Tips for Working From Home (Temporarily)

Much like the rest of the world, I was sent to start working from home at the end of March. With no inclination of how long this would last and very short notice, my home work set-up is far from ideal. I’ve had to make do with what we have and I have an idea many of you are in the same situation. I hope my tips will be helpful if you also find yourself unable to get your hands on anything non-essential or you don’t want a permanent solution for a temporary problem.

I almost abandoned the idea of this post as so many of you have likely already settled into your WFH schedule. But then I realised that a large portion of the workforce were only placed on leave until now and that many are only now starting to wade into the uncertainty of WFH. So whether you’re interested in tweaking your situation or need to start from scratch, these are the things that I’ve found works for me.

1. Set Up an Office Space

I know that it is tempting to start wading through your inbox while in bed and I think that we should fully allow ourselves some slack during these distressing times, but a good rule of thumb is to have that be the exception rather than the rule.

Creating an area or room in your home that contains all your office essentials – internet access, power cords, laptop, seating, stationery, etc allows you to be more productive when necessary. I think a corner or smaller room works well as it is easy to create a cosy feeling. Plus you preferably don’t want to spend both leisure and work hours lounging in the same chair.

2. Create Some Distance

If you’re not living alone, try to create some distance between yourself and your new ‘colleague’. The last thing you want is to be distracted by your partner’s frequent business calls or constantly having to explain why you are sniggering when colleagues send you memes.

If you live in space able to accommodate two “office nooks” separate from each other, make use of it and set yourselves up apart. If that isn’t an option, try to at least create rules around communication and make sure you have a separate area for taking work calls. In these situations noise-cancelling headphones will help get you into the work zone.

3. Furniture Choices

Once you’ve chosen your area, you’ll find yourself in need of a table. If you’re not lucky enough to have a spare desk lying around, a dining table, bistro table, console table or beauty desk works just as well. Be creative, think outside the box! Maybe you can balance an old door on two lower bookcases? Any stable flat surface at the right height (which incidentally happens to be between 70-75 cm) can work.

I constantly joke with my colleagues that the thing I miss most about our office isn’t their presence, but my comfortable, perfectly ergonomic office chair. If office chair shops were open and I knew I’d be working from home for a long time, I’d definitely invest in a decent chair. It is something my back will certainly thank me for! Right now I’ve found the best solution to be switching between all available chairs, including both our upholstered and ghost chairs. Neither is particularly comfortable for long stretches of time, but at least they tend to hurt different parts of my body? Plus it forces me to get up and stretch regularly! So if there isn’t a comfortable office chair available, choose the next best thing and swap it out every few days.

4. Pay Attention to Your Background

If you’re anything like me you’ll love getting a peek into your colleagues’ homes. With Zoom calls being the new norm, you’ll have to consider what your home looks like in the background too. I favour the simple background as it places the focus firmly where it should be – on what you’re verbally communicating! But I have to admit that a beautifully styled bookcase or favourite art piece makes for a much more pleasing background. Choose what best suits the situation and from what you have available. And be sure to make the bed and fluff the pillows if they do have to make their Zoom debut.

5. Add Some Personality

Make sure that your work space is inspiring and somewhere you want to spend time at by adding some personality.

Walk through the house and select a few of your favourite things and make sure they are in your sight-line while working to instantly lift your mood. This could mean anything from adding your favourite coffee table books and a candle to your desk to taping some beautiful prints to your wall.

Be selective though, you don’t want to clutter your work space. The idea is to simply make it feel like an extension of your home and a welcoming space to spend what might be the majority of your work day.

6. Snacking

I struggled so much during those first few days, but I think I’ve settled into a routine that works for me. I always keep a glass of water on my desk to ensure I stay hydrated and then plan a few tea breaks to help “break up” the day at specific times. If I feel peckish at these times, I might also grab a biscuit or fruit to snack on but try to stay away from the kitchen during the rest of the day. This structure seems to work well for me.

7. Stay Connected With Colleagues

This obviously depends on what your work situation is and the role you fulfill, but as I don’t work in a team it has been important for me to keep in touch with the other colleagues in my department. We have a Skype chat open at all times where we share useful resources, jokes and industry specific information. Even though I live with a partner, we aren’t in the same industry and our work situations differ vastly. My partner is understanding and supportive, but it is not the same as the sense of community between colleagues. Don’t let that fade into the background.

8. Be Comfortable

Make sure you’re comfortable at all times, whether that means stretchy jeans (you weirdo!) or elasticated waistbands. If you’re comfortable you can focus on the task at hand! So no judgement if that happens to be your Pjs. Just remember that you also want to be comfortable on your unscheduled video call.

9. Welcome the Pets

Spending more time with your pets is absolutely the best part about working from home. I live with two loving kitties who always favoured my husband, who works from home permanently. Now that I’m also home and seated most of the time, they’re starting to share custody between our laps. To keep them happy and close by when they can’t get settled, I’ve set up a kitty bed on a chair next to me. This frees up my work space for me to do just that – work – and allows all of us to be happy with their close proximity for cuddles.

10. Be Flexible With Your Schedule

If there is one thing I’ve realised, is that each day is completely different. While it definitely helps that I still work within my usual scheduled office hours, you need to allow yourself some freedom as your ‘controlled environment’ to work in is now your home. Plus you need to allow yourself to take at least some advantage of that!

You need to feel it out and do what works for you, and that might be different on some days than others. Also know that it takes some time to settle into a new schedule and that things will start to feel better by week two.

I hope you find these tips helpful! Let me know what has been working for you?

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Home Trend: Fun Pouffes

I have to recognise that there is so much sadness and worry in the world right now, but blog posts have been a great source of distraction from all the terrifying news for me. So I hope mine can do the same for you!

One of the best home trends I’ve seen this year has been all the fun pouffes. From scalloped edges to channel tufting and interesting textures, there is no excuse to settle for a boring pouffe. I’ve compiled a few of my favourite styles below. Things like tassles, interesting textures and fun shapes will help introduce a touch of whimsy to any room.

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

While most of these would be custom orders in South Africa or very expensive imports, the below is available locally and you can snap them up as soon as it is safe to go outside again.

Douglas & Douglas | Mr Price Home | Decofurn | Mr Price Home

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Decor 2019: My Top Picks

 

If you’re decorating your tree this weekend, then you might be on the hunt for a few new additions. Instead of doing gift guides this year, which can be overwhelming, I’m sharing my top decor picks. Whether you want to add something special to your tree, or simply love seeing all the glittery items, I hope you enjoy my favourites from this year’s selection. 

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The Home Edit: Mirrors

I’ve been hunting for beautiful mirrors for our home for the last few weeks. I’ve subsequently developed a minor obsession with beautiful mirrors. Since I’ve found way more amazing mirrors than I could possibly every need, I thought I’d share them with you. I’ve tagged the ones that I own, but I love all of these. You’ll notice I’m obsessed with antique-style mirrors. Anything in brass, with an interesting shape or with a shelf has drawing my attention. Unfortunately many of them aren’t very budget friendly. Don’t let that put you off though as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are also great resources.

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The 4 Pots & Pans Every Kitchen Needs

The only pots and pans you need Cast iron skillet

I recently purchased myself a cast iron skillet and it has legitimately revolutionised my way of cooking. I took the plunge after seeing a heat mark emerging on my beloved non-stick pan. It made me realise what I have always known, non-stick or Teflon coated pans simply can’t handle high heat. Surprisingly a cast iron skillet also wasn’t as big an investment as I had anticipated. So with my recent purchase in mind, I thought I’d share my five essential pots and pans that everyone needs in their kitchen drawer. If you have any to add, please drop a comment below! I’m sure that this list could grow.

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How To Pretty Up Your Kitchen on a Budget

If you’re anything like me, you probably spend at least an hour each day, if not more, in the kitchen. But so often a kitchen falls to the way side, especially if it isn’t the kitchen of your dream. So I thought I’d share how I made my less than ideal kitchen look prettier on a budget. These tips are great and should help you, whether you’re renting or simply looking to make an existing kitchen work.

  1. Keep the clutter at bay

This is my number one tip on making kitchens look better! Stash away as much as possible and keep those counter tops clear. You really only want to have things out that either doesn’t fit elsewhere (hello microwave) and basics like salt and pepper, that you reach for often, out on the counter. Limit your small appliances to the ones you use daily and put the rest away, but still within easy reach. If your kitchen is small, this is the single best tip to make it feel bigger and to free up more counter prep space.

2. Paint the backdoor

This is one of my personal pet peeves, but in South Africa so many homes have raw wood back doors that have simply been varnished. It does come down to personal preference, but if you find yourself unhappy with the overall look I’d recommend you try painting the orange-red tone door either white or a dark colour. It is amazing how much sleeker a room feels if you limit the wood tones in it. Sanding the door down to a beautiful raw wood tone (at least on the inside), could also be a beautiful way to add warmth to a plain white kitchen.

 

3. Limit the colours on display

This brings me to the colours you introduce into your kitchen. It is so easy to fall for all the pretty pastels, but if you’re dealing with a less than ideal kitchen restraining your colour palette is the best way to tone it down. I’m not saying all the miss-matched tupperware must go, but perhaps consider re-bottling some of your sink side essentials into clear glass bottles or removing the labels of products on display. Less visual clutter is always better!

4. Choose pretty basics

There are some things in your kitchen that you simply can’t hide. I advise you invest a little more in them, especially if it is something that you’ll be able to use for years to come. Think a beautiful gold dish drying tray, colour coordinated dishtowels and beautiful utilitarian items. Sometimes these might cost more or require more digging to find, but the joy they bring are so worth it. I’ve rounded up a few of my favourites  (and a few ‘when-I-win-the-lotto’ items), down below. I still think one of the saddest things about adult life is spending that much money on a rubbish bin, but at least I found some pretty ones!

5. Decorate the space

Something people often forget to do is to actually decorate the space as you would any other room in the house. Introducing your personality and style doesn’t have to mean you can only think about fridge magnets! Lay down a washable rug or beautiful bath mat to cover unsightly floors and introduce art work into the space. I like the look of beautiful trivets stacked against chopping boards and creating the transitional style I personally love through both classic and modern accessories. For you, this could mean something mid-century or glamorous depending on your personal style. I also don’t think you can overestimate the power of fresh flowers or a beautiful potted plant. Herbs are a popular choice for good reason.

1. Salt and Pepper Grinders | 2. Kettle | 3. Serviette holder | 4. Slotted spoon

5. Bin | 6. Broom | 7. Utensil holder | 8. Dishrack 

I hope you find these tips helpful in dealing with a basic kitchen and that this will help you enjoy the space that much more!

 

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Home Update: Living & Dining Room

Black and white bookcaseI feel like I’ve lost my blogging motivation a little and there probably isn’t a single reason, but I was struggling to figure out where I fit in. I’m doing it part-time, really only as a hobby, and I can’t compete with most blogs as they’ve become so editorial. I still enjoy those blogs, but that level of professionalism simply isn’t possible for me. I don’t make use of a professional photographer, don’t buy things only for the blog and producing a single post often has to spread out over three days.

But as I was sitting on my couch now, I realised I wanted to share our living room (great room?). It is our all-in-one living and dining room that doesn’t come to more than 30 square meters. It isn’t ‘done’ in the traditional sense of the word and I’m not being modest like most bloggers (we’re missing half our gallery wall) but our new flooring just pleases me so greatly that I can finally share the room with some pride. To say it has been a work in progress is probably an understatement. We moved in four years ago with only two small bookshelves and a borrowed couch. We’ve come a long way since then, so I’d love to share how we made this small living-cum-dining room work for us and our cats.

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Six of My Favourite Coffee Table Books

Coffee table books

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but it is so much easier said than done! There are so many amazing books to choose from that it can be hard to narrow down which ones are worth the shipping costs, so I thought I’d give you a peak into some of my favourite coffee table books. They cover a vast range of topics from wanderlust inducing books on the City of Love to Caroline Khoo’s beautiful confectioneries that are literally the way to my heart.

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Summer Wardrobe Inspiration

Like most Capetonians, I’m feeling ready for summer (although more rain is very welcome)! I wasn’t too keen about it until recently, when the weather gave us a little preview of balmy evenings and 30 degreee days. With the warmer weather I had to swap in my summer clothing, but it just hasn’t been as exciting to get dressed in the morning as it usually is. Most of my clothing is office ready and whilst they aren’t very formal, the fabrics just don’t scream summer.

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10 Metal Songs To Add To Your Halloween Playlist

Ten metal songs for your Halloween playlist

As contrary as it might sound from someone who just posted something Halloween related, I’ve never really celebrated the holiday. I like to attribute it to the fact that as an adult I have access to all the sweets I could ever want, but I guess the fact that I scare easily also contributes. Surprisingly some of my favourite songs cover subjects like a crazy scientist and a stalking monster, so it just seemed too holiday appropriate to resist compiling a whole playlist. Whether you’ve always appreciated a heavier sound or simply want to add some diversity to your party music, these songs are guaranteed to send chills down your spine. Atmospheric organs playing and howling wolves included, these songs are all must haves in any Halloween playlist!

You can listen to my Halloween playlist on Google Play Music here.

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