Friday, 29 November 2013


The Advent calendar is finished and strung along the stairs, wending its way up over prints and along the panelling of the dining room. Each pouch has a little treat tucked away inside and hopefully the boys will look forward to each day of Advent rather than just wishing it all away...

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy weekend, full of cheer!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Almost Advent

We are just at the end of one month and about to begin another. December is laden with the promise of winter festivities and celebration. But it very hard when you're young to get through all those other pesky days which are between you and the magical 25th of December...So this year we are making an Advent Calendar to count down to Christmas Day. Normally we buy a chocolate filled one but I have found them confusing for the boys-the numbers are scattered out of sequence across the calendar so there is no sense of time passing. You can't quickly glance at it and figure out how many days are left to go.

This one is much better. Made from festive paper, teeny pegs and twine it has little pockets all strung in a row, containing pieces of chocolate or jelly beans and sealed with a sticker. Still a work in progress but we're nearly done and just in time too.

If you want to have a go look here for all the details

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

the good life

Sometimes in this maddening world we need to take a moment and breathe. A moment to exhale. To realise all that we have and be grateful for it. So take a moment. Give yourself a moment to look around you and see, really see the good stuff.

I've noticed recently that my 'good stuff' is rarely, if ever, anything bought. It includes being able to enjoy early morning walks with the dogs before the day gets so busy that I feel in a spin. It includes those tight knock-me-down hugs from the boys as I come in the door from work. It includes the absolute joy of sitting by the fireside on a cold and blustery night and knowing that all my loved ones are safe- maybe tucked up in pyjamas listening to their bedtime story (The Animals of Farthing Wood at the minute), maybe already in bed or maybe trying to avoid the inevitable bedtime curfew. It includes the laughter at the dinner table. Or the making of the early morning porridge. Or a snatched moment of reading.

We're about to head into the Christmas season and it's worth remembering among all that tinsel and glitter that it is just that- tinsel and glitter- it's not what's important in life. I nearly always get carried away, swept away by the commercial madness of it all. This year will be different though. Times are tough and we have to be careful. So we will be simplifying things, appreciating what we already have rather than wishing for more.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


We are in the process of finishing (fingers crossed!) a bedroom and bathroom extension. The bedroom will be for Mide and William allowing them more floor space for playing. Hugo's room will also get a re-vamp and become a little more grown up, more suited to an eleven year old. Nearly all the hard work is over and yesterday we had a discussion about paint colours which, quite frankly, I never thought we'd get to. Although we are painting (Dix Blue for the new room and Blue Winged Teal for Hugo's are on our chosen list) I would love to have papered. Especially papered with wallpaper from hand cut lino blocks by Marthe Armitage...

Watch a gorgeous and inspiring film of Marthe at work here

and buy her wallpaper here

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Needs and Wants

Tote bag, handblown glass baubles, fabric covered note book and grumpy puppet bear all from The Shop Floor Project

Solid Silver Handmade Three Shells Necklace

Solid Silver twig bangle
Silver shell necklace and silver twig bangle both from Charlotte Bezzant 
Leather bag Satchel leather Weekend bag Messenger bag Mens Women Unisex  Leather handbag laptop bag

Leather tote bag Dark brown bag market bag library bag every day leather bag laptop bag
Leather bags from here
Tom Frost - Dancing Horse Circus

Tom Frost - Perfect Match
Tom Frost's (gah! love his name!) adorable small scale screen prints found at Tinsmiths

Sea Regions and Beaufort Scale screen prints by James Brown
From the Kitchen of Stamp Set

Valley Plain Cushions
and label printing set and stripy cushion - all from Tinsmiths

Molly Hatch Small House Ornament

Molly Hatch Landmark Bauble
Molly Hatch town-houses and decorations from Anthropologie

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

You know it's November when...

 ...when the stove needs cleaning almost daily. I don't mind this slightly messy job at all, in fact I love the stove so much I feel happy to rake and sweep away the wood ash-it means the fire will continue to burn bright and warm.
 ...when the wellies start to migrate into the kitchen. Wellies and umbrellas. And coats.
 ...when we fill an empty shoe box full of little Christmas treats and some practical things for Team Hope. The boys usually bring home their shoebox appeal leaflet from Scouts in early November and the boxes get shipped to children in eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Africa.

 ...when the autumn leaves start to gather at the back door and we begin the epic battle of Leaves vs. Rake
 ...when the garden is sodden and faded but the sedum lives on with its gorgeous colour
...when the ferns are still there, buffeted by the wind, long after the hostas in the pots in front of them are gone
 ...when thoughts turn to yummy things like the potato, bacon, onion and sage dish I cooked the other night. Oh my, it was so good and so quick to do. I think it's going to feature on our Christmas lunch menu.

 ...when you turn to lovely, simple honest cookbooks for inspiration. None of the twaddle, just proper food.
...when your son has his seventh birthday. Oh that beautiful boy- how he is growing up and how my heart breaks to realise it.