Intentional home: on buying flowers

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I know I’ve shared this story on instagram, but when I first began on this whole intentional living thing, I had a couple of very definite aims. One was to live a more positive and purposeful life, one in which I would actively appreciate and enjoy my life rather than passively letting it pass me by and getting distracted by stuff. The other was, um, to have more flowers and scented candles in my home. I know, I’m so deep.

It might seem like a really silly shallow thing to be preoccupied with, but somewhere along the line beautiful flowers and scented candles came to be emblematic of the slower, more intentional, enjoying-the-little-things life that I envisaged. We’re a couple of years into the whole intentional living thing now, and I’ve come to realise that those candles and flowers don’t actually represent candles and flowers (well, they kind of do, but bear with me), but rather they symbolise having the inclination and energy to make my home a lovely space, and then the time and ability to relax in that space and appreciate the what’s around me. I didn’t actually need candles and flowers, but rather time, energy, conscious effort and engagement with what I was doing.

That said, coming to the understanding that it’s not about candles and flowers, but about what they stood for, hasn’t actually diminished my desire to have them in my space and my love for them once they’re there. At the end of the day, no matter how much it’s about what’s going on in my head or how meaningful my life is, making my space look beautiful and smell lovely is still a highly appealing prospect.

In an effort to appreciate the process and make it as budget friendly and non-toxic as possible, I actually often make my own candles these days (more on that in another post), but since I am the world’s least green-fingered individual, I currently have neither the will nor the skill to make my own bouquets of flowers happen. Luckily, we have a hugely talented local florist, who is passionate about using seasonal flowers from sustainable sources and has an amazing eye for colour.

For me, flowers are now about making the space in my house, my budget and my day to walk to the florist, chat about what’s in and looking lovely, choose a colour palette and kill time for an hour or so a bouquet is put together, then come home and choose the perfect vase to arrange them in. And then, most important of all, making the time to stop for a cup of tea and appreciate the beauty that I’ve brought into the house.

There is a wonderful National Trust house near us which has a dedicated flower arranging room just inside the front door - I think this is possibly the most wonderful thing ever, and shows the importance that the family who lived there placed on having a beautiful inside to match the beautiful surroundings of the property. While I don’t think that’s likely in our tiny house any time soon, the next step for me to make the process even more intentional is to create a dedicated space for the vases, flower prep and bits and bobs that go with bringing flowers into the house - this will probably fully happen when we have our extension done, but meanwhile I’m thinking about what I can do to expand on this feeling of a pleasurable little process when I buy flowers.

I wonder, sometimes, whether as I continue on this journey I won’t need those ‘representations’ of time, intention and luxury, as I’ll be more content with my space and the way I live my life, and maybe my minimalist tendencies will have expanded to that point, but I doubt it. At the end of the day there’s little more luxurious than a gloriously scented candle and a feast for the eyes in the form of a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

ps: you may remember me saying that I prefer white flowers to any other. I make an exception when it comes to artful florists bouquets. When it’s the supermarket doing the work, everything other than white feels too brash and bold, but when it comes to a highly skilled florist, I’m confident that he can work with colour effectively, and I love the results.

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