Yesterday my daughter had a violent allergic reaction to her room.  Rashes and welts all over her body left us both distraught so she spent a day at home smothered in itching relief creams and a loose flowing sun dress.

The rash cleared up by tea time but when she went to bed that night again her skin flared up.  This time I took radical action.  Throwing her beloved sheepy in the trash and stripping her bed completely.  We decamped to another room with fresh cotton sheets and not a feather duvet or pillow in sight and I held her hands in case she scratched. This morning her skin is milky smooth and welt free and I am one extremely relieved mum.

I lived in a toxic relationship for years.  I ran everyday at 5.45 just to survive it.  Then one day my then partner decided he needed a bigger home to house his multiplying possessions.  Cars, bikes gortex golf stuff.  A separate wing of manliness.  Instead of addressing what was toxic in our relationship I acquiesced and started looking.

Nothing we saw that we could comfortably afford was big enough so we started going off plan.  It was a depressing time and eventually I stopped going to viewings and said “find something you like and I’ll check we can actually live in it.”  That’s how we ended up at Woodlands.  A house so breathtakingly beautiful despite nothing about it being to my liking. You can’t fault it’s design pretensions.  There was simply so much space we didn’t bother with the detail of how we’d use each room.

We lived miserably here for 2 years before finally I decided I couldn’t handle things as they were.  Paintings of nudes reminiscent of his ex wife adorned our bedroom walls, a large Robert Saunders painting of a tuxedoed man behind glass doors identical to our balcony windows hung ominously in the living room with 2 women 1 brunette the other blonde sitting provocatively on the same stool.  Everything about the house screamed male fantasy from the Jaguar XK in the drive to the painting on the walls and nothing I did could soften the James Bond pad bizarrely I spent every minute cleaning.

I’ll save the tale of why I now live here alone for another time, save to say it’s best to make the most of the home you have before you start fantasising about space you think you need but can’t afford.

Living beyond your means is stressful.  Selling in a recession is soul destroying.  The only light in the tunnel is how I successfully transformed a soulless space to create a vibrant family home.

Make the most of what you have before you experiment with luxury you discover too late adds nothing to your life but needless worry, repairs and endless expense with no return.  There’s a reason old ladies live in their shoes.  They’ve learnt what many people refuse to accept.  That happiness is what you make it, not what you panic buy to prove your credentials.