Saturday, 25 February 2012

The living room : Part 4.....Am I my Mum...??

We are all shaped, to a greater or lesser degree, by those that raise us, whether that be parents, guardians, older siblings or grandparents. We've probably all joked at some point or other on this very subject.

Women laugh nervously as they recognise traits in themselves so obviously handed down from mother to daughter. Men laugh even more nervously at this point! Women laugh (weep?) at the thought of that time when their husbands' waist bands begin to make their way uncontrollably northwards towards their chins as age progresses! Men joke about only having to look at the mother in law in order to gain a glimpse of the wife in 30 odd years time! Women often comment on wanting to find a partner with a similar nature and outlook to their father. I'm not entirely sure what men look for. A mother figure? I find this concept a bit disturbing. I once worked with a chap who, amidst a discussion on this very subject, confessed to wanting to find a girlfriend who possessed the qualities he loved so much in the pet dog his family had owned during his childhood! We assumed he was thinking along the lines of trust, loyalty, that sort of thing. No one dared to ask for clarification!!

I have recognised for some time that, somewhat inevitably, I am slowly but surely morphing into my mum. Rather bizarrely, and somewhat worryingly, my husband doesn't seem to mind...unless he's just being polite! Whether it be facial expressions (the women in my family are renowned for not being able to hide what we are thinking - disapproval, disdain, disappointment or just sheer disregard....there's a face for all of them and we can't disguise it! My 8 year old is already a pro!) or our general attitude to life's great debates. I certainly recognise more and more that I hear echoes of my mum in my own self and myself and my daughter carry this theme through.

Stick with me on this one. I know this is an interiors blog, but my ramblings do have a link...albeit tenuous you may decide. Here we go......

Having painted, re framed, painted again and finally washed the brushes, the only task remaining was to find a light fitting for the bare central light bulb. The hangover from a previous blog.

Anyway. Off I went, having scoured my trusty magazines and housey books several times hoping for that flash of inspiration, to a local well known lighting store. This first port of call was, I admit, based on the lure created by glossy ads in posh magazines. As I stood there staring up at the myriad of choice available, I started to consider how much I was willing to spend on this light fitting. First warning signal. It was, rather aptly, a light bulb moment in that I quickly concluded that the answer was, not this much! "Would my mum approve of these prices?" I found myself asking. Well, frankly, no, she wouldn't, not even if she could afford to.

There was a time when I would have only considered something high end , designery, labelled, I am slightly ashamed to confess. Probably during that pre-kids time when I had a decent job, decent salary, nice car, never ending social life...My mum would accompany me on shopping trips, routinely offering me more affordable alternatives which I would acknowledge and then completely disregard! Marks and Spencer? No way, Jose. I'm off to Harvey Nic's!

Having said that, and having portrayed myself as being a materialistic type, in all honesty, I have never been into labels. You can count the number of designer items of clothing I have in my wardrobe on one hand. I love shoes and have many pairs but I don't have any Jimmy's or Christian's. As for handbags.....I'm afraid that this one remains a mystery to me. It is, of course, a personal choice, and one that I respect, but I have never longed for a handbag named after an ageing actress or a current 'celebrity' or one with a massive gold logo screaming out at you. Quite literally, 'not my bag'! My car is 6 years old, and although, yes, it is quite a 'prestigious' brand, I guess, am I going to trade it in for a new model? Nope. Am I going to, as someone recently suggested, buy a personalised plate so that people don't know how old the car is. Nope. It'll still be a 6 year old car. Expensive fancy holidays? No. Camping with the kids in Cornwall will do! Our house could be described as 'modest'. It is not the smallest house I have ever lived in, neither is it the largest. A close friend visited soon after we had moved in and one of her children commented that it was "nice but quite small," adding "...we could not fit in here." I could have taken this to heart. It was, however, merely the kind of factual statement that you expect from children. Very funny as it turned out.....and true! Reading this, I sound like I am a paragon of virtue or possibly some cynical stay at home Mum doing the odd bit of work here and there harking back to days gone by. I like to think I am neither, but just someone who appreciates simple things a little more these days. Say "Hello" again, Mum!

I left the expensive lighting emporium and a few days later made my way, rather reluctantly I have to say, to BHS 'Home' store, on the recommendation of my mum who suggested I give it a try.

BHS is one of those stores that stirs up mixed emotions in me. It's a name that reminds me of my childhood. Quite comforting in a way. We didn't shop there as a rule, but did venture in from time to time, usually on desperate shopping trips searching for school skirts. That was about all. BHS did, however, gain a pretty good reputation for its lighting department though. Sadly, over the years, BHS, like many other stores, went into a gradual decline, sinking beneath an ever increasing amount of crimplene dresses, peach coloured satin bridal wear and nondescript home wares. The once celebrated lighting department also became a shadow of its former self.

BHS does, I have to say, as far as the 'Home' store appears, to have had something of a re-birth. On my recent visit, I spotted one or two 'bits' that I could, had I been in the market for, have purchased. My daughter received a bedding set from BHS for Christmas and lovely it is too. Not dissimilar to Cath Kidston, in that it is a floral/spotty mix design. I expect it was a fraction of the price and is none the worse for it!

The lighting department is pretty good. It offers a wide choice of colours, styles and prices. I was pleasantly surprised. (That sounds like the sort of thing my mum would say!)

And I purchased! I found a ceiling light in the 'Essential Lighting' range - I assume this is akin to the supermarket 'value' range type stuff.

The product name is 'Adelisa' and it cost the bargain price of £38.99! (BHS have a 25% discount promo on at the moment.) I absolutely love it! The glass is quite solid so doesn't look at all cheap. Granted, the metal fixings are not the most delicate, and probably had I spent another couple of hundred I would have got something altogether more 'exquisite' in this respect, but do I care? Not one bit. It is my current favourite purchase.

Mum was with me on this shopping trip, acting, for most part, as minder to my 2 year old, who was busy carrying out his own consumer tests on various lamps in store! When she witnessed that I had actually bought something, she passed me one of those looks that spoke volumes. Had she actually said it rather than 'looked' it, it would have gone something like this;

"Blimey! Despite everything you said, you have actually bought something and we're in BHS! Wonders never cease! Maybe, just maybe, some of the things I have said to you over the years have sunk in..." Well...something like that, at least.

I guess it's further reinforcement that you don't have to spend the earth to furnish your home, with nice things....or your lives for that matter...though that may be straying into a whole different territory and I leave that to far deeper thinkers than I...

It's official. I am my mother!

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