In June of 2012, I announced to the world, or at least the fashion world, that I was taking a year off to go live on a farm in rural England. So here we are at the end of September 2013, and here I am. Still. People ask me from time to time when I am coming back or what my future plans are, and so I thought I’d let you all know what I’m up to.
For starters, I love it here. For more reasons than I can explain. But the main ones are the following: I have never been more clear about who I am and what is important to me. There is enough peace and quiet here to listen to myself – my mind and my body. I know when it’s time to work hard and when it’s time to rest. The tension is gone from my shoulders and the adrenaline that lived inside my belly for twenty years in New York has settled down. I know it because whenever I go back to New York, the adrenaline returns and I notice it now because I’m less used to it. My husband is as happy as I am, for similar reasons. And my kids are thriving. Thriving.
But the one thing that is different this year is that I am reintroducing accountability into my life. I want to this year to have purpose. Last year I had a bit of structure – I paid my bills and answered emails on Mondays, I wrote my blogs on Thursdays, I ordered groceries for the week on Sundays. But because it was my “year off” I often ditched my schedule in favor of a better option – a walk in the fields when the sun came out, a ride with a friend after school drop off, an ambition to cook three sit down meals a day (yes, I’ve gained a few pounds!).
The one work-related thing I did accomplish last year was that I started writing my next book, and this summer I sold it. Yep. To Blue Rider Press (at Penguin Random House). I am so excited. It’s a book of autobiographical stories spanning my twenty years in fashion. My goal is to share with you some of the most formative and transformative experiences I have had over the years and what I learned from them, who I learned them from, how I came to my most important decisions, and of course what I was wearing when all of this happened. It’s not my comprehensive “memoir,” just moments that shifted me from one perspective to another. There will be also lots of user-friendly sharing, like what I learned from packing for fashion month over and over again, how I figured out to match my red lipstick to my red nails, and the way I discovered how to wear more than one piece of denim at a time. And because no one loves a visual more than I do, there will be lots of great photos, but also more personal writing this time, because I’m just in that kind of mood. Can’t wait for you to read it.
So am I done with fashion? I don’t think so. I love the idea of living life in chapters, and this is just the chapter I am in right now. I like to think about my mentor-in-all-things-to-do-with-life-and-fashion Diane Von Furstenberg who took multiple time-outs throughout her career and now in her 60’s has more success than ever. She did it at her own pace. I’d like to do the same.
In the meantime, here I am in September on the farm! God it’s a great month. I have my strict writing schedule that I am (mostly) sticking to, while still managing to cook and ride a horse and pick fruit. Onward!
|When we arrived back from New York, the whole farm yard was just overflowing with apples. It was a great summer for fruit growing. This is the smallest tree we have, but I love the intensity of it’s red apples.|
|During August our entire giant thistle tree had collapsed. Christopher was sure he had cut it back enough so that it wouldn’t topple over, but it did. The good news was that I got to pick all the flowers for the house. They last a long time.|
|I’ve been cooking my way through the blackberries and apples, one crumble at a time. I use Nigella’s recipe for the topping, but for the fruit I just cut it up, arrange it evenly and pour a few teaspoons of sugar on top (but not too much or it’s too sweet!).|
|Eartha Kitten, making a fast get away from the horse I am riding.|
|Jack Bauer and Inspector Clouseau. I love these two. They belong to my husband’s brother but they live in our field at the moment.|
|Racing up the hill, Coco edges out Christopher for the lead.|
|Sweet homemade sign in Bledington.|
|In honor of New York Fashion Week, the sheep decided to have a runway finale of their own.|
|We have a gazillion pears as well. I have just gotten my hands on a recipe for the best pear compote that my friend Laura Bailey gave me made from her pears. Once I test it (tonight), I’ll share it with you.|
|Christopher is a total sucker for a string of outside lights. Not just at Christmas, but year round. I like how they illuminate the last few roses of the year.|
|I was wistful when I took this picture last Sunday because I knew it would likely be our last outdoor meal for a while.|
|Jake and the killer sunset.|
|The best afterschool playdate on Earth.|
|Gingy girl, waiting for us to come back from a ride. Oh how she would have loved to come along!|
|Taking a breather on the most beautiful day in September.|
|At one point the fig bounty was so plentiful that I had to make something with them. I love this very simple recipe.|
|I took this last photo of the house with the long grass. Christopher gave the garden it its winter haircut today.|
|I never get over this face.|
|Zach, worshipping at the alter of the last dandelion in the field.|
|I’ve learned that in England, autumn announces itself with fog. I woke up this morning, and the new season was here.|