Christmas things of beauty...

posted on: Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Hello! Soon to be Christmas Eve; I must admit I am not quite ready! Despite weeks of time to prepare, the big event starts tomorrow with a final shop for food and then a walk on the beach to clear out the cobwebs. The house smells of pine and lavender as I had a last-minute domestic goddess moment and made home made laundry powder (after being inspired by this). Anything that creates a production line of homeliness is good with me.

There is one crucial element missing and that is my husband who has been away since Monday. I think he's had about the toughest week so far in his career so I am looking forward to welcoming him home for Christmas. Without him, it all doesn't quite start...

So now the fire is lit, we are watching 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' after seeing the stage show yesterday. It's dark, wet and windy outside so time to hunker down! Enjoy...

...I am loving this red dress...

via one of my all time favourites, starring the world's most loved canine: backwards in high heels

Danish house at Christmas, complete with a tree in the centre of the room via from the right bank




via keep me happy







Oh Olivia P...

...hard to resist, brown paper...

...wool and lace...anthropologie december catalogue 2011

via country living




...gentlemen, if in doubt, go tiffanys...


via simple thoughts

...excitement growing...

...my home made laundry creations!!

via keep me happy



Have a restful and joyful Christmas...

How am I?

posted on: Sunday, 11 December 2011

Regular and long term readers will know that I have been suffering with unexplained pain for some time now. Even as I write that I wince slightly in the knowledge that unexplained pain is so much more...kooky...than the explained. And whilst being mildly kooky has always been part of my charm, in this instance it is the worse possible characteristic.

Having seen specialist after specialist, practitioner after practitioner, I am still left without a clear diagnosis but know that day to day I live with pain in the way that gardeners live with the blight of weeds in their flower beds. Some days it bothers me less; some days it's as if a gigantic thistle has emerged, its prickles threatening to puncture every good thing in my day. I have read and read and read about what 'it' might be, what can I can do to make it go away. I have taken baby steps of recovery over recent months where my attitude has been: I live with this pain, I won't let it ruin my life.


The medics have called it 'Atypical Facial Pain'...which means they don't know what it is or what causes it, but it manifests itself as pain in the nerves in the face. This is what it feels like: tooth ache crossed with numbness crossed with I-need-to-lay-my-head-down throbbing in my jaw.

This will be the second Christmas where I have had this in my life and accept that thought with stoicism; there are plenty of people who suffer worse. I can function, it's just not that pleasant sometimes.


I am seeing a Physio-therapist who believes that this pain is all muscular; that over a long time the muscles in my neck and shoulders have got themselves into such a mess that they are constantly in painful spasm. She thinks this was triggered by a fall I had when skiing, which happened just before the pain started in 2010. She thinks she can fix me but that much of the emphasis has to be on me; on how I live and stand and walk and behave in between appointments. It's all about posture and eradicating bad habits; no slouching!


But in addition there is this other layer of action that might fix this problem. Yoga stretches. Over months, if I do yoga stretches each day, eventually my muscles will learn to live again and be normal. Then the pain should ease away. Secondly, Meditation. Yep. The answer lies in calmness. There is such an irony in this; as regular readers will also know, I have taken steps to make my life much calmer. For my addled mind, it has worked a treat, I am now calm. But in my body, as the pain persists, the calmness has not seeped in and worked its wonders.


So I am left now with a challenge. For months I have had this idea of meditation in my mind and have, I admit, dispelled it as fancy. I get that it probably makes you feel relaxed, but I have yet to accept that it will actually cure my pain. I have read book after book about this and there is proven, clinical evidence of its success. But really...really?? I am a sceptic. I need however to embrace this doctrine and try it. Properly and in earnest. Otherwise I find my mind racing ahead with the thought that if I don't ever cure this pain, it will be my uninvited friend forever. It's already the elephant in the room on some family days, when everyone is having a great time but where my kids see that Mummy is 'having a bad day'. Boo says to me 'do you need a hug Mummy?' and I know her childlike empathy has come, and that there is nothing she can do but offer hug-comfort.

And so my new year's resolution becomes clear...and maybe one day I can report that the pain has gone and left me free from it forever...

Things of beauty...

posted on: Thursday, 8 December 2011

Another weekend! This one I have purposefully arranged not very much; quiet evenings where I fully intend to be ensconced in front of the fire. The days are so short at the moment, the darkness drawing in so very early, that it's shifted the whole emphasis of the day. The short days make time pass so quickly and I am stunned that it's nearly mid-December already.

I sense that 2012 is going to be a big year for us - one where we put lots of things to the test. My primary goal is to stay as well as I can; that seems overtly simplistic but honestly it's the most important thing in my world.

Given that I am not one to embrace change, I have committed to some big changes starting next year. Mainly to do with schooling and jobs. Already I feel the weight of uncertainty when looking forward but I am trying, day to day, to accept and move through it. If you don't do things differently, how can you expect things to be different?

Have a great weekend... xx



I heart anything with a fur collar...Burberry via haute design

Carl Vilhelm Holsoe (Danish artist, 1863-1935) Woman on the Stairs



Oh Keira...




G
Grace and elegance...photograph by The Sartorialist



via teaching literacy

by emerson made


via brown paper packages...

fabrics by Vanessa Arbuthnott

utter womanly awesomeness...via brown paper packages...

photograph by Mikkel Vang









So many beautiful things to look at...

December time...

posted on: Tuesday, 6 December 2011

December is one of my favourite ever months, I like the whole build-up to Christmas more than the event itself! Well, nearly...

We went away for a day and a night to Bath to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I love this city  - I love its Jane Austen-esque streets and its hilly walks. I love the fact that it reminds me of my University days. I love that we have always retreated there as a bit of a bolt-hole, away from things. I love that art galleries mingle with cool one-off individual little shops. I love that time went really slowly when we were there. But most of all, I love that I returned knowing afresh why I married my husband in the first place. I like him. He's good fun :-)



The Circus, Bath...photograph by Mal Bray
I return as well to the final weeks of the school term before my children break up for Christmas. It's a round of choir concerts and Nativity plays, interspersed by moments of quiet reflection about what is on my mind. Once they are around, there are certainly fewer quiet moments and much less opportunity to make life ordered...


In readiness for Christmas, I re-trace all the old traditions, especially the Danish ones in honour of my Scandinavian heritage. The house will soon be adorned with quirky decorations and lots of white candles...

via latte lisa
I've been thinking lately about self confidence. A few reminders of how precarious self confidence and self esteem can be. I watch my children growing up and can see how some actions give confidence but conversely how some take it away. If I could give any gift to them, this would be it. But as a parent, it's actually hard to know how to instill confidence and I wonder sometimes if my methods are too obvious. There is only so many times you can tell a child she is beautiful. Is that ever enough?




Things of beauty...

posted on: Thursday, 1 December 2011

More reaching to the inner corners of my conscience this week; still weighing up what this little life is all about. The week passed with its normal rhythms...school runs and homework schedules. I caught a cold and so the days have gone by with a fuzz around my head. In an unprecedented move, I started wrapping Christmas presents on December 1st. I have never ever been this organised!! It is because I have time this year; there is time to get things done and I am loving that.

I have set plans in motion to return to work in the new year; I do this ruefully in some ways, knowing that it might set me back. I need to use this blog as a barometer; if in future it seems like I am stepping back into the shoes of the stressed, frazzled, unhappy person I was, can you let me know?!! It always amazes me how commenters here notice things about me before I notice them myself. It must come through in the writing. So if you could be my guiding light, I would appreciate it.

This weekend I have some treats lined up, some 'me' time and some family time. Wonderful beautiful things this week...cat eye make-up and freckles and general prettiness...








...such a lovely half smile...Gemma Arterton...






















...love the sparkles; look closely...






...it just doesn't get better than cupcakes...


...encrusted beauty...

made from pages of books via teaching literacy


Have a wonderful weekend...