Monday, 30 May 2011

i'd like to, please

Hope #16.

Have a vintage wardrobe.

And I mean inside and out.

I love vintage---I really, really do. After years of watching my sister collect pieces, I have finally grown into the idea. I love the styles, the fabrics, the history. I love the fit, the flatter, the fun (of searching and quite often, being well-rewarded). I like the originality of it and the idea, as I have mentioned before, that I am creating a little less waste---not funding the sweatshops or the one-wear market. These pieces, pieces that have lasted for fifty, sixty, seventy years---they have longevity. And they are so often the marker of just how to make things well.

And if I could have an entirely vintage wardrobe, I most certainly would.

Right now, though, I'll settle for a majority. And I am getting there---slowly---piece by vintage piece.*

*I bought two new vintage things a few weeks ago (and no, I probably shouldn't have)---a fifties polka dot skirt and a fitted green sundress (broderie, too). Both were beautifully hand-made---and beautifully fitting---and they were sold to me by the loveliest, warmest of shop assistants I have ever, ever met. Sometimes I forget that I live in such a city, with beautiful, independent shops.

(I'd Like To, Please posts are inspired by Someday Hopes---a blog about the little (and the big) things we want in life. And the picture above came from this blog. Oh, I am a little bit smitten with those hints of fabric---the colours and the textures look divine).

Friday, 27 May 2011

on honesty*

I am not too sure how to sum up today--not too sure how to phrase or frame myself, how to twist today's key in this closed lock. The debate of whether or not I should talk about it has been toyed with, mulled over, weighed up, but I vowed early on that this space, here, would be a place to mark the progression, flourish and beauty of life--my life. I can't help feeling that today was a point of the former, of progression and development and growth--even though my words for it aren't quite there yet.

Before, I have alluded frequently--perhaps a touch too frequently--to me being a bit of a worrier. People who know me away from this space--and, for that matter, from this computer-- know that about me. It's in my facial expression, my body language, my (somewhat) obsessive sarcasm. But they don't know the severity of it--the way my mind curls in and over on itself, the way worries and fears are stretched out into absolute "certainties"--and then the way these "certainties" play out their paralleled lives against my own reality. My mind has become a container for knots and ravels--but a container that is pressurised and forced. It spins these cycles--cycles that compromise the knots, then worsen them--every day, around the clock. And I suppose the worst thing--the thing that really, really gets me--is the irrationality. It is the way the fears don't make sense or add up, yet build with such conviction, arrogance and belief.

People worry. I get it--really, I do. But the last few months have illuminated (much more than I expected) the services of these worries. People worry about the things they need to--then discard the rest. And in that very act of discarding, of eradicating and throwing away, people do the things they want and behave in the ways most natural. They don't lose the things--time, relationships, happiness--that this mind, my mind, forces me to (and oh, "force" has never been more correctly used). I am a shell, now, and not so much a person--not so much a person committed to their hopes, though she has them, but one who buries any progress towards them: one who fears and dreads and twists the happiest event into a closure of claustrophobic anxiety. Realising these things was a turning point. A prominent and (often) unrelenting one. (And yet, still, one which required nudging--a fair, fair bit of nudging).

So today I walked up some concrete steps and I opened a door and I sat down in a seat that, before now, I didn't think was meant for me. And in the first few moments in which I was asked to explain, I did all I could: I cried. Then I let words replace feeling and courage replace fear--and my sentences--well, my sentences were correctly finished for me by someone I had never, ever met before. It lasted for thirty minutes--thirty minutes that had at first seemed monumental--but later, thirty minutes that paled in comparison to the fear--the length and breadth and depth of it. So for the next eight weeks I will sit back in that chair--or another one: nobody has quite decided yet--and I will talk and I will strategise and I will seek and seek and seek a little bit of solace--of the professional, and not personal, type. And maybe, just maybe, I'll talk about it here. My belief in shying away from it has ceased, you see. (That doesn't mean talking about it doesn't scare me a little--it does; very much so).

*There's so much more to express already--and more eloquently and more descriptively and more actively. Maybe it will come, maybe it will not. Right now, this is as honestly as I can put it. And whilst every word is absolute truth, I sure do feel the worrying thread of melodrama--of disbelief, perhaps, or the assumption that this is how others may view it.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

milk milk!*

I just popped in to share a video--a video that made my heart melt.

As cute as it is powerful, in my opinion. And I'm not even that fond of milk...

*Nobody will fully understand the title of this post unless they've seen this, the Cravendale advert.

Monday, 23 May 2011

for the week or so...

...I guess you could say I have few words, only crossed fingers and time with these.

They worked when I was a little girl--my hope is that they will again.


(Picture credit).

that really woofs the cake

While I was not dancing in Alice's Wonderland on Friday, my (what feels like very) older* brother was celebrating his birthday.

Beforehand, though, I did a little baking--attempting to fashion a dog** out of a four-layered cake.

And, you know, it's three days on and nobody's cut it yet--and I'm not sure whether I should be thrilled or offended...

*He's thirty-one, in case you were wondering. I decided candles--let alone that many--were a little too cruel.

**I even matched the cake to the breed of his dog--her name is Gracie!

i'd like to, please

Hope #15.

This little hope is probably a lot easier to accomplish.

It is, quite simply, to drink more tea.

I barely drink a cup a day---regrettably, of course.

(I'd Like To, Please posts are inspired by this blog here. The above picture is taken from this tea-appreciation tumblr).

Saturday, 21 May 2011

when you're an english student... go to Alice In Wonderland balls...

...where there are cupcakes and bunting and drinks served in (very) ugly teapots...

...and after plucking up enough courage to make those tentative steps towards the dance floor, you realise it's the very last song.

And then--well, then you go to a friend's and have midnight baking sessions, simply because you cannot, and will not, sleep.

And you talk and you talk and you talk.

And it makes you grateful--so very, very grateful--so have a friend like that.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

new shoes?

No, not quite.

Well, almost.

Well, possibly---if they fit and I fall in love with them when they arrive.

You see, I was in the market for a new pair of shoes for a wedding I am (extremely) excited to be going to later on in the year*. And when I saw that they did shoes similar to these...

...with scottie dogs and stitching and a whole lot of colour? Well---much like the tea yesterday---I simply couldn't resist.

But I can't lie: there is a little bit of guilt attached to them---and usually it comes, fast, with the realisation that job interviews are difficult and I am simply, simply not conjuring much success.** Fingers might need to be crossed for that, too...

But I wanted to share them, just in case. Just in case, I don't quite keep them.

*One of my closest university friends is getting married to a gentle giant of a man---a man who moved one side of the country to another, just for her. I will be so happy to watch their lovely day unfold---and it will be my first wedding as a friend and not family. Rumour has it, too, that there will be a sweet buffet and vintage china...

**Kaylia, the other day, blogged about being a grown up. Things like this make me realise just how young, naive and (potentially) irresponsible I can be.

(Beautiful, beautiful shoes courtesy of Irregular Choice).

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

because there really is a tea in tuesday

I don't think I've ever spent a day drinking quite so much tea as I did today. But when it's served in such pretty, pretty cups, what is a girl to do (but just that)?

I think I've found inspiration again---for that bistro-come-bakery I will one day open (the important things, can't you tell?). I will have bunting. And mismatched cups, with their saucers. And cake stands. And floorboards. And wood.

Today just confirmed that---it was many of my favourite things rolled into one. (Only he was missing at the end of the day---but, you see, he's quite an important thing to be missing).

But to top it off, a little girl told me the world was beautiful (as she pressed her cheek, her nose, her forehead close to the glass of the train's window). And it is, you know. It is. And fingers crossed it will stay that way. Fingers crossed so tightly.

*I couldn't decide which of my photos I liked the most---the originals or the Poladroids. But I think I like the cleanliness of these, the latter, more.

**I have my eye on that Dickens teapot---it is beautiful. But it is also quite, quite horrendous. I haven't seen a thing like that in a very long time but boy, oh boy, does it appeal to my literary-loving, tea-drinking tastes.

Monday, 16 May 2011

music for your monday

There are many, many things that I like about this video. (And yes, maybe the fact that it's set in Paris sways my interest by a fair few miles).

And (also set in Paris, it has to be said) is this beauty.

Oh, and this! (Which isn't Parisian in any way).

I thought I'd share a little music for your Monday evening.

I think they're quite, quite worth your time. (And feel free to share---I am always welcoming of new---to me---music).

i'd like to, please

Hope #14.

Make my children their own stuffed animals.

Because these things simply couldn't be any cuter. And neither could an animal---or a doll---sewn by my own hands---missed stitches and all. They'd each have a name and a set of clothes and a personality. And they would be treasured and squeezed and a huge part of bed-time stories---you know, those impromptu ones: the ones not from a book?

They would also be cordially invited to every single tea-party.

(I'd Like To, Please posts are inspired by this beautiful blog---Someday Hopes---and the above image of Fox Jr (who really, really is very beautiful) is from here).

educated weekend

This weekend felt a little slower-paced. Or maybe that was the relief from the first---and potentially the hardest---exam resting complete. So we took a walk in a country park, strolled in the rain, meandered around an old market town and searched and searched and searched for a few antiques*.

And we also watched this.

And, oh, it was good!

I do recommend it: An Education.

*I saw one of the most beautiful chairs I have ever seen. An Edwardian library seat---all red, mahogany and leather. Unfortunately it was around £300 out of my price range---but oh, it was a treat to see.

(Photo credit).

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

the next step---to the next stage

There's something in the air this week that is causing me, over and over again, to think about mortality. Perhaps it is my immersion in Shakespeare's voluminous texts---or perhaps, the (crossed-fingers) hope of a new job---or perhaps, the declining weeks of this year's academia. I'm not sure what it is---I'm not sure where it places me---but it's there, a pushing thought. I had a realisation, today, about all those hopes---you know, the things we hope one day to achieve and the people we hope one day to meet---either as fresh, new acquaintances or a reunion of souls. And I was thinking that as these things fall into place, as they get crossed off and cheered by a smile, that they're just another step. So what happens when those things start falling into place? When we start achieving what we have wanted to achieve---when we reach a certain stage of contentment---when we see that person we wished one day we would, just so we could reassure them, once, that things are okay? Does it mean the end is nigh---that they are just consolatory and preparatory moments?

It's a tilting question.

But the answer, too, is there. Because in that realisation, there is another, better realisation. There is the reminder that yes, everything is preparatory---for the next thing and for the thing after that---and that yes, everything is intended as an ascension to the field of the content. Because otherwise, why would we try? Why would we want those endeavours if they weren't, ultimately, for that happiness? But the biggest realisation is that those thoughts---those questions of doubt---are the wall that surrounds that happiness? Because they leave us feeling perpetually on edge, balancing a rope of life too lax above the ground. Because thoughts like that---well, thoughts like that don't allow us to be---or to enjoy or to savour. And with them, with them built up so tightly around our minds, we forget to live in the first place.

And I am trying, so hard, to teach myself this. I'm trying, so hard, to let those worries slide, melt and pool around my feet---and to not, absolutely not, carry them as a weight.

But it's a long, sporadic journey. I can tell you that.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Monday, 9 May 2011

monday madness---or is that sadness?

I'm feeling a little out of sorts, today. With worries for the week and for the future weeks and for not quite knowing what to do. But I am taking solace, again, in the little things---in the simple pleasures in this thing called life.

And right now---right this very moment---they are things like...

...seeing children picnic on the pavement (sun-hats and teddy bears galore)...
...bumping into an old (and very beautiful, and very talented) friend two days in a row...
...sunny days in the city---and then by the sea...
...walking in the country---with fields on every side...
...having both a wise head and young, youthful shoulders (or so I'm told)... movie-marathons...
...good hair-days, when those curls flick under the chin just so...
...surprising vintage purchases...
...and party planning, with all its possibilities...

And, well, right now that's it.

But I am keeping my fingers crossed---so very tightly, so very purposefully---for the next couple of weeks.

I hope you are having a nice start to the week!

i'd like to, please

Hope #13.

See The Northern Lights.

It's always, always been a dream of mine: to see the world's most natural show of all. I don't know if there will ever be a more beautiful sight---of colour and movement and chill---and of absolute freedom.

One day.

(I'd Like To, Please posts are all inspired by Someday Hopes and the picture above---although not a photograph---is from here. I think it's lovely).

Sunday, 8 May 2011

meet sidney

This is Sidney* and this is what he does.

My very first outing with him was way back in January, on a beach. I thought I'd share a few of the results---and just through that grey, grey sky you can feel the cold. (I'd like to point out, too, that those beach huts were a long way away from where I first saw them from... a long way...)

*I like to name things---sorry about that.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

on explaining a little

I guess you could say this is how I feel about this little space I have going on here.

"It is the museum of reminders that life has been good."

And maybe few will find grandeur in that---but I certainly do---and, well, I find hope. Because at a time when I am reminded over and over again of our mortality (and I simply, simply, don't know why---it's this fearing thing, I suppose. This thing I keep returning to---then worrying for---then evaluating), I really hope this little space grows and grows over years---becomes packed with the things I have done, seen, felt, created, remembered and loved.

And that last one---that love---is the real grandeur---and the real, real explanation for it all.

(Quotation from Lynne Bertrand, via The Scrapbook Lady).

the sun sets, the sea laps the shore

Tonight Arnold and I walked along the beach, then watched the sun set---and in that moment, on a slanted rock and in a chilled breeze, I asked over and over again to please, not let this end. And I didn't mean the sun---no, not the way it hid its upper lip of fuchsia and ochre and bronze---I meant everything: the unity, the simplicity and the absolute assurance. Because in lives so often swathed in uncertainty (and I do not mean that melodramatically---we all, after all, are uncertain about something)---tonight was what I needed---what I craved---what I hungered for.* Because tonight, in conversations on living and believing and seeing, there was absolute contentment. But more than that? Conviction---conviction in the choices we had made and the people we were---and are---becoming. And for a second, too, all tangible worry---worry about those dreams I pile up and those hopes I place on us---faded, under the shadow of a fading sun and on the scurf of an ebbing tide.

Tonight was a night to be grateful for---then to remember, over and over again.

(And no, I can't lie. Posting things like this makes me a little uncomfortable---because these things, things made up of such heart, I do not want to jinx. Because no, I never, ever want this---us---to end).

*Laura (one half of Someday Hopes---the blog I so often praise in my I'd Like To, Please posts) is one very wise lady. Please check out her post today---it is insightful and it is inspiring and it, most of all, is honest. We all need a little more of that---a little more of those calls to wake us up. And boy, was my evening---and then that post---just that.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

still dreaming...

...of that home I will one day have.

And the truth is---well, I will probably never be brave enough or have space enough or a boat big enough to do this, but...

Isn't it such a wonderful idea?

(Courtesy of this blog, Bettyjoy---via Pinterest).

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

dreaming to distraction

Today I am trying hard to let go of my fears---and it is funny that, isn't it? that following the day hailed to make us safer I am feeling just as unsettled and unnerved by the world around us. So attention has turned to the future---to the dreams I keep stacked up in my head and in my heart---to the visions of growth, prosperity and contentment. Yet I find in these things fears themselves: they are reminders of all that there is to be lost---reminders of lost loves and scattered dreams. I don't want to put too much faith in these things---too much love---(for fear and fear itself) but I don't want to stop feeling or living or being. That, I know, would be the greater destructor.

To dream, I think, might be the only answer.

(Picture source).

Monday, 2 May 2011

ten years on

I have thought for hours about how I could sum up today---this day that has been so plastered across newspapers and television screens, radio waves and web pages. And d'you know what? I found it---I found it perfectly summed up in another person's words.

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." - Martin Luther King, Jr

Updated: a friend just sent me this link about the quote I used---and I am a little bit embarrassed for getting it so wrong. But d'you know what? The words are just as apt---just as important---just as perfect for this day.

But here, in his words (for real this time), is another perfect sentiment:

‎"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

i'd like to, please

Hope #12.

Make macarons.

Everyone I know who has tried making them has failed---they end up a congealed, flat mess of food colouring.

But I am determined to make a stack of these pretty things---along with all of those other little treats I am slowly building up a catalogue of making.

[My I'd Like To, Please posts are inspired by Someday Hopes (oh, it is a wonderful blogging nook of hopes and dreams!) and the above photo I got from here].


This was my (wonderful) weekend.

And now it is back to work---of the essay kind and of the revision kind and of the trying-to-hold-it-all-together-calmly kind.

I hope you had a lovely weekend! And are having a happy, hopeful start to the week!

*I'm not really very good at showing my face in photographs---but maybe that one can be excused. That little bundle of fur and I were discussing hay.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

hitched without a hitch

I spent much of the weekend basking in the beauty that was Friday.

Wasn't it beautiful?

I had started feeling a little complacent about it, to begin with---but as I started watching it---as I got the first glimpse of the dress and the slow procession down the aisle and saw the little, snatched moments of conversation? Oh, I fell in love with it all---with the excitement and the beauty of its commitment---then the sudden realisation that it was a much bigger thing: it was not just the union of two people but the welcoming of one woman into a very important family. And with that: something I am not so used to seeing. The humanity of royalty---the absolute passion and devotion on their faces, the way you could see William forgetting it all---the people, the prestige, the persona---and just wanting to stare at his beautiful bride through the vows and the readings and on the balcony.

And this---this is by far my favourite photograph: there is such tenderness in it. And that little girl in the corner cannot be ignored...

Oh! And the dress! It was nothing like I expected---but absolutely to Kate's credit. It was so traditional, so flattering and so unbelievably stunning.

(Picture courtesy of NPR).