Life full...

posted on: Thursday, 29 March 2012

If I had a gauge or a barometer for life-empty/life-full, it would read fairly near full at the moment. This should serve as a lesson to me, that you never know what is around the corner. Just on the home front, I have a house full. I am dog-sitting this week for the puppy's sister; so the siblings are reunited. They veer from cuddly happy to all-out rage from minute to minute. But to see them chasing each other like bear cubs is very cute and the fact that at the end of the day, they want to sleep curled up together, makes me feel that all is well.


School is about to break up, and in a satisfying episode of role reversal, my husband took on the mantle of creating the Easter bonnet! I have never been happier to wash my hands of the whole affair, having spent year after year trying to fashion a masterpiece out of a pizza box and some string. I will let the Über Mothers take the glory for that one ;-)

My work feels like an invisible force field of stress that I am trying to resist. The equivalent of corporate kryptonite. Somehow, it has become more incongruous as I split my time working on my other business plans, the Apothecary, which seems only to provide me with strength and pleasure. Proving once and for all that there are good and bad stresses in life. It's OK, though, I have become adept at switching between complex legal principles in one and the colour of the packaging in another.

It has taken me longer than I had expected to get things up and running with the Apothecary...but it's all work in progress and daily, my excitement builds.

via pale and interesting
Foolishly, I gave up bread for Lent, thinking it would not affect me very much; I never eat bread anyway. I could not have been more wrong! I am desperate to get to Easter so I can start again. I miss bread, dough, yeast - the whole nine yards. I never thought for a second it would be this hard. I am fantasising about foccacia and naan bread and pizza and ciabatta and I could go on...

via canelle et vanille

Serendipity...

posted on: Monday, 26 March 2012

It seems lucky to me that I met the boy next door. When riding my bike past the house that had welcomed that new family in 1981, little did I know how he would come to mean everything to me.

Lucky that I had my gorgeous girl. She is the the apple of my eye; the best version of myself.

Lucky that my boy is my truest love; so uncomplicated and pure.

via aubin and wills
Lucky that I took the time off to work things out.

Lucky that we chose to view this house when a friend suggested it. It's been a dream, surrounded by space and fields.

Lucky that on that whimsical January day, home alone, I pressed 'publish' on my first ever blog post. Who knew it could have brought me so much?

via aubin and wills

Lucky that I quit publishing, age 23, in favour of the corporate dollar. I've spent fifteen years learning a profession with a multinational corporate. I learnt more than I could ever have hoped for.

Lucky that someone mentioned to me that I now need to do something more creative with my life; I listened.

Lucky that even when it seems cheeky to ask the question; sometimes the answer is 'yes'.

Lucky that he lost his job. It's been life-changing in a good way.

...all images from aubin and wills...

Things of beauty...and Olivia P!

posted on: Friday, 23 March 2012

Can it be Friday again so soon? Days are merging as work and home collide. I am now nearly three months into my return to work and my goodness the creaks are starting to show! How tired?! My brain aches but I am certain it's still working. In an unprecedented moment I managed to recall just the right cerebral fact, to just the right audience at just the right moment; and my boss witnessed it! Perfect. There is life in me yet. But it is frazzling, evidence in point: I forgot what time Boo was finishing school and found myself there an hour too early. The sponge that is my mind was full that day.

In a writer friend's blog; she wrote that it is '...as if some lighting director in the sky has turned the dial up to Beautiful' this week! What a turn of phrase; it took my breath away. But that is exactly it: Spring has arrived, it may be short-lived, but something in the sky has changed and the result is beautiful.

Thank you for all of your lovely comments to my last post. Don't fret, it was a moment of introspection that I must afford myself from time to time. I think I'm over it now.

Meanwhile to Olivia P. If ever I need some sartorial inspiration, it is to her that I turn. That impish face, that pint-sized physique, that wardrobe to die for. Does Olivia have moments of introspection and self-doubt too?! I doubt it...

Have a lovely weekend...



via pretty stuff via gold and gray

...beautiful adele...photographed in vogue



...marilyn...



via ruche

...the most incredible styling...via cannelle et vanille

via pretty stuff



...oh Olivia P...

butter soft...via phe-nomenal fashion

via gold and gray

...from my favourite Elizabethtown...via silver motel

Letter to myself...

posted on: Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Dear Louise,

This life balance you're trying to find...I'm not sure it's ever going to stay for long. It is like an elusive will'o-the-wisp; just when you think you have it all figured out, you realise (usually too late) that in fact it's no more pinned down than a feather on the breeze. Just let it go.

photograph by natasha
All that musing over whether you care what people think: accept that you do. At the very core of you is a thing called pride and you care what people think of you because their disapproval chips away at your pride. You pride yourself on all sorts of abstract things; you build lists of things, always adding to it, never taking away. These range from manners to home tidiness to integrity to good hair - none of which are possible to maintain all of the time!

This new-found selfishness you've developed; it's been a long time coming. But know the flip side: sometimes being selfish leads to conflict and you should consider whether it's worth it. Putting yourself first is, in the modern age, deemed to be the 'right' thing. Look after number one. But putting yourself first means others may suffer along the way. This will make your heart ache in a way you had not expected. Either learn to live with the ache or reconsider your selfish urges.

photograph by natasha
Your bittersweet sentimentality is your strength and your downfall in one. Those rose-tinted spectacles make you fiercely protective of your past, your history and those who played a role in it. But this nostalgic view of life may hold you back. You must learn to embrace change! Your encyclopedic memory of events is useful when the need to recall a little-known but well-remembered conversational point arises, but otherwise it serves to clog up your everyday with memories. Let those memories be infused with new stuff; it will make them richer and it's OK to let them live in the background.

photograph by natasha

No, you are not as skinny as you used to be. Who is?! A strong, healthy body is better than a body that weighs what you feel it should. This is hard for you to accept as you've always been slim with no effort. This is what is making the effort doubly hard now; you feel your body has changed without your permission. I have a feeling that happens a lot as we grow older; an unalterable fact of life.

Cherish your best friend. She's brought more to your life than even you can admit.

Love Lou x

Things of beauty...

posted on: Friday, 16 March 2012

A surprising week. In a way, it's good that life is not predictable. The days bring with them surprising elements. This week my Dad and I started a little project together (Hello Pa!) of getting my Apothecary website off the ground. Turns out that as well as knowing how to fly planes (he's a retired pilot) he is also a technical whizz. So we are working, sending emails back and forth, building a common thread. I don't talk about my Dad here much, but suffice to say, this is a big and very nice deal for us.

My birthday came and went; thank you for all the wishes you sent me. Tonight we are going out with our best friends for a meal in a really small but favourite, intimate place. Whenever we go there with this particular set of friends we seem to manage to clear the restaurant with our noisy chat. There is something satisfying about being the last ones, late at night, with conversation still to make.

At the end of the day, dinner with friends has got to be the best way to spend an evening, hasn't it?

via dustjacket attic



by katie ermilio...photographer jamie beck

via crush cul de sac



...the beautiful people...by Vogue

...anyone tried this?!



...a new habit of mine...what comes from having a husband at home in the daytime...


via old soul new heart

this reminds me of my holiday, majitos...via tabac blond

sweet and simple dress by Emerson Fry via cup of jo

by katie ermilio...photographer jamie beck

Have a restful weekend...

The word is out...

posted on: Monday, 12 March 2012

You know when you've known someone for ages and then they do something that reminds you why you ever liked them in the first place? That's what is happening in our house at the moment. My husband, who I think for years has secretly considered me to be slightly lacking 'The Get Up And Go' needed in life, has seen a revolution. That girl he married who likes the quiet life - she's been lit up and activated and has become a whirling dervish of ideas and clarity. I have not felt this motivated in I don't know how long.

via better than fine, photograph by stewart leishman
Meanwhile, my husband has blurted out the blog secret to more and more people, so my anonymity is now looking like a rapidly diminishing pool of water. I am in conflict; I am OK with that - after all why be so secretive? But then part of me literally wants to hide under a stone. Irrational, I know. Work continues a pace on the Apothecary. My house smells divine once I get mixing those potions. Even Boo has admitted, when I kissed her goodnight, that I smell yummy.


Oh and by the way, it's my birthday today! I am 38. Stranded between mid and late thirties, my mid-life chapter is well underway. I have spent the day in unseasonably hot weather, eating lunch outside in my favourite eatery, sipping rosé wine. We then wandered around town. I have avoided all things retail since Christmas and so I feel as if I have positively earned the right to shop. Sadly though I have not really earned enough money to support this pastime. Back to the potion making...


TGIF...

posted on: Friday, 9 March 2012

Despite my assertions a few days ago, things have caught up with me this week. It's Friday and I don't want to do any more work! I've spent all week fighting this deep-sea-diver tiredness that is reminiscent of when the children were tiny. I just want to sleep! And sleep more. However there is not much sleep on offer as I have so much to do! I find myself furtively yearning for sunshine and summer and having bare shoulders and feet. I am weary of this winter; it's always the way come March.


The puppy has had an operation this week and so he has been feeling decidedly sad and is sporting the cone of shame, which prevents him from licking his wounds. Everyone wants to lick their wounds sometimes so I do feel a hefty dose of dog-owner guilt for inflicting this on him. But he was getting awfully friendly with Boo's Bagpuss cuddly toy...

photograph by Alexandra Grablewski
I have seen this week how tiredness frays the nerves and how my handling of normal home situations has resulted in tetchy remarks and being cross at my children. I hate to be that kind of mother; they hate it too. So I need to take a deep breath and get back to being kind and tolerant again.

via this flickr
This weekend we are booked up with parties and choir appearances; rugby tournaments and vet visits. I wonder where the time went when weekends were for sleeping in and relaxing. How did life get so full? But even if it brims over, I figure it's meant to be this way and it's good.

I went to circuit training this morning and as I sit here typing, the wondrous endorphins of exercise have been released. I was this close to not going! Whilst I still hate the 'plank' with a vengeance, there is the satisfaction that doing circuits twice a week, with my friends, has made me strong. I am spending a lot of my time daydreaming (hence the tiredness?). There is just so much I want to do! I just need more hours in the day!

...this is so so true for me...

If you build it, they will come...

posted on: Wednesday, 7 March 2012

What's with this weather? Is it sunny where you are? Its miserable here. I am meant to be spending the afternoon watching Boo in a netball tournament...it's going to be soggy. Meanwhile yesterday was epiphany Tuesday. At work, during an appraisal discussion (oh-so-corporate) it suddenly became very clear to me. The journey that I started last summer, working out why on earth I was working at the pace I had been for the last ten years, is coming full circle.

via dust jacket attic
How can something that is so obvious have been so hazy, so impossible to make out? After years and years of trying and trying to be the perfect employee, I have realised that the trying is in vain. And that's OK. I smiled as this thought dawned on me, right in the middle of my meeting, right when I should have been looking serious and contemplative. I am still a good employee; I've just finally accepted that I can't be perfect. For me, at work, this is the year of mediocrity. As incongruous as that sounds in this era of constant striving, it's how I feel and I like it.

I set my sights on other things closer to home; I am building my own little empire, made out of essential oils and potions. I can't wait to show you, but I am going to wait until I have done a bit more experimentation and I get the styling right. For me; it's all about styling...

via a well traveled woman
No matter what happens, whether it's mediocre or awesomely fantastic, I am fine with that. The point is sometimes you have to stop doing what you feel like you should be doing, and start doing what moves you. So that's my thought for the day, I'll see now if I can get my head out the clouds ;-)

by amy rice art via helop design



Monday muse...

posted on: Monday, 5 March 2012

When I worked full time, I used to hate Mondays. That uncertain knowledge that you'd be on the treadmill until Friday came around again. For the years that I have worked part time, Mondays represent something new. They are the chance to regroup after the weekend. To clear the decks. We spent Sunday sheltering from the rain, with films and Sunday papers followed by roast dinner. My favourite family day. So by this morning, the house looked dishevelled to say the least.


Most days I walk with the pup around the fields where we live. There is a family of deer that live in a copse near where we walk and each day I see them. There are sometimes five, occasionally six; all led by the male with antlers. My son thinks the one with antlers is something magical! Like a character from Narnia. In woods near here there is an albino deer that is known by most locals. He stands very still whenever seen; it's as if his uniqueness of being all white makes him bold. Anyway - back to my family of deer. When startled, they of course flee, but increasingly they don't run so far when we come by and so I get to see them more closely. I am channelling my 'Gorrillas in the Mist' sentiment! I find them fascinating though and it's such a privilege to see them.

Rosie Tupper in Vogue Australia
I read a book about divorce at the weekend. I have seen so much media coverage about this book that I had to know what it was all about. I am not divorced and hope I never will be, so it was a tumultuous read. I felt disturbed and grateful; at the same time. The writer has laid herself bare and reading it, I was struck that she wrote in a similar way to the way I think. Hard to express - but I did recognise my thought processes in her words. It made me glad that you readers stick by me, wading through these blog posts - you never quite know what you're going to get, do you?!

My favourite artist, Jessica Cooper is featured in this lovely video, Jessica Cooper at the Stour Gallery - Life Without Words . If you want a soothing few minutes appreciating the quiet surety and beauty of her work then watch...



I'm, as ever, observing myself closely at the moment - watching and waiting to see how I react to things. I have become my own anthropological experiment. I think self-awareness is a gift. I notice that I've stopped worrying about a whole lot of things I used to worry about. This can only be good. I notice also that I am clearer on what I like and this week, I like my new brogues :-)

via The Sartorialist

My Apothecary...

posted on: Friday, 2 March 2012

It's been one of those weeks where I feel like I have so much rushing round my head - all good stuff. Really positive, exciting stuff. Embrace-your-life-plan stuff. I had an idea and then I let it sit for a day or two and then I decided maybe it's more than just an idea? Maybe it's a real thing? A thing I can act on. One aspect I am really liking about myself right now is that I feel like I know my own mind. I feel like my experience is starting to pay back and I am making informed choices. However the net result of all this thought = less blogging.

via crush cul de sac
You see, I mentioned in my last post that I was making my own products, dabbling a little in apothecary, and lots of you asked about it. That's what got me thinking; maybe there really is an interest out there in what I am doing? It is the best feeling to get that feedback so promptly and that is one of the most awesome components of writing a blog. You create something and people react. So the idea that germinated was that maybe other people would like the products that I am making? Maybe, in this little haven by the sea, there could be a hub of production? Such an exciting thought. So organic; literally and metaphorically. 

...meanwhile please can I live here?
I have added one of those opinion buttons at the side of this page. For the 3000 visitors I get a day (yea, really...how amazing is that??!) could you just click yes or no and give me a little indicator boost of opinion? Thank you so much :-)

Other than plotting for my future, imagining myself in my garden shed mixing potions, I've also been working and playing house with my husband. It still feels bizarre (read: wonderful) to have this chance to spend time together. We've done more family stuff than in the last three holidays put together. Such a shame that work has to return to get in the way of life!! Oh if money grew on trees...


It's my birthday soon and I got an early gift; a Liberty-print Barbour. The Barbour coat is the epitome of country living here, a staunchly traditional British brand that has diversified so well lately. I am so delighted with it; who'd have known that dog walking would have necessitated wardrobe items? Then to add to my delight, I was lusting after these shoes, decided they cost too much and by the way, was I the right age for Brogues? I then found these at a third of the price. That just never happens; more of less the same item but at high street prices. Hurrah. And from Clarks - which is another old fashioned British brand. So I am feeling very patriotic. It's all good...I am very, very happy at the moment :-)

...doesn't Olivia look happy in hers?

Related Posts with Thumbnails