17 houses in 21 years is a fair few times to move, I would say.
My first ever home was in Ohope Beach, by the sea, with my bedroom overlooking White Island. There is still something about returning there that is comforting and nostalgic, like a hug from your grandad or a Hokey Pokey ice cream from the dairy. We then moved to Tauranga when I was young and my memories from there are of adventure. Every house was the source of an intrepid journey, whether it be through the sand dunes of Papamoa Beach or leading an expedition to the fish pond in our back garden in Bethlehem. We went on to spend 4 years in Kawerau, the most time I’ve spent in a place. My memories are of hot pools and river swims and bike rides through Tarawera Forest on weekends. Some ‘homes’ were extended stints in hotel rooms, like the one in Norway where I taught my younger brother to swim in the pool on the 31st floor or the one in Sydney where we made friends with the Reception staff (Sweet Life of Zack and Cody amirite?!). Some others were homes, real life homes. After Kawerau we moved to Norway and we lived in 4 story house that went straight up and down. There were three of them all in a row and even though it was four stories tall, it was like living in a tall shoebox so we moved and our new house got visits from reindeer sometimes and our chores were to shovel snow in the backyard. We moved to Sydney and our house had a pool, an absolute necessity in the sticky summer heat, when I would come home from school and dive straight in with my uniform and shoes still on. Sometimes if I forgot my house key I would sit on the driveway and wait for someone to come home who was prepared to deal with the huntsman spider that guarded the back door. Our big move back to New Zealand was scary, people spoke of returning home but I wasn’t really sure if it was my home anymore. I had missed the growing up part of New Zealand life, the one where you know who all the What Now presenters are and learn to like Vegemite. I didn’t have ‘people I’d grown up with’. My life was scattered in little pockets of the globe.
When school came to end, I did what I knew how to do, I moved to the other side of the world. I did what I’ve always done which is carve out a little space for myself amongst the chaos of learning to fit in in a place. At the end of the year I moved back to New Zealand and came to a new city for the 8th time in my life. I took my little hall bedroom in Auckland and turned it into my haven. It’s something I’ve always done. On moving day, when there is chaos and confusion I would shuffle around the boxes to find the one’s marked ‘Lulu’ and whisk them away to wherever my next oasis would be. I’d close the door and spend the day making it mine. It was only after I’d made my space that I knew who I was in a city. I knew I could tackle it then because whatever came at me I could always go back into my bedroom, my sanctuary. As I look around my current bedroom, perhaps my favourite one ever, it’s funny to think how much has happened since my bedroom that overlooked White Island in 1996.
I’ve always loved to put things on my walls, huge wads of blue tac with bits of wall paper stuck in them have traversed across the globe with me. My chosen weapon against uncertainty and loneliness. It started in Kawerau with certificates from the year I peaked in primary school, ’congratulations to Olivia for her compelling performance of a Pukeko in our school production’ and Certificates of Participation for one of the more abysmal Wing Attacks that Kawerau South School has seen. Pride of place were my 3 medals for the Week Bix Tryathalon, hung on a nail in the wall, clinking together, a symphony of an 8 year olds achievements past. THEN came the Total Girl posters, Fergie in her Big Girls Don’t Cry promo shot was a staple for many years as was Jesse McCartney for Beautiful Soul. As long as it was a poster and it came from a magazine though, I didn’t care. Up went the Top 20 poster for Australian Idol 2004 , up went Delta Goodrem’s album cover and results from magazine quizzes, ‘which Saddle Club member are you?!’
My wall covering tendencies actually peaked when I was 16. This was our Wellington home 1.0 and I was in the depths of a Tumblr obsession. Blonde haired girls with skate boards and band t-shirts went up, funny notes I had been written in class went up, movie tickets went up, pictures I had torn from Frankie and any fashion magazine my mum had lying around went up. The wall grew until finally every surface had been covered. I loved that bedroom, it was an assault to the senses for sure but I relished experimenting with it. Dad would be called upstairs for a bed manoeuvring mission which of course would mean we had to move the desk and the knock on effect throughout the room would leave everything to settle in a place where it hadn’t been before.
I loved my O’Rorke bedroom from my first year of uni, it was my haven. A cosy place where I could study and watch endless episodes of Friday Night Lights. The first time I had consciously pieced together a space from the beginning so that it wasn’t just an explosion of everything I owned in one place. I wrote a blog post on it here.
and now we jump to my current room, it’s filled with light and is embarrassingly large (I will eternally apologetic to my other flatmates who live in the cupboard under the stairs) My personal style has changed a lot in the last year so it was the perfect canvas to start something new. I think I’ve learned to edit a little better now so gone are the Australian Idol photos in favour of photos and trinkets that bring me joy (shoutout to the Marie Kondo converts of the world…I’m getting there)
Not one to be without a full length mirror or a ridiculously large desk I decided to build my own essentials last year. I wanted pieces that could travel with me from place to place and be versatile. It was soooooooo much cheaper than succumbing to the prices that are currently out there for trestle tables ($400 for a table?!) and it meant I could customise it to exactly my height and my preferences. They are actually pretty cheap and easy to build if you’ve got a few of the right tools around (thanks Dad for the ‘toolbox starter kit’ that has turned out to be an excellent Christmas present) My beautiful friend Lily actually built her own version of my shelves this year! The little DIY queen! One day soon I might put up a lil how to on the blog so you can get the cogs whirring for a possible summer project.
I’m actually a terrible hoarder but I like to hide my crap tactically so I can have the best of both worlds. This little wire basket from Father Rabbit is 11/10 great for dumping unopened mail and endless pieces of ‘note to self’ paper. I don’t even want to go in to what is hiding in that felt box (FYI like $8 at Kmart) but trust me it’s doing it’s job.
I love my trinkets too, dainty though they may sound they can also make a bloody big dent in your finances if you don’t check yourself, so I’ve made the move to invest where I can and op shop to fill the gaps. Instagram is great for inspiration but sometimes you need to take a step back and ask yourself do I actually need this? (to which my answer always seems to be yes). This beautiful pink light reflecting plate (which don’t worry it doesn’t usually sit in the middle of my bed) cost me $2 at the Salvation Army, whereas I saved up to buy this Diptyque Fig Room Spray 4 YEARS AGO!! I honestly use it so sparingly and even long after it’s gone I’ll keep the bottle on my desk. Another win/win for desk beauty is when your skin care has pretty packaging like my Girl Undiscovered mask. My brother got me a Gucci perfume set for Christmas (A++++ to him) and not only did they smell amazing but now I have lovely little bottles scattered around my room!
Of course you’ve got to keep it real and the mess has to go somewhere! I’ll never be the person with an aesthetically pleasing wardrobe (plz refer to dressing gown) so in the closet it goes. I’m lucky to have heaps of storage in my room so I’m able to hide my multitude of sins. On the inside of my wardrobe I’ve got my ‘power wall’ it holds my amazing Promise Yourself poster that I’ve had hanging in my bedroom for many many cities now and pictures of all my favourite people in the world (including Baby Liv because I feel like she just had it together). It’s a great thing to look at and make you go ‘shit yeaaaa’ before you start the day.
At night the room changes, the lights go out and the candles come on and the room becomes a snuggly haven perfect for watching re-runs of The Office or reading Harry Potter for the actual hundredth time. Fun fact: I nearly burnt our last flat down to the ground when the candle by my bed caught fire on one of my pillowcases, a high price to pay for ambiance so now I keep my candles a very safe distance away.
I love my little room (ha not so little at all) . I’m definitely wedded to my bedrooms, past and present. From 2004, the year of all purple accessories (gone but never forgotten) to now in 2017 when my room is filled with light and obscene amounts of
dead dried flowers. My space is what makes me who I am. It’s a complete reflection of me and everything I love and when I come home to it I feel calm and safe.
Thank you for joining me on my little journey through memory lane and I’d love to know what your bedroom means to you!