Thursday, 29 May 2014


So the garden borders are coming along now. This circular border has been here since our house was built in the 1960s. Mrs. Fraser, the original owner planted it up. It's spot on. We rarely have to do anything to it and it has beautiful plants which bloom all season long. It only really dies back in the dead of Winter.

Our deep back border is a work in progress. But we're not wanting to waste money on buying full grown plants, so it will develop over time. That's ok. The part of the border with the herbs in is looking good.

You can see Sage, Rosemary, masses of Lemon Balm and just out of shot Thyme, which is covered in tiny flowers and bees.

The other half of the border still has some gaps, but we're working on it.

The house is now midway between being red brick and painted in Cornish Cream. I can't wait until it's finished. It will look fantastic. These two pics show the back of the house.

All in all a nice bit of progress made. The house will be completely finished and looking ticketyboo for my first knitting workshop on June 28th.

A warm welcome to David my latest Google Friend Connect follower who blogs over here

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Kaffe Fassett - Colour Magic in Bath

I'm a huge fan of Kaffe Fassett and have been very fortunate in meeting him and his partner Brandon Mably on several occasions. They are as lovely and as passionate about colour as they appear to be.

A few years ago I was involved in the setting up of an exhibition of Kaffe's work at Charleston Farmhouse. It was a tiny event compared to his current show at the American Museum in Bath. It was however very well attended and seemed to have a tremendous impact on all the visitors.

I find his work and use of colour so uplifting and stimulating in a way I have never experienced with any other artist or maker. He really does have a gift for putting colours together and using them in such a creative way.

If like me you are passionate about yarn, textiles, craft, art or/and colour, try and get to this exhibition. It has a long run, thankfully, as it gives us all a good chance of getting there before it is over.

Welcome to my latest Google Friend Connect followers. Sue, Dawn, & CCP. I'm super pleased that more of you lovely bloggers are linking up with me.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sun Shiny Sunday

Unfortunately the weather wasn't with us yesterday when we popped along to one of the local agricultural shows. We still managed to have a good time though in between the showers. I mean a day off from work and chores is a good day right?

I especially like to see all the farm animals at these events. This year was a little different as I was looking at them considering whether or not I could cope with their husbandry.

We will move in the next couple of years and are thinking about the pleasure and benefits of self sufficiency and how well it would work for us.

It's an exciting prospect but we have to be realistic too. We are lucky to have friends who have some experience and I also take inspiration from blogs like Sue's.

This is our second year of growing our own food and things have started well.

Rocket, Dianthus, Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Peppers.
But as all you gardeners out there will know it can all change if we get some unfriendly insects or parasites or worse still, the slug massive moves in.

We're keeping our eyes peeled and our fingers crossed. Not as uncomfortable as it sounds.

We have tried not to buy too many plants this year. I did purchase some Sarah Raven plugs for my Summer pots, a little extravagant I know. But you know me, as a super scrimper, I do like to add a couple of expensive items in with the cheaper to lift the whole look.

And yesterday we bought just one very healthy looking Lupin. It has three strong stems, I look forward to it getting established and providing a spectacular display throughout the Summer months. To keep it company I have a few little Lupin seedlings that I will plant alongside it. Once they have grown a bit more.

This year we are not holidaying abroad, instead we are investing the money in our house. Having it painted and generally tidied up, it will be money well spent. As we are staying at home we treated ourselves to a fantastic swing chair for the garden. The mister did a grand job putting it up and we are delighted with it.

Someone is waiting to see it so here it is.

And welcome to my latest follower Barbara Fisher over at March House Books.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Happy Weekend.

Happy extended weekend everyone. I know I'll be catching up with garden and house tasks, but I'm definitely going to pencil in some quiet time too.

I feel as though I've been extra busy of late. I see from your blogs you have been too.

Enjoy the sunshine and take some time to relax.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Mother Nature's Jewels

You would be forgiven for thinking this image was a close up of an intricate gem stone necklace, but it's not. It's actually something you can eat. I know extraordinary isn't it?

It's glass gem corn an amazing cross breed corn that is nearly translucent. It's not a sweet corn so you can't munch it as is. But it can be popped and ground for polenta and cornbread. I think it's quite dazzling. The seed is sold through a non-profit seed conservation organisation called Native Seeds/SEARCH.

Isn't Mother Nature wonderful? And look she can write too.

If you would like her to write to you pop over to this site and find out how to get in touch.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Fabulous Knitters

I don't have much time to spend on my Pinterest boards, but occasionally I log in and have a good ole virtual rootle around. I'm reliably informed you can lose days like this and develop a huge wish list for the beautiful things that you find.

Lately I have been searching for Fabulous Knitters and have found oodles of them.

So I created a board and my it has been popular. Every time I switch the pooter on I have more followers, great eh?

Spreading the word about the wonders of yarn and crafting pleases me greatly.

Which links me nicely to my knitting workshops of course.

And talking of followers a very warm welcome to two new google friends connect, Jo who blogs at  And Mona Lisa who blogs over at

(Sorry I couldn't do the linky thing girls, blogger keeps telling me it has snapped and can't link.)

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Super Scrimpy Face Cream

A few years back I watched a TV programme that set out to analyse face creams and challenge the claims of the manufacturers. I think the presenter was a chemist of some sort, anyway she was an 'expert' in her field.

She sampled very cheap creams, mid-range and very high end ones too. One of the expensive creams had caviar in it as I remember. I have just checked the prices on-line for a cream that includes caviar and spied one retailing at £512 for a standard pot. The manufacturer claims it is the ultimate experience in firming and lifting your skin.

After testing all the creams the chemist concluded that it was best to go for something mid range that didn't upset your skin, as she felt there wasn't much difference between them, and that no cream would stop the signs of ageing.

I do tend to swap about with face creams a little bit, especially if there are deals to be had. But I quite often use Nivea Q10.

It has some sun protection in it and is usually sold around the £10 mark. Every now and then it is reduced to half price and I stock up. It's a nice reliable face cream

Last month, on the way back from Reykjavik, I made a duty free purchase of an Icelandic organic herbal face cream. It was three times what I normally pay for my Nivea cream. It smells divine, but I haven't noticed any visible difference to my skin.

So last weekend I saw that Lidl had their own version of a Q10 face cream for sale at half the normal price, 99p, it's usually £1.99.

Well you know what's coming next. Of course I had to buy some. I figure if it's terrible I can always add some essential oils to it and use it as hand cream.

I wonder if any of you blogging thrifty bods have bought it, and what you think of it?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

We Don't Need To Be Cruel, So Why Are We?

You know I love to post about all the gorgeous things in life, pass on a few tips, highlight a few things here and there.

Today I'm posting about something not so pleasant - intensive farming. The money men would have us believe there is no choice but to ratchet up the intensive farming, so many people etc etc.

But I believe most of the 'developed ' world could do with eating less, I include myself in that group. Then I wouldn't be paying for a gym membership either. Money that could be spent better elsewhere.

I'm not a world expert on food growth and economics, but I think I have a valid point when I say let's consider the HUGE levels of food waste before we start even higher levels of intensive farming with all its related problems.

Please watch this film, it's not gruesome I promise.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Anyone for Venice?

I don't know if any of you blogging folk are taking a trip to Venice this year, but if you are, there looks to be a cracking exhibition on at The Palazzo Grassi Museum.

This 18th century gorgeous Venetian classic is located on the Grand Canal.
Until 31st December they are showing an Irving Penn exhibition, which I heard about by chance through Twitter, and of course felt duty bound to mention to you, my internet chums.

For the photographic aficionados amongst you, the exhibition contains 90 platinum prints, 30 gelatin silver prints, 4 colourful dye transfer prints and 17 internegatives, all of which are being shown for the first time to the public.

It's a shame if you can't make it to Venice, but you could attend one of my workshops in East Sussex instead, almost the same really.

A hello and welcome to Helen who has joined my little band of google followers.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014


We did masses of work in the garden over the BH weekend. We planted up pots, moved delicate plants from their Winter home back into the sunlight. Potted on seedlings, moved various well established plants to create a better back border and managed to divide some to create more plants, a lovely bonus indeed. The Mister then completely weeded and mulched the area.

We unwrapped our 'Agatha Christie' plant that has been swathed in black fabric for the Winter. Cleaned and weeded the old patio area. Gave the garden furniture a lick of paint. And generally made all good for the start of the warm weather.

Our Californian lilac tree which you can see to the left of this pic, looking a bit like a purple Christmas tree, had a little baby tree all by itself. We suddenly noticed an identical little tree about 10 inches tall growing a foot away from the Mummy plant. We are easily pleased and amazed obviously.

We went all out and treated ourselves to a 3 seater garden swing. We haven't put that up yet as we ran out of time and sunshine. I'm hoping it will get a grand unveiling next weekend if the weather is kind to us. I did a lot of research online for the best price, as they are quite expensive. We found a beauty at a garden centre about 25 minutes from us at Mark Cross, called The Sussex Country Gardener. It was reduced by £100 and we were given a free lavender plant too, which has handily filled a little hole in the front garden's lavender patch.

Last Autumn we planted a bumper pack of seeds which once grown and flowering attract and sustain bees. It's been another revelation to us as all sorts of weird and wonderful plants have sprung up.

We've discovered Borage. These beautiful star shaped flowers can be eaten as can the young leaves of the plant. The flowers look especially pretty in salads and frozen in ice cubes for summer drinks, Pimms anyone?

I have read that they contain lots of vitamins and minerals but also are a power house of natural anti-oxidants, you know the ones that munch their way through the nasty free radicals. (That does sound like a pop group to you too, right?).

Saturday, 3 May 2014

My Leading Ladies

My #shelfie for those of you who don't follow me on Twitter. Why should you miss out?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Ava Gardner - The Secret Conversations

This book was published last year so I've had it on my list to read for a while. But you know me and my super scrimpy ways, I didn't want to pay £20.00 for the pleasure. So I held off until my library could order it in for me at a much more affordable 80p.

I don't buy books nowadays unless I feel I will re-read them or refer to them again. Otherwise they just become dust collectors and oh my I don't need any of them.

I have been fascinated by the early Hollywood stars since I was a wee girl, like most of us vintage gals I suppose. My Mum used to explain who was who and to whom they were married and any other little tit-bits she could remember. All totally wondrous and glamorous.

This book fulfils the same brief really but instead of wonder and glamour there is a deep insight into Ava Gardner's life and a flavour of who she really was. I loved reading it but found it a little sad. When the ghost writer Peter Evans meets Ava she has already suffered two strokes that have left her physically diminished, which she of course can't stand.

She is badly in need of funds and decides to write her story to keep afloat. Her life had not become the happy time she had wished for.

"When I'm old and gray, I want to have a house by the sea. And paint. With a lot of wonderful chums, good music, and booze around. And a damn good kitchen to cook in".

This portrait of Ava taken by her brother-in-law Larry Tarr was the picture that launched her career as it led to a screen test with MGM. And so her story began.

The book is a genuine page turner filled with her personal experiences and intimate details of her life and loves. All told to Peter Evans in her honest and colourful speech it portrays her I think in a good light, warts and all.

It also serves as a reminder that life is over so very quickly, enjoy it while you can.

 A very warm welcome to my latest follower Willie