Evie Kemp is more than ready for the resplendent, inspiring beauty of springtime.
Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.
By the time September rolls around each year, I’m positively gagging for spring – the longer days, fresh greenery, blossom, less rain (well, we can dream). I don’t know at what age you become a woman thrilled so completely by the sight of a clump of daffodils, but here we are.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the concept of hygge, pronounced “hoog-ga” and roughly interpreted to mean a way of life that embraces the cosy – thick blankets, soft lighting, open fires, and unlimited hot drinks. However, after months of standing outside in the rain and the dark imploring my dogs to please join me outside before bedtime for the sake of everyone’s wellbeing, I’m over it.
I really don’t want to lug yet another basket of logs into the house, or have clothes permanently drying in the middle of the living room. My level of reluctance to leave the house after dark has peaked, as has my ratio of pyjamas to real clothes and I find myself in a state of semi-hibernation perilously close to existing like Charlie Bucket’s grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Call it Seasonal Affective Disorder, call it cold and tired, but I’ve run out of detective shows to watch on Acorn TV and have exhausted my repertoire of “fun” soup recipes (although pumpkin, carrot, capsicum and chilli is always a good time, can’t lie).
And so, a few weeks ago when the first pink blooms on the camellia outside the kitchen window burst into life, I felt that excitement for spring. Like magic, I’m inspired to renew my garden plans. I’m looking around at all the many layers of fluff I’ve accumulated over winter – the wool blankets on top of sheepskins, on top of rugs – and I’m ready to pack it all away.
I’m being drawn to distinctly “cottage-core” interiors, floral wallpapers that extend up and over the ceilings, mismatched outdoor table settings strewn with flowers, gauzy, linen curtains billowing by an open window, worn-soft, sun-warmed, ticking stripe cushions thrown on the lawn with a pile of books waiting to be read (disclaimer: I don’t have a lawn), a country kitchen filled with herbs, and bowls of homegrown heirloom tomatoes. . . I have it all worked out in my mind.
So hopeful have these signs of spring made me, I’m now imagining a whole new life for myself – one that is sun-bleached, smells of lavender and orange blossom, where I’m an entirely graceful and calm person pottering around my garden and home. The reality of how I’ll spend most of the Auckland summer lying on the tiled floor in front of the fan cursing the heat is a distant memory. I’ve got work to do, but it’s only September and the days are getting longer and warmer. So you just never know.
Here are a few of my favourite Instagram accounts for aspirational seasonal living. If these don’t make you want to slip on a linen maxi dress and plant some seedlings, I don’t know what will.
Paula Sutton (@hillhousevintage) manages to make life look like Bridgerton meets Country Living, sharing her English country home and garden in a parade of picture-perfect dresses, plenty of tea and spectacular cakes.
Fleur Woods’ (@fleurwoodsart) instinctively embroidered artworks evoke everyday spring, and her charming home, collection of vintage textiles and slow-living approach to life in rural Marlborough are a breath of fresh air.
My top 5 spring things
Flowers, of course!
Fresh seasonal flowers and foliage are uplifting at the best of times, but even if you think daffs are naff you can’t help but smile when they’re brightening up your home. Even better as gifts.
Make an occasion of the switch to summer bedding – wash and line-dry your sheets, treat yourself to new pillows and make your bed with care. Use a linen spritz or essential oils on your bedding for extra indulgence, and pop a jar of flowers on your bedside table.
Thermal-lined curtains are a great thing in winter but when the sun is starting to peek in they can look heavy and obsolete. I like to switch out my curtains to lightweight sheers for summer – it gives a room a completely different look and feel, as well as being a good opportunity to properly clean your curtains. I recommend using a double track so you can keep your sheers up all year round but remove thermal curtains when needed.
Colour plays such a huge part in how we experience the seasons, and adding in a cushion or artwork can change a room from cosy to fresh with minimal effort. If you’ve been living in autumnal hues, try adding in a vibrant yellow or green to give it zest!
Smells like spring
A fresh, beautiful floral candle can create a real sense of the changing seasons within your home.