Tiny garden tour 2020

Hello there. I hope you're well and configuring your way around coronavirus. To be honest, I think my coping mechanisms are all over the place and my ability to cope changes hourly with my moods. Today I offer you an antidote, an escape, a little peep into another life - it's not a makeover perfect project just a space, a moment in history to be shared, a time when the hum of bees and the twitter of birds were more inspiring than social media, daily government briefings and the dos and don'ts of lockdown. At times lockdown has been exhausting, overwhelming and frustrating but just occasionally don't you think you're being gifted a wonderful opportunity to take stock, be authentic, still and slow down. Isn't this the way to live? Just add in your extras (mines's a takeaway soya caramel latte).

We did a 'makeover' of our tiny garden in 2014 - see it here. It's now a much more 'lived-in' space but it's giving us so much pleasure and purpose in these turbulent times. It provides us with invaluable outside space and a chance to be still, creative, nurturing and productive.

We all need escapism right now and probably will do for the foreseeable future. Whatever it takes: quiz nights, family zooming or the voyeurism of Marianne and Connell from 'Normal People' - a BBC Three series which I'm eeking out as long as I can.

I hope you enjoy my tiny garden tour and it gives you that feeling of being somewhere else.

Sending you my best wishes and love xo



Easter 2020

There's been no shortage of chocolate, sunshine and beautiful spring flowers this Easter break. Also, there's been no shortage of time since March 19th when schools in the UK closed and I've been at home apart from one day a week when I'm on duty at school to look after key workers children and vulnerable children. There has been home learning to organise plus other teaching tasks to complete but it's been a very light workload compared to my normal teaching duties. And so a chance to update my blog of which I'm still very fond of despite its hiatus.

Scrolling through photos on my phone there's so much I could write about and lots of lovely images I could share with you from the last year but that world seems like a hazy sepia dream from decades ago and not just last year. My archive of photos are an eerie reminder of why we need to stay safe and stay at home. I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting those carefree days back but also realise that life will never be exactly the same again and it will take time to adjust when restrictions on lockdown begin to be lifted. Also, I hope that we learn lessons from this worldwide emergency and that in the future we don't take for granted the fragility of our health or economy. We may need to reassess our priorities in life.

I do hope you're well and are finding time to enjoy some simple pleasures in this topsy-turvy world we find ourselves in this year. Whether it's a walk around the neighbourhood, a phone call or zoom meeting with family or friends, home-cooked meals, gardening or generally enjoying a slower pace of life these all have the power to lift our spirits and ease away anxiety. The future seems even more uncertain than ever so I'll leave you with this thought.



My Word for 2019

It's been a few years since I've chosen a word for the year and I've missed this little ritual and the guidance it can bring. Slowly, the word that has come to mind for me in the first few days of 2019 is cherish. This is a positive, warm and gentle word and has connotations of wellbeing. I'm resisting the January merry-go-round of fitness and diet advice, sales shopping and goal setting and concentrating instead on cherishing what I have: my health, more clothes and possessions than I need and a bank of motivation to encourage me to follow my values and my own path. In 2019 I want to nurture relationships old and new, practise gratitude for all that I have, stop wanting more or wanting to be more and to be kind to myself. I want to cherish life and indulge a little.

Thank you for all your comments and for reading this little blog that is now coming back to life. Happy New Year friends xo



Christmas in Photos

Homegrown  purple sprouts and a Christmas hotchpotch of photos, I know, but I missed posting any photos of last year's festivities and I'm determined to share some glimpses of Christmas 2018 even if it's almost 2019! I do hope you've had a restful time, with good food and precious time with family and friends. We've had a mixture of frantic days of cooking and hosting and also some down time with even a night away for just me and Tim. Both boys were home for Christmas this year, Mum coped very well with spending a few hours with us for Christmas dinner and we saw our great nephews who at two and three were great fun.

I enjoyed decorating our home this year and for the first year ever we had a little potted Christmas tree which hopefully will continue to thrive long after Christmas. This new year's eve is going to be a quiet one here; I don't mind at all and I'm really looking forward to 2019 and making it a year of acceptance and positivity. 

See you in 2019 and thank you for all for reading and commenting. Happy New Year xo



Hi there!

Hi there guys! It's been ages, I know, but I just couldn't resist the urge to revisit this space and wish you all a wonderful Christmas. So, how are you? Still reading blogs, still striving to lead a simpler, more balanced and minimalist life? Me too, although it's been challenging this year. Life has been very unpredictable with Mum's rapid health decline and my sporadic supply teaching but both situations have settled down as we reach the end of 2018. Mum has Alzheimer's and vascular dementia and since October has been living permanently in a care home which is less than a ten minute drive from here. This is a situation which I never would have imagined happening but she is happy and settled and has little memory of her family home and so is not distressed. I'm adjusting to losing my mum as she is now a shadow of her previous self and I often feel sad and frustrated that I can't make life more enjoyable and less confusing for her. Since September I have been teaching full-time at the school which I left in 2017 - I feel very fortunate to have a permanent full-time teaching job again and the stability, familiarity and structure it provides is just what I need. Yes, it's hard work and full-on but I've worked hard to improve my organisation, focus and perspective and it's been a good term.

Mum's illness has a silver lining as it's brought the family closer together and I feel very supported by my family. It's also woken me up to realising that life is for living and that self-care is something that I want to work on. For the first year ever I'm actually looking forward to the new year more than Christmas as I'm feeling keen and brave enough to make some changes. This year has been draining in so many ways and I feel that I need to stream more calm into my life and those around me. Which brings me to a thought that's been bubbling away in my brain: that blogging is one of the quietest but most powerful platforms out there. I'm so grateful to those who still blog and those that read blogs. I hope to blog when I can in 2019.

Wishing you all a restful Christmas and I hope to see you here in 2019. Thanks for the Christmas messages from friends made through this blog - you know who you are. Love to you all xo



Sunny Side Up

This summer.... 

I'm sure we'll remember this summer for years to come. I mean, we don't often get summers like this in the UK, do we? I think it helps to have some photos as a record. I still have snow scenes on my phone from March and they're a little reality check. So how are you? Life is full on here. Both boys are back home on summer breaks, from uni and teaching in China. A full house, that's a nice feeling. Mum's been quite ill recently; she's declined since my last blog post although I've been concerned about her for the last year. Anyway, I'm adjusting to the new normal we're now facing and the difficulties of caring for a loved one with mental illness. These photos show some simple pleasures and highlights of the summer so far. I hope you like them.

  • Leamington Spa at the beginning of May
  • Fresh juicy blueberries (on a cake)
  • Growing seeds in our tiny garden 
  • Tin Man - best read of the year so far - and the start of my sunflower obsession
  • Bearded Theory festival, so pretty at night (it was hot)
  • My cutting flower plot at the community garden
  • Sweet pea wigwam at the community garden
  • A pastel themed pallet planter
  • A solstice gathering at the community garden
  • Dreamy dahlias
  • Renewing our National Trust membership 
  • Growing purple radishes (hot, hot, hot)
  • Eating outside in the garden
  • Berries on porridge


53. Happy Friday Links

I'm delighted to be able to share some fresh links and inspiration this Friday. Enjoy!

  • The Gardeners Cottage - Ageless Style via The Vintage Contessa. Janet is such an inspiration in her style and sassy attitude to ageing. It's devastatingly sad to read that life is so tough for her and her family right now.
  • Even with the sultry temperatures in the UK this week, I wouldn't mind a retreat here: A Romantic Hide-Away in Bali. It's the simplicity and rustic vibe set against the exotic poolside planting that makes me linger over these photos.
  • Eating for a Longer Healthier Life by Tricia Cusden over at Look Fabulous Forever. A very interesting article which references the book, 'The Telemere Effect'. This book explains the science of ageing and how lifestyle choices, including diet, can help to reverse it. Tricia reflects on how this book helped her overcome her sugar cravings and write her own book about graceful and 'empowered' ageing. So, that's two more books on my TBR (to be read) list. The cake in the photo is raw vegan carrot cake made with natural sugars - delicious!
  • What's Your Domestic Super-Power? by Margo at Thrift at Home (do read the comments as well). Mine is keeping the house well-stocked with loo rolls and making endless cups of tea throughout the day!
  • How Minimalism Can Make You More Productive from Matt D'Avella - another YouTuber I find inspiring, entertaining and cheerfully light in his minimalist approach.
  • I kept all my plastic for a year - the 4,490 items helped me to rethink via The Guardian. The Everyday Plastic project started by Daniel Webb demonstrates how difficult it is to recycle plastic and how easy it is to be swayed into buying products we don't need because we have been conditioned to find packaging attractive. I agree with him that there's an, "...epidemic of overproduction and overconsumption", and that making even small reductions in plastic consumption will help reduce plastic pollution and retrain our consumer habits. Small steps.
  • I love Penzance in Cornwall and its iconic Jubilee Pool. I can't wait for it to be opened all year-round.

Thank you for welcoming me back! 
Happy Friday!



52. Happy Friday Links

Hello and welcome to my long overdue Friday feast of links. I hope you find something inspiring, uplifting or entertaining here. Please take a seat and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these links. I felt a real sense of community from reading the comments left on my last post. Thank you for your support and views - it makes me very happy. I have more links up my sleeve so see you (same time, same place) next week - if not before xo