So, how are those new year’s resolutions going?

 

 

In the illustrious words of Ebenezer Scrooge, all re-iterate, ‘Bah Humbug.’

All those New Year’s resolutions frosted and veiled in the post Christmas overload when the party food (all miniature of course), prosecco vapoured and jumper infused loathing has now come to the party,  A little late, but we do not judge.

Secretly I make them.  Never to vow or vocalise, for I am the breaker of so many rules.  Dry January is great for me, on every other night, the night post the morning of … ‘I am never going to do this again!, sort of night.  Gym, well I don’t like the guy, he does nothing for me and all attempts at liking have resulted in pools with clouds of chlorine and little ‘de-germing’ water puddles I have to step into, that is anything but. I have tried, dear Lord I have tried, but the idea of swimming with others in a pretend lane, watching nose plugs and swimming caps, pales to swimming in a pool on a sun kissed day. So lark it, leave it, Gym went down the plug hole. Swimming in a REAL swimming pool, outside, preferable naked, is still top of the list.

January is different.  We have all these … yeah, going to do it, re-invent myself and be amazon, is just lovely my lasses, but for me … this year’s resolution is … picking the year I loved the most about myself, be it a decade or decades ago … and whatever, going to do it again.  So what was your best year?  Apart from all the psychologists saying go back to when you were ten … which I loved by the way, running, jumping, halter neck tops and dreaming about all sorts of things, the simple life. my year of choice for this year is 47.

I loved myself at forty-seven and it is the year I will be again.  I don’t want to be younger, nothing like that, but be the fabulous I felt about myself then. I was fit (without the gym), drank copious amounts of wine, wrote endlessly and felt, well invincible. I was in the throes of lust and love. Like that very much. All still doable.

You see, it’s not about the age, or the decade, but the attitude. For a long time, circumstances have made me feel, well old.  Others around me speak of this time as a great gift – you get free bus passes. You can wear purple hats, be silly, go to bed early, eat soup You can let the girdle go, instagram your breakfast and go grey. Not me … for goodness sake, if I make another year’s resolution, it is to still the ageing thing as a gift. Me and William Blake, we do not go gently into that dark night. We go …

The New Year’s resolution is a mind factor.  A time factor of a great year and working on feeling those same feelings, living the same vibe and just discounting the numbers, wrinkles and sagging muscles to throw all to caution and be bold and silly and romantic and lustful and curious and wanting more. Settling is not just about the New Year’s resolution of go to the gym or not drink or not dream.

At forty seven I was in a different place to now.  The skinny dipping will be difficult in the city and sure to be arrested if I try in the Hampstead Heath pools, but I am undeterred. The size ten may be elusive but the will to flaunt it does not die. Travelling is not going to be … oh have to get up early but darling, I am on my way. Full Brazilian wax still there. Hair done, no grey darling, not yet.  Paint those nails, wear the make-up, strut the stuff, kill this fluff.  That is my New Year’s resolution. Times change, working harder than ever before and that is good.  It’s all good – the balcony swan song is done.  The hideous gown when I get home is done. The lamenting is gone. Needed it, went through the valleys and all gone.

So, what am I saying?  If you are doing the January New Year’s resolution thing – pick the best year and take it forward. If there is one thing I have been guilty of is only looking back, and those were the sweet times, but now, in my Silver Street, I am going to be forty seven forever.

What it your ‘Good Year?’ See yourself there. Be there. I am sure it does not involve any settling.

Image: Urban matter, kut.org.

 

My favourite perfumes and why I need to add to them. Or do I?

Can you remember when you first began to wear perfume?  Which are the ones that personify you best?  Memories are bottled with the scent and for me, when things are a little ‘untoward’ which seems to have been for a pretty long time … it’s my favourite perfumes that transport me from feeble fairy to fabulous self.  Perfume, music, candles and wine … and a great love.

It’s five thirty and I know there will be days like this, but the pain of black outside is not a good sign.  So, let’s deal with it.  Christmas packed up, trees wilting on the side walk, done.  Bye, bye sugar.

It’s summer on my mind.  In all the packing, one thing staying close is my ‘Beach‘ perfume by Bobbi Brown.  Alas, no longer making it and you should have seen the reaction to the news.  ‘Beach’ brings back so many of the loving things:

  • Summer.  Of course.
  • The beach.  Holidays and permanent cozzie time.
  • Smell of sand and sea – you know what I mean.
  • Thick beach towels to wrap the body after a swim, and you nestle.
  • Pool games.  ‘Marco … Polo.’
  • Watermelon
  • Barbecues in the evenings.
  • Cold wine (when I was much more grown.  And still now. With ice)
  • Dogs swimming with you.
  • Mermaid parties with mom’s garden furniture at the bottom of the pool.  Not impressed.
  • Cooking oil when sunscreen was done.  Sure, we did it.
  • Keeping the LP’s from melting outdoors.
  • Melting ice-cream.
  • Walks on the promenade with my parents, and now my children.

One scent can take me to all these special places.  So I nurture her like a wilting rose, hoping to prolong the feeling I get for as long as possible. And find again.

A little spray and I am immersed in the scent of summer.  A true love.

If you can’t be where you want to be, find something that gives you joy and reminds you of it and make  a commitment to be there again. Some more of my favourites.

Angel by Thierry Mugler. My sister introduced me to this one and since then, fascinated by the chocolate note.  Back in the nineties, this was the going out to dinner choice, the evening wear choice and still today my children associate me as a mum and Angel.  Face it, we all need angels in our lives and even though this scent may be a little passé, she is still a go to when I want to feel angelic. With chocolate and vanilla.

 

  • Young mum with her gorgeous brood
  • Loving my husband and when we went out for dinner
  • A lazy evening on the veranda, good wine, just us and the stars
  • Baking and birthday parties
  • Dinner parties
  • Packing to leave on a family holiday
  • Planting annuals in the garden
  • Trips to the farm
  • Christmas eve in the summer
  • My home

I think my first perfume love had to be Babe by Fabergé.  Think my sister had it first and followed everything she loved.  Huge crush on Margeaux Hemmingway, the idyllic 70’s model. Strong, bold scent, made me feel all grown up.

Babe represented the teenager into twenties years.

  • Seventeen magazine
  • Best friends talking on the corner of the street
  • School and University
  • Boys
  • My first car
  • My first job
  • Endless notes in the diary
  • Dreaming of becoming an actress
  • Dreaming of my wedding dress
  • Dreaming

There was a time when in the later twenties, that heavier perfumes such as Cinnabar and Opium were the objects of desire.  Heady stuff, very distinctive.  Think it may have been to laden for me at the time but what did I know – all about feeling even more grown up and must have doused myself in them. Estee Lauder was more about Karen Graham, another iconic model than the actual scents for me.

Mademoiselle Chanel – a gift from a lover one and loved still. Always special that first gift.

Monsieur Hermes – and Paris.

Love all Hermes perfumes. Hard to choose just one, but the personification of Grace Kelly, and Paris.

24 faubourg Saint Honoré.  

 

Passionately in love with Paris.  24 Faubourg Saint Honoré is in a street I walk along with stars in my eyes and love in my heart.  Parisienne chic, deep romance and longing for the beautiful in the world.  The scent reminds me of that love, the passion of art, of fine dining, of architecture and fashion. Elegant desire.

  • Taking the Eurostar
  • Gard du Nord
  • D’Orsay and the Impressionists
  • Coffee and croissants
  • Classical hotels
  • Divine restaurants
  • Luxumbourg Gardens
  • The left bank and Ernest Hemingway
  • The lights reflected in the Seine
  • Pretending to understand the French music I’m listening to
  • Pretending I can afford anything in Printemps
  • Bittersweet good-buys

This is my adult perfume.  The choices I made and life I have now perfume.  More mature, wiser and when love is deep and satisfying even if life is far too layered now. This is the personification of me at this moment and Paris beckons.

Perhaps it is time for a new perfume du jour?  Perhaps.  Have tried many of the new scents and maybe  it is this time of my life, but the memories associated with my lovelies is what I want right now, to compress a life well lived, not only in photographs but in the smells and scents of the perfumes that travelled in my suitcase.  If I did choose something new, what do you think it should be?

Oh, and a little admission here.  I never fall asleep without a spritz of Kiehl’s Musk

Heaven.

Images:  cafleurbon, hermes, babe, Thierry Mugler

Did Chanel have a toaster?

‘Pardon Mademoiselle Chanel, avez-vous une grille-pain?

Before you think there were no toasters around back then, there were, developed in the late 1890’s in fact.  And I stood here with my toaster a few minutes ago, thinking … do I really need you anymore?  Such is the packing of self – in more ways than one.

When one is about to box up your life, once again in my case, and relegate it to storage, which is a costly endeavour, one tends to scrutinise every item in terms of ‘do I really need this?’ We all know about the accumulation monster – mine is intrepid and has no limit.  Where did all this stuff come from!

The life gets smaller and smaller.  Has nothing to do with age – I am not one of those who goes ‘ah getting older etc, etc’ I loathe the giving in to age simply because another candle has appeared.  In many ways, it gets more exciting, exact.  Handbag has gone from the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ and all the maybe’s you need when children are small, to the functional cross-over from Guess that contains the wallet, diary and keys.  Liberating and far less cause for harassing fellow passengers on the tube.

So to the packing.  I am going to discard all that no longer serves the new life I am planning, which could well be directionless at present, but easy to store and recover when needed.  So what to pack, and why Chanel?

More like a changing of attitudes.  I was of one order, from one origin and so the collectables suited.  Work hard at school, get a degree, get married, have children and the proverbial picket fence home.  Had everything that went with it.  Boom came next.  For years I continued to carry the Albatross of past life along; the memories of dinner services, old Christmas trees, enough framed photographs to cover every surface, coffee table books, medicine in case and of course the clothes that one day, on a dream day, I would still fit into.  Oceans of luggage.  

Also, oceans of thinking everyone else was doing the same. Can I say that I wondered at those women who chose never to marry, or have children?  Women that worked since they were fifteen and do so still?  Some never other than renting, never owning a car, being on the PTA or holidaying at the beach?  It was coming to London, and Europe that all these gorgeous women became part of my world, opened my mind to individuals other than me … and, how to put this, now that my world is more akin to theirs, the stuff of past life needs clipping.

So I thought of Chanel.  I refer to her on a tour I give.  Success after a severe beginning.  Basics grew to belief. It’s wonderful that she could re-create from nothing, and an inspiration.

‘My life did not please me, so I created my life.’

At present, my life does not please me.  So I am creating a new one.

And the toaster does not fit the brief.  As a child, no vegetables but loaves of bread. No longer.  Sugar too. Don’t do the dinner parties anymore, so why hang onto the ice bucket and tablecloths, baking trays (can count a dozen) only taking up space.  Unused martini glasses in case James Bond popped in. Mouldy Christmas tree in the damp garage.  Mother’s clothes packed in grief, to hold and talk to.  Coffee table books, outdated cookbooks and enough silverware to please a Medieval feast? Know what I am doing?

Photographs of all above when used and enjoyed are enough. Tables groaning with food, friends around tables, children decorating – have them all and so the actual articles no longer suffice. Good times still, just going to do it a little differently.  Going to acquire new memories, with a slender inventory and a new resolve.

And so the lady thinks again …

 

Style does not need a million pots and pans.  True living no longer requires post Christmas cards, twenty unused note pads, linen from era dot and cookie jars without cookies (re no sugar).  Thank goodness for charity shops around here, they are on the receiving end of a gorgeous time.

What will I keep?  A single, something Silver Streeter, will need only the photograph albums, some pretty cups and saucers, excellent wine glasses and a multitude of pencils.  These are for drawing and setting up the new enterprise.  Don’t need medicine, or a recipe for jam. dog bowls (no more dogs) or that Jenni Button suit circa 2007. Actually, may keep the suit, just in case the lack of bread and sugar will get me back into it sometime…

So that is what goes. And what next?

Sexy, new linen to slide into.

Fresh, hedonistic towels.

Totally new make up and beauty products.

Holiday planner.

New lingerie to suit the no sugar, no carbs, new body.

New business, finally, to suit the needs of this woman.

New playlist. Face it, I need music to live by, to strut and be empowered by. Think I will keep some of the old songs … they are what I am. They are the ones I love forever …

Keeping the things that I love the most.  Letting go of things I love but no longer fit the new brand.  Letting go of things that don’t fit anymore but acquire those that fit the new experience.  And Chanel, if you could have the fabulous life, perhaps without the toaster, I am converted.

So, what are you going to let go of, to create the new, fabulous life before you? Let me know.

Images: red on line, biography

 

 

 

 

 

Take your anger to the quiet place, with tea and toast.

‘Set an intention to heal any unexpressed anger that may be present in your life.  Go to a quiet place with pen and paper. Take a few breaths. Ask your anger to speak to you. Write down the thoughts and feelings. When you are finished, forgive yourself for holding onto the anger for so long.’  Iyanla Vanzant.

Blessed with quiet spaces in the heart of the busy city.  You may have a garden, a little alcove. a haven beneath a tree.  Favourite chair in the cafe – anywhere the white noise stops and breathing becomes calmer.  The shelter.  The sanctuary.  The Quiet place where all that craziness in your head, all that anxiety fizzles in a cup of tea.  A cup of anything warm.

The day did not start with anger.  Rather well actually, when sun brings frost and frost brings glitter to grass.  Red buses seem brighter.  A happy Winter’s morning. Alighting on the bridge, grand father Thames lay low and resting: mudlarks time.  Today was to be the admin day.

Following the once again coup of moi – the little flat is no longer quiet.  Packing begins.  Not the place to work anymore, so to the softness of one of the quiet places I love to work.  Walking along the river is breathtakingly beautiful, past a smattering of small children like dodgems on the grass.  Buffered to the hilt against the cold, more like cheese puffs in neon colours. Immediateness of tiny ones.  You fall, you cry, you find a curious incident and watch, want it, take it.  Life within a metre of your face.  Would love that sometime.

It was minutes in the reverie of toast and tea that the death eater emails came through.  The sadness of separating assets and all the dust of love that lies within the archives now.  Anger rose as anger does when people misunderstand, do not value, do not care and you are powerless against the sails of indifference.  The worst feeling.  Cannot change the hearts of Rushmorean stone.

And then, you can.  The quiet brings it down:  the veil of gentle grace.  Tea was made for calming and anger taking properties. Pen takes the words of anger and then … I look at them … then look out of the window … there is a walled garden across the lawn, a small gate of wrought iron.  A little wilderness.  Lady Catherine de Bourgh ‘shall we to the wilderness’, wilderness. My anger follows the path but fades before it gets there.  Anger is not worth my day, I have things to do.

Right here, at this little table, in the quiet place.  More plans are made in the quietest places, than on vast battlefields of anger.  More hearts are healed though quiet than hollow, loud words. I know why gardeners cannot live without their gardens – they find their quiet souls there.

Taking responsibility for causing anger in others is important too.  That anger, of which you were the substance, needs to be penned and forgiven for.  Penned and put to bed. Do not live a life of guilt, or anger, but when you do feel hard done by, victimised and wretched (love that word), truly wretched, it is not the quiet corner of disobedience days, but the quiet place of openness you need – and then, a beautiful walk to the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Autumn soul.

For someone who is never at home, lacing her life between jobs, commutes and contacts, today was a gift.  A nothing day, and an everything day.  A day, now darkening beneath the first of the true grey days, that I have not spoken a word to anyone.

The beginning of Autumn.  Light hides now, the sun weak and rain draws patterns on glass. On waking, with a day to myself, the urge to turn into the duvet was tempting, but for me, the first, true Autumn day, is the soul day.  For cleaning of life, of space and spirit.  Inward time.

Preparing for the winter, and myself to get through it.  Most know I take little responsibility for my misery dans the London Winter, Lord knows that I struggle with it still – but for the first time, I choose to stay this year.  Much has happened with little choice of my own, so I am sort of surprising myself on this one, and may I take the opportunity now, to yet be held unaccountable when the grey monotone smallness of post Christmas slithers beneath my heart. 

I do love Autumn though.  Always have, its my birthday season, as nature sheds her clothes and stands naked, without fear, as one does when the lover loves regardless and still finds the beauty.  Land becomes carpets of jewels, the fox blends and rosé turns to red. To bed and fire and books and stories of closeness – and family.  Of memories and the world can wait a little – the pace can slow a little – the questions are left unanswered and the messiness of life matters not – for in Autumn I refrain from questions and trying to prove.  Resolve to linger a little longer, love a little deeper and bring the threads home.

In Autumn I still have the faith that though things have changed, beauty remains.  In Winter I grieve for the things that have changed.  Autumn is soft, voluptuous, rounded with berries, scented with earth and passion.  Winter is a grave yard of buried hope. Unless it snows, unless it’s Christmas, unless love still lives there.  Autumn is falling, yet landing softly.  

The Autumn soul is a kind one.  And I hope above all, I can still be that.  So, in this quiet day of preparing for Autumn, the things of others are packed to take out another day, to reminisce about with care and affection.  The candles are lit, the wine is poured, the lack of hearth is not yet lamented but the soul is calm.

‘Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness …’  Keats

Mellow we shall be.  Mellow and still moved by the magic that lingers.

Autumn brings the heart to a quiet mindfulness.  And it remains the same.

Painting by Madison de Villiers

Image: Wow247

 

Dance like everyone is watching you …

‘Tripped and fell, stood up again … and I am dancing still.’

Consider myself a dancer.  In the early years, nothing greater than the new pair of ballet shoes, and waiting in the wings for the day I could finally graduate to the beloved tutu. Oh, to be given a tutu, that stiff, gorgeous bit of Swan Lake. Most of the time, being the tallest in the class, I was rather the sailor, or the tree, or the mountain top, but the tutu escaped me until my mother had one made, just because she loved me, and I have the picture to prove it.  Years of ballet classes in the hope of point shoes … oh the hope, and when I finally got them, black satin I wanted, just to be different, the ankles said no – not a chance you were going to be on point, forever.  Ugh.

Shattered dreams.  Giselle was still out there, but rather than give up, I changed to contemporary dance.  The satin, black, beautiful point shoes are still in a box somewhere.  The changing led to an Honours degree in dance, and my love for Martha Graham, for Isadora Duncan – doyennes of the different dance. Danced until they dropped, the one getting old but still dancing, the other, killed by a gorgeous scarf trapped in the wheels of a car. Ah, the drama was my intoxication.  And their differentness became my life dance.

I learnt that the dance need not be the traditional.  It may not be the classical, the formal, the stylised acceptance – it was the free form of dancing, of moving to music, to rhythm and even now, at this age, when the music comes, the dancing comes. Not on a stage, but on the stage that is my life, in the any place where dance makes me happy.

But it is more than that.  Dancing is a metaphor.  The way you live your life.  Times we feel awkward and exposed, incapable, clumsy.  We fall and trip and crash to the ground. Life does that.  But as we lie there, there is always the beginnings of the tapping, the notes that begin to play and it ignites us to doing again, to get up again, and move again.  How we move, matters not, we move, and we shimmy, and we shake, and then we rise above and lose ourselves, find ourselves and rather than dance like no-one is watching, we dance like we were born to do it. On the open stage of life. Our own style.

The perfect dance, like a play, like true theatre, always has the scene of … well, all fall down. It’s a classic. The betrayal, the broken heart, the what do I do now moment.  The suspended pause. Will we fail? Will we rise? Will we get up again … of course we will! Life dance always builds to the great ending and we do the same, only we do not wait in the wings, or stay in the chorus of our own lives, we adapt, we find the scarf in the derelict box, the talisman and change our perspective. And we dance, in the open, unafraid, for everyone to see.

As we are this dancer of our lives, when we get dropped by the lead or fall back into the shadows for a while, we are also being watched – we baby boomers are exposed in our glory, or defeat, by others, younger than us.  Times it is not a pretty sight to see the principal loose her footing, but the important thing, when things go wrong, is to show those who follow us, that the dance is not yet over.  We do fall, we do succumb to doubt and awful disappointments and lie there for a while.  But we do get up again, and we can show that change may be required but the dance will go on.

And it does.  Without the perfect leg rise, the perfect pirouette or the handsome catcher who was absent as we crashed.  For still, there is the grand jeté, the leap of faith … the can can.

When we dance, as if everyone is watching, we dance in truth. We spin, we turn, we stumble at times and we get up to dance again. Technique in dance, and life, may have escaped us, but style, oh yes, style will be the climax of the dance.  We will fall, and we may just fly, trying and dancing is all.

Live with your own sense of style, and you are dancing in the light.

Images: google, motivationalreads,pintrest

You are your brand, even if it’s a re-brand and all those words that go with the idea.

 

‘Owning myself is a way to be myself.’ Oprah Winfrey.

So missy here confessed to the laying it bare and what a great, naked, euphoric feeling it has been.  Nothing to hide, no dark corners anymore.  The scars on the body visible but proudly displayed. I am sure the black dog will come again, nip that naked behind quite firmly, but somehow dealing with said dog I think will get easier from now on.

And so to the branding, or re-branding of me, naked and all.  Not going to happen all in one go, and not pretending to recreate a persona, business, set of environmental spaces all in one go.  I have time, the important thing is that I made it across the Rubicon and am, I surmise, still in one piece. Would rather have been skinny dipping than forging through black mire, but skinny dipping is on the list.  Not the bucket list I might add as I have an aversion to the very term, ugh, squirm and to hell with that, one last time sort of defeatism, but the list of freedom.

I digress.  The branding begins with what no longer fits.  Let’s begin with the outer look shall we?  If you are like me, I have held onto clothes that ‘maybe’ I can use one day when I am next in a place I will never be again.  Those went  in the black bag dragged to the charity shop and cannot explain, but always with a somewhat guilty expression on my face? Why do I feel guilty about taking clothes to the charity shop? For another time.  The clothes went, along with the linen and tea towels and shoes.  The coat I bought my ex the first time we came to London and I thought he looked like an RAF pilot and left for me to sob over and put on post sauvignon blanc. Gone. Important to clear clutter of pain pre sauvignon blanc.  Remember that.

Unlike Carrie Bradshaw I have only a few pairs of shoes I personally would sleep with.  Unlike Carrie, I can barely hold my balance on the heels, once elongating the long legs and power to exude grace.  Public transport has put a stop of any idea of heels. Short of wearing sexless trainers, I am to practical yet classic footwear. Sob, bye, pretty heels. No, be firm she says.

A happy confession to make.  Even in the dimmest grey of depression and angst, this plum never descended into trackpants/hoodie/bargain/pj’sallday look.  So none to throw out. The slippers can stay. Take heart fluffy slippers, you can stay.

A shameful confession to make.  One, dear Lord, oversized, velour gown in lilac, avec sobs, wine stains, candle wax and numerous food history which would be ‘walk in, put on, sit on balcony and scare the passers by mode.’ I looked like Barney on drugs, the day after, doing the walk of shame. I actually did not dispose of said evidence, my children demanded it. She is gone.

Darling has gone shopping

Little budget for such things but one does not need, no imperative not to get all in a fell swoop.  The excitement of being a little selfish, a little cheeky and adding to the new wardrobe is hours of therapy in one afternoon. Do not believe I do not care anymore to see the fatness in the cubicle and go – I don’t care, this is me – no, it sucks but it is motivation 101 also. I don’t like the letting go, not about to embark on an epic marathon of blisters but I will make it happen.  For later.

Love the new additions to the family.  One in particular, in the pic above, has become my closest friend.  I have fallen in love with her.  Lovely  comes from Cos and her fabric is like satin, her colour ice-blue and her flow is lyrical. She is so lovely I want to buy her sister, do you think I should?  The dress is simple: I am Maria in the convent, and Maria, in love in the conservatory. Think I should buy her sister and that is the point, when something fits, when it makes you happy, it’s an epiphany of style, and the adding to the brand that is the better you.

Wearing Lovely today.  Found matching nail polish, ‘saltwater happy’ by Essie, to match and you will find me, far from the sea, but as I only choose colours if the names make me happy, this is a given. I am.

 

 

 

The London Summer ‘s Monday. All this on a Monday?

 

Not quite a, but a little bit,  manic Monday.

Something has happened.  I wake early and want to go to bed early. Oh dear Lord, I have turned into my parents! Hang on, there is a blog about this … to be written.

Summer in London is the best in the world.  When it does not rain, when the grey cloak is absent, and when I actually find myself waking to birdsong at around four thirty in the morning … and don’t mind. Wide awake … is this possible?  ‘Tis summer y’all and this one is making the most of it for sure. Dark thoughts of my personality in the winter are all too close but shun them this past Monday. It was a London Monday and it is summer, so it counts for the telling, for summer in London is life changing for this crazy person.

By seven I am at the bus stop.  London style, waiting for the 39 and timed to perfection, a la city mapper, which no sensible Londoner should be without. I love the bus ride, I meet the world.  So many stories and a gem of two, scary looking school girls plopped into the seats in front of me.  Grumpy me would have gone, holy shite, they still look hanging from Saturday night.  Hideous hair for starters, make-up plaster and attitudes to match. I am intrigued.

‘I’m so tired, and just found out I have a history project – well, I ain’t gonna do it. Just not happening.’

Friend: ‘F…k them.’

And I used to panic about my nails being too long at inspection. Hair tied up above the collar, the school brookies up to the midriff, freaking out about getting an A.

‘And they made us run around the hockey field. F … king random.’

Okay … hope life treats you well.

My ‘other job.’ A few times a week I am waitron at St. Clements. A love affair, tempered with mind stories of customers I will write about … love the arrival to fresh croissants and fresh coffee.  Good friends and ‘hello’ to the regulars.  The major triumph is remembering the coffee orders (call this brain gym) for not a single … I shall have a flat white.  It’s a flat with a little foam, dry, weak, extra hot with almond/soy/oat/coconut and my kingdom on a horse stuff. Sorted.  The regulars arrive, their dogs … ‘hello Godot, hello Toby, hello Rafferty and oh, hello lovely Lola! The most silent and well trained dogs and I remember my own … dogs that is … dogs that ran in the garden and barked at the postman. Here comes Poppy, hello Poppy!

This is my community and the time goes by in a whirl of Avocado (smashed), coffees and conversation and then my shift is done. Seven hours of running (another blog) but summer awaits.

The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of the Arts. 22 bus takes me right there with my oat milk cap ( learning the lingo) to witness a spectacular exhibition of art from all walks of life. An hour of indulging and inspiration right there on Piccadilly. Have I mentioned that rocking up in the city in my standard Converse not longer phases me? In my Silver Street, I am rocking the Converse (another blog she thinks) but wandering through art is a gift. I am lost in wanting to be able to try it one day.

I am  always and a forever Laduree child.  I have an expense account for Laduree. And so, it is fitting, post great art, to get my usual macarons. Which are your favourite? With the grass of Green Park calling, I acquired mine.  For grass was calling. It is six o’clock and the sun is high.  All are gathering on the  green – office workers, mothers, children, tourists … all are lured to the idea of just falling on grass, or hiring one of the typical deck chairs for an hour or so. Life on a Monday is now life on a Monday flopping on grass.  Most with wine, the cheese and crackers, friends and photo’s but me, with the Laduree.

It’s a long way from my own garden, from my swimming pool and drinks on the veranda, but the grass is welcoming.  The Converse come off, the toes, so white, wiggle at the thought of freedom.

The thing is, life changes for all of us, drastically, silently at this stage of our Silver Street.  Thoughts of how did this ever come about, how did we end up here, and all that, but for that hour, with freedom on the grass of Green Park, a day of work done, culture fix in hand, I found more than anything, that I was happy. On a Monday. Go figure, in summer, in London, I could do all this, earn, learn and breathe at the end of it. I was doing this alone, and that was the sad part, but I was empowered in that I was doing it. Little windows to people I would never meet again, knowing that others have pushed for something more and me, just soaking up the last of the Monday summer sun before taking the bus home.

I want to hang onto this, for I know the winter will come.  Thoughts of living in this Silver Street will return with all it’s trepidation, but for me, on a Monday, to experience all that … was it meant to be?  That is another blog I think. 

Let’s just say, Monday in Summer London for this Silver Streeter was a Monday of being in the most exciting place I can be right now.

The lesson: Take a Monday in your life and add the spice.

Images Royal Parks, Laduree, Royal Academy

 

 

Hello Grace. Forever remembered Kate.

Welcome to my world Grace …

Remember those pebbles one keeps turning up?  Today is a massive pebble moment for me. More like a boulder moment to be exact.  Today, after much trepidation and thought, the caution to the wind blew right in and I bought, for the first time, with my own hard earned money, the latest MacBook Pro. Woosh went the money, hard earned and into my life, came Grace.

Let me tell you why.  For the the first time, since the ‘divorce’ I bought an expensive item, with my own money.  All those hours put into working, not just as a hobby, but as a life changing career path, I have squirrelled my cash into the rainbow fund.  The ‘what if everything goes pear shaped fund?’ The sometimes ‘martyr’ fund, or ‘I don’t want to be ninety-nine and live in a council flat fund.’ All those thoughts of whatever and must prove myself fund.  

But there are times when you just have to say, I need investments, and so I began my sort of bucket list (though I loathe the very phrase) fund of what I needed for my own future goals, my want to call my own sort of thing:  these included, my own bought car, and a computer I could travel with.  The latter being very important.  Let’s just say that mother computer who has been my love for the past seven years, is one that requires a hefty shoulder to carry.  Big assed Bertha was becoming tedious on the bus, lugging and that extra piece of luggage needing a wheelie bag all of her own. Love her I do, but lugging her was not the smoothest operational procedure on an airplane, or bus, or pretty much anywhere with her zero battery hours.  Yup, I messed up on the battery saving thing. You know what I mean.

Swallowing hard for the sake of progress, I did the deed today, and bought Grace.  Sleek, small, light as feather and nécessaire in this new life of mine.  We shall travel, we shall discover each other and I have another project at hand.  Right now, she is still sealed and looking virgin like on my table – there are the little issues of data transfer etc, but right now, all I can do is stare at her and think, Grace, you and I are going far. Why did I call her Grace? Because turmoil, struggle, hardship and surviving have dissipated and evolved into ‘Grace.’ What stories we shall write!

 

And Kate. Kate Spade was a well known, wonderful entrepreneur who brought joy to the world. To all she seemed the icon of achievement in business, in her public and personal life, in everything she did.  Kate took her life two days ago. Her death shook many – how can it be that a women in her fifties, having achieved so much in her life, always on the outside, bubbling and sparkling on show, could have been so unhappy, so desperate to have ended it with a note?

The shock of it all.  And yet, the sadness of it remains.  The hidden grief, trying to keep that chin up high and pretending all is well, when your inner soul is shattered and torn. I kept thinking, must it take the loss of a well known celebrity in her ‘Silver Street’ time, to jolt us into acknowledging of the many other Silver Street women who, on the surface, seem content and accepting, when they too are lost and afraid and think these thoughts of ending it, and we don’t see the pain?

Truth be told, when life spins from one existence to another, these thoughts of suicide are all too prevalent in those we least except it. When loss and loneliness confront us and we are bewildered as to how it came about, how to deal with it, how futile the future seems – building one life that seems now extinct and not being able to cope with it all.  Truth be told, I was there, many are there, but still we smile, go about our daily lives as if not wanting to burden. The darkness of grief affects millions of people at this Silver Stage – losing our parents, the empty nest syndrome, job redundancies,  failures in relationships, change of habitat … for some the where do I go from now, is frightening. And some, like Kate, cannot see beyond. To want to end it all may be there, in thought, but to go on is what we need to focus on … for help is there. Others are there who can relate and most importantly, it takes you, just you … to make the change, no matter how difficult, but it is possible. 

And that is why I write. The depth of grief is surmountable. The promise of more, even in a different form, is waiting and achievable.

Hello Grace. For all the Kate’s, for all the women in their Silver Street times, different but finding a new path, is going to be the journey upwards to the light. And I shall take all those who could not find it in this time, and take me with them. Everyone matters – everyone counts. New chapters waiting to be written, and for me, with Grace.

Image WWD.

 

 

 

Friend-preneuring.

Friend-preneuring.

It Happens.

Let’s face it, being here, right now, at this time of our lives … different.  The pages of the book of our lives turn a little too fast, like those animated cartoons they draw and then wizz the pages by so frantically until it all seems to come alive. Woosh!

Everyone though is different.  Some are content with the blessings bestowed and some well … really starting all over again. Complacent or energised? So much to do, much to accomplish, a few dreams to be dusted. Life not even close to settling.

Starting or building up a business at this stage … it’s not so different to all generations.  We have the same blocks to build, the same networks to form, the same goals to achieve.  When it comes to  networking … it is different.  We are fortunate to have the experience, so you see, times it does count. Might not be in your known field, you may be wanting something totally different, but this is where I find the concept of networking so special.  And more so as a women in her Silver Street.

Let me tell you why. And this is important.

I network a great deal for my business. What I have found so enriching about most of it, is that the people I network with, almost all become friends.  

Women are like that.  We don’t meet on a golf course or in a board room, but in a coffee shop, over lunch, in a park, in our homes.  Sharing similar goals and ideals on how to achieve financial freedom. Doing what we love, be it in the creative, financial, medical or education fields.  We chat, first about ourselves, our families, our history and before long we are connected on a deeper level – we actually care about each other over and above our business interests. We want to help each other on a level deeper than business.  How can we help?  How do we tell others and recommend their business? Foster their goals? How do we serve someone who is perhaps, also beginning a new life, a new business – see what’s happening here? We are friend-preneuring.

Of course we want those we form relationships with through networking to help us in our endeavours, believe us worthy of recommendations and build lasting relationships, but we are going deeper than that, we are caring, as women do, and wanting to help.  Is that not our nature, particularly at this stage of our Silver lives, to embrace and empower our sisters and in doing so they will do the same for us? If anyone said friends and business don’t mix, I disagree.  It is the many friends we make through networking, the coming together of like that encourages and fosters our business.  We form a network of kindred souls and my business has grown because of this.  Because friends, some new, some from long ago, are also out there, working hard for their families and themselves and understand the silent language of women in business with lives that may be difficult, wonderful, personal. Women who have lived and turned over many chapters. Friend-preneuring is about the personal. My clients become my friends, my friends give me business, my business thrives because these friends care and I endorse them and care for them in return.

True success in life and business only grows if those you believe in, believe in you.

Networking in this hurried world is not all about landing the contract. The brief. Not in my business anyway.  Being in the travel and events business, being a writer and motivational speaker is a business I can only grow if I learn to understand my clients, their personalities.  They want the best wedding for their children, a memorable trip, a resonating voice.  To be heard. I am not selling a material object but a dream.  To be successful in this, I need to feel trusted and understood. Many great women who are in business do this.  They offer more than the goods, they offer compassion, clarity, vision and in our Silver Street, understanding of what it is like on this road of life.

Networking is great. It is also hectic at times.  But every so often, someone comes across your path and you connect – your get each other, your business interests may be different but your willingness to take care of each other, is mutual. You want to be there for them and they for you. And you work together, as business partners, and as friends.

I look at networking, or entrepreneurship more as friend-preneurship.  And I love it. My clients are my friends and more than that I am theirs. And business is blooming.

So when you go out to network, go out to make a friend. Best of all worlds.

Image Mogul