Sunday, 31 August 2014

the year in books: august

By the skin of my teeth. My year in books August post. Last month I read That Summer at Hill Farm by Miranda France. It is a well written first novel set on a farm in the English countryside.

The main plot centres around Hill Farm and Hayes, the farmer, his wife Isobel and their three children. The village inhabitants, who are a little stereotyped, play a role in the drama which unfolds in this idyllic rural setting.  The author has a natural writing style which I really enjoyed. She eloquently describes life in the countryside. Both the good and bad.

The novel does drift occasionally though and comes to an unresolved end which left me feeling slightly shortchanged. Despite this, That Summer at Hill Farm is worth reading. I'd definitely read future novels by Miranda France.

For the year in books in September I've chosen Perfect by Rachel Joyce. I'm hoping it lives up to its recommendation from The Times. 'You will end up recommending this wild, searching book to everyone you know.' I'll let you know next month if I reckon a recommendation is deserved.

Joining in as always with Laura.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

simple pleasures

Simple pleasures which made me happy recently.

: :    All the blues. Skies, sheets and pegs.
: :    Bees and butterflies on the oregano. 
: :    The scent of thyme flowers. 

A record of these simple happy things. So reminiscent of summer as the seasons begin to change again. The weather here is blustery at best and has been properly cold some days. 

Autumn is my favourite season. But shouldn't we have just a little more summer? What do you think? Are you looking forward to the change of season?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

holiday snaps

This week, one month ago we were in beautiful South Wales. For seven lovely days. I left a little piece of my heart there. We all loved it so much. Our return has been planned.

These photos are an edited selection of hundreds taken. I didn't want to bore you all to tears so chose just a few. I think they capture our fun in the sun.

The colours in these pictures please me no end. So many perfect blues and greens. My favourites.

I can't believe how long it has taken me to get this post together. This summer is running away from me. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

the year in books: july

For the year in books last month I read Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. I loved it. Unreservedly, in fact.

It is beautifully written, brimming with well drawn, interesting characters and has an original, unstructured format. The novel raises the question 'What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?' 

There have been rave reviews about Life after Life but I know some people haven't gotten on with it. Persevere, I think it is well worth the effort. I loved it and quickly became wrapped up in Ursula's lives. It will be a joy to read again.

This month I am reading That Summer at Hill Farm by Miranda France.

Joining in as always with Laura.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

simple pleasures

Some of the simple things making me smile recently. 

: :    Spanish hot chocolate. Chocolate heaven.
: :    Beautiful butterfly from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by our fairy.
: :    Baby succulents. From my jelly bean plant.
: :    Blue, blue skies. And not a cloud in sight.

I enjoy these posts. Taking a moment to slow down and appreciate the simple things. There really is pleasure to be found in the everyday. It's about taking the time to look around and see it.

What's your simple pleasure?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


A collection of pebbles. Collected on a lovely day at the beach. Pebbles in all their forms, are beautiful. I have always enjoyed gathering and admiring them. The different shapes, colours and textures really appeal to me. I love how tactile they are. A sea smoothed pebble particularly pleases me.

I was inspired to photograph my collection of beach pebbles by the lovely Caroline from scraps of us

Caroline has a beautiful blog featuring her stunning photography and adventures with her little ones. She has started a series called Collections, in which she photographs the things that she and her children pick up when they're out and about. It's a great way to record all the little treasures that are found. 

Pop over and visit. Maybe you have a collection to share.

Monday, 7 July 2014

the blog hop

Thank you to the lovely Col from Hello Olive who very kindly nominated me to take part in the blog hop. For those of you who don't know Col pop over and say hello. You'll find a very lovely blog and Etsy shop selling gorgeous prints designed by Col. She is quite the talent!

As part of the hop, I will be answering a few questions about my creative process.

What am I working on?

To be perfectly honest, at the moment not much and that makes me feel a little sad. I have been so busy with family life this past few months my love of making has been shelved. It definitely hasn't disappeared. It's simply waiting patiently in the wings. 

I have on-going creative projects which are a part of our family life. Baking, growing vegetables and tending our jungle of a garden. But the projects I really love doing just for fun and relaxation deserve more of my time. In September my youngest will be starting primary school. A new chapter, meaning more time for creativity. I can't wait.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Honestly I'm not really sure. I suppose the things I make differ from others because they are mine. We all create differently. From where we find inspiration to the physical process of actually making something. Each make has it's own identity. 

Why do I create what I do?

Simply because I love to make things. Being creative is very important to me. It has always been part of who I am. As a child I made things constantly. Always painting or drawing or sewing.

When I became a mother, my creativity returned with a vengeance. I gave up work to look after my children. A decision I have never regretted. But being creative allows me a little escape from the everyday. Time to relax, empty my mind and just be me. Making things for the love of it. Is there a better reason, I wonder?

What does my creative process involve?

Inspiration comes from everywhere. From books, magazines, online. But the most inspiring thing for me is nature. All things flora and fauna. I was a free range child, spending long days exploring nature with my brothers, cousins and friends. My love of the natural world has remained.

Botanical prints, floral fabrics, animal motifs, insects and birds of all descriptions are very evident in my home and creative projects. 

My creative process begins with choosing an idea. I have many scribbled down in notebooks with curious little doodles alongside to help jog my memory. I really enjoy gathering together the supplies and getting started. I love when I can create uninterrupted. Not often a reality but a pleasure when it happens.

Pure joy is in finishing. Creating things makes me feel good.

And that is that. I hope you have enjoyed reading my contribution to the blog hop.

And now its time to introduce two very lovely and talented women. I have many favourite blogs and these are two of the very best. Pop over and take a look. You won't be disappointed.

Sharon blogs at modflowers. She designs and makes beautiful creations from vintage fabrics. Her blog is a joy to read. Full of adventures in stitching, thrifting and living creatively.

Aniko blogs at Idle Needle. She shares snapshots of her life in Northern Europe. Aniko is a talented creative who has a great eye for finding vintage treasure. Her blog is wonderful.