I think we’ll be alright

After Christmas all I usually want to do is sit around playing with my presents; some years that means putting on a fashion show for everyone,  setting up something electronic,  burying my head in a book and my ears under my headphones, or all of the above. When I was a child we used to leave our presents in piles under the tree for weeks, and come down and play with them every morning as if it were still Christmas Day, until somewhere in the middle of January my mother would say we were taking down the tree now and had to put everything up in our rooms. This period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is always a time when you don’t have very much that needs to be done, and so you can relax and spend all your energy on doing the things that you really love doing, that you feel inspired to do.

This year it’s been raining non-stop wherever I go, and that makes me want to punch things. Midwinter can be a bit…well…bleak, at the best of times. But instead of punching things, I thought I would turn my attention to whatever beautiful details I could find in all the weird, cold and deserted places I visit, and focus my mind and lens on them, instead…

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Don’t ever ask me where I go

The first photo has… my Blackberry; IPod Nano (which freezes, ALL THE TIME, despite being quite new, damn you Apple); Headphones by Escouche. The notebooks are from Paperchase, as nearly all my notebooks are (except my favourite Moleskine ones). In the top left corner you can see Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, which I’ve just finished. Check it out if you’re into feminist odysseys, as I am. Above is one of my many scrapbooks… French film features pretty heavily. Also, Cruella. Why not? I would say my own personality is somewhere between Tinkerbell and Cruella de Vil. Like a truculent fairy with red lipstick and a cigarette.

I’ve been moving around a lot lately, and so my mind is filled with ideas about journeys, cars, night-stops at flourescent-lit Moto’s, trying to stay in touch and trying to stay out of touch. The rules change when you are on a journey; things always seem somehow changed when you are somewhere quiet and new and desolate at 3 in the morning. As if you did not belong to regular life, with it’s time for sleeping and it’s time for waking, and it’s sanity. Petty problems are transformed into existentialist gold that cannot hurt you anymore, because you’re free and moving, and only a tiny dot in one big starry night. The song I play for this mood is Hollow Talk by Choir of Young Believers. Listen and weep (with nostalgic melancholy and freedom-loving joy). 

…and some days I can’t even trust myself

Various Bronte editions, George Eliot, Anais Nin, Hemingway, Zola and Tim Burton comics. And then the heavy shit…the stuff that will only fit in sideways…The Brothers Grimm, John Updike, Germaine Greer, and a book about the cultural history of virgins by Anke Bernau.

Reading material for idle blogger hands…old issues of Amateur Photographer that I picked up at a free book-cycle, Vogue, Glamour, Marie Claire, Nylon (Nylon I love you forever and always to infinity and beyond) and Company.

It’s the house telling you to close your eyes

This is a how to make use of rainbow fairy-lights when you were supposed to get clear ones for a tasteful/boho Icelandic-themed Christmas tree but got rainbow instead because they’d been put in the wrong box.

I don’t feel like going home now, I wish that I could stay

 I’ve been being a real interesting person lately and living like a nomad on the run from the law (or from herself? Wow, I was profound just then); On Friday I was in London, and thought it a great opportunity, seeing as I had Christmas shopping to get started on, to go and see the lights on Oxford Street, and check out the window displays at Selfridge’s, with the obvious objective of getting some good photos. Not quite sure if I succeeded, but I had a blast anyway! It was FREEZING COLD outside and without the promise of the latest Lula magazine and a soya toffee nut latte from Starbucks I don’t think I would have made it through with all my fingers intact (whose genius idea was it to wear fingerless gloves in December? Oh yeah, mine).

Thank God I had Doris with me, my favourite scarf/snood/blanket for all occasions; She was named Doris in honour of Doris Lessing, and was handed down to me from my equally nomadic mother. I say ‘handed down’, but really I mean bequeathed, or something more majestic that brings to mind a ceremony with lighted candles and people crying. For something that I cherish so much, I sure do take her a lot of dodgy places. She’s seen more than her fair share of hotel rooms, dusty floors, cloakrooms and various forms of public transport over the years. She’s seen the whole of Britain from a car window, which means, I suppose, that so have I, although I forget it most of the time.
After London I went to Salisbury to spend some time with family, and stayed in a tiny B&B that gave me and my bro a mini-cabin all of our own!! I get very excited about things like that; actually, any form of temporary accommodation gives me a thrill. There’s something I love about sleeping in a strange bed, and the little boxes of cereal. When we weren’t out and about we spent all our time milking their Wi-Fi, watching hilarious YouTube videos of Jeremy Paxman interviews, or sharing pictures of men that look like wizards on Pinterest until about 5am. I think that’s the most ridiculous sentence I’ve ever written. Shamefully, it’s true.

When we actually went outside, we visited the Christmas Market (see below) and the Advent Fayre being held at the local Steiner school. They had beautiful homespun gifts and a selection of vintage clothes, which is always awesome. I don’t know of any place that wouldn’t be improved by a vintage rack. I picked up a knitted hot-water bottle cover with a winking owl on the front that is just adorable. Add to that more toffee nut lattes, more Christmas shopping, a visit to Salisbury cathedral, a HUGE bowl of yasai pad thai from Wagamama, no sleep, and there you have my first December weekend in a roasted nutshell.  

I never liked that sad look from someone who wants to be loved by you

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I want it to be spring now. I’m fed up with November, I’ve had enough. There’s only so far you can go with spooky-witchy-autumn loveliness before you have to admit that it’s just fucking cold and you wish it was over. I want to buy new pumps, croissants and flowers and take them home in the front basket of my Amsterdam bike. I want to go to the ballet and when I leave, only put on a tiny cardigan, because it’s WARM. I want to listen to First Aid Kit and watch The Virgin Suicides, or maybe Bright Star. I want to go to bed wearing nothing but white boxer shorts, without freezing my tits off. I want to lay in the grass. I want to read Parisian novels from the 1920’s, without actually sobbing in abject misery because Giverny won’t be in bloom for another six months. I want to open my windows without fear. I want to wear sunglasses during the day, not just in nightclubs. I want to see a ladybird! Where did all the ladybirds go?? COME BACK!!!!!

My flowered bed linen is from Ikea; the striped top I’m wearing is from H&M (Again. I just love Swedish junk, apparently) and the knickers are Topshop. I got the heart print shoe-laces from a goth shop in Camden that I can’t remember the name of, but has THE BIGGEST collection of shoe-laces I’ve ever seen. Yeah.