Thursday, November 3, 2011

Settled

I am settling into the routine of school runs, kids homework, creating activities for the kids, cooking, baking and a host of other things. It has been one crazy year and I only hope between now and the next year things will start looking fruitful.

It is great that we finally see people most days and I get to go for coffee dates with friends and I can see my mum and dad more than once a year and spend a night out with the ladies and generally do stuff!

After a crazy busy half term last week, my art show and the kids off school and then one of my kids being very ill which she seems to be recovering now but it is a long process, things are starting to go back to normal, whatever that is. At the moment I am trying to get myself organised and be creative with the kids. I find it to be a huge task to keep them both entertained and keep them happy and to keep it as cheap as possible, but the nights are shorter so less activities outdoors during the evening. Having said that, bonfire night is upon us and I am really looking forward to taking the kids to see the fireworks.

It is another night (my 4th night) that I have to sleep next to my daughter to ensure she has a safe sleep, (she has been quite ill), fingers crossed it will be the last and we can all go into our own beds once again.

Good night for now.

S

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New home


This is my lovely new little kitchen. It is great and as you notice there is wine, coffee and many more hidden delights.

My dining area with one of my fave paintings. It always looks good in the dining area.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

One month on

One month on and we have been busy getting paperwork sorted out. Finding a house to live in and organising the shipping. Visiting family and dealing with family politics which I always enjoy (NOT). The weather has been wonderful but the dark nights are closing in and the cold mornings are apparent and now it is raining. I am however, excited to announce that we have found a new rental property and hopefully we will be in it next week.  In the meantime I will be visiting my folks and attending birthday parties and my parents are letting me use their car until I am in a position to buy my own which I am very grateful for since we will be living in a small village with limited stores and I need freedom of my own personal transport. Sadly I can not manage without the use of a car.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

UK

Gosh what can I say? The move back was emotionally challenging but logistically it went smoothly. I am living with my in-laws which has its ups and downs and I am looking for a place we can all live but there are a few challenges there too. However, since the return the weather has been amazing, we have been able to go out without the kids and go to local pubs with friends which is truly awesome and they have been missed. I have been to my parents and had tonnes of fun there, my folks are great, not sure what I would do without them. Nice to see my nephews and my niece.

It is time to really get settled and get our own place, I miss my own space and place and my belongings. I have been able to buy some lovely clothes in the sale no less which is great, need to buy furniture at some point but I will repeat, I want my own place.

I do have some updated photos but I am waiting for the photos with my dad as Lord Mayor and then I will post but for now I am going to chill.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Art by Stephanie Matthews (me)

Yes, I am talking about my own artwork, well someone has to.  This is one of my latest paintings. If you want to see more of my work the link is below and a brief outline about the artist - ME!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lululemon

One thing I will miss in Vancouver is the Lululemon store. I have made a number of purchases there my more recent ones being the purple 'Hot Yoga' bag, nice compact bag great for everyday use. Then... 
 The 'Bon Voyage' bag which I bought about a week ago, not yet used but will be great as a weekend bag come gym bag and will be great for the airport, and it has a space at the bottom to attach a yoga mat. I can't wait to use it.
Going back to the UK will mean I will be doing lots of travelling to see people so as long as I do not fill this to the brim I should be able to carry this no problem.

Friday, May 27, 2011

My calling!

After watching Coco avent Chanel it got me thinking about what is my calling in life. Some people say they know their calling and they follow it, I always thought I knew mine - to be a professional horse rider - I soon realised that the dream of that was passing me by and I moved on. Art was always a passion of mine and still is and I have only recently been pursuing it again but I am not sure it is my calling.

I recall at the first company I worked for after leaving university that I had done a painting for someone and brought it into work and my colleagues were impressed by my use of colour and my talent. One lady came up to me said that it was a waist of talent, perhaps she was right and still is but in the real world a professional artist makes little money.

I have an eye for colour, it comes naturally to me, one of my teachers at school was bemused and impressed by one of my creations and for my finals at school my art teacher was dumb-founded by my work, she tried to get me into a gallery but sadly they did not take it. What was I to do with my eye for colour!?! Maybe I should have taken my cue from these pleasantries but I was unsure of my abilities, lacked confidence, oddly enough failure was easier than success, why is that?

I am certainly not past it and I have time to get back on track but it is always that what if question. What if I spend all that money and get nothing in return. What if I feel at the end of it that I have waisted my time? What if I do not reap the rewards? What if someone better comes along? What if I never catch a 'break'? What if....I think it is an age thing that I have started to think like this. Some people would say just go for it, I used to, before kids, chores, limitations placed on me. Is this the issue, not breaking through those limitations? I could spend more time thinking about it and actually not doing anything about it.

We live in a world that never slows down, where everything is in real time, it has to be now, now, now. What happened to perfecting a talent, the art, taking years, time to master a craft? So many people are all about me, me and me, making money, how popular they are in the social media arena that they forget to step back from it and take a look at the bigger picture, to live, what is wrong with living the now? I have seen people on Twitter, mention that they are in 'pursuit of happiness', it brings a tear to my eye to see this. Why should one not be happy, what does it take to be happy? Money? It helps. Marriage, friendship, success? I guess it is different for each person. In general I am a happy person, but the stresses of the economic crisis took its toll but I am almost back to my former happy self. I will be once I get home and settled.

Too much emphasis has been put on to status, and we forget there is more to life than money, status, the car, the house, designer clothing need I go on? But there is talent out there, so much talent that a lot of it is missed because of the lack of opportunity, not meeting the right people etc, a lot has to do with timing and luck and Chanel met the right person at the right time and built her career.

There are so many questions that can only be answered by doing it. It works for some, some even become famous, for others, at least they tried. What do they say, it is not the winning but the taking part?

Coco Chanel (Gabrielle)

I have finished watching Coco Avent Chanel. What a movie. Very inspiring and empowering, from a womans perspective certainly and also from an artistic point of view.  If only I could speak french! I had the english subtitles up but I was surprised by how many words are very similar it is the connecting words as well as the fast paced speech that confusing the hell out of me. Nonetheless, one of my dreams is to be able to speak it somewhat fluently or at least conversational - one day - sigh!

Picture courtesy of Amazon.co.uk

I love fashion, what woman doesn't? I am not however, I huge follower, or at least not these days. There is no way I could possibly afford to wear Chanel - yet another dream of mine - therefore, I choose not to dream about what I can't have. Maybe this point of view is an unwise choice but one can spend to much time dreaming and doing little about it, oui?

Thankfully Chanel changed the way women dressed.

Entertaining movie I give it 9/10.

Lord Mayor

I get to go to the Lord Mayors Parlour (my dad is Lord Mayor) and get some photos done before my dad officially ends his role. Good times, picture will be posted soon. :)

Pashley bike

I really, really want a Pashley Sovereign bike. Pashley stick to classic designs, to add they are handmade in England using products produced in England including, Brooks  saddles, absolutely beautiful. I have read reviews about this bike and no one is disappointed but they do say it is heavy (not for hills) and they can be tricky for the untrained bike mechanic (mentioned mostly by those in the States). Since I will be living in England I am sure that I can find someone to fix any problems but I better make sure that I live in a flat area with very few hills!

A Princess at the fair
Picture from Pashley Cycles website.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Postpartum Depression

I found this wonderful blog about postpartum depression, it is on a website called Goop , created by Gwyneth Paltrow. This particular blog is close to my heart.

Sadly when I had my first child instead of wonderment I was filled with no emotions, mixed emotions, overwhelmed, helpless, my life had gone in an instant. I was more than happy to give the little baby, my beautiful baby, to my husband and be done. The blog goes on to describe what a lot of women feel and what can easily go un-noticed by the new mother and those around her. I had no idea there was anything wrong with me I just found being a mother a chore, hard work and nothing pleasurable about it. Breastfeeding was difficult and being forced, pocked, prodded and jammed by nurses to get my baby to feed did not help at all but you read books and magazines and breastfeeding is the best thing to do for your baby. In my opinion, it is, only if it works for both of you.  Part of the problem I had was feeling like a failure not been able to breastfeed. I had no connection and consequently my beautiful little girl who is now five, is attached to her dad, she is a daddy's little girl and I am glad to have had his support through the whole thing and that she is what her dad always wanted, a daddy's little girl.

Today it makes me very sad that I did not have that connection I was meant to have (according to the books that is), guilt driven at times. But despite the crappy healthcare I got (by the way I paid for private on this occasion), we both survived. My second child was the opposite in comparison. Breastfeeding was easy, my 'injuries' from giving birth were no where near as bad, my weight dropped back to pre-birth within a week, whereas my first born, I gained a lot of weight and I never regained my pre-pregnancy body, and with today's celebs going back to 'normal' quickly did not help my self esteem.

All in all, I love my girls - LOVE them. The pressure from the media and the healthcare system lets mothers down - they set high expectations. Mothers need to be able to do what they can and make the best of what they have given the circumstances. We do not live in a perfect world and we do not live in a text book environment. More communication from the nurses would have helped - been constantly told that I was not feeding my baby enough upset me even more, I was not provided with choices I had to figure it our for myself and I had no idea. When I got back home, and they begrudgingly let me go home, we both thrived as time went on, it was a slow process but we got there and help from family meant that it made life for all a little easier.

I can't say enough - go with your instinct, if it is not working for you or your child or both then try something else and listen to yourself, not what everyone else thinks you should do. Motherhood is a powerful thing, no matter how much you prepare you may not be mentally prepared for what lies ahead, in this instance help from family, friends or even neighbours will assist with the transition of self to selfless.

House is sold, what next?

The house sold quickly and in a timely manner which I am very pleased about. The flights are booked the packing and clearing has begun and the hunt for a shipping company is nearing its end. There are mixed emotions in the household to say the least. We are all excited to be moving back to our home, England, but it has been seven years since we lived there and we have our home here, we got married here, in Canada, and we had our little girls here. So what next?

Well we will live with family, visit everyone we can, get our bank accounts reactivated, try to live without a car for a while, get the girls into schools ready for September, husband gets a job, we find a rental property and those are the priorities for now. I do have one final item I wish to mention, a third child. Yes I said it, I never thought I would but my girls are not babies any more and we would love a little boy but if it is a girl that would be fun too and names for both have been selected. We are in discussions, not about having one but more along the lines of timing and how it will impact us. I am used to my sleep now and to start over does not excite me, but the pitter patter of tiny feet does. A decision needs to be made soon because the clock is finally ticking...      

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

If I could look like someone it would be...

Don't get me wrong, I like who I am but on my off days I would prefer to look like someone else :). I am currently having a lot of off days since I am overly stressed and am wishing that it could all be over so that I can get on with life. My stress is not causing me to loose weight however, the reverse, all I want is chocolate! Anyhow, If I could look like someone else it would have to be one of the following at any chosen time:

Kate Hudson - such a girl next door sweetheart who looks like she is tonnes of fun to be around plus she looks great. When pregnant she radiates and she looks pregnant in a 'normal' way instead of a third world poverty stricken skinny underfed person. Infact it is disgraceful that this is allowed to happen but the Western world media thinks skinny is beautiful - but when pregnant it really is not. For goodness sake it is your baby you are risking not your image.

Kate Winslet - stunning lady, known for her curves, but sadly and more recent she has gone the Hollywood route of malnourished looks. Kate get your curves back, that it why you are so popular.

Victoria Beckham - now, I would not like to look like her but she has a certain style and as she matures a sophistication that is admirable. I want her style and I love the inverted bob haircut (I had this done at Vidal Sassoon before it became popular - it turns heads). Glad to hear she is pregnant again - lucky girl.

Gwyneth Paltrow - also a girl next door, is too skinny for what I am looking for (I prefer to have a sporty physic) but she is pretty and down to earth and she has a great website called Goop A strange name but anyway it has some excellent tips and suggestions.

I think that is it for now.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

House for sale

Our house is finally on the market and we think it is priced well. It has been listed for almost a week and we have had about one viewing per day which is great. Fingers crossed it will be sold soon.

Renos complete

The en-suite is finished and it is lovely...
Kitchen is complete...
 


Master bedroom looks great...


Family Bathroom...          

Thursday, February 17, 2011

House Selling

I am selling my house. A task that I loath to do particularly when there is work happening (updating the en-suite) and I will not get to enjoy it to its full. The last two years have been financially challenging and enough is enough, sometimes owning properties just isn't worth it. The current climate means that we will not make a big profit but hopefully a break even situation will occur. I have brought houses in the past to renovate but this one really did suck us dry, a bigger task and money pit than envisaged. Initially this home was meant to be our forever home but it is not happening that way. Moving out to Vancouver, Canada has been a huge struggle, I surprisingly got work easily but my husband has struggled, apparently he is too English (what on earth does that mean?). Ironic really since he spent most of his childhood in Canada. The more I meet ex-pats the more they say that even though Vancouver is a lovely place, the people are too clique, they do not know how to laugh at themselves (they are way too cool for that) and they smoke pot like Brits drink beer and the amount of homeless folks is shocking (reason being that it is warmer in Vancouver than other parts of Canada, so they make their journey across country). They must make a fair amount on the streets because a flight or drive costs a lot of money - I can't afford it.

Anyway, I hate to say it but I have grown bitter towards this place. I miss my down to earth friends who can laugh at my crap jokes and sense of humour, who know what wit and sarcasm is and going out straight after work is not a chore. Driving 300 hundred miles is fun to do when you know there are people who love you at the other end. I miss home, the gray skies, the arrogance the English have, the politics, the crowds the beautiful countryside, knowing you are more likely to get attacked by a sheep than ever seeing a bear. Football, I could do without, too much hooliganism lets the English down.

The grass may appear greener and it will be if you bring over your entire family otherwise it is hard to be alone in a country you were not brought into. Fun to travel and experience life but working, living and breathing it after a year or two is something else.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Art

http://stephmattart.blogspot.com/

Above is the link to my art blog. I have been actively working on drawing and sketching so that I get back to basics when producing paintings. I love to paint and I love colour but sometimes it is necessary to go back to the bear bones and start over. I have been wanting to create art but I wanted to do something that I could do on a daily basis instead of a paining that can take weeks and months to complete.

On my art blog you can see most recent blogs have been about he drawings much earlier you will see my paintings. I also intend to do more photography.

So please check it out at: http://stephmattart.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reading Frenzy

I am currently reading like a 'mad hatter', not really sure that is a good comparison but tough. I am trying to read some of the classics, the ones I should have read earlier in my little life. I have read Jayne Eyre and I am currently reading a book of Thomas Hardy, he is an extraordinary writer I have never read anything like it. I only wish I had studied literature when I was at college but instead I did art only. Anyway, after reading dear Henry's book I intend to read Charles Dickens which again, I have left far too long.

Reading the classics makes a big difference to extending your language but it is lovely to read books that are not produced just for a quick 'buck'. All these chick lits, which I enjoy at times, are not a patch on the likes of Dickens.

It seems a pity to me that the English language is changing and has changed with the use of technology Acronyms drive me insane and the fact that I read so many blogs and a simple words like, see you later, has been butchered to, c u L8R, or something to that effect. Well I can tell you my children will know how to read, spell and know how to write a letter before they take to this 'new' language.

Cooking Shows

I thoroughly enjoy watching cooking shows. Nigella Lawson being my favourite, Jaime Oliver when he started out and now I am watching Sophie Dahl.

Sophie Dahl brings a little something to the table that you can not help but watch. She is not like Nigella, even though the press seem to think she is. I can see why they say that but really, Nigella loves to cook, it's her passion. Sophie on the other hand seems to like cooking and is somewhat clumsy around the kitchen and she is less sophisticated somehow but she brings a girly innocent quality to the table and for that I enjoy watching her. I love how she calls her date, the 'Suiter', how splendid to hear language that is rarely used these days, or at least not where I was brought up. Some of her recipes seem appetizing like the un-traditional shepherds pie, not a fan of rhubarb so the Eaton Mess will be left in its original state, for me at least.

Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights
Picture courtesy of Amazon.co.uk

I am not a food snob by any stretch of the imagination but I like good food, from cheese on toast (with good cheese and bread) to a lovely cooked pheasant. I do not think Sophie should be criticised for using something other than lamb in her shepherds pie (even though it should really be called cottage pie if using beef) we all make mistakes, OK it is not traditional but I think that is the point to her show, she adds or subtracts something new with what already exists. It will not stop me from buying her book - oh no.

The decision should be left to your taste buds.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

Where is the time going? It will be my birthday soon too - arggh!

Christmas was quiet this year my in-laws visited which was nice. I have not seen my parents for almost a year now, sad to say.

I hope this year is a better year, another tough year but I think it will work out for the best come 2012. I do hope the house sells quickly at the price we want for it and we get to visit Las Vegas and New York on our way back to England.

First and foremost I wish to be close to friends and family that is my focus for this year.