Thursday, 24 April 2014

London Calling

At the start of the holiday we went to London to visit our wonderful friends Steve and Spencer. 

I took a couple of hours to wander around the shop heaven that is Liberty -I don't have to buy anything; I just love to be inspired by so much of their stock. It is a love that has lasted across the decades. The flowers outside the front are always breathtaking - the beauty starts before you ever get inside.

The next morning we woke to a bright day and so we decided to walk up to Westminster and watch some of the marathon. I am not a sportswoman. One glimpse of me would tell you that, but I have to say I was overcome with admiration as I watched these amazing athletes run by. The icing on the cake was seeing the amazing Mo Farah. Finn took the spiffy photo at the end - he really was going pretty fast - but it is a fine picture of his leg.

I love London.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Record Store Day

Music plays a very big part of our family life. We have always played our children 'real' music, only listening to what we would want to listen to - not that drivel that is made for children. Our tastes range wide so there has always been something for someone to like. We taught our children but now the pupils have become the masters and they teach us about what is new and good to listen to. All our children love music but Myles (bottom right, working hard in store) has taken it to a whole new level. His knowledge is encyclopedic and his taste is excellent. Vinyl is his drug and so he is very lucky that we have a brilliant record store here in Malvern  - Carnival Records. 

Last Saturday they celebrated Record Store Day in style with amazing stock, live music, laughter and the meeting of friends. There is always a place for the likes of Amazon - often a couple of days before Christmas - but it doesn't offer what shops like Carnival offer, i.e. knowledge, service and friendship. It helps to give Malvern heart.

Easter Mantle

I should have posted this last week but somehow the week flew away with me as I was hit by a sorting urge. That is not an urge to ignore! Somehow in the whirl of clearing and sorting I managed to create for myself (I loved it!!!) there was also a little Easter decorating. We don't go in for much, a ceramic bunny I have had for ages and a few sugared eggs.
The bird's nest is my real pride and joy. We found it when we were cutting back in the garden - it was an old one, I was very careful about that. The nest is an amazing construction, so solid and intricate. I am constantly amazed by nature.

So May is coming up fast and I am thinking of a big change for my mantle. Will I get the time? I wonder...

Monday, 21 April 2014



I have loved this Easter -it was everything I hoped it would be. It was full of walks, baking and of family gathered around. Yesterday we had an egg hunt, roast lamb smothered in wild garlic pesto, too much wine and so much talk and laughter. It is such joy to me to watch my beautiful family gather and interact together, all of us finding happiness in each others company. Simple things reminding me of what really matters in life.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Hip Hip Hooray

The sun is shining (I daren't look at the forecast in case I get depressed) and school is OUT for Easter. Some people have already had a week and instergram has been full of their beautiful holiday snaps. I have loved seeing them but I have been pretty jealous.
Things have been quiet in my neck of the woods but there has been lots of life, mainly work. It is good but eats time.
So lots of plans for Easter; bread making with #52loavesproject over on instagram - I'm going for sourdough and hot-cross buns, a bluebell walk, a flea fair rummage, an Easter mantle to arrange, picking more wild garlic to turn into pesto, a hunt to plan and plenty of chocolate.Tomorrow we are off to London for a couple of days with friends. Not sure where we are going yet but I an hoping to pop into my favourite shop in the world. Even better if I am on my own or with my friend-with-perfect-taste Spencer. But before any of that happens there is a large G&T calling out my name. Happy Friday!

Friday, 28 March 2014


Malvern is a funny town really - there is so much that I love about it - the people, the friends I have, good coffee is available  it has a theatre and good charity and junk shops. My children love it here and have had safe childhoods in this town. Recently however I have been a little out of love with it, a bit bored after 14 years here. At heart I am a city girl but I married a country boy and Malvern is our compromise. Then a couple of weeks ago the sun came out.
Unusually I was on my own and camera in hand I started to look at my town with different eyes. It is full of pretty buildings, built by grand Victorians who came to take the waters here. There is the modern too - a magnificent sculpture of buzzards - fantastic birds of prey that grace our hills. The Banksyesque Elgar is a new addition and after some discussion in the fuddy-duddy brigade he is going to be allowed to stay. Good.
And then there are those hills. When ever we return to Malvern those hills beckon and I know that I am home.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

March Mantle and other natural bits...

Well it is nearly the end of March and I haven't shown you my mantle piece this month. Blossom was my obsession this month and as there is none in my garden yet I have been raiding the hedgerows. This branch was picked from a tree in a car park in Worcester. It was dark so no one saw...
The candle is beautiful. I bought it on that trip to Winchester and it smells fantastic; a really clean smell. Rosemary is good for clarity so am feeling super bright this month. 
The feathers and fir cones have been moved to another favourite corner and as for the daffs, it's March - there have to be daffs. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Spring Little by Little

This weekend saw the start of some sorting and spring cleaning. Windows were opened; it was so good to feel the fresh air circling round the house. Not for too long though, there is still a significant chill in the air. Suddenly though I am looking for colour and the sense of zest. Yellow is in my head. Over the next few weeks I am looking forward to bringing a new clean into the house to prepare us (fingers crossed) for the coming warmth. It will be so welcome. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


This image is at least two years old, Spring 2012 from Toast. I loved it at the time and I love it now. It is exactly how I would like to be. We have had two days this week when we have been able to dress down for work. I sought this picture out for inspiration. 
I love dressing for spring days; the sunny, bright days with a slight chill in the air. Dressing that requires layers and new fabrics, linens and cottons along with wool and denim. New colours too, navy rather than black and yellow, stripes and grey. Oh how I love these beautiful days. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Sherkin Island, West Cork.

La fheile Padraig sona dhuit!
With an Irish husband and proudly half Irish children St. Patrick's Day is big in our house. Saturday was devoted to all things Irish; there was rugby on the T.V. (oh how you kept us guessing until the last minute Ireland and how wonderful to see the smile on Brian O'Driscoll's face), Guinness in the fridge and smoked salmon on soda bread. We had a gathering on Saturday evening and much drinking and talking was done. Yesterday was a slow day.
This year we are holidaying in Ireland - Mark wants to be home for his 50th birthday. I can't wait to get in our car and head west; it sings a siren's song to us.