Women

Women

It’s hard to believe the newest lady in my life has already been in the world five months. Life with Lucille so far has entailed endless nappy changes, crying, cuddles, rocking, bouncing, lots of firsts, lots of questions and not a lot of answers. At times I feel my heart is going to explode with happiness and all the other times it feels like my head will explode with the ‘what ifs?’.

It really is amazing to watch Lucille develop. I describe it as one of those beautifully shot David Attenborough films. Every day there is something new. A new movement, a new discovery, a new expression. And then there are some expressions that I recognise. A cheeky glance, a smile, an inquisitive stare and even an evil eye! For someone I’m still getting to know, this familiarity can catch me off guard and I can’t help think of how lucky she is to have these characteristics but even more so, how important it is for her to know who gave them to her.

Before Lucille had even arrived I was astounded at the kindness, generosity and love shown to me and her by the incredible women around me. I often think of how these women will fit into Lucille’s life and how it is my responsibility to ensure that they have a role. I’m determined for her  to be surrounded by intelligence, empathy, humor and strength. By women who will support, encourage and challenge her. I need her to see that these are not exceptional women; they are simply women and I’m very fortunate to know them.

But what about the women who have left us, who I see in her daily? How will she know what they gave her? My mind has gone back to a piece I wrote some two years ago for a jewellery company, Song of Jewellery. A lot has happened since I wrote that piece. Just as I had to say goodbye to more amazing women, I said hello to another. I’m sharing this piece again as this is just one example of memories I will share with Lucille. Memories of women that will become familiar to her, even if through my eyes. If she has their qualities she sure is going to know who she got them from!

Wonderful Woman, Wonderful Jewellery

It’s hard to start this piece about my late Nonna’s earrings without saying ‘I feel she is with me when I wear them’. For someone who is not religious or spiritual, I find this statement conflicting yet true.

I inherited many things from my Nonna, that’s grandmother in italian. Her generosity, stubbornness, I’d like to say her charm, her love for cooking, her plastic turquoise powder container and her earrings. A woman so influential on my life that I am spoilt with endless memories of her. Memories of time spent with her, watching, listening, laughing, at times disagreeing with her ways and her with mine.

Life has moved on and I have taken a path that means I am now living away from my family. Physical reminders of Nonna are limited and my memories are even more precious. Her earrings, a pair of small diamonds encased by gold that fall just below my earlobe ignite such love and longing it at times can be overwhelming. I close my eyes and see her wearing them, standing in the kitchen, preparing a meal fit for royalty and in her mind, that’s what her family was. I can see her smile as I arrive to her house and hear her voice calling my name in her own inimitable way. She would ask if I’ve eaten and in the space of our usual greeting of hugs and kisses, the coffee was on and I was going to be fed whether I was hungry or not.

Just five months ago I married my Irish love in New York. Just the two of us on an adventure which has been the nature of our entire relationship. Even though it was just the two of us, we had reminders of our loved ones including Nonna. Before any decisions were made for such a momentous day I knew I would be wearing her earrings, regardless of what the rest of my outfit looked like. I did wear them and they were perfect.

As precious as these earrings are I don’t just save them for special occasions. I wear them often because I want to share their beauty and hers with anyone who asks, ‘Your earrings are gorgeous! Where did you get them from?’

xo

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Bye Bye Pregnancy, Hello Baby


Bye Bye Pregnancy, Hello Baby

Part Two

Here it is Part Two of my Pregnancy Wrap Up which has taken longer to publish than Part One! Now would be a good time to read Part One if you haven’t already. Part two is slightly different as I’m going to spill the beans on some of the other highs and lows I experienced while Lucille called my body home. Keep in mind this is my experience of pregnancy; I’m well aware others may have different views and different experiences but I think it’s important to share all the same. Continue reading

Shopping for a cause

I broke my ‘no shopping ban’

But for a very good reason

I knew it wasn’t going to last forever. Actually I managed my personal no shopping ban for longer than expected but it has come to an end and all for a good cause. For the next few months I’ll be shopping in the maternity and children’s section! Baby B (that’s what I’ve named it) will be joining Mr B and I in early March and we are both thrilled and terrified. Continue reading

Life

Life

It has been rather quiet here on lovetomtom and some of you may already know why.

Sadly I have had rather a difficult time the past few weeks loosing two special ladies in our family. As you can imagine, life has not only turned upside down, it has been put on hold.

xo

In This Week’s News

In This Week’s News

I know I have written loads about my wedding but there is one story I haven’t shared. Don’t worry it’s actually a very short story and you can find in THE NEW YORK TIMES!

I’m so thrilled to see my name maybe not quite up in lights, I’m working on that, but in The New York Times and with this special story.

Click here to read how I picked my engagement ring; it’s in The New York Times!! Just in case you missed that part.

We're married

Photograph by Alex Feld

xo

Home is Nowhere

Home is…. Nowhere?

Life

You’ve probably gathered by now that I have recently moved abode. Unfortunately the move wasn’t by choice. If I’m honest it has been rather a traumatic few months so before I go on to how I’m trying to make my new place a home I want to share with you how I ended up in the middle of Ireland’s housing crisis.

If you had the misfortune of being around me at all the past year you would know that I had only two things to talk about: My housing situation and an ill family member. Not surprisingly, I was consumed by both. We got word last year that the rented house we were living in was being sold. A house that five years ago sat empty because no one wanted it due to its poor condition and decor. Not that this that bothered Mr B and I. In fact we were delighted to find a three-bedroom house in a good area and because of its poor condition we were even able to negotiate the rent down. It became our home.

If you live in Ireland, you will know the country is embroiled in a housing crisis. The simple version of it is supply and demand. Add to that the economic effects of the financial crisis as well as the unregulated rental market (although there have been some changes in recent times and one can only hope this continues!) the country as a result has seen a wave of new homeless. As a grown woman with a decent job, I ended up a part of it. Of course it’s a home owner’s prerogative to sell their house but any renter who has received similar news probably wonders the same things: Is the house really getting sold or is it a way to get new tenants in at a higher rent? How accommodating do I have to be for viewings and strangers traipsing through my home seeing as this is not my decision? How are we going to afford to live somewhere else? The answers or the inconvenience didn’t matter as it was happening whether we were on board or not.

With the news that we had to leave our ugly but lovely home we had two options; buy or rent. We decided to take the plunge and try to purchase our own home, the cheaper option of the two. For the next few months we spent every waking minute looking for a house. If you have every looked to purchase your own home you will understand how stressful and consuming it can be. With our endless research and pros and cons lists, what started out as an adventure turned into a race against the clock. Some Saturdays felt like we were on the Amazing Race, often going to four different house viewings scheduled all around the same time! Despite all the daydreaming and way too many hours spent on Pinterest, none of this was exciting or thrilling. Our lists went out the window and we were now in a situation of having to buy a property not necessarily wanting to. It seemed every other person in the buyers market was looking at the properties we were (how dare they!) and with the volume of people at each viewing anyone would think they were giving away houses! And then there were the offers. Offers were usually at least fifty thousand euro over the asking price and that was just the first viewing! This was not a fun time.

Fast forward to December, December 23rd to be precise and we found ourselves in yet another bidding war. Needless to say you know how that ended. Another house (there were four in total)  that we attempted to buy but walked away empty-handed. Part of the process I know, but we needed somewhere to live and that is all I could think about. We had hoped to make that special purchase and move from our beloved rental to what was going to be our beloved home but seeing as that wasn’t going to happen we had to come up with a new plan. We made the decision to join the hunt for a new rental property and take a break from house hunting and with that decision I felt a little sense of relief.

Not for long! I thought I knew what the rental market had to offer. Small spaces, extortionate rents and millions of people competing for the same thing. We found all of that and more! I don’t know why I was shocked. Some of my friends had been through it, the housing crisis was in the news daily and yet I was completely and utterly shocked at what we faced. I was losing my faith in humanity as we went to viewing after viewing after viewing. The combination of greed and desperation made me want to live in my car. Something I often joked about but something I was seriously considering. As my disdain for humankind increased I found the complete opposite in my friends, family and acquaintances. The kindness shown to Mr B and I blew my mind. The offers of a place to stay, the thoughts of asking those around them if they knew anyone that could help, the offers of storage space and mostly importantly an ear to listen to my endless worries, rambles and let’s not forget, the tears! I couldn’t reconcile the two extremes and both made me cry. For very different reasons of course.

I haven’t felt like myself since this whole housing situation started and I often found it hard to function. Between work, family commitments and life in general I started to wonder if this was what life as an adult was? I was consumed with worry and I had no control over it. A difficult thing to manage seeing as I love to control nearly everything (happy to admit it) and so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could control. Turns out there wasn’t much. I know we aren’t the only ones in this situation. Everyone has a story, a crisis or heart-ache of some sort. Sometimes these things are better shared but up until now, I couldn’t really say everything I wanted as I didn’t have the words. Literally. Anyone who was brave enough to ask me ‘have you found somewhere to live?’ will be all too familiar with the crazed look on my face that greeted them. Smiling and nodding saying ‘no but it will all be fine. It will all be fine’. Either that or I burst in to tears and it’s really hard to write when you’re crying and snotty. Trust me I made a few attempts and you’ll be glad I spared you.

So here I am, still believing home is where you make it but I have to admit in all of my adventures, it never occurred to me that I would have nowhere to make my home. Although I would never choose to live where we find ourselves now or pay the amount we have to in rent, I remind myself it is not the worst option we faced. I also know that we are extremely lucky to have somewhere to call home and this won’t be the last crisis that will present it’s disgusting, ugly, mouldy head. I’m hoping there will be less mould in the next crisis.

With all that said it is now time to take a breath and make the most of our cherished possessions in the four walls we live in. It is these things after all that ignite memories of past adventures, places we’ve yet to explore and our loved ones and they are what make up our home. These and a few nice cushions!

xo

P.S. If you find yourself in a similar situation or think I could lend a hand in any way please get in touch.  You can leave a comment below or email me directly at lovetomtom@outlook.com and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Hello

#lovetomtomSBD

November

#lovetomtomSBD Nov

Before anyone tells me off for saying the ‘C’ word, the only reason I’m bringing it up is because it sparked this month’s same but different.

Whether I like it or not Christmas is here and it’s not even December. Although I’m not a fan of Christmas one part I do like about it is writing Christmas cards. This got me thinking. Why is it that I put time aside to write Christmas cards yet I don’t write cards, or letters any other time of the year? With that, I’m starting early and writing my Christmas cards in November but adding a little extra something special.

#lovetomtomSBD Nov

It’s a good thing I like stationary as it will come in handy for what’s ahead this month.  I’ll be pulling out all the stationary I’ve collected over the years and putting it to good use. Not just stationary though; postcards, wrapping paper, writing paper, photographs, pictures, doodles, sketches, napkins, my list goes on. Anything I can write on or turn into a card is going in the mail. My loved ones are going to get something that reminds me of them or even something they can write on and send back to me!

#lovetomtomSBD Nov

Time to turn the computer off and get writing!

xo

Paris Again

lovetomtom went to Paris

Again

Paris

With a blink of an eye and what felt like a million footsteps (just ask my folks), my holidays have been and gone. That’s right, I packed my bags for Paris (again) but this time I was able to go with my parents. A first and very memorable trip.

Doesn’t matter how many times I visit Paris, there is always so much to see and of course I always have a lot to say, so here goes.

Where are all the Parisians?

Ahhhh August in Paris. I forgot that while many of us are on our summer holidays, so are the Parisians who actually leave Paris in droves! Not too much of an issue but something to keep in mind if you are planning a trip to Paris in August. Time and time again you will see that hand written sign on a shop front window saying something along the lines of ‘closed until end of August, Bon Vacances’.

Safety

I was a little nervous about heading off to Paris this time round, mostly because my parents were travelling with us and I felt somewhat responsible for them. The decision was made to continue with our travel plans and not to be too flippant about our concerns we made a very simple emergency plan and that’s all we said about that. Even if we didn’t talk about it, our worries were hard to ignore. There was a very obvious security presence on the streets of my beloved Paris and if I’m honest I was a little jumpy. I know I am beyond fortunate that a heavily armed military presence is not part of my day-to-day life, walking the streets, checking bags and scouring everyone and everything that passed them. On the other hand it was a constant reminder of the world we are currently in. A sad and worrying one.

Fashion

Paris will always be special, so let’s get on to the good bits. I had huge plans to do lots of shopping but as makeshift tour guides, I soon realised we were going to run out of time for my grand shopping plans. I did manage a few purchases, two vintage finds which I’m thrilled with. First is this polkadot number which I originally put back on the hanger because I thought the back was the front! A wide-brimmed collar really doesn’t suit me but at a closer glance I realised it was actually the back with big white buttons all the way down the dress. I tried it on (a must when it comes to vintage) and this baby was mine! In pure vintage style it is missing a few buttons and I only realised this once I was out of the changing room after giving everyone a clear view of my underwear. Once I was over my embarrassment I bought this gorgeous dress for only €8 and will enjoy my search for some replacement buttons.

Paris Vintage

The other fabulous vintage number I bought was this blue high-waisted skirt. I’m having a bit of a skirt moment of late and it’s fair to say they have replaced my black skinny jeans. This skirt is the perfect addition to my collection. Unfortunately there are no pockets, and it is an absolute pain to iron, something I don’t do, but that wasn’t going to stop me. I’ve already taken it for a spin and think it might be on repeat for some time, creases and all!

Paris Vintage

Beauty – the skincare type

Like my fashion hopes, I had huge plans to hit the French pharmacies with the same gusto and determination as I do a boulangerie. However, I think I managed about five minutes in a pharmacy while everyone waited patiently outside for me and I was rather overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to buy. I did get a few bits but you’ll have to wait until August’s Beauty Bag for all the details.

Beauty – the city

I have been to Paris I can’t tell you how many times and it never gets old. This trip was a little different as my parents were visiting the city for the very first time. With only four days in the City of Light, we wanted to show them some of the main sights and some of ‘our’ Paris. Basically walking the streets, eating, drinking and watching the world go by. It was fun to do some of the touristy things again and I know I go on and on about Paris, but boy do I love it there!

xo

Houseguests

House guests

Some of you may be aware that my fabulous parents have crossed the pond and made the very long journey to pay Mr B and I a visit. Life has been so busy the past few months, my countdown to their arrival went from over one hundred sleeps to 1 sleep in the blink of an eye! And you all know  I love a good countdown!

House guests means preparations and preparations that I love. Remember the last time I had house guests?  Most of my preparations this time round have been about food and what we will eat and where! I know I have a tough few weeks ahead of me!

Essentials

Essentials

Back home I’ve gone into guest room mode and I always have this image of how I want a guest room to look (I blame Pinterest for that) but sadly, there are lots of things in my house that are there and not by choice. I can only work with what I’ve got and it doesn’t take much or cost much for that matter to pretend like our house is somewhere worth staying. I added a few little goodies  like  toiletries I know they like, samples I know mum would like to try, the city essentials and a well stocked drinks trolley will hopefully make up for the brown patterned carpet! At the end of the day they are here to see us so I guess that’s all that counts!

Drinks trolley

Drinks trolley

Do you like having house guests? How do you prepare? Will I be envious of your guest room?

xo