Country days...

posted on: Monday, 28 November 2011

By the by, they ploughed the fields by our house yesterday. This ploughing has, over years, become significant for us. We live in the middle of a working arable farm. The fields are leased to various farmers so it's always a guess as to which crop we are going to get. Sometimes winter wheat, sometimes potatoes, sometimes corn, sometimes celery. For months now the field has been left to fallow and has looked, well, downright ugly. Weeds and more weeds growing up until one day a month ago tractors came and sprayed those weeds away with some kind of industrial weed killer. I don't even want to think about the chemicals. Every day since I have I wished that the tractor would arrive and plough - that's what I like; the freshness of newly turned mud (or 'sod' as my husband calls it and is, I believe, the correct name!)

The tractor ploughed a metre deep with the kind of farming machinery that makes you wince. Especially considering that in the good ole days, this must have been done with a mule, and as it ploughed, birds circled overhead. A shiny John Deere tractor went back and forth until what was left was the freshest, turned field. The children got home from school and commented (as the daylight dwindled; seriously it's dark by 4.24pm) '...ahhh, the farmer ploughed; that will make Mummy happy'. Such are my simple pleasures that this ploughing rigmarole does indeed make me happy.

I have caught a cold and so today I want to lie low. The weather keeps turning from rain to sun and there have already been three rainbows; that's got to be a good sign, don't you think?

I love living here this time of year, and despite the chill I enjoy winter drawing in; the chance to light the fire and loll on the sofa in the evenings. Tomorrow is time for Advent calendars... roll on the festive season; this year I am ready for it.

...freshly ploughed field...glinting in the sun...

...sea glass found in a suitcase pocket; reminiscent of summer; and a lavender bag recently bought...

...Boo is almost too old for her doll's house now...
...the (mucky) pup again...

...beautiful impromptu roses bought by my husband...

...visiting deer in the mornings...

'A clean slate, with your own face on'

Another little milestone in the whirl of day-to-day parenting; Boo started studying an author whose work I have studied. I am conscious as she gets older that she will step the same path as I did; the urge I feel to arm her with wisdom as she takes those steps, can be overwhelming. I have to remind myself that she is her own person; she is not another me.

Boo came home from school with a Sylvia Plath poem...rather advanced for 10 years of age I thought, but it was lovely; the poem 'You're' is about motherhood. An ode to her unborn child. However troubled Plath's life was, she glimpsed genius in her work. I wrote my college dissertation on Sylvia Plath so it resonates with me and reading this poem with my daughter, I was struck again what a full circle life can be. The final line refers to her baby as being '...a clean slate, with you own face on.' That is what Boo is to me. We look, people tell me, uncannily similar (I suspect she is prettier than I ever was; but that could be a mother's love making me biased?)

I remembered, as we talked about the poem and all of its references, when she was born, her little face, was hers and mine and his. That strange mingling of us three, so evident in a firstborn child. The hours I spent just looking at her, fascinated by her. And even now, years later, I can still get that flash of memory of her as a baby, still there in her ever-changing, maturing face. A heady combination of nostalgia and sentimentality mixed with her future potential. This motherhood; it still amazes me every day. this...a silver cross pram!

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 25 November 2011

Happy Friday! A slower day today; it's one of those glorious late Autumn sunny days, where low shadows fall on the lawn. I had a long conversation with an old friend last night and it's made me happy. We talked about life choices and how we want the best for our children (of course). We noted though, how making choices of what was 'best' for their future was not always an easy path. Some challenges and changes ahead, but the point is: you have got to open the door to see what's inside, even if it's scary and an unknown...

I've been thinking about the fact that I've been writing this blog for two years come January, so I have some plans to mark the occasion, I am going to ask for some help from my favourite bloggers. Amazing how the time flies by and amazing how many friends I've made on the way.

Here's to a lovely weekend :-)

...pretty Olivia Wilde...

via blonde and red

open the door...via crush cul de sac

photograph by Elizabeth Messina

Tiffany keys

...playing hairdressers; mother and this image... champagne and antique silver...

Jessica Alba via the vogue diaries

photograph by Elizabeth Messina via snippet and ink

Thinking, music and growing up...

posted on: Thursday, 24 November 2011

Sometimes, I write this blog to think out loud; writing has now become part of my thinking and decision-making process. But other times the thinking process happens over a longer time and takes place more gradually than can be shared on a day to day basis. Like a gentle wave, I don't realise how I am reaching a big decision; it happens quietly but surely. That sounds strange I know; but goes some way to explain the nuances of the mind of Lou; there's always a lot going on there. My friends at University used to comment that there was just so much in my head. At the moment, with time and space, being a thinker has become more of a pleasure. For so long it was something that I was not able to give myself to, but now things seem different.

via bippity boppity boo
So we can conclude from this that my deep thinking is as much a part of me as my green eyes or the way I walk or talk. Someone told me recently that I start every sentence with 'I think...' instead of 'I feel...' as if this were a negative. But for me thinking is feeling.

At the risk of sounding repetitive and self-indulgent, life has been somewhat of an epiphany for me lately. I keep getting these 'what's it all about' moments of clarity. In amongst the day to day...

Last night we went to a 'gig' - I can't even say it was a music concert; it was a gig. In a venue resembling somewhere I would have been to as a student. They sold beer in plastic cups. The floor felt sticky underfoot. We saw an up-and-coming band called The Naked and Famous. So whilst I wouldn't really call myself a concert-goer, it turns out I've been to two in as many weeks. Rihanna was...well she was for the most part awesome. Enormous venue, really established song list, soooo many people, and there she was; a little dot on the horizon wearing very few clothes. Then last night, small venue, cool new band, youthful and fresh. Such a contrast. I think seeing live music makes you feel alive; not least because of that boom you feel in your bones from the noise level.

So to music of a different type; Boo is singing in her school choir this weekend at a Christmas ceremony. It's important as this will be the last Christmas she is at this school. Everything is taking on a poignant air this year with the realisation that she will leave next summer. Ready for the unknown of Senior school. To say it feels momentous would be an understatement and again I am reminded how parenthood is full of phases. Every time you think you have one mastered, a new one begins! Of course I must remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, your choice of school is not the be all and end all - however in our little world it feels like a big deal. Everything is currently geared to the entrance exam she will sit in January to see if she gets in...what I wonder is: when exactly did she get so grown up that we are prepping for exams?!

via bippity boppity boo

Where did she go?

posted on: Monday, 21 November 2011

I think this has been the longest little blogging hiatus for me in recent times; I can't even say I have been away, I've just been so busy. Busy. There; that's it. No other excuse. Many a time, thoughts will cross my addled mind of something I want to say; some essential blog post that I must write, sharing my ideas on a topic or other. But no opportunity has presented itself in the last week. I don't like to be away too long so I am just dropping by to say 'hi'. I am still here; still with you.

via crush cul de sac

What been keeping me so busy? Errr, life in general, really. I am staggered at the pace of things when I am meant to be taking it easy and not working. Full time motherhood is so hectic - who knew??! ;-)

I say this tongue-in-cheek as I, of course, have always known that stay at home mums were super-busy. But what I am seeing is that there is never a point where you think, 'OK enough is enough I am going to clock off now'. Like you would in a paid job. You'd work hard for a project or a presentation, but then when it started to consume every waking hour, every minute of every day, you'd say, 'OK enough'. I notice that there is no opportune time to call time. My conclusion: with motherhood it's never, ever enough! There is always more that could be done to nurture, support, love, coach, clean, galvanise to strengthen. Always, always.

So there you have it.

Oh and also the fact that I want so much to be in a state of preparedness of Christmas that I am trying to get it all done now. I want to revel in the idyllic family-ness of everything come December 24th, so now is the time to get it done.

Finally, I did take some time to snuggle with my Boos and watch 'Anne of Green Gables' in pieces over the weekend and can I just say - anything that you need to learn about life is captured in that mini-series. Seriously. Just the soundtrack brought tears and I realised how much I literally grew up watching it. Anne with an 'e' - how much I owe you. A bonafide literary heroine. It something about her fondness for home that just completely resonates with me; it is where my heart is.

Right here, right now...

posted on: Monday, 14 November 2011

Hello. So it's a Tuesday; we are off to see Rihanna in concert tonight (get me: down with the kids). So I leave my little country-fied life for the big smoke. So as Autumn gently and gradually slips into a chiller winter, here is what is happening, right here, right now...

...stacked logs in the wood store...a ridiculously satisfying sight. last remaining apple...

...the trusty Royal Rayburn...

...the (mucky) pup...

...the English hedgerow and the church over the road...

...last lone rose...

...the pup again...

...happy feet; shiny toed flats...

Well hello Friday, again!

posted on: Thursday, 10 November 2011

Well that was quick! Time is passing so fast at the moment I have to stick reminders to my front door of what is happening each day. My sister in law said she liked the 'poetic' style of my Friday post last here is another...

Lauren Hutton
Musing on beauty and style and grace
Wearing skirts and dresses; ditching jeans.
Eyeing Christmas presents and planning ahead.

vila denmark via sarah klassen
Teacher's discussions and report cards.
Girl's netball match watching and muddy boots.
Peter pan collars and woollen tights.

via the audrey hepburn complex
Dog walking and more dog walking.
Economising and batch cooking...but there are always sprinkles.

via bippity boppity boo

Inexplicable urge to have my hair cut short!
Missing my husband who was in Madrid on business all week.

via classy in the city

Soothing my tearful boy after a play-date-gone-wrong.
Utter pride for my Boo; such a clever girl at school.

Mice in the attic, keeping me awake at night.
Remembrance Day poignancy and thankfulness for our freedom.

via classy in the city

Full days and empty days; such is my life at the moment.
Wondering: what next?

Hmmmm....who knows?! ;-)
Relax this weekend. 

The beautiful people...

posted on: Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The beautiful people. They could be considered as phantoms in my mind; partly made up of magazine images, partly made up of girls or women I have admired over time. You remember those girls at school who used to just catch your eye? When I was little, there was a girl named Cheryl; she wore fur-lined boots and had tumbles of blonde curls. Another girl, who had dropped out of the Royal Ballet School to join our suburban school; she had perfect posture and wore penny loafers with real french centimes in them. To me aged seventeen: the epitome of style.

via simply seductive 
At University, a girl seen across a campus lawn; she wore a crisp white shirt with a big turquoise and silver pendant. When I started work in the corporate world, a girl called Sabine; she wore winter white and kitten heels. Amongst the flock of school mums; one draped in an equestrian tweed coat and Spanish brown leather boots. With a sleek ponytail and diamonds. In the street, wearers of pea coats and ballet shoes. I could go on. A myriad of little snippets; images and memories of cool that now make up my own personal definition. Those beautiful people who had that something; elegance, effortlessness, grace, style. Just something.

And as I grow older now I see that this style generally is something born with and not acquired. A fortuitous gift from God that will draw admirers. Much like the pictures on a blog that show loveliness in its purest forms. How lovely it must be to be one of the beautiful people! I am sure there are downsides too...but not many ;-)

via simply seductive

Autumnal nostalgia...

posted on: Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Autumn days when the grass is jewelled...this time of year makes me nostalgic. I think of my first term at University, where it rained and rained and rained this time of year; blame the West country weather. But as students with less than 10 hours of lectures a week (yea, really) we didn't mind. More reason to stay tucked up in the one warm room of our student house and watch re-runs of thirtysomething or delve into the emotional highs and lows of a John Hughes film; 'She's Having a Baby' was a favourite. We were planning our family lives at 18 years of age! And here I am; living the family life.

It is now at this time of year that my University friends and I get together, for (whilst we are all in throes of motherhood) an annual catch-up. Knowing its coming up makes me miss them even more as life and geography has got in the way of us meeting often. So in Autumn I always get this slight heart ache, that yearning that comes from missing old and precious friends who you know you haven't seen nearly enough of.

via the ever lovely dustjacket attic
Meanwhile, my little life goes on; gearing up for the coming weeks as Christmas starts to draw closer. This year I have a sense of calm about the season that has definitely been missing for a long time. I am revelling in it. Just waiting for the first showing of the Coca-Cola ad; '...holidays are coming, holidays are coming...' to get me truly started.

I notice also that my concentration is shifting; getting back into focus. For so long there has been a haze that now is sharpening up. It's almost imperceptible, but it's there. I am so lucky to have the time to notice. It's amazing really how my mindset has changed. I feel...more in control than I have for years. It's a good feeling.

Hello Friday!

posted on: Friday, 4 November 2011

The week that was...getting back into the swing of things...

 Bonfire Nights and school homework. 
Delivery of fire wood and stocking the larder.
The last of the summer roses and the first new season's plough of the fields.

via pretty stuff
Winter boots and having soup for lunch.
 Dog walks and circuit training. 
 Middle of the night thunderstorms and in the morning: glistening autumn leaves.

via the ever wonderful backwards in high heels
  Hosting friends and babysitting nephews.
Appreciating family and making catch-up phone calls.
Wardrobe clearing and guilt-ridden online shopping.

via a lady's findings
Mental justifications and physical aches.
Windswept hair and rosy cheeks.
Tea time and Victoria Sponge cake

via crush cul de sac
  Thinking time and more thinking time...


I have written a guest post over at The Bottom of the Ironing Basket - the theme is 'wellness and well being' and I felt that was something I could add some thought to! See what you think about my pursuit of wellness...

Have a great weekend!

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