Friday, 28 September 2007

Cosy, cosy, cosy.

I completely fallen in love with these Fair Isle berets. I'm now hoping someone is soon going to ask me what I'd like for my birthday (not until November so its a bit of a long shot!). I really, really , really need one, so hope they don't sell out!

The weather is dark and a bit wild here today and I'm feeling all cosy so inevitably I'm thinking ahead to the festive season already! These are my latest ebay treasures (as you know I'm not having so much luck in the local charity shops anymore) and I can't wait to display them at Christmas.(This one sums upthe Christmas feeling I aim for, well try to at least!)

(What a sweet message)

(Doesn't he look marvellous!)

Even better, my Country Living book has arrived from America today - joy in abundance! It looks absolutely gorgeous, total festive eye-candy for someone like me who thinks about it all year round! So that's my cosy Friday night in sorted, oh and the new Period Living to get through too. Bliss - I love Fridays!

Thanks for all the lovely messages about Barney's bump. The grazes are healing but still look pretty vicious and the poor mite has had to stay off school since it happened because he's come down with a tummy bug aswell. He's on the mend today though and is happily muching pasties with his grandad. Thanks so much, everyone's kind words meant a lot- oh and all the conker ideas - brilliant! Must do some of those these weekend. We're off to visit a farm with some friends so we'll take a basket for our finds. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend .

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Bonkers for Conkers

Dodgy picture again I'm afraid but this is when we know that autumn is really here in our house. When Barney was about 2 we started having a seasonal display of nature finds on our dresser and it all began with autumn. Barney really enjoys doing it, especially conker hunting which he thinks are tree jewels and is always so surpised when we get one to pop out of their hard, spiky green shells. Its confined to a bowl this year because Archie is so curious and he's really going to get prickled. We found all sorts of things on a lovely walk around one of our favourite villages last weekend. Woody took Archie into the playground so B and I had a rare and lovely time being just we two together and found lichen covered twigs, seed heads, moss and sycamore keys. I'm totally obsessed with collecting conkers and made my poor mum jump out of the car to gather these up from verge the other day!

Thanks so much for the response to the charity shop post. I'm a bit sad to hear its such a trend and I do have mixed feelings about it. Value for money is really important and it doesn't feel this is being offered so much anymore.

(Lovely Butterton above the Manifold Valley and its very pointy church.)

Its been an odd old day today. I had a fantastic drive back from school after dropping Barney off (we're commuting from Buxton to Cheddleton until we move, around 15 miles each way) so Archie usually has his morning nap on the drive and I go on some of my favourite routes to give him a proper rest. It was a beautiful morning and the views across the top of the Manifold Valley were gorgeous. Met up with mum for lunch when she was in town for a meeting and had a lovely catch-up and then got to school to pick B up right on time, and that's when it went downhill.

The weather closed in so we hurried back to the car when the poor old boy tripped and had the most horrid fall. His arms buckled and it was his darling little face that broke his fall! There was blood everywhere, his nose and cheek are scraped raw, there's a nasty, big cut above his lip and he's got a bump the size of an egg on his forehead.

Mummy's Cath Kidston, washed roses tissues (now looking distinctly shabby and so not chic)came in very handy but he was in such a mess we had to go back into school to get him cleaned up. Bless him he was very upset but so brave too and ten minutes later he was chatting away with a tissue covering the damage until we made it all the way home again. He looks so pink and raw and it must be so sore (not helped by panicky mummy putting the wrong cream on - I'm so sorry sweetheart). Hopefully it'll improve in the next day or so but my little man has never looked so glum so I'm cheering myself up with a happy face picture. Now I know just how mum felt that day I opened up my elbow at nursery in 1979!

The blog is looking very non-homely, non-vintagey and non-treasure-findingly (?!) because most of the house is in boxes. We're aiming for a move on 12th October but I think it'll be a couple of weeks after that because it always drags on doesn't it. It took all my willpower to bother hoovering up today, everything is so upside down and doesn't feel like home at all. We had another visit to the house on Sunday (last time was the first viewing in May) and it felt so great to be back. It is bigger than I remember, such a relief, and I'm itching to get started home-making but its not quite ours yet. Keep everything crossed!

Monday, 24 September 2007

So long old faithful

(The boys' favourite green chair from the Oxfam shop. I've always meant to paint it cream or off-white but they love it this colour and its sort of grown on me. A £2 bargain.)
What a let down. I've been waiting weeks for the great Oxfam shop close to work to re-open. Its had a refit and has been my most favourite treasure-hunting ground. I've bought everything from our lovely scrubbed pine table, tons of wicker baskets, vintage standard lamps, old books, lovely fabrics there, all for really reasonable prices. I love that my home is furnished with thingsother people have loved too and that may be a bit different to what you might see elsewhere, plus I know that money has gone to a great cause. We don't have much money to spend on the house so I'm quite pleased to have been able to do it this way.
(A messy Easter morning in our Oxfam dining room, table, all the chairs, curtain fabric, jug.
We'd have been sitting on the floor without this shop!)

It looks now though that I can't even afford the Oxfam shop! Oh the shame! I dashed up there on my break from our flooded office (another story - thanks to some sneaky so and sos who've stripped our lovely old stable block/office of its lead flashing so now the rain is pouring in! Cheers.) to discover a special "vintage" section which basically you can substitute for "we've been checking this stuff out on ebay".

I probably sound really uncharitable but I feel so outpriced. It was always the priciest of the local charity shops but honestly I was shocked by how expensive it is now. I saw a sweet little cross-stitch picture which would have been around £5 beforehand that's now £1o! I don't want to see a charity shortchanged of course but I was really struck by how few things they were selling (and I was there for a while) and how many things people were putting back. Surely by going so commercial they're not going to sell as much and raise less money? At least on ebay there's a chance of a bargain too. Even the ordinary furniture, pots and pans etc were a lot pricer. So I'll be moving down the road to BHF and Cancer Research in search of treasure from now on. Shame.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Really on the move

This is going to be a challenge isn't it! Transforming a 70s detached into a comfy, cosy, vintage-inspired home - wish me luck! Looks like we'll be out of here and over to Cheddleton by the end of the month and this will be our new home. Its going to be strange living in a modern style house, I've grown up in much older houses and its what I'd have prefered but this place is in a brilliant location, has wonderful views over the countryside, 3 bedrooms and a secluded garden and most importantly - we can just afford it. Inside its pretty spacious and very light and airy so I've got big plans involving plenty of rosy/floral fabric, lots of enamel ware, pretty oilcloth, bit of gingham and my stash of nic-nacks.
When we move in I'll post some "Before" pics and see where we go from there.

Great day today. I went over to my lovely friend Melody's for coffee this morning and we had the most wonderful of catch-ups. We were busom-buddies at VIth form college and kept in touch over the years through Christmas cards and birth announcements, the usual stuff, but we've been out f touch for about 3 years I haven't actully seen her in the flesh for at least 10. So, there I was, sitting in the pews in the church next to Barney's new school for the reception class welcome service when this smiley lady began waving at me. I still haven't quite got over the fact that it was Melody and that her lovely littel girl Mia is in Barney's class! Small world or what?! She lives close to where we're moving too and I'm so pleased. Its smashing to be in touch with her again, she's really fun and we had a great time cathing up.
Here's to old friends and re-newed friendships.
(Aaaah Wogan says!)

And this evening I got a sneaky viewing of my favourite TV programme at the moment -Doc Martin. For some reason we never watched it when it was on ITV1 but having been on holiday to Port Isaac (the most lovely, perfect holiday destitnation}, I'm now addicted to the re-runs on ITV3.

When we stayed in the village filming was underway for the third series which was really fascinating. I'm not really one for autograph hunting, I like to keep the characters 'real' in my head and meeting the actors would sort of dispell the myth if you see what I mean (can't even bring myself to watch the Behind the Scenes programme we've recorded - ridiculous I know!) but it was fun to see the actors at a distance and the storylines are gentle, touching and very witty.

(Dolphin Street where we stayed)

Really loving the will they/won't they relationship between the Doc and Miss Glasson and, being a hopeless romantic, seeing the tiny glimpses of the Doc's vulnerable side tugs at the old heartstrings. Woody's main writing work is to review and preview TV programes (not quite the dream job it might sound - we have to watch some complete tripe!) but occasionally we get previews of things you can't wait to watch and after a busy, hectic day it was just joy to watch the first episode, which I think is on later this week or early next? I won't give anything away, but if you dream of Cornwall, enjoy!

(Doc Martins' surgery/house above the mast of the front boat)

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Sublime September

Thanks to my mum for these jolly cosmos from her garden which made me smile x
Thanks so much for all the lovely comments and thoughts about our sticky situation at the moment. We managed to have a brilliant weekend enjoying the outdoors and it really put a better light on things. Everyone's support and ideas have really helped - thank you, I'm really touched, feeling inspired and much chirpier.
We've got some really interesting ideas in the pipeline and Woody's standard contributions to the daily paper (2/3 of his work) are now secure which is a massive relief. We'll muddle through and who knows, this could be a brilliant new start for us all.

This is where we went to on Sunday, Wetton Mill in the Peak District National Park and one of my favourite parts of the Moorlands. There's a teeny cafe and the lovely River Manifold which disappears underground at this time of year, despite all the rain. There's a great track, lovely for cycling so we took along Barney's birthday bike and he pedalled along like fury bless him. A bit of exploring the caves and a few ice-creams made for a lovely afternoon and I found some of my favourite September things along the way.
I love barns and they're so different in style across the country. This is what they look like up our way.

Beautiful berries - blackberries, hawthorn and elderberries. They're like jewels aren't they and I'm fascinated by them. I've been known to stop the car to get out and look at rowan trees and rosehips! Looks like there'll be a grand show this autumn (dodgy close-ups though - oops.) We made a lovely blackberry and apple crumble last weekend, the taste of autumn for me.

Warmer clothes - the weather has been so lovely that the old back-to-school feeling hasn't quite hit my wardrobe yet but I have sorted it out and and I'm so looking forward to pulling out my snuggly jumpers, comfy skirts and cosy trousers. This my wardrobe treat - a new hat - (£18 - gulp - I have been buying my other clothes on ebay for peanuts though so its not quite so bad is it?) . I lost my lovely one last year and this is a close replacement. I'm no sure I've got it on the right side though? I always feel a bit self-conscious wearing hats but they do keep you so warm.
Christmas magazines - this is bad I know but The English Home is out this week and I think they usually run Christmas features in this edition. Oh control yourself woman - better get off and enjoy the weather before the snow in my brain sets in!

Friday, 7 September 2007

Sweltering - for several reasons.

Crikey it's hot here today and I'm totally overdressed in an angora cardi, tights and my lovely new dolly shoes (pictures to follow as the camera has gone walkabout). Now the other reason I'm sweltering is due to panic rather than this mini-Indian summer we're having.

Bad news on the work front today, Woody's paper is closing it's Sunday edition which he writes an awful lot for so things are very, very unstable. Brilliant timing of course, seeing as we're just about to move house and up the mortgage again and Christmas is on the distant horizon. He's got a meeting with his Editor next week who's said he wants to keep him involved but who knows how and if it will cover the big shortfall in our income this will leave.

Its been an up and down couple of years since Woody went freelance. On the one hand he's been able to work from home and between us we've juggled our jobs so that one of us was at home with the boys. We've been really lucky to both spend so much time with them and thanks to our lovely parents we've managed not to have to pay for childcare but it has meant a minuscule income, working almost every evening for Woody and not having any spare time to build up other writing contracts.

He's a brilliantly funny, observational writer and has won awards for his columns. I'm so proud of him and so disappointed the paper is going to fold after doing so well. I'm sure we'll muddle through, he may have to go back into the office and now the boys are getting older there's the chance I could work more hours but its all a worry.

(My last treat for a while. Joy!)

So, to cheer myself up on this roasting day I am in Jane's camp and looking ahead in an effort to be prepared early for the festive season and avoid the hassle. I managed it last year, even my scatter-brained self realised having a baby in August was going to make things a bit busier so I got ahead of myself really enjoyed it. A new festive tradition has been borne therefore, planning it all in August! (I feel like one of those whacky people featured in magazines who keep their decorations up all year!).

Frugal is looking like being this year's theme, (or even more frugal than usual). We never spend a lot and we don't have a large family to buy for. For someone not very religious like me the whole essence of Christmas is to celebrate a very special time of year with my lovely family and be thankful that we're so close, happy and healthy, rather than splashing out. Christmas means a lot to me for different reasons but its far too early to go into that yet.

I'm going to spend the weekend going through my Christmas interiors books and thinking of some present ideas. I'm not brilliant at making things but I may be able to negotiate the loan of mum's sewing machine and have a go . For friends I'll be making cookies, biscuits etc and I think we'll throw a house-warming when we put the decorations up at the new house and share good food, mulled wine. Is it ok to give hospitality instead of gifts? I'd really love to know others ideas/plans for Christmas and any tips for easy to make, cheap yet special presents.

Sorry this mammoth post is a bit down, I'm werriting today, as my Grandma would say, but it will pass and it is Friday after all. I've not had time to write my Sublime September post yet and celebrate the coming of Autumn but the picture at the top captures what its like here in the Moorlands at the mo. Happy weekends all.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Summer's Last Hurrah!

September for me really means that summer is over but I'm going to restrain from flinging myslef headlong into Autumn and all its glories (especially as the weather has finally perked up!)and thought I'd share some of my favourite pictures from this summer, which wasn't really one in my book, as a reminder of what I do like about the season.

dreamy cow parsley

the Horticulture & Home Craft Tent

(how lovely are these flowers. I've just seen Sarah Raven's Gardener's World programe encouraging people to buy and celebrate British garden flowers. Fab programme and I'll be trying to get mine from Waitrose from now on - when I can afford it.)

country shows (I've never seen so many panamas apart from at cricket matches! Arent they great.)

Cornwall, just my favourite ever holiday destination

summer in the garden (lawnmoving is such thristy work Grandad!)