Time to treat your skin - naturally...

posted on: Thursday, 29 November 2012

Today is one of those crisp, chilly days where you want to take deep gulps of fresh air! I went for a long walk this morning over the Downs and it was just glorious.

I am so pleased to report that finally I have a set of new L'Apothecary products to share with you. Since I started on this journey, I wanted to create indulgent, artisan products that were 100% natural and that worked! To me, there was no point in developing anything that fell short; I wanted the oils to work as hard and as effectively as any other product on the market. Or else how can I believe in the integrity of what I was making?

So it's taken longer than I thought. There has been a-l-h-o-t of testing and trialling. It was really important to us that the products behaved in the way we wanted, but also contained no nasties, no chemicals, no parabens. Turns out it was quite a tall order...but we did it!! So please do go over to my site and see the new CALMER BATH OIL and QUENCH FACIAL SERUM.

These two products do the thing that matters to me most. They relax me, they get me ready for a good night's sleep. They soothe, protect and nourish. So I am really rather pleased. I do hope you like them :-)

They make lovely Christmas gifts! 
Beautifully boxed and ribboned.
And there is a special offer on for Christmas orders!

I do hope you are tempted...

Treat yourself or your friends & family - ENJOY!!!

I don't see why...

posted on: Wednesday, 28 November 2012

I don't see why I can't be exactly like I was when I was 20, just a wiser version (with more disposable income).

I don't see why people need to convince you of their point of view to feel that a conversation has been worthwhile.

I don't see why quirkiness is not a more admired characteristic.

I don't see why I used to be so slovenly when I did not own my own home (my teenage bedroom = bomb shell hit).

I don't see why I am quite so influenced by what I see. Visual input is by far the most important for me. Images and words.

I don't see why every morning when I wake, it is a surprise to me that the sleep time is over.

I don't see why my puppy/dog still chases every bird he sees - even though they can fly and he can't.

I don't see why dropped toast always has to land jam-side down.

I don't see why some people are luckier than others - or do we make our own luck?

I don't see what on earth I did before I owned an iPhone. Single most important thing. Keys and phone. With those I can leave the house: invincible.

I don't see why sometimes it feels like Christmas went from being a fun, cool time with my family to a retail-frenzied marathon. Need to watch 'Polar Express' and re-engage!

I don't see why high thread count sheets aren't made available by some wonderful, benevolent welfare state ;-) They promote well being. I jest; what a third world problem.

I don't see why I can't eat chocolate every day!


posted on: Thursday, 15 November 2012

I wish I weren't quite so swayed by pretty. But I so am. As I arrived at my son's school the other afternoon, I saw three little girls, maybe five years old, skipping up to the main school house wearing pink tights, ballet skirts and their school blazers. With pigtails. So pretty.

My friend Dawn is a fan of pretty - on many shopping trips with her I recall her spying some item of clothing and exclaiming 'preeettttyyyy' as confirmation: yes she wanted to buy it. Bring on the guilt sweats.

Planning the Christmas stock for L'Apothecary (I know, I know; cutting it fine on timings but really trying hard; you live and learn in a new business). Pretty boxes and pretty ribbons and pretty tags and pretty bottles. Whilst there is a scientific core to what we make, for me there is so much about it that is to do with having something pretty on your dressing table.

I ask myself - should it all matter? As the sabbatical-induced soul search continues I find myself thinking about all sorts of things I never used to. I am, quite categorically, out of my comfort zone. I am used to corporate rigidity; rushing the school run to make my 9am conference call. Rushing to get every little action ticked off my list - they say if you need something done, give it to a working mother, the inference being that when you run at that pace, you are uber efficient. I now have the time to observe. And what I observe is that actually, pretty matters.

Without pretty I wonder whether Pinterest would even exist. It is an ode to pretty and those who 'pin' spend time searching for the most beautiful versions of everything to store up in case a hit of pretty is needed. I follow some 'pinners' whose repertoire is just breath-taking! What on earth did we do before Pinterest? Answer: cut stuff out of magazines, file them away in places that gathered dust. Can I just say that it is these kind of technological advances that I adore?

I spend a lot of time defending the march of technology to my contemporaries. Many of my very good friends don't 'do' social media, don't 'get' technology, don't want to try it out. I do understand this and frankly, without Pinterest one can still get through the day. However - why shun the advance? I can be heard at any point when this conversation comes up, with friends, peers, anyone, saying emphatically 'embrace the technology'! We must - or else it will pass us by. It is the future; our kids function through it and will continue to do so in ways we can't even imagine now. You just have to try.

Tuesday's thoughts...

posted on: Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I overslept this morning; in 'Home Alone' fashion, where the family wake up and have ten minutes to mobilise, I had that moment of disbelief when I focused on the clock. Can it really be 7.18am??! We have to leave at 7.30am. Anyway, in those precious 12 minutes I still managed to do my hair and put on some semblance of makeup. This makes me think: what on earth is the impetus to do that? What drives me to barely set foot out the door without something on my face? With brushed and pony-tailed hair.

This facade that I apply; it's not that it takes much time or even has that much effect (many would think I don't even wear make-up, it's that subtle) but the fact is I would never not do it. Something in me is hard-wired. I observe others who don't and wonder where the difference lies. When I have written about this before - these self-imposed base levels of how we present ourselves to others - a very wise friend of mine commented. She said (and this was in relation to clothes) that sometimes women just lose their way and they are not even sure they have until it's pointed out to them. I remember that resonating with me, as I think all of my efforts to stay 'together' visually (hair colouring, make-up, outfits) is to stop that 'loss' of oneself. I suppose it is also to do with getting older and not looking quite so fresh as when I was 25...

I think about ageing in a different way now, now that I have L'Apothecary. We spend time (a lot lately) researching and perfecting natural, chemical-free versions of products that claim to slow down the ageing process (new range ready in a matter of weeks I promise!) To me, looking young is not about ceasing to age; it's about looking the best you can for your age. This is all about skin. Having good, healthy, plumped skin is just about the main beauty wish I have.

The same wise friend, Simone who I speak of, has had a recent furore of activity on her blog. It stemmed from a rather scathing article written by a well-known journalist about blogging. That wise approach shines through in Simone's well-mannered response, where she outlines why she writes a blog. She is a voice for all of those who blog, so thank you Simone for putting our side so eloquently :-)


posted on: Tuesday, 6 November 2012

I've been thinking a lot. I guess this was bound to happen; I took a six month sabbatical in order to contemplate my navel, so what did I expect?!

This self-imposed self-regard may come across as banal to readers and I am acutely aware of that. Bear with me. I am taking the time to really think about the choices we have made in life and where they have taken us. People often comment that I think about stuff that most people just skip over. I can't help thinking; all the time thinking. An Olympian thinker.

via cape cod collegiate
As a result of all of this thought, sometimes confusion rises up in me and I wonder where it came from? A complex and heady mix of upbringing, experience, values, self-awareness all converge and I want to come out fighting. Against what I am not sure! Should we have pursued such tough careers? Should money and the requirement to earn it outweigh the balance of pleasure and relaxation in life? When will it all be enough? Am I bringing up my children to strive for the whole exhausting rat-race in the same way as I did? What are these feelings I have, deep down, that make me wish for perfection? Even though I know it's not attainable?!

Bizarrely, despite the fact that my more recent choices (starting a new business, time off from the corporate world, new schools, big-time investment in making life purposeful and pleasurable) have been well-founded and beneficial, I am suffering I think, a confidence dip. This is perplexing and strange to me, but it is a fact nevertheless. Oh and not to mention: a third world problem.

What would I advise Boo to do? As frankly, when you have an eleven year old daughter almost every conversation turns into a life lesson; be it the purpose of modern democracy to the merits of wearing florals with stripes. I would tell her to believe in herself. To stay strong. To get on with it, shake it off, put it behind her - whatever 'it' was. So, that's what I am going to try to do. That, and to stop thinking so much!

via cape cod collegiate

Thoughts on marriage, age, housewifery and patterned trousers...

posted on: Monday, 5 November 2012

Just two short days is all it takes to shift perspective to a new axis. The city location and the company of friends; the free-fall of no family commitments. No pick ups, no drop offs, no bath times, no bedtimes. It's enough to make me pensive to say the least.

City breaks remind me of being in my early twenties when weekends were spent visiting cosmopolitan friends in various cities. London in particular always makes me think of my post-University days, reunions in sticky-floored venues, reliving our student nights. There is part of me that feels regret at never having lived in London; it's a rite of passage for many. I followed my true love, returned to my hometown and have never looked back.

via snippet and ink
This weekend, we had a great time, strolling through Regents Park, shopping in Bond Street, long lunches and late suppers. City breaks are so laden with the possibilities of the day; no time constraints. I return though with things to ponder:

How much my husband and I have a laugh together. How I am married to someone who lives life - is excited by it, in its simplicity. He is not dissimilar to my son in his pure, adulterated happy approach to the world. We got together twenty years ago this week. Twenty Years!!!

How something subtle but ground-shifting has happened in the last year, in terms of how I regard my own style. It's as if something crossed over, not sure what, and I find myself less confident in outfits. Is this an age thing? Isn't the whole point of your thirties to understand your real style? To take what you will of fashion and meld it into your own look? It's starting to feel like a hard ask and a weekend in the city, spying what I can only describe as cool city career girls looking fabulous, make me doubt myself. This is new to me. I am not a doubter when it comes to dressing.

via pretty stuff
We were so busy all weekend that I hardly noticed whether or not I was in pain. This interests me. Is it possible that the pain comes with the quietness of my life? Hmmmm

Coming home is always good. Even though to start with, I walk through the door and surreptitiously spy a million things that need doing/moving/tidying/cooking and I try for the first hour to just resist the vortex and not slip back into housewifery. It's not that I mind housewifery, it's just that it has become such a defining feature of my life, I sometimes wonder what on earth I did before I had a house, husband, two kids and a dog.

Talking of the vortex, it's back to school for both of them today. Ungodly morning starts and frantic searches for missing kit. Is the answer to just keep three versions of every possible kit requirement so, even with the law of averages, you don't run out? Not that I am counting, seven weeks into term, but my son has already mislaid two mouth-guards, one shin pad, countless socks and one pair of shoes.

And just going back to the whole know-your-own-style idea...what should I make of the fact that I am now longing for these patterned trousers?

...jcrew patterned cords...

Off to the big city...

posted on: Friday, 2 November 2012

Hello! The half term marathon draws to a close, but with a no-kids weekend in London! We are off this afternoon with friends who have a place in South Kensington, so we have two days of living the high life, pretending we are city folk! For me this consists of breakfast, lunch and supper out - interspersed by coffees and people watching. Hopefully resembling Olivia P (in my dreams!) Such a rarity for me; not my usual country day.

I don't realise how much I am 'in' my life til I prepare to step out of it for a while. I figure that's a good thing; that it means I am at one with where I am.

I am always struck when visiting London how vibrant it is; how much goes on there that is unseen to me, in my rural idyll. It's lovely to be able to just drop in, an hour up the road, and experience it, then come home again.

Have a great weekend!!!

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