Monday, 9 November 2015

Adventure::Windows, Arches and Doors

Well what a dark a gloomy day we are having in my part of the UK - the kind of day that makes you want to look at your holiday photos again and remind your self that little over a week ago you were wandering the streets of Bologna and it was much, much warmer.
I love a good window or archway, don't you? Pictures of doors and windows fill my photo albums - I am so nosy and full of wonder about what is going on behind those shutters. The perpetual English student in me makes me want to invent stories; whole lives are being led there. On the final day, very pleasingly given that we were in Italy, the sound of a aria being sung flowed from a window - that one with the spider plants - and I had to stop and listen whilst the beauty of it filled the courtyard. It is those memories that live in your heart isn't it? That and the fact that I had to run to find my pack of boys who had moved on, bored of waiting for me to have my 'moment'.  
I am finding it quite hard to leave Italy behind at the minute despite being excited about the months to come and it is pretty pleasing to escape this dark wind...

Thursday, 5 November 2015


We had the most wonderful trip to Bologna over the half term holiday. It was everything a city trip to Italy should be - full of art, cool narrow streets, coffee, pizza, beautiful architecture and stylish people just owning the street. One of life's greatest pleasures is to wander the streets of a new city and think about what life would be like there. Every city has its own scent and feel. Bologna is cool, full of students. Although it is ancient it has a feeling of somewhere full of possibility, of ideas, of people who are moving forward. It is a place that is both old and at the same time, modern.
I am overwhelmed with photographs that do nothing to capture the real memories. So I am left with this one; Fergus, framed by a door, just taking it all in.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Home::Finn's Room

During my decorating frenzy this summer I decorated Finn's room. It is a small room which he inherited from his brother (like so much else in his life). He is also a boy in transition and was about to move up to secondary school. Pale yellow walls were no longer cool for an important 11 year old...later this week he turns 12.
I decorated whilst he was away with his dad and was able to do a huge declutter as well as paint. The last of my babies, we said goodbye to an enormous number of toys that were gathering dust and no more memories.
Most of the room is painted white but I painted one a dramatic dark grey which he just loves. He has displayed all his favourite things on the shelves  and we both love how everything stands out. He has a corner devoted to Harry Potter and he proudly displays his Slytherin poster (Oh the shame - I was, of course, sorted into Gryffindor).
I love how this room really reflects Finn right now. Part of him still little boy - the one that loves to believe in the magic of story and imagination and another part who is beginning to try on a little 'cool' for size, arranging his hair, layering on the 'Lynx' (really what is that phase?) and listening to music. These are precious years - and important ones too; years of great change. Twelve years ago I birthed my baby; in six years he will be a man - it's amazing isn't it?

Friday, 9 October 2015

Cook::Sloe Gin

There is so much to love about autumn but one of my very favourite things is to wander the hedgerows seeing what I can forage. This appeals to me on two levels, one because it feeds all my fantasies about being in tune with nature and living the good life  The other is about gathering nature's bounty to make sure that we will survive the winter. Obviously an essential winter nutrient would be sloe gin! 

I picked the sloes a couple of weeks ago because I always like to freeze them because my father once told me that they were better after a frost. It also causes the skins to break slightly, saving you the tedious job of pricking them.Win. 

Sloe Gin
500g sloes, washed and picked over
250g sugar
Peel of an orange
Large jar.

Put everything into a large container and shake the jar to mix.
You will need to keep turning the jar for a few weeks until all the sugar disappears. then let the flavours continue to develop - about three months in all.
Finally strain the liquid through a muslin cloth and decant the nectar into bottles. Voila! It's Christmas! Chin chin!