I've never been one for raiding the home section in Next (although their curtains are amazing) or covering my walls in generic prints of flowers or the New York skyline. One of my favourite feelings is to lift up the lid of my stationary box and picture the colourful chaos of the Egyptian bazar it came from, or at the end of a long day pop my watch and engagement ring into the little silver dish that I inherited from my grandmother. Lots of the things around me: the paintings, vases, plants and books harbour strong memories that ignite all kinds of imagination. They remind me that my troubles are a tiny stitch in the vast tapestry of family, history, friendship and life. They bring me back to centre and help me feel calm.
So when I was asked by More Than (who incidentally I have both pet and house insurance with and genuinely can't recommend them enough) which three possessions I treasure most, I knew it would be a challenge. I flitted between dozens of options: the charm bracelet my beloved uncle gave me as a baby, my engagement ring, my first pair of shoes, childhood family photos or the postcard Frank sent me after we broke up to try and win me back. After much deliberation, head scratching and face contorting, I came up with these...
001 The kitty cats
I realise this is a grade one cliche cat lady/pet owner choice, but without a doubt the two possessions I cherish the most are my two cats, Socks (aka 'the little one' or pussykins) and Splodge (aka 'the fat one'/Lady Tubbington/tubs/fatty-bo-batty/fatty boom boom). Yes they're not the prettiest of cats (my Instagram feed is crammed with beautiful fluffy tabbies draped over crisp white bed sheets, enough to make Splodge look like a cave troll in comparison), but in the last 8 years they have loved me unconditionally regardless of whether I'm at my worst or at my best. Yes they seem to adore me a teensy bit more around teatime and a little less on vet days, and seem to flit between being incredibly annoying and frustratingly aloof, but their companionship, affection and downright weirdness have kept me going even in my weakest moments. These two know my deepest, darkest secrets. They've sat patiently with my head buried in their fur sobbing in wretched agony. They welcome me home each day with a chirrup, a meow and a brush against my legs. They sleep every night, one on my head and one at my feet. They follow me around the house all day, insist on sitting on my lap while I type (or better yet across the keyboard) and incite genuine jealousy when they splay on Frank's lap and turn to me with a smug smile. Life without them? I can't even...
002 This painting
This painting, given to me by my sister for my 30th birthday, is special to me not just because of the giver or the occasion, but because it depicts the place I spent most of my childhood. I wish I could express the flood of memories that washes over me every time I look at this muddle of paper, paint and wood, but I don't think I could do it justice, and only one other person in the world knows what it was like to spend most of our childhood perched on the top of the white cliffs of Dover. We grew up in a little village on top of this cliff, set back slightly, nestled in vast swathes of countryside (a little of which I blogged about here). The screech of seagulls, the smell of fresh farm manure, the hiss of insects and the whipping of wind through the barley was our soundtrack. Having lived in various cities, I now realise how lucky I was to grow up with nature all around me, be it the crashing waves against the white rock or the crunch of twigs in the undergrowth. For me, this picture represents gratitude, longing, sadness and hope.
003 This jumble of metal and glass
No one is more surprised than me that my mobile phone made it into my top 3 possessions. Truth be told I hate the thing, and anyone will tell you what a terror I am at remembering to reply to messages or answering calls. I'll happily leave my phone with a dead battery down the side of the sofa for two days without another thought. And yet. Buried in this phone are a million photos, phrases, thoughts and texts that are simply irreplaceable. For every snap I share on my Instagram there must be 50 that I flick through from time to time, capturing treasured memories that would otherwise melt into obscurity. I also jot down little lists of memories, quotes, music recommendations, restaurants to try and dreams I've had that make my life feel richer. Having had my phone stolen before, I remember feeling more sad about these lost treasures than the inconvenience it caused.
What are your three most treasured possessions?