It’s not the light start and end to the days, the cherry blossom on the trees or the fact that I’m trying to get my feet sandal fit that marks the onset of a new season for me. It’s the itchy eyes, the sneezing and the bulk purchase of the strongest antihistamines that money can buy.
I didn’t even suffer from hay fever well into my twenties; I spent a blissful childhood running through fields, throwing myself into mounds of grass cuttings and picking wild flowers. I’ll be forever grateful for that at least. It was a mild irritation when we lived in Scotland rarely flaring up for more than a few days at a time, but it became debilitating when we moved to the southwest of England. It’s hard to maintain a professional facade when your client starts handing you tissues when your eyes won’t stop running.
It’s easy enough to prevent though, which is just as well or I’d spend my spring and summer time in a barren landscape. I also have trouble with orchids and christmas trees, so whenever I visit my parents I need to bring industrial strength drugs with me.
I wouldn’t change it for the world though. There is no other season that makes me feel as alive as I do in spring – it’s as though I’m awakening from a dark, muted sleep and open my eyes to a sea of colour. We held a ‘yellow’ day in the office last week in support of a local charity and decorated the office with daffodils. Neither we, nor the office, have ever looked brighter or healthier. They call it mellow yellow for a reason.
sunny daffodil by bill wakeley
I sometimes use colour to define my mood, or even to improve it if I can.
Earlier this week I posted “Walking on sunshine” – my little yellow shoes exude happiness, I wore a matching yellow jacket to get the full happiness quota in. The reaction of those around me was surprising, even the concierge at work commented on how lovely they were. The one aspect of wearing bright colours is that you have to be feeling pretty brave, it’s just because they demand attention. Our eyes are drawn to bright colours. In nature, they can show great beauty but can also be used as a sign of danger, or to stay away.
I wear red if I’m scared or want to look confident, navy and purples suit my colouring so I try to wear as much of them as I can, and khaki is my dress down colour, my off duty wardrobe.
I don’t always get it right – I was wearing a red, white and blue ensemble on the day of Prince George’s birth – a tad bourgeois for my liking. And I’ve learned never to wear head to toe cream or white unless you have guaranteed sunshine (transparent / mud spattered / clingy) or wear full skirted dresses when it’s breezy (you really want to be wearing biggish pants on those occasions). But embracing colour can be a huge mood-lifter.
I went through a decade long phase (early 20s to early 30s) of wearing pretty much nothing but black – I liked it. I liked to look alternative, I liked that everything matched. But it was drab, painfully so. And so I slowly introduced colour to my wardrobe. Depending on my mood I can colour-block with the best of them, look elegant in muted hues or opt for a clever contrast combo. But I draw the line at beige – I want to look sophisticated and together, but the reality is that I feel beige when I wear it. So, it is the end of beige. Apart from a lovely pair of nude peep toe shoes – because, if nothing else they elongate the leg. And that’s something I’m in dire need of.