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...