Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 25 February 2011

The week in which I got my groove back. This week turned out not as I expected. Sometimes when I look ahead, in the knowledge that I have a whole lot of unplanned time with the Boos, I must admit I mildly panic wondering what am I going to do to keep them entertained? I then i) feel ashamed at this reaction and ii) try to justify the fact that children should not need 24/7 'entertainment' and then iii) opt for the great outdoors as the ultimate remedy. This week it all worked out. The unexpected presence of their Daddy helped; sometimes he doesn't have to work quite so hard. The fact that we are going skiing next week also helped; that pursuit represents the great outdoors in dramatic measures. Next to beach air, mountain air has got to rate pretty highly.

We return to the same French town each year to ski en famille. There is now a tried and tested route that we take and part of the charm is that the children want to retrace their footsteps and have the chance to redo what they did last year. We always say 'shall we go somewhere different?' and they say 'No! It's tradition!'. You can't mess with tradition...

So I will be seeing you, I will drop in at some point and test out the Lou-on-the-road blogging capability! Au revoir...


Photobucket
via everything fabulous


I have a soft spot for Ryan Reynolds...

via older men are the sex  (well, my sentiments exactly)

via the constantly lovely Sarah Klassen's Haute Design






via fabrik of life


If only this weren't quite so close to the truth...


Love the bag, love the boots, love the coat.

via The Sartorialist
It's not often that a product changes my world; but this 'dirty secret' has...and truly enables a hair-do like this...


Victoria Beckham Autumn/Winter 2011 dress collection...who'd have thought?




 It's all about the dress for me...

via sunday in bed

by Jamie Beck



See you very soon...
Happy weekend!

The kids are alright...

posted on: Thursday, 24 February 2011

This week so far has been spent in the delightful company of my children. May I just say? They are pretty cool. Every now and then testosterone gets the better of my son; it bubbles up and has nowhere to go but to spill over. However, he is the most uncomplicated of souls; all blonde curls and boyish straight-forwardness. My daughter is all beauty and grace. They impressed me when we spent the afternoon helping out with their newest baby cousin. I loved that we could swoop in like a maternal 'big bird' and assist my very tired sister in law who enters week three of motherhood. She was able to sleep while we watched the baby; my children talked in whispers for over an hour and I had to cast my mind back to the days of nappy changes and that bizarre hard-wired mothering skill of rocking a baby to sleep.

I came away though still grateful that my kids are older and they can do stuff. The basic necessity of feeding and sleeping of a newborn was then juxtaposed with the ability and competence of my older children. In the evening, we went swimming and I watched as they leapt and sprang about, underwater, on the water. Thinking back to the days we taught them to swim. Or the day that they first learned to ride a bike. Or the first day of school. Or just standing at the kitchen window watching them on the swings outside, swinging high! It was just yesterday they were being rocked by me and now I am bystander in this new world they are creating. It's bizarre. And quite nice.

As ever, motherhood is a marathon not a sprint - you take each day as it comes.  But each day brings something nearing greatness...even if it's found in the small things.

Britishness...

posted on: Tuesday, 22 February 2011

We walked at the beach in the rain and the wind. Only lone dog walkers and a rare group of city-dwellers in search of a coastal 'away-day' accompanied us. Up and down the boardwalk that wove its way through the sand dunes and then back to our beach hut for refreshments. As we peeked out of our little wooden hut, smiling to passers-by with that conspiratorial smile and a 'hello, a fine day isn't it?' even though its blowing a hooley. I did think to myself how utterly British we were being, skulking at the beach in chilly winter weather, determined to get some all-important fresh air.

via are so happy
To me one of my happiest places on earth is at the beach, whatever the weather, seeing my kids run along the shoreline. There is just nowhere like it for me. Of course it would be rather nice if it were Florida instead of the South coast of England, but nevertheless...it has its charms.

via here

I've been thinking...

posted on: Monday, 21 February 2011

I had one of those weekends where there was nothing too pressing or pressurised taking place. We drifted from Friday to Sunday, the days punctuated by family activities like swimming, food shopping, a horse-riding lesson, film watching.


Certain things struck me along the way - for once, my mind free to wander. Firstly how I manage to totally forget about my work come Saturday morning. Is this because I have, over the years, trained myself to zone it out? Or does it indicate that work carries that little importance? When I have a weekend when everyone is exactly where they are meant to be (ie at home), it's the meander of family time that I concentrate on and work becomes a distant second.

I kept half an eye on the London Fashion Week shenanigans and I wondered - how have I never paid any attention to this spectacle before? Did it have less importance or is it now that my world has opened up? There is simply so much input available; a constant stream of images and thoughts via so many different sources.


On a morning run I found myself pondering how it is that Olivia Palermo can brave the winter climes of London with bare legs! Did she not get the memo that said 'It's February!' The degree of winter sun and/or grooming required to get legs looking that way in the middle of the coldest months is mind-boggling! To me bare legs in winter is a bit like wearing sequins in the daytime; it would normally be a faux-pas. Yet our Olivia pulls it off.

Sunday beef and Yorkshire puddings and a visit from the new baby in the family. He slept and slept and we all wondered how he could sleep quite that much (all inwardly deducing that this would mean he would be up all night). All of the memories of that fog of motherhood came back to us - even Boo who can recall holding her little brother when he arrived nearly 6 years ago. But to see a new, fresh little formed family was heart-warming and special.


And so to a new week, it's half term so no school. Time for country walks, which are my answer to every moment of boredom in school holidays. Failing that, the beach. Blowing away the cobwebs in some February chill - with not a bare leg in sight!

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 18 February 2011

Hello, hello. A much better week this week, I have got my head together finally! Have you sensed there has been too much rattling round in there for a while?! It's exhausting trying to be 'at one' with oneself. Well at least it is for me...

Meanwhile, for months I have been trying so hard to help my son learn to read. I set myself a little goal that we would read every night, no excuses and the fact that I pledged to myself and to the Internet somehow worked and I have not missed one night. The net result: he's doing so much better at school. Accolades all round, so I am delighted. All you ever want for your kids is that they can do stuff; they don't have to be the best by any means, but you just don't want them to struggle with life.

 Still tweeting...it's a revelation! Still loving my blog. Still generally quite happy with life :-)


via crush cul de sac


Taking the world of pretty-picture-lovers by storm...bridal website BHLDN. As I am not getting married I swooned over the underwear...




We go skiing in a week but there is no snow in the Alps - well not no snow, but not much...please can there be a large snowfall??

via are so happy

It's the minutiae of life that reminds us what matters...




I realised that not one member of my family had read even one book of the 'Harry Potter' series...so I have ordered the box set...

...the beautiful Emma Watson...





I spied the first daffodils making efforts to remind us Spring is coming...




I could sleep for a week; every night I put my head on the pillow only to wake what feels like half an hour later, when of course a whole night has passed...


Boo is reading 'Anne of Green Gables' at the moment, out loud to me as I cook in the evenings. So utterly sentimental, it makes me cry just thinking about when Matthew Cuthbert gives her the dress with the puffed sleeves. It's always been about dresses for me! Love the series - have ordered the box set!



...Emily Blunt...


I have very little planned this weekend, time to regroup!
Have a lovely one...

My house...

posted on: Wednesday, 16 February 2011

I have a relatively short history with houses. I haven't lived in that many. Spent my entire childhood in one house. Then the first house that my husband and I cohabited in was a one bedroom flat. When I arrived on the scene it was a resolute batchelor pad; all black furniture and hi-fi systems (those where the days when your graphic equalizer was something to be reckoned with). I painted the furniture and sold the stereo. Our kitchen was so small you could stretch your arms out each side and touch opposite walls with your fingers.


From there we moved to our first proper house. I loved that house. To this day it remains the place that carries some of the sweetest memories; the place we lived in when we got married. It was Victorian townhouse; with an attic and a little flower garden. We cherished that house with every attention. I used to spend my weekends prettifying it, as that was before children, when frankly I had all the time in the world. We would have dinner parties and host our friends for racous weekends, playing at being grown ups.


When babies came, we moved from that beloved townhouse to a newly built 'family' home, out of town. It was in a cul de sac with lots of other people 'just like us'. Although, as it turned out they weren't really like us as they seemed to love their new houses whereas I just never, ever really did. That was the shortest time we owned a house; we sold up before baby number 2 arrived.

In effect, we stumbled across our farmhouse. We knew of the house and had been inside it before, but never in our wildest dreams thought we could buy it. But a convergence of circumstances meant that we got a chance to and so when I was just 10 weeks pregnant we moved in. It was the biggest gamble but we did it anyway. One sight of Boo, aged 3, running across the lawn with the budding wisteria on the flint house in the background made me realise: this is the place.


We swore we would never need to leave and so have spent recent years restoring it, tweaking it, making it ours. And now I spend more time here that even I imagined I would. It encapsulates everything that home is meant to be for me. But each day, I go through this routine of making it look like a 'Country Living' spread and each day, the rest of my family mess it up! Life messes it up. And instead of spending just a weekend putting it straight, I spend every day doing it. It's that cruel trick: you long for a beautiful abode, you spend your hard-earned cash on having a house to be proud of, then the tyranny of keeping it beautiful sets in!

all pretty images via tinywhitedaisies
It's a good house; people often say that when the walk in the door, it has a good feel to it. It's a house that witnesses the ebb and flow of family life, every day. It's crooked and old and comes scarily close to flooding when the water levels are high. It looks out on acres of fields and when the wind blows sometimes it feels like the whole place is going to pick up and take off - Wizard of Oz style. Oh, and squirrels have moved into our attic...but even so, I am rather grateful I live here.

Baftas and babies...

posted on: Monday, 14 February 2011

Some Mondays I have a new blog blog post just bursting out of my mind, all ready to hit the 'publish' button. Some Mondays the opposite. Today the latter; I have no format, no agenda, it's just the mind of me...

by Elizabeth Messina

So to the Baftas...I will leave to my wonderful fashionista blogging colleagues to critique the dresses; I have to say that I loved Jessica Alba's blue dress. I found the award nominations by Rosamund Pike physically painful to watch (poor girl). I shed a little tear for Colin Firth's victory - he so deserved it and isn't his wife Livia just beautiful and so appropriate? I still haven't seen Black Swan and with Natalie Portman's best actress award I feel slightly ashamed that I haven't!


via Vogue
This morning I visited my new nephew - OHHH MY - just gorgeous in that unutterable newborn way. Seeing him made me feel peace.


My house is trashed after a very full family weekend, so I will spend the day putting stuff back in its place. The Monday ritual. But then I remember - it's Valentines...hmmm how could I forget?
It's a day for happy love on the home-front :-)

via it's mary ruffle

You can not be PERFECT at everything, you can only do your best...

posted on: Friday, 11 February 2011

Some very good and well-timed advice from my dear friend D. She dispensed this advice on our real-time messaging system at work; she in the Netherlands, me here. As this statement flashed up in a little window on my screen I just kept re-reading it thinking 'yes, of course!'. So obvious. I love her simple wisdom.

The blogging community has shrunk this week as I entered the realm of Twitter. Where have I been?! Such an obvious extension to this forum. I contacted friends and kept up with their day to day lives, interspersed with some celebrity voyeurism. What could be better?! One such twitter friend Sophie, posted this gorgeousness of Paris with her beau, sporting her Lou, Boos and Shoes giveaway clutch bag! I love a happy ending and good handbags do go to good people!

Whilst on the topic of how the Internet shrinks the world, another good blogger friend of mine (who shall remain nameless), residing entirely in another hemisphere has found her true love on line and is counting down to meeting him for the first time in a matter of weeks. Despite societal 'scorn' of the use of the blogging/facebooking/flickr/twitter medium to form relationships, you have to admit it connects people in a way that is simply awesome.

This weekend will be spent preparing Boo for a ballet exam on Saturday (eeek), catching up with good friends for dinner and generally trying to wind down from was what a bit of a week...




I just love this image - how beautiful is she?

via it's mary ruffle

by Jamie Beck
For my friend E who is learning to live with her daughter's cheeky toddler-esque ways...

via patterson maker


We are trying awfully hard to be this, after a fairly disastrous week of parenting decisions; you know when you just try and try to be rational and supportive to your kids and it just comes out all wrong?



via cowparsley


Valentine pretties...I am not big on this particular holiday celebration...but the pink is always nice.


Diaphanous Natalia Vodianova...








One corridor in life always leads to another...it's a long journey with many doors!


Here's to a healing, restorative weekend...
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