Little Home Comforts


It was six months ago today that my husband and I received the keys to our house (though we delayed spending our first night here until the 30th of December when we were ready to move our cat Mara across) and with our downstairs renovations finally nearing completion, we are all feeling very settled in our new home.

As much as I have fond memories of the little flat we rented, which was the first home my then boyfriend (now husband) and I shared together, after three and a half years we had outgrown it and were ready to move on. Over the last six months in our little house, it has often been the simplest things – easily overlooked and taken for granted – which I’ve noticed and appreciated the most.

The novelty of being able to park the car outside our house every day instead of circling round our old street searching for a space to squeeze into has not yet worn off. It has been a relief to watch Mara adjust her old routines to the new location without any fuss or distress, and she seems to enjoy having more space to play and explore. The washing line in the garden and the pulley we fitted above the stairs seem like luxuries after so many years of trying to dry clothes on radiators and clothes airers in rented flats. I enjoy drawing the curtains open every morning to check the weather outside and watch the seasons unfolding in our garden. I love the sunlight streaming through the South-West facing windows, bathing our home in warmth and light from dawn until dusk. Our little garden is a constant source of delight, from al fresco breakfasts in our pyjamas at the weekends to weeding and watering our raised beds, making salads with the lettuce, spinach and radishes we’ve grown, and sipping refreshing gin and tonics with friends on warm summer evenings.


After renting for so many years, we also appreciate being able to make changes to our home without having to ask the landlord for permission, and every change we’ve made – from hanging a key rack by the front door to installing a wood burning stove in the living room – has made our house feel more and more like our own.

The first half of 2017 has been turbulent, but whenever world events or personal struggles and upheavals seem overwhelming, I’ve been grateful to close the front door at the end of the day, to enjoy the simple comforts of our home and immerse myself in the easy intimacy of my little family and all our daily routines together.

Happy summer solstice and have a lovely week.

Review of ‘The Silmarillion’ by J.R.R. Tolkien


As a child both of my parents took turns to read stories to me, yet my dad was never much of a reader himself. The exceptions, however, were J.R.R. Tolkien’s tales of elves, dwarves and hobbits in Middle-Earth, which captured his imagination as a teenager and have continued to fascinate him over the years. My dad and I have spent countless hours discussing the books and film adaptations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but I have always struggled to get into The Silmarillion, which happens to be his favourite book.

I recently learned that my dad, who has suffered from backache all of his adult life, requires surgery as the underlying condition has been steadily deteriorating and has now reached a level of severity where the risks of doing nothing outweigh the risks of operating. After spending some time with him recently, I became determined to attempt The Silmarillion once more.

Published posthumously, The Silmarillion is a compendium of stories starting with the creation of Middle-Earth and ending when the elves depart after the events of The Lord of the Rings.


What immediately struck me about The Silmarillion was the thought and detail Tolkien put into it, from the geography and genealogy to the languages and mythology, at times the book feels more like a painstakingly researched historical treatise than a work of fantasy fiction. Having said that, the writing is dry in places and I sometimes found it hard to follow without frequently referring to the family trees and maps at the back of the book.

It is an incredibly ambitious collection, yet the quality varies from chapter to chapter: Of Beleriand and Its Realms, for exampleis a tedious geography lesson that could have been cut during edits, but I thought the highlights were the chapters concerning Melkor and Ungoliant’s theft of the coveted elven jewels (the Silmarills), Of Maeglin (a story of betrayal and comeuppance), and the thrilling but bittersweet love story, Of Beren and Luthien. I also enjoyed learning a little more about familiar characters from The Lord of the Rings such as Galadriel, Elrond and Sauron.

I have always delighted in the power of stories to connect people, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien in particular are beloved by people all over the world, but there is no one that I’m more excited to discuss The Silmarillion with than my dad. Have a lovely week.