Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Watery World

When I was younger my family used to say that I had webbed feet, and they might have been right. At school we were really lucky to have a pool and, although I wasn't a sporty type, I loved to swim. I even joined the synchronised swimming team (we were rubbish but it was brillliant fun) and sometimes swam three times a day around competitions.

Oh but that was a lifetime ago and I haven't swum properly for years. We take the boys most weekends but ducking and splashing just isn't going to shift the mummy spare tyre I'm carrying around with me. And approaching my late 30s I've finally realised that cutting back on the biscuits isn't going to do it either and so for the past few weeks I've been getting the webbed feet out again.
Now the boys are getting a little older its much easier than I thought to find the time for a swim. Off I trot with my pretty bag and jolly towel on Mondays for the late swim (9pm!) but I'm back home on the sofa by 10.15pm with 50 lengths under my belt. On Wednesdays after poottling around town doing the food shop, I meet my lovely friend Phillipa in the pool and we get chance for coffee and chat after 40 or so lengths.
And then I round off the week on Friday evenings with a swim on my way home from work (hopefully for another 50 but maybe 40 depending how tired I am). Most surprisingly though, I'm really enjoying it; me who hasn't exercised seriously for years (and I've never been in a gym!) and didn't believe I could get a buzz from it either.

Well I still don't to be honest but I do feel pleased and a little bit proud of myself for getting off my increasingly large behind and doing something about it. I've been going for 6 weeks now and things are definitely less wobbly, flabby and flappy, if not much smaller yet. I'm working hard on it and definitely getting faster (40 lengths in 30 minutes today) so soon I think I'll try and step things up a little. Blimey - that's me talking, doesn't sound like it!
And it does make me feel better, I had a headache and achey neck this morning but it had all disappearred after my swim. So, like looks this could be the way to a new me, smelling of chlorine but a tiny bit fitter and with very curly hair (no time for all that straightening now). Roll on our Cornwall holiday. I'm determined to wear shorts at least once without dying of shame and summer vests without cringing at my flabby arms. Wish me luck - lots of lengths to go.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Best Laid Plans

This weekend we had plans up our sleeves for an energetic scramble over some fearsome rocks and a hike across the hills. The forecast looked good and we were all ripe for an explore so preparations were made. But then a tummy bug knocked our littlest man off his feet and the drizzle came in.

Time at home with comforting, cosiness around is definitely required. There is much cuddling, dvd watching and slumping going on and slowly, slowly he is brightening up. Funny how quiet the house is when Little A is off colour, very odd.
So while the sun shone yesterday I got to play with my new tiny plastic greenhouse (a present from mum) and moved the cosmos (Dazzler and Sensation) seedlings into their new home while I enjoyed the view from my potting bench (do excuse the laundry!).
And while little man curled up with daddy, big brother and I had a quick whizz around the car boot sale in town and brought home dinosaurs and racing cars to cheer a small boy up and pretty cups to make me smile too.
There might be a bit more gardening this afternoon if the rain has eased off but for now I'm off for a morsel more of this. Apple and raspberry crumble made with the last of the autumn harvest. Hope you are having a delicious Sunday too.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


A good word for today I think to describe both my mood and what's going on in my garden. Thanks to all your wonderful, lovely, cheery and oh so welcome comments, I'm perking up again and facing up to the big change coming and trying not to panic too much. I can't describe how much I appreciate your kindnesses. Thank you ever so much, truly.
Up close you can really see now that the garden is waking up again. I'm a bit scatterbrained about bulbs and either shove lots of the same colour in when meaning to have a mix (as above!) or totally forget (as in the four allium bulbs in my kitchen cupboard.) Evey year I aim to be more methodical but hey ho.
I love Tete-a-tete, so strong but weeny. The forget-me-not seedlings are romping away too. They're very invasive but that sea of spring blue is the next best thing to bluebells if you ask me and much easier to achieve.

My dad chucks a few sacks of his amazing compost my way every year and with it come forget-me-nots and lots of foxgloves. Flowers for free and I don't find them a bother at all, you just have to rip them out when they start to go over and then they're gone for the year. As under planting for wall flowers and late tulips I think forget-me-nots are just the thing.
Inside too there is a burst of Spring. In my doldrums at the weekend Woody and his mum brought home some beautiful tulips and a couple of pots of hyacinths to cheer me up and they really have done the trick. Aren't these blowsy beauties?
In the kitchen there is more pink as these hyacinths emerge, just along the window sill from some more sculptural tulips.

I can't help but smile when I see them and my heart has leapt right out of my boots. And making me the happiest of all is this little self sown pulmonaria, emerging from the drystone wall by the garden steps. I think its called Soldiers & Sailors for its red and blue petals and in a few more days will look glorious.
Spring proper is almost here.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Charity Shop Chic

I've never been a snob where charity shop clothes are concerned. For the last few years particularly, I've revelled in the thrill of discovering the "perfect thing" for the fraction of the original price, getting a green buzz and donating to a deserving cause all at the same time.

I am quite discerning and items have to be in excellent condition, be a great fit or easy to alter, for me to buy them. At the risk of this blog becoming a clothes horse here are my most recent joys.
I can't resist a ditsy floral print and this cheery shirt brings me little bit of Liberty-esque cheer for £2.50.

It came home with me this morning after a lovely walk around the town to find a present for my nephew's first birthday. Living where we do is a very precious and a deeply held pleasure of mine. I love to catch snippets of conversation, jokes and news being shared when I walk from shop to shop and through the old market hall.

There's something very special about bumping into friends while you're out and about, chatting to the stall holders and just enjoying being where you belong while doing something so very ordinary.
And it was more welcome than ever today. It has been a hard, emotional week. After a brief reprieve, I was told on Thursday that my working hours will definitely be cut down by almost half from April. It looked as if the axe might not fall after all, but now it has and the disappointment, stress and money worries a second time around have been much harder to bear for lots of distressing reasons.

But all things pass. This is not what I will remember as the years roll by, it will be just something we got through in the past. So I keep re-reading my positive intentions and  keep my eye out for the cheap and cheerful. Like this.
I don't wear blue all that much, (a navy school uniform put me off for a long time I think) but I do love it. And this Topshop dress is a beautiful little number to wear and will be perfect for warm office days and special occasions
And when you discover a new item, with the labels still attached, unworn, the thrill is magnified tenfold. My aunt and uncle are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in June and have invited all of our small family here for a very special lunch . Roses with a 50s twist will be the perfect thing to wear. Can't wait.
While we're losing a lot financially I am very grateful for all that I do have, especially with all the bigger concerns going on around us all at the moment and such devastating events across the world . These small spends mean much more than if I'd been able to afford them full price, if that at all makes sense.  £12 the lot. Not bad.  In fact very, very good!

Have a smashing weekend.Xxx

Monday, 7 March 2011

Taste of Things to Come

It may have been cold and rather breezy but our real first taste of Spring yesterday was just wonderful. These two enjoyed it very much let me tell you. Nothing like making mud swamps up at the allotment and burying your dinosaurs to pass the afternoon.
The man of the house got stuck in too, he's the hard labour behind our allotment spoils while my thing is more of the cutting back and planting variety. This will be our third season up on The Avenue that may moons ago was the site of the Home Farm of the big manor in the village. The land was turned to allotments in 1940 and villagers have been digging for victory ever since.
The views are superb and there's a special peace and quiet up there that I don't find anywhere else. Because they're surrounded by houses the plots have no sheds or structures and there is no piped water and fires are not allowed. Ours is a very simple site and the more special for it. Just plants, compost and the odd bench and bath full of water. Perfect.
The soil is beautiful, it crumbles like chocolate cake and there's not a stone in sight. Very different to our little garden down the hill. This year, (with any luck) there'll be more flowers, salads, new potatoes, climbing beans, peas, radishes, broad beans, courgettes, strawberries, raspberries and hopefully a few squashes and pumpkins - if we get the weather.
And today - even though its too early, my favourite cut flower is back in the shops again. The scent of stocks fills the house and takes me right back to our May wedding day. Oh I am looking forward to happy Spring days. Are you too?