Wednesday, 30 January 2013

When in Rome - The Mary Poppins Mission

As I wait for the next leg of my journey, surrounded by the passionate chatter of Italians, there really was only one sensible option for supper. If you can't eat pizza when you are hanging out in Rome then when can you? I have fallen in love with Rome airport, you get to descend the steps of the plane as if you are a movie star, they play jazz in the departures lounge and the shops are truly delightful.


I was always going to appreciate a beautiful stationery shop but everywhere looks so pretty, expensive and stylishly Italian.


I've never even tried Limoncello but it looks so delicious that I might just have to pick up a bottle on the way home.

Herbs in an old suitcase

Fabulously rustic looking pasta


And even a truffle display!


The journey # themarypoppinsmission

I have such clear memories of being in a cafe at Heathrow airport when I was young. I can remember eating toasted cheese sandwiches and watching the planes taxi and take off, effortlessly and gracefully into the air. I don't remember the reason for my presence at the airport but as I sit here now with my coffee gazing out the window, the image of my Dad drinking tea, the itchy, scratchy fabric of the seat against my legs and the overly greasy sandwich came flooding back the moment I sat down.

Air travel still seems just as glamorous to me today as it did over 30 years ago when I went on my first ever flight. The excitement, the nerves and this time the sadness at leaving my family, mixed in with tiredness and nostalgia are almost overwhelming, but there is a sense of calmness about an airport. I've browsed the shops, marvelled at the delights of the duty free shops and splashed out on one extravagance: a Chanel lipstick, shade 99 "Pirate". I am after all on a very special mission and if I find myself unable to be practically perfect in every way whilst travelling, at least my lips will be stylishly chic.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

52 weeks of happy - week 4



No. 1 the most beautiful cowboy boots in the world, who wouldn't be happy wearing these. I don't have any cowboy boots but I think I might like some and suspect that they might look rather special with leg warmers.

No. 2 paperwhite narcissi - planted on a gloriously sunny day back in autumn, these tiny blooms are just the thing to brighten a dreary January day

No. 3 packing for an adventure. In less than 8 hours I will be on my way!

No. 4 crochet edge Moleskine notebook - an idea that has been on my to do list for ages but is now finished and I've already started to fill it with lists

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Mary Poppins Mission


"Winds in the East, mist coming in..."

Like a dream come true, I am finally getting the chance to shine in the role of Mary Poppins. Somewhere someone is in need of a practically perfect nanny. A gust of wind delivered the torn pieces of a letter and I am going to give it my best shot. I have a couple of days to brush up on my skills and I do actually intend to do a bit of research into the author, the illustrator and the true essence of the un-Disneyfied version of a harsher guardian of the young. I also need to learn how to fly with an umbrella.

Picture curtesy of


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

52 weeks of happy - week 3

No. 1 - more snow. Not yet enough for a snow day, but plenty to look totally beautiful and transform dull grey England into a glistening winter wonderland.

No.2 - crocheted edge sleep mask. I recently shortened a dress and crocheted the edge leaving some scraps of fabric and a substantial amount of the crochet yarn, ideal for a little mini make and the mask is so soft and lovely. It does make me happy when my projects turn out well.

No. 3 - undoing bad knitting. Not every project turns out brilliantly and I am particularly bad at knitting. These fingerless gloves were a disaster, but that's the great thing about making stuff, you can unmake it and start again

No. 4 - new gloves from Noa Noa. My favourite shop in Canterbury for clothes at the moment is Noa Noa. I love its boho charm mixed with sparkly jewels and glittering hosiery. These gloves are totally the right colour and complement my blue fur coat. They are super soft with a scalloped edging and they keep my hands toasty which makes very happy.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


There are days when I don't want to be busy. I don't want the pressures of life weighing heavy on me: endless lists of things to do, tasks to complete, mess and chaos everywhere. The world has become so complex, filled with noise and information.
Like the ocean or a sky full of snowflakes, there are days that I just want things to be simple. There are some rather major things going on at the moment in my little corner of the world, disturbing my sleep and filling my mind with worries and anxieties. They are the most exciting and excellent opportunities but tiredness can alter one's perspective and a jumbled mind is never the most effective.

Some time complicated and busy lives need simple solutions, so I've been making a sleep mask. It goes without saying, that I have made it for more intricate than needed, but it wouldn't be the same without a crochet edge.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

52 weeks of happy - week 2

There are plenty of things that made me happy this week, but here are my four favourites.


No. 1 - snow. I love it when you wake up and the whole world has been transformed. Everything looks pretty in the snow

No. 2 - ghosts of the past and memories

No.3 - Victorian terraced houses. This one is particularly special.

No. 4 - crocheting edging on my dress



Wishing you all a week of happy.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Skeletons in the closet

Our bedroom is full of ghosts. Not actually spirits of people that are no longer walking amongst us but more of memories of the past. Things get shoved to the back of high cupboards and hidden in boxes, often on purpose because I don't want to make that difficult decision to throw them away. Photos, little notes, memorabilia are mixed in with scraps of pretty paper that I can't bear to get rid of. I am totally going to be the kind of old lady who has a jar of string in the attic labelled, "String-too short to be of any use."

This is a box full of all sorts, happy and sad memories, old dreams, junk and reminders of painful moments from the past, all under a pile of books and crafty magazines. Today I thought it was about time for a little sort out.

I'd forgotten about this adorable photo of my little "wild child". Charlie was such a little cutie.

Photos really do take me right back to that very minute. My lovely little Josie who only ever slept in her buggy, never tired of eating sand and refused to wear anything that wasn't pink, even when she was building snowmen.

For all these happy moments, there is still the time when my life changed. There is one ghost in our bedroom, a haunting memory of our baby Jack and that sadness is something that will always be in every corner of my mind.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Artistic ambitions

I am getting a rather good feeling about 2013 and have lots of exciting things lined up. The most fabulous piece of luck arrived last week, when a friend commissioned me to paint a picture for her sister. This is something I've dreamt of forever and now I can put it on my list of things to do before I die and then tick it. Even better is the subject, which is to be flowers. So now I get to collect floral inspiration as part of this wonderful adventure and blogging about it is all part of the planning process.

Pictures curtesy of the following sources:

Monday, 7 January 2013

A happily borrowed idea

I love other people's blogs, they are just so jammed packed full of inspiration that I have to limit myself to just a brief glance now and again otherwise I could quite easily spend my whole life gathering wonderful bits of loveliness. Even more fabulous is that very few people mind if you copy their ideas, in fact in some cases it is encouraged. For example take the brilliant idea 52 weeks of happy from over at Little Birdie... who wouldn't want to post four things that have made them happy that week? I am a massive fan of focussing on what makes you happy, it's how I like to live my life and there it is in black and white, an invitation to join in all this weekly happiness from the lady herself.

The wonderful thing about the happy world of blogging is that I can join in and I can let Jen (I talk as if I know her which sounds a little cheeky) know that I have joined in and you never know she might even take a look at what made me happy this week.

1. Dressing up

2. Walking by the sea on New Years Day

3. Sketching and painting from a photo taken whilst out on the walk by the sea

4. Reading Anthony Browne books at the Anthony Browne exhibition - Through the magic mirror: The world of Anthony Browne

Thank you Little Birdie x

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Distant family, distant memories

The word distant feels sad to me. It has connotations of the un reachable; events, people and memories that have slipped through my fingers like the sands of time. I read a beautifully written article by my lovely friend at Sea psychotherapy recently about her views on hoarding and her reflections on its relationship to loss. I am certainly a complete hoarder of distant memories of distant family and it is just the loss of those times and loved ones that prompts my collection of snapshots of the past.

So many of my family are distant. We are separated by time and distance. As a child, I was surrounded by family. I have two bothers and a sister, my grandparents lived around the corner and there were Aunts and Uncles and cousins and distant relatives very close by. Now however the traffic was so bad before Christmas, that after 5 hours on the M25 we abandoned a trip to my brother's as we had not even got half way to his house (we did make eventually on another day) and my other brother and sister are so distant that I have not seen my brother since his wedding in 2006 after which he returned to Australia.

This picture was taken in January 1979, a life time ago and in the very distant past when we were all tiny. My Dad would have taken this photo, he was a collector of memories too. My sister was just 18 months, my UK brother at the back - age 6, my Aussie brother grabbing on tight to my shoulders was 4 and I was the grand old age of 8 years.

In July 2008, my sister returned to Australia and although I have seen her a couple of times since on her visits back to the UK, she remains part of my distant family. These are our little ones together for the last time before she left. Since this photo the gang has grown by four new members, with another joining very soon but we are separated by thousands of miles.

And there it is, just why the word distant feels like such a sad one for me.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year Resolutions

It would not be the same if I didn't make a few resolutions to get the new year started. Whether I keep them is of course debatable but it's nice to make the effort, even if they prove to be totally pie in the sky.

No. 1 is an old favourite .... Get fitter. Every January I cut back on the junk and reboot the exercise regime. I do actually look forward to it. I feel better and healthier and happier. I'm not really sure why I don't continue throughout the year but if I did then it wouldn't make my top spot for new year resolutions. So far I'm doing ok, I've been running, swimming and to yoga as well as eating more fruit and veg.

No. 2 is pretty much my life long ambition to be a better mummy, spend more time enjoying my children, loving them and creating a happy world for them to be in and less time being too busy doing boring stuff like tidying up. I can get a tick for this one as well after spending the afternoon building a mega Lego house with Charlie.

Apparently we are building the rest of the City tomorrow.

No. 3 finish what I start. This one will continue to be the hardest of all to keep. I would not like to count the numerous projects I have started and not finished, but here's one I have finished.

The sketch I started yesterday and finished today.


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year, new start, new dreams

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was all about last year, thinking about the events of the past 12 months, the memories both happy and sad and today the focus is completely on the future. The thing I like most about New Year's Day is that it is just that, the start of a new year. I like the idea of new beginnings and all the possibilities that that may hold.

Today was a beautiful day and after the rain and the wind and the grey clouds, it was fabulous to go for a run around Pegwell Bay Country Park.

The whole place is filled with birds and plants. This lovely area of Kent is stunning. I could just stand and look at the fragile salt flats painted in a delicately subtle colours forever, such a striking contrast to the gaudy, sparkle feast of Christmas. Not that I don't like glitter and brightness but nature is so easy on the eyes.

Blue sea, white cliffs, red rose hips and azure sky.

Thin skeletons of plants, shadows of structures against the pale winter sky.

Lichen almost luminous in the late afternoon sun.

I couldn't resist just a tiny speck of glitz.

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