All Passion Spent, by Vita Sackville-West
These past few weeks I have unfortunately found very little time to read and this is more concerning to me than you would think perhaps, but I am hoping that I can soon get back on track and back to the three (?) books waiting for me at various degrees of ‘unread’. Still, books are very much in my thoughts and for some reason this week I remembered a little gem I read years ago – All Passion Spent, by Vita Sackville-West.
I will admit, I couldn’t stop thinking about it mainly because I realised I couldn’t remember much of it. I knew I had been delighted to find it in a charity shop and that my feeling was amplified by the fact that reading the book truly felt like discovering a beautiful secret garden or exquisite building very few people know about. I could also remember admiring the main character and her quiet life in old age in her own little cosy house, far from the big mansion she made the decision to leave, reminiscing her fabulous life as the wife of the Viceroy of India, while still dreaming of the life of the artist she had never had the chance to become.
Of course, I looked up the synopsis and the revelations made me confirm the high rating in my mind, as the broader themes it deals with and the plot itself are far from being dull, despite what my description above might lead you to believe.
It’s funny what details or rather feelings we are left with years after reading a book and I wonder how much of these are actually produced by the book in question and how much is in fact nostalgia for the life and person we were when we read it?
Also, please tell me you too experience this complete amnesia when it comes to books, movies and the like, even when you really enjoyed them!
Have you heard of this movie? Misbehaviour is based on real events and it tells the story of the group of women who decided to boycott the 1970 Miss World competition which took place in London. The newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage live during the event. A few months later, due to this clever stunt, there would be a big WLM march gathering thousands of women and that was just the beginning.
I really enjoyed it as I knew nothing about those events, it’s always a brilliant added bonus to learn a bit of history with any form of entertainment!
I had no idea this was even a thing – miniature couture garments for fashion dolls. Artist Khoi Hoanganh creates beautiful outfits inspired by vintage iconic looks by the likes of Dior, Balenciaga and other names that need no introduction. I can’t even begin to comprehend the level of skill and focus required to create something like this on such a small scale. Surely it must be more difficult than normal size?
As for the fashion dolls, which as far as I could find are niche collectables, their impossible bodies stand in complete opposition to the message of the film above, and I won’t even go into their faces and extreme make-up. But that is a different story altogether.
I wish I could own some of the exquisite outfits created for these exceptionally well-dressed dolls. How about you?
It seems to be a very fruitful time for discovering clever and useful apps, with Be my Eyes a few weeks ago and Duolingo last week (happy to report I am on my 9th-day streak!) This week I bring you Speechify, the app and Chrome extension that will read to you the text from a webpage, a document or a scanned page, not to mention text simply pasted in.
I have many long-reads saved because I never seem to have half an hour to just sit and enjoy these. I tend to reach for a book on the rare occasions I do have that time on my hands. I have often wished for a tech solution to this issue and I have praised the option of listening to articles on big publications like The New Yorker.
Now you can even listen to Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds through Speechify and let me tell you it’s probably much better than me recording a mini-podcast (which I am half-considering).
Paper Art, by Peter Callesen
Peter Callesen’s main material is paper, plain paper, yet his creations are tridimensional, intricate and very precious. I particularly like his paper ruins, like the one above, but he has many thought-provoking pieces which I would love to display under big glass domes in my fantasy mansion.
I encourage you to explore all his work via his website, there are so many treasures to
discover on every page! He makes it look effortless to come up with and create such striking works of art, and that’s perhaps what I admire most about his work.
Fruits and Vegetables in Flower Arrangements
I love this trend of incorporating fruits and vegetables into flower arrangements. It’s so unexpected that it makes you look twice to confirm what you saw and so clever to be using all the unique shapes and colours found in the ‘plant kingdom’ rather than limit oneself to the conventional selection.
What’s more, I would love to receive an arrangement that includes a couple of pomegranates (my son loves them), some broccoli or cauliflower and, of course, some onions too. It would be an added layer to the experience to be able to just pull these out and enjoy eating them.
This made me think of the classic still life paintings of old, where flowers, fruit and vegetables would often come together on the same table, but they would do so in an expected way, and I always thought that it was all to showcase the skill of the artist.
With flowers in our food and fruits and vegetables decorating our tables, I am curious to see what’s next.
This special veg deserves an individual entry because honestly, how awe-inspiring is it to think this just grows like this in any garden, without any special attention, and then you have this intricate piece of mesmerizing symmetry and geometry, which you can cook and eat?
I discovered romanesco cauliflower no more than a year or so ago in my local Waitrose, but I have yet to actually cook it and enjoy it. Not sure what I am waiting for, really.
Maybe for this weekend to roll on?
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