Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Friday, 31 July 2020

{tinza's tiny good things #13}

Beautiful British Columbia

I was born near the ocean and raised on the ocean. So when I thought I'd take a few days off this week I imagined going to the seaside...renting a little cottage and going on long walks along the coastal sea paths. But cottages in the UK are now as rare as loo rolls were at the start of the pandemic lockdown. so instead, I'm stuck in landlocked Bedfordshire, reluctantly on a staycation. I've found this week extremely hard. When I feel blue I normally book a trip or plan a day out with friends.

I'm normally a person of opposites. I'm somebody who is a recluse and a socialiate. I grew up sailing on a boat around the world, with no access to showers for weeks but I love glitz and glamour. I love the countryside and equally love London. I'm a homebody: I love decorating my home and filling it with lovely things, but I'm also a nomad, never staying long enough to build deep roots and I'll jump on a plane at the drop of a hat. I grew up doing DIY, getting myself messy with varnish and paint, but love to get dressed up in the fanciest dress and go to a champagne party in a Venetian palazzo or enjoy an awards evening on the red carpet but equally will still wield a power tool, rip up floorboards, and paint. 

Scrubbing the haul of the Swift, Australia, 1988

Times Higher Education Awards, 2019

But coronavirus puts us into boxes. Well, COVID doesn't but the measures of lockdown do. If you're a single person, you're stuck by yourself for weeks/months, without any chance of human interaction. If you're a parent, you're stuck with those kids 24/7. If you're a working mum-and worse off if you're a single working mum-you can't do both in COVID: you struggle to make those online meetings while your toddler clammers around teetering on some piece of furniture ready to crack their head open. At the moment the only thing I have in my diary are deadlines for the REF (Research Excellence Framework) as I'm Research Lead for the Art History submission: no holidays, no conferences abroad, no keynotes in exotic locales, no archival work in Italy. Coronavirus is making me be only one side of my job: the administrative, tick-the-boxes, side of things, not the researcher who finds knew things in the archives, not the art historian who gives talks around the world, not the innovator who produces films, working behind the scenes in exciting collections. It is also making my job the only thing to focus on, rather than all the other things that I am: apart from an art historian I am also a sister, daughter, friend, adventurer, sailor, traveller... I miss the other parts of me, and I don't like being one dimensional.

walking near Ivinghoe Beacon

views near Dunstable Downs

So what to do? I'm not sure. The only thing that has helped me is to go out to great expansive parts of the county where walking on the rooftops of Bedfordshire has made me feel as if I could be on a cliff looking down at the sea. With the wind in my hair, for a moment, I feel like an adventurer again, reminding me of my youth with the wind in my hair sailing around the world. 
When a wild bird landed on me somewhere off the coast of Central America, c. 1991

So maybe the lesson to learn with COVID and today's #tinygoodthings is to have an imagination: if you can't be where you want to be, try something that makes you feel and imagine that you are there. Of I find another solution, I'll be sure to share it.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

{tinza's tiny good things #12}

"That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape
Lay as if new, created in all the freshness of childhood."
-   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Lately I've been taking long walks in the English countryside...any opportunity I can to take a quick or longer break. I think it is one of the advantages of living in a pandemic where there isn't much else to do, and saving time on not commuting frees up some time in the day... and the long summer days allow for more daylight too.

So today's #tinygoodthings is to get out and take a walk and enjoy!

Monday, 11 May 2020

{tinza's tiny good things #11}

Today marks 55 days since I last saw a friend or family member. I'll never forget that day: I drove frantically to Heathrow to get my parents on a flight back to Canada before borders shut...
This weekend I went on a much-needed long walk and as I looked out across the fields, I drew in a deep breath and felt at peace with the world around me and I was reminded of this Laura Ingalls Wilder quote.
In some ways time has flown since lockdown began and although life in grocery stores has changed and there's no commute to work or visits with friends, work life continues & other things are rather normal. Many will say there are benefits to this slower-paced life and the planet is thankful. As lockdown starts to lift slowly (and please do take it slowly and ignore the confusing advice we're currently getting), I want to hold on to the good things this crisis has taught us.
Today's #tinygoodthings is to just stop and reflect on the small things & cherish those, but I'd also urge you to pick up the phone, send an email or a text, or write a letter to someone who you haven't heard from in a while. It might just be that tiny little gesture they need.

Monday, 4 May 2020

{tinza's tiny good things #10}

{roast chicken at Chota House}
 Last night I cooked myself a lovely roast chicken! Sometimes I like to cook a big meal--the kind I would do if I were entertaining--even if it's just for 1. Because the truth is: we should do things for ourselves just as much as for others.... and why shouldn't you, just because you're in lockdown or you're living on your own?
More than ever it's important to eat well and remember the #tinygoodthings.
I did the same for Easter Sunday, and cooked up a big roast lamb.

The good thing about roasts is they make so many yummy leftovers...& the great thing about roast chickens is the broth, which I use in bolognese, risottos, stews: the list is endless!

Friday, 1 May 2020

{tinza's tiny good things #9}

{quote from NYC library}

Today's #tinygoodthings is all about reading & books & libraries. I was reminded that a year ago I was in NYC, visiting the New York Public Library and took a snap of this quote. There is nothing quite like a good book... and I'm also in love with libraries. So here are a few pics of some of my fave I have visited. Can't wait to see more once lockdown is over and we've put COVID-19 behind us!
Perhaps these grand libraries aren't such a 'tiny thing' but a good quote and a good book surely are the little pleasures that make life enjoyable!

{NYC library}
{Univeridade de Coimbra royal library}

{Oxborough Hall}

{Trinity Hall, Cambridge's oldest chained library}
{Kenwood House}

Monday, 13 April 2020

{tinza's tiny good things #8}

{tea at Chota House}

Today's #tinygoodthings is to take out a special china tea cup or crystal (or both) and enjoy! This is especially important on a weekend or a holiday like today, Easter Monday, because it makes it feel extra special. And even if you're only on your own, actually even more importantly if you're on your own: it'll make your day feel that just little bit more special. I had a hot cross bun & a cup of tea (& a sneaky glass of prosecco) and it all tasted just a little bit better.

Yesterday I made a big roast lamb just for me (& yes the cat had some too). It felt nice to do it, even just for 1, especially during these crazy lockdown times.
Enjoy! & Happy Easter!


Sunday, 5 April 2020

{tinza's tiny good things #7}

{breakfast & a magazine}
It's the weekend, it's a lovely warm day & most of us will be stuck indoors because of the lockdown measures to battle COVID-19.
My weekend ritual is to sit in bed & read a magazine with a cup of tea. So today's #tinygoodthings is to read a magazine. Turn your phone to silent and enjoy. If you don't have a new magazine I'm always finding amazing things in old magazines I have around the house. I subscribe to Country Living and Homes & Antiques, & I'm always so excited when I get one delivered through the door!

Do stay indoors! & save lives!