I missed my list for December - there were too many things going on. The month sped by before I had time to blink twice. And it looks like I am only just going to squeeze this month's list in. I definitely need to plan these lists a bit better.
I have this thing for bowls. I can never have enough of them - as long as they're round. Because round bowls easily stack into one another and it's so easy to pile them higher and higher: as high as a wobbly, leaning tower of bowls will go without topping over. I don't really mind what colour they are. I adore pastels, bright colours and white bowls. I keep my eyes peeled for solid colours and patterns, vintage bowls, ceramic bowls, bamboo bowls, wooden bowls. My favourite type are the ones that have been turned on a pottery-wheel and hand-painted with love and dedication. Wooden bowls are a close second. Both Etsy and Anthroplogie are good online sites to hunt for bowls.
Main picture: Handmade pasta bowls by Blue Sky Pottery CO on Etsy; top to bottom: Old Havana cereal Bowl on Anthropologie; Wooden bowls by Oniroteo on Etsy; Speckled turquoise bowls by GXDesigns on Etsy; Wing & Petal bowl by August Wren on Anthropologie; left to right: Sissinghurst Castle cereal bowl on Anthropologie; Swirled Symmetry bowl on Anthropologie; Francophile Serving bowl by Nathalie Lete on Anthropologie.
However, if you happen to be in Venice and want to purchase some lovely ceramics, there is a pretty little store in Santa Croce called La Margherita that has an amazing selection of hand-painted pottery, including bowls, of course.
When Leonard Cohen died last November, I had started to write my own little tribute to him. But I never found the time to finish it; so I never published it. I suppose it is ironical that it was the animated character Shrek who introduced me to Leonard Cohen, when Rufus Wainright's version of 'Hallelujah' was used in the movie. I'd heard the song before but this time, I couldn't get it out of my head. So I went online and Googled it. I found out that it was a Leonard Cohen original and that Wainright's version was just one of many covers of this beautiful song that I could listen to over and over. But this is hardly the only piece of music that Cohen gave the world. In my case, 'Hallelujah' was just the door that got me exploring the other wonderful compositions of this talented man. Songs like 'Dance Me to the End of Love', 'A Thousand Kisses Deep', 'So Long Marianne' and so many more that have immortalised him forever. This little paragraph that I have just written really doesn't do justice to the man. Just one month before he died, David Remnick published an article in The New Yorker entitled Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker. Read it if you have time. It is quite long but it provides a great insight into the man behind the music.
The Prisoner of Heaven
'The Prisoner of Heaven' is the third published book in The Cemetery of Forgotten books series by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, but the second in chronological order. The first book, 'The Shadow of the Wind' is a page-turner. I couldn't stop reading it until I'd finished it. But whereas 'The Shadow of the Wind' had every loose end tied up by the final page, 'The Prisoner of Heaven' left you with a feeling that more is yet to come. Apparently it will, in a fourth installment that will be published in Spain later this year. The English version will be available in 2018.
A prequel to 'The Shadow of the Wind' called 'The Angel's Game' already exists and I meant to read it before 'Prisoner of Heaven' but I got the order mixed up. Not that it matters because, according to the author, the sequence in which the books are read is irrelevant as each one is a novel in and of itself. It looks like I have another two books to add to my reading list.
The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series takes us to post-civil war Barcelona. It is a Barcelona very different to the one we know today. In Zafon's novels, Barcelona is a dark, gothic place. A city of secrets and tragedies, where mysteries seem to leap out at our unsuspecting protagonist, Daniel Sempere, a book seller's son, from the very pages of a book that he loves and cherishes. Daniel's best friend and side-kick, Fermin Romero de Torres is one of those unforgettable characters in literature. He provides moments of levity in what is , essentially, a dark tale and makes the book come to life.
BB, which stands for blemish balm or beauty balm, creams really should be a must-have in every woman's make-up routine. They have been popular in Asia for many years but made their debut in Europe in 2011. Since then, they have become a favourite beauty product with many women - including myself. According to Vogue UK, 'they should provide moisturisation, SPF protection and sheer coverage alongside soothing and healing properties - preventing the need for numerous separate products'. I find them an excellent, every-day alternative to foundation because the majority are tinted and they really help to even-out skin tone. I am currently using Revlon Photoready BB Cream. It does tend to leave the skin looking a bit dewy, so it shouldn't be used by women with oily skin and it doesn't work miracles, but it does hide minor imperfections and, if you can get away with it, it is a fast alternative to foundation especially during morning rush-hour. If you're after something more than sheer coverage, then BB creams are not for you.
I just stumbled across this Instagram account a few days ago. SerenisssimaFacades is all about the best facades in Venice. Venetian facades popping up in my feed sounds like a win-win situation to me.
It goes without saying that seeing all the photos of this ephemeral city makes me long to return. I've heard people say that Venice is boring and that one visit is enough to last a life-time. I, on the other hand, can never get enough of its decaying charms. Undoubtedly, it is time for another visit. The trick is to fit it into my schedule.
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