Home truths after a visit from the mothership and home comforts from Katie Glass
Welcome to issue #14 of Nesting
"Alexa, play Ed Sheeran.” With those four words, my mother makes her entrance, sweeping in with matriarchal authority and questionable music taste. I instantly feel that my kitchen is, in fact, her kitchen.
A week into her visit, I feel that my entire house is her house. And for good reason. Aged 41 – I have suddenly realised that I remain largely undomesticated. Yes, I nest with passion, but I am not... nesticated?! None of the twigs match and all the leaves need a wash. I cannot even pretend to rule the roost when my mother is in it. Not yet. Maybe never. The evidence of this has been despairingly explained to me over a series of seven days – shared below for either your judgement or your empathy; take your pick.
Monday: The washing basket can be fully emptied and is not, as it turns out, a long-term storage solution for old bikinis and dry-clean-only jumpers.
Tuesday: The oven should not be operated at a consistent 200 degrees. Some people set the precise temperature and then – this is shocking to me – wait for the light to go off before using it.
Wednesday: Kitchenware is not a ‘forever’ purchase. Just because you bought a frying pan, once, does not mean you can never buy a frying pan again. See also, oven gloves.
Thursday: Indoor plants should be watered regularly using a watering can. A spontaneous ‘wine glass sprinkling’ when the mood suits will not suffice.
Friday: A diffuser is finished when there is no liquid left in the bottle. After that, you are simply displaying some sticks in an empty glass jar.
Saturday: When light bulbs go, they can be replaced. It is not necessary to live by the light of your iPhone after sunset.
Sunday: One should never scrimp on balsamic vinegar.
Of course, at first I resisted and rolled my eyes, but after a week of having my mum in the house, I realised something important: most of these things are just her ways of caring.
Because while all the fussing might drive me mad, ultimately, she cared enough to want my plants not to die, she wanted my lasagne not to burn and she wanted me not to have sub-standard salad dressing.
In the days after she left, I realised that I still wanted all of these things. For myself. When we talk about self-care, we often think we must take ourselves off to a spa or out for coffee. But maybe self-care should start at home. Maybe it actually starts with the small nesting stuff, like pristine oven gloves and extortionate balsamic vinegar.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to John Lewis to buy some new tea towels.
Home Comforts with… Katie Glass
I’ve been religiously reading the What Katie Did Next column in The Telegraph’s Stella magazine for months. Katie Glass writes about the highs and lows of life after making some rather big changes (calling off her wedding, selling her London flat and moving to the country) during lockdown.
Where do you live and how would you describe your home in three words?
Currently, I'm renting a tiny cottage in a village near Glastonbury. It's an old cottage from the 1600s, with a wood-burner, a flag-stone floor, and a four-poster bed with a tin bath at the end of it. A romantic dream.
Who is at home with you?
Current TV obsession?
Vigil on BBC, it's great drama, and I'll soon be interviewing Martin Compston, who stars in it.
Best home comfort meal?
Steak. Cheese. Cider.
Book currently on your bedside table?
Radhika Sanghani's 30 Things I Love About Myself. A comedy about a British Indian woman trying to love herself
Background noise in your house?
I love flicking between Radio 5 Live, Radio 4 and cheesy stuff on Heart, or listening to my friend Rob Rinder's new show on classic FM, which is about the lives of LGBT composers and a wonderful introduction to classical music I don't know. I'm also currently obsessed with Alan Partridge's From The Oust House on Audible, which makes me cackle out loud it's so funny.
Bath or shower?
Always a bath. My best friend built a bath in his garden in honour of how much I love being in the bath. I'm currently living near Glastonbury which is both fabulously, and at times frustratingly, hippy but one thing you can always get here is gorgeous smelling natural beauty stuff – at the moment I'm using home-made orange epsom
Favourite house scent?
Since I turned 40, I've become addicted to scented candles, I buy one everywhere I go, which is turning into an expensive habit. The latest one is a soy coconut candle from the market in Wells.
My garden is….
Only currently in existence in my head but in it I'm growing dreams of wildflowers and vegetables in raised beds for when I finally buy my own cottage – which I hope will be later this year.
Your favourite home from home?
My best friend Rob Rinder's house. We used to live together and now he's created a room for me on what he calls Katie's floor. He has always made me feel that his home is also my home, although I drive him mad because I'm so messy and he is obsessively tidy. I once came downstairs to find him going red in the kitchen over a cup I'd left in
the sink. He said: "it's like living with Guns and Roses"!
Read Katie’s column here.
My Unorthodox Life
Former member of a strict religious community leaves said community and becomes enormously wealthy at breakneck speed by heading up international model agency. I mean, in the grand scheme of documentaries, this one really does tick a few of my boxes. I sped through it and now spend my days stalking the whole family on Instagram.
More than a Woman
If I fancy a chat but don’t have the energy to speak, reading anything by Caitlin Moran usually does the trick. She is a chat on paper – the best kind of chat when tired and in a prolonged hermit state. Her latest book is about being a 40-plus year-old woman in today’s world and I pretty much guarantee you’ll hard relate to it if you are either or both of those things.
Does wanting a standing planter make me the most basic of millennials? I don’t care, I want one – or three. And I’d like these ones specifically.
My Pod on Paper - I know, I know, Love Island is rubbish this year, but I am now watching it largely so that I can listen to this hilarious podcast after each episode. And if there are any fellow Love Island fans left out there in the wilderness, I hope you’re also following Marian Keyes’ brilliant commentary on Twitter. Teddy for the win.
I wish I didn’t identify quite so strongly with this problem page letter in Vogue about the breakdown-inducing horrors of buying a new sofa, but I do.
The New York Times on what the thousands of screenshots saved on your phone really say about you.
I don’t remember where I came across this newsletter, but I love this piece on familiarity.
The art of good listening in The Guardian.
Omg you MUST follow Tatty Macleod on Instagram for her French/English comparison videos.
A tout a l’heure, alors. See ya.
Who on earth is Dominique Afacan?
A very good question. Dominique (that’s me) is a writer, sausage dog owner, and solo mum, based in London. The idea for the Nesting newsletter came about because after ten years as a travel journalist, I wanted to share my new-found excitement about hanging out at home. I am also the author of Bolder – Life lessons from people older and wiser than you – a great birthday present, if I don’t say so myself – and available to buy here. You can follow me on Instagram here or Twitter here.
P.S The illustration for Nesting was created by my exceptionally talented friend Julia Murray in New Zealand.