Tag Archives: Patagonia

The 2015 Swimsuit Issue

Yes it’s that time of year again! While I sit and watch the final round at Augusta and wait for Hillary to make her big announcement I thought I would catch you up with my week in Fort Morgan. It was perfect. The weather was the best we’ve ever had at this time of year, the house was perfect, and everybody managed to relax. The kids surfed while my Husband and I indulged in some great holiday reading.

If you’re looking for a couple of book recommendations here are mine! I actually let my Husband choose for me from his previous reads – dangerous given the number of historical, academic books he reads but he chose well – ‘Lionel Asbo’ by Martin Amis and ‘The Dinner’ By Herman Koch.

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Both are equally dark in their own way, but gripping, page turners too! ‘Lionel Asbo’ actually had me sniggering out loud at times with it’s insightful cultural references, and at other times the hairs on my neck stood on end, terrified about what might happen on the next page. ‘The Dinner’ left me with more unanswered questions than answered questions, and for me the ending was unsatisfying, but the journey there was intriguing! I’d love to hear your recommendations for my summer reads this year!

IMG_2155So while I read and relaxed my Husband was on boogie board duty. I say ‘duty’ – he actually loves it and there was really no hardship wandering down the steps to the ocean shore. All three of them here are in their Patagonia board shorts!

IMG_2171I’m afraid I have few outfit photos from the week – I took 3 pairs of denim shorts and wore one pair all week – the weather was so amazing I went from pjs to running gear to bikini back to pjs!

IMG_2283Bikini – Target (old)

IMG_2333Bikini – J.Crew (last year -similar here)

IMG_2336Jumpsuit – ASOS (similar here – I love these for throwing on over a bikini!)

IMG_2323T-shirt – J.Crew (25% off with SHOPNOW) // Shorts – J.Crew (25% off with SHOPNOW)

IMG_2164Shoes – Adidas Adilettes (utterly in love with these!)

I did however manage to get Poppy to take this as we jumped in the car to head down to the Gulf. This jumpsuit is the ideal travel attire!

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Jumpsuit – Splendid (old – similar here) // Sandals – Zara (old) // Bag – H&M

I will say that though I battle with my expanding waistline and I adapt to new bumps and scars, as I approach my 44th birthday this summer, I have never been happier or more content with my body in a bikini. Embrace it girls – if you do everyone else will! xx

 

A Christmas to remember.

Firstly I hope Santa bought you everything you hoped for?

We have had an amazing week.  Christmas Eve was filled with love and friendship on our annual family visit to Church.  It’s a tradition I established a couple of years ago as I have great memories of singing carols as a child, both at Church and school.  Attending a public school here though means there is very little carol singing, if any, as we have all this separation of Church and State etc.  So in order for the children to appreciate the story of Christmas I have started taking them to Church on Christmas Eve.  The real miracle is that even MM – a true agnostic – comes with us and belts out a couple of carols.  This year we were also joined by friends and that made it really special.

For Church I wore my H&M dress, Boden chic leather biker jacket from last season and my black Isabel Marant Dicker boots.  I can’t see the dress online right now but it was recently in the sale here in store for just $10 – yes it’s synthetic and I wouldn’t stand anywhere near a naked flame in it – but I think it’s really fun and can be worn for a variety of occasions.

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On Christmas Day morning Santa was good to all of us – leaving us 4 tickets for a flight that lunchtime to NYC!  SO exciting!  Fortunately, Santa had tipped off Mom and Dad beforehand, so we had time to do a little under cover packing.  Note to self: don’t try to go to Church, pack bags and wrap presents on Christmas Eve again.

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Of course one of the joys of traveling Christmas Day is that there is no Christmas Dinner to cook.  My little ones were thrilled with their alternative Christmas Dinner and a trip to their first NYC McDonald’s!

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We anticipated that the weather was going to be colder up there but bl**dy hell it was freezing.  So much for me wondering which jackets to take.  In the end I made the right choice with my Patagonia Downtown Loft puffer – it was perfect for navigating the Rockefeller Center with the rest of the New York tourists.

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It was crazy there and if the crowds were overwhelming for me then they must have been for Hugh and Poppy so we headed to Bryant Park instead, which was far more civilized on Christmas night.  Another beautiful Christmas tree to see, ice skaters to watch and the Empire State Building lit up above us.  What a perfect NYC scene.

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Food featured heavily in this trip and that night we headed back to the hotel, weary from traveling and crowds, to enjoy the best Chinese takeaway ever.  I see a new tradition beginning.

Boxing Day was icy again, but intent on doing some more tourist attractions for the children’s benefit, we headed Downtown.  I wrapped up in the Boden Fairisle jumper, layered over an H&M vest dress, with my AllSaints Delors leather trousers, Zara scarf and Ash Bowie boots – which I have to say were the most comfortable shoes for walking up and down Manhattan – I was thrilled they’d made it into my bag!  (Carnage behind me in this photo – a family of 4 in a hotel room…).

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It was important for MM and I to pay our respects at the World Trade Center site, but not wanting to go into too much detail with a 4 and a 6 year old, we opted to wander slowly past Engine 10 Ladder 10 and the memorials.  Very moving and hard to keep it together all these years later.

We then headed to the Staten Island Ferry.  Not only the best way to see Downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty – but the deck of a ferry was also the venue for MM’s proposal of marriage one day early in December, 15 years ago.  After telling Poppy the story she now loves recounting the bit about me drinking a beer and eating a hotdog. IMG_2865 IMG_2866 IMG_2868 IMG_2872

After lunch we headed back Uptown, for a bit of culture and warmth, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  We indulged the children with Egyptian Mummies then Hugh decided it was time for a bit of a meltdown – not surprising – the poor lad had walked miles.  I took full advantage of his meltdown to suggest it might be an idea if I sat with him in the café (read bar) so he could snooze (and I could drink prosecco) – I always have my children’s best interests in mind you see.  MM got to wander the corridors of art and Byzantine relics while I ‘parented’ – perfect for all of us I think?  Plus the snow began to fall as I sat there snuggling my 4 year old.  To say it felt Christmassy was an understatement – I was in heaven!

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That night we headed out to dinner to the Bryant Park Grill.  I wanted to take the children out for a nice Christmas dinner but obviously the location had to be child friendly and this venue worked out well.  We dined on oysters, rack of lamb, and classic New York cheesecake.  Don’t even think about the calories.  Unfortunately the weather was ABYSMAL and we got SOAKED walking home – but renditions of ‘My Favorite Things‘ kept us buoyant:)  I was very relieved that suede had not been my choice of footwear.  Instead I wore my Rag & Bone Newburys (in New York what else?), with Dorothy Perkins coated jeggings (now just $29, incredibly comfortable AND they turned out to be pretty water proof!), Forever 21 earrings (similar here – LOVE how cheap they are!), and my tie dye Target Converse dress.  On a side note it turns out that Rag & Bone put a lot of thought into designing the perfect boot for New York women – and they really do fit the bill perfectly.  Some heel height for a bit of sass, but a block heel for walking between subway stations, and a padded footbed for comfort.

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On Thursday we walked miles again.  Dressed in my Off Duty Boden jumper (possibly my favorite this season), AllSaints leather Delors trousers, and Frye Phillip studded harness boots with my H&M scarf we headed off for breakfast. After pancakes we started with a bit of shopping in Soho.  Bizarrely and quite worryingly I didn’t buy a thing, though I did worship for a while at the Isabel Marant and AllSaints stores.  It was also fun popping in places like Uniqlo that we don’t have here in Atlanta.  Fish and chips at A Salt and Battery was our reward for lunch before heading back Uptown to Dylan’s Candy Bar – Mom and Dad deserve a medal for braving those crowds.

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My absolute favorite meal/experience of the trip was our visit to Balthazar restaurant on Friday morning.  It made me wish we could stay and celebrate New Year’s Eve there.  MM had taken me there once before as a treat on my 40th birthday trip.  It was fun to go back and let the kids know we were eating at the Beckham’s favorite spot:)  I bet Victoria doesn’t order what I did – it was perfect with a Mimosa.

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So Christmas 2012 has been fabulous and we still have New Year’s Eve to go.  I am extremely thankful though that we left NYC as the revelers arrived – I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather NOT be on December 31st than Times Square!

Glad to be back blogging – thanks for all your emails and comments – I have read them all and will reply soon I promise!  What do you all have planned for Monday evening – and what are you going to wear!?

 

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Juicing.

It all seems a little anti-climatic this morning after the excitement of election day.  MM and I flicked between about a dozen channels last night watching the results come in – some for amusement and others for information…I think it was pretty much determined by the time we went to bed.  I feel very proud to have taken part in the process – my first Presidential Election!

I’m still feeling rubbish today – terrible head cold – so I’ve just been to Whole Foods in an attempt to rid myself of the lurgy using various juices.  Not to mention I’ve piled on about 100lbs from ‘feeding my cold’.  I bought beets, ginger, and carrot and it tastes pretty good actually, with a scoop of chia seeds for good measure.  I’m sure it’s more psychological than anything but I’m fed up of feeling under the weather.  I want to feel better by Friday so I can head out on a good long run and clear my head.

It’s brass here today, and what with feeling sorry for myself it was the perfect opportunity to get my puffer out for the first time.  Not the most flattering of coats, but perfect for when you don’t want to leave your duvet.  This one is Patagonia – I love their coats – light and warm and last years.  I actually got dressed instead of wearing sweats again – much to the relief of everyone in Whole Foods, and wore my Hudson jeans, Vince Camuto taupe Autumn wedges, and an H&M sweater dress that was buy one get one free – and I’m pretty sure the offer is still on here.  I paid $25 for two – a bargain!  The pink scarf doesn’t really match but to be honest at 8.30am this morning I didn’t care.  You’ll also notice another Pax unit was assembled last night – it took a little longer than it should as MM and I were both wetting ourselves at each others ineptitude – who’d have thought IKEA flat packing could provide such hilarity?

Another outfit I forgot to post the other day was from Saturday when we went to my daughter’s swim meet.  Quite loud pants it has to be said but they are awfully comfy.  They are the Zara snake print trousers, worn with a blush H&M tank an AllSaints sweater (no longer online), with my Ash Bowie sneakers in camel and H&M sparkly blush scarf. As you can see the kids always want to get in on the act – I’m forever telling them to keep out of the closet right now due to tacks, hammers and swaying closet fixtures – so guess where they always want to be?

 

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I brought too much.

Yes not surprisingly I brought too much stuff with us.  The lifestyle, the walking, and the weather over here really don’t require the array of outfits that I packed.  The need for 2 pairs of ballet flats completely obviated by consistently soggy ground and puddles.  Remind me next year folks to just bring jeans, a couple of t-shirts and a couple of sweaters – it’s all I’ve really worn.  Not that I’m complaining but it would have been nice to be able to wear a jacket other than my Patagonia Nano in June!  Well in fact I did yesterday and made a HUGE error in judgement but more on that in a moment!

On Monday we ventured off to Skipton.  Now don’t ask me why my family has always had an affinity with West Yorkshire but ever since I can remember we have been having family day trips to the lovely town of Skipton.  It’s just far enough to feel like a ‘proper day out’ and yet not too far where it feels you’re not home till dark – though that would be tough here right now – completely WEIRD that the sun is not setting till at least 10pm and rising at a ridiculously early hour.  My brother and his family joined us and we set off in convoy.

Now Skipton is a huge draw for me due to the fabulous fish and chips that it has to offer, so after a walk around the market we headed to Bizzie Lizzie’s for lunch.  Thankfully both children seem to have embraced this British institution too, though sadly remain skeptical about mushy peas.

Hugh overjoyed at the prospect of fish and chips.  Me in my Boden must have jumper in quail egg and Breton long sleeved top.  Boden’s sale will start soon but they have 40% off select styles now – take advantage if you have your eye on something it may not be there in the sale!

On then to Bolton Abbey.  This ruin has to be set in some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain.  It is idyllic and you can walk along the river through wild garlic, blue bells and foxgloves – just gorgeous – even with 2 very tired children.  I never thought I’d be the Mum urging them on and telling them the car park is ‘just around the corner’ around every corner:)

Aggressive ducks who enjoyed Hugh’s peanut butter sandwiches!

The rock climbing got a little too adventurous for me!

Poser.

At the Strid with Grandad.

Bolton Abbey is also very dear to my heart as when MM and I were trying to select a venue for our non-religious but still white wedding we landed on the Devonshire Arms – the perfect place – a bit posh but fairly unpretentious (if you don’t count the helicopter pad) – so I got to show the children yet again where Mum and Dad got married, and a few years later my sister and her husband.

Yesterday we ventured off out again, this time Chester Zoo.  Chester Zoo has changed dramatically since I was little – it’s a fabulous zoo, well looked after, clean, and large with tonnes of great animals to see.  The weather was glorious as we packed the car up in Bury – in fact I nearly put my shorts on and I got to wear my Wayfarers for the first time here!

Waiting to go – I’m in my Gap black skinnies, AllSaints Bonny Cuban boots, H&M linen long sleeved top and my Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

All Mini Bodened up:)

Now Chester Zoo isn’t that far away from Bury – we’re still in the North West of England anyway, but boy those skies darkened as we got closer to our destination.  It turned out to be that rain, very specific to the North West, that I like to call a fine, consistent, wet rain, wet as in drenched.  This is where my error in clothing was spectacular – my poor Boden leather jacket:(  The rest of my very sensible family were all prepared in their Gore-Tex waterproof jackets…not me – I didn’t get the memo.  Thankfully there seemed to be a coach load of Scousers wearing far more inappropriate attire than me – they were more fun to watch than the animals:)

I asked them to smile.

Wet, wet, wet.

The dinosaur exhibit – Hugh was far more interested in the inanimate, extinct animals.

The spitting dinosaur – couldn’t tell really due to the rain.

Awww – new baby tigers:)

Today we’re taking it easy.  My sister and her boys are coming over, I’m going for a run, and then I’m off out with an old school friend tonight.  I can’t wait to catch up – I saw her briefly last year, but really it’s been almost 20 years since and 7 children (she has 5!) since we had a night out together.  I bet neither one of us has changed too much.

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No love lost between me and February 14th

All I can think about right now are the 40 or so Valentine candies that I have to prepare for the kids to take to school tomorrow.  I have bought the ones that have the little cards with them so all I have to do is write each child’s name on them, but still it is a chore hanging over my head.  I have to say I hate Valentine’s Day.  Here in the U.S.  it seems that it is much more than a day for lovers, it is a day to send everyone and anyone a piece of candy, a card, or some other gift of appreciation.  MM and I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day, we see it as a horribly commercial day and another ploy by companies to get you to part with your money.  I can’t bear the idea of sitting in a restaurant trying to be romantic on a Tuesday night with every other couple in Atlanta.  Firstly, if you ask me, love should be celebrated everyday and shouldn’t require one day a year to be devoted to it.  It just perpetuates the stereotype of men running around trying to please their wives/girlfriends, and fearing that if they don’t spend a fortune on red roses they will be in ‘the dog house’ for the rest of the year.  Secondly, February 14th is a day that is dedicated to Saint Valentine by the Catholic Church – not a day for us all to go out and buy heart shaped candy.  Call me miserable by all means – but see how you feel when you are told that you must send in a gift for every child in your children’s class.

Maybe I am scarred as Valentine’s Day just brings back memories of the pressure I endured as teenager, desperately hoping I’d receive a Valentine’s card.  I used to hate getting the bus home on Valentine’s Day as there would always be a few smug girls ‘struggling’ and giggling, carrying one of the huge oversize cards, bought by some lovesick boyfriend off Bury Market.  I never got one.  I remember one year actually having a ‘boyfriend’ on Valentine’s Day.  He bought me a card and then wrote an inflated price on the back of it to suggest the more he spent the more he cared…I know you might be reading this, and won’t name names, but don’t think I didn’t figure out your cunning plan!  Anyway, my point is that there is so much pressure in the years to come regarding Valentine’s Day, why introduce it for kindergartners?  They have plenty time to be concerned with it – please let’s leave it to the amateur lovers out there that feel they need to prove something to someone…

Okay now that is off my chest let’s talk about the Grammys last night.  My absolute favorite performance was Bruno Mars – what a great show – I was grinning from ear to ear watching him move.  Sir Paul McCartney was pretty dreadful in my opinion – come on Paul you don’t even need to do this anymore surely?  Overall I think they handled Whitney’s death pretty well – I thought L.L. Cool J. hit the tone perfectly at the start of the evening as he honored her and proceeded to remind everyone they were there to celebrate.  Congratulations to Adele on taking home all six Grammys that she was nominated for.  I haven’t seen her sing yet though as I could barely keep my eyes open after Sir Paul’s snooze inducing performance.  One last rant though, why oh why is Chris Brown still getting t.v. air time?

It’s another frigid day here and knowing I’m going to be sitting in a heated office most of the day makes it more difficult to decide what to wear.  Rather than basing my choices on the temperatures, I opted to try and provide some cheer for everyone with a bit of color.  I love the Boden colourblock tunics, they are so comfortable and easy to wear and today I have paired the violet one with Boden black leggings and my favorite Frye Jane Tall boots – all topped off with my black Patagonia Downtown Loft jacket which is so warm and yet doesn’t necessarily look like I should be out climbing a rock face.  A good thing really as I won’t be going near any today.

Boden colourblock tunic, Frye Jane Tall boots

MLK Day – another day off!?

When we first arrived in the States no one took MLK Day as a Holiday and now it seems the whole of the States closes down for the day including the schools. It always seems way too soon after the Christmas break to take another long weekend and I am never in any mood to have the children at home again – yesterday was no exception. So we decided to get wrapped up and pack a picnic and head an hour and a half North of Atlanta to Amicalola Falls.  The children were really excited about the impending adventure and with the amount of gear we had with us you’d think we were heading to the North Pole for a month. Needless to say our day out turned into one of the best family days we’ve had for a while.

My daughter is almost 6 and my son turns 4 in March so it has been difficult to walk too far with them as their little legs don’t get them anywhere quick…but yesterday they were real troopers in every sense of the word. They walked the mile up the mountainside then back down the 600 steps that take you right down the side of the Falls and across the Falls without any complaints.  We skipped, ran, walked and splashed in puddles.  DD did her Pocohontas impression and stopped every few hundred yards listening to the sound of the water getting closer.

We got back down to the car to enjoy our PB sandwiches and within no time both children were fast asleep in the backseat.  What a fabulous day and no complaints – at least not from them – my calves are still killing me today!!! I can’t wait for more fun family hikes in the North Georgia mountains – maybe we’ll get more adventurous each time and head off the beaten path! (N.B. leaving the beaten path has, in my experience with my parents, resulted in up to 10 mile hikes expectantly looking round every corner for the car park…)

Photo shows us taking a break up the hillside – I’m in my Hudson Collin jeans, green Hunters and Patagonia nano pullover.

Amicalola Falls