Thursday, February 28, 2013

If you couldn't fail....

Heart songs, then boobs, it is a thrill a minute here Chez WMM!!

Today, another brain teaser for you all.

I am reading this book, Second Act Careers, to help me determine if indeed I am ready, willing and able to move on to a second act in my work life (actually, it will be a third act if you consider all the part-time jobs I held growing up!)

Buy yours here
It is an interesting book, one that is geared mostly for folks who have retired and who would still like to work, but it is also a useful book for someone thinking of making a switch.  There are lots of good ideas included from folks who have switched gears, and there are some interesting exercises to help you unlock what some of your other interests in life might be, or other things you might like to pursue.

One thing that caught my attention was the question:

What would you do for a living if you knew that you couldn't fail at it?

Smartass that I am, I thought "opera singer", but I was only joking with myself.  I have no passion or interest in being an opera singer.

So I sat and thought and sat and thought (and all this time I was sober, mind you, so that is a lot of sitting and thinking!) and came up with the following:

If I could something and know that I wouldn't fail I would either

1) write a TV series OR
2) have my own little shop of WMM delights

Some people would choose the jobs they already have.  If you don't choose the job you already have, if in fact the job you have is the EXACT opposite in every way, shape and form from what you are currently doing, this may be a message.  Or not.  For me, probably yes, it is a sign.

But it is an interesting exercise and I realized  that what I really need in terms of work whenever I choose to make a change is creativity.  I need creativity.  I am no longer content to work 80 hours a week at something that is not creative.  So the book has given me a lot of food for thought.

How about you: what would YOU do if you knew you couldn't fail at it?

On a completely different subject, I don't have much to add to the comments about the new JC rollout.  The basics are good and that is where I will place any of my money that may go to JCrew this spring and summer.  I don't think much will go there however.

I really liked the linen blazer in bronzed moss:

Schoolboy blazer in crosshatch linen

Although I will wait to see what the colour is like in real life...

Like most people, I really like the peony tshirt and the hummingbird skirt and I am bitter that J Crew puts things up online that are already sold out (if this is indeed the case!)

And I like the little espadrilles

Espadrille ballet flats

And I liked the Lilian sandals in black as I may go black and white for summer (though I have not entirely sorted out spring colour story, so am minding my Ps and Qs!)

Lillian suede low wedges

One thing that will definitely make the summer list is a white linen shirt:

Perfect shirt in linen

But perhaps not by JC!

I hope you have lovely Thursdays and am not peppering you too much with my questions and big thoughts!

Tomorrow is Miller Time Friday, where I will be unveiling a nice surprise for you all for while I am away next week!

Stay Safe Out There My Friends and Remember: Carpe Diem!  Foreveruary is done!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Style Question Wednesday: If you didn't have to wear a bra and other adventures in dressing...

At least once every season, I see a dress that I think is divine.

And then I realize: I can't wear it.  There is NO way to wear it without a bra.  And I have to wear a bra....

It happened to me today, while visiting the Kate Spade website in advance of my trip to NYC.  There it was: the Billie Dress..

So pretty in front.  And the back, divine!  But alas, not divine for me.

I have long since given up the strapless dress.  If you are over a D cup, you spend your evening adjusting your bra, looking as awkward as can be.  I think someone like myself  needs to befriend a rich designer who knows how to put boning into each outfit so that the girls are not unfurled to the waist.

For me, this situation is also like the deep V found in many summer dresses and tops.  On a small chested woman, it is chic and stylish.  On me, it is as if I am trying out to be in an episode of Big Rich Texas (I have never watched the show by the way, I only know it exists because I think there were 50 ads for it during the E! channel's red carpet coverage the other night..) or a special kind of movie..

Christopher Kane Bolt-embellished folded wool-crepe dress

And then there is the issue of the gaping blouse if you have a chest - you are a size 6 in the shoulder, a 10 across the chest!

So - and I know this topic leaves some out - any good advice?

And for you women who are less well endowed, are there any things you are unable to wear for the oppposite reason?

I continue to go through all of my clothing!  I saw my spring and summer things this afternoon and while there was a lot, there were not many things that made me think "OH I CANNOT WAIT TO WEAR THAT!"  The only thing that made me feel like that was the porcelain paisley skirt from JC Crew, a couple of tshirts, one blazer and my ralph lauren linen shirts.  I did a first cull, but know that more is to come....

Having said that, I am wearing more and more of what is left in my closet.  Today, I drug out the leopard print Tippi, black ponte pants, black button up blouse underneath.  I say I don't like button ups, but really, I think I don't really love white ones on me or I have yet to find the right white one - will try and do a test in the next couple of weeks... Add Lands End Christmas faux pearls et: Voila!  Very simple and looked great with my high black winter boots when I went to run errands and good around the house in my loafers.

Dreadful photo, but we did 8 pictures tonight and DD and I just couldn't get me to look 10 pounds thinner or to not look like Linda Blair in The Exorcist!  c'est lav vie!
SO: advice, thoughts, your own style questions for Wednesday?  Stay Safe out there!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday, in which WMM celebrates Daniel Day-Lewis, wonders: where is critical thought and thinks of that other great British dish, Nigella Lawson.

Oh yesterday was deep, today we must leave my mid-life crisis aside and ponder other issues, most specifically the two thoughts that I am left to ponder in the wake of Sunday night's Oscars, neither of which are related to fashion.  Lest you consider critical thought fashion. Oh that it would be fashionable again!

1) Daniel Day Lewis as genius.

You may or may not have liked Lincoln, though I happened to have liked it very much as you know.  But you would be hard pressed to convince me that Daniel Day Lewis did not deserve his third Best Actor Academy Award for his performance in the film.  Such petitions against Mr. Day-Lewis must be accompanied by powerpoint presentations, testimonials by all of your friends and neighbours, type-written and cross-checked against all academic literature related to acting.   There are few geniuses in any field; for DDL to receive his oscar from Meryl Streep appeared not dissimilar to me than if Adele had received her oscar from Judy Garland, back fresh from the grave and ready to appear on Broadway in next year's revival of Les Miserables

I was reminded, after watching Lincoln and having that performance stay with me for days afterwards, of a lifetime achievement award show I watched in the late 1970s saluting one of my all-time favourites, Fred Astaire.  Mikhail Barishnykov, then the darling defector and Lord of the Dance, stood up to pay tribute:  "I am a dancer." he said modestly, "I have no idea what Fred Astair is doing."  I wonder sometimes if some of the other actors of his generation, save a very few (like the perenially gifted and frustrating Sean Penn), wonder the same about DDL.  They are acting - what the HELL is he doing? 

Which leads me to my second thought:

2) In almost all instances the entertainment media are idiots.  After his significant win, Daniel Day Lewis was backstage giving interviews to the gathered press.  One particularly idiotic reporter had, for want of  a better word, the assinine audacity to ask him if the beard had proven a challenge to "act through".  The look of shock on DDL's face was priceless.  First: it was clear that the reporter did not understand that the beard in the movie was Day-Lewis' own, and secondly, felt that such a prosthetic might have in some way encumbered the ability to act.  Day-Lewis was gracious, though his disbelief was apparent, and it struck me again how torturous it must be for some of these top-drawer actors and actresses, forced to be interviewed by individuals who a) know nothing about the history or art of film-making and b) who treat  actors of the calibre of Day-Lewis as if they are simply another Housewife of Beverly Hills.  Yes, I imagine that a beard might be difficult for one of them to act with...  That the entertainment media have bred like rabid rabbits says more about us as a society then about them; their moguls are simply P.T. Barnums, giving the public what it wants and deserves.

 I don't watch much TV, but I can't help but feel we are all the worse for having no one, at least in the mainstream media, asking DDL the questions I most want to know the answer to: 1) what the Hell is he doing? and 2) how was he so fortunate to have landed a wife who appears to be both elegant and real all at the same time.

One can't help but know that Mr. Day-Lewis has not watched a lot of North American television and is all the better for it, IMO.

Would the North American public stand to listen to a really interested and well-versed journalist ask thought-provoking questions?  I think they would.  And they might enrich the viewing experience of the public watching these movies and television shows.  Or maybe not.  But smart, thought-provoking and entertaining movies continue to be made.  I just wish that there would be some interesting questions asked about them when hundreds of millions of people are watching.  Instead, we get to watch mani-cams and fashion reports..
And that, dear friends, is my rant of the day!!!


On a completely different topic, one of my good friends gave me a copy of Nigella Lawson's new cookbook Nigellissima.

Oh Nigella.   My dear husband thinks Nigella is quite a dish, what with the ample bosom, the voluptuous curves, the delicious sighs as she licks the spoons...

I read an article today by the Associated Press about how novel that Nigella freely speaks her mind, will not allow her curves to be lessened by book editors and photographers and marvel-upon-marvel to the AP, not only knows who Bertrand Russell is, but refers to him at the beginning of her cook book.

Nigella Lawson in garden

Nigella is by no means overly large.  I think she only looks that way because we are so used to seeing poor girls starved half to death (at least 6 actresses on the red carpet Sunday night commented about how hungry they were).

I have not cooked out of this book yet, but based on my experience with her other books, I expect to like the recipes and find them easy to follow.  I have been a fan of Nigella's for quite awhile, albeit for very different reasons than my husband's reasons for loving her.  For me, my love of Nigella was forged by good recipies, but cemented when I saw this picture of her in her library.


I don't know if it still looks like that, but I want to go to there!

So happy Tuesday all and stay safe out there!

Monday, February 25, 2013

What Makes Your Heart Sing?

During my time off, I have had time to begin to ponder what my next act in life will be.

At 50, I still consider myself a spring chicken, albeit with some wobbly bits gained from a life well lived.

Ah - but am I a free-range chicken or one content to sit inside the pen?  Neither is a wrong answer, they are just different choices in life. 

One thing is abundantly clear to me: John Lennon's line in his gorgeous song Beautiful Boy is right on:  "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."  And I must confess: at times I have not been the one to make the choice, I just went with the flow, said yes (or no) without really thinking, and above all, made the safe choice.  So while I may have been a big fat chicken, I was a big fat chicken in the hen house looking at the other chickens out in the yard and thinking either one of two things:
  1. Are they CRAZY????
  2. How do I get to be that kind of crazy????
But I think before you know what you should be doing in life, you need to stop and think about what makes your heart sing.  What fills your soul?  What things do you do that make the time fly by in an instant and make you feel exhilarated, not depleted?  What feels like your natural self?

I think as children, we are inherently inclined to those things and people that make our heart sing.

But then, we get busy making other plans.  And life happens. 

As you know, I have been thinking a lot about all of this, what with losing my last parent, having children about to leave home, turning 50, taking a break from a big job due to sheer exhaustion.  And for the first time in more years than I care to count, I have started to think about what I really love.  What makes my heart sing?  There is only going to be one me on this planet and I want to make it count.  But if I don't know what counts for me, how can I know what are the right choices for me?  So at 50, I have re-booted the old internal compass, and like the Wendy who could fly with a bit of fairy dust, am working hard to fix my compass to my own second star to the right.

The interesting thing is that while I am getting still and learning to really identify those loves, I am also kind of getting into Action Jackson mode!  I don't want to waste any more time on toxics.   I started to read a book the other night and realized about two chapters in that this was not going to be a book that was going to give me anything other than night terrors.  Bam!  Out it went.  The same has been happening with my wardrobe as you know.  What I watch on TV.  Who I choose to spend most of my time with.  What I look at on the internet. 

One of the interesting things that has unconciously aided me in identifying things that make my heart sing is Pinterest.  I only recently joined pinterest and I don't use it much, but it is an interesting way to only grab those things, those images, on the internet that you think are beautiful (or at least it is for me).   While you may "follow" someone else's boards, you only pin those images on your boards that you think are beautiful, that reflect your desired or preferred style, the places you would like to visit.  Your boards are comprised solely of your choices.  Even the chicken above is a chicken I chose to reflect me from hundres of pictures of chickens (I who am I kidding, there are likely 1000s of them!).  We all make choices.

So, as of February 25th, 2013, these are the things that I know for sure are making my heart sing.  The list is only beginning!

My family

My friends (local, far away, and virtual!)


I could write all day long.  I wrote "bureaucratize" for my job for many years, I have written fiction and non-fiction, even written a musical parody with one of my best friends that has been performed twice.  It wasn't until I started this blog, thinking only two people would show up (thank you Dani and Tabs) that I remembered how much I love to write.

And while this is an entirely self-published enterprise (!), it has inspired me to start to write again and has taught me that I do indeed have the discipline to sit and write every day!  And the hours pass quickly and it never seems like work.


I don't know how to do it, but this year I am working on learning and in the interim I am having a blast.  All I know is that when I am painting, despite not having a clue, I feel absolutely peaceful!  That is a good basis upon which to build I think!  Thanks Kathy, for the inspiration to keep going!  I think about the fellow outside Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, just painting away, and the joy he was having, and I want more of that in my life!


There is nothing more peaceful for me than to be on my hands and knees weeding.  This year I plan to expand my vegetable garden, keep up better with the weeding and the dividing in spring, and learn a bit more about landscape design.  This winter, I have expanded the numbers of plants in my house and that has made me happier.  And yes, I am that person who talks incessently to all of my green things.   My God, the longer I stay home I could turn quite potty...  But never mind, it makes my heart sing...

Travel: Armchair and Otherwise

Oh sure, I love to go places.  And I dream of living in Europe for at least 2 to 3 months at some point, but i am also happy to read travel books, watch travel shows, read the history of places I have been or would like to go.

I am not a sophisticated traveller or person.  Above is a picture of my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.  I cried.  I pretty much cry with happiness whenever I travel somewhere nice and see things I have never seen before.  I think lots of people are like me, they just don't admit it.

I like to eat outdoors.  I like to eat and cook in general!

If there is a patio chair, I am there.  Food tastes better outdoors!

Oh and did I mention that rosé, tomato basil salad and frites would be on the menu everyday?  And at night we would have Cabernet Sauvignon and Spaghetti. 

I like old things

It will come as a shock to you that I have not a lick of modern style in my house, excepting my stainless steel appliances and two ikea bar stools, which were all I could afford at the time.  I love to read history.  I like to see old things.  I like things, inherited or not, that other people have used or loved.  When I sit at my great-grandparent's dining room set every night, I can almost feel the energy of the thousands of conversations that have taken place around it since it was built for them in 1883. 

I like to imagine what it would be like to have been there when something was built. I stared for a good half-hour at this section of Notre Dame Cathedral, imagining how many months went in to creating these amazing carvings

I like paths, nooks and crannies and the road less taken

When I was a child, my father used to sing The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond to me:

Oh, ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll get to Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.
I always wanted to take the low road.  Give me a path any day.

Books & Music

Anytime, anywhere, especially books.  I love my music, too, but i also like to sit in silence a lot more now.

And finally, as of February 25th, 2013, I know that Kindness makes my heart sing.

Over the last four months, everytime I have reached out my hand in need, either in person or here on this blog or offline via email, someone has grabbed my hand.  I am continually blown away by the human capacity for kindness.  Oh I know - the media would like us to think and ponder only on the human capacity for cruelty.  But even one hand reaching out to you is sometimes all you need to keep going and one kind comments can make the heart sing like a Stradivarius. 

I am reminded when I am here, reading your thoughtful comments, that every coming together of people in kind ways is another candle being lit.  I think it was Margaret Mead who said: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

So my next act must be able to honour these things that make my heart sing in some way.  My work life in the future must leave time for these things, and the other things, either too small to mention today or just nibbling on the corner of my brain.  If my work life can incorporate some of these things, more the better.

This introspection thing is not for the faint of heart.  Each step I take, I feel like I am getting closer and closer to finding the truth of me.

How about you?  What makes your heart sing?  If you are willing to share, I would love to hear!!

Happy Monday!  And Stay Safe out there!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My NYC Travel Wardrobe

Well I did it, I am all sorted out as to what I will take to NYC next weekend!

We will be gone from Saturday morning till the following Thursday night.  We will drive for long stretches (to Maine and back) and fly for very short stretches.  We will walk and if you recall, I am bringing one purse, one wristlet or wee crossbody, and one carry-on suitcase.  That's it.

But I think I have it licked!  Thanks to Dani's concept of a "colour story", GF's concept of a list, and my own desperate need for comfort, comfort, comfort, I think I am in good stead...

So - my colour story?

I decided that I would use the shawl/scarf below as the basis:

The scarf has pinky, burgundy, beige and grey colours. 

It pairs nicely with the coat, I am bringing, my charcoal grey peacoat:

The tops - heather flax cashmere cardigan, camel, black and grey tshirts, one gray ribbed tank, one green silk camisole, paris tshirt and burgundy tippi.

Two pairs of pants only, the black and grey Paige premium ponte knit pants:

And 2 dresses, one a VERY comfortable and versatile day dress, the other, more dressy for the theatre and one of the fancier dinners we have organized.

You can see I am only bringing a couple of less expensive beads with me - I tend not to take my finer jewellry with me and I plan to simply wear my diamond solitaires the whole time.

Two pairs of footwear only: my burgundy Aquatalias, which are very comfortable and long since broken in and my cole haan loafers, ditto.  I know my feet will swell from all the walking I plan to do and I am not going to fight it!  And yes, shoes will be all spic and span before we go!

Some tights and pjs and I am all set.  The combinations are versatile.

My dress-up outfit:

Because the dress has short sleeves, the wrap will be absolutely required and I think will look quite chic.  I must be ready in case Tom Hanks notices me out in the audience and calls me forward to sit with his wife, Miss Rita Wilson, she of the lovely style.

Other outfit ideas I have already have:

Museum hopping

At the other dinner, a cardigan and my little floral Ralph Lauren scarf.

A close-up of the scarf print, which pairs very nicely with the green silk charmeuse tank.

I am taking another cotton scar as well with blues, beige and grey and black, which makes a nice outfit with the flax cardigan, the black pants and the loafers.

All in all, I am very happy.  I have listed when I will wear what and where I will wear it on a little piece of paper that will go on the outside of my bag as per GF's suggestion.  I hemmed and hawwed about whether to add a third cardigan, my grey tippi or my turquoise Brora, or even a blazer, but in the end, I decided I would not have room.  Under dire circumstances, I can always buy something! :-)

I am feeling very pleased about having it all sorted out.  At present, the long-range forecast for the time we are in NYC shows sun/overcast and daytime temperatures ranging from 5 to 7 celcius.  The pieces I have chosen allow me to layer or not.  The peacoat is warm but not heavy. 

There you have it.  Have a wonderful Sunday and stay safe out there!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Musings

Happy Saturday and as always my random Saturday thoughts:

1) The inspired pairing of Folie à Deux wine et les bâtonnets de poulet

Well, the birthday dinner was divine.  And the homemade chicken tenders, containing not a lick of fat, were a huge hit by all concerned.  It turns out that when paired with a lovely Zinfandel, they can be quite fine...

The wine we drank was Folie à Deux, a lovely Californian wine that we have had once or twice before.  So of course, as research for you all, I visited their website this morning and discovered that the winery was established "in 1981 by two wine-loving psychiatrists".  Now sentences like that always make me go hmm, since I imagine many people who decide to open wineries are told they are crazy!


Anyway, I highly recommend this wine and quite enjoyed the unusual pairing!

Have you ever been to a California winery?  I never have and would love to do a winery tour a la Sideways!

2) My Oscar Predictions

Okay, The Academy Awards are tomorrow night.  This is a high holiday Chez WMM - we plan around the red carpet pre-shows, sip champagne, make predictions and generally have a good time.

Here's who I think Oscar will favour tomorrow night:

Best Picture - Argo
Best Director - I was torn here between Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg.  I am going Spielberg.
Best Actor - Daniel Day Lews
Best Actress - Naomi Watts (I know there are lots of disparate opinions on this one - I think she comes up through from behind)
Best Supporting Actress - Anne Hatheway, who else?
Best Supporting Actor - another hard one.  I am going with my heart - Tommy Lee Jones
Best Song - Adele - who else?

Any predictions?

3) I am a disorganized person

I am working on my NYC packing list and will blog on this tomorrow.  It is hard.  My good friend GetFreshPress sent me a little sheet that was to remind me what I would wear each day and how to combine things.  I swear to god I have NEVER thought about packing like this.  Does this make me a complete idiot? (be kind now!)  So I am going to work up the plan and make the final list and show you what I am taking tomorrow, since we leave next Saturday!   The one below isn't the one GF sent me, but it is the same idea.  I am in awe that people are this organized!

Am I the only luddite when it comes to packing?

5) A shout-out to Kathy and a Well Styled Life

A few weeks ago, I wore the following outfit and got quite a lot of nice comments, especially from Kathy.

Well peacock that I am, I am trying to accommodate more neutrals in my wardrobe and loved the J Crew cashmere sweater in the soft heather flax colour that I scored for $23 and which finally arrived yesterday.  So thank you Kathy! 

And I followed A Well Styled Life's advice on another issue.  I have had a store credit at one of our local shops (a reward thing-y).  If you recall, a Well Styled Life recommended that I should buy the best version of whatever I was finding was most comfortable and flattering.

Since being on my sabbatical, i have practically lived in my Paige Premium Black Ponte Knit Pants, which I have had for about 6 or 7 months and which are flattering and can be dressed up or down.  When I popped by the shop late yesterday, I saw that they had a gorgeous grey version of the same pants.  Rather than spend the reward on some frippery (there was nothing there that fit my spring shopping list - it is VERY high end and expensive for most things), I used the rewards to purchase the grey pants (will show them in tomorrow's post), which will replace the charcoal minnies above which I find less flattering and very itchy.  This was a little surprise to me, this smart shopping, but I wore them last night and they look and feel divine.  So thanks, A Well Styled Life!!!!  And I am still on budget track!  Yippee!

Those are my random Saturday musings - what are yours???

Stay Safe out there!  You can pick up your oscar for "best performance by patient people reading a blog" on the way out:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Miller Time Friday: For Queen and Country

Happy Friday!

As you know, I have been straightening, dusting, de-cluttering, re-positioning almost everything in my life, including my own body parts!  I have realized that I have inherited some pretty interesting stuff along the way (and yes, that does include my father's knobby knees and my mother's belly/no bottom combo!

And a lot of that interesting stuff relates to - you guessed it - the Queen.  I have had it all so long that I kind of forgot that I had it, kind of like the Jackie and Lee Bouvier book I reclaimed earlier in the week.

Canada, until very recently, has been staunchly pro-monarchist.  We are one of the key Commonwealth countries and always came to England's defense, fighting alongside her on many occasions.  This is no surprise, since until the mid-century, the bulk of immigrants to Canada came from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.  We only got a flag that didn't have the union jack on it until 1965; prior to that, we used various versions of the Canadian Red Ensign, seen below:

My grandmother, who was born in New Zealand of Oxford-born parents in 1904, was staunchly monarchist.  In the 1920s, she joined the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE), an organization founded in 1900 in Montreal (which is quite ironic!) to support Canadians departing to fight with the Empire in South Africa.  In fact, the first Empire Day held by the organization was on May 23rd 1900 in Fredericton New Brunswick (I am learning all kinds of history!).  During the two World Wars, the organization's "chapters", by then a world-wide phenomenon existing in many of the Commonwealth countries, raised $12,000,000 to support troops, hospitals, ambulances, bomber and fighter aircraft, etc, for Queen and Country.  By the time I was born in 1963, there were still many chapters all over Canada (I think there were two in my county alone) and both my Grandmother and my Mother served as Provincial "Regents" (don't you love that title?) and on national committees.  But the IODE has long been considered a dying institution, and has struggled to recruit members, for while they do lots of wonderful charitable work to raise money for scholarships, etc, the days of staunchly pro-Monarchy organizations have long passed their "best before" date.  I don't even think my beloved Kate could bring the organization back, populated as it is by many beloved blue-haired grannies who will shove you out of the way sure as you can say "Bob's your uncle" should you get between them and the chance to meet/see a royal, any royal, during their visits to Canada.  And you can imagine who they loved best:

The Queen.  No, not the nice lady on the left but the "real" queen, according to my Grandmother for her entire life, the Queen Mum. 

So when I was cleaning the house, I was fascinated to come across the following book:

Published in November 1939, it was a war-time effort to raise funds for the Red Cross and features contributions by 50 British writers and artists.  I must confess: I don't think I have ever really looked at this book before, but it is quite lovely and features the work of such legends as T.S. Eliot, A.A. Milne, Cecil Beaton, some writing especially for the book.

The paintings are lovely, on that beautiful paper they used to print coloured photos in books during the first half of the 20th century.

The book proved very popular (I wonder how many commonwealth homes had/have a copy?) and I suspect it was modelled after the Princess Elizabeth Gift Book, originally published in 1935 to raise money for the Princess Elizabeth Children's Hospital:

The book my mother had no longer has its dustcover, but the one I see online has the same painting on the cover as is featured inside the book:

What I found so interesting was that not only was the young Princess (then a celebrity in her own right) able to have such luminaries as James M. Barrie write especially for her book, but also got Walt Disney, who by that time had not yet done his first feature length movie but was certainly a world-wide sensation, include a couple of wonderful pictures, one of which I am including below:

The book has pride of place on my shelf, though I must also confess that I mostly looked at the pictures when my mother showed it to me as a child!

And sitting on top of it?  Well my own beautiful Queen Elizabeth II toy coronation set, that's what, a keeper that my grandmother, who was an antiques dealer, was able to procure along the way and which I put up my hand for many years ago:

We won't talk about the fact that when you take the top of my golden carriage you see that Prince Philip's little head was lost somewhere along the way...

I dug around and found my mother's old charm bracelet with her IODE charm on it:

and the compact (with powder still in it!) that my grandmother received from the Seven Seas Chapter in 1967 for 40+ years of services to the organization

Now, you can hardly blame me for loving our Queen so much, what with such blood running through my veins, now can you?  Even one of my closest friends, who is a staunch and proud Acadian and is most decidely anti-monarchy, says the Queen is "all right"

So today, in honour of my mother and grandmother, and lots of other mothers and grandmothers who proudly served and supported their communities for King, Queen and Country, I thought we might have a wee sip of the Queen Mum's favourite drink: Gin and duBonnet.  Ah this Miller Time will not be for the faint of heart; the Queen Mum was rumoured to have begun her drinking at noon most days and kept on going from there, but then she lived to be 101 didn't she?  And we know how pickling is a wonderful preserver!


My grandmother, famous for mixing her drink 4 fingers alcohol to 1 finger mix, would approve!

Now approval from my Scottish ancestors on my dad's side - well THAT is a different story!!!

Happy Friday and Stay Safe out There!

Oh and PS: Today is my beloved daughter's 21st birthday!  Cake all around!