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Sister and brother...Boo 1 and 2

posted on: Tuesday, 30 March 2010


How can it be that two children who have come from the same parentage can be so very different?! My two children; one of each - a girl and a boy. In lots of ways they are the same - but their personalities are diametric opposites!

I find the whole process fascinating - how they develop and become people. I met my new nephew on Sunday and was struck how little correlation there is between that tiny little newborn and what he will become; a real thinking person. With my children, its hard to believe they were ever babies like that.

My observations:

My daughter

  • Oh-so-complex...there's a alot of female angst - even at the age of 8.
  • Needs a daily fix of reassurance.
  • Conducts an elaborate falling asleep regime every night. This consists of shouting out 'I can't get to sleep' and needing to tell everyone in the house.
  • Pretty as a painting; delicate and graceful. I think she is so beautiful it makes my heart ache.
  • Indecisive.
  • Worries about consequences.
  • Worries generally.
  • Astute, empathetic.
  • Funny, wry, sharp-minded.
  • Gymnastic-bouncing, willowy.
  • Loving.
My son
  • What you see is what you get.
  • Blonde curls - surfer boy.
  • Makes decisions, sticks with it, no deviation, no regrets.
  • Says he's not tired then falls asleep within 2 minutes flat.
  • Cuddly and gives cuddles, snuggly, warm.
  • No agenda; hidden or otherwise.
  • Comedy clown - has a knack for making people laugh and smile.
  • Passionate.
  • Football-kicking, rugby-ball-carrying.
  • Sturdy, strong.
  • Straight-forward.
Chalk and cheese?

And so, thank you so much for all of your comments and advice from my last post. Maybe the Universe is unaligned at the moment?

We had a pyjama day yesterday, the kids and I. First day of Easter holidays - pouring rain and wind outside. We lit the fire, lolled on the sofa and watched TV all day, had porridge and sprinkles for dinner, got an early night and now, I feel abit better :-)

Ravenswood friends...

posted on: Thursday, 25 March 2010

I am lucky enough to have a group of kindred spirits for friends - the ones I met at University. We met on the first ever day; there are six of us and we lived, loved, studied, shopped, cried and laughed our way through University as a pack. Now 18 years later (wait...18 years? How did that happen?) we are still close friends.

Now the group has grown and we are all Mummies, living all over the country, doing different things. We all used to meet up a few times a year and rent cottages to stay in. Now our numbers are so swollen with off-spring (of the 6 of us there are now 11 children) that its hard to find a place large enough. So it saddens me that we don't see each other as much; somehow life conspires to make it more complicated than it should be, just to catch up with these old and best friends.

They know me inside out, through graduation and jobs and travel and marriage and babies and houses and more jobs and motherhood. So I mention them because I only just told them about my blog. One of them has called it my new 'baby'! I kept 'Lou, Boos and Shoes' quiet for months and now I have come out and I wonder, why was I so secretive? Of course because they know me inside out, they read it and see that it is entirely me - my thoughts. Which is...well...really cool.

We all have this very sweet graduation photo of us all - lined up like crows in black gowns outside Bristol Cathedral, with our mortar boards on, looking oh-so-young and full of hope for the future. Back then, digital cameras where the sort of thing featured on 'Tomorrow's World' so I don't have a copy to show you - so instead we turn to Gossip Girl.

I am sure however, back in 1995, that we weren't as well accessorised as this... ;-)

Things of beauty...

posted on: Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Midweek. Not doing very well on my 'to do' list in readiness for Easter holidays...spending far too much time looking at pretties like these...

Love this ballet shot - waiting for audition...

Vintage Vogue - from 1963. What a wonderful neckline she has...1963 interests me as a year, not least as it was the year that my parents were married and the year that Kennedy died.


The weeping willow in our garden. One of the reasons we bought the house (although their roots are meant to be baaaad news for underground pipes). One year we had to have it 'pollarded' which means to take off all the branches. Boo was so distraught at how it looked, she cried...then went out and wrote 'I love you' on the bark. She is a gentle soul...


Tables laid for friends...

This is for Simone whose whimsy and creative cleverness is behind The Bottom of the Ironing Basket...another incarnation of the Eiffel Tower...she is into Paris at the moment... :-)

Kate Moss...up close...

More door handles...I like the contrast of rust against the blue...

Provencale soap...the best kind...Verbena is my favourite scent.

Hiding one's light under a bushel...

posted on: Tuesday, 23 March 2010


I have a good friend at work. We are great friends but have always been in very different places in life. We are like Aesop's fable 'The Town Mouse and Country Mouse'. She is the town mouse and I am the country mouse.

She lives in London, was up until this year single, living the life, whooping it up, out all the time. I am the suburban married, living in the country, 2 kids, part time hours, out maybe once a month if I'm lucky.

Recently though, she has become my boss. Well actually she is now my boss's boss...

When she took the new role, she said that she wanted me to stop hiding my light under a bushel as she was now in a position to influence my 'career'. What a fantastic turn of phrase...I had to look it up; it means to conceal one's talents. You see there was once a time when I was a higher flier than I am now. This doesn't mean I was ever, ever going to be CEO or anything crazy like that, but I was pretty good at what I did, back in the day. Once I had the children, my priorities completely changed.

The point is: I suspect deep down I am happy that my light is under a bushel; that's right where I want it! Sometimes its easier to conceal talents than to have them on show, attracting attention. The more attention, the more demanding the job...so I am laying low, doing my thing but doing it quietly. Because frankly hanging out with these two instead is much more fun...

Why I run...

posted on: Sunday, 21 March 2010

I am one of those people who has never, until recent years, exercised. I drifted along, lucky for me, with a physique where it didn't make much difference, I stayed slim and felt fairly well. All good.

Then a couple of years ago, we started going skiing as a family. Boo learned to ski, took to it very well and before I knew it, was zipping down the mountain ahead of me, aged 5. I could not keep up! I was breathless and sluggish. This was an epiphany for me; I realised I had to get fit in order to keep up with my kids.

So, despite the fact that everyone who knew me, knew I was not an exerciser, and there were a number of doubters, I took up running. I figured its free, its easy, its quick, anyone can do it. No gym membership needed, no special equipment. The first time I ran I felt like my lungs and my heart were competing for which organ was going to explode first.

But then, after a few times, it got easier. I found that ipod playlists and getting the right trainers helped, choosing some routes I liked. Now I run around the roads where I grew up and I re-trace the journeys I used to take on my bike when I was little.

I am a convert. There is a direct correlation between running and being happy. I have had some darker times in my life and I wish I had known how running would help. There is just something about it - it makes you feel....replete, contented, just good...

I have alot of friends (mainly school mums who are built to compete - why is that?) who think I should start running races, compete in my running. This just does not appeal to me. I don't run to compete, I run for me. For the feeling it gives me. Oh and by the way, it makes my body stronger, fitter and leaner. I think everyone should do it!

Corporate wifery...

posted on: Thursday, 18 March 2010


I am a corporate wife. You may not have known this about me. My husband actually works for the same whopper multi-national, household-name company as I do, but he has a proper, important, bring-home-the-bacon, full time job (whereas my job is part time and some would say less proper). Over the years I have decided that there is an art of corporate wifery. It requires specific skills...

1. Having an endless understanding of the working hard/working late phenomenon...in effect it is the same as just working. There is only one kind of working for my husband and sadly that's hard and generally late...

2. There is always the promise and the possibility of 'the next role' when climbing the corporate ladder - that could be a good role or it could be a not-so-good role. A role in another country (eek), a role where he could be home even less (is that possible?).

3. Getting a new boss is a big deal...do we like the new boss? This can take months to establish and requires very careful and subtle wifely questioning to get to the bottom of.

4. The laptop/blackberry combo accompanies us everywhere, everyday, anytime, day and night.

5. If there is ever an occasion to meet said boss/colleagues - absolute charm, style and elegance is required (no pressure then!) in an unassuming but not forgettable, non-predatory manner...

There are definite perks - for example, all expense paid trips to Hawaii (twice, loved it, paradise on earth), and living the life we lead. Farmhouses don't come for free.


I'm the modern 1950s housewife...except ummmm, I work and our house does not look like this ;-)


Sometimes I wonder - what would it have been like if I had married a milkman instead? (Nothing atall against milkmen by the way...). But then I think...nah, he rocks my world, so if he has to do the corporate thing, so be it. I will be there behind him every step of the way.

Whilst on men in suits...here is some Mad Men styling...

I do sometimes feel abit like Betty Draper (without the neurotic tendencies)...

Patrick Dempsey in Versace...yum

George Clooney looking slightly ruffled...hard day at work darling?

Mr Big? Quintessential man in suit...


Daniel Craig...sharp as a tack...

Milk anyone?

Relax...

posted on: Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Easier said than done...to relax...but how true is this statement?

Recently I have seen a homeopath to try to fix something that conventional medicine just hasn't healed. Alternative therapies...ever so slightly hippy-dippy, hocus-pocus, but I was willing to try. The homeopathic consultation is a surreal experience where you are asked lots of questions to establish what remedy will suit. Like do you like the ocean? (yes). Do you like to be on the ocean or facing the ocean? (facing, not on; I get travel sick). Do you have salt with your food? (yes). So, I am open to new things, I went with it and got prescribed a set of these tiny odourless, tasteless pills which freakily you can't touch with your fingers! Bizarre. Anyway, I did it. Despite myself, I think it might have worked...

In the past I have been a fan of alternative therapies, like aromatherapy...I have always liked that lavender scented, relaxing vibe you get when you have a massage...oh if only there were more time for such pursuits...


Along with the hocus-pocus I am also trying to relax more. This is a challenge for me; relaxing is not really my thing. I am trying to read - currently revisiting 'Wuthering Heights'; if in doubt I find a work by Bronte generally does the trick to get you back on the literary track.

Unfortunately I am abit of a slave to time - always have something else to do, somewhere else to be...I clock-watch.

Plus I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make my house look like this...tidy house, tidy mind.

Or this...(my new found love is styling by Selina Lake - who styled this picture and the one of palest pink books below - how lovely?)

I love that bit in the SATC film where they read love poems in bed...

Anyway...back to relaxing. My definition of relaxing is reading in the sun. I am a sun worshipper - I know its wrong and bad, but still...


I said I was lusting after the sun. Beach + sun+ book = my heaven. Sandy toes...

And then back to reality...well not quite...but how adorable is this picture?

Dear Me...

posted on: Friday, 5 March 2010


Dear Me: A Letter to my sixteen year old self. I was given this book for Christmas...its taken me this long to get to it. Mental note: must make more time for relaxing reading.

I love the idea of it - the premise is that people, famous people, celebrities write to their younger selves offering advice with the benefit of hindsight. Oh how I wish I could go back and soothe my furrowed 16 year old brow.

This is what I would write:

Stop fretting about not being a pear-shaped 5'2" ordinary girl with a cleavage, like all of your friends. Being tall is good, clothes will always hang better. Having long legs is good, trust me. They last better than boobs. And I'm sorry to say, whilst on the topic, they will not grow any bigger; only for breastfeeding, which is a reality you don't want to even contemplate right now.

Try not to mess too much with your hair. Perms will never work well; if you were meant to have ringlets, God would have blessed you with some.

You will fall in love young so don't worry that you will be alone. When you get that off-the-cuff invite one Thursday night in the pub, your first term of University, do accept it, do not hesitate...it will lead to untold happiness.


Make more time for your Stepmother - one day she will be gone from your life and you'll always wish you had been kinder, nicer, less judgmental than you were.

You don't have to be a writer or a journalist or work in publishing to write for a living. There are many careers where you get paid to write stuff (amongst other things). Be more interested in business, its not a bad thing and its not dull. There are plenty of cool people who turn into captains of industry.


Invest in shoes and handbags.

When you get invited to that house party with those older friends-of-friends...to that farmhouse outside of town - go along - one day that house will be yours, you will raise your kids in it (yes there will be kids!). Have a very close look...

By way of reassurance and to show that your beloved Mummy is always right - most of the stuff you will exhaust yourself worrying about won't ever, ever happen. I promise.

What would you write?

Things of beauty...

Hello there.

I am in need of some light relief - blogging definitely helps - as this week has been a crazy one! Had you noticed my addled state of mind? I am looking forward to having a weekend of family time (but ohhh when will that pesky rugby season be over?).
Its always nice to ponder some pretty things on a Friday...

The impossibly pretty Kate Bosworth in the most delicious dress...


And up-close...


A jam jar of sweetpeas...


Amethyst and gold Greek ring by Pippa Small

A feel like I have spent some time 'en pointe' this week trying to juggle everything...always love ballet shoes...


This is by the Cornish artist Jessica Cooper. My husband and I fell in love with her paintings when I walked past a gallery in Bath and have come close to buying one. When we first saw her work, it was a few years back...roll forward abit of time and when we finally decided to purchase one (art is an investment...!) the prices had shot up. Let's just say we have yet to bite the bullet...

'Just Because' by Jessica Cooper



Simple, simple shot of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy for Vanity Fair...


I would very much love a white picket fence in my garden...one day...


It would be remiss of me not to mention that this week I have been absolutely and totally mesmerised by a blog I heard about - Kelle Hampton - Enjoying the Small Things. Three things to say: her story is in one way an every-day story but its incredible, emotional, poignant and honest. Her photography is breath-taking. She is in Naples in Florida which has a special place in my heart. I would defy anyone not to be moved when reading her last month's worth of posts about the birth of her second child...

Comforting Saarinen tulip tables...

posted on: Monday, 1 March 2010

My Mum has the most exquisite taste, always has had, as one is born with that gift, its not I fear something that can be developed. Everything in her home is effortless, elegant and stylish. She still has a tulip table, it must be over 3o years old or even older; it must be because I grew up with it. So I have this deep-rooted comfort factor with these tables, the shape of them, as it makes me think of my childhood. My favourite game as a child was to try to get myself in entirety on the base, imagining the floor below was water and the base was the boat. The musings of children hey? Anyway, I still love them - they are a 'design classic'. My favourite way to see them is mixed in with old houses, the clean lines working against knotty woodwork.

I love the window shutters in this picture...



The contrast of the table and the chairs in this one looks lovely...

Same here...white and whicker...

This is the purest presentation with matching chairs...but I would choose to mix and match...

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