Whenever I'm going through a rough, busy, or just plain challenging patch (and who isn't having one, in some respect, all. the. time?!), I always notice how I am more tuned in to beautiful things. I'll take anything that makes me smile, or makes me inspired, uplifted, connected. I'll squeeze it for every drop of glowing colour it is worth. And the more I do that, the more I notice that beautiful things (or books, or people, or drawings, or ideas) come my way.
It turns into a happy, upward thermal and I try to spread my wings and surf it past the clouds.
Here's some of the things that have come my way over the past few weeks:
New books: I used to have a passion for reading. I still do, but is often buried by the sheer volume of reading I need to do for my work. Over the past few weeks though, I've devoured From the Holy Mountain (for the fourth time. Travel books. Travel books about the Middle East. How can anyone resist?) and The Shadow of the Moon. M.M. Kaye writes about an India that is in my head. Dark palaces surrounded by emerald gardens and hazy sunsets. Princess laden with jewels and the scent of roses and adventures on horseback and a wild, dark beauty. There was a lot wrong with the India she described (as there is a lot wrong with any place, at any time). But she described it accurately and wonderfully, and saw the beauty in it. I've also started Roger Deakin's Wildwood. Every page is a jewel. I read it sitting outside, or by a window, and drink in the words, and let it connect me to the trees and the wind and the birdsong and the light. And I bought Chasing the Sun and can't wait to get started.
An old habit of mine was to underline in the books I read and re-read. Meaningful passages, witty quotes, the odd brilliant phrasing. I haven't done that in so long. I can't wait to make friends with each of these new books, and see which ones become good enough friends that I turn back to them a second, or even a third time.
Some of the other things that have me buzzing about what a pretty world it is we live in:
African violets. I bought a small pot of these the other day. Oh my god. The colour!
If you have some, and know how to keep these beautiful, fragile little jewels alive and happy, please tell me! In the meanwhile, I'm reading more about them here.
I don't know why I haven't thought of this before. Jam jars as vases, and candle-holders. I saw a picture of this at one of my new favourite blogs (seriously every post is so. beautiful!) and have now gone jar-mad. I cleaned out all the jam jars lying at the bottom of the kitchen storage (where they've been waiting to be recycled for about 5 years), made sure they looked sparkling new, and then filled them with beautiful flowers. I have about 6 of them all over the house. I can't wait to have them full of cherry blossom! At the moment it's simply too cold (and I am too lazy) to go out blossom-hunting.
And of course there's clothes. Is there a better way to literally wrap yourself up in beauty than to wear beautiful clothes that really, really do something for you? I've been eyeing this jacket from ASOS for a while, but haven't gotten around to it yet (my list is larger than my bank balance)... There's something about it... A beautiful playful whimsy balanced with a certain sophistication. I think it's beautiful.
And in the midst of all this prettiness, my April Vogue has arrived. I'll emerge in a couple of days :)