Little me?

posted on: Monday, 27 September 2010

So Boo is nine; I can so recall being that age, when the things that you never noticed when you were eight, now at nine seem much, much more important. She has become more interested in recent months in clothes, her hair...ostensibly she has noticed how she looks. I simultaneously like and struggle with this. I like that she cares about her appearance and that her tastes are developing. I drill in my own preoccupation with clothes needing to be both age and season appropriate - I can not stand bare legs in winter, for example. She gets that the colour pink - which was the mainstay of her entire wardrobe from ages 0 to 4 - is now somewhat relegated.

But then I struggle with it; I wouldn't be me if I just accepted every parental hurdle as 'a phase' would I?! Observing vanity in the very young is off-putting. All we can wish for is that daughters show grace as they grow up; one of the most attractive traits is for style and beauty to be effortless. Where a girl is unaware of the beauty she possesses; in whatever form it comes.

The developing interest in clothes is something I discussed with Amanda when we met; her Boo is a few years younger than mine. It seemed both of us were delighted our daughters were taking an interest in clothes and fashion, as those elements of life were important to us, but both wondering aloud if that made us, err, shallow as mothers? I am aware that the fact that I make the effort may be construed by others as odd/vain/shallow and so surely extolling the same virtues in my daughter is inappropriate?

I guess as they say, the apple never falls far from the tree, and I rationalise this by thinking isn't it better to try one's best when possible? And isn't trying hard with appearance kinda the same thing as trying hard academically or socially? Similar at least? Whatever, it's cool to see her grow and be comfortable in the skin she is in. I have had a life-long love of clothes; certainly my Mum will attest to that and is the same and I think it's no bad thing.

all images via from me to you

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 24 September 2010

So I am getting into the swing of things now...I always have to build in mental adjustment time to any life change. My husband has six weeks of no work; he is in-between jobs. Still contractually bound to one place before he starts at the next. So they call it 'gardening leave'. I have to say our garden is not looking an awful lot different and it's now week three, but we have frequented lots of local eateries for impromptu lunches, the golf club and he are becoming reacquainted and our kids have had more Daddy time since when he was on paternity leave.

You know how mothers carry around an enormous encyclopedic of knowledge and information about their kids; at the drop of hat, shoe sizes, after-school clubs, kit requirements, reading books, best friends, likes/dislikes and everything on the way? For the record size 2 and 10, football, gymnastics and choir, swim kit on Fridays, hockey socks and gum shield recently added, 'Pippy Longstocking' and 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea', I could go on. I find that I carry this with me all the time, writing myself notes, remembering the conflicting drop off times, the netball matches, the play dates. Now though, this burden is shared with their Daddy.  Hey, this is what it's like to co parent 50/50!

Meanwhile as we tripped around our town like tourists the other day, whilst the kids were at school, it felt just lovely. That loveliness topped off I am afraid to say, by boot shopping...yes I think I found this year's perfect pair from Russell and Bromley! Hurrah.

And so for Friday prettiness...and sincerest congratulations to my long distance friend Rhiannon who is getting married to her beau today :-)

via Dustjacket Attic

A Mulberry moment...

Danish simplicity from Georg Jensen...

via Sarah Klassen Haute Design

Isn't this the most beautiful shot?

via it's mary ruffle

By Meg Perotti
Tory Burch flats...want, want, want...but bank balance won't allow...

A stunning retrospective of New York Fashion Week found here...

via from me to you

I have booked tickets to take Boo to the ballet at is tradition!

Sienna in her jeans...

I am running alot at the moment, and loving it. Honestly that post-running feeling of happiness is wonderful...

This is for my friend in The Netherlands. She has the capacity to calm me in almost any situation...and sent me a 'keep calm and carry on' package in the post! Her and I should always consider that:

via it's mary ruffle

Home day/Work day...

posted on: Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Home days, work days. I work part time so my week is split between the two. Work days are peppered through the week; so I have this ongoing contrast of my two 'lives'.

via Everything Fabulous

On home days I immerse myself with the children, the school run, the farmhouse, nutritious after-school snacks, re-grouping, cooking, admin, making piles of ironed laundry (will I ever get to the bottom of the ironing basket?!). My mind empties of the deadlines and strategy and corporate manoeuvring of my work days. What I find bizarre is that in each 'life' I am comfortable. I miss neither one when I do the other. Very rarely do I do any work on home days, other than tracking the state of my inbox. At work, I will sometimes be in a meeting and catch myself, with a shock; the realisation that I haven't even thought about my own children for an hour or two.

I am lucky to have this delineation and the chance to do both. I figure that opportunity is a rare one; maybe I have found and maintained, at least on paper, that pinnacle of the work/life balance. But in reality it can be...confusing. On home days I think and feel so little about work that I wonder why I persist in the double life. Yes, it's a means to an end but there are other consequences which every now and then I am fiercely reminded of. The project that I worked on earlier this year was a case in point, when nothing about life was balanced as I struggled with the professional challenges of an all-encompassing work effort can bring. For sure, home life suffered and the 'wounds' from that are only now making themselves known - you know how sometimes it takes six months for an effect to show in a child's behaviour?

So I keep on - amongst some criticism that I take on too much and the knowledge that my kids may look back on these years and recall me being rather frazzled at times, rushing from work to collect them after school; one of the only Mums at the school gates in heels and a suit, blackberry in hand.

...on home days I bake cakes just like this... ;-)
As I have said before and many commenters have reassured me there is no right answer. I notice though that now my children are older my contemporaries are talking about going back to work, just as the children are more self-sufficient at school. To me, having worked throughout following maternity leave, I would say my children still need me now, perhaps even more. In a way, if I didn't work, that would be of more use to them now than when they were toddlers. The fact is they are so much more aware now...and that awareness I feel when they comment that I spend too much time in front of my laptop or when they know they have to fall quiet in the car if 'Mummy's boss' calls.

Today is a home day, so I am going to zhush...potter...enjoy the view and be there after school full of smiles, in flat shoes, off to look for conkers for the school conker competition...

...the view from my window this morning...

Be better...

posted on: Wednesday, 15 September 2010

So back to school they went, that early-term keen after a summer of few demands. For both of the Boos it's time to step it up. Be better. Try harder. For my daughter this is an important academic year so I had 'the talk' from the teachers and we know; it's time to work. As for my son, he fell behind last year. On the one hand I think he is so young, he should concentrate on kicking a ball and digging mud. That logic is fine so long as all other parents subscribe to it, so my son's habits are not therefore conspicuous. If he is the last in his class because I have chosen to disregard homework in favour of chucking a rugby ball, then that hardly seems fair to him.

via are so happy
I have to look at my reactions to this prospect of trying harder. Instinctively I like it; I feel like September is a gift of a month as it has that 'back to school' sensibility that should be grasped. But at the same time I can sense the work that lays ahead for them both and my involvement in it. I just know that at some point in the cold, dark winter months, when my husband's new job has taken hold and I am sitting at my kitchen table with whichever child, trying to explain the difference between tens and units or learning the order of the Solar System I will think 'what IS this?!'. What I am saying is: it will get old. And it won't take that long! And by the way, it's not as if we are home schooling - when did parental input become so pivotal?

I wonder where my internal measure comes from - why the need to try one's best? For me it's an in-built engine that motors along all the time; analysing, thinking of ways to improve, trying. I apply it to all things...from what to wear to how to have my hair to what I do at work to how the kids do at school. I think it's a good thing, a positive force!

So here is my be better plan:

1. eat well; always got to start with this.
2. walk outside every day.
3. read with my kids every night (no excuses).
4. homework IS a priority.
5. plan holidays - they are the elixir of life...

Check back in a few months time...let's see where this one takes me...

via it's mary ruffle

Our nation's capital...

posted on: Monday, 13 September 2010

Monday mornings have a new feel to them now; children to school, a run, return home to a husband! Normally Mondays would mean up at 5am for him, but now, as he is on garden leave, it's time at home. Spent the morning planning holidays - can there be a better pursuit that looking for the next holiday? The anticipation...

Meanwhile, we spent Saturday up in London for my brother in law's 40th birthday celebrations. Everyone is turning 40...well not me, yet...but many of our contemporaries. I am always, without exception, amazed by London. No matter how many times I go, I still get this little buzz of the sheer number of people there! Everyone going somewhere...seeing something. Hurtling past the Houses of Parliament in a black cab, the cabinet offices, a peek at the bearskin hats at Buckingham Palace. It still even now feels like Christopher Robin to me...I am such a country bumpkin.

We had lunch at Berry Brothers which is purportedly the oldest wine merchants in the city. Underground in the wine cellars, we celebrated 40 years with the most divine meal and wonderful wines; he is connoisseur it seems.

My brother in law was formerly in the army and many of his military friends were there, some of whom had anecdotes of serving in Afghanistan. Being there, listening, knowing it was September 11th of all days, in my nation's capital made me feel patriotic in the extreme. So lucky are we to be able to dip into London life, and then return to the countryside by nightfall.Tragic though that London will never feel entirely safe to me; but then I anywhere? I wish I had lived there at some point in my life so it felt more like home and less like the big city.

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 10 September 2010

You'll be pleased to know that the blues have lifted! Replaced by a slight, growing, warmer comfortable blush of pink! It's amazing how the mind works; absorbing and reasoning new things until they feel like they fit. I have been delighted to see the Boos settle back into the school routine in just a couple of days. My daughter especially, I realise, has grown up so much these last months and has blossomed in confidence can I say...savvy? She just seems to 'get it' now, more than she did even at the start of the summer. How wonderful when life starts to make sense...

The new 'life choice' is bedding in! It's all you all said it would be. So to some things of beauty to appreciate this Friday...some British beauties, all chestnut-haired and peaches and cream complexions!
Have a great weekend...

Kelly Brook looking positively radiant
'The Rehearsal' by Edgar Degas painted in 1877.

Back to school this week for the Boos...back to the abc...homework, kit bags, pick-up and drop-off...and quieter moments drinking tea for me!

via are so happy

by Chris Nichols
via The Bottom of the Ironing Basket just one look...the 80's classic 'She's Having a Baby'; I would defy anyone not to cry in the scene where she has the baby and the Kate Bush song is playing...seriously.

Grace and elegance...

Blousy pink loveliness wrapped in brown paper and string...oh to be given a bouquet like this!

photograph by Sarah Tucker Travel Photography

I love this tablecloth...
via tiny white daisies
Cheryl Cole in October's British Vogue...looking stunning; she is the nation's darling. X Factor season has started here; compelling viewing for my entire household.

Our own Anna Friel in Vanity Fair...

Keira Knightley, whom my husband is convinced he saw on a flight back from New York. Well he said it was either Keira or Yasmin Le Bon...either way, she smiled at him :-) He said she turned left into first class and was wearing a very sharp grey suit and Louboutins - he clocked the red soles! I figured - would Keira really fly long haul in a suit? She seems more like a jeans girl to me...anyway...!

Thank you for your comments this week; you made it all seem way better...

Blogging when you are blue...

posted on: Wednesday, 8 September 2010

At the moment a strange but potent feeling of worry sweeps across our house like a cloud every now and then; this is what it feels like when the future has an unknown quantity in it. Anyone who knows me knows: I'm all about the known quantities. I am not great with change.

Life feels awfully grown up all of a sudden and I wonder where those carefree days of summer went?! I am sure (as in certain) that over time I will look back, as I do with most things and think WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? That little mini-freak out that persisted for the month of September 2010?

But as I am well and truly in the middle of it, I also wonder, should one blog when one is blue and worried? That surreal sensation of thinking what would they think? They being whom exactly? Who reads this and has an opinion? A handful of friends from the 'real world' who know me and know I blog. Then there are the utterly delightful strangers...500 or so a day, who pop over for a view of my little life! I love the visits; they intrigue me. Blogger stats are bizarrely addictive, don't you think?

On blue days I do wonder whether or not to blog about the particular shade of azure, navy, turquoise blue I am feeling. There is this sense that blogging is for happiness and the beauty of life, rather than the dark days. But then without exception every time I have blogged on a dark day I have been met with a barrage of wonderful, uplifting comments. Thank you so much for the comments; they really do ease my days and the words of wisdom distilled into a comment box have been graciously and happily received.

One blog friend Melissa, who sensed my current worries sent me a link to a photographer whose pictures, she just knew, would cheer me up. This is the sort of inventive virtual gift a blog friend can give. I was so touched by the gesture and share it here in this post. How lovely? I must count my blessings. Thank you Melissa, the photos are indeed gorgeous and brighten any rainy day (like today)! xxx

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