Kids in snowsuits make winter worthwhile. Agreed?

Image credits: 1. The Littlest Angel, 2. Emmaleigh, 3. Our lil' snow bunny, 4. not too happy with her snow angel


Happy weekend... and Happy Thanksgiving to those of you south of the border! I'm going to be working this weekend. Just looking forward to getting through it. And then retiring... feeling very sleepy these days. I hope your weekend is restful and relaxing and sweet. Beautiful bed from Marie Claire Maison.

Boring, but true

Beautiful Courtney tagged me earlier this week. And I was stumped and didn't answer, but I've had my thinking cap on since then, so here goes.

(1) My only watch is the one my parents bought me when I made my first Holy Communion. It was made in the USSR and I love the numbers on it. It doesn't really keep the time though.
(2) I have a ginormous heart. Literally. My left ventricle is so big they thought I had a tumour. Unfortunately, it's not associated with any super powers.
(3) I can produce Limericks on demand. Both my parents are from Limerick, so people think it must be in the genes. I'll rattle one off on any topic in under 10 minutes. They're usually very silly.
(4) I've spent way too much time trying to figure out what Kate Bush was talking about when she sang "You're like my yo-yo / that glowed in the dark / what made you special / made you dangerous". Did she have a run-in with a glow-in-the-dark yo-yo? What could have possibly happened?

(5) Sometimes I still dream in Irish. But my favourite dreams are flying or salt-water swimming dreams. I love the sea.
(6) I don't know how to talk to strangers. Unless I don't care about them. But if you're somebody I want to meet, it's really hard for me to say hello. If Paul Auster was in the same room as me, I'd be too shy to talk to him.

I'm loathe to tag anyone, in case they don't want to be put on the spot. But if you've got this far, consider yourself tagged and leave a comment to let the rest of us know :)

P.S. - Another fabulous blogger just tagged me. Thanks to Shelley for the tag. You may remember her amazing work from this post. (I'm proudly looking at it as I type). Nonetheless, coming up with 6 boring-but-true things was difficult enough. I haven't got 12 more in me! I'll still take the award though and pass it along to everybody whose blog I've ever commented on. Because you must be fabulous or I would never have commented (I'm very discerning, don't you know!)


I adore this gorgeous console table, spotted over at Hoping for Happy Accidents and from Oly.


Jigsaw finally launched its e-commerce site today and here are some early favourites... Let the lusting commence!

Lyre bird

I grew up with David Attenborough documentaries and love him utterly. His autobiography is amazing. And I'm sure everybody's seen this. But I never tire of watching and re-watching it.

Lazy day

I spent some time today daydreaming about the perfect pajamas. And mornings spent curled up on a day bed like this in them. Perhaps with a book of poetry.

Mimi Berry

Aren't Mimi Berry's bags lovely? I especially like the oilskin Baggins (for girls or boys).

A poem for Tuesday

I know, another poem so soon. You'll all get bored of me any day now. And I'll be left reciting poetry to myself, making myself memorize it so I can catch the cadence and the sometimes rhyme and hear my voice crack a bit when it moves me too much. Until I make myself go back again and recite it right and wear it all down.

Love Songs in the Age
She kept her songs, they kept so little space,
The covers pleased her:

One bleached from lying in a sunny place,

One marked in circles by a vase of water,
One mended, when a tidy fit had seized her,
And coloured, by her daughter -
So they had waited, till, in widowhood
She found them, looking for something else, and stood

Relearning how each frank submissive chord

Had ushered in

Word after sprawling hyphenated word,

And the unfailing sense of being young

Spread out like a spring-woken tree, wherein
That hidden freshness sung,
That certainty of time laid up in store

As when she played them first. But, even more,

The glare of that much-mentioned brilliance, love,
Broke out, to show
Its bright incipience sailing above,

Still promising to solve, and satisfy,

And set unchangeably in order. So

To pile them back, to cry,

Was hard, without lamely admitting how
It had not done so then, and could not now.

- Philip Larkin

Robert Ryan

I've been a big Robert Ryan fan for a long time. From his Etsy store. This one is calling out to me at present.

Jewelry Alchemy

Thank you in advance, anonymous secret admirer, for buying this for me for no reason at all. 


Although I love the reading room below, I think it might be a little chilly. No better excuse to go out and buy lots of chunky cashmere. These are all from TSESAY. Lately, chunky, structured knits have me wishing I wasn't such a hobbit. I could never pull these looks off.

Perfect reading room

My alma mater recently renovated the 1841 stables of the Provost's House, converting them into a a research centre for Irish art. I love how the architects O'Donnell + Tuomey maintained the stalls and granite floors, and how much privacy and space this affords each reader. I think I would do some good writing in one of these stalls.

Emilie Mover

As I write, I'm listening to Emilie Mover. Anybody buying my crackpot theory that she and Lisa Hannigan are twins separated at birth?

Miroslav Sasek

Since I learned about M. Sasek's collection of children's travel books form the 50's and 60's, I've been dying to get my hands on "This is Ireland" (1964). Some of the books were reprinted in 2005 and today I finally nabbed the Irish version. The illustrations and text throughout are charming. But I was happiest that the unmistakable Stag's Head (one of my fave Dublin pubs) made it in.

A poem for Sunday

All I did today was stroll and read and bookshop. Avoiding walking on ice because it scares me still after five years in Toronto. You'd think the fact I've never fallen would give me confidence, but instead I've convinced myself that the fear is what keeps me on my feet. The minute I drop my guard I'll probably land flat on my arse. It makes for elaborate routes all winter and silly baby-steps with grannies whizzing by me. I bought Seamus Heaney's Opened Ground and got a sudden thirst for salty lips and lashing sea and whipping winds when I read this poem.

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.

Happy weekend!

This morning, the sounds of snow woke me up for the first time this winter. The drag and scrape of the ploughs hitting the tarmac outside. Still, when you're not in a rush and you look up to see it snowing, it's a beautiful sight. Especially for a city-girl who hasn't seen stars in months.

Have a good weekend, no matter what the weather!

Image via Beebs' Flickr

Lolly's Laundry

I haven't owned a leather jacket in years and years and it's too cold now to justify getting one this season. But, if I were on the search, I'd find this one quite tempting. From Lolly's Laundry.


Look what I found! Brace yourself before clicking on Humanoid. Seriously. Gorgeous. Slouch.

Edward Bawden

Fortnum and Mason is world-famous for its fine foods and hoity-toity image, but these vintage brochure-illustrations by Edward Bawden reveal a less stuffy, cheerful side of the company. A lovely limited edition book about this relationship, and featuring these gorgeous illustrations, is available at Mainstone Press. Here's a little sampling.

Paul & Joe Sister

I like each of these four looks a lot, from Paul & Joe Sister.

Book report: My Top 6

I'm doing more writing than reading these days, so I won't have much of a book report any time soon. However, since books are among my favourite things to give and receive I thought I'd share my Top 6 (because 6 is a nicer number than 5).

1. Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
I often fail to identify with female characters in books, but both Teresa and Sabina made an deep impression on me. This book is so much more than a love story. It has philosop
hy, romance, politics, examines our relationship with place and animals, misogyny, misandry and loss. But it's also a love story.

2. The Moon & Sixpence by W. Somerset-Maugham
A vividly funny and moving account of genius and authenticity.

3. Any Human Heart by William Boyd
This book made me cry.

4. Ghostwritten by David Mitchell
That this was Mitchell's first novel wrecks my head. His stories that are simultaneously simple and mystical. I was also really tempted to put Cloud Atlas. He just dazzles me.

5. New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
Am I cheating by sneaking in a Trilogy? Perhaps. My love of Paul Auster has been well documented here. I love writing that's densely layered. It always leaves me with that soaring sense to know I haven't pinned everything down neatly in one reading.

6. Damned to Fame by James Knowlson

I'm not including any Beckett on the list (I think I've flogged that dead horse enough here. Suffice to say everybody should see a good production of Godot and Krapp in person or on film - try these). I read this biography for research during my MA, but it's one of the most thumbed books on my shelves. I sneaked this book into the design of my portfolio too, for the more astute observer.


Tonight, Candace called me to say she found a stray dog. I ran up the road and met her and the most docile golden retriever ever. There was nobody out and about, so we took her to the Humane Society and thankfully she is chipped, so she should be reunited with an owner soon.

Even though she's clearly loved and this is the right thing to do, handing her over to the Humane Society broke my heart. On the drive down there, I was already trying to work out a way to keep her if she had no owner...


Isn't this awesomely epic? Every single boy I know would love it. And I would love it too. Via the always brilliant Doug.

Smithfield Horse Market

It seems surreal now, but in Dublin, it's not at all unusual for inner-city kids to own horses. There were even tales of them taking horses in the elevators of the council-building high-rises around the city and environs. Between 1995 and 1997, Perry Ogden became interested in the kids and their relationship with the horses, right when Dublin started to boom and the Smithfield Horse Markets came under public scrutiny. The debate was by no means a simple one, but the images and words of the individual kids are remarkable. More here.

"Me da started me off. He like put me on mad horses and then I stayed on a mad horse and got down to the quiet horse, and that's how I learned to jockey." - Gavin Ward

"Well me best horse was Willie and he w
as fast real fast and he was real hairy but he got sold on me when I was getting to really like him. You can't fall in love with horses cos you'll have to sell them when you're old or they'll die or something'll happen to them or they go in through a big huge swamp and they'll sink in it and they won't be able to survive in it." - David McVeigh

Another different, but also great Flickr stream here from James Horan

Domestic Architecture

I would move in tomorrow and make this house a home. Domestic Architecture's homes are clean, but reassuringly familiar. And everything looks so impeccable. What a stunning starting point for any decorating style. Discovered via Remodelista.

Christmas wishlist

I am strangely satisfied right now, so the items on this wishlist would be lovely-to-receive, rather than desperately wanted. What I'd really like the most, for Christmas and beyond, is creativity that comes to fruition. And that elusive, ineffable kind of love that I've never managed to pin down...

Limited Edition Red Cross Table Lamp by Bestlite / T-56 sneaks by Tretorn / Russet and dove plaid stole by Toast / Lime Blossom candle by Jo Malone / Organic Tote by Hugo Guinness / The Artist in his Studio by Alexander Liberman / Ceramics by Mud Australia / Cashmere Bolero by Brora Scottish Cashmere / To Siberia by Per Petterson / Donkey by Isokon Plus


I know you all like your Hunters, or perhaps your Tretorn* Skerry. And when it gets colder, you might be into Sorels, especially the cute plaid ones. But in rain and in snow, I'm a Bean boot girl. I absolutely adore them. This year, mine are blue with tan leather. I wore them for the first time today and even though it's lashing rain and people are grumpy, I smiled and left my umbrella down and didn't care.


It's going to be an easy weekend of scented candles, baths, Starbucks and gazing into the distance for me. Thanks for your company this week. I always enjoy it, but this week I really needed it. Image from this fantastic house tour on Skona Hem.


When I first moved to Canada, I had no idea what a toque was and bluffed my way through many conversations before finding out. We just call woolly hats "woolly hats" in Ireland. Whatever you call it, I'm gonna need one. I love this. Finding something similar should be eminently achievable. But, it's precisely this kind of hunt that can become ridiculously drawn out.

Ochre toys

I love these moving toys from Ochre, the subdued colours, their complete timelessness, the nostalgic joy they're already imbued with.


Tonight, I'm unimpressed by everything I've been trying to do. It's hard to carry on when your passion suddenly seems silly. It's equally hard to want to start afresh. I feel like I'm more inspired than able. Like I fail at really giving utterance to my thoughts.

And yet, even here in this, I feel the imperative to try just that. Self-doubt is the worst feeling. It's bottomless. Everything is called into question. And, to rub some random salt into my wounds, I also hate my calves tonight. But I like this picture via Lina S.' Flickr.


I love reciting Yeats out loud. My neighbours probably think I'm casting spells. Tonight, while making dinner, I gave voice to The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.


I used to shop at Jigsaw nearly daily, since it was a hop across Stephen's Green from my office in Dublin. They announced they're going e-commerce months ago, and although it's been delayed, I'm still excited. Just check out these tempting treats. No more delays please!


How many Avoca blankets is too many? I already own two, but I lurve this one.


I have to stop randomly checking Keep-Calm. Hayley and Lucas succeed at many things, but one of them is certainly not calming my urge to spend. This and me are meant to be.


Linda & Harriett's 2009 calendar is simply gorgeous. I must say, every month is fun with a beautiful calendar (I have one for work and one at home).

Heather Heron

This clutch from Heather Heron is the perfect daytime clutch. It's made of organic hemp with black leather binding. I'm just a weeny bit smitten. Time to start a Christmas wishlist maybe?

Mike & Chris

Love these loose and interestingly tailored pieces from Mike & Chris.


With Lori's suggestion on the previous post in mind, I went for a wee gallivant and turned up these Gryson shoes (from Augustina, but available online here). They're spectacularly cute, I think.


The weather's starting to turn. My week off is over. I can feel the time has slipped away. And I'm suddenly blue.

Image credits: 1. Untitled, 2. Oh., 3. Fog-Eva, 4. Him to me to you

Ulla Johnson

Some lovely gentle layering from Ulla Johnson. I love the heavy scarves and gloves next to delicate prints and fabrics.

Two Hearts

Speaking of hearts, Two Hearts by The Jayhawks is my favourite song today. I've listened to it a half dozen times. And Tomorrow The Green Grass is one of my favourite CDs ever.

Only Hearts

As the weather cools, soft romantic nightwear is always a cozy consolation, especially when combined with a perfect blanket and cup of hot chocolate. These are from Only Hearts.

Book report: A Little History of the World

The English translation of A Little History of the World came out in 2005 and has been on my to-buy list for ages, but somehow it always escaped my memory when I was at a bookstore. Finally, today I bought it at Mirvish Books.

Gombrich, best known now as an art historian, wrote the book in six weeks when he was 26 years old. In 40 chapters, he tells the story of mankind from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb, but it's a sympathetic story of sweeping experience rather than a stale recounting of historical events. The illustrations by Clifford Harper are divine too.

B. Chyll

It's not intentional, I swear. Knitwear is just looking so good to me right now. These cashmere numbers are from B.Chyll (available online at Shopbop).

Perfect day

I have this whole week off work and Toronto is putting on a completely spectacular show for me. It's November but still nice enough to sit in the park. I also strolled around Chinatown and Kensington Market, Little Italy, along Harbord St and the Annex and kicked my way through fall leaves and whistled a little and smiled at strangers and dogs and even squirrels too.

Farmers Market - Iceland

Farmers Market - Iceland is so completely up my friend Laura's alley that I'm second-guessing whether she sent me this link at one time. Regardless, I love these knits.

Paulette Rollo

Aren't these great? There's something medieval about them, like they should contain love potions or mystery vials from a banished apothecary. From Paulette Rollo via the newly discovered and brilliant Even*Cleveland.

Fall flowers

I bought lots of flowers for the party. They're still going strong. Not my normal choice, but it's good to buy something other than roses (though I also bought roses for my bedroom today).

Comptoir des Cotonniers

Beautiful looks from Comptoir des Cotonniers.

The Selby

More beautiful spaces from The Selby. I want to be friends with Ingrid Schram. Her life is basked in glorious colour.

Jennifer Behr

Being short-haired, I rarely pay any attention to hair accessories. But Jennifer Behr's are too pretty to not post.


I had a little party last night to celebrate Halloween. Here's some of the set up... The pumpkin is devouring a gourd and the cupcakes were funny skulls. Candace & I dressed up as Patsy & Edina from Absolutely Fabulous. Daniel Day Lewis has nothing on Candace, who played Patsy a little too perfectly. It was such fun!