This is pretty...
although my poor camellia has taken quite a buffeting in today's rain and high winds.
And I do think she's very pretty. Beautiful, even.
As for me, I'm loving my pinks this weekend, but pretty? Now, there's a question.
I've been thinking about that word.
Pretty - of a person (especially a woman or child); attractive in a delicate, graceful or simple way, without being truly beautiful.
1970s Richard Shops* maxi dress and sandals - Ebay
1960-70s raffia bag and bangles - charity shopped
1970s pendant - vintage fair
* Any Brits of a certain age remember their 1970s adverts?
"Richard Shops are filled with all the pretty things, soft and lovely pretty things to wear. Hey there, pretty thing, make the world a prettier place. Come pretty up, and buy your clothes from Richard Shops."
I think any word used almost exclusively to describe girls and women is worth questioning.
Does being pretty matter?
I don't think I worried about it as a young child.
Looking objectively (if that's possible) at old photos of me, I think I was quite a pretty little girl (I'm the smaller, fairer one in these pics). I certainly didn't feel a terrible lack of confidence or low self-esteem based on how I looked.
That came later, with adolescence. There are few photos of me from that time, I was horribly self-conscious and camera shy.
I did so want to be pretty. Pretty girls were popular and desirable. I knew I was clever, but I would have traded my good grades for being pretty any day.
1960s huge palazzo pants (cut down from an ill-fitting jumpsuit) - Ebay
Top, waistcoat, shoes, bangles and 1960s vinyl shopper - charity shopped
1960-70s Sheffield-made steel pendant - flea market
If conventional prettiness requires a lightness of touch, graceful girlishness, a delicacy or sweetness which we associate with childhood or youth, then I could never be described as pretty. My features are strong and heavy. And while that caused me heartache in my teens and early twenties, I eventually learned that prettiness is just one way to be attractive.
So how would I describe myself now?
Well, it varies, but generally, I like to think I look striking. That is due in no small part to how I dress, of course. As my lovely friend Vix always says, a flamboyant outfit is a great distraction from blemishes or a bad hair day. Confidence helps too.
And Patti wrote a thoughtful post last year about the merits of the word handsome to describe women. Beauty may be out of my reach, but I hope for handsome!
While I am happy to describe my clothes, jewellery, prints and colours as pretty, I don't feel it's a word that has anything to do with me.
Looking through the family photo albums my Mum has lent me, I picked out this image of me as a child which I really like.
1969; I'm 5 years old.
I look confident, possibly a bit arsey and challenging. I'm squinting in the sun (still do that),
and probably wanted to get on with playing in the pool rather than pose for a photo.
Not particularly sweet or cute, but that kid looks like me. And pretty or not, I like that kid.
Pretty or not, I make the best of what I have, and I like that too.