Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 27 April 2012

Finally Friday! A week of elated ups and some slightly lower downs. We continue to live in a state of some flux, waiting for the normality of school and jobs to have their effect. School at least is back, affording me a moment's pause in the day to restore order.

A week spent facing my confidence demons, gradually getting used to outing this blog to those who know me, as I prepare to launch the Apothecary next week. It's all about getting comfortable in one's skin; accepting that people will think what they think, like what they like, judge what the judge - and that's OK. The point is, I have decided to put myself out there and despite my fears, the resounding reaction has been so positive. It swells my heart. I quite like that I am not a foregone conclusion for those who know me (and those who don't!); as my husband described me: '...a quiet bee; clever and quiet'.

A week of frankly bizarre weather has left me longing for the sun...wishing that summer would make an early appearance. I'm so tired of inclement weather; wouldn't be lovely to feel the heat again?! Here's to some pretty, positively calming 'things of beauty'...

photograph by chris nicholls

via dust jacket attic










Olivia Palermo in marie claire

via skona hem

via cape cod collegiate





via nantucket youth

via a feminine tomboy



via this flickr


Enjoy your weekend...

The pursuit...

posted on: Monday, 23 April 2012

The pursuit of all. Somewhere along the way I got greedy and decided (consciously or sub-consciously?) that I wanted it all. The whole life. With all the trimmings. My Dad asked me recently, why do take on more and more? Why so driven? I never realise I am driven until people point it out to me. I genuinely think I am passive in life. Yet here I am in this pursuit. Of everything. I seem to feel the need to squeeze every last drop out of every day; I have a love/hate relationship with sleep right now. All sleep is good sleep and I long for that moment at the end of the day when I rest my head on the pillow. But I know that when I am sleeping I am getting nothing done! So much to do...

via pretty stuff
The realisation is that we all have our motivations; for some of us though, motivation is more visible. I think in me, it was always there, just dormant; behind the scenes. It hadn't found its voice. So, it's funny how things go.

I am struck by the way in which my generation go after things...like my good friend who ran the London marathon on Sunday with a cracked rib. I just knew that she had the gumption to complete that race no matter what. That was her pursuit.

My husband's pursuit has come full circle. He has a new job - starting next week! If ever I was in any doubt, every cloud does have a silver lining. Just when you think an event will spell disaster for your little life, it instead gives you a life lesson you never knew you needed.


Time to dwell...

posted on: Thursday, 19 April 2012

This week has been a whirl. I am on holiday from my corporate job, but the rest of my busy little life is positively cancelling out any relaxation time! That's not a bad thing, as right now is a time of opportunity and change. I am embracing it. But it does not come without its moments of worry. I am trying to keep an even keel on this new business boat. Sometimes the boat leans over and I wonder if I will stay afloat, but then I regain balance and it's all better. A haze of website design and product reviews and logistical planning. So far, so good. In every decision I come back to this quote; it has become the prevailing direction in my design compass:


I am in week three of school holidays and my children have been delighting me; but that's not to say that I am not looking forward to some head space when they return the middle of next week. My son turned seven this week and we spent the most glorious family day at the beach. One of those perfect sunny April days that provides the promise of summer. Blue skies and what the kids call 'Toy Story' clouds as we snuggled in a sandy nook, amongst the dunes. It remains my favourite ever place to be.

...the puppy and us...

...dune dwelling...

...beach jumping...
This bubble of time we are enjoying will change soon as my husband (fingers crossed) will start a new job in the near future. Needs must, but this time off has profoundly changed the way we feel about family life and what is important. I need to somehow bottle the freedom and impetus of this image above to remind him, when he gets immersed again in the corporate machine, that we are here waiting for him... :-)

Tread softly...

posted on: Sunday, 15 April 2012

I am being ever so slightly over-sensitive these days. I refer to the creation of the Apothecary brand, which is shaping up to be like a wild, good, hair-raising, roller-coaster process! When it launches, I am going to put myself out there. Yep - out there - way out. My thoughts, my style, my point of view; I have been publishing those here for over two years. But to create a brand and a handful of products, that is feeling like a whole different ball game.

love this image...via lindsey sauter
I sense the need to grow much thicker skin! To develop a new, concise language that articulates what this fledgling business is all about. And where it takes up space in my heart. To take a deep breath every time someone offers an opinion about what they do or don't like about it. I can relate it to when you bring a new baby home and every one coos and ahhhs and says how beautiful he or she is. To you, your creation is perfect, meanwhile they may leave your cocoon of new motherhood and think the exact opposite! The fundamental difference is that you are never told that opinion. Here - it feels like the opposite. And that's absolutely necessary, it's all part of this pursuit and it's how we grow and evolve. How we improve...

I have always been sure of what I like. My attachment to the aesthetics of life has led to countless 'things of beauty' posts here on this blog. Pages and pages of intrinsically beautiful styling. Images that just sing to me the minute I stumble across them. So my task for these coming weeks, as I edge closer to showing you what I have done, is to galvanise myself! To get comfortable with how it will feel to say: "Look, it's here! Tell me what you think!' For without you, I am just a blogger with an eye for beauty. I am so looking forward to it, but in the words of W.B Yeats: Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Reading these lovely words from a dear blog friend...which has come out of nowhere this sunny morning has made me stronger!


Be who you are...

posted on: Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Half-Danish,
SENTIMENTAL thinker,
Follower; not leader,
Beach freak,

via crush cul de sac
Closet entrepreneur,
WILLOWY brunette,
Long-term, fully paid up visitor to 'Dog Island',
POTION blender,

via tiny white daisies
Sometimes reluctant but persistent spender,
Deep SLEEPER,
Jaw pain sufferer,
School MUMMY,

via tiny white daisies
TEA drinker,
Style enthusiast,
Indecisive DITHERER,
Sun lover.

via bippity boppity boo


Be who you are...even if others judge you for it...

Blending...

posted on: Monday, 9 April 2012

Before the Apothecary entered my life, most of my creative impulses were channelled into this blog; if I felt the need to write, I'd write. Now I feel like every creative urge is going into the new business (just so many things to think of!) and the blog is suffering as a result.

Recent days spent mixing blends of lavender and bergamot, the house wafting of scent. Filling and lining up little bottles, gazing at them in the hope that one day soon they will sell! Not yet ready to launch; you know how I have that perfectionist problem? Well, turns out it applies to this too. Quelles surprise.

via my very talented friend Natasha at beautifully suddenly
Easter was spent in a chocolate daze, seeing friends and family and marvelling at the British weather when the sun shined, cursing it when it didn't. Today it's raining. Bank Holiday Monday wouldn't be the same without rain.

I wanted to write about an anonymous comment that I received. One where I wish I had known the commenter so I could write back to her and talk about it. It was one of those comments that leaves a blogger feeling humbled and slightly shame-faced for not having thought of the feelings she might injure in her writing. Well, not injure exactly; more like provoke.

The comment was in response to an assertion I'd made: that my husband loosing his job was the best thing that could have happened to us. Her view was that whilst for us it could be that way; when her husband lost his job, it had and still has, a real impact on his soul. Finding work is hard, money is tight. The future unclear. Here is where I felt shame-faced. I accept that so much of what is presented here is sunny-side-up; that we revel in a lucky, pretty life, protected from some of the harsh realities that are out there.

via beautifully suddenly
So I wanted to say...I completely understand; I have enormous empathy for a comment like that, which was not in any way meant with malice. It's just a fact; what is good for some, causes pain for others and I wish it weren't that way...

That's all I can say...xxx

Doppelgänger...

posted on: Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Maybe...somewhere, there is another me. One of my most precious friends Emma, said she was in the Royal Albert Hall the other night and saw someone just like me. Mannerisms and everything. This leads me to believe that in the city of London there is a version of me whooping up the city life. Instead of rural dog walks, she strides Bond Street. Instead of playing lego with a six year old, she sips lattes and reads the city pages, wondering which fabulous place to frequent for dinner tonight. Instead of doing circuit training with the mummies, she does Ayurveda yoga in an urban bolt-hole. Instead of kissing her 10 year old girl goodnight, she contemplates whether or not having a baby would enhance her life. I hope she's channelling her Alexa Chung and wearing brogues and a satchel, complete with 1980's throw-back irony.

via atlantic pacific
I do wonder sometimes how the life choices I have made have been pre-ordained? As if some cosmic force has kept me in my hometown, married to the boy next door. My children will tread the same steps as I did in my youth and I like that. There is something complete about it. But there will always be a part of me that wonders...what would it have been like if I had taken a different path?


This clearly represents the root of my mid-life crisis; a distinct sense that decisions have been made and now it's down to me to live them. I am completely and entirely comfortable with my life decisions; but the idea that there could be another me, somewhere else, is mind-bending. I hope she's having as nice a time as me!  ;-)

photograph by stephanie rausser



Mother work...

posted on: Monday, 2 April 2012

I've spent some time considering the plight of the working mother. This is a topic I often land on, having spent the best part of ten years juggling a corporate job and a family. But recently I have observed my sister in law enter the fray as she has returned to work after her maternity leave. I've been wondering: what are my words of wisdom to her? I have this overwhelming urge to warn and protect her from the tougher elements of being a working mother as if it is a battle zone that she is entering. Of course it isn't. Many women can work and have children and it all goes swimmingly.

I wonder why for all the years that I have worked, after having children, I drove myself so hard, not content to let anything slip. To the extent that I became slightly unhinged. My hinges are back on now, but the fact remains: why can't it be easier to have a job and a family?


...beautiful Jackie...via pretty stuff
In practical terms, I stood by my methods which over the years oiled the wheels, ensuring our life stayed on track. I religiously got our weekly food shopping on a Monday and planned what we would eat so there was always food in the house. Not having adequate or nutritious food was a surefire way to feel I was failing. Likewise, I ran a laundry system where I devised a cupboard dedicated to laundry sorting; a whites shelf, a coloured shelf, a darks shelf. All meaning that laundry was ready to be scooped and moved into the process, already colour coded. This made me feel in control. If no member of your family has clean clothes, you feel like you're failing.

I'd plan weekend social engagements three to four months in advance, so at least my husband and I felt were seeing friends and living life. Being a social recluse makes you feel like you're failing.

I'd fantasise about sorting my entire house so that every item had its own place. In my mind this was the key to not feeling like you're failing.

And all the time, with these measures I would be in control and there would be no variables. But in reality, life does throw variables our way and so I would get sick or the kids would. Or there would be a school trip or an event that I had not catered for in my planning. Or I would simply forget who was meant to be where and when.

In short, it required military levels of organisation and discipline to make it work. Constantly thinking ahead. Not to mention normal life stuff like dentist visits and haircuts and school projects and weekends away. Family lunches and friends' birthdays and thank you cards.

via pretty stuff
And now of course I can see that these rigorous demands, all self-imposed, were my undoing. For years, so staunchly did I defend this way of life. And now, when I observe it in myself I see that fundamentally, something had to give.

And so it has given. A shift of seismic proportions in my little life. And now I contemplate the future and wonder...where do I want to take it?

via pretty stuff


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