home, my kids clothes, my activities or my lifestyle to look like everyone else's. But sometimes they do. I am guilty of having similar kids clothes, plants or home accessories and adventures or activities to many, many other Instagrammers. Because when you find like-minded people with similar tastes/ideals/style as your own in a handy app on your phone, whether you're the copier or the copied, if you keep peeking into the tiny square windows of their lives, sooner or later, it's all going to look the same. Your real life is filled with different types of people with different interests and styles and values. On social media you can pick and choose and seek out people just like you. The downside is it becomes a very concentrated dose of "you" in so many forms and there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! Maybe I just need to get over that. And maybe my love/hate relationship with Instagram is a post for another day.. Right now, I have to sleep! I do wish my sleep pattern was not of the "living with less" variety, but alas, it is right now. A shame, really, because sleep most definitely does bring me joy and is not something I could ever break up with...

{All pictures are scenes around my home. Images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}

Spring is here! Big changes are coming! Life is gooooood

The first day of Spring seems as good a time as any to dust of the old laptop. Oh who am I kidding, this thing gets more use than ever. Just not by me! Those four kids of mine though like to steal it and sneak it and play it or watch the most boring and pointless YouTube videos of people opening Kinder Surprise Eggs. Or watching other people film themselves playing Minecraft. The internet has become a strange place... But I still have my little corner of it. And while I've neglected it terribly, I'm not sorry about it. It's been a nice break and I nearly didn't come back - why bother?! Blogs are dying; social media is where it's at if you want to make a name for yourself and YouTube is where the money is (I believe?) But I'm not in it for the money, I don't care about being popular and I'm certainly not in love with myself enough to film myself daily doing everyday things. I just want to take pretty pictures, record my family and home life and share things if anyone is keen to read them. So I'll potter around here - most likely in and out when time and patience allows or the urge hits - and I'll keep my little blog going for a while longer yet. And as our plans are being submitted to council this week for a large extension, there will be a fair bit of stuff happening around here soon that I really want to record. I've dreamed about this for years and we're so close. I'm SO EXCITED! We've been in this house just over two years now and at just 80sqm for a family of six with NO storage (seriously, there are no wardrobes, no linen cupboards, no laundry - nothing), we're very much ready to stretch the floorspace and give each occupant a little bit more room. It's not going to be huge - we don't want huge. We don't want glam or high-end or perfection. We just want something right for us and it might have taken a year to work it out through plan after plan and change after change, but I'm so glad it did take that time cause we've nailed it now. And I'll cry rivers if Council says we need to change something.

In the meantime, here are some pretty Spring-y pictures from my Instagram feed (I know. I am THAT person who posts Instagram pictures to their blog. BUT, you have to let me ease into this a little, ok?!) Besides, the first picture is a blog exclusive (because I'm pretty sure I've already exhausted the number of cherry blossom pictures in one week that would be allowed).

1. Cherry blossoms on my kitchen counter. I've wanted a cherry blossom tree for years. We bought and planted one when we moved in but it got smaller and smaller after Zak kept kicking his ball at it and breaking off branches. So we moved it to the backyard and last year it yielded one lone blossom. This year was a whole bunch more, but these were cut from someone's tree... I'm hoping next year it will be slightly more impressive again!

2. Gerbera ballerina. I bought a couple bunches of $2 gerberas for Layla's birthday party and as they started to wilt, I got creative with them! This whole ballerina was made from a gerbera and other bits of nature in my backyard (a camellia bud for the head and dry grass blades for the arms).

3. Exploding gerbera. One flower pulled apart and rearranged.

4. Layla picked this native vine on a bushwalk - it wrapped around her head and tied onto itself: the easiest flower crown ever!

5. We found this little bird's nest after a windy day at the base of a tree. Immy's collected flowers seemed right at home...

{All images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home. Instagram: @belindagraham }
Sneak peek at my kitchen + a little interview

THIS IS MY KITCHEN! It's almost finished! Well it is finished aside from a little painting and kickboard installation. We finally - after a whole year - had a tiler come and do the splashback. I don't know why I waited so long! I had debated for a long time about doing it myself like last time but there were a few too many tricky cuts around the rangehood and the windowsill and it was all just a bit in the too-hard basket... So last week they came and made it all pretty and now it just feels so complete. And this is Annika and I in it, celebrating this fact. Well not really, but we do look happy, don't we? She wasn't at all happy for me to take this picture though, hence her being in it - she was very grizzly and in no mood to be put down. So rather than listen to all the screaming while I attempted to play model AND photographer, she joined in. It turned out rather blurry but I'm cool with that. 

I'll show you more of this space later, but the reason for the picture was for a little interview I thought I'd share with you. My good friend Natalie has a relatively newish blog called The Indigo Crew where she writes about life with her three kids - crafts, adventures, books, brands and more. She has so many great ideas and a beautiful aesthetic - you should go and check it out and be inspired. Nat has recently started a couple of new series on her blog, chatting to fellow mothers and creatives she's discovered on Instagram and beyond. She kicked the series off with Courtney Adamo from Babyccino Kids and I was happy to follow (though what an act to follow!) - answering 10 questions covering my childhood, my present and the future. I talk about my teenage self's career plans to something I've learnt to something I thought I'd never do (oh that would be yelling at my kids! Eek!). You can have a little read here and be sure to check back Tuesdays to see who else she has in store - I know she has a few good ones up her sleeve! She's also started to chat to the creatives behind great brands, such as Dee Purdy behind gorgeous clothing label Une Belle Epoque - their gorgeous linen Can Can tops get a workout at our place by Imogen and Annika! I was surprised and impressed to discover the label is her side project and she has a busy career in finance - learning things like that make me want to light a fire under my butt and get myself inspired to make my dreams come true (though pinning the actual dream down is kind of difficult at the moment!). Read more about Dee and her lovely label here

And just for fun, here are a couple more (blurry!) shots from that day... The sun was streaming through the back doors, which was lovely, but it wreaked havoc on the image of the stool legs (they're actually back!) Have a great weekend!

Annika's DIY flower monogram birth announcement / thank you cards

Annika is four months old today! And she is so cute and funny and filled with personality, just like her three older siblings. Luckily, she has fit in really well and I can happily say despite those want-to-head-butt-the-wall moments (mornings/dinner time/getting out the door any time), life with four kids is pretty darn great. Being a bit of a DIYer, I decided to make her birth announcements (actually, it's so late and her birth has been announced a million times over and she has pretty much met everyone, so let's go with "thank you" cards, because that is really what they are for).

A while back I spotted a flower monogram on Pinterest - someone had opened up a 3D papier mache letter and filled it with flowers. Great for parties or events and I thought a fake-flower one would look great on her wall. But that didn't happen so I had the idea to make one up, stick it on the wall above her in a floral wrap against my black wall for her birth announcement picture. So I sliced the top off a 3D letter, hot-glu-gunned fresh flowers into it and hung it on a tiny nail on the black wall in my dining room. I lay a sleeping, wrapped Annika on a sheepskin on the sideboard and snapped away until she woke up (which wasn't very long. Just like her siblings, she is a cat-napper!) Then I uploaded them in iPhoto, chose one and then played around with some fonts in Finder (I use a Macbook Pro) and came up with these announcements.

 Then it was time to print - my first attempt at Officeworks was a big fat fail as the font I originally used for the info (Mossy) was too thin so it was back to the drawing board. In the end I paired CK Cursive with Pompiere - both freebies - and tried again. Another fail because I had saved it as a PDF and you can't print four PDFs to a page unless you set it up that way which they didn't tell me till I got there, so I went home empty-handed again and re-saved as a jpg. This time I took it to the local printer place where I successfully printed four to an A4 page! It cost me a bit more ($18 for 10 sheets compared to around $10 that Officeworks would have cost me), but honestly, for the time I'd have to waste again and the petrol money, I'd have come out even! I printed on thickish stock - 250 gsm - so it's not photo glossy, but it still came out nicely and I can write on the back easily.

Then I just cut out with a scalpel and ruler and done! I'm pretty happy with the end result - now I just have to finish writing on them all and sending them out!

CK Cursive free font (Annika font)
Pompiere free font (main font)
Black wall paint is Dulux Domino
Ludde sheepskin, Ikea
Vintage Aqua muslin wrap, Toshi
Papier Mache letter, Spotlight
Flowers, picked from my garden, nicked from around the neighbourhood and bought from the supermarket (yes, I am classy like that)
Garden snips, Country Road
Striped pen (my fave thing to write with!), Officeworks
back to (blogging) basics

Remember me? It's been a while - since Easter in fact! I've been here behind the scenes a lot though - I'd log in, start a post and then snap closed the laptop and go and do something else. There are lots of little child-sized distractions these days. And also... a lot of the time... I just don't want to blog. I've been incredibly uninspired to do so lately. Does anyone read them anymore? I don't, really. I have a very, very small list of favourites whose style I think is similar to my own, bloggers I like, and sites that I really enjoy, but aside from them, I have no real interest in falling down the blog rabbit hole anymore. Or writing my own. I'm working on the latter though because I don't know if I can just throw away seven years of documenting my life and projects. (Although last year's major hacking disaster kind of did it for me!) But how to get back into it? Well, that was the big question and what I've been thinking about these past few months. I think I've worked it out. And it involves a return to the olden days...

Blogging has come a long way. And I'm not sure it is for the best. Once upon a time, it was a relatively smallish online community where great conversation took place, friendships were made and helpful information and sharing was paramount. We turned to blogs (and when I talk about blogs, I am referring to the design/home/DIY/lifestyle arena as that's my interest) because we may have been missing that really awesome friend with the stylish, but liveable, home in our real lives. Or just couldn't talk glue guns or the best black wall paint with our sisters. Sure we could eye off images in magazines, but could we ask advice and or start a conversation about something? Nope. Online? We could. And we did. You know what else we knew we got as a blog reader? Truth. Great (honest) recommendations. REAL LIFE. We saw inspirational AND aspirational homes, projects and lifestyles. More realistic budgets, decision-making, mistakes and processes. Online you'd see shop owners show glimpses of their lives, mothers who pour their hearts into making special events like birthdays or holidays extra, extra special and couples with jobs and families - just like us - who caught the renovating and decorating bug and wanted to share their experiences, tips and transformations with others. THIS is what I got out of the blogging world. Now? Pinterest has killed the conversation - how often do you click the link and visit the blog? Facebook and Twitter have killed each other (I just don't really get them or use them anymore) and Instagram has killed off the realness (how many people's lives are really that picture perfect? None). And advertising? It's killed blogging. Well, it may not have killed it entirely (there are certainly bloggers out there going great guns), but it has kind of ruined it for me.

When I worked in newspapers and magazines, advertising ruled. At one newspaper, a government department threatened to pull advertising if we ran with a negative story about them. So much for freedom of the press; it's still very much on a leash. In magazines, without the advertising dollars, there is no magazine. And without magazines there is a huge gap in the way brands can get their name out there. They rely on each other and go hand in hand. But while I have no problem with the ads themselves, I have a problem with the way in which some (not all) were acquired - with promises for editorial mentions. Some advertisers would only come on board if they had a certain amount of editorial mentions per issue, which might equate to three product placements in a shoot, and two mentions in an article somewhere. Or feature articles concocted around a product placement or brand. The problem is (this is my personal opinion. I've just seen it work from the inside and so now read so much into things): if the brand's PR (or brand's products itself) are good enough, they'll be picked up by the editorial department anyway and used in shoots or mentioned in articles. But that free publicity doesn't pay for the photographer, photo studio, stylists, couriers and everyone else! So they get hounded for $$ from the sales reps, which they might be happy to pay "IF, you can guarantee this, that and the other" in future issues. After a while, this advertising/editorial tail chasing makes you question whether things are used because they're actually really liked or recommended by a stylist/magazine. Or because they HAVE to use it. 

Which is how I kind of feel about some blogs these days... the sponsored posts, the affiliate links, the giveaways... forced posts on unrelated (or trying to make it related) things to incorporate a particular product/brand. It's all a bit much nowadays - bloggers have been bought by everyone! And I can't help but feel suspicious of all those links in posts of products they might like or recommend - are they only recommending this because they are being paid to? Or because it is an affiliate link and they'll make money off their fans' eagerness to replicate? Money is hard to turn down. I get this, I do. I took on a few sponsored posts and collaborations and banner ads. Mostly I think the former two worked ok as they were brands I did actually know and use. But how unfair is it for readers to see me getting free things just because I am writing about it?! Would I have bought it regardless? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I had to kick my own butt when I actually approached a couple of companies for something because I was going to buy the items regardless and thought they might want to contribute in some way by discount or partly gifted etc. I was surprised at myself - who am I!?!?! How rude! That's not me. And that NOT why I started a blog. (FYI, one said yes - and one said no not right now due to budget). I remember reading something a blogger agency wrote that explained why companies should partner with their bloggers: "Readers trust the bloggers for honest opinions and product advice..." But by PAYING those bloggers to write about a product they probably wouldn't write about otherwise, isn't that kind of abusing that trust? I don't know, but I feel it is. I once did a survey and discovered that 10% of readers had bought something I'd written about on the blog. Whether it was something I'd used, discovered or just thought was pretty or cool, that is kind of influential. I'm very wary of abusing that; brands are obviously very happy to use that! And as for the admin side of things - I was hopeless. So many advertisers got months worth of free advertising because I was useless at keeping track of it all or following it up. And mention SEOs, Google-friendly titles (is that the same thing? See - I don't even know that) or pageview stats to me and I will cover my ears and sing "la la la". It's all quite headache inducing.

The other headache-inducing aspect of blogging and social media is the sheep factor. There is so much sameness - the same trends, projects and products pop up everywhere. You might love something and then you see it so many billion times on blogs, Pinterest, Instagram you wish you hadn't bought it/tried it/made it anymore. That copy-cat theme extends to extensions of the blogging world - blogging courses, conferences (conferences?! really?) and workshops have been the buzzwords for the last couple of years. This year's trend? Oh that's easy - pop-up shops! And while I'm ranting ... there is a certain perfection that is almost expected now of bloggers. You can't just blog - you need to take awesome photographs too. And appear to live an incredible, interesting life. Pinterest and Instagram's beautiful images have meant everyone needs to step it up in terms of their content - professional-standard images are quite the norm. Magazine-perfect homes and super-styled "everyday life" is what we see. I'm all for pretty - of course! And I don't deny setting up my own pics occasionally. And I won't stop doing so either. But a little reality should be in the mix too - because people respond to that and relate to it. And having someone say "oh thank GOD I'm not the only one..." and launch into their own story is so much better a comment than "Ah. Mazing".

Anyway, working out what was annoying me and making me so disillusioned helped me make up my mind about what I should and would do with my blog. I considered just accepting I was old school and out of the loop and letting it go - sheesh, I've whined so much about blogging in this post, why would I want to continue, right? But then I thought about what it was that I enjoyed about it before and wondered if I could just go back to that. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had a list as long as a six-year-old's Christmas list of people I had to get back to regarding affiliate programs and other potential sponsorship partnerships. I considered them all, started to stress at all the growing to-do list, then told them all what I'm telling you now:

I've made the decision to pull back from all advertising/sponsorship/affiliate/monetizing of my blog for the time being and get back to basics. I've realised a lot of my passion towards blogging has vanished due to the admin and extra work that was going into it behind the scenes and I really want to get back to why I liked it in the first place, which was simpler, about my home and life and without gifts or sponsors. I don't necessarily expect to remain this way forever, but I basically want to start at the beginning in a way and see where that leads - I'm sure there will be opportunities further down the track when the time feels right. 

Standard response word for word! I am SURE there is a way to combine a blog with money-making in a way that allows the blogger to remain authentic and not annoy its readers as well. I just don't know what it is for me yet! But I do hope to find it one day, because of course it would be nice to turn something I enjoy(ed) into a profitable career. I think some bloggers do a pretty good job of it too - Dana of House*Tweaking and Emily Henderson have relevant and great sponsorship partnerships most of the time without losing their look, voice or style. Or my readership either (cause that's important!) But until I find a way to do it that I'm comfortable with, there will be no advertising on my blog. I'm going back to the early days - sharing, caring and communicating (if people still comment! I know times have a changed in that regard!). This whole post might not mean much to anyone - and it might turn out to be one big hypocritical wordy mess, but I just felt the need to explain my absence and disinterest.

And you know what? Since I've made this decision, I feel a bit more inspired again. I've been writing down post ideas and I even gave the blog a very simple new look. From now on, I'll make a bit of a return to what my blog was in the first place - my renovation (no, the kitchen IS STILL NOT FINISHED!!!!! I need a tiler cause I don't think I am cut out for all the diagonal cutting around the rangehood), makeovers and projects and a peek into a real Aussie family trying to make a happy home and life. Because that's why I started it. To quote myself, in my very first post on this blog ...

"I want The Happy Home to be about family life: creating stylish and liveable spaces, spending creative time with little ones, prettying up the mundane, laughing through the frustrations and complications, and just enjoying life's little moments. I'm not a stylist, not am I uber-creative. I'm just attempting to use all I've learnt through my work, inspirations I've gathered and ideas I've come up with to turn my home into a happy one. Because, ultimately, that's what every home should be - a place that makes you happy. Not because it's decorated with designer furniture or boasts the latest trend or is hospital-clean or looks like it jumped from the pages of a magazine*. But because it's filled with the things you love and is an extension of all those who live there. This blog is about a real home with a real family on a real budget. It's real living!"

*{note:} There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these things - they just might be the things that make you happy. But do this because you want to, not because you feel you need to in order to have a stylish home and envious visitors!" 

Are you still reading?! Well done! Sorry for the ranting and raving - needed to get that off my chest. I don't judge (too much!) those who do this thing - people can do as they please on their sites. It just saddens me to see so many great sites either stop existing altogether or turning in a giant advertorial and losing their soul and original essence. I don't want to be one of those...

{Image by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}