What matters?

posted on: Friday, 28 December 2012

As you know I am prone to meandering through life, noticing things. As I have written before, I feel as if I was in a slumber for most of my twenties; my early thirties I became more aware and now...in my late thirties (ugh) I have reached conclusions. Many of my life priorities have shifted. The old priorities are still there in principle, but their importance has waned, to be replaced by others. This perceptible pendulum swing is interesting to me, partly because it happened gradually but so resolutely. I want to take it as a life lesson (for I like nothing better than a life lesson) that things change and whilst my change pattern is really slow so I am better able to absorb it, it's there nevertheless.


Things that matter:

My health, and that of my loved ones is paramount.

I am obsessed with sleep. White, cotton sheets and numerous strategically placed pillows and good mattress quality. When discussing holiday plans for this summer I heard myself saying 'well of course the beds have to be good quality; holiday without good sleep is no holiday at all'.

The puppy. I should be now describe him as a dog - yet he remains small for his breed and ridiculously teddy-bear like and fluffy. I arrived at dog island as a detour; an experiment in weakening my resolve and it remains the best thing I ever did. I love him. As in: I REALLY love him.


I do recall a time when I didn't live by the clock. The time of day or night was not of optimum importance. Yet now I notice that everything corresponds to the passing of time. Not a decision is made (be it shall I have a cuppa tea to it's time for the school pick-up) without consulting the clock. What does this mean? I am a slave to time. There is never, ever enough of it. Like ever.



In a way that I never grasped in my twenties, my hair and skin matter more than what I choose to wear. If it's a good hair day, all is well with the world. Likewise skin; my happiness with myself when stepping out the door is increased if I look well-rested and clear-skinned.

One of things that matters the most to me now is family meals. Gathering to have dinner together, sharing food with our children, finding meals we all like, simultaneously, is a happy place for me.

I do circuit training twice a week. It's an early morning, get-it-done, approach to exercise that is bolstered immeasurably by the fact that I do it with friends and a trainer. It punctuates my week, it keeps those extra few pounds off, it delivers endorphins no matter what the weather.


I need to be alone sometimes. I used to be really uncomfortable in my own company and would go to endless lengths to have someone with me all the time. Now I seek out solitude and notice that if I am without it for days on end, I get...gritchy.

Things that used to matter:

Frequenting pubs. This is a big British pursuit and something that I devoted most of my early adult years to. Any given night, going out for a drink was a thing we did. Propping up bars and what? Presumably talking with friends, although I can hardly recall what we talked about at University and after as we simply hadn't done anything yet. Except study and talk about boys. Then later talk about our jobs...or jobs we wanted to get. Our careers.

via dust jacket attic
In early married life it was the time of the weekend away. The mini-break. Countless cities. Countless weekends in London staying with friends. Playing at being grown up by cooking slap-dash Sunday roasts, served in hand-me-down dishes. At that time people still inherited crockery; it was pre-Ikea.

Closely linked to the weekend away was the wedding weekend. We worked out when in the final throes of a spate of summer weddings that we had been to over forty of them in our early twenties. In fact I remember one year where we had seven Saturdays taken up with weddings stretching through June to August. But I did love a good wedding; comparing and contrasting dresses and speeches and the likability of the mother in law.


I feel like I spent a great deal of time networking. Building my career. And I used phrases like 'getting visibility' and wanted to be considered for promotions at work. Everything was all about the next big job. My colleagues and I vied for attention from our corporate bosses. I could never have imagined anything other than working flat out - Monday to Friday - making a name for myself.


Mid way through, babies became a feature. This of course signalled the change that led to where I am now. Getting pregnant, staying pregnant, having babies, seeing my friends have babies; that became the mainstay. Ultimately I realise now, that was what mattered for about ten years of my life - straddling my twenties into my thirties. Until the time when those babies started school - and then everything shifted a gear and altered. I saw one of my best friends yesterday who has had her third baby in recent weeks. A gorgeous baby boy who has been stealing her sleep and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future! I came home thinking that I have done that stage; babies no longer feature for me and I am entirely fine with that.

I look back and realise, I did no exercise, never walked anywhere. I ate crappy food and rarely cooked. I basically spent my time pretending we were in episodes of 'Friends' (complete with Rachel's hair). No iphone, no Pinterest, no blog! Or at least it was in written diary form. I didn't really think about much at all...oh how times have changed!




Have yourself a merry little Christmas...

posted on: Monday, 24 December 2012


Here's to all of my lovely followers...


Here's to all of the wonderful friends I've made through this blog.

Here's to all the priceless support and feedback you have given me.

Here's to all the people who share their lives through blogs.

Here's to family.

Here's to serendipity.

Here's to a Happy Christmas...big virtual hugs from me...
(don't you just ADORE this picture?!)

Lou
xxx


Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 21 December 2012

Hello from me. This week a blur of rain and darkness as mid-winter makes itself known. I have been waiting and waiting for this weekend to arrive, for the party that we are going to tonight with good, old friends. For family time and pre-Christmas preparations. I like how Christmas falls this year as we will get a weekend and then Christmas Eve; a stretch of time uninterrupted by work.

I received some really kind comments to my last post where I talked about the serendipity of this year. Serendipity: when you find something good without expecting to. Sometimes blogland bestows kindness in comments that do make me smile. In the same vein, today I got a Christmas card from Denmark from a fellow blogger who knows I partial to all things Copenhagen. Likewise a bumper L'Apothecary order from another blogger, one which I have just dispatched; in time to reach her in Scotland by Christmas Eve.

I like how the world shrinks sometimes. So, have a wonderful weekend, getting everything ready... :-)



Oh Olivia P...




via dust jacket attic



...and Bradley...and breathe...


photograph by josef hoflehner


'You can't fight in your pyjamas...'

posted on: Tuesday, 18 December 2012

As this year starts to draw to a close I do look back and am struck more than ever: what a difference a year makes. This time last year - the world had a very different complexion. As Christmas approached last year my husband was working ridiculously hard in his job, aware that things were not looking good. Frantically trying to hang on to the bottom rung. As it happened, two days after Christmas he lost his job. In the split second of that phone call when he told me, our life shifted on its axis. Immediate and rueful regret of all that money spent on Christmas presents. Concerns of what on earth would happen next. An indicative sentiment of modern times; what would our friends and acquaintances think? In short; free-fall.

via better than fine
A day or two passed and the concept bedded in. A new motto was borne in our house: you can't fight in your pyjamas. The fact that I'm an employment law specialist suddenly came into sharp focus and with help from lawyer friends we were able to right-size what had happened and secure a bit of a future. But you can't fight in your pyjamas. A big lesson learnt. You have to get up and show up,  get out there and bounce back.

Luckily after a while he got a new job and in the meantime we spent four months together, forming plans and building a business and pondering what life is all about anyway.

Now that things are better I am so pleased that things turned out this way. What seemed like a nightmare twist of fate has actually handed us a second chance to evaluate life. His job now is more home-based. Our children actually know he is going to be around between a Monday and a Friday. He is influential and instrumental in daily life in a way that he never was before.

So this year, as Christmas is around the corner I feel very thankful that it all worked out. Thankful that I married someone with the gumption to move on. We will raise a glass to that old company for they did us the biggest favour...ever.

Isn't it funny how life goes...?

via style me pretty

The fabric of life...and a winner!

posted on: Friday, 14 December 2012

There seem to be many threads that make up my life at the moment. As the first school term speeds to a high-octane, carol-singing end, I must admit I am blown away at how well our two children have settled. Not only settled, but found their feet, started to achieve, cemented friendships. I am always struck with parenthood that as each phase of watching them grow takes place, you think it is the best phase. That is until they start another and you see the best is yet to come. The awesomeness of this prospect is something I think a lot about and I love that there is so much hope and possibility ahead of us.

via crush cul de sac
I have been on sabbatical for four months now but I have started mentally preparing for my return in February. I am entirely OK with this; taking a career break is good for the soul. I can barely encapsulate all of the ways I have benefited from it. It's given me space in which to re-evaluate and to refocus. I can't say I am any less busy than when I was working - which is telling - it seems to me that my pace-of-life-dial is set at 'high', and rarely drops to idling.

via elsa may
Getting ready for Christmas with time on my hands should be a treat. Mostly though, I am looking forward to next week when the children are home and we can chill and crucially not get up at 6.30am for the school bus and drop off. It's funny; I knew it would be this way with the early starts - we chose a school in the next county. BUT the early mornings are killing me (and them!) especially when combined with the cold and darkness in which England is cloaked.

via crush cul de sac
We've been working on the L'Apothecary re brand - and I can only liken it to a really fun shopping trip! Designing logos and packaging is something I love. Like shopping - you can choose the perfect outfit, but there are so many components it can be overwhelming. Shoes and a dress and a handbag and a hat and jewellery and so on.

via crush cul de sac
I need to take my time with this branding process however; we have a fabulous designer and she is very patient (thankfully) and it's an iterative process. I walk into most retailers now and scrutinise packaging and fonts and logos like some sort of deranged woman. It can be disheartening - how can a little niche brand, borne out of my whimsy even compete?!!? But I do strongly feel there is room for everyone in a marketplace - if you have integrity and create a good and useful product.

via pretty stuff

Talking of products, thank you for leaving comments in my L'Apothecary giveaway - it seems we all have nuances of how to stay calm...

The winner of the Calmer Bath Oil giveaway is Talia! 

Calm for her = dog-walking, sister-chats and a hot bath!

Please email me your address Talia and some lovely Bath Oil will be making its way to you before Christmas!


Enjoy - relax - breathhhhh!

Keep calm...a lovely giveaway!

posted on: Monday, 10 December 2012

A few busy weeks of launching our new products for L'Apothecary; carefully packaging up orders for all over the world. I love the idea that oil blends of loveliness from here in Sussex wing their way to purchasers in far flung places. The wonder of the shrinking globe...





As you might know, we have started to make a lovely Bath Oil. We wanted to diversify beyond facial oils and so set sights on the bath. I am a complete bath lover so it was a a somewhat selfish pursuit!


Calmer Bath Oil has a beautiful rose and geranium infusion; very gentle and soothing. We called it 'calmer' as that is what it does; after a busy, stressy day, it is like a swath of calming milky softness. Blended to nourish the skin, with sweet almond oil and lavender.


I am giving away a 150ml bottle of Calmer Bath Oil. 
All you have to do is be a follower of this blog and leave a comment here with...
YOUR BEST TIP FOR HOW TO KEEP CALM! 
Especially relavent as this festive season ramps up...


For a double chance of winning, blog or tweet about this giveaway!

I will pick a winner on Thursday 13th December 2012.

GOOD LUCK!

Meanwhile all L'Apothecary products can be found here.

It's NOT all about me (or all I want for Christmas)...!

posted on: Tuesday, 4 December 2012

This happens every December. I spend so much time scouring the web for the perfect gift, that I inadvertently stumble across the things that I LOVE! A veritable feast of gorgeousness this year in the form of dresses and shoes. Oooops; this season is not about me. Repeat after me. It's not about me!  But just while we are here, and if Father Christmas were interested, this is what I would put on my list:

...for starters just to be this cool...via pretty stuff

...to die for brogues via R&B


...the perfect lbd via aubin and wills


...school run staple via me and em


...utility but lovely paperback bag via moop


...chanel lipstick...


...still holding out for that maxmara cube coat...


...on these crisp winter days...a much needed serum ;-) via l'apothecary!

...gorgeous, oversized buxton scarf via louise dungate

...design classics via design don't panic

...anything in this linen from cabbages and roses...


...heavenly heels via emerson fry
Phew...OK now I have got that out of my system! 
Here's hoping my husband stops by ;-)
Happy Tuesday! Lou x

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