Saturday, 3 March 2018

That 60's Look

Mod is a subculture that began in 1960s Britain and spread, in varying degrees, to other countries and continues today on a smaller scale. Focused on music and fashion, the subculture has its roots in a small group of London-based stylish young men in the late 1950s who were named modernists because they listened to modern jazz, although the subculture expanded to include women. Unsurprisingly, women made a whole big thing out of it: mini-skirts - progressively getting shorter and shorter, long boots, psychedelic prints, berets and black turtlenecks, androgynous looks, fake eyelashes, beehive hairstyles,  suede coats, mini dresses - all giving young women high visibility and relative autonomy.
Reflective of an era that defines itself as a period when women and men started expressing themselves through clothes, music, art and aspired to a competitive sophistication, the mod movement has always fascinated and attracted me. I love the vibrant colours, the geometric shapes, the clear lines, the refined looks with a minimalist tendency. They can't go unnoticed and they are everything but dull: they inspire, they generate reactions, they stand out and they have identity. There's an intrinsic nostalgia in a mini skirt and a feeling of joy and carefree, recalling an age when young people were truly relevant and a powerful element of change. I had fun going back to the Swinging Sixties by using the wonderful means of fashion and make-up to be transformed into a mod girl and imagine the times when my mom had a short hem line, a big hair do and many big dreams in her heart. How can one not love that Sixties look?

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A Marathon for Hope

It's been months since I last had time and willingness to leave my thoughts here for you. In the meantime many things happened. Life happened. I am finally at a point where I can breathe, I can feel alive again, ready to face everything and ready to grab life with both hands. New life, new house, new hopes, new me. I have the world to discover, I have this life to live, finally! Let it all come, I am out of the hole, back into the light, brighter than I've ever seen it before.
After a tough end of year, I found the courage to break free and make it happen for myself. 2017 is, has been and will continue to be my year: I moved out, I found myself a place to live in peace, I bought those little things one buys at the start of a new journey in life and what a joy! My own cups to delight myself with a cup of tea in my window where I sunbathe for as long as I want, on my own chair, in my own time, listening to my beloved music, no one to tell me to be quiet and submissive - those small, precious liberties we forget should be ours, never to give away for anyone!
I then thought I can run a half marathon, because if I wanted, I could. And I did! I started training hard and in March I ran the Eton&Windsor Half Marathon. Just a few months before I thought it wasn't for all mortals to achieve something like that, but you know what? It is, those banal words that say "All you have to do is want it!" are actually true.
Then something else happened and put everything into perspective, once again, clearer than ever. News about a dear friend being diagnosed with breast cancer reached me. It shook my world, it made me realise how we only live once and we have a duty to ourselves to make the most of the little or long time we are given. It made me reflect on how precious life truly is, on how so very often we take it for granted, how we forget to treasure every day and make it the best yet, how we allow the bad and the negative into our life and think it's ok to live with it. I felt a sudden urge to show her my support, to let her see she doesn't have to go through this on her own, to make her feel that hope I was clinging to myself and to show her how much I wanted her to stay positive and believe in herself.  I knew how strong will can help you come out of impossible situations, as they may seem. She needed a reminder of how strong she really is - of how strong we all really are.
I searched for the nearest marathon and it didn't scare me it was happening so soon. I just said to myself that I'll keep training and I'll have to make it, there wasn't anything in the world stopping me. It's incredible what strength a deep fall can instill in us. I simply felt I could do it and there was no two ways about it. My friend needed to see that happening in order for her to keep believing in herself. If I could run a marathon, she could fight her battle as well.
The energy on that day was incredible - the buzz, the thrill, the fright, the excitement, the responsibility one feels on one's shoulders when running for a cause - a mix of emotions that can not be accurately described, but has to be experienced. I had never ran 42 km ever before - the most I did in my training was 35 km. My body didn't know what that kind of effort actually meant (I did almost collapse on my 35 Km training session, on my own, with only one small bottle of water and no sugar source to renew my energy - a mindless decision to train like that!), but my mind was so determined that I didn't take into account for a second the possibility of me not finishing, no matter what. We need that frame of mind to take us out of challenging situations that might look like dead end roads. They're not! We have it in us, we simply can if we put our mind to it. I had to show Elena that, I had to give her HOPE that she can do it too, she CAN defeat cancer and I know she WILL.
It wasn't a walk in the park - it was exhausting, it was arduous, grueling, excruciating and it seemed an infinite and lonely journey, when my body was aching terribly, when I almost fainted again at mile 23, when my toenails were ravaged and my knee and ankle were painfully consumed and damaged, but the thought of my friend gave me strength, the thought of the few people that truly love me and supported me on that day kept me going, the wonderful people on the side encouraging me with signs saying "I'm proud of you, random stranger!", the voices reading the message on my t-shirt "Keep fighting, Elena!" gave me wings and made this day the most memorable in recent years! I will never forget the spirit that animated me on those long hours in an unexpected burning sun and I just know I brought HOPE back into my friend's life and mine.
Sun burnt and completely drained, I made it home; cold sores and blisters, bad knee that will take months to recover, wobbly ankle that aches at very step, lost toenails - they're all my beautiful signs of victory and hope. I made it, Elena. We made it! Hope is here to stay! You're here to continue enjoying life. Make the most of it and I'll remind myself to do the same.
If you want to show your support to my cause - and every little truly helps -, you can donate here:

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Wrapped in autumn

 Yesterday, we were hunting for signs for Anita's school project. Signs of anything - of decay, of old age, of love, of transition, of despair, of joy... What became obvious immediately was that everywhere we looked we were surrounded by signs of autumn. It was omnipresent: in the air, on the ground, on people's faces, in their gestures, all cuddling together, almost defending themselves from the whipping cold and often rain, shoulders shrugged, hands hidden under layers of wool. We were on our way to see Billy Elliott at the Hippodrome in Bristol and felt like wearing something formal, so I wrapped myself in autumn's colours and textures. I can't have enough of them, they make me feel a part of this beautiful and sad transition of nature, going from greens to browns, from living to decaying, from light to gloom, from joyous to distraught. It's that cycle of life that makes me feel nostalgic and sorrowful, but what powerful emotions they are! Just like those we felt exploding in us at the end of the show. We were floating and pulsing with sentiments we haven't experienced in a while, despite the aching rain and cold. Beautiful season, beautiful evening, all wrapped in autumn!
I was wearing Primark coat, tunic dress and cardigan and New Look leather boots.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Make things grow

Today I finally (almost) finished my garden shed and what a glorious autumn day it was! Perfect for my little inauguration. A final coat of paint, two touches here and there and my little shabby chic garden shed is ready to be featured in "George's amazing spaces" , as I like to think. Vintage green and white combined with mahogany, cute shelving trimmed with lace, garden tools strategically hidden in a corner, vintage mosaic mirror made with pieces of fine china, I luckily sourced from a charity shop, cold drinks tin bucket (to make an ad-hoc sink when needed), a little cabinet for glasses and mugs, waiting for me to enjoy a cold drink on a summer's day or a hot cup of tea on a December morning when I'll finish planting my bulbs for spring, kitchen ingredients for when I'll make a perfect salad with vegetables from my allotment - they're all there for me to enjoy gardening with a bit of style. Chic gardening, I call it. I still need to put more plants in my pots and plant more bulbs around the shed, but for now I think I'm waiting for winter with a smile. Today was a proper spring day and I'm sure it was all due to my cute shed, resplendent in the sun, sending its love out there to all gardening aficionados. I'll come back with pictures in spring, when all my plants and flowers will have been blossomed. Enjoy the pics!