and a happy new year

I know its cliche on the 31st of December to start thinking about all the things that happened in the last twelve months, but I find that flicking through this blog at year's end really puts the year into perspective for me, so I think I'll do it anyway.

In January, I mostly hid out in icy Mid Wales and discovered the photography of Vivian Maier, which completely amazed me. Even more of her work has been uncovered since I posted on it last, and remains so intriguing.


In the early early spring I had a huge book to work on, so I was either working on it or buying myself secret magazine subscriptions as special treats to keep me going.

The spring turned into summer, and trips to the countryside, a Cornwall holiday, and a trip to London, where I met up with Anabela and Kate, and felt really quite pleased with myself for not being too scared to (a 2011 resolution), as they were both incredibly lovely. Then it was autumn, with many many photographs of the sea, developing my first roll of camera film, and taking a leap and booking a trip to New York.


Posts have slowed down and sped up and been regular and been sparse, but every time I've written one, every comment has been insightful and charming and so very appreciated – so thank you all so much – I hope we all have a wonderful year to come.


Icy Christmas


A few years ago, before I started this blog, I went home for Christmas (very much like I am preparing to do right now as a matter of fact) and when I got there, the weather was off the scale. The whole island was covered in ice – even the tide line, salty as it is, was frozen into sharp little shards of ice that crackled and cracked as the waves churned them about. 


As E.B. White, whose 1950s New Yorker Christmas writings I like to read at this time of year, put it: 'Everyone has one Christmas he remembers above all others, one blindingly beautiful occasion.' And I think this one is mine, in terms of on-the-surface beauty at least. 

While I'm half glad that it is not meant to freeze this year, as it makes driving the length of the country a bit of a roulette, the fact that the island won't look like this this Christmas (or perhaps ever again!) is a little sad. So I thought I would post these to remind myself, as E.B White also writes in a different Christmas essay: 'Rememberance is sufficient of the beauty we have seen' which is a thought that I quite like.


A birthday

This weekend I discovered a place that I love nestling merrily in a place that I really don't like. It was a  little cafe, all wood pannelled, with old advertising billboards all over the walls – Cadbury's, Hovis etc – and with smart waiters waiting to bring trays to tables. It was so unexpected, sitting as it does on the periphery of what I consider to be one of the most miserable shopping experiences in England.

But, I think discovering something good about something bad is quite a good way to spend a birthday, if you hope to start as you mean to go on, and it just so happened that I ended up there for some unexpected birthday cake last week.


I've written before about my December habit of buying myself presents – this year, I've had so much else to do that I haven't bought a thing, and as a consequence, all those things I would usually have already bought for myself, instead made lovely birthday presents from Ben and my sister. It's much better this way.

From my sister, this amazing Apres Ski necklace. I like this such a lot because it looks like a little triangular tortoiseshell boat – and the packaging it came in is delicious.




Wolf & Moon are fairly new to me, but Hannah, who runs it and makes everything, sent me an email a while ago, and Ben cottoned on and bought this little necklace for me. She makes beautiful pieces with all sorts of different materials. My little triangle is wooden with a sort of shiny gold inlay and some kind of universe-looking something in the middle. Perfect for last-minute Christmassing, I'd say.