I cleaned our oven using baking soda and a vinegar, vodka and orange peel solution, combined with a lot of elbow grease. It came up pretty well and the lack of heavy duty cleaning smells meant it was easy to get right in and scrub.
I’ve consigned some hand towels to the dishcloth stage of life. I cut them, washed them and folded them for use. The edges are a bit frayed but I can live with that.
I’ve grown to really like the Lush shampoo bar I’ve been using. It does the job and I can stretch to about four days between washes. Depending on whether my outfit suits a headscarf, sometimes I can go even longer.
I have fallen down on the clothes front though. I’ve been ruthless about my wardrobe, anything that sparks no joy or is has tiny holes in it or has become too shabby has gone. This has meant a greatly reduced collection of clothes, with the result that I’ve bought new dresses and a top from Cos. I have worn and loved every item. I’m going to try to resist the urge to buy a few more things and instead use what I have left and seek out other options. I have never found anything I like in a second hand or vintage shop, so online browsing is the plan for now.
I’ve broken out my three pairs of Saltwater sandals following some nice weather. This is my third year wearing them, and they’re just as good as new. I’ve decided to bin all my flat shoes, two pairs were never really comfortable and two are too worn to keep as I’ve been wearing them for five or six years now.
One of the lovely things about having only books on my shelves that I love is that I know every time I reach for one it will be one I will enjoy. I tend to reread the same ones over and over, skipping the bits I don’t like and savouring the parts I have grown to love. One such book is Marjorie Morningstar, a book a friend recommended and loaned to me and one which I loved so much I had to buy a copy of my own.
I am not jewish, or living in New York, or dreaming of a career as an actress, but I can relate to the other Marjorie as she tries to figure out who she is, where she’s going, and what she’s going to do with herself. I reread it again recently and it still sparks a lot of joy.
And, it turns out, Herman Wouk is still alive, and will turn 102 in a couple of weeks. I am sure he knows how much joy this book still brings to people, decades after he wrote it.
I have become slightly obsessed with Sara Berman’s closet. I don’t live in New York and have no plans to go there any time soon, nor do I have any immediate plans to strike out alone in a tiny apartment. I won’t see this exhibit before it closes. I do, however, have a greater and greater love for the kind of pared back simplicity this closet inspires.
I am a work in progress when it comes to possessions. I have drastically reduced the things I own, but there is definitely still room for less. Yesterday I wore a top I hadn’t worn for almost a year. It didn’t spark joy once during the day I wore it, so off it goes.
I noticed that my colour palette has reduced too. I have a lot of blues, greys and blacks, which makes me happy. I wore white and black to the gym yesterday and being in those colours made me feel focused and put together, even when sweating during a weight class.
White isn’t really my colour (too pale and interesting for it to make me look anything other than washed out) so I won’t be following Sara Berman down the all-white route. However, I can see the sense of joy in having a co-ordinated wardrobe, in the fact that everything always matches and looks clean and fresh, especially when folded with precision.
When we’ve been to France we’ve brought back a lot of wine. Sometimes we’ve found a great cave to buy from, other times local supermarkets have proven to have some good and great stuff. This summer we’ll bring back more because for the price we pay per bottle we get much better wine than we do here. And because we drink wine, we end up with a lot of corks. We’ve discarded them up to now but my husband has hit on the great idea of saving them and making something useful and beautiful out of them. Given it’s a bank holiday this weekend, we’ll have one more cork than usual.
I think Marjorie gave us some of advice Marie Kondo is currently spreading around the world back in the 1930s. She tells us clutter is at outdated as modesty and that no one can live with musty heirlooms without becoming a bit musty herself. She advised that perhaps you didn’t need to spend a lot of money to improve your living quarters and that the best thing to do before opening your wallet was to clear out the clutter, give away the junk you don’t like and scrub the place clean. One of her cases like a ‘clean, scrubbed look’, a look to which I am becoming increasingly partial.
Our rooms are all painted the same colour and all our floors are wooden, which I love because they get dusty, you can see the dust and you can get rid of it. I tidied my bookshelves last night and the reorganisation resulted in more books going off to places new, discarding a few that were past any more rereads and more of a clean, scrubbed look overall. Marjorie cautioned us to keep our homes places to which we’d want to return, lest we succumb to having to decide Will I Or Won’t I, a problem which she says every woman has to settle for herself.
She’d agree with a lot of the current craze for minimalism and keeping only the things you love and which spark joy, even if she probably never considered that idea. She’d probably be more brusque and less sympathetic about why you’d want to keep something that looks like junk, but I think a ‘clean, scrubbed look’ is something many can relate to wanting.
A colleague alerted me to this treasure trove yesterday in work. Apparently the Irish Film Institute has decided it would be a great thing indeed if we all had access to the television advertisements of yore. I spent far too much time trying to suppress laughter and getting wrapped up in nostalgia.
I loath advertisements on television now, and switch channels quickly or avoid them entirely. I wonder if I’ll even remember any of today’s advertisements if they end up like the ones from the old days.
I made a big pavlova for dessert over the weekend. It’s my failsafe, tried and tested dessert but the only problem is the leftover egg yolks that invariably end up going off in a jar in my fridge because I didn’t fancy carbonara within a day or two. This week I’m off work and, therefore, feeling, as Marjorie might have put it, a little domestic. I bought some lemons today and whipped up a big jar of lemon curd. It’s a delicious balance of sweet and sharp and the colour glows nicely. Yummy.
I use a similar recipe to this, but I always use whatever egg yolks I have and throw in one whole eggs. I learned the hard way this is not something to make in a rush. The slower you go, the better.