family

Summer ’16

July 5, 2016

Summer '16 Mila SiennaSummer '16 Mila SiennaSummer '16 Mila SiennaMila is on holidays from tonight…

Two months by the beach and for the first time I’ll be with her rather than working in London.
I have tried to work out thousands of options in my head, how I could make this work, how I could make the most of our time together as we may never have another opportunity like this, how I have to breath in and treasure every second I spend with her because in about 7/8 years, she will sail off to University and lives her own life and yet I have to find the time to work. Will see…

I bet you wonder why, let alone how, we are splitting our times between London and France…Well, initially we were supposed to move to Sydney so the idea was that Steve and Mila would live in France for a year to experience French life while I was running my business in London and commuting.
In paper, it all sounded very glamorous. In reality, it wasn’t easy for any of us. Steve was a single father for most of the time and yet did a fantastic job. I was a wreck each time I was apart from them and we all missed each other terribly and painfully.
Then dad died and suddenly, things changed.

I didn’t have the strength to move to the other side of the world and leave my mum alone so we put our plans on hold and agreed to leave Mila in France for another year (maybe more) because that’s where she was the most happy. To this day, things haven’t fallen into places yet but we are getting used to it.

Kind of…During our last trip to London, I’m ashamed to say that I cried when I walked into our beautiful home and cried when I left…emotional much huh!

For someone who has always plan her life and know where she wanted to be, these recent months have been “interesting”. Living in France was certainly not part of my plan and I have no idea what the future holds for us or where we will end up living but then who does!?  For the time being, this is our life and as unsettled as it can be and not hugely practical, we are making the most of it, spending more time in one country than another depending on the season.
Right now as the sun is shining and I spend my days in shorts and t-shirt, I couldn’t see myself in London. I would miss running through the forest by the lake in the morning, driving my Mehari for my weekly surfing lesson, having diner at the beach and taking friends to the coolest beach bars for a drink yet in Winter, when the town goes to sleep and cool places close down, I crave for London’s cafés, our brunches in Chiswick or Notting Hill, meeting friends in some nice, visually inspiring bars, buying flowers from Columbia Road, spending sundays in Bricklane and shopping somewhere else than H&M and Decathlon.

So here to new Summer adventures, to create new memories, make new friends, live new experiences and have fun….Wishing you a happy Summer whether you have plans or not ;-)Summer '16 Mila SiennaSummer '16 Mila SiennaSummer '16 Mila SiennaMila wears the Olympe top from Nils Happy To See You (not a sponsor) and I took these photos with the Canon EOS 5D at the Lake near our holidays home.

4 feel-good things to achieve in 2016

January 1, 2016

4 feel-good things to achieve in 2016This is it…1st day of 2016!
I’m so excited! I’ve always loved the beginning of a New Year. While some people may think it doesn’t change anything, for me it changes a lot of things. It’s a new beginning, the chance to re-invent myself, to look at things that happened in my life, that made me grow and make some adjustments, work out what worked for me last year and made me happy and what didn’t.

Do you feel that way too?

There is a lot of things I want to achieve this year business wise but I haven’t put them down in writing yet. I’m in the final stage of turning the page on a 10 years adventure with the shop and I’m pleased to say that I’m doing it in the best possible way because someone who has a similar aesthetics to mine is taking over and I know the shop will be in good hands…

However, from a personal level, they are four things I really want to achieve this year… READ MORE...

Loss

October 21, 2015

My dad PERNOD RICARD AWARD Best Sports photography 1971It is with a very heavy heart that I have to inform you of what has been happening in our family lately…

Last Saturday started like a beautiful weekend…Steve went off to Cardiff to watch the All Blacks beat the hell out of the French and Mila and I went to stay with some friends. Besides the fact that Mila left the car key in the boot of the car which locked itself with all our belongings for the weekend in it and I spent the afternoon trying to work out the best plan to get hold of the second set of keys we had at home, it was a nice afternoon. We decided to take the kids to the skatepark and enjoy ourselves. At 5pm, my mum called me and told me that my dad had taken his own life.

In the past three years, my dad has been struggling with depression. This has been a tough journey for our family and one that I never mentioned on the blog. I mentioned my own depression here and here and ways that helped me to keep it at bay but I’m also from a different generation. A generation that doesn’t feel ashamed from being hit by it, one that never thought it was a sign of weakness because I know that if there is one thing I’m not, it’s weak. A generation that talks about it and the truth to be told, being able to talk to Steve and Mila openly about it, helped me to recover quickly.

My dad was from a different generation. The one that believes that only mad people with major psychiatric problems suffer from it. One that makes you believe you are less of a man, the one that makes you feel so ashamed that you can’t talk to the people close to you or those who would be able to help to you so for three years, my dad went down, little by little. He stopped eating, getting up, living. He stopped connecting with us. He looked like death, he was so weak and skinny, it was awful to watch.

Last Summer I lost it and kicked him out of his bedroom to open the windows wide, change his sheets, get him to walk, to do something. We had a massive argument, he told me to go to hell and then he went back to bed. On Father’s Day, he looked so weak, he could hardly stand on his legs. It was heart-breaking.

In the last few months, he had finally started to come out of this long and deep depression.

He had started eating again. He was walking two or three times a day. He was interacting with us, he was making plans like going to Paris to see Elodie or taking the boat out. He was planning ahead to attend his friend’s birthday. Some days, he still looked completely spaced out or was going on about all the friends he had lost to death but compared to the last three years in bed not eating, it was a massive improvement. and then this…

The Psychiatrist said he saw the Everest…In a moment of lucidity, he realised that he had gone down so low that he would take him years to be the man he was again and gave up. He gave up on life, on fighting.

My dad, our dad…was an amazing human being, so passionate about life. He lived and breathed rugby. He was a solar person, one that attracts people. He was very social. Compared to my mum who keeps to herself, my dad loved having people around. Each time, we organised big BBQs & parties with all our friends, both our parents joined in and he would stay up late talking about rugby, politics, authors, American movie, society, music. He used to listen to JJ Cole, Clapton, John Lee Hooker, Nina Simone, Mano Solo (which I found incredibly depressing) so flipping loud, it was driving us nuts and now he is gone…

It has been 5 days now. We told Mila and Lily this morning which wasn’t easy and it is not over. The amount of decisions we have to make as a family, in a very short time on things that really we don’t give a shit because nothing matters, nothing compares to the loss we are feeling, is draining.

And then we had to call people, his family, his friends, our friends and feel everyone’s loss and pain again. I did the first round to announce the news. François took mum to the funerals company to sort out the details, Elodie did the second round to inform everybody of the details of the ceremony. He had so many friends since he started playing rugby as a kid…

As a family, I think we all made peace with his decision. We understand the pain he must have been feeling. Elodie regrets that he didn’t tell her us but I think none of us would have been ready to hear him saying goodbye, to let him go. In fact, he probably told us many times it was too hard for him but we are fighters in our family, we don’t give up on things easily and we didn’t want him to give up but then again, we were not in his shoes. Throughout his life, he fought for many things but this one, was a hell of a battle and having gone through the depth and darkness of mild depression, I get a glimpse of what it must have been for him days in days out for three years…not a couple of months, three years with no improvement or very little, added to the fact that he was suffering from Behçet, a rare illness that sometimes gave him not just one mouth ulcer but twenty at once and so much pain.

I want to remember of my dad for who he was, not the person he was these past three years but the person he was his whole life. A kind, loving father, someone who was incredibly passionate about a lot of things and a great grand-dad.

I’ve no intention of turning this blog into some rambling, emotional online diary but I’ve always used the blog and writing to process my thoughts, draw experience, find a positive spin on things and help others so I just wanted you to know what’s going on in my life because right now, I find no point in writing about interior design or fashion. I actually don’t give a damn. This week has been like a time capsule when I had little awareness of what day it was exactly. Now that the girls know about it, it’s a bit easier…we can try to focus on the good memories. I’m pretty sure it will hit me properly next week once we’ve gone through the motions of organising everything.

Thanks for everything and thanks to all my friends who already know and have been there for me.

 

Mila’s homemade pikelets

October 4, 2015

Easy-to-make pikelets recipe for breakfastAs some of you know, we are a franco-kiwi family and while we are not spending as much time in New-Zealand as we do in France, we’ve always made a point of teaching Mila to be a freewi and to embrace both nationalities and cultures.
She was doing the Haka at the age of 3 and the same way I taught her how to make crèpes (pancakes), Steve taught her how to make pikelets which she made yesterday and again this morning and they are delicious!! READ MORE...

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