My feed

to access all these features

Join the discussion and meet other Mumsnetters on our free online chat forum.

MNHQ have commented on this thread


Share a pic of the house you grew up in and win £100 John Lewis voucher -WINNING PICTURE ANNOUNCED

126 replies

RachelMumsnet · 08/07/2013 16:34

To celebrate the publication of Lisa Jewell's latest book The House We Grew Up In we're inviting you to send in pictures of the house that you grew up in with a short caption.

Whether it's a shot of the exterior or a room indoors, a garden or even piece of furniture or ornament but all pics must be evocative of your childhood. Post your pics up before the end of 22 July, write a short caption, and we'll create a carousel of our favourite ten pics on 23 July. Each person who makes the shortlist of ten will receive a copy of The House We Grew Up in. Author Lisa Jewell will then choose the winning photo from the ten and we'll announce the winner on Thursday 25 July. The winner will receive a £100 voucher for John Lewis.

More about The House We Grew up in by Lisa Jewell

Meet the Bird Family

All four children have an idyllic childhood: a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden.

But one Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart.

The years pass and the children become adults and begin to develop their own quite separate lives. Soon it's almost as though they've never been a family at all.

Almost. But not quite.

Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in - and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.

OP posts:
MrsSchadenfreude · 19/07/2013 23:47

My mother had the house I grew up in demolished and sold the land to a developer after my father died. It was quite isolated, the garden was much too big for her to do herself and she was unable to find anyone reliable to come in and cut the grass. And she didn't want anyone else to live in it. The developer cut down all the fruit trees in the orchard, got rid of all the plants, shrubs and other trees, got rid of the "natural" hedge and turned it into a "close" for three "executive homes." It is in the middle of the countryside, in the home counties near the river Thames, and is now a bizarre "gated community" with remote control gates and ornate gates and fences. It looks utterly out of place in its surroundings, it sits on an unmade road, overlooking farmland. And the developer ripped her off royally.

I had an idyllic childhood - spent all summer down by the river, swimming and waving at people on boats. We used to swim across to the island, swing out on a rope that someone had helpfully tied on a tree and drop into the river. All without adult supervision. We used to go home when it was getting dark or we were hungry. Occasionally my Mum and her friend would wander down in the afternoon with some biscuits and very weak lemon squash in tupperware beakers with lids.

lookoveryourshouldernow · 20/07/2013 01:26

Short Caption (after writing the stuff below):-

It is better to have loved than have never to have loved at all .....

The house I grew up was unremarkable - but perfect...

I lived there for nearly 16 years and even today I when I go back to my home town I make a tiny detour to see what it has grown into.. I take my eyes of the road (for a second) and sneak a look, reminisce and then look ahead and drive straight on..

Back then it was a simple semi-detached with a garage had a long long garden - well everything seems big and long when you are small and squat.

My parents kept the front very neat with an even neater privet hedge and a small wrought iron gate... I can still remember the squeak every time you opened the gate.... I swear my Mum could hear the gate go even before I lurched my way to the front door when I was a teenager..

Inside was comfortable - full of the stuff that my parents considered homely but to my sneering teenager eyes was "naff" ... I wish I could wander through there now, re-assess my prejudices and think again..

My Father hated going on holidays - so his efforts were in developing his little bit of England and his toys... we had a concrete path weaving its way down the garden were he used to take his steam engines to run around. My memories are of him stoking up the engines with meths and then leading them down the path... he enjoyed it and we watched.

When I was little he built me a Wendy House (out of old wooden pallets) - and I vividly remember that I had to eat two whole boiled potatoes if I wanted to get a split door (like a horse stable)..... I have never eaten a meal quicker than that day - and boiled potatoes - well ??

The back garden was worthy of Wimbledon or Lords - it was neat, manicured stripes - it we wanted to have a padding pool or toys out in the Summer we had to move them every two hours so that the grass would not suffer staining or sun damage - that when or sun-bathing too... move along, move along...

One year, he decided to build a pool for us - he was out there for months and months and months and months digging single-handed to make a BIG BIG hole on the ground - it was absolutely fantastic and we had many great Summers.

He spent ages lining and landscaping it but unfortunately as a teenager I was too embarrassment to admit to my friends that "we had a pool".... but not too embarrassed to swim in it !!!

My Mother was wonderful with her plating and flowers - each Easter there was a beautiful array of blue flowers, closely followed by a stunning Summer display, then Autumn ( bonfires abound) and finally Winter - when everything just slept.

Unfortunately, as my parents got older the pool was drained and made into a sunken garden, the grass was cut only when it got too long, the flower beds were seeded over and finally about 10 years ago we had to sell to fund my Mother's Care...

When I drive past now - it's not the same house - it has been extended over 50% at least - but I wonder if they will find the grave of my beloved tortoise, cat or the 25 pet mouses that I used to keep - but most importantly - have the same happy memories...

Off to find my black and white photo of the house in Suburbia where my parents built their dream.....

Place Marking and Blank space for photo as I can't remember which photo album it is in...

Itsnotahoover · 20/07/2013 07:39

This is a pic from 1975 when the house I grew up in was just being built (it's the very first one at the top of the street). My mum and dad bought it brand new and Dad still lives there 38 years later :)

MalcolmTuckerSwearsBy · 20/07/2013 11:12

I was a couple of doors along, but cannot find a pic, so got this on right move - near identical.

LayMizzRarb · 20/07/2013 19:30

Not only the house I was brought up in - but the bedroom where I was born! In the late sixties, you were only allowed the 'luxury' of a hospital birth and 7 day stay if it was your first baby, or you were black. God alone knows why, but they were the rules. I remember my sisters and I all piling in the bed on a Sunday morning with our books to read. My Dad was dispatched downstairs to make tea and toast! They bought the house before it was built, and moved out 50 years later, earlier this year to a bungalow!

lookoveryourshouldernow · 20/07/2013 20:39

My first NEW BUILD.....

When I was little my Dad built me a Wendy House (out of old wooden pallets and other stuff laying around the house and garden).

I vividly remember that I had to eat two whole boiled potatoes if I wanted to get a split door (like a horse stable)..... I have never eaten a meal quicker than that day - and boiled potatoes - well ??

lookoveryourshouldernow · 20/07/2013 20:52

My Parents Semi in Suburbia...

ChaosTrulyReigns · 20/07/2013 21:04

This is a line drawing of my lovely lovely family home.

Mom and Dad are still there and a mooting a swap with us, so the Chaotics can enjoy the massive garden, and enjoy a similarly outside childhood that I was privileged to enjoy. They are called in from play by the same bell that I was called in with. One ring to ClutterClearup nad the second one to make your way back up the the Mother Ship. Wink

Good times.

MalcolmTuckerSwearsBy · 20/07/2013 22:27

This was the view from my bedroom window, but when it was a working farm, owned by Mr MacDonald, who genuinely had a farm.

I played out in the fields all day after school and climbed trees all summer. Fab.

We lived in a normal housing estate, just right at the edge by the farm, it is now trendy houses.

MalcolmTuckerSwearsBy · 20/07/2013 22:29

Meant to add my two strongest memories are of by potatoes from the shed/barn behind that arch, I can still remember the strong earthy smell.

And going round to see a cow calving.

scottishmummy · 21/07/2013 02:56

When I was a student I lived in the west end, and was aways gadding around byres road

ElectricalBanana · 21/07/2013 10:06

my old house is up for mum and dad renovated it and the decoration is still the bloody same after 10 years of them leaving!

WeeNameChange · 21/07/2013 20:45

Name changed for this, this is me learning to walk in the garden at home

melvis · 22/07/2013 22:26

This is The House We Grew Up In back in 1981, not long after I was born :) x

RachelMumsnet · 23/07/2013 17:57

Thank you everyone for sending in such delightful pictures. We've SO enjoyed looking through these and never before seen such a sea of brown and orange 70s swirls Grin. It was an incredibly difficult task to choose our favourite ten for the shortlist but between the editorial team at MNHQ and publicity team at Random House we've now chosen and can reveal the ten shortlisted pics with captions...

The House I Grew Up In shortlisted pictures

We'll be pm-ing all those whose pics have made the final ten and who have each won a copy of Lisa Jewell's book The House We Grew Up In. We've sent the shortlisted pics over to Lisa who will be picking the winning photo and we'll announce the winner of £100 John Lewis vouchers on Thursday.

OP posts:
BooMeowson · 23/07/2013 21:12

Oh gosh I just love the house-proud one!! And the big map.

Makes me want to clean my house Blush

MarmaladeTwatkins · 24/07/2013 10:29


Well, the fashions in my picture mark this out as being the '80s. It was Christmas 1988, actually. I showed this picture to my mum when I scanned it into my laptop and she was HORRFIED at the suicidal tree! She is a real Monica Gellar about her trees and she can't believe that that one passed quality control. Grin

RachelMumsnet · 25/07/2013 11:32

Congratulations eatyourveg whose picture has been chosen as the winning photo by author Lisa Jewell. Lisa agonized over the short list for a long time as she loved them all but eventually decided on Eatyourveg's wonderful picture and caption. Lisa says:

'I love the brilliant accents of the white house, the white confirmation dress and the white daisies scattered across the bright green lawn. White was so much whiter in those days and blue was so much bluer. I also love the bittersweet tribute to the house itself, the sense that the house itself is irrelevant, it's the lives being lived inside its walls that make it a home'.

Eatyourveg we'll pm you with details of how to claim your £100 John Lewis vouchers.

OP posts:
kilmuir · 25/07/2013 22:34

Brilliant pics

JulieAnderton · 26/07/2013 08:50

Flapjacks - your photo brought tears to my eyes. I think it's the simplicity of birthdays past, when a beautiful home-made birthday cake, some bread-and-butter, Cadbury's fingers and tea cakes are all that is needed to celebrate a birthday. Wonderful photo.

llittlehouseinthesuburbs · 26/07/2013 16:22

I was quite shocked to see my photo in the short listed 10 Grin.

Haven't had a PM yet and wondered if it's because I NCd for this. Didn't want to out myself under my usual name to anyone who knew me as a kid.

eatyourveg · 27/07/2013 19:13

OMG I won!!! Never won anything before - never expected to win either. Thank you MN and thank you Lisa, look forward to reading your book Smile

scottishmummy · 27/07/2013 19:27

It's a lovely thread,the pictures are really interesting as site backtory

LaraMumsnet · 29/07/2013 11:19


I was quite shocked to see my photo in the short listed 10 Grin.

Haven't had a PM yet and wondered if it's because I NCd for this. Didn't want to out myself under my usual name to anyone who knew me as a kid.

Hi littlehouseinthesuburbs,

Just in case you did not receive a PM from RachelMumsnet, could you please send your name and address to [email protected]. Thanks
OddSockMonster · 29/07/2013 21:57

Lovely thread, and it's lovely to have been shortlisted!

So lovely in fact, I'm going to get on and paint something big and fab on our boys bedroom wall for them to remember, just like mum did for us.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.