Sunday, 31 December 2017

What I Learned in 2017

Back when I was still teaching, we talked a lot about helping kids to become lifelong learners. Our students graduated from high school and headed out into a world in which it was increasingly difficult to know things, because 'things' were always changing. They would undoubtedly learn how to do one job, only to find that in a few years they'd have to learn a totally different job, or several different jobs over the course of their working life. And as teachers we knew that learning how to be a good learner is invaluable in a rapidly changing world. Invaluable for kids. And for everyone, really.

So in that vein, here's what this lifelong learner learned this year. 

About Travel:

gravel road twists around sharp rocky peaks
Ruta 40 was all gravel between Cafayate and Cachi in northern Argentina

Never be afraid to take the rough road, or go the long way round. Most of the time it's worth it. We saw some amazing places on this back road in Argentina last winter: from Salta, to Cafayate, Cachi, and then back to Salta. Beautiful scenery, bleak vistas, surprisingly lush valleys, and not a few hair-raising twists and turns.

Friday, 22 December 2017

O Christmas Tree etc.

Everyone, meet Gladys. We brought her home a couple of weeks ago. And I've just finished dressing her in her beads and bobbles. She looks lovely, I think. Not too ostentatious or overdone. With a few slightly vintage accessories, and a few that are really old. She's kind of classic. And authentic... I mean she is a real tree after all. 

a decorated Christmas tree in front of a window
Gladys, all dressed and ready for Christmas

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

You're Invited to My Fantasy Tea Party

I've often wondered what it would be like to sit down for tea with some of the women whom I've long admired. Whose words and ideas have sustained me at difficult times in my life. And to whom I have often looked for wisdom, for some sort of guidance on how to navigate through life. Not surprisingly most of these women are writers. And most of them I have never met, and now never will, since they are no longer living. Still. The thought is intriguing to me. 

So, if I were to dream up a fantasy party, it wouldn't be a glittering cocktail party, or a Jane Austen style ball, or even  Mitford-ish coming out party. 

My fantasy is that I might be able to conjure up a gathering of the wise women I admire, bring them together in one room, with a big pot of tea, cucumber sandwiches, cranberry scones, Victoria sponge, and my mum's fruitcake. And chat.

Now, how amazing would  that be?

Friday, 15 December 2017

Love the One You’re With

That's my new fashion mantra for this winter, folks. Trying to love the one I'm with, so to speak. And I'm not talking about Hubby here. I'm trying to rekindle the love I once felt for some of the older pieces in my wardrobe. 

I've been complaining that my closet is so edited it's become a bit boring. And I'm on the hunt for some pieces to take me in a new direction, add some interest, maybe change up my preferred silhouette. Give me something to build on. I love having a goal. I am nothing if not patient with a long term plan. Where's the challenge in instant gratification?

Monday, 11 December 2017

What Are You Obsessed With Right Now?

That question was the subject line in an e-mail I received recently from The e-mail was advertising the most popular pieces... dresses, and shoes, and earrings... which had been purchased the previous week. 

Favourite pieces, popular looks, okay. But obsessed? Really? I love the red outfit from Victoria Beckham, below. At times I almost drool over it. It inspired my recent search for something similar. But I'm not obsessed with it. 

woman in burgundy turtleneck and boots and a long red skirt
I admire this look. Sometimes I almost drool over it. But I am NOT obsessed.
I sometimes despair, folks. I mean, why oh why is the internet so "obsessed" with being obsessed? Why do we use so much hyperbole on-line to talk about sweaters, or shoes, or fancy, festive partywear? 

Friday, 8 December 2017

My Geriatric Closet

Despite the fact that I love to cull my closet, I must confess I do have a number of... ah... older pieces. Items which over the many years of culling I have been unwilling, or sometimes initially willing, but in the end unable, to give away. And I was thinking of these rather geriatric pieces the other day when I read a post on Man Repeller in which Haley Nahman asked five fashionable women to "find and wear the oldest thing they own[ed]" 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Do You Need a Hygge?

Up until the last few years you could definitely describe me as a non-hugger. When I was a department head and mentoring younger members of my department, I'd pass tearful colleagues who needed a hug over to Julie, the lovely lady who sat next to me in the teacher prep room. She was always a great giver of hugs. 

Teaching is a stressful job, especially when you're young and unsure of yourself. When a young staff member stood behind my chair and said in a quavering voice, "Suuuu-ue? Can I talk to you for a minute?" ... Julie would quietly pick up her work and move to the big table at the center of the room. Vacating her chair for whomever was in distress, and giving us some privacy. Then after we'd talked the problem through, I'd say, "Do you need a hug?" And Julie would step in. We laughed and called her seat the "crying chair," and her the official hugger. It became a department joke. I'm a pretty good listener, I can read most people pretty well, and I like to think I offered thoughtful solutions to problems. But hugs, hugs were just not my forté. 

Actually, my point here is not about hugs. But about hygge. I'll admit I wasn't a born hugger... however, I do think I was born for hygge. I excel at hygge.