Sunday, 28 April 2013

Three beautiful things, from a "nothing happening Sunday"...

1. The amount of dust picked up in the bedrooms by our swanky new vacuum cleaner is horrifying, yet deeply satisfying.
2. The last mouthful of Sunday lunch - a sweet and sticky roast parsnip, crisp Yorkshire pudding and tender, deeply savoury roast beef - when you've left the best bits till last.
3. The smell of a new paperback.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Saturday morning

I love Saturday mornings. I love to get up early (I'm a lark, in that sense) and have an hour or two while the rest of the house remains sleeping and silent. By the time my two owls are stirring I am ready to don my floral-sprigged apron, roll my sleeves up and get to work because Saturday mornings are the time I clean my house. A couple of hours hard graft and  I can put down the feather duster, pack away the Hoover and start to potter. I walk down to the bakery for the weekend's loaf and croissants. I might pick up a bunch of flowers. And Saturday morning is my baking time, for it's lovely to start the weekend knowing there's something in The Tin. This week it was chocolate chip cookies, using Nigella's recipe from "Feast". The best Saturday mornings of all? They are the ones when Spring has finally arrived and you can fling open the windows and the back door and reward yourself with a frothy coffee, a still-warm cookie and a sit in the sunshine.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Four Happy Things

I recently took part in my first ever blog swap. Hosted by Lisa at Bobo Bun, it had a lovely premise- swap four happy-making things, one from childhood, one which is homemade, one which is vintage and one in a favourite colour. I was lucky enough to be partnered with Nikki, of Tales from Swallow Barn. She was a fantastic swap partner, proving to be thoughtful, as she trawled my blog for ideas for things that would make me happy; generous, as she sent a wonderful boxful of goodies and patient, as I was a whole month later than our agreed on swap date! (Sorry again, Nikki!) She's also a better photographer than me  - hence my "borrowing" these photos from her blog! (Thanks again, Nikki!)
First, what I sent her...

Something homemade - sloe gin; something from childhood - gobstoppers and jazzies in a rustly paper bag; something vintage - an embroidered tea tray cloth and something in a favourite colour - a pretty sky-blue teacup and side plate.
And here is what I was lucky enough to receive...

Something homemade - that stripy box holds a whole heap of lavender bath goodies (two each of lavender soaps, candles, bath melts and bath bombs AND a crocheted lavender heart!); something vintage - sweet little tray; something in a favourite colour - this BEAUTIFUL version of my favourite Barbara Pym novel and something from childhood - Bunty! This made me hoot in delight when I opened it. Bunty was my favourite comic as a childhood, once I'd grown out of "Twinkle" that is, and my favourite story coincidentally, is also the one Nikki remembers most fondly.

All of these goodies were sent in a brown paper package, tied up with string... (I'll pause here to let your mind hum along to Julie Andrews....).
The swap lived up to it's name, making me very happy and I feel lucky to have had such a lovely partner. Now, I'm off for one of those lavender baths!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sweetie cupcakes for a sweet niece

My baby niece is turning 3. Unbelievable how quickly time flies! Like all my nieces and nephews she is growing into a delightful little person - she is funny, smart and beautiful. She is also, quite simply, the cutest kid to have ever lived. She's sit-on-your-hands- cute.... you know, the sort of cute where you have to sit on your hands to stop yourself from squeezing and squishing her.
One of the best things about being an Aunty is that you get to indulge your nieces and nephews in ways which you'd balk at with your own children. Hence, for Baby Niece's birthday party... sweetie cupcakes!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Reading List - March 2013

"Raising Girls" by Steve Biddulph.
"The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake" by Aimee Bender.
"Weekend Wodehouse" by P.G. Wodehouse.
"Winter Ghosts" by Kate Mosse.
"Simple Living" by Lorilee Lippincott.
"Miss Buncle's Book" by D. E. Stevenson.

"Miss Buncle's Book" was possibly my favourite read of the month. It was a delightfully cosy book, perfect for a long Bank Holiday weekend. The Wodehouse was wonderful too, of course, even if I did end up peppering my conversations with "What, ho!"s whilst reading it. These monthly book lists don't take into account the myriad magazines, newspapers and online articles I read, nor the books I read to the Beautiful Girl (currently "A Bear Called Paddington" by Michael Bond) or the books I read to my children at school (currently "The Twits" by Roald Dahl). I should, perhaps, start including the children's books I read as children's literature is a real passion of mine. In fact, at the beginning of the week we (Lovely Husband, Beautiful Girl, The Sousin and I) made a pilgrimage to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden. Athough only small it was packed with things to see and do. In particular I loved the replica of his little writing hut, his "nest" as he described it, with its comfy writing chair and desk, thermos of coffee and supply of chocolate. The girls loved all the activities in the Story Centre. And we all loved the chocolate cake (a la Bruce Bogtrotter) in the cafe!