I have two small Carnets des Menageres – Housewives’ Notebooks from 1914, used to note daily food purchases. I’d hoped for an insight into a Christmas menu during that time of war, but the last entry is 19th December. Nevertheless cakes, wine, sugar, chocolate and coffee were listed that day, alongside milk and bread – and sardines. The book was kept by Jeanne Crabit and she writes: “End of notebook, but sadly not of war or battle. The person who finds this notebook will realise that during this first part of the war we haven’t wanted for anything, but above all they will notice the good upkeep of this little expenses notebook.”
How could I not buy this little French chandelier Christmas decoration? It is a thing of Beauty. And I find that generally not far behind Beauty comes Love. I have loved finding and restoring objects of beauty this year – things to nourish both eye and heart. The lyricism of the past folded in parchment love letters or stitched onto monogrammed linens; caught in a gilt wood frame or a passing reflection in a mercury mirror.