Friday & 2011 Resolutions!

I love thinking about New Year's resolutions. But I've also been pretty good lately, so don't have anything too dramatic to put on my to-do list. In fact, I'd say the overall tone of my resolutions this year is "hold true and steady", which is a nice place to be.

Of course, it wasn't easy for me to get here. At its lowest point, 2010 was a difficult year and when I survey how unlike that post I feel now, I know that's representative of a good deal of soul-baring, plain-talking and constant, ongoing self-adjusting.

So, here are my 2011 Resolutions:
1. Hold steady with exercise and with budget.
2. Make use of vacation days; get out of town more often.
3. Use professionals. In particular, find an accountant and a good massage therapist.
4. Declutter apartment; weed out incoherent stuff.
5. Dress more like my own "Sunday Best" posts.
6. When feeling stressed, do less.
7. Don't freak out over 35th birthday, even though it's my "scary age".
8. Buy some super nice, new sleepwear.

What are you resolving for 2011? Happy New Year!

Image credits: 1. Re-In-Carnation, 2. macarons, 3. my grandmother's home, 4. country bed

A poem for Wednesday

I had a mini meltdown yesterday, trying to take some photographs in bad light. And I have a way of taking it to heart when I'm having a bad day behind the camera and feeling useless. Then I gave up and lay on the couch for a while and read some poems instead. And I guess I was going a little stir crazy, having stayed indoors to make photographs all day, after days of being stuck inside sick. And I read this poem by Billy Collins and thought I knew how the sparrow felt.

Christmas Sparrow
The first thing I heard this morning
was a rapid, flapping sound, soft, insistent—

wings against glass as it turned out
downstairs where I saw a small bird
rioting in the frame of a high window,
trying to hurl itself through
the enigma of glass into the spacious light.

Then a noise in the throat of the cat
who was hunkered on the rug
told me how the bird had gotten inside,
carried in on the cold night
through the flap of the basement door,
and later released from the soft grip of teeth.

On a chair, I trapped its pulsations
in a shirt and got it to the door,
so weightless it seemed
to have vanished into the nest of cloth

But outside, when I uncupped my hands
it burst into its element,
dipping over the dormant garden
in a spasm of wingbeats
then disappeared over a row of tall hemlocks.

For the rest of the day,
I could feel its wild thrumming
against my palms as I wondered about
the hours it must have spent
pent in the shadows of that room,
hidden in the spiky branches
of our decorated tree, breathing there
among the metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn,
its eyes wide open, like mine as I lie in bed tonight
picturing this rare, lucky sparrow
tucked in a holly bush now,
a light snow tumbling through the windless dark.


I listened to North Hills on Christmas Day and have been pretty much had it on constant play since. Have you been listening to anything great lately? I need some new bands.

Image via

Back to normal

My Christmas turned out to be much lovelier than I thought it would be. I was recovered enough from my plague on Christmas Day to cook dinner for BFF (who surprised me with a visit). Still, I think it's true to say that when 8pm rolled around on Christmas Day, I felt a tonne of relief that that hepped-up day was nearly out of the way.

I think I like Christmas (and birthdays and all other such days) more in theory than in practice. In practice, it's just too much pressure to have a perfect day that's been determined by somebody else and that reflects little or nothing of what my life is about. Maybe if I could relax from all that pressure, I'd enjoy it. But it's deep-seated stuff, hard to shake off.

Let's face it, Christmas is designed pretty much with family as its central tenet and when you don't have a family to speak of, every attempt at it looks like a lame attempt to compensate for that fact. So, yup, there's always a bit a relief to have that day done with. I've been cleaning up my place - getting rid of the stink of sickness that's been hanging around here. And, as you can see, I've been playing with my new lens.

And, I've been beginning to think about resolutions. Because if there's something I absolutely love, it's the idea of a new start. I think I can safely say that 2010 was a pivotal year for me. Maybe one of the hardest years too, but it was also defining. I feel like it set a tone for the next decade and I've got to keep building on that and I'm excited about that next phase and the things I can't even guess at happening.

Thank you for all your lovely Christmas wishes on the last post. I read them all from bed this week and they cheered me up no end. You guys are the best, seriously.

Happy Holidays!

I'm ducking out of here until the other side of the holidays. I started feeling ill on the weekend and have a full on flu right now. I feel completely terrible. So, I hope to take the rest of this week to disconnect a little and recover in time to have a semi-decent Christmas.

My Christmas will be a quiet one and I'll no doubt cycle through emigrant loneliness, while at the same time being glad to be here and creating my own traditions. My love goes out to those who spend Christmas alone, for whatever reason. I know that no matter what the circumstances there's always a pang of sorrow on these days.

I would love to toast a glass with each and every one of my blog friends. Sometimes the physical distance between online friends makes them seem a little unreal. But, in other ways, because they're not bound by geography, they feel the most stable and consistent of relationships. That makes me feel really good, much more secure than I sometimes feel about the vagaries of real world relationships.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas my dear friends!


The Donkey Sanctuary

For the past three years, I’ve used a portion of the pennies I earn from my blog to support The Donkey Sanctuary. I just renewed (and increased) my annual donation to the sanctuary. I make this donation on behalf of all my lovely readers, my excellent sponsors and my dear blog friends. It makes me happy to have you visit with me every day and support Ill Seen, Ill Said. And I can’t think of a nicer way of showing that than making a donation to such a worthy cause.

We sponsor Cargo (I love his wonky ear), but I'm assured he shares his hay with the other donkeys too. And randomly, here's a sighting of my favourite donkey ever. Ireland only got Google streetview this year and I nearly died when I zoomed in to view the field in Doolin this cheerful fella hangs out in and saw him standing cheekily there. He always seems to say hello to all the tourists and locals who pass through this tiny town and I love that he's looking right at the camera!

To learn more about The Donkey Sanctuary, visit their site here or become a fan on Facebook here.

Sunday best: Ideal Christmas

It's the very last Sunday before Christmas, so here's what I'm dreaming of for my ideal Christmas! I fell instantly in love with this dress when I came across it. I love the oversized scallops of the neckline, the vague flapper-girl silhouette (I've been watching Boardwalk Empire and am stuck on the style!) and its looseness is perfect for Christmas expansion (a sad but true reality). The embroidered flats are a nod to brocade slippers which make me think of all things seasonal and Dickensian.

I do a lot of cooking and baking for Christmas Day, but I have to admit I do buy these Cole's puddings ready-made. They're amazingly good and the perfect portion. I'm not normally a big fan of fruit cake, bit a little pudding every December hits the spot.

Yesterday, I made a garland for the top of my bookshelf and that greenery alone filled my whole apartment with evergreen smells and I wrapped the garland in fairy lights so I have the requisite amount of twinkliness too!

I'm feeling pretty relaxed now and getting very excited about seeing some friends back in town next week, as well as having a four-day work week. I treated myself to a new camera lens from Santa and I think now that this Penguin book must find its way into my stocking too. Six more sleeps!!

Products: Garland via / Guinness Christmas Pudding from Cole's / Mistletoe via / Miu Miu Pleated silk crepe de Chine dress from Net-a-Porter / Oak leaf earrings from Linda Penwarden / Lipstick from Laura Mercier / Satin clutch from Anya Hindmarch / Ring from Satomi Kawakita / The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry / Issey Miyake Noir Absolu / Oscar de la Renta Embroidered suede ballerina flats from Net-a-Porter / Holly via / Opaque tights from Anthropologie


I'm back on track! It took a near all-nighter, but it was totally worth it. Yesterday evening, I whipped to the Whole Foods to begin getting some groceries. And I picked up my favourite amaryllis bulbs from Teatro Verde and potted them up when I got home.

I also did some decluttering and feel a little better about my space issues. I get really headwrecked when things of a kind aren't all together. So, for example, I want all my cameras, lenses and photography stuff on one shelf all together. When I have bits and pieces all over the place I start to lose it. I know this all sounds very obsessive compulsive, but it's the way I work. I hate wasting time looking for things and like everything to have its place.

Around the web this week, I enjoyed this article about Oprah and her book selections very much. I have lots to say on this topic, but I fear it would be a bad place to go on the internet. So, I won't. On a less controversial note, I think this ice-skating party is perfection. The little chap in his snowpants playing shinny just makes me come over all warm and fuzzy. Also, I thought this house tour might break my heart in the best possible way.

I have lots of little errands to run and a couple of projects to wrap this weekend. But my number one goal is to stay calm. It's all either doable or not, and panicking won't sway that either way. Actually, I think it will all work out to be just grand. I hope your weekend is too!

Image credits: 1. Snow!, 2. hedgerow, 3. Robin, 4. Winter Rose

Three of a kind


I started spinning yesterday; feeling the pressure of all the projects I need to wrap at work this year, already too many deadlines for 2011. I can feel the potential for vacation slipping away already. I came home with a splitting headache and a too-long list of things I expected myself to get done in just one evening. And really, I just wanted to wear toasty, woolly things, drink cocoa and forget all about it. I'm not so good at shaking it off though... How are you staying relaxed this season?

Image from Toast

Anna Sheffield

I stumbled across the website of Anna Sheffield last night and was instantly agape. I love jewelry and these pieces fall into the perfect "affordable investment" sweetspot - definitely something special to save up for or treat myself to on a special occasion. I'm completely smitten.

Inspiring women: Julia Margaret Cameron

In 1863, when Julia Margaret Cameron was 48 years old, her daughter gifted her a camera and thus began her career as a photographer. Studying under David Wilkie Wynfield, she created portraits with unprecedented intimacy. They were under-appreciated in their time, the softness and intentional lack of focus led to ridicule from her contemporaries.

But Cameron stuck to her guns, photographing obsessively. Her seriousness extended to protecting and preserving her images too and she registered them all at the copyright office. Her collection is important, not only because of its beauty, but, because many are the only known photographs of prominent figures. Among many others she photographed Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning.

I find the intimacy of Cameron's portraits at times little suffocating; her subject's eyes haunting and deeply expressive. It strikes me that although I see picture after picture of women in magazines and websites now, there's a hollowness to these photographs. And perhaps that's necessary - most of those photographs aren't about the people, they're about the products they're modeling. But still, isn't it something to gaze upon these portraits and feel a connection with the model and photographer? And aren't you left feeling like so much of what we're served these days comes up short on pure, raw expressiveness?

Julia Margaret Cameron's Women
Julia Margaret Cameron: A Critical Biography

Images via and via

Kosoy + Bouchard

It's always this way: You write something and then the minute you submit it, you remember something you would have liked to include. Or, you stumble across something brand new that would have been a perfect fit. I've known about Kosoy + Bouchard for a long time, so it really should have occurred to me to put them in Anabela's local shopping guide.

The Kosoy + Bouchard store is even located on my street, over by the farmer's market I go to. And I own some of their beautiful pieces as well. So, it's unforgiveable that I omitted them. Even moreso, because I would have noticed their newly redesigned site, which showcases their products so much more beautifully than the previous design. I hope this post makes up for the oversight!

Three of a kind

Holiday reading

I've been so busy lately, I haven't been reading at the pace I usually do. I miss it a lot so hope to carve out some time over the holidays to get into a good book. These are the books on my reading list right now. I have to keep my expectations in check though; I have a tendency to think Christmas holidays offer a vast stretch of unfettered days. In reality they amount to a couple of stat days and a whole lot of running around. You can see more of my favourite books here.

I Curse the River of Time: A Novel (The Lannan Translation Series)

Sunset Park: A Novel
Room: A Novel
Great House: A Novel
At Swim-Two-Birds (John F. Byrne Irish Literature Series)
Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life

Dark holidays

Though most of the holiday spreads I've featured are characterized by clean white, silver sparkle and natural touches, there's a part of me that's drawn to a more Dickensian interpretation of the holidays; dark rooms lit by candlelight and this heavy fabrics, brocades and velvets. I love how rich and full of patina these images from 18Karat (top) and TineK (bottom) are.

I think same tension pulls me more generally in decorating. I love heavy, bookish rooms full of texture and weathering. And I also love clean spaces with crisp white linens and decidedly uncluttered. That said, I don't think the two are irreconcilable. And, in a way, the one keeps the other in check. That said, there are some things I own that reflect neither. I think next year, I'll work on phasing those things out.

Sunday best: Let it snow...

We're expecting a snow storm today and I'm feeling more ready for it than normal. After shivering my way through the last two winters in coats I chose for style rather than warmth, I gave in last week and bought one of those down coats (this one, in black, to be precise). I've got to say, it wasn't a purchase I was excited about. But yesterday when I wore the coat, I felt an intense love for its toasty warmth.

So, the goal of today's Sunday best is to help me reconcile my new found pragmatism. Truth is, I love this outfit and I know it would stand up to the worst Toronto's winter will throw at us. I've had Timberland boots in the past (the salt actually doesn't stain the material, though it looks like suede) and they have good grip, which is good for a girl who's more terrified of freezing rain than most other things.

I'm planning to head to the coffee shop and write my Christmas cards today. I got some good work done yesterday, as well as running most my errands, so I feel that lovely lightness of a day unburdened with to-dos. I've also uploaded some pictures to my Flickr of my little holiday decorations. I still want to make a few more wreaths and a garland. I'm kind of loving this bit-by-bit approach as it makes the festive feeling mount as my place takes on more of the look and feel of Christmas.

Hope you have a lovely Sunday!

Products: Lightweight Knit Cap by A.P.C. from La Garconne / Woodland Babycord Tunic from Saltwater / Ultrawarm Coat from L.L. Bean / Cotton Linen Tee from Toast / Fair Isle Gloves from Toast / Soft-T- waxed canvas and Italian leather messenger from Beth Springer / Women's Earthkeepers™ Granby Tall Boot from Timberland / Cashmere Fair Isle Long Socks from Brora


I just blinked and this week was over. Oh, it's going to be Christmas before I know it and all I can think about is how I haven't written or mailed cards. Though I did send off Mum and Dad's present last weekend, so I suppose that's something. I've been decorating here and there too.

Last night I made some boxwood wreaths, based on these simple instructions from Chelsea. Mine are oval though and I hung them with ribbon that hails from Brown Thomas, a department store in Ireland, that has Patrick Kavanagh's poem Grafton Street Admiration printed on it; a wee nod to home. On a less romantic note, can I tell you how much I love 3M's Command range. I use them to can hang wreaths and stockings on walls and from window frames etc without any nails or hammers (I also use these to try out picture hanging placement. I never find the paper cutout thing as effective as actually seeing the picture on the wall).

Oh and I helped with little local Toronto shopping guide for Anabela yesterday. I'm in some amazing company over there on Fieldguided, so do check out the post, especially if you're in the Toronto! Although I do a lot of my shopping online these days, there are certain stores where the experience goes above and beyond the procurement of goods. There shops are my favourites - an integral part of my Toronto life and identity. I'd love to know which stores are the same for you, wherever you are.

I loved Jen's round-up of Christmas dresses (I want to add this lovely snowy striped one too!) Lynne also blogged some lovely wreaths too and I love this chandelier (and the scalloped table!) from Simply Grove. I also keep looking at the first image in this post from Constança. I'm completely in love with these Christmassy vignettes and find myself passing over the Christmas trees in my reader without a pang of regret that I've gone treeless this year.

I'm entertaining tonight and getting my last haircut of 2010 tomorrow! I can palpably feel things winding down at work; even though it's busy, there's a lot more laughter. We're expecting a huge snowstorm on Sunday, so I'm hoping to lie completely low, maybe do some baking for the office. Maybe it'll even occur to me to write those cards!

What are you up to? Have a wonderful weekend!

Image credits: 1. more more lights!, 2. berlin, 3. Untitled, 4. Untitled

Ulla Johnson

If I had to choose just one black dress and one white one today, I would pick these ones from Ulla Johnson. Mostly plain, gently embellished... they're the perfect Goldilocks just right balance.

Three of a kind

Scarlet and Violet

Beautiful flowers from London florist, Scarlet and Violet to cheer your Wednesday along. I all but stopped buying fresh flowers as part of my severe budget cutbacks, but I'm looking forward to a trip to the flower markets to complete my holiday decorations and adorn my place with some voluminous colour and life, especially as it's so cold and barren outside now.

Inspiring women: Valerie Finnis

I learned about Valerie Finnis from World of Interiors (I blogged some pictures of her home, from the same article, here). But for this post, I'm most interested in the woman herself and want to quote to you from the superb and vivid accompanying article, written by Amicia de Moubray:

"On leaving school at 18, Valerie went to Waterperry Horticultural School for Women, run by Miss Beatrix Havergal, a splendid figure who wore gaiters and a collar and tie. Valerie stayed on and taught at Waterperry for 30 years when suddenly, in 1968, her life took a dramatic twist. 'I was working in my old dungarees in the potting shed when I heard a voice outside declare: "Goodness, she's got Gillenia trifoliata." An excited Finnis dashed out. 'You're the first person who's ever known that plant!' she exclaimed to the speaker, Sir David Scott. Both lives changed at that moment. Valerie was 46 and David 82. 'We never thought of age, we just fitted in,' Valerie always said. Within hours of their marriage, they were gardening side by side as they were so happily to do for the next 16 years, until David died in 1986 aged 99."

After her husband's death, Valerie set up the Merlin Trust, which gives grants to young gardeners for projects and travel. Various plants were named after Valerie, or her house and she was also awarded the VMH - Victoria Medal of Honour - by the RHS in 1975. But in addition to her botanical skills, she was an avid photographer. More than 55,000 of her transparencies survive, photographs of fellow gardeners, like Margery Fish and Vita Sackville-West, as well as breath-taking still lifes.

Valerie Finnis died in October 2006.

The Finnis-Scott Foundation
The Merlin Trust
Garden People: The Photographs of Valerie Finnis

The original article by Amicia de Moubray appeared in World of Interiors, April 2009 with photography by Jan Baldwin. Portrait of Finnis shown also by Jan Baldwin and scanned from this article.

The White Company

I really love this softly, softly approach to holiday decorating from The White Company. I can even imagine wanting to keep some of those porcelain bells around long after wreaths and garlands have come down (even hanging them from a real outdoors tree in the spring).

Three of a kind

Mythic cities and scripts

I got up early yesterday and then went back to bed, rising for a second time, much later at 11am. It was blizzardy out and I made coffee and toasted bagels and was lazy and let myself stay in. I watched New York, I Love You and it got me thinking about cities and mythology. There are certain cities that come with a story sketched in and are just waiting for people to step in and live out those roles. Even the names of those cities conjure the stories to be lived there: New York, Paris, London.

And even less boisterously mythic cities have grown a sort of mythology, a picture we draw about how life might play out there and what dramas you might experience if you lived there too: Portland, Dublin, Rome, Berlin, and so on...

When I lived in Dublin, I had always a strong sense of those moments when my life there clicked into that script. Sitting in Grogan's and having an epic conversation about Beckett or Behan. Snap! Classic Dublin moment. Or even driving down the country and being stopped by a flock of sheep on winding road.

These moments sound cliche in storytelling. But they're real and feel like meant-to-have experiences unfolding when you're living them. It's like the full mythology of the place coincides with your little life and you become that person, living that life, in that mythic geography.

The flip side is it doesn't happen all the time. Or, after a while it can really feel like role-playing. It can be as if too many books, movies and television shows have been set in those places and it's hard to just be in them, without becoming a footnote to all those other tales. And what happens when you're in those places and never experience those perfect moments of synchronicity between life and myth? You feel like you're in the place but not of it.

Toronto - in my mind - has no myth. At least, if it does, it's not one that I've ever been told. I'm not sure what that perfect Toronto moment is supposed to look like. And sometimes, I feel a lovely lightness in that; that there's nothing supposed to be happening to me on any given day, any role I'm supposed to be filling, no meant-to-have experiences to be had on Queen St. or Bloor. And so, it's a city that I never feel that mythic sort of synchronicity with, but I'm happily living in.

And I can understand completely why people want to live in mythic places, why they want to step into those already-written stories and play out their individual part in it, why they want to tap into those epic yarns of success or romance or creativity. And sometimes I yearn for that sense of meaning in a place too and agree that cities without mythology can seem like boring places. But, most days, I think I would feel more alienated being in those places and not still finding my role than I am here, without any role, just deciding how I want to play it.

And I know all of this is way too much of a reduction of place and identity. But it has me thinking about the role of place as a character in storytelling, as masculine or feminine, smothering or indifferent, benevolent or cruel. And about my own relationship with where I am and where I've been.

Rachel Mara

I was thinking about cameo jewelry over the weekend. My Mum wears quite a few cameo pieces and I loved seeing Sarai style her cowl with one. It reminded me of this Rachel Mara picture as well. There are some lovely pieces in her current collection too!

Sunday best: Making photographs

The main room in my apartment takes on many guises. Sometimes, it's a simple living room-come-study. Other times, books wound up strewn everywhere and it feels like a hardcore library / writer's room. Today, it's a makeshift photography studio as I work on some shots for a project.

For the first time, I needed a lightbox for this project. So, on Thursday night I took myself to the art supply store and bought foamboard to build one, basically following these instructions. I was dreading a trip to IKEA for the spotlights (which necessitates a ride in the most suspect shuttle bus you've ever seen) so tried Canadian Tire and found these instead.

As I take on more and more independent work, I'm wishing I had a dedicated room I could set up for all the paraphernalia that goes along with these things. Even though I'm quite disciplined about not accumulating clutter, cameras and tripods and lightboxes all take up space. And I'm getting tired of having to put everything away just so I can eat dinner (I get fierce agitated when things are out of their place for too long).

I recently found out a two-bedroom apartment in my building is just a couple of hundred more than my one-bedroom rent and have been mulling that over pretty seriously. Of course, I've done so much work to this place that I half think I'm crazy to even consider this, especially within the same building (this would be my third move within this building). But, it would be nice to have a spare bedroom for guests, as well as for work. Something to think more about in 2011...

Products: Foamboard via / Women's Pullover Dress from Makie / Frank Gehry Torque Hoop Earrings from Tiffany / Gooseneck Clip-On Lamp from Canadian Tire / Claddagh via / The Essential Leonard Cohen CD / Tights from Anthropologie / Bloch Arabian ballet flat from Gravity Pope / D5000 from Nikon / Tripod and Joystick head from Manfrotto


Yay for Friday! This week was a whirlwind. I remember Tuesday, but the rest is hazy. I'm so sleepy and my mind is jumping all over the place between all the things I'm supposed to be doing. And it's making it hard for me to work systematically through the list, which is really the only way I ever get anything done.

The blogosphere has gone Christmas insane and I'm somewhat over it already. You've probably noticed by now that I don't get into the whole gift guides thing. I think we're saturated enough with the "buy this, buy this" message at this time of year and I have no idea to contribute to that. And I also feel that I blog covetable products year round - no need to do it on steroids for all of December.

Still, there were some blogging gems and some amazing news this week. Rachel got engaged (big hugs and kisses to her!) Suann found these beautiful ceramics, which I think complement the Agneta Livijn pieces I blogged this week too. And Sarai has been knitting some beautiful things (plus, she's the prettiest model ever!) I love the self-appraisal Emma did on her house. It takes a lot of discipline to look over your own stuff so critically and I have mixed feelings about doing it to mine. But I love her conclusions and observations.

I have so much to do this weekend. Parcels to mail, cards to write, decorating to do. I bought clay at the craft shop yesterday to make something like this lovely garland and maybe clay versions of Stephanie's salt dough ornaments. I'm slap bang in the middle of lots of projects and, oh, I might be getting sick. I'm hoping to completely ignore that last bit and just blaze through everything I need to do.

How are you holding up a mere three days into December? Wishing you a lovely, calm weekend, friends! xx

Image credit: 1. Untitled, 2. Untitled, 3. that Cori, 4. skywalk, toronto

Three of a kind


I saw the HOI BO store at the One of a Kind Show. I forbade myself from hanging out there too long, or talking to anybody. It would have been a slippery slope into a purse purchase. Their dry wax purses are incredible, for sure on my covet list. You can purchase them online from A2ZANE.

Inspiring women: Mary Delany (née Granville)

Mary Delany (née Granville) (b. 1770) was an English Bluestocking and although she was always an avid artist, it wasn't until late in life (at 71) that she began making the flower collages for which she is now famous. Her exceptional works were botanically accurate depictions, created using tissue paper and hand colouration. She created 1,700 of these works, calling them her "Paper Mosaiks" and stopped only when her eyesight failed her.

Delany had a number of unhappy marriages and shockingly, for the time, questioned the very necessity of the married state, saying "Why must women be driven to the necessity of marrying? a state that should always be a matter of choice! and if a young woman has not fortune sufficient to maintain her in the situation she has been bred to, what can she do, but marry?" (source)

Although she did indeed have that sufficient fortune (she was a friend of Handel and the correspondent of Swift), she married again. However, a final marriage was a happy one. She married an Irish clergyman and lived for 25 years near Dublin, where they shared an interest in their garden and where Delany honed her botanical knowledge.

I have a loose rule about the place of privileged women in this series... because the inspiring women I blog are supposed to be relatable. But Mary Delany although privileged, was also singular. She was unconventional and exhibited an energy and appetite for new pursuits when most people are winding down. I love the idea that I might take up and excel things later in life that I can't even conceive of now. And that there's always time to fulfill dreams.

Mrs.Delany: Her Life and Her Flowers
Mrs. Delany and Her Circle (Yale Centre for British Art)
Mary Delany archive at the British Library

Image credits: Rosa Gallica collage from The British Library / Mary Delany (née Granville) by John Opie from the National Portrait Gallery, London


Yesterday, the lovely Helena of A Diary of Lovely included me in her "My Stuff" feature. I loved thinking about answers to these questions and assembling images of all my favourite things. Check out the post here! And the biggest thanks ever to Helena for inviting me to share. xx