Thursday, 30 August 2007


Well not from blogging but today I really could curl up under my gorgeous new (well to me at least) eiderdown and sleep for a week. Probably too many late nights and very early mornings (5.30am thanks to early bird Arch). Either that or I truly am a hedgehog and the shorter days (dark at 8.30 already!) are making me think its time to go to sleep for about five months.
Not that I really want to, just having one of those wading through treacle days today.

So, obviously nothing else for it than to lift my spirits with a trip to the charity shops in search of something pretty and joy - I found some.
  • A beautiful Woods Ivory ware dish which my grandma had lots of in her china cabinet. Perfect for displaying painted eggs at Easter.
  • Couldn't resist this pretty rosebud jug, so sweet and only £1.

My other treats are ebay wins which arrived today,

  • Finally my own vintage copy of Willow Farm which I've been looking for a reasonable copy of and £5 seems like a bargain.
  • A lovely free brooch which I got with something else, three roses made from modelling clay I think with quite an old clasp.
  • Finally the odd, round bobbly thing is really the prettiest, plaster pink brooch. Made with tiny buttons and an odd, bumpy material I have no idea what it could be but it looks sweet and again seems quite old.

Sorry about the pictures, this camera is either hopeless or its me. Hmmmm...a poor workman and all that. Better keep quiet!

I've also bought a baaaaaaaad couple of things on ebay today - two Father Christmas postcards! I've got no defence at all, its still August for heaven's sake but they are lovely. Only £1 each and I was so worried I might miss them. Oh who am I kidding, I must be an elf!

Monday, 27 August 2007


I've been tagged on a couple of lovely blogs (Thank you- well if being mentioned on someone else's blog, or a link to yours is on theirs, if this is what being tagged is? Otherwise I'm completely off target do please excuse the following if I'm wrong and put me right!)

I think now that I'm supposed to reveal 8 random things about me so hope this is vaguely interesting, eyes shut, deep breath, here goes...

1) I don't wear trousers - well not often anymore (apart from my divine brown, velvet ones that I slouch around the house in in the evenings). I've finally realised that they don't really suit me. Too short, too round etc. A really good pair of jeans would work miracles but I need to spend a bit and that's kind of off the agenda for now so... skirts are my lifesaver and they're so comfy.

2) I am addicted to buying cards which I know I am not going to give to anyone. One day my inner shabbiness will surface and I will actually whitewash/distress a pile of frames and put them up (rather than being overcome by an inspired moment in the charity shop, buying a load of grim ones and thinking "these'll look great cream, I'll order a F&B tester pot today" then promptly leaving them in the boot for weeks). So for now the cards sit in a bag in the dresser and I occasionally root them out and coo over them. Be better on the walls though.

3) My first job was at the Tower of London. No, not as a Beefeater (wasn't quite hairy enough) but as dogsbody in the press office. I wasn't really cut out for London and only stayed for 18mths but it was a terrific experience and I got to see so much behind the scenes.

4) I don't really like the summer. For various reasons (mainly clothes, wasps, rubbish weather) but as it goes on I find it really hard to enjoy it when autumn is just around the corner - which I love! Everything from the colours, bonfires, hearty food, bleak landscapes, the run up to Christmas, conkers, scarves, big coats - I know, wishing my life away but you watch this blog, come 1st September I'll feel like I can breathe out and revel in the wind down of the year.

5) My reading matter is very limited and I don't mind a bit. Thesedays reading time is in pretty short supply so I read just what I like, mainly medieval romances that I can curl up on the sofa with and get completely lost in. I feel a bit ashamed not to have ever read a Jane Austen and perhaps one day I will .

6) I wish I enjoyed cooking more but if I'm honest I get a bit bored. I do try hard, the boys get rather healthy stuff and I cook a mean roast chicken with roast veg and nice soups but I can't bake and I've only recently mastered a cheese sauce! (opps, bit embarrassing). I do love food shopping though (especially farmer's markets) and eating it, but I've got simple tastes. If I read a magazine recipe that requires anything vaguely exotic (like lemongrass) I turn over! The thought of planning a five-course dinner party and experimenting with dishes fills me with dread. I admit I'm a lot more interested in the eating part.

7) At school I was in the synchronised swimming team (ok enough laughing now). I swam three times a day plus competitions - obviously these were the days before I seriously discovered chocolate. All down hill from then on!

8) I'm rubbish at putting clothes away. Takes me two weeks to get up the nerve to plough through the ironing basket then I leave it in piles in rooms for days until they're creased again. Could I annoy myself anymore? And lets not even mention the pile of clothes I've already worn!

So there we go, hope that wasn't too boring... thanks for sticking with it if you did!

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Little donkey, little donkey...

For the curious, (especially Sue & Marie!) here's the day-old donkey at Chatsworth Farm - how sweet is this! I think it was a girl but it has no name yet.

Altogether now...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Friday, 24 August 2007

Round 2 - finds of the week.

My new favourite things (until the Oxfam shop opens again after its refit!)

No. 1 - this beautiful vanity dish was an ebay bargain for just £0.99. I can't believe that no-one else bid for it, its a good size and the embroidered lid is the prettiest thing.

No. 2 - I confess that I bought his as much for me as for Archie. Isn't he adorable, although one leg is already hanging by a thread so another job for the repairs basket, along with my favourite fluffy socks which just have to be saved in time for autumn.

N0. 3 - going through a bit of an Enid Blyton nostalgia trip at the moment and have added this centenary Famous 5 edition to my teeny collection. I love the picture and harbour secret dreams that the boys will one day discover them in the bookcase and be engrossed (although I know they'll probably be glued to the latest techy entertainment device won't they so I'm doing my best to shove things under their noses from an early age!). I couldn't resist the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (75p!) which has the loveliest drawings of seasonal plants and flowers. I know a fair few but great to be able to turn to the month and actually name what's growing in the hedgerows as I walk by.

No 4 - shocking picture sorry but I so wanted to share this - the most beautiful, hand-painted enamel brooch that I picked up for just a £1. Mum has something very similar given to her by the wonderful Mrs Hemming who we lived next door to when I was little. She was a true Edwardian and a school teacher spinster so didn't marry until she retired and therefore never had any children. She was like a favoured aunt and a truly elegant lady with an extraordinary past, she'd been a suffragette in her day and even swam The Channel.

I loved her beautiful house, full of pieces of huge oak furniture she'd carved herself. I remember she always wore a house coat and the daintiest, prettiest hair slide in her short, white bob. Her kitchen chairs (which she let us stand on - gulp!) were bought by her father at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and I was amazed by the Houses of Parliament Christmas Cards she received from no less than 3 MPs every year. (I thought she was so very important, rather like the Queen!). A really wonderful lady. Anyway... gosh sorry went right off track there, I coveted that beautiful brooch and am so thrilled to find one of my own. I shall wear it and remember the fascinating Mrs H often.

Looking forward to the Bank Holiday weekend and summer's last hurrah.

Hope the sun shines on everyone.

2 for the price of 1!

Barney's favourite phrase at the moment, in relation to just about anything, so in the spirit of things I'm going to get two posts on here whilst I've got a chance.

First thing though I want to say a huge thank you for all the lovely comments I've been receiving. Its so lovely to hear such nice things from lovely people. This is way over the top but blogging and discovering more about some truly fab people on their gorgeous blogs has brought a real ray of sunshine into my life (soppy enough yet?). I've discovered a whole new obsession (ebaying for vintage treasures and even though I don't pay a lot, I've bought so many things this summer they're beginning to mount up - eek!), enjoyed a myriad of visual treats and realised that I am not the only 30-something woman spending her evenings staying up until all hours glueing snippets of magazines into scrapbooks or rearranging flowers, jugs, trinkets - you name it - so they look just right for a snap and drooling over wonderful interiors on glorious blogs.

Thanks for coming to my rescue...

(Thanks too to Waitrose for the loveliest, easily eatable cake for a little one who's just mastering chomping. 'Fraid my domestic goddess points ran out after buying and wrapping presents, putting up bunting, farm trip etc so I failed miserably and had to buy a cake but I have faithfully promised to revive the hedgehog birthday cake tradition for next year. Does this put me back in credit?)

(paper - brill, my favourite thing)
The Birthday - thanks for all the lovely wishes. The weather was glorious and everyone was on tremendous form - phew. Plenty of sweet animals including a day-old donkey foal (the cuteness of which you will never have seen the like before), an age spent in the brilliant adventure playground which has the shallowest, clearest stream perfect for paddling and dam-building and ice lollies a-go-go.

(The Archers 2012 - otherwise known as Lily, Thomas & Barney)

Thanks to my lovely, smashing friend Helen for coming along too and sharing a special day.xx
Part 2 next...

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

The 1st of Many

(Too early for pictures mummy!)
A day early but I just know I'll be a bit too whacked tomorrow to get a chance to post. Tomorrow is the first big day in our little one's life, Archie will be 1 in the morning. On the one hand it feels like two minutes since I got a rather rude awakening at 2am, two weeks before I'd been expecting it, and on the other I can't remember what the world was like before he arrived.

(A day old and looking a bit perplexed!

Like his big brother he's a total joy and his beaming face is the highlight of my day.We're off to the farm at Chatsworth tomorrow with our friend Helen and her little ones, before a birthday treat of a teeny chocolate cake and some Quavers (?!). We'll be having a bit of a family gathering on Sunday (more cake - hurrah!) so tomorrow is the outing day and the forecast is great.

Its been birthday-tastic here recently, Barney was 4 two weeks ago and no sooner has the bunting come down than its going up again.

(Barney and the Sparklers - ignore the messy kitchen!)
So happy birthdays to my lovely birthday boys. Enjoy your day tomorrow littlest man. xx

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Floral wonder

Does anyone else put a jug of flowers on a table and almost think of reasons to walk past them at any opportunity for a gaze?! Its amazing how flowers can lift you spirits isn't it and they're my favourite thing about the summer (wherever it went). This bunch of gorgeous shell pink stocks were a gift from my darling sister Rachel the other day when I was laid low with the lurgy, so sweet of her. I love stocks, especially the scent and I had them in my wedding bouquet. The cold's finally on the way out and I can smell them at last.
And this is a picture of my lovely hydrangeas I've been meaning to post. I want to dry them and according to Martha Stewart (who I think is supposed to be the goddess of the American home) in her magazine (which I bought in a petrol station in Hathersage which was a bit of an odd place to see something like this) I'm supposed to cut an inch off the bottom, put them in an inch of water, let it evaporate and then let the flowes dry out. Fingers crossed.

We went to the Leek Collector's Market today with the hope of finding a few bits and bobs but it was a bit quiet thanks to the miserable weather and I didn't come away with anything apart from some lovely smoked mackerel and cheeses from the farmer's market. I've got my eye out for a glass (but not crystal cut) candlestick, a china cup and saucer with a faded pink rose design and a wicker (help!) bicycle basket (I actually saw one of these last week for a fiver and didn't buy it for some silly reason). Obviously I don't need any of things but I really would like them if I can get them for a bargain.
Talking of which - I can hardly believe this - after months of trying I have finally won a vintage paisley eiderdown on ebay! I've lost out on so many because I could only afford to splash out around £40 and they really do go for a fortune, but this one was meant for me - yippee! Its quite pale with pink and red paisleys, just right to go with my faded red gingham and patchwork quilt. Its seems a bit daft to spend money on something which is only going to sit on the end of my bed but I love it.
So off to enjoy the rest of Saturday evening, Woody does a shift sub-editing on the paper on Saturdays so although its a bit lonesome its become my regular cosy evening of reading homes magazines, cutting out the best bits to fill my interiors scrapbooks, watching awful tv like X-factor which I cannot help watching, watching lovely tv like Doc Martin and Coast afterwards and eating my favourite chocolates (After Dinner mints, not a woman of refined tastes am I?!). Bliss.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Vintage Roses

I just had to post about this beautiful card I bought on ebay. Carol makes the most beautiful, hand embossed, vinatge style cards full of roses and Victorian prints. They're delivered with a hand embossed envelope plus a beautiful gift tag and embossed envelope seal. They're the loveliest cards I've ever come across and I'm afraid the person I was going to send mine to will be getting a card from my card bag, I just can't bear to part with this beauty.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Absolutely August

The second installment of monthly pleasures...

Agricultural shows - already mentioned and the highlight of my summer so I had to mention them again. I love everything from the show pony classes, giant vegetables, garden-on-a-plate contests, hospitality stands I never get into, the beer tent I sometimes do, tractor trade stands (they're always so clean and shiny), bat-a-rat, huge pies and cakes, sheepdog trials, farmers having a chance for a chat, placid-looking bulls, hot sheep, snoozing pigs, ice-cream etc, etc, etc!

School holidays - well just before school starts for us and although our routine has gone totally out of the window it's nice. Now we've actually had some nice weather it's been brill to get out early and go paddling and fishing, exploring the lanes and take time to enjoy the day rather than haring around quite so much.

Clothes - usually this time of year fills me with dread clothing wise. I'm not the possessor of a slender figure so bikinis, strappy tops, flimsy fabrics and I are not the best of friends. However, thanks to the dragons that are Trinny & Susannah, I think I've finally learnt how to dress myself in the summer without looking quite so much like a blancemange pouring over the side of a dish! The winter is so much easier with cords, woolly tights and knits but the summer is so tricky. I've finally worked out how to shop on ebay too and have got myself some gorgeous bargains from the likes of Boden and Kew which usually are beyond my budget or I miss in the sale. All the lovely blogs I've been reading have inspired my inner vintage style and my clothes are going in that direction too. This is my current fave, a Boden skirt, summery but not sloppy - I hope!

Haymaking - because of the bad weather its haymaking frenzy around here. All the farmers are taking advantage of this lovely break in the rain and we've been tractor spotting with a vengeance on car journeys. 10 points for a tractor, 15 for one with a trailer and 20 for a comby (not many in our neck of the woods). Competition is fierce! It's lovely rural scene and I do love to see fields with the old style rectangular bales. Sure the round ones are much easier for the farmers to deal with but they do remind me of these lovely Enid Blyton books I was totally immersed in as a child.

Birthdays, Bikes and Blogging

Four years ago this little bundle of black hair and beautiful blue eyes appeared in our lives, Now a blonde, funny and adorable little boy, Barney had a brilliant birthday in Wednesday. He's thrilled with his bike and workbench, complete with working toy drill from Grandma and Grandad, and is busily setting about unscrewing all the fixtures and fittings in the house! Happy Birthday Bodger!

Had a lovely family birthday tea after a great day at the Ashover Show. No cattle, sheep, goats or pigs because of the F&M outbreak but it was a gorgeous show, really traditional and held in mown fields surrounded by hedges and oak trees. Lovely weather and plenty of huge tractors to keep the boys entertained. I got half and hour to wander around the marquees and spent most of it in the Home Produce tent drooling over the cakes and jams. I love the fruit and veg competitions, longest bean, biggest onion, best set of tomatoes and all that. Aren't these eggs just lovely! The cut flower section was pretty impressive too, there are always beautiful dahlias at these shows. Must put them on the garden-to-be-list (I like the old fashioned pom-pom varieties). I just love Agricultural Shows and would go to one very weekend if I could. Its so lovely to discover a new show that not been commercialised or gone too corporate and still felt like a real celebration of the countryside.

Thank You!

This is so lovely, a big thank you to Kimberley for the Nice Matters Award. I now have the enviable task of passing it onto 7 others which is great. It's so nice to know that other people enjoy my random musings! Another huge thank you to Kimberley for my Pay It Forward gift, some beautiful terracotta napkins with the most delicate white lace edging. They're so lovely - haven't had a chance to take a picture yet but will do very soon. Also a quick apology - my pay it forward gifts are just being made now. Been a busy couple of weeks but they'll be on the way to the winners soon.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Mothering moments

This post is a thank you to my lovely mum. We had a smashing day together with the boys yesterday in the lovely village of Alstonefield. Nothing more exotic than a potter around the village church (where somw of my ancestors married and are buried mum tells me), sandwiches and ball games on the village green then ice creams at Hulme End.

It was so peaceful, relaxing and really fun. Thanks Mum! I really enjoy sharing moments like these and watching my two little ones having such fun with grandma was wodnerful. Its only as you get older you get to know your parents as real people isn't and since having the boys its helped me get to know mum even better. Only now do I really understand how much of what makes me, me, is what has been passed on so generously. I'm probably embarrassing her to death here but who cares - love you lots mum!

With the sun shining and nothing more to do than just enjoy ourselves it was very precious and I'll have very fond memories of a lovely day for years to come.