Five things in June

The kitchen, complete with soapstone counters, in Geraldine Brooks’ home. Photo: Randi Baird, New York Times

We’ve made it through the first month of winter! And it flew by (do I literally say that about every month? It feels like I say that about every month. So boring, and yet so true – months go quickly these days). It has been an absolutely delightful month. I’ve read some really good books! I’ve watched some really good television! I’ve seen houses that make my heart sing, taken a couple of really great showers (read on, you’ll understand) and I’ve got out into nature and tamed it. I usually am not a fan of winter but something has happened. I’m…content? Is this pandemic-induced? Whatever it is, I’ll take it. Check out our little highlights of June…

1. A bit of light winter gardening

I am very much a fair weather gardener, and don’t usually touch it in winter, but this June was a different story! We have a couple of planter boxes that needed tidying up – the rosemary was out of control, the lavender was getting woody, and because autumn stayed warm so long the summer vegetable plants just kept hanging on, but it was finally time to say goodbye to them. I took advantage of one sunny day to give the planter boxes a good tidy and it was so satisfying. A couple of weeks later, my mother gave me some garlic bulbs left over from her own winter planting, so the next fine weekend day I had I got out there to plant those – and while I was at it, cut some flowering mānuka to go in a vase inside. I felt like a character from a movie who has a lot of time to wander round her garden, secateurs in hand, and drift from plant to plant…it was all very pleasing.

2. Dress Code

This was such a good read! Dress Code, by Veronique Hyland, is all about the fashion industry and us – why we wear what we wear, why we buy what we buy, and how fashion is sold to us. As someone who really loves clothes but arguably not fashion (not that I don’t like it – but I am hardly dressing as the shows suggest) I found this such an interesting collection. The essay on the enduring nature of the romanticised ‘French girl’ trope is fascinating, especially to anyone who’s ever been on Pinterest, and I also really enjoyed the explainer of why I don’t dress to the shows (and why I’m not meant to). It’s so much more interesting, and so much deeper, than it could be – Veronique Hyland is clearly a real expert.

3. Only Murders in the Building

I am so late to Only Murders in the Building the second season has already come out! I have only watched the first season so far (and only just finished it) but what. a. season. I loved, loved, loved this. It’s so funny and so absolutely perfect in its construction. And so beautiful – the opening credit sequence never got skipped in this house; it is so gorgeous (it also helps that we used to live by the building used for its exterior – we feel very connected!). It is amazing to me how good television can be these days. So many mini-series and tight seasons and considered watching – and so many experiments that I can’t see getting made in the days when there were only a few big networks! Slight spoiler (but not actually a spoiler) – there is one episode where nobody speaks and I didn’t even notice for about 15 minutes. That’s how carefully this show is put together. I can’t say enough good things.

4. This beautiful Martha’s Vineyard home

Reading about Geraldine Brooks’ Martha’s Vineyard home – and equally important, seeing the pictures of it – felt like coming home. It’s not at all my dream home (it looks to be very high maintenance and I feel like it would be so stressful to own) but something about the vibe of it is just perfect, and left me poring over the pictures for hours, trying to work out how to get that same feeling in my home. So far I’ve decided that soapstone counters (as in the picture at the top of this post) are definitely going in when it’s time to replace our kitchen counters (which might unfortunately be sooner rather than later – a story for another day), that I should buy books with impunity because there’s always room for more books, and that duck egg blue will be getting a look in when it comes time to decorate our new spaces. You can tell someone really lives in and loves this house, and those are always my favourite sort of spaces – houses that are lived in, loved, and full of things their owners find beautiful really have something special. Take a look at all the pictures in the NY Times

5. Anihana shower steamers

A little treat for those of us without baths (that’s me right now but hopefully not me next June…!). There’s nothing I love more than a bath with some lovely bath oil or fancy salts or something else just a little bit luxurious. It’s pretty darn hard to get the same situation going in the shower but I’ve devoted myself to the cause over the last 10 bath-less years of my life, and I feel confident in my assertion that these bring one way closer than anything else can offer. They’re quite inexpensive – you certainly wouldn’t want to use one every day but as something special every week or two they’re well worth it. I take long showers – water conservation is definitely not my forté – and in my experience they last way longer than the four minutes their packaging indicates. There’s a lot of bad news out there in the world right now, so if you think a nicer shower would bring some joy to your life, I definitely think you should pick some of these up.

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