Ladies of London, my relatives, and The Seventh Eye Circles of Hell

OK, so Ladies of London has been excellent. Although I love Sophie Stanbury – because hair – the Viscountess Hinchingbrooke is my spirit animal. Julie Montagu is a ballsy midwestern yoga-gal who now has an English title and runs the Mapperton estate. I very much identify with her trying to break into a fairly closed community. It’s tough out there! 

I loved her battle over mugs and tea towels with Lesley, the Mrs. Danvers in the green sweatshirt who works at the gift shop at Mapperton. Lesley sat there sporting Active Bitch Face, telling Julie she is not fond of the colour green while wearing the very same shade. Her face reminded me of when I showed up an an event with the Mr. before we’d even started to date. I was greeted by a wall of angry women. One — let’s call her Too Tight Leather Jacket – made such a face that I asked the Mr. what was up. I was also shoved at the bar. At the time it was upsetting. That and similar antics spun me into quite a tailspin for a while. Now, it makes me laugh. They really ought to bring the Real Housewives franchise here. I’m not sure Too Tight Leather Jacket is as telegenic as they tend to seek out, but she’s itching for a fight and would make for good TV.  Rather than letting it get me down, I’ve decided to do what writers do best and turn it into material. I can probably dine out on stories of my early years in Stepford for the rest of my life.

In spite of me thinking of this place as Stepford — which it totally is (you’ve got to come on the school run with me some time and watch the yummies in the sea of Range Rovers) — I’ve met a lot of excellent people here. Really excellent. The walking ladies, the yoga girls, the hockey people, the gals in the kiss and ride line: all splendid people. And you really cannot go by appearances. Some of the most down to earth people are leggy, super model types in massive homes. Whereas the earthy woman in the mom jeans is mean as hell. You really have to get to know people, which luckily I have. Going forward, I am focusing on the good eggs I’ve met. I’ll attempt to leave the drama on Bravo where it belongs!

Between Stephen Andrew Jones’s posts of late and Plum Johnson’s They Left Us Everything, I’ve been thinking a lot about family. My mother was the surprise post-war baby and her sisters were much older so I no longer have living biological aunts on that side of the family. It’s too bad as both Nonie and Joan were formidable. Joan was the type of woman who could get up before work and sew herself a new suit to wear that day. She was one moment a model, another a hockey wife, and yet another a pioneering manager at BC Tel. She had a blind dog named Buddy who would climb trees. She was one of a kind. I visited her and my uncle in Arizona shortly before she died. I’m so glad I made that trip. If you have extra money, spend it on people.

My aunt Nonie was a ray of sunshine and the aunt to whom I was closest growing up. I spent hours with her looking for shoes (I got my shoe thing from her) and reading magazines (again, an inheritance.) She loved her mink coat that smelled faintly of perfume and cigarette smoke (Diptyque needs to make a candle that smells like that!) She had a tough life. She lost her husband and daughter to an environmental cancer caused by uranium mining. She had severe rheumatoid arthritis, which shortened her life. And yet, she was one of the most positive people I know. Apparently, she was quick-tempered like me when she was younger so her example offers me hope. I should mellow into something quite fine.

My aunts inherited their Steel Magnolia personalities from my Swedish maternal grandmother. The other day, my mother and I were in Saks and saw the new Stella McCartney platform brogues. There is no way that my grandmother – who is quite the active spirit if the Medium I saw is to be believed – was not involved with these shoes. In life, she had one leg that was significantly shorter than the other and wore a built up shoe. She always favoured a similar black brogue to the one by Stella. Her hands were all over this shoe design. Well played, Nana T, well played.

She made the Cle de Peau concealer purchase that much more fun. On that front, I’ll let you know if the $90 concealer (!) works on my Seventh Eye Circles of Hell. For that price, it had better make me look like Amanda Seyfried.

I hope you are thinking fondly of your relatives this season and, if not, are cultivating wonderful replacements in the form of friends.

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  1. Hi Jen, thanks for the fun post (and thank goodness for bloglovin's ability to keep up with your dizzying array of blog names! :0)Our kids were babies when we lived in 'Stepford', so no school run, but I do admit I enjoyed going downtown of a Saturday to do some people-watching. Have fun using your nemeses as inspiration!Ladies of London is my new guilty pleasure. My favourite is Caroline Fleming, partly because I love all things Scandi and partly because she is just so ditzy sometimes. Do you know the blog Incidents and Accidents? The blogger is a Swedish mum who lives in London – I often think that she could be part of Ladies of London, except she seems far too nice. But she does seem to live that yummy mummy lifestyle. Those are nice stories about your family members – you were certainly lucky to have. Have a nice weekend!


  2. Thank you for tracking me down, Patricia! I've moved too much, haven't I. I'm sticking with this url – just changing the blog name for fun. Read Jen Lawrence was a bit clinical. I love Caroline too. How lovely to be able to be that ditzy! I will look up that blog. Sounds terrific. I love that sort of thing. I was lucky. I miss my aunts. They were good people.


  3. What a lovely post Jen. Love hearing about family and then wondering if DNA is a thing after all when you see people's temperaments and quirks too. Believe it or not – we haven't got season 3 yet – why??? I went to one of Julie's yoga classes and she is a bit wired. She's got that quasi zen yogi but totally pent up energy thing going on in real life. My favourite episode was in season 1 where caprice didn't want to go to the suburbs and caroline S was livid – but that is soon london so I love the show!


  4. I have to watch this show! I was watching RH of Melbourne this fall, the first time I've watched any of those shows. I loved it. I shall look for LoL.I've been thinking about the women in my family quite a bit because I miss my grandmothers so much. And my mother-in-law, that loss is going to be very sharp at Christmas this year. I saw a different friend every day this week and it was lovely. Making time for visits is one of the best parts of the season I think, now to keep making the time all through the new year. xx


  5. We are behind in the colonies so I think it's Season 2. I'd love to go to Julie's class. But I agree, she's not zen. When I do my UK road trip, I'll get you to give me a list of the LoL hot spots! xo


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