Category: Autumn

The three amigos x

This school year and certainly the start of 2018 has been tainted by the unavoidable: Our eldest facing the horror of Year 6 secondary school exams.  A hideous time and one of the horrible consequences of living in London where there are too many children chasing too few places.

As a parent you can make the decision whether to join the pressure party or take a more fatalistic approach – for many reasons, our choice is the later.  But even the choice of a relaxed attitude is not without it’s mental fuck ups: Guilt, doubt, even fear – We chose this school route for them – nobody put a gun to our heads – and when the kids are lining up to go into another exam it’s not easy to stand firm against a serious onslaught of questioning anxiety.

A shining light during this time has been our weekly cold water swims at the open air lido in Tooting.  Started at the beginning of September as a conscious way to replicate and appreciate what the kids were going to go through, it was meant as a challenge – could the three of us swim through the year without wetsuits? We’ve watched the saturated colours of summer turn to the stark realisation of winter, leaves turn and mists fall.

We kept going, even when it meant swimming in the sea in October.

Each week is the unspoken question – is this the week we fail?

And each week, as we emerge newly pink it’s like we’ve been fitted with a new coat of bespoke armour ready to face the world: Bulletproof mate, bulletproof.

It’s been a joy, a pleasure, life affirming and life saving.

I swear our blood is a different colour now.

Laters, Kate x

Half term Holidays x

It started with a double rainbow over Deal, a pretty coastal town close to Dover where we spent the first part of our holiday with three other families, before moving onto Suffolk to stay with friends, higher up on the east coast.

Living life close to the edge with a bird’s eye view.

First morning dip at Suffolk – the sea measured ten degrees: Three of us are taking part in a personal weekly cold water swimming challenge as an acknowledgement of the pressures our Year 6 children are facing with the coming exam season: We may not totally understand what they are going through, but we are there in spirit.

In preparation for Halloween..a real haunted house!

Southwold.

Brilliant, subversive arcade games on the pier!

Then the waves got up! And we went swimming again!

There’s something magical about walking along a beach in autumn when the clouds are skudding, the wind is cold and the sun is bright.

The view behind us.

I wish I was a surfer dude..

Getting the little ferry across to Southwold side.

On the ferry.

Our holiday ended with a rainbow over Southwold, proof that you can find gold at the end of a rainbow: I dare someone to sit next to me and tell me it isn’t true.

 

Laters, Kate x

The Dirty Shirt x

The true version of sexy isn’t bandeau dresses and containment, in both the physical and metaphorical sense.  It’s suggestion and just the right number of buttons left undone. And what better way to achieve that than with the humble shirt?

(All pictures Pinterest)

(Time to raid the husband’s wardrobe…)

Laters, Kate x

Beans on Toast x

Just the name Toast takes on a whole new meaning when the temperatures start to drop and the smell of fallen leaves mixed with wood smoke permeates the air.

Their clothes capture that louche, appreciation of nature vibe: Loose cuts, soft textures, muddy palette.

If that’s not enough, not only do they do the best classic grey long cashmere cardigan.

(All pics Toast)

But each one of their eleven shops has a shelf filled with books from customers and staff. Inside each books are hand written notes, explaining how the book has enriched the sharer. Visit a shop to share your own book and take one in return. Genius.

 

Laters, Kate x

Trans-seasonal x

So here’s the thing – weather in London, in September – particularly this year – is unpredictable.  If the sun does make an appearance there’s the flash of late summer burn, but just as easily the sun can disappear in an instant to be replaced by a cold wind and threatening clouds.  What to do? One solution are the 2-in-one coats from Arket.  Surprisingly simply yet remarkably flexible they’re an unfussy solution to an autumn – and potentially winter – dilemma.

The clever puffa-slash-underjacket comes in a choice of long sleeves…

(All pictures Arket)

Or vest.

 

I will be trying both the mens and the womens before making a decision.

Laters, Kate x

Bare Necessities x

The weather in London isn’t brilliant making it easy to feel nostalgic for soft, comforting layers.

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(All pics Pinterest)

The hunt is now on for the perfect oversized slouchy eighties-style sweater.

A classic for any wardrobe.

Laters, Kate x

Taste Wars x

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First day back to school after the two week half term holiday and bizarrely it’s Halloween…an oxymoronic combination which will probably leave the rest of the week in tatters with the children trying to recover juggling routine and school.  But hey, at least we gained an hour this week… it’ll be put to good use carving pumpkins and slapping on the grease paint later.  Sigh. But leaving blood dripping knives and the prospect of tired kids aside, I need to actually write a post so I’m going with something that struck a nerve whilst we were away in Hastings.

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We stayed in a little wooden lodge that was very pleasant….but didn’t look like anything in these pictures.  Which has become a bit of a bug bear – in England, when you go away to a resort setting, chances are you are either paying a fortune for a properly imagined rustic aesthetic (casing point: Soho Farmhouse) or you’re having your tastes dictated to by a narrow number of bulk buying, short sighted, cheap loving, tight fisted suits that think modern always means good.

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But the rub is rustic isn’t about expense.  It’s roots lie in making the best use of the materials available in the best way possible, given the space available.

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It’s about finding elements that are both practical and will stand the test of time, yet still look good: Re-using, re-thinking, re-energising.

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It’s not generic canvas’s from Ikea but vintage pictures from a charity shop.  Not ready made velour curtains but re-imagined blankets and kantha quilts.  Not  shiny carpets but wooden floors and battered rugs.

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Does taste cost more? Sometimes…but mostly it just takes a bit more thought.

And how often is it that those thought out things cast the longest shadows?

Laters, Kate x