Danish summer...

posted on: Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Light evenings always make me think of summers spent in Denmark as a child. My Mum is Danish and so every year we would make a pilgrimage back to see our family and to spend lazy summers around the lakes, just outside of Copenhagen.

I remember balmy evenings in that clear Scandinavian twilight, as the grown-ups drank wine or Campari and my cousins and I would hope that no one would insist we went to bed. Our days spent at the beach or in Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens, riding roller coasters and eating so much liquorice it made our stomachs ache.

via skona hem
I recall my Grandmother's (Mormor's) homemade gooseberry flan, made from fruit from her garden,  and sipping her elderflower cordial. Hours spent as a child, listening and absorbing a language that I didn't understand but whose intonation soothed me nonetheless. Even now if I hear Danish spoken, it is so familiar to me at the same time to being completely alien. I barely understand a word. But the sounds, they are like a lullaby.

I get this every now and then; a hit of childhood nostalgia that I can virtually taste. I figure this is how it works - things that happened thirty years ago are as memorable as things that happened yesterday. I like being acutely conscious of these memories though, they are what make me...me.

via skona hem

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 25 May 2012

Bonjour Vendredi! The week has sailed by, full to the brim with life stuff, L'Apothecary stuff, home stuff. There is a whole lot of coaching going on in our house as Boo has a challenging thing coming up that is sapping every ounce of her self-assurance. So hard to stand by and watch her struggle. If I could fix it I would, but it's one of those things (which seem to come more and more as she matures) that I can't fix. So we soldier on. If she had even half of the self-confidence and disdain for worry that her father has, it would be a different story. My worry genes are strong in her though...ah well ;-)

The business continues to flourish and we hit new and exciting milestones each day. I currently have a new product in the range ready to be 'blind' tested for scent and function. This is the best part; actually working to develop new products where we choose the OPTIMUM and most SCRUMPTIOUS ingredients, all natural, all pure. I love that I can influence what I now put on my skin; the dream is that I never use anything that contains nasty chemicals again. You can join me if you like...over here at L'Apothecary!!

The puppy ate my best heels. I am still stunned and rueful at this; I loved the shoes, they had seen me through all sorts of events, big meetings, dinners out...ugh...just to tragic to dwell on! I also learned my first hard lesson of dog ownership. You love them, but they drive you crazy.

And so...it's Friday, the sun is out...time to soak in this wonderful weather and get ready for a chilled weekend. The beach beckons...

...vintage gwyneth paltrow...

...love this...via Mesa Dreams...

I wanted to share one of the beautiful collages from Cowparsley blog...that features one of our L'Apothecary products!!

via cannelle et vanille

...so SO true!! If you don't like it, change it. I have a friend who did this just this week. Make the choice!

...summer loveliness from the sartorialist...

...beautiful, beautiful lauren hutton...

...hand-tied and natural...

Whatever you do, have a lovely, relaxing but productive weekend!

Mother talent...

posted on: Wednesday, 23 May 2012

I stumbled into motherhood young. I was just 26 and my career was not that established. Growing up there was always a need to define and go after 'a career'...as if obtaining a career was the single most important thing. As a post-grad I started working for a publishing house, for me: English Literature degree = books = publishing.

Nicole Kidman in Harpers Bazaar
Of course, three years in publishing taught me that a love of books did not a career make. So, I was seduced by the corporate dollar and here I am fifteen years later, an employment law expert with a multi-national company, and a beauty product entrepreneur in the making. From career to motherhood I stumbled, with the arrival of babies came the demise of the career-hungry, ladder-climbing powerhouse that I was. There was compromise. And I am fine with that; I was lucky enough to work for a company who knew all about converting powerhouses in to part time powerhouses and so I became another version of myself; part time. Partly there.

There will be many parallels to my own career story. I always suspected that the school grounds, which I frequent every day, were full of women who similarly pursued a career and then adjusted it and moulded it to the parameters of motherhood. I was right...

With the launch of L'Apothecary, all of a sudden every mother I speak to and tell about it has some amazing, relevant career experience that they can share with me. It's so heartening to speak to women who have achieved so much and who have made important decisions along the way. Like decisions to step away from the corporate climb, or to move out of the city, or to give up one thing or another for some greater good of their family.

Maybe it's something about career and motherhood that gives a fullness of opinion and thought to women?

What I have learnt is that you can never judge from a mother at the school gates what her past consisted of. I admit I have been guilty in the past of making assumptions about people and now...well now, I renege on all of that. My little world, it turns out, is full of talented, vibrant women who have much to teach me. So whatever disadvantage I think I may have suffered by opting out of my precious career, I see was no disadvantage at all. That is what life perspective is all about...

Nicole Kidman is Harper's Bazaar


posted on: Tuesday, 22 May 2012

What a difference a day makes. It is as if the whole British nation is in raptures because...get ready...the sun came out. There was warm wind. Trees rustled in summer-esque glory. The grass seemed to grow before my eyes. I had bare feet. I wore no sleeves. As my friend Lucy would say: '...what a revolutionary concept!' The month of May has been so dreadful, but today weather has redeemed itself. Thank goodness for that.

wayfarers...via bippity boppity boo
I will share a secret: last week I was stressed. Good old-fashioned stress. I know it well but it hasn't visited me for a while. Last week it took up residence again and it felt distinctly like it was not going away any time soon. However, I have learnt from my past - look back a year's worth of blog posts and you'll find another Louise; one who was wound like a coiled spring with stress. Fast forward to now and rather than being a coil, I just have a slight kink.

A combination of work, business launching, husband's return to work (and ensuing absence), school, children, pressures, messy house, disorder, lack of sleep, bad food choices. All of these conspired and the result was one stressed girl. The reason I share this is to outline that I have learnt. Look at what I did. Rather than soldier on, I stopped. Pressed pause. Sat still. I am a firm believer now that the 'sit still' plan is the root to healing all stress.

So there you go...the sit still plan and the sun...they have worked wonders and today I had a very productive, happy day.

via cape cod collegiate...a tumblr which I adore as I secretly fantasise I live in Nantucket...

Things of beauty...and commitment issues...

posted on: Friday, 18 May 2012

Because I am always thinking of you...today, I have started to sell little sized bottles of L'Apothecary facial oil...dinky, petite, baby, for those who want just to try it out. And P.S...we ship worldwide! It's OK; I understand about having commitment issues. Facial oil is new...it's current...some people have issues. They don't feel inclined to put oil on their faces (or anywhere else on their body that may need some love and attention).

But - let me say just this: try it.

Not one person who has given me feedback (and I have had LOTS of feedback) has said '...do you know what, it's just not for me...' Instead they are saying they love it, they are delighted they discovered it, it's made a difference after only a week. In short, it will rock your world. There, I've said it.

Can I just say an enormous love-covered thank you to those of you who've featured and reviewed L'Apothecary on your blogs. To Simone and Sophie, AmandaMary and Alison. It's meant so much to me and it's been fabulous to get such positive input from everyone's comments.

In the whirlwind that is my life at the moment; two jobs, packed school schedule, husband in a new job, I am coming up for air tonight, having dinner with a group of good friends. I predict Neil Diamond and fairy lights, accompanied by much wine and frivolity.

Here are some things of beauty...enjoy...and happy Friday!

via cape cod collegiate

michelle williams via fragments of the sun

via cape cod collegiate

olivia palermo in marie claire spain

Remember...simple is beautiful!
Click here to shop :-)

Here's to a wonderfully chilled out weekend with friends...

So, enough with the soul searching...

posted on: Wednesday, 16 May 2012

I look back sometimes on what I have written and see definite trends and patterns. I think, therefore I blog. I do acknowledge there has been a whole lot of soul searching and business-launching lately. In amongst that, there are lighter topics. This is what is on my mind in rare idle moments, combinations of comfort and aesthetics. It seems that what I crave the most is simplicity and comfort :-)

...cashmere blend soft tops from hush...

...flowers from the garden...

...bare shoulders...when, oh when???

...comfort food...

...the most awesome photo...by my friend Sophie, i bought a copy here at her new etsy site...

...summer reading..

...hair long enough to plait...

...old and new; the perfect juxtaposition..

...minimal and orderly...

...vanessa arbuthnott's new swedish collection...

Ahhhh...that's better ;-)

My friend Paula...

posted on: Saturday, 12 May 2012

I have a good friend; a best friend, called Paula.

One of the smartest people I ever happened across, Paula and I have firstborn children the same age. I met her when she and her husband moved down from London with their one year old. I recall going for dinner at their house (our husbands knew each other well so we, the wives, were catching up). I remember being struck that every thing she owned was stylish; simple, classy. I was ever so slightly in awe. She had a serious scientific background; highly qualified, highly educated.

Time passed and we found that we had a whole lot in common. We were by each others' sides as more babies arrived (I one more, she two more). As two couples with young children, we holidayed together, frequented our kitchen tables, had countless impromptu meals; you know the kind where the babies slumber and get taken home at the end of the evening, in car seats, their baby-growed feet sticking out from blankets.

What I am to disorder, she is to order. What I am to florals, she is to plain. What I am to literature and books, she is to science and test tubes. We complement each other; she blonde, I brunette.

And so to now. Ten years later. In recent months and in amongst the little life epiphany that I have had, there was Paula. You see, as I start a fledgling business making beauty products...L'Apothecary...there is Paula: the scientist. The serendipity of it astounds me. What became abundantly clear to me as soon as I embarked on this business was that I needed a scientist. I needed a colleague who could surely and safely steer me through the myriad of legislation and regulation, but crucially one who 'got' me and the whole vision behind L'Apothecary.

And so we've decided to go after that vision together...let's see where it takes us :-)

...photograph by my talented friend Natasha via here

A day in the life...

posted on: Thursday, 10 May 2012

The alarm sounds and I wonder how on earth it can be morning again so soon?! Sleep seems like a precious commodity; never, ever enough! Each day I resolve to go to bed earlier but it never seems to happen. My Dad is staying this week and so we have stayed up 'discussing' the state of the European Union and the banking crisis (his topic choice, not mine!). He is worried; I wonder why I am not more worried. I conclude that the state of the world is a concept too enormous for me to contemplate, let alone devote time worrying about. I suspect this is a short-sighted view that will amaze me when I look back in years to come. Remember 2012? 'Hell, yea, I was so blinkered back then'; that's what I will say when I am 70! Much like when I look back on the dedication I had to Levis 501s throughout my entire twenties, which really weren't that flattering! Weighty topics and I? We don't make comfortable bed-fellows.

...the view from my window...rain-battered apple blossom...
This week I feel like I am on double time. It is Boo's birthday (hurrah), my work has ramped up completely and of course there is L'Apothecary, like a moth in the lamp light, fluttering about and distracting my attention! In a very nice way.

The weather that May normally promises has been absent and instead a deluge of rain. Rain does not bode well when you live where I live; an old old house that sits low on the land. We are surrounded by ominous looking puddles and I fear to do laundry in case my drains overflow. I remind myself again: old houses have charm, but a whole lot of domestic challenge. The outcome: no clean clothes.

So, my day in life, right now?

Wake, (wish there was more sleep),
Tea (can't start the day without earl grey),
Dress (longing for warmer days; cotton would be a nice change from wool),
School run (we seem to be getting later and later; getting there on time is a distant memory),
Work (feels like a bit of a slog but at least I can work from home),
L'Apothecary :-)
Wine (yes, it make a pretty regular appearance with dinner),
Bed (Thank goodness!)

P.S. This brightens my day...there is a L'Apothecary GIVEAWAY on The Bottom of the Ironing Basket blog!

...and from another window...

Guest Posting @ The Bottom of the Ironing Basket...

posted on: Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Happy Monday! If it's overcast and gloomy (it is here!) and you would like to immerse yourself in some summer beauty...I am guest posting at The Bottom of the Ironing Basket. Simone lets me drop in every now and then, which I love, as it's such a nice, positive, happy place to be!

...isn't this beautiful? 'Liberty' painted by jessica cooper...
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