cait +tiff

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C/ Acts of Matter


Hi, this is the first installment of “the things you can donate a little bit of money to, but it will go a long way.” It’s not an especially catchy tag line, but these organizations are worth a look.

The first one I love is Acts of Matter. This dance company, founded by my dear friend and true badass, Rebecca Lemme, is all about dealing with social issues through dance and expression. She has run the company for a few years, and has put together some of the most beautiful, heart breaking, and emotional work I have ever seen.

Her words are as powerful as her work:

“Founded in 2014, Acts of Matter is a project-based performance group with a mission of revealing and reveling in our greater humanity through investment in process and collaboration. The work of the company is grounded in an unfettered willingness to attempt something while accepting the possibility of its failure. This physical exertion—this act of trying—is the core of humanity in the work. As a choreographer, Artistic Director Rebecca Lemme is inspired by the ability of movement to move people—to stir in them something innately human: the need to find connection. Acts of Matter hinges on the belief that as a society we are defined by what unites us—by what makes us similar, not what makes us different. Drawn from immensely personal inspiration, the work creates a window in which others can see their own experience reflected. It suggests that at the core of every private struggle or individual joy is something universal.”

Watching her work has gotten me excited about dance again, something that I have truly missed. If you are into arts, know how much funding they are losing every year, and want to help out a company that does seriously wonderful work, please consider donating to the Kickstarter. It closes in a few days, so get on it. Also, the video on the fundraising page is the prettiest.

Happy Caring-about-other-people Tuesday!

xx cait


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T / happy monday / creeping on dorsu’s new line

There is pretty much only one brand I turn to when I think of sustainable and ethical basics that are also affordable and look amazing.  Ask any girl in Phnom Penh and they’ll have one, two or perhaps even an entire wardrobe filled with these black, grey, striped tees, tanks, T-shirts, shirt dresses.  The whole kit and kaboodle.  And did I mention that the entire biz is packed with amazing ladies committed to upcycling all that remnant fabric waste that gets chucked out of Cambodia’s garment factories on a regular basis?  So yeah, that.

I’ve admired Dorsu from afar for ages.  And with this blog handy, Cait and I quickly became pals with co-founder Hanna Guy.  She’s a freaking awesome lady who hails from gorgeous Australia and, together with co-founder Kunthear Mov, is committed to producing clothing that you’ll actually wear everyday and everywhere, in a workshop that pays everyone ethically, and is constantly pushing the edge of what can be done in sustainable and ethical fashion.  They’re the kind of pieces that you’ll tell your friends that the very jersey or French terry you’re wearing was once considered waste (you can read more about that here).   There’s so much of it that Hanna and her team can produce entire collections that you can purchase both in Cambodia at their store in Kampot or at retailers in Phnom Penh, or online, where they’ll ship basically anywhere.

This year Hanna got together a Dorsu crew to add some ideas to the collection.  This means the classics are still around, but there are some amazing new pieces added in their Core Collection and Classic Capsule wardrobe.  More items that you can transition from office to night to weekend  She’s been teasing about this for ages.  And this past Friday, these new pieces were released, and the interwebs is going nuts.

In August, I got a sneak peak at the line (and colours! check out that millennial pink), when Hanna invited me to shoot some behind the scenes photos.  This also meant I got to shadow the uber talented Rita McNeill, Hanna’s pal and awesome lady behind the lens for all the official Dorsu shots, and watch the styling feats of Dorsu’s sales and marketing guru, Ellen Tirant.  Creeping on their creative process was exactly what I was doing.  I walked away with a bunch of shots and my eye on some periwinkle items. 

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a weekend.  And I’ve been trying (and failing) to plan a trip to Kampot for ages.  I just want to hang out with these amazing ladies again and learn all the things from them (yes this means a future interview of course).

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.  Cait+Tiff are not liable for that spending spree.

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T / shooting lovebirds

Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love

Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love

I’m shooting my first wedding next month!!!! And I’ve got an engagement shoot coming up too!  And I couldn’t be more excited and touched that I was asked to.  #makingit right?  So many of my favourite photographers have weddings in their portfolios.  They’re kind of a big deal.  They give awards out.

Except I’ve never shot a wedding before.  But I shoot children.  I’ve shot children’s birthday parties.  It’s a freaking bloody mess.  So I can swing this right?  With a little help from my friends of course.  I’ve been following all these guys for years.  And of course, they’re not actually my friends. We’ve never met. But because I’ve seen and adore their pixels, I feel like we’d all immediately become pals when the stars aligned.

So in an effort to figure out how and what I’m gonna shoot when the big days come along.  I thought I’d share all the inspiration.

Photo Credit: Alex and Betty

Photo Credit: Alex and Betty

I’ve been following Betty’s food photos for the past while (we even made contact recently!!), but only recently got super into the wedding photography biz she has with her husband, Alex.  How cool would it be to have a beautifully, happily, super gorgeously curated couple shooting your wedding? I love their use of depth of field, all the negative space. And the magic.  That’s basically the most importance thing right?


Photo Credit: Alex and Betty


Photo Credit: Alex and Betty

Photo Credit: Zachary Davis Photography.

Photo Credit: Zach Davis Photography.

I love that Zachary and his partner Jodi state that “we think love is a big deal” on their about page.  This Fargo, ND-based couple take the most beautiful naturally lit, organic, earthy photos ever.  It’s everything I basically aspire to.  There’s also just something about these photos. The sense of the warm in the frigid cold of the hinterland.  Of Americana.  I love them so much.


Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love

Whimsy and delight.  That’s something else I’ve got in my sights when it comes to celebrations of two people together.  The folks over at LA-based Our Labor of Love (it’s killing me that I can’t put a U in there) are exactly that.  Everything they shoot is just so freaking fun. They even have a photobooth.

Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love.

Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love.

Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love.

Photo Credit: Our Labor of Love.

Photo Credit: Celine Kim.

Photo Credit: Celine Kim.

I first discovered Toronto-based Celine because she had shot a friend-of-friend’s wedding (thank you Facebook – social media at work!).  And then I just fell in love with the way that she was documenting all of the love, babies and places in the little, yet huge, part of Canada that I’m from (hello Southern Ontario).  Also, Celine gets the whites perfect. All the time.

Photo Credit: Celine Kim.

Photo Credit: Celine Kim.

Photo Credit: Celine Kim.

Photo Credit: Celine Kim.

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C / together and stuff

Transitions are hilarious, easy, and always lots of fun without any confusion whatsoever. Or the opposite. Uprooting is a mess, and resettling is sort of like trying to make a house out of legos and rapidly melting ice cream. It’s a weird time, so I am calling in reinforcements, and tapping into some experts on how to keep my brain and body from exploding into a million pieces.

On Tuesday night, I attended Together, a traveling speaker series with Glennon Doyle Melton at the helm. You may know her blog, Momastery, or her book, Love Warrior. Her story is one of recovery and acceptance, with a huge amount of humor. She is monumentally brave with herself, highlights her vulnerability, and is above all, honest. She, along with host Jennifer Rudolf Walsh, have pulled together women from all walks of life, with incredible stories of bravery, love, and strength.

Right, so it’s a self-help-type thing, and my snarky, stubborn guts feels weird about things like this. They even gave you a little booklet where you write down your manifesto and strengths and dreams and a bunch of other things that are really hard to figure out in the allotted 45 seconds. My self-loving brain and my shit-talking brain had a long conversation about whether or not this is total garbage, and the self-loving side actually won.

Strangely enough, I like doing things that make me feel better about the hard parts of life, and I think it’s really valuable to listen to remarkable women talk about real, honest, vulnerable stuff. I get that this might sound like I’m elbow-deep in inspiring Pinterest quotes with stock photo sunsets in the background, but that’s fine.

So because I didn’t record the whole thing on my phone that really needs to be upgraded, below, are internet-provided clips of the ladies on stage. Honestly, these clips don’t do the  speakers justice, but you get the idea.

Glennon Doyle Melton

“We can do hard things.”

Dr Jaqui Lewis

“Friends, we need to vote like our lives depend on it, like our love depends on it.”

Seane Corn

“You only ever teach what it is you need to learn, quite frankly.”

Valarie Kaur

“We can tell our own stories, author our own articles, make our own films, launch new campaigns, influence government and the media, and organize through technology and innovation. We have the tools to make love public in ways we haven’t seen before.”

Gina Rodriguez

“You are enough today, and the second you accept yourself is the second everybody else around you does as well.”





T / jen’s taste explosion

coffee-headerIt’s National Coffee Day!  So of course I had to share this little amazing thing that happened for my birthday.  I wanted to do something different this year.  An adult alternative to a bowling party.  Not a dinner at one of Phnom Penh’s fine but finite number of restos.  But definitely still food related.  So I invited a small group of friends who have the most discerning of palates and appreciations and asked our coffee Yoda if she could host a coffee cupping in her own personal laboratory of magic.

No. Not Michael Phelps.  Or what they have been doing all over Asia for centuries.

A proper coffee tasting is what a traditional cupping is. But what we got instead (after I told Jen to go nuts) was a taste explosion.  It was epic.  Some are still talking about a certain menage á trois that happened. Taste pairings? More like illicit taste orgies.  I’m serious.

Our coffee magician explains it all.

Our coffee magician explains it all.

Our coffee magician gathered us first to get our palates ready with a bunch of opinion generating tiny things. The bitterest of chocolates.  Three teas with the tiniest of differences.  The fun of bacon fused with chocolate and a mystery ingredient.  All the pink drinks.

All the palate cleansing instructions.

All the palate cleansing instructions.

All the flavour notes being taken.

Flavour notes being taken.

And then came the coffee.  There was a lot of slurping.  It’s an industry standard, you know.  Jen walked us through the entire brewing process. You could totally tell all the minds being blown, knowing that they’d been brewing their beans a little to hot, too long, or not enough.  Bitter, sour, sweet, extraction, pow.

coffee-tastingTiffany TsangTiffany TsangOh right, there was also birthday cake.  But that naked and so lovely espresso red velvet wasn’t what my pals are now trying to recreate at home.  Instead, Jen invited us to put the following in our mouths, at the same time: blue cheese, pineapple and her spherified cold brew coffee jelly.

And then we fought over the last pieces.  As if raised by wolves.  Because that was how good it was.

Tiffany TsangFuture taste explosions are being planned in Phnom Penh!  Keep an eye out on your social media because I hear a bunch of culinary collaborations are in the making!

Thank you Jen for the bestest way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon in Phnom Penh!  I can’t wait to see what you concoct next!!!

Footnote: While we all agreed that everything was delicious. There was something clearly missing: Cait.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. We are not liable for any mishaps with production of spherified cold brew coffee jelly.

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T / wit + whimsy x fragile pretty things

Jen-Thrift-HeaderAccording to the new favourite agenda that Cait got me, yesterday was National Thrift Shop Day.  And if you know us, we love a good thrift shop session.  So when our favourite coffee yoda, Jen, asked me to join her on an expedition, there was only one reaction.  Time and date please.


One of these has got to be a literally millennial treasure.

When she’s not supporting sustainable and ethically produced coffee in Cambodia and across the region, Jen also collects more than her fair share of gorgeous, cheeky, and second hand ceramics.  Nearly all of them are from the Japanese second hand shops which dot Phnom Penh and have become more than popular among expats to decorate their abodes with.  These places are treasure troves.   Like any other illicit contraband, it gets addictive.  You could easily lose an hour or two scouring these places for easterly treasures.  Plus Japanese porcelain and pottery has been practiced for millennia, so you never know when you’ve literally got a treasure in your hands. Often times, the backs of each piece will bear the signature of its potential famous maker.

The lady at work.

Snapping the lady at work.

And Jen takes these treasures up a notch.  I discovered this at the last Swap Sabai, the fabulous little flea market that pops up in my community every few months, where Jen had a table selling these gorgeous wares.  Part Etsy, part garage sale, and always a great way to get to know your neighbours, I stumbled upon Jen’s little collection of hand-upgraded ceramics at their last event.

This guy is just asking for a Jen treatment.

This guy is just asking for a Jen treatment.

By hand-upgraded, I mean that Jen carefully and quite cheekily paints and decorates Wedgwood and Japanese porcelain pieces with a little pop-culture finesse and social commentary.  If a piece looks a little too colonial, Jen will infuse a little irony in there.  With a dry sense of humour, each piece hits it perfectly on the nose.  Too many pretty flowers? Jen will add in a few bugs.  They’re perfect to serve your biscuits and tea on, or to have hanging in your dining room for guests to giggle at.

Finished-PiecesAnd I can’t wait to get myself some pieces this weekend!

If you’re in Phnom Penh, you can find Jen’s goodies at Swap Sabai, this Sunday, August 21 at Crossfit Amatak from 10am-2pm.  Come get your ironic pretty things!

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. Cait+Tiff are not liable for anything that decides to break on your journey home from Swap Sabai.

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T / client love / cambodia knits

I’ve been feeling incredibly thankful lately.  Last year, I set out as a novice photographer, and somehow a bunch of clients trusted me to capture their beautiful selves and moments on camera.  Some of these clients are really great social businesses seeking to improve lives through fair salaries, sustainable and ethical production, and a focus on vulnerable populations.  I wanted to send some of that gratitude back with some client <3.

Cambodia-Knits-HeaderThere is nuance to styling teddy bears and their stuffed animal gang.  I didn’t know this until I started working with Monika and her team at Cambodia Knits.  Over the past year, I’ve been working with this fantastic social enterprise that has a tiny office in Phnom Penh, but a big reach around the world.  In 2009, Cambodia Knits was borne out of a love for the knit, and the realization of Cambodia’s long held tradition of producing hand made crafts, Founder, Monika Nowaczyk, also used it as a way to provide sustainable and fair income to marginalized communities in and around Phnom Penh.


Cambodia Knits’ new magnetic fishing toy and Amazing Elephant!

And my favourite part: Cambodia Knits has a focus on female empowerment and believes in the powerful role of women to break intergenerational cycles of poverty when fair, flexible and sustained gainful employment is available.  Since its inception, over 50 knitters, all of whom are above the age of 18, have been trained in the art of crochet and knitting to produce the cutest high quality little bed buddies, toys and other creations that can now be found in retailers in the Netherlands, Canada, Japan and Australia.  Many of its knitters work from home, but Cambodia Knits also has a day care at its office (that it shares with Khmer Creations) and production site for their staff, some of whom are single moms, to bring their bubs to.

Cambodia-Knits---Slumbering-Bears-1Most recently, I’ve been helping Monika and Cambodia Knits out with their Sleepy Snoogu campagin!  Monika designed these cute little napping buddies out of her own experiences as a first-time mom.  These guys are way cute, and they have an added benefit: the sale of each Sleepy Snoogu will also contribute towards a scholarship fund for the wonderful women who make them.  The scholarship funds go towards supporting families to pay for all of the fees associated with sending their kids to school: uniforms, transportations, books.  These are the extra costs that prevent many families from sending their kids to tuition-free public schools in Cambodia.

To get involved with this wonderful campaign, check out their Indiegogo platform, here.

Cambodia-Knits-Plus-Kids-5Working with Cambodia Knits for this campaign was super fun, and a big learning curve! Styling these guys requires the ultimate light bulb moment (blankets!).  And I now know that there was a lot of sweat and dirt that went into any advertising campaign that features a toddler with a product in hand (but it’s all worth it to get that shot).  Let’s just say, I’m getting closer to becoming the toddler whisperer.

If you’re in Phnom Penh this weekend, come check out Sleepy Snoogus in person at Farm to Table!  On Sunday, July 10, Cambodia Knits, and all of its ladies, will be there all morning, from 9am-11am for colouring, games and fun in the garden.  Artisanal popsicles will also be available, if you need any other reason to go! More info here.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang for Cambodia Knits. Please request permission for use. We are not liable for any urges to cuddle with a plush toy.


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T / uniform, vol.1 (new series!)

This one has been a long time coming.  We are constantly surrounded by the most talented, smartest, wonderful women.  Seriously, Phnom Penh is a cool lady town.  And they’re stylish to boot, bringing pieces together from all the places they’re from, are currently, or have been.  I wanted to capture all of this on my camera and make it a monthly feature while I’m at it.  Every outfit is a winner, so let the uniform games begin!

WWWW---Julia-Header--4Julia’s one of the wonderful people we are so lucky to be friends with in Phnom Penh.  In reverse chronological order: she’s one of the bestest jewelry models, she shot the heck out of Cait’s first show (here, here, here, and here), she directs the bejeesus out of the communications department for a local organization that helps people in southeast Asia access clean water, and before her move to Asia, she was a producer for Canada’s national public broadcaster (our NPR to my American friends).  Also, she’s from Toronto.  Need I say more?

Uniform123I see Julia pretty much every work day morning in a week.  We’ll just have finished some crazy early workout, and I’ll emerge out of the locker room, as quickly as possible,  in whatever I decided was clean and borderline viable for the office, with my hair all over the place.  But Julia, a few minutes later, will saunter out in her typically super happy post-workout cheer looking absolutely perfect in what could only be described as the perfect uniform.  I couldn’t help but notice how put together she is, while still carrying some bright or fun element (check out that Khmer Creations necklace fashioned out of a spoon!), and always bicycle ready (which also means uber comfortable).  Each outfit always looks really light while also fitting her so well. Her pieces come from all over, some skinny fit pants from back home, tailored pieces from Phnom Penh, very cute flats and bags from Chatuchak Market, the list goes on.  So naturally, I had to shoot the heck out of her.  And that’s exactly what we did for a week this past month.


Thank you Julia for being our inaugural Uniform model!  Check back next month to see who I capture next!


PS: 8am light is amazing!


All photos by Tiffany Tsang.  Please request permission for use.  Cait+Tiff are not liable for any minimalist fashion binges.


guest post / Alissa Ate Turkey (…errr Istanbul)

When the layover stars aligned and I decided that I’d be heading to Istanbul (en route to a far flung location) in a couple of weeks, I knew I had to crowdsource all the tasty things.  And who best to do get the goods from? Our very own travel correspondent, of course!  You’ve gone through all of her tips before, so you know this intel is quality.  Thank you Alissa!!!  – Tiff

Alissa-Istanbul-HeaderIstanbul is one of my favorite cities that I’ve ever visited. It’s this incredible mix of traditional and modern, where elements of Europe and the Middle East blend to produce an atmosphere that is unlike any other. The markets are amazing, the architecture is phenomenal, and the food is beyond words. I stayed in Fener-Balat, a cozy little neighborhood of coffee shops and antique stores, where my friends live. Staying here provided a glimpse into the non-tourist side of Istanbul, and some of my favorite moments of the trip involved wandering this area, visiting farmers’ markets and catching up with friends over many cups of tea – spend 30 minutes in this city and you’ll soon realize tea and coffee are the vices of choice. Within moments of arrival, you’ll also quickly notice the plethora of street cats. Istanbul is known for their affection and respect for kitties, with dishes of kibble and water commonly left outside doorsteps. As a result, these are some of the cleanest, plumpest, and friendliest street cats you’ll ever encounter – expect them to curl up in your lap at cafes.

Here are some of the favorite things we did:


  • Oldest Turkish delight shop: This place is legitimately the best Turkish delight I’ve ever had. Granted, most of what I’d had before was free samples on layovers in the IST airport BUT I still argue that this is the best. With the shop first opening its doors in 1777, I am pretty sure it’s the oldest as well.
  • Baklava: My friends were quick to warn me that they had to to find delicious baklava in Istanbul… in fact, they said it was gross. Whaaaaaaat? I took this on as a challenge and proceed sample various baklava establishments daily, at the end of the trip concluded: Ya it’s kinda….. wet. We did some Googling and learned that Turkish baklava is different than Lebanese, the former uses sugar water (hence the soggy) while the later uses honey. Try lots and see what you think, despite the wetness, I still found it yummy and loved just having a piece with a Turkish coffee and watching the world go by. This place is across from the Turkish Delight place and I would highly recommend. It’s gorgeous and you feel like you are back in time and fancy.
  • Turkish breakfast: EVERYONE HAS TO DO THIS! Go here and order the biggest breakfast thing, and also order the egg dish with sausage and also order the fried doughnut things and the cheesy bread. Drink lots of tea with it. The neighborhood around here is also really special.
Dinner at Karakoy Lokantasi (left) and a kepbab at Duramzade (right). Noms.

Dinner at Karakoy Lokantasi (left) and a kepbab at Duramzade (right). Noms.

  • Kepbab at Durumzade. Bourdain ate here, so you know it’s the best.
  • Kunefe: There was this little cafe near the grand bazaar where we had phenomenal meat… and my friend was like, eat this you will die happy. It was kunefe and it was unreal. It’s fried cheese covered in honey and crushed pistachio. Keep an eye out for this treat!
  • Drink raki. It’s so strong, you’ll get so drunk and then like an hour later you’ll feel great. We drank lots of raki after the bathhouse and I’d recommend this as well.
  • Karakoy Lokantasi – this is a fancier resto, but still actually not expensive. It’s beautiful on the inside (one word: turquoise) and the food was phenomenal.
  • Lahmacun: this is like a Turkish pizza (but not at all) and it SO FREAKING DELICIOUS. Mincemeat on flatbread and then you put lots of greens and herbs on top, roll it up and munch. You’ll see them all over, be sure to eat one.


  • Blue Mosque (above) and Hagia Sophia, obvs. It’s unbelievably magical.
  • Turkish bath! We did ours in the neighborhood where we stayed at a very locale place, but can imagine the higher-end, historical bathhouses are also amazing. It’s a pretty incredible experience, who doesn’t want to have their skin scrubbed back to baby softness

Inside the Hagia Sofia.

Laundry Sky Photo

Wander everywhere.

  • Do Asian side and European side, they are so different. The Asian side is really hip and a great place to bar hop at night and hear live music.
  • Hipster time in Karakoy, lots of little boutiques and cafes!
  • Wander Grand Bazaar, here you will find all the Turkish bath towels you’d ever want!
  • There are also these cisterns near the Hagia Sophia that are pretty spectacular.

All photos by Alissa Pries. Please request permission for use. We are not liable for costs incurred for last minute flights of fancy to Istanbul.

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guest post / Emily’s Thurlestone

Cait + Tiff are pawning off their blog duties onto friends this week, and today we have a gorgeous piece written by Emily. Thank you Emily, we love you.

IMG_3167 (1).JPGThurlestone – my family home named for a house on the British coastline my grandparents visited in the early years of their marriage – was an oddity. A crumbling, pieced together, shambolic, loving, warm, bizarrely decorated house in a neighborhood that no longer had room for eccentricity.  When they bought it the surrounded area was farmland and family homes; an easy commuting distance into London for young families.  But by the time they retired, Surrey had been taken over by bankers and football players and the price of property was at a premium. So last summer, after 50 years of happy, chaotic existence, as my grandparent’s health needed greater care than they could receive at home, the property was sold and the house demolished.

Places you’ve loved, much like people you’ve loved, run the risk of being reduced to anecdotes.   We tell stories that we hope illustrate some larger truth.  In the lead up to the demolition, and in the immediate aftermath, well intentioned people kept telling me that it’s not the place that’s meaningful, it’s the people inside and the memories you make with them.  But I always balked at that.   Physical space matters, and as much as I love people, I love my home too. 

IMG_3201 (1).JPG

Thurlestone, I realized, in recounting stories about it, in mourning its demise, was a space – both an emotional and literal space – where you could learn truisms, gently. 

We can be told to love unconditionally, but when you throw a tantrum or fight with your siblings and storm off, and are given the space to recover, and then come back to the bigger group and are welcomed as if nothing has happened – you feel what that love means.  When you color on the walls, and are told off, and then years later a favorite family joke is that the coloring showed your early genius, you both feel and know that people are more important than objects.  When you decide you’re running away at the world weary age of 6, and you feel the gravel under your feet and look both ways at the end of the driveway, and then change your mind and come back inside sheepishly, and your grandmother suggests we all go enjoy the beautiful day, you feel, not in one action, but in multiple little moments, what it means to really forgive someone. 

The problem with so many life lessons is they come when you don’t expect them, they come with a big flash, in a monumental moment, and you’re not given time, often, to decide how best to respond.  For me, the great virtue of home is that in little moments, over and over again, you are given both the literal space to run away and think, and the personal space to repeat mistakes, to observe, to mimic, to get things wrong.  You can, over time, learn softly. Wordsworth called ‘the sum of a good man’s life; the little, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” Home gives you the space to have those moments.

I walk through the world with Thurlestone with me; Thurlestone has contributed to making me feel at home in unfamiliar places.  And I think that’s also what home is.  Home is something you carry with you – not so much in memories, because you can have memories anywhere – but in associations. 

IMG_3202 (1).JPGSitting in a coffee shop hundreds of miles away from where Thurlestone once stood, I saw a lady with a baby, her left side covered in the crusty paste of baby food, with lipstick on only her bottom lip.  She had clearly started to apply it and gotten distracted.  And with this woman I’d never met, I felt an immediate kinship.  Not because I’m a mum (I’m not); not because we had the same background (we didn’t) but because her goofy lipstick reminded me of home.  She’d tried something aesthetic, and gotten distracted by an act of love.  She was covered in food, but her arms were open to this little person.  She looked wonderful in the silly, happy, going in a million different directions harried way that is only possible as an expression of love.

We are all crumbling, we are all frail, we are capable of amazing kindness, warmth and strength, particularly when we are protecting the people we love; we all have flashes of genius.  We carry home with us.  My home gave me a way of feeling at home in places unfamiliar, because by learning those truisms gently I was granted a way of seeing something universal – if fleetingly, if inconsistently – in the everyday kindnesses of an otherwise lonely world. IMG_3203 (1).JPG