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
It’s been half term already and we’ve been camping with friends.
Living the simple life in a field, blowing giant bubbles.
Can you tell we enjoyed it??
We weren’t far from the coast.
And next to the site was a high ropes playground..
Including a terrifying giant swing!
Truly the stuff of nightmares!
As was our departure. Not a sight you want to see…..we lost the car keys in the long grass on the first day. But it was OK as we kindly got driven back to London to fetch the spare set. Except we got hit by a super-storm…Damp got in (She’s 19 years old) and short circuited the electrics so the spare key wouldn’t work…and the manual key? Was part of master key that got lost! At least once we got in we were able to drive away, which was more than the car behind us – they’d lost all their keys, including their house keys and had to be towed away from the campsite!
Laters, Kate x
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
The school term has begun which should be heralded with joy and relief except for me there’s always an element of wormwood and ashes: The early mornings, the sense of cramming round pegs into square holes, all the boxes to tick plus the tiredness, the flagging stamina interestingly mixed up with hockey socks, mouth guards, rugby boots, new shoes and never knowing exactly where to pick the kids up from each day. The start was also a deadline for me..and I’m sort of there – I wanted the house to be running as smoothly as possible to give me free reign on another creative project – generally if I hand over my head to creative challenges the house collapses under the strain of chaos and constant trip-ups..this time I’m trying to learn the lesson and do my best to pre-empt them..hoho.
It’s not finished (when is a house ever??) but the study is sorted and everything filed away, there is now a runner made of kilims on the main stair, which I fitted in the same way as the cellar stairs here. Plus a bright newly painted yellow mirror right at the top of the stairs.
The sitting room is almost back to normal, painted a very chilled green (a few bits of skirting and one small bit of wall to go)
And the vintage media unit is hung..it just needs a few books and bits to bring it to life, but because it hangs rather than hogs, it really works.
The footstool went pink..it said pale pink on the packet..hmmmmmm..more like taramasalata..I’m thinking how to turn it down – maybe put it back in the washing machine with a packet of colour run??
And so it starts..
Laters, Kate x
It started with an itch when I saw this picture in the summer edition of Elle Decoration magazine. A room bathed in a magical greeny grey that shouted both chic and warmth.
The itch had to be scratched when I found these Poul Cadovius shelves on Ebay to house the TV…if I wanted to change the colour of the sitting room, it had to be done before they went up. But why change it? The white worked – except it was an easy decision made at the end of building works when ‘easy’ was the best solution…it didn’t mean it was the best choice.
I’ve gone for it….here I am again, working on one corner each day (the maximum limit with the kids at home, otherwise blood (theirs) would be spilt)
What I was after was a colour I could paint the ceilings in as well..and Pale Powder from Farrow & Ball seems to be it…warm, enclosing..but not dark and oppressive.
It’s the final proof that I am mad and have lost the plot!
Laters, Kate x
The news around the world isn’t great at the moment. Condensed down, the underlying message I’m hearing is that big things don’t work (Didn’t we learn anything from the Romans?). And yet the drive to continually make everything bigger and supposedly better runs deep, because if you don’t…you’re a failure; The economy has to grow, companies have to grow..countries, even religions all want to expand till they become these slow moving bloated beasts that eat up everything in their way, with no joined up thinking except feeding this thirst for size and dominance. It’s a big day for Greece today. I don’t know what the right answer is..I’m not sure there is one, except maybe they should never have joined the EU in the first place. But it seems to me that things are becoming more and more about power plays than people.
Thank God for the whimsy of fashion….and the joy that is Linda V. Wright, former model and fashion editor, born in Texas but oh-so far removed from a rodeo riding stetson toting stereotype.
Now living in Paris and running her own shop, Crimson Cashmere,
She’s a lesson in graceful, chic yet expressive dressing.
Like the world’s best perfumes, she’s layered in classics all with subtle, different flavours.
(All pics from pinterest)
You want to sit down with her at a striped bistro table in a busy Parisian street and ask, is this really all possible? Can life really be this easy? This sassy?
Laters, Kate x
I’m not sure what it is…end-of-term-itus, the weather..a growth surge? But Charlie and I are having regular run-ins like a pair of bulls in mating season. I picked him and Bella up from school just the other day and he got upset because I refused to carry his bag. I never carry his bag – it’s a principal. But because it had a library book in it, a big one chosen by him, he wanted me to. I had 4 bags and a laptop to carry. There was no way. He moaned and moaned. So I gave him my bags and took his. He couldn’t walk..and moaned again. Took my bags back and told him to stop complaining. He complained more. I said if he didn’t stop, I would dock 20p off his pocket money. He lost 20p. Then I realised we had to go to the shops before going home as Bella had a school trip the next day and needed a packed lunch. In the time it took us to get to the shop he’d lost £4.00. I asked him to wait outside the shop so I couldn’t hear him whine. He refused. By the time we eventually got home he was £8.00 down. I advised him in no uncertain terms that after 45 minutes of pure torture he got out of my sight before I did something I regretted, and maybe the best thing to do would be to go up to his room and punch a pillow till he’d calmed down and could be human again.
Five minutes later he re-appeared with arms outstretched saying, ‘I’m sorry Mummy,’
I went to give him a cuddle…
He looked up at me with his big brown eyes full of concern…’I’m so sorry Mummy….but unless you change your attitude I’m going to have to leave home.’
I pointed down the hall, ‘There’s the front door.’
Laters, Kate x
This post isn’t symbolic of anything but it’s a look back at the year: It’s been a rollercoaster with a little too much chasing of tails, not helped with building works, the decorating of building works and a third project that’s been slowly ticking over in the background. It’s all led to less time for this place – but it’s been a point of pride to try and get something out each day and a big thank you to all those who have stuck through the chaos! This is definitely my outlet – a place to pin down thoughts and make ideas real and remains one of my favourite parts of the day.
But once again time has a life of it’s own: I’m leaving for Greece shortly – a whole week earlier than expected which means crushing everything into an ever smaller time frame. So I’m very grateful to Abbie and her blog Twenty, Trendy and Thriving for nominating me for a blog award and presenting me with a list of questions to answer. I’m going to be cheeky and use each question as individual Blog posts to give me something to hang my brain cells on.
Her first question is ‘Who is your biggest fashion inspiration?’ It’s a toughie and could be the continuing story of this whole blog, but if you distill it down, the grains of truth could be older ladies, like the Advanced Style girls who’ve learnt the lessons of life, know what suits them and unashamedly flaunt their own type of beauty.
Happy to be so relentlessly wrong, they’re right.
Pulling together looks with nothing more than one hundred percent pure style.
They encapsulate the knowledge that when you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like anyone else. Food for thought.
Laters, Kate x
This week has been a matter of smoothing the road whilst riding the battle bus: Lots of things happening, too much juggling and not enough time for writing – something had to give. But we’re definitely on the acceleration towards the end.
Well – sort of end – there’ll still be the decorating to finish, and given my ability to blow the budget, it’ll all be down to me to climbing ladders and wielding paint brushes. Not that I really mind – I like the sense of ownership…and at least when the colours polymorph it’s not a double whammy of paying for new paint and decorators to put right. But I’ve reached the stage I just want it finished…to see everything back in the rooms..pictures on the walls..the spaces given their kiss of life.
Upstairs we have a whole room jammed to the ceiling with bulging boxes and bits. It’s going to be interesting to see what makes it back – what one needs (we’ve managed with very little for the last six months ) versus what one wants (I’ve missed cookery books, wedding photos and vases) versus essentials: a running tap, a sink, a dishwasher…a fridge door that opens all the way..an oven! How have we managed without a kitchen for 6 months??
Today the tap is going in – the oven is in the house rather than in the shed. The lovely French cabinet is also in – but I think photos can wait till all the handles are on. Hehe.
(All pics Pinterest)
At the moment I’m just removing all the lacquer from the brass with nail varnish remover and elbow grease so they can all age disgracefully and develop their own patina. One’s own patina…A life’s essential don’t you think?
Laters, Kate x