Mozzarella is better when it's ripped...

posted on: Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Back into the same old, same old. My son has been at rugby camp a few days this week which has meant early (ish) starts and packed lunch assembly at 8am. Compared to the school term this is a lie-in but still, after the week of jet lag hell it has taken some doing. Our garden, which is scarred from the building work and not a shadow of its former self, is littered with paddling pools and a tent and a slip-n-slide (the inventor of which is a genius; rubber and a hose pipe - much fun). Summer holidays are in full swing and the days seem to be spent organising their life and not mine.

The building work is ongoing; I can't say it has been a pleasure as frankly I am so sick of it I can hardly write a word about it. There is progress and the oil leak is now in our past, BUT what remains is a half-done house and lots of dust. My husband says he can see it coming on - all I can see is a pile of rubble where we used to have rooms. I know it's all a process and I must man up but honestly, there is nothing like long term building work to chip away at your good mood. Where are my white washed walls??!!

I got pretty close to mass Westernised humanity in America; in Disney there were so many people of all shapes and sizes it really was something to behold. However, one thing I did notice? The tattoos. I feel like tattoos have become a MAJOR statement in recent years. Historically, I can hardly recall noticing them but now; it's like every (other) person has one (or ten). I am undecided about whether this is a good thing.

Thanks to Pinterest I like images of very small, very discrete tattoos and frankly, they seem to shamelessly work best on very attractive people. But there is such a fine line between one and too many. Between small and cool and large and ugly. Being quirky and original to being mainstream and copycat. I like all of the stories that come with them and have wasted hours looking at 'The Tattoologist' which often features cool, really meaningful tattoos. It's compulsive reading. But you do also see some tattoos that are just horrendous - a bruise-like stain on someones skin. I see so many young people with vast tattoos in very prominent places covering a thigh or a forearm.

My thoughts on this point; even if you get a tattoo for the right reasons and are entirely comfortable with your choice, there will still be places you will go and people you will meet whom you wish you could hide it from. This is a fact. And as for tattoos in old age - again I am undecided. I love that there are some mature celebrities who sport tattoos (Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirren) and there are some who will continue to carry off discrete tattoos even when they are much older. What I can't imagine though, is the 'beige' generation I have written about before (and who I fear becoming) looking good with a tattoo. Is there something sad about the way the lines blur on old skin? But then maybe that is what one should embrace? A bit like a well-worn wedding ring - an aged tattoo can tell of a life lived.

I also sense that tattoos are derisive things. Some good friends absolutely loathe them and others love them. Thoughts?

Otherwise life is good. Working stuff out. Thinking about the world of employment and whether I should be in it. Thinking about how much holidays mean to us and how we work for holidays in a way that can be somewhat unhealthy. Is everyone the same? We live for the escape. Thinking about how I look much better with a tan - such a shame and I shall wrinkle when I am old (is that now?!) but honestly there is something lovely about being sun kissed. Especially Florida sun kissed. Getting back in to the groove...

Good things today...

posted on: Thursday, 3 July 2014

Pedicured toes - make me happy.

A new Violet Lake bikini - my third in as many years (!) - they are absolutely the best. This time emerald green.

Four sleeps until Disney!! Mickey Mouse ears here I come.

via ivanarevic
It's warm and sunny.

They are laying foundations for the new build! This is BIG progress following the two month break accompanied by a sludge green pond outside our kitchen window.

Dolly Parton's resurgence after Glastonbury. Islands in the stream. The film 'Nine to Five' endures as one of my all time favourites. I heart the 1980's.

The puppy turned three this week; not so much a puppy any more but he still behaves and looks like he is about 6 months old. Love him.

More loom bands than we know what to do with. Seriously, whoever invented these little rubber bands must be enormously wealthy by now. Hours of fun.

The end of children break up on Friday and I realise again that this time of year I get so weary with the whole alarm clock, gotta go, school events frenzy. I am looking forward to a summer of laying in.

The prospect of two weeks with our good friends touring round Florida. A long-awaited return to my childhood.

It was Boo's school sports day this week - I so enjoyed watching all of these healthy, fit teenagers participating in sport, some exceptionally well but regardless, with really touching support and encouragement from their peers. It kinda made my heart swell, when you hear so many bad things about how teenagers treat each other. As ever, kindness can prevail.

An acquaintance I saw in the supermarket this morning who said he remembered me as 'a mother with style'. I liked this (almost ashamed to say how much). Hah!

Things to do when you're 40...

posted on: Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I am quietly wondering whether life might have played an ironic trick on me?! I turned 40 in March, a preoccupation which heralded new levels of naval gazing on my part. Now, a few months in, things have settled but I am left with an ever-growing feeling of 'what now?' that I am trying to prevent burgeoning into a full blown mid life crisis! That would be oh-so-cliched; to give up ones job, have all the opportunity in the world and then promptly descend into a spiral of self doubt. Hah. The irony is not lost on me.

So I started thinking - what am I actually DOING? We had our children young, we are lucky enough to be financially stable right now (can never take that one for granted from previous experience), we have health, there are all sorts of things we could be doing. And perhaps it is the 'we' that I am missing. My husband works a lot. Many of my friends have moved away or work all hours. I seem to have found myself in a situation where I am alone much of the time. Or with my Mum, whom I love dearly. And there's always the puppy - although he doesn't speak. A distinct disadvantage.

What does one do when one is 40? Embrace everything that one couldn't do at 20?

The benefits? I am starting to know my own mind. I know what hairstyle suits me. I am ruthless about what I wear; I know what I like and I stick to it. That elusive personal style that escaped me at 20 has come home to roost now. I plan to keep dressing how I want to dress until I am 90 and beyond. I know what real love is - I have seen it from many angles. Over twenty years with him. My heart has swollen with love for my children that I didn't think possible.

I am transitioning into having a teenager and on the whole, it's pretty cool. Unlike with small children, you can mould yourself as the mother of a teenager. You can try different stuff; strict/not strict, empathetic/challenging, trust-worthy/trusting. It's a constant source of wonder to me as my daughter grows up. She amazes me. They both do.

I know in my mind's eye there is this a tropical, palm-tree lined place, probably a beach, where I go to when the lonely or mundane gets too much. You see, despite all of this self-enlightenment and thought, my actual life is taken up with the smallness of the everyday. My wise friend met a new Mum the other day who has four children. When asked what she did, she replied 'I drive and think about what food we need'. Deceptively flippant, this is actually pretty close to what I do. That everlasting food preoccupation - always buying it, prepping it, making it, clearing it up. Feeding them. And the driving - don't even get me started! I drive more now than I did when I was 25 holding down a corporate job!

I think I need to walk somewhere - somewhere further than the daily dog walk.
I want to grow my hair long, right down my back.
I want to write a book.
I think I need to camp somewhere warm and see the sunrise.
I should buy a pair of those electric blue Manolos from the 'Sex and the City' film. Oh - wait - Olivia Palermo has further immortalised them on her wedding day!
More importantly - I want to go places appropriately fabulous to wear them!

I read that your forties are an insecure age and I am inclined to agree. It's the most subtle but most persistent change I can recall in my adult life. I suspect it's only celebrities who endorse the view that they are 'more themselves' in their forties than ever before. I attribute this to the armies of stylists and trainers and gurus who concoct new terms like 'conscious uncoupling' to describe marriage break down.

For those of us who have not made our mark on the world stage (my 'stage' is purely local), there is a feeling of shift from one side of the fence to the other. I find myself idly wondering what mark I have left on the world and whether I have fully plundered all of the opportunities that were available to me? Or should I have made my own opportunities as I went along? And frankly, it's hardly as if it's all over. The thing is, when you are not a celebrity, you are just too busy getting through the day and deciding what to have for dinner and wondering if your shoes match your dress.

I just read a book that is more self-help than I care to confess but nevertheless I should share its message as frankly it has been like the adult equivalent of someone showing a child that monsters really don't live under the bed. It's called 'Self Help for your Nerves' (!) and was written many moons ago and has the style of those old fashioned doctors who did home visits with their leather bags (presumably holding a stethoscope and sedatives?). However it made me see the power of thought and how my thoughts can release fears those in turn release adrenalin, that creates more fear and the cycle goes on until the brain is just overwrought. For a thinker like myself it was a light bulb moment. All of my incessant thinking is actually starting a chain reaction which might not always be favourable and most importantly, is within my power to reverse!

Love a self help book as much as I love a Pinterest quote...

Happy Wednesday.