To be at peace today

Today I found myself beside a pool, in the summertime, in another part of the world. 

With my best friend, all of fifty seven years ago.  We were spoiling ourselves with a little ‘extra’ pampering, post weddings, life, relationships and all that goes on in our beautiful, messy, glorious worlds.

Having longed for a pool for so very long, and ok, the body is not what it used to be, I wanted for three things:

  • To remember what it felt like as a young girl to swim.  Really swim, no holds barred. No worrying about the hair, open eyes under water kind of swim.
  • To lie in the sunshine, wet from swimming, heat on water. No stress about sun factors, technology, how I looked but just to lie and feel the beating African sun on my body.
  • To be utterly care free.

Being care free is something I have not felt for a very long time.  Life happens.  

Surrounded by Jasmine scent, white iceberg roses, deep water in a place of prettiness, I could submerge myself in it all for the lazy Saturday afternoon.  Thinking about afternoons of childhood when parents took their naps and we entertained ourselves with diving, mermaid moves and reliving the ideal of ‘chilling’ for the sake of it.

And it was glorious.  And it brought me back to the self sans FOMO, sans the next day, the next year, the next everything. 

A peaceful afternoon is a prolific experience.  A little burnt, cool, a little must get the body into shape, cool, the water experience, uber cool x

Bestie and moi got much planning achieved – like in the old days.

 

Embracing Autumn. Cosy up.

 

I wonder what Guy Fawkes would think of all this fuss about him today?  

Autumn time is a favourite of mine.  Could it be because I have an October birthday, or the intensity of the colour palette she presents to us?  Jewel colour time.  Auburns, russets, burgundy. Claret, mushroom and mink.  Nature is clear: orange, red and brown are grand at this time of year.  Poetry is grand with the Autumn mists and all that. 

In the midst of Autumn mist.

Nature may be falling asleep for awhile.  Tattered landscapes and musty earth conjures up thoughts of long walks and hot soup.  Bracing outdoor moments with slow indoor chilling.  If you don’t have a fireplace, not to worry, hot toast and lashing of butter have the same effect. Hot chocolate and dark red wine are called for too.

 

Think of Autumn decor in your home. Bring out the throws, the accent cushions, small accessories to warm your home.  Not much, but a change of season within your home will reflect the seasonal mood. Bring out the favourite casserole pot for hearty stews, baked apples – think thick and spicy.  Think comfort food. Mash and veggies.  Think of this.

 Nigel Slater’s Raspberry and Apple pastries.

Coat comfort.  Forget the standard black, go for a camel tone.  Be bold with red, claret and purple. Invest in statement boots, chunky scarves and textured hats and berets.  Be bold with colour at this time.

 Love this look. Strong Autumn colours, sweeping coat, funky boots.

  

Take care of yourself.  You may indulge in a little more comfort food, but this is also the time to engage in comfort pampering of the body.  Take long baths with scented oils, apply thick layers of moisturising cream whilst still wet for greater effect and nothing like a hydrating face mask when no-one is looking.  Your hair needs extra care so indulge in a hair mask.  The same applies to your hands and feet which tend to get very dry at this time.  Go natural or go bold with Autumn inspired nail polish to match that strong fashion statement you want. Sleep more, wake slowly and nestle a little longer.

  

One of Harper’s Bazaar choice colours for Autumn.

Halloween may be over, but the colour theme transcends through Autumn.

Autumn bless her, can be seen as nature taking care to prepare for a renaissance.  She will leave the dance in a blaze of colour – you should do the same.

Images: Country living. Pinterest. Harper’s Bazaar. The Guardian

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about the ‘Invisibility Syndrome.’

 

 

Times we feel that is all we do.  Exist. But it’s not true.  No matter how ‘invisible’ you feel – you aren’t.  You are unique and you are present.

Why is it that so many women in this Silver Street part of our lives, feel that dejected feeling of being ‘invisible? Just the other day, chatting to a beautiful and vivacious women of a certain age, she said:

‘I just feel, well, invisible right now.’ She is not alone.

It is a tricky time, this time, and many find ourselves at odds with the world.  Children have flown, parents have passed, relationships have changed. A lack of purpose for nurturing and the role we played, pretty well I think, is vacant.  No more mummy, daughter, spouse or whatever required. So what next?

It is a common dilemma amongst us fifty something Silver Streeters.  For those who continue to have positive careers, the void is somewhat lessened, but what if you were a stay at home mom for example?  Or had a part time job whilst building up the other one’s career? What if you were the eternal care-giver and that is no longer needed? What happens now?  Are you too old to begin a business, a new career path, who will hire you, how to you prove your skills – make use of all this experience you have and want to share – where to you begin again to being for the first time? What to do when you feel so low, so invisible at this stage of your life?

  • Give yourself time to just sit and sit, and sit and think.  Times have changed and things have happened.  It is ok to grieve or miss the life you had. To feel vulnerable, even frightened.  Baby steps time. 
  • Take a deep breath and tell yourself you are ok.  You do matter.  You have a lifetime of experience which you can turn into something in an entirely different direction, even if you can’t see that right now.
  • You are valued.  Even if they don’t show it, those you nurtured do appreciate you and everything you mean to them. Recognise that.
  • Have you let yourself go in more ways than one?  Take stock of your appearance, your attitude, your surroundings. You will feel better if you look better, make your environment prettier, sort the world out of the unnecessary, the hanging on stuff and clear the decks so to speak.
  • Begin with your health.  You are the only one responsible for your well being. Exercise and the right diet will transform your inner being, your outer being and charge your mind.
  • Wine is ok.  It is our go to friend if need be, in moderation. Rather than anti-depressants and loads of sleeping pills. Eating too much is not ok.  It is going to bring you down.
  • Stop being an addict to anything.
  • Start a gratitude diary. List the things you are grateful for and act on the small stuff.  Be grateful for something you do everyday.
  • And then, body right, mind right, situation right …
  • Plan.  You can. Recognise that feeling ‘invisible’ to others does not mean being ‘invisible’ to yourself.  You have history, gifts, experience and you are now ready to fly …

 

Step one.  Learning to enjoy what you do and saying no to things you think you should do, but does not make you happy.

You have the strength to start a new business, a new venture and live the life you want to. It may not be the CEO or becoming a neurosurgeon but you have passions right, act on them and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t possible.  It is. Look for inspiration from other women who have done it, against the odds, and surround yourself with friends and inspiring women who will support you.

Most important.  Realise you have decades still to live and only you can make it happen for the better.  Only you have the power to believe you can and act upon it.  Why sit and wait for the world to pity you? Change it. Be it charity work, painting, a small home business, going back to work.  Be it studying for something you love, open your garden to the public or write your life story … just do it!

The invisibility cloak is yours to use when you wish. Don’t make it your favourite fashion item.

And, you are not invisible.  I see you … and I love what I see.

Images Peintres

 

 

Plan for Joy.

 

Luxury is not measured by material possessions, but by love and pure joy.  These two things elevate life from the mundane to the luxurious.’

The past weekend I found myself in one of the most beautiful settings in the world.  The haven that is Franschoek: the occasion, a wedding that will live in my memory forever.  There are three reasons of this:

  • South Africa offers some of the most beautiful wedding venues in the world.  Nature provides the backdrop, be it in the bush, in the vineyards, on the beach … each spectacular, unique. I was reminded of this.  This is why I love doing events and weddings here.
  • The wedding was one long awaited.  Two souls who have been together for a long time,  the bride converting to Judaism to prove her love, a gesture so great, the occasion was sweeter for it.
  • A reunion of lifelong friends.  Literally lifelong as I am part of a group of exceptional women who have stayed friends since birth. Fifty odd years of commitment and joy to each other.  And we celebrated this.  We have led extraordinary lives, times uneasy, times fraught with the living of it, but never without each other’s undying support. I count myself blessed to have a sisterhood unlike any other.

As the sun clipped the top of the Helderberg mountains, turning the landscape a romantic hue of pink, love and joy were tangible for all to succumb to and revel in. We cried in our love for the couple, Tamsin and Jarryd, tears of joy as we witnessed their devotion, depth of  religion, traditions, uninhibited joy. 

Which reminded me:  we have to plan for joy.  

In the daily grind, we plod, through the routines, the schedules, the diary filled with what to do.  We become blasé to that feeling of giddiness, of exultation, of romance in our lives.  Guilty on that score when things seems dull and ugly.  So we must make the effort, we must plan for joy.  In the smallest of occasions, in the grandest of celebration, we must plan to make that moment, as it was for me, a day to remember. The event planning, the months of work, will be worth it, no matter how small the celebration, make it unforgettable and purposeful. Fill your life with flowers, with small gifts for others, put thought into making others happy.  Plan for joy.

 

Then came the interesting comment. ‘You are very brave to attend this wedding on your own.’

I must admit, since I became ‘on my own’, I have avoided weddings and special occasions, for this very reason.  My new, single status seemed ‘without the plus one’ and we know how that feels.  I pondered for awhile and then I said:

I still find myself in that luxurious state of love and unending romance. I find myself exactly where I want to be.’

Let’s just say, I planned for joy, and I found it.

Note to self.  Sometimes you have to make a plan to find joy, it needs some commitment but the rewards are unending.

Are you planning for joy?

PS whilst I was indulging in romance, love and joy in South Africa, my children were celebrating Halloween in London – with planned joy. Divine! Nothing like an occasion to celebrate life xxx

 

Images: Chatz wedding, Tasha Seccombe, Fleur le Cordeur

#boschendal #fleur le corder #okasie #franschoek #southafrica #emilysiannecox

The Gratitude Diary. A personal approach.

‘I realised that my focus was always on the negative and on what had to be done, rather than on what I’d already achieved or the things I could be grateful for.’  Wendy Fry on how a Gratitude diary helped her be more positive.

Times really don’t want all the cheeriness about.  Clichéd quotes and all those preppy, positive utterances which sort of sends me into a deeper depression than the one I am trying to escape from – back off happy hippy!

But, and she says but, I admit to having a gratitude journal.  Sort of.  Actually do, although I don’t write in it everyday and times I have to think really hard about what I can be grateful for – this is tricky when life has just dished out the latest slap on the back of my head sort of thing, so I don’t push it.  I would have to be drug induced to smile everyday with that gratitude label when it ain’t such a great day.

But, I digress.  The journal, at it’s proper time, is great.  And this is how I snuggle up to mine.

  • Morning is best for me.  With a strong espresso and a fluid, black, ink pen.  Early means the day still has plenty of promise.  
  • Everything looks more ‘to be grateful for’ in the morning.’
  • Weird as I am, I usually list one thing that is not so good. Short, sweet, just like that.  Something happened, a diary entry.  Then I write one word to address it – what I am going to do about it.  Sorts that one out.
  • List three things I am grateful for i.e. my children, my ability to travel, my home.  Pick up on the three key points, children, travel and home and think of three ways I am going to enjoy them more. In a short amount of time, I have thought of a day out with my children and something to do in my home – even getting a bunch of flowers would be perfect.

 

(The Flowers I can have, the Hallway?  Still a dream …)

In a quick sip of the espresso, I have dealt with a negative, listed three things I am deeply grateful for, and swung into positive action.

Short and so, so sweet. 

Images:  Gratitude forward TCK, writing forward, Pintrest

 

 

 

Petersham Nurseries in Covent Garden

Petersham-Nurseries-Shop-Covent-Garden-1 A shop to love xxx

I remember finding the ‘secret’ Petersham Nurseries many years ago.  Down that hardly seen driveway near Richmond. The sheer delight of going into this gorgeous place never wanes.

And now, it’s come to Londontown.  In the heart of Covent Garden, the shop overflows with vintage, floral and colour.  Grand Chandeliers, oversized cupboards and patterns – it is a botanical infusion.

fullsizeoutput_7624

Fresh flowers burst from their space in the deli which will tempt you in every way possible.  A cacophony of perfume and choices.  Pale pinks, weathered woods, candles, one feels like privileged guest at a gala and the shop is true to the beautiful nursery near the banks of the river Thames.

IMG_5671

Covent Garden could not be a more fitting corner of London for this exquisite emporium of delights.  If you are visiting London, this is a must see destination.  If you live there, like I do … the giddy delight welcomes me every time I step inside the door.

Images: Covent Garden

Is your decor keeping you in the past, or time to make a little change?

9c736a03dbe8c442d8347aab57d0567b--french-apartment-parisian-apartment-decor Balancing the treasured with the new.

Are you stuck in the past with your Interiors? 

Many of us are.  The past decades have been all about the collecting, the gathering of home and hearth and you love it right?  But have you been living in the same set designs for the past few years?  Does it still give you a thrill, or lost the lustre of that special own space?  Are you decor dull?

Tell you a little story …

When we first moved, and moved again to where  I am now living, not in a large home, but a tiny apartment, I still tried to bring along every piece of furniture, Christmas decoration, cookbook and children’s memory I could. to recreate.

Packed them all in there, the lot, in every available bit of storage as if letting go were tantamount to betrayal, to murder.  My family were manifest in all the things we shifted around the world.

giphy

And it is great – I was the curator of all my family memories.  Still am.  Things change and children move away, the grey divorce happens or you find yourself on your own, still living in everyone else’s boxes of things.  And this is very important – to begin again, to hit the ‘refresh’ button once you have wiped a tear over the past, is to keep the symbolic and start again – this time with new things and by that I mean, ask yourself, as I did myself:

  • When last did you buy something new for your home?
  • Do you still get excited about Interiors other than in the magazines?
  • Do you find that you tell yourself you have no space for anything else?
  • Has the viewpoint of your Interior space changed in anyway or are you looking at the same things in the same place from the same time ago?

I was.

images-63

And then I realised …

Time for a change.  If we have spent our lives collecting things to the point where we have no more room, we have no more interest. It gets boring, and dated.  Narrow it down, keep the treasures that you want to see everyday, the photographs and souvenirs of the past, and begin with a new palette.

So I am making a few changes, within and without, starting with my home.

Watch this space.

Images: Pintrest and Disney

 

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

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

 

 

After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world. Christian Dior

1459537177-jaclyn-journeyAngeliqueSmithPhotography Kraak 3CF-188-960x1443Carla Coulsen

After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world. Christian Dior

When I was little, my friends and I would wait for the banksias to bloom.  Small white and yellow roses forming an arch over our garden gate.  Transformed to brides, the petals were confetti.  Petite, and pretty stuff happening in our lives.

“The Earth Laughs in Flowers.”
–  Ralph Waldo Emerson 

We have loved blooms ever since. Have longed for spring ever since.  My mother planted daffodils, tulips, freesias and blue iris’ in the garden.  Hyacinths in pots in the house. Roses bloomed as did my childhood dreams.  Fridays were for fresh bouquets.

I follow the same pattern. No matter where I am, the attraction of flowers enhances a window sill, pavement, corner stand – art in nature.

My first ‘real’ bouquet denoting love was in my freshman year at University.  Signed ‘Muffin.’ So not romantic – I loved the flowers and forgot about muffin.  Did you get a secret Valentine’s rose?  I remember every detail of my wedding bouquet. The roses at my children’s christening.  Flowers sent by my sister when I turned fifty, in a new country, feeling a little lost. We do that, don’t we, remember the flowers given by those we love and cherish them.

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
–  Claude Monet

No matter where I live, rich or poor, my house is filled with flowers.  I need them like air.

Poets know about the power of flowers.  Playwrights do. Artists do. Any occasion warrants these beauties and why am I writing about this tonight?

“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”
–  Emma Goldman

Because I could post a thousand pictures of flowers … and wax lyrical about the qualities of a single petal, but I want to say … if you are feeling a little lost, a little down, a little unvalued … I am sending you a bouquet of blooms for you are worth it.

Carla's Wedding flowers

Images: ,jacelyn journey, Angelique Smith, Carla’s wedding

I need Dusty tonight.

Can I say, I sensed terrible news?  A sleepless night, watching the horror at 4am and by 5am all the messages began coming through.  Are you safe, are your children safe … ping, ping, ping.

We are all safe, but none are safe in this radical, fanatical onslaught of insanity that taints and bloodies our streets with the lives of our children. I am sick of it all, sick and tired and so wary of it all – we are not safe. We are tired, but we are not frightened.

I just hope that all those sad, deprived lunatics who think Nirvana awaits with a thousand virgins for them arrive in the afterlife to find grotesque, haggard, withered and septic hag like virgins to spend eternity with. Macbeth hag virgins. And I hope the hag virgins boil them in bile, just enough not to let them die, but to rot, rot and rot in everlasting pain.  I am that angry. Tomorrow I shall be calm.

I want Dusty tonight. Dusty soothes me.  I have many favourite musical soothers but tonight Dusty will do.

The thing is. The thing is I find it is not just attacks of violence that make me weary.  Witnessing criticism and others hurting others on a daily basis drags my heart down, down and down into my weary feet. At work today, impatience brought insult, customers, unaware of the hard work are easy to judge and throw their unkindness about.  The dishwasher stands for eight hours over a sink and cannot satisfy fast enough. Children with no manners throw tantrums and end up being rewarded.  Bad manners abound in a small space and as I drag my stampeded, battered body and soul home, I wonder at how quickly others judge, ignore, neglect and hurt to the point where animosity and indifference become the norm.

So I need Dusty tonight. A little soul in little things. Moments to sit back and reflect on whether I have said something hurtful today; forgotten how to be kind.

When attacked, we rally with human kindness and solidarity but why do we wait for tragedy to be kind and nurturing?

Sitting on my little balcony, with Dusty, and I am learning. My children are safe tonight, other parents mourn and thinking, what am I really doing to make it better?

Dusty, lighten the mood please …

PS little spider is doing well beside me.  Her web blew away but she is, as I hope to be, resilient.

Image Rock hall of fame