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Our Tiny Home: Sleeping

Bedside table essentials: Natural noises alarm clock (Nature et Découvertes), Neom Organics Tranquility candle & pillow spray, YesMum cards, a bit of greenery, The Simple Things magazine, a Time Turner in my jewellery dish…

Of all the rooms in a house, small bedrooms pose the least amount of problems. After all, a bedroom is for sleeping and little else…right? Not so when babies and toddlers enter the equation!

When my son was born we were living in a one bedroom 40m2 apartment and we all shared that one bedroom. We were lucky that it was a reasonable size and it fit our queen size bed, double Ikea wardrobes, two bedside tables, an armchair and a cot in quite nicely. Of course, all of that furniture left us very little room to walk…or to be honest, stand up, get dressed or do anything that didn’t involve sleeping. But we did it, for fourteen long months we did it! We slept, napped, breast fed, dressed, changed nappies, read and occasionally hid from each other in that full to the brim bedroom.

Now we live in a one bedroom 50m2 apartment, (I know – what a huge difference!) and the bedroom is less of a reasonable size I knew that I couldn’t share a sleeping space with children any longer! Kids are loud sleepers, they snore, grunt, shuffle, rustle, cry and talk in their sleep. As a busy working mum I NEED my sleep, and more than that, I need my space. I dreamt of a soft, cozy space all of our own to sleep, read, dream, burn lavender scented candles etc. A place I could be alone in luxurious silk pyjamas and bright white sheets (the things all mums of toddlers dream of if we’re being honest!).

So, and this is going to sound counter-productive, we moved our bed into the living room. 

Now, again we were lucky that our living space is large enough to support this. The couple who lived here before us kept an eight person dining table where our bed now is (different families, different priorities!). It sounds mad, but I honestly think that this one move has been one of the best decisions we’ve made as a family for the following reasons:

  1. We don’t share a bedroom with our son – we get some time to ourselves! He goes to bed at 7.30pm and the evening is ours. 
  2. We end up going to bed at the same time as each other – good for our marriage, good for our sleep habits.
  3. We watch less mindless TV – when we do watch TV, we watch it together. Before, one of us could go to the bedroom & watch something on another device.
  4. We keep all toys in the bedroom at night. Everything is tidied away after dinner ready for bath & story time. This means that our living room/bedroom is kept clutter free (hooray!) and I can prepare for our next day. 

We’ve considered screening off our bed, putting up a temporary wall and various other ideas to “make a bedroom” but finally – we’re happy with the current lay out. This doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t want a bedroom if one were available – a shared living/sleeping space definitely has some constraints but we’re learning to be satisfied where we are with what we’ve got, and that’s definitely worth some effort. 

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Beginning

It’s funny how the decisions you make on a whim, with the least thought put into them; turn out to be the most important decisions of your life. It sounds odd, but packing up my life in South East England and moving to Paris when I was 21, was one such decision. As it was, I arrived here fresh out of university I was propelled across the channel and into the rest of my life.

Within two months I had met and fallen in love with my, now husband. Eight months later we moved in to our first tiny apartment. The first time I had really lived with a boyfriend, we painted the whole, crumbling place bright white and filled it with (retrospectively) awful furniture. We learned how to live with each other and how to manage our very little space and in general were very happy.

Two years later we were married and four months after that, I fell pregnant with our son. Our previously bright and spacious apartment suddenly closed in on me. How were we going to have a baby in a one-bedroom 40m2 apartment? Where would we put all the STUFF that comes with babies? Like most Parisian apartments, we had NO built in storage, no basement, and no attic. Panic set in. Something had to change.

A quick survey of our friends, most of them young, professional couples in their twenties told me that nearly everyone was in the same situation. Big apartments are hard to come by in nice neighbourhoods and when they do, the competition for them is HUGE and they are extortionately expensive. It turned out that what had to change was us.

In the six years that I’ve lived here, I’ve often wanted to start a blog and the time has never been right. Finally, faced with the arrival of our second son into our, now 50m2 space, I’m motivated to write about our experience. Small living is by no means unique to Paris. Big cities are where the jobs are and they are expensive to live in. We just don’t think space (or lack of it) should stop you doing whatever it is you want to do – whether that’s having children, serving up twelve person dinners on a regular basis or creating a space that you can see yourself growing into, not out of.

There are other aspects to city living with a family that I intend to touch on in this space. Small living tends to equate to simple living, minimalism and simple parenting subjects. Living in one of the most expensive cities in the world nearly always equates to frugality, meal planning and general thrifty subjects. I hope that this can be a space to introduce you to how we manage what some (including our families!) consider an unusual lifestyle and inspire you into whatever it is you desire.

I’m not saying we’re doing things perfectly and I definitely have a lot to learn but I’m excited to fill these pages up with our life.