And so it goes...

posted on: Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The sojourn to Wimbledon was lovely; so utterly British and proper. My main recollection: Pimms in glasses and beautiful blue hydrangeas in every flower pot. Ralph Lauren blazers worn by all of the linesmen and women; very dapper. We go again on Thursday for another onslaught of 'Corporate Entertainment' where the highest echelons of corporate wifery are required; pretty dresses and sparkling repartee...


via a lady's findings by a little sussy
Meanwhile on the home front, days of a more trying kind. Trying to be a good parent, a bastion of good advice and calmness. This has partially alluded me this week as Boo has veered from happy to sad to downright anxious about a school trip. Oh if only I could give her the life experience to see that she will grow from things that challenge her. When your kids have to do tough things it makes you question whether you should save them from their own anxieties. I run with the view that says 'she has to learn'. But my goodness, it's hard to stand by and know that you could take it all away by saying an emphatic 'you don't have to go.'

I turn to reading John Updike in times of trouble - I like his salty New England observations. Am I the only one who loves this writer? What is it? Currently reading 'The Witches of Eastwick'...

I mentioned I was seeing many-a-specialist in efforts to resolve the pain issue. So far it's been one step forward, two steps back. It's funny isn't it how many of the alternative therapies purport to 'fix you', yet it's unclear what actually delivers a fix. All I know is that the fix is not yet in my grasp and the pain persists. I do sometimes wonder...how exactly did I get here? Did I loose my compass?

via 79 ideas

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 24 June 2011

As this is published, we will shortly after be making our way to Wimbledon. I have never been before, let alone enjoyed the benefit of corporate tickets. Strawberries and cream anyone?

And so I leave you with a mood board of English loveliness. Incidentally, did you see Alexa Chung's comments on blog 'mood boards' in British Vogue? She incurred the wrath of the blog population by stating that blogs are 'ridiculous' and that blog mood boards are passé...well, even my hackles rose! She later reneged her view on Twitter. But a selection of images here nevertheless...

via lets drift away
via cannelle et vanille

English hedgerow....lovely cow parsley by me

...anyone for tennis?



from Vanessa Arbuthnott

photograph by Jamie Beck



via brown dress with white dots
 
via toast



...a Sussex meadow by me



via dustjacket attic

via lets drift away via vogue

a show of mother-love...painting by Jessie Wilcox Smith


Here's to a lovely weekend...

Frippery and perfection hunting...

posted on: Thursday, 23 June 2011

And now to fashion and frippery...one of the writers I read every week is AA Gill, who is the restaurant critic for The Sunday Times. He recently described a concept of 'Daylesford Casual' when referring to women who cultivate a certain style.

via brown dress with white dots

'Daylesford casual, studied layers of thrown-together ethnicity and minimalism over skinny leggings with ballet shoes and pony club hair.'

I somewhat self-consciously realised that what he describes is in fact my own dressing edict..the concept of 'studied layers'. I love this...he is the most scathing writer, achingly unforgiving. I understand also that Gill suffers from severe dyslexia and, consequently, all of his works are written by dictation. I find this awe-inspiring, when you consider the triumph of the English language, that it can be woven in such a way just through the power of thought; no pen and paper needed.


Anyway, back to frippery...the Daylesford reference is genius; and so to explain to non-natives of the UK, Daylesford Organic is a small but very elegant organic shop that started in the country and has now expanded to select parts of London. It symbolises the luxe, stylish side of organic food. Not the dirt and sawdust of farmer's markets but the clean, beautiful, groomed world of our consumer fascination with health and well being all wrapped up in parchment paper and gingham ribbon. 

Daylesford Chic...

via daylesford organic

It's just all so perfect isn't it?! And when I think about 'pony club hair', who springs to mind but Olivia and Catherine?

Ohh she has great hair...via middletonlove

Ohhh she has great clothes...olivia palermo via here
But deep down...the point is, whether it's clothes or hair or food, isn't this is all just indicative of this longing we all have for perfection? Luckily perfection comes in many forms and represents different things to different people, but for me this definition of a look, a lifestyle, an ethos, a style is ultimately all the same thing. I study it because I want it! I am fairly sure that doesn't make me a bad person, but it raises an interesting point. What does perfection bring? And when you get it, does the striving stop? Hmmm, answers on a postcard...

A walk on the quiet side...

posted on: Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I keep sitting down to write and then find that few words flow. Maybe I have become self conscious of my thoughts? Or maybe I feel I have put enough of them down here and instead want to write about fashion and frippery. Or maybe I just have nothing to say?! No, surely not...

via crush cul de sac

I am having a quieter time now, the reality of not working for a bit is sinking in. What an enabler it is to have my days free. To be able to plan and consider what to do as the week stretches out. Days peppered with seeing friends and restorative appointments like the massage I had this morning. Whilst I know this self-enforced stillness is a necessity at the moment; there is a distinct need, it doesn't stop the guilts arising in me. With years of history, guilt and I are familiar bedfellows. However not one person has said to me that I am doing the wrong thing; in fact the opposite, it is all right and all good.

Meanwhile this Tuesday, my view is: how fortunate am I to be able to take this time out? It is a gift...




In my hometown, where we live, I drive the same roads I used to walk and cycle as a child, and I wonder whether my reaction to change is influenced by the fact that I still live where I grew up. I only left for University and even then made the regular pilgrimage home to see my boy next door (later to be husband). I am used to the same. So I am trying to retrain my brain to embrace change, to see the opportunity in it. To identify that when things are in one groove,  sometimes a new groove needs to be furrowed to get benefit.

Mila Kunis via sun 0f a gun

The best part is that directly following this time of stillness is our family holiday, where 'holiday rules' apply and we are in our happiest place. I feel like the idea of that time is a salve; a balm, a tonic - in short a remedy. It might be a short-term fix but nevertheless...ocean and sand and sun is perfect for me.

via crush cul de sac via with style and substance

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 17 June 2011

Hello blogworld. So here we are - a Friday again and this week I have been spending my time, errr, well...thinking!! I have never thought so much in my life (and that is saying something for me). The product of having more time on your hands? Time to think. In amongst that head time, I also did the most punishing circuit training session ever and now can barely walk unaided. But it's a good ache; the one that comes with well-used muscles. I have seen friends and been walking by the sea. I have lovingly attended school events that would have normally caused me a logistical headache. I have read a book. I have run up my phone bill as there have been a few dark moments where friendly intervention was needed. All in all I am hanging in there. Staying upbeat as afterall, it's all about having a positive mental attitude...

The weekend ahead will be good. Time with family, wishing the weather would pick up. What is with the rain? Come on sun...make an appearance!

from Atlantic Pacific

Oh Olivia P...

photograph by Brent Darby

via home from so cute things
How sweet is this? Pride...

Diane Kruger in Calvin Klein at Cannes

photograph by Elizabeth Messina

I think this boat looks just majestic...and I don't even like sailing. I wish I did...



via a ladys findings from country homes and interiors


via pretty stuff

by Selina Lake
via toast




Trying to smile every day...

The minutiae...

posted on: Tuesday, 14 June 2011

And so it goes...life gets whittled down to the basics. For me this means the home, the family, the day-to-day. I have turned my back on all things taxing and I am seeing how it feels. Two words: strange and changeable. Some moments I feel weightless, free, happy. Others I feel worried, dark, unsure. There is no plan. I have not planned for this! And so I turn to the things that give comfort - friends and food and nature. Mid life crisis? Yep; I think so...!

Today it's a shy summers day - not quite brilliant sunshine, but trying. This is our sixth summer in the farmhouse so this is what I see:

...newly purchased, freshly laundered pillow cases...

...cherry red shoes...

...the lavender love seat...we were given this bench as a wedding present...

...the new rose my Mum planted for me...it's called 'Bonica'...

...the bounty of unread books, just waiting to be discovered; an unexpected and touching gift from my fairy blogmother...

...my favourite, utterly decadent, means-something-to-us painting by Jessica Cooper...

...the wheat field outside my window...
Thank you for all of your wonderful comments and observations...part of life's tapestry that there are so many of you with input, support and views. It swells my heart. The scan I had came back all clear - there is nothing sinister to report. The pain persists but medically no explanation can be found for it. So I bed this in and try to concentrate on the minutiae of life for abit, to see what happens next. Sometimes you have to just take your foot off the peddles and freewheel...

...willow tree and white picket fence, all images here taken by me...

Hello again, hello...

posted on: Thursday, 9 June 2011

When having a life crisis; to blog or not to blog? Hard question and one that I keep coming back to. So this is experimental. Words and pretty pictures just have to be therapeutic don't they?

I have taken the fairly momentous decision to take some time off work. Even as I type that I can't quite fathom that it's come to this, as I have always been Lou: workingmother. For abit I will be Lou: mother. And to boot, Lou: mother-with-a-health-issue. Really trying to be brave about the whole thing. But I know I am not right as I have had to i) admit it and ii) call on the big guns of family and friends to help me through. When you form your life being self-sufficient, this, to me, represents a big deal. So there you go; bear with me as my thoughts meander...

I think this is so pretty...via crush cul de sac via dust jacket attic

A word on friends. It never fails to amaze me, the kindness of others. I note this especially when rallying is required. Friends who rally and offer to help, who email and text with encouragement and affirmation. This week has been about the rally. And from some unexpected sources; school mums particularly of note.

via tiny white daisies
A word about Godparents. When we choose Godparents for the Boos, we did not follow tradition (which is to have three Godparents per child, all different, men and women). We simply choose for both our children to have the couple who were our best friends. The love they had shown our children was open and giving and without agenda. So Godparents they were. Then some time passed and they, as a couple, split up. Trauma all around and we had to, in some way, grieve for the friends we once had and adjust to having them as separate entities. I recall having worries at the time that the change in their relationship would affect their ability to be Godparents to our children, as I think Godparenting, even in these modern times, is a really important job. It really matters to me that my kids have trusted friends and confidants that they can turn to. And in these formative years it matters that they have people, other than their parents, who turn up and lavish them unconditionally with love and guidance.


This week, the friendship offered by those two Godparents has been amazing and I am so thankful again for the support. Sometimes it's not just the children who need love and guidance...

Meanwhile in a complete topic change, in efforts to simplify I got one of these. A mastery of engineering, this tool peels, cores and slices apples. I am just so taken with it and best of all; the kids can do it and there are no injuries. This is Lou's best gadget of the week.

from lakeland


And finally a word about well being. Instinctively I feel like I want to take long walks; a combination of head-clearing, scenery-absorbing, light exercising walks. And to cook good, health-giving food. Or maybe I should take a leaf out of my lovely Mum's book and tackle making some cakes? She bakes on a daily basis and she is one of the happiest, least worried people I know. Is there something in that? Time will tell, but I am hoping, with some time off I will get happier and less worried.

via canelle vanille flickr
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