Thursday, 28 February 2013

In by the squeeeeaak ...

...of my teeth with four hours to go before - March!

Here's my February mood board.

(I've done it! I've got it the right way around - long story!)

Earlier today I really thought I wasn't going to be able to find anything new. Last month, even though nothing was yet emerging, there was a certain look to my board. During the darkest months there was still beauty to be found in the vibrancy of the berries and the sculptural quality of decay. So today I was determined to see a change. Nothing was apparent at first glance apart from the snowdrops and the tĂȘte a tĂȘte. I had to really look. And I had to look really hard. But there, under the dead stems and rotting leaves, were signs. The colours - though not the blousy brights we'll be experiencing later in the year - varied from purples to blues to pinks to yellows. And the new leaves brought tiny samples of the brightest green.


My beautiful lungwort with it's myriad of shades

Periwinkle blue 
( Little Sis thinks this one looks like a happy whale - can you see it?)

(sadly one of Ned's favourites)

A duet of muscari



Unfurling tansy


And the wondrously tactile pussy willow

The colours and textures are there. Still a bit shy but slowly, oh so slowly, emerging from their Winter sleep. Soon they will be joined by others and the busy nature of the garden will return thick and fast.
Until then we must be patient in the knowledge that things do return and, even though their presence is small, their effect is just as great.

Jane x

Monday, 25 February 2013

A couple of finds and a stack of winkles

Before I begin I'd just like to say a big thank you to all the lovely people out there who have taken time to leave comments on my posts - they are appreciated so much!


I'm afraid I'm going to mention seventies television again here. In between reading my Blytons, staring at my Sindy doll and wondering why the shampoo I'd used hadn't left her hair quite the same as it looked on the packaging but more like a Brillo pad, and falling out with my best friend, I remember one of the highlights of the week was sitting down and watching Ask the Family. It was a general knowledge quiz show where two rather well shod families would pit their brains against each other for the title. I was rubbish. Maybe instead of the above activities I should have been reading encyclopaedias and the odd atlas but I was the youngest and left the thinking to Big bro. However there was one round that I did actually enjoy. An object would be shown from an obscure angle and the family would have to guess what it was. I obviously enjoyed this too much so now I've made my own version.

Are you ready?
Do you promise not to scroll down and look?

First object



And last but not least

How did you do?

The first was such a cute little pink teapot that for £2.50 I couldn't resist. The stamp on the back says non drip and it's true - that ingenious little spout lets your tea pour out in the perfect arc (did try to take a shot but definitely a two man job!) All it needs now is an appropriate cosy - any ideas?

Next was a bit tricky I'll admit.
Four soup bowls in a lovely 'delphatic blue'. I've got other bits and pieces of this crockery and love its simplicity. 99p for the four!

Finally skip forward a few decades and you have a completely different sort of design. Kathy Winkle was renowned for her folksy patterns - black lines filled with no more than three colours on standard shaped crockery. She was working from the 1950's through to the 1970's but I'm assuming this is some of her later work as it is 'dishwasher proof'!
Are you ready?
For the grand total of £2 we have - a stack of winkles.

So now I have a whole bunch of new crockery.

Do I need it? 
Do I love it?
(Will it fit in the cupboards? 
I don't think we need to think about that just at the moment.....hmmm)

If you got any of the above you need to go and treat yourself to some fruit cocktail out of a tin ( if you get the cherry you are a double winner!), pour on some evaporated milk, mop it up with a piece of bread and butter and listen to this

Enjoy x

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Hmmm - thinking ...

What I love so much about this blogging carry on is how supportive everyone is. Such lovely comments have been made on my posts so far and I always know where I can turn to for sound advice! So to be nominated for an award this early on is everything else with a cherry on top, brass knobs on, the tops, the Reich's museum ... you get the picture! Thanks ever so much to Rosie at the Old Magnolia Tree for putting me forward for the Liebster Award - her blog is lovely so do pop over to say hello.
Now you realise I might find it difficult to be concise as my mind has more twists and turns than a Curly Wurly but I'll try to stay focussed.
Let's get down to some thinking.

Eleven random facts about myself:

1. I'm a dog person. Ideally I'd be surrounded by all sorts of animals but I'm allergic to cats so that rules them out. I can't remember a time when I haven't had a waggy tailed rescue dog keeping me company.
2. I love my garden and ideally would have a much bigger one so that I could grow more lovely things to eat.
3. I dislike ignorance. How can people make clear judgements about subjects they know little about (oooh political!)
4. I would love to live in The Enchanted Wood and go down Moonface's slide!
5. Most embarrassing moment was getting caught short in some beautiful Derbyshire woodland. Mr K was keeping a look out to the front but unknowingly a large bunch of birdwatchers were approaching from the rear. Unable to stop I took a great interest in some nearby moss!
6. I believe that health and happiness are the richest possessions you can have.
7. I love the wonders of nature and how things can be interlinked.
8. I've always been fond of a cardigan!
9. I'm left handed, left footed and left everything else - not long ago I'd have been burnt as a witch!
10. I have a slight phobia (if that's possible) about travelling - something I'm trying to work on as there are so many places I'd like to go.
11. I can remember long strings of digits backwards - not much of a party trick really but always amazes Mr K.

Eleven answers to Rosie's questions:

  1. Why did you decide to start your blog?
  2. What do you enjoy most about the bloggie world?
  3. If you could have a famous chef to cook you a meal, who would it be and what would be on the menu?
  4. Real paper books or digital?
  5. What was your most loved Christmas present as a child?
  6. What is your dream job?
  7. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
  8. Have you a favourite song that always makes you happy when you hear it?
  9. What new hobby would you like to learn?
  10. What is your favourite season and why?
  11. Have you got a favourite colour?
1. I  wanted to challenge myself to keep a record of the everyday for  a year but the way I've enjoyed it so far I can see it turning in to a much longer project.
2. The support and inspiration you receive from others.
3. Nigel Slater. I love the simplicity of his recipes and he always seems like a nice chappie. 
4. Definitely paper - at the moment
5. A bedroom set for my Sindy doll. It was white plastic with golden detail - very French. The wardrobe came with beautiful little blue hangers and the bedside table had a working light with a fancy pink shade. I always thought 'when I grow up I'm going to have a bedroom like that'. Not there yet!
6. I would love to be a really talented book illustrator - but I can't draw!
7. One day I would love to go and see the Northern Lights - what an amazing natural phenomenon.
8. For some reason I always have the song Georgy Girl rattling around in my head. Although I was only two when it came out mum and dad were fond of The Seekers so it was probably played ad infinitum for the rest of my childhood!
9.  Definitely patchwork but I don't know if I'm patient enough.
10. I love the changing seasons but Spring is my absolute favourite. To see regeneration everywhere wakens a little something in me every time.
11. Greeeeeeen - I love it.

This is looking very wordy so I'm going to put in a random picture to perk things up.

Early (mis)adventures in dress making on some favourite girlhood dolls!

Eleven questions for my nominees:

1. If you could only have two courses of a three course meal which ones would they be?

2. Choose three words to sum you up.
3. Which film last made you cry?
4. What animal would you most like to be and why?
5. Is there a smell that takes you back to your childhood?
6. What would your Desert Island disc be?
7. Where do you most like to be?
8. Potatoes - chipped, mashed or roasted?
9. What quality do you most admire in others?
10. Sky dive or bungy jump?
11. What 'words of wisdom' would you pass on to others?

Fancy some colour now - here's a picture of the Groovyghan I made for Big Sis last year:

Whoa there Skippy - that's a bit bright!

And now (drum roll) - my nominees for the Liebster Award are:

From what I can gather nominees write eleven random facts about themselves, answer the eleven questions above, then set eleven questions for the next person. They then nominate nine other blogs - each with less than three hundred members. It's good fun and helps us to find out a bit more about each other.

What a long post! If you are still there I would like to award you my very own medal of endurance in the form of some cake candy:


Sadly not mine but it looks pretty good. Enjoy x

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

'Come Outside'

At the risk of sounding like I've watched too much children's television in my time my mind seems to trip out snippets of theme tunes when I'm least expecting it.

Take Monday.

The first day of half term -  Little Sis was out visiting so Mr K and I decided on a day trip to an old haunt of ours. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the scenery was glorious as we travelled along the moorlands road to Leek.

And this is where it struck.
Look up

Look down

Look all around

Up in the air

Or on the ground

Come for a walk
Come for a ride
There's so much to see
So coooome ouuut siiiiiiide!

(Thank you Aunty Mabel and Pippin for ingraining that into my subconscious for ever more)

On with the day.

Wherever you look in Leek there are reminders of it's affluent past.

Intricate pillars guarding an entrance

The peeling facade of number nineteen.

And large ornamental porticos.

There are the traditional black and white walls.

Crooked alleyways.

And the wonderful Butter Market (sadly closed on Mondays)

One of my favourite buildings is a shop. At first glance it would be easy to miss - a strange assortment of bird seed, bunched carrots and garden statuary.

But if you look up and under the green canopy you can't help but be curious.

Further on there is more of an indication of what is to come.

And inside there is a long winding shop that seems to stock - well just about anything edible.

The nets of fruit rub along quite nicely next to the bright confectionery packaging.

Tins and jars of exotic foodstuffs furnish shelves clad in split logs (!)

More onions than you can shake a stick at.

And eggs from hens, ducks and quail.

Of course any day out requires sustenance of some sort - which is where this place comes in.

Let's just check out the window.

Yup - that will do nicely.

Inside I had a cup of some of the nicest home made vegetable soup I think I have ever tasted (and I've tasted a lot of soups)

And sat among shelves of delicious home made preserves, cakes and pastries.

Armed with a package of runniest brie, Kendal mint cake (for the nostalgic touch) and some Rocky Road for Little Sis, we made our leave . A quick trawl around the obligatory charity shops topped off a really lovely day. 
On our return journey I reflected how lucky we were. It must be twenty odd years ago since we first visited Leek. Since then we have had children, moved around, held down jobs and (arguably) grown up! Yet I enjoyed my day with Mr K just as much as I did then. We're both slightly tubbier, slightly greyer and definitely more wrinkly but underneath we are still the same people. 

Do you have any old haunts?