week's end

A lovely week in Cornwall draws to a close but I have a lot to look forward to. Tomorrow I shall be reunited with my boy. And I shall be wishing him a very happy 10th Birthday too.

Happy weekend to you all!


{ and thank you for the lovely Birthday wishes you sent to me - they absolutely made my day }



Oh, I've had the royal treatment today.

Lunch at this lovely place; super food, stunning views, fantastic company. Three of us are currently staying with my parents in Cornwall, Carrot Boy being away at his first summer camp. It's certainly different, a good deal quieter (and sensible) without him and not at all the same. I think the last time I spent my birthday with my parents I may possibly have been in my very early twenties so I've felt (almost) like a young girl again. Only a bit more tired!

MLF and I had a walk along Newlyn Pier this morning.

I love the atmosphere

I love the sounds

I love the smells

and it took me right back to when I was a teenager in need of a walk to clear the head or to mull over thoughts of the moment.

I love this place!


fruits of the sea

... or the meal that got away!

We've been having a jolly old time in a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall kind of way. I wish I had photos of the whole forage only excitement levels were running pretty high and quite honestly it was a fight as to who could get their fingers to the ready first. Oh, and by the way, I'm talking about razor clams!

Small keyhole slits in the sea bed can be seen when the tide is far far out and as long as there are no worm casts around, it's a sure sign that there may be clams lurking beneath. They're quite nifty things but a sprinkling of table salt over the slits brings them out as they begin to think the tide is coming back in again. Firstly there is the merest hint of a movement beneath the surface and a bit of bubbling, which then becomes a tremor. Next, and almost like a volcanic eruption, the razor clam suddenly pokes itself out of the sand.

It's now that it gets truly exciting but patience really is a virtue here because you need to wait until it pushes out yet further, this time revealing its shell. It's a bit weird as the syphon often falls off at this point but no matter, now's the time to grab hold of your next meal, tightly as well, as they are surprisingly strong. You need to hold steady for a second or two and then start to ease upwards, gently and slowly or they shoot back down, out of their shells and into the sand once more. But gently does it and then out it comes, hanging half way out at the bottom. A very strange sight indeed and the hole left behind is vast.

I paid a small fortune for these not so long ago in a London fishmongers so it was very satisfying to have grabbed some for free. The only trouble is, MLF got a trifle upset and begged for the whole lot to be set free. Free for Hugh and his gang to come along and grab no doubt!

No matter though because the real fun is in the catch, though they taste nice enough (a little like squid only not quite as good). You steam and serve them just like any other type of clam; shallots, dry white wine, knob of butter, chopped parsley - washed down with a glass of chilled sancerre, warmed baguette with homemade unsalted butter - aaaaaargh, why ever did we let them go?

You can see another 'catch' in action here. It's fascinating!

See you soon x


feeling choughed

and a little bit proud

to have my pink swallow earrings featured in notonthehighstreet.com's emailer today.

(you can see more here if you like)

And speaking of all things birdie, look at this little non-flying cutie who needed rescuing the other day...

For all the stick my husband has had over the years for being a keen bird watcher and ringer, he came into his own and turned into hero of the day!

Happy Monday x


daddy's girl

The sight of a pile of 'reject' City shirts was almost too much to bear. You see once upon a time these would have been stripped of their buttons and then shamelessly given to the charity shop or, more likely (given their threadbare condition), used for cleaning purposes or even thrown in the wheelie bin. Oh perish the thought!

Their only sin, a tatty collar beyond sensible repair, where they'd been worn away by a be-tied neck.

Nowadays though, they're regarded as a heavenly pile of boundless opportunity. A pile in waiting for something utterly creative. A reincarnation.

Upcycling! That's what they say across the Pond.

Obviously the collar was the first to go, after all that was the reason they were bequeathed in the first place. I then took an existing dress as my guide and pencil drew the neck and armhole shape, borrowing the pattern for the sleeves from one of my Japanese pattern books and tweaking it to fit. I left the side seams as they were and the front, complete with buttons, remained as part of the garment too.

And just like taking over an old period house I, too, wanted to retain yet more original features. So the company trademark inchie of pink at the sides gained a stay of abstinence and the label was preserved and reinstated too.

A length of narrow elastic tape in the neck to pull it all together, et voila. And Daddy's verdict? Very, very sweet.

Do you know what I think? Daddy is absolutely chuffed to bits!

So perhaps there is some mileage in the old adage ... charity begins at home! And, in any case, there are a whole heap more where that came from ...


special place

Yesterday for the first time in months I forgot to pack a camera when we went out. Of course, predictably, ironically, typically, irritatingly, (yes I think I could go on ..) I missed out on some priceless photo opportunities!

The sight of MLF, looking adorable in the kindest of lights with little blue bucket, turning stones at the water's edge and finding the teeny tiniest of crabs, many many of them, most no bigger than half a smallest fingernail. Also finding, and catching even, a baby (and I really mean, baby for it was a mere inch long) flatfish. But by far the biggest spot of all was seeing a grass snake (quite small thankfully), just feet in front of us and a good deal more afraid than we were. We watched him traverse up a steep bank and every time he slipped and fell a little way, we gasped and took a step or two back. We stood there for ages, cursing not having brought the camera and vowing never to do so again!

However Monday was a much better day. Azure blue skies filled with cumulonimbus clouds so a trip to the most special of places beckoned. It's a hard slog getting to the top of the barrow but once there, no matter the direction you look, you will be rewarded with the most breathtaking of views.

Looking across the forest at Arne RSPB Reserve ..

Studland, to Shell Bay and on over to Sandbanks and Poole ..

Turning slightly, seeing the Brittany Ferry heading to Poole from Cherbourg, with Bournemouth beyond ..

The Isle of Wight in the distance ..

Around to Swanage ..

And putting two and two together and remembering that my camera also has a movie feature, I was able to get it in one piece. The only trouble is it's not quite so straightforward getting it from computer to blog, husband's a little on the grumpy, ahem busy side to help just now, so I'm just going to have to leave you with an IOU.

Oh, and some crossed fingers!


something to do

Do you remember all the somethings you did when you were a child? I can remember loving my bike, going to the swings, playing cat's cradle but most other things I had forgotten all about until I stumbled across this fabulous vintage book in one of my favourite shops in Swanage a while back. This was published in 1969 but despite the many years that have passed by, it is still a goldmine of activities. Innocent, charming and not a computer game in sight.

The book is divided into months of the year and then again into activities to be done indoors and outdoors. Each month features a different bird, a pet, a flower. There are games to play, recipes, songs, things to make, do and sew, and so much more, all accompanied by Shirley Hughes's wonderful illustrations to boot.

But do you remember this one? I used to love making fortune tellers with old scraps of paper and was delighted to be reminded how to do them. And it seems the children are just as keen as I was, so we've been having a great time today.

Obviously I just had to make one of my own, although I've no doubt my fortunes were very different to what they would have been the last time I played!

And if you're interested in having a go too, I found the very same book on Amazon for a penny.

That's new pence by the way!



Phew, term's out and I know that as soon as the come down has come and gone I shall be left happily exhausted. Not only can I hardly believe one more school year has come to a close but my tenure on the the PTA has too. Ladies and Gentlemen, harmony and rosie has left the building!

The day ended with a party for the Year 2 school leavers. For that we wheeled in the usual rubbish foods, tied balloons to door handles and gazebos, and organised a DJ to entertain. We had previously asked the children to provide their favourite dance tracks which the DJ then played, also giving special recognition to those children who will celebrate their birthdays in the holidays. It was so lovely and the children were crazy with excitement. Sure beats maths!

And do you know what? Those lovely ladies had done a secret collection for me and I'm still in shock to say I was presented with, not only a fabulous bunch of lilies but a voucher for a very generous figure indeed! I cannot tell you just how unbelievably staggered I still am. People can be so generous, it's untrue.

But having lamented earlier that I never win anything, I must say that things have been looking up for me this week - very high up indeed. You see, not only have I been bestowed with a reason for a jolly good shopping trip but I did in fact win a giveaway. Florence's recent Anna Maria Horner delicious voile is now sitting next to me as I type, courtesy of Ray Stitch, and then what felt like moments later I had an email from Sew, Mama, Sew asking permission to feature my halter dress on their Make it Wear it! Challenge highlights. As if I needed to think on that one for long! So is my luck turning, I shall surely be rushing out for a lottery ticket this weekend if it is!

And speaking of winning and giving, the first three comments on Monday's Pay it Forward post were from Isabelle of Suzy's Vintage Attic, Tracy and Scented Sweetpeas. (Sorry Tracy, I can't link to you as your blogger profile isn't available.) Ladies, if you would like to email me your addresses (see my profile page) a little something will be winging its way to you within the next 365 days. Don't be too horrified by this time frame, I certainly won't be expecting you to wait a whole year but as I said in the post, it will be sent when you're least expecting it.

In the meantime, don't forget your duties to the Pay it Forward pledge, and now do your own little post, inviting three comments, and so carrying the goodness on.

Enjoy the weekend x


giving thanks

My year of chairing MLF's school's PTA is drawing to a close and despite the fact it has been a most monumental undertaking, for the endless running around that's been done, I have actually enjoyed it hugely. Aside from really feeling part of the school I've met some lovely Mums and got to know some of the teachers a lot more than I know would have happened otherwise. I've chaired meetings, done some public speaking (eek!), heaps of organising, delegating, thinking ...!

So to show my appreciation to the many other Mums who have worked tirelessly on the Committee, I made lavender hearts from some of my stashed fabrics. These lovely rosy posy cottons are mostly Bavarian, gleaned from the armoires of German frauleins who would most likely have used them for their duvet covers back in the early 1900's. There's something so delicate, dainty and just plain exquisite about the patterns that lend themselves so well to a project such as this I think.

I made a heart template and cut up an old linen skirt to use for the backing. Then I retrieved buttons from my husband's long since used City shirts that had seen many better days and sewed them on to a length of lace (House Doctor). There's been an overwhelming smell of lavender pervading my sewing room these last few days, and I really think I shall miss it when they've gone.

Then two extra tokens, much much larger hearts backed with the same natural linen that has been used in numerous other projects around the house; several pairs of curtains, childrens' bags, a variety of embroidered goodies, MLF's butterfly dress even.

And the fronts are made with this gorgeous old old fabric, again from Germany I think. At eight inches in diameter there's an awful lot of lavender in here, I tell you.

With all this making for good people in mind, it reminds me just how much more heart warming it very often is to give than to receive. Which leads me very nicely on to this ...

When I saw Marigold Jam's post on pledging to Pay it Forward, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I have to confess something here, I've entered a few giveaways before and stress a few, because I never ever win things and so figured what's the point. However, when I saw how simple it was to enter and with such a lovely idea behind it, I got my comment in post-haste!

So back to the pledge and the rules that go with. The first three people to comment on this post will receive, at some stage during the next 365 days (!!), a little something made by moi. You mustn't go getting all hyper-excited, remember this is just a token kindness, because let's face it there is such a lot of hurt in our world, but I can tell you I will be in cahoots with the sewing machine on this one. Plus, I think, I shall send it to you when you're least expecting it, so bear in mind the holidays are a-coming and don't go waiting in for the postman just yet. A little clue though, it will definitely arrive before the 365 days are up!!

Your only commitment in all this is that you too need to take the pledge, hand on heart, and be prepared to post about Pay it Forward and carry on the kindness by sending a little something to the first three people who comment.

I am prepared to send some kindness all over the world so ... what are you waiting for?

Happy week to you all. x