Focus and Simplicity

Focus and simplicity

I started this piece a bit before Christmas, it was a pretty manic time as just before Christmas always is, aided by the additional complications of the final stages of the builder courtship. So the mantra ‘focus and simplicity’ helped keep me going. Steve Jobs was a pretty wise man, I think it can be very true, simple can be harder than complex but when you’ve broken whatever you’ve got to do down to truly what you have to do, not what you think you ought to do, etc. etc., then life gets easier.

I think it’s a quote that can mean different things at different times, for example that quote meant something different to me before Christmas, in the mad Christmas rush and the final builder preparations because then it was about choosing my actions and decisions wisely or at least trying to. Now after Christmas, as the builders near the end of the building work and me and Mr. Lacer start thinking and planning about moving back into the flat, it’s about making some changes so that we make the most of the work we’ve had done and so that we can adapt the flat for us as a family now (as opposed to a flat that’s been dragged kicking and screaming along with us on the bumpy ride through babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, infant school kids) and so that living in the flat (which building work or no building work is still fundamentally too small for us) is as pleasant as it can be for the remaining time we’re living there before we have no choice but to move out. So now the focus and simplicity is about rearranging our furniture so that it works better, learning from mistakes in the past (whether that’s definitely not buying anymore Ikea chest of drawers or making sure there’s more room around my desk) and making sure that we have enough storage space so that certain key work spaces throughout the flat remain clear of clutter.

This whole process of the refurbishment has been a massive learning curve; not just about really odd planning regulations and how to offend a builder (suggest they install something from Wickes) but it’s been very much about our priorities. Our temporary flat is twice as big and although I wrote at the beginning of this month that I didn’t like that the flat was screamingly ’80s, we all soon fell in love with its location (a lot closer to the town centre) and the space and it made me doubt our, ok my, steadfast clingy-ness to our tiny actual flat. However a bit of doubt can be good because it makes you think through again why you made those decisions in the first place and it was good to see that the reasoning behind those decisions still stands fast. We’d never be able to afford the flat we’re currently renting, even now I don’t really want to think how much we’ve spent living here this month, ok, should I say we’d never be able to afford the flat we’re currently renting in this location and that’s the nub of it, it’s not so much our flat I’ve been clinging to, it’s the part of London we live in that I’ve been clinging to, because we could go and move away, live somewhere else and buy a flat this size, heck in some places we could buy a house but it wouldn’t be where we live now (by the way, although I say we fell in love with the location of the rented flat, it’s more or less the same location as our actual flat, there’s only a mile between them). And that, depending on how far away we moved, could possibly mean changing schools and that is the true nub of it, we don’t want to do that to the kids. Even if we moved just far enough away so that the kids could still just about attend the same school, it’d be a bit of a nightmare, even just moving a mile away this month has been a little awkward and I have really missed having that network of families in the streets surrounding where we normally live that act as a back up for childcare emergencies, not that, touch wood, as we’ve still got a week to go, we’ve had childcare emergencies this month but just having that help there is a life saver, which even a mile away is not there, there’d be no dropping off Girl or Boy Lacer at a neighbours whose kids also go to the same school here. My dad can be a bit of one track mind on this subject, “move to a bigger place, move to a bigger place”, with the variation “there are good schools elsewhere, there are good schools elsewhere”, nope, yes there are good schools elsewhere but we’ve hit on such a magic combination with the kids school, how many ‘good schools’ out there can guarantee that they’re ‘just right’ for my two children who both have very different needs, we’ve found one in their current school, a school that is both academic and nurturing towards children with special needs, we’re extremely lucky to be there, not giving it up. Besides, in London house prices immediately shoot up in the catchment areas of good schools, in my area if a property is near the kids school it’s the first thing they list on the property description, so to find another ‘good school’ we’d be just moving from one area with inflated house prices to another.

So, anyway, I’m not sure where the focus and simplicity is in that, I think maybe in that our focus is on the kids’ education, that’s our priority, so if that means living in a small flat, that’s what it means and we’re working with what we’ve got, that’s the simplicity bit.

Anyway, the mountain pattern is from Sublime Stitching, a column of mountains is missing on the right hand side as I ran out of blue thread (floss also by Sublime Stitching) and the hoop was photographed in my new mini photography studio. It’s the first time I’ve used it, I think I need to do some tinkering (and rereading that craft photography book I reviewed last year) but I think I managed to improve on todays dismal light.

New camera gear for photographing my embroidery


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