Thursday, 9 July 2015

Home::The Hallway

Last weekend, in a flurry of enthusiasm, I started painting!

The hallway was looking dirty, cluttered and was a constant mess. Plus I had never really liked the colour of the front door. It is also the first area I see when I come back after a long day at work and it did not make me glad to be home! It seemed obvious that this is where I should start.

The door was pretty easy and I still, a week later, get a thrill when I arrive home and see that beautiful colour. It looks blue in this picture but it takes on a definite grey hue on darker days. I love colours that do that. In the spirit of celebration I made a wreath from my jasmine plant - it has gone wild this year and has covered my back fence. It is a bit wonky but the scent is stunning.

Then I came inside. For a long time we have had a practical but ugly shoe box. It worked well for the children and gave them a space to put on their shoes and somewhere for me to store them after they had kicked them off left them in the middle of the floor. Plus we got it extremely cheaply at the ubiquitous IKEA. The orange pine, however, broke my poor heart. It is totally amazing the difference a coat of paint can make. Now I am constantly in the hallway faffing about with a blanket or a cushion and styling my new favourite area...this may not be the last time you see this area!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


How beautiful are these flowers? My garden is so lovely at the minute and these flowers came from there. I can't tell you how much pleasure they are giving me.

July is a month of two halves - the start of July can be hectic as the school year comes to a close and then, suddenly we can let go of routines and there is space to breathe. So what will July bring?

* I am determined to work hard on my summer project of redecorating the house. I have made a start (which I will post about later in the week) and I am already feeling happier with our home.
* This month sees Finn leaving primary school. He is really ready to move on and the new challenges ahead - I am not sure I can say the same about me! We have, as a family, been at the same school for 15 years and it will be so strange not to have day to day contact with the school. I am so thankful to the teachers and ethos of a school that has nurtured not only my children's brains but also their hopes and dreams. What a great start they have had!
* July for me is also the start of my summer holiday - a true blessing of being a teacher is the six weeks of freedom from routine. I want to use the time to recuperate, think and grow. I love how I have the opportunity to reflect on the way I live and to make sure that I continue to focus on the important value of simplicity.
* July is the time of picnics - I am especially inspired by this picture! It reminds me of the beach picnic we had last year in Ireland. Time to plan a new one...
* Mostly though July is going to be about relaxing and unwinding, taking care of our health and happiness.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Home:: decorating

Do you ever post photos of a beautifully arranged corner and know that just out of shot there is chaos? I do it all the time and it does make me smile. I think it must be a blogging skill, to be able to focus on the tiny whilst ignoring what is not beautiful.

We have been in our house for over 15 years now. That is such a long time. When we moved in we did a flurry of decorating and made big changes to the house. Now though she is looking a little tired - carpets are worn, walls are a little bashed (teenagers seem to have trouble knowing where their bodies begin and end) and despite my constant decluttering we still have too much STUFF. I am declaring this summer the summer of decorating - our old home needs a facelift. Meanwhile I focus on the tiny corners of loveliness...

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Life :: Lately

June is such a busy month for us - it is full of birthdays, trips to pick up uni kids and of course it is exam season. This year is also Finn's last year at primary school and we have been ticking off the lasts; last summer fayre, last sports day, last school performance and all too soon it will be the levers service which is always emotional.

For years now late May and early June has meant exams. It is a time when my big ones need mothering again and we are busy with soothing words, nutritious meals and suggestions of early bed times. It is a time of high pressure and the house has felt a little off balance. We were all happy when they finished!

We have been managing to have fun too - I had a birthday trip to Gifford's Circus which was as brilliant as always. This year we went to a performance at Blenheim Palace which offered an amazing setting for the circus. Tragically my camera was really playing up - I could not get the light setting right and so my photos of the show are a mess.
After the show we ate in their travelling restaurant which was amazing. the food was just so good - lovely fresh ingredients and interesting. Finn declared the bread the best he had ever tasted! It was also a beautiful place to eat - why wouldn't food taste great when you are eating under canvas, jugs of wild flowers on the table and pretty lights twinkling? It all just adds to my dreams of running away to the circus...

I have been a much more diligent instagrammer  recently; do follow me there if you don't already.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Cook::Cheese Scones

One of our favourite lunches when we are on holiday or at the weekend is cheese scones. They hold memories of when Finn was a toddler and we would make these after he had been to his gym class. We eat them warm, straight from the oven with butter and a little salad. Based on a very old Delia Smith recipe, I can now do these from memory. They are very quick and easy and can go from idea to on the table in about half an hour.


150g SR flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
Some snipped chives (optional but pretty)
Good pinch salt
25g butter
75g cheese (cheddar) grated
1 egg
2-3 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 425F or 220C

1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and mustard.
2. Rub the butter into the flour mix until you have a breadcrumb texture.
3. Next stir in 2/3 of the cheese.
4.In a jug mix together the egg and the milk. Stir that mixture into the flour until it all comes together. Sometimes te mixture feels a little wet = I simply add more flour at this point or use plenty when I'm rolling the mixture out.
5. Roll the mixture out to a depth of about 2cm. Sometimes I just form the mixture into one large round or we use the cutter for a more delicate scone.
6. Place the scones on a baking tray and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese. I do this on the tray so that stray bits of cheese get baked and I get them all melted and gooey as a cooks perk when they come out.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes on a high shelf.
8. Serve as soon as they are cool enough to handle with plenty of butter. They are not a health food...