My home, my haven

My home, my haven

Guest editor Carol Vorderman shares her favourtie tips for a happy home at any age (whoever lives there)

Guest editor Carol Vorderman shares her favourite tips for a happy home at any age (whoever lives there)

Home is where the heart is? Do we agree?

I agree to a certain extent. I know that when I am travelling for work, or for fun, or when I am out and about in Mildred (my lovely but complicated aeroplane) it feels great. But it’s lovely to get home… eventually.

Much as I often push the boundaries, I don’t think anything compares to our sanctuary, the home we create (wherever you settle and whoever you settle with).

For those of us who, being wanderers (I am one unquestionably), are in later life seizing the opportunity to get out there and explore new cities or countries or even continents, home can often seem quite far away. If you’ve ditched the mortgage and set up somewhere completely different, more power to you. We live in a time of immense opportunity that our parents could never have even imagined.

But wherever feels great for a new chapter of your life, most of us look to our homes as a place to gather the family, a place to switch off, relax and ultimately make our own little piece of this world.

Throughout my 50-plus years (so far) I have been lucky to have happy homes wherever I have decided to lay my hat (cue Paul Young chorus). Whether growing up in Wales, or as a single mum when the children were young, I have always looked to the same things – regardless of situation, age, or marital status – to make sure that I was part of a happy home.

When I was older it became all about doing everything I could to create a great space for my kids and my Mum (and my husband when we were together) – and just as importantly to make it happy for ME. I know that I can do the most for others when I am happy too, that’s for sure.

So, what makes us happy? And who the heck am I to say what that is? Well here’s the thing. There is no right or wrong way to make a happy home. It depends on who is living there, the space, the stage of your life. Vive la différence!

But the thing about getting older is that the years of experience of your own homes – and those of your buddies – can help you get the best out of any home. For example…

  • If you are single and the kids have flown the nest, it might be good to get some kind of routine to get friends or the family over to fill the space. Living alone is incredible BUT it can be a bit intimidating for some. If you know that once a week you have the girls over for drinks, it can ease the pressure on being the ‘independent’ person – especially if it’s a new experience.

  • If your house is full to the rafters of stuff and people, make sure you have a room, a corner, a shelf that is all yours. Don’t let the masses make you feel pushed out of your own place.

  • Big one, this one: don’t stay somewhere because of sentimentality – just because it’s where the children grew up, doesn’t mean you should hang around. And ultimately the kids aren’t going to live there anyway.

  • Never apologise for liking something the way you do. We are who we are because of our unique take on things.

  • Make peace not war – I firmly operate a NO STRESS policy nowadays. If someone causes any stress they’re out (it works). If you haven’t managed that, then even if you love them to the moon and back, there will occasionally be some not-so-nice times. Peace beats war every time (unless they are being horrid, ha!).

  • Don’t be afraid of making rules – and sticking to them. Whether these are self-set or implemented to try and manage the mayhem of others, having a basic level of understanding on what’s acceptable, not acceptable and really pushing it can help keep things generally happier.

  • Enjoy. This is the most important. Look to the positives and be ok with the negatives – they aren’t normally as bad as you think they are.

  • HOORAY FOR LIFE… It always beats the other option!

I’ll let you into a little secret too. Register with Victoria and you can save on loads on household essentials – then spend the money you save on a treat for yourself!

Love to you all,

Carol

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Carol Vorderman

Presenter, author, superwoman