- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 88
Her Grace Presents, by March Cost
My copy of the book, surrounded by roses hand-knitted by my mom.
There is so much pleasure in knowing that my personal library probably hides a future favourite story! Last week I got to experience this amazing privilege again, when I picked up a very old copy of Her Grace Presents, by March Cost, which I believe I bought at a car boot market earlier this year.
A little gem with a feel-good undertone, among plenty of big dramatic episodes, and quiet tensions alike. If you don’t pay close attention, because the main topic seems to be the love life of a woman, you might think this is a romance, but I disagree. It is definitely not a happily-ever-after story, even though it has a sort of happy ending. We see our heroine mature from a teenager into middle age and experience more than one love, each with its own charm. Yet, ultimately the ending is open to her continuing to shape her life and destiny, alone again at some point in the near future, even though we leave her at the beginning of a new idyll.
I was a bit surprised to realise that there isn’t much available online about this book, not even a Goodreads page and no available editions. You can find old copies on eBay or AbeBooks and some of the other works by the author seem to have been more popular.
I am looking forward to exploring her bibliography in the future.
The Queen’s Swans
Some of Her Majesty’s Swans, photographed in Windsor in October 2021, when I didn’t know they were all Hers.
The Queen owns all unmarked mute swans in open water in England and Wales. Every July, a swan census is conducted in a process called “Swan Upping” when swans are caught, ringed and released so that the Queen can find out just how many swans she can claim ownership of.
Source – Beautiful portrait of the Queen by Artist Andrew Festing for The Royal Hospital In Chelsea
Plenty has been written about Queen Elizabeth II and this year, marking Her Majesty’s Jubilee, will see plenty more articles, books and so on. But among all the noise, this roundup of the things she actually owns stands out. From the predictable castles to the less publicized property worth hundreds of millions of pounds, from her iconic corgis to all the swans in England and Wales, it features a perfect mix of absolutely covetable and simply quirky items.
Bonus exquisite find, in case you didn’t know this, most of the Queen’s handbags in her collection of over two hundred, come from Launer London.
A couple of years ago I watched the first season of this series on BBC iPlayer and enjoyed it tremendously for the very strong lead female character, an extremely striking woman even by today’s standards, let alone for the 1830s, when the story takes place, nonetheless based on the real life of Anne Lister.
She was dubbed as the first modern lesbian and was a British landowner who managed to have several relationships with other women during her life, culminating with her ‘marrying’ a rich heiress. Luckily for us, she kept a diary and that is the basis for the Gentleman Jack series, now back with a new series.
There is a lot of humour, as well as emotion in each episode and the acting is brilliant! The story, of course, is remarkable and one can’t help but simply admire the courage and force of this woman, centuries ahead of her time.
Fashion in the Garden – Lady Birch
I’ve had this image saved for a while on Insta and every time I see it, it stops me in my tracks. There is just something about this chic outfit and it’s made perfect by the fact that it is worn in the garden! The colour combo, the cardigans, the corduroy trousers, the headscarf… among such beautiful flowers too, this is simply aesthetic goals.
Lady Rhoda Birch was an Anglo-Irish gardener, model, and artist. She was a keen and eccentric gardener and would feed Lobster Thermidor to her roses. Her daughter said that she would forget what the stew was for and would add cognac and garlic to the concoction and the “Roses almost cried out with pleasure”. – This is such a delicious anecdote, isn’t it? This woman looks and sounds entirely aspirational.
While researching, I found this beautiful collection of images of other remarkable women gardening and their amazing outfits. This might just get me started on helping my husband with our new allotment.
The Rug Coasters
Take a cool, must-have decor object, give it a new purpose while at the same time making it much more accessible and more versatile, and you have a winner. I find these Persian rug coasters very chic and I would love to have them on my desk at work to complement my William Morris ‘wallpaper’ and the rest of the setup.
Once again, it is confirmed that museum gift shops are the new high-end boutiques for beautiful little treasures – perfect souvenirs and gifts.
What do you think?
Aimee Maxelon’s Flowers
It must be 10 years now since I first heard of Second Life, a movement aimed at re-utilising or re-purposing plastic bottles, and I remember browsing Pinterest then for ideas for a project at work. There are many incredibly clever and cool DIY projects out there, and there are some artists who have made this their medium.
Cacti collection by Czech artist Veronika Richterova
Aimee Maxelon’s bright flowers popped up on my Insta feed shared by Etsy UK and I found them exquisite, lacking that sometimes inevitable ‘crafty’ aesthetic I’ve seen before in objects made from an unlikely repurposed material. Her recycled plastic flowers look beautiful, and I would love one as a broach, as well as a bunch on my kitchen table.
Maybe I should start a collection of flower broaches from any materials I can find, as these would double as the perfect décor items too when not being worn. I think I am on to something here!
Poetry: The Princess Saves Herself in This One
I don’t read enough poetry, but as mentioned before, I want to cultivate this into a passion. I picked up The Princess Saves Herself in This One because the title sounded vaguely familiar and completely enticing! Amanda Lovelace’s poems, akin to those of Rupi Kaur are raw, bubbling with trauma, often uncomfortable. But they are also strangely brave and hopeful, and you truly feel she saves herself in the end.
I selected a couple from a quick browse, which speak of the love for words and books, which can save, as well as armour one. I couldn’t agree more.
I can still be found stroking the spines of my books. It always gives me strength.
If this letter has offered you a moment of inspiration, kindly forward it to others who might enjoy it too. And if you have been forwarded it, indulge in all previous Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds and subscribe to the weekly letter.
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 88My thoughts on Her Grace Presents, by March Cost, The Queen’s Swans, Gentleman Jack, Fashion in the Garden – Lady Birch, The Rug Coasters, Aimee Maxelon’s Flowers, Poetry: The Princess Saves Herself in This One
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 87My thoughts on An Unsuitable Attachment, Love, Cecil Documentary, Prado’s Olfactory Exhibition, The Stendhal Syndrome, Tights with a Message, The Little High-Street, Hot Lips Flower,
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 86My thoughts on The Marvellous Mrs Maisel – Season 4, Christie’s Art-World Instagram List, Iris Apfel x H&M, Books Wallpaper, The Cup Holder, Fashioning the Rose at the Garden Museum, Rose Apple Tarts
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 85My thoughts on All Passion Spent, by Vita Sackville-West, Misbehaviour (2020), Miniature Couture, Speechify, Paper Art, by Peter Callesen, Fruits and Vegetables in Flower Arrangements, Romanesco Cauliflower
- Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds – No 84My thoughts on How a Book is Made, Book Clutch, The Duke (2020), Learning Italian, Laila Cooks, Giftwraps by Artists, Magnolia Trees