Thursday 31 December 2009

The Day Before...

May the next 365 days be as pink and rosy as the flowers in the photo! Wishing you all a very Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Fun Filled New Year - see you on the other side xxx

Thursday 24 December 2009

Twelve Days...

Magical festive fairies

Hand made cranberry hearts - gifts from a friend

Golden glittery moments

Snow covered trees

Roses on holly

Feathered friends hiding amongst the holly

Carols & baubles

Rosy robins

Cheeky chaps

Christmas Greetings

Childhood decorations

Heartfelt Christmas wishes - Have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas with a sprinkling of magic each day


Monday 21 December 2009

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Pots of Gold

Ssssh, I've heard a rumour, it was on the radio so it must be true... the rain is going to stop and we might have a dry weekend! How lovely would that be. I might even be able to take some photos of things I want to share with you, hooray! Without the bursts of sunshine that we had a couple of weeks ago there haven't even been many rainbows to follow ... but I have found some pots of gold:

The little robin that comes to visit our garden every day, perching on a garden chair and smiling at me. Sitting there proudly, perfectly still until I reach for my camera and then whoosh, he's away...

The bluetits that spend their days dancing in the trees hunting for nuts and berries. Their beautiful feathers brightening the bare branches.

The four cats that were sitting high up in the ash tree, the two squirrels dashing up and down the apple tree and the five bluetits in the fig tree all playing in the garden whilst my two cats were fast asleep underneath the eiderdowns...

Going as a family to see Kate Rusby in concert last week. Her beautiful voice moving me to tears, the sight of her gorgeous baby being brought on to stage, singing Christmas songs, bumping into Liz and thanking her for the wonderful woolly socks she made me (again no photos, Mr Sunshine, please take note!). Savouring the rare and delicious moments of spending an evening all together.

Big Sister having a bunch of flowers delivered to her in an art lesson. Life is sweet indeed when you have friends who care enough to notice that you are not as cheery as you should be and take the time to leave flowers for you at school reception and ask for them to be delivered to you in class!

Proud mummy moments when you see your youngest daughter singing in a mass choir in the centre of town and your eldest daughter jumping for joy when she achieves the exam marks she so deserved ... and Mr Roses coming up trumps again when he manages to get those two minxes, Milly and Dottie, to keep still long enough, to put their party hats on.

Pots of gold indeed...

Monday 30 November 2009

Turning over a new leaf...

Hello! I'm still here. After weeks of frantic busyness, sewing, restocking the Emporium, visits to schools, old and new, applications to Sixth Form Colleges and new Secondary Schools, endless tumbleweed moments in the post office queue and neverending cups of tea, I cleared the decks and decided that I would sit down today and write a new blog post, apologise for my absence, tell you what I've been up to and get back into the swing of blogging and visiting you all again.
Well, hey ho, perhaps I was being a little optimistic. Last Monday morning in November and there was I expecting sunshine to take some lovely rosy photos in!!! Ha ha! That'll teach me. So forgive me if I change my mind about the subject of today's post but I'm unable to accompany it with the photos I wanted. For weeks now I have been giving myself a very hard time about neglecting this blog, and more importantly, not having the time to visit any of you. I have been walking round composing blog posts in my head (and believe me there are quite a few stored up there). I haven't even had the time to visit your blogs, have a quick read and leave without a comment, how bad is that, when I haven't even found the time to lurk. As the weeks have past the thought of writing a new blog became something akin to that dreaded piece of homework, the essay that you know has to be written, the one that makes you sit down and get on with it, and the one, ultimately, that will leave you feeling oh so much better for having finally written it.
Well this is it. I'm really sorry. Please excuse my absence. I owe this blog and my blog readers so much and feel very bad about having temporarily turned my back. So I promise, when the sunshine returns, however temporarily, I will snap those photos and tell those tales...

In the meantime, here are some photos of some of my favourite books that I have recently been able to hunt down and add to our Library at the Emporium (we've also been busy decorating the front of our Emporium, my goodness it was hard not using up all the snow from the roof in our snowball fights, a rather wet and soggy Dottie and I returned to the stockroom much later!).

Back to the books - I do try to find my favourite titles to add to our library. Books I have read myself, and can recommend. Old, original editions that smell like books should smell! Of course, my all time favourite would be "I Capture The Castle" and I have been lucky enough to find an old edition with dustjacket.

Recently, Mr Roses, Big Sister and I have been rewatching the BBC DVD of "Love in A Cold Climate". I can't tell you how happy I was to stumble across a first edition of this book to add to our shelves. "The Pursuit of Love" and "Love in a cold climate" were written for wet, rainy days like this, I'm sure of it!

At the beginning of this year I read "A Game of Hide and Seek" by Elizabeth Taylor, when it was republished by Virago. I must admit I knew very little about the author and had not heard of the story before, I was, I have to admit, attracted by the book cover! Having read the Virago edition and fallen in love with it, I set out to find an early edition with book jacket. Oh the thrill of the hunt! Nothing lovelier than finding a book unexpectedly when you've almost given up the search! What a scrumptious jacket too!

And there's more! The icing on the cake - not one book, not two, but four lovely stories in one book with original dustjacket too! The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield is one of the most amusing books I read last year. After reading it, I found an original copy of another in the title "The Provincial Lady in Wartime" and want to write more about this in another post. But here, in this edition of "The Provincial Lady" are four of her books. A real treasure that I am finding it hard to part with.
If you fancy a good read, or want to give a book at Christmas they're all on the library shelves.
I shall be back as soon as the sun appears with some photos and tales of 1940s Christmases, Horlicks, dried egg and woolly knickers!

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Away above the chimney tops...

So it seems that the good old rain timer has been set again to its twice daily "let's coincide with the school run to make things as miserable as possible" setting. Between 8.30am and 9am you can guarantee a downpour and similarly at 3pm.

I quite like walking in the rain, in many ways I prefer walking in it to driving in it. Little Sister is of a very different opinion and the journey home, up and down two hills and those 120 "secret steps" along the "Cat's creep" leading up to our house can feel like a marathon at the beginning or end of a school day when your shoes are squelching, your school bag and entire contents are soaked and your umbrella has once again folded in on itself...

However, there are moments like today, when I looked up to the sky, and found a multi coloured smile shining back at me through the grey clouds. Not just one but two (if you look very closely there were two rainbows waiting for me today). Not only did it work its magic on me but a very happy Little Sister was waiting for me at the school gates. Having spied the rainbows through the classroom windows, she pronounced categorically that the rainbow definitely ended in the school playground, I'm not sure if they will be spending the rest of the week scouring the playground for pots of gold but it certainly made the walk home a little cheerier.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

A brighter shade of pink...

Hello! Hope you all had a good half term, if you had one. Ours was not as relaxing as we wished it to be. So lovely to have Little Sister back home again after her week away zip wiring, canoeing and forgetting to change her clothes... For Big Sister, however, it was somewhat of an assault course in terms of homework and coursework that needed to be completed before returning to school. Why oh why do they have so much to do in the holidays? She returned to school looking and feeling as if she needed a good break.

So we were unable to spend much of the time together, but there were a couple of times that we managed to get out and on each of these occasions I managed to embarrass both my daughters as only mothers do...
Little Sister and I went to see "Up" at the cinema. Thank goodness for the 3D specs is all I can say. My eyes were streaming from start to finish. I held my hand out as I thought that my daughter might need comforting, but not a tear had she shed. It seemed I was crying enough for the two of us. Well at least it was dark...

In the full gleam of the post office queue a couple of hours later, I found the December issue of "Homes and Gardens" magazine. Not having my glasses with me as usual Little Sister had to scour the contents of it for me to find my sachets. Yes! My sachets have been featured in the magazine this month (in the handmade gift ideas for Christmas). She then had to read very loudly to me what the article said etc (several times as I was so excited, much to her annoyance) and then watched my face turn from it's blotchy tear stained pallor to a very nice scarlet as I blushed with embarrassment! Hey ho, I'm sure it amused all the others in the queue...

At the weekend, I found out that Dottie and I were also featured in "Sew Hip" magazine. Further blushing followed and much whooping and skipping - yes I can understand why my girls find me a tad embarrassing.

Dottie and I have been very busy of late building our Christmas grotto and filling the shelves with all kinds of vintage festive loveliness. Please pop in and take a lot, I hear the elves are regularly updating the stock. Decorations, presents, stocking fillers, gorgeous vintage French haberdashery

and some lovely Christmas handmade items have been added throughout the Emporium too.

My new "Christmas Pudding" lavender sachets

To finish the week off, Big Sister and I went to see a special screening of "Bright Star". Sunday morning we arrived soaking wet at the cinema, drenched from a mad dash from home and settled down for a real treat. Please go see this film, it is absolutely beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful... exquisitely filmed and beautifully acted. But please take your hankies, achingly sad. Again I sat and absolutely blubbed my way through this. There was one point when I thought I would not be able to contain myself and would weep outloud. Big Sister looked aghast as she could see what was happening to me but fortunately I managed to contain myself. Judging by the subdued faces leaving the cinema I was not alone.
I'm wondering now if my daughters think I'm too much of a liability to take anywhere...
Have a good few days.

(1950s Feathered Friends in our Grotto)

PS Just found that our Emporium is also mentioned in the Christmas shopping section in "Homes and Antiques" - time for me to go a deeper shade of pink, I think.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

A Room of One's Own

Eighty years ago, on October 24th 1929, this book by Virginia Woolf was published. This copy of "A Room of One's Own" is one of my most treasured possessions. Old and tatty, but incredibly hard to find, it has sat on our shelves for many years now and will continue to do so, I hope. for many more. I wonder if Virginia Woolf, all those years ago, had any idea that the book she was writing would become so iconic? Would mean so much to so many people. If you haven't read the book , you know the title and all that it implies.

Reading all our blogs we all want our own space, workspace don't we. I've seen beautiful studios and workrooms that I've drooled over. I'm still to possess a room of my very own in which to sit and think and do. I share my room with my family. In my mind I have my room planned out, decorated, redecorated and furnished.... But I do have my own space really, my own "room". Maybe not a physical room, but the opportunity to do what I want, which is what I think the book is all about, having the chance to gain the independence and space that I want, something that was so lacking for women all those years ago.

Last week I listened to this wonderful piece of radio. If you get the chance listen to it, it's good. Very good. I listened intently to the piece about Virginia Woolf's home at Monks House. You may know that I love this place. I've written about it here before. Caroline Zoob, the incredibly lucky and talented Caroline Zoob, lives above Monk's House and was interviewed for the programme. She talked of Virginia Woolf's rooms of her own - her beautiful work room in the garden.

A room that was built for her, beautiful in its simplicity. Removed from the house, sitting in the middle of their gorgeous garden, she would walk here to her work and write her books. Simple and undistracting, I just love it.

Interestingly enough the other room in which she worked was her bedroom which is also physically separated from the main house, having to be accessed via a separate doorway. This is another beautiful, calm room that is simple and without too many distractions.

I listened enthralled as Caroline Zoob talked of regularly changing the flowers in the summerhouse where Virginia Woolf once sat and wrote her books. Sometimes you listen to something or read something and feel utterly transported and for a few minutes last week that happened to me.

Thursday 22 October 2009

Pumpkins & parties...

My goodness it's been a bit grey round here the past week or so. No tantalising glimpses of sunshine and to make matters worse my youngest daughter, Little Sister, has gone off for a week on a school trip and we all miss her so.... I have visions of her gripping on to cliff faces, rope in hand and sheer terror on her face, the reality is, I hope, that she has spent the past week up all night giggling with her friends. Can't wailt till Friday to collect her. Poor thing, I sent her off looking like the Michelin Man buried under a mountain of waterproof clothing and fleecy hoodies! (she won't thank me I know).

Just over a week ago there was lots of sunshine. We took Big Sister and a group of teenage girls camping for her birthday (thanks to all of you for your lovely birthday wishes, she had a very, very special day). Back to the camping - We returned to our favourite campsite and had booked two yurts on different fields, allowing the girls some independance and us some space from the noise (in the event they were really good and quiet, or so I'm told).
The girls' yurt was beside a babbling brook,

complete with swinging hammock,

beautifully made double bed,
Welsh dresser and cooker.

Ours was the yurt we'd camped in before in the beautiful tree lined spot that looked even more glorious in the golden Autumnal sunshine.

So we spent the weekend climbing giant haystacks (there was a wrestler called that, wasn't there?),

eating, swinging from trees, trampling through the golden, crispy leaves, eating, breathing out, long, deep breaths, playing table tennis, eating, laughing, eating, enjoying each other's company and eating!

I know you may have seen many of these views before,

but the sunlight and the dappled October shade, together with the most beautiful coloured trees just begged me to take some more photos!

We really didn't know where to look first.

Hot air balloons flying above us and landing in the next field... Pumpkins dotted around the campsite...

beautiful sunflowers still in bloom.

Tunnels full of the most exquisite gourds,

squashes and pumpkins,

Strange, exotic shapes,

beautiful mouthwatering colours.

Just look at those blue crates and orange pumpkins together!

We bought a variety to bring home

and once we had recovered from a weekend of binge eating we enjoyed the delicious and varying tastes of them.

It took a week to rid the clothes of the smell of woodsmoke... and now a week later I somehow miss it. Especially when I look out of the window and see the distinct lack of colour all around.
However, there are good things to look forward to - my little rose will be home tomorrow, my two roses will then be on half term (hurrah!) and in our Emporium there are exciting things afoot... and we're not just talking gorgeous vintagey Christmassy festive goodness!