31 March 2012

♥ ♥ ♥ shelley ♥ ♥ ♥

This past week has been the saddest week ever for D and I. On Tuesday we had to let our little cat Shelley go. Remember back here we were worried about her, she hadn't been herself, the vet thought her teeth were in need of a scale and polish and she had a bit of an infection, unfortunately the blood tests showed that on top of a few bad teeth her kidney disease (she'd had it for a while) had got markedly worse. We didn't realise then that she had so few days left with us. I spoke to the vet again on Friday and we decided to change her food, give her some yummy stuff in the hope it would lift her. We had a lovely weekend together, Shelley ate her favourite foods and we took her out in the garden with us to experience the fresh air and sunny days, she plodded around, but day by day our little girl was going downhill. It was the hardest decision we've had to make - when to let her go, Monday evening we knew, we hugged her and she slept on the bed with us (on and off). Tuesday morning we cuddled her, we cried, and we said goodbye. We laid her to rest in the garden and planted a tree for her, in the days since we visit that tree and talk to her, we miss her like we crazy and I've cried a whole lot more. I thought making the decision to let her rest was the hard part, but no just living without her is the hard part, no little Shelley to look for when we come home, no little Shelley sitting behind me now. Luckily we still have a healthy boy in Mouser, who's getting more cuddles than ever before, he's missing Shel too, looking for her everyday, sniffing around and wondering why he's now dining alone. Sad times here I'm afraid, but time will heal us (I hope). I've been wanting to write about her, I know it's a bit gloomy but she meant too much to us to not get a moment of glory here. So here she is our little Shelley. Seems I never took a sharp picture of her - just loads on my phone all a bit ropey but I think you'll still love her : )
Note. We didn't own Shelley we cared for her on behalf of the Cinnamon Trust, the Cinnamon Trust is a charity for people in their last years, they help people to care for their pets as they undergo difficulties, medical treatment etc. They continue to care for the pet if it is bereaved of it's owner. They are a wonderful charity, and I can't thank them enough for their support especially over the past few weeks and for homing Shelley with us (via my lovely friend Jo - it's a long story). If you love animals and have a little time to spare and some love to give you should look them up, they need help in lots of ways from the occasional dog walk, to regular visits, to providing a home. 

26 March 2012


Had a lovely weekend well worth the wait! Lots of car boots, well two places but on two days so made me happy, I'll have to show you pictures of my purchases another time. As well as lots of time in the garden, and a wee lunch and wander in Cambridge stopping to buy cakes from Fitzbillies to take home. 

I took these pictures of our unkept forsythia with it's pretty yellow flowers inspired by Jen (little birdie). I decided to join her challenge as we've got a couple of big unkept bushes of the stuff - big tufts sticking up at jaunty angles, they annoy me most of the year and I'm sure would look much better with a haircut (but thats another thing to do). For now I'm enjoying the abundance of yellow flowers before they fade.

22 March 2012

some days

Some days are just boring. I'm bored at the moment - work is annoying me, it's taking all the daylight hours from me, stealing them away and leaving no time for the fun stuff, or even the regular stuff - stuff that needs to be done. I know I have to work, it taxes my brain, allows me to hang out in London, and most importantly provides an income. But I'm just not enjoying it much at the moment. I'm working on a great project but it's still not making me happy, I long for the weekends and the weeks are frankly getting in the way. I go through these feelings every year, probably more to do with the change in seasons than my work. Life, especially work just feels monotonous - it isn't actually, but the routine of five days a week is. Five long days of work and just two tiny weeny fun days at the end to make up for it! So many things I want to do and not enough time, I want to finish decorating our hallway and hang our pictures, I want to plant new trees, I want to make another three raised veg beds, I want to tackle the last of the overgrown and neglected flower beds, I want to reupholster a piano stall, I want to go for long walks, I want to go for bike rides, I want to sort out the patio area so we can spend our summer evenings eating alfresco as the sun slips away. I want a lot, I know I need to be patient and enjoy everyday, make the most of them, and things will get better - I know. 

19 March 2012

in the garden

We spent a bit of time in the garden yesterday, we had a few plants to put in the ground, things we'd bought, mostly from little stalls - plants people have grown in their gardens. These are our favourite plants to buy. We love driving through local villages eyes peeled for a little table and honesty box. Still not many around, it's still early in the year but they are starting to appear. Yesterday we found sweet peas, wallflowers, euphorbia and a variety of daisy. We pottered around tidying dead stems and leaves, and weeding out the endless supply of weeds, to make room for our purchases. The garden is starting to look good again now and I just long for sunny days like today to get out there, unfortunately I've work today, but from home so I can eat my lunch in the garden at least.

15 March 2012

neon V beige

We are forever trying to brighten our lounge/dining room, it's just very beige. I love colour, bright colour, and beige is just not me or D. I've never been a fan of beige, even as a kid I remember a friend of mine's house was totally 100% beige, she even used to wear beige - of course it wasn't my friends decision back then - it was her mum's. I used to come home from playing and tell my mum how everything there was beige - every room, the floor, the walls, the furniture, the plates we ate off! Since those days I've always hated beige. So living with a beige carpet and beige curtains isn't great! There is a beautiful wooden five-finger block floor lurking under that carpet and I can't wait to release it, but we want to decorate first and we're just not ready yet. We're still decorating our hallway - yes still, so the lounge just has to wait. 

Most of the colourful stuff we own has ended up in our studio room, so the lounge is a bit bland. We've inherited sofas from my parents, I love the style of them and the comfort, but they are a little beige, OK there is a touch of golden ochre in there, but they certainly add to the overall beige feel. So when we came across these neon lights at the weekend we jumped with joy. They just add a zing and a pinky red glow. I would love to have bought more but we were a little worried about transporting them. I can't do them justice in the photos, one is bright pink the other bright red, but you get the idea I hope.

12 March 2012

a day out east

D had Saturday off work, his first Saturday off in ages. We decided to make the most of it and head off in the car for a day out. We fancied the coast, so we set off in an easterly direction. Our first port of call was Bury St Edmunds - it was time for coffee. Bury is a market town in Suffolk, we arrived as the Saturday market was in full swing, bustling with stalls and people. We wandered down some pretty streets, spotted an old couple on a tandem with a basket on the back - a little cat or dog inside (my dream one day). We enjoyed coffee and shared a cheese scone in the Scandinavian coffee house, stopped in the market to buy homemade bread and butter pudding, lemon tart, chocolate brownie and a sausage roll (greedy but they looked too good to miss).

Back in the car we headed further east to Snape Maltings. We ate lunch in the cafe, locally smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for me and homemade burger and chunky chips for D - both yummy. We wandered around the outside discovering sculptures, my favourite 'Migrant' directly below by Alison Wilding, I loved the way they'd been sunk into the ditch sneaking stealthily along. There are also works by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. 

We loved this rusty metal building which appeared to have grown up out of an old tumbledown brick dovecote. We browsed around an incredibly organised antique shop which seemed to have everything you could ever want! But amazingly managed to save our pennies and leave empty handed.

Next stop Aldeburgh on the east coast. We walked along the beach, an incredible day for it, as the east coast can be really blowy, cold and bleak! We stumbled across an amazing little gallery 'The Aldeburgh Beach South Lookout and Art House'. Inside We found Francis and Caroline who were very friendly offering us wine and telling us all about the works on display. Quite surreal to see a Picasso hung on one door and a Hockney on the other, opening onto the beach!

We mooched about it was quite busy but in a nice way, apparently Ian Hislop was in town for the literary festival which was taking place and there was a real buzz of excitement. Lots of lovely little galleries and shops to look in, not enough time this visit so we've already made a plan to return soon. Though we did buy a few bits and bobs, some neon lights to brighten our lounge, and a huge chopping board, some bangles and LP's from the charity shop (I'll try and show you in another post). 

With the long drive home ahead of us we set off again, taking the coast road to Thorpeness as I was desperate to set eyes on my favourite house, 'The House in the Clouds' - I've loved it since I first saw it as a little girl, it's just magical.

One of our best days out in a long time, a combination of amazing weather and not having a set plan of where we were going - like a proper adventure! Plus a boot full of cakes to feed us when we arrived home.

8 March 2012

here today

I'm working from home today, I've got a lot to do, but without a break I tend not to work well. I'm a little worried about Shelley, she's seems under the weather so I took her round the garden for some fresh air (she's a house cat). I'm hoping a dose of fresh air will do the trick, but we'll take her along to the vet tonight for a professional opinion. Today is spring-like again despite us seeming to dip back into winter the past few days - let's hope spring stays this time! I'm also feeling better today, yesterday I was really grumpy (sorry D). Today I'm back to myself, I just hope Shelley will be soon.

5 March 2012

mr penfold

I am a big fan of street art, I love when public spaces are enhanced with a little fun and colour. I recently came across this guy, Mr Penfold, check out his blog here. He's work can be found cheering up our streets alongside Malarky who I mentioned back here

I just treated myself to his latest sticker set which you can buy through his shop as you can see his characters are pretty cool and he uses the nicest color palette. Not sure where I'm going to stick these, I always find it hard to use stickers! Sounds stupid I know, my brompton perhaps, or...I don't know!

He's from Cambridge, not far from us, so I'm hoping that means we'll get to see a lot more of his work.

4 March 2012

recent finds

I've found a few nice things at the car boot lately, these were all from last Sunday. Vaseline glass dishes, apparently Victorian, I stood for ages chatting to their previous owner unable to decide if I wanted them or not (that's not strictly true I wanted them a lot) I like things to have a use and what's the use in theses? Apart from the ability to bring instant cheer! The little vase with bunny will be perfect for a little Easter posy and a present for my mum. Finally this beautiful umbrella with it's orange handle and tassel, I haven't tried it in the rain yet - just hope it will still work.

3 March 2012

last night in spitalfields

Last night my little blog world came to life in more way than one, Alexis from one of my favourite blogs, Something I Made, had contacted me earlier in the week - she'd cleverly remembered that I used to live in Spitalfields (an area adjacent to the city of London in the borough of Tower Hamlets). She wanted to know if I was going to the launch of a new book 'Spitalfields Life'. Spitalfields Life is a wonderful blog all about Spitalfields and the people that live and work in the area, it's written by the Gentle Author (no one knows his real name) and some of his best blog entries have been compiled into a wonderful book. How could I resist the opportunity to meet Alexis and the possibility of glimpsing the mysterious Gentle Author? I couldn't! So Alexis and I arranged to meet outside Christchurch, the colossal Hawksmoor designed church where the launch was taking place. 

Now I know Alexis from her blog and well we bloggers get to know each other or feel we know each other at least, but I didn't really know what to expect! I stood on the steps of the church carefully looking at everyone wondering if they were Alexis! But then I saw her with her husband Hugh, she gave me a friendly wave and I joined them. Once inside I purchased a copy of the book, we drank ale from the Truman's while chatting away and getting to 'know' each other for real. Alexis was just as lovely, of course, as she is on her blog - easy to talk to and really interesting too. In fact now in retrospect I've a hundred more thoughts flooding through my head of things I'd wish there'd be time to chat about. We spent most of our time queuing up to glimpse the Gentle Author and get him to sign our copies. There were just so many people there, fascinating to see the type of person that reads his blog - a complete mix of types! Amongst them old neighbours, famous restaurateur's, designer's, artists and other familiar faces. The Gentle Author, as gentle as you could imagine, kindly signed our books whilst wearing a brightly coloured smack of lipstick on his cheek! 

Whilst we'd been queuing D had arrived to join us. Hungry, and a little exhausted (both from a manic week at work and non stop chatting) we parted company with Alexis and Hugh and made our way to feast on pizza at one of our old haunts before catching a train home to the countryside - eating the delicious cheese and eccles cake we'd saved from the launch.

P.S. Alexis - it was really great to meet you, thank you for suggesting the idea.
P.P.S The photograph above shows the window display of agnès b.

1 March 2012

he did it!

It wasn't so long ago that I wrote this post, it never ceases to amaze me how a plant can turn from that to this so quickly, he's grown so much over the past month and a half and has now produced these flowers. Their beauty is incredible, 4 huge flowers have now opened - he did it again! 

I thoroughly recommend keeping amaryllis, they are so easy and this one hasn't failed me once.

I simply remove the flower stem once the flowers have completely faded. I then continue to water and when the frosts have passed I place him outdoors in his pot and continue to water throughout the summer months, he goes on producing leaves - nothing spectacular just the odd leaf. Then in the autumn I stop watering and place him indoors in the cool dark garage, the leaves die back and can easily be removed leaving just the top of the bulb protruding from the pot. When you're ready (I do it a few weeks before Xmas, but I guess other peoples cycles are slightly different) you can remove the top layer of soil and replace with fresh, bring indoors and start watering all over again, The leaves come first and then slowly day-by-day a flower stem appears.

P.S. The print on the mantelpiece is by Jen Collins, read her blog here

white rabbits!

That's what we say in our house on the first of the month, and this morning we woke to our very own white rabbit (OK he's a cat, but as cats aren't known for their acting skills I think he did quite a good job)!

March at last! It's all good for a while now, longer days, more sunshine, more garden, more out and about, and generally more of a chance to make the most of life. I'm enjoying it already!