(A pic of my fantasy music room in Paris)
The only time I play the piano now is at Christmas. I have a battered old carol book that gets pulled out every year and the fingers get dusted off. The violin does come out of it’s case occasionally – we got together with friends on the 4 Jan (should’ve been the 6, except that was a Monday) to celebrate an Armenian Christmas (none of us are Armenian) with gifts of traditional dress, food, music and dance. I was on the fiddle, the husband was singing, Charlie on the drums and Bella on the Tamborine: As is every parents right,The video will be used to mortify them on their eighteenth birthdays. Needless to say, it was a fabulous evening, of the type we need more of. For me, it was interesting in that it has always been the spontaneous music making that I have loved, not restricted by notes, rules and history. Neither of my children play instruments, they’ve been offered them, Bella even played the flute for a while, but it takes a lot of discipline to play an instrument well. And the truth is, much of that discipline comes via parents who can see the end game. Which does work to a certain extent. But the real heart is when a child will sit down and play just because they want to.
This is something, particularly as an ex-professional musician, I have thought a lot about; I would like Bella and Charlie to be able to create music themselves – it is one of life’s great joys – but maybe in a less formal way. And I think I’ve found the answer: I’ve come across Piano Note on Youtube. A series of piano lessons designed by song writer and recording artist Lisa Witt, where the manuscript is thrown out with the rule book, instead everything is taught through chords and chord progression. This means you progress much faster, develop your ears and learn to accompany yourself to your favourite songs. Who needs more?
Bella and I are playing for 15 minutes a day. We’re hoping to persuade Charlie to join us. And who knows, maybe it’ll lead to more amazing evenings like this one.
I hope so.
Laters, Kate x
Many times it’s the word on the street that carries more weight than slick advertising ever can: Modibodi, as sworn and praised to me by two very good friends and worn by their daughters, newly at secondary school and newly coming to grips with monthly meetings of Auntie Flo…
This brand designs modern, period proof underwear, with – and it takes a while to get the head around this – no need for anything other than washing at the end of the day. No leaks, no stains and no worries….
Amongst their many designs, they also produce swimwear – either a one piece or bikini bums. Which quite frankly blows-my-little-mind: For a young teen this could quite literally be a game changer…
(All pics Modibodi and Pinterest)
Prices aren’t cheap, but then again, forking out every month isn’t either. And you can add on the saving to the environment…it really makes these look like no brainers.
Time to purchase my basketful…
Laters, Kate x
Bella’s bedroom has been painted, but that’s about it. It means it’s at an ugly transition stage when it’s a hybrid of essential bits from the past and colours from the present are all colliding to create a visual clash of cultures. There are still big decisions to be made: colours for the blinds, what colour to paint the bed, rugs to source, a new wardrobe. But in the frantic hell that is the start of the September term, the pull for peace is outweighing all of this…this weekend we’re just going to paint some art for her room. Together, with music and large cups of tea. Nothing complicated, but hopefully bold and aiming for beautiful…these are our inspirations.
The idea is to hang them over the half wall line: There’s something so appealing when art hangs over a paint line.
No idea why. But somethings in life you don’t need to question. Like tea and creating.
Laters, Kate x
It’s a mad old time at the moment – both kids starting new schools, husband working away from home during the week, scaffolding up, decorators in both inside and out. It does mean Bella’s room is finally being decorated – more on that later. But making the final decisions in consultation with her has meant much pinning on Pinterest. First there’s been finding the line between what she wants now versus what I believe would stand the test of time and take her through her teenage years…an interesting discussion. But there’s also been a feeling of walking between a real world and an imaginary one and reaching a point where the two seem to collide into a strange reality. As we’ve both been pinning and sharing inspiration it’s become more and more obvious that what looks good isn’t always practical, and if it isn’t practical, does it deserve it’s title of good? Take the kids room above, an eclectic vision of white pepped with colour and texture. But the ladder..why?
At first glance this is a minimalists wet dream with toys framed beautifully to catch the eye like tempting abstract art. Except how can a child reach them? Stand on the rocking chair? Maybe borrow the ladder from the picture above?
Same problem here. Except don’t you look at all of these and feel sorry for the kids? The toys are so carefully chosen and exceptionally curated, not because they’re fun to play with but because they’ll photograph well, give the right image..this is a sickness that is contagious..
Or else you’ll get the room where there aren’t any toys at all. Because..well..playing is just so overrated isn’t it? Far better for kids to just to suck it up that they’re going adults and get used to it, perception over substance, pretence over truth, the new modern dream…maybe I need to go and live with the Amish..or not! But embracing what is beautiful and what is practical seems a basic, honest step…
Laters, Kate x
What better way to embrace the autumn than with memories from the summer..the following are a few of the best from our soujourn in Greece where if there’s a theme running through it’s crystal water and the beauty of clouds. And the fact that for a whole month my kids only wore one swimming costume…
Laters, Kate x
Feeling the long days of summer stretching out in a creative dessert? Brain cells fried and inspiration running dry? Let me introduce you to this intriguing little video, particularly if you’re contemplating decorating a kids bedroom in the near future..
Basically it’s a Japanese art form made modern in a fun, accessible way. As much in the world is shrinking, these glorified Washi Tapes have grown and the plain colours can be baught in the UK for a pocket pleasing £11 for a 10m roll. The patterned ones are considerably more, which is a shame, at £63 a roll but both seem easy to use..and simple to remove. I can’t do a link on my iPad, but google, Haru..
Time to get stuck in?!
Laters, Kate x
There’s a promise I need to keep and that’s redecorating Bella’s room: Never an easy thing when they want identity and you’re spending the hard cash. So in the knowledge of generational divide and the spirit of finding the grey area she’s been pinning her inspiration.
(All pics Pinterest)
I don’t think I need to worry. Hashtag my girl is growing up. Fast.
Laters, Kate 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!
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.
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
This post was edited from two previous posts to celebrate Bella’s eighth birthday and tenth birthday. I decided I couldn’t improve on the sentiment contained, except to say, you never think it possible, but the words grow more concentrated with each passing year x
Today is my daughter Bella’s eleventh birthday. She was my IVF baby, born after six years of heartache, seven miscarriages and 2 years of no pregnancies (which I am sure was psychological. But it really didn’t help). With her birth on this day all those years ago, I finally became a Mummy.
I still carry the scar tissue..infertility is a time I wouldn’t wish on anyone – you beat yourself up for the futility of hoping, nose permanently pressed against the glass, it becomes personal; A retina searing pain that makes you disappear under the burden of inner reflection..the only person to blame being you. Something so simple, so natural…so unachievable.
We literally threw everything we had at it..and we were oh so lucky. The tides finally turned and she arrived..the most beautiful baby I had ever seen..a fairy child.
And she remains the most beautiful inside and out child to this day, the rarest and most delicate of gifts. And now we celebrate her eleventh birthday..it’s hard to believe – it seems only yesterday I was holding that tiny baby, watching the face of Big Ben tick round that first night we spent together in St Thomas’ hospital. I look at her now and have the most enormous chest restricting rush – she is my open-heart production – vibrant, living, learning..I never used to worry so much about life, now there’s more grey..I’ve become an observer, teacher and pupil too. it’s weird – you think your helpless child will be totally reliant on you – you have your experience and that need to guide and help, but it’s just not true. Instead it’s a constant balancing act that I don’t think anyone can get totally right: You want to lead, but you don’t want to helicopter. You want to love and cuddle, but you don’t want to smother. There’s an undeniable pleasure in growing together in habits, tastes and socks…but the easiest thing as a parent is to see your child as a mini-you where you now have the ability to correct all your imperfections..or to see the person they are now as the character they will always be and deny them the space to grow..thoughts like that just end up passing the negativity down the food-chain, or so it seems to me..but then who am I to say?
I know I don’t want her to be the child that has everything – but even deciding that is choosing a course of action, adding an intrinsic quality, another detail. I don’t believe that love is materialistic, instead I believe adversity supports initiative – resilience has to be one of the greatest gifts a parent can bestow. To that I add manners, self-respect and confidence – far more important in real life than examination certificates. I want her to have the space to find out who she is away from any expectations of mine and to be able to express that in any situation. I want her to have the confidence to stand up and say her opinion whether it’s right or wrong. I want her to make mistakes, whether it’s in her maths homework or something bigger, to learn there are always solutions if you look hard enough and mistakes are part of the stepping stones of life and shouldn’t be avoided…sometimes they lead you forward.
Life is as delicate as a falling feather but should always be a glorious caper..I hope she has a wonderfully misspent youth with sunshine smiles and audacious bursts of laughter, she is my joy, my love, my heart…and I hope that when the time comes, I have the sense to set my treasure free..
Does mother know best? You dream about it..but ultimately kids appear from nowhere and have wills of their own and you’re just ordinary people trying to get through life the very best way you can, showing them the world and hopefully a way of looking at things that opens the door to where the magic lies….
I celebrate and raise a glass to you our wonderful, amazing, incredible, magical daughter!
Laters, Kate x