Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tea for two

Time for a nice cup of tea...
...oh, what's that you say?
There are flowers in the teacups?

These gorgeous paintings by Debbie George are actually much better than a cup of tea!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

paper, pencils, pens

   Colour Block Pen
It's nearly time for school. The boys have one more week of summer holidays before heading back to the classroom...
Know it all Pencil Set
...we need to sharpen these...
      Red Drawer Tidy
...tidy up our desks...
Old Gummed Labels
...label our books...
Notebook Paper Bags
...and get ready to learn...

All you need to send your little ones back to school is here

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Winifred Nicholson

I have to admit there are certain colours I turn to again and again and in the garden I love to see blues, purples and whites along with bright zaps of green. So these flower pictures by Winifred Nicholson tick all the right boxes. I especially love the feeling of that paper wrapped around the primulas - so light, fresh and bright. And I really wish I had a flower table like the one below. Sadly with the change in season nearly upon us the garden is on the wane, although at the minute there are plenty of white Japanese anemone and spiky blue eryngium-a bumblebee favourite- to lift the heart.

This morning at Sheridan's market I bought some ripe apricots to make Diana Henry's apricot and lavender jam (from her gorgeous Salt Sugar Smoke). I am hoping it will capture the last fleeting scents of summer as we head slowly towards autumn.If you need some end-of-summer reading you could try The Wild Places by nature writer Robert Macfarlane. As the evenings darken it has been my companion, bewitching, inspiring and entrancing me with its beautiful words...

Saturday, 10 August 2013


To be honest there is nothing like a good picnic in a graveyard on a sunny summer's day to keep you connected to what's important. We had chosen a small reilig not far from home with some interesting gravestones as we wanted to show the boys how to do crayon rubbings. The churchyard was quiet with barely a whispering breeze and the land stretched out peaceful in the sunshine. We found a spot in the shade and spread our picnic lunch on the rug and ate with only birdsong and buzzing insects for company. Then it was time to explore and find some suitable engravings to rub over. The boys ran off with sheets of paper and crayons and soon there were cries of 'look at this one' and 'how old is this?' and 'skulls and crossbones' and they were soon fully engrossed with placing their paper and carefully holding it down and rubbing over the image or writing they wanted. And then galloping legs off the to next gravestone and another picture emerged from under lichen and moss. I liked to think that all those dearly held people would have liked our fleeting company as we visited them in turn to look upon their markers and think a little of them. Appreciate the present as nothing lasts forever.

Friday, 2 August 2013


Oh my time has flown by, we are mid-summer, high summer, on-the-cusp summer. The holidays to France are over and we enjoyed every minute of our time there. We spent days exploring tiny sleepy villages, walking through the countryside near to where we were staying, trying to imprint it on our minds so that in months to follow, when we have forgotten that wonderful sensation of sun on skin, we can recall it all again.

We explored tumble-down castles towering over villages, commanding the countryside. We revisited some favourite villages from last year and discovered new places to love. We ate ice-cream every day and swam each afternoon, hugely grateful that we had the pool to cool down in. I can't claim that we did anything of any use for two long weeks- with the possible exception of the morning the boys helped their grandad move logs to the house for the winter.

The boys loved the fortified medieval city of Carcassonne even though it was jam packed with tourists like us. We walked the city ramparts and then the parapets of the castle and took in the fabulous views but I think really all the boys wanted was to get to the shops to buy bows and arrows. 

Kevin and I managed to get away on our own a couple of times, leaving the children with their grandparents. One evening we went to the cathedral in Foix to hear a quartet chant sacred music-it was a beautifully peaceful experience to hear their human voices woven in close harmony while sitting away from the heat in the spare medieval elegance of the cathedral. Another night we ate a truly memorable meal in the ruined cloister of the atmospheric and romantic L'Abbaye Chateau de Camon. I would love to overnight there- it has such a feeling of beauty to it.

I think once again we truly enjoyed our holidays, that break from real life which allows time to dream and imagine another existence; but also holidays remind us to be so grateful for home and homecoming, if we didn't leave what we love, just occasionally, we wouldn't experience that wonderful feeling of return.