Holiday lust...

posted on: Friday, 30 April 2010

It has suddenly all become too much in our household - everyone's a little tired, ill and weary (I count myself, my husband, Boo and the cat in this; Boo 2 is absolutely full of beans). I am starting to think alot (umm, as in all the time) about our next family holiday. We are going to Portugal in the summer; our annual pilgrimage to the Algarve, the southern-most part, for some time in the sun. I have such fondness for this place, having been time after time, both without children and with. Its quite rustic, full of locals, not much to do...

At present, without the prospect of a holiday, we would be starting to unravel, not unlike a ball of string...


I need to get on a beach, feel the hot sand on my toes, take a dip in the Atlantic...


Sit and watch the fishing boats come in, a cold beer in hand, with that scrubbed, been-in-the-heat feeling you get after a day at the beach...


Enjoy simple pleasures...Boo 2 trying to escape the laws of gravity and put a hat full of water on his head...endless fun...


Collecting shells...


To just look out to sea, empty our minds of the day-to-day...


Sunny afternoons strolling around little towns...


One year we left the children with grandparents and went to Lisbon, the capital city and stayed in this magnificent palace. This was our view, I love how the sun is setting ready for a night in a balmy city, cobbled streets, dinner out, glasses of wine...


Eating ice cream whenever as 'holiday rules' apply...this is my husband's invention of applying absolutely no parental logic and reason for the entire time...anything goes...


 Wearing floppy hats...like this one from Plumo...



Another beautiful blogger...

posted on: Thursday, 29 April 2010

I was very surprised/pleased to be awarded another Beautiful Blogger award, this time from Tania, who writes, along with her co-writer Sarah Vine, 'Backwards in High Heels'. Quite flushed with pride that Tania described my blog as charming and aesthetically pleasing. In addition, Tania is a proper writer and has published a proper book, so the fact that she follows little ole me is great.

As I posted on one of these lovely awards a few weeks ago, I wondered if you were all that interested in another seven things about me and some more blogs that I like...then I assumed '...yes, I suppose so!' It would be positively ungracious of me not to accept my award, so here we go:

Number One
My husband and I renewed our wedding vows in Las Vegas. It was at the Graceland chapel, we took the Elvis and Priscilla vows, officiated by a fake Elvis. We were with our two best men and their lovely wives. My favourite all-time Elvis song is 'Suspicious Minds' but that seemed somewhat inappropriate for nuptials so Elvis sang 'Hunk of Burning Love' instead! Anyone who has seem my husband's rugby-playing physique will grasp how apt that song choice is! My friend L, who was one of my bridesmaids in our 'first' wedding has a big thing for Elvis...so this is for you!


Number Two
One of my best ever films is 'Beautiful Girls'. It's little-known, subtle, charming. I could watch it over and over (which should be the measure of a great film). Natalie Portman plays a young girl called Marty and she is just enchanting - an old soul. The score is also haunting and nostalgic.


Number Three
I didn't learn to cook until recent years, so when I first left home I lived on Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and rye bread with Danish Blue cheese. Not the ideal diet. Later, as my husband did all the cooking I never needed to. Then he got busier and was home less and we had kids who obviously needed feeding, I eventually learned. Now I am quite good, much to the surprise of anyone who knew me when...


Number Four
I am ever so slightly obsessed with John Updike novels. I re-read them most years. Sometimes the maleness of his point of view frustrates me wildly. However, I think he writes some of the most accurate modern depictions of human emotion ever.

Number Five
We have a cat. I insisted on getting him the year my husband and I started living together. He has used up far too many of his nine lives. He has been run over by cars three times, he had been reconstructed by vets and special cat neurosurgeons. He has lost his meow. He is generally grumpy. But Boo still loves him.

Number Six
When I was at University, in those idle hours my housemates and I used to fill between lectures, we used to muse that I could be hand model 'when I grew up'. This was my fall-back plan in case the heady career I was anticipating from my oh-so-useful English literature degree didn't materialise. We even took test shots of my hands! I have these ridiculously long fingers...spindly I have always thought. Alas no, these are not them...but I love her nail varnish.


Number Seven
You might not have guessed it but I am abit of a thinker. Shock! Some very good advice I was given by my friend N who I work with, is simply to breathe...and it works!


Now I need to nominate some other blogs that I think are beautiful. As I so recently did this, I will limit it to three.

For beautiful writing...Mackin ink
For sheer prettiness...The Pink Pen Word Studio
For lovely quirkiness...My Guide to surviving and enjoying life's mundane

Good enough...a pensive post

How do we decide when anything is good enough? This largely female pursuit of wondering '...am I good enough?' fascinates me. It applies to every inch of my life and I ponder when exactly did it become a conscious decision? At what point did I insert that feeling that I could have done better?


I observe my daughter doing her homework and she does exactly what is required; no more, no less. I say '...why don't you explore that extra topic or why don't you draw another picture or read another page, do another sum?' She looks at me as if I am nuts and says '...it doesn't say I have to do more, so why would I?' Good point. What is it in me that I always think the more I do, the better?


A good enough mother? Well, don't get me started...a dose of working-mother guilt, those very rare occasions where I find myself shouting at the Boos, times when I would rather be doing something else than making train tracks/plaiting Barbie's hair and my mind wanders and I think - shouldn't I be more committed and content to just play with them all the time?

A good enough wife? Ten years of marriage and it's all very good (we got the love), but at times I think, do I listen enough? Do I blame or force my own agenda? Do I make enough time for him?

At work, because I do a job where I am very experienced in a very niche field, I know, most of the time that I am good enough. But that feeling, in a corporate world, is a temporary luxury. Tomorrow I might not be good enough...they like to call it 'raising the bar'.

I went to the doctors yesterday as I have tonsillitis - boohoo its just not my week! I get this once a year, like clockwork. It's a little reminder that I am running too fast. The doctor said I must try to slow down. I said that's difficult, my life runs on rails and the pace is fast. She said derail, try harder! So I have to try harder at that too!

Even blogging. At what point do we press the 'publish' button in the knowledge that it is good enough? I post it, then go back and look at it, tweak it, re-post it and worse of all when it posts by accident because I pressed 'enter' too soon! Heaven forbid! Something went out into the internet ether and it was not good enough! I am stickler for spelling and grammar, which comes from my time in publishing where if there was a mistake, it was so my problem. So I confess I spent a good few hours agonizing about apostrophes in the word 'Boo'. Yep, really. Is it Boo's, Boos, Boos'...I think I need some booze...

I think that is why I am enjoying blogging so much, because ultimately it gives me validation. When people comment they are saying, in a round-about way, 'you are good enough!' and I like that :-)

Things of beauty...

posted on: Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Hello midweek. My toothache persists! Despite repeated visits to my dentist and attempts to identify which tooth and why; still no real improvement. Its really starting to get me down. I am wondering if I am going slowly nuts with this unexplained pain...? Ummm.

Plus Boo and I are ill. Off school for her and a quiet day for me. And then...I have an ant infestation in my kitchen! Eh? In April? So some prettiness needed to brighten the day.

Olivia Palermo...she is a clothes horse...I love how the chap she has passed by is looking slightly bemused...


Tiffanys Statement diamonds...I'd like to make a statement...


I'd also settle for pearls...this week's favourite image...


Bertoia chairs...my mum has these; I can attest that they are not that comfortable to sit on, but they look cool...


Pretty bridal fascinator and a wonderful 'I'm miles away' wistful look...


I have ordered these chairs from Liberty for my kitchen...I know they are not for everyone. Infact I was astounded my husband agreed to my idea...I love them. They are from the Target range; we don't have Target here so its a time when I am very grateful for internet shopping!

Some Country Living colour...


'Having You Back' by Jessica Cooper...I always like that her paintings are slightly off-centre.



Free as a bird. From it's mary ruffle...the most heart-achingly beautiful pictures blog to swoon over.


I would quite like this to apply in my house...poster from Bold and Noble.


Reading books...if nothing else we will always love reading books. At the moment Boo is reading 'The Witches' By Roald Dahl.

Gratitude...

posted on: Tuesday, 27 April 2010

My Mum has exquisite taste. In her house there are always posies of pretty flowers picked from her garden on the mantle. She always has piles of magazines just haphazardly left in whicker baskets, soft throws draped just so. It always looks elegant, homely, stylish. It was the same in her mother's house. Always something interesting and quirky to see...


I so love my Mum. Its not Mother's Day or anything...but sometimes there is a need for an unprompted show of mother-love. I realise I am blessed to have such a good relationship with her. I can honestly say she is amongst my absolute best of friends. We see each other every couple of days, she is my right-hand-(wo)man with my children. I could not be the mother I am without my mother.

Whilst we are very close, we are not demonstrably so. But she means so much to me, every day I am thankful for her, even if I don't show it enough. The grace with which she raised my brother and I, on her own, in circumstances that were far from easy, is awe-inspiring. She is and has always been the strongest woman I know. She can make everything alright. She can tell just from the first words I utter on the telephone if I am OK or not.

Even if I propose something that is slightly unhinged - she still supports me, knowing that I will work my way through it, if its right or if its wrong. She has that uncanny mother quality, that now, even though I am 36 years old, its still as if I were a child.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her daughter...

To potter...

posted on: Monday, 26 April 2010

Today is a home day not a work day...this means 'me time'. I am, I confess, addicted to 'me time', err, does that make me selfish?! There is a certain delight at being able to drop the children at school, husband is at work, return home to an empty house and just be. I read a blog called A Beach Cottage (just lovely, by the way) where this concept is interpreted and described as zshushing. Great, great word. Equal only to one other: pottering. What is it with women and pottering? I never knew of this pleasure until the ability to do it, ad hoc, was removed rather unceremoniously with having kids and becoming properly grown-up. I think I qualify now to be fully grown-up. Alone time. It's bizarre, as if I were to describe myself I would say I didn't much like being alone. But there is something about these mornings that is just wonderful and its because I am alone (unless I count you lot in cyberspace...).


I am now ridiculously guarded with using this time for anything other than pottering...zshushing...as its inclusion in my life seems vital for happiness/sanity. The ability and time to regroup. I do wish I was one of those people who took it all in her stride, day-in, day-out but I do better all round if I get some 'me time' in between the 'them time'. By them I mean kids, husband, house, friends, family.


As an aside, I watched the film 'He's just not that into you' last night; blimey I am glad I am over all of the angst about finding love! One can never be complacent about love for sure, but really, trying to read what the other sex thinks and feels...I'd be lost. Its hard enough trying to make sense of my husband!

P.S. Scarlett Johansonn looks incredible in it; she is a siren.


Why shoes?

posted on: Saturday, 24 April 2010

I was one of those girls who, as a child, would get a new pair of shiny mary-janes and would go to sleep with them, pretty much, on my pillow. Shoes and I? We have always been close as close can be. Nothing like new shoes.

Not much has changed now that I am grown - still love shiny shoes, still keep them in my sight when they are brand new; you know, just loitering around the bedroom in case I need to catch a glimpse. I have many - far too many I'm sure. I did toy with the idea of getting all of my shoes out and taking a photo, just to see the scale things, but then I thought better of it. Did I need to provide my husband/conscience with photographic evidence of my addiction the next time we have one of those 'stop shopping' talks?


However this makes it sound as if all I do is buy shoes and really, honestly I don't. I am a very selective shoe shopper (the same can be said for handbags; still having the guilt sweats over last week's frivolous red, patent, boutique purchase). I covet shoes. I lust after them. I have them feature in mini-movies in my mind's eye, where they guest-star with certain outfits. Shoes are the best supporting actress. 


In reality, with my lifestyle, I live in flats - ballet shoes in summer and riding-style boots in winter. But that doesn't stop the adoration for others of a more exotic variety. And at work, especially if I have a big meeting, I will bring out the heels. I am constantly on the look-out for the perfect pair of red ballet shoes, the perfect brown boot, the perfect incandescent strappy heel, the perfect black court and so it goes...


So when there are no shoes...I get shoe blues... ;-)

Why Boo?

When my daughter was born, we were convinced 'it' was going to be a boy. And his name was going to be Max. This was around the time of 'Gladiator' - so my husband really wanted to have a Maximus. I didn't mind all that much (I was just flushed with the prospect of impending motherhood), but must admit it never occurred to me that we might not have a Max. Then - we had a girl! About-change, new name needed. For some reason calling her by her name didn't stick and so we started, inexplicably calling her 'Boo'. I couldn't tell you why or what prompted it. There was a lot of 'peek-a-boo' going on in those early months but not to such an extent that I could recall it resulting in a life-long nickname...

And so it persisted. Friends and family have always called her Boo. People comment on photos of her and say things like 'that is so...Boo'. That name defines her. Sometimes its Booey; sometimes Boo-ba-doo. Always Boo. Poor child...she is going to be like Baby in 'Dirty Dancing'...

'No one puts Baby (replace with Boo) in the corner'
So now, not only saddled with the name for life, but also immortalised in a blog name aswell... ;-)

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 23 April 2010

Hello! What a lovely day! I am in good spirits. I wanted to say 'hello' to some of my new blogging friends. Firstly to my new friend Julie from jam*n*jilly who gave me a sunshine award! This picture of a sunshine-y lunch is for you. And to Thatgirl39 from Forty not Out, we have worked out we live fairly close to each other so we might just meet up for coffee and cupcakes!


Sea glass rings...I just love the idea of these being washed around for eons before they make their way to be jewellery...


I really wouldn't mind if my little family would like to get me a breakfast like this at the weekend...isn't it just perfect?


Keira Knightley...up close...


I love everything about this wistful image...wonder what's outside the window?


'Olympia' by Edouard Manet painted in 1863.


I want to be where this is, oh summer - the new Toast catalogue...


Simple cleanliness! Marseilles soap...


Pretty, pretty eye make-up...


A green door...my favourite...this one is in Iran.


My ongoing love affair with Arne Jacobsen egg chairs...they look awesome from every angle. Love.


Boston Back Bay. I've been thinking about Boston this week for some reason. My husband worked in in Upstate New York back in the early 90's, when we were first together. He would always fly back through Boston so one time I flew over to meet him for Valentines weekend. This was my first transatlantic flight on my own...going to meet my beau. It was in the days before mobile phones worked all over the world so I couldn't get in contact with him, I just knew he would meet me off my flight. I can still picture his face when I walked out of the departure hall... :-)

Love Boston...great, great city and have spent some amazing times there.


I have been for a run this morning! After a month-long hiatus it was just wonderful to get back into it. Sunny, spring morning along Chichester Marina, just me and the road...wait, isn't that a line from the film 'What Women Want'?! Well its spot on; with a playlist of 'Brown eyed girl' followed by 'You got the love' and then 'My Sharona'! I do love my Nike+, especially when she says 'half way point'!


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