My nana grew up in the Depression and was very resourceful and careful. She would carefully unwrap presents and save the wrapping paper to be used again. She was into reducing, reusing and recycling long before it became fashionable. She also used to save things for "best". After she died I found bottles of unopened perfume in her dressing table. She was saving them for best and would only dab on a bit of perfume behind her ears for a very special occasion.
While I don't necessarily share her philosophy of saving things for best I definitely think there is something to be said for special items being used only for special occasions. When we use the best we have all the time it becomes familiar and we become immune to its charms. Brining out the best china for a dinner party or wearing a special perfume for a date with a loved one adds charm to the occasion and lifts our spirits.
When I look at all the different cultures around the world they all have their special celebrations and rituals. Festivals for example have special dishes that aren't eaten at any other time. Like hot cross buns for Easter Sunday. Or eating kokis (a treat made from rice flour and coconut milk which is fried in coconut oil) in Sri Lanka for Wesak. Wesak is the celebration of Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death and is held at the full moon in May each year.
As well as annual festivals, there are weekly festivals too. There's certainly something to be said for Sunday as a day of rest and catching up with loved ones. I like the old fashioned idea of work hard and then rest. With all week shopping and smartphones helping us work all day it's far too easy to burn out and become dissatisfied with what we have. I want to pare back to the simple pleasures of connecting and celebrating. Focus on enjoying the journey instead of rushing pellmell towards my destination.
I've started including more celebrations in our life. When we are home together during the day, the girls and I have morning tea together. It's a time for us to chat and share what we are doing and planning. We drink herbal tea from delightful vintage china cups and they eat jam toast, a special treat. The cups remind me of my nan and connect me to a simpler time when life was slower.
If you've got this far you may be wondering what on earth beavers have to do with cups of tea and celebrations. Well beavers is what we call our special morning tea breaks. The term comes from one of my favourite childhood books - Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield. I've just finished reading it to Phoebe and she adored it. It made me very happy - it's always lovely when someone shares your love of a good book. Even more so because her big sister isn't a huge fan of Noel Streatfield. I would have been devastated if neither of my girls liked my favourite author!
Ms Streatfield has written many books about children seeking carers on the stage and my favourite is Curtain Up. It's the first one of hers I read and the first book I read that was more than 200 pages long. I'm trying to collect every book she wrote which is be hard as a lot them are now out of print. It's a good excuse to poke about in second hand bookshops and garage sales!
In Ballet Shoes, Pauline, Petrova and Posy have morning tea with the two doctors who are tutoring them. The doctors call them beavers and serve delightful treats from around the world. I love that our beavers are connected to the girls in this book and that we too are having a special morning tea.