Beautiful things...

posted on: Friday, 28 January 2011

Hello again my friend. It's bitterly cold today and so here I sit, fire lit, ready to hunker down for the weekend. I will collect the Boos from school and gather provisions and we will chillax on the sofa. I have it all planned out.

Another busy work week for me; my work life is like a 'deja-vu' from this time last year so I am spending my days trying learn the lessons from the last big and extremely challenging project I was involved with. My mantra is 'you can only do your best, you can only do your best!' More soul-searching about whether to work or not and precious input from different friends. One friend who made me think maybe I think too much! So I am trying a new approach; it's simple - smile, let it go, be kind and others will be kind to you. Slightly abstract but worth a try! What do you think?

...ever classic, even in a raincoat, Olivia P...








I like this simple room; boats and feather pictures and white-washed walls...


If only I weren't, but I so am...


Really really tried hard to stop and take time to read this week; it's not gone that well. A couple of pages here and there...

via pink and green owl


 Time for some 80's nostalgia... 'what a feeling...'

...the 'sorry and aren't you clever scene' from Flashdance...


I have the first blooming hyacinths of the season in my house and they smell divine...


Yet more Danish art...

by Peter Vilhelm Ilsted 'Two of the Artist's Daughters at Liselund'

via the bottom of the ironing basket
My monster house de-clutter continues...I love this laundry room; what better use for a dolls house?


...love her face; Emily Blunt...
via my little things
Have a serene weekend...
love Lou Lou xx

A thinking girl's post...

posted on: Wednesday, 26 January 2011

I found myself regaling the cautionary news tale of 'Austerity Mum'; the blogger whose cover was blown and whose corporate husband was reported to be 'acutely embarassed' by the disclosures his wife had made on her blog. Admittedly the topic of personal finance is always a touchy one, recession or no recession. Of all of the observations I have ever made about blogging, one is that in general, as a pastime blogging seems to apply to the more privileged echelons of society. Case in point; you have to have a computer and some free time to do it. But what was it that so riled people about 'Austerity Mum'? I can't even imagine the vitriol being penned on 'Mumsnet'. I feel saddened that 'Austerity Mum' had to delete her blogging presence, not that I ever even read her blog, but I sense that if for some reason I had to delete mine, it would be with great sadness.


I also leads me to think - would anyone be acutely embarrassed by my disclosures here? I remain anonymous on most fronts, I try to be sincere and authentic. I think before I write. But is blogging somehow a lapse in judgement? I know some bloggers have told me that they would like to blog in complete anonymity so that they could really go to town on what they feel. I get that vibe...but ultimately, for me the best blogs are the ones where there is a real and genuine person behind it.

Every now and then I forget how much I have told you about myself. I go back and read old posts and realise that in fact I am like an open book at times, spilling my feelings as if the route from keyboard to screen to worldwide Internet is just a hop, skip and jump from my innermost thoughts.


What news stories like this remind me of is that blogging is still considered a quirk; something that bored women do to fill their days. Another case in point, Mary who writes Mary Loves told how her husband's friend, on hearing of her blog, commented that she needed to get a hobby. This made me cross! Maybe deep down in me there is this feminist sensibility that feels that being down on women who blog was a bit like being down on women who wrote in the 19th century. George Eliot used a male pseudonym as she would never have been published as her female self. Can you imagine that now? Errr, this is starting to feel like an essay I would have written at University!

In summary I sense that the interrelationship between blogging, money and feminism may be slightly too weighty a topic for a Wednesday morning, so I will say only this. It's a shame that blogging gets people into hot water and it's a shame that so many people judge it and don't 'get it'. As for me it's been lovely all the way through; I have nothing but good to say about it. Long may it last!

all lovely images via bippity boppity boo

My weekend...

posted on: Monday, 24 January 2011

The best thing to do when feeling 'grr' on a Friday night is to go out for curry. This family tradition has been with us for years; the defining end of the week treat. Curry is that institution that all Brits seem to hold dear; the local curry house, antiquated with decor from thirty years ago. I am not sure you will be able to picture the scene unless you've witnessed the British reality but here goes: dark, velvet clad booths, patterned plates, paper napkin origami. Rice and curry, bhajis and side orders like 'Sag Aloo'. Faint whiff of coriander. Dishes everywhere filled with sulphur turmeric-infused delights. Our local curry house has provided us with Friday-night-curry for more years than I care to remember. What did I say about being steeped in the past?! And best of all, the kids love it too. It did the trick, the 'grr' lifted and we re-set the happy balance.

via pretty stuff
Saturday, saw a house de-clutter epiphany for me - a combination of over-flowing cupboards and drawers in my house and a stern discussion (= row) with my husband about why clutter bothers me so much sent me off with resolution. I spent the day clearing out, getting rid, making those choices of 'if you haven't used it for a year, you never will'. Plus rather cathartically for me I finally choose to part with most of the baby/toddler stuff still hanging around; rogue baby bottles, bibs, just-in-case plastic bowls, dried up old play dough...all those items that I have realised my children have grown out of. I am almost ashamed to admit, it felt so good!

...love this...dream of cupboards like this...
Sunday, Boo and I went to the Marina and I ran while she rode her scooter alongside me. One of those moments where I appreciate how much I can do now that my children are a bit older. I know the childhood moments are fleeting and soon they will be all grown up and will be nest-flying. But for now it feels wonderful that we have this gift of an opportunity to spend time doing cool stuff. As she scooted, she read out the names of the boats we passed... 'Lucy Louise', 'The Dreamer' 'Nantucket', 'Time Flies'...how prophetic those boat names seem...

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 21 January 2011

I am generally wanting to give a cheery round-up of the week on Fridays and to dwell, just for a few moments, on some pretty pictures. This week, something has happened professionally that has left me so cross and disillusioned that I can barely stop the grrrrrr from leaping out of my keyboard! I will endeavour to get over it, but for the first time I am starting to honestly wonder if my relationship with my work has become unhelpful, unhealthy, un-me? I am compelled to consider whether I am doing the right thing in working; a point constantly revisited by working mothers who wonder 'is it worth it?' and has been the source of many a blogpost before this one.

Time to make a plan?

Meanwhile the weekend sees some much-needed family time. Returning to school has thrown the Boos into a spin as homework, routine and discipline become the order of the day following four weeks of sloth-like behaviour. It's been a tough week for all of us! Time to relax and try to think of sunnier days, easier times...

via a lady's findings

...pretty Kate Winslet.
Ooops, there it is...



by Braedon Photography


'Portrait of a Girl in a Pink Apron' by Edwin Harris.


I have always been very attached to the past and its defining characteristics...is it time to apply this logic?


Quiet reflection in a favourite chair...


My new fave person, Keri Russell; I saw 'Waitress' this week and thought she was charming.

...Keri Russell...



How cute is this pup?

...gorgeousness in fabric by Vanessa Arbuthnott...

...a New York minute...

via little teaspoon
via flickr


Have a happy weekend...

Heart on sleeve post...

posted on: Monday, 17 January 2011

We make our choices. Maybe it's something about the quiet dullness of January; all the fun of Christmas has departed leaving economising and diets. I defiantly asserted that I was to have no resolutions this year. Instead though, my mind is full of thoughts of life choices, or wonderings and musings about what I observe around me.

There have been some odd local events that have led me to consider how my age equates to some sort of life test. I am well and truly mid-30s. I see friends and acquaintances struggle with the waves of life that did not seem to cause a ripple in our 20s'. Serious illness, wayward children, schooling (where to go? Will it be 'good' enough?), aging or departed parents, the dreaded spectre of marital infidelity. It seems as I look around, that for many of my friends, the honeymoon period is over.


Isn't it typical of life's rich tapestry that when reaching some semblance of maturity,  life chooses that exact moment to throw at us its toughest lessons?

I am conscious that I am at an age where the life choices that I have made are coming home to roost. The career choice; the dogged determination with which I maintain my 'working mother' role, holding down a challenging job and wanting to be there for school pick up simultaneously. I recite the mantra to myself 'you can only do your best' by way of comfort; but is this my best?

Then there's marriage. I am very happily married. I feel the need to state that point. However I also acknowledge that the happiness comes at a price. I married a man who works very hard and is ambitious and therefore, we find, is not home much. I married a man who loves rugby and therefore spends his Saturday afternoons running round a muddy field with other men! So here I am, with two children with whom I spend 85% of my time alone.

Similarly with material possessions. The more you have the more you seem to need; yet the grasp of what one really needs in life is loosening. It is possible to feed a family of four with careful planning and adept cooking, but if you have more to spend, you do. This then ultimately leads to waste. Waste makes me troubled; throwing away food or making meals that remain uneaten.  The more worldly possessions we have the more we seem to need to update; 'get rid of the old'. But where do all of these old possessions go? Now that IKEA exists, arguably there is no need to keep hold of anything for future use as there is the ability to 'buy new'. Is the ambition that causes my husband and I to work so hard is to enable a better life misguided? I wonder this when the better life presents itself in all its glory - stressed parents, forgotten chores, mixed-up dates, lost admin (where is that much-needed bit of paperwork that was placed somewhere 'safe'?) I wonder what are we doing? Was this the plan? We spent the weekend running around like maniacs trying to get it all done in our 'days off'!


And so it dawns on me that in just a few short months I will reach my 37th birthday. Somehow as each year passes that increasing number surprises me; that reality has become true, I feel like I am forever 28 in my mind, it's just my body that betrays the fact. If not 28, then maybe 30. Yet I have to say I am happier in my own skin now than I have ever been. I recall reading articles where celebrities would say that their 30s were better than their 20s as they knew who they were, had discovered their style, they were 'at one'. I wasn't sure I believed them; being in your 20s must be better than being in your 30s? However now I am here I agree; I feel like I now know. I have learned.


What astounds me is how life proffers this learning in such an imperceptible way. As we go along there are things that teach us and mould us; is there ever an end result? Will 40 mean I am fully grown up? 45? This march of time and life fascinates me and I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering how I feel about it. What's it all for? Am I making mistakes as I go? How will I know? Will it be too late to rectify?

I am so much more self aware now than before. I am struggling to describe this without using the word mature, but when the cap fits...I do feel that I have matured into myself.

I don't expect answer to this - just putting it out there into the cosmos...in case it chimes with anyone...

via it's mary ruffle

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 14 January 2011

Hello, it's me. Here is what I think:
  1. Diane Kruger; she is a beauty. Katie Holmes; now, if we were still in 'Dawson's Creek' days she would be the one, Joey Potter was an institution
  2. Mascara...never used to be but nowadays it's vital
  3. Hmmm...Colin Firth is just delicious but Robert Downey Jnr has that cheeky side - which to choose? As one commenter said: Robert for fun, Colin for life!
  4. Of all of Jane Austen's women characters surely Elizabeth Bennett has integrity? Emma Woodhouse is  frippery...
  5. Hired help? Well let's say that the more I have the more I want! I am a home maker but find that life gets in the way...
  6. Weekend away; right now in this dreadful weather I would choose Vegas for its desert location. Daiquiri, anyone?
  7. Cath Kidston in summer, Orla Kiely in winter.
  8. Charlotte York; she is so consistent, and that hair!
  9. Classic elegance but I keep getting waylaid by the quirks.
  10. Ski - and am still learning to do that after many years, let alone mastering a snowboard. Plus I hate the sound they make on the piste...
  11. Chestnut brunette - I did try platinum blonde once but it didn't go well.
  12. I am a Mac convert through and through; pod, pad, book; whichever form it comes in it is a thing of beauty.
  13. Shotgun wedding; when you know, you know. 
  14. Impossibly superstitious - no shoes on the table, no walking under ladders, touching wood so as not to jinx, no lilacs in the house...I could go on.
  15. Carnivore  - but wouldn't mind being a vegetarian, until I smell roast chicken that is...
  16. Spender - 'nuff said.
  17. Tulips.
So I think we might be compatible ;-)

Friday finds me rather pensive as life returns to it's normal rhythm. School is back - I have spent my first time alone in a month. Like everyone else I feel a primal requirement to declutter my house. Work has started to get very busy again; hard to keep those best intentions of avoiding stress when it's layered on so convincingly at work. You can only do your best, hey?

Thinking of sunnier days and kinder weather - what is with this rain? And this blog - well I like my blog; it completes me.
via from me to you
Oh to be this carefree...


So much rain this week...

via Sarah Klassen




Love this self-satisfied smile...

via The Sartorialist...did you see his film? LOVED it!

I have a wedding dress crush on this beauty featured by friend Rhi, who is taking her dreams into her own hands with her new wedding planning business...

via Hey Gorgeous









I have developed a slight obsession with the ipad Mulberry app...and a wandering eye between the Mulberry Alexa and the Mulberry Tillie....ohhh decisions! Recite after me: it's just a handbag, it's just a handbag, it's just a handbag!




...Robin Wright Penn...
I just adore this image from Fendi's catwalk show...to me this is Spring dressing personified...

via crush cul de sac


My kind of power dressing by Dolce and Gabanna...perfect black bag...



via a lady's findings

via are so happy
I have started my annual event of re-reading my all time favourite book - 'Couples' by John Updike, set in 1963. No matter how many times I read it it can still stop me in my tracks; the writing and the human accuracy of a portrayal of marriage.


Here's to a restful, re-grouping kind of weekend...
January we salute you.
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