50 Shades of Disarray (or, why you shouldn’t take ‘lifestyle’ magazines seriously)

I have an Instagram habit. I like searching other people’s calm shots of perfectly tidy houses, mostly painted in chalky whites, with vintage approved accessories. The kids playrooms are immaculate with  a large curated selection mostly wooden toys of a Scandinavian origin that you know are wholesome and will raise their offspring’s IQ by at least 50 points just by pushing them along the floor. The bathrooms never have hair caught behind the door, or blue toothpaste smears on the bath side, or a crappy plastic bin with a flip-top lid because the toddler will eat the contents out of the ethically produced raffia ensemble that you’d otherwise have.

Olivia Palermo in Elledecor.com

In the living rooms the plants aren’t dead or infested (as mine were, I’m grim I admit it) with diddy flies, and more to the point they are ‘on trend’. Yep, certain houseplants are ‘trending’, adding an additional life form to maintain aside from the kids and the cat. These houses don’t have cats because the ‘worn to perfection’ supple brown leather sofas have no scratch marks (or felt tip, or mushed biscuit, or husband’s spag bol because, who are we kidding, we can’t sit up the table unless it’s Christmas?).

And so to bed. We crawl under mismatched duvet covers and pillow sets, chucking out Duplo, last week’s T-shirts and various copies of the Farmer’s Weekly as we go. The beds in these interiors shots are made for princesses that float 6 inches above the heirloom patchwork personally gifted after a summer spent writing the histories of Amish folk in Pennsylvania.

Look at me with my trending flower pot and succulent thingy…

The point is, they aren’t real. I can take the occasional good shot (usually close up) of a little corner of my house that I’ve grouped stuff in that makes me smile. And it can look pretty cool. But it doesn’t show what surrounds me. That’s real life. Just saying.

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