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Cowparsley and doilies...

posted on: Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Firstly, I must admit, I am feeling sorry for myself. I had a dental procedure today and now the novacaine has worn off...it's really, really sore. Trying to take my mind off things, I scrolled through my blog list and happened upon Cowparsley. If ever you wished for a calming mental meander through some beautiful images, oozing with a certain 'Britishness', this is it...





images via Cowparsley


This week wages on, and ever so slightly wearing it is. I shall be very pleased when the weekend arrives with the hope of more summer fun; the beach hut, sandy toes, no cares in the world...

Secondly, OK, so I know I have been a tad wedding-crazed recently...I wanted to follow up on the lots of comments I was left about that dreamy doily wedding dress! Heart-stoppingly lovely. Love the green. Love the shoes. I have found out where the images came from...here...

It's funny when I saw the whole wedding feature, I kinda wanted the dress to be full-length and was surprised that it wasn't. However, the vintage style of it and the wonderful green...you can't help but love it for it's quirkiness.





Busy bee...

posted on: Tuesday, 29 June 2010

In recent months, one could say I have taken on too much. Work-wise I've taken responsibility for things that really aren't my remit, I've accepted too many school-related additions, I blog pretty much every day (which I love, by the way). Trying to cram in extra things, a few weekends away, nights out, days too. Grasping life and saying 'yes' to everything that comes our way. However there seems to be a price. On the one hand, we must live life. Make the most and best of things. Never turn down an invite, always invite people back. Stop caring if the house is a tip. Create the fantastic menu. Make the effort. As it's always worth it.


I have to say to myself 'get a grip Louise; see friends, live your life!' And I do. But sometimes the cracks start to show. Things get overcomplicated. Things get missed along the way. At the moment my brain is so full of 'to dos' that I simply forget stuff.

Prime example yesterday: I told my friend I could not pop round for coffee as I was awaiting a delivery. Half an hour passed, I decided I would pop round for a coffee. I get there and start complaining that my phone is ringing off the hook on my non-working day. I miss three or four calls. We agreed I should cut myself some slack. She eventually picks my phone up and pretends to be my secretary. It's the delivery driver; he's waiting outside my house! Arrrghhhh, I hot-foot it home wondering how my kids ever get collected from school on time with my sieve-like brain...

Life can be so full and lovely. I wish there was a way to fit everything in...

via are so happy

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 25 June 2010

We are off to a wedding this weekend...I love a good wedding! Especially in June. Especially when the sun is shining like it is this week. Especially when it promises to be the perfect English country wedding - the ceremony in the village church, a stroll to the Manor house for the reception. How lovely to be able to stroll from the church! There is not enough strolling at weddings I feel... (can you tell my guilt is being replaced by excitement?!)

So indulge me some wedding loveliness in this post, but weddings are like beauty in a bottle...

I found this image of a doily wedding dress which I think is wonderful...and those shoes...


Bride and groom...in a hurry to start their married life...

via Hey Gorgeous
Beautiful, dramatic glassware...

by Mikkel Vang
The gorgeousness that is Christy Turlington...

by Steven Meisel
Dreamy, floor-skimming chiffon...


Sea shell prettiness...


Ridiculously stunning Russian...


I so missed a trick with my wedding shoes - mine were plain cream satin, low heeled as I am taller than my husband! Oh to have some beauties like this...


Andre Derain’s 'Arbres a Collioure' sold for a record £16.3 million at Sotheby's this week...


I think this fascinator looks wonderful...I was going to wear one this weekend but then in the end thought...err, maybe not...

it's mary ruffle
Vintage chandelier table dressing...round dinner tables are so much more friendly...


I just think this outfit is the bee's knees. Giovanna Battaglia, a simple dress, beautiful heels, adorable little gold clutch...makes me want to shop.


Strong-faced, down-to-earth Kate Winslet...up close...


Symmetry and wood on wood...

Counting down to my annual summer 'read-a-thon'. For some reason I find reading books really hard all year round, then it gets to summer and I manage to read one after the other. It's like I save it all up. Love to read...


Quirky vintage pendant over antique lace...


Happy weekend...!

via decor8

The simple things...

posted on: Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Ridiculously grateful, I am. My blog friend Jeanne left me a comment yesterday that i) completely summed up her very cool approach to life and ii) really resonated with me. She said 'it's the simple things that are the most fun for me'. Now this is hardly rocket science (no offence, J!) but still it takes someone to point out the obvious to make me stop and think.

Yesterday, I collected my son from an after-school birthday party at the beach; I arrived to see nine stripped-off 5 year olds jumping in the sand, chasing bubbles. This made me have a surge of pure gratefulness (is that even a word?!), for where we live, near the sea, for him, for happy times.

Yesterday I belatedly read the heart-wrenching piece in The Sunday Times by the actress Natascha Mcelhone, whose husband tragically and suddenly died when she was pregnant with their third child. I howled as I read it. She writes beautifully, but the rawness of her grief...to me, it's unreal. It made me grateful that my husband came home last night.


A friend of a friend, I heard, has breast cancer...she had her operation last week; the loss of so many things, be it anatomy, femaleness, to the life she once knew. Makes me grateful for health, beyond belief, but also so, so sympathetic.

The thing is, getting this down in a blog is tantamount to gushing about one's life in a way that surely makes others recoil. Life is a strange thing. It's the simple things that make life relevant to others. That spark of recognition to think 'yes I know.' The simple things that count. The simple things that kids remember.

So it's the simple things I will think of today...

via are so happy

Trying my best...

posted on: Thursday, 17 June 2010

I do spend a lot of time with women. I work more of less entirely with women, it's women who do the school run at my kids' school, I am not one of those girls who has lots of male friends. Except one or two (D - you know who you are, you secret male reader!) most of my male friends are the husbands of my girlfriends. Blogging is an almost entirely female preoccupation, unless I have yet to stumble on the boy blogs.

What strikes me though is that of the majority of these groups of women I spend time with, there is a consistency in them, no matter what age, lifestyle, type, character; many seem to have feelings of inadequacy about how they look. In fact it's not even just how they look, it's how they present themselves to the world.


Now as we know, I am a self-confessed shopper; I like to shop. I think about clothes and shoes. I make outfits. I wash and blow-dry my hair every day. I fret about my skin. If there is a day when I have a shoddy outfit on (and it's not a Sunday-loll-on-the-sofa-day) I feel somehow not quite right. So I guess you could say I make the effort. It matters to me. I want my husband to like how I look. If I get compliments I like it (who doesn't?).

So the thing I really, really don't get is why so many women just opt out of this element of life? Where they make enormous effort in other areas like their house or their kids or sewing the perfect fancy-dress for the school play, but they themselves look...dishevelled or dare I say neglected. And what is even worse is that when and if the concept of dressing or preening or fashion or just making the best of oneself comes up, some admit they kinda wished they did it.  They say they don't have enough time...the right body... the inclination. The occasional few say they are really not interested at all - but I'm not sure I buy that.

In the book 'The Thoughtful Dresser' by Linda Grant (who incidentally started as a blogger) she defends the fact that everyone has to get dressed every day, why don't we make an effort to do so in way that pleases us and others? Why opt out? Why not make the best of what you have? I  wholeheartedly agree. Maybe fashion is frippery. Maybe frippery is vanity. Looks certainly aren't everything.  But for as long as I can, I do intend to try my very best..stroll in the park anyone?! ;-)

Ballet days again...

posted on: Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Today Boo has a ballet recital...well, what this really means is that the Mummies go to school to watch their girls do a show of what they have learned this year in ballet. Of course attendance is optional for the Mummies; but of course all Mummies attend. For me, today is a working day, I am lucky I have a lot of flexibility in my job and can schedule it so I work from home (nice cuppa tea?) and then nip to school at the right moment so i) Boo sees me, ii) I get the full rendition of the show and iii) it's noted by other other Mummies that even the working Mummy amongst them has turned up. I am amongst the few working Mothers at my children's school; there are a few dotted about, mainly those who run their own businesses and have that charging entrepreneurial spirit that actually suggests it's 'setting the world on fire' with their product or service rather than 'working as a corporate slave' like me.


The one thing that I feel really, really strongly about is that my kids should not be the kids who are  'unrepresented' at school events. Be it assemblies or shows or sports, I just feel that I should be there. I want to be there, but more than that, the feeling they get from seeing me there is priceless. They have never said whether it matters or not...but I know, when they say 'will you come Mummy?' that the only possible answer is 'yes, of course'.

But it does mean there is a bit of jiggery-pokery from a work perspective and so time needed to make up tonight when the house is quiet again.

The truth is, I would not miss a ballet recital for the world, as I think little girls learning ballet is one of life's beautiful things, always to be applauded! And on that note, how incredible is this image? Ballet-beauty personified...

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 11 June 2010

Hello readers...Friday could not have come quick enough in my household; it's been the longest of weeks! Don't I say that every week? Friday is always such a lovely milestone for all of us after the working and school week. It's strange, when I put together my 'Things of beauty' posts (which have become a bit of a end-of-week tradition) I never work out beforehand what it will look like, I just search for the nicest of images that take my fancy and it just comes together. This week's offering:


Alexa Chung in the most eclectic of outfits...but as ever, she completely pulls it off.


It's raining outside as I type...wouldn't it be nice to just curl up with a cuppa tea and listen to the summer raindrops?


How awe-inspiringly beautiful is this table setting?! To sit with your own personal chandelier...fantastic! I love how the blue colour in the picture is actually coming from the twilight outside...


Gisele in Vanity Fair...


Serenity on the bedside table...

Atlanta Bartlett image
I had an eye test this week...spectacles are a whole new area of potential shopping! Luckily my eyes have not worsened so I stuck with my existing frames and promised to wear them more!


Desert flowers in milk bottles and jam jars...my favourite type of vase.

via 100 Layer Cake
My diamond-love persists, Tiffany's Blue Collection.



Dressing table serenity. I have always had a dressing table in my bedroom, right by the window just like this. Many an hour spent there, for one reason or another...usually with Boo sitting on my bed chatting to me as I get ready.


I just adore this tousled hair...

via 100 Layer Cake
French, sugar-coated blue door...


'Cornish Landscape' By Ben Nicholson painted in 1949.


This week has been hurry, hurry, rush, rush. I have not sat still for a minute; so this weekend that is my simple goal!

I know it's summer when...

posted on: Monday, 7 June 2010

We are getting into June. The 'moody teenager' that is British weather; one minute perfectly happy and sunny, the next clouds and a deluge for no apparent reason. It makes me think what is summer to me? I read a lot of blogs from all over the world and you'd think summer would represent a pretty coherent group of things to people, but not always.

To me, I know it's summer when we put bunting in the garden between the apple trees...


When we make fresh fruit pavlova most weekends...


When I spend a lot of time in these chairs, watching the Boos do 'shows' or tennis practice or space-hopper challenges...


I know it's summer when I have bare feet pretty much all the time.

I know it's summer when the biblical hayfever that I am afflicted with takes hold and no matter what I do I can not touch my eyes, under any circumstances. Uninterrupted nights' sleep becomes a distant memory. I imagine puffs of pollen literally wafting around my bedroom....

I know it's summer when my legs get really brown and every other part of me is not. I look like I have been dipped feet first...

I know it's summer when the Red Arrows fly over our house...for summer events like Glorious Goodwood...


I know it's summer when we can go to bed at 10pm and it's still not fully dark...a direct childhood memory all rolled up in one?  Sleeping when it's light...

I know it's summer when I want to buy dress after dress (all linen or floaty cotton), open-toed sandals, flip-flops; everything soft and easy. As close to undress as one can be when dressed...

I know it's summer when posies from the garden are table tops and shelves...


I know it's summer when we walk in open fields (hayfever anyone?)...


I know it's summer when we go to summer weddings...this was at my friend E's wedding about five years back...


I know it's summer when I can lie under the trees in the garden and just watch them sway...


And if it all seems perfection, I also know it's summer when my ironing pile looks like this, as staying inside to iron seems criminal...

All photos by me...
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