Friday, 31 January 2014

Goodbye And Hello

Today I wanted to share a little ritual I have for the start of each year. It's just a small way to step back, take a look at the year that was and look to the year ahead. It's the only form of diary I keep, and likewise the only type of New Year's resolution thing I do. I usually aim to do this in January, before the year gets too far underway. I use to get a bunch of my single girlfriends and we'd all do it together over champagne brunch, but now Edu and I pick a quiet day to do it together. I really look forward to it every year, and this weekend is earmarked for the annual event. I have a nice little Rhodia notebook that I log everything in. It's very simple. Get a pen and write down...
Step 1: all the things you liked and loved about 2013.
It doesn't matter how big or small; everything is valid. This could be a holiday you took, a fabulous summer dress you purchased, or moving into your dream apartment. Whatever the highlights were for you. I write things down bullet-point form; seems to be enough. If you do this with others it's nice to share as you go whatever you feel comfortable with. A year is a long time, and you might be reminded of a few things that are worthy of being on your list.
Step 2: all the things you disliked and hated about 2013.
This could be from a shitty weather during your summer holiday, your new boss, your pet who died. Whatever was not good in your life in the year that was. Purge.
Step 3: everything you learned about yourself in 2013.
OK, so it gets slightly more tricky to take a look at your inner self, but I don't get too carried away, I always keep it pretty top-level. It may be, for example, that through the experiences of 2013 you have discovered you have more inner strength than you thought, are ready for a new job, really need to cut back on coffee, are shocking at time management, have found 'the one', just cannot pull off hats, or really hate chunky pate*. Again; nothing is too small to make it on the list.
Step 4: everything you would like to achieve in 2014.
I've been doing this little ritual since 2002 – just before I left Australia for The Netherlands – and it's quite amazing to look back and see over the years what my hope and dreams were. And even more satisfying to tick off the things you achieved.
The most interesting thing I find is that a year is really a very long time. And by the end of the year, you've forgotten what you wanted at the start, and you may very well have accomplished something big and already moved on and not taken the time to acknowledge it.
The key here is to think big. I've had things on my list that at the time of writing them down I thought were impossible to achieve; getting a visa for The Netherlands, a permanent job, living in my dream home, finding the man of my dreams, having a healthy beautiful baby. Yet they've happened, and it's nice to take stock of the milestones in your life. But I've also had smaller things like owning a TV, and being able to afford to eat out once a week. It's all stuff that might not seem important now, or unobtainable, but at the time it was. It's a little bit of asking the world for what you want, I think, and also it focusing yourself on what's important and oneway or another you seem to get there.
So if you're stuck for something to do this weekend, or looking for a new way to look forward to the new year, maybe this is for you. Best of luck, and enjoy the process.
*It's true. I did, and I do. It's a whole other thing from sublime smooth pate. Chunky pate is just foul.
Images by Kanae Sato.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Other Wordly


This blog is usually all about inspiring images but today I'm mixing it up and it's all about words. Other Wordly is a Tumblr blog of unusual, ancient, and forgotten words. It's beautiful to see how language tries to capture the world around us, our thoughts, and feelings. I picked out a few of my faves –
I have known my fair share of rantipoles in my life. Some may say, I too, have ran rantipole at times.
Well, lord knows, there's enough wind in this country. You get a daily dose of uitwaaien whether you like it or not. The mystery of the very clear straight-forwardness of the Dutch somewhat explained.
I indeed suffer from yoko meshi whenever I subject someone to my Dutch.
Interesting, says she, married to a Spaniard...* I'll be ready to exclaim "settle down you with your alharaca!" if and when the time comes.
Pretty much the first word your Dutch friends will teach you when you live in Holland. They are immensely proud of this word; which cannot be truly translated or described in English, I'm told. Fun fact; the only Dutch word that has been included into the English language is apartheid...little bit sad.
Kawaakari is a sight I adore. I can see the light on the Ij in the evening from the front of my house, and on the waters of Westerdok out the back. Seeing water (day or night) is crucial to my inner calm. I had a view of the Marnixkade from my last apartment which was an oasis, and I think it's key to any future dwelling. Nothing is more serene.
Ouch. There's a word for this? Damn. Edu and I have a bad case of tsundoku. Must make amends...
I guess my oriflamme would have to be the southern cross. More so than a country's flag, or any other symbol I can think of. That, or a squirrel.**
A useful word for many an expat, I suspect.
Yes. It deserves it's own word. "I had a busy day of oniochalasia". Indeed; better.
Totally needs it's own word, too. I love the smell of soil at the start of spring fresh in the morning after morning rain. Although according to I F**king Love Science, this is actually caused by bacteria being released from the soil into the air. Whatever. I still like the smell.
 Awww. So Japanese.
I'm getting my vorfreude on this weekend. All will be revealed in Friday's post.
Impressive that there's a culture out there that has a need for a word for such an act.

And I'll end here. There are many many more wonderful word discoveries waiting for you on Other Wordly. Go ahead and devote your next hour to discovering them instead of doing some online oniochalasia.

*Technically he is Catalan, just for the record...
**My husband and I have a running squirrel joke to the extent that it's kind of become a symbol of love in our relationship. (I know... puke, right?)

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Upcycled Kitties

These little kitty cats are adorable, right? Found trawling Pinterest on my mobile in the wee hours while nursing my little one. They're made from recycled plastic bottles and I think they're fab easy craft. I might keep them as stackable containers for floor or bath time play. I might make one for myself for use as a desk caddy. Stay tuned for the result... 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Animal Magnitism

Ok, winter's here, people. Time to hunker down and get some projects underway. I'm aiming for simple yet stunning and I thin I've found a winner with this book by Noriko Komurata. 380 whimsical animals to stitch into whatever you like. I'm thinking some cute things for the baby and not sure what else. Above is the Chinese version, and below I believe is the English translation of it, available in May. Not that it matters, as I think you just have images you can copy.  

Monday, 27 January 2014

Minifanfan

Whimsical and colourful characters from Minifanfan here to brighten up your Monday. Stickers, thread holders (yes, you need one), pillows, puppets, and more stickers. Yay for cutesie Asian style.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Amersfoort

This time last week my folks, Oscar, and I headed out for a little adventure to Amersfoort. We were there to visit a friend of my parents and were met at the station. From there it's an easy walk into the old centre where we wandered about and were given a tour of the nicest parts of the town. A lovely town that's the perfect size for a day trip.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Two Beauties

Here's two mint-condition mid-century ceramic dishes I was given by my gorgeous hubby for Three King's Day (main Christmas holy day in Spain). The red one even has leather backing. I do feel like I double-dipped this year with Christmas AND King's Day pressies... Spoiled rotten, again. Thank you, Edu.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Rug Up

It's getting chilly outside as we finally seem to be sliding into winer weather. The house is warm, but one of these lovely rugs from Dash & Albert might make things even cozier! The pink rhapsody rug is a vibrant statement I'd love in my living room! Too wild? Maybe more calm and classical blue vine is your thing, or if the pink is too passive, try the rather fabulous kinda granny-esque flower-power rug. Whatever you're into there's pretty much a rug for you on this site.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Tea Time

Getting me through these rainy days as we start to finally side into proper winter weather is copious cups of tea. And What could be more lovely than drinking it from one of these fine fresh-looking cups from House of Rym? All lovely. Maybe it's time for a re-fresh of my cups and mugs for the new year.