Thursday, 30 October 2014

Oh, the joy of summer!

Sunday was the end of British Summer Time and the return to Greenwich Mean Time. In real terms that means the beginning of the winter months, the colder days, the darker nights....not really my favourite time of the year, to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with crisp, dry days, especially if there's a bit of sunshine thrown in too! But living in the UK usually means many a dull, grey and wet day, with ever colder temperatures that never seem to end....ah, but at least there is Christmas to look forward to. 

This year I marked the end of summer by swimming in the sea!! Don't worry, I haven't gone completely mad! We spent the first half of our school holiday in one of my favourite places in the world – Puerto Pollensa in the north of Mallorca.

For those of you who don't know, Mallorca is the biggest of the three Balaeric Islands situated in the Mediterranean Sea and belonging to Spain.

On Sunday, the sun was shining brightly, the temperature happily in the mid 20's (Celsius of course!) and we had lots of fun 'en famille' playing on the beach and in the sea.

Hmmm, good memories to hold onto in the dark days of winter. So, I was thinking back over the last few months and wondering what other summer pleasures I shall remind myself of when I need brightening up....

**Sitting on a bench in the Abbey Churchyard eating my lunch and listening to the hubbub of tourists waiting in a LONG line to get into the Roman Baths. There's a busker in the middle of the square playing flamenco guitar and there are children excitedly chasing the pigeons eagerly waiting for food scraps. The sun is shining. 

**Lazing on a sunny Sunday afternoon, lying on a blanket, watching the clouds and listening to a brass band play in the park bandstand. Especially when it's Mendip Brass Band!

**The laughter of children playing in water - either at home, splashing in the paddling pool or running through the water sprinkler or on holiday, gaining confidence jumping into the pool.

**The smell of freshly mown grass.

**Using our patio as an extra dining room. I LOVE eating outside!

**The simplicity of salad for lunch and dinner - every day!! 

**And the challenge to eat your ice cream before it melts in the sunshine.

**Picking & eating strawberries until there are none left. My dad has a strawberry patch in his garden & I've picked strawbs there every year for as long as I can remember. It's so lovely to do it with my children now.

**Music: at the brilliant Cock and Bull Festival, listening to new music, meeting old friends, crazy Sunday morning dancing, crochet on the move....

And in the square in Pollensa, a fabulous rumba band enthralling everyone, especially my children!

**The sound of thunder crashing overhead whilst the rain beats on the roof? Not so much when you're in a tent!! But once passed, the storm usually brings clearer skies and a unique freshness.

**The feeling of hot sand in your toes as you walk along the beach listening to the waves crash on the shore. Oh yes, every time!! 

Hmmmm, lovely warm memories. I wonder, what does summer mean for you?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Me? Crazy?!

I love my friends, I really do! I especially love the ones - you know who you are - who, on receiving a slightly random request in a text message from me on a Friday afternoon, just smile to themselves and delve around in their recycling box hoping to help me out in my randomness! Yes, I'm like that. And my friends are like that too! Thank you.

Let me explain....

Next weekend I'm organising (or perhaps I should say 'curating' according to the new buzz word on organising events!) an Afternoon Tea Party for a friend's 40th birthday. I'm gathering vintage crockery & tablecloths, baking cakes, working out exactly how many sandwiches we'll need and just where I'm going to store the numerous tissue pom-poms required to decorate the space, as well as furiously making bunting and worrying about whether there will be enough food, and and and...the list goes on.

But on Friday I decided I needed to work out the easiest - and cheapest - way to put a few flowers on each table. Glasses, maybe. Spice jars, too small. Jam jars, maybe. In a flash I realised the answer - tin cans, covered in tissue paper with an added paper doiley! Yippee! Simple, yet pretty and pretty much cost-free. Provided I could find some cans of course!! My friends really are ace - I managed to get 8 out of the 12 needed and have now procured the rest!

Here's what I've done with them....

Start with a clean tin can, outside paper removed.

Pick your favourite colour of tissue paper and cut a piece to size.

I think for these cans the paper needed to be 110 x 250mm

Take your can and cover it in PVA glue. Carefully place the tissue paper on the can. Line it up with either the top or the bottom and smooth it around the can.

Once in place, paint some more PVA over the top of the paper to add a varnish. Allow to dry.

Next, take your paper doiley and cut it in half.

Carefully put some PVA onto the outside of the can & place the doiley on top. Smooth into place. 


Leave to dry, then add some flowers and water. 


Now I'm off to count how many vintage plates I have in my garage...