Skona Hem goodness

This place is so great. It feels really real, right? There are elements I would definitely take (the leather seats, the walls and perfect light) and others I would never pick. But that's my favourite thing... seeing some of my favourite things taken in a new direction, in a way that would never have occurred to me. From Skona Hem, photos by Fredrik Sweger.

Saturday & thank you!

First things first: Thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday. You're the best.

It's cold and sunny here today. I like these days — wearing sunglasses and scarves — so I walked a lot and bought sweet ranunculus and a little potted hyacinth (Abigail has been tracking the progress of her hyacinth and it's inspired me!) Then I re-potted my succulents, some of the babies had grown big enough to stand on their own.


I'm doing a little rearranging around my apartment. And I'm lashing through my do to list sitting here at my desk and letting the sunlight soak in through my eyes all the way into my brain. It's nice to feel that fully awake spring feeling, even though it's minus whatever-it-is, I feel like magnolia blossoms can't be far away now.

Here's my favourite corner of my apartment right now. The case is BFF's Dad's pistol case (or is it rifle? I don't really know my guns). Anyhow, it has a key, so I stash all my notebooks and letters in it, safe from prying eyes.

Friday!

How was your week? Mine was up and down. I enjoyed so many of my favourite blogs this week. And then I came across one that was ripping off my content without giving credit and wondered why the hell I do this day in, day out. It was the first time I've thought that. And, of course, I know why I do this: This is content I'm truly excited to share. And when you come and leave comments and are as excited as I am about things, it makes me ridiculously happy.


We all know blogs are becoming more important in people's lives, are taking traffic from traditional media. But it takes work to blog with integrity. There are no barriers to entry, which is partly why it's such a neat little world. But I just hope that the bloggers who are doing a good job, taking time to research, create, craft their posts get more recognition, and support, than those that exclusively re-post and rip-off. I could lose my faith in what we do if I saw it going the other direction. What do you think??

My weekend's going to be busy. I've got that huge to do list to get through. But, Sunday night is the Lisa Hannigan concert so I hope to blaze through everything and then enjoy that. Here are some joyful summery images to soothe my frantic mind... I hope your weekend is a carefree one!

Image credits: 1. ....into unknown........ :), 2. Untitled, 3. 285, 4. Untitled

Plumo

New looks from the always impeccably styled Plumo. I especially like these shoes very much!

Pinch Design

It was on Bloesem that I first saw Pinch Design and it was love at first sight. Thanks for the inspiration Irene!

Taxed

I did my taxes last night. I didn't plan to, but once I got my T4 I was anxious to get things done. My "to do" list this week has been overwhelming. I go home every evening with 6 or 7 things to do after a full work day and I've been averaging about 4 of those things.

Every year, when I sit down to do taxes filled with dread, I get a pang of homesickness. At home, your employer is responsible for doing your taxes. But then, as I work through the process I actually enjoy it.

It's still quite something for me to get a tax refund, for the government to say, hey Jane, you paid enough, take something back — this is not a feature of life in Ireland.

Not, of course, that it's a perfect system here. But, I'd rather concentrate on the positive. So now I'm concentrating on the feeling of being nearly done. At least one more thing off that list.

Devotte

More ruffled shoes (still thinking about those Loeffler sandals!). These ones are from Devotte and I think they're very demure.

Crispin and Basilio

Crispin and Basilio is a new label to me and, knowing me as well as you do, I think you'll agree these are right up my alley!

Glow in the dark art

New work from my fave Dan McCarthy. It glows in the dark! I don't know what else to say to convey its complete awesomeness. (The bottom image is it in-the-dark).

Lover the Label

Oh, hello, Lover the Label. I like you.

Louise Body

I saw this wallpaper by Louise Body over at the divinely inspiring Please Sir yesterday and cannot stop thinking about it. I think it would be perfect for a little antechamber or powder room. (No, I don't have an antechamber, but it sounds too lovely to omit!)

Myth & Ritual

This is probably the least overtly girlish look from the current Myth & Ritual collection, so no wonder it's my absolute favourite.

Walls

I want these walls. I think it's a scratch coat to make the walls look concrete?? Anybody know? I'm also fond of the round bolster and birdcage too! These images are from Day Birger et Mikkelsen's Home collection.

Sugar Boo Designs

These cushions from Sugar Boo Designs are hand made using old printing blocks on burlap or linen. You can even commission certain letters, numbers and characters. Sounds like a fun project, no?

Perfect place!

I"m completely in love with this beautiful Parisian apartment seen over on Interiors. I find the apartment soothing and full of the right kind of decadence. And, of course, lots of books to make Janey happy!

Claire Brewster

Cut-outs from maps? Ingenious!! These wonders are by Claire Brewster, available through Jagged Art. Originally seen in World of Interiors.

Temporary restraint

I geared up for tax season on the weekend and found myself completely angst-ridden about it. I've treated myself well this last year. Maybe even a little too well. And I'm feeling sated. When I was in the stores on the weekend, nothing jumped out in a must-have it way. But, I was at risk of buying something just out of sheer habit. And before you know it, those little purchases eat your whole pay cheque.

So, I'm implementing an 8-week program of discipline on myself. No major shopping. And also back to basics with diet and exercise too. It's such a female cliche, but these are the things I use to reward myself, especially after a long work week or a disappointment of some kind. No, I'm not becoming a recessionista (I hate that word!), I just need to enjoy simpler things for a little while and regain a little self-control.


And just to remind myself... these are some of my favourite simple things:
- Reading, blogging, writing
- Cooking, cleaning (yes, I love housework!)
- Arranging flowers (I won't stop buying my weekly flowers!)
- Making plans, setting goals, thinking forward with a clear head
- Spending time with friends
- Doing yoga (I always forget how good it makes me feel)
- Taking long strolls
- Going to theatre, shows (I have lots of pre-bought tix)
- Taking photographs (perfect timing with Spring fast approaching)

Image by Gentl & Hyers

Des Kohan

I think this versatile belt from Des Kohan is the bee's knees. The price isn't too bad when you think it's four belts in one. Oh yes, I have all the right mind-games in the bag. I also know how to justify eating macaroons (mostly they're egg whites) and buying new shoes (makes your other shoes last longer if you shake up what you wear!)

Silhouettes

I love this wall of silhouettes from February's World of Interiors, photographed by Christopher Simon Skyes.

Brora Early Spring

Brora is every season taking over another piece of my heart. Dare I say, treading on Toast turf? Super snug and perfect for those chilly but sunny days (will they ever come!?) I want it, highlands, heather, wellies and all!

New hair

I want new hair! Right now, I've got a pixie-style haircut. I'm in love with the style shown here. It's a lot longer on the fringe than my current style (but I'm not going blonde again). I've also thought about growing it into a messy bob-style, but if history has thought me anything it's that I always run out of steam on growing endeavours. Plus, I feel very much I'm a short hair girl. Thoughts? Do we like this hair? (From March's Lucky magazine, photographed by Michael Waring.)

M0851

I'll have to think about luggage when I travel home in May. I think I've outgrown my old backpack, though it fills me with nostalgia - we went so many places together! I need regular luggage, but also a nicer carry-on / weekend bag for jaunts to the West Coast. So thought I'd check out M0851 for a weekend bag from this range, but then I got distracted by these images... doesn't she look lovely? I love her waxed jacket!

Saturday flowers

I grabbed some sterling roses today. I usually make a pretty pastel arrangement with them. But today I tried to take them in a different direction by combining them with deep purplish reds (mini calla lilies are the only ones I know). I love going to the flower market and assembling these bouquets and then coming home and arranging them, but I'm not very good at it and I wish I knew the names of all the flowers!

Friday!

I'm planning a simple, unfussy weekend, gobbling some books, doing some yoga, hoping it's fine enough to walk without icy trepidation. What are you up to? Fighting crime and having adventures?


Image credits: 1. Untitled, 2. wakeandread, 3. 224, 4. antwerpen tea towel

Catherine Holstein

I met Catherine Holstein at an event at TNT a couple of years ago and have followed her ever since. Not literally, of course, though I am completely smitten with her louche collections. Photos via New York Magazine, courtesy of Catherine Holstein.

Yasha Butler

Adoring gorgeous ceramics from Yasha Butler.

 

Madewell for Shopbop

Oooh now, what's this? Madewell and Shopbop are collaborating, which is good news for those of us existing in towns minus a Madewell store. It's just a small collection, but it's a start. And maybe they'll expand it? Or, maybe Madewell will launch their own e-commerce with everything else really, really soon?

Lark scarf

Uhm, I think this is just made for some lovely Irish girl who uprooted herself and made a new home in Canada. You? (Irish linen scarf, made in Canada from Lark.)

A poem for Thursday

It's back to snow here, but I'm clinging on to that happy feeling a glimmer of Spring gave me. This is by Philip Larkin.

Coming
On longer evenings,
Light, chill and yellow,
Bathes the serene
Foreheads of houses.
A thrush sings,
Laurel-surrounded
In the deep bare garden,
Its fresh-peeled voice
Astonishing the brickwork.
It will be spring soon,
It will be spring soon -
And I, whose childhood
Is a forgotten boredom,
Feel like a child
Who comes on a scene
Of adult reconciling,
And can understand nothing
But the unusual laughter,
And starts to be happy.

Alyson Fox

Fieldguided, my new favourite blog (and a brilliant Etsian to boot) posted this print by Alyson Fox. And now it's mine too. But, no more artwork for a while - I have to catch up on framing again!

Stewart + Brown

Love these looks from Stewart + Brown's new collections. It's been a while since I owned a denim skirt and I think this one is quite lovely.

Domino parting shot

This is my favourite image from the final Domino. As a girl constantly fighting a losing battle for book storage space, I may yet have to resort to this storage strategy!

Totokaelo

I cannot emphasize how much I love layering. Do you layer?? I typically wear 3-6 layers. My favourite place for lessons on layering is Totokaelo. When I go shopping, I try to imagine the piece as one layer of an existing ensemble, rather than as a standalone piece. It also broadens what I can look at. Perhaps it's just one element, a cuff or neck embellishment that I want to show off. Sometimes, it's amazing how a piece can become covetable only when seen in context of layers on top or beneath it.

Eudaimonia

Maybe it's the turn of the season, but I suddenly felt on Sunday that there was change in the air. Well, not so much in the air, as on the inside. I've been pretty content the last year, found a kind of balance that had previously eluded me. But I've begun to feel like I'm coasting.


It's a fun coast: Work is good, I'm puttering around with my writing, I've had a few fun (but hapless) crushes... But coasting doesn't really put me on track for anything. Maybe that's okay. But, maybe I want to be on track for something? And if I do, hadn't I better get on it now? I'll be 33 in June, after all.

The hardest part for me is visualizing what my "good life" will be. In Greek philosophy there's a notion of superlative happiness called Eudaimonia. It's steady and wise happiness (as opposed to the hectic, elated kind). I just don't know what I should add to build and support that feeling in the long run.


I know I don't want some things that most other people do (e.g. babies, marriage). And I know the following things are important to me: Independence, nature, health, work, love, friendship, creativity, sense of place and art. But I'm struggling to articulate concrete steps for such abstract things. E.g. Am I happy feeling creative daily, in a more holistic way, or do I need to produce something singular and significant?

What, if anything, is missing for you? What's your good life? Are you living it?


All photos from beautiful Mirjan's Photostream and I was led there by Summer of Design is Mine

Cabbages & Roses

Turns out today marks great catalogue release day! Be still my beating heart! The Cabbages & Roses collection hits a new high as far as I'm concerned.

Maybe my mood has changed, but it doesn't seem quite so thoroughly shabby chic as prior seasons. And there's a breezy outdoorsy feel that makes me think of buttercups and freshly mown grass. And for those more interested in homes than fashion, there are some gorgeously styled shots. Perfect for garden party and picnic inspiration. Can you tell I'm looking forward to the summer!?


Toast S/S

It's here! The new Toast catalogue has become a seasonal delight for me. I wait for it with baited breath and am never, ever disappointed. I would gladly inhabit any of these pages (and outfits!)

Downsize me!

Remember I posted a sneaky look at this place? Well I got the magazine on the weekend and seriously, if you're a person who feels space-challenged, this edition is worth the import price. (I suspect I'll be doing this more and more since all the good magazines are going bye-bye). There are lots of stand-out rooms, but this is still my fave.

And for those of you obsessed with floorplans (yes me too!) here's what the layout looks like. Source: Marie Claire Maison, Fevrier / Mars 2009. Photography by Mai-Linh.