I knew it when...

posted on: Monday, 29 November 2010

I knew it had been a long time between visits when everyone had changed their hair style and length and I didn't even know.

I knew it was a great extended lunch when the restaurant staff politely asked us to leave so they could set up for evening service.

I knew it was special when it was minus degrees outside and we were cosy and replete inside, with great food, wine and company.

I knew it was a rather quirky venue as I sat watching people swim in the open air Lido as I devoured my delicious meal.

I knew we'd grown up together when all the references made absolute sense; nothing was too obscure.

I knew there was that profound feeling that one of the group were missing when we all talked of her and referenced her all afternoon, as if she were there with us. Next year - we will have all 6.

I knew there were best intentions of spending time Christmas shopping but instead the day got talked away so that when we emerged, all the shops were shutting for the night.

I know they are my best of friends, when I had to take a brave gulp as I started the drive home after saying goodbye.

Garance and co, courtesy of The Sartorialist
I had a super time returning to my University town of Bristol for a girl's reunion. I found it quite surreal stepping back in time to my student days; something about that city that despite changing dramatically in the last decade and a half, it remains frozen in time for me somewhere around 1993. We went to coolest restaurant for lunch called the Lido which had an old-style Victorian natural water pool outside nestled amongst the city houses. And we talked. And talked. And talked.

So here is the deal with the Best Blog of 2010; I got to the second round! Whoooooop whoooop!

Thank you! 

However it seems that with each new round, new votes are needed - you got to really love my blog to go back and keep voting! There is some pretty tough competition (much bigger blogs with many more followers), so well, here's the thing: vote if you can, but I feel kinda funny asking again and again.

Yet the competitive part of me says VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! Meh - OK now I am done!

Go on, click here, do it...you know it will only take a second!

And so, now to Monday...time to get back to the real world, as December starts in earnest this week, time to get the advent calendars (with glitter, of course) out and start the glorious count down...

via tinywhitedaisies

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 26 November 2010

On more or less the first day of my University life I met a group of girls and an enduring set of friendships emerged. Now, some 18 years later, we try to meet up when life allows a gap of time, once a year to catch up. This weekend is that gap. We are down on our number by one; E who has had a baby in recent weeks and so is in the bubble of new motherhood. She will be sorely missed! The rest of us make the pilgrimage tomorrow to our University town of Bristol. The agenda: lunch, chat, walk, chat, shop, chat, dinner chat. I am limbering up for a marathon chat! Nothing like old friends. When I started University my Dad had bought me a new coat with a fur collar and so even in those student days of sparse living; I still loved my luxe look! My girls will remember will fondness my 'beaver coat' (faux of course) so this post features some fur loving, in memorium of that!

I did an experiment this week of working from home all week, I did not leave my house except to do the school run. My conclusion: rather odd. I am solitary soul much of the time, happy with my own thoughts, but going into the office is some human contact that I like and need. The weather has turned seriously cold so as I sat ay my desk at home, I was accompanied by a hot water bottle - OK so there are some advantages of home-working!

Had a parent's evening with Boo's teachers; turns out the girl is abit of a star! I always secretly knew (hoped) for this but to have it confirmed in droves is nothing short of wonderful. Seems her future is brighter than even we imagined. And guess what? The girl is a writer...

Kate, Cate and Uma in Vanity Fair

Despite its connotations I love fur; just looks so stylish to me. I love her whole outfit.

via pretty girl tumblr
Our wedding anniversary is coming up - I love a winter wedding. I knew beyond all doubt that I wanted to get married in the winter...love the chestnuts on the table here...

via 100 Layer Cake

Whilst on the winter wedding topic - love this ice queen look. I was only 25 when I married so was not quite brave enough to sport this. If it were now I would so go to town on the whole thing, as if I was in Narnia...

via Dust Jacket Attic

An iconic Tiffanys ad...and some more here at Haute Design...

Alexa Chung - too cool for school.

The Maxmara cube - my obsession continues...

Beautiful roses and a fur stole...

Have a lovely, happy weekend...

Baby love...

posted on: Wednesday, 24 November 2010

So, did I mention I am going to be an Auntie again? My lovely sister in law N is pregnant, due in a few months. As with many things in life it's been a long road to get here and now, well let's just say we are all as pleased as punch that it's time for a new addition to the family.

Her and I just spent the evening talking about babies and birth and the whole damn miracle. A trip down memory lane for me as I realise it was ten years ago that I did all of that business for the first time. TEN YEARS? My goodness. I am not sure how I feel about this! But as for N, I am nothing but excited for her to take this step into motherhood and I hope I can be there along the way to help her out, hold her hand, make it better when it's tough (as it will be tough at times) and just revel in the joys.

To me, there is something really special about being able to observe someone I love go through this process now, when I am so far 'out the other side'. The baby stage was hard for me, as I have blogged about before and I have to admit I kinda want to have a chance again to enjoy being with a baby. I really hope I get that opportunity without quite so much of the angst I had with my own.

...Gisele...how is it possible to be this beautiful?
...'yey' for mothers...
...love the bump...
...baby love...
I have said before motherhood is a marathon not a sprint; the pregnancy/baby stage is just one section of an enormous complex route. But that stage is just so special, especially for the first time when everything is so fresh and new. I wish her all the luck in the world...

Love Auntie Lou xxx

Things of beauty...how are we today?

posted on: Friday, 19 November 2010

Friday I'm in love....with the idea of a quiet weekend! There is something about this time of year, where it gets dark at 4.30pm that just makes me want to snuggle up and nest. Yet instead there are social engagements galore and just altogether too much to do.

I have had a pensive time lately wandering what's it all about? I have no answers yet. Quelles surprise. It's always the case that I want to press 'pause' and consider whether I am happy. That elusive kind of happiness...am I content? Is everything OK? I suspect better to just not think too much about anything and enjoy the ride. I must try to learn to do that. Stop thinking; just be.

via Dust Jacket Attic

Ivory handles and lace...

I had a homemade package of prettiness delivered yesterday, from my friend Melissa...and it brought tears to my eyes it was just so, so lovely. 

Boo has a ballet exam coming up...the nerves...the tutus...the hair buns...it's 'Ballet Shoes' relived, which secretly I love. I am living vicariously through her.

I have posted a few paintings by this Danish artist, whose work is close to my heart. Makes me think of my Danish grandmother. 'Interior' by Vilhelm Hammershøi painted in 1901.

I think this the perfect mix of old and new...

Just love this bouquet with grey...

via Hey Gorgeous
Anna Friel in Vanity Fair...

via from me to you
via we are all in the gutter

I can't help feeling an absolute twinge of patriotism with this engagement announcement this week and by the way Kate - love the Issa dress! Perfect choice. This does, in some way,  make me feel happy and hopeful and pleased to be British.

Have a restful, chilled-out weekend...

Here's what I think...

posted on: Monday, 15 November 2010

By the way, I've written a follow-up to this post, five years later! Link here.

Quick fire: Here's what I think:

Ageing gracefully?
I wish I was entirely fine with this process. It's one of life's inevitabilites. Fighting it, ultimately doesn't work. There are elements of it that are life-affirming and wonderful; experience is beauty, but oh how I wish it just didn't happen. That it wasn't quite so brutal. My Mum, who is the ultimate role model for everything; she is AWESOME, has aged beautifully. She is at-one. I love and emulate that. And isn't this image just beautiful?

Shopping as favourite?
For me, nothing like going into a shop and seeing lots of things that make my heart go pitter-patter. I wish I wasn't quite so shallow and that the things that made me heart beat fast had more substance than a pretty dress. But that's how I am - have been the same since the age of 5 (but then it was pink and white candy-striped dungarees that caught my eye).

Should mothers work?
Whatever gets you through the day. Such a fiercely personal choice. First one must look at why mothers work - what is it that motivates them? From my observations on this, it's not all it seems; the motivations are wide, varied and unexpected. Understanding that choice must come first before any judgement is made about whether it's right or wrong.

The medical profession?
I have always had the utmost faith in the medical profession. I respect doctors enormously, in a similar way to lawyers. Clever, dedicated people. However in recent dealings with the medical (dental) profession I have been left wanting. How come they don't know all the answers? Have they not devoted years of study to finding out why something goes wrong with the human body? I am a specialist in my job - if someone asks me a question that I don't know the answer to, I go away and find out. I don't just send them away to cope with it. The older I get the more I find that there are few straight-forward answers in medicine. This bothers me.

Pushy parenting?
Should children be pushed academically and in, for example, sport? Should children be made to sit exams? I think, sometimes yes. Life has tests, why should we pretend in childhood that tests don't exist? We can help reduce the number of tests (I am speaking metaphorically about all tests children face; be they mathematics, getting through playtime, being in a school production, running a race) but at the end of the day, is it not better to prepare children to know how to deal with some pressure? The trick is not too much pressure and to not erode or deface the relationship they have with their parents by making success synonymous with unconditional love and respect. I have seen pushy parents in action and it's not pretty. Still working out how I feel about this one...

Cooking a meal from scratch every night?
Ready-made meals; what Jamie Oliver hates. I cook a fair amount, most nights I make a meal from fresh ingredients, from scratch. It is time-consuming and often I find it enormously tedious but I do it because it matters. I also periodically test my children on whether they know what a butternut squash looks like vs a chilli. I can't bear the thought that some children don't know what a potato is unless it comes in the form of chips. I think they have to see me cook; not just put a plastic packet in the oven.

images via are so happy

Going to bed at 8.30pm?
For adults, not children. I am all for it. For children, the earlier the better ;-)

Having the right shoes?
Yep, it does matter. To me.

Making a good cheese sauce?
I find the most important thing is to whisk the roux with the milk, briskly; a brisk whisk if you will. I also find that I do it with a smile on my face as I think (always) of my friend L who commented that her bottom wobbled when making a cheese sauce. I find the smile helps the consistency ;-)

...looks just like this my kitchen...go Gwyneth...

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 12 November 2010

Every Friday rolls around and I am amazed at where the time goes - but then everyone says that don't they? This week has has some highs and lows; yesterday I lost my temper and I never ever do that! It was work-related and I am usually pretty even-handed, laid-back person and for some reason all of that went out the window. I woke this morning thinking: 'what was that?!' Full moon?

I have been thinking about blogging this week, as I still find myself feeling an acute sense that I don't want the people I know to know I blog. This mainly applies to work and school-Mummy circles of friends and acquaintances. The thing with blogging is that you just have to get it don't you? And if you don't get it, no amount of explanation will cover the rather bizarre urge to publish your life and thoughts to cyberspace, to enjoy and rely on the comments of strangers, to share pictures of beauty - to just put it out there for like-minded folk to see in the hope that they too will look and think - ahh yes, love that image. A picture-perfect slice of life. As ever I conclude: I like it, I get it, so what else matters?

by Chris Nicholls

I think this cotton ball bridal bouquet is just the cat's pyjamas...

Little girls with top knots...

Gorgeous woollen treats from Catherine Tough. My friend W gave me one of these hearts as she knew it was just my thing; it's one of my favourite items.

Love the shape of this dress and the strong and beautiful face of this woman...she looks entirely graceful and elegant.

by Stephanie Rausser
Time for some George action...this man is divine.

Eames rocker

Cameron looking positively Cameron-esque...

A perfect white-washed, rustic, simple interior.

Audrey Hepburn and Cat...

Wallpaper heaven...

Grosgrain ribbon bow - it's the simple things...

Have a weekend that features one of the following: 
a sleepy morning laying in bed, 
walking somewhere beautiful, 
toasted marshmallows in front of the fire!!
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