A bittersweet taste...

posted on: Friday, 22 June 2012

Friday comes round and there is no let-up in the pace! A recuperative few days before hurling myself headlong into busyness. It's motherhood in its purest form at the moment; supporting their endeavours, soothing their worries, trying to be there. It's meant that other things have had to take a back-seat this week; but I will get back to them. Here's what's been on my mind...

My childrens' time coming to end at their present school; poignant moments.

Bikini purchasing, dreaming of summer days, toes in the sand.

Making friends with beauty industry experts.

Reading, reading, reading.

Listlessly waiting to be able to wear summer clothes.

Windswept walks around newly ploughed fields; summer crops of courgette and salad.

Thinking back, looking forward.

Circuit training; walking lunges and side planks.

Appreciating my multi-national, household name employer as they accomodate my whim to follow my dreams.

Loving the 'British Blend'...calming sage oil rocks.

via tea on the terrace
Thinking about how nothing stays the same, even though I rely on sameness.

Feeling lucky.

Having moments of wobble about various choices I've made; schools and jobs; mine and my children's vocations will change come September.

Chaperoning the school disco...much to Boo's indignity ;-)

Heavy-heartedness - but it's a good and necessary ache.

via better than fine

What are you going to do with this beautiful life?

posted on: Tuesday, 19 June 2012

There is always a fine and natural tension when blogging, between presenting the perfect world on one hand, and being on a downer on the other. I figure people want to read what is somewhere level-set between the two. There is no perfect world; but in blog-land there are many that come close! I see bloggers living in all corners of the world, writing about their days and I regard them with awe. They are taking time to answer the all-important question: 'what are you going to do with this beautiful life?'

via brown dress with white dots
Shouldn't we be thinking every day - what am I doing with this beautiful life?! Shouldn't that be our call to arms each morning? Yet somehow, no matter what, there is what I can only describe as 'seepage'! The corners of the beautiful picture of life get frayed, the colour washes out, the vividness ebbs away and life becomes less...beautiful.

I think a lot about this. I ponder what it is about modern life that takes us away from what is important.
For me, the answer lies in being present. In slowing the pace to a point where I notice things more. It's about paring it back, getting rid of the clutter, eating well, listening, selecting what you participate in.

It's the same with the business. Paula and I (well Paula, mainly!) spend hours researching the skincare industry and its products. For us to find our place in it, for us to compete, but most importantly because this knowledge and insight is what informs our decisions about what we are and what products we make. I have been staggered by the chemicals and additives that are used in products that we all know of and revere.

via brown dress with white dots
We keep coming back to the pared-back nature of our own products; we are not ashamed of them. They work and we know that's because they are based on fine, ancient ingredients that are pure and natural. We find we are often considering an alternative ingredient and we say, almost in unison: 'that's not what we are.' We are learning what we are; it's a conscious and deliberate process that I think is vital to the development of any dream. You have to stay true, despite the adversity. Don't allow the seepage!

via this folksy

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 15 June 2012

What a week! I feel I write that a lot but this one was something else. What with the flooding, my two jobs and then waking up with the sorest of throats, my annual dose of tonsillitis; I am taking to my bed this weekend. I always think that is a sign of motherhood that the prospect of lying in bed when ill is actually appealing!! It's only after having children and having all of those things that just must be done, well or sick, that makes me see this distinction. In our house the show must go on and that means me, out of bed and functioning! I am planning to watch a box set and no one can stop me. Doctors orders...

The to and fro of our fledgling business has been evident this week. It's amazing, there are so many future possibilities, but simultaneously the need to focus and stay true to the starting point. It's taking all of my self-control and tenacity to keep on the track we have set ourselves for L'Apothecary; step by step we will get there.

Meanwhile I have realised that there is only a month left of school before the summer holidays. What summer? Where did summer go? I am literally yearning to be away somewhere hot; it's occupying my thoughts. I want sandy toes and heat on my skin and not to have a care in the world...honestly, I need the down time. You'd think after everything that happened last year that I would be able to spot when things were mounting up; it would appear not! Old dog, new tricks? I will give it some thought during that TV marathon I have planned this weekend ;-)

via dust jacket attic

via crush cul de sac

via dust jacket attic

shell sailboats...via crush cul de sac

...vintage beauty...photograph by jo tyler
...like this outfit...via cape cod collegiate

Have a lovely weekend friends, and thank you for your comments and care...

Things I learned in the flood...

posted on: Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Yesterday my little part of the world flooded. Summer storms and a high tide conspired and the result was that my country road turned into a river. Ensconced in a L'Apothecary oil blending session, Paula and I were mildly (then acutely) aware of the rising water outside the window. It rained and rained and rained until there was water lapping at my door and our road was a moving river.

Things I have learned:

I am not a very concise decision maker in a crisis. I need to be told what to do. Once I have a plan I have great clarity of though; until there is a plan, it is as if I have no useful thoughts.

However, I felt this strong and important urge to stay and defend my house. In reality when flood waters come there is very little you can do; having seen it up close, I realise this now. At the time, as the water rose, there was just this odd sense of unreality as all the low plants and flowers in my garden became submerged, along with the wheels of my car parked in the driveway.

I did have a journey to make; I knew I had to collect the children so I braved the road/river in my big car and went out to get them. I felt sure we could get back back and of course I had this 'protect your home' urge going on. I saw numerous smaller cars go ahead of me into the road/river; I figured I could make it. With children, my Mum and the puppy on board, we drove through the flood.

I learnt that cars don't like deep water. Within seconds we found ourselves with no engine power and up to the car windows in water! I called 999 for the first time in my life. Really quite a surreal and scary moment...

I learnt that the British emergency services are, as I suspected, FABULOUS and arrived, both fire brigade and police in about 10 minutes.

During that time we sat in the slowly seeping, bubbling river of water until, in a random act of kindness, three strangers pushed our car to slightly more shallow water. We were within 100 feet of our house...so near but so far! The police did the rest, towing us to safety.

But my car had died :-(

Later in the evening, the water started to ebb away as determinedly as it came. We walked along the road/river in wellies (Hunters really are an essential item of clothing!) People were walking our country road; stranded and with stories of having to get out of their cars through the sunroof. Drama comes in all places.

Later, I could not sleep - I felt as if I had put my little family in danger by driving right into harm's way. There was no way of knowing how deep the water was, yet I proceeded anyway. Odd. I learnt that I clearly do think I am invincible, even against nature! Strangely all worries I have in life are to do with the danger of others; very rarely myself.

The acts of kindness continued today as a friend arrived to take my children to school in his Land Rover and then gave me the car as a loan. It's like driving a cross between a tank and a tractor and will go through any puddle/river. I am prepared for more rain!

via i appreciate that
So in honour of intrepid British spirit, the winner of the 
Jubilee 'British Blend' Oil giveaway was Vanessa. Email me and a bottle of L'Apothecary love will be winging its way to you!

Like it is...

posted on: Thursday, 7 June 2012

Sometimes I pull together a blog post that is full of inciteful wisdom about this life, or biting social commentary or an appreciation of anything ranging from interiors to fashion. Today none of that. I have to tell it like it is.

via pretty stuff
This place is my place to share; to send my thoughts out into the ether. Often friends and commenters write that they like my honesty, my truthfulness, the fact that I say what is real and there is no subtext. I need to NOT loose that quality now. The worst thing that could happen would be for my readers to feel that I am trying to sell to them in every post. I'm not; as far as L'Apothecary goes, you can take or leave it (I do hope you take it, but hey). Some wise advice from my good friend Amanda is that business blogs and twitter feeds can be dull; personal business blogs are not. This place is personal and whilst it has clear links to the business, it's still Lou, pure and simple. I hope that's OK.

So what's happening of late?

Jubilee weekend came and went in a over-committed blur. Proud to be British, in love with Catherine's dresses and in awe of the Queen, but over-committed nevertheless. We did so much I can hardly recall. Do you ever do that? Where every invite seems like a must-do? I realised that there is very little that we 'must-do' other get some down time. One night spent with great friends who have the ultimate party house; a spontaneous evening pool party whilst the Juiblee concert played. We came away feeling chilled and that was necessary.

via pretty stuff
Incidentally, can I just say that being an entrepreneur is HARD WORK?!!! Oh my goodness I am so far out of my comfort zone it's just not even funny anymore. I find myself reeling from conversations with my business partner with all of the crucial things that need doing. So much it makes my head spin. But this is what it's all about isn't it? Is it OK to admit it's hard? There; I did it. It's hard. And fascinating. And it has that 'living the dream' quality that I want to bottle and keep for a rainy day. Meanwhile the day job continues; employment law never looked so safe and so familiar!

via pretty stuff
My yearning for summer heat heightens and I find myself counting down the days til I get some guaranteed sun when we go away in a few months. I am becoming convinced that I actually lived in a warm climate, I would be doubly productive. Can anyone attest to that? If I lived in Florida I would be unstoppable ;-)

I think I am longing for some soothing, I know this as I found myself watching 'Elizabethtown' last night; a perennial favourite...'It's not goodbye, it's just goodbye'. There is something so whimsical about that film that it makes me catch my breath. And the soundtrack is just...lovely, in a throw-back to your childhood kinda way.

We've taken to having early evening roller discos in our house. Boo sports her skates and travels around our ancient flagstone floors, looping the kitchen table while we listen to Katy Perry. I am OK with this as I cook supper. I find I know all the words. Meanwhile my son is lego star wars mad. I can recite the entire storm trooper clan. I am OK with this too.

How is it with you?

...and finally via pretty stuff

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 1 June 2012

This week has been the longest time I have been away from Boo; she is on a residential school trip and I collect her this evening. Can. Not. Wait. For her to come home. It's felt like the longest time and she was beyond anxious when she left. Did I mention I can not wait to see her?!

I have met some really cool people this week - again I am staggered at how much opportunity has opened itself up since L'Apothecary started. It's heart-warming that people are being so supportive and full of wonderful input, positive reassurance and kindness. And the orders keep on coming... :-)

It's Jubilee weekend here in the UK, so that means time off and hopes of good weather. Sometimes England delivers this and sometimes not so much! But nevertheless it's family time, come rain or shine. There is a Jubilee Ball tonight. It's for the school parents of the school that my son is moving to in September, so I am getting ready...deep breath!

via cape cod collegiate, painted by christopher stanton

...simple city dress...by the sartorialist

via cape cod collegiate

Here's to a long Jubilee weekend...
happy days :-)
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