Hi all **waving madly**. Well, I said I’d do my first blog post when I got to 3000 likes on my Facebook page and as of this afternoon it stands at 3012, so here I am keeping my word. I thought I’d do my first post on who I am, where I’m from and why I’m here (here on the big www, not here on Earth – you’d have to talk to my parents about that one!).
So……… I was born in Yorkshire, England in 1970 and whilst Yorkshire will forever feel like home, I actually grew up in the south of England, about 30 miles north of London. This thankfully, is the only time you will ever see me naked.
I was indeed very Shirley Temple-esque when I was little – all curls and chubby cheeks – actually not much has changed!
I did all the usual things growing up – worked in an office, worked in a pub, dated boys, got drunk and also developed one of the few passions that has stayed with me throughout my life – Interior Design. I studied with the Royal Academy of Fine Art in London and received a distinction in my final exams – more on this later…..
At the ripe old age of 29, having gone through a breakup of a very long term relationship, I decided to visit Australia for my 30th birthday and I immediately fell in love with the countryside, the people, the weather and the general way of life. I spent the following two years trying to organise a working visa and again visited Australia in April 2002, this time to visit a friend in Sydney whose business was going to sponsor me for 4 years.
Whilst here, I went to stay with a friend in Tamworth and she organised for me to go paragliding. Long story short, the paragliding instructor and I hit it off immediately and I invited him to visit me in the UK upon my return home. Two months later he did just that and then we met up again in Portugal for a week in the July. I moved to Australia to begin my four year sponsorship on 2nd September 2002 and fell pregnant with our daughter a month later. It was obviously meant to be, as Kevin and I have just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary and now have two children, Emily who turned 11 today (happy birthday my gorgeous girl) and Ben, who is 8.
In the above photo I am about 8 weeks pregnant and it was all still very new and very, very scary. In the picture below, I am nearly 8 months pregnant and getting married to the love of my life. My Dad reminded me at the wedding that I had once said (in my younger and much shallower days) “I will never marry anyone called Kevin, I will never marry anyone who is shorter than I am and I will never marry anyone who earns less money than me”. Well, the Universe is a funny thing and guess what?? My husband Kevin is about an inch shorter than I am and when we met he was living in a two room cabin, at the bottom of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, NSW and earning about $50 per week teaching paragliding. I guess you do get what you focus on!!
Six months after Emily was born, we headed over to the UK to have a second “wedding” with my family and friends. This one was a lot more traditional than my Aussie wedding as you can see – I got to wear the big white dress after all (and I look sooooo skinny – alas no more!!).
A year after Emily was born I was diagnosed with post-natal depression. Truth be told I think I developed depression very early on in my pregnancy. After all, I had moved to the other side of the world to begin a new and exciting single life and yes it was new and exciting, but not in the way I had expected. Here I was, thousands of miles away from everything I knew – married to someone I really didn’t know and having a baby. Over the following years I managed and didn’t manage the depression and so it came and went along with the birth of Ben and a few house moves. I knew that I wanted to help people like me, who had gone through huge life changes and needed to gain clarity and focus and so began working as a Life Coach. I found this very rewarding and even managed to win an award, which was presented to me by the founder of Beyond Blue, Jeff Kennett AC. The award was for Best Newcomer Coach of the Year 2010 from the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Coaching (ANZI) and I was humbled and honoured to receive it. Unfortunately I found coaching to be incredibly stressful which led to me heading down that road back into depression and darkness. I then decided to take a break from working for a while.
Early on in 2013 we decided to place our house on the market and our Real Estate Agent received numerous comments from potential buyers about how beautifully the house was decorated and presented and how I should be doing it for a job. When I had studied 20 years before, I really didn’t have the confidence in my own ability to do anything with it. All the interiors magazines seemed to be quite stuffy, with images of minimalism or grandeur – not my style at all. I didn’t think that anyone would be interested in what I had to offer. Now, with designers like Mr Jason Grant, Christiane Lemieux and Sibella Court gracing the book stores with incredibly stylish books that promote eclectic and individual style, I feel far more confident in my knowledge and ability. So, The Restful Nest was launched and I decided to concentrate on three areas – Interior Decoration, Pre-Sale Home Styling and Professional Organising. As a natural hoarder and collector, it was natural for me to include “de-cluttering” in my scope of works.
Some home truths about me:
It is important to me to be authentic and honest and real about who I am and where I’ve come from.
I may know a lot of stuff, but I don’t always get it right!!
My home is not a perfectly styled, impeccably tidy and spotlessly clean environment – unless we’re having a party. We have two kids, a dog, a cat, a cluster of chickens, 2 turkeys, a peahen and on top of that my love of “stuff”. Include into the mix a husband who works “fly in, fly out” in the Pilberra and me trying to start and grow my own business. I know how to help people deal with their mess and their clutter because I have been there, done that, still do that and would have the t-shirt to prove it, if only I knew where it was. I am not a naturally tidy and organised person and have to work at it constantly – sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t!!
I’m never going to pretend to be what I used to think a “designer” or “stylist” should look like – I am not slim, I have a fair few grey hairs trying to take over, my body doesn’t work in the way I want it to, when I’m at home I’m in my pyjamas because they’re comfortable and I never (repeat NEVER) wear make-up. I’m just me, warts and all…… ok, no warts but I’m sure you get the picture….. and speaking of pictures, the one below was a selfie I took in Arizona last year.
I do absolutely, completely and irrevocably love decorating, styling, collecting, painting furniture, organising and helping people – but more than any of that I love connecting with people on a real and human level. I adore my Facebook page because I have had the pleasure of getting to know some truly incredible people from around the world.
So, I’m sure I have missed out some juicy stuff along the way, but I don’t want to completely bore you to tears on my first ever post. If there is something about me you would love to know, then I’d love to know.
Much love to you all