31 December 2011

snaps from 2011

pruning apple trees in January • buying tulips to brighten the house • the National Hyacinth Collection • wildflowers in the garden • breakfast • solar lanterns by night • poppies • the vegpatch • runner beans • cherry plums • early pickings • a spikey visitor  • little yellow courgettes and runners  • dalias from the car boot sale • squashes and sweetcorn • a few nights away relaxing • homemade chutney • steam up in the village • sunny mornings • autumn walks • tractor contesthome baked breadwaiting for trainsmisty morningslast of the applesfireworks nightgetting ready for xmas 

29 December 2011

xmas day

I sneaked some pictures of our lounge first thing on Xmas morning, while it was still tidy and the presents were all under the tree looking so perfect. We had a lazy start with our favourite breakfast of scrambled eggs with tomatos cooked in red wine. Ate traditional Xmas dinner with my parents followed by my mum's delicious trifle. Back at ours that evening we ate Anna's delicious vegan chilli stuffed into leftover yorkshhire puddings! Amongst all that food we chatted, relaxed and opened our many presents! Lucky things we are with so many gorgeous gifts.

24 December 2011

happy xmas!

We are nearly ready for Xmas in our house, decorations up, the presents are wrapped, the mince pies are baked, our fridge and larder stocked with tasty treats and coal by the fire - all ready for a cosy Xmas. I can't wait! Collecting D from work soon and then time to relax and enjoy!

Happy Xmas to you all! Thank you for visiting my blog and all your lovely comments X

22 December 2011

lucky me

Wow lucky me! I won this competition over on award-winning designer Ella Doran's blog. My prize arrived in the post today, all beautifully wrapped in Ella's fantastic vintage bauble design wrapping paper. And you know from our tree how much I love vintage baubles. The paper is even printed on both sides - how cool is that! Definitely won't be ending up in the recycling bin. The prize itself is the Geo Diary and Ella's Patterns Calendar. Now that I use my phone as an appointment diary I'm thinking I might keep this one as a personal diary of what I get up to in 2012, much like I used to keep tucked away under my pillow as a little girl. The calendar will adorn our studio or kitchen wall - not sure which yet. 

What a great prize - thank you to Ella and her lovely team!

19 December 2011

xmas has finally arrived at ours!

I'm now finally starting to get excited about Xmas. We spent Saturday evening decorating our tree with a little help from Mouser (we've put the tree on the sideboard he uses as a sidewalk) he thinks it's a new place for him to hang out and so far has managed to squeeze himself underneath along with the presents despite it being quite a small space. We hung more teeny weeny bunting around the living room, a few decorations in the hall and a few more in our studio as well as some lights in the tree outside and a reindeer by the back door!

14 December 2011

secret santa

Today is our work team Xmas lunch, I'm really excited as we're going somewhere I haven't been before. There will be 14 of us. Each year we do a secret santa, this year the theme is shiny and sparkly!  I'm not a particularly shiny, sparkly person but still there were plenty of pretty things out there to choose from. Plus I drew the name of a really cool girl so it was fun choosing. It's normally top secret but I'm pretty sure no-one from work reads my blog (I've never mentioned it) so don't feel I'm spoiling the surprise by showing you all what I bought.

12 December 2011

dazed and confused

I popped along to Somerset House during my lunch break last week. I was heading for the Designers and Makers craft and design shop, but got distracted by the Dazed and Confused exhibition taking place in the main building. Had it really been around 20 years! Wow, I thought I'd take a quick peek. 

For those of you who don't know Dazed and Confused is a style and culture magazine, which was founded back in 1991 by Jefferson Hack and Rankin. I've bought the magazine a few times over the years, but was surprised at just how many images I recognised, I guess the style was pretty groundbreaking and the images incredibly strong, so strong that seeing them again they were immediately recognisable. I've got a good memory when it comes to an image (far better than my memory for a word or thought) but I'm sure most images we see wouldn't be embedded in my memory in the same way - these really are iconic.

The exhibition runs till January 29th 2012, if you're passing it's worth a look.

I did also make it to the Designers and Makers shop, some beautiful things there. I rather fancied the leather bound notebooks in fluorescent colours and there were some beautiful wooden coat hooks, all too expensive for me though. Sorry I didn't make a note of the designers, I was in a rush to get back to work! 

8 December 2011

french knitting fun

I've never been very good at knitting or even trying to, I've tried a few times and though I can do the basics I get upset if I go a little wrong and end up unravelling the lot it a fit of fury. But with these cold nights I fancied something simple to do, to keep me from staring at computer screens and to give me a little project, so I dug out my childhood knitting doll. It's so straightforward even I can't go wrong! So I'm now busy making myself a selection of these knitted ropes (or whatever you call them) I've got ideas of necklaces (I've made them in the past) and maybe so many that they become almost snood-like. So far I've only managed these two, I'll show you again in a few weeks when I've made a few more. I'm even thinking of plating them together to make thicker ropes... let's see.

a few hours in cambridge

I mentioned that we had a couple of days off last week, as well as visiting London we visited Cambridge, though only a half day trip and without much of an agenda. 

I hadn't been to the Fitzwilliam Museum since I was at school, and D had never been. So we popped inside, immediately impressed by the magnificent domed ceiling, we ventured up the stairs to the first floor and the galleries of British, French and Italian art. An amazing collection, far too much to see and take in, in one visit, each room leads to another - on and on we went. My favourite discoveries were 'At The Caf√©' by Degas and a little Henry Moore sculpture, whose title I don't remember. But definitely going back for another visit soon. 

We then headed over the road to Fitzbillies, a cake shop and restaurant, I remember their Chelsea Buns from the one taste I had of them years ago and since it has just undergone a refurbishment we had to go back and check it out. I'd actually had a more recent taste of their famous buns as I'd ordered some to be sent to my dad and he then shared them with me, so this time we decided to try a rum truffle and coffee - both delicious. And aren't those tiles on the wall great? I love them! 

The rest of the day was filled with xmas shopping, though I don't think we managed one present between us! Instead we bought a couple of those sticky hanging devices to display the two plates we bought at the Donna Wilson sample sale. 

5 December 2011

out and about in london - part 2

More wandering, more shops (Maiden, Labour and Wait, Speedies), and more graffiti. Here is some of Malarky's work, in Redchurch Street. He's done a long mural here plus a shutter or two. I love his stuff, the colour, the patterns, the characters - it's just so playful and happy. 

and then more in Cheshire Street

 and then again in Sclater Street 

All this and then we found a little exhibition of his work along with 2 other artists at Tony's gallery in Sclater Street. It's on until December 18th 2011.

Next stop was Boxpark, we'd glimpsed it as we'd been walking about and everyone was talking about it so we had to see for ourselves. It's a pop-up shopping mall made of shipping containers. The official opening was Saturday but some shops were already open including my absolute favourite Marimekko! Others include Nike, Calvin Klein, and Onepiece - who I hadn't heard of before but they sell amazing adult sized romper suits (I guess that's what you'd call them). There are also food outlets, we popped into Foxcroft and Ginger for more tea and a delicious toasted muffin with butter and honey. Just what we needed after all the walking we'd done.

Refueled we set off again, this time heading up the Bethnal Green road to Donna Wilson's sample sale. How exciting I'd been looking forward to this all week and it was our main reason for visiting London on Thursday. We arrived about 15 minutes early we climbed the staircase up and up finally rounding the corner to be greeted by cups of mulled wine! 

It was quite overwhelming to suddenly be in a room filled with gorgeous things at bargain prices! D immediately found a big cuddly wolf and then we started selecting cushions. We are currently on a bit of a mission to rid our room of beige! So Donna's cushions are just what we needed. I'll try and get some pictures of our lounge one day when there is enough light to show it off and then you'll see exactly what we bought - our Xmas presents to ourselves! So glad we got there when we did as when we left the queue was snaking all the way down the stairs (if you were in that queue hope there was still plenty left by the time you got to the top).

We left Donna's sample sale and headed into the drizzle and the dark. But we still had another port of call on the agenda. We made our way down to POW on Commercial Street to catch the opening night of stencil artist Evol's show. This time it was our turn to join the queue, luckily it wasn't too long and we were soon inside in the warm sipping rum punch surrounded by Evol's cityscape. He'd turned what looked like old metal lockers into high-rise tower blocks all using stencils - though he's so skilled you'd never know that's how it was done had it not been for the used stencils hanging from the ceiling casting shadows around the room. 

The show's on till the 23rd December and well worth a visit.

So all in all a pretty good day finished off with noodles at Wagamama and a drink in the pub before it was time to take our train home to the country.

out and about in london - part 1

OK, so we had a couple of days off last week. We decided to return to our old area and check out the changes. Both pretty excited about this, we returned to Spitalfields (where we lived for years, up until just over a year ago when we moved out here to the countryside). With Xmas approaching we yearned to browse our favourite shops and soak up the atmosphere.

First stop was the antique market, though with a whole day ahead we knew buying would weigh us down - instead we just browsed with coffees in hand. Then a quick peek around Truman's for old times sake before I left D at Mie Mani for his long over due hair cut. I wandered the streets keeping my eyes peeled for graffiti, new shops and anything to catch my eye. I spent a while longingly admiring things I can't afford in SCP mostly the String Shelving. Eventually D emerged looking like a new man with a great haircut, thanks to Cristian. 

Starving by now and in need of lunch we went to the cafe at Rivington Place where we enjoyed delicious sandwiches and fresh mint tea.

Next on the agenda more wandering. We bought French cocoa dusted chocolate truffles from the City Beverage Company on Old Street, we buy these every Xmas - they are the best and have to be rationed!

Round the corner I snapped these gates, they've been the same for years - I just like them, and it's stuff like this that makes me smile.


It's been a little quiet here lately - I've been busy relaxing! D and I took two days off last week and had a couple of days out. I'll tell you all about them soon.

Relaxing is great though, I don't think we do it enough. When you lie in bed long enough for the sunlight to poor in the windows we get little rainbows appearing on our walls - it's wonderful. I'm looking forward to our next chance to see this already.