Literary Interiors: Ravenclaw Common Room

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Bust Statue

Living Styles

 Crystal Light




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Shell Cushion




Scroll Mirror


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Alladin Light


Palai Rug


Modern Books

Juniper Books

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.


Ravenclaw is an indulgence of passion, tireless and pure.

The common room is strewn with books, bundles of parchment, and a variety of mechanical-looking instruments. A sense of adventure and possibility hangs in the air as restless hands continue their eternal quest for more. It is the site of ferocious debates, sometimes dissolving into out-and-out arguments and transforming into a game of wit: who can come up with the most razor-sharp insult this time? Ravenclaw is heightened optimism and growling pessimism, a constant push-and-pull, for-and-against; how else are new ideas made?

Here is innovation, richness, and inspiration

Deep, luscious colours, and blue on blue on blue echoes nature, vitality, and promise. Before the fire is an ornate rug piled high with cushions; it is the favoured spot for deep thinking and quiet chatter. Busts of important witches and wizards tell tales of their discoveries and theories. Students write feverish ideas with ink-stained fingers and stare out of the windows with dreamy eyes. An ever-replenishing bowl of fresh fruit rests on a wooden table, ensuring sustenance when meals are inevitably and accidentally missed. It is ordered, yet wild, chaotic yet calm…


Time Is Dancing


(Time Is Dancing – Ben Howard)

I counted all the months on my fingers and marvelled at the way time passes. This year so far has had a particularly internal quality. A quietness. Everyone seems to be realising things about themselves, making decisions, laying down the boundaries. I am no exception. On multiple occasions I’ve tried to document my thoughts in order to capture the strange, pleasant feeling of it all, but every time it evades me. In many ways the intangibility has been central to the whole experience. I don’t have to pin everything down.

In April, Amy wrote a really good post about The Knowledge Inferiority Complex. For me, I think this kind of complex had really been distorting who I was. Not just in regards to knowledge, but in living up to some kind of imagined standard and not allowing myself the room to be me. I have been trying too hard to keep my life together amid all the illness; the fear of missing out and falling behind invaded my sense of self and took over. At some point I began to feel more like a machine, reciting the expected lines, performing a formula. It was boring and unauthentic. Who was I trying to keep up with anyway? What standard was I trying to live up to? I don’t really know. Anxiousness and ambition can be really toxic sometimes.

More than anything I’m ready to break out of my glass case. I put my life on lockdown and set my priorities to recovery which worked out really well, but now it’s time to move on. My fatigue isn’t gone, but I think I can cope with it now. I’ve been allowing myself to imagine a real life, one that isn’t made up of so many compromises, and I’ve become attached to it. I had one of those frightening moments where I realised I’m nearly 22 and I’ve barely had a real youth. There’s always been some reason or another why I couldn’t, and it hit me that if I don’t do something all my time will have run out. I need to allow myself the time to not have it all figured out. Everyone knows it, but I realise first-hand now that attempting to live up to expectations won’t do you any favours. (And in some cases, I even feel like I have been living down to expectations.) No more, I declare!

I’m tired of saccharine tones and uninspiring expectations, so here’s to change and imperfection!

India Stoker

Just as a flower does not choose its colour, we are not responsible for what we have come to be. Only once you realise this do you become free.

india stoker style guide


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Freda Shirt


Satchel Bag

Cambridge Satchel Co

Tiger Lillies Skirt


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Green Cardigan

House of Fraser

Pleat Skirt

Banana Republic

Saddle Shoes


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Fantastic Fridays Dress


 Pigalle Follies Pumps

Christian Louboutin

Floral Dress


India’s style is…

Classic, simple, soft. The innocence of girlhood turned menacing and eerie on the verge of womanhood. There is no helplessness here in the straight lines and simplicity, this is the calculated precision of a girl, waiting. Pleated skirts that sit on the waist, button down blouses, silk slips, saddle shoes. Soft colours. A timeless ambiguity.

It is really interesting to analyse style in a film where style is so central to the story and intended for analysis. It goes without saying that the tone of Stoker would have been so different if India had walked around in jeans and t-shirts, or neon colours, or trainers. This style guide was requested quite a while ago, but as it goes with most of the guides I have on my list, it can sometimes take a while for me to find anything in shops that fits the style I’m looking for. A sad fact of fashion, unfortunately. I’m at the whim of availability, even for an aesthetic as seemingly simplistic as India’s. I hope you all enjoy!

My Dream Life

rippon lea estate, victoria

‘The maids are all dead!’ my friend and I morbidly joked, waiting outside of Rippon Lea House. These things happen when you’ve been watching too much Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and are also giant nerds. On a beautiful sunny day we explored the estate, traipsing around gardens that included a tropical plant greenhouse, ‘Hagrid’s Hut’, a lake, a boathouse (‘Where Snape died’…), a tennis court (‘Let’s have a revolution!!!!’), stables, a swimming pool (‘This is where you find the dead maid!’) and many more interesting things that rich people have, before our guided tour of the house.

After about an hour of making nerd jokes and taking pictures of ducks, our tour group was allowed inside under a strict promise not to touch anything. I understood this sentiment because I have the frail body of an old thing and do not enjoy being unnecessarily touched either. The house and I had a true connection. And I’m not really joking. Even though some of the decoration wasn’t quite to my taste, as we saw more and more of the house a quiet sense of melancholy swept over me. This is the life I dream of.

It’s not the wealth I admire, it’s simply the beauty. Despite house being full of things like Fortuny curtains, Japanese screen dividers, pianos, and elegant glassware… it all still looked so simple and lovely. Some of it is likely down to the passing of time, not all the original furniture and decoration was there, but the last owners of the house had a mind for entertaining and comfort. Everything was done with a mind to convenience and ease. Seeing as I am the kind of person who will rearrange my entire room to make it most convenient for the way I work and use things, the house really resonated with me.

I will be back around early June for the Miss Fisher Costume Exhibition. I believe this is a ‘new and improved’ exhibition on the last ones, which I was never able to attend, so I’m very much looking forward to it. I am a great lover of film & television costume design (as if you couldn’t tell), particularly historical costuming – you can bet I’m counting down the days until I’m there! If any of you are in Melbourne or thinking of travelling there for the exhibition, let me know – we could have a ‘joking-about-murder-and-crying-over-amazing-clothes’ meet up.


rippon lea estate, victoria

rippon lea estate, victoria

rippon lea estate, victoria

rippon lea estate, victoria

Spot the Fortuny curtains… pure heaven

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rippon lea estate, victoria
rippon lea estate, victoria rippon lea estate, victoria

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Things I Crave

Photograph by Federico Brunetti

I have been a little quiet lately, at least around here. Once again, a tiredness set in that I found no desire to do battle with. It’s been a waiting game, hoping that the brain fog will dissipate soon so that my life can continue once again. For now, however, I am suspended in time, surviving on little dreams and pretty pictures. I thought I would share some, even though my mind feels clogged and my writing feels just as clunky I must remember that this is a part of who I am, and hopefully one day, who I was. My muddled words and strenuous efforts should not go unrecorded simply because they aren’t perfect. The imperfection is a part of my story.


The Seaside

Wet and cold for most of the year, all fairisle knits and wellies on the sand, giving way to a glorious few months of Summer warmth with street parties, bare feet, sundresses, and children paddling in the shallows. Collected sea shells line windowsills and fill old jars, these little homages to the ocean spilling all over town. Teenagers throw chips to the seagulls and talk loudly about how they’re going to move away someday. An elderly couple walk the shoreline as the sun sets, their dog bounding happily before them. It smells of sea salt and lavender and burning wood.

Follow emily b. | MISS BLACK’s board seaside town on Pinterest. 

The Country House

It is overstuffed with gingham and velvet, and it smells like fresh bread and new rain. The walls are lined with books, old and new. The library is everywhere. There’s a dog and a cat and chickens. Sunday lunch is roasting every vegetable possible with rosemary from the garden (and a drizzle of lemon in the summertime). Days are spent in that kitchen, where slow, simple cooking is a way of saying ‘I love you’. Late summer and early Autumn days are spent lazily picking fruit and taking picnics. Here, soft, velvety horse noses sniff at hands and pockets for a treat, those soft, soulful eyes being impossible to refuse. Life is gentle and full and beautiful.

Follow emily b. | MISS BLACK’s board country home on Pinterest.

The City

Nights of the theatre and champagne and lust. Floor length gowns, silky lingerie, bouquets of fresh flowers. Life is collecting fascinating people, hosting dinner parties full of intellectuals, artists, dreamers, lovers… there is sometimes shouting, often laughing, and definitely dancing. It is passionate and vivacious and never, ever boring. Weekends are gentle mornings of farmer’s markets and museums. Days are spent writing, readings, revelling. There is a promise in every second. The scent? Musky, woody, amber… and slightly, delicately floral.

Follow emily b. | MISS BLACK’s board elegance on Pinterest.