Friday, 31 January 2014

31/365 my camera

I derive a huge amount of pleasure and enjoyment from my camera, but as I have only the one this is as close as I can get to showing a picture of it.

Thursday, 30 January 2014


Last year I took lots of pelargonium cuttings and popped them in the conservatory, here is one that has decided that summer is just around the corner!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

29/365 Lavender

I had a small vase of dried lavender on a little shelf just outside the office at the top of the stairs. Cassie knocked it over. I rescued the vase and the stalks of lavender, but for several days I didn't even spot the "debris" that was left behind, the scent was very calming.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


Today GO celebrates his quarter century, happy birthday son.

Monday, 27 January 2014


The hyacinths that I bought in September, and hoped to have in flower for Christmas, are just starting to open, and they smell divine.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

25 and 26/365 and a big thankyou . . . . .

. . to everyone who read and commented on my blogiversary post, it's been a fun 4 years and I'm looking forward to lots more. And thanks also to everyone who has commented on my other posts, I'm sorry I haven't had time to acknowledge you all, but be assured I love reading your comments.

25. The gorgeous Cassie, who gives us all so much pleasure.

26. A lovely pile of gardening books, all well thumbed and enjoyed. Making me yearn for this wet winter to be over and done with.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Happy Blogiversary to me

My blog is 4 years old today, both it and I have evolved somewhat since those early days in 2010. Reading a few of my very early posts reminds me of how much our lives have changed over the past four years - my early focus was very much towards my creativity with yarn, which has now faded into the background and hardly gets a mention.

My focus now is mostly on home, garden, photography, and the day job.

I'm wondering now what I'll be doing if I'm still here in 2018! Watch this space.

Friday, 24 January 2014


Our brand-spanking-new Health Centre - well, I say ours, it's in the next town, but that's where our dentist is, so we have to go there - with its living roof. I love going there, even though it's to the dentist, it's so clean and bright and comfortable. Yesterday I went for a check-up and all is well with my teeth.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

22 and 23/365

22. Two pictures for the price of one for yesterday, my lovely car on returning home from Devon

and after we had given the poor thing a wash

23. At last we have finished our christmas jigsaw puzzle, took longer than usual, it was very hard, but we had fun doing it. Next year we'll choose something with slightly less blue in it! (One piece missing and one extra piece! How odd.)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

19, 20 and 21/365

19. All the essentials for a road trip, food and drink, music, road atlas, driving gloves, handbag and birthday gift.

20. The Birthday Boy, 89 and still as strong-willed as ever.

21. Daybreak in Devon


Saturday, 18 January 2014

18/365 from the golf club

You may (or may not) remember this post from a while ago (I thought it was last summer, and I'm amazed to find it was October 2012!).

We took another trip up to the golf club yesterday to sit in the carpark and admire the views while eating our picnic lunch, and because the trees are leafless now we managed to pick out our house. The first photo shows a general view of our end of town, and the second is a zoom in on our house, clearly visible.

Oh, and I'm off to Devon tomorrow for a few days of cousinly fun, see you next week.

Friday, 17 January 2014


Any guesses?

Thursday, 16 January 2014

16/365 and a small weight loss

I meant to post this yesterday, I lost another half kilo (1.1lb) this week, yippee.

A few of my friends are also doing photo 365s, Eileen is showing us her garden, Karen is showing us her garden and home and Sarah is showing us random photos. My 365 is mostly things I'm grateful for and things that make me happy, and as my garden falls into both of these categories it will appear frequently over the course of the year.

This is the year we plan to do our garden makeover (although we had planned to do it last year it just didn't happen). This area to the side of the house, which is quite narrow at the back and wider near the front, is a bit of a no-mans-land at the moment. We intend to use it as a utility area, the stand-alone raised bed will be separated into three compartments which will be compost bins, and we have bought two double retractable washing lines to fix onto the side of the house and across to the fence posts on the other side. Those two works alone should turn this mostly unused area into a useful space. I've taken a couple of rootings of the wisteria that covers the pergola and these will be planted so that they grow to cover the open-link fencing, thus screening off the area from the front.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Today has dawned grey, dull and pretty gloomy and it's forecast to stay that way for most of the day. This picture is from Monday morning when it was bright, sunny and quite cool.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014


I had baked beans on toast for breakfast, but you'll just have to take my word for it, as I forgot to take a photo before I ate them.

They were delicious!

Monday, 13 January 2014

13/365 a blogger friend and a book review

I've often thought I would like to be a writer, and I've started to write more works than I can remember, but after the first chapter or two I don't seem to have the staying power to go any further, and I lose interest. So I have great admiration for writers who are able to complete works and then get them published. One such is my blogger friend JoAnn. I discovered her blog early last year and was drawn to it by the fabulous photos she shows of the beautiful part of North West USA where she lives, and all the gorgeous bits and pieces and collections that she has accumulated over the years. But more than being a collector and photographer, JoAnn has written a book about her years growing up in Alaska. Not long ago I decided it was time to read JoAnn's book, so I bought a copy from Amazon and have started to read it.

So far I've read about a quarter of the book, and I'm absolutely amazed at the adventures that she had with her parents and two brothers, and by her fantastic memory of her childhood years. I'm really loving this book and living JoAnn's and her brothers' adventures along with them - but I'm rather pleased to be reading this book snuggled up in my lovely warm bed, as I think an Alaskan winter is pretty darn cold.

Sunday, 12 January 2014


Yesterday was a lovely sunny day so we decided we needed to get out of the house for a while. We found a nice little spot near Corsley where we could sit, eat our lunch, look at the view, and enjoy the peace and quiet. By the way, in case any of you are wondering, we sat in the car to eat rather than outside, it may have been sunny but it was still pretty cold!

Saturday, 11 January 2014


I like to have something to look at or watch while I'm ironing. In the summer I like to look out at the garden, during the winter months I like to watch TV programmes about gardening. I'm slowly working my way through the series "Great British Garden Revival" which we've recorded.

Friday, 10 January 2014

10/365, new milk jug

GM always makes the early morning pot of tea and brings it upstairs. Recently, while doing the washing up, my old willow pattern milk jug was broken, only the handle cracked off, nothing too serious, but I decided I didn't want to risk losing it altogether as it had been my grandmothers, so once GM had stuck it back together it was put away in my dresser, and I was lucky enough to find a milk jug (with a matching sugar bowl) that matches our teapot, on good old ebay.

Thursday, 9 January 2014


Every year, over the festive season, we do a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. This year's is exceptionally hard, and it's also the first year that it's been just the two of us struggling to do it. However, we wont let it beat us! I'm grateful that we now have time on our side and we can take as long as we like to get it finished.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

8/365 and weight loss

Woo hoo, half a kilo down in the first week (that's about 1lb for you people who still use the old fashioned stones and pounds). Not a lot, I know, but half a kilo a week sustained over a period will see me back to target weight before the summer.

You will know, if you read my blog regularly, that I love my job as a Phoenix Trader, I just love being surrounded by all the lovely cards and stationery they produce, so yesterday was really like another Christmas day for me, my new 2014 brochures arrived, together with one of each new-to-the-range card and some lovely red fab-bags (short for fabric, but they really are fabulous - if you like that sort of thing, which I do),

also underneath the fab-bags you can see the pink envelopes, so if one of these drops through your letterbox you'll know what it is. If you aren't on my mailing list and would like one, please let me know, or visit my website, where you can click on the "products" button, then scroll down to "new" to view all the fantastic new range for 2014.Of course there are also lots of old favourites still in the range too.

Today I'll be stamping, sticking and enveloping, so watch out for your brochure in the post over the next few days.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


Once again, many thanks for all those of you who commented on my posts of yesterday, I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who needs to start over on the weight loss - I don't feel quite such a failure! With regard to my 5 on 5, and this really applies to most of my photography, these days and most especially through the long winter months, I tend to spend a lot of time at home and indoors so if I want to take photos then they have to be photos inside home, so I'm forever looking around to see what I can snap next!

I also mentioned yesterday that I was going to have a Linda McCartney (vegetarian) sausage for tea, well in fact, as they were only 100 calories each I had two!!!! (with a small dollop of mashed potato and some spring greens). I've had vegetarian sausages before, (DO is vegetarian so when I stay with him and his family I am not fed any meat products), and I have to say that in the past I've always found them pretty uninspiring, but these ones were really nice, I think the trick is that they weren't pretending to taste like meat, if you get my meaning. The texture was pleasant, they had a distinctive, slightly sweet, taste all of their own and I would be quite happy to eat them again at some stage.

However, they weren't all that photogenic, so instead here are a pair of my very own homemade BEEF burgers, sizzling away nicely in the pan, that I cooked for GM and GT. Even if I say it myself, I'm pretty proud of my home-made burgers, they are heaps tastier than anything shop-bought, and have NEVER contained any horsemeat or anything other than butchers best mince, onions (red, in this batch), herbs, seasoning, a touch of oatbran and an egg to bind (thats one egg for each batch of 6). To complete the picture it would be really nice if I could add a link to a scratch and sniff option, but, well heyho, you can't have everything.

Monday, 6 January 2014

6/365 and thank you . . .

. . . to all those of you who commented on my blogpost about responding to comments on blogposts, just goes to show that we all do things in different ways.

Last summer I made a tentative start on the 5/2 diet, except that mine was a personalised variation on the feasting/fasting regime. I wasn't happy about fasting, as I know that having low blood sugar levels makes me feel very weak, so instead I decided that for two days each week I would go low calorie, meat and alcohol free. Well I did this on and off for a few months, no great weight losses, but a little here and there, which was at least a start and heading in the right direction. Then along came the pre-christmas season, with bad weather, which meant staying indoors, mince pies, bottles of Baileys etc. etc. and any thought of going alcohol free went right out of the window. So now, here I am, in the first full week of January, having put back all the lost weight, and a little bit more, so that my current weight is almost the highest it's ever been.

I don't go along with new years resolutions, but I do go along with the idea that a new year brings about new beginnings, and with that in mind I'm going to give my version of the 5/2 diet another go. My "fast" days will be Monday and Thursday each week, and they will be alcohol free, meat free and fairly low calorie, but with three meals during the course of the day. Here is today's lunch, about 250 calories worth of Branston pickle, low sugar baked beans, coleslaw and pickled red cabbage with lettuce, tomatoes, cress and cucumber hidden underneath. It was yummy.

This evening I'll be having a Linda McCartney's sausage, will let you know what they are like tomorrow. As our weigh day is wednesday I shall keep you updated each week with my loss (and I'll keep schtum if I dont lose!).

Five on the Fifth

Yesterday started off with a beautiful sunrise, but the weather soon arrived, so I had a day indoors, mostly in my studio. I decided that was, therefore, the best place to take my photos for Sandie's 5 on 5 (click the link for more details).

This small scrap of paper has been blue-tacked to my filing cabinet for a very long time, it shows the outside of the building in which FO and CH have their flat, I'm fairly sure they have been there for well over ten years now! The RH&D magnet is one of several which also live on the outside of my filing cabinet - my kitchen fridge is built-in so is surrounded by a wooden cupboard, onto which magnets will not stick!

I really love these two books, I had the "Now we are six" books by A.A. Milne for the boys when they young, and this is a lovely updated version for those of us reaching a certain age group.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to buy a job lot of "dots and spots" decorative tape, the price was reduced as the inner rolls were slightly marked, so on the proviso that I wouldn't sell them on, I bought one of each design. I love them. I have given some away to friends, and these are the ones I have left.

Bugsy has been in the family for almost 25 years, he now sits on my shelf and watches over me while I work.

A few of my little knick-knacks sitting on a shelf. In the background is a photo of GM and me on our wedding day, the cotton wool snowman was made for me by GS2, the miniature deckchair is a reminder of when GM worked for a short time in the industry before the bubble burst - he worked for which was, at the time, a travel company owned by Bob Geldof (the domain name has now been bought by a camera company!), and the other two little china thingies are charity shop finds, a small flower vase and a jam-pot.

If you would like to join in, or just peruse what others have posted, please click the link above which will take you to Sandie's blog.

Sunday, 5 January 2014


The weather forecast for today is not wonderful, with yet more rain arriving before lunch-time, but this fabulous sunrise has certainly got my day off to a smiley start.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

4/365, and responding to blog comments

Thank you to everyone who comments on my blog posts, it is greatly appreciated. I always intend to respond to your comments, but somehow I just dont seem to have the time, I already spend far more time here in Blogland and on Facebook than I guess I should. So, tell me, if you make a comment on my blog, do you ever go back later to see if I've responded? I know I sometimes do, but not that often if I'm honest. I try to comment on a few blogs each day, and if I haven't commented on yours in a while, please accept my apologies, I really do read practically all the posts on practically all of the blogs I follow, so that's quite a lot of reading to be done!

Anyhow, for those of you who take the time to comment on my blogs, I just want you to know I appreciate it, thank you. And I think I'll try, maybe once a week or thereabouts, to reply to your comments on a separate blog post. This is it.

I'm starting on 1st January 2014, and on that day 9 of you were kind enough to comment, to respond to each of you would take a while, so just a quick thanks to all. I really love living in Wiltshire, and even after 5 years here we are still discovering new and lovely places to see and snap. Plus I'm a photoholic so sharing my photos on my blog is a good way for me to make use of them.

On 2nd Jan there were 7 comments about my studio. I spent three whole days between Christmas and New Year giving it a complete blitz. With some help from GM I moved the furniture and equipment around to give me more space, I tidied a lot of stuff that just seemed to be lying around, I reorganised, I cleaned, I threw away some rubbish, I bagged up some stuff for charity shops, and I ended up with a lovely calming space, which I now intend to keep clean, tidy and clutter-free. I do appreciate that I am extremely lucky to have such a great space of my own, I look at it as my reward for raising 4 sons over the course of the last 43+ years while never having anywhere of my own and having to tuck all my stuff in wherever I could find some space. When GM and I were house-hunting back in 2011 one of our highest priorities was to find a house where we could each have our own space without having to sacrifice it when we had family or guests to stay, so now I have my studio and he has his office and we are both happy bunnies.

Yesterday I blogged twice, here and here with 3 comments and 4 comments respectively. I've been a classical music fan for about 12 years now and I really enjoy it when I find something on TV that I can record and then watch at my leisure. And, yes, it was raining outside (as if that's something that's only happening here! I know you're all suffering, wherever you are on this little island of ours, so I'm not going to focus on it any more, nuff said!)

This will be my only blog post for today, so here is picture number 4 of my 365 things to be grateful for, my super-duper kitchen.

As mentioned before, thank you for commenting on my blog, please accept my apologies for not responding individually to your comments, but be assured that I read and appreciate every single one.

Have a great weekend, whatever you are doing and whatever the weather.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Views from my windows

It was a very wet day.

Through the kitchen window

Through the back door

Through the lounge window

Through the bedroom window

Through the studio window

View of the garden, from inside the conservatory


Not a particularly good photo, as it's just a shot of my TV screen, but I was really lucky to be able to watch the New Years Day concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by one of my music heroes, Daniel Barenboim.

Thursday, 2 January 2014


I am so lucky to have my studio, my very own room where I keep all my "things", books, yarn, fabric, art, my P.C., and desk, and it's also where I run my Phoenix business, keep all my stock etc., and where I come to do, to be, to meditate and to play. So, if you come to visit and you cant find me, this is where I'll be.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014


I am so pleased that we live where we do, in such a beautiful part of the country.  Wiltshire wearing its winter clothing.