Let us take a turn about the Orangery…

aka Cast yon goggle balls on the garden, yo.

Tee hee… It’s only a little garden, but we love it.  I’ve been wafting my green wand about the place this year and it’s feeling A-okay out there. Though if anybody has any smart ideas for getting rid of cinquefoil… please do tell.

Anyway, words schmerds. Check it out you horticultural gangstas.

May garden tiles

Clockwise from top left: sunflower seedlings suffering a bit from the un-managed water logging in the seed tray;

Ooh la la! Tulips still beautiful despite being windswept and going over. They look like scarlet wimples that have been freeze framed in the midst of a gust;

Delicate in form and hue – Aquilegia;

Little adventurer in a secret garden;

Food for the bees – chives;

Aquilegia again;

First strawberry flower – hoping the mice don’t get the fruits this year;

Yes. I love the Aquilegia this year;

Centre: Daisy ‘Margerite’ The Days Eye.

 

You likey? X

 

 

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Spring Things // A list

WEEEEEEE! How simply gorge-balls is the weather today? It feels like holidays – it IS holidays! This weekend I am driving to the other side of the country to be with my old university rabble, as we celebrate the passage of one of our ladies into WIFEDOM!! It will be my first night away from the wee Chicken, which I am both delighted about and dreading in equal measure. (More about that after the weekend, I’m sure.)

But for now, I’m just feeling really excited about Spring, and the weekend, and Easter weekend and camping, and all sorts really. So here are 10 Spring things I intend on doing:

1. Point eyeballs at the variety of fresh sappy colours emerging all around. Especially when they have that unsullied blue sky behind them.

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2.Bake a massive chocolate cake with eggs on top, like this one.

3. Eat the cake, with tea and glee, so my face is covered in chocolate like Monsieur Le Cure in Joanne Harris’ Chocolat. Divine. Who needs religion when there is chocolate in the world?

4. Camping. With my little family. And friends. And their little families. And sausages. And fires. Mmmm. Smoky.

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5. Watch spindly little green shoots emerge from the seeds I sowed last weekend. I hope.

6. Play out. In the garden. In the park. In the Dales. In the Lakes. At friends houses. On the cycle path.

7. Listen to the birds. They are getting rather frisky in our garden. We will listen while lying on a blanket on the grass. While playing out. While in the bath. While on the lavvy. While saying our night-night’s from the bedroom window.

8. Listen to this. It’s brilliant. You need to inject it into your ear-balls. Or somewhere…. just do.

9. Feed the ducks. Real and pretend ones.

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10. Breathe that fresh clean spring air right into the pits of my germ addled lungs. Oh snot, when will ye be gone?

 

What are you doing these Easter holidays?

Embracing slow & small

I was catching up with some of my favourite blogs the other day, when I came across this phrase “embracing slow” (at Practicing Simplicity). It has been in my mind since then, and of how much mental energy I spend, thinking of all the myriad things that I want or need to do. In an annoying paradox, I often end up taking no action because I can’t have it perfect straight away. Like missing a class because if I leave now I’ll be 5 minutes late so what’s the point? It’s bonkers it really is. There are probably loads more important areas of my life where I could and should apply this mentality, but the most obvious aspect that springs to mind this week is beautifying the house.

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Photo’s of happy times AND flowers!

Not that our house isn’t lovely already, but y’know… One likes to fuss and feather and preen and what not. We have been here for a good few years and it sometimes frustrates me at how slow we are at getting around to the bigger projects like decorating. For a variety of reasons: we are not good at making decisions (restaurant menus = nightmare), we are not good at spending money unless we are certain we have exhausted all the free or frugal options first (jumble lover that I am / Yorkshireman that he is). Also, I think we both have a streak of the perfectionist in us. I like the thought of doing a room/the garden/other large project in one weekend, and getting it over with and having the big reveal like on telly. I know. I’m a der-brain. Since having a baby, I’ve had to be more realistic about time, and let go of the idea of everything having to be perfect to be worth making those small changes. Let’s not forget that massive dose of perspective that being a parent gives you, eh?

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We repurposed this little shelf so now it just holds things that please us. Functional items are BARRED!

Having made a few of those small changes here and there has made such a difference, and it reminds me of how lovely it is to see something slowly evolve. My mind can focus on the little lovely things, instead of the big old list of dull-ass jobs that needs doing! Notably though, I have taken on a couple of medium sized projects lately (using the internationally unrecognised system of project-size measurement…?) It’s probably some kind of universal Law of Attraction or some other new-age explanation. That’s cool. Or (more likely) a psychological / behavioural (ie. more scientific and therefore even cooler) reason why the mind works that way. Anyway, even my logical, sceptical brain gets that small changes lead to bigger actions too. And it’s something I am going to continue to be mindful of from now on, because I really like the happy feeling I get from seeing those flowers in that vase I bought from the charity shop.

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Mother’s Day flowers in my thrifted vase next to my South African basket. 

What small things can you think of that make everyday that little bit more special?

Happy weekend!

Lately // In photo’s

It’s all been a bit homey and a bit quiet around here lately. Since my last written post, Spring has arrived, we had a couple of birthdays, and got ill.

I’ve been busily taking the Small along to a load of those baby groups that you are *supposed* to go to in the first year, but I have mercifully managed to avoid. Now it seems I’m well up for it, which goes to prove my stance that you don’t need to bother with any of that if you really don’t want to. They will still be there when (if) you change your mind. We’ve had a lovely 14 months soaking each other up at home and going on our own private adventures, and I’m glad about that. But. Those groups. There are germs, okay? So now we are both ill. Or rather, are emerging from the illness, thankfully. Along with the current bout of teething, it makes for some sleepless nights and some soggy chins. Another tooth emerged today – that’s the seventh. I looked it up this morning – she has another thirteen to go. THIRTEEN? Holy Bejaysus. I’m kind of hoping we are going to have a run of them to get some of those ticked off in one go, you know?

Anyway, rather than bore you with loads of words, here ‘s some pictures instead.

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*Dreams, dreams* This time next year, I WILL be in the Great Britich Sewing Bee!

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Hello Birthday rainbows!

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Playing Out at the Museum Gardens, where Spring has got a very flouncy and ostentatious hat on.

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See…?

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Daring to dream of summer…

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Off the healthy eating wagon for a night. In style.

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Millenium Bridge, York.

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Look at that sky, for goodness sake!

That’s all folks. I’m not officially doing #100happydays but jeez, we are lucky. Look at this planet we call home!

What Springy shenanigans have you been up to? 

Wednesday Walk (and a vintage find.)

(I really need to work on my titles…)

Yesterday, this happened. Mostly in the beautiful land of instagram.

IMG_1513Mossy trainspotters

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This circular building always get my imagination going

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Had my eye on this in the RSPCA shop for months, but yesterday I noticed it sat in the window, marked down half price, and I just had enough cash in my purse. A sign, surely?

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Kathie Winkle ‘Calypso’ design. LOVE.

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Here’s Calypso joining in some January cheer in the kitchen window. Purdy, ain’t she?

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Just hanging with my girl.

The one where I weave a basket

Yeah baby, this crafty craft-a-thon just got proper. Basket weaving is the new black. Or something.

My Sister-in-law bought me a craft workshop for Christmas. She’s the BEST present buyer ever… On my secret Christmas list (just in case anybody asked…) was a magazine subscription and a craft workshop. She scored BOTH and didn’t even know the list existed. If there were Golden Globes for present-buying, she would win, and I would be the drink in Benedict Cumberbatch’s hand as he dances with the Fassbender. (Okay, I may have drifted off both topic and analogy here, but seriously, THAT photo is almost disturbing in it’s hotness and I don’t even know why… *wafts face with Mollie Makes mag*)

Here’s how it all went down (it’s not a tutorial or anything, more of a show and tell)

K phones me on Friday night to make plans “Shall we go for lunch after the workshop?”

Me: “Yes, and meet for coffee beforehand” Hence turning a two hour workshop into a 5 hour grown-up day of ultimate treat-a-thon. A-thon.

 

IMG_1459Kinky lot, those basket-weavers.

IMG_1456That bit was tricky. Those are actually my fingers and thumbs woven in already.

IMG_1457A selection of twigs for your delectation.

IMG_1458Now I start to feel at one with my Lancastrian cotton-weaving heritage.

IMG_1469Waste not want not. Now, who would like a bundle of twigs for Christmas…?

IMG_1463Et voila!

IMG_1464Aren’t the colours so pretty?

So, there you have it. Apparently the colours stay like that for years and years! I just need to think of a way to display it in the house. Very proud, if I do say so myself. And a great start with the resolutions too. Yay!

The workshop was organised by York Open studios, and afterwards we went for a heavenly lunch in the wonderful Belles Bouffe on Bootham in York. Go in the toilet and admire the wallpaper. I should have taken photos but I was high on basket-craft.

 

 

 

 

Slovenly round up post: Part 2.

Luckily once the day arrived, all the doom and gloom and guilt dissolved! The little Chicken’s first Christmas! She loved the puzzle of opening her one present. Yes, ONE present. A wooden xylophone. Well, loads more if you count all the ribbons and bows and wrapping paper. I also managed to sew her a stocking. My Mum sewed, and there was usually a hand sewn gift at Christmas. Luckily, she passed that skill onto me, so when I sew, it still feels like I sew with her, so this is a tradition that I’d like to carry on, and pass on to my daughter too. I stuffed the stocking with clementines, a few of her already established toys: wooden blocks, a ribbon, a rattley thing). Her sippy cup runneth over. She was delighted, so were we.

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After a smoked salmon scrambled egg breakfast we walked into the city and to York Minster. Although both raised catholic (hence guilt in previous post) neither of us are religious, but the pomp and ceremony of church is something that we both still find enchanting, especially at Christmas. The light pouring through the Rose Window was incredible, and we showed the little one the nativity scene, and lit candles for the Grandma’s who are missed each and every day of the year, but especially at Christmas.

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After a lovely day spent with family, we retreated home for Christmas Cake, gin-in-a-tin and Downton Abbey. Don’t. Say. Anything. There was ice-cream and paddling *disapproving face*

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So now, to plan for New Year (resolutions, bleugh), and a certain somebody’s very first Birthday Party (Yay!)

Slovenly round-up post: Part 1

Eeek… Two weeks since my last post. Well, Christmas happened didn’t it?

Christmas Shopping. I curse thee. There are only two people that I truly LOVE buying gifts for, and another two that I like buying gifts for. The other people it is a pain – I’m not going to lie. It is the very opposite of Christmas spirit. If I don’t give them a gift – I feel mean spirited. If I buy a gift I feel like I have just ‘thrown money’ at it, satisfying only The Man, and contributing to the global crisis of consuming STUFF. If I make a gift (which I may not have time for, thereby adding to the chore of Christmas) I feel like a cheapskate. Either way, I’m doomed to feel like a horrid uncharitable scoundrel. Oh guilt, when will you forsake me?

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Unrelated to Christmas shopping but a bit of bopping to Mary got us through!

My handmade-thrifty-vintage-made-in-yorkshire cop-out. Once again, it didn’t happen. But I did make mince pies – something my Mum always did (along with the seasonal sausage rolls and melba toast, just in case “someone pops round”) It’s a simple tradition that I’m keen to keep up, especially now the little one will be a big part of Christmas. And I did buy some gifts from the local handmade fair. Okay, I’ll let myself off then…

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As for home made decorations. I saw a stall at the Christmas market selling strings of dried citrus fruits for £8 a pop. In my usual spendthrift manner, I cried “Eight pound?” in a high pitched manner, before chuckling at the suckers who were handing over their coinage for this cheapo delight. I bought me some fruit on the way home, got myself on Pinterest and set the oven to LOW. Despite the promising nature of the phot below, it was an epic FAIL! They went from oozing juices to burnt to a cinder and never quite achieved that dry, translucent glow. Two batches later I gave up. Kudos to yon market pedlar, I say.

 

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The small tree. The opposite to our usual LARGE tree that takes over the living room. For we have an 11 month old toddling child who likes to eat EVERYTHING.

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Walks. The little chicken stopped napping in her cot, but would instantly fall asleep in her snuggly snow suit in the buggy as soon as the wheels hit the pavement. Since I could not bear to walk anywhere near town after the 12th, we took quite a few long walks away from the crowds. It was the best thing of the month, (apart from the actual day of Christmas, which despite my bleating, I look forward to and LOVE every year). We got some fresh air, we avoided meltdown scenario, I scoped out the best greenery-foraging sites for next year. I also got some head space, and decided to not get stressed about all of the above mentioned Christmas-related nonsense. It’s just one day. And it was LOVELY.

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Magpie… Er, Wednesday?

Anybody? Har-de-har the joke’s on me, because after I posted my haul proudly on twitter with the cornedbeefhashtag ‘magpiemonday’, I realised it wasn’t Monday or EVEN Tuesday, but Wednesday. Yes, I know – you know this already. I’m the drongo.

Anyway, here’s my haul, wot I scored for a total of TWO pounds. Two measly chunks.

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As always with thrifted score, I like to add up the cost of what I would have paid, brand new…TWENTY-TWO pounds! PAH! I’ve practically won the lottery. Get me to ye olde yacht shoppe!

Over and out jumble lovers x