Sunday, 18 September 2016


I've always loved September. Yes, it will always be tinged with sadness as it's the month my mum passed away. But there's always that 'new start' feel to it as well. 

Joe started school (mornings for his first week, afternoons for his second. And tomorrow he goes full time). He's taken to it really well.

The whole easing-in approach has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand I've not really been able to get stuck into any work. But on the other, I've been able to extend that feeling of him still being fully mine

So we've been out in glorious sunshine, picking blackberries and finding conkers. We made bramble jelly. His teacher knows all about it...

Other seasonal eatings: soup (this afternoon's recipe is roasted butternut squash), huge English apples from the market and lots of ideas from my latest library book, Antonio Carluccio's Simple Cooking. I do like the idea of rustic Italian food. Simple, quality ingredients and lots of flavour.

We've been out on loads of walks lately and even discovered a new footpath quite literally behind our house. I also managed to fall down a rabbit hole. Joe tried to fall down the same rabbit hole.

It's definitely feeling autumnal now. Even the holly berries are reddening. I know where there's a plentiful supply come December, although we sadly don't get mistletoe in these parts.

Out in the garden the sunflowers are in full bloom and I've been collecting calendula seeds ready for next year. Joe's turnip seedlings are ready for moving into bigger pots too. I suspect we'll be doing that later today.

Also on the agenda: a wander through the fields into the woods to collect pine cones. I need to make a garland ready for this next weekend. I'm hoping to doll the gazebo up a bit so it looks inviting and people come and look at my artwork.

And whilst the oven's on roasting the butternut squash, we'll be baking banana bread for Joe's after-school treats.

Moving indoors: a few photos of the house. You may have blocked it out, but here's a reminder of how downstairs looked last year:

The previous owners were kind enough to leave us with lots of furniture, dog dirt, rotting food and (not so) white goods to dispose of.

After a clear-out and many months of building (and demolition) work, we were left with an empty, newly-plastered shell. It was initially decorated in a greenish grey shade but we soon realised that the light levels weren't great.

So the paint brushes and rollers came out again (sigh).

And it's now much brighter. Yes, there's still plenty to do. The dining table is a bit too 'shabby chic' for my liking so I'll maybe replace the chairs and get experimental with paint.

Ditto the old (from my mum's garage) stereo cabinet. Mahogany - or whatever it is - will be painted over with some leftover paint from the kitchen.

In fact, everything's been done on a budget. The mantel is an old piece of wood, again from the garage, which had sat on the roof of my stepdad's boat for years. The TV stand was bought from the British Heart Foundation furniture shop. We removed the glass doors, sanded down the yellow pine and repainted it. The whole thing didn't even use up a tester pot's worth. Pricey paint but it cost less than £4 in such a small tin.

The curtains are from H&M and I do intend to line them for winter. As for the windows, if you look closely at the above collage (right hand image with the typewriter): well, it actually looks out onto a scruffy bit of next door's garden. So I tried this trick from Pinterest using a piece of old lace curtain and cornflour. And it really does work. Bargain! Much cheaper than window film.

The little table (above, left) was given to us by Jay's auntie. It houses some of my favourite cookbooks. And we'd planned to get rid of our tatty old Ikea sofa bed (right) and replace it. But I raided my stash of unused fabrics and made a throw from pieces of denim and cotton. Even the cushion cover and curtain across the bottom of the dresser are made from off-cuts, kept from when I've shortened curtains for the windows.

I'm such a skinflint.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you're enjoying beautiful weather and the transition from summer to autumn. I'm already knitting and reading Agatha Christie books.

And going out early in the morning in wellies and pyjamas to photograph cobwebs. As you do.

Have a great week.


  1. These cobwebs were well worth an early morning wander in the garden. Early autumn has been beautiful, hasn't it? So much sun and warmth, I really enjoyed every minute of it. I am glad Joe is enjoying school, such a relief really, when the little ones like school. Have a lovely week. x

  2. what a contrast - to make the space your own - light, bright and welcoming!

    We only had to remove two squatting pot plants, a Norfolk pine, and a mile of creeper climbing the living room walls. No. Thank you.

  3. How gorgeous your home is, you're making such a lovely job of it. I love how you're using things you already have and repurposing and upcycling other things (or whatever the correct terms are). Green is good. CJ xx

  4. I love September and Autumn, my favourite season. The house improvements look fab, I alwasy get a kick out of recycling and recreating things, they have much more of a story :)

  5. Wow, what a transformation - your home is looking absolutely lovely and well done for being so creative with what you already had. Great news that Joe is happy at school. Have a good week. Sam x

  6. everything is looking so lovely x

  7. I think it all looks fabulous - I particularly love the wood and feathers!

  8. Your home looks beautiful. I'm so pleased for your that Joe is settling into school well x

  9. Lovely! More home improvement posts please...

  10. Love to see little corners of your home. I'm so pleased Joe is liking school - makes it easier to let them go! I do so love Autumn!! Xx

  11. Oh, so very lovely. A beautiful atmosphere and calm you have created in your home.
    Love too the cobwebs lacy ness you discovered in your jaunt outside in Wellies's and pyjamas :)
    Also I am going to "steal" you feathers idea. It brilliant!
    Alexa- asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia


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