Category: Choices

Mother Dirt x

A little post on a big subject..cleanliness and how much of our identity is tied up with how we smell. Or not.

We’ve long believed that bacteria on the skin are harmful. Except as we’ve got cleaner, we’ve had more problems with our skin.  The idea behind Mother Dirt is to embrace the skin for the living eco system it is and help it to reconnect with the balanced state it once had: Yes, this is cleaning with bacteria…it takes a bit to get one’s head around it, but there are people who’ve found these products so effective, one has not showered for 12 years…

(All pics Mother Dirt)

I have deeply held issues with our materialistic societies cavalier attitude in exploiting fears to bring in the money with the multibillion pound cosmetic industry smilingly leading the charge.  The pervasive message is we can always be improved, which implies we’re not meant to be happy with ourselves in the first place.  Something that women have been conditioned to think for far too long.  So is this another beautifully engineered bottle of snake oil designed to further separate us from reality and our hard earned cash?

 

Or does it actually fly in the face of conventional thinking with the offer of a level playing field and genuine control..Maybe it’s even telling us it’s OK to be us..that we need to be us..

 

This could be revolution in a bottle..

Laters, Kate x

Phluid x

Clothes are so ubiquitous it’s easy to take them for granted: fripperies, feathers and function. Except they unconsciously say so much – they are our inner identities reflected back to the world.  Those moments when you have nothing to wear? It’s really because there’s nothing to express who you want to be that day.

But what if the freedom we believe in is really a myth? What if society has conditioned our thinking so much we no longer notice the rules, the divisions and the assumptions they lead to?

And there are many of them: Blue for a boy, pink for a girl, pretty dresses for girls that look sweet but don’t take into consideration climbing trees and protection against skinned knees, trousers for boys that metaphorically take on another meaning, T-bars for primary school girls, running shoes for boys, Pedestal high heels for women: the literal presentation of an object of desire: Look sexy, feel sexy they shout. Taxi shoes! We laugh, the truth covered by humour, falling for the fantasy rather than admit they’re restrictive, tortuous and totally lacking function.

What about sizing? It’s another hidden form of segregation: There’s the designer labels who don’t make anything above a size 14 – what’s the message they’re giving?  That only the rich are perfect?  Or that designers only want to hang their clothes on hangers, not real bodies, real people? But we still let them, maybe one day hoping that person will be us, another part of our insidious cultural brainwashing. What about the clothes store that allegedly offer larger sizes except they never have any in stock? Is it because they can’t understand why someone with that body would want to wear it? Is that really their choice to make? When what’s available for one body isn’t available for another it’s limitation, restriction, and control.

Gender is another straitjacket demanding clothing conformity, every store with racks of clothes marked out for one type of person only, the changing rooms following suit.  Who has decided these divisions?

Certainly not PhluidPhluid is the first gender neutral store that’s just opened in New York as a place without judgement or fear where it’s the clothes that do the talking, not our mental labels. Phluid says we have the ability to imagine a world without ‘because we do’ traditions and outdated rituals that don’t work.  They say it’s up to us to open our eyes and fix it: Acceptance, balance, integrity, intention are so much more appealing.

 

(All pics Phluid)

Personally, it’s such a relief to see a store that celebrates what makes us different whilst cherishing what makes us the same: We think choice is freedom, but it only is if that choice is available to everyone.

 

Laters, Kate x

Soap.Co x

Just when you think capitalism and the need for profit at any cost has snaked it’s way into every aspect of our lives a company comes along that blows your handcrafted socks off: Soap Co. is one such beauty.

 

It goes without saying they only use natural botanicals, nourishing vitamins and pure-essential oils.

It’s also interesting that their eco credentials impressively stack up: Their bottles are made from old milk bottles, their plastic film is made from reusable wood pulp, their sticky labels can be composted, their paper is both recycled and recyclable and their glue is non-toxic and biodegradable.

But taking the social responsible crown by a storming majority: Their products are handcrafted in the UK by people who are blind (hence the braille), disabled or otherwise disadvantaged.

This is a social enterprise that proves there doesn’t need to be a trade-off between award winning design, product, eco awareness and social purpose – this really is the best of the best.

(All pics Soap Co.)

 

And I for one won’t be buying my rose oil from anywhere else.

Laters, Kate x

That dress x

So this dress has been causing controversy again, although not quite the same way as it’s ancestor did.
When Liz Hurley stepped out in her Versace dress in 1994 for the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral she was an overnight sensation, though not for her acting skills – she wasn’t in the film, her then boyfriend Hugh Grant was – she made the headlines for being an object of desire.
But it wasn’t the picture of Jennifer in her dress that made my eyebrows raise.  It was this one, standing with four men.
Jennifer Lawrence has defended herself on Facebook writing:

‘Wow. I don’t really know where to get started on this “Jennifer Lawrence wearing a revealing dress in the cold” controversy. This is not only utterly ridiculous, I am extremely offended. That Versace dress was fabulous, you think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf? I was outside for 5 minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.
This is sexist, this is ridiculous, this is not feminism. Over- reacting about everything someone says or does, creating controversy over silly innocuous things such as what I choose to wear or not wear, is not moving us forward. It’s creating silly distractions from real issues. Get a grip people. Everything you see me wear is my choice. And if I want to be cold THATS MY CHOICE TOO!’

To Jennifer I say, many of us don’t realise the level of sexism we have internalised. We are conditioned by it, educated in it and live out our lives in it.  You wore this dress because of an insidious undercurrent of rules that dictates female Hollywood stars should wear such dresses, full stop, regardless of the expense, the quality, the label, the fashion statement, the weather, or even what the men are wearing.  You were expected to dress like this, you knew this and unquestioningly fulfilled that obligation.  Where the ongoing problem lies is that you don’t see your behaviour as influenced and that’s where the sadness lies, because every time our daughters see a women, particularly a women proud to hold herself up as a female icon, refuse to acknowledge such an event or puts her well being second, or does something that reinforces the idea that being object of desire/cleaning/childcare is a woman’s primary role, we let them down.  In the words of Charles Boudelaire: 

The loveliest trick of the devil is to persuade you he doesn’t exist.

Open your eyes. The truth is, there should have been five human beings standing there, not four men and a beautifully packaged piece of tempting meat.

Laters, Kate x

Bella’s room 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

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