Sunday 30 June 2013

Six years ago

Yesterday, six years ago little J came into this world and six years down the line he still gives me a thrill every time I look at him knowing that this wonderful gift is something so special, one I NEVER want to take for granted.

I can't quite believe where time has gone, but I feel so proud to have such a caring, loving, considerate, often shy and funny boy that fills my life with such happiness and love. He has given my life a completely different dimension and I love every aspect of this very cheeky little chap. He has been my Thomas the Tank companion, the one who has taught me all about cars and trucks and currently the one sharing the world of Star Wars with me. I love his drive for life and his need to be into something, whether it be cars, Thomas or Star Wars. Once he has his mind set on it, he wants to know everything about it and read every book about it and I just love this thirst he has for life.
We had a lovely birthday lunch at home followed by a rather yummy chocolate cake before setting off to meet his friends at Wacky Woods for his birthday celebrations. It felt so strange not to be doing the weeks of planning and rushing around getting everything ready for a party at home, but it somehow also felt very relaxed and I have to say this venue was just perfect.

The kids started off with an assault course and then moved on to a team building exercise where they all worked together to design and build their spaceship, the Millennium Falcon. Little J absolutely loved this and it was so lovely to see him amongst his peers and to see a different side of his lovely little personality shine. I loved how they all worked together without any prompts and how they just got stuck in to make a rather treeeemendous space ship out of logs.

Once the ship was built, they played hide and seek (a clone wars battle of some sorts) amongst the bracken, such fun!!

I just love how little E had to physically close her eyes to do the counting, so sweet!
Then we all went and sat around the campfire where they prepared the pizzas, which according to one of the kids were even better than Pizza Express, made me giggle!


Then it was time for the cake and no one better than Yoda to top it, thank you Sainsbury's! Another first for me, not sure I will do it again, but it was done on request and sometimes it is good to try something different right?!

Then to finish the party off all the kids got to enjoy campfire marshmallows. I have such fond memories of doing this when I was a kid and it was so great to see just how much both J & E enjoyed it.



Josh had such a wonderful day and I have to give credit to Wacky Woods for making his day really special. All the kids left beaming and very very muddy, always a sign of a good day out.

Hope you have all enjoyed a good weekend?! Today has mostly been a day of rest with some moments in the garden this afternoon, which I will share with you soon. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday.

Just a quick note on Bloglovin, sorry, I am sure you are all aware, but as of tomorrow Google reader will no longer exist, so if you haven't already clicked the 'follow me' button on Bloglovin, please do as I love it when you stop by.

Warm Wishes

Friday 28 June 2013


“White resonates, like a silence that can suddenly be understood.” Wassily Kandinsky

Joining in today with Lou's Nature in the home week 17 and this week's theme is 'white'. I chose Cosmoses and the beautiful Astrantia major.

Warm wishes


Wednesday 26 June 2013

Granny circular stool cover

Thank you all your very lovely birthday wishes last week, it touched my heart.

Now onto ye olde granny, and what a little companion this is becoming. My lovely children gave me this very wonderful book 'Granny Squares, 20 crochet projects with a vintage vibe' as an early birthday present. The  book is filled with wonderful projects and there are at least a dozen I am bursting to get working on, but my first choice, these lovely 'Circular Stool Covers'.

There are two versions for you to chose from and for this project I chose version two. I really enjoyed working these little granny square mandala's. Now some of you might have a good insight into  the meaning of the word Mandala, I know I didn't know anything about it until I came across it during my years of exploring religions and especially Meditation.
The word Mandala comes from the Sanskrit Mandala, which means 'circle', it also represents the universe. Some also believe that it is a symbol of the dreamers search for completeness in a dream. What I like about Mandala's is their visual appearance and how it has the power to absorb the mind and to stop all the chattering that is forever going on. It brings me to a state of awareness and consciousness, and I suppose there is a rather hypnotic feel to working these circles. In our busy lives it is so hard to find time to just be with the here and the now and to get rid of all the thoughts that is forever consuming our minds and actions and that is why I am such a great believer in the power of meditation as it gives us a platform to just be here and now but in a quiet place and space to address the underlying issues, happy or sad, that might never really be heard in our busy days. I have to add here that meditation doesn't just have to occur in these quiet places, but can be done anywhere and at any point in the day no matter where you are.
Another aspect that I really enjoyed when working these Mandala's was the knowledge that it represents giving everything to the universe, in order to receive teaching and or empowerment in return. Now although this goes far deeper than that in the spiritual sense of the word, I did feel quite empowered by ye old granny and most definitely found that I had regained respect for the teachings from this simple yet beautiful stitch.
First there was one and then
there were two.

For this project I used King Cole Bamboo cotton, which I had never worked with before. It is 50% Bamboo Viscose and 50% Cotton and it is simply wonderful to work with. I purchase it here and still have enough left for another project. I love everything about this yarn, it is soft, it doesn't split like 100% cotton normally does in my experience (which I have to add is limited!) and it is washable, always essential in a house with small and messy fingers around.

I altered the pattern a little as I didn't think the decreasing in the last couple of rounds were going to be enough to keep the cover firmly in place on my stools and I am delighted with the end result. They fit nice and snug, in fact at first I didn't think I was going to get it on, but its on it has survived the wriggly bottom test by small bottoms constantly jumping on and off it.

What better way to enjoy them than with some gluten and dairy free home made scones with rhubarb and strawberry jam and a pot of fresh mint tea...


and some glimmer of sun streaming through the kitchen window.

Wimbledon has started, yay!! and I know the next two weeks will pretty much revolve around tennis as much as possible. I am seriously going to have to learn to crochet and watch tennis (as it has proved rather difficult the last two days!). Wishing you all a very lovely Wednesday and an enjoyable week.

Warm Wishes

Thursday 20 June 2013


On Tuesday I joined the 40s club and if this is what 40 is all about I am well and truly up for it!

I had the most perfect couple of days made so special by very special people in my life. I honestly couldn't have asked for more. I was so touched by every little effort. My friends and family really went out of their way to make my day one to remember and I love them even more for it (if that is possible).
A couple of my besties came over with home made lemon meringue pie (made gluten and dairy free, I was so touched) and biscuits so we could enjoy a girlie afternoon doing what girls do best, chatting and eating and boy we did a good job. One of my lovely and dearest friends, who made the pie (and bless also stood in it shortly after making it, ha!), brought me this wonderful painting of pink Camellia's (a fave) painted by her very talented mother especially for me (how wonderful is that?!) and a beautiful old galvanised tin bucket filled with lavender and beautiful campanula flowers. She also gave me THE most beautiful flower arrangement that she made up, but unfortunately the pictures really don't do it any justice, such a shame.
It was filled with lovely stocks, roses, Irises geraniums, and so much more.
This very gorgeous butterfly in a frame was done for me by another friend and I just love it. It is such a simple idea, yet clever idea and like all her ideas they turn out amazingly and are always executed to perfection. She is such a very talented lady and I just love all her work. It is now looking rather gorgeous on my wall.

Another friend brought me this very gorgeous little pot with more purple flowers (not sure what they are? any ideas?). She did this rather lovely framed birthday card with a very lovely birthday message, which I think is just beautiful. She also gave me a gorgeous purple Cabbages and Roses scarf, note the very sweet vintage birthday card that came with it, I love it!

Another friend, fellow hooker (heehee) gave me two balls of this wonderful kidsilk haze, I think the colour is majestic. This is very new to me and haven't got a clue what I can make with it, but I have been warned that it can frog!?? Have any of you used this? I am looking forward to spending some time on Ravelry to draw some inspiration, don't you just love Ravelry for that?!
Now some of you might have picked up on the fact that everything I have received so far has a tint of purple to it, which I found rather fascinating as it is not my usual colour of choice, but I am taking it as a message and will be making more of an effort with this colour in the future. Years ago I did a make-up-make-over with Laura Mercier (a gift from a friend with some product) and I was told that plum was the colour that suited my skin the best, so I think it is time I listen, not that I often where eye shadow, I have to confess (too much effort), but then again, I am very soon going to have to start drawing the attention away from all the wrinkles and that might just be the answer right there.

Another gorgeous pressie from another special friend. Just loving the potting shed sign and also the little box for my seeds, have been looking for some inspiration on how to organise my seeds, so I will be looking no further. Also some vouchers to go and spend at the garden centre, well needless to say this 'oldie' is chuffed to bits!
This very gorgeous plate set from Magpie, which I cant say that I've heard of before, but I have since had a look at their website and they do some rather lovely things. This is a perfect present for me as I love anything with birds on and I am so looking forward to putting these on a wall very soon.
Something else I love, isn't it amazing how well friends know you. I feel so honoured to have such very special people in my life, they make my life such a pleasure to live! I am so looking forward to pampering myself with these. I already use the Rose and Geranium Shower gel and simply love it.

This very beautiful tea towel was purchased for me by such a dear friend when she went to Portugal and I love the beautiful crochet edging, it puts my tea towel edging to shame, that's for sure! She also spoilt me with some rather lovely smelling Cath Kidston products, which I am really looking forward to using.
Not to want to bore you with the others, I will move on to
the pressies from my very lovely family, I simply love all the blue here and can't wait to fill those lovely Greengate tins, not to mention filling these lovely Cath Kidston melamine set of three food containers with food for picnics or stacking them in the camper van (yip I'm still dreaming!). I am venturing into the world of quilting and this book about machine quilting looks really useful, but more on that when I actually get around to using it. Another crochet book filled with some lovely patterns and ideas and I am looking forward to trying some of these.
There was also a massive splurge from all family members who chipped together to buy me my own first Janome sewing machine. Both the machines I have used in the past are hand-me-downs, so it feels rather 'proper' and 'grown up' to be owning my own sewing machine. I am yet to use it, but first there is all the reading the manual malarkey, because I certainly don't want to break it. Then there is also now the pressure that I better make good use of it, and the problem that I can no longer blame the machine for all my errors (yikes!!).

On Tuesday night we went out for a lovely meal at Sutton Hall, a very beautiful former convent, once the manor house of the Earls of Lucan. We love going here as it has such a wonderful atmosphere and the food is excellent. It was the perfect end to a wonderful start of what I believe and hope to be a happy and healthier year. New life begins every day right?!
Also joining in with Lou at the Littlegreenshed's Nature in the Home series, week 16, and this weeks' theme is a gift, what I would call perfect timing! 
I hope you have all enjoyed your week so far, I can't quite believe it is almost Friday, time certainly flies when you're having fun. Wishing you all a happy week and weekend and looking forward to sharing some crochet with you next time.
Warm wishes

Monday 17 June 2013

Sunburst Granny Square Picnic

For my regular blog readers, you will know that a couple of weeks ago I crocheted this sunburst granny square stool cover for our little puss. Well, with Summer here, my next priority was beautifying our picnic basket with the hope that we will have lots of wonderful and sunny days this summer to enjoy picnics (one can but dream!). Having really enjoyed working these little squares I decided these Sunburst Granny Squares by Priscilla Hewitt would made the perfect little jersey for our basket.

Although I had a good idea of what I wanted, I still needed to figure out how I was going to get there, which to be honest was a bit of guesswork here and there. I was set on having the cover go over and under both lids, but I didn't want it to sit up onto the handle of the basket, if this makes any sense. Basically, I wanted it to fit like a glove. For this project I used DROPS Paris Cotton Aran which I purchased from The Wool Warehouse. I definitely misjudged the amount of cotton I was going to require and there were a couple of days waiting for some more (hate it when this happens). As you can see from the pictures, I did eight granny squares and the rest is just granny crochet  around until I got to where I wanted it to be, increasing and decreasing along the way.

As most of you will know we celebrated Fathers Day yesterday and I wanted to do something special for my wonderful other half, as I genuinely think that he's simply the Best Dad in the world! We didn't fancy a meal out as that will be happening tomorrow night for another celebration, so I decided a lovely picnic (weather permitting) would be just right. Well it is fair to say that all our angels were watching over us as we had a dry and very pleasant afternoon in the end.

I chose a very lovely spot on our doorstep, one we haven't been to for quite some time, largely because for some very strange, but unknown reason (I blame age here!)  I have forgotten all about it. Does this happen to you too?

We had this very beautiful place all to ourselves. These photo's don't do it justice, but the fields were bathed in little pretty smiling buttercups.

It has river running through it and Josh had so much fun pretending he was surfing on a rather surfboard-like rock.

We found the most perfect spot to camp out for the afternoon to enjoy a rather late lunch and an afternoon of chilling.

For me picnics are all about lovely sandwiches and freshly baked cakes or brownies and a cup of tea offcourse! I took a little empty jam jar with and filled it with some water from the river and a posy of beautiful buttercups. I love pretty things and there is no reason one can't have these little pleasures when your eating out of a basket!

We also tried out the new Strawberry and Rhubarb jam, which I wrote about here and I think I will be making some more very very soon, delicious!

The kids had such fun just wading in the water in their wellies (and boy it was freezing!!!).

Little Es, enjoying climbing on to everything and anything, such a little monkey.

Both Josh and Dad really enjoyed having some quality time playing footie, whilst

us girls just enjoyed reading Fantastic Mr Fox. It is one of my all time faves and I so enjoy reading it to the kids. I have stopped counting the number of times we have read this story and I can't see me ever tiring of it.

For me these beautiful old trees are so expressive, every curve on their bodies speak of some chapter in life and express their carefully sculptured moods. For some reason they always make me reflect on my own grounding and how we are all part of this earth, belonging to the greater good. There is something so nourishing about the feeling of belonging and being connected to nature.

Hats on for a cup of tea and some very scrummy chocolate brownies. Our household has become quite fond of these wonderful 'Flourless Chocolate Brownies' by Nigella, possibly because they suit all my intolerances, but also because I am yet to taste a better brownie, so if you haven't made these yet, give them a go.


It was such a wonderfully relaxing afternoon, but all good things have to come to an end.
Thank you for all your lovely comments on my blog. I wanted you to know that I really appreciate you reading my blog (even when posts are so long!) and for following me, it brings me so much joy. I always try and leave a reply to your comment(s), but I appreciate that most of you most probably never read them. It's just my way of saying that I appreciate each and every one of your comments and so enjoy reading them. Welcome to my new followers, I am so pleased that you are enjoying your little visits here and I am looking forward to seeing lots more of you.

Wishing you all a very happy Monday and wishes for a creative and enjoyable week.