Like about 99 per cent of other children, my childhood was filled with dreams of going to Disneyland. Some day, I believed that we’d be en route to the traditional family holiday in Bundoran and my dad would do a u-turn to the airport and we’d fly off to Florida. I didn’t for a minute think about the amount it would cost to take an entire family from Donegal to America and treat us to everything the home of Mickey Mouse had to offer.
Disneyland was a place with happy endings, princess dresses and magic and sparkles.
But like most little girls, there came a point when I grew out of it, as you do, unless you’re, say, Katie Price.
In your early thirties you like to think you’re past Disneyland, and maybe past believing in the magic sparkles. But the other day, in between stories, I had lunch in a local home store . Looking around at their Christmas displays I was all a flutter. Currently in a pre-mid life crisis, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with interiors. I buy magazines and look longingly at the expensive houses in the expensive parts of the country and in some way, in my less expensive lifestyle, I try to put a little bit of that magic into my own home.
The other day, looking around me on an otherwise cold and miserable Tuesday afternoon, I saw couples, mothers with pushchairs and a few reluctant men eyeing up colourful curtains, perfect pictures, beautiful bedsets, and everything else in the Buncrana Road store. All of them in one way or another trying to bring their own bit of magic to their homes. The store is laid out with our dreams in mind. They make you want to sit round the perfectly co-ordinated Christmas dinner display. You want to be looking at that chandelier they have hanging up everytime you walk in your front door and you want to close those heavily-lined curtains every night before you go to bed.
These stores are the happy ending specialists. Every room is catalogue-esque in its outward appearance. The trouble is, of course, that most of us on an average Derry salary or less can only ever do one room at a time. So by the time you get to that final room in the house, the first one has dated and you have to start again!
Few of us ever reach perfect show home status, where every room is exactly as it should be. But it doesn’t stop us trying for the dream. In that case, you have to wonder if home stores are the Disneyland of the average grown woman. We go, we look at the perfect place where everything remains untouched and lavish and shiny and new, and then we go home where nothing is ever in its place.
It’s a long time since I dressed up as a princess, but I can shop for cushions like a woman possessed!