Category: Choices

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

The builders are here..

We’re in a little bit of chaos.  Our lovely builders who did our kitchen texted on Monday to say ‘we have a slot free starting tomorrow, so would you like us to do all those other little jobs you’ve made a list of?’ Which is great in one way, because we were just about to decorate the study (although we were in that phwoo phwee stage of ‘should we do this just before a Christmas that we’re hosting? It’s going to be tight and I’m not sure if we should lose the present cupboard just yet’)…Except they will help make the study really special by fitting the fireplace, making new shelves and giving us the kick up the backside to get started.  It was panic stations yesterday.

It’s all cleared now.  And the spare room looks like a reclamation yard again.  Which is a shame…

Because that’s where we’ll be sleeping for a while as the family bathroom suite is now in our bedroom…another one of those ‘little’ jobs on the list is to replace the bathroom floor.  We converted the bathroom from a bedroom eleven years ago and whilst most of it has stood the test of time – I still love the Cole & Son wallpaper –  the floor hasn’t.  It looks tired and because the house is old, tiles have cracked so it’s farewell horrible floor, you’ll not be missed.  And hello wooden floor when you come! Yup, as a huge fan of my wooden floor in the kitchen – best decision EVER. We’ve made the potentially impractical decision of having similar herringbone parquet but on a smaller scale in the bathroom.  Except the kids are now older and to be honest…and boats are made of wood…..and the joy of wood is a) it doesn’t show the dirt and b) it’s flexible. Win bloody win.

We also made the mistake of scrimping on the taps and shower and ordering from Bathstore. Never again.  They need to be replaced as well. Sigh. Most of the tiles will remain, although the ones around the bath will go.

I’m hoping to keep the Victorian style tiles to the left of the bath, whilst the rest will be replaced with white/grey marble.

The final job on the list is to plaster and skim the backdoors into place that were retrofitted on the ground floor.

 

There’s not a space untouched..

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Natural Harmony x

Choosing a colour for the study is a bit like tweaking a tiger’s tail – dangerous but thrilling, mainly because The Husband is going to hate it.  Until the room is finished that is, and then naturally I’m banking on the opposite reaction.

I want to find a very specific brown..it’s chocolate with a bit of green swamp. To be really brutal it’s probably closest to the colour of a newborn babies poo when they’re transitioning from black tar to yellow.  Which is partly why The Husband will look at me with unreserved horror.

It’s hard to put into words why I’m pulled to it – there’s a strange, earthy beauty and a nod to the seventies and early eighties (my parents had a brown bedroom..complete with geometric gold frieze and black leather egg chair)

But there is a serenity and a richness and a sense of calm focus.  Attributes needed for waking up the brain cells.

(All pics Pinterest)

I think this colour is pretty close: The truth is you get a feeling in your gut and when that happens, nothing else will do.  And you sort of know, if that happens, just go with the flow, even if it is shit brown.

 

A sort of reflection on life really.

Laters, Kate x

Write out x

If approaching September means anything it means stocking up on stationary. Which underlines the enigma…why do we need to buy it every September? There’s the normal losses down the back of the sofa, chewed by the children, eaten by the dog.  But the real reason is usually simply the lack of quality and that stationary belongs to the class of products blighted by the modern disease of built in obsolescence.  They just want you to buy it again.  So why not think outside the pencil box?

Tools to Liveby is a dreamy online shop that has done the hardwork upfront, sourcing beautiful stationary products from around the world that have stood the test of time.

The emphasis is on quality and the joy is in the detail, from products like these – brass pencil protectors from Germany.

To memorable packaging.

(All pics Tools to Liveby)

It puts the quality back into quantity.

Laters, Kate x

The Cold Zone x

The pictures were a little bigger on Pintrest, but that’s not to say the idea isn’t.  This electricity banning underground concept fridge by Studio Floris Schoonderbeek has been added to the dream board for a self-sustaining shack by the sea.  Would lighting be solar..or a candle in a lantern? Nice problems to have.

 

Laters, Kate x

Labour of Love x

Looking back to last year, I think my kids have both grown a foot, if not 5.  It means a new summer wardrobe has become a necessity rather than a want, and whilst one of life’s delights is shopping for children’s clothes, it becomes a nightmare once they develop tastes of their own.  You like one thing..they like something else…that is inevitably for someone older..or tackier..

We’re trying a new approach this year.  I’ve set up a Pinterest board where we can select our choices and hopefully come up with the crossover clothes we both like.

So far it’s working..we’ve agreed on all of these. Which has slightly blown my mind.

And I’ve allowed a few exceptions to creep in. Normally this swimsuit would not make the cut..But I know Bella will make it work and she loves it. But I didn’t think she’d go for slides…

Or culotte shorts. How wrong was I? (All pics Pinterest)

My girl is growing up. Little sigh.

Laters, Kate x

It started with a kiss..

Someone very close has proposed to his girlfriend, and she has accepted! And it’s this wonderful, happy, heart warming, life affirming event that his inspired this post.

I was thinking of engagement rings – the token of love with a significance way beyond it’s size.

And I was contemplating how even the word ‘size’ has been hijacked so we now confuse size with love. And pay the price.

How beautiful instead, for a ring to tell a story – a piece of sea glass from a memorable holiday, a stone from a Grandmother’s ring, something from a sister, a mother to communally create and forge in love a unique, individual circle of trust and beauty.

(All pics Pinterest)

 

Because the most precious things are naturally priceless.

Laters, Kate x

I swear, My Swear..

83bcc70f7c42f4d8664aab5971bcb351

The price of these babies will no doubt induce an apocalypse of weepiness and hair tearing…and also make them ‘highly desirable’ such is the strange world we live in because the basic price starts at £300 – plus postage. And then this goes skyward depending on how much customisation you fancy.  Yep – these walking mortgages from My Swear are labelled the first ever customisable trainers…and are sure to be a wallet slapping cosmos flying hit.6fbff209ddea6f7c96bdc6ce763c589a

Where the joy comes in is even if you can’t buy, you can play: The power of the internet/websites are so good now, you can literally watch and plan every step  – colour – not just all over, but for each section, type of leather, soles, toes, eyelets, laces – it’s a long list of decisions meaning you can end up with a totally unique object.

81296bd01c9d931544826cefc76ab6f1 38d217385f81fdd8407b193eaaf5879a

Ta-daaah!

cfdb7698650a99a8b938a4c0176f42d0 90055cbe3f994c510264a582afa253e0 81b020c972e5c1ef3870c603c54cc06a e397d93fc183dd7d36e4cc053f6916ac b30d5e12ac188afc7fea86f3d17c6382 223f9c738add798f9f26239c740f6fb9

(All pics from My Swear)

Expect to see them strutting their stuff at the AW17 fashion shows.

You’ve been warned.

Laters, Kate x

Taste Wars x

9fdc3da2ae3fc7ae0467a45614b6bb71

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.

35d50784094c0ae55fc0f89192571c8c

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.

466f4cb8ccc1f42be0e3a30c0843fe50

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.

0908c64aa54ff6d830e9396db0022b16

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.

b941bbbfa38922cb6b5db735d0bef982 d24c87e2d54c4daf7dfe6b010c781122 eb424e4b8f8762f25fe62ce7bdc96ec5

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.

ef468c8bda6e97aa46a015b4eb13009c

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