Sunday, 29 June 2008

A Room With a View (Or Not as the Case May Be)

Last week I was tagged by Deborah of This Vintage Life. My task is to show you the view from my kitchen window. Well this one made me laugh! Do I have views of rolling countryside? No. Do I gaze out onto undulating hills? No. Maybe I can see a beautiful forest stretching into the distance as far as the eye can see? Not on your nelly. Everyday as I stand at the sink and peel the vegetables or wash the dishes my eyes feast on.............a wall! Well here goes with the views from my kitchen. Firstly I thought I would show you the window with all of its clutter and all of the stuff I always seem to need.

Next up is the view from the window itself.

I've also taken a couple of pictures from the kitchen doorway and the dining room so that you can see a little more of our exciting view.

See, I told you it was exciting! Thanks Deborah - it's been fun to do. I'm not going to tag specific people - but if you can come up with a view better (or worse) than a wall then please join in and let us have a peek.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Bits 'n' Pieces

I received this gorgeous bunting in the post last week but as yet I've not decided where to put it. For photographic purposes it's lying on the bed at the moment and I just don't think it would be practical if it lived there. Your suggestions are welcome. Bunting is one of those things that you don't really need do you? I am however a great believer in that famous William Morris quote. 'Have nothing in your homes unless you know to be useful or believe it to be beautiful.' (Apologies to Morris experts if I've added or missed out words there). I justify most of my buys using that maxim - and therefore I buy a lot of things that I believe to be beautiful and it's all Willaim Morris's fault! Althought I'm not sure that he meant that I should buy everything that is beautiful - perhaps he was the World's first de-clutterer and I can assure you that no de-cluttering goes on in my house.

This weekend has been a bit of a waste really. On Saturday I was at work all day and on Sunday the weather really didn't co-operate. Although the day was bright, the wind was so strong you really couldn't garden or do anything useful outside. Rob ended up acting as taxi driver for Josh and his friends who went to Games Workshop for their weekly dose of wargaming. That left me free to play so I made some of Tamasin's chocolate brownies

and some lemon curd.

I love this lemon curd which bears no resemblance to the awful gloop that's sold in the shops - and it only takes 4 minutes in the microwave. The problem is I never get to eat any myself as I'm always making it for friends or it just gets given away before I can get to it.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Playing Hookey

We had plenty we could do on Saturday - gardening, cleaning, washing, cooking. But the sun was shining, it was warm and you just have to make the most of the weather don't you? We decided that a day spent in Chipping Campden and Broadway would set us up for the rest of the week. That's our excuse anyway.

I love the mellow stone of the Cotswolds which looks beautiful in the warm sunshine or on a rain-soaked dreary day. The main street has a good selection of shops and houses that open straight out onto the pavement. If you are very naughty like me, you can usually peep into the windows and see the lovely interiors inside. I would also like to know why the Hollyhocks grow so much straighter in the Cotswolds. The ones in the picture above are straight and upright - one downpour of rain and mine will be lying on the garden dejectedly!

We had a leisurely walk around the shops and gazed at the properties we could never afford.

We met this cheeky little fellow too!

And of course - you can't have a nice day out without a nice cup of tea.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Favourite Day

I can't spend much time blogging today because it's my favourite day of the month - yes, Country Living has dropped onto the doormat and as usual the sound made me rush to the door to tear off its cellophane wrapper, get rid of all the advertising bumpff inside and settle down with a coffee just to flick through the pages until I find time this afternoon to sit quietly and lose myself for an hour until Josh arrives home from school with ripped trousers, unspeakable stains on his school tie demanding food and drink. Bliss.

I must show you the parcel I received from Nonnie's website Linen and Roses.

Waiting inside for me were these two dear little embroidered badges which I shall put onto my denim jacket.
Anyway, it's time I went to find some lunch, settle down and drool over the gorgeousness inside CL - at least until my gorgeous son arrives home from school and brings me back to the real world!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Shopping Day, Lazy Day

Saturday meant that our local farmers market was in town and these two bunches of Sweet William were amongst the lovely things there. It's always a pleasure to shop with the smell of herby sausages sizzling away or the spicy fragrance of samosas further down the street hot and ready to eat. There are preserves and plants, wine and cakes and on occasion we have even seen 'tree rabbit' for sale. My favourite stall is the vegetables and although not organic they are the best veg ever! The grower is local and doesn't use the usual array of pesticides and chemical fertilizers and you can really taste the difference in the produce that you buy. After all that activity though, when we arrived home we felt that we needed a little sustenance with a coffee and a Danish pastry.

I did summon up the energy later on arrange those flowers. They produced two lovely big arrangements - and all for £3.50.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Escape to the country Part II

This was the grandest and most imposing building that I think I've ever visited. Hardwick Hall was certainly built to impress. The sizes of the rooms are incredible both in floor space and height. I think someone must have been expecting Queen Elizabeth the First to visit with her retinue and apparently she never did. The ruins of the previous Hardwick Hall are next to this spectacular building and this would also have been an incredible building and wasn't old or decrepit when Bess of Hardwick decided she wanted a bigger house and created the new Hall. Some people are never satisfied are they? Here is a picture of one of the plaster friezes from the old Hall.

A day or two later we visited Haddon Hall just a few miles from Bakewell. This house is very diffferent to Hardwick and I think that I could be quite cosy and content living here! It's still a very large building but the rooms are smaller and cosier than Hardwick. Of course the owners still live there and properties are always warmer and friendlier for that. Haddon was used as Thornfield in the BBC production of Jane Eyre starring Toby Stephens and more recently as the Boleyn family home in the Other Boleyn Girl with Scarlett Johansen. Have a look and see what you think.

I thought I'd also post some photos of Bakewell and some villages in the area. Some were so sweet and pretty with typically English architecture and gorgeous cottage gardens. Here goes - we'll start with Bakewell.

Now we'll move on to Middleton-by-Youlgreave.

A little further afield is the lovely Hartington with it's proper village green and lovely cottages.

I hope you enjoyed your short tour of the Peak District.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Escape to the Country

This was the scene as we approached our holiday cottage near Bakewell. (Well, ours for the week anyway!). Yes, the sun was shining although there was a cool wind that developed into something much stronger over the weekend. (If you've been over to Lucy's blog at Attic 24 you'll realise just how bad the winds were). One thing we noticed as soon as reached the Derbyshire countryside was the large amount of Hawthorn trees in the area and it was obviously just the right time to catch them in full bloom. As we got nearer to our cottage the roads became narrow lanes and got quieter and quieter until we reached the lane where our little cottage was nestled amongst the trees and meadows.

As we continued down the lane our cottage came into view at last.

And these young ladies were there to greet us. . . . .

and had left us a welcoming gift.