Friday, 31 January 2014

goodbye january

Goodbye January. Woollen sodden damp grey brown wind swept storm blown fireside days leafless moss springing puddles wet dogs wet walks miles of clouds, you January, are the opposite of June.

Thursday, 30 January 2014


....listening to Nina Simone singing My Father - the sheer beauty and sadness of it all; the pauses are exquisite, almost painful, to listen to.

....looking forward to Diana Henry's new book, due out in March.

....reading the very last bit of The Goldfinch. So very good. (But so very heavy!)

....getting excited about an up-coming trip - ooh la,la!

....being grateful for music, books and travel.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

needs and wants

It's way too cold for swimming in the lake, but when it warms up I'm going in like this...
Old fashioned bathing girl - Handpainted peg doll - Wood and clay swimmer doll
...or possibly this

...or maybe even this
Old fashioned moustache man - Vintage bather - Peg doll
All from Sweet Bestiary

Friday, 24 January 2014

story telling

Mide is at the wonderful stage of learning to read. He has worked through his phonic sounds, learnt his words and this week got to have his first reading book from school (which he reads from cover to cover each day for homework). He is hugely interested in the mechanics of it all - how do you spell, what does this mean, why is that a capital letter- questions, questions all feeding that inquisitive mind. 
I'm not sure I remember the process of learning to read, but I do remember being read to. Books were an important part of my childhood, as were visits to the library. And books are a huge part of my boys' lives too. We are lucky to have lots of them at home and also have a friendly, well-stocked local library too.

But reading and being read to is only part of the magic. Telling stories is also great fun. Especially when you use a few props to help you along. The boys got some Rory's story cubes as Christmas gifts and last night after the supper dishes were cleared away we had an impromptu storytelling session lit by candles with special sound effects provided by older brothers...

Each box of story cubes comes with 9 cubes with a different picture on each face. You simply roll the cubes and make up a story using whatever pictures you have in front of you to guide you along. It was hilarious hearing the boys' stories, but it was also a really good lesson in turn-taking and patience and listening. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


It's raining here and there is more than a touch of bleak mid-winter about the day. I roam about the house in a slightly grey mood until I begin to notice the snippets. Snippets of our lives, that cowboy on the bookshelf, left behind after a game of 'cowboys verses dinosaurs', the record of French band music reminding me of summer holidays, favourite cookbooks alongside a well-used dictionary kept in the kitchen for emergency clarifications, draped fairy lights, a much loved recipe for foccacia which is now proving beside the fire, waiting for supper time tonight... all small snippets, all good for the soul.

Thursday, 16 January 2014


What inspires you? Have a look at this wonderful short film of Maia Helles (filmed in 2011) and I challenge you not to be inspired by her, her wonderful strength and health, her simple way of living and being.

"Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement"
William Morris

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

red sky in the morning...

...shepherds' warning. We were treated to a dramatic sunrise this morning- blazing sky and pink singed cloud, a hoar frost on the fields, the raw call of crows and the thump of their wings as they rose from the ground. It's now mid-day and the frost is still there; not going any time soon, judging by the below zero reading on the outdoor thermometer. So it's a day at home, hovering close to the wood burning stove, perhaps getting to read more of The Goldfinch, catching up on chores and trying to stop jack frost from nipping at toes.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

times past

Shadow boxes, dioramas and light boxes all with a quirky vintage touch. Circus animals, elephants and flags, woodland hideaways, deer and rabbits, houses and snowflakes. All are handmade by Tatiana from vintage paper, cardboard, cut-outs, ribbon and lace...These are so sweet and reminiscent of times gone by.

Diorama light box -Oh Deer Where is the goose-

Handmade shadow box ornament -The Christmas house matchbox-

Shadow box frame -Tiny Cutie Little Fawn-

Pedestal 3D object -Filemon the Elephant-

3D shadowbox frame -Party dog-

Find them on La Boom! Etsy page

Thursday, 9 January 2014


Do you have a favourite time of day? I do. It's the time, just before dinner, when the house is warm and cozy, our evening meal is (hopefully) puttering on the stove, the boys are engrossed in books or Lego or piano. It's time to light a few candles and, if you step outside, you'll see the silvery orb of the moon, the faintest trail across the sky, or perhaps glimpse the first star. The light fading across the hill, silhouetting the trees. And the birdsong! The birds are singing...

Inside it's twinkling lights and Diana Henry's Vermont baked beans with baked potatoes to keep tummies full and oh, how I wish we had some of yesterday's bread and butter pudding left (made with Christmas Pannettone)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


Yesterday was Little Christmas, a day usually set aside for Irish women to be looked after by their menfolk. It's also the day that marks the end of the festive season - it's the day to take down the Christmas tree and put away the decorations for another year. Oh my, the end of the tree and all things Christmassy. It's always a little sad and it wasn't helped by the gloomy, squally weather...however we have managed to retain a vestige of Christmas Spirit thanks to fairy lights...
So light the last of the pine-cone shaped candles, lift out all those boxes filled with age old tissue paper and
 admire, for another while at least, the glass decorations brought back from Belgium so many moons ago

and, when the deed is done, be grateful that the tree provides a source of heat as its branches burn in the stove