Daily diary; Not enough is too much.

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I have been a seriously chatty person (apparently) since I was three years old. A true empath by the time I was four, communication was always something that came quite easily in my formative years. I think if you were being polite you would have called me a precocious child. I remember being at the hairdressers and my wonderful hairdresser Bev who reminded me so much of Linda Evangelista as this was around the hay day of the supermodel so my reference was very on point for the time.

I remember her telling me that compared to her two sisters she wasn’t pretty at all, (we had at this point been in a lengthy conversation about how lovely I thought she was) I exclaimed that I felt she was doing herself a great injustice and I for one thought she was beautiful, inside and out. I did not realise at the age of ten that this was perhaps unusual or even a little ridiculous, until I looked in the mirror and saw her friendly laugh and the amused laughing faces of the entire rest of the salon. None were being mean and in fact I thought I was very clever and everyone adored me, I was far more confident then than almost thirty years later.

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Before this even I was aware that perhaps my communication or humour was not quite matching my years. In class one aged five, when giving feedback to my mother with how I was settling into school, Mrs Lamb said, “..The only thing is, I can’t ever joke to myself in an adult way, I did so the other day and looked up and Emma was giggling and nodding her head!” The private mutterings of my neat little welsh teacher were forever ruined as I was hanging around practically knocking back a gin saying “I hear ya love”.

I have found, as I get older and my chat has never really altered or dissipated, despite  having access and permission to a number of swears if the joke or story requires, but I don’t like swearing too much I always feel guilty. The main issue I am finding is the need for near constant apology for my loquacious nature. It seems the common conception is that it is just a bit too much to deal with, it makes heads hurt and one of the worst was that It makes me “such a character” fantastic.

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To be honest I’d rather not be considered “a character” ever in life, it does not feel in any way an attribute worth nurturing. Not to say I’d like to be thought of as dull or not leave any impression at all but the constant feeling of “too much” is very damaging to the ego. I have tried being quieter, I endeavoured for people to consider me shy and sweet, but there are so many thoughts and opinions sprinting around my brain box I end up feeling anxious and fed up when I hold them in.

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I feel like this must be how Macaulay Culkin feels, whatever either of us did at the age of five was funny, adorable and well lets face it just down right cute. But both at the same age of thirty-eight, no one wants our offerings of precociousness, becuase now it’s just a bit weird.

Maybe yoga will help, I hear it’s good for most things and perhaps will give me so much inner peace I won’t feel the need to speak so much to all the outer spaces.

I’ll update how I go, I do think I am verging on becoming like Margot Durrell for having epiphanies but I’ll think about how to deal with that quietly, in silence, perhaps.

Humph.

Daily Diary:Whatever happened to gnomes?

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Back home (Nottinghamshire) in the 1980’s, gnomes were the thing, a concrete bird bath was an essential and no garden in our row was without one, one neighbour had a bird bath with a little concrete bird perched on the lip slightly smaller than a sparrow, I wouldn’t say I loved it but always looked on it with fascination, even at a small age I knew such sweet details were wasted on it’s owners.

G and D were nice respectable people married their whole lives and retired already when I was just very small, they had bought their council house which was the case for most of our small rural row. That was something revered and an envious situation, which seemed to leave a slight bitter taste in the mouths of those who continued to rent their homes. Whether it was a community feeling or just within the walls of number 7, I am not sure but to admit that you were renting your home and that you did not indeed have a small concrete bird perching on your well placed bird bath was treated as an embarrassment, perhaps even indeed a failure. How sad to think that I could have absorbed this information from my household, that my parents felt a degree of shame or embarrassment to their circumstances.

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Side note : (I like to use the most unflattering images of myself so that the focus is on what I write, OK?!!!)

All this derived from garden adornements, but the happier side came later in the form of our neighbour in a new town with more garden gnomes than I’ve ever seen in my life. Every day as I walked our dogs I would take it all in, each placed with love and care, a whole city of shiny demented faces would marvel out at the world and the eccentricity and devotion to what I can only call the ugliest garden companions I have ever seen filled me enormous love. In the years that I walked down that road not one little face left it’s position, more came to join the party and I watched the garish rosy complexions age and weather and become softer and sweeter. Both the gnomes and I grew up, I however moved on, I believe they remain to this day.

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My lovely street in which holds my even lovelier first home has finally taken me full circle back to the seeming comfort of having garden companions, this time of the animal variety.

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A rabbit, a squirrel and lots of other little creatures all perch on the walls of various gardens like sweet faced guardians. One neighbour has a number of little stone friends lined up on the top of a wall, their once pointy ears and noses rounded by the bountiful rain and wind of the South West. I love it, seeing this same attachment to adorning a garden no matter the size instantly propelling me back to the gnome gathering in Nottinghamshire.

I do wonder if it’s a generational thing? I can’t imagine even those of my age retiring and thoughtfully thinking to add a small animal to their decking or all glass extension. I think it is these thoughts that make me a little sad, or perhaps it’s just nostalgia which seems to take hold the older you become. But I think of myself in twenty years, sitting with tea in hand and dog in lap, wondering where did all the gnomes go?

Hmmm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Diary: Dog Walks and odd talks.

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Since having my very own puppy – Ted is a smooth haired black and tan miniature Dachshund and without a doubt the love of my life, (sorry Mr E) – I have embarked on many a dog walk.

I was going to write “daily” walks, but that would be a blatant lie as there are the odd days that neither Ted or I feel the need to head out into the cold. We can easily poke our noses out the back door for a breath of fresh air from our lovely garden if we feel the need. Or a wee. Ted that is not me.

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Our walks as they do occur are in equal measures lovely and weird. When the sun chases away the chill we stroll along, Ted’s voluminous ears flowing in the wind occasionally glancing up at me to remind me how well he is doing at walking and being adorable.

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I am not at all phased by a quick dog walking chat, only when the grip of anxiety is punching me square in the brain do I sometimes stare vacantly at the burst of information or observation that can pass between total strangers on a dog walk. How funny that the English in particular could not converse so easily at any other occasion, in fact the thought of speaking to a stranger, even shouting across a road to them, because lets say you both had the same kind of coat on, would be preposterous and would not indeed happen. Ever.

But you have a dog; I have a dog so lets cheerily bark at each other with platitudes and noises to indicate cuteness and approval.

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Mr. E, does not and will not partake in any of this dog centred etiquette. Dogs are not a Segway into friendship or small talk for Mr.E, in fact he will happily leave me in the throws of dog discussion and simply continue on to his destination with or without us, every man for himself he claims.

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On one occasion when out with Ted a small compact lady in head to toe tweed, didn’t so much march at me but thrust herself in our path, shouting, “HE WOULD MAKE A LOVELY STUD FOR MY BITCH”

In circumstances such as these I tend to panic, which results in either complete compliance or extreme sarcasm, neither of which are appropriate really. Luckily, in this situation the lady did not require much input from me at all. She was let’s say, a torrent of information and reminded me greatly of the scene in “A Brief Encounter” where Celia Johnson is seriously contemplating throwing herself out the window rather than listen to another word her unfortunate companion has to say.

I did give her my phone number; I don’t know how it happened. So it was even luckier that she didn’t hear a word I said correctly, I do feel a degree of guilt for not any stage correcting her and in fact felt a small amount of glee when she pressed “save to contacts” the guilt does sincerely extend however for any person she actually did manage to contact on the number I faithfully gave. I wonder what they would think to pick up the phone while she yelled, “ESME? NOW ABOUT YOUR STUD”.

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Lovely.

Daily Diary.

 

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Ready for groundbreaking writing from an exciting jet set lifestyle?! Well I offer my apologies, as you will not find that here.

These are my musings, of what is a very small life, valuable but small – (if anyone knows the film reference I believe we are destined to be kindred spirits).

I got this idea while washing up, a station I man every day, mainly with a huge amount of grumpiness and resentment.

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But today I felt chuffed to be up early, with the whole day ahead of me to tidy and organise my home. I am such a organisation lover, my beautiful home is currently a building site and has been for over six months. We are living in it while we crawl towards the finish line of comfort and pristine white things.

Add to my modest building site, my almost one year old miniature Dachshund who is mainly at his happiest when he can sleep on my lap for 6-8 hours a day mixed with a rather wonderfully massive dose of anxiety the result of which tends to make me a little unproductive.

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So today filled with washing up and ideas was a rare treat.

I was doing the dishes (as we’ve established) and looking out to my lovely garden, (yes also a work in progress) watching a lovely plump lady blackbird flinging one of our shrivelled crab apples which had fallen many weeks ago from the now skeletal branches.

In that moment it occured to me how happy such small things make me, I adore birds and have been entranced by their little selves since I was a indeed as little as a Wren. I watched her sharp little eyes spotting i’m sure lots of plump worms periscope up as the weight of the early April showers soaked into the lawn. She hopped around like a little cricket and made my chores around one hundred percent happier I would say.

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I feel grateful for being able to stand in my kitchen with my rubber gloves on with my little birds jumping around and I concluded that birds don’t seem to mind the rain at all.

I’ve often worried about birds and ducks and swans when winter has been whipping around us, do they feel cold, unhappy and generally a bit fed up. Mr E always says i’m ridiculous to think so, that they’re birds and don’t view the weather like we do. In fairness I don’t think many other humans think about the weather with the same doomed concern as we Brits do, so to me it seems perfectly feesable that any little creature might look to the grey skies and tutt.

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My own very precious pup is most certainly a fair weather dog. He is improving, but his first winter brought sincere looks of horror when I suggested he go forth into the various cold and wet for a walk or wee in the garden. The unseasonably mild February we’ve had (the last day of which is today!) has helped on all above puppy activities.

 

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By the end of the washing up the fat rain drops had stopped falling and the spring sunshine swept in to take it’s place, with it’s puffy white clouds and fresh blue sky. Happily for my puppy I was more than ready for a cup of tea and a sit down, where he promptly plopped himself down on my lap as resolutely as those raindrops, leaving me to gaze wistfully at the ironing board and a huge pile of “bits” that somehow need to all find homes.

Perfect.

New Year, new you, no thanks.

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We are now creeping and peeping into February a month of which for many is a relief as January for a lot of people is a month of redemption. That feeling this year in particular of seeking a “renewal, better, cleaner, slower more authentic self” seemed rife amongst all of us who chose to be a part of social media.

But along with all the new gym memberships, resolutions to quit drinking, never eat another cookie again (me) and declare on as many accounts that we hold that we are no longer to be slaves to our apps and its accompanying blue light.

Phew, no wonder people hate January. I mean think about it?

December is a month of excess, we are all striving for the ultimate indulgence, gifts, time off from working so hard and that time spent treating our favorite folk to things they long for and allowing ourselves to live with a little less conscience. No wonder anything other than that would feel a bit gloomy.

I love January, yes for the fresh start it heralds, but also because I have never really been overly excessive at Christmas, I treasure all the tiny things which bring me festive joy – most of which are free – although I never turn down a box of Thornton’s or an adorable pair of shoes, I have found so much happiness in twinkle lights and baubles.

So January to me is another excuse to continue the love and generosity we are so united to live by in December.

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I’m kind to myself (a relatively new concept) I don’t quit anything, but I naturally adore pairing things back, so spend many happy hours curating my closet and auditing my life. I try and spend time in hot baths, dog walks, movies, I hibernate and I enjoy the grey gloom we Brits constantly moan of.

Why? Well a styling challenge of course! Ways to bundle up without looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, cute boots with tights and socks, wooly hats, mittens!

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Trying to find the small joys has been such an important tool for me, I don’t achieve it all the days nor do I think anyone should. But I refuse to start a New Year with a strong of punishments and gloom.

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So here’s to being exactly the same as we were just a few weeks before, but making enough room for us to grow and breathe in our shiny New Year.

X

Disco for the inside

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Put on a creased dress that’s a little too small… dance like you’re in Studio 54, rather than your spare room that is an actual building site.

These pictures were taken about a year ago, I remember feeling gross and so stressed while I was taking them. So much so I felt exhausted afterwards. I didn’t want to show them to anyone for the embarrassment was too acute.

A year on, I have put on rather a lot more weight, sold the dress and painted the room white.

But the biggest shift is my awareness of my so often fragile self esteem. How curious now that I look at myself in those pictures and think I look lovely, (not in a big headed way I must assure you.) Simply that, there was absoloutely nothing wrong with me.

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The past two years have been such a journey with regard to how I feel about my appearance. Growing our my grey hair was not liberating, I would say more, freeing.

I was free from the expense and stress of constant colouring, which was a total relief.

Having grey hair however changed my view on femininity so much, I felt much older, colours and styles that had previously been something of a signiature no longer worked and with gaining weight also I found myself not even recognising the women I saw when I peered at my reflection.

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I think because of my anxious nature I did not look at these changes in a positive way, I felt lost and confused as to how to go about finding my style once again.

It probably sounds so vapid, but alongwith other life occurances, I felt very sorry for myself.

Time passing and a lot of work done on myself, with still more to go I know, I feel I am growing accustomed to my new self and don’t want to return to the “old me” there is a lovely new version, never seen before! And it is exciting, not a thing of loss but of incredible gain. To love myself inspite of weight, hair colour and even a lack of ironing skills on occasion has been a challenge worth undertaking.

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The thing I most love about this picture is the sincere way I show my nails, as this was my first ever manicure and I was so proud of how glossy it made me feel. Such a little thing but it truly made me feel some kind of prettiness. I now think what a shame and want to give that version of me a hug. But the way I am feeling these days a high five for all I have achieved would be more appropriate I think.

 

Fin xx

 

Dress: Vintage Topshop via Oxfam, Shoes Vintage via Sue Ryder.

Fabric Feels..

 

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I’ve been wondering a bit lately. Wondering about how well documented it is that our clothes are our essence. How they are our confidence, our way of expressing who we really are.

I have gone through such a constant evolution of style over the years, I feign to say that it is as I learned to know myself better, but I am not sure that’s totally true.

 Perhaps because it is intended to be such an indicator of knowing ourselves that I have struggled so much with it, I put relentless pressure on myself so viewed the situation as – “obviously if you are not sure of your style then it shows quite clearly that you do not know yourself?”

I have wrestled with the need to be minimal, with clean lines and simple shapes. It soothes my soul to have everything neat, tidy, well made and clean cut. Decision made? No.

You see I love everything. I can see the styling potential in everything.

I love the pretty, the patterned, the whimsical, the lacy and the beaded. I love the slightly odd.

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I love to wear an unusual colour combination, quirky hats and a pair of vintage shoes, those are the things that come far more naturally to me than monochrome simplicity.

That then leaves the question of what that says about me? More to the point is that how I want to be seen? Socks and sandals may be my jam but I do often look at the beauties of Instagram in their Scandi hybrid coolness or their Francoise Hardy chicness and think that I would like to look “normal” mainstream, just to fit in a little more.

As a result I decided to take a step back from my incessant Instagram use and magazine buying (I LOVE MAGAZINES) because I felt TOO influenced. Not something I’ve ever thought about before. By spending my time browsing I was actually subjecting myself to hours of forced marketing. Instagram had become one long real of what I should be buying and what I should be into. But quite frankly it wasn’t me. It was not my voice, but mainly the voices of clever advertising and pretty products. I didn’t know what I liked and it started to make me feel tired.

So a cull ensued. I cut my following list down by half – they do not make this easy for you, engagement is life after all. I then had a feed filled with quirky, whimsical women and men that inspired me and wanted me to again consume their clever styling and brilliantly open minded way of looking at personal style. *Enter theatrical sigh of relief.

I am not against Instagram, I love love to while away my time looking at outfits. I think because I have been working from home I have been on it too much and I was left worn out by social responsibility and bombarded with other people’s worlds while still trying to figure out my own.

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I wonder if I can feel this self-doubt at 38, what my 28 or 18 year old self would’ve been feeling. I’m glad that when I was 18 I didn’t own a mobile phone, I’m glad at 28 I didn’t care about anything other than laughing my pants off with my friends.

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So for now, until that minimal vibe kicks in, you can expect to still see me rocking socks and clogs, peter pan collars and granny knits. I am indeed Miss Marple, bet I could make that a hash tag…

Fin xx

Autumn already?

 

No one ever wants to wish the sunshine away. Especially all of us in the British Isles that never usually really experience a summer.

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But, the highstreet dictates that August means Autumn with the bombardment so far of leopard prints, silky satin midi’s and less basket bags than we’ve seen for quite some time!

And so we follow, lured in by the refreshing feeling of the “new” and I have to say having worked in retail for more years than I care to remember, I still feel so ready to move the old stock on and bring in the new and the exciting.

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In my non working life this equates to loving the gentle ease of the charity shops adding in old bobbled jumpers and in this case a cotton midi in brown paisley. I know right – DELICIOUS!

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At first, yes, a 1970’s brown paisly midi skirt may not seem your go to transitional skirt, but look at her! She’s gorgeous! I love this little bag too, she’s got the sweetest handle, she is destined for my little Etsy shop – but I had to give her a spin first to make sure she was adorable. She is.

Teddy was far more interested in the ferns which hold a lot of treats if you’re a little puppy.

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The little shirt is so pretty! A sheer cotton with a scalloped edge peter pan collar and tiny skinny bow at her neckline.

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THE SHOES.

Yes, metallic green tiny block heeled ballet pumps,YES.

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If this post is anything to go by I think I might enjoy the forthcoming autumnal weather. Imagine those shoes with thick black tights! Ugh I need a lie down.

 

Fin x x