Portugal memories...

posted on: Tuesday, 30 August 2011

And so another year of the annual Portugal pilgrimage draws to a close. We had the best time...despite my blog outburst suggesting the contrary! As ever thank you for your wisdom in comments...what would I do without the counsel of others?

...chilled rose at my fave beach restaurant...
...a lone cloud in the sky...
...determined wave jumping...
...empty turquoise sea...

...olive oil and vinegar...
...visiting strays...
...seaweed, which doubles as mermaid's hair...
...friendship bracelet...made by Boo...

My unsure heart...

posted on: Friday, 26 August 2011

You know I mentioned that everything was on hold at the moment? I am in a free-fall and have been for months. I should have known that coming away would bring things to some sort of fruition, with my thoughts floating freely as I ponder the ocean. I think of recent blog posts I have written and wonder if I am being entirely truthful with myself and to readers.

For sure I have mild angst about what I write here and want sometimes to be brutally honest, only then to temper that with shades of honesty. Not exactly an untruth, but more a diluted, prettified version of the real status quo. I also sometimes get this distinct sensation that those reading are judging; which surely points to my own paranoia? Why should I care who judges me? And moreover, if I did care why on earth would I be publishing this on the world wide web?

So I guess what I am saying is that I am painting a pretty picture of life as the reality is unclear to me. I am unsure what to do next. I have said before that I was always a working mother and now I am a mother who does not work (temporarily or permanently?). I have pain which is still unresolved and I clutch at straws of what the cause is and what the cure is. I have had to face many a demon about how I percieve hardship and how strong I am. I have come to the unrefutable conclusion that life is about your strength of mind. How well you cope. How long you can hold on. How your inner dialogue gets you through. At the end of the day there is only so much others can do for you. I have to fix myself.

So as I live in this self-imposed limbo I must acknowledge that the little things in life must be sufficient to keep me grounded. That the 'not knowing' must become my daily companion. That the future, unlike any other time in my life (school, university, job, marriage, children) is not stretching out in a clear path; it is a bending road running out of my sight. It's all a complete unknown.

And so off ponder the little things...

image source unknown...but how beautiful?


posted on: Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Holiday observations...
No matter how much sleep I get, it never seems like enough.
I have been having the strangest dreams ever...is it the ocean air?
Breakfast on the balcony overlooking the beach definitely agrees with me.
We are here with another family and the children are having simply the best time; never seen so many smiles.
Trying to run every second day; it was the deal I made with myself...really should go today...
It feels like everything at home is on hold...but I am aware there are decisions to be made when I return. The key one being: what do I do about my work/life/whole being?
Conscious that summer will end abruptly the minute I step on the plane; England is reportedly swathed in cloud.
I don't even know what the date is anymore.
The bluest blue of the ocean gets me every time I look at it. I am such a true Pisces...
Am I ready for the new chapter of my life?
Daquiri at cocktail time today?
Are holidays the best thing ever? A resounding YES!

via classy in the city

I hope you liked the guest posts - I'm lucky to have such good friends and family hey? Meanwhile I think I will go now, down the boardwalk and step along the shore for a while. All the time thinking, thinking...and breathe!

Guest post by Fleur: Constant Change

posted on: Friday, 19 August 2011

Lou has kindly asked me...her S.I.L (sister-in-law for those of you who don't know me) to guest blog today whilst she takes a well deserved rest in the sunshine with hubby and the Boos.

So one year on....with a plus 1! (no I am not talking about my dress size). 
Mr Smidge - our baby boy is now 6 months old. A gorgeous boy....and oh how life has changed.  
Sleep, what's that? Grey hair.....aaah I now know what that is! Hard work...I have always been up for a challenge but this one being out of choice is well worth it!!  This weekend I am off to a good friend's wedding and I have been asked to do a biblical reading.  In the days before Mr Smidge I would have relished the opportunity to do public speaking but having a child tests your confidence in so many ways.  I don't think I have been so unsure of what I am doing or started so many sentances with "why?" and answered all of them with "maybe".  It has taken me 6 months to realise with babies it isn't black and white....in fact it is a colourful rainbow of chaos.  I have learnt about acceptance.  Acceptance that there isn't answers to everything, acceptance of change, acceptance to accept help.

What hasn't changed is my love of Sex and the City re-runs, reading Vogue, Mulberry handbags, Champagne, a good gossip with my girlies and weekends away with my hubby...they just don't happen as often!  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder...but I am a want-everything-right-now-girl and a little upset that I still haven't been able to sit and finish watching the final episode in the last series of 'Brothers and Sisters'.  

Despite the constant change in my life there will always be the constant of love.  Love for my man which is just as strong as the day I met him (except when he only makes a cup of tea for himself without asking if I want one, as he has literally done just this!), love for Mr Smidge, love for family and good friends, love for living life to the fullest.  To some up from an extract from the reading I am reciting on Saturday:

"And now these three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love"
1 Corinthians 13

Although I am a realist as in the past year four of my friends have separated after being married less than 2 years. That's life?! My motto is never be complacent, always keep it fresh and remember perhaps the only reliable thing in life is a GU hot chocolate fondant!
(in layman's terms don't lose your sense of humour)

Let the sun shine for everyone this weekend even if only metaphorically speaking (4 years ago this weekend we got married and it literally rained cats and dogs). I have to dash now as Mr Smidge is taking an unnerving attraction to my latest Issa number...mental note - move Mumma's smart wardrobe out of the nursery!!



Guest Post by Simone : The Journey of Friendship

posted on: Wednesday, 17 August 2011

the journey of a friendship.
we met via our blogs...and a friendship was born.
i believe i was her first commenter.
children of the same age. a boy and a girl.
i'm the city girl. she's the country girl.

sharing. talking. confiding.
we email. we facebook. and now we even text.
i'm think i've told her things even when i haven't. and vice versa.
she's part of my day even when we aren't in touch, i'm talking to her in my head.

there are things that she thinks she isn't. but she so is.
good things, so many of them. i think she's marvellous.

one of those friends that you know you need in your life.
you're grateful - so grateful - and happy that they are there.
thanks lovely girl.

have a wonderful holiday, hope it's all the things you want it to be.
read-swim-run-eat-rest. breathe.
see you in September xx

Thank you for such a fabulous guest post Simone and for bringing some 'Bottom of the Ironing Basket' love here. I have to admit, I felt more than honoured and touched to read this - thank you from the bottom of my heart (and ironing basket!)...and may I just say? Ditto! Likewise! The same!
Lou xxx

You'll find me here...

posted on: Monday, 15 August 2011

Sand between my toes.
Tingly end-of-day summer skin.
Chilled beer at sundown.
Endless olives to snack on.
Opening the shutters to brilliant sunshine.
Wearing a bikini as the main outfit choice.
Sardines for lunch.
Getting dressed for dinner only.
Page-turning books.
Children's games in the pool.
Evening drinks in sleepy white-washed town squares.
Observing the locals.
Late night swims.
Moonlit walks.
Nowhere to go, nothing that needs doing.

This time away has come and as it's turned out, it is representing a bit of a life line to us. We need it. It's time. So I am off to enjoy...

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 12 August 2011

Hello...happy Friday! Just time for some things of beauty, summer style.

I am guest posting at my lovely friend Simone's today - she posed some interesting questions for a range of bloggers to answer so you can see my considered (or not so considered) responses here on 'The Bottom of the Ironing Basket'.

Today brings some time to pack my bikini (oh and everyone elses everything) and get ready for the sun!

...the delectable Olivia P...

photograph by Jamie Beck

via classy in the city

...love those preppy boys...via classy in the city

See you soon friends... 
Lou xxx

Counting down...

posted on: Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Hello...yes, its just a few more days till we head off to some sun in Portugal. I have to say (and I know I say this every time) but this holiday is so longed for...I need it! Having thrown myself into entertaining the Boos 24/7 I am hoping that the lure of Atlantic waves and swimming pools will be sufficient for them to keep themselves happy. Today however we are heading down the coast to see my brother's family; cousins provide the best kind of fun don't they?

I have (somewhat characteristically) belatedly considered who could guest post on my little blog while we are gone and so have lined up a couple of friends to drop by. Keep tuned...

I am almost scared to watch the news in recent days; my country has formed an unrecognisable element that is frightening and sad and disappointing in equal measure. All we can do is rally and consolidate and try to concentrate on the good...

via style me pretty

Stand up straight...

posted on: Monday, 8 August 2011

I don't recall being one of those children who slouched. But for sure, I was always a tall and lean child and would often bend my body into uncomfortable-seeming positions to read a book up a tree or hang my head off the end of a bed for no apparent reason. The tallness that I self-consciously struggled with as a teenager did, over the years, become my friend. I'm about 5' 9". Gradually over those early motherhood years I suppose my posture deteriorated; due to having a baby perched on my hip for a few hours a day. But as an adult I can honestly say I was not that aware of my body posture until about a month ago.

I have been seeing an Osteopath recently from whom I learned that I have been adopting poor posture for many, many years, which combined with slouching at a computer or even worse at a laptop,  has contributed the pain I am experiencing. Hmmm. Isn't it a life lesson when we realise that much of the hardship we suffer is in fact self-inflicted?

So I am spending my time now relearning how to stand/sit/walk/run in an attempt to allow my damaged muscles to heal, then to strengthen in the hope this will cease the cycle of pain. At first this seemed like an interesting anthropological experiment but now the enormity of the task is dawning on me! Every waking moment spent with straight spine, shoulders back and taut abdominal muscles...it's exhausting! But at least it is something positive I can do to help the situation.

photograph by Jamie Beck
Meanwhile my husband has this theory that movement is the answer; exercise and getting the body working...it's uncanny, he finds the answer to every life issue in sport! Sport is the answer. For me this is an unnatural shift as for about 30 years I hardly did any sport other than at school. I am therefore embracing my time off to try to use my body; to utilise it. Each day something different. The best so far has been sea swimming and body boarding with the Boos. Really quite exhilarating and lots of smiles!  I think for them the novelty is having a Mummy who is having a go...instead of having a Mummy who stood on the sidelines. I am amazed it's taken me this long to work this out...but long may it last.

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