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Pouring and Poring...

I am struck by the number of beautiful images there are out there to punctuate our feelings on certain things. My addiction to Pinterest is a testament to this; I notice that the images I like the best are those that sum up a lifestyle or a moment just perfectly.

Boo...whilst at a friend's house this week...

I always felt growing up that I should have been grown up somewhere way more exotic than Sussex, England and though my childhood was an idyllic mix of catching tadpoles in the river and cycling my bike on quiet residential roads, as I hit my teens I longed to be part of something bigger. The place where I grew up, where I still live now, is a place that had big ambitions and in recent years has morphed into a really cool locale with beach and countryside, town and nightlife all within a few miles. This is why so many of my childhood contemporaries return to this hometown, years later, to raise their own families. As I met my husband, aged 9 riding my bike past his house, we both sometimes feel that we settled for staying here when really we could have left and spread our wings. We reach the conclusion that it is just so lovely here - virtually the Southern-most tip of England, close to the sea, lots of do, a very chilled way of life and the knowledge that on a good day, London is only an hour and a bit away.

For my own children, I couldn't ask for much more as their charmed life plays out. Week one of summer holidays has consisted of flawless weather, mooching about, seeing friends who have pools, generally decompressing after the school term. I am notably more relaxed now I am released from the school run routine. Easy come, easy go.

So a bustling metropolis it is not, nor is it exotic...it's exactly British and as you would imagine, and I am OK with that.

We have a weekend ahead of no plans! Not one! This is almost unprecedented in recent times. Very much looking forward to it...



My Dad emailed me to tell me I had made a spelling mistake in my last blog post. Good to know - I have corrected it! Nice that he's reading along. I'd written I was 'pouring over Pinterest' when in fact it should have been 'poring'. This word is apt right now; meaning to read or study carefully or attentively. I am reading and studying everything carefully and attentively, to the extent that I am feeling ever so slightly tired. I would like to tip my brain upside down and sieve it out. It's one thing to notice the details, but it's quite another to obsess over them.

...walks along the canal with Boo...

...this year's crop; sweetcorn...

...wild rose on our shed...

...lavender...

...picket fence...
I wrote about how the year had passed and how I could compare and contrast then with now. But as you know, with too much analysis comes a certain kind of madness!

What I do know is that I have learned a lot about myself - some of it I suspected, some of it surprising. I didn't realise for example, that in some areas I really lack confidence. I didn't realise that there is a perverse part of me that will assert what I like, even if it alienates me. I didn't realise that what really matters is not what happens, but how you react to it.

It's all somewhat new territory ahead and that is enormously exciting and strangely - for a change-a-phobe like me - not that scary. I guess if you prepare enough, change, when it finally comes can be welcomed on your terms. I feel like I am finally on my terms - ditching the job and devoting myself to my home and family. I think a lot about integrity and what is right in life. I have reached the conclusion that although I long to be slick and rich and envied - what is actually more 'me' is to be charming and to have heart in what I do and how I come across to others. The same applies to L'Apothecary, no matter how much I could engineer it, at its heart it is pure and simple.

...perpetual longing for a lie in...

...bedroom window view...
For a really long time I have had pain in my teeth and my jaw - and for a really long time I have searched for solutions to it. It has recurred with alarming regularity; always waiting in the wings. I have read that fellow pain sufferers have come to regard their pain as a friend;  they have known it well and expected it when it arrived. They have studied it carefully and attentively. I wonder if this is the best approach, although I understand the impetus to pore over pain, as if to understand it, is to, in some small way, face it and own it. Right now - splat bang in the middle of a recurrence (and why? no obvious trigger? so frustrating...) I wish I didn't know the pain, I wish it was a distant memory. Maybe one day it will be...

Meanwhile the beautiful summer weather continues as some sort of meteorological blessing that every day I want to acknowledge and be thankful for. I keep saying to my children 'this is the sort of English summer I remember as a child; a proper summer holiday!' as if to reassert that all of my stories of paddling in rivers and walking in hayfields on endless, sun-soaked days in the 1980's were not complete fabrication! I spend my last few weeks of work in a slightly half-baked fashion (don't tell my boss) as I wait for my new life to start.



Today my children break up from school for the summer holidays - honestly - where did that year go? Unbelievable. If I think back to this time last year, I see the changes that have taken place have been huge, but weirdly imperceptible until now, when I look at the contrast. Now - as two whole months of summer holiday stretch out ahead - I will try to take stock. The weather has turned and it is sunny, and according to the BBC it's going to stay for July. This very fact has become my most happy-making thing as the prospect of beach days and being outside become a real possibility. Never before have I been so grateful for a period of high pressure.

In bizarrely regular fashion (you'd think I would learn...) I have got all busy and stressy in recent weeks and yet again it's had consequences for me physically. I feel now that I must get back to where I was before I got undone; taking time out, yoga, good food, enough sleep. I am staggered how easily I let it all slip and how quickly the effects make themselves known. I want to keep the wisdom of my experience and instill it daily - why is it so hard to do that?!

We have decided to go ahead with some house renovations sooner than we thought and so all of a sudden we are planning and thinking ahead to having more space. As we hurtle towards the teenage years, Boo seems to be growing daily - literally before my eyes. We need more room. We need a house that fits better for the life we have now. Of course I am poring over Pinterest and planning, planning, planning my white-washed new space.

I've been thinking a lot about confidence - having watched end of term concerts and shows and sports days - I am struck by the supreme confidence of these children. It seems privilege grows confidence and confidence grows privilege. I ponder this and look back to my school days when frankly, there was no way near as much support and opportunity. Lucky, lucky children.

And meanwhile - I am awaiting the full story of the most romantic engagement that took place this week - from my friend Sophie - whose charming George proposed in Sydney. Sometimes love can surprise us and I love that :-)

And so to some good old fashioned things of beauty...






















via crush cul de sac




Have a fabulous weekend!!
Lou xxx
This is kinda where I want to be right now. Think: beach, hair up, tanned shoulders, sea salt, waves. I admit there is a degree of escapism necessary to pass the days as I contemplate the free-fall that I am entering soon - that of having no occupation. Except for mother, wife, oil blender, blog writer. The idea is tantalising and scary at the same time...


Meanwhile on Friday we saw old friends for the annual get together of 'Thatch Night', owing to the small thatched house they have in their garden. It can hold only 12 people for dinner, no more, no less. It's a summertime, fairy-light lit place where we have many laughs in the past. Still recovering from it now!

via cape cod collegiate
Otherwise, I can literally feel my head emptying out of content and all I really long for (apart from the beach) is whiteness, freshness and clear places.

I am conscious that life is entering a different phase - I am reminded how I have left behind those days of toddlers and 7pm bedtimes. We have older children now and the challenges that face us are so different that I can hardly recall worrying about sleep schedules or eating patterns. Now it's a whole other level. I am trying to keep up - to a soundtrack of 'One Direction' and to a curated instagram feed from a daughter who is almost too cool for school! I always find with parenthood that you look at your kids and feel like at that moment, right now is the defining moment of them. And of course moments pass and they change and you look back on photos and are incredulous that they ever looked that young!

It's easy to get into grooves and do the same things over and over in life, because they have always worked, or its what everyone else is doing or some such reasoning. I see this often when mothers decide to have another child - if their friends have and they are surrounded by new babies, they veer towards it in a way that others - who have perhaps come out the other side and have glimpsed life without nappies - wouldn't. I won't be taking that path!


I am all about new grooves and looking at what works and making brave choices to change things that don't. I find that it takes now a good six months for any change to bed in and its affect to be known. So I am going to adjust to that new timetable; you have to see how things sit.

And I notice this too with the friends we have - I subscribe to the view that if you spend time with people who make you feel bad, then don't. Spend time with people who lift you and make you feel good. It's that simple. But in adult life, unlike earlier years, it takes a while to get the bottom of how people make you feel. Old friends are the bedrock and they grew with me, know me, respect me and accepted me when I was not formed. Friends I made on the way; some of whom have stayed the distance and some have tailed off - that is OK. New friends now in a curious period of trying each other out for size, along with seeing whether husbands and kids and lifestyles are compatible. It's almost like dating, making new friends. Or choosing a new sofa! Long term investment; maximum life impact!


What I do know is that along the way I have made some friends for life - without whose weekly contact and catch-ups I would be adrift. I am lucky and it makes me think: live life. Check who you are with. Do your best. Embrace change. Do something new. Be deliberate.  :-)

via bippity boppity boo

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