May reflections: things I’ve learnt from moving house

Last week we moved house. In the chaos and stress that moving entails, I wrote a note to myself. It reads:

Do not arrange to move your house in the same week as your period, particularly since, as you haven’t been paying much attention to your diet, as you’ve been drinking far more alcohol than normal, and as your levels of stress are at a peak, it will be the worst period in memory. You will be asleep, in pain, exhausted, and unable to do anything for three whole days. Forget painting the bedroom before the move. Forget finishing the skirting. Forget packing in advance. Be thankful for bank holidays.

Do not arrange your house move in the same week as you have a stressful, high-level meeting at work that will require all your attention.

Do not arrange a visa appointment in London the same week you move, especially when it is the same week they are doing engineering work on the line and there are excessive delays. This is just unnecessary stress.

Do not move house the week of a writing deadline because your notes will be in a box and you will not be able to find them.

So that was the end of May. It was difficult and stressful and exhausting. But now we are on the other side. We’ve unpacked some boxes. Built some shelves. Baked banana bread with the kids that live on our street. Slept in our new bed. Things are not slowing down, despite the strawberries starting to ripen, a sure sign of heady summer days ahead. June is busy with travel. The garden will need attending to. But I’ve booked a weekend in Rome before a conference and am going to a cooking class while I’m there. A gift to my past self who got through last week.

Things I’ve loved this month

Loved this essay on gingerbread.

Ideas for overcoming perfectionism. Being good, not great.

It is okay not to turn your passion and hobby into a side-hustle.

Policing women’s bodies in sport.

Cliches that turn out to be life.

Stigma around mental illness.

Things that happen when you declutter.

I love Samin Nosrat and her 10 essential Persian dishes make me want to head to the kitchen immediately. I particularly loved the lines, “It’s […] an invitation to my childhood home, and to the Iran my mother built for her children out of rice, bread, cheese and herbs”.

Written in 2012, this essay on busyness still speaks to me.

An essay on Nigel Slater. And an extract from his new book.

Gardening as part of mental health therapy and the healing power of gardening. As someone who currently has maize seeds rattling around in her handbag, I understand this addiction entirely.

My friend Jen sent me an audible gift of Possession. I cannot express adequately how soothing and lovely this particular book is on audio. Everything about it is just wonderful.

I also listened to the new Ian Rankin: In a House of Lies. I haven’t read a Rebus novel in absolute ages and it was a great reminder of just how good they are.

Giving away your cookbook collection, personal papers and more.

I am still dreaming of this strawberry pavlova from Small Food Bakery last month. If you haven’t been yet, get yourself down there for Thursday dinner! It is always excellent.

Have an excellent month! x