Friday 30 November 2012

Favourites and Finds

Macaroons, or macarons?! There seems to be quite the debate over the proper terminology but I'll leave that to foodies far better qualified than I to determine, I'll just munch away worry-free, don't mind me. Living in rural Derbyshire on the edge of the Peaks is fantastic for scenery but less so in the trend-led food stakes, in fact cupcakes have barely made an appearance in my neck of the woods so you can imagine how excited I was to find a little parcel of MACAROONS of all things in a local department shop. I anticipated Ladurée-like airiness and deliciousness (the hope!) yet sadly they were further proof those beautiful confections really are best enjoyed super fresh! Still, they looked divine and what sort of blogger would I be if I hadn't snapped them on a suitably pretty plate?

Jack Frost has left his signature twinkling trail all over my little town the past couple of weeks so I've been deploying one of my favourite weapons in the war against a chilly home - candles all over the place. I miss an open fire like you wouldn't believe, but it is surprising how much cosiness half a dozen candles can give - mostly psychological of course! Besides which they look so gorgeous and festive, and - like the weirdo I am - I love the smell of smoking matches after lighting them! 

The ornate wooden book-end above was one of the many lovely things I inherited while helping to pack up Andrée's (Tristan's Mum) house a couple of weeks ago ahead of her big move. I'm never averse to a little packing and wrapping since the boy and I have moved three times in the past six years and I'm now pretty adept, we had a fun weekend sorting and shifting. While T was small he and his family lived all over Africa and the Middle East so the house is crammed with authentic, beautiful souvenirs of the places they have lived. There is always something fascinating to look at! Andrée had saved all sorts of pretty things for me from vintage glass bottles to a box of old picture frames. I was powerless to resist the clutterbug in me! T also chose a few rugs, pictures and even a couple of antique guns and spears to bring home. Over the next few weeks I think we'll be giving our living room a gentleman's lounge-cum-campaign tent sort of feel as we find homes for everything! 

Books! The 1950s Penguin Poets with the stunning patterned covers cost me all of £1 for the four from a local charity shop. You'll already know I have a thing for old Penguin and Pelican books if you've been a reader for a while and if you're that way inclined yourself will also know it is rare these days to pick them up so cheaply - I was grinning for hours. A birthday book last month from my oldest friend was Light Boxes by Shane Jones, it is one of the most engaging, bizarre, imaginative books I've ever read and since it is a novella I devoured it cover to cover inside 90 minutes. One of my very favourite bloggers, Dottie Angel, co-wrote a crafty book full of inspiration for a vintage inspired, handmade home that was released earlier this year. I hadn't managed to get my mitts on a copy until yesterday when I spied a copy in The Works for an totally bargainous £5.99. Well worth a look if you're at all crafty-hearted.

Taxidermy is one of those issues I feel slightly iffy about, I don't have a problem with the scores of dusty ages-old specimens already stuffed/petrified across the land - and we do seem to have more than our fair share in Britain, but knowing there are still people catching, killing, framing and selling butterflies today is a little upsetting to me. Without sounding too militant I feel that as human beings we should be treading a little more lightly upon the earth now. Yet, here I am about to admire the little vintage box frame of four beautiful butterflies I chose from a pile of pictures Andrée had set aside. Poor Eurytides Protesilaus - also known as bottom right - has lost his back end, but otherwise I'm amazed at how well preserved they are and maybe that is the point, these have been around for several decades. But would I feel the same way about a vintage fur coat given that I am anti fur? I'm not entirely sure. Any thoughts?

Hope you are all well, it has been too long since I last blogged and I have missed reading your posts as well as writing my own, are you in the festive spirit already?


  1. Beautiful pictures as always. I love taxidermy. Not in an evil ha ha dead animal way, but in a completely fascinated, they should now be preserved way. I would in no way agree with someone killing an animal to purposely stuff it or stick it in a frame, but I think those that have been killed in the past, should be preserved and admired. I'd hate the little things to be just thrown away and their death be a complete waste.

    Wearing fur on the other hand .... I feel that's a vanity thing. People wear fur to make themselves look nice and I just don't think that is right. You can buy big snuggly coats for that these days. Saying that my mum has a fur coat. She inherited it. It's never worn, just sits in the wardrobe. Keeping it for the same reason I'd keep taxidermy I guess

    It's a really difficult one ....

    And I say macaroon :P which is the right way?

    Jen | sunny sweet pea xx

  2. Those books were a bargain! I'm hoping that the Granny Chic book will be appearing in my Christmas stocking!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  3. Stunning images as ever, Jem. I, would you believe, have never had a macaroon. I remember wondering what they were when reading a Famous Five book once, but haven't yet managed to do anything about it. The article in PN about taxidermy has had me utterly divided on the topic - it doesn't really appeal to me but I would also feel a little put out if I were to find myself staying in a country house and there wasn't any to spook me on the walls! Stuffed frogs in dresses though... no thanks. Bleurgh.

    Enjoy your lovely 'new' books (jealous!) and your weekend.

    Anna x

  4. I recently stayed in a gorgeous b & b in whitby called La Rosa which was full of fadcinating curios including lots of old stuffed animals.There was a fox dressed up in hunting gear smoking a pipe.:)
    But they were old and they might as well have been given a loving home.I cannot believe people still hunt for butterflies.:'( I love walking in the countryside and it pains me that anyone would want to harm an animal in that way.

  5. i love john donne poetry, even if it was the bane of my life while studying at uni. There's obviously appreciation for it, deep down inside. I love your twinkling candles.x

  6. That bookend is gorgeous as are the book covers! You are lucky finding those for just a pound, I wish I found such bargains in my local charity shops! I know what you mean about taxidermy but I find butterflies such interesting and beautiful creatures that I'd love to have such a display in my own home too :) xxx

  7. Loveliness abounds. Thank you for sharing the photos of the pretty little things filling your day.

    I am divided about the fur too. Even more so because I recently found one in my mother's closet, and she's given it to me. It is nice and warm, and I don't like to think of an indulgence like a fur sitting in a closet never worn. But I would never want to buy one (heck, I couldn't manage to eat turkey for Thanksgiving thinking about the cruelty those birds faced). I struggle with the issue b/c I don't want to promote fur by wearing it-- I want to promote the notion of using what you have. Oh well...

  8. It really has been ages, lovely to catch up on your blog! You do collection such lovely, lovely things.. I feel the same way about taxidermy/butterflies.. I nearly bought some vintage ones myself but felt a bit odd about it so I didn't, even though I'm sure they'd look very nice indeed in my flat! (thank you for the postcard by the way, there will be one winging its way to you soon!) xxx

  9. Hooray! You're back! I'm a big advocate of lots of candles when you just can't have a working fireplace, and I also love the smell of a burnt match. Weird, isn't it? Taxidermy is a tricky one. Like you I am against the practice, but what has already been stuffed or mounted and has sentimental value I think can be worth keeping. The trouble comes when a need is created, like if someone wears fur and another person likes it and wants something similar and it becomes a trend - a sellers market is fueled and hunting/poaching continues. I think you're safe with butterflies though. they are really pretty :)

  10. Magnificent photos as always, timeless and beautiful ^^ xx

  11. I am so glad to see a post from you Jem- after reading your letter the other day I realised just how much I’d missed you. As always I’m sat here admiring all your wonderful finds. Those Penguin Poets books are so beautiful, and of course meant to be yours, fate has a funny way, especially where books are concerned!

    For quite a while now I have admired framed butterflies, but of course wouldn’t like to think of a butterfly being framed for arts-sake. Those treasures from T’s Mum are definitely worthy keepsakes for future generations to come xxx

  12. I'm not sure whether they do kill butterflies these days do they? I hope not. I know the butterfly wing jewellery I saw recently was made by collecting the dead ones from butterfly houses - I think they're not that long lived anyway. I'd probably still display vintage ones but also don't wear old fur - probably not much logic in that but there you go!

    Sounds like your MIL's house is a treasure trove, lucky you! And I love the poetry books, I studied John Donne.
    I found the best candle recently, it smells EXACTLY like warm mince pies.

  13. Taxidermy freaks me out, I saw a similar butterfly frame of some at an estate sale and while I love butterflies - yeah just couldn't do it. There's a taxidermy shop near to the pizza place we always get our take out pizza from - always, always always freaks me out every time we have to go pass and park by it because it has a load of creatures in the window. Gives me the shivers!

  14. You have the nicest collection of things & I love the way you photograph them so beautifully. I would love to have a nose around your home, I bet it's full of treasures! <3

    Jennie xo |

  15. Beautiful, beautiful photos! I feel the same way about framed butterflies... I would never support the killing of butterflies for the sake of art (did you see the controversy about this exhibit in the Tate Museum? I was pretty disgusted about it.) but at the same time, I love the look of framed butterflies, and if they're vintage... well, anyway. I can't deal with taxidermy, either. I don't understand the impulse to admire something's beauty by killing it.

    On a happier note, I love the plate that your macarons are on! And I totally understand your confusion between 'macaron' and 'macaroon.' Macaroons are a different type of cookie-- the ones you have are macarons. :) I sympathize over the lack of trendy foods... after living in New York City for four years in college, I'm used to being able to nab some macarons or cupcakes from a zillion different shops within walking distance, but now that I'm out of school, there are none to be found!

    This is the longest comment ever. Sorry about that. :D
    xo Julie
    ♥Julie Rose Sews♥

  16. seriously, you found that in The Works!? totally going down to my local one tomorrrow!!!

  17. Just found your blog through the #lbloggers chat and thought I'd introduce myself as a new follower :) your blog is SO beautiful, had a read through your posts and they're all so lovely! Your photography and home decor is just my style too.

  18. Beautiful pictures, I'm in love!

  19. Lovely pictures. I always love having a nose at people's bookshelves so thanks for giving a glimpse there!

    Shopped and Dropped

  20. Wonderful favorites and finds :) (as always). I understand how you feel about the butterflies, I'm not sure either, but I think I feel more okay about them than I do about fur. I hope you're having a great week! :)

  21. Mmmm, those macaroons look delishious! I haven't had them for months.

    Sandra from The Puzzle of Sandra's Life

  22. pretty photos as always! :)

  23. You can't beat Lauduree and their choice of flavours but I do love my little stash I buy from M&S as a far too frequent weekend treat!

    Victoria x

  24. The macarons are so pretty even if they didn't taste quite as yummy as Laduree ;) I'm lucky enough to have one a few minutes from my door which is dangerous!
    I love your style of photography, its beautiful

  25. Amazing blog and I love your posts! Am now following :D
    Mind following mine? ^-^ I’ve just updated it and don’t have many followers :)

  26. love your blog. so cute and dainty. i am obsessed.
    have a great weekend!


Thank you for leaving a note, they make my day! :-)