Wednesday 31 March 2010


Thank goodness it's the holidays again. My two are absolutely worn out, run ragged and generally run down. They're ready for a rest and so are we. Shame the weather's not up to much. Today has been positively grim with sleet and hail filled storms lashing our valley and gnawing at my bones with damp, chill cold.
Brrrrr. Not nice. But inside our home feels very cheery and cosy. After a morning battling the elements in town it was a joy to come home, snuggle in, pop a few pretty things about the place and knock up soup and sanwiches for a snuggly lunch with my littlest boy and my chap (the eldest still being at school).
There seems to be a glut of my most favourites daffs around at the moment. These beautiful sungolds smell divine and bring a bolt of welcome sunshine on such a dismal, dreary day.

Hope it cheers up a bit soon. We've got a "rare-as-hen's-teeth" day to ourselves on Friday as the boys usual end of the week treat (tea with Grandma and Grandad) is being extended for the whole day.
There are lists as long as both my arms of stuff that needs to be done (decorating, cleaning, shopping - you name it, it's on there) but we're being rebels and will either spend it up at the allotment if it's fine, or else pootling about musty bookshops in the rain and searching for a cosy place for coffee.
Lunch with the family beckons on Sunday and a big service up at St Edward's later on and hopefully we'll squeeze a visit to a favourite, hill top farm for the lambing festival on Saturday. So come on Mr Sunshine, get your act together - or else!

Have a lovely Easter weekendxx

P.S Katy reminded me that I hadn't mentioned our London trip, seive for a brain that I am thesedays!

Well it was a great experience, apart from the small incident of leaving a much-adored bear on the platform at Stoke station! Thanks to a most marvellous Virgin Trains guard (or train manager or whatever they're called thesedays), Brown Teddy got to spend a wonderful day scoffing pop and crisps in the Customer Services office (Lost Property to you and me). A big PHEW all round let me tell you - I swear the world stopped for a minute.

We only spend around and 2 1/2 hours in The Smoke and literally had lunch and saw the dinosaurs, plenty of excitment for our two though. Cath, the V&A and Liberty and some favourite haunts from the days back when I was a city girl for a while, are on my list for a grown's up trip some day soon.

Monday 29 March 2010

For Elspeth

The scent of paper white narcissi will forever remind me of an inspirational gardener. Such a sad day today to hear of her tragic passing. As a stranger there is little I can say but my heart is heavy and I shall miss her beautiful writing and the heart soaring beauty she revealed in the world around us. I hope her family may find peace and strength in how much she was clearly loved by gardeners everywhere.

Her obituary in The Daily Telegraph is a beautiful tribute.

Thursday 25 March 2010

London Calling

We're all off to the Big Smoke on Saturday. Can you guess where I might be visiting?
Calling in on Cath maybe?
Having a saunter around some fabulous exhibitions? Perhaps the Quilts at the V&A or the Food Front at the Imperial War Museum?
Joining the throng at the Spring Fair?
Nope - all that has to wait until another day because we'll be off to see Dinosaurs Unleashed in Oxford Street?! The mind boggles! Excitment levels are enormously high at No 25 let me tell you.
Thankfully there've been a few distractions though (because if I'm honest there are only just about so many dinosaurs I can take!); including cosy visits to see a teeny baby and his tired mummy and daddy.
Discovering little heart-warming moments at home, when you very least expect them.
And some last minute panicking to put together a spring garden for the Spring Fair. Not bad for 6.45pm the night beforehand - phew! Am I the only last minute mummy about?

Fingers crossed we'll make it to London in one piece and in time - just for once!

Thursday 18 March 2010


Oh my word. Just where has the time disappearred to this past week? Last time I looked March had just roared in and now we're almost halfway through. But that's fine because March has brought some wonderful things so far.

These beautiful, vibrant primulas on my little garden bench have opened gradually in the sunshine. They've found new homes now in mine and my sister's window boxes and they make my heart sing every morning.
Perfectly pretty, just like a daintily wrapped present ready to be unwrapped.
We've been planning a few outings for the Easter holidays (that new Dragon film looks rather fab) and getting things ready to assault the allotment with gusto over the weekend. Work has been rather hectic but I had a lovely, lovely Mothering Sunday with breakfast in bed and flowers thanks to my little smashers.
But mostly this past week has been one of waiting, texting, thinking and anxious filled hours of more waiting.

And good things come to those who wait. My clever, brave sister and her darling husband are curled up in the lovely cottage hospital over the hills, with their precious teeny, bundle. Baby Leo is here and now all is right with the world.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Smiley Things

1 = New mixing bowls. Bright. Cheerful. Melamine. And a bargain from the big, orange supermarket.
2 = Springy things beside my bed.
3 = A mountain of pretty pillows to sink into later and rest my head.
4 = Ancient gardening wisdom and a very pretty primula.
5 = Learning all about bats.
6 = Knowing that tomorrow is my day off work and looking forward to tea & cakes & chatter with my lovely, rather overdue, sister before the bump arrives. I have the hot water and towels on standby!

Have a lovely week.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Feeling Fresh

I don't know, the sun comes out and off we go go chucking away the big coats and hats and gloves and set out for the day. Don't be fooled by what looks a glorious day, that blue sky is ice blue and our trip to a favourite village was pretty perishing let me tell you! I've just about thawed out. (We did take a picnic in the new/old hamper but it was so cold we wolfed the food down too quickly for me to take any pictures).
But it was really worth the nipped noses and chilled bones. Over the hills and not too far away this pretty village with its charming cottages sits in fields of white stone walls. There's a wonderful playground and the most fantastic pond which was covered in ice today but other times finds it full of toads or flanked by flag irises.
There are hidden paths to explore that skirt the farms and clusters of cottages, a handsome church and the finest ice cream shop which is why this pair look so pleased! (That's a gate honestly, we haven't locked them up!)
Here's the village school that only has a few pupils and isn't it pretty. There was a notice outside today appealing for materials to help construct a Mini-Beast Mansion and there were plenty of donations.
Clumps of snowdrops were under every tree and along every verge, close to the stumpy shoots of scores of daffodils to come. Woody rates our visits here as "bankers"; you know the sort of place you return to because you always have a good time. And today was one of those.
A lovely, lovely day, and I got to take my new bag for a walk too! Can't be bad.
I've been asked a couple of questions lately that I'm ever so sorry that I've not had chance to reply too. Hope you don't mind if I answer them now!

Katy - I'll try and dig out the Carols book. Its buried in the loft and might take me a while. I picked it up at a flea market and I think it was published in 1936.
Natalie - There are a few decent car boots around this neck of the woods. Usually ones at the cattle market and the Co-Op in Leek every Sunday mornings. Also in Hanley on the Hinde Street car park on Sundays too. The Newcastle-under-Lyme Flea Market in the town centre on Tues is where I've found lots of bargains recently.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Spring Begins

I don't remember ever being so pleased to see the sunshine! Finally March has arrived and brought a flash of spring with it. I don't care now if it snows again, rains or anything - at least it'll be spring snow or rain and that means the flowers, birds and time outside can't really be that far off now.
And thinking of being outside a bit more means picnic time for us. Car picnics, woodland picnics, picnics on the beach; we do them all. Until now though our sandwiches, salads, fruit and snacks have been rammed into rucksacks and cool bags (not needed one of those for a while!) but look what I found today.
On one of my favourite stalls at the flea market there were five beautiful 1950s hampers and I had to really calm myself down when I saw them. I've been hankering after one for ages but they go for a fortune on ebay (plus huge postage) and didn't think I had a chance of owning one. But this beauty was just £8, cheaper than a new wicker version. It took me ages to decide which one (I really fancied a neat little blue version with floral cups but there wouldn't have been much room for the food, which is sort of the point I think).
There are four dinky plates and saucers, some vintage plastic cutlery and the metal sets, plus two intact thermos (one for coffee, one for hot chocolate - is it just me who thinks thermos tea tastes a bit odd?) and a little glass storage jar. It's in really good nick and looks like it's hardly been used.
Sadly there's only one cup but I might add a few vintage floral mugs and beakers to brighten it up. There's a roomy sandwich box, some teeny salt and pepper holders and room for a little cake tin I think.
Oh I love, love, love it! All I need is one of these lovely things to pootle around in, finding the perfect picnc spot. Well, a girl can dream...