On a new year with glasses & unruly brows

Reading this post back, it seems there are only a few things that I manage to convey: the desire to wish you a happy new year; my wish to discuss the various illnesses that consumed Christmas for us; several rather random eye-related tales of woe that I feel compelled to share with you. It's a curious subject mix, but one which I feel better for having written down. If you just can't bear it, I'll say Happy New Year as a precursor now so that you can take my well-wishes and run. Happy new year.

I'd intended to be here at some point between Christmas and the new year, but somehow the time has gone and 2012 ended as an anticlimactic wash out in which my little boy came down with croup just before Christmas and by the day was too ill and weepy to enjoy much of anything. Sleepless nights followed and I was reminded of what hard work it was to have young children who don't sleep through the night. No sooner was his spirit revived several days later than I found myself in the grips of illness and all our best-laid Christmas plans were cancelled. The only thing I was good for was texting my father pictures of my ill face and laying down the gauntlet to see if he was able to send back a grimmer face. I won. No small feat with a man who insists he's won everything (in the photo below he is beating my husband in a stone throwing contest). Despite being painfully sore of throat, we headed to the beach for new year's day. When we woke that morning the sky was such a brilliant blue and the sun had such wintry pureness that it was a day that seemed to almost call you to the coast and there seemed no better place to be. We met up with my family there and spent a glorious few hours photographing the waves, getting our shoes wet, throwing stones and having our spirits whipped up by the wind. The car seemed to drive itself home in a fug of blow-heatered warmth with views of the setting sun at every turn. Later my husband made several curry dishes and we sat and drank Prosecco while my sister and I planned a joint birthday treat for the new year.

So New Year's day was wonderful, but much of the rest was a depressing string of cancelled arrangements.
Shortly before Christmas I was told I now need glasses. This doesn't come as a great surprise when I spend much of my time focusing fixedly on single fibres of fabric, too entranced by the challenge of attaining even stitches to blink. By the time Christmas day arrived it felt as though I may be handing over my parents' hand-stitched wall hanging along with the last vestiges of normal vision pieced amongst it, such was my reliance on eye gel drops. However, on Christmas Eve I picked up my new glasses and uncovered a long-forgotten world full of crisp edges and vivid colours. I drove home wearing them and each time I stopped at traffic lights I'd lift the glasses up and down to admire the sparkling contrast that wearing them and not wearing them produced! Could there be a game that is more fun? I'm unsure there could. Overjoyed, once home I rang on the doorbell and my husband answered. After a protracted, and seemingly uncontainable, fit of laughter had passed, he simply said: I'll come with you and buy you a new pair next week. Even my usually terribly sensitive daughter felt compelled to tell me that they just didn't look right. It seems that choosing glasses for the first time is not something that one should do alone (not least because one can't actually see clearly). I'd made the mistake of selecting a pair that I liked the look of, rather than checking to see that they suited my face. As a result they are apparently ludicrously over sized and reminiscent of the eyewear of Elvis Costello and Buddy Holly. That's a look I like...I just don't seem to be able to pull it off on my own face. Damn.
The true awfulness of a very busy run up to Christmas followed by being trapped inside the house by illness for a protracted period, is that by New Year's Eve my eyebrows were quite, quite wild, but I'm yet to attempt to thread my own eyebrows, even though I'm normally totally game for any craft activity that involves a reel of thread. When we opened the door to our also-ill-friends who arrived to see in the new year with us (a sort of infirmary party where the patients drank anaesthetising Prosecco and then downed shot glasses of throat-soothing Limoncello at midnight), I felt compelled to apologise for asking them to fight through what felt like the eyebrow equivalent of great carwash-sized brushes in order to make eye contact with me.  Luckily, 9.30am on January 2nd brought sweet relief from that crisis. Clear vision is restored in every way, even though I still look like Elvis Costello because we've been too ill to hunt out some new glasses for me yet. Despite protestations by others that this isn't true, I still feel like I look insanely intelligent in my glasses, so the wait hasn't been unbearable for me. One day over Christmas our lovely friend Ben came over to see us and my husband banned me from showing my new glasses to him for fear of him kindly saying that they looked perfectly lovely and giving me any defence for not buying a new pair. And so it seems that the new year begins with my husband's desperate struggle to save me from looking like a lunatic, but either way I'm a happy lunatic, for you won't believe what was waiting under the tree for me from him. I'll reveal all in my next post. It's too exciting to speak of until I feel fully better. I'm afraid at the moment I still feel slightly delirious, so it's reallly better for me not to sully good things with my curious ramblings.
Wishing a wonderfully shiny new year full of good things,
Florence x


  1. I hope you feel better soon. The pictures are beautiful and I am sure you look lovely in your new glasses.

  2. Replies
    1. Seconded lol, I'd love to see those specs!

  3. Oh Florence I am sorry that your family was so poorly over Christmas. It was a long term for children and I think they were worn out with no resistanceleft.
    I do feel a bit guilty about your eyes.I shouldn't have mentioned them (5th Dec)
    Enjoy your bright new world!

  4. Christmas and sick kids... Unfortunately they seem to go together. I remember how every year--and I mean EVERY year, on Christmas Eve, one kid at least got sick and threw up. It never failed, until after they all got past the age of 10, anyway. I was reminding my husband of that on this Christmas Eve, the old "tradition" I was so glad had been abandoned, when I heard an ominous gagging sound. Looking around, I found my little dog, throwing up on the couch! You can't win!! :-)

    I can also relate to the "Wow, did I really pick out this ugly pair of glasses?" problem because I am so short-sighted I literally can't see my face worth a darn once my prescription lenses are off and I'm just wearing empty frames. I try to take help along now, or get someone to photo me with a digital camera so I can see what I actually look like before I commit and buy anymore.

    Ah, life!

  5. Oh, what a story about your new glasses! That's terrible, but I suppose his intentions are good. I can't wait to find out about your Christmas surprise.

  6. My optician has a brilliant gadget where you can take a piccy of yourself in the new glasses from 3 angles, then examine them on the screen with your specs on. Very important if you are as blind as I am.

    Have chosen specs for 30 odd years - but the potential for cock ups is still present. Can't believe you didn't show us a photo though - I was waiting for one to pop up!

  7. So sorry you've had such a poorly Christmas - hopefully that's all illnesses done for the year now? I can SO relate to your glasses story - I've worn glasses since I was 4 and always take someone with me, it appears that my face does not suit the glasses that I would like to wear. So annoying!!!! Will wait in anticipation of your Christmas gift.....is it something that does 1000spm?! Happy New Year Florence! x

  8. You poor things - wouldn't it be wonderful if we could book our ill days in advance, leaving the important days fun-filled? Having been through THE GLASSES experience recently, I share your pain. And I do hope you intend to divulge your Christmas gift without delay!

  9. oh dear, so sorry you had such ill health over Christmas here's to a healthy new year x

  10. Agh, what a miserable Christmas, Florence. I'd assumed your blog-quietness was down to frantic stitching and days filled with merriment. Are you all better now? New Year's Day was glorious here in London, too.

    Glasses - impossible to choose them when you can't see yourself in the mirror. I have the size problem too - you should probably look for a 'petite' pair. I'm sending you an email about it...

    Too much suspense with the gift. Tell us right now!

    Happy New Year! xx

  11. It's such a shame when the holiday season is spent feeling poorly. I hope you won't ever have a repeat of that.
    Welcome to the glasses wearing part of the population! I've been wearing glasses since I was fifteen and I can look back on some truly hideous pieces that would make most people run to the hills. Although quite embarrassing when realisation sets in it's rather funny a few years down the line. My face is quite small so I choose mine from the teenage section now.

  12. Oh please. please post some glasses pics, I'm sure your choice isnt that bad!
    illness has struck our family too, I'm (reluctantly) on my second course of antibiotics and I'n slowly improving but its taken almost a month - these bugs are very hardy.
    Cant wait for your surprise... soon please.

  13. Sorry Christmas was such a let down, Hope you're all feeling better now.
    Buying new glasses is fraught with difficulty - and I've been doing since I was 9! The temptation to buy the ones you really like even if they don't fit is great - tempered these days by the fact that glasses are so flippin' expensive. I sometimes opt for reusing frames I really like but that only works if I had two identical pairs the last time as I can't be without specs for the two weeks it takes to get my prescription made up - needless to say I always have to have a spare pair!

  14. Poor you Florence! What a horrible time you have had. Christmas is the least nicest time to be ill I think. I do hope you feel much better now.

    I had my eyes tested yesterday and as a long time glasses wearer, I asked if doing close up work is what has made them worse (they are worse). But she said no. I don't believe her though, as usually at my age they would have stabilized instead. I think opinion differs amongst opticians.

    I have now got old lady eyes to go along with the short sight and have ordered my first bifocals. They are certainly ugly as you can see the two prescriptions in the lenses, with the reading bit a little square. Never mind, it will save me putting different glasses on and off all day and losing them. I chose the same lenses as last time, albeit inadvertently because it is all just too difficult to choose on your own when you can't see how they look.

    You have a little face, so it is true big glasses will swamp you. The children's range are sometimes the better option. I need smaller glasses too. Be careful though, that your glasses aren't too narrow as otherwise you will have the pillar box effect - where you have distinct blurriness at the top and bottom of your visual range as the lenses don't cover your visual range properly. This is very disconcerting, annoying and can lead to you falling downstairs etc. Be guided by your nearest and dearest looks wise though. Some glasses will definitely look lovely on you and be just the thing.

    It is a joy to see things brightly again isn't it - I can still remember seeing the blackboard for the first time with glasses when I was 7, it was amazing! I have to wait until next Thursday and can't wait. The Christmas tree lights look lovely though through a misty blur though.

    I also wear contact lenses which may be worth thinking about if you have to wear glasses all the time - for a start it's no fun when its raining. You will easily get past any squeamishness and you can't feel them at all.

    Happy New Year! And thank you for your lovely beautifully written blog :)

  15. Florence, you are a great disappointment to me.
    First you don't post a photo of yourself in your glasses and then you make me wait to see what your husband got you for Christmas! Shame on you ;)

    I had the opposite trouble when I got my latest glasses. I had been looking for a pair for months and months. I made the mistake of taking my daughter with me each time (she's 23), and every pair I liked, she didn't, in fact she didn't like any, which is why it took so long. One day whilst not intentionally looking, I popped into an optician's on my own and found the perfect pair. The assistant took photos of me on his laptop (maybe not be a laptop - one of those smaller thingy's) so that I could see what I looked like.
    And surprise, my daughter approved.

  16. Sorry you've not been 100% - me neither and it felt like rotten luck especially as all three sons and 2 girl friends were going to be with us. We all invest so much in these few special days.

    Hope you get some socially acceptable glasses - I'm sure the ones you chose are miraculous in as much as you can see - at the end of the day that's the main thing.

  17. I have to admit to being rather disappointed in your last post. Firstly, for not posting a pic of you in your Elvis Costello glasses and secondly for leaving us in suspense!!

    Sorry to hear that illness struck your family over the festive period. My youngest (14 months) wasn't in the best of spirits in the run up to Christmas and today it transpires that the reason was chickenpox! Glad you all had a lovely new year's day though. I love beaches in wintertime, much more dramatic and quiet :)

  18. So sorry to hear about your family illnesses over Christmas, so disappointing for everyone. I love your excitement over being able to see details and colours again, it's amazing how much we miss when we can't see properly but don't realise it. I still remember my similar excitement over being able to see details like leaves on trees and bricks in buildings when I first got my glasses. And I don't think I was that blind! Happy new year to you, hope 2013 is wonderful for you, looking forward to seeing what beautiful things you make this year!

  19. I know what you mean about giving in to wearing glasses! I've finally started wearing them for reading, crafting and music playing, and I hate them!!! I have about five pairs and can never find one of them, only to find that they are perched on top of my head (not all five pairs at once). I must be getting old......

  20. Happy New Year! Here's hoping that you all recover swiftly and completely!

    I was so excited to pick out a new pair of glasses a few years ago since the previous pair had been hanging around since high school (!), so I went to a quite hip, unisex place and picked out a FABULOUS pair of frames. When I brought them home and asked my husband what he thought, he said he liked them, but wasn't sure why I'd picked out the same frames that he had. Crappers! I don't know how I didn't realize it, although at least mine are tortoise and his are black. We already look very much alike, so I stick to contacts when I'm out with him so we don't look like identical twins!

    1. That's so funny! I've done that with fabric before too! The his and hers look isn't one I'd intentionally aspire to! x

  21. I love your description of wearing them home: I, too, remember that feeling. You are so much kinder than me though, I was just struck by how much less attractive everyone looked, including me . I had seen the world in soft focus for so long it was quite a shock. I'm afraid I'm so vain that I never wear the glasses when my husband is about so he has not been able to give an opinion on them, which is certainly for the best.

  22. I'm so sorry to hear you and your little one weren't feeling well for Christmas - hope you are both feeling healthy now. I loved the story of your glasses - too funny!

  23. Thank you so much for all your well wishes and also the amusingly crotchety comments about my not sharing a photo of myself looking hideous in my glasses! I felt thoroughly told off and will try to refrain from witholding this kind of detail from you in the future!



Post a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x