Saturday, 21 January 2017

Moon & Mor

It's not often I find myself day dreaming of winter days during the summer months, but if I do, I dream of days like today. I have very mixed opinions of January, we are such a quarrelsome pair. But we're learning to live with each other and respect each other. Kind of. Maybe. Sort of. 

I find myself spending these bleak and dreary afternoons sweeping the dust of equally dreary thoughts from my mind with my hypothetical besom (that's a fancy word for a broom made of wood and twigs.) They tumble out and fall across the floor and I let them stay there for a while. Eventually I sweep them up with a dust pan and brush and throw them out the back door. There's a lot of sweeping involved. 

As well as a discarder of general lint and dreary rubbish, I find my mind a sorter of creative thoughts in these months. I'm not an indoor creature so it grows restless you see. I begin the day with the intention of channel those extra thoughts into indoor-based creative endeavours. Sometimes I manage to carve honeybees into my wooden spoons with my new wood-burning tool and other times I get the paints out and try my hand at some maps. Once, I even took myself to the book-pub in Falmouth town along with my laptop and drank gin and coffee until the words came and I wrote a whole chapter of my novel in one sitting. I was really pleased because it was a chapter I had been struggling with for a while.

There are two sides to Cornwall in January. It's beautiful and rugged and when you get a winter day like today, there is a grey pearly light that I love - the sea merges into the sky, sort of. Like a painting that's still wet and the colours have ran and mingled so that you're not really sure where the blue ended and the grey began. It's empty and you can have the pick of the beaches. Sometimes you get these incredible storms which I also love; they blow in curious creatures from the seas and throw foam about the harbours and sea-towns but we haven't had any like that this year. It's been pretty mild. Cornwall is also an incredibly lonely place in winter and a lot of our cafes and shops close down. Entire villages empty (because they're all holiday cottages) and at first it's great. After a while, I start to become aware of how few people seem to live here. We are like ghosts passing and drifting; faded and worn and weathered. 

Today was a perfect winters day; grey skies and dreamy seas. Intense talks and walks with precious kindred spirits, warm crepes and coffees in a lofty cafe that overlooked the harbour and a mission to reach a sandbar (my most favourite activity: reaching difficult places) 
We were forced to abandon said sandbar eventually by my increasingly purple skin and my lack of ability to realise that I was beginning to freeze. Friends know what's best for you, even when you want to stay and play on the sandbar. 
We drifted the winding narrow streets of St Ives filled with the most delightful white washed houses and complained bitterly about the number that stood empty and abandoned throughout winter (clearly marked as holiday lets) and despaired about the usual things Cornish people despair about - second home ownership destroying what's left of our communities/scenic villages and tourists that will insist on eating food on the harbour resulting in inevitable seagull attacks. 

j a n u a r y   n o t e s 

  • I started learning to Gig row and I became really excited to learn that our club's gig is named 'Salty' 
  • I slept in a Hop Kiln for the first time when we travelled to Hereford for a shoot 
  • I went barefoot in the sea. It was cold 
  • I added Kiki the delivery Witch, Howl's Moving Castle and What We Do In The Shadows (Currently my favourite film) to our DVD collection. When you live on a farm in the winter with very limited internet, DVD's are everything 
  • I painted a plate 
  • The daffodils are much later than usual in popping up down here this year 
  • We had a unseasonably warm Sunday two weeks ago where it felt like summer's day and I could wear just a teeshirt 
  • There have been many incredible skies (sunrises & sunsets & moonrises & starry nights)
  • I got bored one afternoon and did a DIY fringe job. It wasn't great.

Sidenote: If you happen to find yourself in St Ives, Moomaid of Zennor is the only ice-cream you should be paying any attention to (This is a personal but also shared opinion of me and my friends.) 
Also sidenote: Don't eat them outside. They'll last all but thirty seconds before they're snatched away by herring gulls.

I haven't posted an OOTD in a while (Note for Nan: that stands for Outfit Of The Day ;) ) so lets grace January with an unusual wintery themed one.
In the colder months I tend to always opt for maximum warm over style and I end up feeling somewhat frumpy and meh about my ability to style myself. I decided to search for some warmer clothes/styles that I felt reflected my personality in the winter time. My summer wardrobe is largely influenced by country style, folky stories and nature. Many appearances of florals, floaty skirts and dresses with t-bar shoes are often my comfortable, casual go-to's. I notice in myself that I'm somebody who's personality is largely influenced by the shifting seasons and nature. One minute I am a storm and the next I am all meadow. Gosh. I sound hella vain... and sort of not making sense. 
Okay, let's try again. 
When I was younger, I was an emo kid. I loved all things gothic. Heck, I still love the gothic. Only that doesn't really appear in my personal style anymore. I sort of missed that part of me and I wanted to look for a piece of clothing that merged that love of all things witchy, fairytale and gothic with my current loves; nature, country-girl & yeah, still fairytales. I have a personal criteria for clothing that goes like this...

  • Must be comfy
  • Must be comfy
  • Must be comfy 

That tiny dot? Yeah, that's me. I like heights. The view from here was absolutely incredible. It looked like this (see below) 

That blue little blob in the mid left corner? Yeah, that's my car Shelly ruining the landscape with her vibrant sky blueness and looking like a mechanical egg :P I haven't introduced her here yet but she's pretty cool. She's my second ever car and the nicest thing I've ever owned even if she is contributing to global warming. Don't call me a hipster okay? My Dad helped me choose it and I don't care what you say about hipsters and Fiat 500's. It drives like you would hope a magical flying blue egg might drive. Like a proverbial dream. 

Look! A nest! ^_^

I wanted something comfy & unique & witchy. I searched for a black dress and then I found this beautiful smock on Not Gilty and I did my best to ignore the significant blow it would cause to my bank account. 
The kind of shops we have in Cornwall for clothing don't necessarily appeal to the modern young adult which means I don't often buy new clothes thus it was justified (I told myself.) The whole customer experience side of things from the website was pretty impressive too. First off the people were super nice and emailed me offering to refund me 10% off my order for being a first time customer even though I had already bought and paid for the item. They didn't have to do that. Then the dress arrived so quickly in the most gorgeous packaging (a linen clothes bag) with sweet little touches such as a tiny rolled up scroll in the pocket with a philosophy quote and a bundle of beautiful post cards which I really appreciated. 
Just FYI... this is not a sponsored post, I just thought that the Not Gilty clothing people did a great job and deserved some praise for that. Hat's off to you folks and your delightful handmade clothing. 

Dress: Not Gilty | Moon Necklace: Bloomsbury Bath |  Boots: Fatface (A/W'15) |
 Hat: Fatface (A/W'15) 

So I finally managed to construct an outfit I feel relatively me in during the wintertime yet warm, comfortable and feminine. I am quite a fan of linen and my linen clothing collection is expanding slowly. I also love smock fits even though I'm hourglass shaped and generally those types of dresses don't flatter me. This cut was a particularly well-designed smock cut and I didn't feel that it hung badly or made me look frumpy. I felt like a little witch who lived in her cottage on a farm surrounded by cats and apple trees and wrote stories about nonsense and clouds. Hurrah. Success. For our little stroll along the delightfully rugged Botallack cliffs, I paired it with my old tatty Fat Face boots and green hat and my beloved moon necklace with black footless leggings for good measure. I pretty much wear only boots during the winter. Hobnails, Lace-ups, Wellingtons, Heeled-ankles (if I'm feeling like I need some extra height...) although we have mild winters there's a lot of mud about. If there's something that every person must be issued with when entering Cornwall it's a Wellington Boot. 
It feels mighty strange talking about clothing on here. I've zero idea how to communicate style and explain about clothing choices in words, I'm just like "Oh cool!" *points at thing* "That looks whimsical and something a character in those books I read would wear... I want to be magical and fairy-like and cool." I have a particular affinity for hats. Despite my clumsy and ill-researched approach to personal style and fashion, I really do enjoy that link between our personality and passions and how we reflect those in how we present and dress ourselves. I've never been one to follow trends or be influenced by celebrities but I love people watching in places like Falmouth where (due to the plentiful supply of art students) people have some really original and vibrant ways of decorating their bodies. I am a great believer in celebrating and exploring the individual personality, so tell me, how do you guys reflect yourselves and loves through your clothing choices? What inspires you? I really want to know! :) 

Ps. HUGE thanks to my dearest and wonderful Alex from On Serpentine Shores for helping me make an outfit post and take these portraits of me! My remote shutter has decided I'm not cool enough and left me to pursue other ventures elsewhere in the strange liminal universe where lost things go but it's fine because my remote shutter isn't as good company as she is. It doesn't say much. 

PPS. For you non Cornish/Welsh speakers, Mor means Sea :) 


  1. I was just about to ask you who took your photos because they are absolutely breathtaking! The first thing I noticed when I entered your blog was the way your photos are editted, and then I read your words and realized that you basically got the best of both worlds, photos and words and all, and I am internally screaming!!! I may have read this post halfway through and proceeded to send you a rather creepy tweet...

    Anyway, I've always thought that describing clothing choices is odd and hard, but I think you're doing quite well. "Must be comfy." Ha, I relate! Style and sartorial choices are things I only started paying attention to about a year or two ago, and I think I've been going for secondhand, vintage pieces more so than fast fashion and trends. I like to think that the story-searching side of me is in charge of the style part of myself because I like pieces of clothing that tell stories. It's why I haven't shopped at a store for a really long time -- because I raid people's wardrobes, pick out pieces of clothing that I like and make their owner tell me their story.

    But I digress.

    This is the first time I'm reading The Salty Sea and I'm extremely, extremely excited to read more, Sarah!


  2. Sarah, this post is like a dream! All of your posts are like dreams. Every time I see you've posted something new I save it for the peace and quiet at the end of the day to read it and it is always the most delightful experience. Thank you.

  3. Such gorgeous photos! And outfit! When we holidayed down in Cornwall last Summer, being Welsh, I was loving all the Welsh words/links. AAAAnnnnnddd, I want to go back RIGHT NOW!

  4. You are just beautiful in this outfit, I absolutely love it! Very Cornish, very you! Such incredible photos too, I just love Cornwall in the winter time! Alice xxx

  5. your photos are absolutely stunning...and i love your writing style.

    not to sound creepy and stalkerish...but you're the person i wish i was brave enough to be when i was your age. ;)

    good to know a fellow Ravenclaw....and a fellow scribbler...

  6. I'm a long-time lurker but felt I had to comment on this post. I adore your writing style, the touch you give words is magical.


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