Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I've been reading this for the last few days (the "Currently Reading" link in the sidebar here shows only one of the books I am reading at the moment; I always seem to have at least three on the go):

The Faber Book of Diaries, edited by Simon Brett. The bookmark left in it tells me that Matt (who lent me the book) took a train from Euston station to Manchester on December 21st, 2001.

I love anthologies and how you can just dip into them. This one has a brilliant format: It is laid out like a diary, a day-by-day scheme which makes it random (in a good way), bringing together entries from all kinds of people and years, and it allows you to follow the authors' lives in an unusual way. There is no chronological order; one day might have somebody's 1940 entry, and a few days later there is one from 1939 by the same person, so you have to bear in mind that the events from a few pages ago have not yet happened. It also allows for great leaps in time on one page: for instance, for the 14th of December you get a 1861 entry from Queen Victoria about Albert's death, followed by one from 1899 reflecting on the anniversary.

Here are some of my favourite entries:
20 April 1925 
"Happiness is to have a little string onto which things will attach themselves. For example, going to my dressmaker in Judd Street, or rather thinking of a dress I could get her to make, & imagining it made - that is the string, which as if it dipped loosely into a wave of treasure brings up pearls sticking to it."  Virginia Woolf

7 November 1815
"Passed an acute & miserable morning in comparing myself with Raphael. At my age he had completed a Vatican Room."  B.R.Haydon    [been there...]

28 November 1923
"Am still trying to make the most of (and prepare for the shattering of) my solitude. No doubt I shall soon get used to the old conditions, but at present I genuinely shudder at the thought of turning out of this room and not being able to play the piano in peace. Lately I have, not for the first time, actually thought, rather cravingly, of having a house of my own."  Siegfried Sassoon

16 December 1836
"I wish I had leisure to commit to paper a hundredth part of the tales, poems, and dramas with which my brain is crammed. I have such splendid visions in my head that the idea of never realizing them with the pen is quite mortifying."  Emily Shore [she died of consumption in 1839, aged 20]

The following juxtaposition in the entries for December 31st reveals two completely different attitudes:

"The dear old year is gone [...]. Yet not gone either: for what I have suffered and enjoyed in it remains to me an everlasting possession while my soul's life remains."  George Eliot

"The old year is fled, never to come back again through all Eternity. All its opportunities for love and service gone, past recall. What a terrible thought!"  Caroline Fox

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The beach

Spontaneous beach visit yesterday between going to the post office and grocery shopping:

Because it was spontaneous, I did not wear beach-appropriate clothes (couldn't even roll up my pants to wade in the water, as they are unrollupable):

(which reminds me: I always mean to put together a bag of stuff that will live in the car and enable me to do things spontaneously, to include a towel, a bikini, a hairbrush and moisturiser (for swimming in the sea), an overnight bag (for when I don't go home), shoes I can walk in (for all those occasions when I find myself wanting to go for a walk but am wearing heels), wellies (same, but on a very wet day in a field), and snacks. Must do that)

 That's a father and child at the edge of the water. 

It was so peaceful. Days like that remind me that I am very lucky not to be working full-time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Working from home

I am at home, my car needs petrol, and I am trying to figure out what kind of meals I can make without having to go shopping (and no, I still don't regret the purchase of the silk pillowcases -they actually weren't that expensive, although I noticed that a shop in this town sells them for 80 euro a piece).
This is my first day off/working from home, and so far it's going well. Someone said working from home is easier when you go for a walk or a run first thing in the morning, a sort of "commute". I did that today, and it really makes a difference. The other thing is to dress properly (although one famous writer insisted that he worked best if he stayed in his pyjamas, as he was then still in nighttime creative dreamland or something). Did that, too. And of course ignore distractions (obviously I failed here - hello, blog! But it's my lunchbreak!). This morning was in fact very busy, with various phone calls and e-mails. I also painted and will hopefully do some more later.
Other good things:
-My cravings for green foods continue, and I am glad they do -so much better than sugar cravings. Last week we had wild garlic everything, courtesy of the garden at Matt's place, old woodland:

-These amazing slippers my sister made for me (my sisters are extremely talented):

-using oils for everything. I've been using jojoba oil, sometimes with an essential oil like lemon or lavender or geranium, as a moisturiser, coconut oil on my hair, and essential oil of jasmine as perfume.
-met my friend and her dog on Sunday morning at 8am for a run/walk, which was perfect. We're hoping to make this a regular thing.
- I have been doing meditation every day for 15 mins, and while my mind is still thinking of tons of things, I do feel it's getting better, and the 15 mins go by quickly.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Only a few days ago I was very upset about something, and here I am, feeling good and having grown a layer of thicker skin (which has always been on my life's to-do list; long way to go, but mini steps are better than nothing). The lovely weather we have had for a couple of days helps, and maybe the detox did, too.
I am now looking forward to some time off -even though I will be working on a commission- and to DIYing and road trips and cooking new dishes and meditation and running.

I will have to live frugally for the remainder of the month, as there have been some major expenses. I have noticed that when I stay away from the shops I do not even wish to buy anything, so this is easy enough. In the past few months I have decluttered my wardrobe, and while I love clothes, I do not like too-much-stuff, so I am aiming for something between a small wardrobe that works well, i.e. has lots of potential in terms of combining pieces, and a policy of only buying something if something else can go (once I have more closet space, all this may change). I am managing quite well on a small budget, and I am grateful that I can survive despite the fact that I only work part-time and my rent is high (a price I am more than willing to pay for the luxury of living alone).

Whenever I can, I try to buy good quality (you don't need to be rich to do that -good quality tends to last longer and be more ethical, and I think it makes more sense to buy less, but more expensive, instead of lots of cheap stuff). So. I finally bought two silk pillowcases that had been on my wish list for ages:

 The benefits of sleeping on silk rather than cotton or other materials are numerous, including anti-ageing effects and less frizzy hair. These two reasons alone did it for me. And it feels good. I adore silk and actually enjoy caring for my more delicate silk clothes and lingerie (handwash, etc. The pillowcases can be machine-washed. They are very difficult to iron, though). No regrets.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Cake Days Are Over

For now. This is day three of detoxing (no sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, wheat, yeast), and amazingly I do not have any cravings. Then again it is hard to have cravings when your head is close to exploding and you are nauseous. So I guess I'm doing ok. The terrible headache struck yesterday afternoon; I'm hoping today will be better.

 Matt and I reflected in teapot in Sweetie Pies (a newish café)

Loved the colours of this still life with hand - these were muffins with raspberries I made. No, I didn't eat them all myself, and no, I am not married -my Claddagh ring had turned

In preparation for this detox I thought it necessary to consume more coffee, tea, cakes and wine within two weeks than I usually ingest in two months. I think it was a case of "need-it-now-'cause-soon-I-won't-be-able-to-have-it" panic. And that's why the headaches were so bad. But I am feeling smug.... I can't believe I am so disciplined. We'll see how it goes...

(The reasons I am doing this are multiple, mainly recent health problems that I won't dissect here...)

Esto es el tercer día de no consumir azúcar, café/té, alcohol, trigo, productos lácteos y levadura, y no los echo de menos. Aunque esto no sorprende ya que tuve un dolor de cabeza y náusea ayer, así que no era difícil. Espero que hoy esté mejor. 
'Preparando' para este detox pasé dos semanas comiendo tartas y bebiendo café, té y vino, más que normalmente (casi nunca bebo café). Creo que era porque sabía que no podría tomar estas cosas muy pronto. Y por eso el dolor de cabeza es tan grave. Pero me siento engreída... No me puedo creer que estoy tan disciplinida. A ver cómo continua...

(Las razones para hacer esto son múltiples, principalmente por problemas recientes que no voy a exponer en detalle aquí)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New housemates...

Not of the human variety....
Tengo nuevos compañeros de piso... pero no son humanos:

This purple lady, made by my older sister, is now sharing a shelf in my bookcase with her (not handmade, but also a gift from my sister) boyfriend.They look very happy. I love the details -he carries a carrot with him (poking out of his pocket), and her dress has two different buttons, one heart-shaped. And it features polka dots!
La chica violeta, hecha por mi hermana mayor, ahora comparte un estante en mi librería con su novio (él no está hecho a mano, pero también un regalo de mi hermana). Están muy contentos. Me encantan los detalles -él lleva una zanahoria en el bolsillo, y el vestido de ella tiene dos botones diferentes, uno en forma de un corazón.

And this guy was created by my younger sister. He normally lives on the couch, but for our photo-shoot I moved him to a brighter spot. So cute.
Y este chico fue creado por mi hermana menor. Normalmente vive en el sofá, pero para nuestra sesión de fotos le moví a un lugar más iluminado. Es muy mono.