Saturday, 31 December 2016

Welcome 2017

I've always tried to enjoy life to the full and with each passing year the desire to 'do' as much as possible increases, mindfully spending my time wisely. According to the 'experts', meaning in life equates to happiness. Well I'm planning to bring as much of that to my new life in the Peak District as I can. Family and friends are the blessings in life and I think with a good dose of hard work and some new experiences the rest will come.

I wish all of you, my blogging chums the very best for 2017. Health, happiness and prosperity.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

My Birthday Treat at Miss. Potter's.

To celebrate my birthday which was on the 10th, the Mr and I went to stay in a very special cottage. Once owned by Beatrix Potter. The place was quite magical, full to the brim with evocative pieces. We slept in a four poster bed in a room that was hundreds of years old. It was an amazing experience, usually one only gets to visit such properties for the day and is never allowed to touch anything in the rooms. We lived and breathed it for a week, it was wonderful.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Cheer

I thought you all deserved another pre Christmas post, after my moaning Minnie one of Thursday. So I'm sharing a few of the wondrous delights that Chatsworth has to offer with their Nutcracker Christmas themed festivities.

I've been three times this Winter and will go again when they open for a few days in January before they close for the season. I admit to a teeny bit of an obsession with Chatsworth, brought on by my fascination of the strong women who have lived there thoughout it's history. Yes there have been Dukes, but they are not a patch on the women folk of Chatsworth.

Now I'm living in the Peak District I have become a 'friend' of Chatsworth and can visit free of charge as often as I like, plus I also get a number of free tickets to events. Oh dear, I think my obsession may get worse.

These delightful silhouetted dancing ballerinas were projected on the walls where the ancient statues are on display toward the end of the house tour. Whilst a real life ballerina pirouetted amongst the visitors.

I haven't really gone to town with Christmas decorations at home this year mainly because the rented house is tiny and we are surrounded by stuff as it is. But I did buy a rather handsome 62cm Nutcracker soldier who is standing guard over the presents. I think I may start a wee collection of Nutcracker soldiers and see if next year I can rival the Chatsworth display.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Towards The End

It's been a funny ole year for me and from what I'm reading, for a lot of you folk too. Just now it feels like a year of endings without new beginnings. Partly because although we made the move to the Peak District in March we are still in a rented house. We have found a home but the purchase process is dragging on somewhat, largely due to the fact that the vendors do not seem to understand the legal process and have not been enlightened by their solicitors. Therefore the agreed exchange date of November18th didn't happen. We are still waiting.....................

This year has also seen the loss of many much loved people in the public eye. The deaths of Terry Wogan and Victoria Wood made me feel especially sad.

But I don't want to sound mawkish as I really do have a lot to look forward to and I do count my blessings, but even so, some days life is a bitch, no?

What I am looking forward to is seeing all the family at Christmas and I'm determined to enjoy it to the full this year. I shall look to the New Year with optimism and a sense of new purpose.

I hope that all of you dear blogging chums have a fantastic time with your friends and family over the Christmas season and I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Important Stuff

Apologies for just posting the odd film or two at the moment. I will be back with lots more stuff in the New Year. This little film is a corker though and will make you teary and joyful at the same time.

I discovered it through my very favourite London cafe,

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

I Love Wes Anderson

I found this gorgeous little film directed by Wes Anderson for H&M, over on a favourite blog of mine. If you click over to the blog there is also a link to access a fantastic Wes Anderson colour palette. Just what I need at the moment. Yes, we have found a house and yes, I have decorating in mind. Lots of it.

Thursday, 1 September 2016


I'd never be a fashionista, nor do I want to be. Spending huge sums of money on expensive clothing is not my bag, so to speak. (In fact my actual bag is a high class model but I purchased it for £1.00 from an animal charity shop). I do try and look my best though, obviously, but I tend to buy few items at good prices. Usually this means cherry picking through charity shop rails. I know many of you lovely bloggers do the same.

My lifestyle generally is one of being thrifty, buying only when I need something and trying to buy or source second hand. Thrifty feels good. Good for me and good for the planet. I would love more folk to do the same. Love the planet and she will love you back. Use minimum resources and there's more to go around. That's how it works my friends.

Part of my plan in moving to the Peak District is to start up a new business here. Upcycling, recycling, repurposing and refashioning will be the beating heart of what I hope to achieve. I would love the business to be a totally local affair. Employing local makers to create useful and beautiful items, purchased and enjoyed by local folk, who will keep their money circulating in their own local economy.

I have booked a stand at a three day Christmas event in my local town of Matlock to test the popularity of such a venture. If all goes swimmingly I hope to open a shop in the Spring. I thought you might like to see my first product. Cafetiere or vintage coffee pot covers. Some made from vintage fabric and others from small amounts of scrap fabric and yarn. This idea came from an original cover that I bought second hand years ago.

I advertised in a local paper and found a lovely local lass who loves to sew.

She made the covers for me and has already started on my next idea. I'm really excited about the possibilities. A new business in a new place and hopefully a new home to go with it. Yes, I'm still searching, but getting nearer methinks.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

'Ands Off Me Cockles. A Song For The Weekend.

Cro is having a sensational Summer, with lots of talented and interesting folk visiting him at his French home. His post today inspired me to bring this beautiful melody to your attention. Stick with it (only 1.40 mins), as the singer seamlessly moves into a brilliant Noel Coward impersonation.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Current Mood

Chickpea has found hers, it's gorgeous but it needs a lot of work. Sue has found hers and has almost completed it's transformation into a perfect forever home.

Meanwhile I'm still looking.

gif via

Did I mention, I'm not known for my patience?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Gaia's Bounty

image via
Our home grown produce has taken a while to come through this season because of delays caused by the house move. We haven't planted as much either, but the little we have is being used as quickly as it's coming up. Sadly I can't see we will need to freeze any surplus.

I had thought being in a cooler region now (in the Peak District), it would be more difficult to grow veg or fruit that need a good deal of sun. Imagine my surprise when our next door neighbour Ted knocked on the back door with two home grown peaches for us.

The mister took this pic, he's called it 'Peaches in the Peak'.

In other news, I recently went to a rather jolly herbal workshop, hosted by a very knowledgeable local lass. My son came with me so it made the day extra special.

We were taught how to make face and body lotions, bath melts and Winter syrups. The tutor had a vast range of essential oils, I used the more unusual Frankincense, Violet, Clary Sage and Sweet Birch amongst others.

The whole experience was a delight and of course the knowledge gained invaluable. I shall definitely be making some fruity soothing syrups for the colder months.

Welcome to my latest follower Beth. Always nice to know the clan is growing.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Busy Bee Me.

My goodness me it's been a busy week. Started off with a house viewing on Monday. Right area, sadly wrong house.

Tuesday evening was a lively talk at the Cromford Mill gothic warehouse by Christine Robinson, former Head Housekeeper to the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. Cheese and wine served beforehand, all very civilised and inexpensive.

Wednesday the Mister was dropped off at Chesterfield station to take the London train so he could indulge in some drinking time with his brothers and some chums. I, dutiful wife, picked up some provisions and sorted out our spare room ready for our weekend guests.

Thursday we popped along to the Bakewell show, as I had won some tickets on Twitter from a very nice local florist, Jonathan Moseley, who 'does the flowers' for Chatsworth.

These creations by Plantology

Friday we zoomed over to Cheshire for a Decorative Home and Salvage show.

Then late afternoon our chums arrived to stay, and we were hithering and thithering all weekend, eating and drinking too much, sitting in the sun and generally having a good time.

Oh, plus our car and washing machine both packed up, so major outlay of the folding I'm afraid.

I'm looking forward to a few quieter days now.

Monday, 1 August 2016

The Innocent

This is a fairly old pic of our puss Pendragon, taken at the last house. She looks like butter wouldn't melt, eh?

She's supposed to be a British Shorthair, but her long and abundant fur grows in deep layers across her body. Said fur needs brushing to remove the excess, but will she let us do it? Definitely not! She is outraged at what she thinks is manhandling.

The latest spat came when I thought I should cut her claws. We haven't found a new local vet for her yet so I thought it would be less traumatic for her and cheaper for us if I did it. I looked on line and found a video of a vet clipping the claws of  a very chilled out puss. That looks easy, I thought. I'll go and buy some special cat claw clippers and all will be well. Fat chance! It took three attempts, with me wearing gardening gloves to protect my skin and I still haven't managed to get her dew claws done yet.

Such a grumpy cat, but we love her of course.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Polar Bear in Summer

Since discovering Gretel Parker and her wonderful creations a few years back, I've been itching to try out needle felting. I did have an unsupervised go a wee while back and it turned out okay but not great.

So a couple of weeks ago en route down south to a family gathering  I stopped off in Oxfordshire to attend a Gretel Parker workshop. It took the whole day to start to get to grips with the technique, but I had some great support and very gentle tuition. Since then I have spent quite a number of hours finishing off my little bear. And I'm super pleased with the result.

These are all the bears lined up at the end of the workshop. My bear is third in from the left at the back, looking more like a white Alsatian than a bear.  But in my own time I managed to shape him up to my satisfaction. I will put him inside a small glass dome, (when I eventually un-pack it), with some snowy bottle brush trees, I may even make him a hat, or a ruffled collar.

I will leave you with some of Gretel's work, she really is super talented.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Poor Man's Sunday Lunch

I would consider myself to be a person who holds with tradition yet I've never been one to cook a roast every Sunday, that I'm afraid would feel more like routine. Last night the Mr and I had a light supper of cheese, crackers, olives, grapes and a cheeky bottle of red. (Cheeky because it's given me a bit of a head today).

Consequently we were more than a bit peckish come lunchtime. A sandwich was not going to suffice. So I had a rootle around in the freezer and saw we had four of the Black Farmer's bangers and some Yorkshire puds. Not exactly the food of the Gods, but if we had some tatties ready to harvest and some runner beans ready from the garden we could manage a sort of  poor man's Sunday lunch. Luckily we had both.

It was rather good, with some horseradish mustard, and cost a princely sum of  £2.20 for both of us. I've got a few beans and spuds leftover which I'm thinking could be added to a nice tuna nicoise for lunch tomorrow. Nice and thrifty, with no waste, just how I like it.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Joyful Tove Jansson

My love of all things Scandinavian leads me to ponder many an interesting thing. My latest (re)discovery is Tove Jansson. We all know her as the creator of the dear little Moomin characters.

But oh my giddy Aunt, she was so much more. I have to admit a teeny bit of a girl crush on her. What an interesting and extraordinary woman she was, revealed in this BBC documentary.

If you have time, make yourself a cuppa, get comfortable and watch the story of her exemplary life.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Oh Frugality How I do Love Thee

The house hunting continues apace. We have now viewed 23 properties, with another booked for next Tuesday. We have, of course a 'happy home' checklist, and we are slowly reaching the conclusion that something has got to give. Having a detached property has always been one of the top requirements because I'm a little noise phobic, after living on a main road for a number of years. The Tuesday property is semi-detached and I wondered dear bloggers what your opinions might be on the merits of detached and semi ? I think I need a balanced viewpoint on the subject.

This morning the Mr and I popped into Chesterfield, picked up some breakfast and scooted round the flea market. We had a fabulous time. The sun was out, prices were cheap and all the folk were in merry mood. I made a few purchases, all to do with the new business venture I'm working on at the moment. But it struck me as always, that you can buy almost anything secondhand and still buy quality.

I'm being mindful of keeping spending at a minimum just now, which I always try to do anyway, because of the impending house purchase. It just takes a bit of extra thought that's all.

Mother in law gave me a bag of gooseberries, which I mixed with a half price punnet of blueberries, some sugar and a little honey to make a very fancy compote.

I mix it with granola and natural yogurt and also top ice cream with it. I always buy nice quality ice cream with no nasties in it, but only when it is half price. There always seems to be a deal in at least one supermarket. I'm pleased to say that my 'new' local Co op has fantastic reductions on items at certain times of the day and I'm taking full advantage of their generosity.

My bargain of the day though was this very sweet oil painting. About 15 inches square. I've propped it up on the thin mantlepiece above the log burner in the sitting room.

As we're renting we haven't been able to put any of our own paintings up, so this looks super cheery. And the best part? It cost me 50p!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Staying at Miss. Potter's

The problem with celebrating a birthday in December is that you're usually competing for restaurant/hotel space with all the folk celebrating their Christmas parties. In the past the Mr and I have found ourselves in some great city locations that have been completely overwhelmed by 'happy' revellers.

This December is a 'big' birthday for me, so we have decided to celebrate proper next Summer, but I still wanted to do something nice in December. I didn't really fancy flying anywhere and also didn't want to spend heaps of money, so I've had my thinking cap on for quite a while.

Reading Rosemary's blog post today I had a brainwave. Which has led to us booking Yew Tree Farm cottage, once owned by Beatrix Potter.

image via
The cottage is set amidst the spectacular Lake District landscape and is only a relatively short distance from where we live now. The interiors look amazing and still house some of Beatrix's chattels. Plus we managed to book it for a week for under £500.

My inspirational blogging chums have come up trumps again!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Melvyn Is On The Case

Alas the house viewing didn't go well. It was too small for us, not that you'd have thought it from the 'Stretch Armstrong' pictures we saw on the estate agents website. I did mention to the estate agent how deceptive the photos were and how they immediately make the property a disappointment and her response was "we're not the only estate agent that do it".

We will press on until we find the right place to call home, but I hope we find it soon.

We have some help now in the shape of an orphaned gnome we found buried underneath a shrub in the garden of our rented house. He was very unloved and for obvious reasons was quite cross about being abandoned. He told me his name was Melvyn, which with the help of Mr.Google I have since discovered means strong friend or chief.

I brought him inside and gave him a good clean and a little make over. Quite right, you cannot afford to offend other worldly creatures.

He has put the word out to the fairy folk that we are looking for a lovely home and would you believe it, the very village we have set our hearts on has quite a lot of gnomes dotted about. Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Village?

We think we may have found the village we want to live in. We've already viewed The Manor House. Beautiful old building, circa 1670, utterly charming but needing at least 100k spending on it to bring it back to life. That's on top of the pretty hefty price tag. We decided on balance that even if we could afford to buy it, it would be a complete drain on us both physically and financially for probably the next 3 years. As we want to start a new business as well that's not gonna work for us.

We discovered the charms of this village whilst enjoying their open garden weekend. It's a very good way of getting the feel of a place, and also is a splendid opportunity to do a bit of snooping.

The village is well known for it's artistic, slightly bonkers collective personality and so is right up our street.

We're viewing a more modest house this afternoon and I'm hoping it will suit us. I'll let you know.