We’re in waiting mode here. The first part of the election in France, then the general election here on Thursday, and then the second part for France later in July. I have two samples I’m working on but I’ve put them aside until after the 4th of July.

I don’t really collect things, even perfume. But, I’ve lived with collectors (books) and currently live next door to people who are hoarders. So, every once in a while I think about the attraction of collecting.

My now gone ex-husband collected books. I had the task of packing them when we moved from Brooklyn to the UK (everything went into storage initially). That was a lot of boxes. Now, I’d have the sense to say to him ‘get your company to get packers in – I’m not doing this’. Back then, I just packed them (he was in the Netherlands working while all this was happening – he’d gotten an intercompany transfer so we could move to the UK from NY and he used this as a way to get the company to pay for the moving costs).

Although I didn’t really get the attraction of shelves and piles full of books I did buy him books as gifts and got vicarious pleasure from his reaction when I had been able to find something rare he’d been after for years (thank you, Strand bookstore).

Over the years I’ve received and inherited jewellery. However, (again over the years) some of the most cherished pieces disappeared in burglaries (curse you, NYC). Sometimes things could be replaced with something else; sometimes there was no replacing – they were just gone.

My mother loved snake rings. But interestingly all those rings (and she had loads) were costume. When she died and I inherited her jewellery I didn’t keep those because I had other things from her that had been in the family for generations or that my father had given her. I found it perplexing that he’d never gifted her with a proper snake ring. His taste in jewellery was very good and over their marriage he gave her lots of lovely things, much of which (thank goodness) I still have.

So, over time since her death I’ve added things to my ‘collection’ with an eye to maintaining a smallish but choice grouping of jewellery: a silver lost wax process seashell charm and necklace, square cut emerald post earrings, and most recently a proper snake ring, an ouroboros. An ouroboros is a snake holding its tail in its mouth representing creation and destruction, ie, eternity.

Along with jewellery, I inherited my maternal line’s collection of ceramic ornaments. I particularly love a ballerina my mother adored and two love birds. A year or so ago I noticed that British cookbook writer Nigel Slater, who I’ve written about here, had a ceramic vegetable on his kitchen table. So, as the company that made the item was listed in the article, off I went to look. I am now coveting a Festival squash made by Penkridge Ceramics (  ). Or maybe an artichoke. Next Christmas or birthday, I think.

A few years ago, I bought a small glass pumpkin which a fairly local glass blowing company offered at Halloween (interestingly, this item has become one of their best sellers since release – who knew so many people in this country coveted pumpkins). I have a very old small Eiffel Tower I think I bought while traveling during university, and my son has gifted me a Statue of Liberty and a ceramic Amsterdam canal house from his travels.

(no clue about the red ribbon but it’s been on the
tower forever and I can’t think of a reason to remove it)

So that’s me and my small bits of collecting. What about you?

Beyond perfume, are you a collector and of what? If you’re not, are there a small number of objects that have deep meaning which have moved through life with you?

Pics: Pexels and mine

  • Mals86 says:

    Oh dear. Collecting.
    I collect nutcrackers, the painted wooden ones, and I display them every Christmas.
    I somehow wound up with all of my grandmother’s pink Depression glass dishes, very few of which match except in color. Now she was a world-class collector: rocks, shells, ceramic birds, interesting bottles, weird clocks, unusual doodads… when she passed on, it was a JOB disposing of her collections to whomever would take them.

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    I have collected porcelain cardinals since I was a teen. As part of my recent Swedish death cleaning exercise, I’ve gotten rid of books, dishes and glassware, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, etc. collected over the years, but I just cannot bear to part with my cardinals for now!

  • March says:

    Love that ouroboros and the eiffel tower — I bet I have the exact same one! Or very similar … sitting next to me on the windowsill. A touchstone for travel. I have collected perfume, makeup and nail polish, although they have waxed and waned over the years. My parents were borderline hoarders and I’m not going to wander too far that direction in my small living spaces.

    • cinnamon says:

      Yes, exactly that: ‘a touchstone for travel’. Beautifully put. My neighbours are in mental health issues territory. I expect one day to see the council come in and clear out their house because it’s a danger to them and to us neighbours.

  • alityke says:

    Cookery books. I have shelves full! Some from my mum, some from my MiL & the Delia’s were DH’s! I even have Kindle versions including Mrs Beaton’s! Whilst I have never thought “I am going to collect cookery books” it just happened.
    Unintentionally again is eye shadow palettes. Many are unused but they are so stunning. I’ll never use them now, my eyes are very hooded & crepey, a touch of liner & mascara are all I can use.

    • cinnamon says:

      I love cookery books but certainly don’t have enough space to go mad with them. oh, and I love eye shadow palettes for their beauty (have you looked at Lisa Eldridge’s?) but I only own one for the reasons you mention.

      • alityke says:

        I adore Lisa Eldridge’s make up but I’m trying hard not to buy anymore palettes. They can’t be displayed. I do own a Victoria Beckham brick in Tweed.
        VB does the best kohl liners, they are my go to’s now.
        Which Lisa Eldridge palette do you have?

        • cinnamon says:

          I don’t have one. I just have two l/s: the balm in Epanoui and a Luxuriously Lucent in Palazzo. I don’t wear shadow — just admire. I am however jonesing some of the Chanel crayons as liner.

  • Dina C. says:

    My fragrance collection is my biggest intentional collection. I also have a bunch of silver jewelry — my husband’s favorite kind of gift to give me. I’ve kept all the playbills from the shows I’ve seen and shows I’ve acted and/or sung in throughout my life. Also kept 100s of greeting cards and letters out of nostalgia and sentimentality, but I swear that’s the limit of my collecting and saving. Most of the books I read are from the library so they take up zero space. I’m constantly on the hunt for things I can declutter, donate or toss.

    • cinnamon says:

      I like having books around, but not to the extent I used to. Our library is … mixed. So, I haven’t used it much in the past few years. I think I should visit again. Where do you keep the playbills and cards?

      • Dina C. says:

        I have two seven foot high bookcases full of books, so my need for more books is less than zero, especially since the bookcases are packed two deep! The playbills and cards are each sorted into a canvas tray on top of my desk. I have a plastic storage box for all the letters. I’m actually trying to sort and cull papers this summer so they take up less room.

  • Kathleen says:

    Only collect perfume! Otherwise I’m a minimalist.

    • cinnamon says:

      Is your house minimalist? I like looking at other people’s minimalist decorating. How do you store your perfume?

      • Kathleen says:

        Yes, my home is minimalist. Simple white/beige furniture and dog bed in living space, bedroom bed only, clothes hung in closet, coffee maker only on kitchen counter. Office desk and chair only. Nothing on walls (very light grey paint) other than white shutters on windows. It feels light and airy which provides calm for me. My perfume is stored in a large armoire in basement.

  • Portia says:

    COLLECTING Cinnamon? Yeah, I’m a collector and have gone through a few manias. First was books, that lasted till my eyes went bad and when we downsized from the big house I cleaned out about 90%. There were also vinyl, then CD and DVD also all cleaned out. Fabric from around the world, a whole room of unbelievably gorgeous stuff that I sold to a fellow Drag Queen.
    Lastly, my parents were given a Royal Doulton Morning Star dinner service for their wedding with a few of the serving accessories. I spent 10 years adding to it and have pretty much everything to serve 20 people. We use it as our daily and it brings me joy every use, even packing the dishwasher with it makes me smile.
    Now I might employ the same mania for fragrance.
    Portia x

    • cinnamon says:

      I gave all my vinyl to a charity shop when I moved from London down here. Vinyl just sounds better but I don’t have the space for it and a bigger system. You mentioned you bought some stuff when last in India for drag — or am I recalling incorrectly?

      My ex-husband took the matching dinner service when we split as 1) he liked it better and 2) I was looking forward to building a totally unmatched service which is what I now have. I much prefer being in a smaller space vs our huge Victorian house. And that has forced me to downsize possessions as well though there are around 8 huge boxes in the loft of my mother’s china etc which I don’t know what to do with. So it sits …

      • Portia says:

        Downsizing is so good for deciding what really matters.
        Yeah, I get saris turned into duster coats for drag work and always have a couple of extra sarison hand in case I need to whip a sensational frock up at a moments notice. There’s still a good selection of trims collected around India over various visits too.
        Love that you have an unmatched dinner set. That must make choosing your plates really fun.
        Portia xx

  • Maggiecat says:

    I have a few collections. Perfume bottles (A natural extension of my love of perfume). Various ceramic and glass things. Teacups (I had a few, then ended up with my late mother in law’s extensive collection.). Lately and more seriously, nativity sets /ornaments that represent different places I’ve been. I enjoy collecting, but sooner or later will need to downsize – and/or hope the kids and grandkids share my taste!

    • cinnamon says:

      I love proper tea cups. Mostly I have mugs but a couple of lovely tea cups I really enjoy using. Best wishes on the kids etc ‘getting’ the idea of maintaining the collection.

  • Tom says:

    I do collect things as well, but I stop myself at one point before (I hope) it becomes unreasonable. Old radios was one that I nipped in the bud- I stopped at three. Old telephones is another. I think I have four or five and used a couple of them until the land line was dropped. But I love the feeling of the Bakelite and how heavy they are and the rotary dials.

    Funny story- years ago friends were moving across town and during the overlap had phones at both locations working. Their modern ones were at the new house and one of my old ones was at the old place. My godchild wanted to call the new house but was flummoxed by the rotary dial. Quick tutorial and she was on her way.

    I’m sure she is telling young kids that back in her day you had to use the number keys to text- no iPhones with screen keyboards..

    • cinnamon says:

      You made me laugh regarding the rotary dialling. I’m sure there are YouTubes videos on this. Or was this before YouTube?