Archive for September, 2012

September 28, 2012

Curls.

On Wednesday night, I had my hair straightened for the first time. At a lovely event at my local Space NK (about which I’ll talk more in another post next week!) I volunteered to be the guinea pig for their new straighteners and it wasn’t until I saw myself in the mirror that I really knew what it would look like.

It was an odd feeling really. You see, I was bullied at school. Not mercilessly, and by the time I’d got to high school it had pretty much gone, but it was enough to reduce me regularly to tears. And it was always about my hair. My mum, possessor of sleek straight brunette hair (apart from an unfortunate period of perming in the early nineties) never really knew what it was like to manage curls, and so would brush it out when it was dry. Which led to it being one eight foot wide mass of frizz, and provided the local bullies with an excellent target, either for words, or on a couple of memorable occasions, for chewing gum.

By the time I got to high school I’d worked out that if it was washed and left to dry on its own, the frizz died down to actual curls, so I rocked up to school with sopping wet hair on many a day, never quite having realised the value of a hairdryer and diffuser. To this day, I’m usually in so much of a rush to get out of the door, it’s still damp when I’m on the school run or waiting for the bus to work.

But it has also become one of the ways I suppose I define myself. If you asked me to describe what I look like, it’d be average. Average height. Average weight (give or take the odd cake) Average looks. Curly hair. Curly hair. The one thing that I hated about myself as a child has become the one way in which I’m more than average. For a moment, looking in that mirror, I wondered what it might have been like to have that straight hair as a child but then I’m sure they’d have found something else. I mean, curly hair  – it’s not exactly three eyes, is it? Not that I’m suggesting people with three eyes deserve bullying either, you understand. But perhaps any little thing that marks you out as being different, in however small a way, is enough. For me though, that little thing has turned into something, after many years of battle, that I rather like about myself.

So, although it was an interesting experience, it’s not one that I’m going to repeat. I like my curly hair now. It’s part of who I am. So there…

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September 26, 2012

Bill Cunningham New York

I finally managed to watch the ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ documentary this weekend. I’d been meaning to buy the DVD for a while, and then, joy of joys, I found it on Sky Anytime. I do sometimes think that on-demand TV has changed my life.

Anyway, onto Bill. What an incredible story and what an incredible man. I already knew of his legendary status as pretty much the world’s first street-style photographer but what I hadn’t appreciated was the utter single-minded way he approaches that life. Living in a tiny, bathroom-and-kitchen-free studio in the legendary Carnegie Hall (at the time of the documentary; all the artists have since been sadly evicted) his main furniture is rows of filing cabinets filled with the negative of every photo he has ever taken. And he’s taken a lot.

Working for decades on the streets of New York, photographing everyone from young hipsters to Lady Astor, Bill Cunningham has developed relationships with some of his subjects over many years. Even Anna Wintour says that people dress with Bill in mind. Although I firmly believe that every aspiring fashion blogger should be made to watch this documentary, we can all learn something from him, not just the people aiming to be the next Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist. Who is really emulating Bill Cunningham, it seems, anyway.

As someone who flits shamelessly from one interest to another, the completely blinkered approach he has to life is completely alien to me, and yet amazingly compelling. Even living in Manhattan, he has an ascetic, almost monastic life. Shunning other things such as fine food or music, or even interest in clothing for himself, (preferring to wear the same kind of blue jacket as the street cleaners) Cunningham rides his bike from one New York society event to another, photographing all evening. Then he’s up in the early hours of the next day, on the streets. In his own words, there are no short-cuts. Just many, many hours of graft.

Bill Cunningham. Photo from The New Yorker

That is something I can learn from. Putting in the hours, instead of expecting instant gratification, will be important as I think about what career moves I might want to make,

I was completely struck throughout the documentary by his decency. Parting company with  Women’s Wear Daily because he didn’t like the way they used his images to criticise people, he seems to be such a genuinely good person, believing that if you don’t take money from people, they cannot dictate to you – even if that means you have to walk away from work. He doesn’t use his images to mock or ridicule, but only to celebrate the joy that is fashion. In an industry that can be horribly bitchy, this is a wonderful truth.

I suppose he can be summed up by the words of the French Minister for Culture at the time he was presented with the Legion D’honneur in Paris. I’m paraphrasing, but the essence of his speech was that Bill really didn’t believe he deserved such awards, and that really summed up why he did deserve them. He credits his success to his subjects, rather than his own eye for style. Although on their own, his images are not considered iconic shots, as a chronicle of style, they cannot be bettered.

He is a very special character ( can you tell I’m half in love with him!) and I really do think, regardless of whether you’re interested in fashion or photography, you’d find something worth watching in this documentary.  It is heart-warming, funny, uplifting and poignant. I’d better get that DVD bought after all, I will be watching it again and again…

September 21, 2012

Blog North Awards

I had a post already planned for today. Probably. I’m almost sure that I had one planned. But instead I’m going to write about the Blog North Awards. New in 2012, they aim to celebrate the best in independent writing in Northern England and earlier this year, people were kind enough to put my blog forward to be considered for the shortlist.

It’s seriously flattering when someone thinks that what you do is good enough to be even considered for anything like this and so I was massively grateful. Then, the nerves started to kick in. What if it was a horrible mistake? What if I was laughed out of the room? What have I done, by putting this blog out into the world and allowing it to be scrutinised? I’m not especially thick-skinned, and by writing these words and pressing the ‘publish’ button I’m essentially opening myself up to criticism from the whole world every day.

I spent a lot of time since the original nominations went in mulling this over and in the end decided that whatever the result, the important thing is that I like what I write and that at least one other person must like it well enough to put me forward for an award. And that’ll do. Anything else is a bonus. Actually, all the comments I get here on the blog and the majority elsewhere, like through Facebook or Twitter, are really positive, and even my spam is hilariously supportive enough for me to consider keeping it! So I’m happy with that.

Yesterday, purely by chance I realised that my blog had been commended in the Best Personal Blog category. Not quite on the shortlist, but singled out for a special mention. Not laughed out of the room after all. And that feels like winning. Really and truly, it does. I even sat on the bed and had a little weep about it. I’ve only been writing this blog since May 2011 and it’s purely a hobby that I try to squeeze in between work, school and everything else, so this is an amazing result.

To those of you who put me forward to be considered, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Damn it, I’m crying again now. See what you’ve done? I jest. This is the most brilliant thing to ever happen to the blog and I’m massively grateful. I would never have plucked up the courage to put myself forward for consideration in a million years, because I’m dreadful at saying ‘I’m actually quite good at this, you know?’ You did that for me and that’s a wonderful feeling.

Now, I urge you all to go to the Blog North Awards shortlist and get reading and voting! I know I will. As soon as I’ve dried my eyes and had a restorative cup of tea…

September 17, 2012

Pennies for Piggies update

A while ago I wrote about a small charity founded by Sarah Brown called PiggyBankKids and our plans to support them with a coin collection, after being inspired by the fabulous DorkyMum and Blog4Charity. Well, the summer is over, and we have a full jar of coins to send off to as our little contribution.

And it is little, I know that. I’d hazard a guess that it’s only £20 or so – because it’s mostly coppers, collected in a jam jar, by a five and three year old. At first I was a bit embarrassed by how little we’ve managed to collect ( especially during our time away from home on holiday, where we collected nothing) but I’ve been thinking this over for a while and I’ve changed my mind.

The whole experience has been about far more than collecting a little jar of money. It has had lots of bigger learning experiences for us all. Firstly, it has taught my daughter a bit more about money. Over the summer, she’s started getting pocket money of her own, and we’ve introduced to her the idea that we’re not actually made of money after all (far from it!) and if she wants to buy all the toys she likes, then she had better start saving that pocket money up. Learning about how much things cost, and the value of things – deciding if she really, really wants something, is the start of her learning to manage her money far better than I ever did. She also does a couple of little jobs to earn this money – just helping to tidy up and making her bed, but again, important lessons.  Deciding how much to give her each week, to make sure that saving up for something doesn’t take so long the reward is lost, has been a good learning experience for me.

The other, equally important lesson has been that of charity. Learning a bit more about the wider world, about how other people and situations might need our help and how we can contribute to make things better, has been the main side effect of our little charity pot. We have talked about how some people are less fortunate than we are, and about how great it is that we can do a little bit to help make the world a better place. The fact that Eve knows and is very proud of being a premature and therefore tiny baby, means that she is very happy to help other little babies through PiggyBankKids. We’ve sponsored a child for a couple of years and now our daughter is old enough for us to start talking about him too, and what his life is like. Eve has also decided she’d like to sponsor a snow leopard, but I’m pretty convinced she’s been swayed by the cuddly toy – some things never change!

We’ll probably carry on collecting coppers in a jam jar too – it’s such a simple thing and one that the kids both enjoy and understand. And of course the next step  is sending this collection off to PiggyBankKids and showing my children that the money they’ve collected matters and will help someone else. A valuable lesson from a little jam jar, and something that doesn’t feel so much like the end of our charitable giving as a family, but like the beginning.

September 14, 2012

Blythe

So, I promised you a post about something other than gardening. This is very different. In fact, I’ve been deliberating about whether to write about it at all, because it feels a bit confessional. Deep breath. Here goes…

The other day, something happened by accident. I bought a doll. For myself.

It started when I was on Ebay looking for a toy ‘Mack’ truck from the Disney film ‘Cars’, which is somewhat elusive as its not available in shops now.  I’ve been battling with folk up and down the country bidding for one on Ebay. Thankfully, finally, I managed to acquire one. It was totally worth it to see the look on my little boy’s face. He’d been asking for one for a very long time! Anyway, while I was pootling around Ebay (in the toy section, obviously) I came across this doll. Now, I’ve loved Blythe dolls for ages – ever since I saw an article about them and realised that the dolls illustrating the article were wearing Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci and Vivienne Westwood. Westwood, for heaven’s sake…

But then, as usual, things and life took over and although I had a passing love for the dolls, I did nothing about it. Until a few weeks ago. Have you ever been on the internet and found yourself overtaken by events and somehow shopping for stuff you never intended to buy? Usually for me, it’s holidays. I get carried away booking holidays online and shrug my shoulders when I think about how on earth I might pay for them. It’s always worked out, more or less.

This time, I ended up buying a doll. Usually, the dolls are imported from Asia, in particular Japan, where the Junie Moon store lives. This doll was a mere hop over the Pennines. And she was customised. And that was it. I loved her straight away and, armed with money from my savings account ( so, please, don’t let the boiler blow up any time soon), I bought her.

The reaction is interesting. Half of the people I know, including my daughter, love her. The other half, including my husband, are less enamoured. She freaks them out. Its the eyes. My husband is convinced she’s going to kill him in his sleep, which obviously amuses me no end. I’m just waiting for the opportunity to somehow move her across the room in the night and then wake him up by clutching him, asking ‘Did you see that? She moved…’

What I’ve realised since immersing myself in the world of Blythe is that the dolls are merely a conduit to many other things. People customise them, make clothes, take photos. There are so many Flickr accounts for Blythe, they’re probably half the content! She’s the ideal model, given that she’s super photogenic and doesn’t pull faces, unlike my kids.

You may think I’m too old to play with dolls. Perhaps I am. I’m also too old to be bullied or ashamed for it too though. Play, in all forms, isn’t just for kids. From computer games to model railways, football to dance, many of us have hobbies that are ‘play’, and why shouldn’t we? How many of you have wrestled the Lego from your kids, going ‘ no, no, you’re doing it wrong, let’s do it like this‘? Most of us would admit, that to a greater or lesser degree, that we feel as though we’re faking this whole ‘adulthood’ thing anyway, so I say, lets all just admit it, and play a bit more.

My post the other day contained three things. A gas bill. A letter from the dentist. And a tiny,beautiful hand-sewn dress, bought from Etsy and sent all the way from Australia. I don’t care how old you are, post from abroad is exciting. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with images of horrible happenings we can do nothing about, where we’re told there are no jobs, everything is doom and gloom and there is seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel, a little escapism in the form of play is exactly what is needed.

Play: not just for kids…

September 12, 2012

My top ten plants for bees

So, I promised that I’d give you a list of my favourite plants for attracting bees. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but I’ve chosen plants that I really like, so not only the bees benefit! Bees prefer a relatively sheltered space, with sunshine. We’ve successfully grown a wildflower mix on the allotment and I’ve also decided to replant the small raised bed I have in the front garden with bee-friendly plants too.

There are a few points to bear in mind:

1 – It’s useful to have a variety of plants with different flowering seasons throughout the year, giving a longer period to support the bees.

2 – Local native flowers are better, which seems quite obvious really, as they share natural habitat. You don’t have to solely plant native species, but consider including them in your garden. Make sure that you get any native species from an approved supplier instead of collecting from the wild, obviously.

3 – Single flower varieties of cultivated plants are better than fancier double-flowered varieties.

4 – Weeds are a great source of food and habitat for many beneficial insects and pollinators, so if you’ve enough space to leave a patch wild, that’s always appreciated. You could go the whole hog and have a logpile too…

Lovely bee! Image from the super talented Abi Manifold.

My Favourite Plants for Bees – these are plants that I’ll be including in my planting either at home or on the allotment.

1 – Lavender. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ which is the one that you’ll think of as the ‘traditional’ type or Lavandula stoechas, which is French lavender, with the bracts at the top ( like a pair of bunny ears!)

2 – Sunflower – Any variety of Helianthus annus will be great. After this summer’s success, we’re definitely planting these on the allotment again.

3 – Hellebore –  Helleborus argutifolius or really any other type. I love Hellebores, they’re gorgeous plants that hide away often unnoticed in the garden. They’re perennials, so they don’t have to be replaced each year, and they’re in flower before almost anything else – which helps the pollinators in the colder months. Other early flowers include crocus and single varieties of snowdrop, which are also lovely – but look at my Hellebore!

Hellebore in my front garden.

4 – Dahlia. I adore Dahlias. The more flamboyant and day-glo the better. For the bees, however, we need less flamboyance and single varieties instead, such as ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ which is popular and well-established. So, I’ll include a few single varieties in my all-new-and-improved cutting patch on the allotment next year. The good thing about dahlia is that they’re flowering once many other things have gone to seed, so extending the season into early Autumn.

5 – BorageBorago officianalis. A pretty herb, the petals and young leaves of which can be frozen in ice cubes to serve in summer drinks. A win – win situation, I call that… Just be aware that this can self-seed and get a bit invasive if you don’t keep on top of it. I might grow mine in a separate bed on the allotment.

6 – Harebell. Campanula rotundifolia. This is the wild Harebell, so if I did grow it, I’d have to be sure that I got it from an approved supplier. I love this little wild flower – it’s the perfect example to me of something that might be called a ‘weed’ but is completely beautiful. Also, Plantlife named it the county flower of Yorkshire a while ago, so it seems fitting that I grow it.

7 – Comfrey – I keep this in a pot as it can go a bit mad and over take everything. Comfrey is also called knitbone  (something I learned in an old pony book as a child!) – and is used as a herbal remedy for problems with bones, muscles and bruising. It also makes a great, although stinky, high- potash plant food when the leaves are infused in a bucket of water. Again, a plant that benefits me alongside the pollinators.

8 – Mint.  I really recommend Mentha piperita ‘Black Peppermint’, it has a strong, quite powerful fragrance and taste, making it perfect for tearing up in a mug with hot water for peppermint tea. Far better than the dried out sachets you can buy. Mint can also be invasive, but if you keep it alone, don’t put it in too small a pot, it’ll just be unhappy. Give it plenty of room.

9 – Apple – Malus domestica Hurrah! Bees love apples too. A great excuse for me to finally get that last space in my row of cordoned trees filled with another old English variety of apple. I’m thinking a cooking variety this time. For pies, obviously…

10 – Jasmine. Jasminum officinale We have a giant plant of this outside the front of our house and it smells incredible – I’ve already told you how I bring it into the house. The bees love it too. They must be as attracted to the fragrance as I am.

So, there we have it. My list of ten plants I will be growing to attract the bees – as well as use as cutting flowers or for eating! It’s important to choose the right plant for the right place, considering your soil type and the exposure to the wind, for example. The Royal Horticultural Society have a big list of both cultivated varieties and wild flowers that will attract pollinators, so do go to their website and have a look.

I’ve just realised that this blog has got very gardening-heavy recently. I will blog about different things soon, I promise!

September 10, 2012

Burgon and Ball Trowel: a review.

Since spending more time on the allotment, I’ve come to realise that gardening tools are a bit like kitchen tools. There are a lot of fancy gadgets to spend your money on, but you’re more likely to rely on a few well-made and carefully chosen pieces of kit.  My beloved Felco secateurs definitely fall into this category. I never go to the allotment without them. I’ve been a bit short on other tools though, and so I’m really grateful for this beautiful new trowel courtesy of Notonthehighstreet.com.

Designed by Sophie Conran for Burgon and Ball, it’s one of a complete range of hand tools designed to fit women’s hands – they’re slightly smaller, with a slimmer handle.  It has a curving back, which just looks like a design, but actually it really helps stop you losing soil off the back of the trowel, so it’s practical too. It’s reassuringly weighty (but not overwhelmingly so), demonstrating its nice quality. I’m already really enjoying using it, and look forward to the  beechwood handle developing the warm patina of many years of use. All the tools in the range come individually packaged in a lovely blue box, and would make such a nice gift.

Photo from Notonthehighstreet.com

I’ve been really impressed with Notonthehighstreet.com‘s range of products. They have an extensive range of gifts for all the different people in your life, many of which are hand-made in this country by craftspeople; a great way to support small businesses. The standard is really high, I’ve loved everything I’ve bought from there in the past, which has mostly been jewellery as gifts. In fact the only problem with the site is the amount of choice, which means it takes ages for me to decide!

Now that the Autumn term has started at school, my thoughts are already turning to Christmas (there, I said it) and it’s the perfect place to look for unusual, often personalised, presents. I’ve already seen a few things that would be great for my kids so I’ll be back soon.

With many thanks to Notonthehighstreet.com for providing me with the gorgeous trowel to review.

September 7, 2012

A Patch of Green

Last night, after tea, my husband announced that we should all go for a walk on the Valley. To a chorus of groans and calls for one more episode of Scooby Doo, he insisted. And, he was right. It was a glorious evening. We took our ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ football (a top quality piece of kit!), and walked through the grass paths of Primrose Valley to the playing fields where we ran about and played.

The photo I took at the end of our time there really does sum up how lovely it was, even though it’s somewhat rose-tinted through an Instagram filter.

When we think of the great outdoors, we may think of the National Parks, which for me means the Yorkshire Dales or the North York Moors. We think of beautiful and protected landscapes. Those are the jewels in the crown of our national, natural environment. And rightly so. But I would argue that they are not the green spaces that make the most difference. What makes the most difference to people is green space on our doorstep, close enough to where we live for it to form part of our everyday lives and not just be part of a special occasion or to see en route to the coast. This, proven to have positive effects on both our physical and mental health, can be sadly lacking in less wealthy areas. People are too scared to use green spaces, or they’re just not used to the idea that time spent outdoors, just for the sake of a walk or run about in the fresh air, can be great.

When I posted my photo, people commented on how perfect it looked. I blame my use of Instagram for that. It’s not perfect. There is litter, people let their dogs use it as a toilet around the edges, and yes, there can be the odd bout of anti-social behaviour (and here isn’t the place for looking at the deeper causes of that).

But it’s also one of the reasons we wanted to live here. It’s a giant, often underused, patch of wild green space in the city. Thankfully it has a small committed band of volunteers working to keep it looking as good as it does. I love it here. And we’ll be back again after tea another day…

Where is your favourite patch of green space? Is there one close to where you live? I’d love to know…

September 5, 2012

Neal’s Yard Remedies: Bee Lovely shower gel review

The minute my Neal’s Yard Remedies Bee Lovely shower gel arrived my daughter pounced on it, asking ‘Is this for me to share?’ Somewhat begrudgingly, I agreed. She’s been frightened of using the shower, preferring the calmness of a bath, and I thought this might be the thing to make her brave enough to give the shower a try.

I was right. She was in there for ages…

The Neal’s Yard Remedies Bee Lovely hand cream has been such a success that they’ve expanded the range to include this gorgeous honey, orange and mandarin shower gel (which can also be used in the bath but don’t tell my daughter, or we’ll be having a water shortage again) as well as a body lotion, hand wash and a multi-purpose balm. All of these are gentle enough to be used from age three upwards, which is why I’ve had to relinquish sole ownership of the shower gel. The citrus fragrance is uplifting without being too strong and used in the shower, makes for the perfect energy boost. The wake-me-up start to the day I need! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get to use it again, because it’s rapidly become Eve’s favourite too…

As well as being gorgeous to use, 5% of the retail price of all of this range goes to support the Bee Lovely campaign and help fund a number of the charitable partners that Neal’s Yard Remedies are working with. They’re also working with Project Dirt to provide grant funds to projects working in support of bees – so if you think you might be eligible, do take a look (the deadline for applications is 30th September)

One thing that everyone can do to support their campaign is sign the petition, which needs 100,000 signatures by 30th November 2012. I really do urge you to do this, because it’s not an overstatement to say that bees and other pollinators are vital to our survival. A third of the average diet is pollinated by bees and so their disappearance would have disastrous consequences.

Earlier this year we sowed wild flowers that we got through the Friends of the Earth Bee Cause (one of the charity partners), and the brilliant little booklet that Neal’s Yard Remedies sent out to us has lots of facts and pictures. Eve has gone from being really nervous of bees to being fascinated about them, and she is already planning what we’ll grow on the allotment next year to encourage them to return. Once we’ve decided which plants to grow, I’ll share my top ten flowers for bees here on the blog. If you want to know more about why bees are so vital, do have a look at my previous post about the Neal’s Yard Bee Lovely campaign and I urge you once again to get involved, perhaps buy one of the lovely products or plant some seeds and sign the petition.

With huge thanks to Neal’s Yard Remedies for sending me the lovely shower gel to review.

September 3, 2012

RHS Harlow Carr: a guest blog

I love RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate, it’s a absolute joy, but I’ve not had the chance to visit for a while. Happily, my wonderful friend Dawn Jackson has just been and she’s agreed to be my very first Guest Blogger! Hurrah!

So, on that note, and with a little drumroll, I’ll hand you over to Dawn…

We visited Harlow Carr gardens on Sunday and took some photos of the flowers.   I’d love to tell you what plants these are but I didn’t make a note of the names.  I took the photo because I liked the vivid colours and the variety of insects that buzzed around them.   The picture is taken from the view that my four year old had as he rambled about fiddling with flower heads and looking for spiders.  Like most parents of young children I spend a lot of time on my knees or crouching down at kid’s eye level.  It’s the best view of herbaceous borders because I feel like I’m amongst the plants.

There’s a lot to see in these gardens.  We generally stroll around the veggie gardens in the summer and sniff the sweetpeas.  My son nibbles on a few raspberries.   I like the structure of the veggie patch.  The gardeners use hazel and willow to support the climbers which creates a homely, organic look.  The shapes of the veg beds are charming.  For anyone who grew up with a parent or grandparent who kept a garden, or who grows their own, wandering amongst them is like a favourite story gradually unfolding.  Cheery rhubarb, sunny sunflowers, spiky gooseberries, runner-beans, beetroot and scrambling peas amongst many others jostling for space, light and room and doing their very best.

Then we like to re-fuel at Betty’s in the centre of the garden.  Pink lemonade, ginger beer and cakes or ice-cream.  On Sunday the RHS had laid on a brass band.  We sat and ate and drank and listened to the cheerful ‘ Floral Dance’ (my mum used to have the 45 of Terry Wogan’s version).  I wondered if I could be anywhere that was more ‘English’, and then it rained.

Our next stop is usually at the play area under the trees, which is lovely if it’s a hot day, and a long stop at the log maze to run round and round and clamber up onto the platform and wave and jump.

We came across two new elements to the garden this year.  The introduction of a tree house and a collection of oversized outdoor instruments in the woodland garden. Both are magical.  The tree house is like something from a fairy tale or Robin Hood.  It’s only possible to conclude that every garden should have a tree house.  Discovering the musical instruments was exciting.  They blend beautifully into their setting in the woods and even when played tunelessly they are placed in such a big space it feels and sounds fitting amongst the natural rustling of the trees.

These gardens are not attached to a house or a home.  I found that odd initially.  I imagine they are designed as a demonstration of what planting can achieve in a variety of settings.  They achieve that magnificently and gloriously.  All of the elements of a domestic garden are present however (admittedly on a grander scale) and the space is well loved and well cared for.  It’s a pleasure to visit, relax and enjoy the whole sensory experience.  One day I’d like to take more photos and learn the names of the plants…