Monday, 20 October 2014

precious things #2

Crinoline ladies aren't normally to my taste. They're just a little too twee. However I make exception for this little lady. She is very special to me. 

She belonged to my great aunt Rose Ann, my grandfather's sister. She was displayed on the mantel piece in the living room of Rose Ann's cottage. Each time we visited she was taken down and I was allowed to play with her. 

She brings back so many happy memories of the house and the lovely times I spent there. My grandparents, father and I visited two or three times a year. Rose Ann was full of Irish hospitality and we were always given a warm welcome.

Her home was amazing. There were beautiful flagstone floors and a traditional open fireplace with a crook for hanging the blackened pots and kettles. A painted dresser displaying sponge ware crockery. A wooden table covered with a pretty tablecloth. And always a vase of flowers.

The exterior was whitewashed with lime and the doors and windows painted red. The roof was thatched. A typical old Irish cottage.

Rose Ann passed way in 1991 aged ninety. My grandfather kept the little lady and gave it to me. Twenty three years ago. He knew I'd love her. A really precious thing.

Pop over and visit my fellow bloggers for their precious things posts at the links below.

Sarah at Mitenska
N at Creative Academia
Leanne at Today's Stuff

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Ten years ago today, I married my best friend. A special something I wanted to celebrate.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


Today is a special day. Our little boy celebrated his seventh birthday.

He is properly wonderful. A little charmer with a fantastic sense of fun. He is mischievous, caring and full of love. Brimming with quiet confidence.

He woke this morning to a noisy rendition of Happy Birthday performed by his big brother and little sister. He has spent every free moment building his beloved Lego. His collection grew today. On Saturday, we will have a party for his cousins and friends. He is very excited.

Happy birthday little man. We all love you so very much.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

hello october

October arrived yesterday in a blaze of sunshine, The sky so beautifully blue, dotted with cotton wool clouds. The laundry pegged out on the washing line, billowing in the cool breeze. I wore sandals. The flowers glowed in the hazy autumn light. Those yellows and blues, so perfect together.

A day worth remembering in the dark days of winter. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

the year in books: september

Last month's read Perfect by Rachel Joyce was just that, perfect. I loved it. The writing is beautiful. Insightful and very descriptive. The story held me captivated all the way to the end. The characters were so well drawn they seemed real. Perfect definitely deserves a recommendation.

Rachel's first novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has also been added to my reading pile.

I've just started reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Joining as always with Laura for the year in books.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

grow, forage, cook: plum jam

Plum jam is possibly my favourite. Although I don't think I've ever met a jam I don't like.

A little while ago, my lovely neighbour called one afternoon with three kilos of plums from his garden. To say I was delighted is an understatement. I knew I wanted to have a go at making plum jam. 'Don't let it go too long or you'll have toffee.' With Eric's advice ringing in my ears, I started jamming.

After taking a kilo of plums, halving them and removing the stones, I put them in my biggest saucepan and added 225ml of water. I simmered them gently over a medium heat for about 20 minutes until the fruit had softened.

While the plums simmered I warmed 700gms of granulated sugar in the oven. My granny warmed sugar for jam so that it dissolved more easily and didn't become grainy. I put it in the oven in a dish along with the jars which were sterilising on a low heat.

To the softened plums, I added the warm sugar and simmered for another 15 minutes. When the sugar dissolved completely I boiled the jam quickly for 10 minutes. I checked for 'set' using the cold plate method. When the jam reached setting point I took it off the heat, letting it cool slightly before pouring into sterilised jars. It's really lovely with freshly baked scones.

I attempted spiced plum jam with the remaining plums adding a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and mixed spice. It tastes delicious but I either stirred it too much or didn't boil it for long enough so it never really set. I'm calling it confiture, a lovely soft set French jam and declaring it a success.

Have you been jamming this year? What's your favourite flavour?

Joining in with the lovely ladies at Circle of Pine Trees and Wolves in London for their 'grow, forage, cook' series.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

precious things

I am really excited to have been asked by Sarah, a lovely blogging friend to collaborate on her new monthly series entitled Precious Things. Sarah has a beautiful blog called Mitenska, full of stunning photography and lovely writing.

So what's it all about? Precious Things is about celebrating little treasures. The things you'd want to save in the event of a fire (aside from living things of course). And recognising why they are so important to us.

What makes something precious? Precious things evoke memories of places and times past. Baby's first shoes, holiday mementos and old family photographs. All just as precious as gold or jewels.

The things I regard as precious are not necessarily valuable or expensive. They have stories attached. The stories of how they came to be mine and the memories they conjure up. They hold a special place in my heart.

For this month's precious thing, I have chosen a little silver snuff box featuring Eyebright one of Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies. After I admired it at a market stall in Covent Garden Market, my lovely man bought it for me as a surprise. It's a treasured souvenir of our last visit to London nearly ten years ago.

We both adore London but haven't visited since the Christmas after we married. Three little ones have hampered our freedom to travel. But this little trinket rekindles many happy memories. It makes me want to visit again. One day, we will.

Thanks so much Sarah. I've really enjoyed choosing one of my favourite things to share here.

You'll find the other Precious Things posts at the links below. Do pop over and take a look. I know you'll enjoy them.

Sarah at Mitenska
Leanne at Today's Stuff
N at Creative Academia