Summer’s End

Sablićevo beach, Rijeka

It’s probably one of the last hot days of the year, 31 degrees in Rijeka (29 here on my mountain), and I’ve decided to make the most of summer while it lasts and go swimming as often as I can. I don’t have time for full days by the beach, but I swim for 10 minutes, lie in the sun for another 30-40 minutes, and then I go back home. All done in under 1 1/2 hours.

I’m paying a lot of attention to my everyday life at the moment. After all, there are not many models for living and working entirely for oneself and in a decidedly non-busy way. I’m still finding my way between the extremes of “total structure and don’t deviate from your schedule for even an hour” and “just do what you feel like doing and end up not getting much done at all”. My focus is sleep, rest, do what lights me up, and work (which also lights me up, for the most part) as much as I need to in order to make the money I need. I’m consciously not trying to maximise my income right now and to put quality over quantity every time.

As I continue to build this life, the thought of where I’m going to live is never far from my mind, but how is just as important. I find I’m no longer willing to compromise by short-term renting and not being able to sleep. I’ll look for a long-term solution within the next year or so and I’m setting this intention consciously, not knowing how it’ll come to fruition.

It’s part of the whole “slowing down and prioritising my well-being and joy over everything” plan that I’ve been pursuing in various ways, and I’m pleased to see it becoming manifest in my everyday life more and more. This goes right down to the physical comfort of wearing clothes that don’t just fit but feel like a caress on my body. At the same time, I find myself less and less willing to feed the inhuman and environmentally catastrophic fast-clothing industry with its slave labour and mountains of waste. I’ve been looking for alternatives and come up with a few exciting solutions, even outside of second-hand/charity shops (which I love, too):

For the first time in my entire life, I’ve found a store whose clothes I love! This wonderful boutique right here in Rijeka has beautiful, comfortable clothes in cotton and linen. Such as this blouse and this top plus capri trousers:

The other discovery is Etsy ( Now this is where it goes grassroots. Mind you, some of the online stores you see advertised on Facebook and the like, selling cheap, low-quality and badly cut clothes made from child/slave-waged labour, can also be found on Etsy so always check your Etsy shop’s bio. Most shopes there are regular people who sell handmade (!!) clothes, and you can find treasures. Such as this dress, pure cotton, hand-sown to my measurements for less than 60 EUR:

Sorry for the awkward angle and the silly face. At least you can see the dress! And my piano! And Chopin!

The great thing about Etsy is that it’s not just a marketplace, but a community, too. I have had lovely conversations with some of the shop owners there and have marked several shops as favourites. The advantage is that I can buy stuff that’s been made from natural fabrics and then I’ll pay the actual person who made it, circumventing the entire fashion industry! Some of the clothes are a little more pricey, but I’m happy to pay 80 EUR for linen trousers that are hand-sown to my measurements because I know I’ll be able to wear them for 10 years, rather than buy some cheap H&M shite that falls apart after the second wash.

We need to normalise wearing clothes for longer than a season or two. Well-made things can last 5-10 years or longer. The fashion industry is just over 100 years old and is destroying our planet (google it). The idea that you can wear a dress only once, for example, was put about by just the people who want to sell you more clothes. No more! Wear the dress to three different weddings. And the opera, too. If you love it, it fits and it feels amazing, why wouldn’t you? Fuck convention.

While I’m talking about the environment: Etsy also allows you to filter stores that, for example, ship to Croatia, and you can filter the store’s location, too. I don’t want clothes shipped to me halfway around the world and have only made exceptions very occasionally (think once a year or so). Otherwise, all the stores I buy from are in Europe: Italy, Germany, Lithuania… Again, it makes for lovely contacts with people from all over.

I feel very subversive doing this, and it sings to me in just the right way – the way that tells me I’m doing something which is aligned with my soul. I can’t even describe the feeling of wearing comfortable, beautiful clothes. If I were a cat, I’d be purring all day. Seriously.

Now that summer is almost over, I’ve been looking for knitters and promptly found a few more Etsy shops to put into my favourites. Just ordered my first knitted jumper (this one! What d’you think?) for autumn. Gods, I want to shout this out to the world, can you tell? I’ll finish off this post with a list of my favourite stores, with links. But first I’ll wish you a beautiful Autumn Equinox, which will happen on the 22nd of September this year. I’m so not ready to let go of summer just yet, but, heck… And a week from now it’ll be an entire season since Brandon died. I’m still no closer to comprehending it.

The list (first summer/cotton/linen, then winter/knitwear):

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