Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Friday, December 23, 2011

10 Lovely Things About 2011

It's always easy to look back on a year and notice the difficulties and the down sides. But it's far better to look back and recall the bright bits and the highlights. So for this post, I'd like to forget about the woeful and the horrible and instead list some of the lovely things that have happened to me/us during 2011. I hope it will inspire you all to put your feet up and look back at some of the nicer moments you've had during this surprisingly tumultuous 12 months. Go on. It will give you a lot of joy on Christmas Eve. Trust me.

This is my last post until early January. Next year, there will be some exciting changes at The Library. I'm in the process of persuading some of the world's best designers, writers, photographers and creative professionals to contribute to it so you won't have to listen to my ramblings all the time! I very much hope you'll come back and continue reading then. Until then, thank you for following me here The Library. I've been touched to see the Stats go up and up, even if people have been shy about commenting. And congratulations to the ever-supportive Millie from The Laurel Hedge for winning the Comment Competition. I really wanted to send all my lovely readers a gift, and perhaps next year I'll be able to send more presents out to those who have been regular commenters.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
All the very best to you all.
Janelle McCulloch

10 Lovely Things About 2011

1. January. Three days in the Whitsunday Islands. First holiday in a year. Bliss.  I've always loved that Tennyson line, "In the afternoon they came unto a land, in which it seemed always afternoon..." Well, the Whitsundays felt like one long beautiful afternoon. (NB If you've never flown over the reef in a sea plane, put it on your Life To Do List; it is one of the most sublime things you'll ever experience.)

2. February. RR proposed. Well, he didn't really propose. Because he was rather shy he was given four months to say The Four Words. He got through the "will" and the "you", before stumbling a bit on the "marry" (he whispered that one out the car window). But he finished handsomely on the "me". How could a girl say no?

3. March. Attended design/media/bloggers conference in LA. Conference was interesting but highlight was being in LA during Oscars week. Received a lovely invitation to a dinner party at a friend's house in the historic Laughlin Park gated estate in the Hollywood Hills. (The old Cecil B DeMille estate). The architecture was amazing but what was more amazing was that some of the other guests turned out to be Oscar nominees. AND my friend lived next door to Natalie Portman, Ellen Pompeo, Justin Bieber and Will I Am from the Black Eyed Peas. (Seriously, could you HAVE any cooler neighbours?) Apparently, the residents have AMAZING neighbourhood parties. Can you imagine Will I Am leading them all in a little street dancing? My friend says he is the loveliest neighbour. Decided I needed to move to Laughlin Park.

(3b). March. Three days in New York. Bought loads of books from The Strand for $1 each, caught up with friends, felt the inspiration flow again...

4. April. Two books published The Modern Kitchen Garden and Coast: Lifestyle Architecture. Remembered all the wonderful weeks I spent photographing them in 2010. Is there anything lovelier than photographing a garden?

5. May. Adopted two little puppies – a Jack Russell called Coco and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Cooper. (Yes, Coco is the tomboy and Cooper is, well, the effeminate one.) Both proceeded to chew threw iPhones, iPods, expensive shoes and favourite books. (They spent a LOT of time in the laundry.) Despite this, we adore them. Even if we're unsure of their sexuality.

6. June. Started writing a book about the story behind Picnic at Hanging Rock. Went to the National Library in Canberra (SUCH a beautiful place) and spent 3 days immersed in archive files. What an extraordinary story.

7. Third book published – Paris: A Guide to the City's Creative Heart. Received lots of lovely book reviews in The Australian, the Australian Financial Review, Gourmet Traveller, Vogue, US Vogue, Melbourne ABC radio, and many other places. And I didn't have to slip any of them a fifty dollar bill...

8. October. Decided to postpone our marriage in the US (long story, too depressing to recount). Went to Adelaide for a weekend instead. Still unmarried. But happy.

9. November. Finished renovations on our house. The highlight was hiring two Afghanistan tradesmen to do the painting. These gentlemen were the loveliest guys you could ever want to work on your house. They told me stories of leaving their wives and kids to come and make money in Australia, they entertained me with humorous tales of their country and they painted our five-bedroom, two-storey house in just three days. For $2000. Incredible. I was humbled by their professionalism, their personal pain, and their grace in the face of adversity.

10. November/December Finished the year by starting a blog, something I've been meaning to do since I parked the name in April 2008. Spent the first few weeks wondering if it was worth it. Then met the kindest, funniest, most talented and most inspiring women through the blogging network. No wonder traditional media are nervous of the social media phenomenon. Not even Vogue Living gives you this kind of interaction. Or this kind of inspiration. Bloggers, I adore you.

All in all, a wonderful 12 months.


  1. Bravo to you Janelle for getting through such a momentous year & live to tell the tale! I'm so looking forward to what next year will bring The Library, but you need to make sure we still hear your voice, as you are as good a story teller as I've encountered. Bring on 2012!
    Millie xx

  2. YOU are my 2011 'find'. Found you only a week ago, instant girl crush, and fan. Read all of your posts, inspired by your pics, enjoying tidbits of your life.

    Looking forward to reading all of your books.

    Wish I could walk my garden with you, in our gowns, showing you all the fabulosities! They are so simple, yet potent. Appreciate an idea from one of your pics. Willsend you the pic once it's done this spring.

    Merry Christmas...

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  3. What an amazing year you have had. You should be very proud of those achievements. What will 2012 have in store? Fiona

  4. Thank you Millie, Tara and Fiona,

    Your comments mean a lot to me. I love your blogs, so I'm touched that you all like The Library.

    Fiona - thank you for the kind note about 2011. I didn't mention the disappointments, the dramas and the downsides (missing city life, continued infertility, a bad break with my former publisher, even the two ghosts in our house!), because it's always better to look up, rather than down in life, I think. And the 'flip side' of the year (the good side) has made the other side bearable. Thank goodness we've had our garden to escape to!

    Best wishes to all of you. I look forward to reading more of your inspirational posts in 2012.

  5. Janelle, I have just spent a very enjoyable 15 minutes or so catching up on your blog posts since you begun. Congratulations on your engagement, your new books (which I am going to order this evening for sure!) and your gorgeous two furry babies oh and finishing the decorating of your home. And most definitely for starting your blog. How wonderful, so pleased I have found it and a million thanks for reconnecting on my blog. Sarah x

  6. Tonight I felt like roast lamb so to make it worthwhile I invited three friends to dinner...they arrive in 20 minutes! Is the table set...NO! Are the drinks ready...NO! Is anything ready? Not really though the lamb and vegetables are in the oven...So what am I doing sitting here catching up on your posts that I have missed? I don't know except that I am having a wonderful time and wondering if it's too late to ring and cancel dinner so I can just stay here!!!!!!
    The good parts of the year sounded really good...I'm glad.


Thank you for stopping by. It's always lovely hearing from The Library's readers.

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