I love the art room; it’s where this blog was born and where Harry and I do our best and most creative work.  It’s also where I felt like I spent all my waking hours between March and December last year, Zooming in and out of work meetings and calls and gradually going stir-crazy at the sameness.

So as the year turned from old into new, I decided to create a new ‘office space’ for January. Somewhere fresh and light, warm and bright; maybe even with a team.

Meet my new receptionist….

Ok, Charlotte doesn’t help much with fielding calls or documenting my important thoughts (fleeting and infrequent though they may be), but she and Olivia are mighty glad I’m now in their favourite room.  I moved a mirrored vanity desk down from the spare bedroom for my desk, borrowed a chair from the kitchen and declared my new workspace open for business…

My Zoom and Team backgrounds have a new spring-like freshness to them, though I was slightly unnerved when one of my team sent me a link to the bookshelf detective; I’m not quite ready to imagine what a literary psychologist would make of our shelves – other than that we are completely indiscriminate in our choices, perhaps.

I brought my beloved citrus and fig plants with me; they’re loving the light, though less so the devoted attention of the cats.  I read an article over breakfast this morning that celebrated the fact citrus plants are in their element in January; drooping under the weight of vibrant fruit.  My lemon tree is clearly feeling subversive (or merely passive-aggressive at the move) as every meeting today was accompanied by the gentle skittering noise of leaves falling to the floor. It’s very unnerving.

Also dotted around the room – around the house in fact; in every room! – are potted hyacinths, bought for a song as bulbs and now appearing in waves, exuding the headiest scent.  Once again, I’m not the only one captivated;

…and this is MY view; calming and lovely.  In breaks between meetings where there isn’t time for a walk you can often find me on the sofas here with Harry, playing cards or enjoying a decadent hot chocolate break together (we have become the self-declared best hot-choc makers in the land these past few months).  Note to self: straighten that picture on the end.

After hours, I try to maintain the discipline of slipping my laptop and notebook into the drawer (out of sight, out of mind; I’m getting better at boundaries).

And then the room becomes everyone’s again; just in time for a round of hide and seek.

A few of my unseen hacks;

  • I often add the ironing board behind my desk; it’s great for extra workspace depth, for videoconferences and storing the miscellany of plates, cups and papers that can accumulate over a day.  It also raises high enough to become a standing desk when I’m feeling ergonomically challenged!  Needless to say, it didn’t meet the aesthetic bar for these pics…
  • I bought – and love – a ‘happy lamp’ over Christmas; aimed at combatting SAD they project a brilliant light for you to bathe in for half an hour each day; I use mine at the gloom between sunset and the end of the working day
  • We keep our yoga mats rolled out in the hallway beyond the room, so when we’re on breaks we can spend a few minutes together doing yoga or simply lying on the floor and chatting.  It’s become an end of day ritual to light candles there, put on some cool music and stretch the day away (we’re great fans of the corpse pose, and are highly unlikely to ever master this).

Where are you working, and did you change it up over the break?  So many of my colleagues seem to have done the same!

p.s. one of the great consequences of the move is the art room has been reclaimed for actual ART! I’ve been experimenting with some new projects which I’ll share in the coming days…

Have a great week, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.