Blithe Sunday Sevens 23rd April

 

 

tulips and hyacinths in pink
spring flowers

Aren’t these just delightful? They have been giving me joyful pleasure every day this week! The hyacinths have just enough scent to fill the room and the delicate pink of the tulips with their deep red interiors have given me a joyful respite even on the busiest of days.

 

Journalling
Journalling with flowers and vintage tea cup

Every morning I spend a few minutes jotting down my thoughts – this week I began a new note book! I get through around one to two journals each year, depending on the thickness of the book – when ever I start a new one it feels as if I am beginning another small chapter in my life. I can never quite get over the excitement of starting a new book its like being back at school at the start of a brand new term!  I always try at least – to write slowly and more carefully for a few pages!

My journal is a friend – one that is always available for me to write any worries or concerns, as well as recording all the little daily delights that come my way. It is not all sweetness and light – it is my go to place to vent! There is also art work that I find inspiring and the odd letter or two. It is also a great way to look back and see how I have changed over the years and I use it to record gratitude – such an essential element to wellbeing.

What I love about journalling, is that it helps to keep perspective – many a time I have written about fears or worries – things that at 2am are running round in my head that seem to be so important – usually end up ok in the end. So the next time I find myself awake and fearful at 2 am – I know it is all going to look better in the morning!

Sussex Downs
View from the Trundle, Goodwood West sussex

We took a lovely walk up to the highest point just beyond Chichester – called the Trundle. You can see for miles all round – on one side you get a great view of Goodwood Racecourse – and on the other you can look across at Chichester and then onto the sea. Unfortunately it was a little misty – but it is so invigorating to be in nature.

Forget not the

I discovered this quotation on Pinterest, sadly the link was dead so I can’t tell you the website for the original. I love the combination of vintage image and the words.

Home on the Range
Book review – home on the Range

I am a bit of a book worm -with a seemingly insatiable appetite for social domestic history. Those of you familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love or Big Magic might not know that her great grandmother also wrote a cookery book called Home on the Range.

It is more than a cookery book, it is full of wonderful stories and it fills me with hope – she struggled, often had to leave homes in the dead of night because of owing money, she was also an alcoholic – but – she overcame and wrote cheerfully about the importance of living graciously. It is a wonderful read and the recipes are good too.

Barney

Oh and Barney and I are still enjoying our beach walks!

Happy Sunday!

Enchanted April – Sunday Sevens 9th April 2017

MAKES

OH! what bliss it is to wander in Spring sunshine without a coat! It has been a delightful early spring so far, March went out like a lamb and April has been all sunshine and smiles!  The Crab apple trees on our daily walk are beautiful leaving a carpet of pink among the grass! There seems to be an abundance of pink everywhere we look –  pink is the colour of self love.  It is hard not to be affected by the burst of positive energy all around – life feels great.

I have been rifling through my seasonal clothes and have been re-united with some of my lovely summer dresses – everything feels lighter and brighter. The seeds I planted are coming along well, and we have been enjoying longer walks in the evenings – which lifts my energy levels and makes me feel better.

Spring

I unearthed my supremely comfortable pink (of course!) walking  boots and we headed to the local woods to see if we could find any wild garlic -we spotted clumps of white among the bluebells but the carpet of white flowers were anemones! They look so pretty and fresh among the vibrant greens, but I am not sure they are edible.

Primroses in the woods

These little beauties were flourishing at the side of the path – I remember when I was a child the woods would be covered in a carpet of blue, yellow and white – so it is nice to see there are still abundant wild flowers.

Old tree trunk in the woods

This tree trunk looks like some sort of Velociraptor (see the jaws on the right?) goodness knows how long its been there, but it is beautiful.

Live Simply

My quote this week reflects my decision this year to seek out the small pleasures. I know that Simple Abundance is having a huge impact and I feel as if I am waking up from a deep slumber. Once I began to mindfully, taste, touch, smell and hear it connects me with nature,  – everything you need is right here, right now, and there are gifts everywhere.

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I am a real fan of older films – this is from a film called Enchanted April made not that long ago in 1992, it is perfect Sunday afternoon viewing. Its available on Amazon for under a fiver.

A careworn middle class woman, Lottie Wilkins sees an advertisement to rent a small castle in Italy for April – England seems to be endlessly raining and her life seems so small and drab, She spends her life seeing to the whims of her husband.  When Lottie notices another lady, Rose Arbuthnot – looking just as downcast and in need of a holiday, they agree to rent it together. Two other ladies join them, a socialite Lady Caroline and a dowdy, widow Mrs Fisher. Italy works its magic and we see the women flourish among the terraced gardens and turrets of the small castle.

The book, by Elizabeth Arnim was written in 1921 – and is semi-biographical created when she was physically, and emotionally exhausted, having recently become a single mother. To recover  she travelled to Italy to get away from dreary England – and one day she observed the beautiful gardens below her study, and so she transformed the magic into a story of hope and liberation.

What the book highlights, is just how burdened women can be – and not just from responsibility but their own continual desire to ensure the happiness of those around them, family, friends neighbours. Nearly 100 years later women are still juggling with these same issues of commitments and family stress.

Women run on expectations, the way a car is fuelled by gas. And it doesn’t matter whose: unspoken assignments from parents, bosses clients, children and lovers all crowd our calendars’ borders in ink only we can see.

While the film is delightful, I am finding the book has more depth, you read from each character’s perspective – you get inside their heads whereas the film can only hint at hidden motives. I found the character Lady Caroline more interesting, she is stunningly beautiful – but it is a burden that perhaps I had not appreciated until reading her tale.

hair do

My beloved son, Will is the Director of a Salon in Hampshire every 6 weeks my friend Jo and I  jaunt off for the day to have our hair done together. We usually spend a couple of hours browsing the shops and head to the Salon just after closing hours. We have the whole salon to ourselves.  Afterwards, we head out for a bite or two, sometimes we go jive dancing -depending on how exhausted he is after working all day!

Afternoon tea

Mothers Day was a protracted affair, my daughter and son in law came over for Afternoon tea, and then my son came over for a meal the following weekend, so it has been a great family time all round. I adored Mr D’s swirly sausage rolls and had more than one … or two!

Staffie in the woods
Staffordshire Bull terrier, Barney with ball

Of course, we can’t let a week go by without a Barney picture.. the ball is still intact surprisingly, although it did start out as a cuddly pig, but the pig fabric ended up decorating the lounge floor!

Happy Sunday. x

Sunday sevens is the delightful invention of Nat.. read her blog here. 

Playful -Sunday Sevens

Sunday sevens playful

So my theme this week has been playful, with the intention of introducing a little more fun in my life.

It is an odd thing, some of the best projects I have been really delighted with have often come from a sense of play with no other purpose but to simply enjoy the process.

Quote of the week-2So my quote this week is based around the theme of playful.

It seems to me that to be creative requires a childlike sense of wonder and discovery.

I have a battle going on with my sensible adult that believes in outcome and having something to show for my time spent – idea that play can be put down to research is an attempt to balance the inner child and the adult!

I made a list of some fun activities to do over the week: Creative writing, a flower arrangement, colouring, calligraphy, bath bombs and creating a scrapbook or vision board.

Creative writing:

Candle of rememberance

This week saw our first creative date for the writing group. We decided to meet in Chichester Cathedral and make it a process of observation and an opportunity to try and capture the sense of the place. It was surprising, I was expecting a sense of sanctuary and holiness, instead there was as much hassle and bustle as the high street outside. A side door was open and musicians were unloading huge instruments on squeaky wheels – into an area of the cathedral.

After lighting a candle for those we lost, we took our places near one of the chapel areas to observe and imbibe the atmosphere focusing on senses as a guide. We had our notebooks if we wanted to jot something down, but it was vital to simply be in the moment.

The seat was hard and cold, I felt the chill ebbing away my body heat, there was a strange taste of chalky stone, that you only get from old books and old buildings.   I sensed movement in the rush of air, then the strange scuffing of shuffling feet announced the imminent arrival of several people on an official tour of the cathedral. The guide’s monologue was not hushed or reverent but strident – the sound reverberating round the lofty heights. He was talking about dedication – old sacred relics and sanctuary but it was delivered in a passionless monotone that became background noise.

I felt somewhat perplexed, this was not the peaceful moment I had anticipated. Just when I thought it could not get any worse, someone began speaking through a tannoy system – advising us that a service would begin then offering up prayers including the Lords Prayer. I was lost for a moment in contemplation – the familiar words bringing back childhood memories. But the loudspeaker was thunderous, the guide continued his monotone, while the click of cameras, and shuffling feet of visitors created a modern symphony.

We watched a procession of elderly people, each with wheeled walkers, take their places in the pews. The unseen this voice filled the space and bouncing off the high walls and gargoyles.  Words that stirred forgotten memories, of childhood, Sunday Services, Red Robes and choir singing.  Forgive us father for our sins…

It all seemed so bizarre and far from my expectations – but eventually, after a time – the feet shuffled away, the chapel gates closed and the tannoy was silent. Like dust caught in sunlight, I felt the sense of timeless devotion float down from the high arches and slowly settle around me, silence enveloped me like a warm cloak. The building, retained it’s holiness when everyone had gone.

bubbles and barney

Barney personifies playful – he loves running and jumping for bubbles… we did this on a fairly calm day, but the bubbles were flying everywhere! I am learning more about photography, even to the point of reading my manual! I can’t call manual reading fun exactly, but planning shots has been  a challenge. It took about thirty or so shots to get one that was mostly in focus!

Bath bombs are the grown up version of sand castles! I love making them and it is simply wonderful to feel the bubbles tickle your back as they dissolve releasing natural aromatherapy. These look like rockets – I used the inside of the lemon juicer of all things to create the shape.

Bath BombsHere’s the recipe if you want to try your own.

1 cup of cornflour

1/2 cup of citric acid

1/2 cup of bicarbonate of soda.

Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil – chamomile and lavender: good before bedtime, or lime and rosemary for a bit of a refresher. You can add food colouring if you like.

Use a spray bottle to wet the ingredients so that it just comes together (think of sandcastles) use cake tins or jelly moulds and then turn out. Leave for a day to harden off and then wrap in clingfilm. Drop one or two in a bath – the sent will fill the air! I also make foot bath ones with peppermint oil and rosemary, they are perfect to relieve tired feet and you can finish with a bit of a pedicure for the five star treatment!

Elephant plant arrangement

I know nothing about flower arranging – but I do enjoy making the most of a bunch of flowers – I love this elephant! I am not sure I would win any prizes for my display, but it was fun!

Quill

Isn’t this pen heavenly? I love calligraphy, using a quill takes practise you can end up with blotches here and there and the ink runs out quite quickly. As a novelty it is fun, but not sure I could exchange my ball point for one of these.

Coffee on the beach

Friday evening was glorious if a little chilly in the wind, we sat and enjoyed warm coffee while the waves gently lapped. We had the whole cafe and beach to ourselves, how blissful.

Sunday Morning breakfast

Of course there is nothing more delightful than spending time in bed, I love getting up slowly at the weekends don’t you?

Sunday Sevens is the wonderful creation of Nat at Threads and bobbins.

next theme….senses

 

 

 

 

Sunday Sevens – Rejuvenation

Seven little things

I love reading the Sunday Sevens posts – the idea was created by Nat at Thread’s and Bobbins – a snapshot of everyone’s week. It’s been an amazing concept that has brought bloggers together as well as giving a regular discipline to blog regularly.

I have been a bit his and miss with my participation, mostly because my weeks aren’t all that fascinating! I grew up in a world before Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – there’s a small part of me that still feels a slight discomfort at the selfies and status updates, it all feels a uncomfortably narcissistic, but blogging is an opportunity to write. Given my love of talking… it is a perfect combination!

Rejuvenate

1 -My theme for the week

The focus of my week has been about rejuvenation and creation of self nurture rituals- from the wonderful book Well being by Barbara Close. It is a delightful read – a holistic approach to health by season. She describes the book as a Self Care Manual, to enhance your body’s ability to heal itself and reawaken your senses to the rewarding rituals of natural healing.

Rituals seems a rather strange in our modern thinking – conjuring up notions of witchcraft or religious ceremony, yet they form part of our everyday lives – brushing my teeth can be considered a ritual because I do it everyday. However, the invitation is to integrate the sacred into the every day, doing things that cultivate self care. It is the mindful attention that elevates any activity into ritual. In our time poor society, I am usually multi-tasking, but I notice that when I spend time focussing on one thing, it can be delightful sensuous adventure.

The problem with health is that we don’t really think about it until we get ill. In a week of near constant six days of migraine, health has been quite high on my agenda this week. As much as I would like to simply go to bed in a darkened room, I suffer migraines at least once a month and sometimes they last for up to ten days, taking that much time off is not an option. It feels like I am trying to do anything that will appease the Gods drumming inside my head! Mindful attention (or mindfulness) is a way to distract myself, and it sometimes helps.

 

Blood orange

2 -Sensual Experience

Scott came down with a bug this week, dosing up with Vitamin C is supposedly the best treatment.   Blood oranges are in season, they look amazing don’t they? We started on Monday, continuing most of the week, with freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast.

I love doing this because recently I bought the most amazing juicer, (the dome ones that you do by hand) it is so good when something works! I cannot tell you how sensuous it was to press the orange and feel the give as  the blood coloured liquid poured out! You get sticky hands, I scoop up the pulp and eat it greedily. Blood oranges makes dark red juice – which tastes so intensely of orange,  refreshingly strong and not overly sweet.  It is a divine pleasure and after all that hard work, it feels luxurious.

There are fond memories connected with this sensual activity: my Grandpop  would deliver breakfast in bed to my Grandma every day – which included alongside the freshly squeezed orange juice, tea and special K cereal and always a single flower from the garden. My Grandma was like the queen: kindly and scary at the same time, she lived until she was 96!

moody beach

3 – Adventures beyond four walls

The evenings are getting lighter and I have adjusted my working hours to finish at 4 – so Barney and I have been going for longer walks. Last Tuesday the day was gloriously sunny but by 4 a sea mist had rolled in creating a strange atmosphere, there were a few people about but not many. We headed to the beach, as it was low tide, I enjoy the sinking sensation of walking on wet sand and you can walk for miles! The sun looked like the moon the mist was so strong, but I have added a filter to the picture, which has given it a strange glow!

Barney on the Beach

Barney doesn’t quite get the concept of paying ball, he believes the task is to catch the ball and keep it safe, so I end up having to walk to where he is and grapple to get the ball back to throw it again. I usually manage 4 times before he refuses to give up the ball.  He is such a smiley dog, making lots of friends every where we go, but as you can see he takes his ball guarding role very seriously!

Hot Chocolate

4 -This week’s bliss

We have the tiniest kitchen ever so I tend not to purchase kitchen gadgets – however I had my eye on a milk steamer for at least four weeks before buying one. It is the best gadget I’ve bought in a long while. We had a Tassimo but I dread to think what the pouches contain – I like to know what I am drinking.

My hot chocolate could not be any easier to make – I put the cup in a bowl of boiling water, and pop three or four Montezuma’s dark 73percent Couverture buttons to melt. (I don’t have a microwave) I pour a cup of milk in the steamer and press the button, in less than a minute the milk is hot just like ice-cream! It is heavenly.

Reading for pleasure

5 -What I am reading..

Last month at our WI – a lovely lady did a talk on patchwork, it was fascinating! She gave us a potted history of Quilting and how the tradition travelled with the pilgrims to America.

What I didn’t know was how quilting bee’s  brought the communities together – women were so isolated when they headed West – quilting was a way you could get to know your neighbours. Quilts were also used to cover the wagons because they offered protection from arrows!

She mentioned, in passing, the Little House on the Prairie which I adored when I was growing up. I never read the books so I decided I would give it a try, starting with the first book The Little House in the Big Woods it is a charming book! Living in England it is so hard to imagine living anywhere so far from neighbours or civilisation! The cosiness of the little wooden home and the way she describes  -it is captivating. I think it must have been an extremely hard life, especially for her mother, but it is wonderful adventure to enjoy, in bed under my warm quilts!

I’ve become not just nostalgic for the TV series (yes it is onTrue Entertainment 7am! followed by the Waltons!) I feel the urge to make one of those those gorgeous holly hobbie rag dolls!

Leek and potato Soup

6 – Seasonal Pleasures

Chicken soup is the soul food when you are feeling poorly, however, in true pioneer style, not having any chicken in the house, I decided to make do with what we had! It wasn’t any hardship. We get a delivery of organic fruit and veg to our door every Thursday, from a local farm in Oving. Having tried Able and Cole and Riverford, I have to say this is a better supplier. I think it is because they are small and genuinely local less than 5 miles away. It is a good way to connect with the seasons and so we have been living on potatoes, leeks, swede and carrots for a while.

Soup for the soul

I made leek and potato soup – the leeks smelt divine I am certain they were in the ground the previous day! I added in Tumeric and garlic because they are both anti viral foods, and while it might not have been up to Mr D’s impeccable standards, (he is the chef in our house and bears the sole responsibility for my waistline) the soup made me feel better. The sore throat, that had developed on Wednesday was gone by Friday but sadly the headaches have outstayed their welcome.

Home spa

7 – Highlight of the week

There is nothing more rejuvenating than a bath – what ever has happened in my life – laying in hot water has always helped me to pick myself up again. Well being includes many bath recipes – you can either make your own mega tea bags – which allow the herbs to seep, or you can hang a jelly bag over your taps and let the water flow through the herbs. Once again, it makes taking a bath a sensual experience, if you also combine a few drops of essential oils – it is simply soothing to the weary body and soul.

My personal favourite at the moment is oats, milk and rose essential oil, oats are alkaline, and they soften the skin which it is especially good for eczema. After you have let the water run through the oats, twist it closed and wash your body with it. (Dried powdered milk perfect – as is ordinary oats!) The Rose oil is the most expensive item, and expect to pay around £15 for a small bottle, anything less and you aren’t getting the essential oil. You can even add rose petals which float around you for that added luxury. (although it is wise to cover the plug with one of the sink stoppers to save blocking the drains… explaining to a plumber why your drains are full of rose petals might not be the such a pleasant experience!)

I would not have survived without peppermint oil this week – applied as a cold compress with a flannel, it has lifted some of the nausea enough to be able to get on with life.

Next week’s theme is playful…

Happy Sunday..

ttfn x

Susanna

 

 

 

 

Sunday Sevens – Rainy days and Sundays

spring fowers

It has been a hectic week at work, I am feeling somewhat frazzled and in need of restoration. The fog outside is creating a strange sort of atmosphere today, the ticking of the clock and the occasional whoosh from the cars driving through the puddles outside are all the sounds I can hear. Its rainy day weather, as I write everyone in the house is sleeping and even the dog ran back to the house this morning, not wanting his usual long walk in the woods.

spring flowers 2

Romancing the Ordinary, (yes that book again!)

Sometimes at the end of a tough week, I’m too frazzled and restless to watch a film or nap. What can I do besides whine? Rainy day cupboards were the saving grace of Victorian Mothers. In these treasure troves of inspiration were neat and clearly marked boxes of craft supplies, games and novelties that were only enjoyed on a rainy day. Same clever concept what about a neat clearly marked projects adapted to capture the interest of a tired jaded woman.

Two caveats ensure the success of this tradition, novelty and preparation. These should not be crafts that are your normal activity, experiment, browse the craft aisle of your local store for projects in a box. Or create your own, put all the ingredients for a new recipe in a box purely for a day such as this.

When you open the cupboard everything you need should be there, its been my experience that rainy day fun has about 3 minutes to hold my interest before I sigh and slink back into my chair.

March might be the beginning of spring, but it is also known for wet windy weather so it is  easy to slip into despondency about rainy days, but they can be brightened up by doing something new.

I love novelty – you can get lovely little storage boxes from the stationery store or there are little craft packs that come with magazines – Mollie Makes this month came with a pretty little loom. I think I might start putting a few of these together for the next rainy day, I am pretty certain I won’t be waiting all that long! I also like the idea of a small project that can be done in an afternoon.

blue and white

So this wet Sunday, I’ve been experimenting with a bit of photography, and while the light isn’t great on a rainy day, it has been a bit of fun. I’ve been following a blog for a while now, it is heavily religious but the posts fill me with inspiration because the photography is so good (I tend to skim the text!)

 

Our home is still in a bit of a muddle, the garage is full of boxes I need to sort out but as I have gone through things box by box, I have been acquainted with all the small treasures that give me delight. This little jug and saucer set is quite small, but the colour is such a delightful cheery yellow – I can’t resist the spring colour. I picked it up in a charity shop for £2.

Easter might be some time away, but the tulips, daffodils and crocus are pushing their way through the darkness, even though they are battered by the wind, they still flower. The garden is full of buds, the willow has lovely white tufts and I noticed the cherry tree is beginning to bud. I’ve planted some seeds – deciding to focus on flowers rather than veg, we get an organic box delivery every week. There is nothing more delightful than cutting your own flowers and bringing them indoors. I’ve chosen a fragrant sweet pea variety – when they flower you have to continually pick them and they are wonderful to give to friends. You almost never, see them in the shops. I’ve also planted chamomile, lemon balm and enchinacia. I have some dahlia tubers to pot up, so it should be a fragrant summer. The cosmos won the race, with this lovely shoot appearing in a matter of days.

We had a lovely lunch with friends yesterday, afterwards the guys went to a pub to watch the rugby and we headed of to look for curtain material. It is shocking how much it costs to make curtains! Jo has a huge bay window  – while I am happy to help it is going to be a huge undertaking. We have a wonderful warehouse place just outside of Chichester called Falcon Fabrics and we found a number of lovely fabrics there.

Pink roses study

We made the last 15 minutes of the Rugby game, England did very well which pleased me, poor Scott was sad to see his team lose. It is always a good atmosphere watching these matches in the pub rather than home.

roses and lace

This week was the first meeting of our writing group and it went really well. We have arranged a creative date in a couple of weeks. The idea comes from the Artist’s way, where you make regular outings or time to do something creative. We intend to visit three different locations in Chichester – and spend some time in each. I am looking forward to it, and I am enjoying writing and have a short story to complete by next week.

Yellow flowers springI’ve used Picasa to edit my photographs – however I notice that when they are uploaded the processing is not as good as it could be. The pictures are a bitt fuzzy and blurry, mainly due to the reduction in size so that they will load quicker.

The light balance in my camera is not great, I have adapted the settings, but I will have to set up some proper lighting instead of relying on the daylight coming through the window.

So I might look into photoshop – I haven’t used it for years – and it is always good to try something new. I also need to get some new memory for my Mac – these things seem to use much more resources. However, it has been fun, composing and experimenting with photography for a change and making the most of a rainy day.

Happy Sunday!

 

 

Sunday Sevens..14 August

Saturday breakfast

Somehow, Saturday morning breakfasts are the best of the week, not only time to make these little scotch pancakes (they are low GI and wholemeal!) but all the lovely promise of two days to enjoy.

We went on with our local to Glorious Goodwood Ladies Day, it was a beautiful morning – I think I enjoyed seeing the outfits more than the horses. This red dress really caught my eye – these sisters were enjoying pimms before the racing. Unfortunately, after an hour of sunshine the rain set in! At one point we could barely see the horses! I came home with the same money I left with – having only lost one bet! which was quite an achievement.

cucumber

My cucumber is really doing well – the fruits are enormous! We are investigating a couple of recipes for preservation – it would be nice to enjoy the freshness for as long as possible. My tomato plants are also giving a few ripe fruits – delicious and sweet. It has encouraged me to buy some winter cabbage and spinach seeds to see us through the winter. The veg box I bought a couple of weeks ago is still going strong – with a few fattening leeks among the seeding herbs.

We took a trip to Little Woodham in Gosport – it is a delightful little living history village – populated by re-enactors of the mid 16th Century. More on this visit soon.

cheesecake

 

We are enjoying having the Aga – it is our only cooker – it’s gentle heat is always welcome – despite the summer our kitchen remains pleasant. I decided to try a cooked cheesecake recipe – as the warming oven is perfect.

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I find that if you cook the biscuit base with the cheesecake it comes out all soggy – so I made the cheesecake first then added the biscuits to the top.

Cheese cake Aga

It might look a little messy, but it takes delicious!

Breakfast poached peaches

Mr D made some poached peaches for breakfast on Sunday… enough to bring the sunshine for the rest of the week.

Sunday Sevens – 26 June 2016

I loved this Threadcount pattern when it arrived with June’s issue Love Sewing Magazine – a perfect dress to attend a  wedding, you can read all about it here.

Elderflowers

The Elder Bushes come into flower in early June – there was an abundance of flowers just outside my house! I made about 4 pints of Elderflower cordial which I froze this year in milk cartons (last year the cordial did not keep well). The cordial helps when I have migraines to get the full benefit it needs to be quite strong. I tend to use a whole wicker basket full of flowers in two pints of syrup. If you would like to make some you can find the recipe here on a previous blog post.

Blue eggs

I took this week off – there is nothing more delightful than a stay-cation. The main bonus is that I had more time to potter – there is a wonderful chicken farm just outside Felpham, called Rookery Farm, you can see the chickens happily wandering the great big fields – I just don’t trust supermarket’s anymore.  I prefer to visit the farm because you can buy a tray of misshapes for the same price as a dozen ordinary eggs.  They had a few  new Moran Hens in the flock they produce beautiful blue eggs – I could not resist buying these. I would like some Moran’s of my own, (they can also produce dark brown chocolate coloured eggs) I just haven’t got round to it yet – and with Rookery Farm virtually on our doorstep I wonder if if would be worth all the effort. My last hens suffered so badly with red spider mite – no matter how much we tried I am not sure I could go through it all again.

Artisan Bread

After visiting the farm my next stop was the French Artisan baker in Bairds’ Farm shop a couple of years ago the shop was really struggling for custom but since the baker moved in I am pleased to see that business is thriving. I am glad that we are beginning to appreciate quality over cost – supermarkets nearly pushed independent’s out of  business – I just wish most people would understand the connection between the way supermarket bread is manufactured and the rise in ‘wheat intolerance’. I cannot eat supermarket bread without getting really ill, but French bread, made from French wheat, doesn’t make me ill at all!

 

To my delight I  discovered the Farm Shop had a new little garden centre – called the Plant Yard, run by two lovely lady florists – the plant containers were irresistible. I usually get a veg box from Riverford but this time I did one better, I bought this lovely veg garden planter, containing, carrots, leeks, chives, parsley, sage and mint. Mr D was delighted!

Next on my shopping list was Edgecombes near Ford – they import their own coffee and roast it on the premises, I am not a huge fan of coffee but I love their Latte’s the are not bitter at all. They also do a great selection of teas – their house blend Assam is just wonderful. I know that supermarkets are convenient, but I would love to have time to shop like this every day – it is such a sensual experience.

Pool room greenhouse

I have combined the pool room into a little green house, we have three huge patio windows and the climate is very steamy at times which I hope would be good for plants. It is my first steps into gardening.

Every morning as I water the plants it gives me such a thrill to see how the plants grow: have tiny cucumbers, green tomatoes and button courgettes. The mange tout has taken a while to establish – not abundant enough for a meal, but deliciously sweet little treats now and then. The cucumber has reached the height of the room and the tiny cucumbers are starting to peek out from the flowers – although it took me so many attempts to capture these – somehow all three cameras, my phone, iPad and my cannon, struggled to focus on the baby green cucumber, this is the best I could do!

Barnham signal box

We went to vote on the referendum (oh my, I cannot say how concerned I am about the outcome – my worst fears have already been confirmed and it has only been a few days!) I wanted  to share this lovely signal box (it has been restored by a group of miniature railway enthusiasts) next to the polling station.  I was very envious of the lovely raised bed of vegetables they looked great.

garden furniture tool

I spent a few days happily sewing in my studio and the rest of the week I spent tidying up the garden. I made the mistake of buying some garden furniture without Mr D, we usually ‘get a man in’ for all our DIY so have absolutely no tools in the house. The garden furniture came flat packed with this little tool to put it together! I don’t think we will make the same mistake again!

Sunday Sevens is the great idea of Nat of Threads and Bobbins – why not join in the fun?

Sunday Sevens -8 May 2016

New Home card

My lovely daughter moved home this week so I made her a little card to wish her well! It is also her Birthday this weekend so will be cake making! Family visiting and we are also following the Chichester Art Trail!

Mr D had a bit of a sort out last weekend – we ended up with a pile of 20 shirts that he no longer wanted to wear. I could not resist the lovely soft cottons so have been working on a little project – can you guess what I am making?

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The Colour me positive weekly challenge was ‘Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics, Art brings healing’. It’s a Julia Cameron quote from the Artists way.  To be honest with you I think Art brings its own baggage with it; while it might be relaxing it can also be frustrating – things never turn out the way you visualise them. I have to battle the inner critic every time I pick up a pencil or a brush, but there are blissful moments when you can get lost in a sketch for a while. I am enjoying the challenge of having to create something and once a week is manageable – alothough this image is a lot darker in my book than it appears on here.

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This is the book group choice this month and what a gem! I cannot recommend this book enough! It is certainly original, Emma Healey is a talented writer you would never imagine she is in her twenties! Maud is a wonderfully entertaining old lady, I smiled, I laughed, I sighed – it was quite an adventure, one that I would like to read again sometime.

Here is the intro in case it peeks your interest –

Elizabeth is Missing, Emma Healey’s stunning debut novel, introduces a mystery, an unsolved crime and one of the most unforgettable characters since Mark Haddon’s Christopher. Meet Maud …

‘Elizabeth is missing’, reads the note in Maud’s pocket in her own handwriting.

Lately, Maud’s been getting forgetful. She keep

s buying peach slices when she has a cupboard full, forgets to drink the cups of tea she’s made and writes notes to remind herself of things. But Maud is determined to discover what has happened to her friend, Elizabeth, and what it has to do with the unsolved disappearance of her sister Sukey, years back, just after the war.

A fast-paced mystery with a wonderful leading character: Maud will make you laugh and cry, but she certainly won’t be forgotten.

 

The beautiful Keeley Hawes is extremely talented – the two characters she has been playing DI Denton in Line of Duty and Mrs Durrell in the Durrells could not be more different! I am bereft on Sunday nights now!  – I am just missing the querky Durrells and the blissful Corfu sunshine  what a shame it had to end!

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The fantastic Home Fires was also keeping me parked in front of the Telly – who would have thought Pat (on the right) would get the courage to have an affair!  I am the secretary for our local WI and I can assure you we are not half as sparky as these ladies. I am really disappointed to hear that there won’t be another series! I even signed a petition!

Sunday Sevens is the fabulous idea of Nat over at Threads and Bobbins, where you give a little round up of your week, if you want to participate pop over to her blog and sign up! Its such a great way to link up with other bloggers.

Sunday Sevens – Glasgow and Mackintosh

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We headed north for Mr D’s family gathering, it is the second time I have left a beautiful sunny day only to find Glasgow drizzly and grey, but the weather in Glasgow is its only downfall. It is a wonderful city the people are friendly, they have a sense of humour, this is a famous landmark – Wellington on his horse adorned with traffic cone! It was one of the challenges after a boozy night to place a cone on his head that in the end the cone was left as part of the statue and to save Glaswegian’s from injuring themselves, it is quite high up!  The statue  sums up the sense of humour the Scotts have towards the English – irreverent!

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The architecture around the City is abundant with delights especially if you like Art Nouveau – it can be discovered everywhere: this lovely building is just an ordinary pub!  Glasgow  is home of some of the most wonderful examples of the Glasgow Four – Mackintosh being the most well known. He designed the School of Art building (under reconstruction after the fire last year) Several Mrs Cranstons Tea rooms, as well as other projects in the city. Some regarded him as the father of Art Deco movement – you can see that in the wonderful use of simplistic lines, geometry and organic shapes. His house, set within the Huntarian  transforms a traditional Victorian Villa into the cool clean lines of Art Deco – with clever use of colour and optical illusion.

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There are small items to spot every few yards – this beautiful Art Nouveau detail was situated on a large building – I could not resist the curving lines and the way the numbers flow into each other.

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If you love architecture then you have to look upwards, this beautiful Art Nouveau building shows just how much it influenced the Art Deco period, those long windows and angular lines echo the aesthetics of Mackintosh we later see at Hill House, see below.

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Just ten minutes outside of Glasgow the landscape is transformed into wild hills and breathtaking views – we drove along the road past Loch Lomond and on to Helensburgh and Hill House. Now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, it is a complete example of Mackintosh’s work – he was commissioned by Glasgow Publisher Walter Blackie who remained living at the house until the National Trust took it over. Art Nouveau Artists believed their art should encompass every aspect of the house from the building right down to the tiny details  of the room decoration; the internal design was as carefully planned as the house house itself. Even the kitchen shelving contained small flower shaped motifs – even though the owners would never set foot inside as they employed a cook.

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I believe Margaret contributed equally to her husband’s work; he praised her often believing she was the real talent of the two although her work was mostly disregarded until a few years ago when the May Queen was bought for 1 million. It was an absolute thrill  to see her artwork up close – she was exceptional -one of the few women to attend Glasgow School of Art in the late Victorian age when women’s education, even for the wealthy, was limited.  She learned smithing, needlework as well as traditional painting and drawing.  The are panels on the walls – her gesso plasterwork was a delight the curved lines and swirls of fay women – reminded me of Beardsley’s Fairy tales. The embroidery on the chairs and two beautiful panels in the main bedroom were her own design as well as curtains featuring flowing geometrics and curving organic shapes in black and white.

The classic rose motif stencilled on to the walls –  is a element throughout the house, the palette is muted, predominantly black and white with a tiny dots of rose coloured blocks or  flowers. The furniture was created to cast shadows that danced with the squares on the carpet, shifting as the sun moved across the sky – while the lamps featured rose circles reminiscent of honesty flowers – their discs harmonising with the straight lines of the lamps continued the effect at night.

 

On the eastern side of the house a round tower soars above the roof, with a spiral staircase – connecting the nursery to the schoolroom – it is also echoed by a smaller tower in the garden that acts as a toolshed. He designed the nursery on the Eastern side of the house to benefit from the early morning sun – while the Master Bedroom on the opposite side would capture the setting sun. All the living areas face south to make the most of the sunlight.

Despite their talent Margaret and Rene died in relative poverty, the first world war brought Art Nouveau to an abrupt end – it seems such a pity that they were not given the recognition in their lifetime, they could have had the commercial success of William Morris, but their influence and vision continued through to the Art Deco movement at its height in the 1930s.

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There was so much to delight the eye – meticulous attention to detail from every nook!  It is so inspirational that I am sketching again with an idea of a painting forming.

For any Art Nouveau lover – Hill House it is well worth a visit – the gardens have the most wonderful view across the river and are beautiful even in cold frosty April.

My only advice is – no- matter how delightfully sunny the weather when you set off – always take an umbrella when you visit Glasgow!

ttfn x

Sunday sevens is the brain child of Nat at Threads and Bobbins a round up of your life in 7 pictures, posted on a Sunday. I don’t  post every week – (my life isn’t that exciting) but I do post when there is more in my life than cake baking, washing and housework!

 

 

 

Sunday Sevens- March 2016 -Country walks and sewing

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What a delightful spot – the millpond on the South Downs was a perfect start to our Easter Break – the weather forecast suggested that Friday would be the best day so I escaped the sewing room for a while and headed to the Downs. This picture doesn’t capture the beauty and serenity that had us pause for a while – watching ducks take flight, while the soft clouds drifted ahead – sunlight glinting off the water and dancing on the bank.

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Further round the pond was a big level dock – where two fishermen were dangling rods in hopeful contemplation. The cascade of water was exhilarating standing on the plank just above the water lock – watching reeds dance around the rusty bars with their coats of weeds.

We followed the footpath through woodland eventually coming out into Burton Park, an old Manor House (now converted into flats) that had a lovely little chapel in the grounds.

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Burton Church

 

It was a quaint old building – obviously built for the Manor House, but they hold services in the chapel once a month. These places have a sense of timelessness about them -carvings and painted walls – hard church pews – nothing has changed for at least a 100 years. I felt if I sat long enough I might just travel back in time! We ended the trip with a lovely coffee at Petworth – we bought mountains of cheese, crisp fresh bread and feasted on them the whole weekend.

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I popped to my to my Son’s Salon for a hair cut (he has been quietly turning me lighter over the last year), he is such a talented young man!  We had a lovely family gathering my daughter and son-in-law also had their hair done – then went out for a meal to celebrate his upcoming birthday before he headed to Valencia.

Every month they have a Vintage and Very Nice Bazaars at Chichester Assembly Rooms, we slipped away from the rain one dreary March  Saturday,  meandering through the stalls; bric a brac, old maps and relics from the past all cleaned up and ready for sale. I wonder if any of my beloved items will be prized by a stall holder years ahead?   I spend a great deal of time looking at vintage clothing – there were so many lovely dresses,  especially this unapologetic cashmere soft girlie jumper!  (It would not fit me, sadly!)- the lady kindly allowed me to take a few photos.  I really liked the neckline and have a cashmere jumper at home that might just be the transformation it is waiting for.

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I also cherished this beautiful Kimono – which came home with me! It feels luxurious to wear – I have never looked so elegant in my pjs!

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I completed this jersey dress – the embroidery detail was inspired by my trip to the Museum of Fashion and Textiles at the end of February.

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I made a lovely wool skirt with a bit of embroidery to avoid the classic  librarian look!- it has taken me quite a long time to complete but it fits like a glove.. will be posting on my sewing blog.

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We had visitors and family most of the holiday – it was good to have a break from the sewing room for a while.  Monday I fished out an old UFO – this little lap quilt! It has tiny cakes, cups of tea and little patterned fabrics! There was no real game plan, but I worked it randomly among the fixed blocks of cakes and coffee cups.

It is mostly the quilting that is taking the time – my sewing machine has had a few hiccups and hissy fits during the process -lining up the quilting blocks and squeezing it into the tiny embroidery frame was challenging!  – It was the project that made me realise that my sewing machine was faulty which is why it was discarded a few times. Two new motherboards and a couple of services in the years in-between and thankfully it was progressing much faster.

Free motion quilting

 

It was easier to simply free motion quilt it –  by the end of the day it is just a little hand stitching  to bind it. It is far from perfect, in fact it is more wrong than right, but I can’t discard the hours of sewing I did to put it together; in a strange way, the imperections give it a sense of the journey it has been to complete it.  I have learned a lot since I began the quilt back in 2006 I have far more patience and skill lining up the quilt in the frame. If there is a slow sew movement to grow alongside the slow food movement – I would be a paid up member.

March is going out like a lion – thankfully just a few roof tiles and bit of fencing our only casualties in the storm, but oh my, spring is definitely here.

ttfn x

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