Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Thursday, 28 November 2013

{quotable thursdays}

It's the first Sunday of Advent this weekend--I'm going to actually get out of the house, go to a Christmas market & attend an advent service. Here's hoping my knee behaves!
I'm so looking forward to seeing lovely London in all of its Christmas glory.
England is a beautiful place to be at this time of year--it's crisp & chilly--but not so cold or unbearable like Montreal! The shoppes are all beautifully decorated, the pubs look warm & cosy with promises of mulled wine and a warm fire to curl up beside, and the streets are decked in fantastic Christmas cheer!
So with that, my quote today is a poem about this time of year:

Sybil of months and worshipper of winds
I love thee, rude and boisterous as thou art.
And scraps of joy my wandering ever finds
'Mid thy uproarious madness--when the start
Of sudden tempests stir the forest leaves
Into hoarse fury, till the shower set free
Still the huge swells and ebb the mighty heaves
That swing the forest like a troubled sea.
I love the wizard noise, and rave in turn
Half vacant thoughts and self-imagined rhymes
-John Clare
{tree procurement!}

London is full of so many wonderful things including...

of course...the fantastic skating rink at my alma mater, the Courtauld (Somerset House)--which I won't be able to enjoy this year because of my knee...but maybe next year!:

I'm so looking forward to the Belgravia Christmas Market:

check out this list of Christmassy things to do in London by Red.
Then there's always the English countryside of course:
Of sudden tempests stir the forest leaves...

Happy Christmas Season!
ps: I realise it's William Blake's birthday today, and so, click here for one of my favourite Blake poem's set to Christmas music often sung for advent.

pps: I realise it's American Thanksgiving, so for all of you Americans--Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

{quotable thursdays}

{Comparison steals joy}
It is so easy to compare--we do it all the time. Even easier now with social media like facebook where we see the exploits, the joys, the achievements, the accomplishments, the weddings, the babies, the books published, the promotions, the degrees... (the list goes on) of our friends. If we are feeling particularly vulnerable or sensitive about a particular lack in our lives, comparison is the easiest temptation--but it sucks out joy...

I grew up with four sisters--while it could have been very easy to compare (& there were times we did, especially when one sister had a particularly coveted piece of clothing in her closet!) we have learned that to love each other, we should be proud of each other & be accepting of our weaknesses and congratulatory of our strengths.

{5 girls, circa 1985?}

When one of my sisters accomplishes something great, I feel a sense of accomplishment myself--because I love her, have encouraged her, and am happy for her.

So leave comparison aside, bask in your strengths--& the strengths of others too! we can't all do everything, so be proud of what you can do!
{embrace your individuality rather than comparing yourself to others}

and remember, we all develop at different times in life--so age has little to do with it. We build up experiences at different times, and while we're not doing something (like having a baby or getting married) we're doing something else (like getting a PhD or working toward some other goal).

Sunday, 17 November 2013


Portugal was fantastic! I was so sad to leave and so sad that I wasn't as mobile as I wanted (I did manage the trip, but had restricted mobility with my crutches unfortunately). But I made the best of it, and did manage to see some things, thanks to very helpful and kind conference colleagues.
The conference I was attending was hosted at the fantastic Palacio Fronteira. It was built in the 17th century for the Marquis of Fronteira, and the 12th Marquis still lives there today (he even graced us with his presence on the first day, welcoming us to his palatial home!).
{I would recommend listening to this Portuguese music by Ana Moura, while reading this blog post: a Portuguese friend recommended this music to me and I can't stop playing it!}

On the first day we were given a tour of the property by what I call the 21st-century version of the perfect courtier (oh, Castiglione would be so happy to hear the tradition still exists today!):
{the perfect courtier giving us a guided tour of the Palacio Fronteira}

{the private chapel}

{resident cat!}

{we ate lunch in this beautiful setting--with wine and food in abundance--I felt like I was back in the 17th century!}

{I gave my paper in this fabulous room!}

{exterior of the palace}

{the gardens...}
 After the conference, we enjoyed some of the city...
{delicious fish!}

{a concert at Saõ Roque}

{followed by drinks in a wine bar}

{Lisbon's night life}

 On the Saturday a local Portuguese friend showed me some sites that would be easy enough to do with my crutches-this is the fantastic church attached to the Monastery of Jerónimos. Work began in 1501, under the patronage of Manuel I:

{me & my crutches!}

{stunning knot-work as decorative vaulting recalls the Portuguese explorations by boat}

{sunny Portugese skies!}

 In the same area of Belem, is the famous Pastéis de Belém, where they sell & make the traditional pasteis de nata:

{the greeter at Pasteis de Belem!}
On this grey, London day, I long for the sunny skies of Portugal...I am so glad I didn't cancel the trip--it was well worth it in the end!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

{quotable thursdays}

Hello readers!
Yesterday was my birthday, and so I think this quote by the great C.S. Lewis is apt:

{never too old to dream}

I just got back from Portugal on Sunday and had a *fabulous* time. Such a lovely lovely place--pics etc... to follow. But today, I think we need to remind ourselves that we are never too old to dream--getting older in your 30s is less exciting than it was at 3! BUT with age comes confidence, knowledge, and a better sense of self. so today, I celebrate all the people in my life who have made me who I am...those who I know well; those who I have just met; and those who I may have encountered only very briefly...& of course the places where I have been. It's travel that enlivens me, and I know all those journeys & adventures have made me the person I am today. I feel blessed to have a loving family, loving friends, a good job & a roof over my head.
I have reached some of my goals, because I have chosen to dream, to believe, and to hope...& of course I continue to keep setting new goals...because new people & new places inspire me to dream!
{dream a little dream}

{my sis sent this to me yesterday--it's me at around 7years old, on the boat I grew up on, sailing around the Marquesas!}

{birthday cake}

{hooorah for birthdays!}

dream my friends, dream....

Friday, 1 November 2013

{quotable thursdays}

Destination Lisbon:
Vintage letter to Lisbon
Lisbon address

Well next week I'll be going to a place I've never been before: Portugal! I'm speaking at a conference there...& what's better it's in the Fronteira Palace!
The weather should be in the low 20s, and I'm spending an extra day (as an early b-day present), so I'm so very looking forward to it. 
Can't wait to enjoy all Lisbon has to offer...
Portugal!, I've seen this!! :)

Castles Crowns and Cottages: Theres No Doubt
& off I go...

Photos: Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Street Style | Vanity Fair
{fly away...}
if you have any recommendations, please share!
ps: I wrote this with all the intention of going next week, but my knee has flared up to the point I can't walk on it. Please send good thoughts & luck that the swelling will go down in time so that I can actually go. I was caught up in doctor's appointments yesterday and trying to get some work done frantically while sleepy with pain killers, so I excuse the lateness of this! Technically I think it's still Thursday in certain parts of the world!