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Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nostalgia. Show all posts

Friday, 10 October 2014

Collector or hoarder?

cabinet of curiosities

I've been an avid collector of things for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, we moved house a lot, but one constant in my life was a little cabinet not unlike the one above, full of my favourite odds and ends. Many of the little items on those tiny shelves are the same as they've always been, but over the years, I've added to my collection as I've acquired little trinkets here and there.

Most people my age have left a lot of their stuff at their parents' house. All of their childhood bits and bobs remain in their adolescent bedrooms, or packed into boxes in the attic. At least, that's how it is with most of the people I know. All of their old schoolwork, their certificates, perhaps some old clothes... It's all tucked away at their parents' house, out of sight. Because both of my parents live abroad, I've ended up with the majority of my childhood things. Practically every single thing I've ever owned. Or at least that's how it feels when I'm trying to heft the boxes into vans to drive them up and down the country.

So at what point does keeping things become unhealthy? I've always kept a diary and I am a very nostalgic person - I love looking back on what I thought or said or did a long time ago. That's why all of my embarrassing old blog posts are still around for your delectation. I did spout some tosh back then. I probably still do, come to think of it. Moving house has given me the chance to get rid of a lot of old things that I never look at any more, such as an old set of computer speakers, or a jumper with an un-fixable hole in the armpit. There are plenty of things that I can't throw away though, like birthday cards from old friends, a note passed to me in class twelve years ago, a painting by one of my pupils when I was (very briefly) a teacher... I treasure these material possessions, not because they're worth any money but because I get such joy from looking at them and from re-finding them after they've been packed away for a long time.

Obviously there are limits - I mean, I'm not keeping things for the sake of owning EVERYTHING, or because I am scared to throw things away. I'll let you into a little secret - in Dan's childhood bedroom, on top of one of his bookshelves, is a chocolate Easter egg that his grandparents bought him when he was three years old. I'm pretty sure that my own personal hoarding boundary is much more acceptable than 23 year old chocolate... I try to make sure that I am being reasonable about the things that I keep. And my next project is to make sure that all of these things that I own are packed and stored in such a way that they are easily findable and take up the least space possible. And when I'm feeling guilty about having so much stuff, I need to remember that most people my age have a lot of stuff, it's just that half of it is at their parents' houses!

Do you keep everything? Or do you prefer the minimalist approach? What's your most treasured childhood possession?

1. A heart shaped tin with some of my milk teeth in it. // 2. A mysterious Virgin Mary that nobody remembers buying. It is covered in glitter and appeared in our house many years ago with no explanation. // 3. An Eiffel tower model given to me for free by a street vendor in Paris who made me cry when he showed me a sexually explicit monkey toy when I was eleven. // 4. A porcelain fairy that I bought with pocket money on a trip to Devon as a child. // 5. A really small German dictionary given to me by Robin. // 6. Another Virgin Mary, this time one I bought with pocket money on a holiday to Greece, when I was obsessed with Catholic shrines as a child. I feel I should point out, my family is not Christian! // 7. A small tin with the carnation my dad wore in his lapel on the day he married my mum. // 8. Wooden Tortoise, China Koala. // 9. A pebble from Brighton beach with a naturally formed hole in the shape of a 'C' for 'Candy'. // 10. Venetian glass dreidel, tacky 80s crucifix, and my graduation pin from Cambridge University. // 11. A picture of me as a wee babby. // 12. A tiny classical vase, full of whiskers shed by the cat over the last few years. // 13. Glass snail. // 14. The wheel I carried around in my pocket for a year as a teenager. As mentioned on my About Me page! // 15. Painted banksia seed pods, sent to me from Australia by my Aunty when I was little. // 16. Various nostalgic Champagne corks. // 17. A toy Morris Minor car that my Dad gave me when I was a child. He used to own a real-size one of these cars, before I was born. // 18. Tiny horseshoes for good luck!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

My Grandma's Dress

70s Vintage dress
A little while ago, one of my grandmothers sent me a dress in the post. She lives in Australia and I don’t get to see her nearly as often as I’d like to. In the parcel with the dress was a little note explaining that her sister had made the dress for her in the 70s, as she was going to be a bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding. She was going to get rid of it, when my mum suggested that she could send it to me.
As soon as I unwrapped, it, I tried it on straight away, and it fit perfectly. It’s so purple and patterned, and I can’t wait to wear it to some kind of picnic or barbecue, or other summery event. I love how 70s it is, and how different it is from anything I normally wear. Most of all, I like that it was my grandma’s, and that there isn’t another dress like it in the world.
Grandma's Vintage Dress
70s fashion in London
Genuine Vintage dress
Here’s my grandma and her friend who was getting married. What a classic photo, and how stunning they both look! I feel honoured to be giving this dress a new lease of life. I love hand-me-downs (or Hammydowns, as I once thought they were called. But that’s another story for another day…)
Old photo of Grandma
Posing like Grandma
Thank you Grandma Helen for this beautiful dress.

Monday, 1 July 2013

I was a fashionable child...

Hi there, long time no speak! I've been up to my ears in work and wedding planning, and I've really missed blogging! As part of our wedding, we're having a photo wall, with pictures of ourselves as kids, and of our parents and grandparents too. It's going to be a fun thing to prepare the day before the wedding. Family members have been sending me an absolute truck load of amazing photos, so I thought I'd share a few with you.
new york child
fashion dungarees
red knee socks
I'm only showing you ones of me, because I haven't asked anyone else's permission to put their photo online, but I'm sure you'll agree that I was a very well-dressed child! Props to my mum and dad for dressing me in some excellent, tiny outfits. Also, props to the 90s for being such a hilarious decade for fashion!
I'll be back soon with some photos from my "hen party", and of course I will be posting plenty of wedding photos when the time comes! :)

Saturday, 9 April 2011

LOL heartily at my ineptitude.

You know that thing I hinted that I might do... That thing where I was going to write a blog post every day in April? Yeah, well apparently I suck at blogging. Three days later, and let's pick up where we left off.

Today, I was required to take charge of a group of approximately twenty five 30-60 year olds, and show them around the college buildings, as part of an alumni tour. They were all alumni who had gone into teaching, and I was there, because I am shortly going to embark upon my teacher training (grades permitting). It was a farcical example of role-reversal, where neither party was particularly comfortable with the role that they were being expected to fill. I took them to the new library, and they wouldn't stop talking. I kept having to tell them to shut up, despite the fact that they are teachers, and I am not even a graduate yet. One of them snorted, "You were BORN to be a teacher, weren't you?!" with that sarcastic, derisive teacher-sneer that I might even take up praying so that I can pray to avoid developing.
It wasn't all bad though. One chap commended me on my efforts at trying to control a large group of people, a woman told me that teaching is the best thing she's ever done, and another woman told me not to be afraid of wanting to teach in private girls' schools, because teaching is a service to society whomever you end up teaching. That made me feel much better about the fact that I think I'll be a much better teacher in that kind of scenario than in an inner city London school - the kind in which I will inevitably end up doing placements on my PGCE. I am desperate NOT to come across as a snobby private-school-girl who is terrified of the real world, but I definitely have doubts about my ability to stand and scream at a bunch of 14 year olds who have an active desire to not learn!

I am still unable to fully comprehend the fact that when I return to Cambridge after the vacation, it will be for the final time as a student. The last time I decorate my room, the last time I pick up my key from the Porters, the last time I have a beginning-of-term meeting with my Director of Studies... I am going to be taking my last Cambridge exams, having my last Cantabridgian summer. I am not going to lie; there have been times in Cambridge when I have been extremely depressed, and there are aspects of the Cambridge system that I find to be very flawed, but I am sure that every Cambridge student will agree with me, that the Cambridge summer just melts all of the work-related, system-related depression away, and replaces it with an idealised, fluffy version of university life. Lucky it ends in the summer then, I suppose. At least the resounding memory will be of fun, sun, and copious jugs of Pimm's.

I will attach a couple of photos from last summer, to get myself into the mood, and take the edge off of my current exam-related-rabbit-in-headlights state.This was taken on the day that we went night-punting. We hired a punt out overnight, and punted up to Grantchester, where we had a pub dinner and then froze under insufficient blankets until morning when we punted home. I was still feeling a punt-like rocking motion, four days later. Dan and Emma are in the foreground, and in the middle is Michaela.

This photo shows my friends who are in a Barbershop group, singing Fever. James (the guy standing up) is singing the words, "what a lovely way to burn", and the guys who are kneeling/crouching, are clicking their fingers in a sultry manner. They were performing at the Music Society garden party, at which I also performed, with my choir. They are always a crowd-pleaser. Strapping young lads...
And here I was, posing like a buck-toothed idiot with bingo-wings, and a battenburg. Look at me go. I had a whimsical picnic with Tilly and Dan, and we made tiny little sandwiches and everything, before gorging ourselves stupid. It was glorious.

Now to get through my exams and have an even better summer, this year!