I haven’t really thought about what to write in this post or even how coherent it will be…I hope it ends up making some kind of sense. These are exciting days, happy times with a bittersweet tinge because after nearly 8 years, the time has come to close the doors on my online business DaisychainBaby and whilst I know I should be sad, in many ways it feels like such a relief and that life can really begin again.
We started the business just after we got married because of course being a woman, I needed another project – I’m so envious of men’s ability to just “be”. Generalising I know but if you’ve ever seen or read Chocolat then you’ll know what I mean, just when it feels like everything is settling down it’s time to change direction and try something new. Pete jokes that he wouldn’t be surprised if he came home one day to find me gone, following my calling to spend a year or two travelling the world. We were living in our lovely rented flat in Hammersmith and really, aside from my full-time job it felt great to have a hobby, to say I was a business owner and had something all my own however small and humble.
And what an adventure its been, from travelling up and down the country to trade at markets to meeting new people and making wonderful and lifelong friends. I’ve learned so much along the way, about myself and what I’m capable of, about us as a couple after spending one too many wintry mornings freezing to death outside making no sales. There have been a few times when Pete and I have barely been on speaking terms but he has unfailingly and unstintingly been my right-hand man for the entire journey, supporting me wholeheartedly and being my one-person pom-pom waver in the background. I couldn’t have done what I did without him, no question.
In my vision, DaisychainBaby would have replaced my full-time job at some point, earning not just a good income to live off but also to continue growing and expanding the business. For a little while that looked like a very realistic possibility and after all, who doesn’t want to work for themselves and be their own boss? We talked about when it might happen and the plan was that once we got a mortgage that would give us the flexibility for me to at least go part-time. Because part of the problem is that neither of us (ok, ok, mainly me!) were willing to compromise on London life and boy it’s just so expensive here. I don’t even look in estate agents windows anymore when we go to other places in the UK, I’ve done enough crying. The trade-off though is so worth it I can’t even begin to describe it. After my first 18 years in the countryside and little market towns there is no doubt that big cities are the place for me and I love this city like no other.
So we saved, worked hard and moved into our forever home on Valentine’s Day in 2014 and I started the blog to keep track of what has ended up being one hell of a renovation project. Although we had traded up from our one-bed flat to a rented two-bed little terrace, nothing prepared us for the endless possibilities and work we were now faced with. If you follow the blog you’ll know we’re tackling it one baby step at a time but all of a sudden we found ourselves with a 4 bed 1930’s house with mouldy walls, electrics that tripped every time we put the washing machine on and so much potential. We went from not even being able to put things up on the walls as tenants to needing to replace windows, bathrooms, building extensions, landscaping gardens and suddenly those weekends we were so used to using for market trading we wanted to use to turn our house into a home.
We more or less stopped the markets at the end of 2014 and that in itself felt like we were getting life back, swapping setting up stalls to get up just as early but take Maddie off for a walk or tackling a painting project and it turns out that pretty much nothing makes me happier than this house. Despite all it’s misgivings, I feel at complete and utter peace when I’m here. It felt daunting at first but now we embrace the challenges and are slowly but surely bringing it back to it’s full potential. Our neighbours are wonderful, we’re never going to outgrow it and it’s a great combination of being close enough to Central London to hop in and out on a 20 minute direct train journey to Charing Cross but away from it all enough to drive just 10 minutes into the countryside. When Maddie was a puppy I spent a lot of time sitting in the garden in the early hours listening to owls and then birds as it got lighter or looking up at the stars at night. It’s the smallest and simplest things that can make us so happy.
As we started doing things to the house I started writing the blog more regularly and even that felt like I was coming full circle – I moved to London after University to study journalism (although as I and some of my friends who met on the course met up a few weekends ago reminisced it was the shittest course ever!) but had to put the dreams of writing to one side so that I could find a job to pay the bills as I was 22 and living by myself in Central London. That was 13 years ago and I’m still with the same company… The more I wrote the more I enjoyed it and the more companies and brands have begun to contact me to work with them and the last 6 months have felt so exciting and dynamic that it’s become very clear where my passions lie and there just isn’t enough time in the day to do my day job, blog, the business and try to have a life. DaisychainBaby will never replace my job now that there’s twenty years of house renovations to pay for and I’m ok with that. So then it just became a quite time-consuming and at times quite stressful hobby and so with my very pragmatic hat on, the real question has to be: what’s the point?
And that’s the decision that I’ve reached and it’s the right decision and even as Pete and I had long conversations into the early hours of many mornings, checking and double-checking it was the right thing to do, I knew deep down that it was. Life is exciting, I’m going off to Germany for a couple of days the week after next on a blogging trip with Villeroy & Boch. I’m seeing so much of London and meeting more great and creative people that every day I wake up full of energy and determined to make every day count. It’s a wonderful place to be and I want to be able to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way rather than saying no because I don’t have time because of the business.
I’ll always be so proud of what I did and to be able to say I owned my own business, that I was brave enough to try. We’ve launched a closing down sale and everything has 35% off so if you’d like to pick up a bargain or two then click right here! We’ve already booked a very decadent holiday to New York in December and my plan is to have it all closed down by then, or as much as I can, and to sit in the hotel spa with the best champagne and sign off this year as the year my new story began.
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