Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year To Everyone!

warm wishes to all for the New Year ahead.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Library Love

I have recently discovered a new way to curb my online shopping habit, and since I know a lot of you are trying to cut back, I thought I might share it with you, although I'm probably one of the last to catch on.

I don't know if anyone else does the same, I window shop online. I go on to Cath Kidston, Cox & Cox, or Amazon just to name a few, and add everything I would like into the shopping basket, only to never check it out, or delete most of it till I'm left with a bill a lot more affordable.

So it was on one of these imaginary shopping trips on Amazon, and with a rather long list of wishes, that I suddenly thought, why don't see if have any at the library, so I phoned.
My first request - did they have anything by Cath Kidston? The answer - no not here, but there is one due back soon at another library, and apparently could order it to arrive at my local library when it was available, for the cost of £1 per item, or, and this was the best bit - I could do it online for free! Yipee!

Previously, although I've been a member of the library since I was a child, and later renewed an interested when Ella was born, I have struggled with them. I used to go in and just browse, and although I generally came out with something, it usually wasn't what I was looking for, mainly because someone else had checked it out already or it wasn't where it should be, so my trips to the library were normally time consuming, and involved late fees too as I was pretty crap at remembering to take things back in time.

But all this has changed, I log into my county council's ELAN catalogue online using my card number and password, and I can search for a book, dvd, or cd that I'm after, and in one click I can reserve it, even if they don't have a copy at my own library, and have it sent to the library of my choice, and then they send me a text message (or phone call or email - so you need to let them know your number or address) when it's available for me to collect, I go in, and it is sitting on the reserved shelf with my name wrapped round it, and that's it. quick, simple, easy. I can also renew them online, review my reservations, and see when they are due back.

So now I have this lovely lot for three weeks, I have been adding to my iTunes library for £1 an album, and for another £1.50 I can keep dvd for a week, much better than one night from the video shop (which, incidently, I haven't used for a year due to a £7 late charge because I forgot to take two dvd's back the next day). Ok, I know you can't get the lastest releases as quick as the shops, but I managed to reserve the first copy of Sex And The City, the movie last month before it arrived at the library, so I was the first to get it.

I'm sure there are plenty of you that have been using the library online for years, so forgive me if I'm recounting old news, but I'm sure that there are still some of you, like me, that had forgotten to use this resource, and the excitement of recieving a text to say something has arrived for me is just as good as a new parcel from posty.

Yesterday morning in the garden, I couldn't resist getting the camera for this blue sky

the back door

newly planted window boxes to colour my winter months

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Now you are five

As usual, it's late, but last thursday, my beautiful daughter turned five.

Unlike some mothers, I don't feel sad that my baby isn't a baby anymore, I do look back with fond memories of her as that little bundle, but I also relish the time now in the present, when she is turning into an an 'actual' person, with her own ideas and views, and every week, if not day, she surprises me (in a good way) with something she draws or says.

Nowadays, she can almost match me in the stroppiness stakes, which can be a little unnerving sometimes, but even if we disagree on somethings, I understand why she feels the way she does, it can't be easy having to do everything that someone else tells you to all the time.

That's not to say that we fight all the time, actually when ever we are out and about, people always compliment me and her on her behaviour, and say what a sweet intelligent little girl she is.

of course, I know all this and more, she is my most special person in the world.

and when I feel sad with myself that I have lost my patience and shouted at her too quickly, or fobbed her off with the excuse 'in a minute' for too long, I will always remember a thing she said not too long ago, when I was telling her that she should listen to Danny when he told her how to behave. "but Mummy" she said "you're a much better boss than Daddy is." Now I know that really she apprieciates my 'guidance', and I don't feel so bad.

To my darling Ella, I love you so much, and I can't wait to see how much more you have grown as a person this time next year, and to find out the wonderful things you have achieved in your 5th year.

Monday, 8 September 2008

It's been a while......

.....but I've finally managed to break the blogger's block and take the plunge again. My unexplained absence has not been on purpose, I have on several occasions sat down at my laptop with good intentions, only to be distracted by some other job, or request asked of me.

The last two weeks have been particularly hectic, what with Danny's Aunt and Cousin from New Zealand staying with us, and Ella's first week at school. I enjoyed having them to stay, they were really lovely, and we had a great time, but now they are making their way home, and I have dropped Ella off to school this morning, I feel I can change gear, take a sigh of......relief ??? No, not relief, but maybe just sit down and exhale, I don't know how to put it into words, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

Since I've been away I have been given some awards, and recieved a giveaway.
So here are some long overdue thank you's. First to Cathy at Pink Green for my 'Brillante Weblog' and 'You make my day' award, and also to Marie at Dreaming of Wild Roses for another 'Brilliante Weblog' award, thank you both so much, it's lovely to know that anyone likes to read my ramblings, let alone recieving an award for them.
I had such a lovely surprise in the post a couple of weeks ago, when I recieved my Pay It Forward giveaway from Steph at Curlew Country sent me a handmade lampshade cover, made in the most gorgeous fabric from Louise Loves, wrapped in some beautiful CK 'birds' tissue paper (which I have saved of course!) and a sweet little wooden polka dot heart tag, which I think may have come from the talented Catherine of Mollycupcakes. Thank you!!!

On to my little girl and of course a photo in her first school uniform....

After some pictures outside she asked 'mummy can you get some pictures of me reading'

I managed to make her a bag for her P.E. kit the day before she started, and just managed to finish appliqueing her name on that evening, a bit of a labour of love, mind you it was worth it just to see Ella's reaction, she said 'mummy, you make me such beautiful things' (I imagine it will come home at half term covered in mud!)

Finally here is one of my very favourite purchases of this summer, this beautiful tiered skirt made by the very talented Beata of Rosehip

Saturday, 26 July 2008

garden party love

I've been meaning to upload these photo's for a couple of weeks, but as usual, I keep getting sidetracked. The other weekend we had a family gathering at 'The Mill', my mother's family home, and still home to my grandmother and mother's brother.
You see the Mill is actually a real, still working flour mill that is in Ponder's End (located in between Enfield and Chingford) on the River Lea. It is the family business and has been for 140 years, and the Mill itself is even mentioned in the Doomsday Book, if you are interested you can read more about it here (if you do read it Ken was my grandfather and David who is in charge now is my uncle.)

You may have seen our bread and cake mixes in you supermarket (Wright's) we also make the own brand flour for Waitrose and Budgens and Warburtons (also a long standing family run business) use our flour to make their bread. If you watched 'The Great British Menu' last year One of the chefs from the South East choose our Sungold Pastry Flour to make shortbread for his dessert.

More than anything the Mill is full of lovely childhood memories for me. Since my mother was a girl there has been a swimming pool there, and I have fond memories of garden parties we had when I was a child, when all us cousins would clamber out of the swimming pool all shivers and goosebumps, wrap up in towels and feast on doorstep sized jam sandwiches made from Mimi's (my grandmother) homemade rasberry jam and freshly baked bread from from the test bakery.

We where lucky with the weather (as alway's with Mimi's garden parties) and it was a beautiful day, as always she took me on a tour round the walled garden

wouldn't it be lovely to have agreen house/potting shed like this...

on the way to vegetable patch, I managed to acquire some beetroot and a recipe for pickling them!

and this the window of a little out building, used buy my mother before and after my birth, as her pottery.

A glimpse of the River Lea, where the Mill would have originally got it's power from.

Finally, on a slighty less picturesque note, it's amazing what can happen after a few glasses of wine, and with the help of a highlighter pen, a uv light and few cousins.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Lucky number 18

After giving everyone who entered the giveaway a number, and asking Ella to choose one, the winner is number 18, Cathy of Pink Green, Congratulations!

I will be sending of your surprise package off very soon, (please email your address!).

But please remember that everyone who entered the giveaway will receive a little token of thanks, so if you haven't already, please email me your postal address via the email contacts link on my 'about me' blog profile so I can pop it in the post (including Alison of So Tread Softly who kindly said not to worry about sending her anything as she lives in NZ, don't worry I'll send something light!)

Friday, 4 July 2008


So this is my personality. I would agree with most points, but I definately don't think I could take the pressure of being a chef, and I don't always get things done on time, maybe in the nick of time!

You Are An ISFJ

The Nurturer

You have a strong need to belong, and you very loyal.

A good listener, you excel at helping others in practical ways.

In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music.

You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for.

In love, you express your emotions through actions.

Taking care of someone is how you love them. And you do it well!

At work, you do well in a structured environment. You complete tasks well and on time.

You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

How you see yourself: Competent, dependable, and detail oriented

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Boring, dominant, and stuck in a rut

Monday, 30 June 2008

Seaside love

It's been a while but I have finally got round to uploading my photos of southwold, unfortunately about half are missing. I took them using my mum's camera, (because the battery pack in mine isn't holding it's charge anymore, and is always switching off) but when I put the SD card back into mine when I got home, they seemed to have disappeared, and they aren't on my mum's camera either.

I have finally given in to getting a new camera, so after a bit of blog and review reading, I have made my choice, and hopefully it is winging it's way to me as we speak, yippie!

But in the meantime here are some lovely beachy pictures from beautiful southwold....

I loved this one, someone had their children (or grandchildren) waving from a window painted on the wooden shutters of theirs.

We couldn't keep Ella out of the sea, although she never went in deeper than bottom level, we all had a paddle too, But Danny won the award for bravery (or stupidity) and had a rather chilly evening swim after too many pints of Broadside in the Nelson!

These are my lovely things that I brought home with me, some lovely stripey towels in pink/white and blue/white, two new baskets, the shopper was £11 and Dad bought me the lovely green one (such a lovely shade of green) for my vegetable patch (it's available online from Garden Trading if you fallen it love with it like I did and at a reasonable £13.50)

I couldn't resist this pretty rose enamel basin, although I'm struggling to find a place or use for it, as Danny keeps reminding me.

and here are some beach finds, (apart from the shell) a piece of wood, painted a pretty shade of pale blue, two stones with a hole right through, they are supposed to be lucky so I'm told......

as well as these lovely weathered bricks, they crop up all over the beach, I wonder where they came from, and what they used to be?

In keeping with this post's seaside theme, I've recently discovered a lovely new blog called driftwood shack, so if your hankering after some more seaside love, pop over and say hi.

Finally, thank you to all of you that have entered my blogiversary giveaway, I will be announcing the winner on friday, but remember, everyone who entered is a runner up and gets a little present so please email your addresses via the link on my 'about me' profile, so I can start sending your little packages!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Happy Blogging Birthday To Me!


Well to be truthful it was actually yesterday, but things have been busy this week (more later).

So in true blogging style we have cupcakes to celebrate, and a giveaway, Yea!

I can't believe it's been a whole year since I started this little blog, and I'm so glad I did, I've got to know some lovely people, and made some lovely blogging friends who share my passion for "others people's old crap" as my husband calls it, my love of making and painting things, and all the other nice things in my life, as well as inspiring me and cheering me up with your lovely comments when I'm feeling low.
I still feel real excitement when I check my inbox and see that someone has left me a comment. Although over time my posts have been become less frequent (after the initial buzz of having a new blog) I still love my little blog and appreciate every little comment that anyone makes, even if I don't get time to answer them all (or if I forget!)
Thank you so much to all of you that have visited me from the beginning of my blogging days, and to all of the new people that pop by too.

So to show my thanks I am holding a giveaway, but with a difference, there will be one main winner, but everyone who leaves a comment will receive a little token of thanks, it could be some ribbon or lace, some bits of fabric, a handmade card, or something else, who knows!

The main winner will receive a larger package, stuffed with some fabric, vintage buttons, ribbon and lace, perhaps a pretty vintage cup and saucer and some other little treasures that I can lay my hands on.

All you have to do to enter is to tell me what your favourite colour is, and tell me about one of your most favourite things that you have in that colour. If that makes sense!

Now, I have to show you some of my latest treasures........

My latest haul from the lady with the junk stall at the Saturday market in town, you have to look hard because most of it is a bit grubby, the candlestick holder was really dirty and covered in old wax but it scrubbed up lovely, along with the three pretty floral ceramic brooches.
The embroidered picture was a great find but was in a falling apart dodgy black plastic frame with a very dirty mount, here I've already put it in new frame and mount from the hardware shop, which has now been painted in ivory.

Next is my latest charity shop finds, all vintage cotton pillowcases, on different days, in different shops, but for the grand total of £4.45

These were the first £1.95 for a pair of pink candy stripe with a ruffly edge.

Next where a pair of white cotton housewife pillowcases with a pretty hand embroidered edge for £1.25

and finally a pair of white cotton square oxford pillowcases dotted with little embroidered blue roses for £1.25

all in mint condition without any stains, you can imagine my joy, all I need now is some square pillows to put the blue rose pillowcase on! I am doubly pleased as well, because charity shop finds are becoming very thin on the ground in my neck of the woods, and often when you do find them they are a bit overpriced for my liking.

Oh....I almost forgot, the reason for me being rather busy this week is my new project, on Monday I was chatting to my neighbour over the garden fence about the fact that I was keen to start a vegetable patch (spurred by recent TV chefs that shall remain nameless, as I'm sure you know who I mean) but due to long waiting lists for the council' s allotments and the restricted space in my garden I wasn't having much luck.

Anyway she mentioned that a while back she used have a vegetable patch towards the back of our other neighbour's (86 yr-old Joe) rather large garden, but after an operation a couple of years back she gave it up, but she was now keen to start again. So later that day she had a word with Joe, as she knew he was having trouble up keeping what was grass and hedge, and so in return for keeping the back of the garden tidy, and a few vegetables once they are grown I am now the proud owner of a plot.

So this whole week has been spent clearing the long grass and brambles, digging new beds, huffing and puffing, and constructing wooden frames to create two neat beds of my very own, I'm so pleased, and even more pleased I did all the back braking work to get them!

It has been a bit of a race against time, because as you will probably know if you are a veg grower, it's a bit late in the season, so time is of the essence to get some use out of it this year.

Also, tomorrow we are off to Southwold for the weekend. Mum and Dad have rented a house there for two weeks right on the sand dunes next to the beach (and it's got a verandah!), and we are to be the first of their many guests. So Lily is being bundled off for her first stay in kennels, and the car is already loaded up with buckets and spades, balls, picnic paraphernalia, polka dot windbreak, and clothes for all weathers (the forecast hasn't been great, but that won't dampen my spirits, we will cook sausages on the beach!) So wish me luck, and fingers crossed it doesn't rain too much!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

four years ago.....

Danny and I got married, it was a very 'homemade' wedding, I made the invitations, Mum and I bought and arranged the flowers the day before the wedding (luckily the man had plenty of Peonies), the food was a typically English buffet, with coronation chicken, plenty of salads, cold beef and ham, salmon, strawberries, meringues, cream, and chocolate torte all made by myself, mum, my sister, my grandmother and Danny's brother.

Phillippa made us a gorgeous wedding cake similar to one I had seen in a magazine, with beautifully made pink sugar roses in between the layers (I shall have to find a photo). We had the reception in the evening in a marquee in Mum and Dad's garden decorated with fairy lights and plenty of tea lights inside and out and the luckily although it had rained a couple of days before, we had lovely weather.

I'm so glad that I chose Peonies for the flowers, because they are only really around for June, and so it's always just before our anniversary that I see them in the florists, and I can't resist buying a bunch!

The only thing I regret about our 'homespun' wedding is that we didn't get a proper photographer. Although everyone took photo's at the wedding, and gave them to us, with all the commotion getting everything ready in the marquee before everyone arrived we forgot to take photos of everything laid out beautifully before it had been 'trashed'

I love this photo of Ella at our feet, see was six months old when we got married and I was still breast feeding her! She slept throughout the evening reception, but when we got back to the hotel she wouldn't go back to sleep, so she kept us up all night. At 6 in the morning Danny got up and took her to his mum's who lived round the corner just so we could get some sleep!

This was taken at the reception towards the end of night after plenty to drink and lots of dancing looking slightly dishevelled. I think it was one of the rare points that night that we were together, we spent so much time making sure we spoke to everyone there and thanked them for coming and for bringing presents, that the evening went so quickly!
So to anyone reading this who helped out with our day, thank you so much, it was such a lovely party, and we couldn't have done it without you!