I've been reading a bit about the idea of home in recent weeks, while also suffering from a bout of "home-shame". I periodically get really self-conscious about the messy, crazy state of our house and what this says about the crazy, messy life we lead. I'm not much of a house-keeper: I'd rather cook or read or write or talk than clean. Someone told me that they find cleaning calming, but I find it infuriating. Once you start, you can't stop (or at least I can't) and suddenly everything is vile and needs to be dealt with immediately. Too boring. Plus whenever I attempt to clean, my kids want to "help" or take advantage of the distracted mum and trash some other part of the house. Seriously, it is hardly worth the bother. Then, there's the fact that most of our furniture has been picked up from the verge or purchased from Gumtree; the rest is, of course, Ikea. It is mismatched, clunky, often falling to pieces, or missing parts (my desk with only three drawers), and generally a little odd. Factor in my obsession with colour (some kind of reaction to my architect parents and their love of muted greys and blues) and anything Mexican, and you have a brightly patterned, clashing clown-house. I read that a home is "a place we can never see with a stranger's eyes for more than a moment" but when we do, what a shock it is! I feel that our house might not be that of a grown-up: it kind of resembles my teenage bedroom spread out to fill an entire house and with the addition of lots of crappy plastic toys. I look at the houses of my friends, and they have beautiful and carefully selected furniture, and gorgeous artwork on the walls, and curtains that have been hemmed, and proper kitchens with dishwashers and all that jazz. But still, I love our home. It is a refuge for me and an extension of my self, and I guess that makes me a little crazy and rather messy. I can live with that.