Monthly Archives: March 2012

Getting clean.

This morning I’ve opened a window in every room of the house.  It is perfect.  Sun is flooding in, the birds are singing and I can smell spring.  It is the most perfect day to choose to work from home.  The coffee pot is on and the dogs are lying in a sun trap on the rug.  Working from home is always incredibly productive from me – I tend to work in energetic bursts and complete tasks more quickly without the distractions in the office.  I’d never give up the office entirely as I love the human interaction but it is bliss being able to work from home when I fancy it.

As I had my first coffee this morning I was indulging in watching Matt Lauer on the Today Show.  We grew quite close on my maternity leaves and it’s nice that we can spend some time catching up occasionally.  A feature that grabbed my attention this morning was about the beauty of growing old gracefully and various brands embracing older models.  You can watch it by clicking hereMac Cosmetics recently used one of my idols, Iris Apfel, in a campaign.  She looks amazing and always makes such a statement as the ‘world’s oldest living teenager’.  Even at 90 she is always incredibly decked out, with perfect make up, great accessories and her trademark glasses.  THAT is how I’m going to rock it in my 90’s – sorry in advance for stealing your look Iris.

Iris Apfel

Well Iris and the Today Show got me thinking.  As much as I love trying to ‘look good’ I am constantly aware of the pressures trying to look young.  We’ve all heard it before that the media and the fashion industry are pushing younger looking models, with skeletal, pre-pubescent figures.  Last year I succumbed.  I have to say it was more for experimentation than feeling that I looked old, but whatever the reason I went ahead and tried fillers and Dysport (similar to Botox).  There must be a masochistic side to me as I really didn’t mind the needles.  There was a slight, noticeable difference pre and post treatment but not significant enough to encourage me to try it again.  Occasionally I do worry about aging and certain situations make me consider our mortality, especially since becoming a mom.  What scares me more though is the precedent I may be setting for my beautiful daughter that it is okay to stick stuff in your face.  I want her to see the beauty in growing old gracefully, with style and panache.  I am now firmly of the belief that our lines should be treated as trophies of all that we have achieved, the wisdom we have acquired and a celebration that we have lived long enough to acquire a few life lines.

As I gazed in the mirror this morning inspecting my life lines I noticed my skin was actually in pretty good nick.  Until 3 months ago I was a ‘social’ smoker.  I started smoking in 1987 after making my Mum and Dad quit – I told them they would make me an orphan – brutal hey?  MM and I partied hard in the 90’s and I continued to smoke regularly – we were invincible back then.  When we moved to the US I tried many times to quit.  MM went cold turkey and stopped completely probably 6 years ago?  I maintained a ‘social’ habit.  Unfortunately I have been taken in by the glamor of smoking.  For those of you who are rabid anti-smokers I know it is tough to even comprehend, but when getting ready to go out there was nothing more satisfying than having a decadent cigarette in my glad rags.  Well as my children have grown older and my sense of mortality has become stronger I knew it was time to kick it into touch other wise I’d be kicking the bucket.  I’ve still no idea how I did it but just before Christmas I had my last cigarette and I’ve not missed them in the slightest.  Obviously I feel healthier than ever, running further and stronger than ever, and my skin has also benefited significantly.  It is hydrated, smooth and dare I say glowing or dewy?

So I’ve dumped a lot of stuff on you all this morning – all with positive outcomes, so please don’t judge me too harshly.  Now I just need to find a couple of new healthy vices:)

Working from home I threw on last year’s JCrew shorts and a JCrew cotton sweater from a few years ago – I love the blue color.  The Havaianas are out – these are the grey slim style.  I think I have almost every color and I prefer the slim style as they have a skinnier thong.  I threw on some big earrings to add a bit of bling to an otherwise basic outfit.  I’m resting on the nail polish for now to give my nails a break – my big treat after the race on Sunday will be a spa pedicure:)

Shorts and flip flops!


Summer closet is here!!!

A quick but very important post tonight – a milestone for 2012 in fact.  I have switched out the seasons in my closet!!  I’ve taken a chance that this is it, summer is here in the ATL.  Here’s the forecast for the next 10 days  – I know it includes a little rain but with those temperatures who cares?

All my woolen blazers and turtle necks are now stored away (after barely being worn this year).  Some cardigans remain of course for the air conditioning but look at this veritable display of color – how much joy to see this every morning!!  All my Boden tunics!  I am rapidly running out of space especially in this transition period where I still have a few light cotton knits in my selection.

Boden color!

It has somewhat taken me by surprise, even with the mild winter I never expected to be sitting here ‘glowing’ in my sweatpants.  MM is looking at me oddly wondering why with all my clothing choices I am still wearing a hooded top.

I am so thrilled I have my new JCrew shorts to wear that arrived the other week – and there I was thinking I was ordering prematurely.  I opted for the blue gingham, chambray polka dot, orange 4″ chinos and green 4″ chino shorts – all fabulous colors for summer.  I chose the 4″ as I think they are modest enough that I can wear them in our very relaxed office – I think I would feel just a tad exposed in 3″ inseams.  Gosh I feel quite giddy getting ready to wear all my summer clothes!

I placed another order today after much vacillation.  I had been contemplating the Boden tankini tops to go with my bikinis, which I adore, to both extend the lifespan of them and also provide a bit more coverage for the white bits early in the pool season, and when chasing two little ones around the pool.  I’m not shy after years of topless sunbathing in France, but Buckhead residents really don’t need to see everything exposed all the time, they’d have a cardiac if they knew I have no need for bikini tops at all in the Languedoc – oh how civilized the French are!  Anyway my arm was twisted after Boden announced a week of 25% off plus free shipping and returns on women’s swimwear and dresses and men’s shirts.  It looks like through March there will be different items on offer each week beginning each Tuesday.

Finally as I sign off I have a favor to ask.  Easy Living UK is having a little competition on their Facebook page where some of us Mommy bloggers are strutting our style.  I would really appreciate it if you could pop on over there by clicking here, then ‘Like’ my photos…my competitive spirit has taken hold:)  Thank you so much, and thank you as ever for taking the time to read my post:)


10 more miles.

I must start by thanking Elaine, my pacer, for running with me yesterday morning.  We had an amazing 10 mile run.  I normally run on my own and it is so nice to have a partner on a longer run.  Somehow we both seem to know when the other is struggling a little and needs to kick it up a gear.  We sprinted up the hills and really dug deep with what seemed like a great pace.  Unfortunately we didn’t time ourselves – it was intentional – but now I wish we had done as I feel like we were flying.  Maybe it was my pre-run chia seed drink?  Coincidence or not I’ll definitely be drinking it before the half on Sunday.  I LOVE my CEP compression sleeves too.  I ran in them then wore them all day and I had no swelling at all, I really appreciated the extra support they give my calves.  Maybe I need some compression tights?  It has to be said that I was fit for nothing for the rest of the day – I was completely drained.  After consuming my body weight in carbs I spent the day shuffling from one sofa to another and then hit the sack at 9pm which was still really only 8pm due to the clocks changing!

I nipped into Ulta this morning – luckily for me, unluckily for my bank balance, there is one around the corner from the office.  They are having their 21 days of Beauty event, and though I don’t usually need an excuse to shop there, there are some fabulous deals on which I don’t want to miss.  Today they are having a Philosophy event and I grabbed myself a Peel Party kit for $39 plus I got a free Philosophy gift with it too, on top of that you get $3.50 of any $10 purchase so I walked away with an arm full of goodies for some spring pampering.  Keep an eye out for the flyers and the various offers each day – there are some real bargains to be had.

I can pat myself on the back too as I have remembered Mothering Sunday in the UK is this Sunday!  I’m so excited I remembered.  Normally I forget and my poor Mum has to wait till May for the US one, but something triggered me to remember this year and I’ve successfully ordered a gift – can’t tell you what as Mum reads this – Hi Mum!!

This morning I was still hobbling around with sore thighs so wanted something comfy to wear.  It might also be my last day in a sweater for a while as the forecast is for 80 degrees for the rest of the week.  I’m wearing my Hudson Signature Collin jeans and AllSaints Itat shrug in black (I have it in vintage marl too), with my Tory Burch Eddies in black.  I tried to create a little quiff with my bangs this morning too – it must be okay as MM immediately noticed an paid me a compliment…not a bad start on a Monday morning:)

AllSaints Itat Shrug

Oops I did it again.

Today we’ve had the most incredible weather.  I always get so excited in March here as you can really feel the seasons change suddenly as the buds open, the temperature rises and the pollen increases.  I even burned my shins a little sitting in the garden this afternoon, definitely flip flops and bare legs weather, hooray!  I hope it lasts tomorrow as once the clocks have sprung forward I’m off out for my last long run before the half marathon next week.  I feel pretty virtuous today after a 20 minute shred with Jillian Michaels and then a 5 mile mountain climb on the bike in the Y while the kids were having their swimming lessons.  A good thing really as now the Mini Eggs have arrived in Target they’ve become quite a problem for me.  Thankfully I not only had Jillian to motivate me but an awesome workout partner too.

Eye of the Tiger

Poppy has just returned from another fabulous birthday party and she now claims she is a ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ girl…I’m convinced she will actually one day wear black lipstick and worship Siouxsie Sioux – her Dad will be so proud.

As I was leaving the house to take her and her friend to the party I decided it just wasn’t cool to go in my worn out gray sweats so I popped on my lovely reliable Boden Easygoing tunic which is currently on clearance at $49.  I have to say this normally wouldn’t be my style at all but I ordered it on a whim in the sale based on my love of all their tunics and I thought I should at least try this one.  I put it on and it really is the easiest thing to wear.  Worn as a dress, or over leggings or tights, it is so comfortable and I love the pockets.  It does verge on being a ‘smock’ so you definitely have to be careful with how you style it but I am very happy it is in my closet for these early spring days when I want to go bare legged.  I’m wearing it here with my navy Tory Burch Eddies.

Boden Easygoing tunicBoden Easygoing tunic

I painted my nails again last night and opted for Chanel Black Pearl.  It’s a gorgeous greenish metallic black but I have to say given the price of a Chanel polish it comes nowhere close to Essie or Opi for staying power.  I’ve already had two chips to touch up.

Finally, after lusting over it for 3 days, and then being madly frustrated that the AllSaints website was down, I went and ordered the Dissolve dress.  Yes I know it’s long sleeve and we’re heading into summer but I love it so much and it’s just ‘so me’ so yes I went and did it again and hit that ‘place order’ button.  I can’t wait to get it now – and if there is a short sleeve version I’ll probably get that too…;)

Ever increasing social circles.

I was a bit fuzzy this morning after a late night last night.  We went out for tacos and margaritas with our neighbors and had a fabulous time, but stayed a little later than I anticipated – mainly because we were having so much fun.  I feel very lucky to live in a neighborhood with such fun friends for both the children and us.  Summer is going to be a blast!

My daughter is definitely benefiting from her ever increasing social circle and numerous play dates.  She seems to be blossoming.  Recently we’ve had a few play dates with her friend across the street, then yesterday she started gymnastics with another friend from kindergarten, and today we have a couple of girls spending the afternoon with us as it was early release from school.  Our fabulous YMCA held an event to help us moms out and the girls ran riot, having a great time on the bouncy castles and practicing their gymnastics.  Then we went for frozen yogurt at my insistence:)  Frozen yogurt is not the only benefit I reap – I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great Moms.  It’s lovely to have the chance for a good gossip so we can put the world to rights.

No workout yet today – I’m hoping I can do it once all my child minding duties are done.  I’m certainly aching from the past two days so it must be having some effect – I can even feel it in my abs which is unusual for me – let’s hope it’s that 6-pack developing.  Maybe my chia seed drink will offset the damage done by the margaritas last night?  I’m mixing a tablespoon of seeds with water, a little honey and lime juice – it’s actually fairly palatable but it hasn’t made me feel like running 50 miles just for the hell of it yet.

No outfit photo today either as I am wearing my Nike pro capris and a sweater – very appropriate for play dates and the YMCA…I better not get into the habit of wearing my workout gear all the time though;)

As I was getting our YMCA membership cards together today I couldn’t help but giggle at my son’s.  This is his first mug shot and his demonstration of smiling for the camera, bless him.


My little man turned four yesterday.  Hard to believe it’s four years since I was in L&D and four years on he is still capable of making me scream.  At least 70% of the time though he is cute enough to make me forget the other 30%:)  We had a lovely family dinner at one of our favorite diners where he devoured his body weight in milkshake and chocolate cake.  He then sugar rushed his way through the noisiest set of gifts yet – a monster truck that plays music and does wheelies and a fabulous robot that shuffles around blasting things.  It has to be said he is a very happy four year old.

To be honest today has been one of those shitty days that rarely comes along, thankfully.  One of those days that I pretend has been sent to test me and make me stronger but has actually just made me feel a bit weepy.  It started with a shouting match at work and has ended with crying children at home. I’m obviously now having my first glass of wine for 4 days, which needless to say will probably do nothing to make me feel better.  Hey ho tomorrow’s another day.

I should mention that before I got into the office it was going pretty well – I did my first Jillian Michaels’ workout DVD.  It was suggested after I was looking for some ‘rock hard abs’ on the Boden Facebook page.  After reading all the rave reviews I thought it might be worth a try so off I trekked to Sports Authority to get my hand weights.  After level 1 of the 30 Day Shred I didn’t so much feel shredded as a complete lightweight.  I have no upper body strength and can’t for the life of me do push ups.  I’m also convinced my abs don’t respond when I try and do crunches.  I am, however, determined to continue with it for 30 days to either a) reap the incredible benefits that it promises or b) prove my theory correct that all fitness DVDs are a massive waste of time.

Even my clothing choice today promised a brighter outlook for today.  I love the Boden Must Have Jumper and this is the first outing for the quail egg version worn over 2011’s essential scoopneck tee, with my bargain slate straightleg wool crops bought in the clearance.

Must have jumper

I’m very happy with my nails right now – I used Essie’s Smokin’ Hot and the color is really flattering – a gorgeous grey with purple tones that will look great all year round.

Smokin' Hot

…And suddenly everything is right.

Firstly it is confession time.  After contemplating growing my hair I then decided that before embarking on such a painful process I should at least go as short as I dare.  So on Thursday evening I went to see the lovely O’Neil at Van Michael and got it all chopped off – even my trusty little asymmetrical fringe that has been my comfort blanket for so long.  I have to say I quite like it, it requires no time at all to style, not even a blow dry, and it is certainly very different from the ubiquitous long, blonde hair seen here in Atlanta.  I’m still giving myself a little fright every time I check the mirror as there is a lot more ‘face’ showing, but it’s definitely settling in on me.  I find I’ve been spending a little more time on my make-up especially around my eyes as I want to keep it soft and feminine.  There’s definitely a danger of looking too severe with such short hair.  The other bonus is that MM loves it – I’m very lucky to have a man that appreciates the confidence it requires to sport such short hair, he very kindly said it was very ‘Paris chic’ – hey I’ll take it!  As of now I’m planning on keeping it like this for a couple of months, maybe over the summer too as it is super for the heat and humidity we have here.  Then I’ll start growing it – for sure this time.

Today I am wearing my new haircut along with a 2011 Boden cashmere tunic, Gap jeggings, and my taupe Frye Shirley over the knee boots.

Friday was hectic, first a bike ride with an old friend, then lots of cleaning and preparation for Saturday’s birthday party for my son.  Prior to the tornadoes arriving, I managed to persuade my daughter to visit the shoe shop with me for her new spring/summer school shoes.  I’m very old school and have inherited my obsession for ‘sensible’ shoes for my children from my own wonderful Mum, who bought me Clarks shoes every school year, long after many of my friends were wearing ‘trendy’ shoes.  Unfortunately it didn’t save me from wreaking havoc on my feet in my late teens with badly fitting white stilettos.  I find the choice here to be pretty minimal compared to the children’s shoes available in Europe.  We have Stride Rite but I find them pretty predictable with their styles and the boys shoes are just so nerdy!  This time we visited a store here in Buckhead called Sprong.  Again though I was a little disappointed with the choice.  Am I the only Mom in Atlanta who wants closed toe and closed heel shoes for their daughter even in the summer?  I know it gets hot here, but from painful experience, sandals with no socks in the heat tend to lead to blisters, not to mention all the gravel that can get stuck under your foot.  With some help from a lovely, patient sales lady we struck gold.  I think you will agree that these See Kai Run shoes were made for Poppy, and thankfully she adores them.

The birthday party on Saturday had to be amended slightly.  After the rain all Friday night the yard was a mud pit so the bouncy castle was cancelled.  Fortunately the magician, white rabbit and twenty something kids all turned up and had a fabulous time.  The photo cake from Publix turned out a treat too and was demolished by 5pm.  We co-hosted with great friends whose son also turns 4 tomorrow, and both birthday boys were ecstatic with their haul of gifts.  Now all I have to worry about is taking Hugh for his four year old shots, ouch…

What with the chaos of the weekend I didn’t get my long weekend run so I am planning on it this evening.  I’m getting frustrated with my increased appetite from the increased running so I just ordered a bag of chia seeds.  Another fad I know, but they were recommended by Christopher McDougall, the author of “Born to Run”.  They are apparently packed full of nutrients and they swell to a gel when mixed with liquid, so not only are they supposed to give you more energy for long runs, but the also curb your appetite.  Let me know what you think if you have tried them…

Celebrating 3 years…

I’ve always struggled with my weight.  Hold on, let me rephrase that with a more honest appraisal – until 2009 I ate too much and exercised too little.  Even at University when I was wearing tiny sizes I still always thought I was on the chubby side mostly due to my love of a St. Andrews fish supper, and my lack of motivation to do anything physical in cold, wet and windy Fife.  At school I didn’t participate in any of the few sports available, again due to lack of aptitude and interest.

When I arrived in the US, in 2000, for some reason I thought the heat and healthy eating would help me lose weight.  Who was I kidding?  I very quickly paid the price of the HUGE portions that I ate ALL of (there are starving kids in Africa you know!), the cheap beer, and the sun loungers – how the hell can you exercise in 90 degree heat?  It was the ultimate constant vacation.  As I moved into my 30’s I resigned myself to the fact that I was a ‘big’ girl and I should just stop worrying about it and enjoy life.  I hated shopping for clothes and in hindsight I was probably more miserable about my weight than I was prepared to acknowledge.  Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad but I did kind of feel I was letting MM down as he had always been physically active playing football, running and just generally being more ‘get up and go’ than me.

My daughter arrived in 2006 and I PILED on the pounds.  I really did adopt the mantra eating for two.  Because I then lost a lot through breastfeeding and stroller pushing I persuaded myself I was back to ‘normal’ though I never stepped on scales – all I knew was that my pre-pregnancy clothes fit again, but given they were all US size 12s that wasn’t saying much…A year after my daughter was born I was pregnant again.  Hooray another opportunity to eat all I want.  Admittedly I didn’t gain quite so much with my son but I was still probably unhealthy.  When my son was born in 2008 I was in a much happier place, we had moved into our new house and I was feeling more settled.  I had a sense that changes were afoot.  While on maternity leave I discovered the joy of being out and about and had even ‘jogged’ a little with the stroller.  Maybe I could be more active?  I knew I had it in me as I had done step classes, jogged a little and played some football in the early 90’s – but my downfall was always that I was consistently inconsistent with any form of exercise that I tried to embrace.

When I returned to work I noticed a good friend had started to lose weight…she was changing shape dramatically and quickly and I asked her for her secret.  It turns out it was Jenny Craig.  Now I am NO fan of fad diets or paying to lose weight – I really do believe it is down to the simple math of burning more calories than you consume, but I needed something to get me on the right path and give me a kick up the backside.  So at the beginning of March 2009 I headed with some trepidation to a Jenny Craig center and signed up for membership.  I returned home with my bags of food determined to make it work – especially as I had just spent what seemed like a small fortune (but worth every penny now).  In the first week I think I lost 5lbs which was incredible motivation.  By September 2009 I weighed 135lbs – I’d done it – I lost almost 40lbs!

So today I celebrate 3 years since taking the plunge, and keeping it off has completed my metamorphosis into the occasional half marathon runner who thinks nothing of running 6-8 miles, cycling 30 miles, and swimming 30 laps of the pool.  Oh and hence the short hair – I was so thrilled to see my neck and collar bone again I wanted to show them off!  Not surprising that I don’t recognize the girl in the photos – who is that again?

Summer 2007

Summer 2007

Summer 2007

Fall 2008

Fall 2008

Fall 2007

Fall 2009, post-Jenny, in my 26″ Diesel Jeans

Post JennyPost JennyPost Jenny


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