Friday Five: The gratitude edition

My office immediately after installation. The surrounding has since been prettified and I have a step in front of the door.

I’ve sent the rewrite to my brilliant agent, had a relaxing day out with my Mum yesterday, it’s almost the weekend, and I’m feeling very grateful for my life. Happy Friday all!

1. Oh, my office, how I love thee. I love stepping out of the house and actually *going* to work. I love the peace and quiet. I love that I can surround myself with MY things. I love the fact that my overflowing desk, piles of paper and massive desktop PC are no longer in the bedroom. Happy sigh.
2. The beautiful ‘office-warming’ gifts that I’ve received from family and friends. Honestly, I have been utterly spoilt and I’m so touched. Thank you! Thank you!
3. I’m grateful for this mad urge to write things down, create things, make stuff up. Even on a bad day, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing and that, in itself, is incredibly lucky.
4. I’m grateful that other people – far more talented and imaginative than I – have this same urge. Quite apart from my life-long love affair with books, books, and more books, I’m loving (adoring, worshipping) the new Doctor Who. Haven’t ever watched it? Haven’t tried the reboot? Never fear, you can just jump in, but if you want a guide author Joe Hill has compiled one here.
5. I’m grateful for my husband and children. Soppy? Yes. But truer than true.

La la la… Ooh! Pretty!

Yes. As you may have gathered from my lack of blogging and the title of this post I haven’t exactly got back into a solid work schedule.

Still, the kids go back to school over the next couple of days (darling daughter starts high school on Wednesday – argh!) and I have set up my computer and desk in my new office in readiness.

I still can’t believe I have a place all of my own in which to write. I am so very, very lucky.

My mum made me some beautiful bunting from vintage fabric (thank you!) which I just hung on one wall, I have a big noticeboard just waiting to be filled with index cards and post-its when I’m next plotting/structuring  a book, and I just clicked ‘buy’ on the lovely print above.

I’ve always had a weakness for a good quote and I really like the Mary Oliver poem from which this one is taken.

It’s been a wonderful summer break and I will miss my children once they’re back at school, but, in all honesty, I can’t wait to get into my office and close the door.

[Image/print is by Katie Daisy at The Wheatfield and is available here]

Back to work

I’m back!

After the Big Rewrite I had a week off (a staycation with my lovely family). We took the kids to the beach, had a couple of days out in Edinburgh and went on a camping trip with friends. We had lie-ins in the mornings and wine at night and I did lots of reading. Bliss!

Since then, I’ve been trying to finish a few house/garden jobs and to get back into work. The kids are still on holiday (another week or so to go) but I really want to get my new office ready for my ‘official’ return to work when they go back to school. I need to paint my second-hand shelves and move my desk and computer in, not to mention prettify the space. When it’s ready I’ll take some pictures and pop them up here.

I’m also swithering (no!) between projects and getting annoyed with myself for my lack of focus. I’ve been thinking about strategies for dealing with that and for improving productivity but will ramble about them on another day.

[Image credit: Wishes Machine by EvaJuliet. Available from Etsy.]

Writing room inspiration

Now that my garden office is becoming a reality (installation date booked – whoop!) I’m turning my attention to the inside. Yes, I know I should be turning my attention to clearing the old shed and rockery that are currently sitting where the office needs to go, but this is more fun.

I’m on a budget. A super-strict budget, truth be told, so most of my day dreams will remain just that. I don’t care; I’m beyond delighted that I’m going to have a room all of my own and I have the essentials (chair, desk, computer).

But a girl can dream. And Google. Ah-hem.

I like the vintage bits and bobs in this picture and the shelving unit looks very cute painted aqua. I’ve actually picked up a pine shelving unit similar to that one (but taller) from Freecycle that I was going to paint white; perhaps I’ll go wild and paint it turquoise instead.

[Image credit: decor8]

I’m planning to leave the walls plain white and I want to have my massive pin board on one wall (for plotting). Above my desk, I was thinking about narrow shelves and perhaps a wire or string with clips for pictures and photos. A few people have mentioned DEKA curtain wire from IKEA and I think that’s what has been used in the picture above.

[Image credit: DesignSponge]

Or, if I can find the right boxes, something like this would be brilliant.

[Image credit: The Vintage Valley]

I also love books-as-art and this is a nifty way to display them. It’s a £2.99 IKEA spice rack painted white. Bargainous and pretty.

[Image credit: IKEA Live]

The garden office project: A new contender

I’m the kind of person who does three hours of research before buying a mop, so it’s no surprise that I’ve looked at a lot of garden office companies. A lot.

All of this research has clarified a couple of things: I can buy a timber building (with insulation) and put it up myself and spend around four thousand pounds. Or, I can spend between seven and ten thousand pounds and get something that comes with a decent warranty, has a long-life (maintenance-free) exterior, is installed by the professionals and is fully wired and ready to go.

In the second category (let’s be honest, that’s the option I’m going for), I found a new contender. While I still like the outside appearance of the Henley, the inside felt a little bit ‘officey’. Yes, I know; I want an office, but primarily it’s a writing space. In an ideal world, I’d like a slightly more ‘arty’ vibe.

So, I did a bit more research and, courtesy of Nicola Morgan (of Help! I Need A Publisher! fame), I stumbled upon Booth’s Garden Studios. Here’s their pod model:

I like it.

I like the big windows and the fact that I’ll get more space for my cash.

I also like their website which is informative and friendly. (I know I won’t be working in their website so it’s not particularly relevant but credit where it’s due and all that…)

I need to go and have a look at one before I plump, but I’m very excited; a decision is imminent!

The garden office project

My house has many advantages. I love our quiet wee village, my view of the hills and the fact that my kids have a bedroom each. I’m very lucky.

However, it is undeniable that the house – while charming – is not over-endowed with space. Consequently, I work on a desk-come-bedside-table in my bedroom and, when my husband works from home and uses the desk, I write in bed. Not ideal.

The garden is lovely (at least, it was when we moved in – it’s now rather neglected) but again, it won’t be winning any awards for square footage. Still, I’m determined to solve the space issue without moving and have decided it’s time to build myself an office in the garden.

When I say ‘build myself’ I mean, of course, buy an office from a company that does such things and pay them to install it for me. I’ve done a lot of research and at the moment am trying to choose between the compact Vista by Henley Offices. Behold. It has a cute curved roof and is insulated and double-glazed.

Or, the Malvern Garden Studio. Now, I need you to imagine this one with a lovely painted finish, as it looks a little bit shed-like in this picture:

The Malvern also has double-glazing and insulation (although the latter is thinner than the stuff offered in the Henley). It’s also about £3000 cheaper. Hmm.

Has anyone else put an office/art studio/games room in their garden? Any advice? Recommendations?