My morning routine has always been the same. Run, shower, tidy, put a wash on, write, email, finish painting, make a list. I sometimes try and catch the headlines and if my kids are here I iron something, but generally I achieve more in the 3 hours before the world awakes than in the following 18.
The rest of my day is spent tinkering; with thoughts, ideas, stuff. Sometimes I have meetings or appointments but mostly I busy myself with work to avoid cleaning my house. There’s a whole generation of women enslaved by expectations of perfection in houses they should either be living in or leaving in the morning. I refuse to be one of them. I have every gadget going AND a cleaner yet I am never done cleaning so like all addictions I abstain completely and indulge in occasional lapses. This morning was one such occasion. I have a photoshoot in an hour and guests tonight so shorty I’ll be cleaning like a maniac.
I grew up in a house that entertained. Cleaning was fun, thorough and always last minute because it signalled soon guests would be arriving. We had no money, little food and yet my mother conjured up the most delicious feasts on an almost weekly basis. Ambassadors and royalty ate at our little house in East London. Starlets regailed us with their exploits and musicians shared their fears and performance highs and lows. My mother’s food was legendary. I felt privileged to be allowed to stay up late and greet our guests. First I’d take their coats upstairs, then I’d serve them drinks before later clearing their gin and tonic glasses while they moved through to the dining room.
People rarely entertain in Edinburgh, which is annoying because people who work with interiors are always curious to see other’s homes. For a long time this lack of invitations bothered me. I love entertaining. It’s part of who I am. I enjoy everything about it. Chopping, stirring, laying the table, lighting candles, choosing wine and music and then clearing the dishes with a final glass of wine before abandoning the worst of it til morning. Like my mother I cook simple food. Family recipes my guests won’t have tasted which are cheap and simple to prepare. I tried conforming when we were a family and never had people over, but missed hearing stories of other’s lives, relaxing in familiar surroundings while my kids were tucked up in their beds.
Which brings me to the point of today’s post. Don’t be scared to stand out from the flock. If no one else is doing what you do, don’t stop to question or analyse your choices. If you love living differently don’t apologise. Other people’s judgements reflect their needs, their concerns and are often a passionate plea for you to stop making yourself happy while they feel they have no choice but to be miserable. Don’t follow other’s ways and fit in for the sake of it. Live your life not the complex lives of others. Pursue your dreams. Endure your failures. Success on other’s terms is not worth having. Trying to fit in has always left me isolated – like the child who sees the Emperor has no clothes, but chooses to say nothing.
For all it’s universal appeal, ultimately Scotland can be a very parochial and inward looking country. I want my brand to have a broader reach. A global perspective. That’s not the same as wanting it to appeal to everyone. It’s a rallying call for all the people who through love, curiousity or circumstance find themselves living in a cold climate wanting warm, different things. I love Edinburgh and this will always be my children’s home but there are many things for me to challenge here – that sit uncomfortably with me – that I’m no longer willing to overlook. A lot of married Scottish friends see me and think “poor thing you don’t have a husband”. Little do they know I look at them and think “poor thing, you have a husband but I have a life”.