Doldrums

Do you suffer from the blues? I do and then some. I really want to be that girl who smiles and laughs at everything. And sometimes I am. Sometimes I'm positively impish. But then there are times when I go down into a deep, dark hole and it seems I won't be able to claw my way out of.

In our perpetually sunshiny corner of the blogosphere, it's easy to think that nobody suffers from stress or despair or anxiety. I love that we all focus on things that we have positive feelings about, rather than negative venting. But sometimes it can create a false impression that we all live amazing, fulfilled lives. My own goal with my blog is neither to be positive nor negative, but to be authentic. To tell the truth about myself. And that includes the not so sunny side.


Lately, I've felt very hopeless. That I'm far behind everybody else for my age. That there's no trajectory to what I'm doing right now. That all work and no play is making Jane a dull girl. I've even stopped having those escape fantasies that I always used to have and swapped them with "maybe this is as good as it gets" thoughts.

I know, at 33, I'm young to be feeling this way. I know I have lots of time to do the things I want. It's not the waiting that's been getting to me as much as the lack of momentum. I'm stuck in the doldrums, with no wind in my sails. I know what I want and I know where I want to be, but I don't know how to get going. And I'm starting to give up a little bit in my own heart. And I'm so very, very tired.

Image from alliesnaps' Flickr

Fig and goat's cheese tart

I was wandering aimlessly around the supermarket last night and the figs caught my eye. When I got home, I looked up some recipes for them (I normally end up just baking them and eating them with salad and goat's cheese). This Donna Hay recipe offers a more sophisticated solution. Doesn't it look yummy?


Photographed by Chris Court, originally appeared in Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 43

Loft Design By

It’s a good thing I swore off superlatives last week, because otherwise I’d be at it again with this collection from Loft Design By. I want to live in a place where this can be my daily wardrobe. It’s that simple!

Where we blog from: Simple Lovely

Simple Lovely is one of those blogs that is exactly what it promises to be. Every one of Joslyn's posts exhibits an approachable kind of loveliness. Her Bloggers Favourites series is always inspirational (I was lucky to be included in this series a while back, here). And Joslyn's annual Spending Hiatus is one of those genius ideas that many other bloggers have picked up on and benefited from (myself included!) It's no surpise then that Joslyn's blog space is just as lovely. This is where Joslyn blogs from and what she has to say about it...


One of the things that I fell hardest for when we were in the process of buying our home was the little office “nook” in the hallway.  While I often dream of a big sunny “studio” space where I could work and write and do projects, I’m happiest in a cozy little spot. (Doesn’t everyone dream of a tiny hideaway?)



My space is literally carved out of the hallway, sort of an extra large closet.  There’s a built-in desk and some shelves above where I keep the girlies drawings, an ever-changing inspiration board, a little vase of fresh flowers and a rotating collection of my favorite little things.  It’s small and not so sunny, but, well…it’s all mine.

 

Thanks Joslyn!

Sunday

Despite having no garden, I tried to flex my greenfingers over the weekend by digging them into some potting soil. I replanted my succulents and bought and transplanted some ranunculus. I hope they grow wild and rangy in the window in front of my desk. And I bought some peonies, which are literally unfurling in front of my eyes. They're so much fun to watch.


And along the way there was wine and food, of course, and I bought Ian McEwan's new book Solar too. You've probably noticed from the lack of book reports, that I haven't been reading as much lately. It's a chicken and egg thing: When I'm tired and blue I don't have the energy to engage literature. And when I'm not reading as much, I get depressed. I'm hopeful that McEwan can pull me out of my literary funk, if not my existential one.

There was work too. I managed to put the "fun work" in front of the "work, work" which meant late nights catching up. But at least it meant I felt like I had some weekend.

Friday!

It's been a mare of a week, but it's nearly over and I'm excited for the weekend. I've got lots of work to do over the weekend, but not setting the alarm clock makes all the difference sometimes! I'm looking forward to delving deeper into this book and maybe arranging some flowers. I may even snap some photos too. I know I went through the exact same thing this time last year, but I'm feeling really at odds with this city, landlocked life of mine right now. Craving green lush things and the sound of water...

The blogosphere was on fire this week. It all started with this house tour, which was reblogged a kabillion times for very good reason. Then, as if that wasn't enough, Helen posted this house. And then there was Jill's gorgeous home... if I didn't already love Jill, I would now!


Aubrey Road is fast becoming one of my new favourite blogs, and the first rainwater photo in this post made me gasp. Closer to home, doesn't this look like a lovely place to vacation? Me? I'm not going anywhere. Maybe curling up with a blanket if I'm lucky. An Adrienne Rogers blanket would be lovely, thank you.

I realized yesterday that my blog is 3 years old this month. That's a lot of blog posts, but I still love blogging. Even when I'm working very long days the time I spend here is a salve for me. But just as much as writing the posts, reading your comments makes me happy. So, thank you for reading and for commenting. I know we're all stretched these days, so the time you take to visit me is appreciated and treasured. Thank you.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. What are you up to? I hope the sun shines.

Image credits: 1. glass and lace, 2. IMG_7526, 3. Untitled, 4. Untitled

Greenfingers

This time of year, I start itching to get my hands dirty and lusting over random things from the Lee Valley gardening catalogue; gardening gloves and twine and perfect hand tools. My random Monty Don crush doesn't help either. Do you have a little plot of garden? What do you grow there? If you're looking for inspiration, I still recommend this book from last year. And here's a garden to swoon over!


Beautiful images from Rachel Warne

Forgotten skills

This book by Darina Allen, the grand dame of Irish cooking, is released in Canada today and I'm dying to get it on the way home from work. I expect its contents will add fodder to all those fantasies of keeping chickens and vegetable patches and greenhouses. My Mum is a real old-school cook and I feel like I miss out on learning from her because I'm so far from home (plus she herself cooks less and less). So, I'm hoping to pick up some of those old skills, and more, from this.


Update: I got the book and am smitten. Darina's writing voice is lovely and familiar to me and many of the recipes (particularly the desserts) are things I grew up eating that I would have forgotten about. The book is pretty meat-heavy. But I'm not that puritanical kind of vegetarian. If I was a meat-eater, this is definitely the approach I would take. It's wholesome and very authentic.

Modern rustic

I'm loving the feel of this modern rustic home found over on Living Etc. The homeowner, Eliza Barnes runs a salvage and design company, so it's no wonder I like it so much.

Frei Designs

I should really stop using superlatives in posts. Because the minute I a declare a favourite or the best, along comes something that's even favouriter or bestester. So, about Frei Designs Spring collection, I'll just say I like everything very, very, very, very, very, very much.

Perfect escape

How picture perfect is this home? I'm aching to get out of the city right now.


From Skona Hem

Minna Hepburn

I blogged before about Minna Hepburn (here) but she's updated her site since I last visited. Her beautiful pieces are made from are made from the finest Scottish lace, antique, organic and fair trade fabrics. Utterly gorgeous!

Hearblack

One of my favourite photographic blogs is Hearblack. The beautiful couple behind this blog catalog their life in Hawaii, capturing magical atmospheric moments and places. And - lucky for us - they just opened an Etsy store selling driftwood wreaths and little jars of seaglass, as well as postcards of their stunning photographs. I broke my spending fast to buy a driftwood wreath. If I can't get to the ocean, a little bit of it can travel inshore to me!

Where we blog from: Forty-sixth at Grace

What can I say about Nikole of Forty Sixth at Grace that I haven't already said (here and here and even on other people's blogs here)? And, of course, she's half the team behind the amazing Herriott Grace too. I could gush till kingdom come. She is simply one of the most charming, poetic and talented of bloggers. This is where Nikole blogs from and what she has to say about it...


hi y'all! i'm nikole and this is where I blog from.

from the table in my kitchen
all weathered and grey
it's six feet of comfort,
in the most family of ways.
generations of toast, and eggs, and jam.

and too, from my wee shiny desk.
a place home to things, i find myself fond.
pictures and prints and ephemeral bits.
cream bark from a tree, sent by a friend.
small cameras for trips and a tin filled with film.
strips of ribbon, and silk, and sticks of black wax.
and, a branch i love, as though it fell just today.


all things that inspire, simple and clear and sitting just so.

happy week!
and thanks jane.
it's been fun.
xox, n.

Thanks Nikole!

Wisteria and peony

I'm obsessed with the Wisteria and Peony patterns from Farrow & Ball. I think I'm really softening up my look. But really, I think my style pendulum is coming to rest. I used to be historical and feminine (difficult to imagine I know) and then I went super modern. Now I'm learning to combine both and imagining homes where the two work in tandem. I think on a half-wall above some wainscoting or in a powder room, these patterns would be quite lovely.

Littlemoon

Knowing my waterbaby ways, you'll understand why I love this Littlemoon by Wilfred video so much. It reminds me a bit of this piece I wrote for Kelly's blog last summer.

Little Moon Launch Film from Aritzia on Vimeo.

Friday!

I'm craving the simplest, cleanest things right now: Water and light, delicate flowers and lemons, white cotton and bare floors. I'm in a kind of dreamy, reflective state of mind, looking inwards a lot but also craving the most basic tactile, sensual things in the world. Transitional seasons always make me more sensitive to my environment and less in need of material comforts and little treats to help me along the way.


I'm dreaming up all kinds of schemes and changes right now too. But mostly I'm trying to listen to myself better. I ignore myself constantly. And even though I have this bolshie, independent streak, I seem to look to others for validation. Or maybe I just like bouncing plans off others because it makes them seem more real. Whatever it is, I'm trying to make just saying something to myself be enough. Enough to make me accountable. Enough to make me follow through.

I saw lots of nice things on other blogs this week. I put some of them up on my Tumblr. And here are some more: This luggage (from an Irish company!) is awesome. "Covet" seems like an appropriate name for this jewelry. Random want of the week: a sweater stone. And a super cute fox, just cause. This one is from a while back, but I'll probably make this warm mushroom salad this weekend.

What are you going to eat, see, do? Have a great weekend!

Image credits: 1. Untitled, 2. Untitled, 3. Dance Wave....the gift, 4. take a bough

Lovely Lyell

The Lyell Spring lookbook is finally available and, as anticipated, contains some beautifully styled images, photographed by Danielle St. Laurent.

Perfect exterior

As a renter, I'm usually more obsessed with interiors than exteriors; no point getting knotted up over something I can't change, right? But, if my dreams of building a wee home in some remote spot ever come true, I might be looking for design cues from a home like this. I think it's perfection.


Images from Hus & Hem

Bruuns Bazaar

I'm a little obsessed with this dress from Bruuns Bazaar. Isn't it fantastic?


For more fashion, I've got a new Style Inspiration post - and much more - up over on ReadyMade - this time taking on a Liberty print ra-ra skirt!

A poem for Wednesday

This is a repeat post of this poem. But it seems appropriate for today and is one of my favourites. The poem itself does exactly what it describes the weather and countryside doing; catches the heart off guard and blows it open. This is by Seamus Heaney.

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Home and elsewhere

Happy St. Patrick's Day, friends! Today is a day I think about home a lot. I wish I could take you all there with me and share with you the Ireland I know and love. This is, I suppose, the closest we will come...

And, for different taste of Ireland, I'm guest blogging over at Tea for Joy today! I do hope you'll pop over and visit me there for a tour of some Irish homes. And a huge thank you to Lynne for having me! Go raibh míle maith agat !


All images taken last October in Ireland, more on my Flickr

COS

Some pretty great looks from COS.

Washed and worn

I don't usually buy House Beautiful magazine, but if the April 2010 issue is anything to go by, I definitely need to start. Seriously, this one issue has been the stand-out issue of any magazine I've looked at so far this year. The highlight is this holiday home, belonging to Harriet Maxwell Macdonald and Andrew Corrie (aka the talent behind Ochre). Isn't this jaw-dropping beautiful in every single way?


Images scanned from House Beautiful, April 2010
Photographs by Ditte Isager