I Feel Bad About My Neck, by Nora Ephron
Just before boarding the longest flight I’ve been on so far in my life, I spent half an hour browsing in one of the bookshops in the airport. I was about to give up when I spotted Nora Ephron’s collection of essays and I was thrilled! It was on my Audible wish list but my hunch to hold on and read it, instead of listening to it, was correct.
I devoured her laugh-out-loud, sarcastic, witty and sometimes acidic thoughts on everything from her neck to divorce, parenting, ageing and death. You can fly through the pages, but if you stop for a second you will realise that there are gems of wisdom in every paragraph even though her deep thoughts and feelings are delivered in a brilliant make-believe light manner.
It’s been a while since I’ve last counted the pages of a book dreading its ending! If you haven’t seen it already, I wrote in letter No 29 about the documentary on Ephron’s life – Everything is Copy.
This movie wasn’t necessarily on my shortlist to watch, but it was on my radar and courtesy of the selection on my plane coming back from holiday, I am glad I got to enjoy it! It is the story of who and what made Cruella de Vil the villain we know, and regardless of what you might think of the story itself, it doubles as a fashion movie, a sort of Devil wears Prada alternative.
I loved the immaculately tailored outfits of the Baroness, as well as all the creativity and punkness around Cruella’s stunts and clothes. This is a manifesto to be different, to be daring and to embrace drama, and we can all use such a call to action, at least from time to time.
Royal Ascot – A New Era in Style Podcast
Listening to this podcast started as work-related research but it really doesn’t get much more exquisite than the Royal Ascot if you think of iconic events that perfectly marry tradition and heritage with style, fine dining and having a jolly good time.
There are six episodes recorded ahead of last year’s edition and the big theme is sustainability, looking at, for example, the style guide and etiquette for the event from this perspective. This translates into some very interesting discussions, but it also delivers many historical facts and anecdotes, as well as insights into this iconic fixture of the summer social calendar in the UK.
I’ve particularly enjoyed episodes one, with fashion historian Judith Watt, two, with milliner Stephen Jones OBE and six, with fashion stylist Bay Garnet. There is so much to learn about all sorts of things like royal sartorial influence, top hats or how to choose the best vintage clothes.
You won’t regret hitting the play button!
I hadn’t heard of the term portfolio career until this week when I stumbled upon an article arguing why we might consider one. I find it very appealing and I realise it’s something I’ve unconsciously been striving for and something I admire when I read about other people’s lives. Polivalence, diverse interests and occupations, hard to define paths, multi-hyphenated descriptions – I find there is value in all this, both for the individual leading a rich life and for society or the community benefitting from it.
I don’t want to be just one thing, be good at just one thing, enjoy just one thing and so on. I don’t think anybody wants that, so why would we settle for it in our professional lives? Have a job, sit on a committee or board, lead an interest group, freelance a skill you have, have a source of extra income (even if small), volunteer, pursue your passions and hobbies purposefully.
There is so much more we could do with our time and resources if we just put our minds to it! What would be the first thing you’d add to your portfolio career?
I went on a shopping spree on Depop a couple of weeks ago and I bought not one, not two, but four full cashmere sweaters to add to my collection (all for half the price of the cheapest new option on the market!) Needless to say, I am quite chuffed and happy to report they were all in the very good condition described by their respective sellers.
Now that they’ve arrived I am looking at doing a bit of maintenance with my fabric shaver (check!), some jazzing up with new buttons & co (check!) and long term care and washing. For the latter, I’ve had to do a bit of research, as I had a vague idea that there are very specific instructions on how to wash – stirring the item around in lukewarm water, no hard friction movements needed; and how to dry these – roll in a clean towel to absorb excess water, then lay flat on a drying rack out of direct sunshine or source of heat.
But there are also dedicated products you could use at home for washing and the one I found recommended most often and with the best reviews is The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo. I love the name and I have it in my basket to order it soon, so I can give it a try. Baby shampoo, which of course I have in the house, is also recommended by some, but I am too intrigued now by cashmere shampoo to back down! Stay tuned.
I suppose this make-up tutorial was created with Valentine’s Day in mind so I am both late to the party and also have no clear idea of when or where it might be appropriate outside the 14th of February, but I found the trend of the lipstick marks unexpected, flirty and chic, and above all memorable. Now that I’ve seen it, I am sure in time I will find or invent a good opportunity to draw inspiration from it.
What do you think about it and would you wear it?
I brought back a few souvenirs from my recent holiday, but two among these are actually ‘alive’ and I am hoping to keep them as such so that they can grow roots and join my ‘indoor jungle’ permanently. I am, of course, talking about some plant cuttings!
While awing at the magnificent vegetation all around us – plants we struggle to grow in pots grow the size of tall trees in the right parts of the world – I kept thinking of this article about rare variations of the already exotic and often quite expensive plants we all seem to covet at the moment. I had no idea until reading it that there is such an exclusive market on top of the mainstream.
While I didn’t manage to score a Monstera Albo or a Thai Constellation Monstera, I still think my all white and spotted cuts of Dieffenbachia (Dumbcane, Dumb Cane ‘Camilla’) look really cool.
My question for you is, would you invest hundreds or even thousands of pounds to own a rare type of Monstera & co?
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