Monday, 30 March 2009

Tons of tins

Well that's another weekend gone hurtling by. Even with the aid of the pretty marvellous "Wonderful Weekend" book, sometimes they just whizz by don't they?
In between comforting poorly boys though (both adult and child) I did manage to squeeze in a visit to the Friday vintage market in town and found some wonderful treasures (more of those next time), a bit of gardening, a trip to the hairdresser (the one with chandeliers, delicious coffee and stylish homes magazines - joy!) and a family walk along the valley. Not bad really.

The sun was shining here beautifully yesterday and I made the most of a lovely hour pottering about first thing, enjoying the bits and pieces we've got about the house, when I realised what a collection of tins I'm gathering.

Enamel versions are my favourite but anything with a pretty shape or pattern grab my eyes and make my purse jump out of my bag straight away!

Round tins for cakes, tins for headache & indigestion tablets, hay fever remedies & vitamins, tins for biscuits, tins for pegs, tins for pens & paintbrushes, tins for seed packets, old birthday cards, notes and treasured, scribbled pictures drawn by tiny hands, and to be honest pretty much anything else I find/can't bear to throw out and just have to squirrel away!

The Matthew Bridgewater lunchbox tins have to be my favourites and really cheer up my dull, desk-bound lunch in the office. There's something extra delicious about munching salad or sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper from a tin painted with allotment gardens. Much cheerier than Tupperware if you ask me!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


There's nothing like a good read is there and lately I've dropped on some fabulous new books. Now we're not talking contemporary novels or war and peace here (if only I had sit down time to read things like that these days) but some beautiful words and pictures are just the thing for now.

Now I'm sure almost all flower obsessed bloggers already have this gorgeous little book so I'm probably a bit behind the times.

I love florists, the smell, the colour and the joy of a rolled up bundle of brown paper full of prettiness. All of those joys fill this delightful little book and I was so chuffed to see the flower shop in Buxton featured inside.

I bought tons of flowers from here when we lived there and the lady coming out of the doorway did the flowers for my sister's wedding which were just amazing.
I've seen this book on many blogs too and treated myself to it yesterday with my last Christmas book token. Oh its ever so lovely; full of smart ideas and charming things to do. The introduction chimes with so many of the thoughts I have and I like to think we've adopted some of these ideas already. Friday nights in have been sacrosanct in our house for a long time!

Francine Raymon's columns are one of my favourite bits of Country Living magazine and I've read a few of her other books, so I was thrilled to turn up this in oxfam for 80p. Its a lovely seasonal guide and her lyrical writing is a joy to read and a bit like the wonderful Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill.

And this was my wonderful present on Mothering Sunday. I spied it on a visit to the Imperial War Museum North (brilliant!) a couple of weekends ago and my lovely Woody remembered and helped my little chaps to buy it. Can't wait to practise some of these hairdos before our night out at the 40s dance in April.

This final book arrived yesterday from the lovely Deb who's blog and website are full of gorgeous vinatgeness. I've had some lovely treasures from her site, all beautifully packaged and speedily dispatched. Deb thought I might like this and goodness she's right.
I poured over it last night, losing myself in the fine and delicate illustrations and vibrant descriptions. This is one of my favourite passages (I'm bereft without Lark Rise to Candleford on Sunday evenings!), describing what I think sounds like the perfect garden, hope you enjoy it too.

The woman never worked in the vegetable gardens or on the allotments, even when they had their children off hand and had plenty of spare time, for there was a strict division of labour and that was 'men's work'. Victorian ideas too, had penetrated to some extent, and any work outside the home was considered unwomanly.
But even that code permitted a woman to cultivate a flower garden, and most of the houses had at least a narrow border beside the pathway. As no money could be spared for seeds of plants, they had to depend upon roots and cuttings given by their neighbours and there was little variety; but they grew all the sweet old-fashioned cottage garden flowers, pinks and sweet williams and love-in-a-mist, wallflowers and forget-me-nots in spring and hollyhocks and Michaelmas daisies in autumn. Then there were lavender and sweet briar bushes, and southern-wood, sometimes called 'lad's love', but known there as 'old man'.

from Lark Rise by Flora Thompson

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Blowing off the cobwebs

We've had what really felt like the first proper spring day here. Maybe not quite so warm as elsewhere around the country and as sunny as I've seen on some of your beautiful, but very springy blogs, but so, so welcome all the same.

The countryside was calling so we headed out then it all went a bit wrong. Traffic jams, road closures, queues and crowded playgrounds greeted us and oh were our tempers rising. Exactly not how you want to be feeling with two bored little boys and a frazzled husband suffering from cabin fever trapped in the car!
Poor Woody, I could spend nearly all weekend in our cosy house and little garden but he works from home all week and can't wait to get out on days away from his desk.

Thank goodness that I had a light-bulb moment. Mine are a bit few and far between but phew, just in the nick of time for once! Realising that we were just across the valley from a rather famous but very pretty village with a stream, duckpond, ancient hall and most importantly a tea room, we took a back route and hurrah - the day was saved!

So, the late afternoon was spent messing about in water, running along the grassy bank of a bubbling stream and polishing off the first ice cream of the year. Just our sort of afternoon.
What a treat to sit outside and watch the boys whirl and tumble, enjoy the sun on our faces and feel winter begin to slide away.
I just wanted to say thank you all so very much for all the lovely comments I've receive, they mean a huge amount to me and I'm just very sorry I can't often reply to you. Working nearly full-time, being a mummy and a wife and trying to find snippets of time to do the washing and tidy-up on the odd occasion doesn't leave all that much blogging time I'm afraid.
Its something I know all of us find a bit if a juggle sometimes. There's a lot to squeeze in and when life feels like its rushing by my blog, the wonderful connections with other bloggers its helped me to make and your kindness, generosity and fun brighten my days so much. So thank you.
Its been lovely to discover some beautiful new blogs recently too and enjoy some wonderful pictures. I'm looking forward to seeing more soon. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Hatches, Matches & Dispatches

Wednesday is my favourite day of the working week - by a long chalk. Mostly because I haven't worked on a Wednesday for eons and now especially, as it is the only day when I am not at my desk but at home with my littlest man, catching up with domestic duties.

We have an regular routine. Up and out early, to deliver the biggest little man to school. Then we pop into town to peruse the market stalls, stock up on fruit & veg and essential supplies like new plants for the garden (pretty vital in my book) and then onto the newsagent. For little A it's the highlight of the week, a proper packet of sweets all to himself. Sometimes buttons but usually smarties, to be savoured one by one in the buggy while mummy chooses a magazine and picks up the paper.

Because this is one of my highlights of the week. Half an hour, reading our weekly newspaper from cover to cover, with a cup of coffee, when the shopping is all unloaded and little A is busy building rocket ships.
I've worked in communications all my career and I'm a bit of a news junkie. Being married to a journalist means that home life is pretty dominated by it too and over the years the way we access it has really changed what with 24 hour channels and the Internet. But there is something very old-fashioned, and a bit exciting really, about having to wait for market day, when the town paper is printed, to catch-up with the smaller world right on our doorstep.

I read it all. Front page stunners, spats on the letters pages, nostalgia, what's on and who's been born, who's passed on and who is celebrating what. I read the farming page religiously; its a link with the fields outside my window. Some of it I understand a tiny bit (what's at auction - the only cattle market left in the county is in our town) but much of it is above me (European subsidies anyone?)

It might feel a bit behind the times but I do enjoy sitting down with the paper like people have done for more than a hundred years and feeling that this is where I belong.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Rainy days and Sundays

Was the weather foul where you were on Sunday? We woke up to a glorious early morning, sharp blue skies and not a cloud in the sky and plans began to form of walks in the woods, popping out on our bikes etc, but before we'd even finished our breakfast (I can't get enough of lemon and raisin pancakes at the moment for a weekend treat), sleet was lashing the widows and a "home day" was declared.

The boys seemed quite happy to sit with us and read, turf out cupboards and draw endless pictures (Thunderbird rockets are the current favourite theme). Later on, when a bit of post-lunch slumping in front of a dvd was required, Woody and I spied our chance to crack on with a few bits and pieces.

Woody manfully tackled the felling of some dark and dreary conifers in the front garden which has left me the most fantastic space for a new border. The excitement factor is very high believe me. There's a bit of pathetic lawn out there at the moment, which is a complete pain to mow, so I've got grand plans to dig up the turf and plant a fabulous herbaceous border. Need to get my skates on though, I'll get around to posting some pictures of it soon too.

Indoors bless him the drill was out and the gorgeous, thrifted, bevelled mirror I bought last Spring is finally up on the wall in our room, along with a shelf and a favourite picture. It's only taken us 12 months to get around too - where does the time go?

I wasn't completely idle and spent oooh, at least an hour faffing around with these pretty china flowers on the dresser. The oval one with tiny flowers was a find on Saturday in my favourite junk shop - 50p! - can you believe it?! They're the most beautiful things and remind me of those my Grandma's both had and having fun trying to make my own at the local pottery museum years ago. Maybe I should go and have another go?

Sunday really was a special one, just for being nothing out of the ordinary but completely precious all the same. My favourite things all in one day; calm and a bit of peace and quiet, a nice easy family lunch (prawn salad warm bread), quiet times with each of our boys and noisy, silly fun together too. Oooh roll on this weekend!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Good to be Home

I really am enjoying being back in my nest. Just a short time away has made me fall in love with our home all over again. For the first hour back here I pottered about taking in all my favourite things again; rosy china, spotty oilcloth, vintage fabrics and bunches of daffs.
Staying in a funky, modern pad was very, very nice and very luxurious (whirlpool bath included!) but after a couple of nights I did find myself pining for some vintage beautifulness.

Oh it was lovely to have mug of something frothy in my new favourite spotty mug, say hello to my cheery pots of spring bulbs by the back door and snuggle back under an eiderdown by the fire in the evening.

I've started another collection (I'm going to be running out of room soon!). If only I'd crocheted these beauties myself but I'm only just getting to grips with it - not a naturally gifted crocheter me - so these thrifted ones will have to do for now.

On Sunday we headed into the hills and a birthday lunch for my sister at a favourite village of ours a couple of miles away. The wind was keen but it blew away that grey blanket above and the sun streamed down.

Spring was really in the air while we wandered around, dreaming of life in these pretty houses, with everything looking so bright and fresh.
Even if winter returns this week, there's not all that much of it left now. Maybe now we've had a proper winter with the right weather at the right time for once, just maybe we'll have a glorious summer to follow. Well, a girl can dream!

Fun in the Forest

Oh we had such a lovely holiday. We did plenty of this,

Lots of this Had breakfast treats And spent ages doing this

Looked forward to doing this every morning

And thought about doing this but to be honest it was a bit parky

Just four nights in the forest completely sorted out my stress levels and dodgy back and shoulders.
The facial and our spa session were bliss and my little bunch have returned rather mellow indeed - if a bit wrinkled and prune-like from all that water park fun.