messy desk / clean desk

The Things You Don’t See On Instagram

Although I’ve called this post ‘Week in Pictures‘, I actually started writing it just over a week ago, with the intention of it being one of my usual, diary-style posts.

Then the tragic attack in Manchester happened, and now it feels a bit odd to me to be writing about all of the trivial little things which have made up my week, when all the time there’s been one HUGE thing dominating the news, and my thoughts – a thing so huge I can’t even find the right words to talk about it.

I’m never really sure how to approach this kind of thing on the blog/social media: on the one hand, I don’t want to be accused of trying to make it all about ME, but on the other hand, it just feels so odd to continue with business as usual, as if nothing has happened. Also, there never really seems to be a right time or way to address these subjects, so I generally end up saying nothing, and then feeling like crap because of it. I’ve actually written a much longer post on the subject of how social media deals with tragedy, which I may or may not publish at some point, but for now all I’ll say is that the world, once again, feels like a very dark and scary place right now, and my heart breaks for the people who lost their lives, and for those who loved them. It’s absolutely incomprehensible to me to think of those poor people going out to a concert, and then never coming home, and so although I’m now going to awkwardly segue into “business as usual” mode, it really didn’t feel right to not mention it. Here’s that awkward segue…

Ladies and gentlemen, I present my marriage, summed up in one photo:

You’ll never guess whose desk is whose, will you?

This photo is not remotely staged, by the way: when I took it, last Saturday morning, I looked at it and thought, “Yeah, everyone’s going to assume I tied my desk before I tool this, or that Terry deliberately messed his up,” but nope, that’s what our home office actually looks like right now – and a lot of other times, really. And, to be fair, Terry’s desk is particularly messy at the moment because he’s been spending all of his time working on the kitchen/living room reno, so tidying his desk has been the last thing on his mind (I’d do it for him, but I’m NOT ALLOWED to touch The Desk…), but… yeah. This is why you only ever see MY desk on my new Instagram account…

(I should add here that I’m not posting this to Terry-shame – it was actually his suggestion – or to suggest that I’m in any way superior because I keep things neat. I know it’s just as hard it is to live with a neat-freak as it is for me to live with someone who ISN’T one: I just thought it was a funny visual representation of how totally different we are. And yeah, that IS a loo roll on his desk, by the way. I haven’t asked…)

(Oh, and this reminds me, actually: I did buy some of the chair glides someone recommended on this post, and they finally allowed me to get rid of the horrible carpet protector! They don”t leave any marks on the carpet, either, and although they do make the chair a little harder to move in and out, I can totally live with it. Terry, on the other hand, totally can’t live with it, so he still has his plastic mat and chair-on-wheels. I’ve had to resign myself to only half of the office being even remotely Instagramable at any given time…)

In other news, because we have a super-glamorous life, this week Terry and I took a quick trip to the local recycling centre, to offload some of the many huge pieces of cardboard and other packaging that came with our new kitchen, and as we were leaving, I saw something that chilled me to the very bone:

roadside teddies

abandoned bears

ROADSIDE TEDDIES, people. ABANDONED BEARS. It seems that some people – and quite a lot of them, too, by the looks of things – had actually THROWN AWAY their beloved soft toys, thus resigning them to a life on the street: well, at the recycling centre, where it seems the workers have gathered them together to create this sad little display. Well, you all know how I feel about this kind of thing, don’t you? And yes, I DID ask Terry if we could stop the car and collect them all, to give them a safe and loving home but, surprisingly enough, he really wasn’t down with that idea, so I had to resign myself to being just one more passer-by, who looked at their smiling faces, and then just drove on by. I hate myself right now.

Also, do you see it?


That doll is totally going to come and try to kill us all in our sleep, isn’t it? If I were the person who tried to throw her out on the street, I’d be veeeerrrry worried right now…

In other news:

Friends-inspired peephole frameOur front door has this silly little spy hole in it, which is completely and utterly redundant, because the top half of the door is made of glass. Sometimes when people come to visit, I like to make a big show of looking through the spy hole, even although they’re standing right there in front of me, because it’s just THAT stupid. (I mean, I guess it’s maybe there for times when you have the blind pulled down over the glass? We never do, though, so I stand by my original assessment here…) Anyway, last week Terry made this cute little frame to go over it, just to keep the joke going. If you’re a Friends fan (and we are), you’ll probably have recognised this from the show: it’s based on the one that hung on the door of Monica’s apartment, and Terry made it all by himself, from clay: isn’t he clever? Say he is clever: it’ll help make up for that photo of the desk…

Also, just to prove how very, very exciting my life has been lately…

stack of library books

I went to the library. Because the thrills never end round here, let me tell you.

I actually used to go the library almost every week, but ever since I got my Kindle, a few years ago, I’ve just been downloading all of my books to that, so there hasn’t been any need. Lately I’ve been reading quite a lot, though, and, well, it was getting a little bit expensive, so I decided to go all old skool and re-join the library. Our local library isn’t particularly great, to be honest – they have something like two full shelves worth of Jackie Collins novels, and then a pretty random selection from other authors (mostly chick lit of what they describe as “family sagas” – so I came away with a bit of a mixed bag, really. I can already highly recommend the Lisa Jewell novel, though, which I read in almost one sitting: as for the rest, I’ll report back soon!

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books by Amber Eve
  • The Manchester attack was so awful. I also feel bad at not mentioning things like that on my blog but then it would maybe seem strange if I mentioned one thing but not another and sometimes I just don’t know what to say. So I often end up often not saying anything. I hope you do post the other post you’ve been working on about the social media reaction.

    May 26, 2017
  • Adina


    Why are your books on Terry’s desk?

    May 26, 2017
      • Adina


        I thought the picture I saw was the one on the top book’s cover. Sorry. It’ s obvious what cought my attention in your article this time. I ‘ve just finished rereading “15 books about old misterious houses” hoping this time I can find another one online.

        May 26, 2017
  • Chiarina


    I have a feeling you might not get too many comments on this post for the same reason you opened it with…. how can things go on as usual when people died, have suffered, are suffering and grieving? When we all are grieving? And is it shallow if I now tell you that I enjoyed the picture of your desks and the explanations that went with it? Yet carry on we must, so thank you for this post… You come across as a thoughtful person with a very big heart, I always appreciate your more “heartfelt” posts.

    May 26, 2017
  • Myra Boyle


    It was the photo of the first student who was identified that did for me, and then the eight year old. I couldn’t look at their faces, thinking of how their young lives had been wiped out.

    I love how you and Terry rub along together with your differences, the old saying opposites attract is certainly true for you.

    May 26, 2017
  • Erin


    Unfortunately it seems like another day, another tragedy. And technically most of us are lucky that we have so few to contend with. My heart goes out to all of you in Britain <3 I'm going to now crassly move on to your desks! I am the Terry, my husband is the Amber 😉 I feel horrible because I am a hot mess and I know it drives him crazy.

    May 26, 2017
  • Sharon


    Those abandoned toys are horrid. Our local tip has a lovely garden at the office section. They’ve made it look lovely, and not at all creepy like this one.

    May 26, 2017
  • Mandy


    I appreciate your thoughts about the Manchester bombing. It feels a lot of blogs haven’t even acknowledged it (British ones) which is heartbreaking so to hear how hard it is to talk about it as part of a post makes me appreciate your comment all the more. I live near to Manchester and both my children had friends at the concert. It is so utterly devastating to have to talk to them and see their fear and questions. The school have been great in sending links and how to talk to our kids but it is so sad and so wrong xx

    May 26, 2017
  • Justina


    I’d love to know what you think about The Paying Guests. It’s been in my Amazon cart for forever, but I’ve never pulled the trigger on ordering it.

    May 26, 2017
  • I understand the issue about acknowledging such attacks on your blog and think you’ve done the right thing here. I hope you do publish that longer post because it would be interesting to read.

    I’m lucky to live with a “neat freak”, although true to say we’re both pretty tidy. I’m giving him the accolade this week though as we have a back room, which is supposed to be the spare room, which is our art studio. Right now it’s choc-a-bloc with all my work-in-progress and the poor man is despairing! Fair to say that it is paid work I’m doing (or will be) and will only be disorganised for the next few days, but each time he walks in he walks out again.

    May 28, 2017
  • Justine


    I suppose Sarah Waters had to make it “The” paying guests, to distinguish it from the classic E. F. Benson ” Paying Guests” he who is most well known as the creator of the Mapp and Lucia series of books. I have read all his books and they are very entertaining ( not exactly what you would think of a Bishop’s son writing!!) My own absolutely good read is a hard science fiction, anything that has won a Hugo Award, a British Science Fiction or an Arthur C. Clarke Award. My husband knows it is at his peril if he interrupts me when I am “deep in space”. It takes all sorts doesn’t it!!

    May 29, 2017
  • My husband and I just love going to concerts and that tragedy has halted any summer plans at the moment. And to target a concert with such a young demographic 🙁 I live in California and the unfortunate constant shooting death articles that come up is just so disheartening. I’d be interested to read your take on social media and the response to these types of things, you are always so insightful!

    I love that clay piece your husband made! I looked up why they had that piece on the show and apparently, it was a mirror that broke and they decided to repurpose it! I love creative people, I probably would have tossed it, ha.

    May 29, 2017
  • Arndís Sara


    The first picture resonates with me on a personal level, my boyfriend left the kitchen a mess this morning and I thought I’d cry…OK maybe I did, a little! If it was up to me the whole house would be like your desk.

    May 30, 2017
  • D. Johnson


    The teddies reminded me of all the tributes people assemble after tragedies, drunk driving deaths, celebrities’ passing. I’ve always thought it so sad that stuffed animals that could’ve brightened some poor child’s life were instead left to become rain/snow sodden and dirty and tossed. I’m following another blogger who lives in the UK and after she had mentioned a trip to Manchester I had a panicked feeling until her next blog post, when I found out she, and her family, were safe. That is an absolutely ADORABLE spyhole cover! Terry is so creative! Thank you for more reading suggestions. I’m trying to survive a very lean (financially, but that means everything!) summer so I’ll be making many trips to my local library which, fortunately, is quite a wonderful place.

    May 31, 2017
  • I had scheduled a post for the morning after Manchester but as soon as I got to the PC I unscheduled it and didn’t post that day, maybe the day after too. I’d sat at home watching the news in tears knowing there would be young victims, as soon as they mention children I’m in pieces.

    I love going to the library, did you enjoy the books? I really liked I Found You!

    June 2, 2017
  • Well, your desks pretty much sums up my husband and me, down to his random toilet roll.
    But back to Manchester… ugh. Yeah. I was having a hard time on social media interacting with my American friends and family that seemed to not even be aware of what happened. Then London just happened, and my horrible President was saying dumb things about it. It is honestly just too much. I’m glad you brought it up even just to acknowledge it.

    June 6, 2017
  • Rachael Dickinson


    OMG the desks are so funny! This is like mine and my hubby’s side of the beds!

    Rachael xox

    June 13, 2017