Self-conscious...

posted on: Monday, 27 February 2012

Whilst with good friends on Friday night, the topic of social media came up, as it often does. It seems that there are two distinct camps; those who 'get' social media and those who don't. Those who do are willing to embrace the many choices: from facebook to tumblr, twitter to pinterest. Those who don't are adopting a Luddite* pose and staunchly refuse to accept that there is any value in the world to these pursuits. My husband (whom we have established from the last post does rock my world) occasionally gets boastful of my blog and blurts out its existence. Now, I mentioned that we were with good friends; as in established, trusted, go-on-holiday-with-each-other friends. Yet I was mortified he had made my secret blog known. The conversation passed off and of course, I probably made more of it than they did. 'What? Your write a blog? What for?! Where is it?' followed by lots of mumbling on my part.

via crush cul de sac
It leaves me though with the disquiet that I have been found out. This self-imposed secrecy is curious. Why would I be so hesitant for friends to know what I write about? Especially the friends that I probably see most of; the school mums. This group, who have become quite crucial in my day to day life, who have welcomed me in, in my time of need. Yet I keep this from them. I conclude that it must be my own fear of judgement that stops me sharing what I do. And the most curious thing is that I am happy to share my innermost thoughts with complete strangers on the web, but would not with people I see every day. How very odd. I spent all weekend trying to work out why I feel the way I do and can find no sensible reason for any of it!

I shall give it some more thought...as that is what I like to do.

I have the urge to spring clean at the moment, as the first trappings of a new season start to show themselves. Carpets of snowdrops and early bulbs poking through. I read once that planting bulbs is like having money in the bank and I always liked that analogy.

via secret day dream
Everything has taken on a slower pace, given that exams are over and work is a secondary thought. Our home has become our family cave and we spent the weekend pottering, leaving only to walk the pup.

Meanwhile my lovely sister in law thinks that I should give it all up and start an apothecary. 'Lou's Apothecary'. This is because I am making my own soap powder (I have now started using Geranium oil in it and it smells DIVINE). I also started making my own facial oil out of Rosehip oil, mixed with other oils, like Ylang-ylang (I promise I am not a closet bohemian, or am I?) Maybe this is my future calling?!

I guess the point of this ramble is that everyone has their bag of tricks; mine contains a secret blog and a propensity to make my own smelly stuff and store it in pretty glass jars on my larder shelf. Each to their own...

via this etsy shop...infusion

* how rarely does one get to use the word 'Luddite' - see, I did learn something in A-level history!

About love...

posted on: Friday, 24 February 2012

It's funny how life goes. Six months ago, my husband was working every hour God sent, coming home rarely and when he did, in a completely stressed state. Now, he is 'in between jobs' and has had a few months off. The change to our life has been incredible, notable, ridiculously good. I've learnt that sometimes life lessons happen without warning and how you choose to react is the most important thing. Life experience makes you more resilient; more able to judge that all things are temporary. More able to make out the good from the bad. What we thought was a bad thing has turned out to be a miraculous thing; a lifeline no less.

via better than fine
Meanwhile, I look back on decisions we made in our twenties and am staggered how short-sighted we were! There is something about being that age, with everything is ahead of you, positively rushing to leave your childhood behind and become adult. We took on responsibilities like they were tokens to collect in a computer game. But of course over time, those very tokens took on a weighty character and now, every once in a while we have to remind ourselves not to take life so seriously.

Whilst we are not exactly old now, we have been together, side by side, for a long time, given that I was just 18 when we became a couple. I see that in marriage, you have to look to your side every now and then and ask if that person is still the one. What I have enjoyed about this downtime we are experiencing is that I've looked to my side and I love that he's still there. I love that twenty year old songs remind me of him as much as his latest download song, circa 2012. I love that we look largely the same as we did the day we met, just with some deeper laughter lines, slightly less hair (him) and a slightly larger bottom (me). I love that we still laugh. A lot. I love that life has dealt us cards that have tested us, but not broken us.


I read a blog where the (rather gifted) writer Megan often hypothesises about what her future husband and/or family life will be like; in particular a post about a kitchen table that heaved under the weight of a life lived. I read her words and think: I am living this life; I am there. If I had had a crystal ball, would I have chosen the life I have now? Would I have even recognised myself twenty years fast forward? Impossible to say, but as marriages creak and sometimes fail around us I just feel grateful that I made that choice and that it stuck. I'd like to think this one is a keeper :-)


Smile, it's Wednesday...

posted on: Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The computer decided to stop working on Sunday and so I have spent a few days without the capability to blog. I was amazed how many times I had the thought process to write something but then found repeatedly that I couldn't. Thankfully the computer got fixed and I am back. Hurrah for that.

I like this...via beauty and grace
A back-in-the-swing week so far in all other elements of life. Cupboards sorted. School reinstated, dog walks back to the normal programme. My work is gathering a pace again. I am trying so hard not to get weighed down with work. The only way I can describe it is like the seeping of a coloured dye over my thoughts; I am trying to make sure there is not too much seepage. I don't want work to dominate the colour of life again. But I do find that it takes up head space; space which in recent months has been blissfully empty. Is there ever a way to get balance?!

via beauty and grace
I am longing for Spring now...these winter days seem interminable. But gradually lighter evenings remind me that we will again have sun and warm breezes. At the moment it is grey. A grey day. And with these winter evenings, my slightly unhealthy relationship with cakes and chocolates runs amok and so I have decided (along with my too-tight not so skinny jeans) that it's time to stop. Note to self: must stop gorging myself. I figure a few pounds extra every winter is a downward spiral if I let it continue...

via beauty and grace
I've witnessed changes in my children of late. Little signallers of their maturity. When we were skiing, Boo stayed with the adults most of the time and I found (not that it was a surprise!) that she was great company; witty, wise and interesting. It's so great to see. And in my son, his sudden height and his bold face, maturing so that I can glimpse what he will be like as a young man. Each year I spend with them I think I have hit the best part, only to find that they get better and better as time goes on. I do feel vaguely conscious that I write that now, before the teenage years have hit. But I stand by it; your own children are the coolest people you could hope to meet. They make me grin :-)

Maya Angelou

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 17 February 2012

And to Friday. This week has seemed disjointed; I shall be pleased when the children return to school next week and normality is restored. I find that my time now is divided up into school terms and looking forward to the next family holiday. Life punctuated by precious weeks off from the daily routine.

Since the matter of schooling has been settled, a calm has descended on us. We are now safe in the knowledge that at least one element of the unknown is now known. I observe Boo in a confident state; her success breeds success. If there is one gift I could give her it would be confidence. What would it be like to go through life without self doubt?! A heady prospect indeed. I wonder why some people have oodles of confidence and some don't? I have learned to be adept at appearing confident, whereas the reality inside differs. A learned behaviour that I seem to have spent years perfecting. The gift would be to have it for real! Am I alone in that thought?

This weekend a quite time, not much planned, just mooching about seeing family and friends. Just the way I like it.





via little blue deer

...quote from 'Juno'...

via better than fine









...the beautiful Meryl Streep who won the BAFTA for best actress...


...love this wallpaper...

...a whisper of blue...via pretty stuff




...honeymoon house...via beautifully suddenly

Have a restful weekend...

Hey...

posted on: Wednesday, 15 February 2012

It feels like it's been some time...but in the grand scheme, not really. It's funny how changing the rhythm of your life for a week gives a different perspective. There is something about a ski holiday that is so very alternate to my norm. Dealing with the freezing weather (the average settled at about minus 15, which for this fair-weather Brit seemed chilly). Getting four people up a mountain with the right kit (which feels like the normal school run but on steroids). Being waited on every second that I spent in our wonderful chalet (which is so far from my normal life, it's almost a comedy! I couldn't stop smiling every time I was asked if there was anything I needed! Spending time with my much-loved family and friends, some of whom I have holidayed with for years (notable mention to the children's Godfather who accompanies us every year and my precious sister in law, brother in law and their son). And to lovely, newer friends who slotted in like they'd always been part of our clan.

...the view from our chalet...
So all good - except that we were dodging a sickness bug that ultimately swept through the place, and which I eventually succumbed to when we got home. So I was out of action for a day or two and my lovely Mum came to help out. In a re-run of my girlhood sick days, she brought me Heinz tomato soup when I felt I could eat again, and I was reminded of my childhood bedroom, complete with rosebud sprigged wallpaper, which I used to count when whiling away the hours, laid up in bed. I love my Mum so much it actually makes me heart ache.

via country living
And so to updates...before we left we got the results to Boo's entrance exam. Oblige me in a moment of parental boast: SHE GOT IN!! Yey. So very proud and bizarrely emotional about it. To see her face when she opened the letter ranks as one of those all-time memorable moments of parenting. I couldn't be prouder; she did this on her own, after months and months of work. What this school place should afford her is the opportunity for independence and greatness, without wanting to sound over-dramatic. It's a chance to attend a senior school where she will be nurtured and pushed. I hope that it works out that way.

It's nice to be back...bring the Spring!



Snow report...

posted on: Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Oh, if it were this glamorous! I am having a wonderful week skiing here in Austria. We are staying in a chalet that has just surpassed all expectations. The staff here leave little sprinklings of customer service fairy dust everywhere; nothing is too much trouble. This travel company is just awesome. If I am honest, I could take or leave the skiing. Having learned late in life I am never going to be much more than a basic skier, just watching wistfully at those who manage to make it look oh-so-easy. Today, after a wrong turn, I actually had to make my way down the mountain without skis; it really wasn't pretty. But to make up for it, there is creamy hot chocolate, tea and cake and the most divine gourmet food. And to see the children loving to ski, well that is a pleasure. Today has been warmer - just seven below zero (instead of the twenty seven below of yesterday!). Maybe one day though, there will be hope of looking like this...

from Vogue

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 3 February 2012

Sometimes when I sit down to compose these posts, words and pictures leap from the screen and it all comes together with hardly any effort. Other times however, there is much searching for just the right image (I am ridiculously fussy about this matter) that I spend ages looking for the right house shot or just the right expression of these beautiful but largely nameless people. The whole process is so frustrating (made worse by trying to teach myself to use my left hand to work the mouse) that I decide to give up. Then my resolve strengthens and I think that I must publish something otherwise, well otherwise what exactly?! As I always say to my children: it's not like the world will stop spinning just because you don't [fill in as appropriate depending on the life lesson I am aiming to teach]. Would your Friday be the same without these things of beauty?!

Anyway - a long way of saying: hello, I am here. Next week I'll be skiing; a much-needed family trip that we take each year. I am looking forward to seeing the snow; there is, we hear, A LOT this year. There is something wonderful about seeing your kids shoop down the mountain, gulping that fresh air and being outside all day. This weekend will be spent conducting the monster packing extravaganza that is required to get a family of four away skiing for a week!

via sunday in bed



...alexa chung...

Oh George...via cowparsley

via crush cul de sac

via cooking for seven

via nantucket youth

...diane kruger...



...how simple? pine cone buttonholes via rustic wedding chic



via sunday in bed


Take the very best care...
Lou xx

Round here...

posted on: Wednesday, 1 February 2012

It's been a while since I've taken some pictures of what's happening round here. This time of year does not lend itself to pretty images; winter weather and not a flower or green leaf in sight yet. However when the sun does come out, everything looks so much better.

Today is soo cold; my husband and I just took a walk round the fields where we live and the puppy had to wear his quilted coat. So cute. It's been a strange couple of days; a school-gate conversation that left me wishing I had thought of something smarter/cleverer/savvier to say after the event. The wait for exam results continues and the preparations for our ski holiday start in earnest. There are piles of thermals everywhere.

I am still revelling in the simple things; a bunch of flowers, a ordered house, a new recipe. Life is good round here...

...early daffodils...they think Spring has come already...

...didn't I say there was more to life than laundry?!

...bare hedgerows...

...the puppy growing up...after this was taken he had his first grooming session!

...making beds...


...the view from my window; tractors arrived today...

..a Mulberry clutch for Christmas! It sooo needs an outing!

...weekly tomato sauce making; best when well ripened...

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