I met Monika through one of Holly Beckers E-Courses, Blogging Your Way, about 7 years ago. We were both just starting out in the blogging world and shared a passion for beautiful interiors. We got the chance to meet up with a few other new bloggers in London shortly after, and have followed each other's careers ever since. Monika has a passion for Art, Travel and Interior Decorating as you will see in her blog, Secret Garden Home. Since I shy away from color so much, I thought it would be lovely to invite some into this column through her adorable cottage outside of London. Her home is authentic and honest to who she is and reflects her life with her husband and her little boy in a very real way. We hope you enjoy a glimpse into how style and values intertwine in her and her family's life.
What do you do for a living? And where do you live?
By day, I’m an insight and media researcher for a very respected global newsbrand based in London.
At night, I’m an interior design blogger at SecretGardenhHome and a freelance writer passionate about contemporary culture and travel.
Back in 2017, during my maternity leave, along with my multi-media artist husband, we founded an online art shop PickArtHome, which we continue to develop as a side-line project.
We live in a Victorian cottage in Chelmsford, Essex; still close enough to our beloved London.
Describe your style?
Colourful eclectic with a love for timeless furniture pieces and limited edition wall art. In the constant battle between Scandi and dark interiors styles, I’m sitting on the fence.
Can you share three values that guide your life? Why these three?
Courage, continuous development, and honesty.
I came from a relatively modest background, raised in a small town, just outside Warsaw in Poland.
My parents instilled in me the love of books and the importance of education and self-improvement. I loved school and was the first in my family to get a postgraduate degree.
I was taught to grab any opportunity life gives you and just go for it. If you want something, you will find a way to get it. Always listen to your intuition/gut feeling.
I had traveled the world and ended up settling in the UK. I fell in love, had a family, and established a career in this country. It’s my home for now.
How do you make sure to keep your life in alignment with these values?
I think it’s important to be honest with yourself and listen to your body and mind.
A healthy work/life balance is key for me, making sure I love what I do, and always find time for my family, developing my interests and have time to relax.
My husband and I work 4 days a week, so we both share the childcare between us as much as we can. It was the best decision we’ve ever made. Our 2.5-year-old is such a happy, independent and content little boy.
Surrounding yourself with people who share the same values and passions is essential. You need your support network to grow together.
What ritual during the day holds the most value for you and helps you achieve what you wish to?
I love my morning commute to London when I have 40mins to myself. I can read a book, plan my day and generally catch up.
I do Iyengar yoga on Tuesday nights and go for a run every Friday lunchtime when I work from home.
A few months ago, I got a Calm app on my phone, so I listen to a short pre-sleep meditation every night. Let’s just say, my sleep has never been better.
How do you feel that your values affect the energy of your home?
Our home is a happy place where we can get together, explore, play and eat delicious food. At the same time, if we need peace and quiet, there are a few hiding places to recoup our energy.
Why is home important to you?
Home is my safe sanctuary where I can be myself, display my treasured books and possessions, and explore my passion for interior design.
We feel books are an important aspect of a home. They add life and encourage learning and growing in a nurturing space such as the home. Do you have a favorite book ( any genre) that inspires you? Why?
I love books. I think it’s impossible to pick just one favourite one. It depends on your state of mind and the point you are in life. I love great life stories, thrillers and, generally, contemporary fiction.
If I was forced to pick my top 5 books that shape me, here it is my list:
What objects in your home hold the most value to you? How do they add joy to your life?
No surprise there, books. I love having them on display in our mini-library. I love the moment when you are looking for a new book to read and you discover a classic on our bookshelf.
What aspect of homemaking do you feel the most connected to? ( i.e. cleaning, cooking, gardening, decorating, home repairs) Explain why.
I love decorating and styling, especially the planning and research stage. The actual DIY stage, probably not that much haha
I always liked cleaning. I find it therapeutic, as I don’t like chaos and clutter. I love putting music on and then bringing order to our home.
Explain in one word, how your home makes you feel.