Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Because It's Important

This is a post with a serious subject. I won't judge anyone for bailing on this post if you don't follow me for serious subject matter. Fair enough and all that. Ready for the heavy stuff? Then let's take the jump together...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Because Summer Is For Road Trips

Summers go by so fast for me. Keeping kids engaged and occupied is paramount. It can be exhausting because no matter how much energy I seem to have, they have more. Way.way.WAY.more. That's why I've begun strapping them in the car and hitting the roads. If there aren't pictures, there's no proof. So here they are...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Not A Real Blog Post...Just A Bunch Of The Random

Ok so there are a ton of things that I appreciate in the world but then there's the crazy. Just flat out crazy. And I feel compelled to share all the crazy, both the real and the stuff that's just in my head, with all of you. Aren't you thrilled?

I have been having some amazing dreams. AMAZING I tell ya'. I hate talking about dreams. What's more, I hate listening to other people's dreams. They're often just weird, nonsensical and often disturbing jibber. And yet these were awesome for me. Two nights ago, I had a dream that I was Audrey Hepburn, being asked to wear a Prada original to my latest movie premiere. Not bad right? I mean I can see how it'd be bad if I was some sort of homophobic, extreme-introverted, male jock in real life. But I'm not. I'm a woman who loves fashion, vintage, and has a love for the Arts. That was great.

And then today while I was napping, (Yeah, my life is hard. I know.) I dreamt I was in a competition to be an assistant stylist that works with Garance Doré. The unfortunate part, was that I was trying to put together my entry for submission, while staying at a ski lodge as part of a security detail for a vampire couple who I was somehow related to. My current duty was to dog sit but someone at the lodge kept trying to set the place on fire. Yeah. See what I mean? Weird, nonsensical and even a bit disturbing. I was actually bummed when I woke up and discovered the stylist competition wasn't real. I blame the Vampire bit on a series I just finished called "Elemental Mysteries".

For my readers, I recommend a pass on this one. That's why I'm not going to even include a link to the series. I don't like to dash people's bubbles and I won't provide any spoilers in case any of you do decide to venture into them. I will however be honest and say, I literally felt myself get dumber from reading them. I was sucked in by 100's of 5 star reviews. The readers had to have been on crack. There's no other explanation. I only finished the series because I'm neurotic enough that I HAD to see what happened to the bad guy in the end. I can be big enough to at least say, "thank you" to the author for touching on enough subjects that I know nothing about, to light my intellectual curiosity. I have to redeem myself somehow. I have to learn something to compensate for the brain cells the series killed off.

Remember the real-life cray cray I mentioned? This isn't the actual text convo I had with my husband but it's the general gist:

Me: "I was just at the Farmers market stall, picking out items from the stall. An old couple just about attacked me over a chicken."

Him: "What? Why?"

Me: "I don't know. They weren't near it. They were standing back from the stall talking to each other when I approached. I couldn't understand a word they were saying but then there was spitting and hands flailing in my direction."

Him: "What did you do?"

Me: "I made devil horns with my fingers and stuck my tongue out at them. What do you think I did? I smiled at them, rolled my eyes at the cashier when I turned my back on them, bought my chicken and ran."

Him: "Oh. Well, at least you're away from them now right?"

Me: "True. But now, there's a flock of shoplifters being chased around me by a security guard."

Him: "Where the hell are you?!"

Me: "The grocery store. I have no idea what's going on. I just want to get my groceries and go home now."

And ladies and gentlemen, that's just the tip of the iceberg. It's a crazy world out there. Please tell me I'm not the only person this stuff happens to.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Leaning In With Imaginary Conversations And Food

This is going to be the most far ranging blog post I think I've ever done.

It's time I come clean. I have imaginary conversations with you guys all the time. There. I said it. And I'm not ashamed.  I love talking with you guys. I need to work on sitting down, telling the rest of my world to go take a hike, and letting myself chat with you guys. I often feel guilty for doing this instead of taking care of the 9 billion other things that I'm supposed to do on a daily basis. I hope you guys forgive my long silences and that you know how much I appreciate you. A mother's guilt. It never rests eh?

About a month ago, I was going through an incredibly painful massage therapy session when something suddenly clicked. Luckily, it was just in my head and not something in my body. If I concentrated on that screamingly painful muscle the therapist was pummeling massaging, and asked it to  "lean in" to the direction she was rubbing, it didn't hurt as much. In fact, it actually felt good. It was such a bizarre concept to me. I've noticed whenever I find myself in pain, I brace myself against it somehow. I even do it when the pain I'm experiencing is mental. My shoulders move up towards my ears, my neck, upper back, and even my stomach get tense when I'm nervous, stressed, unhappy, or angry. Reminding myself to breath deeply through my abdomen, and consciously relaxing tense muscles, can be tough but it's worth the effort. I end up feeling a lot more human and a lot less manic. This is going to be my new way of leaning in; even when it's tough.

And then I realized, there were other things I should probably be trying to lean into. Life is short. I can't worry about the million and a half insecurities that flash through my mind daily.  It's paralyzing. That's not the example I want to set for my kids. One of those insecurities has been body image. It's something I've struggled with my whole life to the point that I've not even worn super short/cap/sleeveless tops in at least a decade. Guess what. That's changed. I'm leaning in to it and I'm happier for it. It's all about the baby steps people.

To top it all off, every time I turn around, I'm running into the phrase "Lean In". From UpWorthy videos, which led me to a fabulous website for women, to the Bloggess. I take that as a sign that I'm on a good track. I promise, I'm leaning in.

Food has always played a large role in my life but I've found myself really uninspired lately. That lack of inspiration has lent itself really well to ordering take-out and ready made meals. I'm not proud. As a way to shake off my food-lethargy, I started dusting off cookbooks and watching new cooking shows. My most recent favorite discovery has been Two Greedy Italians. Their recipe for pizza crusts is da' bomb!

500g strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
10g salt
10g fresh yeast
325ml lukewarm water
a few dried breadcrumbs for sprinkling

Makes 2 large pizzas

Preheat the oven to 250°C/Gas 9. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and gradually add to the flour, mixing well until you obtain a dough. If you find the dough too sticky, just add a little more flour. Shape the dough into a ball and leave to rest, covered with a cloth, for 5 minutes. Knead the dough for 8–10 minutes and split it in half. Knead each of the pieces for a couple of minutes and shape into balls. Sprinkle some flour on a clean kitchen cloth and place the dough on it, then cover with a slightly damp cloth.  Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and spread the dough into a circle about 35–40cm in diameter, making it as thin as a pancake (being careful not to tear it), with the border slightly thicker. Repeat with the other dough ball. Sprinkle a few breadcrumbs on two large baking trays and place the pizza bases on them.

I topped these wonderful crusts with Crème fraîche, salt, pepper, grated Gruyère, sliced onions, sliced bell peppers, black olives, artichoke hearts, grated mozzarella, and fresh oregano. Any of your favorite flavor combinations are bound to be a hit on these crusts. Place the pizza's in the oven for roughly 7 minutes or until the crusts reach your desired crispiness.

 So we've talked about the feeding the mind and body, now it's time to work it out. I've been trying to work myself into the 10,000 steps-a-day challenge. The claimed benefits include:
  • it's low-impact, safe, simple and free
  • improves cardiovascular fitness (lowers blood pressure, cuts cholesterol)
  • burns kilojoules, helping you lose weight
  • is great for your mental health
  • prepares you for other sports and exercise
  • strengthens your back muscles and bones
  • slims your waist and shapes your legs
  • reduces risk of diabetes and colon cancer
  • provides opportunities to be with friends and family and pets*

Obviously I want to live forever, like a vampire, but without all the blood sucking stuff. If walking 10,000 steps a day is a good way to get me closer to that, then I'm all in. The best reward/incentive is to ultimately find a version of and fit into this outfit:

 Olivia Palermo {image source: Getty Images via}

I've looked long and steady for a similar version to this shirt. If anyone's got any tips I'd love to hear them. So far, this is the closest I've come. A bit too rich for my blood and not true enough to Olivia's version. Instead, I've found and fallen in love with something that's not even close:

Michael Kors Striped Tie-waist dress, Neiman Marcus, £90.31

Yeah, I know. I need help. Or a generous soul who loves giving people they don't know, fabulous clothes. Any takers? No? Ah well. Time to hit the pavement. Gotta get those 10,000 steps in for the day! How about you? Was this post, far ranging enough for you? Because obviously, all these things go so well together.

*Info from Everybodyliveto100

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Looking for Joy

I woke up this wet, gloomy morning from a nightmare. I've been a mom, a cleaner, a chef, and an office admin. None of that's done anything for my mood. It was definitely time for me to get down to doing something that brings me joy. 

What brings you joy?

Mediums: watercolor, pen, photoshop

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Just Hit Pause!

Hey there:
O.K. life, can we just agree to take a minute and breathe?? Things have been moving so fast and so continuously for me I'm not even sure which way is up anymore. I couldn't go another day without at least saying "Hi" to everyone. I miss you all too much.

When my life thinks it's a movie:
The other day, my husband and I were kid free. That doesn't happen very often so when it does, we like to run buck wild. I mean, if you consider viewing crazy old Cathedral's, art work, shopping, dining, and movies "buck wild" - then we. fit. the. bill. Baby! My husband and I have never been big fans of the "Fast and the Furious" franchise but the surprisingly high ratings suckered us in for this latest one. On the way to this magical movie going, we stopped at a red traffic light. You know. Like you're supposed to. As the light turned green  it was like a fellow driver, knew we were going to see "Fast and the Furious 6", and they wanted to give us a taster. Someone driving a 1970 Barracuda tore out from the intersection and disappeared from sight in about 3 seconds. 

image src:

Dear driver, I know it's a bitter disappointment but I feel obligated to point out, you aren't really Vin Diesel. And even if you were Vin Diesel, you would still need to obey the speed limit. I'm just sayin'.

After the movie, (which we found fairly entertaining and you should totes go see if you don't mind some tongue in cheek action flick silliness), we found ourselves first hand witnesses to a slow-mo car chase between a civilian and a police officer. Neither were going more than 30 miles per hour, but neither were giving up. Because that's how we role here in the U.K. yo.

Because that's just too hostile:

To follow up our surreal movie going experience over the weekend and entertain the kids, we decided to do something all parent-y. We took the kids to Stonehenge. I managed to get some great photos while we were there. Our exodus took us through the gift shop of course. And lo', I found myself in a face off with a determined 7 year old who desperately wanted his, "very own bestest Stonehenge t-shirt ever! Pleeaaase!? Please, mom? Pretty pleaaaassee?"  And that's when I was struck with the inspiration to use my photos for a higher purpose. I'm going to make him his own personalized Stonehenge t-shirt. The first idea I had was shot down by my husband.

So now I need to work on a more kid appropriate shirt. It has to be a design the little old man, who is trapped in my 7 year old's body, will think is cool. I'll keep you posted.

Don't be afraid:

And last but not least, I wrestled once more with my fear of baking any kind of pastry. The mythical powers of pastry have long intimidated me. My whole life it's been drummed into me just "how hard" working with pastry is. I've finally made the leap of faith, into the pastry breach. I've started using pre-made shortcrust or puff pastry goods in my baking. Yes. Even those have intimidated me. What?! Yes! I'm that big of a baking wimp. What of it??

It might not be pretty but it's all mine and it's super tasty. I was so surprised at how easy this recipe for a rhubarb tart was. I made a few modifications of my own, like a teaspoon of cinnamon and vanilla bean paste drizzled over the rhubarb mixture. It was so easy. I thoroughly recommend it for any newbie trying to tackle pastry.  You're welcome!

Friday, May 3, 2013

If Only I Were That Clever

I have wracked my brain trying to come up with a clever title for this post. Something that rolls off the tongue and inspires people to grab the day with both hands, with joy in their heart, and a smile on their face. However, I'm just not that clever. I can't for the life of me figure out a word that rhymes with "Mallorca" or "Tourist destination specifically designed to make me wet myself in awe, wonder, and terror." Anyone got any catchy titles for either of those? If you do, hit me up. I'll totes give you credit. 

Remember when we talked about how badly my family needed a vacation? Well, it totally happened.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

They Love to Share

The year so far has been full of all kinds of surprises. But, not the "Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh my!" kind of surprises, where I get fun trips to magical lands with loveable, talking creatures and I get to wear pretty ruby slippers and squash wicked witches by landing my house on them. No. These surprises are much grosser. I think somewhere, some supernatural force decided that my husband and I, haven't seen enough bodily fluids in our lives.  My kids can't seem to go more than two weeks without catching a new bug that makes them produce the vilest forms of ick, from any and every orifice they have in their body. And you know my kids. Being the generous loving souls that they are, they would never dream of keeping it to themselves. Because, that would just be selfish. Right?

My holidays so far have included having the flu on Valentines, chased by a fecal impaction for a child, a husband in South Africa for Mothering Sunday, with a side of snow, a bad chest cold and two bouts of stomach flu for Easter break.

Needless to say, it's been a blast. And now, I feel like running away. So do the kids. So we are! We hunted down a budget flight to somewhere sunnier and warmer than here and were gettin' the heck out of dodge people. Personally, I blame Pinterest. Maybe Pinterest is evil. It is so.totes.addictive and I clearly will never earn enough money to visit all the places it tempts me with on a daily basis. See?

And this is just a small taste! Gaaaaaaah! And what's worse? It's made me want to get "vacation clothes".....Cuz that's a thing isn't it? No? Anyway's, that means I end up finding cute comfy outfits I want to add to my wardrobe to take with me on my trip. 

This isn't a sponsored post in any shape or form. I think it's all the blues. It makes me think of beautiful tropical waters. 

What would your perfect island vacation outfit be?

*Clothing images sourced from

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Woman's Worth

Maybe it’s just me but sometimes life leaves me feeling like I’m on a super long, scary, mostly out-of-control, roller coaster ride. It’s not the ups and downs that get to me but the whack-a-doo gravity defying twists that leave me feeling like I’m not 100% sure which way is up.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Coming Out The Other Side So Let's Get Mushy

As some of you guys may remember, my son has been struggling with a very serious health problem. While he's not out of the woods, he's definitely headed that way so I wanted to share that with all of you. I also wanted to tell you that your supportive comments meant so much to me. It might sound silly to some, but I was honestly in a very anxious, pull out my hair, flail my curled fist at inept or powerless medical professionals, place. 

Hearing/Seeing words of reassurance, support, and kindness were much needed shots of comfort for me. I can just about guarantee that it gave me the grace not to yell as loudly at Doctors who didn't want to investigate my sons issue. 

I'm not sure how to get Doctors to follow up and identify the cause so we can prevent future episodes. I'm nothing if not persistent and I will continue to push the subject with them. Being in a new country and unfamiliar with the NHS is definitely making all of this more challenging. If anyone has any tips, I'd love to hear them.

Thank you everyone!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One of Us is Bound to Have a Heart Attack at this Rate

One of my son's is having a serious medical issue. There have been visits to A&E (the Emergency Room for my American readers), the family doctor from an appointment we arranged through an Urgent Care number, and a brief stint to the hospital. The quality of care has been ineffective to say the least and at points, seems to make things much worse. His pain levels have been through the roof and while I'm hugging him, trying to comfort him through one of these episodes, I can feel his little heart pounding and racing through it's staccatto beat at a speed I imagine could match a humming bird's wings. My head feels like it's about to split open at points and I know its from my blood pressure. Each time I explain my sons situation and they dismiss it, insisting that we stay their prescribed course, my head pounds harder and the nausea washes over me making me think that I might vomit all over someone at any minute. But I can't show any of that. My son needs me to be calm, soothing and comforting. 

I couldn't be prouder of my son as he faces this so bravely and masters breathing techniques to manage the pain. I'm going to take a cue from him. I'm going work on my own mastery of those breathing techniques, be brave for him and battle through whatever medical professionals I need to in order to get him the help he needs. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beet It

Looks super appetizing doesn't it? No? It would surprise you how yummy it is. Current events in my household have caused me to get all mad scientisty. One of my kids is ridiculously constipated and I'm just about desperate to help them out.  I cracked out my blender and started grabbing all kinds of goodness to help get things cranking for them.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fashion With A Fever

I have the Flu. This is not a bad cold or severe allergies, but the truest of the true Flu. With that in mind, as I sit here burning up with a fever, I'm going share my latest fashion obsession with you. The denim shirt dress.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Android Finding Miracle Worker

My teenage daughter lost her ridiculously expensive new mobile phone in the snow. Yep. That just happened. The panic, the daughter in near tears, the resigned digging through insurance paper work in case we can't find it, what fun ways to spend a Saturday. Of course, in these times of desperate need, there's only one place I could think that might offer some help or guidance; the internet. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

All Hail the Nails

Meet Joan Blondell, a 1930's actress on big and little screens, who sported the manicure all women wanted. The classic fire engine red is a look many of us wear even today. I've been on my own personal manicure kick lately and it made me wonder, where this whole nail polish idea came from.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Used

1.) Diorskin Nude, Natural Glow Radiant Foundation; 2.) Lush, Dream Cream; 3.) Lush, Eau Roma Water; 4.) Neal's Yard, Wildrose Hand Cream (sample); 5.) Neal's Yard, Rose Facial Polish (sample); 6.) Lush, Grease Lightening; 7.) Batiste, Dry Shampoo; 8.) Oilatum Junior Cream; 9.) Better You, Magnesium Oil Joint Spray; 10.) Lush, Fresh Farmacy Facial Cleanser; 11.) Lush, Full of Grace; 12.) Lush, Dirty Toothy Tabs; 13.) Lush, Ocean Salt; 14.) Rimmel, Precious Stones; 15.) Rimmel, 60 Seconds

Everyone, please take this opportunity to turn to the nearest reader and hold hands. This might get a little bit confusing and we don't want to lose anyone along the way.