Trump, The Dickensian

Such an odious little man. 

I say little, he is actually quite a large fellow. Ungainly, as though Orwell’s Napoleon cast off his coat of crackling and walked amongst us on hind legs. A prize fighter’s demeanour on prima ballerina points.

But his mind is small, his warped sense of greatness conversely diminishing his cognitive capacity to a raisin of hate; a tic-tac of terror.

There you have it. He is a tic-tac tycoon for the Twitter Age. 

Should you have the perverse desire to picture him, place French fries atop a bottle of Sunny Delight melted in the oven on a low heat for an hour. Et voila!

Obsequious. Malodorous. 

How can I insult thee? Let me count the ways. 

Hygge? Hardly.

Sometimes it is too complicated trying to make life that simple.

According to the purveyors of ‘must-do’ lifestyle trends, everyone should be doing life Danish style right now. 

hygge (pronounced hue-gah)

This Danish word is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary everyday things simply extraordinary; whether it’s making coffee a verb by lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends to lighting a candle with every meal.

Frankly I’m too old and cynical to be in constant pursuit of ‘the next big thing’, but I’m not in the business of hating anything popular. I know this FOR A FACT because I recently completed a Buzzfeed quiz which confirmed I am 52% hipster, 48% basic. On the surface I might look hipster AF, but I own a Justin Beiber CD. What can I say? I’m an equal opportunities kinda gal.

But this hygge thing is insane!

At what point did we as a human race get so entrenched in wanting and buying and using and consuming and discarding that we have to be told how to slow down, how to notice the little things, how to socialise, how to enjoy a goddamn cup of coffee?

I’m well aware the Scandinavians literally do everything better, I really am. In wildly sweeping generalised terms: they live longer, they look better and IKEA is a marvel, the linchpin of every trendy, low-income household.

But I know how to savour the taste of a cup of tea instead of pouring the scalding hot liquid down my gullet as I rush around getting ready for work in the morning. I also know that I should eat at the table for every meal instead of on the couch in front of the TV, and most definitely not at my desk whilst I respond to my 400th email of the day. I also know that a night in sharing a bottle of red wine with my best friend is infinitely better than sending her idiotic videos on Snapchat.

I actually want to surround myself with friends and family and have a jolly old time at all times of the year, thanks very much.

I also know that I instinctively want to hibernate in winter. I want to light candles and wrap myself up in cashmere. I want to eat things that warms me to my very soul. I love the sound of russet-coloured leaves crunching underfoot and I will always, ALWAYS savour the smell of an open fire.

Thing is, this is not a new methodology for life, particularly in the winter. It’s why we celebrate the Harvest Festival. This tradition has somewhat fallen out of favour for most modern-day folk, but it pre-dates Christianity as a very spiritual time to give thanks for the year’s crop and come together to survive winter.

But herein lies the point of the matter: sometimes it is too complicated trying to make life that simple.

That when we move 100 miles an hour, it can be hard to make time for the little things. You can’t while away an evening with your best friend because she lives a hundred miles away, so dog-filter silliness will have to do. When all you want to do is slip into your cashmere bed socks and read Hemmingway, but the cat has just been sick on the floor.

If the most you can do is shoddily pour your soup into a bowl instead of a Tupperware box and grab 10 minutes with an easy-read novel on your Kindle, then good for you. Tick that off as a win for today.

Enjoy any fad you want. Just realise that trying to fit yourself and your life into The Perfect Ideal can be soul-destroying.

Hygge is great, but sanity is better.

food

Sanctuary

Do what you need to do to keep your sanity.

Some days you feel determined, full of grand plans to take on the world. Some days you feel like a big, fat mess.

On those days, you should stick two fingers up at what you see in the mirror and all of your shitty anxieties. Just retreat to the place you feel happiest.

For me, that’s Barter Books in Alnwick.

A former Victorian railway station, it is full of character and quirky details: a cafe in the First Class waiting lounge, a working model railway laid out atop the bookcases. A bookworm’s paradise.

Do what you need to do to keep your sanity. Worrying about tomorrow doubles your problems.

Barter Books, Alnwick, Northumberland

One of Us

BBC drama One of Us is giving me serious style inspo for autumn/winter 2016.

The sun is shining, the Birkinstocks are on. Indian Summer, they say. A glorious heatwave to be relished, they say. If that’s the case, why am I dreaming of heavy fog and walks along dreary muddy paths?

Enter stage left: BBC drama One of Us.

Forgive my tardiness, I’m aware I’m a little behind. Three weeks in fact, as the final hour of this four-part thriller is set to air on BBC One this week. No matter. I’ve just spent a Sunday as all Sundays should be spent – eating a big dinner swimming in gravy before binge-watching brilliant telly. Now I’m all caught up (it really is brilliant so far, you should watch it).

Set in the remote Scottish Highlands, the cinematography is all endless moorland and mountainous vistas in shades of brown, brown and more brown. Dreary? Yes. Atmospheric? You bet. Sartorially inspiring? Oh hell yes!

Think heavy cable knits in navy and maroon, plaid shirts and wax jackets, rolled-up jeans and sturdy footwear. Joanna Vanderham’s ankle-length gumboots in particular are giving me major feels.

Feeling inspired, I’ll be re-lacing an old pair of chestnut stack-heeled ankle boots with red hiking-boot laces and pairing them with oversized men’s jumpers from secondhand shops for serious Louis Vuitton credentials.

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BBC One thriller ‘One of Us’