Sunshine state...

posted on: Sunday, 6 July 2014

Hello...and goodbye! We are going road-tripping round Florida for a bit! Long-awaited, all quite different, probably ridiculously hot family holiday with friends. Disney, Everglades, beaches. Time for me to go back to where I spent much of my childhood :-) See you soon xxx

Good things today...

posted on: Thursday, 3 July 2014

Pedicured toes - make me happy.

A new Violet Lake bikini - my third in as many years (!) - they are absolutely the best. This time emerald green.

Four sleeps until Disney!! Mickey Mouse ears here I come.

via ivanarevic
It's warm and sunny.

They are laying foundations for the new build! This is BIG progress following the two month break accompanied by a sludge green pond outside our kitchen window.

Dolly Parton's resurgence after Glastonbury. Islands in the stream. The film 'Nine to Five' endures as one of my all time favourites. I heart the 1980's.

The puppy turned three this week; not so much a puppy any more but he still behaves and looks like he is about 6 months old. Love him.

More loom bands than we know what to do with. Seriously, whoever invented these little rubber bands must be enormously wealthy by now. Hours of fun.

The end of children break up on Friday and I realise again that this time of year I get so weary with the whole alarm clock, gotta go, school events frenzy. I am looking forward to a summer of laying in.

The prospect of two weeks with our good friends touring round Florida. A long-awaited return to my childhood.

It was Boo's school sports day this week - I so enjoyed watching all of these healthy, fit teenagers participating in sport, some exceptionally well but regardless, with really touching support and encouragement from their peers. It kinda made my heart swell, when you hear so many bad things about how teenagers treat each other. As ever, kindness can prevail.

An acquaintance I saw in the supermarket this morning who said he remembered me as 'a mother with style'. I liked this (almost ashamed to say how much). Hah!

Things to do when you're 40...

posted on: Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I am quietly wondering whether life might have played an ironic trick on me?! I turned 40 in March, a preoccupation which heralded new levels of naval gazing on my part. Now, a few months in, things have settled but I am left with an ever-growing feeling of 'what now?' that I am trying to prevent burgeoning into a full blown mid life crisis! That would be oh-so-cliched; to give up ones job, have all the opportunity in the world and then promptly descend into a spiral of self doubt. Hah. The irony is not lost on me.

So I started thinking - what am I actually DOING? We had our children young, we are lucky enough to be financially stable right now (can never take that one for granted from previous experience), we have health, there are all sorts of things we could be doing. And perhaps it is the 'we' that I am missing. My husband works a lot. Many of my friends have moved away or work all hours. I seem to have found myself in a situation where I am alone much of the time. Or with my Mum, whom I love dearly. And there's always the puppy - although he doesn't speak. A distinct disadvantage.

What does one do when one is 40? Embrace everything that one couldn't do at 20?

The benefits? I am starting to know my own mind. I know what hairstyle suits me. I am ruthless about what I wear; I know what I like and I stick to it. That elusive personal style that escaped me at 20 has come home to roost now. I plan to keep dressing how I want to dress until I am 90 and beyond. I know what real love is - I have seen it from many angles. Over twenty years with him. My heart has swollen with love for my children that I didn't think possible.

I am transitioning into having a teenager and on the whole, it's pretty cool. Unlike with small children, you can mould yourself as the mother of a teenager. You can try different stuff; strict/not strict, empathetic/challenging, trust-worthy/trusting. It's a constant source of wonder to me as my daughter grows up. She amazes me. They both do.

I know in my mind's eye there is this a tropical, palm-tree lined place, probably a beach, where I go to when the lonely or mundane gets too much. You see, despite all of this self-enlightenment and thought, my actual life is taken up with the smallness of the everyday. My wise friend met a new Mum the other day who has four children. When asked what she did, she replied 'I drive and think about what food we need'. Deceptively flippant, this is actually pretty close to what I do. That everlasting food preoccupation - always buying it, prepping it, making it, clearing it up. Feeding them. And the driving - don't even get me started! I drive more now than I did when I was 25 holding down a corporate job!

I think I need to walk somewhere - somewhere further than the daily dog walk.
I want to grow my hair long, right down my back.
I want to write a book.
I think I need to camp somewhere warm and see the sunrise.
I should buy a pair of those electric blue Manolos from the 'Sex and the City' film. Oh - wait - Olivia Palermo has further immortalised them on her wedding day!
More importantly - I want to go places appropriately fabulous to wear them!

I read that your forties are an insecure age and I am inclined to agree. It's the most subtle but most persistent change I can recall in my adult life. I suspect it's only celebrities who endorse the view that they are 'more themselves' in their forties than ever before. I attribute this to the armies of stylists and trainers and gurus who concoct new terms like 'conscious uncoupling' to describe marriage break down.

For those of us who have not made our mark on the world stage (my 'stage' is purely local), there is a feeling of shift from one side of the fence to the other. I find myself idly wondering what mark I have left on the world and whether I have fully plundered all of the opportunities that were available to me? Or should I have made my own opportunities as I went along? And frankly, it's hardly as if it's all over. The thing is, when you are not a celebrity, you are just too busy getting through the day and deciding what to have for dinner and wondering if your shoes match your dress.

I just read a book that is more self-help than I care to confess but nevertheless I should share its message as frankly it has been like the adult equivalent of someone showing a child that monsters really don't live under the bed. It's called 'Self Help for your Nerves' (!) and was written many moons ago and has the style of those old fashioned doctors who did home visits with their leather bags (presumably holding a stethoscope and sedatives?). However it made me see the power of thought and how my thoughts can release fears those in turn release adrenalin, that creates more fear and the cycle goes on until the brain is just overwrought. For a thinker like myself it was a light bulb moment. All of my incessant thinking is actually starting a chain reaction which might not always be favourable and most importantly, is within my power to reverse!

Love a self help book as much as I love a Pinterest quote...

Happy Wednesday.


posted on: Thursday, 26 June 2014

I am the world's WORST at sentimentality. Every past event can have a nostalgic air for me, even events that are better put in the 'been there, done that' box and pushed onto a high shelf. This makes me particularly bad at goodbyes and even worse at accepting change (as is well documented). Last night we went back to my children's old school, the one they attended before they both changed two years ago. Those readers with school-age children might get this; somehow certain schools become synonymous with a whole bundle of feelings about childhood and so returning is the most acute type of remembering. The realisation of how much my children have grown up.

The school they left really was a special place, smaller than the schools they both go to now, respectively. But there were some issues with it and it was time to move on, so we took the opportunity and made the change for my son. For my daughter, she was graduating on to senior school anyway, but still, it was a heart-wrenching shift that I was in the middle of here.

So these rose-tinted spectacles that I wear everywhere - should I want to take them off?! I observe friends who are less inclined to be sentimental and I have to say that life, and its ever-changing patina, seems easier for them. My friend Dawn (much loved Godmother, lives in the Netherlands) has lived in four different countries in her adult life, immersed herself in each, made good friends and then has left; moved on and each time in a positive, forward-motion kinda way. I do envy her! I would be in pieces and maybe, I ask myself, this is why I have lived in the same town (except for a University-induced hiatus) for most of my life. There is a lot to be said for not wearing those spectacles!

But for all I wish I could be less soft, it is that softness that makes me the one who can always remember every little detail of what has past. The things I hold dear. When I can't sleep, I think of all the houses I have ever lived in and remember all of the details of the rooms; the light, the furniture, what it felt like to ascend the stairs, the rooms as I happened across them. I can get so detailed that it transcends from something to help me sleep to something that hinders me. But I quite enjoy the process.

And as ever with me, it always comes back to outfits; I wrote yesterday about seeing my Mum wear silk, I can absolutely recall countless details of things she has worn. The snuggle of a fur collar when I was young enough to be carried. The softness of a sarong at a sandy beach (and the smell of Delial suncream), burgundy, velvet Jordache flares from the 1980's that I SO wish she had kept ;-) I thought they looked like something out of Charlie's Angels...

This is why I now keep many, many clothes that I no longer have any business wearing; just in case my daughter has some strong association with them or wants to rock them at a 2000's party in years to come. Who knows? But ultimately I wonder whether this nostalgic lilt is born or learnt? Both of my children express the same longings about revisiting the past as me. Ooops - maybe they have those spectacles too?!

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