The Pursuit of Beauty (or why are we afraid to age?)

It is very easy to get caught up in the media hype of what is beautiful and how to age (without really doing so).

I have been thinking about this for some time; Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube are exploding with videos, articles and hints on how not to age, or how to hide ageing so it looks like it’s not happening cdb07eb6c8f0e83cb57a5511a8bdda55--makeup-mistakes-look-older

I have an age spot…on my face (shock, horror) and more coming. I live in Australia, my parents were migrants from Europe, there was never too much sun and only the redheads wore any sun protection; so it’s not surprising that at the age of 55, my skin is starting to show the result of this abusive past. My best friend wants to book a session for some “work” and has invited me to have some work done too… do I need it? Do I want it?? age spot (not me)

TBH, a little voice in my head is saying to go and do it, the age spot is not small, although it’s not too dark at the moment and it’s on the side so I can ignore it quite successfully 🙂

But, I know I would feel good if it wasn’t there…

My arms, back and decolletage are all peppered with freckles and moles (and curiously loss of pigment in certain spots). My skin is just one part of me, I think I look okay most of the time (hey, we all have our off days!).

My main issue is that I am trying to be happy with myself. What am I telling my children when I have stuff done to my face? That the pursuit of perfection is ongoing and that contentment with oneself is unattainable? This is not the message I want them to absorb!

I am carrying too much weight, I have mentioned this before. I think I have reverted to the shape I am meant to be, in some ways my body shape has gone back to when I was a little girl. I spent 40 years slim and envied, I never thought about my weight or what I ate, I lived my life, had babies and a career, my body has served me well. Now I am healthy.  I have done circuit training, boot camp, weight lifting, jogging etc etc with little effect except spectacular muscle definition. My blood pressure is fantastic, my cholesterol is okay, my blood sugars are fine. I am active and apart from a nurses back (with its sequelae) I am in okay shape, I am just too heavy- but who decided that? I have often said I have a Germanic build, lots of upper body strength (just perfect for digging in the fields) and I am quite similar to about half of my Dutch cousins (the other half are slim and tall). Maybe, this is the weight I am supposed to be?


I am the shape  between 24.9 and 30 on this picture and it doesn’t alter much no matter how much exercise I do! So I continue to strive for contentment. I probably won’t get the stuff done to my face,  are always other things I would rather spend my money on (like fabric, sewing machines, sheet music, cycling gear……sigh)



Times Past

As I am now single, my mind occasionally wanders to times past, past lovers, past heartaches; this is a little snapshot of “the One”.

They fell in love with alarming speed and ferocity, she eighteen, he nineteen, birthdays separated by days. In fact, he had just been to his own birthday party, put on by friends when they met, he was slightly drunk and feeling very merry.

The attraction was mutual and blinding. When he got up to leave, he tapped her lightly on the head with a rolled-up poster (a present from a friend); he said, “Very nice to meet you” and her heart skipped a beat.

He was a gentleman, although at that stage she did not know he was taken already; an intense holiday romance in England at the end of high school had left him feeling a sense of obligation to another girl who had come from more humble origins.

Back in Australia, things progressed very quickly.

It was a volatile relationship, they loved each other with such intensity.

They never really broke up. The girl from England came out to Perth, they got engaged, he was unhappy but what could he do (?) he had an obligation. They married a few years later, had children, settled down.

She (that is, me) was lousy about it, really, really lousy. He had known and she felt deceived, he had encouraged her knowing there could not be a future. In reality he was a victim too, because he loved her and they couldn’t be together.

That love continues to this day, 37 years later. It is a fantasy, she knows, an indulgence that is foolish.

She occasionally wonders how their lives would have been together, in some “Sliding Doors” scenario. She has a sneaking suspicion they would have not been good together over the long term. He was very aware of the physical comfort in which she lived. Her Father was a hard worker and had provided well for his family. He felt acutely that she was somehow “better” than him, she spoke well and had gone to an elite girls high school, very different from his background.

She is now 55. She does indulge occasionally in checking him out on social media, he still has beautiful eyes and if he posts a new photo of himself, she will have little thoughts like, ‘New glasses, they’re nice” or “those eyebrows need a bit of attention mate”! They have seen each other in passing and they both know “it” is still there.

It was never meant to be.

Long time no see..

It’s been a while I know. It’s not like I have been doing nothing, I just find the transitional seasons very tiring for some reason and Spring is always a big fat lie, the sun shines but it’s too cold to wear bright, light things. So brr, I have been in a bit of a fug.

I have done a bit of sewing in between work, household stuff, supporting two young people coming up to life- changing exams and a husband who has been in the depths of black dog despair. Malcolm Fraser is often quoted as saying, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”, but sometimes I do wish it was a bit easier.

Of course, what do I have to whinge about, really? I am not a refugee stuck in a detention centre wondering my future, I am not a Syrian father whose family has drowned trying to get to a better life, I am just a 52 year old woman trying to get by the best way I know how.

Anyway, I went down south to be with my Mother for a weekend and while was there I made the Gorgeous Gore skirt by StyleArc. skirt 1    more info here This is my second and it is a joy to make up, using stretch woven makes it just so easy and the personalised sizing means no fitting issues. The fabric is a stretch woven and I think it may be either denim or a very heavy twill, I bought it from Knitwit in Nedlands, my son wants a pair of shorts in it (apparently flowery pants are big with male uni students this year).

As far as the make went, I did go a bit overboard …I wanted as much of an invisible hem as possible, so I did a tailor’s hem in colours co-ordinating with the pattern of the fabric  tailors hem . It was no small task and it took a long time, as the six gores make for a lot of hem! When I had finished, I looked closely and found a few stitches that showed, I was so disappointed but was thoroughly fed up with the handsewing so they have stayed skirt 3, three stitches .

My daughter’s Valedictory Celebration is coming up in November, fourteen years of education will close that night and then we wait to see if she gets her preferred option for university in 2016. It is a stressful time for her as she prepares for “Mocks”  (the exams which are preparation for tertiary entrance exams) and, although she seems to be coping quite well, she is reporting that emotions are running high at school amongst the Year 12 cohort. The Valedictory Night will be a lovely occasion and the brief is “dressy, casual”…eh what? WTH fits that description??? Also, the night starts off with a late afternoon church service, then carries on with a formal dinner, speeches and prize-giving…aaaaagh, what to wear?

So I chose and am nearly finished making up the Muse Patterns Gillian Dress I thought a wrap dress in a beautiful fabric will do the trick and I still think it will. There have been a couple of issues with it though; the fabric is a very light jersey (I thought it was cotton but it could be modal or bamboo judging about the fineness of it) and does cling in unwanted places, this means a petticoat on the night will be necessary. Also, I have some gaping at the rear neckline, so I am planning on sewing a strip of clear elastic to the neck hem to remedy this problem. It isn’t finished, but I emailed a pic to Kat (the designer) so here it is, let me know what you think?  gillian with issues  I am tossing up between pearls or silver as the jewellery… or should I go with something more bold in colour to offset the muted tone of the grey and white spot? Opinions will be much appreciated, but remember, it is my daughter’s night to shine, not mine, so nothing too loud!!!


Nothing much really.

I have lacked energy lately, partly from having a head cold and partly because I am not at my best in the depths of winter. To be frank, I would rather be in my pyjamas drinking hot chocolate and reading, than going to work, being a taxi to school teen, making dinners, washing clothes and keeping the menagerie (human and non-human) happy.

I want a cave to escape into..

Apart from that, at the moment (and usually couple of times a year), I get a feeling that something momentous is going to happen. I recognise the signs these days, but in previous years the feeling was disconcerting to say the least. I get a hankering for nostalgia, I start thinking what ifs and I get generally fairly discontented with my life. This is not a great place to be. One of the states I strive for is contentment and on the whole I am fairly successful. I am grateful for the comfortable circumstances in which I find myself, I am healthy and really I should not complain about anything.

So where does this anxiety come from? When these feeling of change happen, I get a bit jittery, and bad-tempered, I long for younger years and different choices, it is a real “Sliding Doors” feeling, I fantasise and I wonder what the me in a parallel universe is doing right now.

MV5BMTI0NjExNDg2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDMyOTA5._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_ Is she healthy? Did she pursue her ambition to specialise in Oncology and live in Melbourne?? Is she married, does she have children???

It’s all a bit silly I know and this little episode has been kicked into gear by watching a doco on Joy Division,


… ah I miss the days of clubbing 3 nights a week and having the energy to keep going all night and still go to work in the morning!