martha stewart and me

Shall I let you in on a little secret?
This blog is about the lovely stuff. The gorgeous sunny days on the beach, photographs of the children being beautiful, stories of the allotment.
The clue’s in the (* old, for those of you reading after 2011, this blog used to be set in a little English village before we moved to the seaside)


tales from the village.

Not ‘gruesome reality from the village’. I could give you the lowdown on what an absolute nightmare this week has been.

I could tell you that I couldn’t face another morning of fighting today so I left the children to help themselves to breakfast, gave them the wii remotes and disappeared back to bed with a coffee and my laptop. (And it was heavenly – well, until Rory appeared crying because nobody would give him ‘weetybix’ for breakfast, and then until Jude stormed upstairs because someone had stolen his train, and – well, then I just gave up on the coffee.)

Anyway, I digress. Today I took my children on a picnic. It was lovely. Then I took them home, they were tired, they behaved like fiends and it was hideous. I didn’t take photographs. Really, you wouldn’t want to see.

But for those friends of mine who’ve commented that reading here, it looks like my life is idyllic and perfect, here you are:

Those are my tomato plants. And my dill, and something else I can’t even remember. Oops.

And that is the futility room. It has a door, so I can close it and pretend it’s not there. It leads on to the garage. I didn’t take a photo of the garage, because you don’t need to see that. But it’s not pretty.

One of my heroines is Martha Stewart. Yes, dodgy share dealing and all (come on, you’re telling me you wouldn’t sell your shares if you were given the heads-up?). I’m under no illusions about Martha – I know her magazine isn’t real life, and neither is her tv show (which we don’t get in the UK – come on Hallmark UK). But that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

Life in the village isn’t always perfect, but I like blogging about the pretty bits. Just don’t forget that while I’m writing, I’ve probably got a gin and tonic in hand, I’m quite possibly curled up with some comfort reading like Jilly Cooper or Ruby Ferguson and I’ve forgotten to feed the children. And like Martha, I’m probably shouting at someone.


  1. NO!!! You’ve shattered the illusion. NO!!!

    Actually this is a recurring theme in our house. My husband is fond of saying I live in a dream world conjured up by interior design magazines – Martha is a main culprit.

    My son just walked past and said ‘what is that???’ at the plants.

    Still, I bet she made her prison cell look nice.

    Yes, real life is like this.

  2. I love the pictures and can identify, especially with the futility room. There are more important things than cleaning – and life in the village still looks pretty good.

  3. Yes, it is. Even the crappy bits!

  4. Aha – have you never seen the films with Cybill Shepherd? Oh, you must. They are absolutely heaven and perfect afternoon viewing. Look out for them on the tv listings. I have to confess I own several Martha biographies (the unauthorised ones) and even though she’s an absolute horror, I just love her to bits.

  5. Heehee! Great post, made me laugh. Poor tomatoes.

  6. Tragic, aren’t they? I kept meaning to sort them out, but it just didn’t quite happen. Oops.

  7. Best post ever!
    To be honest, I can’t abide lifestyle blogs that seem too smug about an idyllic life. I’ve never had that impression from you — I love, love the pretty glimpses of village life, of your allotment, of the seaside, but I know that things aren’t perfect. Nor should they be! (If I have an offline ideal, it’s a friend who has excellent taste, but whose home isn’t perfectly tidy or organized-looking. It’s a comfortable, relaxed family home, warts and all.)
    We have a scientist friend whose area of expertise is neuro-immunology. He blames many a woe on too-clean homes, antibacterial soaps and germophobia.

    But your poor tomato plants… herbicide!

  8. I think the joy of Twitter (and other places) is that it would be impossible to maintain the perfect lifestyle facade – the odd rant always sneaks out!

    That old saying about eating a peck of dirt – I suspect my children have eaten a couple of pecks, and they’re pretty healthy (touch wood) so I think your scientist friend is onto something.

    As for the plants – I’ve killed more than I’ve ever grown!

  9. I love this post, everything you say is so familiar! Whenever I’m working on my blog, my husband pipes up with ‘are you going to take a picture of the washing pile or the mess in the spare room you haven’t dealt with yet?!’ I’d like to think my blog is fairly true to life, but it’s definitely a little bit rose-tinted, as I’m sure most are! Love your ‘futility room’, think I might coin that phrase for ours too! Helen

  10. Hahahahaha! Yes mine says exactly the same. I’ve seen a t-shirt that says ‘I’m blogging this’ and I keep meaning to buy one!

  11. You made me laugh out loud with your post today. I love that you call it a futility room, absolutely hilarious. I agree that life is never as neat and tidy as our blogs, but the last thing I want to see on my blog is the piles of yet to be sorted items or the mountain of laundry, or the babe that managed to grab a marker and colour all over the table. I’m glad I found your blog, looking forward to many more posts, of any kind. Poor tomatoes, I lost a batch that way as well, though they didn’t get to be as big as yours.

  12. I’m the same as you. I mean the occasional ‘look, I’m really not Martha’ post is fine, but I want to drink tea and look at the pretty, not be sympathetic that someone else has a monster ironing pile of doom like mine.

    I feel a bit bad about the tomatoes – wonder if they could be revitalised? (I’m thinking no. Hahahaha!)

  13. You’re my hero.

  14. It takes a certain level of skill to completely obliterate a worktop, don’t you think?

  15. Love it Rachael! And I could so relate to it! I guess we write about the parts of our lives that go the way we want them to. Someone wrote to me recently to tell me that after reading my blog she thought my life was TRANQUIL – I nearly peed my pants laughing when I saw that! I’m sure I do the same as you and everyone gets the prettified version – but as soon as kids are involved, well…it’s another story isn’t it. A lot of the time here it’s like world war 3 – and especially in the school holidays too much time spent together makes it even worse. At least during term-time there’s homework to provide a distraction (and a window of tranquility when everyone is at school!).

  16. If it’s possible to have a Futility House that would be mine. I can’t even shut a door on my mess – unless, of course, I shut the front door and walk away from the whole damn place.

    Still, I applaud your self-exposé – it’s much better to get it all out there before the TV news crews turn up on your front doorstep demanding answers.

  17. I so want to come and declutter that room for you. I am fab at it. Just send me a ticket and I am there. lol

  18. The irony is I am decluttering queen. I used to live in an immaculately minimalist house, when I only had two children. But now I just have no time to get organised. Come the autumn, I’m going to blitz that room and the garage. I can’t wait!

  19. Aha, I like that plan. Shut the door, leg it, and move elsewhere. Actually that’s not far from what we used to do – we moved 11 times in our first ten years of marriage, so we used to have the opportunity to clear out regularly. Now we’re just living in chaos.

  20. I know I shouldn’t admit it, but oh, I love those windows of tranquility! Bliss.

  21. Ha ha ha, oooh don’t you go giving up on the futility room yet, still a bit of worktop showing, I’m sure you could find a little something to squeeze onto there! You are human, and you are a very lovely being x

  22. Thank you, lovely friend, and fellow mess-maker. xxx

  23. Oh don’t we all have that room, we do that’s for sure. I am the same as you I love to be organised and it just does not happy with children that is for sure! Thanks for sharing you are not alone!

  24. Excellent piece that has so reassured me!! I got con fused with the title – thuoght it was a sponsered post!!:)

  25. LOL! Nothing like a bit of chaos to keep you on your toes, I always say 🙂

  26. Sponsored by Martha – oh, that would be heaven!

  27. Absolutely. And there’s plenty of chaos round here, especially in the holidays!

  28. I just wanted to say thank you for your comment on mine. I’m on a blogging break, but I do have the occasional browse. Thanks for what you said.

    I have spent some of this summer in the house I grew up in in Buckinghamshire. It’s such a beautiful part of the country. I love it. I’m from south Bucks, though.

  29. Oh, I’m glad you’re still reading comments. And how lovely – we used to live in Wendover, so probably not far from where you are right now. Your beautiful post at Cybermummy has stayed with me ever since, and reading your blog today was so lovely. Your writing is beautiful.

  30. My brown thumb is pleased to meet yours. I can’t garden no matter how hard I try. Love the futility room. Martha is like a fairytale, isn’t she? Lovely to daydream about, but impossible to ever actually live up to.

  31. Ah, but when you add in her flaws it adds a slightly different dimension. I love her ranty perfectionism, being a ranty perfectionist myself. I’m sure that’s not the sort of thing you’re meant to admit in print, is it? Oops.

  32. My blog’s more of the gruesome reality sort, I fear!

    I love this post. Documenting the beautiful and splendid is wonderful thing to do. And quite rare, I think. So often we’re drawn to drama and catastrophe. It’s a lovely thing you’re doing here (wilted tomato plants and all!)

  33. I keep a journal at LiveJournal which is private, and is my gruesome reality. This is weirdly therapeutic loveliness. Thank you for visiting – your writing, and the story of Iris, have stayed with me all afternoon.

  34. I think you rock and I like you very much indeed. Even though we have never met. The end. Cx

  35. Ah, perfect!! Love a good confession 🙂 x


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