For a lot of modern young women the prospect of finding a new hairdresser can be a test of our resilience when it comes to change. For this blonde, however, moving continents wasn’t a worry. Adjusting careers was a welcomed challenge. Finding new friends has been a pleasure. There’s just one big move, which had me more than a little out of my comfort zone (picture the blue and yellow emoji with sweat running down it’s face.).
Despite us women’s supposed biologically natural disposition to want to nest, up and switching postcodes in my first few months of a new life in the UK has been by far the ‘scariest’ move of all. And, personally, my biggest test.
Some out there, this writer included, might think we all have a little domestic goddess hiding within, dying to get out and show her interior decorating knowledge and DIY knowhow to the world. But having lived a moderately fast life in the city of Sydney, my ‘home’ (which my eldest sister turned from a walk-in-wardrobe to a lovely apartment) was essentially an overgrown dressing room in which to sleep and make tuna rice salad out of a tin on the odd occasion I would ‘dine’ there. The notion of ‘domestic bliss’ seemed further away from me than Alaska and the only time I ‘entertained’ was if a long lost cousin was in town and needed to stay in the spare room.
Since moving to Bath, I’ve discovered people’s homes are very much a part of the fabric of existence here. They are a representation of who you are, a place to invite friends for tea, a place to be proud of. And for the first time in my life, someone asked me if I enjoyed ‘hosting’. In my former hometown, this is what a wannabe-supermodel would do at a nightclub on the weekend for some extra cash but I’ve since learnt ‘hosting’ (i.e. what my mum and dad do) is having multiple couples over for a 3 course dinner, wine and sometimes, if you’re the amazingly fun Lauren Humphrey, board games. And these evenings are quickly becoming my favourite weekend adventures.
With the prospect of ‘hosting’ looming over me, our fresh new apartment space was in need of some major TLC. Luckily, I’ve embarked on this new experience of; buying, decorating and ‘feng-suei’ing a new space in a city where interior decorating is a way of life, for men and women alike. It’s a weekend hobby and even a sport. A competition with the space you are trying to maximise and turn into something beautiful. Interior stores are more abundant here than coffee haunts and each has their own reflection of the English lifestyle.
Armed with solid advice from my mother, a Heavyweight World Champion Decorator: “You need to live in the space first darling and doing it bit by bit,” I’ve spent the past week ‘discovering my style.’ Which, if you are wondering, is; Comfortable Minimalism with a touch of French Country, a dash of Scandi, an injection of 70’s house plants and some copper accents for good measure.
This combination came from exploring Walcott Street and her pricier little sister, Milsom Street. We wondered through the eclectic vintage-feel excitement of Savannnah’s, ogled at the minimalist cool of Hay, spent hours on the luxurious floors of Brissi, created our perfect sofa-set at Sofa.com and settled in for a good scavenger hunt throughout the tunnels of Rossitors.
Bearing in mind I couldn’t spend the food money on chandeliers, I decided to take a day to venure out of the city (gasp) to the outskirts of Bristol where-in-lies IKEA. (Notice the change from ‘we’ to ‘I’, IKEA apparently is no place for a hungry man.) I’ve decided you graduate to the official title of home-maker when you go to IKEA. The moment you take that fateful step out of your car, post World War III over the parking spot, and enter those sliding doors, following the yellow arrows like Dorothy searching for the Wizard of Oz, it’s a jungle. Suddenly, your survival senses go into overdrive. There are screaming toddlers, screaming mothers trying to find their toddlers, grown men fighting over the last charcoal bath mat, clanging noises from trolley crashes…it’s mayhem and you realise Dorothy had it easy. Luckily my friend-for-life (because you are after you survive IKEA on Good Friday together) Sarah Louw held my hand, and her baby, as I pushed my way through the aisles of doom and walked out with two trolleys full and a smug look on my face.
With dramatic embellishments aside, I am learning so much about who I am as a resident. I have learnt to economise space like only the Bathonians can. I’ve learnt to make one room five all at once (for example; the living room contains a bar which blends with the dining room which then feeds into the kitchen etc) and I’ve learnt that you don’t need to be domestic to be a goddess. Next step: ‘hosting’. Now if only I could cook…