The Road to BetterVille

By alison March 1, 2011 9 Comments 7 Min Read

At the beginning of January I posted eleven ways I was intending to make life better. I was giddy with the intention to be a better me. To nitpick my way through all the teeny tiny little somethings that bother my day and forge a path through to a better way of life. Better was my mantra: Better was my plan.
Two months in and I thought it was time to tell you how I’m doing. To share the ways I’m making life better and the stuck in the mud things I just can’t seem to change. Cos I’m dozy and lazy and other mean “zy” things that create the kind of obstacles a woman with no bones in her legs just can’t seem to shift…
Ok so here goes. Some of the things that were on the original list were a breeze to stick to: the Motivated Mums app has been a Godsend and one day at a time, (and yep I do know I’m going on about it but that’s how great it is!), The Four Hour Body is changing the rather wobbly shape of my body, and you can’t argue with results m’lady, other things like fathoming out the kind of life/work balance that doesn’t leave me either exhausted OR penniless have not been quite so easy…
However, let’s think positive here, so far  I’m heading to Betterville via…

1. Coeliacs Disease.

Having long been harassed by the notion that I may have had Coeliac/Celiac disease, as my little Finn does, owing to immediate, ongoing and long term reactions to all things gluten (ie: that which I crave all day everyday), but too frightened of a positive diagnosis to do anything about it,  last month I finally bit the bullet and took the blood test that has put the matter to bed once and for all. I don’t have Coeliacs Disease. The relief of it.  However just because something doesn’t have a label doesn’t mean the symptom don’t exist: I still blow up like a balloon and suffer for it, so the beans and protein mix that is my current diet is going down a treat.

2. Twitter!

I have established an online content management system that suits me, with a system of my own devising using Google Reader, Posterous and Tumblr. Having weighed up my social networking commitments I have decided that it is Twitter (@brocantehome) I enjoy most and will probably cease all chatter on Facebook very, very soon. Is that mad? I don’t know. I only know that having given up contributing to it I feel a little less mithered by the minutie of gossip et al. And being an online gossip free zone makes me feel better…

3. My skin.

My friend Kath has been obsessed with our spiral into middle age, since the day our errant ex-husbands types departed our shores for pastures new, while I could barely see what she was talking about. I looked the same as I always had and then overnight I didn’t. Overnight, at the grand old age of nearly thirty nine I turned into a prune and good old fashioned cold cream and rosewater no longer seemed capable of performing the kind of miracles I now clealy need.
This makes me miserable people! I don’t want to be vain, nor tied to a regime of unguents and potions. I wanna be a cold water splashy kinda girl. But truth is I’m not a girl anymore. I’m all grown  up. A lady. And this lady is in need of something heavy duty. So call in the  Clinique three step programme all the women in my family (but me) have always relied upon, and within a few weeks I am all shiny and smooth again. Seriously. Next to Botox (which Kath says we have to have the year we turn forty) Clinique Clarifying Lotion is the next best thing. What’s good for the geese is now good enough for the gander, so consider me a convert.

4. The Kindle.

I know. Any minute now you are going to throttle me, my Kindle and my beloved Tim Ferris. But please let me sing the praises of the Kindle all over again, because it only struck me this morning how much wider I am reading, now that I am a Kindle owner and can at the press of a button call up any book I discover on my travels without having to wait till I get to the book-store only to find I have forgotten the authors name, or keep my fingers crossed that that there pile of dusty old books is hiding the kind of domestic treasure bound to float my boat…
Where once life was made up of  snuggly wartime romances (I heart you Anne Bennett) and predictable domestic vintage fiction, now I am flitting between Erica Jong, Edith Wharton and Edna Ferber,  reading local history and  searching for the next cosy mystery series to see me through Spring after a darling winter spent in the company of the obnoxiously funny, occasionally sad antics of one Miss Agatha  Raisin.

5. A car.

After being without a car for TWO whole years I have decided I am bored of being stranded and life has become infinitely smaller since my darling green car died. So I’m about to give up food in favour of wheels and life will get bigger all over again. Bigger is always better mais non?

6. Magnesium.

Bless my poor Mum. She has been telling me to take magnesium since I was knee high to an ant. But would I listen? Would I heck. Little Miss frilly pants here thought she was above such common garden advice and said phooey to Magnesium (and her PMT bashing little mate Evening Primrose Oil-I’m hell on earth monthly, but never mind!). And then Tim Ferris spoke and said I had to take it before I went to bed if I wanted to sleep better and lo and behold  I listened and I trotted to the shops and bought Mum’s brand of choice and all of a sudden there was calm. And as a darling little bonus there was an end to the kind of terrible Restless Leg syndrome that plagues me the minute I get tired.
You were right Mummy. Now tuck that sentence up safe somewhere because there lie words rarely spoken…

7. Zinio Magazines.

Though I frequently declare that my love affair with magazines is over, truth is, like the worst kind of Coke addict, resolve as I might to throw my money at something more worthwhile, I simply can’t. I am addicted and I’m always on the lookout for my next big high. But they really are just one more kind of piled high TRASH and this doesn’t wash with creating a life worth treasuring, so step in Zinio. There I can pay a reduced price for all manner of single issue standard magazines like Country Living, read them, archive them and if there is something I love, buy the real thing, to tear out and devour. It’s changed my life. No more do I have to trek around the country in search of Martha Stewart: her and her back catalogue are right here in my living room. Oh joy!

8. The Real Housewives of Orange County!

I know. I shouldn’t but I have found myself enthralled, and though many would argue that a new fascination with all things Orange County can’t possibly spell BETTER, you are wrong! Up until last week the very idea of turning on the TV in the daytime was an anethma to me. It spelt fat bottoms and slouchy tracksuits and children called Frogmella and I simply couldn’t bear the idea, for fear of instantly losing my marbles to TV tat. Then while sitting in Mum’s while the boys played last week, I found myself watching these “housewives” and readers I was instantly hooked. Not just on the giddy glamour and screechy hysteria of it all, but on  the drive these women possess. Their dedication to their spoilt children. The fastidious commitment to detail with which these women live their lives!
No. Seriously now, please don’t panic. I’m not about to give my life over to the sofa. But here’s the thing: I am seriously hard on myself. This laptop is always on my knee. I work every minute I can find, latterly truly, madly deeply on the wonder that MUSE is going to be. I talk to my son over my screen and I spy on my iTouch over my boyfriends shoulder. I don’t give myself a break. Though I hardly look like the worst kind of taskmaster, I really am, and this kind of beating myself senseless  discipline means I am frequently irritated because true time comes rarely.
So if, just occasionally, I feel like grabbing half an hour to catch up with my Orange County girls half an hour before the school run starts, then that wouldn’t be a bad thing now would  it? Especially as I am likely to be back at the desk, cracking my own whip long before  the day is through. The sky won’t fall down surely??
Being kind to myself occasionally, indulging my trashiest whim is just one of the way I’m getting BETTER.
Kindness always equals better. And I do believe self-inflicted kindness is the bestest kind of all.

Other Things To Do At BrocanteHome

9 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    Having grown up in Orange County, I gave myself permission to watch 'The Real Housewives of Orange County' for nostalgic curiosity. Somehow that show planted a seed in my brain, causing me to obsessively watch all the Real Housewife shows (Beverly Hills, Atlanta, New York, etc.). It's totally sick and I am totally ashamed to whole-heartedly love it.

    1. brocantehome says:

      Oh I can't even to tell you how grateful I am that someone else shares my sordid secret Heather!!

      1. Libby says:

        Love the Housewives of Orange County, NY & NJ, these shows suck you in ! I don't like the one from Atlanta, though. Then a co-worker mentioned The Jersey Shore which is a train wreck- you don't want to watch, but I do ! I am way too old for this show, maybe just relief that my sons, ages 19 & 23 aren't like these kids. We could be doing worse, right ??

  2. Melissa says:

    I am curious about the magnesium! I am in the same boat with my face! I may have to go check out Clinique! I have used several other things without any help! Argh!!!

    1. brocantehome says:

      I have just read also Melissa, that combining the magnesium with a low dose calcium supplement works wonders too… so I'm going to give it a go and I will report back… as for the Clinique I can't recommend it highly enough, try the little tester sizes they offer first to see if it suits you, within a week I was glowing, make up went on and better than that, stayed on instead of sliding off and it might just be my imagination but I swear I'm less prune like and puffy too. Oh joy!

  3. Joanne says:

    You always make me larf, Alison! I hear you on the coelic's/celiac's thing – I actually had a rather different type of test (I had to supply a – ahem – stool sample that then went zipping its way off from Australia to a lab in the US) and found that I had gluten sensitivity, thankfully not full-blown coeliacs. Feel much, much better avoiding gluten wherever possible.
    Agree with you that skin simply must be sorted out now that we are, indeed, wrinkly old prunes (I'll be 40 in August, so I've earned the right to that phrase). After years of searching for a natural moisturizer that actually leaves my skin soft and not dry, I've stumbled upon the Burt's Bees Beeswax Moisturiser. (Well, it's nearly natural – it does contain 'fragrance'.) Am loving it, but need to be sparing in my application, or I look like a greasy-faced teenager by midday.
    My husband was given a Kindle as a gift recently, and I've been holding off, steadfastly refusing to reject 'the printed book'. But you make it sound so delicious! I daresay I shall give in very soon…
    No TV-show addictions to report, but I have been enjoying a hearty chuckle at the classic 'Arrested Development' series on DVD. If you haven't seen that show, you've gotta try it!

  4. Joanne says:

    You always make me larf, Alison! I hear you on the coelic's/celiac's thing – I actually had a rather different type of test (I had to supply a – ahem – stool sample that then went zipping its way off from Australia to a lab in the US) and found that I had gluten sensitivity, thankfully not full-blown coeliacs. Feel much, much better avoiding gluten wherever possible.
    Agree with you that skin simply must be sorted out now that we are, indeed, wrinkly old prunes (I'll be 40 in August, so I've earned the right to that phrase). After years of searching for a natural moisturizer that actually leaves my skin soft and not dry, I've stumbled upon the Burt's Bees Beeswax Moisturiser. (Well, it's nearly natural – it does contain 'fragrance'.) Am loving it, but need to be sparing in my application, or I look like a greasy-faced teenager by midday.
    My husband was given a Kindle as a gift recently, and I've been holding off, steadfastly refusing to reject 'the printed book'. But you make it sound so delicious! I daresay I shall give in very soon…
    No TV-show addictions to report, but I have been enjoying a hearty chuckle at the classic 'Arrested Development' series on DVD. If you haven't seen that show, you've gotta try it!

  5. Hausfrau says:

    I shake my head in dismayed wonderment at the O.C. Housewives, but I still manage to watch them. I watch while I'm checking email or blogs, but still…
    Magnesium works wonders for me. I really can't do without it.
    Funny about the Clinique–I used to do the three-step program when I was a teen!
    Oh, and Zinio looks really cool–thanks!

  6. Oh jeez, those OC Housewives! The scary (and very sad) thing is that there are many, MANY OC women that are truly like that here (Yup, I live in THE OC). Not too worry though, there's plenty of us regular gals here too! =D

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