Learning something new today. Don’t settle with the ‘I’m too old for that.’

streaming-content

bicycle-girl-basket-full-flowers-milk-bread-paris-architecture-background-39462916 Learn anything new today? 

It’s a sobering thought, one I consider daily of late.  Am I learning anything new?  At this stage of our lives, our little brains are pretty saturated with information, habits and experience.  Choc a block full.  Some of it may have disappeared – you know the ‘forgetful’ and ‘must be my age’ stories, how we try to recall things or simply shrug our shoulders and go ‘no, it’s gone.’

Not so true.  I believe it is all still there, only we have forgotten to exercise our brains on a daily basis.  Remember homework?  Everyday your brain was trained to take in new information. Plenty of it.  When we educate our children, we too are exercising our brains in reading stories, assisting with assignments and doing some of the research to boot.  

Work channels our brains into a specific goal orientated place – what pertains to what we do.  We have hobbies and learn from this, and then we get to a point, at least I do, when I wonder if I am learning anything new lately?  Has my daily routine only taxed that part of my brain that falls into that routine, in fact, I think my brain has become lazy.

So I am on a mission to re-educate myself.  All too easy to throw my hands up at new technology for starters.  Some of it I got the handle of, others are more challenging.  Times I ask my adult children for advice (and do you get this?)  to receive the automatic rolling of the eyes.  So I tend to believe it, but it’s not good enough.

streaming-content

Stay with me here.  Let’s take streaming.  Seriously, streaming.  I had not a clue, and now I seem to be the last person who is doing it.  Or really understands what it is.  I am aiming to be streaming 101 student.  Barely got to the grips with Social media, like Instagramming, and now everyone is posting ‘my story’ or adding little lines and messages on their photographs and I am ‘how do you do that’?  

Terms like picmonkey, Alexa,  cloud, 5G, virtual and smart this and smart that … oh boy, it is like a new language, which it is, and I have to get on board.

Then there are the subjects I used to love, or want to learn more about, like French and graphic design and never got around to.  On board and committed.

So what am I saying today?  Apart from regular work, the normal routine of life I follow, I am determined to prove to myself that I can learn something new, perhaps an hour a day, or a project for the month, but I need to do two things with my brain.  Get up to speed on current issues, such as finance and technology, and return to the subjects that I love and re-discover, be it Art, fashion, design, gardening or activities such as camping (did’nt see that coming), getting the camera out again and so much more.

Make the time. What I do, is think about a conversation I have with my children or anyone else.  The ‘how was your day’ sort of conversation.  Do I say the same thing all the time, or can I add to the conversation and my lifestyle by training my brain to recall or learn something new – would like to think so.

Image:  Computer hope, all career

 

Re-Branding Silver into the sensuous, self-confident, successful you. Part three.

The Silver Brand

Silver Mercury Drops

Don’t be scared to present the real you to the world, authenticity is at the heart of success.
– unknown

 

The Silver Brand

Part Three: Business

This baby boomer was a stay at home, full time mom.  My principal job.  Always worked, as a teacher, office manager, designer and later, a travel consultant, but these were flexible jobs, always making sure I was first and foremost, a homemaker. So what does that make me now?  Pretty much at the sticking point of having to re-brand my business into a serious career, that will earn me and income, give me financial security and create an exciting avenue for my talent.  The children have flown, as has the husband. This is not an uncommon tale in the Silver Street part of our lives. 

Time to re-brand the business

Many women have worked their entire lives, and may be thinking ‘ I need to change.’  Some may need to begin a career for the first time, or re-evaluate their careers due to redundancy, for financial reasons, or simply because it proverbial rut keeps growing.  So much happens at this time of our lives, in every aspect of it, but it is also an opportunity to take the best of who we are, of what we have accomplished and forge these qualities into  exciting, new selves, and a new business.  If you are one of those, like me, we need take the advice we have been giving our children, and others and re-brand.

Silver Escalator going up Going up

Business as usual or business as the beginning of a whole new adventure?

I am opting for the latter. Re-branding my business, adding some new ideas, embracing what I cannot change and changing what I can.  Re-branding myself so it’s a double whammy of power house control.  

10 points to consider when re-branding a business

  • Re-branding needs work.  A swot analysis of either what I already have, an existing website, a limited company and clients for example.  Strip down what you have, and either begin the play dough moulding by pulling away pieces that don’t suit you, doesn’t work and adding new ideas to freshen the basic structure of your business. If you are beginning again, at something new, do the homework with a positive attitude.
  • For those who are starting out, fear is real.  Changing what you have?  The fear is real.  We doubt ourselves more at this Silver Street time – have we missed the entrepreneurial bus?  Are others going to take us seriously?  How do we market ourselves when we have been stagnant, holding back or in a new environment?  We always believe that others are already doing it better, have been around longer, know the contacts, are the contacts – we put every excuse in the book in our paths to deter us and knock that confidence down a little more with our doubts. Fear is real,  but so is self loathing when we cannot bring ourselves to begin again, to change, and that should motivate us to literally ‘take the bull by the horns’ and steer our own lives.
  • Believe you are capable.  You have managed to get through life pretty well up till now.  You have experience (which is a great asset), knowledge and the ability to contribute to the business sector, on your own terms.
  • Choose to do something you love.  This is important.  Many of us are involved in more than one business, doing a number of things we love that will reward us, rather than staying in the corporate world until retirement.  If you love designing, consulting, baking, wealth management or anything else that takes your fancy and rocks your business boat, start today even if it means temping on the side, or even working odd jobs to fuel your passion.   
  • Don’t be put off by finance.  We have social media and that good old ‘word of mouth’ is your best friend.  You can put together a free website, get an email address, and network.  Getting out there is the objective – no-one gains from being invisible.  
  • Do and don’t take it personally. Yes it is, it is you and what you can do.  If someone doesn’t get your vision, then don’t – they don’t know you and what you can achieve. 
  • Find like minded people who will support you. Surround yourself with optimism.
  • Life may have knocked you pretty hard, it know it has me, but ultimately we are the only one’s responsible for how we go on from disappointment and loss.  There were many moments we think ourselves useless and unloved, but having a great business is a sure fire way of creating the Super woman that you are.  It gives purpose to your life.
  • Purpose is the reason we should all take stock of where we are in Silver Street.  Much of what we did in the past has changed, we need a new purpose and what better way to achieve that by working at something we love, and making money whilst doing so? 
  • Re-branding you business may take you to avenues you never dreamed of.  Never limit yourself because you feel you have spent years working on your existing business.  How can you feather it out?  Who can benefit from your skills in a different way, whilst still keeping the core?  My travel consultancy is now also a venue destination business for weddings and special events.  This means I have to re-brand the business to reflect the new direction whilst still maintaining my core business.  I get to plan the trip and the occasion – need to re-brand to show that.

silver pencils

have the pencil, the notebook and the inspiration at the ready.  Courage will be my vessel and not settling in my fifties and in my Silver Street will be my motivation. There is so much we have to offer, from the smallest gem of advice to the most beautiful artwork and skills we have gathered in our own life garden, that nothing should stop us re-branding our lives and our business’ to embrace a new era.

That Era has our name on it.

Images Peintres

 

 

Re-Branding Silver into the sensuous, self-confident, successful you. Part Two

The plus paper

Silver Mercury Drops

‘In time of silver rain
The butterflies lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,…’ Langston Hughes
In this Silver time, we embrace our beauty, adorn ourselves with make-up, accessories and fashion to stride forth, confident that this is the time when life, with pleasure, and pain, makes of us, art.
As with puberty, this Silver time is when our bodies, once again, go through the most change.  We are menopause, siphoning Estrogen, losing elasticity, wanting for moisture – our bodies are marching to a drum not of our choosing.  If we let it …
Silver fluidity
Part Two: Fluidity
When I was forty-seven, let’s call it my Vermillon time, I was in sync with my body.  I loved my body and gave it attention.  I gave her respect and she in turn, gave me confidence, sexiness, form. Life happened and I neglected her.  She became stiff, formless and fat.  Easy to blame you, I said, you were not important when my mind, my darkness and loss descended.  You were the last thing on my mind.  
I began to miss her strength.  Her agility.  Her sexiness.  Was it too late, I thought, must I succumb to the years and acceptance of Silver being a downward spiral rather than an upward thrust? In the realisation that this body, this mighty messenger would be with me for a number of years hence, I needed to change my attitude.  I needed to regain my friend.
diyphotoraphy
So I had to give myself a good lecture. This has gone to far – Take note:
  • It’s okay that things went pear shaped in your life.  
  • You cannot remember when last you touched your toes.
  • Or looked in the mirror and sort of went ‘yeah’.
  • Croissants are for ‘when in Paris’ only.
  • Study Martha Graham.
  • Amazons never ‘did lunch’ everyday.
  • Wine may be your best friend, but there is a limit to your devotion.
  • That ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ never works.
  • Stop weeping that your boobs are popping out of the smaller size, the muffin top takes centre stage and your favourite clothes well, have been sitting in the wardrobe for ‘one day.’

Start today.  Slowly remember your body is you, and no matter the size, be comfortable with it.  But get it fluid again.  There is time enough when you cannot get out of the chair.

silver pintrest

Remember when you played with mercury at school?

You are silver Mercury

May sound crazy, but I got fed up with the hanging onto what I used to be.  Pain made me stiff and unyielding and all I could do was remember …. backwards, and giving up … forwards.  Not any more, I am taking responsibility for myself.

Begin with just not listening to what everyone else tells you.  Diet, exercise, must do this and must do that.  Your body will tell you.  You know how much to eat, how much to move and even if it’s just to the music, let yourself sway.  Some may be tri-athletes in the Silver stage and I salute them, but mortals like me need to have a plan that calls for common sense. There is absolutely no reason why you should not be fluid and fit. No excuse if that is what you want. 

The plus paper

Beautiful body, beautiful mind, beautiful you

Think fluidity and you the rest will follow

So, aiming for the beautiful … get yourself the beauty products and build on your body till you literally glide.

Images: Pintrest, the plus paper

Re-Branding Silver into the sensuous, self-confident, successful you. Part one.

Silver Mercury Drops

 Silver Mercury Drops

The time has come to change.  Time for the Silver to rise.  Youth may be deep in your soul, but rather than hanker back, find this Silver time in your life a renaissance, a re-birth of a stronger, greater and more possible you.  Re-brand yourself, your business and your lifestyle to achieve even greater heights.  It is possible, it is inevitable – it is achievable.
To master an ever greater sense of self in this Silver time, you need to bring together the many elements of who you are; your body, your business, your home and your environment.  All intertwined and need care to fuse your new lifestyle into a positive sense of self-awareness. 
Strip it down to build it up.  
To the new Silver, sensuous, self-confident, successful you.
Part One: Rebranding your beauty
Silver Beauty
 
Your body is your Masterpiece
A simple truth. If you want to feel good about yourself, you need to look good, head held high and strutting the stuff.  You need to feel empowered, you need to feel invincible.  It’s a great self-confidence booster.  Forget the lines etched upon your face, the spots on your hands, the thinning eyebrows.  All are part of who you are now, so embrace and be beautiful. 
Not really here to talk about beauty recommendations, though I have many.  This does not include the cheapest, ‘splash a bit of the local on the face’ variety. There are superb women blogging out there about skincare and fashion musts.   I take their advice.  What I want to talk about, is the adorning of the physical, to ignite the spiritual.  
I remember when I had my first baby, and felt ghastly; exhausted, tearful, unable to cope with a demanding infant.  Midwife of little sympathy, ordered me to get up, have a shower and put on make-up, every morning.  Never forgotten that and times when the whip of life is particularly fierce, I still try to rise every morning and give myself the gift of looking good.
Some women do not feel the need for make-up and how gorgeous are they?  I love the fact that as a woman, I can wear make-up, have my hair done, coloured, paint my nails and play with beauty. Go from the frizzy curls to the sleek, the gold to the blush, choose – that’s it – I get to choose.  I get to play and play as you know is truly therapeutic. 
Silver nails  ‘‘Oh look!  So many colours.’  Colouring your life is another blog in the wings, but for now, let’s talk about colour in your beauty box.  No, not recommending, but just saying, if you thought Autumn and beige is your lot from now on – shake off the settling!  As long as you keep it elegant, classical, go for the Venetian blues, the pantone greenery, go for the luchious reds – there is no rule to say once past fifty you need to sink into peat and pigsty brown.  Coco classical.  
With Spring, it’s all blush for me. Peony pinks, rose, cuppuchino cool and dusty lilacs.  Now that the toes can escape from the boot brigade, blush will turn to coral and beach colours soon.  
531a8fdb479c6ecd52b9b5058372575c
 Let’s keep the specials and turf out the old.
Take a trip up the beauty aisles.
Invest in your beauty.
Mature ballerinas pintrest. Eveline Halljpg
 Eveline Hall
Tis, true, the crowing glory.  Times we feel our hair is failing us.  Limp, greying, frizzy and just not playing the game.  Don’t let yourself be beaten by age, in particular the style of your hair.  You know what you would like your be hair to be like, make it so.  It may take you a bit longer, cost a bit more, but when you step out, your hair should make you swish with pleasure.  Besides a beautifully made up face, your hair is literally the first impression.  
Grey is the new Silver.  Not ready to go to the grey side, that’s ok, just let your hairstyle be the extended vision of the Silver you.  
I love my long hair.  Never going to change.  I can up style, ponytail, clip and let loose to suit whichever mood I’m in.  My long hair makes me feel sexy, strong and empowered.  What hairstyle does the same for you?
crystal couture stationery
 Spoil your beauty
in the fine things you deserve
Ever get to the point where you wonder, what’s the point?  You have all the things you want and the clothes in your cupboard will suffice?  When last did you buy yourself something special?  How are you on the score of pretty lingerie?  Have you settled for the practical rather than sexy close to your body?  Time to forget the mundane, get yourself to the pretty bows and whistles and along with the trip to the beauty aisles, invest in some gorgeous lingerie to allow yourself to feel truly beautiful.
Step one of re-branding the Silver that is you, in looking at yourself in the mirror and if you don’t see that incredible self looking back at you, make a change. Nothing to lose and everything to gain.
You could think being in your fifties and settling is enough for your future
Or you could just make this the most incredible time of your life.
Images: Crystal couture, pintrest

 

Where have you been to my lovely …

url

url  ‘Hey lady … want to talk to you.’

There was this little town, in the middle of nowhere important I grew up in.  Children played with children across the street, our worlds imagined on bicycles, up trees, burning to a crisp beside the neighbours pool, dreaming of David Cassidy and banksia petal confetti.  The world was far away, our world was close. Parents were figures.  Our small dreams were limited to music, the drive-in on a Friday night and the perfect man who would build us a home and bring chocolate on the weekend.

The town was too small to stay and we scattered into life.  Trés jolie la la la and in this Silver Street time, when life did or did not turn out the way we planned, we somehow find each other again.

Tonight in a slightly bigger town, a reunion took place.  Quite by accident, fateful none the less.  Forty years have passed and the lives of the little us became a story of each relating the patterns and paths walked.   Call it interesting – call it educational but for the most part, call it little girls found in the knowledge that through chance, through change, the bond still exists.

So, times the banksia confetti chocolate bearing person happened.  Times the person left, is still bearing gifts of love and for all the lines and elastic waists, whipping of offspring pictures and loss of parents, siblings, children and youth, the stories are what remain.  And the stories of each was for me, spell bounding.

group-of-women-clip-art-of-fairlady-on-our-sofa-ySUkqW-clipart I thought they were alright.  Life is kind so it was ok to forget about you.  Like you forgot about me.  We were fine.  That word again. Fine.  It was at times painful, paralysing, re-directing, coping, moving on.  And the most important lesson tonight, it really is fine.  We have survived loss, birth, countries and relationships.  We have re-invented ourselves, fought the gods, cried at the furies, messed with the ambition and never gave up.  Humbled I was, humbled and the last time I felt like this, I remember us on the street corner, playing hooky in the dark, diving under water and lying beneath the stars, nestled in our own dreams in a small town. I was humbled because I was still waiting for life to claim me.

Know what, we did good, we failed hopelessly and stood up again.  Orphaned, abandoned and created lives that were not only interesting but way beyond what we had ever imagined. Time has not withered us, love has touched us all and in this re-connection we could only smile and remember that these little girls, by accident have found each other again.  Do we reach out for our people who danced in tutu’s with us, ran races beside us, who twirled with us in our pyjamas and wrote love songs so that we know, as life turns and twists we are still part of a tribe?  Do we reach for so far ago, each of us, to begin again together with the knowledge that someone remembered our innocence?

555859_412159025541264_783407633_n_zps04293968 They knew my mother.  My father. My single bed, my textbooks, they knew my first kiss.  Encouraged our first slow dance to The Moody Blues? Does that make me feel safer now that I am the older, the wiser, the mother of my own and the far away, so far away from where it all began? Is that why we do not need to catch up but to carry on?  The short of histories and the long of let’s just walk together again?

Is it that no matter what, these friends remind me of the clean slate, back in that little town?  The slate of what little poppets with the long legs and plaits on the brink could be again?  That I think is what makes me sit here, write and think about.  We can begin again, or continue to be because we know we are all worthy of having had a carefree childhood, sometimes forgotten but never far away. I smile as I sit here because  I know that no matter how my life turned out, turns out, my friends remember me back then – we go that far back to to support each other that far hence.

I smile because when I forgot who I was, which I do when circumstances force me to change, these extraordinary women wait in the wings and when I need them, step forward.

I am one of the lucky ones to have friends who remember me in hot pants.

Image etsy, where and wear

 

 

Finding the romance.

IMG_4181 2

Kraak Leliefontein 7 IMG_4181 2 Isn’t she lovely?

I know, I have moaned about the whole living alone thing and starting all over again, I know.  What I have also being doing is helping a friend plan a wedding.  You know how one loves to complain about being in the Silver Street and life is difficult (which is it) and that is natural.  We are at an age when the winds of change came like a gale force, whipping our old, uprooting habits and generally taking us into a stage we are unprepared for.

With this comes the new generation.  They are happy, excited, and some are planning a wedding. The grumpy lady, post divorce, is asked to assist and I cannot tell you of the lessons learnt. Let me.

Part of the re-invention (oh what shall I do?) was taking a new course – a pretty one, something that took my mind from the grim of all I was losing, to the making of mood boards of flowers, designs and event planning.  I am not about to embark on a dinner for 2000 at the Millennium Dome (ugh) but realised I still had the little thing in me to veer into something I loved.  As we progress, we look back, and in looking back, way back, I remember how much I loved entertaining, putting a plan together, getting people together and creating an event to celebrate life, laugh and make good memories.

Event planning does that.  I have been hard at studying – you know in those nights – and will qualify soon. So how delightful that a friend asked my help.

And it has been inspiring.  Mustering up the old, accepting the new, I have indulged in planning a delicious wedding in what I believe is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  The wine lands of the Western Cape.  We have met floral designers, caterers, decor specialists, check out accommodation and witnessed the joy of bride to be.

I have touched romance again. Planning a wedding is hard work, requires fortitude and patience.  The bride has dreams one must never reduce but assist in making them come true.  And I think of my wedding, back then, poor, doing what one can but so in love nothing else mattered.  The memory of that, of me, so enraptured by the thought of romance, that has allowed me, in my Silver Street, to help foster her dream.

There are event planners and event planners.  Those who see it as a business only, and those, like us, who see it from an experienced point of view. Remember the mothers who are letting go, we do that for we are there.  Remember how our dad’s brushed the single tear, not saying much, paying the bills, but hoping the man who takes their daughter from them will be worthy.

And in helping out a friend, a mother who is doing the same, letting go … I have been able to plan this event with them in mind, with the dreams and expectation of the couple in mind, and thinking … it may be a wedding, but it is romance that will bind them all.  The idea that life will be forever romantic, regardless of what will happen, and the joy of the planning is romance personified.

Gosh, I have had a good time. I believe in love and that is what makes this role I play in this wedding all the more important.  Love is everything.

I planned to put love in a special place.  And I am happy.

In my Silver Street, I have learnt that weddings and events is the business of romance. And the forever romantic in me, can make a difference.

This is part of the beautiful walk.

Special thanks to Anne Mann for letting me take the photograph and Fleur de Cordeur for their inspiration.

And I drive by …

Coastal drive Muizenberg SA venues

Coastal drive Muizenberg SA venues

There is a road along the coast.  Seagulls swoop and linger as the wind takes them back, so they swoop again.  Silver sand and silver beach.  Blinding beauty unfiltered by late afternoon sun.  I want to stop to stand with the fishermen whooping lines that fall short for the gale force, but stand stiffly, battered by sand, but I drive on. They do not move.

The road is pocked with dunes, stragglers walking towards nothing.  They are homeless, carrying plastic bags that are their lives and look down. Some carry sticks collected on the beach.  They will make a fire tonight.  They will sit and watch the fire and sleep where they sit. I wonder at their ability survive, want to stop, not sure why, but want to stop and find out more, but I drive on.

Another is pushing a milk crate on a makeshift cart.  Crouched and pushing against the wind.  He stops and bends to tend to the child inside the crate.  A little boy, not but four.  There is no destination in sight. The man is weary and the child bewildered.  I want to stop and cover them with something.  What, I do not know.  I am a witness and I drive on.

Township boy dfherman  The wind blows their reflections from my rear view mirror.

Before me a battered truck, the hatch open and upwards.  Inside a mattress sticks out the back and children are playing a game, hands touching, bodies swaying and a little girl falls over giggling,  ‘come along if you feel … ‘ happiness lives in there for them. I envy them their simplicity and joy.  Do I remember feeling that way?  I wave as they turn towards the township and drive on and they wave back.

KyalitshaAnother kind of sea on the other side of the sea.  Humanity in shacks.

Tjiala time.  Workers pour from vehicles and wave, shout and walk into the city of corrugated homes. Battered by the south easter, sweeping sand into doors and under beds.  I cannot hear them, but drive past groups conversing, runners running, cyclists and children playing on the side of the road.  Playing football in the dust. Washing whipping to a tune.  The pulse is strong.

The pulse of people I shall never meet, never comfort and leave as I turn towards home, from the sea of everything.  The infusion of theirs stays with me, for I have not just been driving along a beautiful coastal road today, I have driven past resilience. How to explain that for those minutes, those moments, I will remember them all.  Remember it all … and maybe next time, I will have the courage to stop and make a difference.

Images dfherman, capetowntourism

 

It’s not what you’ve done, but what you have become –

architectook

architectook You are …

 

These are not my words, but those of a women I had lunch with today.  Last seen about thirtymertygirtyabobbleuerty years ago. Catching up meant going way, way back to the leotards and pink ballet shoes days; she told me her story and I told her mine – we baby boomers are a tribe of note.

Got onto the CV thing, working and motherhood, and back to the CV.  Long gone are the days of noting the Brownie badges and prefectship. Even longer the part time student work, the charitable volunteering and anything, literally anything that could possibly convince a prospective client or boss of your stellar qualities. Today, one page – one frigging page to land the proverbial.  One, uno, single page.

‘How to prove one’s worth on one page?’ I lamented.

‘Don’t try to tell them what you have done.’ She said. ‘Tell them what you have become.’

Suddenly the CV lost prominence on the thought train. Life worth flipped over.  For too long we keep looking back at the goodie things done, the hard work, the perseverance or just trying to skip over the stepping stones in the middle of the pond of life.  We collect the achievements and feed off each one as ladybirds do on aphids – all of them, all the time, this is what I am worth, this is what I amount to?  Seldom do we simply rack up the vat of doings and turn it into a whole new philosophy. What all those little gold stars add up to is this – what we have become. Meaningful.

We can collect all the words of poetry and literature and weave them into ode for change.  Word threads have become wisdom of experience.  We can collect the tapestries of kindness and create a masterpiece of difference in business, in our social lives and towards those who yes, need us for we are brimming with optimism and the ability to take on any challenge without fear.

We can gather the sadness of loss and turn it into a positive channel for others who will resonate whilst swimming and not drowning from their own.  Letting go of futile ambitions born in the wrong place and say ‘we tried’ but not dwell in the house of snakes of disappointment.

Resilient in times of not winning the cup in the gala of being the favourite one.

Found beauty in body fading in youth.

Forgiving of those who do not understand us, tried to fit us with labels we did not like and built our own go-carts.  Crashed and burned and stood up, bruised and bloodied but full of the joys of ‘let’s go again.’

We have become, because of what we have done, and what we have done is the making of us today.

Ambassadors, teachers, debaters, nurturers, deal breakers, linguists and world explorers.

Pill poppers, wine drinkers, late night chefs.  Spouses, parents, orphans and queens – always with the buoyancy of amazons and saints.  We have become the best at what we are.

We are the diva with the bouquet when the curtains fall.

Thank you for teaching me something new.

Image pintrest

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home sweet mine for some of the time. I am landlord.

il_340x270.1107121081_cz18-2

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Am feeling a smidgeon sympathetic for all my kin on Mud Island. The lords of dark sea and sky have locked and banished merry weather.  When asked how they are, their voices seem to emanate from the depths of duvets complete with a  lustreless thud like a stone landing in old oil drum when they ask about me. Taking to someone wearing sandals when they are bloodless, is cruel.

I can sense the hollowness of hope as February always, always drags from our spirits the very last drop of colour in England.

So I tell them how bloody hot it is here.  Hot! Hot! Hot and awful.  Wind howling like a proverbial dustball of ‘Grapes of Wrath’ calibre – remember the scene where she sweeps and the sand builds on the linonium floor, and she sweeps … if I remember correctly she simply walks out into the dust storm never to be seen again.  

I tell them.  They know I’m trying too hard. No reply.  Perhaps the two hour time difference on a Saturday morning was not a good idea.

So I tell them about the lack of water, the iffy neighbours.  The painter who began sulking with the first brush stroke and talks of wanting more money. That I am so lonely at night and miss them. Miss the mothership.

My children are mute in their indifference to my being so far away.  I am in sandals.

And I am. For another month I am setting up my house in the Cape for tenants.  For real this time.  The past year (who like Voldemort I will not mention by name, but call it the ‘shotintheface’ year) all I could plead was temporary insanity.  And it was, trying to live there, be here, go thence and get rent from one place, or was it two, mommy’s stuff, my stuff, stuff packed on top of stuff – it was shit.  It was letting our house to anyone, grateful for crumbs, apologising for absolutely anything – why do we do that!

Have never been.  Never been a landlord, a knower of rental agreements where I am the Lessor (hate that word), inventory taker, Shylock bill collector and tough dame.  My title of Martyr and professional weeper of all –  needs changing. No more, woe, what the f … or stop the world … so may I present, until the wheels come off again.

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Looks nothing like it but liked the picture.  Ours is better but no picture

Madam the commuter:  Will work for airfares.  A millions miles behind one mile towards ticket and may have to wait a decade or so to get the globe trotting thing sorted.

Madam the negotiator of maintenance: Tried professionalism, then aloofness and then begged.

Madam the handy person:  True, I had my bikini on (horrific sight) to sand a plank. The plank is part of a small gate, I have proceeded no further than the plank. Did get a little bit of a tan.

Madam the deal maker:  Extra glass of wine for you tonight lassie.  You have tenants, swallows next December.  The fact that you cannot come out for December now and will be in London in February is to be faced later and that they wanted a sun lounger in your non existent garden – but you were not phased, is admirable.  Just need to find tenants for the months in between. Where is The A Team when you need them?

Madam the migrant:  This new lifestyle means that I am a swallow myself, albeit a little brain damaged as I am flying to the winter but new business woman is launching  – Axelrod, I hear you.  Have already let out my flat in London for the tennis so if anyone has a room … thanks.

Madam the play play house person:  Rather than live in my little house (which I suspect everyone wants me to on a permanent basis) I have the fun of playing for a few months.  But, like a good girl, I have to pack up all my personal stuff before leaving – the toy box is slightly larger than most.

Madam to a be an earner on steroids. To earn, to learn.

Madam say goodbye to a regular life:  What was that anyway, I forget. No, not really, it was great, but it is over.

fullsizeoutput_67eaIMG_2759My view(s)

In this Silver Street part of my life, where the special street is full of open and closed doors, for me, no matter how beautiful the weather, perfect the little home, ideal the circumstances – all pales when family are not close by.

My family will live on two different continents, as many of yours do, and I plan to be close.

They may despair and I can hear the sighs but the problem of Madam is madam’s tapestry to sew.

Think I may retire in the little house, or Paris … or a little villa in Italy.

To London and the Daffodils xxx

Images Etsy, 

 

Blogging over 40 – Paula Gardner @ Soothed in the city

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images-78  The Beauty of Blogging.

My friend, Paula Gardner of Soothed in the City, published this great article today.

I’ll end with a quote from my friend Karen de Villiers of http://mysilverstreet.com/

“I love blogging because I feel I have a voice that may resonate with others still finding theirs. It is therapeutic and helps me be more creative. Blogging regularly is a discipline, and leads me to thinking about the world in a totally different way, finding interest in everything I do and see.”

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ADVICE FOR FORTY SOMETHING BLOGGERS
As a blogger over forty (I hesitate to use the word “middle-aged”), at first glance, I don’t fit the usual blogging mold, but, dig deeper and you’ll find there are plenty of us. Still, we are a small part of the blogging population and if you’re over 40 and thinking of getting into blogging, you can be forgiven for shrugging it off as a young person’s game.

It certainly doesn’t have to be, but what I will say about being an older blogger is that things are different. For a start, you probably have a much more intricate life with many responsibilities and obligations. You may be working, have a family, be looking after parents, volunteer for charity or run a club. You may, like me, also be at University and juggling that with working to pay the bills. Where on earth will you find time for blogging?

There’s also the confidence issue too. I’ve spoken to many mature bloggers who confess that they wonder who on earth is going to listen to them, who feel a bit “funny” about writing a blog (“it’s a bit self-indulgent isn’t it?) or who just feel outside of and daunted by the blogging social scene, which is where you get all the insider knowledge on how to make blogging work for you.

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With fellow blogger, Hulya Erdal, from Made by the Chef.
I certainly don’t have all the answers. I blog both for work on another site and for fun here, and finding the time, energy and inspiration to do both is pretty damn hard I have to admit. But I persevere. Why? For a start, this is a lovely creative outlet for me. I’m proud of what I do here and it’s fun. Soothed in the City feels very me! Even though I may not have the answers, I do have some years of experience now, so I hope that by sharing this I may help anyone over forty – well, perhaps of any age – who is considering starting their own blogging journey.

Accept it for what it is: you no doubt have a complex and multi-layered life and you should be proud of that. So, if that means you can only blog once in a while, accept that that’s how it is for the moment. But you can still start. You don’t have to wait for the kids to leave home or your job to be less stressful. In fact you will be able to share your experiences with you children and it may help your job feel less stressful.
Go along to the blogging events. The two big ones are Tbex and Traverse (for travel bloggers) and the first is held all over the world. You’ll also find plenty more on niche areas like food or fashion, especially around London. Check out Meetup as a good place to start your search. Although it may feel daunting to walk into a group of bloggers who probably all know each other, blogging is a very sharing community and people are friendly and supportive. You will not be the only older person there, I promise.
Do it your way. Your life comes first. If you’re getting stressed by articles that say you should be posting three times a week, just remember that one of the perks of being our age is that we’ve earned the right to do things our own way. this should be fun so blog with that in mind, and not stressing about reaching some random gurus high expectations.
If you can’t get to meetings and events reach out virtually. Share other bloggers’ content and social media posts, ask if you can interview someone or just look for local people that you can meet up with, one to one or in a smaller group.
Be prepared to learn. There are bound to be things you don’t know, whether that’s about how to use Instagram or SEO. Every blogger goes through this, whatever their age. The rewards of making the effort to get to grips with them though are huge. But, as I said, this is meant to be fun, so learn them in a way that suits you. This could be a workshop, an online course or just asking someone for one on one help. There is a fairly steep learning curve in the early days of blogging – writing your posts are only the tip of the iceberg! But it is worth it, I promise!
It doesn’t have to all or nothing. A while ago I went through a time when I just didn’t have the heart to blog. A bereavement, family issues and needing to concentrate on work sent blogging out of the window. I could have packed it all in, but instead I waited my time and came back to it when I was ready, and I’m so glad I did this rather than throw in the towel.
Be realistic with your social media. As I said, there’s a lot more to blogging that just writing, and social media is one of those jobs. My advice? Pick one avenue that you enjoy and concentrate on that. Fun remember!

I’ll end with a quote from my friend Karen de Villiers of http://mysilverstreet.com/

“I love blogging because I feel I have a voice that may resonate with others still finding theirs. It is therapeutic and helps me be more creative. Blogging regularly is a discipline, and leads me to thinking about the world in a totally different way, finding interest in everything I do and see.”

Read more about Paula at www.soothedinthecity.com

images paula gardner and linkedin

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