Hello……it’s me.

Some of you may have been wondering where I have disappeared to and a number have been kind enough to contact me out of concern and check that everything is okay and say how much you miss my posts and inspiration. That’s been so lovely and encouraging to hear. It’s nice to know I’ve been missed. 

I thought I should give you an update and an explanation, assure you that we are absolutely fine and I have just taken a break from the digital world. Inspired by Ed Sheeran’s “digital detox”, I discovered having had a break over the Christmas holidays with a trip to visit family in the UK (some photos shared here), that really I didn’t miss it. To be perfectly frank, maintaining social media caused me more stress and anxiety than I had realised and it really wasn’t a necessary or intrinsically valuable part of my day or life. I realised it was putting unnecessary pressure on me professionally and I had enough on my plate without adding to it from the digital world. 

So I consciously uncoupled from social media and it’s doing me the world of good. I have gained back so many more hours in the day and frankly for me a better quality of life. I am watching my children with my eyes, I am having more conversations with friends and family, I am reading more books and magazines, I am absorbing life, noticing and appreciating things around me and engaging in the real world. Instead of grabbing my phone at any given moment throughout the day when I have a spare second or am bored, and scrolling zombie-like through images which I glance at for split seconds, liking or commenting and replying endlessly,  I just stop and find something else to do. I’m more relaxed. I’ve enjoyed the anonymity. 

It took a while to stop the knee-jerk reaction, but I have taught myself not to do it. I’ve gained perspective back. I feel liberated. I didn’t realise how much I had come to rely on my phone for amusement, distraction, company and entertainment and how it had begun to control me. 

Professionally, I was also unaware of how much the culture of social media was impacting my sense of self, my confidence, my mood, either lifting me up or putting me down. I was often feeling judged, sometimes criticised, and felt the uneasy pressure of unwanted demands or expectations put on me. Now I’m oblivious to it. I don’t know what anyone else is doing, if they’re doing it better or worse, how many followers or likes anybody has or how I compare. It’s a big weight off my shoulders.

Of course, this isn’t for everybody and I don’t judge those who spend time on social media or find it valuable, inspiring or rewarding, who genuinely rely on it for business and work or who derive pleasure from it. But now I don’t wake up each day stressing about what I’m going to post or how to increase my followers! I realised it was a nonsense and only added to my stress related anxiety and health issues which I have been able to manage much more effectively since stopping. Each to his own, that’s what works for me. This may not be forever, but for the time being I’m enjoying the freedom.

As for my work, I made some resolutions over the new year about my direction for 2017. I love interior decorating and design, it’s my passion and obsession, it’s my job, my hobby, but I have never been very good at making money from this business and basically persevere because I love it and get a thrill from helping people create beautiful homes. I’m a creative person, not good with numbers and my bottom line can attest to that! 

I’m self taught and continue to learn every day. I’ve spent thousands of hours over the years teaching myself and learning how to do this better. There aren’t many courses that teach you the business of interior design, and that’s the tricky part. I juggle everything myself between school drop off and pickup. But I can only do what I can do and am not prepared to outsource my kids to a team of nannies. I realised I’m not that driven or prepared to sacrifice my family for my career. I’ve come to accept and appreciate my limitations. So I’ll never be a high end designer with staff and multiple projects every year with huge budgets, or have books, fabric lines or a string of shops. I heard a style expert recently make a disparaging reference to “housewife decorators with an ABN” pretending to be designers, but I’m one and proud of it. 

I’ve met some wonderful clients and people doing this over the past 5 years, who have been genuinely appreciative and grateful for my help. And had a few amazing mentors who have been invaluable to me. It’s a tricky business to make money in, particularly doing it part time like I do and even harder from Bowral. And as I’ve learned from my not terribly successful ventures last year, I’m absolutely rubbish at retail! 

I’ve learnt where my strengths are and what I should focus on. I’m confident in my own personal style, I do what I love, I do what I do well and I’m happy to share my knowledge and experience with others. I hope my clients have found me to be a nice, helpful and generous person and got value for money. I’m not precious or elitist about it, (seriously, has a decorator ever been named Australian of the Year or won the Nobel Prize!), but am just happy to help and share what I know.

So my next venture is doing what I do best and what has always been successful, enjoyable and profitable. Renovating. No, we’re not moving! My husband and I are teaming up in business to renovate houses here in the Highlands, and I’m sure we’ll make a good team. He has the left side of the brain, and I have the right. He does the outside and I do the inside. He manages the money and I spend it. What could be better!

We have bought an investment property here in Bowral which we are renovating to sell. Along with just about everybody else it seems! It’s going to be done in my style, true to myself! I’m so excited. Picking tiles, designing kitchens and bathrooms, sourcing tapware, making furnishings, picking wallpapers and paint colours is what I absolutely love. It’s a no brainer. Hopefully it will be the first of many. 

So, I want to thank you for sticking with me. I don’t buy my followers or pay for someone to comment for me. I don’t engineer my posts or work it to get the most likes or followers. I have always simply done what feels right, have always tried to be a truthful and honest version of myself. I hope you have loved what I do and enjoyed being invited into my home and life. I believe you follow me genuinely because you are vested in me and hopefully what I’m able to give to you. I truly value and appreciate the loyalty, interest and kindness you have demonstrated over the years.

I am off to work on my renovating budget now, and create something really fabulous and beautiful for someone else to love. I will share the project with you on the blog from time to time as it progresses, and of course the final reveal. That’s a part I do enjoy. I’m even thinking of holding some workshops down here at some point to share my knowledge and help you with your projects. We housewife decorators need to stick together! So please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in. 


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39 Responses to Whatever happened to…. me?

  1. Anne says:

    I love your decorating style but can understand your break from social media – look forward to seeing your photos of the renovation. Decorating workshops sound great!

  2. Robyn says:

    Love your style! all the best I know it will be beautiful.

  3. Judy says:

    Good luck with your new venture – I am sure it will be a success and the main thing is to enjoy the process! I have often wondered how people that write blogs and post on social media like you did managed to keep doing it every day when I struggle just to keep up with the laundry!! So it is quite refreshing to have someone admit how hard it has been and also I completely understand how it could affect your self esteem etc – some folk forget all their manners when they are online! Anyway I’d love to see progress on your reno when you have time – your style is gorgeous and helped me a lot when I was decorating our new home and you even pinned the builders picture of our exterior which was a real buzz for me! Enjoy the time with your family – I have teenagers now and miss the time when they are younger and actually wanted to be with you! All the best. Judy

  4. Rebecca Dewberry says:

    Words to live by Melinda. I have missed your posts but completely understand you taking a step back from social media. Love the idea of workshops and patiently wait to hear more about that. Take care of yourself and your beautiful family. Can’t wait to see the results of the renovation.
    Kindest regards
    Rebecca Dewberry

    • SALLY KESSELL says:

      Well done Mel on a great decision! Family must and should always come first, particularly whilst your children are young. I’m envious of your latest venture, that would be my husband’s and my dream, but we’re in our sixties now, with a few health problems, so not up to it. We’ll enjoy following your progress though!! I would be most interested in any workshops you are planning on holding! I look forward to hearing more about them in the future.

      Kindest regards,
      Sally Kessell

  5. Jan ohalloran. says:

    This is a lovely post and one i feel will be understood by most people. I always seem to be on my ipad, but in fairness its my kindle and im usuallyt reading – its great to re connect with real people and to speak and not text. Good on you and good luck with the new career path, i can guarantee you wont be sorry. Love jan.

  6. Tracey Brancourt says:

    . T x

  7. Priscilla says:

    Love your style and will look forward to your next make over !
    I’m in love with Hampton’s and all it has to offer !

  8. Karen Smith says:

    I do believe you could be part of a new trend – people exiting from social media or at the very least taking a break! It is actually inspiring to read your latest blog. And funnily enough I was just searching over the weekend to see if I had been missing things from you!
    Your overseas family holiday looks like you all had a beautiful time together and you look relaxed and happy – moments like those and watching your children grow are memories that cannot be recreated, they become missed opportunities. So enjoy each and every moment.
    I will be watching with much interest the updates on your renovating projects. And yes, workshops with you would be wonderful… so keep us informed if you choose to go down this path.

    Happy renovating…doing what you love to do.


  9. Jane Sadler says:

    Melinda I love what you do. I think you are incredibly talented. I read your post and felt like I could have written it myself for all the similarities between what we are doing and how you feel about it all. I will listen in for updates on your workshop. Would be lovely to meet you. Best of luck with your renovations. I am also looking into that this year. Jane (summerhouse styled interiors).

  10. Vicci Patterson says:

    What a heartfelt post. I wish you every success in your venture. You have such a talent I’m sure it will be amazing. I will very much look forward to seeing your posts on your new projects progress.
    I do something very similar, but with our family homes. Up to reno number 4 and we have done 4 new builds. If its in your blood you simply can’t get enough of it.

  11. Val Reid says:

    Good on you I did hope you were OK and now I know you are way better than just OK! Ditching social media sounds right for you and your family and you are brave enough to step away I wish you all the very best in your new venture Your interiors are always fabulous so I have no doubt you will nail this

  12. Virginia Bradshaw says:

    Good for you Melinda! I think we all get caught in the social media trap and I would be terrified to know how much time I truly waste engaging in it. You’ve inspired me yet again, this time to switch off a bit more!

    All the very best with the reno – would love to see the before and afters!
    Virginia x

  13. Sara says:

    Well done Melinda, couldn’t agree with you more, social media just takes over your life without you even knowing and yes you miss out on things and people who are so important in your life. You are so brave to admitting the truth and you can see what a beautiful woman wife and mother you are, of course you have fantastic skills and vision with interior design and you will never loose that, so enjoy your beautiful family and friends and be happy Cheers xx

  14. Lexie says:

    decorating workshops and here in Bowral… where do I sign up?!

  15. Sarah gardiner says:

    In a world of craziness trying to navigate all the should do’s and any the constant critics it is refreshing to read a well educated. Genuine and sincere post.
    Good for you I agree with you and you have tapped into what is right for you best wishes

  16. Alicia A says:

    Well done you! Looking things straight on and making the changes you need to make for you and your family takes a lot of courage! I absolutely love your style. Maybe there are no Nobel prizes for designers, but there is still a lot to be said for adding beauty to the world and bringing heart to a home. Best wishes for all that comes your way.

  17. Alyson Cooper says:

    Well said! x

  18. Michelle says:

    Good on you Melinda for being so honest and true to yourself. I love your style and look forward to seeing just a few pics of your new challenge. All the best to you and your family

  19. Gabrielle says:

    What ever you do Mel, wherever you wave your magic wand, is beautiful. I will look forward to your latest project. It is lovely to create beautiful surrounds. It gives people peace and calm in a busy world. Shakespeare said “This above all:to thine own self be true” For it is what we think of ourself that is important. Being there for your children, being a parent, is the most important job in the world.

  20. Annie says:

    Good on you Mel, I love your clarity and honesty
    I don’t touch social media for similar reasons to you.
    Email’s are bad enough and I often find myself unsubscribing the clutter as it creaps in
    I miss my old answering machine.
    look forward to seeing what you do with your new property
    All the best Annie

  21. Jenny says:

    What a great post. I love your warts and all honesty. Interior decoration is a hard slog and it’s not all beautiful room reveals as portrayed. I wish you all the very best with your new adventures on your own terms and look forward to your posts when you feel you want to post.

  22. Ruth says:

    All the best Mel, thank you for all of the beautiful pics and posts that have always brightened my day and taken me ” somewhere magical ” I have missed them terribly, however I’m a mother and understand how They grow up in the blink of an eye, so enjoy your beautiful children!!! I look forward to seeing some pictures of the magic you will create with the renovation ( no pressure though !! )
    All the best x

  23. Renay says:

    I love your honesty and your words are inspiring. I look forward to your project updates Melinda.

  24. Melissa says:

    You’re the only interior designer I “follow”. I love your style and your willingness to share your experience and impeccable taste. So-called professional stylists are simply threatened by the housewife stylists with ABNs. I can’t wait to see the progress on your new project!

  25. Sally says:

    Thanks for the honest, inspiring post Melinda – it left me feeling encouraged to really think about what I want in family/career/social life and go for it despite judgement (my own seems worst of all).

    Good luck with the new venture, sounds really exciting and perfect work for you and your husband. I hope that, despite the social media retreat, a few simple before & after shots will make it onto your blog, or another outlet, at some stage.

    Please let me reiterate my thanks for your design help two years ago when we bought our first home. I found you after extensive research and after seeing your style I knew I could trust your knowledge and advice.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

  26. mibone@bigpond.com says:

    Three cheers to you and your family ! I went to India last year for a yoga retreat and realised that instragram was ruling my life ( my husband was completely over me and my obsession of watching others ) now I don’t post a single thing… I watch sometimes and I think it’s so addictive and really not healthy.
    Children are only with you for a short time and really you can’t miss a thing.
    I will look forward to your blogs Mel and I just love your work !!
    Irene. Brighton

  27. Rae livesey says:

    Hi Mel Iv Been following you for couple years now and have loved everything you have done I wish you and your family all the best with
    your new venture. How I would love to attend your classes but for me
    I’m stuck on the Gold Coast so will just have to enjoy your posts when
    you do them all the best and take care

    Rae Livesey

  28. Carolyn says:

    I will miss you on Insta, blog etc as I have always found your work inspirational and have the pleasure of some of your beautiful cushions in my home. I do understand the break from social media and I understand how it rules some people’s lives I think i got facebook about 5 years after everyone else! But you are right to put family first, I wish you every success and look forward to seeing the progress on your new reno.

  29. Karen Buckley says:

    Fantastic to hear! Best of luck with the new venture. I’d love to do a course. Keep in touch when you can. xx

  30. Vanessa says:

    Melinda, I stumbled across your blog nearly two years ago. And, I am so glad I did as you have provided amazing inspiration to me with your exquisite style. I wish you every success for your next venture (and will be eager to hear any updates). Enjoy the precious time you have with your beautiful family, and have fun on your renovating journey. Best wishes!

  31. Karen says:

    Hi Mel a refreshingly honest post. I too have decided less social media it does takeover checking the phone constantly doesn’t seem to be good on any level. You’ll make a beautiful home for some lucky family. Look forward to your updates Housewife decorators seem to rule these days nothing wrong with that. Go girl.

  32. Jean says:

    Lovely words indeed. Your trip to the UK must have been lovely and there you were at Windsor shopping centre, not a million miles from where I live! Your style enchants me and, as we recently renovated our kitchen, it was YOUR kitchen which inspired me (sink, taps, worktop, cupboards). I have, however, just costed up making blinds in that fabulous Schumacher fabric and (there are a lot of windows in my kitchen!) am still recovering from the price per metre. It IS fabulous, though. And I would get so much enjoyment from seeing them all day, every day. Hmmmm …..
    Carry on enjoying your young children every day. Those years go by all too fast.
    I look forward to seeing the results of your renovation. You will, I know, continue to inspire me. x

  33. Alessandra Veltri says:

    I still believe yours was the most beautiful house I ever walked in here in Australia. And more so because the dwellers were just as lovely. We miss you. Big hugs to you and a special one to Charlie from Dylan. Alex x

  34. Melissa says:

    This is so refreshing to hear…especially coming from such a talented women! Reading this was exactly what needed right now…also trying to do all of this! Thankyou x i think u have inspired me to renovate …

  35. Jane Crowley says:

    Dear Mel,

    Congratulations – finding your path and following it! Hope the renovations go well, what fun! Looking forward to seeing the end result, and just for the record you weren’t rubbish at retail, you bought your lovely style to Dirty Janes and we loved having you! Jane

  36. Brava and best of luck in your new venture!

  37. Lucia Donahower says:

    Good luck to you and your husband in your new endeavors!!

  38. Debbie says:

    I miss your posts but fully understand. Our lives shouldn’t be gauged on what absolute strangers think of our photos and I’ve learnt it matters not. I love your style and I’m sure you’re renovation will be wonderful and wish you all the best. Formally trained or not – it matters not! There’s a few things that formal training can’t teach and that’s class, style and good taste, and you Lady…have that in abundance. Keep on creating those beautiful interiors and feel proud.

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