Whilst house-bound...

posted on: Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Woke this morning to the kind of dark, drizzly British day that so often characterises our winter. I do wonder what visitors to this country make of it? I see them sometimes getting off the plane, and I visualise them making their way to London or the Lake District or the coast and feel they must be thinking: 'what is with this weather?'. No matter how beautiful this country, it is so often shrouded in grey cloud and rain, it's a wonder anyone chooses it as a destination! Part of the charm? I guess so.

Anyway, what this weather dictates, inadvertently, is the 'Muggle Wardrobe' which I have written about before, in fact almost exactly a year ago. Good to see I am seasonally consistent. My friend Amanda, who writes her blog 'The Online Stylist', bravely defies the weather and manages to amalgamate proper, glamorous outfits into her daily life. I wish I was on her school run, she'd brighten the day. I, meanwhile, am stuck in a uniform of jeans, erring on the side of warmth and comfort over fashion. It's so sad. I do spy women who make the effort and maintain things like heels and silk shirts in their day-to-day; for me, not so much anymore. After all those years of corporate power dressing, I initially relished the down-graded wardrobe choices of the stay-at-home-mum. But now...ugh...I am beyond bored with my clothes.

And, can I just also say that so many of the choices that look really cool on young, pretty women look perilously close to plain and boring on middle-aged ones? Is this the elixir of life for the middle aged woman; clothes that have interest but are not overdone? Elegance that is not frumpy. Style that is fun and not beige. 'The Beige Stage' is the stage that comes after the 'Muggle Wardrobe'. I have told my friends that if I end up beige they are to intervene. And by the way, am I middle aged? Is 41 middle aged? Yes.

41. *Sigh*.

So I still scour Pinterest and I think: tomorrow I will banish the ordinary and embrace an exciting wardrobe. And then I wake up and it's raining and I think: nahhh. I read about how Canadian women, who live in the coldest part of the country, have to live and metaphorically die in their Arctic coats and that defines all wardrobe choices; the overruling factor. I should count myself lucky that I live in a temperate climate.

Meanwhile I am pretty much house-bound at the moment as all of the trades are scheduled in to finalise the work on the inside. We have windows! We have a floor (but can't walk on it yet), we have a kitchen (but can't use it yet; not connected), we have a houseful of our stuff that I fear I won't want to repatriate now that everything is pristine. There is a lot that remains not pristine too. I'll turn a blind eye to that.

So lots of time to write, google things on the internet that I don't need and ponder my wardrobe.

So a year on...these are the current contents of my wardrobe:

Still a myriad of skinny jeans but some I have had to part company with. Seems over the course of a year I have changed shape. Less running, more yoga? Not enough of either? My age? Are my skinny jeans conspiring against me?
Eight grey jumpers plus more. Addicted.
I ditched the Breton tops in favour of crew neck cashmere (warmer) largely purchased on sale.
One bucket handbag.
Still a shameful number of coats.
Stan Smiths - which are THE MOST COMFORTABLE SHOES EVER. But they also form part of many another women's wardrobe. Hate to be a follower.
The ongoing boot desire, which is not under check.
Hardly any dresses...what to wear with dresses when its cold? I just think thermals underneath is coming way to close to 'The Beige Stage'.
Helps to have good hair and to wear daily make-up which looks like you're not wearing any make-up.

Blimey! You see??!! Easier said than done...

Repeat behaviour...

posted on: Friday, 20 November 2015

Now I have been writing this blog for, like, ever...nearly six years, I do sometimes wonder whether I should change the name of it. I decided on its name in a millisecond and have always felt that it's kinda strange and that I should have something less shoe-orientated (after all it's never been a fashion blog). We do still call our daughter Boo all the time (much to her embarrassment, especially on the hockey pitch when we shout 'come on BOOOOO' at the top of our lungs; she scored a goal last week; *maternal pride*.)

I have never really looked into the rigamarole of changing a blog name but it is something I might have to do if I use this space for my writing, when and if that ever happens on a more public stage. Anyway...the point is - and why I started writing this ramble in the first place - is what is it with me and shoes?!!

I get these urges every now and then to buy shoes, well actually more boots, and it's like I am a woman possessed. I can not rest till I have found the perfect pair of boots. This happens every year and can I just say that I have amassed quite a collection already. Boots for most occasions. But still the need for more? There is something about good boots - like a good coat - it's a staple that I can't do without. But deep down I feel ashamed of this boot desire. I feel like I should be someone who isn't so moved by boots.

But boots do move me.

If I could, I would get some Chloe Susanna boots in a heartbeat, because clearly I am a rock chick. Or some Anine Bing ones. I would love some Isabel Marant Dickers. All of these boots fall into the 'way too much money for me' price category and so I just covet them from my desk, online and can't ever see myself 'adding to cart'. I instead buy imitations and try to be happy with that and then feel ashamed that copies don't seem good enough. A whole crazy world of coveting inside my own head.

These are my current favourites:

Gorgeous Dutch electric blue ones.
Cosy crazy Uggs with heels ones.
More affordable British fashion at its best ones.
Understated french chic ones.
Wish I had the nerve ones.
If I had a gazillion pounds ones.
If I had the guts to ones.

I could go on and on. Meanwhile, last month it was a coat search. I guess the fact is: I am a coveter of things; things others have and things to buy.

And finally, just while we are here, I worked on a Pinterest board for the novel I am writing and this is what I came up with...it's for one of my assignments, which is a 3000 word extract. What does it make you think of?!!

And on the home front - to update, we have windows (woop woop) and we have sanded floors - which can only be walked on in socks this weekend - and we have a fitted and painted kitchen! Can't use it yet, but it's there! The whole feel of the house has changed. As I have written before, the glass wall that I had planned was causing me some angst (the highest degree of First World Problems). Now it's in, I love it. But it is super modern and super white. As soon as I can, I will share some pictures.

Happy weekend!

The big and the small...

posted on: Monday, 16 November 2015

I can't really compute what took place in Paris and never use this space to write about anything political, but it did strike me that in the face of such tragedy, it seems shameful to continue with life's minutiae. Like how we overslept this morning and nearly missed the school bus - shamefacedly. Like how today I returned to yoga and tried to put it all out of my mind.  Or how my house is presently full of kitchen fitters.

All seem to reek of brevity and I wonder whether it matters at all if I have a kitchen worktop fitted or not.

This is how modern life goes. I speak to my kids all the time about what matters, there hardly seems to be a car journey or an evening meal where we don't cover something important. I figure that these are my chances to educate them, prepare them, help them reach fruition on whatever the topic of choice is. But who am I? What do I know?

It's churlish to skip from the very serious to the very fickle and yet that is ultimately what most of us do. Like a scroll down on Facebook that can go from personal tragedy to images of dancing dogs in one swipe.

And so to my Monday, a weekend spent doing our usual round of sports fixtures for the kids, trashy TV and noodles for dinner. Being home is lovely, as we live in a half-baked, undone manner, cooking on a camping stove and eating at a table in the midst of dust and empty boxes. Still no windows. Don't even ask; if anyone is ever doing a house build, can I tell you: don't scrimp on the windows. You get what you pay for.

It's shaping up as very white and very modern and I find myself describing the styling to people: 'yep, we knocked out about six rooms, took the back wall off and are putting in a glass wall. Yep it's all white.' and then they ask how old the house is. I say it's a 16th Century farmhouse. They wince. I wonder whether my Danish roots might have made me bold to mix the modern with the old in this way. People say that this is the just the next stage in the life of the house; that for four hundred years it looked one way and now it's different. I get that, but I would be lying if sometimes at night, when I listening to the tarpaulin flap outside in the wind (did I mention no windows?) I question whether I have done a bad thing. Whether I am going to go to architecture hell?

I met my writing course-mates last week and had coffee and talked about our books. Like they were forgone conclusions when actually they are not written nor published yet. But it felt nice to lend legitimacy to this strange but necessary pursuit I have embarked on.

Happy Monday.


posted on: Tuesday, 10 November 2015

We moved home on Friday. This entailed me lifting four car loads of family life all on my own, resulting in a very bad back and neck this week. I think I overdid it. I ponder why simple things like moving house become a health issue after the age of 40. Not supple enough; and this from a yoga disciple.

Being home is glorious, dwelling in our own own-ness; my bed, my clothes, my house. Oh how I have missed it. Even the children are like pigs in mud. Note: any time you want to fall in love with your house again, spend two and half months in someone elses’ which is a quarter of the size. Works a treat.

I had a funny five minutes at the hairdressers and had way too much cut off during a ubiquitous trim. Now, after cultivating properly long hair for the last few years, I am perilously close to having in-between housewife hair. Quelle domage. Merde.

Lusting for weeks after the perfect winter coat, I finally found this one, which seemed to be a halfway house between crazy-luxe arctic versions and a their imitation counterparts. 

The house we had been staying in had no full length mirrors. In fact it had hardly any mirrors at all. I did not see myself for weeks on end. Now I have been restored to myself in full glory I am thinking I need to start running again. Seriously. I swear seeing yourself naked is the biggest prompt for exercise ever.

We are about to have out new kitchen painted white and my husband is getting cold feet. Is there such a thing as too much white? White has been the answer to every decorating conundrum put to me, ever. I don’t want to sway, I want white. But his doubts are giving me the heebie-jeebies. Similarly, when I took this print in to be framed, the framer asked: ‘talk me through this then, what is the appeal?’ I get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but to me it represents everything about modern life. Balance is all. Plus the expression reminds me of my own boy.

In all the newness of 'becoming a writer' (I put that in inverted commas because at what point does one become a writer? When you write everyday? When you get published? When you see your book in someone else's hands? All of the above?) I do sometimes miss being paid for the work I do. Writing is a selfish and selfless profession. It's all for me and if it never comes to anything, so be it. But at the same time I can see that writing is not about the self, it's about wanting others to like what you have created. No book is worth writing unless someone else wants to read it. Curious. So I get tempted every now and then to revert to my old profession and go earn some money. One thing I think I will never get used to is not getting a pay cheque.

I feel, meanwhile, I am a well established stay at home mum now. I think a lot about food and what I should give my family to eat. Not being able to cook properly - and by this I mean with a very limited kitchen - has had a profound effect. I realise, not for the first time, that I LOVE food and want my kids to love food too. Pretty much everything in the day revolves around it, in a good way. So as soon as my new (white) kitchen is done, I shall be cooking like there's no tomorrow. It's not necessarily my favourite thing in the world, but I see how much preparing and eating food is the hub around which our family oscillates. If nothing else, no matter how busy, we always sit down to eat together at night.

Back to walking the pup in the deer fields. A new family this season; four of them, the father with antlers and the youngest like Bambi. Or so I surmise. I walk and plan the next scene in my head then wish that someone would develop an app that would type your thoughts as you have them. That would be so handy.

And then I come home and rather than get typing, I start googling Chelsea boots or get waylaid by Pinterest. It was ever the way with me!

Happy Tuesday.

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