7 suggestions from my new journal.

It’s a new year,but  I’m still writing 2017 out of habit. That will change sometimes March but what I will hopefully continue writing is in my journal.

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I’ve always wanted to keep a journal but never really managed; too much pressure to do it well or something. But it’s a form of writing that takes time to find a rhythm and style for. In many cases my notebooks and calendars form a record of my life, but I’ve wanted more. Not for the sake of prosperity knowing what I’ve done with my life but for the small reflection that it entails. I’ve spent a lot of my life living day-to-day, not wanting to make to grand a plan in fear of failure and not reflecting on what the everyday doings mean to me. Last year I got a great Christmas gift; a day to day journal, but only a few lines to write on. Just enough for me to jot down a few words. No big empty page that I had to fill with my rather mundane musings (side note; mundane musings should be the name of this blog).

However, I did it all last year. Not every day but most. A few lines, nothing lengthy. It became a habit, and one that I sort of enjoy. So I continue. This year I took one of the unused notebooks that I have,and plan to use that ( but I’m running out of unused notebooks can you believe it).

This particular notebook was bought at Liberty in London and it is no ordinary thing; the full title is “Let’s bring back -a journal. For the musings, noting and reminiscences of modern nostalgists”. That’s a mouthful for sure. Scattered among the pages are little tips and recommendation for vintage living in the modern world, all put togheter by Lesley M. M. Blume. I also have the “Let’s bring back- a vintage cocktail book” that I enjoy. But that’s for another day. Speaking of the journal, these are seven suggestions for better living that I’ve come across when browsing it, and that I like. Passing it on to you.

  1. Watch a black and white Fred Astaire movie. 
  2. Paste bookplates into your favorite books. This one resonates with me. I’m gonna stick with my Chinese stamp but I should get everyone bookplates as gifts from now on.
  3. Throw a party and build a glistening champagne tower. Popular in the 1920s, such towers are still the prettiest monuments to decadence. I’m soooo putting this on the 2018 “to do-list”. Watch this space.
  4. Amaze and amuse your friends with a color-themed dinner party menu. One historical “red”supper included cherry soup, roast beef with beets, tomato salad, and raspberry sherbet with ripe strawberries. This one is actually already in the works, my friends and I just need to set a date.
  5. Write in this diary every day, so you’ll have record of your youthful adventures. She would write that wouldn’t she? Besides, I’m too old to have youthful adventures.
  6. Purchase several pairs of brightly colored elbow gloves. Smart mid-century women used them to chicly elevate even the plainest little black dresses. This sounds like excellent style advice, but where does one get gloves like that?
  7. Design a family crest, and put whatever you like on it-from lions and dragons to the family Labrador. I’ve talked it over with the cat and she thinks that it is no more than fair that she gets immortalized in this way.

-Suss

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Carbs&Chignons

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So the world is rejoicing that the French decided not to elect a right wing populist as president. Of course,always contrarian the french; electing a right wing leader is what everyone else is doing. So I guess the fascination with them will continue. The food,the style and the attitude. Paris, the city of lights, the undulating hills of Provence and the glamorous life in Nice; they are the object of our dreams and desires. How to get there without leaving the comfort of your own home?

Many a books have been written by the french, by people living in France and about the french themselves. And on a few occasions by the french about the french;  to explain to us mere mortals how they do it. I’ve read more then one of those books, and even when I open the book with the intention of not liking it and assume they are making fun of me, I still manage to find a few tips and tricks along the way.

Why french women don’t get fat supposedly got quite a buzz when it was published. I have the Swedish translation that I bought at a gift shop a few years back. And Giuliano is a bit full of herself, i.e. lives up to the myth of the french woman, but many of the recipes are good I have to admit. I don’t know how “valid” it still is. She advocates a life with carbs,and I agree, but many of the food fads continue to rage, get exchanged for new ones and obesity is still one of the biggest health problems in the world.  So maybe she sold a lot of books but her solutions probably mostly preached to the gospel. I don’t think she did intend to save the world however.

A book more recently published is How to be Parisian wherever you are-love style and bad habits written by a group of very chic french women. the kind that has an inherited Hermés bag, a cool piece of new Chanel and has perfected the art of messy hair. I would say that this book,also intended for the hapless non-french, doesn’t take itself to seriously. And it does involve some good recipes. If we are talking style ideals and role models I would say that this bunch isn’t all that bad. I’m obviously biased; I think french pharmacies are brilliant with their affordable skincare, love good food and have a had a penchant for striped tops since childhood. Also any excuse not to wash my hair to often,or brush it, will be used. They say it’s chic, I nod my head and wear my hair in a messy bun for the 19th day in a row. But it is a fun book to browse through. I liked it more then I thought I would.

One thing that the french has figured out is that older women aren’t a menace to society. Yes, they do love young women, the femme-infant has a place in the french heart, but there seems to be room for all women.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I just thought I would mention these two books, that have in common that I gained more from them then I thought I would. The good thing about advice from a book about how to be french is that you can pick what you like and ignore the rest, which really is the best kind advice book. And I haven’t visited France since 2015 so aching to go back.

-Suss

 

The wonderful weekend ends

img_8588When it come to the weather the weekend has been everything but wonderful. But it’s to be excepted towards the end of October. I’m always in denial about the climate I live in.

In most other respects it has been just that; time with loved ones, slow cooking,long dinners  and reading.

The weekend started early as I left work at three o’clock on Friday to go foraging for elderberries. There is a recipe in “The wonderful weekend book” by Elspeth Thompson that I’ve made before but I started out making one from a magazine this time;a plain elderberry syrup similar to the one by David Leibovitz that you can find here. Only forage if you know you are allowed AND KNOW WHAT IT IS YOU ARE GATHERING!! Elderberries must be cooked/boiled before consumption. The magazine suggested  using it for Gin&Tonics which we tried and it was nice(but next time I’m popping in a cinnamon stick in for autumn-vibes).

Then there has been sewing projects; two successful and a failure. I’m in a reading slump so did in fact start on Temeraire and spent  a lovely afternoon on the sofa with it, a magazine and big pot of tea.

Another thing that I’ve been doing in this cold and grey weather is showering by candlelight . Sadly there is no tub in this flat. It is something that I miss but I do try to make the most of what I  have. This trick did not come from the book(although is fully in line with it) but from Cup of Jo (here). I have also tried the eucalyptus thing  from the blogpost and it didn’t work at all. They just turned brittle very quickly. A nice scented candle is a much better bet.

Other things from the Autumn-chapter of Thompson’s book are; cashmere(Yaasss queen), baking bread (I make scones on the weekend;that’s as far as I’ll go), make hedgerow tipples (here in addition to the elderberry syrup) and lighting up the fireplace (don’t have one at home but do it plenty at the cottage).

This is a book I adore as you can tell. It’s all about “slow living” and has all these great tips and ideas on how to manage life. It’s because of this book that I now observe Lent, which is odd for an atheist but very character building: Often when I bring this book up someone mentions the sad death of Thompson herself. She committed suicide after battling depression for a long time. I feel for her family. Hopefully this book, full of joy, will be part of her legacy. I knew nothing about her death or her garden writing when I found this book in a second hand bookshop a few years ago. I do encourage you to keep your eyes out open for it. It’s wonderful companion for when the seasons change.

-Suss