Cowparsley and doilies...

posted on: Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Firstly, I must admit, I am feeling sorry for myself. I had a dental procedure today and now the novacaine has worn off...it's really, really sore. Trying to take my mind off things, I scrolled through my blog list and happened upon Cowparsley. If ever you wished for a calming mental meander through some beautiful images, oozing with a certain 'Britishness', this is it...





images via Cowparsley


This week wages on, and ever so slightly wearing it is. I shall be very pleased when the weekend arrives with the hope of more summer fun; the beach hut, sandy toes, no cares in the world...

Secondly, OK, so I know I have been a tad wedding-crazed recently...I wanted to follow up on the lots of comments I was left about that dreamy doily wedding dress! Heart-stoppingly lovely. Love the green. Love the shoes. I have found out where the images came from...here...

It's funny when I saw the whole wedding feature, I kinda wanted the dress to be full-length and was surprised that it wasn't. However, the vintage style of it and the wonderful green...you can't help but love it for it's quirkiness.





Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 25 June 2010

We are off to a wedding this weekend...I love a good wedding! Especially in June. Especially when the sun is shining like it is this week. Especially when it promises to be the perfect English country wedding - the ceremony in the village church, a stroll to the Manor house for the reception. How lovely to be able to stroll from the church! There is not enough strolling at weddings I feel... (can you tell my guilt is being replaced by excitement?!)

So indulge me some wedding loveliness in this post, but weddings are like beauty in a bottle...

I found this image of a doily wedding dress which I think is wonderful...and those shoes...


Bride and groom...in a hurry to start their married life...

via Hey Gorgeous
Beautiful, dramatic glassware...

by Mikkel Vang
The gorgeousness that is Christy Turlington...

by Steven Meisel
Dreamy, floor-skimming chiffon...


Sea shell prettiness...


Ridiculously stunning Russian...


I so missed a trick with my wedding shoes - mine were plain cream satin, low heeled as I am taller than my husband! Oh to have some beauties like this...


Andre Derain’s 'Arbres a Collioure' sold for a record £16.3 million at Sotheby's this week...


I think this fascinator looks wonderful...I was going to wear one this weekend but then in the end thought...err, maybe not...

it's mary ruffle
Vintage chandelier table dressing...round dinner tables are so much more friendly...


I just think this outfit is the bee's knees. Giovanna Battaglia, a simple dress, beautiful heels, adorable little gold clutch...makes me want to shop.


Strong-faced, down-to-earth Kate Winslet...up close...


Symmetry and wood on wood...

Counting down to my annual summer 'read-a-thon'. For some reason I find reading books really hard all year round, then it gets to summer and I manage to read one after the other. It's like I save it all up. Love to read...


Quirky vintage pendant over antique lace...


Happy weekend...!

via decor8

Trying my best...

posted on: Thursday, 17 June 2010

I do spend a lot of time with women. I work more of less entirely with women, it's women who do the school run at my kids' school, I am not one of those girls who has lots of male friends. Except one or two (D - you know who you are, you secret male reader!) most of my male friends are the husbands of my girlfriends. Blogging is an almost entirely female preoccupation, unless I have yet to stumble on the boy blogs.

What strikes me though is that of the majority of these groups of women I spend time with, there is a consistency in them, no matter what age, lifestyle, type, character; many seem to have feelings of inadequacy about how they look. In fact it's not even just how they look, it's how they present themselves to the world.


Now as we know, I am a self-confessed shopper; I like to shop. I think about clothes and shoes. I make outfits. I wash and blow-dry my hair every day. I fret about my skin. If there is a day when I have a shoddy outfit on (and it's not a Sunday-loll-on-the-sofa-day) I feel somehow not quite right. So I guess you could say I make the effort. It matters to me. I want my husband to like how I look. If I get compliments I like it (who doesn't?).

So the thing I really, really don't get is why so many women just opt out of this element of life? Where they make enormous effort in other areas like their house or their kids or sewing the perfect fancy-dress for the school play, but they themselves look...dishevelled or dare I say neglected. And what is even worse is that when and if the concept of dressing or preening or fashion or just making the best of oneself comes up, some admit they kinda wished they did it.  They say they don't have enough time...the right body... the inclination. The occasional few say they are really not interested at all - but I'm not sure I buy that.

In the book 'The Thoughtful Dresser' by Linda Grant (who incidentally started as a blogger) she defends the fact that everyone has to get dressed every day, why don't we make an effort to do so in way that pleases us and others? Why opt out? Why not make the best of what you have? I  wholeheartedly agree. Maybe fashion is frippery. Maybe frippery is vanity. Looks certainly aren't everything.  But for as long as I can, I do intend to try my very best..stroll in the park anyone?! ;-)

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 4 June 2010

Hello! Funny old week, now very much looking forward to a weekend of friends and fun. The sun has stayed - yippeee! I have one of my oldest University friends coming to stay with her brood so that should be lovely. Best of all, the white picket fence has been put up and is being painted today! It has the sweetest rose trellis arch...picture perfect! These things make me happy.

I have had so many lovely comments this week, thank you, honestly, it's been a pleasure and comfort to read.


One day I would love to have a sea view...what better way to pass the time when washing up, than gazing out...

via are so happy

The most delicate Jessica Cooper painting, I can always rely on her work to make me feel happy and calm.



Vintage Vogue...my thoughts this week have been dwelling on our summer holiday to Portugal, where I intend to spend a good portion of it in this position...


Emily Blunt, looking absolutely stunning...


A Dior Bagatelle Rose ring...


I just adore this image...peachy loveliness...


I don't like to sail but it's a big past-time around here...it does look rather relaxing...


We have a part share in a beach hut on West Wittering beach, so I took the Boos for half term beach fun. There were 5 Mums and 13 children there playing 'Swallows and Amazons' in the dunes, swimming and building sandcastles. It was such a gorgeous day, I am so so pleased we got the beach hut, they are like hen's teeth to get hold of...

via www.sarahbrown.co.uk
I took Boo with me to have twin pedicures, as a belated birthday treat. She absolutely loved it! She choose Miami shell pink and I had Las Vegas red polish!



How dreamy are these hanging lanterns? Would be perfect for a summer party...

via it's mary ruffle


Peach petal beauty...


I borrowed this gorgeous image from Daniella at Dress, Design & Decor. It's Marion Cotillard. I think she is wonderful in 'A Good Year'...great film with Russell Crowe


Words of wisdom?

posted on: Wednesday, 2 June 2010

It's half term this week, so time spent with the Boos...passing the time, chewing the cud. I spent a good portion of the day trying to teach my daughter the value of money. This stems from her getting a £20 note for her birthday; the first time she has got her hands on genuine cash rather than pennies of pocket money. This £20 has literally been burning a hole in her 'Hello Kitty' purse since the day it arrived. It is simply too much for her to have it sitting there with all of it's endless possibilities of purchasing power. Toys, clothes, more toys...more clothes...


I tried to explain that £20 doesn't actually buy that much, maybe one toy, maybe one item of clothing with a bit of change. We talked about value and cost. I tried to explain the concept of retail profit (no, they don't give the money to charity) but lost her there. I was suggesting we opened a bank account and they looked after the money - heaven forbid they actually saved it for her. But that was just like having a large, nameless, faceless 'Hello Kitty' purse. She did not see the benefit.

I tried every tactic I knew to get her to see that just spending it on the first bit of plastic 'toot' she saw was meaningless and drew on many examples of previous purchasing decisions that had in fact been a let-down once she got them home.

I realised that after this talk on the merits of saving money, that I had done two things: i) made her feel sad and guilty about her money and ii) exhibited my own slightly warped attitudes to money to my unwitting nine year child! I hardly lead by example; she spies those hidden carrier bags in my wardrobe!

It was an example of those times when you try, as a parent, to distill things down for your kids in the hope that something will stick. Some gem of wisdom will make its way into their psyche and lodge there, ready for later use. I look back on nuggets that my Mum passed to me. Never wear grey washed-out underwear. Long legs are better than big boobs (I suspect here she was just trying to reduce my envy of my big bosomed friends). Don't waste time worrying about something that might never happen.

Really am I just passing on my own desire that my haphazard spending habits aren't passed to her by some sort of osmosis? My childhood was spent shuttling between divorced parents so there was alot of retail therapy to soothe the comings and goings. I always felt this set me up to associate shopping with happiness. Direct link. But Boo is not part of that particular family dynamic. So what will be her excuse? Who knows?!

All I know is I think it's time for me to Lighten Up (with a capital 'L', capital 'U') so we went to the Farmer's Market and bought some punnets of beautiful local strawberries...and that bit of spending made it all feel better... ;-)

Things left unsaid...

posted on: Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Three years ago this week my stepmother died of cancer. She was just 55 years old. My parents split up when I was seven or eight and my Dad, after a torturous time for everyone concerned, decided to leave for this 'other woman'. He was an airline pilot and she was an air hostess. Shortly after he left, I was taken up to London to meet his new 'friend'. I recall standing in Victoria station and seeing this young, long haired, blonde lady walking towards us. She looked just like Farrah Fawcett with these bouncing waves in her hair. She must have been younger than the age I am now.

And so it was, I would spend one weekend a month staying with my Dad and C. She never tried to be a mother to me, we were friends I suppose, all along, but never that close really. Years passed and they moved to different countries because of his flying, so I would visit them in Italy and Holland and then later they settled for their retirement in Spain.

When she got ill it all happened very quickly, after being diagnosed with bowel cancer, she died two weeks later. You know how you always have that sense that you would never want a member of close family or a good friend to pass without making sure everything that needed to be said was said? Well in her case, as far as she and I were concerned, nothing was said. By the time I got to Spain she was so ill that I barely saw her. She was so drugged that I could never have unburdened myself with all the things that were unsaid.

She was a good, good woman. Even though for years I felt she was the 'other woman'; I never told her that actually I did love her or that as a stepmother she balanced that subtle art of being there but not being too much. She was gentle and honest and empathetic. At the end of the day, my Dad and she were together for longer than my parents were - if that makes sense. The point being that they clearly loved each other very much, despite their start in love being so harrowing for others.

As they always lived far away, I sometimes still reel to think that she's gone, as in reality her death didn't affect my day to day life. My children don't really remember her now and I have so few pictures of her as I never wanted my Mum to stumble across any...I never wanted to re-open any old wounds.

But all in all I feel I never really did her justice. I never acknowledged how very hard it must have been for her to slot into the lives of two children (my brother and I) who belonged to the man she was with. If I could go back, I would, just to say...sorry for not saying what should have been said.

Farrah Fawcett
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