7 things that say summer

IMG_3427I’m not saying it’s a heatwave yet but the weather has improved. I’m trying my best to get into a summer mood and books and attire are a part of that. These are a few of the things setting the tone for my life right now.

1.Nuxe oil. There is no getting around it, I love a bit of Nuxe in general and like so many the scent of their classic dry oil is a summer stapel. I was given a small bottle of their oil with shimmer in it and use that on hair and a little bit of everywhere for a nice glow. On top of a proper SPF obviously( La riche-posey Anthelios SPF 50 is my go to).

2.Sandals. The only time of year that you can wear them. I went with a very basic black sandal this year but it is an area where I have been known to be very colorful.

3. Hot pink lips and nails. The nail polish is “So there” from H&M(both on fingers and toes) and the lipstick is “Giacomo” from Tom Ford for daytime and “Electroclash” from H&M Beauty for evenings. I bought a nice tinted lip balm from Tom Ford earlier in the season but it was rubbish and just broke off and then I couldn’t apply it. I guess I should have gotten a little pot to put it in(it was expensive) but I was so pissed off that I just threw it in the bin. Only time I’ve had a bad experience with a product from that range.

4. Sunglasses. Obviously. These are a big pair of Jackie O style things I’ve actually have managed to hold onto since last year. I famously leave sunglasses and umbrellas all over the place and thus stick to inexpensive ones.

5. A big ring. This is something that I’ve made out of an old button but it looks the business. And as I don’t have to worry about gloves it’s the season to wear this in daytime.

6. Un jardin sur le Nil from Hermès. This is a very good scent for summer, almost a cologne but just enough of citrus and herbs to work in heat and yet be refreshing. It smells sweeter on me in summer which I like, still crisp, but softer than when I wear it during the rest of the year (it is s very good perfume if you work in an office environment where people are sensitive).

7. Crime novels. I don’t often read this genre but if I do it’s during June,July and August. I have read two Agatha Christie short stories, The return of Sherlock Holmes and some contemporary stuff, and I’m eyeing the shelves for more. I’ve received some great recommendations so we’ll see where I end up.

-Suss

7 list I should be writing.

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1. Seven kimonojackets every woman needs. I’m actually low-key working on this list but I get so many ideas for kimonojackets, then have to go off and make them. The list started as kind of sarcasm but quickly derailed. Full disclosure; I have something like dozen something items that can be filed under “kimono” at this point. All of them very necessary.

2. Seven classic cocktails everyone needs to know. This list will come. I just made the choice to clear out the bottles with rather esoteric content first, to start building a more user-friendly home bar and take it from there. All I hope now is that I don’t read something great and start making cocktails that is 50% home-infused something crazy and 50% very hard to get alcohol and thus make things that are too odd for most people to bother with( this is probably what will happen however because NERD).

3. Seven great ways to save money. I should apply myself and be more frugal or whatever and then write a list. I’m hopeless however.

4. Seven great tricks and things when working with calligraphy. I totally lost track of my calligraphy efforts. I should get back on that, with nibs, inks and everything else.

5. Seven ways to make your own fabric patterns. I only know like three or four but if I ponder the issue I will come up with more. I do have fabric in my home that has received my magic touch. It’s good fun. But do people actually want to see more photos of my home and closet?

6. Seven tricks to tackle big books. I like big books and I cannot lie. I should really write this list even though “make sure that you are snowed in” isn’t exactly helpful advice (but one of the reasons that I have managed War&Peace)

7. Seven great places to visit in Tokyo. I still want to go to Japan. My first two efforts failed(due to illness etc.) but one day it will happen and then I will write this list.

-Suss

The scents of summer

If the weather doesn’t act like it’s July, then you just have to give it some help, right? I’ve try to surround myself with summery scents that signal sunshine and energy. I’m not fooling myself, but good scents do improve my mood. I’ve also tried to ritually cleanse the flat of bad energy using sage. And by that I mean I’ve made roast chicken with sage and butter. Someone told me to burn sage and let the smoke purify my surroundings, very hippy-esque. Seemed a waste of sage, and I wanted a tasty dinner. And putting on the oven does give the place some warmth if it’s gonna be this cold. It didn’t work and I suppose the weather goods want a proper blood sacrifice. That won’t happen. A gift of incense and gold perhaps? Or rather; fancy scented candles and orange roses.

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Scented candles is an all year thing around these parts. At the NK-sale I bought a candle from Ladurée, of macaron fame, in an orange blossoms scent. It’s a perfectly adequate candle for what I paid (about €30) mostly because of the nice jar. Had I paid full retail (around €70) I would have been sorely disappointed. I won’t buy it again unless there is a sale. In future I will stick to the one from A.P.C if I can; it’s cheaper and in my mind just a bit “more” in regards to the actual orange blossom. I did buy another candle in the Ladurée sale, that actually smells like incense but I plan to give it away.

When it comes to Earl grey and cucumber from Jo Malone I will not repurchase. The scent is lovely and I was so happy for this travel size bottle that was a gift. The staying power on my skin however? About 30 seconds. It’s a cologne but still. And then there is the small thing of me being a bit of an idiot; now that Jo Malone is available here in Stockholm the brand seems to have lost part of it’s allure. I still have my eye on a Tomato leaf candle because that is one product in their range I really love.

I’m quickly running out of Grand Néroli from Atelier Cologne. I will probably buy more of this. I do love it in summer, it is sunshine in a bottle. Very uplifting, like a vitamin-c kick. As I also have this very nice leather sleeve for the travel spray I’m not throwing away the bottle. I may, possibly, buy another of their citrusy scents to transfer into this instead. They have a few that are very nice.

I do own a bottle of The knot from Bottega Veneta and I adore it, but only in winter. It may be cold but still a bit too warm for me to wear anything that contains musk.

-Suss

A study in Scarlet

This past weekend I conducted an experiment; I started at the top and worked my way through my books, turning books by male authors, so that spines only on books written by women( or in two cases by a man and a woman) were visible.

I got the idea for this from @curledpages on Instagram, who in turn got it from @athousandbooks, and he in turn got it from a bookstore. Meanwhile @2manybeaytifulbooks did it too a while back, inspired by an article in The Guardian(about a bookstore. Possibly the same one as mentioned above). It’s in the air.

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I forgot two books that should have been tuned but the general impression was still one of shelves that were fairly balanced. And this wasn’t exactly a surprise; currently my shelves are very curated. In two waves, for different reasons, I’ve had to go through all my books and decide what I want to keep, and also what to buy as I have limited space.

Buy a new edition of a book that I have read and is written by a dead man? Probably not. I’ll get that from the library instead and give space and money to a living female author. And I feel the need to point this out again; I’m not saying that the gender says anything about the quality of the writing, I am saying that women still have a harder time in publishing and that they were almost entirely excluded for millennia. There are exceptions of course but few seen to the fact that women make up almost half the worlds population.

However, when I posted on IG a few people commented on the fact that so many of the pink books still had there spines out, the hashtag #spinesoutexperiment tag was born and someone was offended naturally( that person later removed their comment). The case of the pink spines made me take a closer look. It should be explained that my shelves are organized according to colour, more or less. As there is a predominance of books with black or white spines I’ve had to wrap a few books in paper of another colour to find place for them, and a few books are in bad condition and need that additional protective sleeve.

In the end it turns out it’s mostly an optical illusion; the bright light and a little bit of filter makes books that are red appear more on the pink side.

IMG_2702 (1)When looking at it as it normally is, and closer up, it doesn’t feel as pink and a few heavy hitters like Bulgakov and Wondrich have lovely pink covers. In the end I don’t have that many pink books, and a fair few are by men. It’s more that it sticks out the bookcase is a rainbow of sorts. My sleuthing revealed nothing interesting; the Sherlock Holmes fan girl in me is a tad bit disappointed of not finding the indication of a huge conspiracy on my shelves, the economist in me knows well that not finding something is a valid result and very often the only result.

It’s worth mentioning however that books about feminism often have pink covers in Sweden, just because. Fanny Ambjörnsson wrote the brilliant book Pink-the dangerous colour where she points out the very short history of pink as a “girly” colour and also point out that it isn’t always the case, The Financial Times are printed on pink paper and that’s not a exactly a weak and emotional paper( except possibly Sir David Tang in the Agony uncle-column, but polemic is the whole point of it, and  mostly for comic effect). Even before that book there had been several feminist classics in pink covers, a case of reclaiming the colour I guess. I love pink and there is no contradiction between that and being a feminist( to claim so is utterly 2007. Just stop).

So the next step would naturally be to turn my books so that only spines on books written by people of colour would show. There eI’m afraid the result would not be as balanced. We’ll see if I get around to that.

-Suss

Things related to this post;

That article in The Guardian

Another article, also from the Guardian, about gender imbalance in reviews and publicity

 

 

7 Thoughts I had when reading The daylight gate

Welcome, welcome to the inside of my head. Where thoughts whirl around like leaves in the autumn breeze and the most unlikely connections are made. As I read The daylight gate by Jeannette Winterson I had several ideas of potential blogpost. We’ll see if any of them will be written, I’m just giving you a tiny glimpse of my creative process here (I’m in a period of reading books about creativity and that is also an influence).

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1. I went from the ashes into the fire; the similarities between this and Mary by Aris Fioretos

I started this to give me a break from the beautiful, but utterly heart breaking, book Mary which is about a student involved in the uprisings in Greece in the 70’s. She is accused of being a communist and then sent, without a trial, to an island where she is tortured as to confess her actual name and her co-conspiritors. To lessen the burden on my heart I decide to read a book about witch trials? Not my smartest decision especially since both of them devote plenty of pages to detailed descriptions of the toture. Even though both these books are fiction they have roots in reality. Gutted.

2. The idea to read Shakespeare’s The tempest

In this Shakespeare makes an appearance, when two of the characters travel to see the play The Tempest. The bard himself is visiting to with his new work and changes words with our leading witch.  I’m back in the drama reading mood so it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

3. That I should read A winter’s tale and Winterson’s rewriting of it.

Oh, this might be an even better idea as A winter’s tale is mentioned too in this book and Winterson did a reprint of this for the Hogarth series to commemorate the 400 year anniversary since his death. But not really the time for it? Or is it? Reading about winter in summer?

4. It’s time to bring back the cocktail I made named after John Dee.

Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer (and at one point the owner of the biggest library in England) John Dee is cast a role in this piece of fiction as mentor of  Alice Nutter. The Virgin queen  referred to Dee as “My Nobel Intelligencer” and reading about him in another book inspired me to make a cocktail with that very name. In fact I reread that post and, spelling error aside, it’s isn’t all bad. Might translate.

5. I should write a list of books about Witches.

I have read a few in my time. But honestly it will have to wait until I’m done with Witches by Stacey Schiff which I’m also reading.

6. “It is the elixir that I have instructed you to wipe over your entire body once a month at the new moon”. So something about skin care?

So this elixir is supposedly a mix of mercury and magick(ye old spelling) that keeps Alice Nutter looking far younger then her years. One should put no such things on the skin in real life. A nice retinol however? I do not know much about skin care but I have a fair few empty bottles at the moment and maybe it’s time to report on that. The short version would be that the argan oil from The ordinary may be cheap but the scent is off putting.

7. “She was dressed in magenta”. I should be too.

Supposedly Nutter’s wealth comes from her invention of a magenta dye that so impressed Queen Elizabeth I that she got a royal warrant. Nutter wears the colour often in the book, Winterson points it out. And magenta feels like a nice colour right now, isn’t everyone kind of over hot pink? It should be noted that when I did research the inter webs claimed that fuchsia and magenta are the same colour but the difference in name is due to process. Magenta is a synthetic dye imitating fuchsia as I understand it. And as the plants they imitate have several colors there seems to be a certain disagreement of definition.

In the end I think this book is a horror story, which doesn’t appeal to me as much. Although the writing is nice, Winterson put it to better use in the other books I’ve read by her.

Things mentioned in this post;

My cocktails inspired by John Dee (in Swedish)

Magenta

-Suss

7 ways to deal with a hangover


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1. Listen to Cole Porter

I understand the allure of some Chet Baker but you need something more upbeat to give you energy whilst still being glamorous.

2. Light the scented candles 

Think of this as aromatherapy. While you yourself might not smell great make sure that your surroundings do. If you have a tub and can start the day with a long luxurious bath then good for you, that will probably improve your spirits immensely.

3. Drink copious amounts of tea and water

Nothing new here, I always advocate drinking pots full of tea and many glasses of water. Nothing like a couple of mugs of Earl grey to make you feel human again. This is one of the occasion when coffee doesn’t call my name.

4. Full english breakfast

The eggs,the tomatoes,the baked beans, the bacon and the toast. Heaven on a plate on such mornings. There really is no denying the restorative powers it has.

5. Avoid tight-fitting clothes

Ideally you can lounge around in a nice bathrobe, or in my case a kimono, all day long. Pretend you are Lady Mary of Downton or Sherlock Holmes.

6. Tackel a small household chore

I’m talking about a little sort of the lipsticks or pens, filing away the correspondence, rummaging in the sock drawer and making sure that all socks are in pairs and that odd ones are transferred to the cleaning cupboard to be used when polishing silver. Attacking a small project like that is very good for moral when hung over. Changing the sheets is also an idea.

7. Enjoy the muted state of  self criticism 

As much as I abhor waking up in this state, it does happen as it is not just the alcohol that plays a part but sleeping and eating and life. I sometimes have a head that feels like cotton and an otherwise sloth like behavior. However it is a version of the inhibition of the night before but less so i.e. the inner voice is on mute. I can be surprisingly creative on such days as I don’t have to cross that hurdle of perfectionism, “all my ideas are bs anyways” yada yada, that plays on repeat in my head. That doesn’t mean that I produce greatness in any way, not even when starkly sober and getting over myself, but a state of “flow” can well happen and just like that I have written a little something (like this list, that I will schedule for later in the week)

-Suss

Weekend & Wonder woman

As probably the last person alive I went to see Wonder woman the other day, a nice break during a hectic week and in some ways, the calm before the storm (Midsummer festivities are a big thing up here and the weather is always bad so to some degree that storm was literal).

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What did I think?

I liked it. It was entertaining; it’s visually enticing, the acting is good and it comes together in a nice way. I did not have the almost religious experience as someone I know who basically started crying as she was so glad to see a woman being an action hero and nothing but( and this is a thing apparently?).

Although there are shots of her actual butt, let’s not pretend that Gal Gardot is anything other then a gorgeous woman and as she is the protagonist she is in the frame a lot of the time. Not a bad thing though but some want this to be the ultimate feminist movie and it isn’t. A huge improvement on many action movies out there undoubtedly and it has shown that a woman can most certainly direct a huge Hollywood blockbuster, and that having a female protagonist isn’t a hindrance.

As I was so late in seeing this I have very little to add to the conversation but would encourage anyone to go see it.

Other opinions on Wonder woman;

About the crying

Vanity Fair’s take

Why it’s not a feminist victory for everybody 

A feminist defense 

-Suss