Wednesday 23 March 2011

Mothers and gifts

I know it’s not Mother’s Day. Not yet. But I figure I’d better blog this now as I tend to get a bit emotional on the day itself. My mum died several years ago and her birthday is also coming up, so it’s a funny old time of year for me. She was so totally a spring person – up until her last illness she was always the epitome of optimism; a ‘can do’ person.

She believed in positive thought, in karma, in God, in gods, in the unseen, the ineffable, in synchronicity and miracles. She loved her children, her dogs, her garden. She adored yoga, tofu, mushrooms, watercress and gin. She listened to Bach, Enya, Loreena McKennit, Leonard Cohen and The Rolling Stones. She danced around her kitchen; she sang; she primal screamed.  She kept a copy of The Course in Miracles by her bed and devoured Rudolf Steiner. She was a sucker for sexy underwear and luxurious nighties. She always kept a glint in her eye. She had cold feet, a warm heart and a will of steel.

She left school at 14 and worked pretty well solidly all her life. She trained as a homeopath in her fifties and ran a business in her 60s and 70s. When the business crashed she merrily sold everything she owned and said ‘Ah well, nobody died. It’s just stuff.’

Having said that, she did love stuff. She was terribly vain – with reason as she was beautiful and had a cracking figure (even at 80). She loved nice clothes and adored gorgeous beauty products. Buying her presents was always a delight. I do miss that so much. So I figured, what the hell? Mum, if you’re around or about, here’s what I’d be thinking about getting you this year...

Something body-licious...  She would have adored ila-spa as she would only use totally organic products on her skin.  She would love pretty much the entire range, I think - though maybe the rose scents the most. I'd get her a couple of CDs too - she'd lap up the chants.  And probably throw in some incense - as she loved that as well.

Aromatherapy Associates was an old favourite of hers - I'd get her the skincare range as she would appreciate the natural yet powerful anti-ageing effects of their creams and oils. 
Come to think of it, she would also love Skin Science - it's a new range and their Bio Active Quicklift Mask would appeal - it's dubbed the 'Lunch break lift'. She was always in two minds about cosmetic surgery - this get-out clause would probably make her smile.

Mum felt the cold - she was a chilly vata type - so I always looked out for lovely warm scarves and cosy slippers and so on.  She would adore one of RoseBlack's gorgeous velvet-edged cashmere scarves - beautiful and warm!
These really are just the best.  I have a ton of their velvet scarves in every colour under the sun and one of these days I'm going to treat myself to one of the cashmere ones too... 

I think Mum tried every kind of natural face stuff.  She made friends with the beauty therapist who worked a few doors down from her and was her guinea-pig for every new fad going.  She would have been well into Eva Fraser's facial exercises and would have practiced assiduously - once she got into something, you couldn't pull her off it.  So I reckon this DVD from Victoria Health (one of her all-time favourite companies) would have made her smile....and grimace...and pout....
I'd probably nab her some hyaluronic acid and some HEAL cream while I was shopping there...maybe even a Duckula from the gift section.

She would have ADORED a Prana Mat from Fushi.  TApparently it helps in boosting the body’s natural energy flow by stimulating the body’s acupressure points. Allegedly it "wakes up" your body and directs blood flow to the organs that need it the most. The tiny lotus spikes stimulate active nerve centres and intensify the local blood flow and lymph circulation.

Yeah, essentially it's a bed of nails.  But, see, she would have loved that.  Hardcore stoic, my mum.  Actually she would have loved everything at Fushi - if you're into natural health and wellbeing, it's packed with goodies. 
Ah, how I'd love to send Mum to my favourite facialist, aromatherapist, acupuncturist and all round lovely healing person ever, Annee de Mamiel.  Annee is unbelievable.  Honestly.  She lives in NYC now and her client list is pretty well jam-packed for her visits to London but, seriously, if you can somehow sneak your way onto her couch, you will think you've died and gone to heaven early.  I would have LOVED Mum to have experienced this nourishing, healing, soul-affirming treatment.  Oh, and you come out looking ten years younger too! 
But, if you can't manage it, check out her seasonal oils - they aren't cheap but by heck they do incredible things to your skin.


Jake Barton said...

You're a lovely woman. How I wish I'd known your mother too. She lives on in your writing. Never have been so many adverbs and adjectives been so absolutely justified as in your descriptions of your mother. She'd have been proud of you every day you spent together and still would be, will be, today. You've reduced a hardened cynic (almost) to tears with this piece. I'm glad, for both our sakes, you didn't save it up for Mothers Day or Birthday!

Laura - Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? said...

Do you know what Jane, she sounds just like you x

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful testament to your mum. If you're half the woman she was you must be pretty amazing too.

F said...

Beautiful post, Jane. It's bitter-sweet, the missing and the love.

Wally B said...

She lives on in you.

Exmoorjane said...

Jake: wow. I'm gobsmacked. Seriously. Don't think you've ever commented (not anonymously) on my blog before. :)

Laura: funny thing, as I read it back I thought, we had more in common than I used to think!

Mud: Aw, thank you. :)

Frankie: yeah, bittersweet sums up my feelings pretty strange.

Legend: actually I think she's in the SP but...sssh, don't tell.

English Mum said...

I've just tweeted the exact same thing, Laura! Jane, you could have been describing yoruself in so many ways! x

Frances said...

Jane, this post shows, in many specific, and also in broader, more expansive ways, how your mother allowed you to know her, and how you responded to that opening.

Might I perhaps verge on embarrassing you by saying that what I know and love about your mom is that she made it possible for you to arrive on this planet. Without her, I would not know you!


Exmoorjane said...

EM: *smile*....she would have hated Everest as well! :)

Frances: *blush*... thank you. xxx

The mum of all trades said...

I can relate to every word of your post. My mum died from breast cancer 12 years ago. I really enjoy mothers day with my own children. But when I see the cards in the shops I feel like wailing like a little girl because I can't buy one.

Eliza said...

A wonderful tribute to your Mum.