Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A new bust ....

I know, the heading is totally misleading but I rather like sculptural busts dotted about the house - they often have a perfect presence that just adds to a space.

My desk in my bedroom is a favourite place for some of the smaller busts - they just add a calmness to the space that I rather like ....
My desk , my workspace ....

A favourite is this one of my daughter's that 'lives' on my desk, she is just so elegant....

On either side of her are two small heads that sit on my bookends - their appearance of wisdom & closeness inspires me to tackle my paperwork.

In the lounge I have a phrenology head for no other reason than I find him quite interesting & he goes well with my 'mock' vellum books & vintage 'HOME' blocks.

Last week, I was out browsing with a friend in a pretty local town and we were talking busts & how difficult it is to find one that you really like when I happened upon this stunner in an antiques shop. I just knew she would be right at home with me!
New sculpture bust ....

I love her elegance & stature so she came home with me & now happily sits on the diningroom sideboard facing the garden ....

Do you like statues, sculptures & architectural busts?  Please share your comment & link so I can return the visit  ....

Dee ♥

Sunday, 26 February 2012

At last ... Spring is arriving!

This time of the year I am always impatient for some colour to brighten up the days between the greyness of Winter & the brightness of Spring.

Blossoms just 'pop' and add the colour I need to lift the mood.

A touch of Spring

This is just my perfect colours - the vibrant pink / berry colour with fresh green leaves - just so beautiful.

I have also been playing with the camera and took this at home ...

Don't you just love a pot of daffodils? They can just lift any room with their cheerful faces ....

Have a great week everyone
Dee ♥

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Time for pancakes ....

Pancakes - they are just a favourite in our household - often as a weekend breakfast ...
Sunday breakfast

Pancakes for breakfast

We love pancakes for Sunday breakfast with fruit, yoghurt & filter coffee.

Shrove Tuesday marks the start of a time of reflection & abstinence ahead of the 40 (47 actually if you count the Sunday's) days of Lent.

Shrove Tuesday pancake time ....

My students have spent the day telling me about the wonderful fillings they were going to have but I have settled for fresh strawberries, yoghurt & some toffee or pecan syrup with lots of cinnamon sugar & a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to cut through the sweetness.

The arrival of Lent always means giving up something - this year, I am going to do my best to give up chocolate. It is my weakness but that is my resolve ....

Are you giving up anything for Lent? What are your favourite pancakes & fillings?

So bring on Ash Wednesday tomorrow & let Lent begin!

Dee ♥
Ps Don't you just love the pretty Ikea Spring-like plates?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Glorious calm at Wenlock Priory

Do you have places that are good for the soul? Places that just calm the spirit & fill you with awe?

In a nearby town of Much Wenlock, we have the stunning remains of Wenlock Priory, an Anglo-Saxon monastery for Cluniac monks was founded here in about 680.  The very impressive remains of this medieval priory reflects the Cluniac love of elaborate decoration & architecture.

Wenlock Priory, Shropshire

It also contains a stunning topiary-filled cloister garden with impressively large, perfectly clipped topiaries which I love. My own modest topiary balls at home pale into insignificance ....

Wenlock Priory, Much Wenlock, Shropshire

The wenlock-priory  is maintained by English Heritage and is well worth a visit - the best time to visit for me is first thing in the morning before it gets busy because it just seems to reflect its monastic heritage so well when it is quiet ... it seems to revert to a place of great beauty & presence as it would have been all those centuries ago ....

Wenlock Priory, Much Wenlock, Shropshire

Have a great Sunday everyone ....
Dee ♥

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Downton Ralph Lauren ...

 I am a massive Downton Abbey fan - what elegance, what drama, what gorgeous clothes and I am so pleased that our friends across the pond in the US have taken to it so well too ....

What is there not to love about that age of contrasts: elegance & undercurrents, beauty & routine, upstairs & downstairs, excess & ordinariness?

My daughters are a massive Ralph Lauren fan - the tailored styles suit them so well & they just love the classic style & colours.  This is the most amazingly beautiful bedroom, what is there not to love about this bedroom so even I am won over ....


I digress .... This week, Ralph Lauren has come out with a Downton Abbey inspired look for this season. The Telegraph announced:
American designer Ralph Lauren looked to English country style for his latest collection.


What fabulously classical styles & interpretations -


Do you have a favourite? If this is going to be our Autumn / Winter trends then I look forward to it. Forewarned is forearmed - look for this look ....

Keep savvy, keep chic
Dee ♥

Friday, 17 February 2012

A little bit of vintage ....

Family live down in the pretty Dorset town of Bridport & on a visit, I did one of my favourite things - browse the vintage shops & market.
I like vintage bits to add interest & the clothing is just so lovely, well made & classic!
Vintage clothing, Bridport, Dorset

What a beautiful selection, I love pith helmets but I resisted as I have one already ....

Hat festival time .... Will Safari chic work?

The town has a newish vintage market which was set up in some old warehouses and it is a great way to pass the time, looking at an eclectic mix of interesting things.

Vintage market, Bridport, Dorset

Absolutely fabulous - so many lovely things & my sister in law, Ms M, loves mooching vintage shops as much as I do, so her, daughter & I had a lovely time. Daughter is a great Ralph Lauren fan - she just loves his unassuming, classic style; she has been looking for a US flag for sometime - not just any flag, a vintage handsewn one to complement her bedroom so she was absolutely delighted to find one ...

This is her bedroom - a classic choice all of her own with Union Jack bits before they were mainstream fashion.

Ornate french  / Ralph Lauren style bed

The new flag will go well with it. What do you think? Do you do vintage? In a big way or in touches. Always lovely to get your comments

Dee ~♥~

Monday, 13 February 2012

A funny little thing called love ....

It is that time of the year again when thoughts turn to Valentine's day; when everyone from florists to bakeries all compete for our sentimental trade by guilting public displays of "a crazy little thing called love." 

Freddie Mercury of Queen penned those words as a tribute to Elvis Presley; we all have our favourite love songs, ones which take us back to a special time & place.

For me love is all embracing, always there providing security & reassurance, excitement & trust; words & deeds are not needed when two people are completely in tune & it is not restricted to just one day of the year.

We should seize every moment to let our nearest & dearest know that they are important to us; advice given to me many moons ago by a great uncle - 'do not let the sunset on an argument or leave the house in anger in the morning because we do not know what lies ahead that day....'

A verses that I have heard countless times that stays with me:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This old photo album belongs to my parents - a record of our young lives lived across Africa; the love hearts remind me how special the people in that album are to me ....

  xx Hello True Love Forever XX

So finally friends, keep your love safe as under this glass dome; nurture it in black & white or colour, magnify parts of it but also look at the whole; always keep it safe & secure .....

Dedicated to my nearest & dearests,
Dee ~♥~

This is your life ....

I found this off a facebook link & it just puts the important things into perspective ....

It come from this-is-your-life, the holstee-manifestoo and it provides food for thought!

This is your life, do what you love and do it often! What better advice to start the new week!

Seize the moment, carpe diem friends ....

Dee ♥

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A colourful breakfast ....

After a week of icy weather in the Shire, it was nice to just have a relaxing weekend with the family and what better than a hearty breakfast with blueberry pancakes with ice-cream, freshly squeezed orange juice and tea?

Daughter & her boyfriend Andy did amazing blueberry pancakes which meant I was free to do my favourite thing ... a nice table setting.

STREETLIFE, Royal Stafford breakfast

This set is one that was built up by the daughters over several months for me - designed by the artist Petra Tilly for Royal Stafford; Streetlife is just fun, not too serious & very colourful!

What particularly appeals to me is how the plates, cups & teaset is all painted in different scenes which makes for lively conversation.

I love the teapot scene - car washing with some style!

I teamed up the colourful plates with vintage cutlery in different colours for each place setting.

Daughter did grilled pink grapefruits which she served in large breakfast cups .... how fun is that?

A very relaxing start to the day - time to just take life a little -s-l-o-w-e-r-, time to catch up on each others news & activities and enjoy family time.  Weekend breakfasts are special because we are not rushed!

.... and the blueberry muffins - fresh blueberries made them special (along with a coulis to add more fruit). A word of warning - we did have one or two really plump blueberries that just seemed to explode when forked ...

I hope your weekend was relaxing & enjoyable.

What is your favourite family breakfast? Do you get slower time on the weekend?

Pop in again soon, subscribe & leave your link so I can return your visit!

Dee ~♥~

Friday, 10 February 2012

An icy end to the week ....

The snow was so exciting last weekend but as they week has worn on, we are still faced with large mounds of shovelled snow which is now solid ice on the lawn.

Last night we had icy rain which froze in layers on the car ....

and my fountain is completely solid, with the silver ball being covered in layers of ice too ...

and the bamboo is solid ice .... what is it like where you are?

Iced bamboo in my garden

and how about this tree, seen this afternoon - frozen in time?

Icy winter trees ....

Keep safe & warm & have a fabulous weekend everyone
Dee ♥

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Doors are the gateway to your home ....

I met up with a good friend Elle today in a local town. Bridgnorth is a pretty Shropshire town perched high on the Severn River. It has a high & low town and for the lazy amongst us, there is a hilltop railway that runs up & down the steep hill.

The town is steeped in a long history as these plaques remind us. This one on the Governor's house is dated 1633

East Castle Street dates to c1786 and names people such as the engineer Thomas Telford ....

While having a walk, I passed several doors that I loved - the town is fairly traditional yet many of the doors are brightly painted & interesting so I thought I would take photos of some that caught my eye.

Bridgnorth doors, Shropshire

I would love to see behind some of these doors but these are just a few of the many there. Do you have a favourite? Which one is your favourite?

Is your front door interesting or functional? Please share your thoughts with us ....

Till next time

Monday, 6 February 2012

Tea & cake at a snowy Ironbridge

The week started out rather icy & grey in the Shire. Our snow was melting under a wet drizzle & having an unexpected free morning, I convinced my friend to join me for a walk along the River Severn at Ironbridge.

It is easily one of my favourite places in the Shire - it is the original Ironbridge which sparked The Industrial Revolution and brought prosperity to our county. It is a beautiful gorge along The Severn River and a treat to visit with its interesting shops & relaxing walks.

On a good day, we love to walk up to the church on the hill & look down over the bridge from up high, but today it was too icy & so we did what any sensible person would and popped into queenies cupcakery for a welcome hot cup of tea & a divine cupcake ... what a better way to view the beautiful Ironbridge than from inside the warm shop ....

Don't you just love the decor & bunting at Queenies? Do you 'do' cakestands & bunting?

Hope your week is bright and cheerful ....
Dee ♥

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Some welcome snow at last ....

Our Winter has been mild with little hint of the frozenness of 2010 when we struggled through the snow for weeks in Shropshire.

Christmas came & went & somehow it did not feel right without a dusting of snow. The forecasters have finally got it right and after an arctic blast this week, we have had some snow in the Shire.

I love the quietness it brings; everything is just cushioned in a layer of softness that brings a stillness to life, so quiet that everything is just slower & more relaxed.

The sound was broken up last night by a driver in a sports car who couldn't get up the road & within minutes neighbours had stopped & 'Dave' (I know his name as sound carries so well ... ) was being urged to drop back two feet then try again as 3 guys put their backs into getting him moving again.  Everyone just seems more open, friendly & helpful - a real sense of community comes back for a while & it feels good.

Shropshire snow

Daughter & I were disappointed by foggy skies but we took the cameras out around our local streets. We went for a walk down to The Flash, our local pond, and took some photos, chatted to some random walkers & then got home to shovel our drive before it compacted or iced.

Hope your Sunday is warm & cosy & that your are enjoying the snow too ....

Dee ♥

Taking the road less travelled ....

Do you have a favourite quote that just sits easily with you? That you seem to conform to?
One of my favourite quotes is easily this one from Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

I absolutely love the strength of the words " Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. "

This beautiful poem was used in The Dead Poet's Society film ...

Dead Poets Society

Trust yourself, choose your path, walk it well, make it yours. 

What words inspire you? Please share them ....

Dee ♥

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Thinking of beautiful tables ....

I love planning beautiful tablesettings / table scapes & for special events, I find an idea I really like then spend time finding things that will complement what I already have to make it special for visitors. I get great enjoyment from being creative in that way & sometimes I think I have a talent even ....

I have hosted Thanksgiving for the past three years in our Shire. A friend's brother lives in the US and we thought we would share his little traditions in our own way & that is how Shropshire Thanksgivings started.

The first year - a small intimate gathering of friends became a dinner for 12 so our original plan of supper in the diningroom became dinner in the conservatory where there is more place & that is how it has remained.

The setting is limited to 12 lucky ladies because I was most fortunately gifted a 12 place setting cutlery set and because our crockery, table is at full stretch for 12.

Our first years setting was fairly traditional with Autumn colours & it worked very well.

A Shropshire Thanksgiving

and then our 2010 one became a double setting. I first set my favourite type of setting - white on white - classic & elegant.

WHITE Thanksgiving table

The night before the daughter was unconvinced & she thought it needed more colour so we reset with a very vibrant pink silk fabric  ....

PINK Thanksgiving table

and 2011 Thanksgiving saw a very traditional setting with Heritage Blue plates showing the UK flag etc

2011 A Shropshire Thanksgiving table

2011 A Shropshire Thanksgiving

Do you have a favourite setting? Which would you like to dine at the most?

Happy weekend friends

Dee ♥

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A delicious supper at at Liane's Bistro .....

My dear friend Liane of  Cheap Thrills   makes a really delicious oxtail stew.

While browsing the weekend newspaper recipes, I came across one - Nigel Slater's oxtail  . Liane & I were unconvinced by his recipe because he left out the red wine so Liane offered to make the oxtail her special way for a treat again in the cold weather.

Who am I to argue with an offer like that? I made a Victoria Sponge cake for after supper ....

Tea time .....

and she made her all day, slow cooked oxtail in red wine with shallots & herbs & then served it with roasted root vegetables.

We mopped up the juices with rosemary & garlic focaccia bread and WOW - what a spread!

Oxtail for supper in the Shire

Her house is always a delight for such 'bistro' suppers - warm tealights, music, lanterns, wine & of course lots of laughter & catching up!

Just the thing for a very cold night - warm food, warm company, happy times.

Keep looking in & add your comments so I know what you like.

Dee ~♥~

Make your handbags work for you .....

While on the subject of handbags, I thought I would add my working handbags .... I work as a private tutor with children from 5-16 who are 'educated otherwise' or homeschooled for cultural reasons.

I fortunately have 2 large Fiorelli bags - one black, one white, to carry around all the bits I need.  I often have both bags in my car with equipment as I tutor a range of age groups 4 days a week.

My working day black Fiorelli

Sometimes I manage to put my purse etc in with the work but not always so I often have a handbag too .... I know ♥

My handbags have to be versatile .- when out walking or doing photos, I often take a hot drink & a snack with & these are often just tucked into a handbag too ....
Fiorelli handbag on a Shropshire Union Canal walk

Don't you just love the firefly bottle?

Daughter & I each bought a little flask this past winter - 300ml's is perfect to carry around. Don't you agree?
Essential Autumn walking things ....

Shropshire Union Canal, Brewood

Another favourite is a little Cath Kidson zip up bag which I use to protect extra camera bits if I don't want to carry a camera-, hand- & snackbag ...

Time for hot chocolate

Flasks are certainly needed for early morning photography in the Shire at the moment as there is not always a coffee shop handy & in these times of austerity, what better than a flask of something warm!

So ladies, make your bags work hard for you ... some are made for it!

Till next time, take care
Dee ♥