Saturday, 25 September 2010


Well, here we are all of a sudden past the autumn equinox, and there's been a definite nip in the air these past few days. The nights are drawing in now, and I've been finding myself all ready to head out into the garden after tea, only to find it's already gone dark!

So, there's not much gardening going on around here at the minute...

But there is still a little bit of outsidey-ness, and a few little day trips, which I do love oh so very much.

First up, do you see that scrumptious cake at the top of the page there? That almondy-hazelnutty-meringuey-cake? Notice the name on the serviette? That's right, that was our trip out to Betty's tea rooms with work. Oh, it was good! One day I'll be saving up and going there for a proper afternoon tea! (And it *will* be a case of saving up, since afternoon tea costs more than my current weekly food budget!)

Slightly less sophisticated, but no less enjoyable, was a little amble I took around the local area, finding myself heading into an old cemetery I'd not visited before. Bit of a grey and rainy day, but fresh, and I certainly felt like I'd earned my tea and cake after walking all the way back to the top of that hill!
Another little mini adventure this week was heading to the cathedral in town for a lunchtime sing song. The cathedral puts on lunchtime recitals a couple of days a week, and Peter sang there this week with some friends. It's not a place I go to very often, but I'm always astonished by how big it is, right there in the middle of the city.
So, altogether a bit of a bitty week, lots of zooming around the countryside on trains, enjoying work rather more than I'd imagined possible, and a little bit of PhD squeezed in there too. I am noticing rather a lack of creating things going on round here though... Hmm. Must do something about that this week! What with our friend still sleeping in my little attic working space, and all this work malarkey, all I've managed to sew this week is new lining into the living room curtains! Much as I adore that useful type of sewing, it's not really much good for pictures.

So, here's a little promise. A bit of creative crafting this week, of one type or another (possibly not sewing though!), and a bit of gardening too. And fingers crossed for a little bit of sunshine to take photos in too ;)

Saturday, 18 September 2010

for today...

Outside my window... darkness, and reflected fairy lights

I am thinking... about getting an early night with a book

I am thankful for... a cheerily tiring day, wallpaper that finally stuck to the wall

From the learning rooms... a finished (for now!) phd chapter and a satisfied smile

From the kitchen... lots of veg, with grilled potatoes and a tiny bit of cheese

I am wearing... warm trousers, a jumper, and a scarf - it's getting cold out there!

I am creating... new linings for the living room curtains

I am going... to make up the bed, and possibly sink straight into it

I am reading... a book about Orkney, and being soooo impatient to be back there

I am hoping... for a more restful night tonight

I am hearing... very little other than a ticking clock, it's peaceful here right now

Around the house... walls are being painted, and furniture moved from one room to another, and back again

One of my favorite things... a little wooden bench overlooking the hills

A few plans for the rest of the week: stewing apples, making the living room fit for living in, a new phd chapter, training courses, remembering to take the car for an MOT (oops!)

More from the Simple Women's Daybook here

Friday, 17 September 2010

jolly times

Would you just look at all those colourful whirly lollipops! Just the thing for a mildly grumpity out-of-sorts day, don't you think?

I've been off swanning around London this week, something I don't do too often, but which I do enjoy very much indeed. Meeting friends (and a new baby!), wandering along the river, an afternoon in the British Museum, and lunch in a crypt, no less! Oh, and a bit of work too, almost forgot about that...

I'm back now though, and busy attending to the ordinary everyday stuff again. I'm experimenting with getting up early to start writing - oh how I do love those early mornings with the sun streaming into the kitchen!

We've got a friend staying with us at the minute, which means I've lost my little attic refuge/ work room/ sewing space for the foreseeable future. I spend a lot of time up there, and very much value having a bit of my own space. So, things have had to be shuffled around a bit.

So, here's the temporary solution, a little corner of the bedroom for me to work in for the time being.

It's not *quite* as cheery as the attic, and I get shoed downstairs at regular intervals so normal bedroom activities (dressing, sleeping, afternoon-napping) can be carried out in peace, but I'm warming to it, especially the rocking chair by the window. In fact, I'm warming to it so much that I might not want to go back up to the attic later...

Anyway, spurred on by the excitement of creating this cheery little space, I decided to tackle another little DIY job that's been bugging me for months. You know the ones, that shouldn't take more than an hour, but one thing leads to another, and another, and before you know it you're wallpapering the entire living room and replacing the windows. It's not *quite* that bad, but not far off.

Another cup of tea first, I think...

Sunday, 12 September 2010


Would you just look at what we recused from a skip yesterday?? Just look! A pink colander, and a pink gingham mug! Sadly the colander is a little rusty for kitchen use, but I was thinking how cheery it would look out in my new little picnic area in the garden, all prettily planted with cheery flowers and maybe strawberries. Strawberries!!

Today the sun's shining, I'm eating pancakes and drinking tea from my new pink gingham mug, and I'm gearing up to pick up a friend's chipper to turn that huge pile of tree into tiny little wood chips. Then the next stage can start!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

a cheery day out

I've had ever such a lovely day today (well, we'll skate over the trip to the dentist this morning - hmmm). I toddled into town and caught a double decker bus out to the peak district to meet up with some friends. A double decker! Goodness, i felt like an excitable small child on an adventure. It really was such a lovely journey, looking out over the moors and back across the city.

First stop, Bakewell. Would you like a little tour?

Upstairs in a tiny cafe first, for tea and toast. I love this cafe - when you order tea, you get a teapot, top up of water, cup-and-saucer-and-teaspoon, and a strainer with its own little dish. Seven bits of tea-making equipment! Makes the whole thing more of an event, don't you think?

Anyway, out of the cafe for a little walk along the river and through the park in the sunshine.

There's always so many ducks and geese on the river, and no end of people to feed them. One of the houses overlooking the river was for sale, and I had to give myself a very stern talking to indeed before I started to wander off in a fancy of living there, ambling out with leftover breakfast to feed the ducks every morning, before heading into town for tea and a piece of Bakewell pudding!

Anyway, let's not get carried away, let's hurry back over the bridge to the car instead, for the next stop.

Just a couple of miles up the road, to Cauldwell's mill.

It's a working flour mill, but we didn't have a tour today, we were heading for the cafe.

First though, we had a wander down the side of the river. How cheery to be at eye level with the ducks! And another little *tiny* pang of jealousy at the back garden of this gorgeous house!

So, after we'd worked up an appetite, it was time for a little pop into the cafe. Ooh, and it was just as cheery as I remembered! Look at those benches, and there's bunting! I've no idea why it was so empty, but it got a bit busier as we sat there.

So, more tea, of course, and a bit of cake. But which to choose? Coffee? Date and walnut? Ginger and pineapple? I chose lemon in the end, and swapped half of it for half of my friend's carrot cake. Absolutely delicious, both of them, although if pushed I might have to say the lemon had the edge.

And, of course, you can't visit a flour mill without bringing home some flour. And I just had to make some bread straight away. It should be ready soon, the smell's started drifting through the living room. Is there anything more gorgeous than the smell of bread baking?

Altogether, a lovely cheery day out, I almost feel like I've been on holiday for a week! I really must have cheery little days out like this more often. I feel nicely set up for a few days of PhDing now!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

for today...

Outside my window... the sky's grey and the city lights are starting to twinkle

I am thinking... about being weighed down by my things-to-do list - always a sure sign that I'm too tired

I am thankful for... a car and a partner that got home in one piece last night - even if it was at 2am

From the learning rooms... a still-not-finished PhD chapter, but it'll be done tomorrow!

From the kitchen... yet more pancakes, of course

I am wearing... new shoes! A rather uninspiring, but comfortable, charity shop find

I am creating...
extremely cheery bits of customising for my uninspiring new shoes! Photos to follow...

I am going... downstairs, to tidy up, and then to rest

I am reading... a story about a North Yorkshire rural policeman

I am hoping... that tonight will be restful, and tomorrow more energised

I am hearing...
power tools from the street. So many people building, making, doing...

Around the house...
a bit of sweeping and tidying and putting away, and contemplating bigger projects for tomorrow

One of my favorite things... curling up on the sofa with a blanket

A few plans for the rest of the week: chopping branches, a little creativity in the garden, starting to think about Christmas (did I really just say that???)

Not a hugely positive rambling from me today I'm afraid! I'm far too tired after last night's fiasco, and really should have taken a nap earlier. However, I didn't, so I'm heading for an early night instead. Back tomorrow with photos of my cheery little shoes project which took all of five minutes and lifted my spirits enormously!

More from the Simple Women's Daybook here

deep breaths

Well, would you look at that. I seem have made some more bunting! And mightily festive it is too, all red-and-white stripey, with little turquoise felt hearts and red buttons. Oh, so cheery! And winging its way north as we speak to a lovely friend who likes stripey things, and who I hope will love it as much as I do.

Anyway, if you're paying attention, you might be asking yourself why I'm up and sitting in front of the computer waffling on like this about bunting at ten past midnight.

I've been asking myself the same question.

Well, do you remember we bought a new car just four weeks ago? Would it surprise you to hear that the battery warning light started flashing last week? It might surprise you (if you know me well, that is) that we took it to the garage to see what was wrong. Nothing, apparently, but (and this will come as a surprise too) we booked it in for a service anyway - a level of grown up responsibility and car maintenance foresight not normally witnessed anywhere near me...

Anyway, poor old Peter is now sat in a cold service station car park waiting for the RAC, while I'm busy trying to cultivate an atmosphere of calmness and serenity for when they bring him home...

Tea, anyone?