Thursday, 23 October 2014

{quotable thursdays}

Some great quotes from Austen this Thursday in October...(which so happens to be my Dad's birthday, a father of five girls--very Pride & Prejudice!)

'You mistake me, my dear. I have the utmost respect for your nerves. They've been my constant companion these twenty years.'
                         -Pride and Prejudice
{my poor nerves}

'Indulge your imagination in every possible flight.'
-Personal Correspondence

{take flight}

& Happy B-day Dad!!


Sunday, 19 October 2014

{Nova Scotia summer 2014}

Finally time to catch up blogland!
In August I visited my parents who recently relocated to Nova Scotia. They are fixing up a beautiful cottage on a lovely piece of land with waterfront property. Simply peaceful and naturally beautiful...
While there, my parents hosted a housewarming party, we travelled to Lunenberg to hear the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, we visited good old friends in Halifax, we launched Ratty my parents' latest boat and christened her with a bottle of champagne, & spent the days wandering the shores, & the nights drinking nice wine and cooking & eating splendid food.
Delightful! here are some pics...
{at the waterfront of my parents' property}

{nothing says 'home' better than my Dad at the piano}

{house warming party/still under construction}

{off we go to launch Ratty--from my parents' property no less!}


{true love--childhood sweethearts!}

{LaHave bakery, just down the road}
 A trip to Lunenberg--the home of the Bluenose and the site where many of the grandbanks fishing schooners were built, including the Robertson II, the boat I grew up on:

{lobster traps}

{time for a seafood dinner!--the two chefs}

{yes please!}

{Gaudeamus--the name of my parents' home}

{visit with old friends in Halifax}

{chart of the area}

It's lovely to see my parents settled so close to the sea and to see that they've already made numerous friends. They continue to inspire me in their resilience, their ability to rise to challenges, & to make anywhere home--whether it's on a boat or on land.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

{quotable thursdays}

So much to catch up on, blogland! I travelled to my cousin's wedding in Germany a couple of weeks ago, and hosted a Canadian Thanksgiving last weekend and I still haven't posted any pics from my trip to Nova Scotia in August! 
how did it get to mid-October already? I'm happy to report that my insane work schedule is starting to slow down, so hopefully I can catch up on some things in the coming weeks...
Sorry I missed quotable thursdays last week! But here's a quote that is important for those of us who often say 'yes' and then find ourselves either really stretched, or having to give up something for ourselves. I think of the countless women in my life, especially those who are mums, who continuously make sacrifices and forget their needs for the needs of their kids or husbands. However, I think we often do this at work as well--I've had a lot of conversations recently with academic colleagues that have noted that women tend to take on a lot more administrative and teaching tasks over their male colleagues because they often are afraid to say no--often resulting in them being overstretched and worse, behind on publications.
{your yes should be worth the less}
well said!
{at work}

{mother & child}
Most importantly, make sure you always reserve some time for 'you' time...
{& also time to get out in nature, go for a walk etc...}


Thursday, 2 October 2014

{quotable thursdays}


I feel like a broken record these days--constantly saying how busy I am. I hate it when people say they are so busy as if no one else is busy? but lately I feel like I'm hardly able to stay above water...deadline after deadline and hours spent on the train in my commute...
However, if I can say one thing positive it's that I'm right in the place I want to be--constantly being challenged and my mind is continuing to grow and think and be pushed in new ways. I am grateful for that. Grateful for a job that lets me think and think and think and write and write and write!
{give it a try!}
When we follow what we love, and do what we love for a living, it doesn't mean it's easy, but it means our heart is constantly urging us to try rather than give up. In my line of work, it's my heart that keeps urging me to try to learn new things and experiment with the ideas in my head.
Give it a try!

Friday, 26 September 2014

{London reflections}

{The Courtauld, pic taken in 2005}

I was going through old passports the other day and stumbled upon one I had 10 years ago. I noticed my entry into the UK was exactly 10 years ago--28 September 2004. On that day, I moved to London to pursue my MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art. I was a young and enthusiastic art historian with my future ahead of me--determined to pursue this passion of mine. I was overcome by a sheer desire to learn and, most importantly, I was fulfilling a dream of attending the only institution in the world dedicated solely to the history of art. Drunk on the pursuit of knowledge, excited to return to the country of my forefathers, and eager to learn all that there was to learn about art, I had high hopes and high dreams, that would--at one point--become burdensome goals that I felt I had to live up to.
10 years later, it's amazing to think that I'm living back in London, and am now the Chair of the Art History MA in my department!

These 10 years have certainly had their ups and downs. The best year of my life was probably the year at the Courtauld (including meeting my best friend for life), although I have never worked so hard or been so challenged in such a short span of time. Any of my fellow Courtauld alumns who have experienced the Courtauld MA will certainly agree.
I have lived in four different cities between then and now (not including London), finished a PhD, worked at four different institutions in three different countries, but I am happy to say that I've landed just where I wanted to be. The PhD process is one in which there are numerous trials. If not during the PhD, then the aftermath of trying to find a job after achieving it. It's a journey that most bright-eyed excitable MAs are unaware of when they venture onto the postgraduate road. Read any higher education society's blog or website and you'll find numerous articles complaining about the lack of jobs in academia and the gruesome job market (including the more gruesome interview processes)--there's usually an ongoing discussion of these themes over in the news section at CAA (for Art History). There are a lot of negatives to focus on and the road here for me certainly wasn't the one I had anticipated--finishing a PhD during the economic downturn wasn't great timing, but I learned a lot and I think my former self would be fairly happy with where I've turned up! Indeed, I think everyday how lucky I am to do something that I love and to have the freedom to express my ideas in a number of creative ways (even though the peer-review process is rather horrible!)
{me and my best friend on MA graduation day at the Courtauld 2005 (the nude statue behind us is just so perfect!}}

Any of you who have been to Somerset House, where the Courtauld is housed, will know it's a pretty stunning place to study. For those of you who have not been to Somerset House, you surely have been introduced to it in film: the site of numerous romantic moments (Love Actually) (& in particular  Somerset House ice rink is usually the backdrop to Christmassy romantic comedies), but it's also often used in various historic films such as The Duchess...and of course in more recent years, it regularly appears as the background to fashionista poses, as one of the sites of London Fashion Week.
{Courtauld/Somerset House courtyard, 2014}

{celebrating MA graduation 2005}

So, to my former self: thanks for pursuing your dreams and trying--if I hadn't gone to the Courtauld, I'm not sure how my life would have turned out. If I hadn't had the urge to dream a little and see if I could push myself to grow, learn, and spread my wings, I certainly wouldn't be where I am now. Let this be a lesson to my future self!
keep on dreaming & setting goals!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

{quotable thursdays}

phew, almost forgot to post! I'm editing/writing 3 different projects at the moment with looming deadlines and my fridge just went on the fritz...& I've got a bunch of exams to mark with an accompanying exam board so things are a bit crazy around here.
Good news is that we're having the warmest September in 50 years here in merry ol' England!
I came across this Austen quote the other night, which I love but also seems to fit my present state:

'I begin already to weigh my words & sentences more than I did, & am looking about for a sentiment, an illustration, or a metaphor in every corner of the room. Could my Ideas flow as fast as the rain in the Storecloset it would be charming.'
                                                           -Jane Austen, personal correspondence

Having all this writing to do, I feel the same way. If only I were as eloquent as the great writer herself!
{inspiration needed!}


Monday, 15 September 2014

{Simla turns 1!}

Today my dear little cat, Simla turns 1!

{all dressed up in her birthday hat!}

She's named after my granny who was born in Simla--amazing coincidence but my granny's birthday is tomorrow!
Simla was born near Ipswich to 'Kindaposh Royal Stroller' (father, a Havana brown) and 'Moonsfield Darkdate' (mother, a seal point Siamese). She gets her blue points from her grandfather 'He'smydarling.'
Here are some of my favourite pics since the day she arrived in my life:

{my portrait of her in a LBD}

{the day she arrived in the flat}

{similar? or simla'?}


{pillow hog}

{afternoon tea in the garden}

{special delivery}

{her favourite thing is to ride around in the laundry basket!}

{playing with her birthday 'mouse'}
{she even received a card all the way from Mexico!}