Sunday, 8 May 2022

Hither & Thither

 Hello chums, it's been all go here. The Mr has recently returned from a Portugese sojourn. A golfing trip with his brothers and a few friends. I think it was in reality a sunshine and beer vacation with a sprinkling of golf thrown in. Nothing wrong with that I say, it's good for him to spend time with male friends and family. In contrast I'm off this coming week to East Sussex for a few days with a girlfriend who I hope to get to know a bit better. We have quite a lot of cultural things planned. 

Visits to farmhouses, which are not really farmhouses but the homes of extraordinary folk. Charleston was the country home of the Bloomsbury group from 1916 to the late 1970s when the last member Duncan Grant died. I had the good fortune to work there for some eight years and am very curious to see how the site has been developed since I left.

Farley Farmhouse is also on our list. I worked with the family for an all to brief time just before I moved up to Derbyshire in 2016. The house defies description really, it still feels like Lee Miller and Roland Penrose have a presence there. In a way they do because the site is still run by their only child Tony Penrose and his daughter Ami. 

I'm a little bit jealous of my chum, as she will be discovering these places for the first time. I'm hoping for good weather so we can spend a good long while in the gardens of the houses too.

I've started a wee bit of gardening now the cold winds have subsided. I wanted to create a little 'interesting' area on our top terrace and hoped to find some vintage cast iron shelving for my pots. I did find the perfect one but at over £200 I thought better of it. Being the super scrimper that I am, I painted an old ladder instead. I like the effect.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Happy Easter

 As it is actually Easter now I thought it was about time I took down my Christmas door wreath. I usually buy it from my local Chatsworth farm shop, and honestly it stays good until at least March. Keeping the porch lightly scented. In the past I have simply recycled the greenery and thrown the rest away. This year I have been a super scrimper and took the time to deconstrust it.

So the tiny pine pieces were put into the compost, the larger twigs and pine cones have gone as fire starters for our log burner and the rest has been put away for me to make my own Christmas wreath in December.

In its place is a very pretty Easter wreath that I bought a few years ago.

Happy Easter to all of you my blogging chums. I leave you with two little Easter gems.

Little Scandi witch from 'Scandinavian Kitchen' Newsletter.
Moomin Easter, Tove Jansson.

Friday, 15 April 2022

How To Fika Like A Swede.


A friend of mine shared this little film on Facebook and it was so joyful I wanted to share it with you, my blogging chums. It is worth watching to the end. A reminder that taking time to share a cuppa and a decent bit of cake with a friend, is time well spent. We could (should) learn a lot from the Swedes.

Their coffee houses are so charming too. I wish I had a local meeting place like this one.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

The Thrifty Plague House

 Hello chicks, how is everyone doing? 

The Mr and I have at last succumbed to the dreaded Covid. We're now on day 9 of isolating indoors. Now I'm not going to moan about it, because although we both feel a bit unwell it really has not made us feel terrible, which I'm thankful for. 

The Mr picked it up at his 'very blokey' gym, where men wander around coughing but don't cover their mouths, not macho? Anywho, as soon as he felt unwell we more or less split the house in two, but to no avail I still caught it.

On the plus side, it means my trip to Sussex in May with a girlfriend should be safe now, as she also caught the dreaded a couple of weeks ago. 

And a very nice man brought me a goodly delivery of provisions this morning, so we won't be going without. It's the first time I've used online grocery shopping and I got a generous £15 off the shop. Also, said store (Sainsbury's) have their good value deal of buy 6 bottles of wine and get 25% off. Which I happily spied flagged up on the website.

In recent months I have discovered Cremant as a fine and dandy Champagne alternative. 'The Taste The Difference' Cremant De La Loire at Sainsbury's is a very nice drop, still at £12 a bottle not cheap. I noticed it was on special offer reduced to £10.50 and of course with the 25% off on top, it comes down to a very reasonable price for a good glass of bubbles. You heard it here first. Just for the record I bought 4 bottles of Cremant and 2 Rose.

With the extra home time I have been busy freshening up some of our spaces. Fortunately I bought the chalk paint I used a few weeks back. 

Our shower room stand, which is in fact an Edwardian sideboard was last painted when we moved in 5 years ago. It has lasted well, but was starting to look a bit tired. I originally painted it in an old white chalk paint. But decided I fancied a very soft pink, Antoinette is the colour and it matches our pinkish marble hand basin very well.

I was super pleased with the colour so decided to paint my desk in my office/craft room too. It looked so nice it encouraged me to have a big spring clean in there, and it is wonderfully sparkly now. At the same time I sorted through a lot of stuff, surplus to requirement which I will now sell at our local boot fair. This should gift me some additional funds for my May trip.

I'll leave you with this gorgeous piece of embroidery, so pretty and a little bit of joy.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

St. Lawrence's Church Snarford Lincolnshire


I stumbled across this image a few days ago and it really sparked my interest. The casual way they are depicted pleased me greatly, not really dead but rather just resting for a moment from a busy 16th century day.

He, Sir George St Paul, depicted in full armour and she, his wife Frances in a black farthingale (such a great word) and white ruff.

Directly underneath them is a small figure of a girl, Mattathia their only child, born after twelve years of marriage and sadly dead before she was two. What sorrow they must have felt.

The small medieval church where they rest is tucked away in the Lincolnshire countryside with not much around it at all. It is believed a Viking settlement was here and it had a thriving village in the 16th century. The building itself was started in the 12th century and the nave has been dated to the 13th century. This depth of history just blows me away. Currently it is classed as a redundant church, but is grade 1 listed and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Thank goodness. 

It is a little gem that I will be visiting.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Costume As Art

 A few years ago I obtained a very old, linen covered French mannequin. Ever since I have desired to find a pretty 18th century dress to display on it. Something like this.

It is not an easy thing to find. Something authentic with the right look, in good condition and within budget. I will keep looking. In the meantime, I thought it might be a good idea to have something a bit more modern to put on the mannequin, as it has been bare for about ten years. Edwardian would be great as it would fit the age of our house. But alas I still couldn't find anything that caught my eye. 

Then I found a rather lovely early Laura Ashley prairie dress, made in Wales. The design of course is based on Edwardian costume. 

I remember buying something very similar in the early 1970s from her first shop in London. And as I also worked for Laura Ashley for a number of years, I felt this dress was a good fit. (Forgive the pun). 

It gives me great pleasure every time I pass it, especially as it has stopped scaring me after dark. I will keep searching for my 18th century dress, you never know, the harder you try the luckier you get.

Friday, 25 March 2022

My 18th Century Passion

 I wasn't sure about Bridgerton at first, but I really enjoyed the costumes. Season 2 is open us my friends.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Shiny Sunny Days

 Well my buttercups, it is a shiny sunny day today and I'm just back from meeting my friend Pip for breakfast. We had a glorious stroll around the local Victorian park and paid a visit to a few of the chazza shops too. On entering our local Red Cross shop I said to Pip, I don't need any clothes, which translated means don't let me buy anything. But they had so many lovely things today, you know how that sometimes happens, well you guessed it, I couldn't help myself. I seem to have a thing about coral at the moment. This groovy little number will be perfect for our Scilly Isles trip in July.

I rushed home and hand washed it, and it is a non iron dress, so spot on for the hols. The sleeves look a little odd in the pic but it is a 'cold shoulder' dress that's why. Buying this has made me feel our trip is a little bit nearer.

In other news I'm starting up a craft and chatter group in my local town of Matlock. A new 'BOD' cafe bar has opened and it is the perfect venue. Every Thursday between 10am-12pm starting next week. I'm very excited about it as it is a precursor to an idea I have of creating a local arts community. I'll keep you posted folks. Have a good weekend all.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Brighter Days Ahead


A beautiful image to celebrate the Spring awakening, from Wendy Andrews at painting dreams.

And of course some kitties on sofas, just to make you smile.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

A Little Bit of Joy on Saturday

 I saw this you tube video on Facebook a few days ago and I wanted to share it with my blogging chums, because I feel it is quite amazing. Shirley Bassey is 85 and an example to us all, her joie de vivre is so uplifting to see. The Bassey voice remains undiminished and in my opinion is still extraordinary, I felt shivers all up my back watching her sing her powerful notes. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Gainsborough's Blue Boy

The Mr and I made a special trip to London last weekend to see a rather spectacular English painting, the word iconic is appropriate. I'm having a bit of a love affair will all things 18th century so couldn't miss seeing it.

It left our shores exactly 100 years ago, and went to it's new home in California. In 1922 it was exhibited for three weeks before it left and over 90k folk came to say goodbye. The then Director of The National Gallery apparently wrote au revoir on the back of the canvas, I found that quite touching.

It is only here until May, when it returns to America. Do go and see it if you can, it may be your only chance. It goes without saying there are vast numbers of additional jaw dropping works to see in the collection, including many new acquisitions, not least 'The Red Boy' by Lawrence, exquisite and moving.

We had a free overnight stay in a nice hotel. They even found us a blue room, to match the occasion.

And we arranged to meet some friends who I hadn't seen since before the first lockdown, at Brasserie Max for some top nosh and far too much fizz, what a great night it was.

Hither & Thither

 Hello chums, it's been all go here. The Mr has recently returned from a Portugese sojourn. A golfing trip with his brothers and a few f...