Unlovable, Loved

Image credits (clockwise from top left): 1, 2, 3, 4

I was very pleased to be asked to do a guest post for Jen of Honey Kennedy while she is away in New York (my first ever). The theme is love, and my post is all about things I once found unlovable, but have learned to love by thinking differently about them. It's here, if you fancy.

There have been some really amazing posts so far, so if you haven't seen them yet, I would definitely recommend a visit. Hila's post on literary love is particularly superb, as is her follow up post about publishing woes, which is so spot on.


Suitcase, suitcase

When I was at boarding school, I had a huge old-fashioned Mallory Towers-style trunk that sat at the end of my bed. It had been my mother's trunk when she was at school and was really quite impractical in 1997, when I went, but there was something so romantic about taking a trunk to a boarding school that I insisted on having it. (I also insisted on turning up in school uniform, Mallory Towers style, while everyone else was in jeans, but that's another story.) My trunk sat at the end of my bed, full of the promise of going home soon.
Capri Case
Image Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4

I was given a big modern suitcase as a gift last year. It's too big to hide away anywhere, so it sits at the end of my bed, just like that old trunk, waiting to go somewhere. When I'm consumed by work (as I am now) and find myself forgetting about travel, and how big the world is, having my big suitcase sitting there – getting in the way, taking up space – but waiting for me to take it somewhere, reminds me what it feels like to just pack up, ready to go.
breaker small

In other news, I was totally blown away by being named as one of the Up and Coming Blogs of 2012 (courtesy of Rachel of Black Eiffel) at  Alt Summit last weekend, alongside such luminaries as Fieldguided and Honey Kennedy (whose recent wanderlusty guest post is partly what reminded me to write this one). Hello to anyone who has arrived via Alt – I'm more than delighted to see you here. 


I'll always buy you a book

My mother used to say: 'I'll always buy you a book' and she always did. I used to read two at a time (one upstairs, one downstairs) when I was growing up, and if I ran out when there was no trip to the mainland planned, I'd read the back of cereal boxes until I had a new one. 

With 'the internet', that all seems like a thousand years ago now – especially the sitting on bookshop floors surrounded by piles of paperbacks and trying to make sure I picked the right one, which I'd start reading straight away when I got home. But that excited impatient feeling all came back to me a few weeks ago when I went into a bookshop, bought two beautiful hardbacks, and brought them home with me.

I had overheard various Twitter recommendations for these two, but they were both so nice that I'm sure I would have picked them up anyway: a green cover with orange endpapers! A limited run of signed editions!

This all reminded me of this New York Times article I read last year about publishers making an extra effort to make their books more interesting to look at, with extra design features and bold endpapers, to stop us all from abandoning print for Kindle. As the article puts it: 'If e-books are about ease and expedience ... then print books need to be about physical beauty and the pleasures of owning, not just reading.'

This is how it ought to be, I think. I'd buy a Kindle just to read books I don't necessarily want on my shelf (sometimes ugly covers in my bookcases irritate me to the point of considering turning them all so that the pages face out and the spines face in) but still buy well put together hard copies. Owning books is one of my favourite things, but it adds a whole other dimension when they're as satisfying to look at as they are to read.


On handmade



In years past, I never thought twice about places like Ikea selling identical art prints alongside identical flat-pack wardrobes, and I always turned to the huge departments stores whenever I needed to buy a gift. I was in Ikea last week though, buying a frame for a beautiful new Jon McNaught print that Ben bought me for Christmas (top picture), and it suddenly struck me just how differently I think about things now.

Having received that amazing print, as well as a fair isle jumper knitted by my mother (you don't get much more local, really) and making and giving handmade chocolates as gifts throughout last year –  I wonder if I'll ever bother to set foot in a real shopping-centre shop ever again. It definitely wouldn't be much of a wrench if I didn't.

I've come to realise that the feeling of receiving or buying something made by someone you know, or even just buying something when you know the money is going straight to the person who made it, is unsurpassed, I think, in the world of buying things. I'm just sorry it has taken me so long to really work it out!