Links I Have Loved This Week

To Stay Married, Embrace Change
Sometimes people feel betrayed by this change. They fell in love with one person, and when that person doesn’t seem familiar anymore, they decide he or she violated the marriage contract. I…
Why Mom`s Are Tired...
Why Mom’s Are Tired…
“You know what we do all day? EVERYTHING.” Thanks, Cat & Nat, for sharing this #MomTruth Friday with us! More: http://on.today.com/2m2cNCD
How to Plan a Garden Party
Hi guys! How was your Monday? I was a mess, totally exhausted from our girls’ trip that had me dancing and eating Taco Bueno until the wee hours of the morning. Those kinds of weekends are…
Can you prevent rows about household tasks?
In her new book Drop The Ball, a manifesto for women juggling jobs and an unequal share of the burden at home, Tiffany Dufu describes a phenomenon I’d never previously seen given a name:…
Free art: ten pretty spring printables
Well hello! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the weekend! This has been a busy week and I’m ready to nap sit on the sofa for hours. Bliss. (Although I may throw some tiling in…
Must Listen Interior Design Podcasts
My commute can be up to two hours of my day, five times a week. Truthfully it’s an exhausting part of my routine, and feels like a huge part of my day is wasted behind the wheel. However,…
My Favorite Homemade Cleaning Recipes and a Printable
I have been making and purchasing cleaners for years and both options have advantages and disadvantages. I will admit, there were times I felt my homemade cleaning recipes were too…
Inside a Real-Life Miss Havisham Mansion For Sale
It’s quite an exciting moment when you find that mysterious, abandoned house you’ve been stalking on the internet over the years- never quite certain whether it even really, truly exists-…
10 Simple Projects To Upgrade Your Home Energy! | The Tao of Dana
Want to create a healthier, happier, more energized home in simple ways? These cleaning and maintenance projects are so often forgotten (or not even known… ) and they make such a huge…
The dark future of `The Handmaid`s Tale` feels terrifyingly real
For the past few years, Hollywood has been enamored with dystopias pulled from young adult fiction – stories like The Hunger Games and Divergent, where the evil government provides a…
Six Things Tidying With KonMari Taught Me About Stress
Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and her KonMari method of decluttering have become global sensations. Millions of people have tidied with KonMari and say that the…
Thoughtful Sunday - The Purpose of Homemaking
Homemaking. Not a term you hear much anymore, is it? But it’s something most of us do every day. Something I have shared here before is how important I think the art of homemaking is.
created in Publicate

 

I have got this black cushion. It is velvet with a spray of  dark florals. Like a Dutch painting in textile form. I cannot sleep without it. I clasp it like a teddy bear and hold on for dear life, my back and my deaf ear to Ste, in case he breaths (because people who dare to breathe next to me are candidates for homicide don’t you know) – snuggling my cushion and facing whatever terror my relentless nightmares might bring, staunchly alone.

Each and every morning I wake up still clutching it. Breathing in its sweet lavender scent and wishing it was still the wee small hours. But not this morning. This morning I woke up with my Kindle wedged firmly between my ample bosom and for a moment I panicked and rooted around the bed in an effort to dis-lodge that which felt like a bad case of indigestion and trace my cushiony friend. Shocked that it should abandon me. Bewildered for a moment by a dream in which I appalled the congregation of a wedding by dressing in head to foot red and sobbing whenever anyone looked at me.

All this to tell you that last night I happened across a little book of literary wonderful. And though it was late and Ste was not only breathing, but taking his life in his hands by ever so gently snoring, I found myself capable of rising above my horror (and natural born killer instinct) because I had been transported in to quite the most wonderful of early twentieth century middlebrow domestic fiction.

“Everything that’s happening to us—yes, everything—is to be regarded as a lark. See? This is my last word. This. Is. Going. To. Be. A. Lark.”

The Lark by E. Nesbit is everything us BrocanteHomers, believe a book ought to be. Full of delightful young girls and domestic detail of the sort that includes knitting and flowers, black rabbits and pinafores fashioned from tablecloths. But most of all The Lark is resplendent with good cheer of the kind exclusive to the hybrid that is a result of a children’s writer creating grown-up fiction.

Which is why as I turned over the last virtual page of Elizabeth Fair’s also charming Brampton Wick, I hopped straight into The Lark and almost immediately regretted it for here were words too delightful to be put to bed. I don’t want to tell you too much, because I want you to read it (Read it I tell you!!), but suffice to say I fell asleep with my bedside lamp still glowing and abandoned my cushiony lover in favor of falling asleep still clutching my Kindle.

So there you have it. Not a book I have to apologise for reading, but a book so good it saved a mans life. For heaven knows when the snoring turned to snorting, he deserved to die.

Buy The Lark on Amazon.Com here ($3.99) and on Amazon.Co.Uk here.


The washing never gets done.
The furnace never gets heated.
Books never get read.
Life is never completed.
Life is like a ball which one must continually
catch and hit so it won’t fall.
When the fence is repaired at one end,
it collapses on the other. The roof leaks,
the kitchen door won’t close, there are cracks in the foundation,
the torn knees of children’s pants …
One can’t keep everything in mind. The wonder is
that beside all this one can notice
the spring which is so full of everything
continuing in all directions – into the evening clouds,
into the redwing’s song and into every
drop of dew on every blade of grass in the meadow,
as far as the eye can see, into the dusk.

Jaan Kaplinski

 

So you know how sometimes you get a bit happy and hormonal and run-down all at the same time? And you do too much and decide you have got too much to prove to the world and you don’t go to bed early enough because you are busy having a nice time and all of a sudden there is a cold-sore on your lip and you are shuffling around feeling a bit bonkers and looking like death warmed up but you have lost two and a half stone and all of a sudden you don’t care? 

Well yes. That. Last night, with Ste working late and Finley lost in a book, I took myself to bed early because cold-sores make me feel horribly grubby and I have no desire to inflict my grub on anyone else even when there is no-one else to admire it beyond my reflection in my candle-lit living room.

So I made white rose tea (I like Numi) in a tiny cup, switched off the lights and headed to bed with my beloved Kindle under my arm, then got cosy under my yellow quilt and puffed my pillows with lavender and laid back and then leaned up again to swat them about in a violent fashion until they were comfortable and then I switched on my Kindle and found myself unable to commit to any of the lovely books lurking in there because they required way too much thinking and some nights thinking isn’t something I can manage.

Now once upon my fourteenth Summer, my best friend Debbie and I dedicated every waking moment to reading the Rainbow Romances in the Harlequin section of our library. There were hundreds of these chaste Mills and Boon-esque delights and we were a little bit thrilled with the giddiness of stolen kisses and unrequited love and thought nothing of wasting whole afternoons reading together and eating crisp butties and then the Summer passed and I for one, never, ever picked up another romance of the kind.

In fact I rather decided that romance of any sort was a bit low brow and pretended I only ever read from the literary women’s fiction shelf  or the kind of 1930’s domestic drama I dedicate my life to discovering (with the occasional dalliance with Liverpool WW2 sagas and a certain section of the cosy mystery shelf to boot). Until last night. When my brain wouldn’t work. And I needed comfort, ease and escape and though I had in my possession a book that described itself as a modern-day Madame Bovary, I couldn’t quite face the coarse hurly-burly of the chaise-longue and instead settled upon Shabby Chic at Heart.

Because it had Shabby Chic in the title.  And it was about real estate and a furniture shop. And it talked of distressing things and cabinetry and it had a cosy Auntie Winnie in it and I used to have an Auntie Winnie! And a furniture shop! And I made a living distressing things (mostly men)! And what could be lovelier than spending an hour or two in a world I understand even if the writing was a bit you know and the whole business an obvious set up on the road to romance that veered between irrational spikiness and sickly sweet description.

Oh but Readers, it was perfect.

Now hark this: I am not necessarily recommending it. It is chippy, shabby fluff and pretty, frilly nonsense. But should you ever find yourself in bed without a brain for thinking much, or in possession of a yukky cold sore and you are the kind of person who rather adores description of shops filled with the kind of shabby treasure most of us only happen across once or twice in a lifetime then I rather think you will enjoy what I can only describe as bookish comfort food for the minds of the lost and hormonal.

Oooh and there are three books in the series… #justsaying.  

Buy Shabby Chic at Heart on Amazon.Com here for just $2.99 or read it absolutely FREE on Kindle Unlimited (My favorite thing in the WHOLE world!).

It’s been a funny day. My plans for living in this here bungalow have suddenly become precarious and that old familiar blanket, fear, has wrapped it self around me all over again. And so tonight I have sought comfort. In Butter Pie and a slice of Cappucino Traybake. In Coronation Street and in Ste’s arms. And in books. Always in books.

The kind of books I need when life is standing on it’s head are the old-fashioned kind. Vintage snuggles. Reminders from yesterday that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all shall be well…

And so before I climb in to my floatiest nightie and rub Frankincense into my ever deepening wrinkles, I thought I would share a list of some of the lovely (FREE) vintage books I have recently been downloading to my darling Kindle…

-A-Girl-of-the-Limberlost

A Girl of the Limberlost

By Gene Stratton Porter
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

patricia brent

Patricia Brent, Spinster

By Herbert Jenkins
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

Violet hunt

 

 The Celebrity At Home

By Violet Hunt
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

the narrow house

The Narrow House

By Evelyn Scott
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

those brewster children

 

Those Brewster Children

By Florence Morse Kingsley
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

Ten Dollars Enough Catherine Owen 1887

Ten Dollars Enough

By Catherine Owen
Download it on Project Gutenberg Here

Night night all.x

 

Links I Have Loved This Week

I’m in my home a lot. I work from home; I like to practice yoga in my home; I love to stay in and cook a time-intensive meal. That’s why it’s so important that I love the spaces within…
Cinnamon French Toast Muffins are a hybrid (I almost typed hybread- which would have been appropriate!) of french toast, bread puddings and muffins. They’re an alternate way to get your…
Throughout May the Do What You Love team has enjoyed listening to the most fascinating talks by leading experts in health, wellness, spirituality, and relationships at The Hay House World…
We are forever rushing around like headless chickens trying to achieve, achieve, do more, more, and then more again. We are busy; we want to be productive. We want to do it all but we fail…
Historically, a ritual is all about being present in the moment, giving gratitude to what is happening to you at this time, connecting with yourself and your feelings. A ritual can be a…
Our idealized versions of both childhood and motherhood have a new enemy: screen time. Parents are warned that screen time is making kids fat, damaging family relationships and may even…
Growing up in the 1980s as a tediously well-behaved and highly conformist child, I loved Erma Bombeck’s books. I often used my allowance to increase my mother’s modest collection of her…
Illustration by Marta Parszeniew. A few years ago, I found wellness. My body felt like a burden, and the food I ate didn’t seem to energise me or push me on: it dulled my edges, left me…
Not long after my mother died in 2014, less than eight months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, my dad and I performed a ritual familiar to anyone who has lost someone they…
We’ve all been there. You snag a sliver of free time, and two seconds later you’re sucked into your smartphone. Adele covers, throwback fashion shows, listicles: you name it and it’s…

People I am delirious. Absolutely delirious. You know how much I adore the frivolous stuff and nonsense that is M.C.Beatons’ Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series? Like adore it with all the passion people usually reserve for the kind of vices they wouldn’t want to take to the confession box? Well yes: that much. Agatha is in fact my very own dirty secret. The kind of literary vice I do not like to think about but indulge in as often as dear Ms Beaton cares to  churn a new episode in Agatha Raisin’s life, out…

Having reached a point where I’m up to speed with all the books and thus have to wait almost a year between the next, I was to to be found squealing like a pig in a sty last night after Finley wandered in and casually mentioned that Agatha would be back in her very own eight part series at the beginning of June and I got so excited I almost licked his face which frankly doesn’t do at all because twelve year old boys and people in general really don’t take kindly to having their faces licked.

 

 

Snakes and bast**ds, as Agatha would say, where was I? Oh yes. Agatha is back on the tele! Christmas 2014 saw the first televisation of Agatha Raisin in her first cozy calamity, The Quiche of Death, and though at the time Mum and I were ABSOLUTELY APPALLED that Agatha did not have the shiny brown bob and “bear-like” eyes so frequently referred to by M.C.Beaton in the books (we favored Caroline Quentin), the whole program was so delightfully silly and scrumptiously filmed in Biddestone, Wiltshire (a Cotswold gem if ever there was one!), that we decided to forgive and forget and just enjoy a romp through a rather madcap murder mystery in a gorgeous English village…

 

 

For the books are silly. And I am silly. And sometimes silly is just what the doctor ordered don’t you know?

So pour a scotch and frazzle a microwave meal because Agatha arrives on Sky One in June.

 

Now tell me, do you know Cluny Brown? You don’t? Then allow me to introduce her, for she is quite the most fabulously, feisty domestic heroine I have encountered in a long time and the book in which she features is an absolute hoot!

“Cluny Brown has committed an unforgivable sin: She refuses to know her place. Last week, she took herself to tea at the Ritz. Then she spent almost an entire day in bed eating oranges. To teach her discipline, her uncle, a plumber who has raised the orphaned Cluny since she was a baby, sends her into service to be a parlor maid at one of England’s stately manor houses.
 
At Friars Carmel in Devonshire, Cluny meets her employers: Sir Henry, the quintessential country squire, and Lady Carmel, who oversees the management of her home with unruffled calm. Their son, Andrew, newly returned from abroad with a Polish émigré writer friend, is certain that the world is once again on the brink of war. Then there’s Andrew’s beautiful fiancée and the priggish pharmacist. While everyone around her struggles to keep pace with a rapidly changing world, Cluny continues to be Cluny, transforming the lives of those around her with her infectious zest for life…”

Cluny is the niece of a plumber and after she gets herself in a fix when she attends one of her Uncle’s plumbing jobs, she is sent away with her tail between her legs to learn how to control her deliciously wild side, as a housemaid in a manor house. And there among a cast of memorable characters Cluny brings her very own brand of joy and wit in the kind of prose that is so quintessentially English it almost hurts.

Written by Marjorie Sharp in the 1930’s, the book was reborn as a film, directed by the oh so clever Ernst Lubitsch in 1946 and it is just right for the kind of weekend watching we Brocanteers adore… so finding it, in it’s entirety on Youtube is quite the loveliest treat.

Preferably enjoyed in bed with a plate of oranges ala Cluny herself…

Click here to watch Cluny Brown on Youtube here, or enjoy Marjorie Sharp’s wonderful wit in the book . Find it on Amazon.Com here and Amazon.Co.Uk here.