Things which make life better

I was inspired to put this together by a random tweet I read which extoled the virtues of flannel bedlinen. Now, the individual concerned is a très chic Frenchwoman who usually posts fabulous shoes, gorgeous mountain views and classic French food, so I’d no hesitation in saying: “me too!” despite the usual connotations of flannel.

We recently bought new bedlinen as Himself wasn’t overly keen on my white Egyptian cotton – he likes the cotton, but finds the colour intimidating. As my alternative colour scheme is dark navy, and its toning sets are fraying and showing signs of wear, I decided to indulge in a bout of shopping. One of the sets I bought was flannel. In truth, it wasn’t my choice of fabric, I just liked the crisp stripes. It was only when we first used it that I discovered the joys of sleeping in flannel. I had to force myself when it was time to change it, and am now urgently seeking out another set in flannel in the approved colour.

I’ve spoken before of the simple joys of a bunch of flowers and a (really) good cup of coffee so I’ll not repeat myself – though they do appear high on my list of things which make life better. Despite enjoying the occasional cup of high quality coffee – in the main, I’m a tea drinker. I’ve recently had to throw out my favourite mugs as they’d become chipped along the rim. To replace them, I bought a couple of glitzy ones – but they just haven’t sparked the joy I expected. One is black & white & gold – but it stains horribly; the other is glass engraved in gold, and it comes with a saucer – it’s terribly pretty & photogenic, but I’m always nervous about it’s fragility. Despite preferring bone china as it looks elegant, I find myself edging back to Emma Bridgewater – whose mugs don’t meet this criteria at all, but was where one of my old favourites came from. There’s something solid and reliable about her mugs which just works for me. Now I just have to choose which one.

Next on the list is my camera and the collection of smaller but high quality lenses which I’m steadily collecting. They’re not cheap, but they’re high quality and (a lot) lighter than my previous favourite go-to options. I shoot with a Pentax system as they’re good quality but cheaper than the bigger brands. They’ve been around for a long (long) time, and have a passionate, if niche following. I’m also eyeing up a walk-about pocket-sized camera for those days when I don’t want to carry the full kit. Since becoming serious about my photography, I find I see the world differently. I see light, colours, patterns and people as if through a lens – even when I have no camera with me, and doing the same with landscape and nature has totally transformed how I see the natural world. I love my quirky Japanese camera system – and the fact that they don’t bring out a new model every year, but only when there’s a genuine progression in the technology, means I don’t feel like they’re putting their hands in my pocket unnecessarily.

The weather is turning a little more autumnal, so I was browsing in my wardrobe this morning for a scarf to keep my neck warm. When you wear your hair as short as I do, it’s a genuine requirement in the cooler months of the year. Following my colour consultation earlier this year, I now have a whole new range to choose from – all of which are more flattering than my previous options. This morning it’s a jaunty red one, dotted with white bees, in a soft linen-like weave – just perfect for this transitional weather. As I bought these new scarves just as summer was starting, they’ve been burning a metaphorical hole in my wardrobe.

When my daughter got married some years ago, she gave me a free pass to wear black to her wedding. I bought an investment dress and have used it a few times since. But it had (yes, past tense) an intricate beaded neckline making it fussy & dressy in a way which restricted my wearing it more often. Last week, I decided to remove the beading – and while it was fiddly, it’s like I have a whole new little black dress. As it’s filled the gap for a multi-purpose little black dress in my wardrobe, perhaps I can re-purpose the budget towards a new pair of black boots. I may be in seventh heaven – really & truly 😉

Speaking of footwear, I endured a horrible search during the lengthy months of lockdown for a pair of comfortable black slip-ons. Many, many (many) pairs later, I finally found the perfect pair. Soft (they’re made of bamboo) with a lovely cushioned sole, they slip on without assistance… and so are absolutely perfect. In fact, they’re so perfect, I bought another pair of everyday walking shoes (made of wool), and a pair of high tops from the same retailer. Amazingly, I’ve not had a single blister from any of them – which is saying something as my blistering feet are legendary. The only drawback is they’re expensive, but working on a cost-per-wear basis, they are soooo going to earn their keep.

Of course, there are people and activities which make my life oodles better, but today I intentionally chose to focus on things.

What about you? What things make your life better?

© Debra Carey, 2021

13 thoughts on “Things which make life better

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  1. First off….thank you. I needed this post today. 💗 to your question: tea, books, film, art, flowers, heated neck wrap, soft plushy blanket, lightly scented candles, my planner, hot pink gel pen

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  2. I love Egyptian cotton for sheets…I am leery of flannel as I think they might be too hot, although I do love flannel shirts (I am Canadian, after all 😁). The rage right now is for actual LINEN bed linens. I would give them a try but the price discourages me. Perhaps someday, when they are less trendy and on sale….Nice post, Debs! Thanks for sharing.


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  3. I like expensive 100% cotton sheets with a high fiber count. I like making a pot of tea rather than tossing a teabag into a mug. I like flowers in a vase on the kitchen counter. I like the idea of me owning a better camera, but so far that’s just a dream!

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  4. Ooooo LA, a hot pink gel pen – that’s not one I’d have thought, but I do love the coloured inks I’m collecting for my fountain pens.
    While I’m glad my post was timely, I’m sorry that it was needed (if you see what I mean). I hope today proves to be a better day.

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  5. Ha ha Deb (to “I am Canadian, after all”). I wondered about flannel being too hot as well, but we didn’t find it so during the later part of the summer. Mind you, temps weren’t at their highest by any means. I’ll have to report back if we have a good summer next year. You know, I was momentarily tempted by actual linen but, as you say, the price – horrific! Even if I could justify the money, I worry that they’d look even more disreputable than my un-ironed cotton bed linen looks now 😀

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  6. Janet, so with you on the books. I used to drink my coffee out of tall narrow mugs too, in order to keep the right temperature from beginning to end (I drink it black so the timing of that whole thing is a challenge), but now that I just have the odd one – and usually when I have a croissant to dunk – I stick with a small cup instead. Thank you for the reminder – I enjoyed reminiscing about those mugs which I absolutely loved.

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  7. Oh Ally, I cannot tell you how many teapots I have (and I’ve cut back). I agree with you, there’s something so civilized about making a pot of tea and taking the time to enjoy it. You have a good eye so a better camera would be well used in your hands. Deciding which one to choose can be time consuming when you don’t have someone like Himself who just loves to do all that research. Can you tell he’s got me questioning my decision over a compact camera? I love him, but… 😀 😀 😀

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  8. Alas, no. I’m going to write about it next Friday, but today I am a mess. But thank you for that post because it helped me a great deal

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  9. Sometimes all we can do is sink into that which soothes us. I hope doing so will help you get where you need to be. Take care LA.

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  10. Now I’m intrigued to try a set of flannel sheets as winter rolls in!

    I go through a properly steeped pot of tea every day. And I love my Emma Bridgewater mugs! Each one evokes a special memory of my time in Scotland! 💖

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  11. Lee, do it, get yourself some good quality flannel sheets. They are so cosy and lovely against the skin. So glad you share my love of Emma. I am planning on digging out one of her teapots in my cupboard – just need to get a suitable tea cosy. Then it’ll be perfect in my office in the afternoon 🙂


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