Interiors: My Blogging Nook

March 04, 2016
Navigating the culture of 'Do It Your Damn Self, You’re A Grown*ss Woman'.

Before I share with you photos of my blogging nook in my London home, I’d like to tell you the story of how it took 10 years and a continent apart for me to learn how to fend for myself.

“I’m moving out! Free at last! Oh, wait…”

Spring 2006. The acceptance letters had come in - from Parsons (School of Design) in New York City to Central Saint Martins in London. For a 19 year old Malaysian born and bred in Kuala Lumpur who’d never lived away from home, these acceptance letters were more than an invitation to study in some of the world’s most prestigious art colleges - they were a ticket out of a country where dreams of being an artist were met with a dismissive: “Oh, so you’re going to be a caricaturist pandering to tourists in Pasar Seni…good luck with that.” Those acceptance letters were a magic carpet to an exciting new life in an exotic new place (how many Malaysians dream of studying in the UK and the US?) - most of all, they were a stairway to independence. But despite the good Tunku Abdul Rahman’s efforts, even as a free Malaysian I was about as ‘Merdeka!’ (independent) as the Screamapillar. I may not be sexually attracted to fire, but without constant reassurance I could quite possibly die. Believe me when I say that I had no life skills - I couldn’t cook nor clean. I had never taken public transport and until I got my first car at age 18 I would travel everywhere chaperoned by my driver. I’d never paid a bill, renewed my passport or applied for visas on my own - I had a secretary who’d take care of that.

Then in September 2006, I packed my considerable bags and moved to London in pursuit of of education. I enrolled at Central Saint Martins but once the initial thrill (and jet lag) faded I was faced with the realisation that I was in a foreign country in a different continent - with no family, no friends, and most dauntingly, no staff. My parents joked that I would die of thirst because I’d ring and ring and ring but no-one would bring me a glass of water, which in hindsight is hilarious but at the time, the fear was real

“Am I going to die under a mountain of Snickers wrappers?”

I chose to live in student accommodation - Queen Alexandra’s House in South Kensington next to the Royal Albert Hall - to ease myself into independent living. When I was not busy finding wilder and more pretentious ways to impress my tutors, every other moment seemed to be filled with navigating the oddities I called my dorm mates - neurotic ballerinas who’d scream and fling their yogurt across the room at your head for obstructing the TV, poshos and aristocrats affecting ‘ghetto-isms’, and crazy foreigners who did their weekly grocery shop at Harrods (oh wait, that last one was me). Naturally, I learnt no such life skills from that balanced bunch. As you can imagine, I lived in squalor for years. Although I did invent a great system for laundry: dirty clothes on the floor, clean clothes on the bed. 

 I only really learned to be house proud at age 25, when I finally bought my first London flat. I then very quickly learned how to clean, cook, decorate, and run a household. Suddenly, Method and Ecover were my best friends! Today, I’m unafraid to unplug a shower drain and scrub the loos (fine, my boyfriend does those) nor is my laundry routine hang, Febreeze, wear. In fact, laundry time is now my moment of meditation - I love zoning out to the repetition of hanging clothes, arranged by colour. What else have I learnt in the way of housekeeping? 1) Fresh flowers from the market always makes the house seem cleaner than it is. Fact. 2) I can cook! I regularly bake cakes for myself and cooking healthy, creative dinners for Henry and I is my regular evening activity. I know how to pay my bills! Apply for a mortgage! Rewire a light! (Not yet, ouch) 

It’s been a ten year journey from hopeless to handy. For me to become an emancipated, independent woman who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and get on with it. Coincidentally, 2016 is the year I become a naturalised British citizen (!!) Although I will just probably choose Permanent Residence because I don’t want to give up my Malaysian citizenship. It’s nice to have more than one country to call home, and besides I’ve gotten rather fond of London.

Carving out a 'blogging nook' in a corner of my living room in my London flat

As a shopkeeper and lifestyle blogger I tend to divide my working hours between two places: my East London boutique Regimental Vintage and my Shoreditch home. I recently carved a little niche in the sunny living room of my flat and made it into my 'blogging nook'! It's right in the middle of what I call 'my magic triangle' - between the living room (for occasional naps), kitchen (for frequent snack breaks), and the dining room - so as far as I'm concerned the 'blogging nook' is my power spot.

Carving out a 'blogging nook' in a corner of my living room in my London flat

Carving out a 'blogging nook' in a corner of my living room in my London flat

Carving out a 'blogging nook' in a corner of my living room in my London flat

Carving out a 'blogging nook' in a corner of my living room in my London flat

The decor of my flat is modern and minimal which isn't quite where I see my style in the future - I tend to lean toward New Traditional. So to make the space feel more personal (until I get the forever home of my dreams - a Victorian/Edwardian townhouse!) I accessorise with objects I can take with me when I move: sheepskin and cowhide rugs, butterflies, marble slabs and plants to bring some green indoors. Those 5 things alone more or less sum up the extend of my enthusiasm for nature...oh, wait, add wood floors to that formula...

Do you have a power spot in your home?
Have you carved out a blogging nook, or is it wherever the wifi signal is the strongest/whichever surface is the comfiest?
Do you even blog or have a 'real job'? Because sometimes I forget that that's not the only 'profession' in the world...

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