Have a seat...

posted on: Wednesday, 29 September 2010

I have been to visit one of my oldest friends and I know I have said this before, but there is just nothing like seeing an old friend, is there? This seems to be the perennial truth of life. From University to date we have weaved through life, always staying close, despite distance and life changes. She and her husband have simply the coolest house; going to stay is like having a Hip Hotel moment. Her house has been a labour of love over recent months and is now triumphantly finished. What I liked the most was that it was peppered with Louis XIV chairs, even though it's a modern, minimal house. The contrast of old and new looked just wonderful. So I had a seat and we talked and talked and talked...until her most delightful and scrumptious 2 year old daughter said 'STOP TALKING MUMMY!' in exasperation...

So I feel like I have had a tonic of friendship to drink in...just 24 hours of slotting into someone else's life and setting the world to rights on all topics conceivable. Isn't that what friendship is all about? That, and a shared point of view or a fond memory of the same event or a wry smile at something only we know to be true. Just lovely...

Monica Belluci - my friend's lookalike...

Little me?

posted on: Monday, 27 September 2010

So Boo is nine; I can so recall being that age, when the things that you never noticed when you were eight, now at nine seem much, much more important. She has become more interested in recent months in clothes, her hair...ostensibly she has noticed how she looks. I simultaneously like and struggle with this. I like that she cares about her appearance and that her tastes are developing. I drill in my own preoccupation with clothes needing to be both age and season appropriate - I can not stand bare legs in winter, for example. She gets that the colour pink - which was the mainstay of her entire wardrobe from ages 0 to 4 - is now somewhat relegated.

But then I struggle with it; I wouldn't be me if I just accepted every parental hurdle as 'a phase' would I?! Observing vanity in the very young is off-putting. All we can wish for is that daughters show grace as they grow up; one of the most attractive traits is for style and beauty to be effortless. Where a girl is unaware of the beauty she possesses; in whatever form it comes.

The developing interest in clothes is something I discussed with Amanda when we met; her Boo is a few years younger than mine. It seemed both of us were delighted our daughters were taking an interest in clothes and fashion, as those elements of life were important to us, but both wondering aloud if that made us, err, shallow as mothers? I am aware that the fact that I make the effort may be construed by others as odd/vain/shallow and so surely extolling the same virtues in my daughter is inappropriate?

I guess as they say, the apple never falls far from the tree, and I rationalise this by thinking isn't it better to try one's best when possible? And isn't trying hard with appearance kinda the same thing as trying hard academically or socially? Similar at least? Whatever, it's cool to see her grow and be comfortable in the skin she is in. I have had a life-long love of clothes; certainly my Mum will attest to that and is the same and I think it's no bad thing.

all images via from me to you

Getting to know you...

posted on: Saturday, 25 September 2010

Like many things in my life at the moment, I am a bit behind. The summer slow-down had such a profound effect that I can't quite speed up; still ever-so-slightly hazy and floaty, but with all the best intentions. But, I did want to catch up on a 'get to know you' blog tag that Christina from Fashion's Most Wanted gave me back in August (eeek). You thought I'd forgotten didn't you?! Christina is one of life's delightfully flamboyant people; I really like reading her blog.

via from me to you
1. What is your favourite time of day?
Early morning, first person up, dew on the grass, earl grey tea. I never used to be a morning person but now it's the time I most appreciate where we live, how lucky we are to look out and see rolling fields.

2. Where and when did you meet the love of your life?
I married the boy next door, so I first recall ever 'meeting' him when I rode my bicycle the house his family had bought. I guess that must have been in 1981...I was seven years old.

via Copenhagen Cycle Chic
3. What three words would your friends outside the blogging world use to describe you?
 Dare I say? Stylish?

I canvassed opinion from a best friend, she said:

4. What country would you like to visit and why?
I feel I should have a far-flung, exotic and mind-expanding answer here. However, if I am really honest there are places in countries relatively near here that I would like to see. Tuscany for example. Or East Coast USA, like Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. Although, I would love to stay in one of those houses on stilts in the Maldives or Fiji. I love the beach and the sea, in any form...so I would choose proximity to water any time. But not on a boat...!

Nantucket beach house - Country Living
5. What is your favourite dish to cook?    
There is a Nigella chicken recipe which is just home-food personified for me. Roast a chicken, use the hot roasting tray juices to soften sultanas, add pasta, toasted pine nuts and torn basil. Add roast chicken shreds, toss it all together in the tray, top with grated Parmesan and lots of salt and pepper. Just heavenly...

6. Salt or sugar?
Salt - especially on tomatoes. It has to be crunchy sea salt too...Maldon is the best.

7. What are your must have make-up or beauty items?
Categorically could not live without lip balm. Not ever.
I am also now rather partial to this Ren serum...smells divine.

by Olivia Graham

8.  What are your favourite flowers?   
Orchids - for their delicacy.
Hibiscus - for their tropical feel.
Tulips - for their Spring-filled loveliness, brimming with hope.
Roses - for their scent.

via prettystuff

9.  What do you think are your worst vices, honestly?
Despite my apparent advancing years, I still persistently spend money that I don't really have.  I do have pious times where I pass a few months economising but then ruin it all every time there is new season of clothing or a 'look' for the farmhouse that I want to achieve. 

Also I have noticed recently that I mentally make excuses for things that I should be doing with the justification that I am too busy/tired. I realise that actually I opt out of too much and I wonder if people feel they could rely on me. Something a friend said to me recently gave me this slightly painful insight into the fact that I am not reliable; the inference that I wouldn't 'come through' if it mattered.

10.  At what time of your life were you happiest and why?  
Hard to say; happiness is a tricky emotion to define. The times I have been distinctly unhappy are easier to pinpoint as being noticeable and prominent. On the whole, I have been lucky enough to be happy in life, although I wonder if people who know me would describe me that way? I am a pensive soul; does that ever equate to happiness in its unadulterated form?! I do feel complete now; there is not much I could wish for. I spend alot of time wondering if I am indeed happy and conclude that I am. There are things that stress me and I get anxious about stuff, but the underlying principles of my life make me very happy, more so now than ever. 

So that's me; for what it's worth :-)

I would like to pass this on to the following bloggers, some of whom I have only recently come across...

Laura @ A Place for Tea
Racheal @ C'est Bon Bon
Alison @ Cowparsley
Olivia-Rae @ Everyday Musings 
Victoria @ Hibiscus Bloem 
Marcie @ Lemons & Laundry

Love Lou Lou xx

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 24 September 2010

So I am getting into the swing of things now...I always have to build in mental adjustment time to any life change. My husband has six weeks of no work; he is in-between jobs. Still contractually bound to one place before he starts at the next. So they call it 'gardening leave'. I have to say our garden is not looking an awful lot different and it's now week three, but we have frequented lots of local eateries for impromptu lunches, the golf club and he are becoming reacquainted and our kids have had more Daddy time since when he was on paternity leave.

You know how mothers carry around an enormous encyclopedic of knowledge and information about their kids; at the drop of hat, shoe sizes, after-school clubs, kit requirements, reading books, best friends, likes/dislikes and everything on the way? For the record size 2 and 10, football, gymnastics and choir, swim kit on Fridays, hockey socks and gum shield recently added, 'Pippy Longstocking' and 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea', I could go on. I find that I carry this with me all the time, writing myself notes, remembering the conflicting drop off times, the netball matches, the play dates. Now though, this burden is shared with their Daddy.  Hey, this is what it's like to co parent 50/50!

Meanwhile as we tripped around our town like tourists the other day, whilst the kids were at school, it felt just lovely. That loveliness topped off I am afraid to say, by boot shopping...yes I think I found this year's perfect pair from Russell and Bromley! Hurrah.

And so for Friday prettiness...and sincerest congratulations to my long distance friend Rhiannon who is getting married to her beau today :-)

via Dustjacket Attic

A Mulberry moment...

Danish simplicity from Georg Jensen...

via Sarah Klassen Haute Design

Isn't this the most beautiful shot?

via it's mary ruffle

By Meg Perotti
Tory Burch flats...want, want, want...but bank balance won't allow...

A stunning retrospective of New York Fashion Week found here...

via from me to you

I have booked tickets to take Boo to the ballet at Christmas...as is tradition!

Sienna Miller...best in her jeans...

I am running alot at the moment, and loving it. Honestly that post-running feeling of happiness is wonderful...

This is for my friend D...living in The Netherlands. She has the capacity to calm me in almost any situation...and sent me a 'keep calm and carry on' package in the post! Her and I should always consider that:

via it's mary ruffle

Home day/Work day...

posted on: Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Home days, work days. I work part time so my week is split between the two. Work days are peppered through the week; so I have this ongoing contrast of my two 'lives'.

via Everything Fabulous

On home days I immerse myself with the children, the school run, the farmhouse, nutritious after-school snacks, re-grouping, cooking, admin, making piles of ironed laundry (will I ever get to the bottom of the ironing basket?!). My mind empties of the deadlines and strategy and corporate manoeuvring of my work days. What I find bizarre is that in each 'life' I am comfortable. I miss neither one when I do the other. Very rarely do I do any work on home days, other than tracking the state of my inbox. At work, I will sometimes be in a meeting and catch myself, with a shock; the realisation that I haven't even thought about my own children for an hour or two.

I am lucky to have this delineation and the chance to do both. I figure that opportunity is a rare one; maybe I have found and maintained, at least on paper, that pinnacle of the work/life balance. But in reality it can be...confusing. On home days I think and feel so little about work that I wonder why I persist in the double life. Yes, it's a means to an end but there are other consequences which every now and then I am fiercely reminded of. The project that I worked on earlier this year was a case in point, when nothing about life was balanced as I struggled with the professional challenges of an all-encompassing work effort can bring. For sure, home life suffered and the 'wounds' from that are only now making themselves known - you know how sometimes it takes six months for an effect to show in a child's behaviour?

So I keep on - amongst some criticism that I take on too much and the knowledge that my kids may look back on these years and recall me being rather frazzled at times, rushing from work to collect them after school; one of the only Mums at the school gates in heels and a suit, blackberry in hand.

...on home days I bake cakes just like this... ;-)
As I have said before and many commenters have reassured me there is no right answer. I notice though that now my children are older my contemporaries are talking about going back to work, just as the children are more self-sufficient at school. To me, having worked throughout following maternity leave, I would say my children still need me now, perhaps even more. In a way, if I didn't work, that would be of more use to them now than when they were toddlers. The fact is they are so much more aware now...and that awareness I feel when they comment that I spend too much time in front of my laptop or when they know they have to fall quiet in the car if 'Mummy's boss' calls.

Today is a home day, so I am going to zhush...potter...enjoy the view and be there after school full of smiles, in flat shoes, off to look for conkers for the school conker competition...

...the view from my window this morning...

Just have to...

posted on: Monday, 20 September 2010

The new season of clothing possibilities continues...along with some serious shoe lusting...

...love these shoes...

I was just perusing net-a-porter (it's just no good what one morning coffee with a fashionista does for you!) and saw these Jimmy Choos (below). I have thought about them all weekend. On many levels. Is it just wrong that a pair of shoes cost over 550 notes? What can they be made of that justifies that price? It's the design, the name, the delicacy. It must be something. I am in love with them. But they can not be mine. This love will remain unrequited...but they would be so perfect with a dress I have...

Meanwhile boots...the quest goes on and I shall doubtless search every online nook and cranny for the perfect pair of winter boots. This happens every year; I go through this process and can never quite find the perfect pair. I have them in my mind...but my exacting standards are never completely met. Maybe I need to go into boot production?

My boot and shoe yearnings stem from this woman:

Giovanna Battaglia

Giovanna Battaglia - I have expressed my awe of her before. OK so she is the Fashion Director of Italian Vogue, OK so she has this amazing put-together but not too matchy look and OK yes, those chameleon features. I have never seen a bad outfit on her. I love her look. But must she keep on tempting me? Her footwear...utterly evocative of that i-want-it-now feeling.

Going shopping... ;-)

Beautiful things...

posted on: Friday, 17 September 2010

Friday I'm in love. It's one of those crisp days; sunny and cold. I had a good day at work yesterday, lovely chats with my friend N, helping to pass the day and some nice professional feedback that always makes everything seem better. Planning for my husband's 40th birthday party in a few weeks, so my thoughts turn to dresses and shoes...I just can't help myself.

The obligatory Friday night curry tonight, a party tomorrow, family Sunday roast the day after. I love Autumnal weekends...

'Interior, Strandgade 30' painted by Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi in 1901.

by Chris Nichols

Yep, still want one...the Eames rocker...

I love this dress by Voy...I have one in black already and this colour is now calling my name..."Lou...Lou...buy me..."

Autumnal wedding...the umbrellas, the boots, the little wrap cardigan, the leaves underfoot - all just wonderfully gorgeous.

by Braedon Photography


I'm also rather partial to this dress from Plumo...ohhh the lure of the new season!

Family Jamie Oliver...yesterday with the birth of Buddy...don't they all look lovely? And Jools; she's abit of an unsung hero I suspect, Mummy to four, Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo and Petal Blossom along with the new addition of a BOY!

Hands down, stop the clock, my fave dress from New York Fashion Week...Carolina Herrera...just inspired.

via The Bottom of the Ironing Basket

Layering done to perfection! I just love her whole look.

via The Sartorialist

I would like to climb into this bed, pull the curtain across and snuggle...

fabric by Vanessa Arbuthnott

More white wood, bleached Danish-style prettiness...

Russian Vogue

Ellen Page...with bicycle...love this shot.

Happy weekend...Friday time now :-)
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