Friday, 12 January 2018


I started a nature journal, I will try to add to it at least monthly.   This is my first page, just sketches and scribbles of what I am seeing.  Several bloggers did this last year and I wished I had too, it will be fun to look back through it at the ended of the year and see the seasonal changes.

I grew these herbs in past years, it seems I got too busy and never grew any in the last few years,  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it, so will start some pots soon.  I think I had my allotment when I took this picture as I see lots of blue hose in the garden that I remember going to great trouble to get from the local water authority rubbish skip and made into netted tunnels for delicate leaf vegetables.  Sadly it was too much commitment, bit I enjoyed the experience.  Windowsill gardening I think I can manage this year :)

Its very mild weather  in my part of the UK and there doesn't seem much going on in the woods.  But when I visited the Woodland Trust website, I found there is plenty to see if you know where to look... there are lichen, moss and fungi, insects, spiders and birds to look out for and, of course, the early signs of Spring we all long for, in particular leaf formation of wild flowers like celandine and wood anemone.

I put some apples out which the blackbirds have been eating, they peck a big hole and get the flesh, leaving a red, empty bowl of the skin.

On my wanderings I almost missed course grey and white hair on some barbed wire near the river, it was badger hair, an indication that the adults are active all year round.

they don't hibernate, they stay under ground most of the time but they do need to come up to toilet and feed themselves.  It will be April before we see any young above ground, but that little bit of fur was a reminder of what we can look forward to.

Last year I took part in Bluebell Watch, it's a simple survey the Woodland Trust do annually to monitor the density of bluebells in local woodland (and also to monitor the unwanted increase in the much larger Spanish bluebell which is not native to our woods).   All we have to do is go online to notify any sightings, which will be around April/May.

This is my library book pile for the coming week, looking forward to the gardening book in particular.

Have you got any plans for gardening? Ambitions to grow your own food? Something unusual perhaps?

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Shopping for holiday wear

Happy New Year!

I have been searching out lightweight clothing for a trip to Vietnam, we will be travelling around a lot so everything needs to be light and easy to pack, cool to wear and colourful.  I think I am a bit conservative with clothes so am going to be more adventurous with holiday wear.

Here are some pics of my most recent pre-loved finds, both items in excellent, as new condition.

Silk top with embroidery and beading, £3.00.  I think it would look very pretty over a navy  t shirt and jeans or crops and is good to travel in as folds to nothing but is comfy and loose to wear.

Vintage Jaeger full length beach kaftan with gold thread. £25 think it will be great on the beach but would also look pretty with a little black full length silk slip under and some heels (searching for the slip at the moment :)


I have also been lucky on EBay finding two pretty East kurta tops in Indian cotton, for £1.50 and £3.00 each, one of which was brand new with labels and a seventees style beach top for £2. Should go well with white shorts.

I will try to buy pre-loved where possible in 2018 - there are some fantastic bargains to be had and I like the idea that nobody else is likely to turn up in my outfit!

This is my Indian gold necklace and earrings  which I had hidden in a small box for safekeeping and couldn't find for ages!  They look pretty with this kind of clothing I think.  Both are presents from hubby over 30 years ago so are very special, I am glad to have found them as was worried I had accidentally thrown them out in a bag or something.. I have done this before but thankfully not with jewellery!

Inspiration to shop for preloved was sparked by two bloggers I admire, Vintage Vix and Hazelsworldofjoy ... you can find their blog links on 'blogs I follow' on my sidebar.  I'm off now to do a bit of sketching/painting as would like to capture January on paper while I feel inspired.  Thanks for stopping by, please leave a comment if you have time so I know you passed this way.

Blessings for 2018

Sunday, 24 December 2017


Yule, the shortest day of the calendar has always been special to me, my mother liked to have candles lit and I do the same.  I also bring in lots of ivy and holly to decorate tables and picture frames like she did too.  The house is looking festive.  I had my watercolours out and painted you a little Christmas robin.

Yesterday I went to Brighton with a friend, we took the train as knew the roads would be busy, shopped and had lunch.  I was very lucky, we only went in one charity shop and I found straight away the most beautiful kaftan for future holidays, it's by Jaeger, full length snake print with gold thread running through the material.  I will show you in another post as I had some other finds for my holiday too.

We had lunch at my favourite place in Brighton, Loving Hut, it's a vegan fast food type place.  I had crispy noodle with steamed vegetables and we shared a platter of nibbles such as satay with a chilli dip.  Delicious.  I would like to make things like this at home so will check the library for any good books, any recommendations?

I have been watching all the Krusty Allslop crafting programmes on channel 4 tv catch up.  I particularly liked the silk scarf that one lady had dyed with natural leaves and onion skins and thought I would like to give it  a try, it looked a lot less effort than silk painting!  Maybe something to experiment with in the Summer months.  Have you ever tried natural dyes or leaf printing?

Another lucky shopping find this week:  I thought I would really love  a silver candlestick for our Christmas table but didn't want to spend much.  I found just what I was looking for in a charity shop on Monday, brand new for only five pounds, so pretty, here it is with a bit of festive ivy.

We decided not to buy each other presents, I think it can create unnecessary  stress so instead we made a donation to a homeless charity.  I was inspired by a story I heard on the radio about a family who were doing 12 random acts of kindness during the Christmas weeks and thought I would like to do this too, they can be small gestures I think, helping an elderly neighbour perhaps or letting someone go in front in the shopping queue, little things.   Both my sons are currently living at home although as adults they have their own plans and will be working right through the next couple of weeks as, working at the airport, it is hard to get time off this busy time of year.  We did all manage to get Christmas day off and will all be together for dinner.  I hope to catch up with my brothers early in the New Year and of course friends and neighbours in between.

Tonight I will be at a small church near here which a friend introduced me to a few years ago; it has a good feel.  I don't belong to a church any longer but I do like to keep connected to one and visit from time to time.

For my 59th year on this planet, for 2018  I hope for good health and God's guidance, nothing more.  I don't have any resolutions other than to enjoy and appreciate the love and presence of my family and friends, the comfort of our home and the beauty of the woods and surrounding areas to the full.  I hope for World peace, global appreciation of our fragile earth, happy and spontaneous events (natural or man made!), creative opportunity and spiritual contentment  for us all.

Thank you for visiting my blog and for all your comments.  Blogging has been fun this year, I really enjoy visiting your blogs and the connection that blogging brings with others in far flung and seemingly exotic places.

No need to leave a comment if you are busy and quickly dropping by.  Just make sure you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and New Year x

Sunday, 17 December 2017


Back from a very snowy weekend in Amsterdam which turned into two extra nights as our flights were cancelled and earliest home was Tuesday.

Easyjet found us complimentary hotels for both the unplanned nights and looked after us very well.  The crowds at the airport were scary - we allowed 4 hours to get to our flight home and needed it, the doors to the airport were closed as they could not manage the crowds.  Luckily we had entered via the train terminal so got in ok but had to stand in long winding queues for most of the duration just to get through security.  Home safely now and any inconvenience was outweighed by the wonderful snow and pretty places we visited.

We took a train to Haarlem to see the Christmas market and also to visit Corrie Ten Boom's house.  We missed our booked tour in English so joined another in Dutch, we had read up before visiting so knew the story.   This tiny house over a shop had so much atmosphere and there were pictures of the family and their original furnishings in the rooms.  They were a Christian family who saved the lives of many Jews during WW2 by hiding them and enabling them to escape transportation. Corrie was imprisoned for her actions.  I felt privileged to sit in her living room and look at her picture hanging there and know that I had touched the same walls as her.
The house is just off the main square in Haarlem where the Christmas organic food market was in full swing.  Below is a coffee machine and cake stall, there was lots of cheese and flowers....

 We also took a free ferry over to the North side and tried the tram too.  At times the snow was very thick and the pavements slippery which slowed us down a lot.

We went to Microbia, a museum full of live bacteria which you can view under microscopes.  We learned about algae, good and bad bacteria and the bateria inside our own bodies.  They have a laboratory where the bacteria is maintained and replenished and you can see the people in there at work.

I loved this little shop display below with the 'houses' to grow your tulip bulbs, inside is a glass container so you can see the roots growing.  Unable to carry home or I would have taken quite a few to fill a windowsill!

Back home all that creativity got me feeling inspired and I made our Christmas wreath for the door.  This year I also helped my neighbour make one and a swag for another neighbour.  There is so much holly and ivy out in the woods although not so many berries, I only took rosehips and some cottoneaster hanging over garden walls as I don't like to deprive the birds.  I have noticed a lot of tiny nests around the woods so think the birds are bedding down for a cold spell.  Squirrels are very active in the woods which I think may mean they have not put on enough weight to hibernate this Winter, some of them look very young.   I will have to ensure I put food out for them regularly.

This Christmas we are all home and are looking forward to having a traditional dinner together so I am busy looking for things that will decorate our table.  I try to make things myself or rely on lucky finds in charity shops but the best things are found in the woods, we are so lucky to be able to put wellies on and walk straight out there exploring.

I'm off to catch up on your blogs now.......

Thursday, 7 December 2017


Just a quick hello from me as I have been reading all your blogs but not had much time to comment or do a post myself.  December is such a busy month for us all.   Hubby has gone off to find a Christmas tree (there is an elderly man near us who digs rooted trees on his own land at a good price so we are going for one of his as we can plant it afterwards.

I just wanted to show you my lovely cup and saucer from fellow blogger Bristow Mum who had the idea of sending spare cups from her set to her pen pals so we can all sort of have tea together, it's such a friendly idea and I have my morning tea in it often.

The book was really good by the way; a bookseller opens a shop on a barge to fulfill her ambition to travel the UK canals by boat, she advertised herself on local media and people came to support her along the journey by buying the books, sometimes she traded with things like a haircut or a cooked dinner, it was fun to read.

This week I am reading Susan Branch 'Martha's Vineyard' for the second time.  I like reading her descriptions of the little cottage she bought and how she made it homely, the interesting things she found in the attic belonging to the previous owner and her walks through the woods to the beach.

The UK is expecting a storm so I won't be in the woods for a while, but am keen to get out and pick holly and ivy to decorate the front door.  I like to hang it on 21 December (a tradition as my mother observed Yule), there is plenty of time yet.  I showed my neighbour how to make a twine circular base a few weeks back and we put aside to dry,   we will be foraging for decorative bits and pieces to finish off.  Last year I didn't do a circle for my own door, but this swag.

 When we took our Christmas decorations out this weekend we found quite a few had broken so I have been looking out for replacements.  I prefer old and pre-loved things where possible and was lucky to find this boxed set of baubles in a charity shop for £1.50.

 The label, Winfield, is the old brand name Woolworth's sold their goods under.  Similar ones sell well as 'Vintage Baubles'  on EBay but I am keeping mine.  Woolworth's ceased trading in the UK in 2009.  It became such a household name, everyone called the stores Woollies and during my 60s childhood no Saturday was complete without a trip to the shop for sweets, to look at toys or to buy household goods - you always went there first as it was affordable.

My post is a bit disjointed and rushed, sorry, we have a couple of days away now so am busy packing and preparing.  Back soon. 

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Travelling lighter next time!

 I found this quote, sometimes attributed to Audrey Hepburn because she quoted it, but written by Sam Levenson, Comedian:  I have heard bits of it many times but here in it's entirety it's a good reminder that whilst we all love to look our best and there's nothing wrong with a bit of indulgence either, it's good to keep things in perspective, this verse does that I think. 

"For attractive lips, Speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, Seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, Share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, Let a child run their fingers through it once a day. For poise, Walk with the knowledge you'll NEVER walk alone. PEOPLE, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw-out ANYbody. Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of YOUR arm. As you grow older,you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, The figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, Because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, And the beauty of a woman with passing years-only grows!
 What made me think about and seek out this quote was that I took too many things on my Costa Rica trip, mainly because of the climate changes from mountain to beach but also because I didn't think about mixing and matching, making do and most of all travelling lighter.  I know on my next holiday I can manage with far less and so have made a list of favourites.

All my clothes were bought in sales or charity shops/Ebay, are washable and even the silk dress could have gone without ironing.  The dress was a present from hubby for 35th wedding anniversary and a bit of a treat which he found  in the sales.

I took a stripey Tesco cool bag and used for the beach as it was waterproof and cool and also handy used to pack toiletries when in the suitcase... it was 5 years old and the zip broke so I will look for a replacement. 

Peach pashmina, wore it every evening
Beads and bangles from charity shops for 99p each collected over the year
Beaded purses for evenings (Primark £3 each)
Hand luggage was my gym bag, fitted under seat/held laptop and was very light
Leather thongs for beach/pool .. Primark eight pounds, comfy
Leather slip on trainers for serious walking
Sparkly heels for evenings (Pep £5)
Undies - seven pairs will do as much time is spent in bikinis
Bikinis - 3
Sarongs - 3 (also make great wraps/scarves and can be tied as a dress too.
Silk dress/removable lining - wear without lining next time as it's hot and makes me look huge!
Cotton lined shift dress
Split leg trousers,very comfy and versatile
Assorted coloured vest tops x 4
White Cotton top x 1 ***I regret not taking a leather belt for this!
Denim shorts
White cotton shorts

East sale silk dress, washable

dress and pashmina Jaba Yard, Primark thongs

split leg trousers (monsoon 50% sale)

Sorry, bit out of focus - my kaftans  were all bought in sales over the last two years and got worn daily ... with bikinis and in the evening with shorts.  I could never have too many but there seem hard to find.

I took a lot of medications 'just in case', insect repellant, sun cream, shampoo/conditioner and moisturiser, nail varnish/remover, toothpaste as it would have been expensive to buy in the resort.  7 days of the holiday was spent with a throat infection so I was glad I brought antiseptic spray and ibuprofen!  I would only pack all these things if they are cheaper at home though.  it was forty pounds for sunscreen at our hotel, seven pounds from home for example.

I downloaded library books and magazines free to my tablet and read offline to save weight but prefer paperbacks to be honest so might get a few charity shop books I can leave behind next time.

I noticed plenty of shapely, stylish  ladies who wore tight clothing and looked fabulous, I think their secret is confidence and good posture.  The gold bikini is impressive, don't you think?

Hope they didn't mind me taking snaps - in the unlikely event anyone objects I would, of course, remove immediately!

There was some lovely 70s feel art around the hotel riu Sardinal which I would like to have taken home...  would love the orange one for my wall!

Hope you enjoyed my post, feel free to share your travel and packing tips in the comments as I really appreciate it.   Which are your most versatile items of clothing that always go on holiday with you?