A day out.

Birthday cards

It was my lovely Mum’s birthday on Wednesday.  We had a long planned a trip to Eastnor Castle but, after checking the website at the last minute, realised it was shut.  So we cobbled together a last minute day out – the sort where you pack up a picnic, have a very vague idea of which direction to go, and hope for the best.

First stop was Kelmscott Manor, summer home of the artist and poet William Morris.  And it was BEAUTIFUL!  The house was steeped in history, and was beautifully preserved (no photos allowed inside) 2013-08-28 15.42.16 2013-08-28 15.42.08 2013-08-28 15.38.21

The children behaved really well inside, despite the fact that it wasn’t really their type of thing.  But for me it was the gardens that really took my breath away.  2013-08-28 15.29.28 2013-08-28 15.33.272013-08-28 15.44.52 - CopyI think the gardens were probably past its summery best but they were stunning all the same.  William Morris was apparently a fan of the formal garden and this reflects in parts of the grounds.  But in other areas the layout was more natural and left to go wild a bit.  All of it was just beautiful; tranquil, fragrant, green and lovely.

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The sweet peas were spectacular and put my few blooms to shame!

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After we had a lovely spot of tea and coffee by the river we headed off to Witney.  I had heard about a shop there where you could try your hand at decopatching.  Oh Dear Me.  I feel a new addiction coming on!  We went to The Decopatch Place and we loved it!  In fact, I’d very much like to move in there!  Both the kids chose and item to decopatch and the very lovely staff talked them through it.  Do you remember how much we all love sticking and glueing at school?  It’s was like that, but BETTER.  So so much better!  Beautiful papers, gorgeous items.

2013-08-28 17.56.53Lily chose a turtle and Paddy had a gekko to decorate.  It’s simple stuff.  Tear up the paper into small peices and glue them on.  But the satisfaction is HUGE!  I bought Mum and I a kit each to do, but we’re saving them until the kids go back to school so we can do them in peace and quiet – aren’t we mean?!

2013-08-28 18.05.10 I fell in love with these little pegs and I think they’d look lovely in my little house.  And you can always use more pegs, right?!

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They had examples of all the stuff you could decopatch i.e. practically anything!

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These are some photos of their studio – the whole place was colourful, bright and really good fun.

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I LOVE their decopatched door – it looks like patchwork.  I haven’t even started my kit yet but I’m already casting my eye around the house, thinking about which pieces of furniture could do with a makeover.  Like our really tatty coffee table…and the kitchen stool…

We even had time to stop for a couple of geocaches on the way home (happy me!).  When we got home we discovered that a parcel had arrived for Mum…some new pens and a colouring book for grown-ups.

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So we had a lovely couple of hours, colouring, hooking, drinking cappuccinos and relaxing before ordering an Indian takeaway which was DELICIOUS.

A near perfect day I’d say.

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Lillies and cake.

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Aaaaaah, so BEAUTIFUL!  And they smell divine.

These are my latest yellow stickers flowers,  reduced to £3.  300 well spent pennies as the happiness they’ll provide for days (hopefully a week) will be MAHOOSIVE. 

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I went for afternoon tea today for the very first time and oh, t’was LOVELY!  We went to celebrate a baby shower but I have a feeling I’ll be using any excuse to go again in the future. Such pretty cakes and crustless sandwiches. Heaven.

Back in Blighty.

I’m trying very hard to fend off a case of the holiday blues.

We arrived home yesterday and, in many ways, it was lovely to walk back through our front door.  My lovely Mum had been busying herself about the place and it was all spick and span.  The garden looked lovely and green, although many of my sweet peas and geraniums are looking well past their best…someone pass me the miracle grow!  I wonder if they can be persuaded to keep flowering a little longer.

While I was away there were a lot of changes at work.  We are now in a new ward which is MUCH bigger and my first shift back today proved a challenge as I didn’t know where anything is.  Ah well, I’m sure it’ll feel like home again very soon.  I’ve requested a reduction in my contracted hours.  I feel strongly that I need to be at home more at the moment.  So, from November, I’ll be working 30 hours a week and I CANNOT WAIT!  I want to spend more time here at home, playing Mummy and keeping house and I think my family will really benefit from this too.

Over the field 26/08/13  Over the field 26/08/13I went for a quick walk over the field with Mark and the  dogs when I got home.  They sky was BLUE – woo hoo! –       and the trees beautifully green so I took some photos.  I’m sure Autumn will be arriving soon and it’ll be interesting to visually document the changes of my normal dog plodding routes.

So, reasons to be cheerful…

Number 1…drumroll please…THE BABY RIPPLE IS FINISHED!

Finished baby ripple Finished baby ripple 26/08/13  Have crochet, will travel...I had the blanket finished on holiday and finished most of the border on the plane home (which made for a very relaxing flight) and got the last blue bit finished in the car on the way home.  I LOVE it.  It’s now all wrapped up and ready for Mark to take to work tomorrow, to give to his friend as a belated congratulations on their new baby boy.  I’ve become quite attached to it and will be sorry to see it go.

Finished ripple

Reason to be cheerful #2

Oooh, the possibilities!

A jiffy bag, delivered whilst I was away, with new, beautiful, soft, gorgeous new yarn…oh happy day!  I ordered it so it would be ready and waiting so that I can get started on another baby blanket for a friend’s baby who is due in approximately three weeks.  No pressure then!  This is Rico Creative Cotton, ordered from the Wool Warehouse and IT. IS. GORGEOUS.  I’m thinking colourful little granny squares.  However, I have lost my beloved crochet hook so I can’t make a start on it until I buy a new one tomorrow (that crochet hook has made many items, traveled many miles in my handbag at all times, gone to Spain and back TWICE and I manage to loose it somewhere between my mother-in-laws house and our house.  Unbelievable.)  So in the meantime I’ve been enjoying have a good old squash and a squeeze, arranging the balls and rearranging them.  I really must get out more!  2013-08-25 18.29.222013-08-25 18.28.02

Reasons to be cheerful #3: being reunited with my doggies.  HAPPY.  ‘Nuff said!

Maisy and Bertie

We’ve got some lovely things to look forward to in the near future so I’m trying really hard to focus on the positives and not feel too sorry for myself about the return to routine, work, etc.  I think that it’s helped that the weather today has been blue and sunny.  Which always helps a bit, doesn’t it?!

Baby Rippling

I had a bit of a love-in photo session with the baby ripple I’ve been working on.

Baby Ripple Blanket

Last time I did one I worked a fairly simple border, which (I think) finished it off nicely, so I had planned to do the same this time.  But I’m wondering if I should maybe just leave it as it is?  I LOVE it (as became obvious when i saw quite how many photos I took of it!)

Ripple Blanket

I love the colours, the drape-ability of it and the way it looks just as great when it’s folded up.

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As usual, the pattern came from here at Attic24.  It’s the BEST ripple pattern (IMO) and it’s a dream to work up…row after row of soothing, relaxing crochet.  Despite being in sleepy, relaxed holiday mode this is still easy work and you only need to count to 4 and even I can manage that!

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So, to leave as is or start a border? Hmmmm.

Did I mention how much I LOVE this ripply loveliness?

OK, that’s quite enough now thank you (said in my most bossy in-my-own-head voice)

Happy hooky!

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Ta-daa! I felt like a little bit of pleasurable hooky was needed today – a bit of whimsy (I LOVE that word) to pretty things up! I mean, who on earth needs a crocheted pen container?  But who cares about need? Pah, boring!

I’ve been meaning to have a go at something like this after seeing these at Attic24…such pretties! And when I overheard Mark commenting that he could never find a pen at my Mum’s house I thought that this might be something nice to leave here for when she returns, as a little thank you. I bought new colouring pencils too, to replace the much used and bashed about ones that she let the kids use.

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We’ve had a lovely day today. A quiet morning pootling about the house before meeting some friends at the park for coffee and a natter.  It never fails to amaze me how some friends you only get to see once a year but still manage to slot into your easygoing friendship like you’ve never been away.  So a quick meet up turned into a 4 hour catch up on the past year.  We talked about our children,  school, work, holidays, deaths (both friends lost a parent during the past 10 months), plans for the future,  etc.  A lovely afternoon while the kids played and wheedled more ice creams out of us.

After finishing my little crochet project I decided to jump in the pool with the girls for a nice cool down. I then gave into the chocolate urge…

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It’s amazing how children can seem to be able to recognise the sound of a chocolate bar being opened no matter how quiet you are!  Needless to say,  I ended up sharing.

Today’s happy stuff

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#1: Beautiful flowers in my Mum’s lovely garden…

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Even the weeds here are pretty!

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#2: being able to fit my Mum’s sewing machine in my hand luggage – yeeeha! I’ve wanted a sewing machine for a LONG time. My Mum has had one for ages/ever but doesn’t use it much. After humming and haa-ing about how to transport it safely we’ve decided to try and get it back VERY CAREFULLY when we fly home. Fingers and everything else crossed!

#3: Despite having had this phone since February I only today realised that the camera has a panoramic shot function and I’ve been having great fun with it!
::just realised the app on my phone won’t let me upload larger shots. Will try later::

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We’re off out to eat later in a new bar/restaurant in Daya Nueva.  Looking forward to it but I’m very aware that the end of our holiday is drawing ever closer and I’ve got really mixed feelings about that.

Long, lazy days.

 

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This last week of our holiday is shaping up nicely.  Today has been great.  It’s been a day of blistering Spanish sunshine, tempered by a lovely breeze by the sea at Cabo Roig.  Beautiful blue skies and sparkling, crystal clear water…rock-pooling and snorkeling.

 

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The baby ripple is oh-so-nearly finished.  Lots of pesky ends to sew in then to decide on what type of border…I LOVE it when the end is so near.  And I’ve already got a huge list of projects lined up on my mental to-do list.  Let me at ’em!

 

I’m cooking this Nigella Lawson recipe.  My Mum’s lemon tree is drooping under the weight of all the lemons that are ready to be collected.  It was wonderful popping out to the garden and picking fresh lemons, still warm from a day growing in the sun!  The smell in the house (lemony, garlicky chicken) is DIVINE!