Treat yo self: this month’s gifts from me to me

I'm really reaping the financial rewards of my new 'spark joy' philosophy for shopping. I only bought things which I love or which sparked joy. So this month hasn't been crazy. 

Laurie Lee ‘As I walked out one midsummer morning’

I had to go to Wales for work last week and, a consequence of being averse to tardiness, I had a lot of time to kill in Paddington Station. This book jumped out at me in W.H. Smiths. I liked the title. I didn’t know much about Laurie Lee, apart from that he wrote Cider with Rosie which I read at school. This is a sequel to that. I decided that if I was still thinking about the book when I got back from Wales, I’d buy it, and so I did. It’s fantastic. It’s about how he leaves his home and travels first to London and then to Spain by foot. He makes leaving home and travelling with no money seem totally do-able. On our last holiday, we went to Spain and visited a tiny town where my husband spent his summers as a boy. The people we met were so kind and this book echoes that. 

Laurie Lee | Laughing Heart

Zara shirt

This was an attempt to inject some colour into my black, white and navy wardrobe. It actually looks quite nice on with my gold chain. I continue my experiments with colour. 

Reiss trousers

This was another attempt to inject colour into my wardrobe. I love the colour and the fit. My crumpled pair on the left (I had to take them off to photograph them, sorry) and the way God intended them on the right. 

Office flats

I googled ‘how to look more sophisticated’ and the first article I clicked on said ‘get rid of ballet flats and go for a pointy toe flats’ and so, after an intense period of loyalty to French Sole,  I did that. I love these shoes. they’re comfy and make me feel like a put-together gal about town. Although I wear them with opaque tights which looks a bit weird. I will reassess this next week and my well opt for a less intense denier.

Frames

My husband was sent some pictures of his grandparents on their wedding day and a picture of his great grandpa playing polo in the twenties which I thought would be nice to frame. I bought them in Zara Home. I also had a picture of my grandmother which found a home in a Zara frame and a cute picture of my dad and picked this up this silver plated frame in John Lewis for a bargain £6. 

October gift ideas

I've literally never heard of anyone who gave a gift in the name of Halloween so I didn't want to curate anything obviously Halloween-y.  Here are some gifts which sort of evoke the Hugo Boss Deep Red advertising campaign circa 2002. I'm aware that reference is obscure. 

Without further ado:

Dior Poison Eau de Toilette £44.00 - £58.00

 

L.K. Bennett Sevina Block Heeled Platform Court Shoes £325.00

Yves Saint Laurent Luxurious Mascara Gift Set £25

Tom Dixon Large Bone Bowl £200

Charlotte Tilbury The Vintage Vamp Set £165

Alexander McQueen Patent-leather pumps £545

Throwback Thursday: A white gold crane in flight

Throwback Thursdays took a hiatus but now they're back.

This week’s gift of yesteryear is this brooch.

Designed by Cartier and made in 18k white gold, this crane in flight dates back to the 1930s.

The brooch is engraved with the words 'NO FLOWERS' on the back.

It belonged to Amelia Earhart the record-breaking pilot. 

It was found in the back of a New Jersey van which transported Earhart's belongings from the airport. The company owner tried to return it, but shortly after, Earhart disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean during a round the world flight. She was 41.

It's not possible to say with certainty what 'NO FLOWERS' meant to Earhart but in a 1931 New York Times article about Amelia’s wedding to George P. Putnam, the ceremony was described as being very simple. It mentioned that there were 'no flowers.' 

To me, 'no flowers' sounds morbid, it's the kind of thing you hear when you read details for a funeral. 

Christies, the auction house handling the sale of the brooch, writes: "Perhaps the brooch was a wedding gift to Earhart and the phrase a witticism between the couple? Whatever the significance of “No Flowers” may have been, this brooch is atypical of what Cartier was producing at the time and was most likely a special order for the first woman of aviation around the time of her nuptials. "

Bidding for the brooch starts at $7,000. 

 

Should you give teachers gifts?

This question might also take the form:

Q. Why give someone a gift for doing their job when they’re already being paid?

A.  Because giving a gift shouldn’t be an exchange! It shouldn’t go: you do something for me, I’ll give you a gift. That’s a transaction. A gift should exist outside a transaction.  

Let me tell you a story, specific to the teaching profession. When I was at primary school, a boy called Lee was dared to eat a pencil and he accepted the challenge. He also ate stinging nettles, banana skins and paper, but the pencil was the real coup de théâtre.

And who had to fish the pencil shards out of Lee’s mouth? A teacher. And who had to intervene when other children offered Lee bits of tree bark to eat? A teacher. And who sat with Lee next to them in the dining hall to ensure he actually ate his (far less interesting) school meal? Yup, a teacher. And that was just one week. 

They’re the people your kids spend most of their day with. They are the only other people in the world who will be as interested in your child’s development as you. A good teacher will spot and encourage that hidden talent that you might overlook, they have to be on the lookout for signs that things might not be alright in your home.

Their job doesn’t stop when the kids leave at the last school bell. They have to mark and prepare lessons and work out how to manage twenty individuals with their own unique needs.  

I’m not sure it’s a cost-effective thing idea to gift every teacher in your child’s life a gift, but if there’s one who has gone further than they needed to help your child, give thanks.

What should you give?

You can’t go wrong with a thank you note.

 My mum cherishes everything that her pupils give her: lollypop sticks covered in glitter, pebbles. But that’s my mum. At the other end of the spectrum, my friend who works at an international school in north London was given a Longchamp bag and vouchers for spa treatments.

Seneca, my spiritual gift-giving guide relates the following story which might help or it might not:

Alexander, who was of unsound mind, and always full of magnificent ideas, presented somebody with a city. When the man to whom he gave it had reflected upon the scope of his own powers, he wished to avoid the jealousy which so great a present would excite, saying that the gift did not suit a man of his position. “I do not ask,” replied Alexander, “what is becoming for you to receive, but what is becoming for me to give.” This seems a spirited and kingly speech, yet really it is a most foolish one. Nothing is by itself a becoming gift for any one: all depends upon who gives it, to whom he gives it, when, for what reason, where, and so forth, without which details it is impossible to argue about it.

Vases

Someone gave me a really awful vase and every time I see it, I want to cry. Disclaimer: I know there are more serious issues going on in the world, but this blog is not the place where serious world issues will be addressed.

BACK TO THE VASE. I'm being really rough handed with it but it's basically bullet proof. 

I'm waiting for someone to come over, spot the vase and say 'that's a nice vase' and then I'll slip it into their bag. 

I love flowers. I buy fresh flowers every week. This vase is just something else.

Here are ten vases which are nicer than the vase I have.

Sparking Joy (what I got for my birthday)

I am now in the latest of my late twenties and I just really don’t even want to talk about it. But I have realised:

1. You only start saying ‘age is just a number’ or ‘you’re only as old as you feel' when you turn 29.

2. When you see anyone younger, you feel like this:

Inspired by Marie Kondo, I spent the day tidying. I used to identify as a minimalist and I suppose I do have less stuff than the average person, but after reading Kondo's The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up', I realised I had a long way to go.

Calling myself a minimalist was really just an aspirational claim - like when I was 16 and used to buy bras in the size I wanted to be, not the size I was. A roomy bra, just like having too much stuff, is a lie and enhances nothing.

So I got rid of a lot of stuff and was happy to find that the gifts I got this year allowed me to only let in what I found useful or sparked joy. 

Behold

JOHN LEWIS GIFT CARD 

My in-laws gave me a John Lewis gift card and with it I bought A DYSON. I'm so excited. Finger cyclone technology, I am ready for you.

HARRODS GIFT CARD

From my husband. He did actually buy me a necklace but it was so so so delicate that I knew it would break when caught up in my hair (which happens all the time, I need a sturdy chain). So we transferred it into a gift card, I haven't spent it yet, still deciding. Here are my thoughts so far...

MARA HOFFMAN SWIMSUIT

I love this designer so much. So this was a birthday treat to myself. I actually bought it after my birthday and after our last hot holiday but I will treasure it until next year for its debut. 

M&S gift card

My mum always gets me something M&S related. I haven't spent it yet, but here are  my ideas

August anniversaries

Two anniversaries of note this week. 

It’s one year since I started this blog and two years since I saddled up to ride the matrimony pony.

This is my gift from him. Silk pyjamas from Rigby and Peller. 

rigby peller | laughing heart

I would’ve been content with cotton, as two year anniversaries are symbolically cotton, but I’m not complaining about the upgrade. 

rigby peller | laughing heart
rigby peller | laughing heart

They delight me and will be perfect for 1. Summer nights 2. Packing for summer holidays 3. Looking awesomesauce. 

I’ve been trying to wear more natural fibres. Never in a twenty-eight years did I imagine I’d ever type a line so eye-roll inducing but there you have it. 

Best silk sets