A year on; sweetpeas, fondness and growing up...

posted on: Monday, 30 May 2011

I am all about tradition, as demonstrated here...a post from this time last year. This weekend our old friends from University came to stay and brought with them lots of loveliness in the form of gifts, their scrumptious boys (who have grown so much!) and all the store of memories and fondness of the last 18 years. For me there is something wonderfully life-affirming to see old friends and a part of me relaxes in the knowledge that they know me; there is no pretense, no manoeuvring.

...freshly picked sweetpeas...

...freshly made cakes...
Their visit coincided with high winds but we braved the beach anyway, at times huddling in the beach hut barbecuing sausages for the kids, as we are hardy Brits! Not exactly optimum May bank holiday weather...

Cricket orchestrated by the Daddies...my friend J whose book has steadily cimbed up the Amazon charts over the past year and who now spends his time teaching and talking at conferences all over the country! I remember him when...well, when he was always arranging some fab student-related event like a beer festival or a summer treasure hunt around our Uni town. Resourceful? Err, yes...

...cricket on a deserted beach, when a hoolie was blowing...

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 27 May 2011

Bonjour vendredi! This week has been one of extremes...I have to say my parenting skills have been put through their paces. An early-in-the-week trauma that required my daughter to be very brave set the scene, and since then we have been gently resetting ourselves back to normal.

I spent one afternoon on a Mummy day (as opposed to a work day) watching a rounders tournament in one of the most beautiful school settings I could imagine. I have to say, when it comes to private schools, there really is another breed of school mother. I can knock it, because I am in it; by virtue of geography, hard work and luck. Nevertheless I am secretly in awe...

We have best friends visiting this weekend, with the promise of a proper British beach hut experience, come rain or shine. It's a bank holiday too so time will be spent in the garden. Normally my realm only extends to the inside of the house; the outside is his domain. I can't get concerned over weeding flower beds and mowing the lawn. However last weekend we planted a mass of pretty roses and flowers and all week I have wanted to nurture them, water them, just enjoy their prettiness. Planting a garden is like having money in the bank. It can make you feel replete.

via dustjacket attic photograph by Olivia Graham

from marilyn tov
Be a brave girl Boo...

by lilcoletterpress on this etsy

photograph by Robin Stubbert

I really need to take heed of this:

by thetwitterpated toad from this etsy
Oh, summer sun...when will you arrive?

via 79 ideas from free people
Wild mint is growing free in our garden...the smell in the evenings is divine...

photograph by Robin Stubbert

via dustjacket attic photograph by by Pasquale Abbattista
Outdoor dining...under the blossoms...

via this is glamorous via country homes and interiors
I liked this, so I bought it.

from Jigsaw
A print called 'Suburbia'...was it designed for me?

'Suburbia' by caleb gray from this etsy

via tinywhitedaisies from Livs Lyst

This weekend, get outside...and breathe it in!

The little things to brighten a day...

posted on: Tuesday, 24 May 2011

I've got to say, it's not been the best of times lately. It's not that bad, but it's not great either. With one thing and another I feel like there are too many important matters that are being neglected in my little world. Try as I might (and I really do) I seem to never get on top of things. Sometimes this passes me by and I figure 'I can not do it all'. Other times it weighs heavy on my wellbeing, making it harder to see the light side. Along the way though, when working out what on earth should take the priority, some of these little things help me find my perspective.

Like Jake Gyllenhaal...one word: eyes...

Bowls of the freshest fruits, packed with vitamins that might just stave off the down-time lethargy.

via cannelle et vanille
A well thought out email from a dear friend whose empathy and advice made my worries about my currently tearful daughter seem less...worrying...

via sailboats and seersucker from luxe paperie
 The prospect of hot summer sun and nothing to do all day but be...

Going to bed when it's still just about light outside...all sleep is good sleep...

via toast
Beautiful flowers...I am almost considering retraining as a florist...!

via once wed

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 20 May 2011

Crazy busy week...not quite back in the swing but on my way, I hope. I wish I could say I was having a quiet weekend but the opposite is true - we are hosting a double birthday party for both children, in the garden. It will be sunny! I can feel my yearning for a holiday heightening, starting to count down the weeks to July. We need some family time and quite simply to have nothing to do and nowhere to be for a while. In amazes me how much life ramps up even when you make a conscious effort to keep it edited and easy.

Cameron Diaz...photograph by Mario Testino

j crew summer 2010

via 79 ideas from fri

from voy

by me - my back garden

Kate Bosworth

via edgar modern, painting by Jessica Cooper

via poise and vogue

via simple sparrow flickr
via pretty stuff from sushi pedro
Natalie Portman

Olivia P style from from Zara

via modern country style from Cabbages and Roses

via poise and vogue from jak and jil

photograph by Stephanie Rausser

Until next time...

Words on a Wednesday...

posted on: Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Thank you so much for all of your empathy, kindness and advice following my last post. Wonderful to know that there are those out there who understand! Somehow it has lessened the burden knowing that. Honestly - thank you.

Photograph by Elizabeth Messina via happiness is
So what else is new?

I have never been one to hold back on the shopping front and this habit is reaching new proportions as I revel in dressing my daughter! Girl's clothes can be the stuff of dreams and I would go as far as to say most mothers who have boys will mention that they would love to be able to dress little girls. The pinkdom of it all...

via ilovegorgeous

With my daughter, suddenly she has tipped over from a little girl to a 10 year old; not a young woman by any stretch, but on her way. I am loving choosing clothes for her now. The absolute flawlessness of her (in my eyes) means that I do, I admit, get great pleasure from seeing her look comfortable in her own skin. And rightly or wrongly in our house that has something to do with nice clothes. Have I ruined her already?! I realise this is wildly superficial and children shouldn't be bothered by what they wear, but the point I am making is that she is on the verge of growing up and she is finding her style. I find this fascinating! She makes these cool little outfits which are appropriate but also fun. I think it's just lovely. If ever I wanted a mini me; I got one.

via dreamy whites
I have thought a bit recently about why people choose to have lots and lots of children. You know those families where there are three or four siblings all bustling along together at the school drop off like baby ducks following their mother? I find myself wondering what that would be like, although I know for sure I don't want more children. I have huge admiration for any family where the children outnumber the parents. And there must be something incredible about having lots of brothers and sisters; of that feeling of solidarity and unity. I am one of two and I have two children. It's all even for me. I am also fascinated by those mother ducks who have a gaggle of beautiful, tousled blonde children and look amazing and have tidy houses. Oops there I go again comparing myself...female angst at it's best.

via a lady's findings from dream spun kids

I have been running this morning. I find that I want to run the most when I think of it, usually late at night, with a little fission of excitement at the prospect of running the next morning. Then the morning arrives and I am less keen..but the schedule dictates. During the event, hmmm there are definitely moments when I wish I was not there. But after - when those endorphins kick in and my muscles feel tightened, then it's all good.

I went to a parent's talk yesterday at my kid's school, on Internet safety. It was given by the Police and seriously it was an eye-opener. Given that social media sites are kinda my thing, there wasn't anything technically that I didn't know. But what shocked me was the way in which young children, when online (facebook accounts at 10 - eh? no thanks) are so vulnerable. The point most laboured was this: do not share personal information. Of course the fact that I have a blog sent a shiver of worry through me. Am I putting my family in danger by sharing? Ugh...does not bear thinking about. Why is it that something I love could become something so ugly when looked at through different eyes?

'you can't wrap them in cotton wool...' via here from Southern Weddings Magazine
I am being everything to everyone this week, with far too many social engagements and events and work things happening....when does that down time I said I needed start?!

Beans to spill?

posted on: Monday, 16 May 2011

I am always a bit torn, when writing here, between being brutally honest or scrimping on the details for the sake of privacy. That fine line between drama and truth. You see, I am not entirely sure I know what to say about what has been going on with me lately. It's been a sort of slow movement, gradual and almost imperceptible over a some months; but now that I look at it, I can perceive the build up.

via brown dress with white dots from emerson made
From a blog perspective, I have this slightly uneasy relationship. Some people who read the blog are those who know me in the real world. Mainly they've known me for years and are my trusted friends, to whom I have divulged my blog secret (yes, I write a blog, yep I know it's unusual, yes I do share my thoughts with the world and no, I am not quite sure why, but yes I do love it). For this category of reader, I figure whatever I write here will just be a facet of what they already know. Then there are readers who know me, either because they have stumbled on my secret blog or because my husband, who is inordinately proud of what I 'create' here, tends to furtively show colleagues and acquaintances. This is quite touching but also leaves me with the impression that maybe his boss reads. 'Hi there', if you do, but forgive me if that makes me ever so slightly guarded about what I write. Then there are my blog friends; those who I may never have met but who shower me with empathy and kindness in comments and emails and without whom, frankly, this would be a lot less meaningful. And then there is the great unknown Internet out there, of readers who drop by, revel in all things Lou, and then carry on with their day, unknown to me.

This blog is a personal blueprint of me, which at times is so personal, but forever positioned as this open experiment where I write as if I am chatting over the telephone to one person, but actually the sound vibrations on that phone line can be picked up by thousands of others. This is why so many bloggers expend so much time discussing this point, and yes, when you think about it, it does feel really strange. I try not to think about it too much...

And so to the beans to spill...what's going on with me? An incremental set of circumstances, some medical and some psychological, and some where those two arenas collide. I have an unexplained, undiagnosed pain in my face; a year ago they thought it was tooth ache, but there is nothing wrong with my teeth. I have seen specialists (who were confounded by what it is), I have taken medication (with disastrous side effects and no results), I have googled every pain website there is. The fact remains: I have this pain, it's affecting my life and there appears to be no diagnosis and no treatment. My reaction to this fact veers from acceptance to abject panic at the prospect that I will have this forever. I do however acknowledge that compared to what some people go through medically, this is small fry.

So last week I tried to devise a plan; with some help from various sources to get this sorted. I rely on a discreet little group of friends who get random emails at odd hours saying things like 'you've known me for donkeys years, do I seem different to you?' I am trying to get to the bottom of whether the worry I feel about this pain is actually real.  Is the worry causing the pain? Is the pain causing the worry? So I am going to look at it close up and in the eyes and see if that helps. I have enlisted homeopaths and osteopaths and other people with 'path' in their title. So bear with me...

Meanwhile not blogging for a week was in some ways liberating, in some ways odd, in some ways strangely lonely (what? no comments!). I feel like I have an old friend whom I have not seen for a while and there is much to catch up on. The news and thoughts will filter through in coming days...

via brown dress with white dots
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