Category: Books

Day 1

 

This morning is the first test of the strength and endurance of our internet – all four of us are working at the same time.  So far, all good – the biggest concern is between those who can work quietly (me, John, Bella) and those who can’t (Charlie) and whether those who work quietly will influence  a dial down, or the constant nagging needs of one will dial it in the opposite way; I’ve only yelled once…

 

 

We’ve all kept to our normal times. Apart from Bella, who over slept so missed the newly installed 8.00 am run – we’ve each installed the couch to 5k app with the aim to run with it every day.  It’s a great programme especially for beginners; it tells you when to run and when to walk and is designed to progress you from a beginner to running a full 5k. There’s an option where you can choose your personal running coach – mine is Michael Johnson, because when he tells me I’m doing good, I really believe I’m doing good. He’s fast becoming a good friend. When we’re running as a group we look like a flock of birds, when with no obvious signal we all transform from walking to pounding the streets.  The streets today were probably two thirds down on traffic, but busier than expected.  I think everyone thinks their car is their own portable bubble. The thing is it’s what you do at either end of your journeys that can matter…there’s news that petrol pumps are sources of infection.  Just saying.

 

 

This weekend we prepped for the sketchbook revival 2020 challenge, buying nothing, but going through book shelves for old books, gathering dust that could do with a re-love, finding old sketchbooks, tearing out pages, old letters, cards, wrapping paper, tissue paper – anything that would make it interesting, then sewing it together…very satisfying.

 

 

Mine is done now.  Just waiting for the first email to drop in with instructions for the day – better check my spam folder…

 

 

Also redid our window boxes: ivy, trailing white geraniums, miniature daffodil bulbs and some white plant that looked pretty! They’re going to get a bit of love every day as well.

 

Something little, something often, something creative, something together.  This is could be more a blessing than a chore.

 

Laters, Kate x

Tara x

Tara Button and her website Buymeonce are a blast of fresh, spring air.

Tara’s concept is simple – our lives have been stuffed full of things we’re told we need that lets us down so she has been on a mission to track down the best quality and investment pieces that every house actually needs.

 

 

 

 

This resonates so much it almost hurts: I too am tired of this modern life that believes it can tell me who I am through the purchase of a skin cream, what I need: permanent upgrades and who I should be: spending lots of money, constantly implying that the real me isn’t good enough.


Just open your eyes to the insistent message of the season: Spring clean your wardrobes/house/family/life  – it’s time to refresh!…The underlying, insidious message being that we will make you insecure to make you buy more.

(All pics Buymeonce)

Is it norm corm in the extreme? I don’t know. But what I do know is that we can’t spend our way to happiness and something needs to change. This seems a very good place to start.

 

Laters, Kate x

Recycled wood x

I love books.

(All pics Pinterest)

But I hate the back-to-front book thing. Though it works sparklingly well as a visual metaphor for everything that is tragic about our modern culture.

 

And breathe.

Laters, Kate x

Books for thought..

So bookcases are now a ‘thing’? Excuse me now whilst I suppress my inner laughter.

Sometimes I think the puppetmasters of materialism actually believe their own hype.  Did they really think we’d give away our books in favour of cloud storage?

‘They get rid of books.  We charge them again for ibooks.  Then we gloss the pintrest pictures and persuade them bookcases are it…it’s a money making winner!’

The truth? People and interiors need the soul of books, holidays need the ease of kindles.  And parents, at home with children need to know that Alexa can read your kindle books aloud.  Whilst I’m writing this, Percy Jackson is entertaining my kids downstairs. Now that’s a win win.

 

Laters, Kate x

Flashbulb x

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Is it too late for New Years resolutions? The dust has finally settled and now I know what I’d like to do…keep a sketch book.  I have a words/ideas book (which apparently is the classic sign of an introvert – who knew?) to keep treasures like assonance and sibilance that otherwise would float away.  But a book of dabblings and drawings? If this Blog is a collection of thoughts and sources of inspiration, then a sketchbook would be those thoughts made physical. I think it’s a calling….

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(All pictures not mine but from Pinterest)

Laters, after an arty online shop for supplies, Kate x

A Girl Called Jack x

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Jack Monroe is my latest hero.  I discovered her whilst painting the hall..the joy of decorating is having an ipad close to hand listening to  iplayer doing it’s thing.  Radio 4 made a drama from her life, basing it around her love of cooking and her relationship with her Grandmother: Two things that float my boat – it inspired me to seek out her cook book.

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Jack started by writing, in her own time, a local political commentary blog.  Then she had to give up her career when she became a single mum and her wage couldn’t extend to childcare.  The only solution was benefits and a mere £10 a week for food for the two of them. Her blog ‘Cooking on a Bootstrap’ was a consequence of that constraint, written to share the recipes she magically managed to produce…which then turned into her own cookbook.

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Being a single parent meant lack of time as well as a lack of resources translates into recipes that are both speedy and simple.  There’s no frills or extravagant ingredients, instead she’s re-connected the umbilical cord highlighting that fantastic, nutritious food doesn’t need an overflowing handmade Devol larder and a certificate in corden bleu cookery.

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(The vegetarian meals are awesome)

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Jack believes that in order to tackle food poverty and a culture of convenience/microwave meals with dubious ingredients then cooking at home needs to be present on a less glossy, less sexy, less intimidating and more accessible way, which then has the rollover benefit of both spending less and reducing waste. Win win.

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She makes you think about how you cook, why you cook..and how careless we are. The bottom line is we all need to care more.

I love her and I love her book.

Laters, Kate x

Bohemian Minimalist?

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I’ve been reading Bea Johnson’s book ‘Zero Waste Home’ with interest – it’s fair to say it’s an eye opener.  Whilst there’s no doubt she’s taken her chosen style of living to an extreme (her 4 member family produce just one large jar of rubbish a year)..( I confess that’s less than we manage in a day) and despite the fact the book is written for the American market, there’s no denying the hidden gold between the pages…..she genuinely believes that in our fast-paced, modern world we’ve disconnected from the true reality of our commercialism and the consequences  of our voracious, unstoppable actions.  By shining a light on something as simple as rubbish she aims to change people’s attitudes in a broader, rippling sense..and make a real difference both to the individual and the planet. Impressive ambitions.

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The book reminds me of an article I read in the Times by Caitlin Moran where she admitted that as a poor person she was far more creative: No money to buy it equalled make it or fix it. But now with success, she just throws money at the problem…we think because we can have it all, we should have it all. We even deserve to have it all.

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Bea thinks differently: She likes to simplify life right down to needs not wants, equalling less hassle, less waste..less stuff.

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And that’s where she and I differ.  I understand the simplicity of a clutter free, simplified life…but clutter and old stuff are fundamental to my personal lifeblood.  All these pics represent interiors I aspire to with their sense of timeless style and soft edges.

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A house without books? Soulless.

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No artworks and bedspreads?

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(All pics Pinterest)

Or knick knacks and beautiful rugs? It would break my little heart.

But I think there are grey areas where we overlap. And I’d really like to explore her world in little steps..doing something different every month.  Watch this space…

Laters, Kate x

Bea Johnson x

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Anyone else read the article in the Times yeesterday about Bea (pronounced ‘Baya’)  Johnson and her zero waste lifestyle? The picture above represents the amount of waste her family have accumulated over a year…it’s an eye opener..

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She’s been living this way since 2008..and it doesn’t make her a crusty hippy.

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Her (and her family’s) wardrobe are small enough to fit into carry-on suitcases…which they pack, wheel away – and then their house is rented out to pay for their holidays.

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But a small wardrobe doesn’t mean she doesn’t have style.

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It’s just that they’ve made choices about what they really need against what society and big companies want them to need.

I think I’m going to have to read her book…

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Laters, Kate x

Rapture x

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Once upon a time, a long time ago before the cult of celebrity was even a flash of a lightbulb, there were myths and fairy tales weaving complex ficitonalised versions of life with an extra sprinkle of magic.

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Move forward hundreds of years to the Viktor and Rolf Fairy Tales, fresh from the minds of the avant garde fashion greats..

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And beautifully illustrated by them as well..

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It’s like a dew-drop turned into a telescope with the lens pointed at a whole new world..how very delicious..and the perfect stocking present for Bella…as I get to read it too…

 

Laters, Kate x