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  • Gemma Speakman

Snow day = hard work


Welcome to the first official day of meteorological Spring!

Looking outside it couldn’t feel further from the truth. A delayed blanketing - generous, crisp, white and SO bitterly cold and oh, two and a bit months late. Snow, listen, we really wanted you to land around 23rd December when we had the right amount of time, festive cheer and inclination for sledging and frolicking around carefree in the snow, and then for you to dissipate miraculously when we had to reluctantly resurface to reality around 2nd Jan. But anyway, it’s ok, you’re here now. The weather is a hot news topic - gathering hours of air time, happily refuting the otherwise stagnant agenda of Brexit negotiations and Trump’s alarming lunacy.

‘Stay indoors, don’t travel, school might be closed’ and deep down as you peek at the bedroom blinds around 5am (ish), you’re praying that behind them, the white stuff has landed hard; luscious, thick, unforgiving so that it might turn today’s humdrum reality into an impromptu duvet day where you’ll loll and bounce carefree doing all the things you want to do, at last! All the better because it’s its not your fault (you tried to get in!) but rather it's down to someone your boss can’t call and actually blame, because the impenetrable weather man is totally incommunicado forever.

So if like me, today, you are in doors having a forced snow day and it turns out, also tomorrow, you might this evening be reeling from the ‘eye opening’ work that normally stays well out of sight and mind when you’re very busy commuting and working at your bachelorette pad, ‘the office.’

Proceed with caution when accepting a snow day

Conveyor belt breakfast, lunch, snack & dinner service to the demanding small people revelling in a state of euphoria as they’re forced indoors in front of a screen all day. For you, the irascible, nagging emotion of ‘I’m achieving nothing’ mostly due to the endless tasks. Finding the sledge and trying to find a suitably snowy hill to race down, refereeing senseless and recurring sibling arguments, reordering play doh into appropriate colour pots, locating the missing jigsaw pieces, sourcing and printing out copious amounts of colouring in ‘emoji’s,’ forever downloading 7 minute episodes of banal kid diatribe (seriously watch a movie, less labour intensive on the remote), not to mention the washing up, drying up, putting away, responding to spontaneous outbursts of ‘I’m hungry,’ raiding the freezer to knock up some kind of dinner because you can’t face either the cold or the barren shelved supermarkets and of course because it’s not school and you’re home, wiping bums. No wonder you’re knackered.

Unusually, I'm not in this position due to gin or wine

Then the small sense of self congratulation when you realise this snow day has quite literally landed in your lap before the weekly shop and you’re having to major improv. It’s amazing what you can knock up with half a cucumber, a tin of tuna and pink salmon, some eggs and some borderline off-ish cheese from Aldi that’s way below par and as such there's still some left, weeks later, looking wholly unsavoury, so you grate it and it’s immediately palatable. The point here is that despite the mind numbing hum drum of term time and work, there is something very cathartic about having no choice but to get out of your own front door at a set time most days. Yes it’s hard conducting a herd of descendants and repeating the same instructions over and over and raising your voice a lot before 8am, but it’s like a hard gym session - you hate it while you’re doing it but it’s fairly condensed, you work up a sweat and the best feeling is afterwards when the hard work is done, adrenaline is released you're shaking but its your time now and you're starving. Also another plus, you’ve shut the door on total home carnage and it will remain like that for some hours. Like a hot tempered argument, it’s better to walk away. You’re much more adept to deal with it when time has passed and you’ve filled your day with more worthwhile things. Milk curdled around cereal splashed sofas with knickers, vest and pyjamas in tangles tucked down open crevices are much easier to deal with in the evening (when the school start deadline is off amidst extra time for temporary lights) and you’ve transcended the morning roll calls with something called a career.

If you can get past the list of chores the snow day lays bare and imagine that it is a day to loll and luxuriate in your own home space, have a think about your surroundings, your home. See the space as an entirety - ask yourself, what makes this my home? And then break it down because each room is a component part in the bigger tapestry that makes up this space where you do most of your living. Is there one room or space you’re desperate to improve (even in a small way such as buy a box to store magazines in to free up shelf or floor space.) Or do you need to clear some clutter away because you want a place that you can place fresh flowers each week? As with most things, once you’ve identified the problem you are usually much better equipped to find the answer. Below, I suggest some small annoying problems in the home that are easily rectified. And remember it’s the little things that make the big things. Soon with these small home improvement steps, you’ll be injecting new energy into entire rooms and then to the entire building to reinvigorate your living space in time for Spring 2018 and for the long, balmy summer days ahead (just don't look outside at the snow right now!!)

Problem - overhead lighting that’s too bright (and not dimmable) creating a lack of ambience.

Solution - turn the overhead lights off and invest in some lamps. Table and free standing work dotted around the room. Charity shops are good for lamps or try Trouva.

It's like a blackhead hunter

Ambient and relaxing (and hides blackheads)

Problem - wooden floors that feel cold and lack texture underfoot and character to the room

Solution - invest in a rug! You can either go practial jute or all out thick and fluffy depending on your style. Or have a winter and summer version to mix it up depending on comfort level required. For under £50

Problem - a glut of bottles and mixers and glasses taking up space on the work surface

Solution - a drinks trolley that can be stacked with bottles, mixers, glasses, vase of flowers or candles for effective presentation for when you’re impressing your guests.

Try this at home

Problem - a window that is quite visible to the street. No desire for netted curtains or clunky curtains I need some privacy without diminishing too much light.

Solution - try some hanging plants or hanging macrame - dot them around from hooks above and hang at differing levels. Try this

Next week, I'll be teaching you to 'mood board'

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