International Mother Language Day

PhotoMonday 21 February is International Mother Language Day. In New Zealand, this is a day to celebrate the multitude of languages spoken here. At the Library we can also celebrate having such a wide variety of resources for people wanting to read in their own language as well as wanting to learn a new one.

We have a World Languages collection that includes Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Persian, Russian, Spanish and Afrikaans and all of our libraries contain Māori language collections.

Learning a new language no longer involves sitting in a classroom and rote learning.  The abundance of CDs and coursebooks means that you can now learn in the comfort of your own home – or in your own car! We have self-learning material for a huge variety of languages and don’t forget Overdrive, our free digital media platform which allows library customers to download audiobooks, including learning a language.

Our CINCH database of Community Information in Christchurch has 164 links to Ethnic groups , promoting their own language and the chance to meet other people with similar cultural backgrounds.  Combine this with our Library Press Displaywhich gives same-day access to more than 1700 newspapers from around the world, then  International Mother Language day and every other day should be full of opportunities at your Library.

On being Bridezilla

CoverHere I am, middle aged, married before with adult children. Not the usual candidate for the ‘Bridezilla Syndrome’ so often talked about. But it seemed as soon as I was engaged at Christmas, I became obsessed, and the library has become my source of all things wedding and bridal, but it has also given me pause for thought. Why, I asked myself, are the vast majority of these books aimed at brides, talking directly at the bride, with mention of the groom limited to how he should just answer yes when asked a question and not have his stag night the night before ‘her’ big day.

Few have anything in them about second time around weddings either and dresses are white, offering variations such as cream, ivory or, if you really wish to push the boat out – blush pink!

So with what I have learnt, and all the pages I have turned, in mind, I have a short list of the books I’ve found to be helpful, insightful or practical. But I’ve also thrown in ones that are downright over the top, but with pretty pictures.

To start, look to the past for inspiration. The Wedding by Paul Atterbury and Hilary Kay (both of Antiques Roadshow fame) have collected a fascinating selection of wedding photos from the reign of Queen Victoria on,  some touching and some just plain odd! Wedding Inspirations by Beverley Jollands has romantic prose and vows you can use if that’s your bent.Cover

In the pretty pictures to give you some ideas (but you probably won’t be able to afford them) category, top of the list would have to be anything involving Colin Cowie. He appears to be a famous American party planner and his books are stunning.

Colin Cowie’s Extraordinary Weddings and Wedding Chic: 1001 Ideas for Every Moment of Your Celebration are great to browse, as is Simple and Stylish Weddings. Another good browser is Contemporary Wedding Photos by Julie Oswin and Steve Walton.

The book I have found the most helpful in a purely practical sense is a New Zealand one. The Big Day by Kerril Cooper and Denise Irvine is a sourcebook put together by two celebrants giving legal, practical and step by step information for a New Zealand wedding.Cover

Other books that are helpful are Ex-Etiquette for Weddings : The Blended Families Guide to Tying the Knot.  This is a great one for helping to navigate the minefields of new families, adult children and new step families and not stepping on toes while having a great wedding and future.

But my all time favourite would have to be Anti-Bride Etiquette Guide : The Rules and How to Bend Them. It sets out all the traditions, rules and ‘proper ways’ to do things, then tells you to just do it your way, ignore the protests from families, friends and nay-sayers and put fun, happiness and joy first – excellent!

And just to remember that two people are getting married, not just the bride, read The Complete Guide for the Anxious Groom, or give it to your husband-to-be. It set out his roles, expectations and although it does lean a little on the “It’s her day, just say yes” theory, it’s still worth a browse.

Crafty clogs: delightful decoupage

coverIts been a fabulous time of arty-farty inspiration for me. It all started when I visited the Lyttelton Farmer’s market one Saturday and stumbled across the most gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous furniture – old wooden farm chairs and chests covered in exquisite decoupage using funky bright fabrics and layers of laquer.

Well of course, that led to hours of daydreaming about turning grotty old paint-splattered chairs into works of art. Hours of poring and drooling over decoupage books and magazines and another item added to the “list of things I must attempt before I pop my clogs”.

What utterly fabulous arty-farty things have you stumbled across that have inspired you?

Whale watching in the Botanic Gardens

whaleThere is a whale in the Botanic Gardens!

I saw it at the weekend. It had attracted quite a crowd of people who were admiring it and wondering how it got there and how long it would stay.

The ducks and eels were not disturbed by it and a crèche of penguins were keeping it company.

The whale and penguins are part of the Festival of Flowers. This year’s theme is ‘burst of water’. The topiary animals are quite happy to have their photo taken, unlike the ducks that swam off at top speed.

The Festival of Flowers is on in various locations throughout the city until Sunday 6 March.