I’ve come to the conclusion that Easter is my new favourite holiday.
- It’s spring and the air smells like the freedom of school holidays when you walk outside in the morning.
- Flowers. £1 bunches of daffodils. Buy ten and you’ve got yourself a gaudy abundance.
- Painting eggs: Table covered in newspaper, blobs of acrylic paint, boiled eggs, no idea what to paint, this year champagne, dropping one and cracking it, easy chat because there’s no eye contact – like a walk – talking side by side. Mixed results. Please don’t let mine be the one no one eats!
- Easter day. Russian heritage means we always have a traditional Easter breakfast of a bread called a Kulich served with Paskha (a sort of sugary, raisiny cream cheese). The Kulich spends a night in the airing cupboard growing as high as a ruler, while emotions run high waiting on its success – there’s almost constant worry that half of it will just be a giant air bubble. But then once everyone is sitting and the first slice is cut no one cares what it looks like because it’s so delicious and there’s chat and coffee and a scrabble for the next slice and the kitchen smells of warm, sweet, sugary bread. I ♥ it!
At Maria Semple’s TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT – sitcom witty in a book. And at Jim Gaffigan on Netflix. I like that he collaborates with his wife.
To break old habits and start new. Firstly to read more and check social media less. Every time I go for my phone I have to go to my book instead. I’ve never read more in my life! Currently reading THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR by Jennifer Ryan. Just read the haunting, addictive THE SILENT FOUNTAIN by the brilliant Victoria Fox.
The best way to start a new habit, apparently, is to attach it to an old one. So now a Tuesday nursery drop-off is followed by a jog. So far, so successful. Except when it’s raining, and also except this week when I was home alone and completely exhausted! (So not quite worthy of the title ‘habit’ just yet.)
Not me but Keith Brymer Jones – I’m loving the new series of The Great Pottery Throw Down and, as always, the tears of ceramic joy.
I have been sobbing quite regularly however to the Desert Island Discs podcast which I am listening to religiously. Emma Bridgewater made me have to pull over in a car park because I couldn’t stop crying. This week Nicole Farhi, June Brown and Ali Smith have made my car and train journeys much more interesting.
Daffodils! And lots of birthday presents. Everyone seems to have been born around now! But I sneaked in a spotty t-shirt from & Other Stories for me.
For houses. It’s a nightmare. One house that I’ve coveted for years came on the market for 24 hours then the owners changed their minds about selling. I’m plucking up the courage for a Kirsty and Phil-esque note through the letter box.
The New York Times
ABSTRACT on Netflix. Whoop whoop!
My head down too much. When I look up I realise it’s March and Spring. From now on I will make a habit of looking up more (and just hope it’s more successful than the jogging.)
1. Daffodils. They are by far my favourite flower. Great big trumpeting bursts of yellow. I love them. I used to row when I was younger and I remember one day passing all these beautiful daffodils on the river bank and then from a distance watching two people run down and pick them all! When we came back there were none left. It was so sad.
But I think it’s what made me love them so much and appreciate a bunch when I see them in the park – unpicked.
2. Ducklingwatch! I get quite transfixed by the little ducklings round the pond – and really protective. I always do a quick count to check that they’re still OK and no foxes have got them!
3. The luxury of not having to carry gloves, a hat and a scarf – just an umbrella!
4. The magnolia tree I can see from my bedroom window. I watch the buds get bigger as winter fades and spring begins.
5. The smell in the air when you step outside in the morning. It’s the scent of bright sunshine meets cool dawn and green leaves. The drawback is that it always makes me feel like I’m going to school.
Let me know what I’ve missed? And what you love…
For the last few months I’ve been lost in a book bubble. Every spare working hour has been spent writing. And while I love it, when it gets difficult I tend to fantasise about what I’ll do when the book is done and the bubble bursts and I’m freeeeee! This time I’ve been obsessing about decluttering. It started when I read an article about Marie Kondo and her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising.
Kondo’s mantra of only keeping things that bring you joy and her technique of folding clothes has lit a little fire of obsession in my brain. So when I was stuck on a particularly tricky part of my book revisions I took a break and refolded everything in my drawers. I was a folding demon! And am now an upright fold and stacker – my clothes are arranged like a filing cabinet. It’s life altering… Why did I not do this earlier? You can see everything (I found tops I’d forgotten I owned), you can fit more in so you don’t have to ram it all down to shut the drawer and nothing really gets creased. I’m a folding Konvert.
So next up is the rest of the flat. Not the folding but the bringing of joy bit. Room by room everything is going to have to prove its worth. I’m particularly looking forward to the storage cupboard which has become one of those places to shove something with half closed eyes and hope everything else doesn’t collapse on top of you. It most certainly doesn’t bring me joy. I can sense the stuff in there quaking in its boots, praying the book never gets finished.
My clutter shouldn’t worry too much though, I’m pretty sure that as soon as the book is done, and I have the time to do it, decluttering will hold much less appeal!