A Shabby Chic Retreat For Reading
Getting absorbed in a good book is one of my great joys in life, but I haven’t been reading. It’s bugging me that I seem to put it off for some reason. Once I get into a book I absolutely love it but I just don’t seem to be able to make a start. I’ve thought on this for a bit and have realized that I don’t have a place in my new home designated for reading.
Sure, I can read in bed, but I’m so tired at night that I don’t. The family room is where I watch TV. Sam and I jokingly call it the Downtown Abby room because I’ve watched the series so often. It’s too easy to turn on the TV when I’m in there. Something about lights and movement is addictive to me. I really need to put my phone in another room too. Social media is an ever-present pull. Being a visual person, Instagram is a constantly available source of delight.
As I prefer to read laying down, I’ve decided the guest bed in my office is the place to designate as my reading space. Already a fairly pretty space with the things that live on my desk, I only need to make over the bedside table decor in a shabby chic style, to make it a place I’ll enjoy reading.
I can recline on the bed and make a start on my very large TBR pile. If it wasn’t mostly on my kindle but actual print books I think It would be a meter high at the moment. And there are so many more that I want to buy but can’t let myself until I get through some of my stack at least.
Lately I’ve been indulging in a secret love. Shabby Chic. A very romantic style featuring flowers lace and pre-loved furniture that bring character to a room. One of my favorite bloggers and YouTuber decorates and gardens in this style. www.daintydressdiaries.com is a gorgeous website, with links to all her platforms, is full of pictures of her shabby chic home and garden. She has lots of little vignettes and it’s these that have inspired me to create something that inspires getting engrossed in a romance novel.
While I can’t commit to a whole house in pastel shades, it’s perfect for my office/personal retreat. The bedside table I decorated came from a dear friend. It was the first piece of furniture she and her husband bought when they got married. When she asked if I’d like it, I was thrilled. You can’t get more pre-loved or romantic than that.
To begin, I cleared everything off to create a clean slate, leaving only the necessary lamp for reading. I like the texture of the linen look, ivory shade. Below it is a bunch of faux pink peonies that, I’m amazed, only cost five dollars from Kmart. I folded up the stems so that they’d fit in a green mug. I have a pink three dollar Kmart candle burning and a blush pink rose, pulled off the stem and sat directly on the table top. In the middle off the arrangement is a fairy I’ve had for years, She’s lived in a lot of places with me.
I love the way she’s sitting, happy and relaxed, just chilling out. Her clothes are divine. Lacing, leaves and flowers adorn her sparkly ivory dress. The wreath of white flowers in her hair and her gossamer white wings, makes her look bridal. She looks at me with an expression that says whatever you are or whatever to do, it’s okay.
The addition of the shabby chic decor and a pink cushion on the bed make this part of the room more inviting. I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like because I haven’t felt like I had a place to read. Now, this pretty little shabby chic corner within easy reach of the bookcase will remind me to indulge in something I love, reading romance.
Stories I'm Drawn To
Stefanie London, a writer friend, posed a question on her Facebook feed this morning about whether or not people re-read their books and if so which ones do they come back to the most.
I could put my finger on two. I re-read Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe many times, enjoying the escape from the mundane world to fantasy land with talking animals. Each time I rejoined, Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Tom on their adventures I experienced the excitement and camaraderie. I relived their testing times and determination to keep going when all seemed lost.
The second book is Persuasion. This Jane Austen classic not only fired up my romantic nature but also combined a reunion love story with a tale of having to leave home. Anne goes on adventures unimagined when her father has to rent out the family estate and move to Bath. Although she imagines spending the rest of her days in a place she dislikes, that isn’t her destiny. The move sparks a chain of events that provides her with choices of new home and romance that had previously been unimagined.
I noticed the link between these two stories was each had a heroine who had to leave her home. Her safe world had been upended, and she has to use all her skills to navigate through what transpires because of it.
It makes sense to me that these types of stories would resonate with me because of the experience I had at the age of nine. I had to leave my home when I became sick and spend a long time in the hospital. My mum would come and visit me every day. While she was there, I felt safe, but when it was time for her to go, the hospital was a scary place. I had to make new friends with the staff and other patients and endure often painful or uncomfortable tests and treatments to make me better. I was on my own most of the time and had to deal with stuff that didn’t happen in ordinary everyday life.
Like the heroines of the stories I read, I came home again one day but was changed by my experiences. I used to wake my sister at six in the morning with my singing which I learned to do to pass the early hours in the hospital. What was worst was that home felt foreign. It seemed as though I didn’t belong in my own bed anymore. It took quite a while for that feeling to go away. I definitely became more independent from this experience, and I learned some fun crafts from the occupational therapists at the hospital that I was able to do at home. I learned that I can manage away from Mum and Dad and that although the journey can be tough, it helps to make you stronger.
In 2013 I had to spend six weeks in the hospital. I learned some precious things about myself during a time of forced retreat. Not long after romance came into my life and a new home followed. I love my life, even though there have been times it felt like it was kicking my butt. The ordinary days have become treasures to me because I’ve experienced the challenging times of being alone and struggling.
I like to read and write romance or books because they are always the story of people who have to face tough situations and grow from them. Finding love is the metaphor for having discovered the way to survive and thrive with challenging changes and embrace a happy life.
You can read the first chapter of my books on Amazon, or if you have a subscription to KU, you can read the whole book.
Do you have a book that calls you back again and again?
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, including rescuing a couple of old rose bushes and planting new ones.