Thursday, 4 May 2017

May miscellany - and a confession

This picture makes me laugh. Not because Joe's cute (he is) but because the farmer next door had to wave back. Said farmer isn't the friendliest. But you'd have to be a real misery to ignore a disarmingly smiley four-year-old.

I've been a little bit absent lately, at least in an online capacity. Ironically enough it's online stuff that's been keeping me busy. I'm currently doing battle with Squarespace and Squarespace is winning. It's taking a lot of stubbornness to keep going, but I'm determined to build a new blog.

It doesn't help that everyone I mention it to says how easy Squarespace is to master. But my graphic designer friend came over the other morning and was just as bewildered as me so that somehow made me feel a bit better. In other words, I'm not thick. Just digitally challenged.

So the constant tinkering and experimenting has eaten up a lot of my non-Joe time. Which means not much blogging or Instagramming action. 

Still, it's May. 

So plenty of bank holiday stuff going on (mainly walks); we've stayed local and wandered through the woods and near the river. We sometimes take a packed lunch or Joe's bike with us. It's heartening to see everything becoming very green.

I just wish these winds would die down. Blue skies, bright sunshine and it would be warm were it not for the constant blasting of chilly air. The washing's getting whipped off the line. Bins are being blown over.

So, what's in the miscellany?

Books. I've just read Secrets of the Sea House by Elizabeth Gifford. Quite timely as we're off to the Hebrides again in three weeks. I loved the folklore and the way it switched back and forth from current day to the 1860s.

And now I'm onto Alexander McCall Smith's The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine. The next in the series, Precious and Grace, is already waiting on the bedside table (which is, in actual fact, an old chair). And I'm also dipping in and out of The Sleepyhead's Bedside Companion by Sean Coughlan. It's great; lots of little facts and bits of history about all things sleep-related. His style of writing is light and humorous so nothing too challenging late in the evening.

All were found at my local library. I love that place. And I was so pleased to see there's a move away from e-books back to actual physical ones.

Television. I recently discovered Versailles and am completely addicted to it. Praise be for catch-up T.V. We're also watching Second Chance Summer: Tuscany - it seems that BBC2 is the current favourite around here.

Travels. I went up to the outskirts of Bradford a few weeks ago, to meet up with Susanna who runs this beautiful online shop. We first met last summer at the Gather.Harvest.Feast. event in the North East and we're doing a little bit of something together later in the summer.

We had lunch and a wander around Salt's Mill, Saltaire. I've always wanted to visit and it's only an hour's drive away. It's a fantastic place, particularly if you're a creative type, and I really want to go back and explore the village. Joe would love it - there's a train station - and the architecture looks so imposing. The cobbled roads, the quaintly-named streets with their blue and white signs, the little independent shops...

Eating. A bit too much. I actually emptied half a jar of Nutella into the bin this morning. Joe (inexplicably) doesn't like it, whereas I do. A lot. There's still chocolate stashed everywhere from Easter and whilst I won't eat anything bought for Joe, anything else is up for grabs. Hence the bin episode. If there's anything tasty and unhealthy knocking around I'm all over it.

And in the spirit of stating the obvious: fat-free yogurt isn't a patch on the creamy, full-fat Greek stuff. Frozen berries without honey drizzled on are squint-makingly sour. And so on. Being virtuous isn't enjoyable. 

Work. Other than my ongoing Squarespace nightmare, I do have other things on the go. It's plant pressing season. The hedgerows are getting very dense and I'm collecting and squashing like there's no tomorrow. Once I've got plenty of stuff stored I know I can make prints throughout the year.

I've been writing pieces for Creative Countryside and This is Your Kingdom. There are line drawings and sketches to be done, social media updates, bits of admin. My online shop needs updating. Which means more product photography. And I need to do a lot of making.

In fact, I'm considering going to this in the hope of getting myself going creatively again.

So, that confession.

I dyed my hair. After several months of growing the colour our, of watching the grey appear - well, I got tired of it. Because it was taking ages. Because the condition felt rubbish. And because the little flyaways, all silver and pale on top of the (natural) dark brunette underneath, were making me resemble a crazy cat lady.

So I bought some dye. A shade too dark, as it turns out. That necessitated a 7am trip to the supermarket for a bottle of Head and Shoulders (which, apparently, lightens things if you've gone a bit too far over to the dark side). In case you're wondering: it doesn't work.

Joe, however, was delighted to be out food shopping before school. Especially when he got to choose chocolate brioche rolls for breakfast.

I'm back to brown again. I have to say, despite the iffy shade, my hair feels much sleeker and softer. Probably something to do with nasty chemicals so moving swiftly on: that horrid, demonic doll peering out of an empty house (above) the other day scared the living daylights out of me.

I do like her hair though. It's what I was going for in the first place. How come she managed it and I didn't?


  1. I can't know why you are changing to Squarespace (don't often see sites hosted there, this is the only one I know

    But, just saying, Blogger has recently offered us new themes. I have changed mine and am happy with the result.

    1. Hi Diana,

      The Squarespace site is for Frond & Feather (my professional blog). Mitenska will be staying put. Blogger's free and it's so straightforward to use. I may have a play with new themes once things quieten down around here though!

  2. Beautiful photos. I've been having similar issues with my hair. Not ready to be grey, deep down I'm not there yet. AND when I do make the change I'll have to be very attentive to haircuts and having an actual style -to avoid feeling dumpy.

  3. What a lovely post, although you have put me off ever attempting a blog redesign (and your current blog is exactly what I aspire to anyway!). I have had 60 days of self imposed virtuous eating and my nutella-out-of the jar and all the chocolate in the cupboards habits have been beaten for the moment, BUT I counted full fat greek yoghurt as virtuous and there was definitely some fish and and chips in there too so my definition may have been a little lax. I wrote about our local library this week too, I have been rediscovering through my son, and I adore it x

    1. Hi Katie,

      That's lovely of you to say you aspire to this blog. It's been a little bit neglected of late but I've now managed to get Frond & Feather up and running on Squarespace and I'm happy with the result. So I'll be posting here again soon :)

      Oh, fish and chips. I love them. There's not a great deal in this village but we do have a great chippy! Walking past is torture. As for full fat Greek yogurt: I could destroy a large tub of Total in one sitting. In secret, though.

      And I'm so glad you're using your library. We're off to Skye again in a few weeks and I plan to borrow all my holiday reading. An hour or so alone perusing the bookshelves is something I'm really looking forward to!

  4. After years of not dyeing my hair I've taken the plunge this week and have gone white and lavender although the lavender is fading rapidly!

    1. I must admit, I was hoping to go grey just so I could then colour it pastel pink or blue! Oh well...

  5. The doll (and yes, demonic!) didn't have to wait to grow the hair out.

    1. That's true. And there are few things as creepy as a doll in a nightdress watching you from an empty old house.

  6. Go with lots of blonde highlights, then blonde and let it grow out to grey. It takes about a year but you get used to it as it grows out and it's not as noticable. I like my silver hair and consider it the new blonde!!!


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