Thursday, 23 July 2015

Off To The Sea...

Hello Folks...the summer holidays are here at last!
I'm taking a blog break, we are off to Brighton tomorrow for a little holiday! I'm packing my wellies as it sounds like it might be a bit on the wet side, but I can't wait to see the sea again! If I can, I will post a little over on is over on the sidebar.
My new crochet blanket is coming with me. I was asked weeks ago to make a baby blanket (she will have left home, if I don't get a wriggle on!). I'm using Deramores Studio DK, the colours are fab and it's so easy to crochet with.
Back soon, with tales to tell...and hopefully at least a few sunny pictures!
Amanda :) xxx


Monday, 20 July 2015

Weekend Summed Up...

An afternoon chat, heart poured out. Difficult times, for a very close friend.
Sunflowers from another, to say thank you.
Prom dresses to match wardrobes.
Leavers Prom. She looked beautiful, sweet. Eleven years not a day older, refreshing. An excited daughter, an emotional Mum!
Traumatised cat, locked all night in garden studio. Poo. Wee. Tattered rug.
Gin from a friend to say...enjoy your studio..I will, cheers!
Gardening, there's meditation in watering plants.
Friendly cats.
Good food.
Unfinished projects...!!!
Two falls, bruised and battered. Retreated under my Happy Blanket. It took a while to work.
How's your weekend been?
Amanda :) xxx


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Thank You Mum...

My Mum never had very much, she was always on the cusp of balancing her finances, despite working incredibly hard for all her life. What she did have however, she shared freely with her daughters, her family, and her friends.
When my Dad died, she realised just how expensive the cost of funerals were, and she was determined not to pass on the expense to her daughters. She opened up her Funeral Fund account, we renamed it her Holiday Fund, determined to ship her off somewhere nice as soon as enough cash was saved. She also took out a few funeral insurances too, just to be on the safe side!
However, her Alzheimer's developed very quickly, not being particularly clued up on all things financial, we didn't think to get Power of Attorney. This meant that although Mum did have a little left over from her pension each week, (most of it went on care fees), we couldn't access it. So for the years she spent in the home, between us we bought what she needed. Clothes, toiletries, oh and lots of chocolate.
When she died, the little bit of money she had was signed over to the three of us. It was a very sad moment, sat there on the bank, signing the papers. We told the bank clerk what a wonderful woman she had been. We also told him our plans...
Mum had always wanted to go to Florence, I think that's why I jumped at the chance of going a few years ago with my friend. Sadly she never went. So with her Holiday Fund we are off to Florence. Her three daughters and her grown up Grandaughter. We are off to Florence, to enjoy life, and to celebrate one wonderful life, Our Mum. We are going in September, when it would have been her birthday. We shall sit somewhere lovely, on her birthday, and we will open a bottle of champagne. We will remember her beautiful soul, and what a great person she was. I can't wait.
But that's only part of the story. There was still a little left over, we divided it equally between us. My sisters knew immediately how they wanted to use theirs, it took me a while. But in the Spring I knew, my garden. So raised beds were bought, and those bee hive compost bins too. All curtesy of my lovely, lovely Mum. I know she would be very happy with my choice. I'm on the lookout now for a sturdy black metal arch, I've seen one here Agriframes and a climbing yellow rose. Mum had one in her garden, then it will be perfect.
Here's a list of the companies I've used...
Raised Vegatable beds.....Sutton Seeds
Bee Hive Composter...SunnyField Poultry Housing.
And I've had lots of interest in our garden studio, so here's the details of that again.....Crusoe Garden Rooms.
I've been very happy with the quality and service of all these companies. (Post not sponsored!).
Hope you all have a lovely weekend...we've got end of primary school celebrations going on here...I'm an emotional mess!
Amanda :) xxx



Monday, 13 July 2015

No...We're Not Keeping Bees!

I love bees. I could watch them all day, busily buzzing away from flower to flower. My girls are both very wary of bees, despite my best efforts of getting them to appreciate these beautiful, honey making, creatures.
So when two very large 'hives' arrived, they were both a little perturbed. "We're not getting bees are we Mum!" Now we had recently discussed the joys of hen keeping, and I was growing veg in the garden, so bees could be seen as the next step! "No...we're not keeping bees", "Phew!" They replied. Now, I would love to keep bees, I'd have them alongside those hens I'm after, but sadly no bees. Gosh the stress it would induce on my little family!
No, these are not for bees, these are for compost. When we redesigned our garden, there was nowhere to hide the ugly Dalek ones. I'd seen bee hive bins and loved them, some didn't look that substantial, and after seeing some blown over in the recent storms we had, I was after some heavy duty ones.
After a bit of Internet research I came across Sunnyfields Poultry Housing. They are a small family run company, based in Devon. Mainly making the most delightful poultry houses (one day, maybe!), they also make these amazing compost bins. I have to say, it was love at first sight.
Now, they aren't cheap, but they are very well made, and I got a bit of a discount as I ordered two. How long will they last, I'm not sure, maybe I should have asked...but when it's love at first sight! Anyway, they've been painted black, and I think they look fab!
Now all I need to do, is work on the concept of keeping bees for real, until then I'm planning on including as many bee friendly flowers as I possibly can!
I will be back later in the week, I've got my Mum to thank for a few things. I'm also going 'off line' for a couple of days a week, as part of my keeping balanced lifestyle...will let you know how I get on!
Amanda :) xxx



Thursday, 9 July 2015

Moments And Thoughts...

It's been a very busy week here, full of lovely things, new experiences, and routines. Our youngest leaves the security of primary education, to the whole new, big world of secondary school in September. This week has been transition week, in preparation for that change. We're been getting used to new routines, new environments, and new situations. Am I ready to have both my children in secondary school? Noooooooo!
I seem to have spent much of my week socialising, it's been lovely, tiring but lovely. I'm not sure what I'd do without my friends, they are so important to me. I'm at an age now, where I feel confident in the choices I make. One of those choices is to have friends who are genuine, honest, and who I can be myself with. It makes spending time with them fun. I like fun.
The weather has turned much cooler this week, I've been dodging the showers by retreating into my garden studio. It's a great place to watch the birds, especially the blackbird as he devours the red currants. We've finished one of our compost areas, I just need to pot up a few plants and it's all's great to complete another small area. Still a long way to go, but I'm enjoying the challenge very much.
I also wanted to share with you my thoughts on sponsored blog posts. I share with you products that I know, and love. I'm never sponsored for any of the reviews I do. From my own experience it's great to hear what others think of something, especially if you're thinking of buying something yourself, and so from that point of view they are very useful. There are lots of bloggers out there who have made a living from their blogs. They rely on sponsorship, and good on them, for turning something they love doing into a career.
I'm also feeling very emotional this week, thoughts are turning to this time last year. Summer 2014 was a very difficult one, saying goodbye to Mum was a long, painful, intense time. There was also a beautiful connection made too, between a mother, who had lost her memories, and her daughters, who loved her so much.
So there you have it, this week, bit random...welcome to my life! How's your week going? I'd love to hear all about it.
Amanda :) xxx



Monday, 6 July 2015

Book Review: Pure Colour by Jane Cumberbatch

Some styles just stand the test of time, don't they? Endure the changes, remain steadfast amongst the whims of fashion. It's all well and good to be 'on trend', but that can soon become tiresome, and if like me, you don't want your home to be a carbon copy of everyone else's, perhaps 'on trend' isn't for you either.
I've always been a great admirer of Jane Cumberbatch's style. Over the years I've collected many books on interiors, and many of those have ended up on the shelves of charity shops. My Pure Style and Pure Style Outside books, which I purchased in 1996 and 1998, however, have remained, still on my shelves, still picked up, still relevant. Still pure.
So when I saw Jane had published another book, Pure Colour, I couldn't wait to get it...and it doesn't disappoint. Every image is amazing, I've said it before on here, but colour really does touch my soul.
I've loved flicking through its pages, reading the words. Jane guides the reader through a variety of colours, bold, calm, energising and harmonious. She explains how she uses them, giving help and advice.
My own use of colour is purely instinctive. I don't understand the science of colour, but I do know what I like to put together, and how this affects me. I couldn't live without colour in my home, it wouldn't feel like home.
I absolutely LOVE this book, and I'm sure it will remain on my shelves for many years to come. Unfortunately I don't think my images really do it the real justice it deserves, perhaps one day I might learn how to use it properly!
Oh, and one more has bold pink edges, that alone is worthy of a purchase don't you think! In my opinion EVERY book should have colourful edges to its pages!
How cool is that!
Hope you all have a great week, I've a little more time now, so hope to visit more of your blogs this week, see what I've been missing!
Amanda :) xxx
(p.s. I wasn't sponsored for this post!).