Posts tagged ‘Autumn’

November 14, 2013

Workspace: BEDN #14

I’m really fortunate to have a great employer, one who understands that life is complicated and flexibility is key to maintaining a happy workforce. I’m also lucky in that I really like my job. I’ve made many of my closest friends at work, who have seen me through highs and lows and been there through many of the really important moments in my life.

One of the ways in which my employment is flexible is that I’m allowed to work from home, which means that I get to stay tucked up in our cosy new flat instead of trudging into the office. On those days, though I miss the office chat, I do get to spend my day surrounded by the pretty views from the windows.

Autumnal trees

I find myself peering out the window staring at the trees on a daily basis. There are squirrels playing, little blue tits dancing along branches and magpies pinching insects. And that’s before I’ve even started looking at the little green over the road, with dog walkers, tai chi practitioners, wedding parties coming out of the church. It’s better than telly. Which is good, because we don’t have a telly…

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November 16, 2012

Cox and Cox Bud Vases

One of the good things about de-cluttering is that I am finally finding space to display beautiful things. Like these delicate little glass bud vases from Cox and Cox that I was kindly given from the lovely folk atNotOnTheHighStreet.com.  I’ve had them a while, but because of their fragile nature and small stature, I’ve resisted putting them out on display. Firstly because I was worried about breaking them, but also because they’d get lost amongst the clutter! Small things need space to shine and I’ve finally got that, after lots of work tidying up.

I have a set of eight, two each of the four different colours shown in the photo; Atlantic Deep, Dark Olive, Soft Mole and Iron. I think the colours are perfect for this time of year and they all look great against the plain grey walls of my bedroom or in my sitting room by the fire.

I love having little displays of seasonal flowers on my bedside table and on the fireplaces in my bedroom and in the sitting room, and these jewel coloured little vases will be perfect for bringing a bit of sparkle to the room over the winter, before they are used for tiny posies of the first spring flowers. They look especially lovely placed alongside candles, so the flickering glow of the light reflect the colours and bring a bit of warmth to the colder months.

Cox and Cox Bud Vases. Photo from Notonthehighstreet.com

If you could bear to part with these, they’d make a great gift for someone, either the whole eight in the box for Christmas or a couple wrapped up as a little thank you gift. I’ll be keeping mine in my bedroom, where I will be able to appreciate them at their fullest, lined up along my bedroom fireplace…

With many thanks to NotOnTheHighStreet.com for sending me these lovely vases to review. 

October 11, 2011

An Autumnal Sunday.

I love a lazy Sunday at this time of year. This Sunday in particular, summed up what I love to do.

After a breakfast of Pimhill porridge (thank you Abel and Cole) with a drizzle of maple syrup courtesy of my lovely friend who lives in Canada, I pulled on my boots and went off to the allotment, leaving the kids in their PJs to spend a little time with their Dad ( and to have a lovely bit of peace and quiet myself!)

At this time of year, it’s time to take down the beans of the summer and get ready for autumnal planting of garlic and over-wintering onions.

Dwarf French Beans

In truth, I should have taken down the bean frames a while ago, but partly from sheer laziness and partly because I know that the beans fix nitrogen into the soil, I have left them there to dry up before pulling them out. I’ve grown runner beans every year on the allotment. They’re really easy to grow and I love the way they look, scrambling up their bamboo wigwams, but really, I’m not very fond of eating them. I much prefer the more temperamental and difficult to grow French bean, which this year, I’ve had more success with than previously.  I sowed three different dwarfing varieties directly into one of my new raised beds and they grew like mad, so next year I think more French beans and fewer runner beans – if I bother to grow any at all. A lesson of allotment gardening – grow what you like to eat!

So, the beans came out on Sunday morning, then I did a little digging to get the ground ready for garlic (Thermidrome) and onions (Radar), which have just been delivered from the lovely people at Tamar Organics.

Onion sets and garlic for planting

After a little digging (not too much, the joy of raised beds) and some lunch it was time for one of our family ‘Nature Walks’, which we like to do every so often to get everyone outside, away from the TV and enjoying the outdoors.

We are lucky enough to live near several large green spaces, including Temple Newsam estate, which has woods and parkland as well as formal gardens, a playground and the all-important team room! We walked through the woods, looking for sweet chestnuts, conkers and acorns and walking through the rustling autumn leaves, although it wasn’t long before the kids decided they were tired so I cheered them up with a few sweets each, then we set off for home. The trick to the family Nature Walk is knowing when they’ve had enough, and for my kids who are only 2 and 4, that’s obviously not a very long time!  Little and often feels like the best way to keep their interest. That, along with a bit of imagination to help make up stories, a bit of knowledge so you can answer questions about what they have found and a bag of sweets…

For dinner I made my very first cheese soufflé, for one of my 35:35 Challenges; more on that next time. Then we spent a quiet evening curled up on the sofa with a pile of books and magazines, and a spot of TV. A lovely way to spend a Sunday.

September 13, 2011

Autumn: A new start

I love the changing of the seasons. One of the best things of living in Britain is that we still have distinct seasons, bringing different foods, activities, and changes to our natural environment. Autumn is one of my favourite times of year. Partly because it’s the time for apple harvesting,watching the leaves turn colour and sitting on the sofa under a cosy blanket, but also because it means a new start. Although Spring is the usual time for us to think about new beginnings, I think Autumn, with it’s memories of new school terms (and new books, blank white pages of paper and fresh pens) is a great time to think about what is coming next.

For me, it’s looking forward to the lovely run up to Christmas, with Apple Day, Halloween, Bonfire Night and Eve’s birthday all to come before then. Now that I’ve completed one of the biggest physical challenges of my 35:35 Challenge, it’s time to take stock. I have got a long way to go to make all 35 and not all of them can be as brutal as Yorkshire 3  Peaks or I might not make it. So my thoughts are turning to challenges based around the gentle arts – baking, making, and craft-type activities that seem to suit the early days of Autumn.

‘Katy’ apples on my allotment

As the recent winds have given me rather too many windfall apples, I won’t be able to keep them for eating, so apple recipes are needed for a start.

I also have a desire to learn some new crafts – I am very good at thinking up ideas, but pretty awful at completing things. I can spend hours dreaming over Jane Brocket’s book, ‘The Gentle Art of Domesticity’, (or actually all her books and blog, I think she’s wonderful) but I rarely make anything – apart from endless baking with Eve, sometimes from Jane’s book ‘Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer’, which, in a work of genius, combines food and children’s literature – two of my favourite things!

Anyway, I digress. In order to complete a few ‘gentle’ challenges, I am looking for a teacher. I hope to attempt a bit of crochet, perhaps knitting, who knows? So I’m on the hunt for people to teach me some of these things. To start with though, I’m going to try to find a simple dressmaking pattern and use some of my old Liberty fabric to make something!

If you’ve got any fantastic apple recipes, simple dressmaking patterns or other Autumnal loveliness let me know!