Thursday, 29 May 2014

Dark Winter Journey

Some time ago, a friend invited me to have my personal colours analysed. This was something I'd thought of before and was keen to try. As I've said before, being very slightly red-green colour blind, I’ve learned to avoid colour and my wardrobe consists overwhelmingly of grey. Marl grey, to be precise. We agreed on a date and were both very excited.

My new make up palette.

However, almost two weeks ago, on Sunday 18th May, Noah came down with his regular attack of mucus overload. We’ve been given prescriptions by specialist and our family doctor, but nothing can prevent or ease the symptoms of this horrible affliction.

Since he was about six months old, he’s had these attacks. It starts with a headache and a runny nose and develops into a state where angling his head past the true vertical incurs a head ache and/or an avalanche of mucus, down the throat, out of the nose or into the ears. It’s horrific, at best causing extreme discomfort, at worst threatening to choke him.

So, when he was tiny, we’d sleep sitting up, he on my chest, me propped up with pillows. Now that he's almost the same size as I am, he’s on one sofa, propped up with pillows and I’m on the other, curled up and doing my best to stay awake, to keep him company, to offer encouragement when needed.

It lasts about a week, sometimes less, rarely longer. This time it lasted until yesterday. Ten nights of broken sleep, ten days of despondency.

Although not a hundred per cent well, he managed to go to school yesterday. And yesterday I had my colour analysis. I was so close to cancelling! I looked tired, I was exhausted, my limbs ached, my eyes had receded into my head… not ideal attributes for sitting in front of a mirror for a good hour. But I thought to myself, ‘If I cancel now, who knows when I’ll get the opportunity to go.’ So, I put on some makeup and hoped that my mood wouldn’t let me down.

Now, I’m not going to go into the details of the session. It was a very special, intimate experience, which, I do believe has changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s how it feels.

I’ve never had psychotherapy and I’ve never spoken to a spiritualist or a clairvoyant, but I imagine that the experience of being in communion with someone whose sole focus is geared on you and your person, and helping you to become better aquainted with it/yourself, is very similar to my experience with Jorunn.

This is the location. Image from

I'm convinced, too, that there is something very special about Jorunn and her studio where the analysis takes place, secluded, discreet and energising. It's a pearl... and Jorunn is a diamond. I came home feeling uplifted, rejuvenated, I glowed and I was deeply happy, and, amazingly, not at all tired!

Included in the analysis, made up with high quality, Tromborg make-up.

From The Philosophers' Mail
Later the same day, I received my report, a PDF file via email. It’s all there, in black and white – what I should wear, what I should avoid wearing… and this is it, this is the crux of the whole thing, it’s a document, a guide, on how to better know myself, a tool to help in my crusade for a life of less.

It sounds powerful, it may even sound cultish, but there are so few occasions in life that clearly mark, or even initiate, the beginning of a new chapter in such a positive way. Having been concerned with how I dress since I was very young (I wanted to study fashion), I understand the power of a well-fitting garment as well as the damage caused by an ill-fitting one, it’s so much more than ‘just’ a colour analysis. It’s being in touch with that elusive authentic self, it’s being a step closer to being rid of the costly mistakes of misguided clothing investments - costly in terms of personal space, time, money and the environment - badly chosen clothes, handbags, shoes, makeup, jewellery...

I don’t exaggerate when I say that I believe everyone should have a Personal Colour Analysis, and at this high standard. It's an investment, and the rewards are overwhelming.

Info & Links:
To make an appointment, contact Jorunn at in English and in Norwegian

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Things She Lost in the Fire

I am constantly inspired by the story of a woman who lost everything in a house fire. She and her husband had gone out for the evening and when they came home, their house had been razed to the ground.

All she had left, were the clothes she was standing in and the contents of her handbag. What a disaster, you might think... a nightmare!

But the woman's take on it was different. Yes, I'm sure she was devastated, as any sane person would be, but ultimately, she said, it gave her a new lease of life. She was forced to do what many of us dream of doing, namely, start from scratch.

I'm not saying that everyone has such an enlightening experience when faced with such a disaster. I'm not saying that the woman in question doesn't deserve our sympathy, or that she experienced no sorrow over the loss. Nor am I suggesting that we all hold an almighty bonfire and toss every stitch, every trinket, bauble and utensil into the flames, but just think, for a moment, about the real value of the things we hold onto.

"I bet most of us have experienced at some point the joys of less: college -- in your dorm, traveling -- in a hotel room, camping... Whatever it was for you, I bet that, among other things, this gave you a little more freedom, a little more time." - Graham Hill

With this in mind, I've started a list. Instead of standing in front of my open wardrobe, I'm making a list of the things I would pack if I had to leave and I knew I was never coming back.

First of all, sitting downstairs at the dining table, if I can't even call to mind 50% of what I have up there in my drawers and on my clothes rail, why do I have it at all? 

The main difference is, and the main problem lies in the taking of responsibility for the decision.

Dan Gilbert, author of "Stumbling on Happiness", puts it like this, "The psychological immune system works best when we are totally stuck, when we are trapped. This is the difference between dating and marriage, right? I mean, you go out on a date with a guy, and he picks his nose; you don't go out on another date. You're married to a guy and he picks his nose? Yeah, he has a heart of gold; don't touch the fruitcake. Right? You find a way to be happy with what's happened."

We all know that feeling - you throw away that coat you wore once in a while, then, a week later you think of someone who would have loved it or a way you could have re-styled it or you find the perfect shoes to wear with it. The responsiblity is ours, we made the decision to bin/donate it. If it had been stolen or lost a fire, we wouldn't have that "Why did I do that?" feeling which we all try to avoid.

In his talk, The Surprising Science of Happiness, Gilbert illustrates that the longer we procrastinate, the less likely we are to be satisfied with the decisions we make.

Here's a short talk by Graham Hill with some tips on how to edit ruthlessly.

I'm still making the list. The plan is to make the decision of what to keep and, when the time comes, if it isn't on the list, it will be edited without too much thought... that's the idea at least. 

And I'm keeping the Fire Lady in mind. How would I feel if I never saw those precious black, vintage winkle-pickers ever again (I can't even stand in them anymore, let alone walk in them!)? Would I feel relieved? I actually think I might.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

April Birthdays

I've just found out that James Woods and I share the same birthday!

April 18th

April 4th Robert Downey, Jr.

April 4th Maya Angelou

April 5th Pharrell Willliams

April 28th Harper Lee

April 28th William Shakespeare

April 5th Booker T. Washington

All Change, Please!

From 10th January


I'm doing something unusual, right now. It's Friday evening and I'm writing this at the dining table, laptop on my lap, the TV is on, Noah watching Planes, Kenneth is watching Netflix on the other laptop. Ordinarily I write my blog posts in the day, when I have this room to myself, but limiting myself like that, means either not writing a blog post or waiting and hoping that I get the chance over the weekend to write one. Neither of thse options appeal to me.

I'm constantly distracted and I keep making typos, but the point I want to make is that I need to keep changing. Even if I love something, or depend on it, I need to be willing to let go of it in order to make room for whatever comes next.

I've had a wonderful week, busy and fulfilling, and  look forward to this weekend which I'll used to research some things (Zen, yoga...) and watch films/TV and knit and keep house and maybe bake!

OK, I'm just going to save this as a draft and look at it again tomorrow... I can't even determine if it's legible!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Scissors #20

Found these in the medicine box.

Hue Who?

This is bizarre! I recently (five years ago, or so) found out that I have a low level of red-green colour blindness. I've always known that I'm bad with colour and have avoided it, mostly, opting for white interiors and grey clothing, with a few exceptions. But I do love colour, as my extensive nail varnish collection will attest.

Every now and then, though, I see a colour that makes my heart leap.

I'm not one for playing games, these days. I'd rather do something productive, but Noah's been ill for a few days and I've been sitting in around in my PJs (as a gesture of solidarity) so I started playing this on my phone... Neon Flow.

See those two spots without lines, the red and the blue? They made my heart leap! So much so that I had to 'have' them! I screen-captured the image and isolated and expanded the colours.

Then I went about trying to find a name for them. I wasn't even sure if the 'blue' was blue or the 'red' red!

Eventually, I found this amazing website, which tells you the name and hue of any colour. So I drag the meter around until I find a close match (with my limited ability), and here are the results... both Persian!



(Do let me know if you think the matches I've made are wrong.)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Have Less, But Have the Best

Clean space.

When I was younger (so much younger than today...), I had in my mind an idea of who I would be at this age, as do most of us. Over time that idea becomes lost, distorted or abandoned through the many twists and turns of the life that is presented to us. That jacket that you loved so dearly, the one that epitomised 'You', is the one item of clothing that your best friend mocks, your son ruins with a permanent marker or the weight naturally gained with age prevents the zip from fastening. It's gone.

But it was just a jacket. What if it were a home or a job? A home you loved, but had to leave through a set of circumstances outside of your control? Or a job, that simply ceased to exist?
You find a new jacket, a new home and a new job, but they don’t fit you the way the old ones did. When you were younger, you had the prospect, the dream, of finding the perfect jacket, home and job. What do you do when the dream is no longer ahead of you, but behind you?

This is the situation I’m in now. I have the jacket hanging upstairs, I had the little, white, minimalist box that was my home for years, I've recently become aware that the job I was working towards doesn’t exist... so, it’s time to do something about it.

I have resolved to overhaul my life, or at least the aspects of it that are under my control. My clothes for example, and my belongings. It is entirely up to me, and only me, how I dress and what cup I drink my coffee out of in the morning.

Most recently, I've been seduced by a handbag, something like this...

This seduction has been the catalyst for this overhaul. It’s becoming the mascot of my new direction. It’s minimal. It’s leather. It’s tan. If I succeed in acquiring this bag, I have sworn (to myself) that I will rid myself of the remaining four or five handbags that survived the previous cull. I will have one handbag (at least one large handbag – I will keep one small one, for obvious reasons). 

Likewise, for years, I’ve been looking for a kimono - a dusty yellow, crepe silk kimono with a faded cherry blossom print. It does exist, I’ve seen it. Would it make any difference to my life to own such a kimono? Of course not... not really. Do I need it? No. I do have a robe, one I’ve had for many years and, although I do love it, it is frayed and stained. I wear it every day, every morning, and on the days when I find it difficult to get dressed, it’s invaluable. It’s what it represents, though, that is key. Like the handbag, why not strive to make those single items the very best? This is the challenge!

This may all seem a bit superficial, they are, after all, only clothes and accessories, but according to Feng Shui, everything you own has an impact on your life and your psyche. I’m hoping that by starting with my wardrobe, the effect will spill over into my everyday, and affect my way of thinking. All these belongings that clutter up my home, clutter up my life. 

The other day, I had to open a package that was sealed with duct tape. Standing in the kitchen, I took a pair of scissors out of the drawer. They were useless. I found another pair, then another, then another – all in my tiny kitchen, and none of them were capable of doing the job they were designed to do. Yet, they are still all in my possession, all in my kitchen. 

This prompted me to gather up the scissors I knew I had lying around the house. One quick, preliminary search yeilded these. Here they are, all of them, along with the nine pairs of tweezers I came across in the process. The troubling thing is, I know for a fact that there are, at least, three more pairs somewhere in the house (pink ornamental, another orange handled and a pair of straight nail scissors). 

The six pairs on the top row were all in the kitchen.

I also need to add, this collection does not include any of Kenneth's scissors, nor any that might be in a tool box or the shed.

If I owned only one, good pair of kitchen scissors, the whole experience would have been easier. It’s not going to be easy getting rid of these. I love scissors, clearly, but whether I love them or not, there’s only so much room in my life.

I'll tackle watches and lighters next... and possibly sunglasses. I’m going to start thinking of my possessions in terms of relationships. Even if you love and care for someone, sometimes, you just have to let them go and move on with your life.

The ultimate.