Poetry book: I am truly and maddeningly indecisive. Mostly. I am also a procrastinator. So, it doesn’t surprise me that over a year on from putting learning a couple of poems per year off by heart, on a list of things I would like to do in the next decade, that I hadn’t decided which poems would make the cut let alone learnt any of them by rote. I haven’t a breeze of an idea how many poems there out there to choose from, but a book of poetry, a lovely compilation by Ana Sampson, called ‘Poems to Learn by Heart’ greatly narrowed down the field and I have finally started with one poem. I choose William Wordsworth’s ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’: partly because everywhere is awash, at the moment, with daffodils standing proud as cheerful yellow heralds trumpeting spring’s arrival, but mostly because I already knew the first verse!
Category Archives: Favourite Things
Red Conserve: I cannot remember exactly when the French brand Bonne Maman’s jams and conserves first impinged on my consciousness but I think I would have discovered them on a visit to France back in the day when the brand wasn’t ubiquitous in supermarkets in other countries. Then the jams and conserves were a treat to be savoured with freshly baked buttery croissants while breakfasting al fresco on balmy days beneath an azure blue French sky. Now that they are so readily available they have lost some of their allure and indeed there are many jams and conserves that compare with or outshine the brand. However for me there is one conserve from the range that is totally unrivalled; I love the Berries and Cherries Converse. It’s simply divine with freshly baked and buttered hot scones.
Pink Cardigan: Although I do have a few pink items in my wardrobe I am not a natural-born worshiper of all things pink. It wasn’t therefore the colour that drew me to this Dries Van Noten cardigan but rather the embroidery and I also liked that it is possible to button it in various ways (there are buttons on the inside as well as the outside) for an ever so slightly different look. I have had it for a long time (I am guessing since 2003 as I know I had it before I moved in 2004) and have worn it lots so on cost per basis it was a very good buy.
Vase d’Avril: The vase is a series of glass test tubes which slot into connected zinc covered steel holders. It comes in two sizes small and large, mine’s the small one and what you see in the picture is just a portion of it, as the whole thing is more than double that length with twenty-one glass cylinders. You can use it whole, in pieces, or even just one tube. Empty it’s not especially pretty but it’s totally transformed by adding a few flowers and bits of greenery. It cheers up a corner of a room, without the need to indulge in bank-balance-busting-buying of bunches of flowers. The Vase d’Avril is by Tsé & Tsé Associées, a small French design company.
Update 12th November 2011: I was in Paris earlier this week and noticed that there are now three sizes of Vase d’Avril: small, medium and large.
Paris Tokyo Cushions: I knew when I saw these cushions, a few years ago, in the Conran Shop in London that they were just right for my sitting room, which has duck egg coloured walls and a black floor on which I have place a bright red sofa. Perhaps the décor is somewhat eclectic but it works (well at least for me). I had seen other variants of the cushion, with pictures of dogs, Picasso paintings and Russian dolls, so I didn’t automatically assume they were French but when I looked at the label today I discovered that are indeed made in France by a textile company called Iosis. Looking at them closely reminds me I need to revisit the City of Light soon.
Goat’s Cheese: I am, in the main, dairy phobic, taking my coffee with soya milk, forgoing regular tea with milk for herbal varieties and eschewing cheeses made from cow’s milk. I miss eating the huge variety of cheeses made from cow’s milk (I confess I occasionally indulge) so I thank the food deities for goat’s cheese. It’s a very versatile ingredient and a staple I usually have in my fridge, I find it useful for adding depth and flavour to a variety of dishes, tonight’s mushroom and goat’s cheese omelette being a case in point. By a neat but entirely accidental coincidence the goat’s cheese in the picture is also from France.
Vintage Blouse: I like to buy vintage pieces from time to time; it’s a great way of getting something original and individual. Vintage isn’t about trends, so the items I buy tend to have a longer closet life as I base my decision to purchase on suitability and not fashionability. I found this pink lace blouse in Jenny Vander, a vintage shop in the centre of the city, which I think is Dublin’s longest established vintage outlet. I love going in there in search of something out of the ordinary. Mostly I am content to browse but from time to time I come across an item that not only fits me but is also a fit for my lifestyle.
Bracelet: I am ultra fond of my black wrap around leather bracelet. It’s my teensy-tiny bit of Hermes. If I had unlimited funds I would buy a Kelly or a Birkin bag. I don’t, so my bracelet is as good as it gets on the Hermes front; it has the same buckle as a Kelly bag. I am
not especially not at all elegant but the bracelet is, so it makes me feel more ‘dressed’ when I put it on. I wear it most days, which makes it good value on a cost per wear basis.