Friday, May 2, 2014

Guest Blogging Series: Home by Lily of Joli House

Of North's second guest feature is written by the lovely Lily of Joli House. Lily began commenting on Urban Tease some time ago and I checked out her blog as a result - and fell in love. She's an immensely thoughtful writer, unfairly beautiful, and a talented knitter. Read on to hear about what home is for her.

Of North is one of my favourite lifestyle reads. I read Urban Tease, and now I love the idea behind Of North! The nosey person in me loves finding out about peoples' lifestyles all over the world: how similar but yet totally different places like Chloe's native Minnesota are to here in Lancashire. When Chloe sent me a lovely email asking if I'd like to be a part of this guest blogging series I very happily obliged, and set to work thinking of what exactly it is that evokes feelings of 'home' to me. I live in the North West of England, so here are a few things that feel particularly 'Of North' to me. :)

Starting with home in the most literal sense of the word - my bedroom. Although I've moved houses several times and kept decor fairly basic throughout, it's the little handmade bits and pieces that I've always had around that make my space my own. 6 weeks after I was born my mum made this tapestry cushion for me and it's remained on my bed ever since! Naturally, the colours have faded and it's maybe lost a little plumpness, but this one's gonna be sticking around for years to come. My Nannie also made many a handknit toy for me when I was younger - complete with the fiddliest little details imaginable - and I've kept a few out as decorations. Everyone has a husband and wife mouse couple on their windowsill, right?

Nothing like comfort food for feeling homely! This was today’s lunch of homemade Cottage Pie made by my dad – one of my favourites, amongst roast dinners...and lasagne...and chicken pie...and many more. I like to spend a bit of time in the kitchen myself, and I find that baking on a damp Saturday afternoon feels nice and ‘homey’. Lemon Drizzle Cake is probably my signature bake, and it would feel almost wrong to eat it anywhere but home!  

Moving slightly further away from my house to my 'home away from home'... currently sitting 10 feet away from our front door. :) By having a caravan my family and I have been able to pack ourselves off for a week to various places around England and Scotland, all the while with creature comforts close at hand. As a kid each new place was a new adventure with a whole load of new friends to meet. I loved it! The above photo was actually taken through our caravan window in summer 2012, so you can see we've taken our mini house on wheels to some pretty stunning locations. (Muasdale beach in Argyle, Scotland in this photo). More recently our caravan has remained on the drive, but been a perfect place for girly sleepovers and gatherings.

Lytham St. Annes and Blackpool hold many a happy memory of spontaneous childhood hours.  Since being tiny, we've always made the most of the odd sunny afternoon to spare, and both seaside towns are great for wandering up and down the prom with an ice-cream. How very British! Despite its kinda tacky reputation, Blackpool is pretty stunning in evening summer light, and more recently I’ve done photo-shoots there with my mum. The fact that Lytham St. Annes is such a old-fashioned British coastal town is part of its appeal to me; I guess I feel a sense that 'England is definitely my home' whenever I'm there! Complete with blasting winds and all, of course. ;)

I wouldn't say that my home city is particularly pretty, and isn't exactly the cosmopolitan hotspot of the North. It is convenient, however, as where I live is essentially a crossroads between the coast, a National Park, and a huge city, with Blackpool, the Lake District, and Manchester city centre all within an hour's drive. Reading American blogs it always strikes me how differently distance is perceived in the States: it seems like you guys think nothing of spending 9 hours in the car! That'd take you from one end of the country to the other over here. I guess I'm lucky to live in a country that you're never more than 70 miles or so from the coast, and I definitely plan to make the most of it with plenty of trips to the beach this summer. :)

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