Saturday, 22 July 2017

Hello blogland, hope you have been enjoying Summery days out.  I have been in the woods walking with my friend next door and also with hubby ...

Cob nuts are out although the squirrels always get there first! and blackberries will be ready to pick in a couple of weeks.  The elderberry are beginnging to form and should be ready for picking mid-August so I am checking progress in the hope of making more of this...

I have also been in Brighton often this month, taking the fast train it's only a 30 minute journey and the best part of the day can be spent exploring The Lanes and sunbathing on the beach...

 I am always coming across new graffiti/art..

The beach was fairly empty as it was very windy...

I didn't dare venture in for a paddle  as there were red flags up.

I love seeing the little houses in the mews off The Lanes, a combination ofo neglected, tatty rentals with the odd gem of gardening determination - it must be hard to get things to grow well in the salty sea air...

I mostly browsed charity shops although this is a pretty place, Waiste - they sell vintage clothing and also have a whole floor devoted to plants  The combination works well ... this is a picture from their own website as my camera couldn't do them justice.

I particularly liked their current window display plants which were suspended moss balls like this
and am interested in giving it a try. Not sure how they are watered without a big mess on the floor though!

Source Google images

This is my tiny front garden, it attracts a lot of bees (we have been honoured to be chosen for a nest site on the garage, they swarmed a few weeks ago - wish I had seen it!).

I felt  bit like Ambercat after stuffing myself with delicious fudge from my blogging buddy, Nana
this huge and very heavy package of best quality Scottish fudge tablets arrived in the post as a surprise (thank you Nana)  .... with this pretty card.

I don't feel guilty at all for eating so much of it because
hubby and I will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary on Monday, I just started
celebrating early!

Saturday, 15 July 2017


I had no idea what a Kariza skirt was until I found one in a charity shop.  I love silk (who doesn't) so always search for silk items ehen scouring the chazzas.  So the purple patterned silk of this lovely vintage skirt caught my eye.

quick feel confirmed my hopes and there it was, a reversible, silk wrap skirt, all mine for £4.99.  A good wash later and a bit of research and I have found it is made from recycled Indian sari silks.  I am very pleased with my find.

On you tube there are lots videos of how to wear my Kariza different ways.

Kariza, a Brazilian native raised in a world of color, costumes, and drums of Carnival, her stage for a blossoming career. After attending college for fashion design in Brazil she moved to the United States in 2000 and made history with her world famous Kariza Wrap Skirts! Due to her extensive creativity and vision, she was able to create a multi functional concept by styling  one piece of fabric with over 100 different ways to wear!

Monday, 10 July 2017

seaside views

A lovely day out at Brighton soaking up the sun and a bit of paddling in the sea as hubby had business in the area and was able to drop me off for a few hours sunbathing.

 this enterprising couple are using phone boxes for a pop up cafe serving falafel and candyfloss

Just look at this fabulous Harley three wheeler with custom crash helmet.

 Second hand clothes in this shop are mostly £5 a piece they had a lot of Hawaian shirts but I was looking for shorts, lots of the buildings along here have hand painted art above the shops.

I think that bump is my knee, not my stomach.. just saying

You aren't allowed to feed the seagulls here but that doesn't stop them eyeing me tucking in to my chips. They can be aggressive, I dozed off to find about 20 of them surrounding me and trying to get the empty polystyrene box which I was saving for the waste bin. 

This beautiful picture is all embroidered, displayed on sale at the library (which has the best toilets).

I liked these ceramic seagull ormanents, seen in the art galleries in the arches along the seafront.

It was a cheap day out as I got a lift and my lunch was supermarket sushi and then some seaside chips!  I am sure I will back in Brighton for another day out soon, hope you enjoyed the views. Thanks for stopping by, leave a comment and I will know you passed this way. Bye for now.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Hello Blogland, how are you? 

While we have lovely weather in the UK, I am being more adventurous with the odd day out.  Last week it was a trip to London.  The train took only 35 minutes fast into Victoria and an easy 170 bus ride to Chelsea took me to The Physic Garden, it's shaded leafy side entrance is on Swan Walk.

It's the oldest botanic garden in London and was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries for the purpose of training apprentices in the identification and use of medicinal plants. It subsequently became one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world. (copied from the website).

Ordinarily I would avoid guided tours as I don't like being herded, but to be honest if I hadn't joined this one (free/volunteers and superb)... it would have been a day trip totally wasted.  My guideValerie made everything come alive, explaining how the founders used the Thames River to visit the gardens, collected their plants/herbs for various potions and scurried back to their gardenless abodes to create medicinal concoctions.  She explained plant by plant what each one did (poisonous, medicinal, edible, to make natural fibres), how the gardens came to exist and how they are funded/maintained today.  It was 45 minutes well spent.    How fabulous is it that people love these gardens so much they volunteer to work in them - their only reward is first dibs at the honey from their own hives within the gardens.

This is Hans Sloane, when I arrived I thought it was just a boring old statue, when I left I thought he was the most important thing there:   I learned he not only became a leading physician in London  (sometimes summoned by the Royal Family - but treated the poor free) but went on voyages abroad to find and bring back plants which are now in the gardens ... he brought back Cocoa from Jamaica, (introducing it to Cadbury's chocolate empire).  Originally used as a hot milky drink, it was intended as an elixir.  There's more - much more - I could tell you but you would do better to use Google as there is so much to learn, better still come and see for yourself.

I worked in Chelsea for a mineral exploration company providing services to Saudia Arabia/region.  I was a 20 year old, typing telex (remember those anyone?) flight paths for mineral exploration for their aircraft, no room for type errors there or they would totally have a wasted journey.   (due to a successful flight path I had the pleasure of holding a piece of raw gold found on one of their explorations, but that would be a story for another day)... I had no idea in my 20s where the name Sloane came from when I lunched in Sloane Square off Kings Road Chelsea where I worked, I was more interested in sharing my Waitrose supermarket sandwich with King, the company security dog who sat faithfully under my desk waiting for biscuits/treats - what a shame to have worked within a short bus ride of these fabulous gardens and been unaware of their beauty.  Lucky me that I now have time to discover these wonders.

I have had trouble uploading some of my pics, but saw Beladonna, devils cherry, which  must not be touched (or eaten) known throughout European Folklore for its halucinogenic and fatal poisonous properties.

None of the gardening staff could tell me what insect is eating the leaves, although I have since read that cattle and birds can eat the berries and plant without harm.

I really enjoyed learning about the properties of woad as an antiseptic (which warriors of old painted their bodies with - smelly brown stuff but perhaps it wasn't just to scare the opposition so much as to heal any potential wounds... there were plants used to make dyes here too and I learned that the root of the Iris plant gives us oris which is a fixative in scent and pot pourri.

Two hours was enough and then I took the underground to South Kensington to see the Natural History Museum.  There was time to ponder over dinossaurs, insects and rock formations, then a swift journey home in time for tea!

My costs for the day were minimal, just my train fare, a supermarket sandwich/water and the entry fee of £10.50 to the gardens, the museums in London area free.

Back soon, thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

the weekend

It has been lovely and hot all day, during the evening there was a nice breeze so I sewed for a while in the garden. This is a beach cover up I made from a sarong I bought for  a fiver last year and never wore, I liked the fabric so decided the pattern would lend itself well to this revamp.

The gold edging for the neckline was 38p a metre from Fabricland and there was virtually no sewing other than giving it shoulders and cutting/edging the neckline itself as the sarong had a nice rolled edge on all sides.  I might do  again as it's a very easy and cheap make.

I was in Brighton yesterday and took a moment to snap some very pretty graffiti - every time I visit  Trafalgar Road the graffiti has changed so this was a refreshing surprise.

I always visit the library if I have time as they have some very good art books to ponder and also some of the cleanest toilets in Brighton! ... then it was onwards for a spot of beach therapy.  Just the sound of the sea gulls and the rolling waves charges my batteries.   I was on a budget so my lunch was a vegetarian scotch egg, bottled water and a banana on the beach.

The charity shops around here are a bit pricey for me but I really appreciate the window displays, this one in particular gets really good vintage stuff and the staff love dressing the windows to perfection.  I expect this black and white theme was all designer and definitely vintage.  Dresses like this don't ever go out of fashion and we're made to last.

Tomorrow it's the gym and some garden sunbathing.... hope you're enjoying your weekend wherever you may be.  Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Weekend

 So much has been happening in the UK in the last week with terrorist attacks and the election, everyone is worried about how our country will be led and how Brexit will be handled, so a calming walk at  Earlswood Lakes, a short drive from me was welcome.

 We were lucky to see a nest on a fallen tree on the lake, I think this was probably a family of coots as they had very large, distinctive, white feet.  They didn't mind the swans and ducks sharing their tree.

Room for everyone to enjoy the view (of us) ... people can buy bird food for fifty pence at a little shop near here and the second lake further along has pedelo boats for hire,

There are always swans here, in the mornings they hang out in the car park to get snacks from children passing on their way to school.

There is a sun dial here, you stand on the month and your shadow will fall on the hour in the outer circle.

There is a vast area surrounding these lakes for playing golf, a football and cricket pitch and surrounding these are little copses like this one, lots of people were walking dogs and pushing prams. 

The garden is blooming, there are lots of snapdragon, foxglove, roses, 

 honeysuckle and jasmine and the nasturtiums are just about to open their beautiful orange and yellow trumpets.

 The potatos I planted in pots will be ready at the end of the month and our lemon mint smells wonderful in the early morning.  I am waking around 5am lately as it is light so early here and Ambercat likes sitting in the garden with me watching birds and squirrels.

Thanks for stopping by, come back soon.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Hello, thanks for stopping by.  I have had a lovely week in the Canaries.  It was total relaxation, lying by the pool, dipping in, good food, reading books.  Lanzarote is a volcanic island so the sand and ground is quite black/dark brown, the beach is beautiful, soft sand, rolling waves, clear water. 

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 See, tanned and relaxed!  The dress was a Boden sale bargain at around twenty quid several years ago.  It doesn't crease, is lined and very cool.

This was the first time hubby and I had ventured abroad without our two adult sons and it took me a day or two getting used to this.  It was good for us all as time for them to do their own thing and a new chapter for us.

The Shady Park off London's Soho

Yesterday I went to London's West End.  I worked in London for 16 years (a p.a. in merchant banking) and left when my children came along.  Apart from an annual trip to Hamleys Toy Shop chapperoned by the family and ending in a meal in china town, and despite only being a 40 min train journey from London Victoria, I had not been back.  It has changed a lot.   It was a bit like being an owl in the dark, I knew where I was going and could find my way easily, but with eyes open it all looked different to what I was seeing in my head!

Libery of London

I walked from Marble Arch down Oxford Street looking at shops, had a takeaway sandwich lunch  in Cavendish Square (a lovely little leafy park opposite Harley Street.  Then down the back streets to Liberty - it was wonderful to browse in there, it smells lovely and everything is beautifully displayed (no purchases as not in my price range, I'm afraid).

Liberty, London, main entrance

 Then on to Soho/Berwick Street Market and further down to Tottenham Court Road, into famous Foyles Bookshop

and then across the road to ... The Phoenix Theatre.  This was my mission, a friend at work took me to see The Girls - my first ever (at age 58!) visit to the theatre.  It was wonderful, I loved it.  I think you would too.  A beautiful old theatre with velvet seats, a great stage, fabulous actors, a story that I became immersed in, singing, humour - the show had it all.

Back home in the woods I have been out for walks checking where the elderberry trees are in flower so that I can pick the berries later in the Summer.  Although I could have a go at making sparkling wine now,  I prefer to let the blossoms flourish so the insect world can use them and wait patiently for the rich, juicy berries that follow to make cordial.  I am looking forward to the smell of the berries cooking, later in the Summer.

Our garden is tiny, but crammed with roses, lavender, honeysuckle, jasmine and some new lilac bushes so feels green and lush and is attracting a lot of bees.  We have bees nesting in our garage roof, as they are under the tiles and not coming inside, we are leaving them alone to do what bees do. 

 Oh nearly forgot, I was in Brighton last week, I wore my bikini and paddled, it was a scorching hot day.  I lay on the beach and read my book, browsed the lanes and watched some street musicians.  You can never get bored in Brighton.

 This piano is on the platform of Brighton Railway Station and there is nearly always a passenger playing it, don't you think it's a lovely idea?  Brighton is very arty, having the University there must be hundreds of musical people passing through, so there's always a happy tune as you come off the train.

 This lovely piece of art was nailed to a garage door just off the lanes.  I love seeing art around Brighton in unexpected places.

and humour - political humour included :)

So it has been a busy month for me.  I expect June to be more about walks in the woods and relaxing in the garden!  Thanks for visiting my blog.