I live very comfortably under a rock in the middle of the countryside. I’m extremely protected from so many things. I don’t have Facebook anymore and I avoid the news – I find that all the sophisticated targetting and suggesting of stories left me particularly vulerable when I became a mummy, and as I’m a rather emotional softie a lot of the time, I’m better off without. We rarely watch any live TV so we rarely see adverts. I have very limited local shopping and therefore I’m sheltered from the bombardment of adverts in shops, apart from my general Waitrose and Aldi missions (but if I avoid the aisles, I don’t come home with all sorts of…stuff). What I have realised is that, while I have removed so many of those things in my life, I have also opened myself up to a whole world of it through Instagram. I love the inspiration that comes with the using the app, and I have found some beautiful, independent companies that I love to buy presents from. I have no problem with people using it to advertise or indeed make a living. I am simply mindful of the effect it can have on me. Generally those feelings come in the form of what I have or who I am isn’t enough; I’d be happier if I had that dress, went on that holiday, my children had that toy, I had that item of homeware.
I’ve been reading a book; A Life Less Throwaway by Tara Button. It is an insight into the advertising industry written by someone who used to be in the industry. It suggests that we buy items designed to last and avoid fad styles, looking for our true style. It is an interesting read and has made me look at some things differently. It has made me think twice when I tell myself I ‘need’ something. It has made me look at what I have and realise that, while it might not be the lastest colour or brand, it is useable in the same way.
So, while a few companies fill my feed with what I need for perfect summer entertaining and what I must have to have the perfect, dreamy summer picnic, here is a fancy afternoon tea we had last weekend. Nothing new, nothing purchased. Homemade loveliness and a reminder to dig out what you have and enjoy it. The flowers were picked from my garden and arranged in recycled glass yogurt pots by Ruth. The placemats were bought last year from Argos because they were similar, but much cheaper than the H&M ones I’d seen on Instagram. They are a bit of a pain to clean, so they’ve been relegated. My blue and white napkins were a sale purchase from Cargo years and years ago and have largely been ornamental if not tucked away in a cupboard so they don’t get used and therefore dirty. Ruth added the flowers to them. The table runner was a cheapy from Sainsburys, bought a couple of years ago to cover up some of our pine kitchen table when I thought it was so un-Insta, but tucked away because it’s a bit faffy to have on the table with two little girls. The blue and white crockery was free from a for-sale site and I only got it because it is the same as my Mother-in-law’s; I thought my girls would love to have something like Grandma’s if they grown up to be as sentimental as me. I had started to believe that blue and white was ‘so over’, and pretty much un-useable so everything here was hidden away. I’m embarrassed that I thought that because of what I’d seen, because this has always been me. Old school, traditional, homemade, homegrown, handpicked. And that is more than enough.