Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Spring Musings

It's  supposed to be spring but the temperatures are high enough for it to feel like summer. While most of Europe is drowning in rain storms and hit with unseasonal hail, over here it looks like we're going to have an early and unwelcome summer. But apart from the vagaries of the weather it is clear that things are changing and life is slowly inching back to normal. I should be happy about it but I seem to have grown accustomed to lounging around the house and 'hiding' away. It seems as if I've become quite happy to shelter within the walls of our home but I know it will all start to change soon. It will have to unless I'm planning on becoming a hermit. So I hope you indulge me as I share some frivolity and fluff that will tide me over to the better days to come.

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

I've done quite a bit of gardening this spring. I've planted marigold, sunflower and aster seeds around 5 weeks ago and nothing's growing yet. So I can safely assume the seeds were rubbish. But I managed to grow basil and morning glory from last year's seeds and also a plant that I don't know the name of whose seeds I collected from around our town. The seeds are as big as peppercorns and they are growing nicely. Once they start to flower I will take a few pictures maybe someone can tell me what they are. I've also managed to bring our roses back from the brink of perdition. Last year and the year before that they developed big black spots on their leaves. The leaves would then turn yellow and fall off. We got a spray for it (I think it's a type of fungus) but it didn't seem to help. This year i decided that I would cut off every leaf that had black spots. Fingers crossed, it seems to have worked and they now seem to be healthy again. Our crazy hibiscus were flowering way into the winter months. Then in late February they decided to drop all their leaves. Now, one of them decided to flower even though it is practically leafless.  We also have a cactus whose roots aren't even in the soil but is flourishing happily. Plants are a mystery to me and I have no idea why some live and others perish inexplicably.

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

Beautiful even in death.

I'm really happy to have a day off this coming Friday. It's going to be a 'me' day and I'll be spending time doing a few things I like.  I'll probably stop at a few of my favourite stores like Zara Home, Benetton and Mango and get a quick snack from somewhere. Then I'll read and read and read. 

We went to a book sale this past weekend and I came home with 9 new books. I also have another 6 books (one of them a trilogy) still left over from my Christmas pile. At the moment I am reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I'd seen the movie when it first came out but it was sufficiently long ago for me to have forgotten most of the details and I have no idea how it ended. While the movie (if I remember correctly) seems to have been mostly concerned with the love-story between Pelagia and Antonio Corelli, the book introduces us to a whole supporting cast of  memorable characters that broaden its scope considerably.  I have been finding it slow in some places but I think that my overall rating will be positive. I'm also reading The Tigress of Forli, a biography of Caterina Sforza. I love to have a fiction and non-fiction book going at the same time. Does anybody else do that? I'd love to know.

Sincerely Loree: Book stash

In other news, my hairdresser has chopped 3 inches off of my hair. I hate to cut it because it tends to defy gravity when it's shorter and bunches upwards, causing me a lot of frustration. This time round it seems that it's at the perfect length. Now I just need to find a product that works on my frizz-prone hair. I used a product called Avon Advanced Techniques Overnight Elixir in the past. But they have discontinued it and I am still looking for an alternative that works. Suggestions are welcome especially from anyone with wavy/ curly hair that is prone to unruliness and frizz.

We've seen Etna's cone three times from our balcony these past few days. It's not the first time this has happened and it's usually most clearly visible on very cold and clear winter days. On the contrary, it's a bit hazy at the moment but it seems that the sun is at the best angle for us to be able to see the it. Sunday night it was clear enough that we were able to spot the volcano late in the evening and, after the sun went down, the twinkling lights of Sicily. The immensity of Etna always manages to leave me rather speechless. Even though we are about 90 miles away it gives off an aura of incredible power. 

This photo was actually taken some years ago in April and heavily zoomed-in.

I'll end by sharing a link to the cake I baked for Mother's Day. This year I was able to invite my parents over. We had a simple meal of pasta and salad and I made a very special cake. I found the recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Cake from Two Cups Flour, an account I follow on Instagram.( For those that are lactose-intolerant the milk can be substituted with almond milk. I noted one small error in the recipe as vanilla is  included in the ingredients but is not mentioned in the instructions. I just included it when I added the milk and lemon juice). It's a pretty easy cake to make but it looks really special and it tastes so delicious that I couldn't stop eating it (no surprise there really, I 'm never one to skip dessert). My photos do not really do this cake justice. Note to self: I need to improve my food photography.

Sincerely Loree: Strawberry Lemonade Cake

This was supposed to be a short post so I'll leave you here for today. I hope to be out and about more and will try to go to some interesting places so that I can share them with you. I've only been to Mdina lately because I never get bored of that place and it's still so quiet without any tourists around. It's a place that I have many fond memories of and you can read more about it in A Twilight Stroll Around  MdinaTen Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Mdina and  Mdina: Childhood Memories of the Silent City. 

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

And that really is all for today ...

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Lingering

Lingering. It's a word that has such a sweet ring to it, don't you think? It is derived from lenger which means to reside or dwell. It's a word that really  resonated with me one day last week. I had the afternoon off, I didn't need to cook for several hours and I had some 'me' time. Which meant that I could take my time not just enjoying the photos on Instagram but actually reading all the captions. Even the long ones. Yes, I was lingering and it felt good.

You see, my character is very much a mixture of the polar opposites that are my mum and dad in this regard. HE takes things easy, does everything at this own pace and won't be hurried to save his life. SHE will finish a task as soon as she is aware of it, even if she has another 10 to do, as  long as it's done and out of the way. And I am a curious mixture of procrastination and hyperactivity that drives me partially insane because it's so difficult for these two extremes to live in one body. During weekdays I take the hyperactive approach and, by Friday evening, I'm ready to pass out from exhaustion - some of which is brought on by this constant battling for precedence between my yin and yang. So it felt very good to linger unexpectedly, on a Thursday afternoon, and not think about anything. I felt quite like some society lady from ages past, not only sitting and doing nothing but actually not thinking about what I needed to do. And what a lovely feeling it was.


Sincerely Loree: Crown daisies

Which is why I sometimes I get these strange yearnings for things to be the way they used to be. When I was a child I spent many summer days with my Nanna Rose or by great aunt Winnie (or Rosina and Wistina, in Maltese). One-stop shops didn't exist in those days, at least not in our town, so we would make the daily rounds: the grocery store, the vegetable seller, the bakery and, if something needed fixing or an new outfit was being made, a stop at the haberdashery for a spool of thread or maybe a zipper and buttons. And at each stop, we would stop to say a few words to the other women from the neighbourhood doings their own rounds. It was an unhurried process, the latest family news would be exchanged, maybe a little bit of gossip too. They lingered, these ladies of my childhood. There was no rush. I hadn't realized just how much things have changed. Now trips to the grocery store are a mad rush to get in and out as fast as possible; and I never meet anyone who I can linger with. Even if I did, we probably wouldn't have the time for more than a 'hello', 'how are you?' and 'goodbye'. How sad it has all become. I vote we all do our bit to bring lingering back in style.


Sincerely Loree: Crown daisies

In the spirit of taking some time for ourselves and actually enjoy doing it without thinking of the one hundred other things that still need to be done, today I am sharing a few links that I hope you will have time to linger over.

  • Do read Kim Wheelers interview with our favourite Contessa: Style Maven Elizabeth Kirkpatrick  for her Californians At Home Series. Elizabeth's home and her beautiful garden feel like a throwback to another era. It's definitely a home where one can easily linger and relax.
  • Another beautiful abode is Prince Charles's sixteenth century house in Cornwall. It is the epitome of British country living and I absolutely loved it. Designer Annabel Elliott managed to create an eclectic mix of British brands, market finds, country antiques and the odd armchair upholstered in vintage Moroccan fabric. Next time we visit Cornwall I hope I'll be invited to tea.
  • I really enjoyed reading Vicki Archer's tips for sleeping well in her article Sleeping Beauty: The Best Night's Sleep. We can all do with a better night of sleep.
  • I've already reviewed The Enchanted April but I have to mention it again because it's perfect for doing a spot of lingering (indeed, it's all the four protagonists of this book seem to do).
  • I am truly entranced by the series The Time in Between. It is in Spanish with English subtitles. The story takes place in the years before WW2 and starts in Spain but moves to Morocco at a time when it was a melting pot of cultures. For some reason, I've always thought of Morocco during that era as an exotic and fascinating place and this series is just further enhancing this image. To be honest, Morocco is still a place whose charms I wish to experience one day. In the meantime, another way I get my Moroccan fix is by lingering over Maryam Montague's beautiful book Marrakesh By Design. The book was first published in 2012 and I am sure that most of you have seen it but I love to look at the vibrant colours of Moroccan houses and gardens. There is something about the combination of colours used in Moroccan textiles and design that makes my heart beat ever so slightly faster because I'm definitely not someone who can live with neutrals only.
  • Image via Amazon
Now that summer is at our door here in the northern hemisphere I hope that we all get the time we need to linger and to just take the time to simply BE. I hope you're all having a wonderful week.

My Instagram

Sincerely, Loree. Theme by STS.