Wishing you healthy, happy, wealthy and wise.

Today was supposed to be a big party day. We were to travel to Derbyshire for a lunch to celebrate a family members 50th, but last night one of the family elders had a heart attack. He is OK but the surprise lunch and the big, happy birthday celebrations are off. Instead we will be staying home, and I will be grateful (for 10 minutes at least) for what I have.

Thank you for stopping by this year, and for taking the time to leave your comments. I am looking forward to reading, writing and more sharing in 2011.

The Quiet Ones Are The Best

When I was very young I had a book (The Women's Room, Marilyn French) that proclaimed very loudly on the front cover 'This book will change your life!' It didn't.

There are other books, that come in quietly, under the radar, making no such empty promises but changing your life in ways you can never imagine. Mistress Of Myself is such a book. When I found this book I was immediately drawn to the lovely drawing on the cover. Once I started reading Mrs Robert Henrey's book I so closely identified with her writing that I couldn't put it down. It is the story of a woman approaching middle age who was questioning everything and looking for a new raison d'etre.

Then, this unassuming tome helped me find mine. It was after reading this book that I decided I wanted to do something creative, additional to my day job. So, I started a shop on Etsy. I slowly put a few books on, and since that day last year I haven't looked back. I 've found something I love doing, and it gives me a perfect excuse to hang out in book shops. This week the book that started it all was snapped up. I do hope it has the same positive effect on it's new owner, I think of it passing through women's lives like a paper Mary Poppins, quietly making a positive change and moving on to the next owner when it's work is done.

About the author, Mrs Robert Henrey;


Etsy shop;

Housework In A Hurry!

Here at Lilac Tenements we are enjoying the dizzying whirl of social activities that come round every Christmas, in punishing, tight knit clusters. Never in all of the rest of the year are we exposed to such quantities of Advocat and Twiglets!

How are we supposed to balance the demands of ensuring we have the right thing to wear/make up/nail varnish/hair colouring (a must in late, late, youth), child care, jobs, Christmas shopping and card writing together with maintaining some semblance of health and fitness? Something has to give. In my house it's the dusting. I have 2 tips for busy women - dim lighting and candles. Hides a multitude of sins - dust, stress lines and bags under the eyes!

Silence and Privacy

These are two words I am contemplating this morning.

Silence, seems to be the word du jour. Women going on silent retreats (Women's Hour Mon 22nd Nov), Radio 4 featuring a track of silence by John Cage entitled "4'33", and the Royal British Legion selling 2 minutes of silence to raise money. I tried to remember the last time I was in silence and I think it was in the garden during the time of the ash cloud (we live under the flight path). We must need silence for our mental health, what does it do to us that there is a constant electronic chatter happening around us, unless we are sleeping? I love walking in the countryside, emptying my mind, but is it enough?

The other word, privacy. Us Brits prided ourselves on our net curtains and our 'don't ask, don't tell' attitude with our private life. With the advent of FB et al that seems to be vanishing too. There have always been exhibitionists but now it appears everyone feels it's good to share. Can we over share? And if we do, what happens?

Silence and privacy - too much or too little have an affect on our minds and spirits. Will we be shaped by technology or will we wrest back control and ensure it evolves within our collective comfort zones in the future? I wonder what Mark Zuckerberg will have to say when he is middle aged, and a little crabby, and some young upstart invents something that threatens his sense of privacy? I hope I'm still here to say, "what goes around, comes around"!

My washing machine has just finished it's cycle, so I will contemplate the silence, and the fact that I just posted my inner thoughts on-line, and what that must say about me.


Down By The Sea

I took this fab photo of the Mevagissey Male Voice Choir back in the summer. It was an evening harbour side concert and they put their funky shades on to sing Under The Boardwalk.

Today my thoughts are with the residents of this lovely village which overnight suffered devastating floods. I hope everyone is safe and sound and has somewhere warm and dry to stay tonight.

Woolly Winter Thinking

It's that time of year - winter has started to circle and close in.

It's then I have to think about all of the customs and traditions that make me feel happy and content, to combat the start of winter ennui. I bring out the candles, fluffy rugs, and plan my Christmas present buying.

This year I have ordered most of my presents from Etsy. From customised 'keep calm and...' posters to necklaces, earrings, cufflinks and of course, books.

Etsy has also inspired me to start knitting - thick chunky knit scarves. The balls of wool and chunky needles look great in a big bamboo bowl. See above, my 2nd attempt at a scarf.

84 Charing Cross Road

If you haven't read this great book by Helene Hanff (true story) , do.

A well read, autodidactic (word of the day!) American lady who longs to visit Britain during the war years she develops an airmail friendship with a man (and his family) who worked in the iconic bookshop - Marks & Co, at 84 Charing Cross Road, London. Made into a film starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins in the 80's.
Helene got her wish - eventually. This book was responsible for my searching out the works of 'Q' - Arthur Quiller Couch.

Below is my treasury pick on Etsy - this is where you pick pictures of items other people are selling to illustrate your theme.

Not for any reason, just to share the images.