About me

Hi there and a warm welcome to my blog.

My name is Vivien – I would have preferred the French version Vivienne (if you are listening mum – it is so much more romantic and looks beautiful written on a page in old script), but I have always been known as plain old Viv and ‘Rusty’ to my Granddad (due to the mop of Ginger hair). 

I am a creature of torn personalities which I try my hardest to reconcile – constantly swinging between the desire for both minimalism and order whilst finding part of my true nature is to be quite impulsive and a bit of a hoarder (I like to call it a collector of treasures!).

Of course it might be an affliction or even some kind of syndrome passed on in my genes but I cannot live with disorder –  I like things neat, tidy, organised, categorised, classified, systemised, co-ordinated, ordered, structured, regimented, methodical, presentable, meticulous, ship-shape, spick and span but I can often find myself, through pressure of daily life, back in the middle of chaos. 

Even though I like modern objects with clean lines and no pattern or embellishments I find I am equally drawn to old and beautiful things; vintage, retro and that kind of mismatch of patterned and patchwork, crafted and ‘earthy’.  I find I cannot part with anything of sentimental value and couldn’t imagine my life without some of my keepsakes and family heirlooms.

Acquiring too much stuff is probably one of my downfalls that I could do with changing.  We will be moving to Scotland to our little cottage by the beach in a few years so downsizing is a must.  I also feel the time has come for me to embrace a simpler, possession free life – retaining  only those things in my life that I truly love.

This blog is my personal journey of discovery and will be a record of the changes I make and the challenges I face in creating a simpler and more organised life while at the same time we continue to renovate our cottage in Scotland ready for the big move.

I live in a small old mill town nestled into the Pennine hills in Yorkshire with my long-suffering husband of fourty some years.  I have two beautiful daughters who have flown the nest (most of the time!). I paint and draw (a little) when time allows, make and bake sometimes but not often enough and garden and grow things as much as possible. I recycle and up-cycle, hate waste and I couldn’t live without my time planner and lists.

Follow my journey with me and do let me know if you stop by I would love to hear from you.



22 thoughts on “About me”

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m glad you enjoyed my post about Biddulph Grange and look forward to you popping by from time to time. I really like the look of your blog too. I have OCD and also cannot live with disorder or mess of any kind so I think I’m going to enjoy your blog. I’m only happy and relaxed when I’ve cleaned and mad sure everything is in its proper place etc but like you, sometimes I just don’t have time and then things become a bit chaotic and get me down/drive me crazy until I can get back on top of things!


    1. I am in that state again at the moment waiting for daughter and partner to move back to their own house – I am just waiting in the wings ready to swing into action and get my house back into order once again – can’t wait (although I know I will be sad to see them go!)


  2. I find myself having the same struggles between minimal and abundant. I’m a real nester and find it hard not to surround myself with other peoples toss off’s…if it’s vintage it’s great. If it’s aqua and vintage it’s glorious. I also adore the coastal look, so can’t wait to check out the Beach Cottage page above. I came by way of Gardening Nirvana also a rusty haired gal (who I just love to pieces), hello!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Vivien,
    I’m so glad that I followed a link in my stats this morning and found your blog! And thank you so much for linking mine in your sidebar. I had a dream of a Scottish beach last night, and wonder if it was yours? : )

    Your snowdrop painting was a delight for my eyes this cold February day, as we have none of our own and I am very much looking forward to exploring all of the rest of your offerings here. And would you mind if I link to one or two of your paper organization posts for my members at Wisteria & Sunshine? We are focusing on paper organization in February.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend,



    1. Hi there Lesley, what a lovely surprise to come home to when I came across your comment – it is so nice to hear from you in person as I have followed your blog for a number of years on and off, your beautiful artwork and posts have always inspired me. I am a very novice blogger but I do not mind at all if you link my posts about paper organisation – I find it is often difficult to get to grips with the mounds of paper that pass through a household in a year, and when you decide to keep something how to store it so you can retrieve it when required. I am always trying to find new ways. I am glad that you are able to post more on your Bower as I did miss you whilst you had your little break, best wishes, Viv


      1. Hello again Viv,
        Thank you so much for the kind words and allowing the link. I especially liked what you thought to do with all the magazine clippings and interesting information (in paper form) we come across. I have yet to settle on a good approach to actually using them, never getting far beyond the lovely tearing out and riffling through. : )

        I will see you regularly here now, I hope, and am glad to know you are visiting me at The Bower.




  4. GOODNESS! I came here via Rusty Duck and felt I was reading my own words – then I read your mum lives in Yarm which is just up the way from us. We are neighbours? We live between Guisborough and Whitby on the North York Moors.


    1. Hi Denise lovely to meet you – My mum lives near Yarm (Eaglescliffe) but I am near Holmfirth Yorkshire (outside Huddersfield) and we have a cottage on the Mull of Galloway Scotland. We come up to your part of the country quite often as I also have a daughter near Masham (who is a wedding stylist and makes favours etc). Small world isn’t it except I don’t have the hens / dogs etc!! Although would like the chickens.


  5. Thanks for popping by to my Blog this week, lovely to receive messages from fellow bloggers. Thank you for your comments about my granny striped blanket. If you are interested I do have a blanket for sale (not that one) but one someone made for me and I really have too many! Its new and I can send you a photo if you are interested. Best wishes. Amanda


    1. Hi Amanda – By all means send me a photo – I am sure I would be interested but my better half may not be persuaded as he is a strictly minimal and modern person who occasionally will let me indulge in retro and vintage depending on what it is I am drooling over at the time!! If you send a photo I will run it past him for a reaction!


  6. Really enjoyed reading your blog and looking at your pictures. Simplifying and hand making and growing is becoming quite a big movement, it seems. So happy to see this happening in so many places . Beautiful blog!


  7. So much of your blog resonates with me and I wonder why I haven’t discovered you before! However, I shall enjoy catching up with your archives.
    I spent my childhood and up to my mid 20’s in Mossley – a small mill town in the Pennines – and never moved very far away until I was lucky enough to move to SW France when we retired.
    Like you I am constantly torn between collecting beautiful things but knowing that I need less ‘stuff’ the older I get! I enjoy all sorts of crafts and am trying very hard to be more disciplined and finish things that have been around for far too long.
    My husband and I absolutely love Scotland (John walked the West Highland Way when he was 60) and would happily have moved there when we retired. However, John suffers quite badly from arthritis and we decided the climate here would help. That said, we are having a very cold spell at the moment after a very, very wet December and January. Scotland is our back up plan if the ‘B’ word wrecks our life here! But don’t get me started on that….
    So enough wittering on. Best wishes, Julia


    1. Hi Julia and welcome to my blog. I know Mossley very well – we go through it many times on the way to other places – sadly the high street is mainly take aways now where there used to be little independant butchers and bakers shops.
      How lucky to be able to live in France – I suspect it might be a little bit too hot for me in the summer months in the South. I certainly need to get some projects finished – I am trying to attempt them one at a time this year instead of multi tasking which doesn’t seem to get me anywhere! Hope you drop by again best wishes, Viv


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