Monday 15 April 2013

It's about time...

Well if there's one good thing about spending hours hanging around in hospitals it the time to think. And there's nowhere better to remind you of what's important in life.  I know it's a common problem (and one I've blogged about before) but I do sometimes often feel like I'm trying to spin too many plates at once and dropping more than I'm spinning.
So, I decided the do the right thing and close my little shop for a couple of months. I'll still be taking some commissions but I need to re-group (with myself!) and make some room in my head for future creative projects. Small business suicide? maybe!
Speaking of hospitals I'm happy to say that the operation to sort Kenzie's ear out seemed to go as well as could be hoped for - we'll get the results when we go back in a couple of weeks time. He was as brave as ever, and soon asking for lucozade and a biscuit boost (it's become a bit of a tradition) 
Meanwhile I was on a fasting day and could quite happily have eaten my own arm!

The very same week I was asked if I would like to review a clock! How appropriate.
(is it the retail gods telling me my business is on 
borrowed time??!!)
Now, I bloomin' love clocks.
I have a pinterest board dedicated to my favourites.
Here are some of the clocks currently adorning the walls at home...
the big back one in the lounge:
 the little white one on the mantelpiece
four more from various rooms...
and a boys clock
 Who could refuse to try out a clock?

It duly arrived in the post and I was more than a little happy to see it was a 'Newgate' clock.

I've always loved their designs - the black one in the collage above is actually hanging in our utility room. It no longer works after it was knocked off the wall one too many times 
(probably by a football!) 
so was moved from it's place in the kitchen.
I couldn't bare to throw it out!

I decided to have a look see and find out why the company was called Newgate - I didn't find out but I DID find a lovely story. 

The company is owned by Jim and Chloe Read who met on a blind date when they were 21 and 18. They had set up their company within 6 weeks of meeting and ran it from a tiny room in their flat.
 They secured orders from their first trade fair in 1991 and now have a range of 350 selling in places like Selfridges and John Lewis and employ 28 people in their Shropshire based business.What a brilliant British success story.
(they also have a collection of vintage clocks in their home - many of which don't work, so I'm in good company)

Anyway - I got side tracked. 
Look at this beauty - right up my street.
 However - I already have a fairly strict waking up routine, which involves this little number
 which comes on at 6.30am (I'm a fan of Radio 4's today programme - how does that happen?) and I actually get up at 7.30 (fully informed!) 

But there's someone in the house who struggles to wake up each and every morning...
So I decided to road test the beautiful clock on him!

I can confirm that not only does it look beautiful, it wakes you up! The ring isn't as loud as I expected from the traditional bell clock (it has a real hammer) which is probably a good thing. We don't want to be waking next door's teens too.
It's a straightforward alarm clock, easy to use 
and lovely to look at. 

The obvious downside of these kind of clocks is that the alarm is either on...or off! But I find my boy is either awake...or not. 
And I need to know that he's awake, not snoozing to some kind of youth music! I need to know he can hear the alarm clock!! 
(I just need to remind him to switch it off on Sunday.)

On the creative front I have 2 things to show and tell.
One is late - it's my Easter tree!

I couldn't bear to hang the bunnies from their necks - so I pierced a hole in their ears with a tapestry needle!

The little cousins staying in our house while we were on our hols saved us 3 bunnies for our 3 boys. I ate them. 
(feel better for fessing!)

The other share is the new door decor. This time some simple crochet flowers on the old heart, hung on twine.

Rubbish photo - but you get the idea! 

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Easter Hols part 2...Devon


favourite road in town
After we'd eaten our way around Cornwall we travelled round the corner to Salcombe, south Devon. It's one of our favourite areas in the world and we always plan our own 'escape to the country' while we're down there. 
 This time last year we shared a week with my blogging pal Cuckoo and her family...and had so much fun we decided to make it an annual event. Our 8 boys all get on well...leaving us to find time to catch up, indulge in some precious hooky and eat cake.
The weather was a teeny bit warmer - but I wouldn't go as far as to call it 'spring like'.
At least we had some sun.  
Most of the time we looked like this:
happily windswept!!
                          This year we stayed in a house on Coronation Road  - nice and toasty, really comfortable, reasonably priced and very close to the town (and our Mates!)

You couldn't see the sea from your seat - but you could spot it from the window!
The week was spent;
 We also ate a fair amount of Easter chocolate...
 ...and despite it being the Easter holidays we still found some nice quiet spots for lunch:
Mill Bay cove, East Portlemouth
We took a trip to local village Modbury - and found a shop 
selling wool (happy days)

With which I made another cowl!!
       We had a looooong walk to National Trust property Overbecks House
(it started snowing just as we got there 
but the view was still good)
 It looked like a lovely place for a mooch -but after sitting nicely for the cream tea we were on borrowed time with restless boys. We did manage a little look at the vintage toys
 (including original blocks!)
 When we took the tractor ferry home 
we were SO cold we didn't care what we looked like!!!
(Cuckoo managed to knit on this boat - she's hardcore man!)

We also spent a fair amount of time on the SW Coastal path - it really is amazing scenery. It's 630 miles long in total and goes all the way round the coast from Somerset to Dorset. We've been on lots of different parts of it over the years - and it never fails to deliver. This time we walked from East Portlemouth to Gara Rock
 GB found a little piece of sea glass 
and found a carrying stick for it:
Our last night was spent in a family favourite 'The Winking Prawn' on South Beach. It's very boy friendly (huge trunk of dressing up clothes and very patient staff!) and serves good food. Not to mention the fact it's on a beach.
 After a hearty breakfast at Island Street we said a teary goodbye and set off back up North to real life.

And as if to confirm just that, our #2 Kenzie goes into hospital tomorrow for, what we HOPE is the last time. I can't believe it's a year since I wrote this full circle post (how?!) but anyway, that operation actually failed - so we're back again for another try. As always, we are incredibly grateful for the fact that our visits are now so very routine.
fee x
(this time I will NOT be going down to collect him...finding myself passed out on a trolley ONCE was ONCE too often!!! your turn Cleggy)
ps Laura Burrows...I tried REALLY hard to find a way to contact you about the blocks after your previous comment - but you are a 'no reply' blogger so I had no way of tracking you down :(

Sunday 7 April 2013

Easter Hols part 1 - Cornwall

When Cleggy was offered some work in Cornwall, which happened to fall in (2 of) the boy's school holidays, we jumped at the chance. Our cottage for the week was just south of Falmouth - a coastline dotted with beautiful beaches walkable from the front door.                           We very nearly didn't make it as the 7 hour journey down included serious snow drifts (the sort that suddenly make the inside lane of the motorway unusable), hail, freezing fog and a fair amount of wind. 
Needlesstosay the cream tea laid out for arrival went down very well.

The cottage was called 'An Laity' (Cornish for Dairy) and was over 400 years old. It was pretty and quaint - but man it was cold! We huddled round the log burner like it was the middle of winter. The owners were really friendly and made us all feel welcome.
While Cleggy was working we did very little (so he didn't feel like he'd missed out) but it was only for 2 days. 
His second day was in Porthleven - a lovely little village half an hour away. We tried to play on the beach but it was teeth chattering weather, so took to a lovely cafe called SeadriftWe We would have stayed for tea but they were fully booked - on a miserable Tuesday evening - must be good!

Falmouth itself was nice for a gentle mooch - and the snow MADE us take cover in another lovely place - Dolly's tea room and wine bar
You know when you are met by a festive twig covered in vintage china and a dog wearing a string of pearls that you're going to feel right at home...
I might go as far as to say it is in my top 5 favourite cafes of all time! We shared a selection of cake and tea - the best being a lavender treacle tart (with clotted cream, natch)
 In the evening they have live entertainment at the piano and serve cocktails from vintage teapots...bliss.
The rest of the time was spent walking the South West coastal path, in search of good rock pooling and good food. We found plenty of both.
Our favourite cafe was on Gylly beach:
closely followed by a sunny walk to The cove on Maenporth Beach.
The boys were pleased to reach the beach...
we were pleased to reach out for a cold glass! 
(and a posh fish finger sandwich!)
Evenings were spent in front of the fire
(Nice photo Kenzie!)
 blanket on knees like the old people we are!
playing the odd game of cards

and indulging in some crafty making....I pimped some jeans
(the floral fabric is a cheap pair of knickers from the local Asda - great for behind the knee patches as it has stretch!!)
...and a pair of leg warmers
 I love them - but the ripped jean/leg warmer combo made Cleggy hum Bros songs to wind me up. 
It did!
I also made a MAAASSSSIVE cowl for him - then decided I liked it for me so declared it a shared cowl.
We always have a chippy tea on the night before going home and Good Friday was deserving of a treat - so we headed to Rick Steins 'Fish'. It was DE.flamin.licious.
 We all loved the little stretch of Cornwall we saw - although I don't think we saw it in it's best light. Despite being well prepared (for once) with lots of layers and hats/gloves it was just too cold to spend much time anywhere other than indoors. 
The following day we moved on round the corner to Devon - photos to follow.
Fee x