31 July 2006


Back to reality with a bang for me today....having to face redundancy as I had kind of expected but not quite accepted. So not to dwell on it & be sad I'm going to make "a list of me" instead - inspired by the wonderful Abigail A. Percy blog that I always look forward to reading.

Here's some of my loves....

- lavender - my family - listening to The Archers on Radio 4 in the kitchen - battenburg cake - re-arranging rooms - dancing with my gorgeous hubby in our kitchen - Florence - honesty - sending homemade cards - olives - seaside paddles - earl grey tea - dresses over trousers - new projects - old photos - talking to our cat - cooking - drawing in biro - Norfolk - sewing - coming home - rhubarb crumble & cold custard - the colour green - growing something in the garden - breakfastime - newsy emails - hollyhocks - Farrow & Ball paints - days out with my Mum - trees - morning coffee - ribbon - laundry on the line - the smell of cinnamon - walking - sitting down to dinner - birds - wearing an apron - visiting friends - old bookshops - scrabble - a new magazine to flick through - peonies - pinning inspiring things to notice boards - pilates - daydreaming - picnics with hardboiled eggs - snuggling under layers of bedding with a good book - watching wood burning on the fire - unexpected smiles - love letters - wrapping gifts in a beautiful way - dressing up for an evening out - visits to Ireland - sweet peas - foot massages - painted furniture - French accents - aubergines - vintage fabrics - pinned up hair - crisp cold sunny days - new socks - going to get the Sunday paper - eating chips on the pier - eBay - a date at the cinema - Cambridge market - a nice glass of wine - my wedding ring- my Grandad's woodturning -brown paper - singing in the car - reading my favourite blogs - making lists - feeling inspired -

....there, that feels better already! Maybe there's a better adventure around the corner?

25 July 2006


It's like being back at art college tonight....me & Mum have just finished our "homework"! I am VERY tired so this is going to be an extra-short post. I wanted to report that I'm really enjoying myself and will go to sleep with a happy feeling that I'm getting back into "the groove" on day 2 after a strange day 1 when I couldn't quite settle into things.

The weather is HOT & hopefully it'll stay good for the rest of the week too. It's amazing how being out in the elements all day can be so good for the soul & it's a therapy of sorts as it just takes your mind from your thoughts....even if it's just for a little time whilst you concentrate like mad or else wander & take in the beauty that surrounds you.

20 July 2006


Another holiday beckons for me and I'm really looking forward to it. This will be my 4th year on the Landscape Painting Course in Norfolk which I go along to with my arty partner in crime (MUM) and it's always a lovely week. My Mum has probably been going for 7 years (?) & it's run by the same tutor she has at her weekly LEA art class, Bob Larking. We visit a different location every day (wonderful places like Cley next the Sea and Felbrigg Hall & everyone does their own thing be it sketching with biro (ME)....to pen & watercolour (MUM)....to oil on canvas (BRAVER ARTISTS!) Me & Mum are very inspired by the artist Sue Lewington and we've bought some new books this year from ebay to keep us enthusiastic. I'm definately going to use more colour this year....that's about my only objective, apart from enjoying the experience....& it's impossible not to!

It's actually a very theraputic week....it's great to be outdoors all day, meeting different people, quality time with Mum & just a whole world away from the day job. I'm hoping to have some good thinking time whilst I'm up there regarding my day job as I got some bad news this week....I may be facing redundancy in the next few weeks. A very scary prospect as I've been working in the same business since I graduated in1998....where do I go from here I wonder? Let's hope that it could be a blessing in disguise....still I'm in a bit of a panic mode at the moment so some time in the Norfolk countryside will help.

Anyways, enough of my little weepy-time....here's a few doodles from my sketchbook last year....all very countryfied....funny chickens, dairy farms and gorgeous cottages. I'm going to have a bundle of lovely stuff, thoughts and photos to share next week....creativity here I come!

17 July 2006


Some lovely purchases from my recent holiday. I made a beeline for Il Papiro when I was in Venice having discovered it's joys when I was there on honeymoon 2 years ago. If you can imagine a place that is stationery heaven then stepping into this shop is living the dream! The K initial business cards that I bought first time round have been preciously used and I must have been so stingy that I still have half the box left!! So on my latest trip I've come away with some new delights....a box of P initial business cards for my Mum (who would LOVE the shop and possibly take up full time residence!)....some K initial postcards....and the sweetest little New Baby Girl card (I have no particular recipient in mind but sure one will come along!)....oh and Ciaran bought himself a pencil to do his Sudoku with! Hee hee! They have quite a few stores and I'd recommend anyone with a lust for all things papery to seek one out....and lucky for us all they have a website too.

Amongst all the other amazing shops in Italy I have another favourite called ethic. Again, I made my first purchases there on honeymoon, as did Ciaran, hence my return this time around. Lots of lovely clothes/accessories for Women & Men plus the Florence store (which has a v different/cool layout) has a whole range of Homeware/Music too. I got myself 2 tops and the fabric bead necklace above in the Rome shop on our last day in Italy....so I came home a very Happy Shopper indeed!

16 July 2006


Oh dear....I must've forgotten a bloggy thing or 2 since I got back from hols! Seems like none of my links worked for last 2 entries so this is a quick recap for anyone interested or just for practise if no one's looking :)

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini, our newspaper, Fannie Flagg

Phew! And since I'm here I'm going to tell you that I went for dry freezing my runner bean batch today....can I switch off the computer now please??! x


I'm back with more....my mother-in-law Anne was off to a wedding this week & I speed-made her a corsage for her outfit. I'd made one last year for Ciaran's sister so had a fair idea of how to do this one. The base is sandwich of 2 black suiting fabric circles with an iron on interling filling, zigzagged egding and with a handstitched brooch pin (I get mine from beadcraft). It was then a case of raiding my ribbons/trimmings box and looping and handstitching pieces to the base. All stitches were then covered with the bead and rhinestone decoration which I also added to the ends of some of the ribbons for some weight and more sparkle. I had all the ingredients here in my workroom so didn't even have to leave the house to get started, it's got me thinking I could do some for my Etsy shop once I get it up and running and must make one for myself too!

This week's handmade card submission was for birthday girl Marian, featuring one of my pen illustrations with a bit of collage, beads and machine stitching. Sent to her with a French/English dictionary....she was impressed with the display of Ciaran's foreign language skills on holiday (hee hee, actually he is very good and always tries....I'm afraid to make a fool of myself on the otherhand which is half the battle I think) so we thought we'd give her something to bring back memories! We all had much fun watching the World Cup with supporters of other nationalities and discussing the games in a variety of languages too. I don't think I'll ever forget the French verb plonger (which means to dive) as there was plenty of it going on!

One last item for this post....I finished The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni last night and would recommend it to anyone. My Mum passed it on to me and I loved it, very powerful and painfully sad....a book that's going to stay with me. I did a bit of Googling and it looks like it's going to be made into a film which will be interesting....I'll be keeping an eye out for more information....you know what it's like when a book's characters and locations leave such an impression on you, it's hard to imagine how they will be translated to film. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. So it'll be a new book at bedtime....I have so many to choose from but think I'm going to plump for Welcome To The World, Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg which my lovely friend Fee bought me for my birthday.

That's me for today then. I'm off to enjoy the evening sunshine and a wander round the garden. Here's to a productive week ahead....

p.s. I forgot to say how I've relished reading my favourite blogs since I got back from holiday....a hearty full week's dose all in one go and so much to inspire and smile at....infact I must have another dozen to add to my favourites list that I've linked to as I've gone along!


Let's start off by saying that Mr Bosco was last out of bed this morning which in my mind makes him a Lazy Cat....but then again surely that's what Sundays are all about! We had a funny night's sleep anyway as our weekend visitors had to leave at 3.30am to drive off to catch their ferry to France....Ciaran's uncle and family of 3 little boys were here Fri & Sat....so a lie-in was extra essential today. Once up, we wandered to the village shop and bought our newspaper (essential for my Nigel Slater fix! check out his raspberry panna cotta recipe in the magazine food section) and punnet of local strawberries, then back for breakfast outside where it was starting to feel v hot already even at 9.30am....what a summer we're having!
I promised myself to make an effort to get time with my blog today and actually it's a nice excuse to stay out of the sun too. I've been a busy bee with my day job since returning from hols but have some nice things to report on so let's start with a roundup of the week....first off....sweet peas & runner beans are GO!

We have had our first harvested runners for dinner (is it me or are they just more tasty because we grew them?) and lots more growing so I'm going to continue to pick to my heart's content, then quick cook/blanch/freeze some for us and all others will be to give to friends and family.
I can't begin to tell you how beautiful the perfume of the sweet peas is....I've grown white and lilac coloured old varieties (foremost for scent reasons and secondly because I love the colours anyway!) and have delighted in being able to cut them for the house. I have them in our sitting room, bedroom, guest room and still had some to give to my Mum & Grandma C....and still they keep flowering on the canes outside. I'm so pleased that I gave growing them a go, I had my moments when I thought they weren't really going to survive but I've been pleasantly suprised and have learned a few lessons along the way for next year too. Let's see how the pumpkins turn out later in the year before I declare myself any kind of expert though....it could all have been a happy accident thus far!
n.b. you'll see that I've gone for a smaller font so's I can fit more in this post....you may need glasses Mum....sorry, will be back to regular size next time :)
This is going to have to be a 2 parter as I'm having trouble adding more pics....don't go away now....

08 July 2006


Home from the holiday....we had such a lovely time! Boy it was hot though and so much ice cream and sun cream needed. In a wimpish way I'm going to make this a short entry so's I can tackle the mountain of washing in our suitcases. I always hated packing but can officially state that unpacking rates higher on my list of dislikes!!

I'm feeling happy to be home again having had a break with laughs aplenty and sights to inspire. Glad to see Bosco on our return and check in with loved ones again. Our garden looks scarily sunburnt as it's been scorching in England too but all's surviving. There's runner beans to be picked and sweet peas blooming which is exciting.
So off now to do the dreaded laundry and watch some more World Cup. Will be back soon with more tales and general ramblings!