Saturday, 27 September 2014

homing instinct

I love where we live and would be hard pressed to leave but there's something about artist Stacey Durand's painted houses and their odd angles which are attractive.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

days like this

Last weekend we headed to the west coast of Ireland. It was one of those blissful September days with such welcome sunshine, all the more so as the days shorten and autumn creeps along. We made our way to the nearest beach. The tide was out and the rippling sands glistened as we walked and paddled in rock pools. The boys did their best to catch minute, black darting fish trapped in the warm puddles and we wished we had brought swimming costumes as the water looked so inviting and still. Even the small fishing boat puttering up the estuary towards Killala barely broke the peace.  It was blissful to feel the sun on our skin and to be in the company of loved ones (who looked after us so well) and to come home feeling refreshed and lucky indeed.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

earl grey or builders?

Today I am in need of a cup of tea from one of these gorgeous teapots...

... and in one of these dinky tea cups...

look here for more of Becca Stadtlander's work

Sunday, 14 September 2014


A spot of blackberrying, a little late in the season. We dawdle up the lane, feet crunching over beech mast. The two smaller boys have drawn maps. We pass through Kenya, New York zoo and dragon island to get to the top of the lane. Suddenly the lure of the small field where there are two felled ash trees far outweighs the task of picking berries and they are gone, playing hide and seek and I am left holding the empty bowl. I slowly pick all I need, or think I need. I never pick with a recipe in mind and never come home with the right amount. Still, this time there is enough to make four small pots of blackberry and apple curd for cakes and scones and suchlike. The wind has picked up a little and there's a scattering of leaves in the garden. I leave the kitchen door open as I make the curd, the berries staining the wooden spoon as they cook, their jammy hedgerow smell is autumn caught in the saucepan.

Friday, 12 September 2014


September, a month of new beginnings but also of endings. The nights are drawing in and the garden is slowing down, things are folding in on themselves. We too are folding in, we light the fire and read, we can't quite believe the early darkness, we spend less time outdoors. This is soul time, a little like hibernation but not quite. We please ourselves. We eat purple - roast beetroot, plums, blackberries. We watch cawing crows circle the tree tops, the autumn breeze on our faces, the mists in the morning, we slow our breaths and breathe in the earth.

Monday, 8 September 2014


This weekend saw us travel along the coast where the Mournes sweep to the sea. We had a birthday to celebrate- Hugo's- and it so happened he was finishing his Four Peaks Challenge on that very special day. We decided to meet him at the foot of Slieve Donard and while we waited we picnic-ed and clambered on the rocks and took in great lungfuls of fresh sea air. His Scout troop arrived, tired but victorious and Hugo has now climbed the highest mountain in each of the four provinces, all by the ripe old age of twelve!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

September days

We are eating outside as much as we can. We drag the table and chairs, following the September sun, until we find a warm spot. This morning crumpets and syrup with our coffee, children and dogs never very far away. Knowing that the opportunities for outdoor eating will become more limited as the month progresses pushes us to take advantage when we can. Of course there is nothing nicer than an autumn picnic, scarves wrapped around necks, warm boots and coats, soup, sturdy sandwiches and cake, maybe Victoria sponge with hedgerow jam, with a long woodland walk to look forward to or perhaps the apple orchards around Ardress House?