Cottage Life


We’ve been here a week, now, at this cottage of ours. It’s been bliss and love and family and, surprisingly, lots of work!

I’ve taken on some editing and copywriting clients lately, and I was lucky enough to have a big project to work on, so I’ve divided my time between the lake and the laptop. It’s been a different experience, but also incredibly rewarding – somehow I’ve been connected with incredibly motivated, vibrant go-getting women and getting a chance to work with their words has been so, so cool.

(Even though the ‘m’ key on my keyboard broke [Just like it did in Mexico! What on earth!] and I have been reduced to copying it and ctrl-v pasting it whenever I need it. Really makes you appreciate what an essential letter it is!)

A few days after we got here, all ten of us, the cottage toilet overflowed. We killed it! Cottage toilets are always finicky, so none of us was too worried. Instead we just went back in time and started peeing in the woods and using antique little chamber pots (can you pretend this is charming? Or Eco-friendly! It’s Eco-friendly! All the water we’ve saved!) This has started a funny little chain reaction for Olive, who quickly learned (and wholeheartedly embraced) the fact that she could now pee pretty much anywhere.

The lake? Pee in it! The woods? Pee in them! The lawn? Sure! I mean, if you stay off to the side, why not? The whole world is your toilet now, Olive!

It took me until she was 2 to toilet train her, it’s taken less than a week to undo it all.

She is almost three, and my Granddaddy turned 95 on September 1. Yesterday he walked past her and said, “Olive, I’m going to play with my tops. Want to come?”

She did, so they did. I don’t even have words for the scene that followed.wpid-wp-1441416586266.jpg

Also, in what is undoubtedly one of the high points of my fledgling writing career, my first Guardian column was published here.


I can’t even explain how much this means to me, personally and professionally. My first article went up on the 1st, and I’ll be posting every Monday.

I have been totally overwhelmed by the response so far (it’s been shared 13 thousand times! What is this world?) especially from a slew of Brits, who were positively HORRIFIED by my Americanized speech (Realize! Mom!). Nonetheless, I’m really really excited to see this series out. The chance to bring my hippie nonsense to thousands? Unreal! I’ll post links to my articles on my Facebook page here, so you can keep up with them if you like!

And here’s a fun behind-the-scenes story for you, because you deserve this sort of thing.

I had to submit a headshot to the Guardian to go along with the column. Lizzie took one before we flew out last Saturday, but a few days after we got here (literally right after I’d exclaimed giddily, “I don’t have to wear makeup or shave my legs for a WEEK!”) I got an email saying the photo resolution wasn’t high enough, and would I be able to take it again?

Ha! Haha! Sure, The Guardian! Um, you’re the mother-effing GUARDIAN! I’ll do whatever it takes! I’ll send nudes if that’s what you want!

So, I got all gussied up and my baby sister Mawney and I intensely studied the photo requirements. Guys, they were NOT. Messing. Around.

It had specific dimensions for the photo, angles for the way your shoulders were turned, ratios of head to shoulder width. It also needed a white background. Do you know what doesn’t have any white backgrounds? My cottage. Seriously, like six separate buildings and not a single white wall to be found. I emailed them back – Could I have a few more days? The reply came, and it came swiftly.

“Use a sheet?”

Yes, The Guardian! Alright!  Bedsheet backdrop it is!

All things considered, I think we did a DAMN good job! I mean if you squint so the sheet’s wrinkles disappear, I look almost professional!


Buuuut, here’s the behind the scenes nonsense it took to get that degree of convincing pseudo-professionalism!


Why yes, that IS a dress hastily pulled over a romper. This is the Internet, friends, things are never quite as put-together as they seem!

I’m going to be lazy, now, with my lake-washed hair and day full of travel ahead of me, and stuff this post chock-full of photos to finish things off.

Behold, my own personal paradise! (Just landscapes, mostly. Photos of The Anarchy come later)









Back to civilisation tomorrow. I miss it, just a bit.

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  • Reply harriet September 4, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    Congrats on the great article! Very impressed. Ignore the ares holes, some English are like that – trying to find negatives in everything (I’m allow to say this being British), considering they’re supposed to have such fantastic wit, some of them totally miss your irony – morons! I had to stop myself from writing rude comments in your defence! .

    Love the pic of your grandpa and olive – cuties. Hope you had lovely hols – xxxx

    • Reply sweetmadeleine September 9, 2015 at 4:10 PM

      Thank you, Harriet!

  • Reply lucy September 5, 2015 at 1:51 AM

    Hurrah! I read that article and wondered if it might be you as the voice was so similar! Congratulations! 🙂
    Americanisms don’t bother me as an British reader, I read just as many blog posts as newspaper articles and most of them are American so I think you just stop noticing them after a while

  • Reply James September 5, 2015 at 2:45 AM

    Love your Guardian article. Wouldn’t worry about any language issues – as long as it makes sense who cares if it’s in American English or proper English

    The Guardian has a history of spelling and grammar issues anyway, hence why some of us call it the Grauniad. But if you think comments in the Guardian are bad you should try writing for the Daily Mail. The reader comments in there are so frenzied, angry, misinformed and subjective as to be mildly amusing!

    Loving your work as always, and when you now start getting 1,000,000+ plus hits for each post remember those of us who were here on your journey pre-Guardian!!

    Enjoy the lake!

  • Reply Neko September 8, 2015 at 9:31 AM

    Love this, and so happy for your publishing news!

  • Reply Kassey September 8, 2015 at 6:57 PM

    Wow, that’s great! Be sure to link us up so we can follow your articles.

    Can’t even see the wrinkles on the sheet in the post on the Guardian site. I know, because I checked.

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