Friday, 30 September 2011

On the mend

So, I can gladly say that I a on the mend and want to thank you all for your get well wishes, you are all very lovely and kind. My chest, cough and voice have all gone to pot though and so I now whisper... not me at all! I can talk the hind leg off a donkey, ask anyone who knows me. Anyway, I must say that I am almost grateful for the silence too, it's allowed time for reflection too. 

My lovely manager has insisted that I stay at home and so I'm in bed blogging while the sun is shining like it's mid-summer out there despite the autumnal leaves falling from the trees. This has caused a little confusion in my head space this week especially whilst perspiring away in a fever! Anyway, I hope if you live in the northern hemisphere you've been enjoying this glorious week.

As you can see from my first photograph, we've been having some "french toast" in our house this week. Alice asked me what french toast was the other day and so I explained that when I was growing up in South Africa my dad used to make "french toast" for us on special occasions (not sure why he called it french toast though), which in the UK is actually "eggy bread" i.e. white bread dipped in whisked egg and a little milk and cinnamon fried in a shallow pan and gobbled down with syrup/honey poured over it. My lovely husband Andy consequently came home with this fun french toast stamp according to the world of the fabulous Fred design and we all giggled as we ate hot buttered french toast the next morning - a tad bit healthier than my dad's "french toast". Pop into the world of Fred for more groovy gadgets and check out the Hey Cherry girls post about their love of Fred design here.

Some last of the summer flowers were picked from our courtyard garden to perk me up a little this week. 

Yesterday afternoon I pulled my strength together to take Alice to her art lesson in Hastings Old town and spent the hour she was there getting some fresh sea-side salty air into my lungs and basking in the sun for a while before setting back home again. It was truly magnificent and I was so pleased I didn't opt out of taking her.

Such a rich fishing history in the Old Town which I adore

I like to come with a treasure or two for my little sea-side garden and I am a sucker for free postcards too {my collection is becoming overwhelmingly big, need help!}

I'm also a sucker for cogs in a wheel, I could watch cogs in a watch work all day long {Ok maybe not all day but you get what I mean?}. It was lovely seeing a fisherman's boat being carefully cog wheeled into the sea at 5pm, ready for some night time fishing.

It was a beautiful hour of salty healing air for me.

I came back to collect Alice hammering nails into her handmade box, she looked up at me and said "Mummy I've been sawing wood and hammering nails myself" Eeeeeekkk amazing what kids can do without an overly cautious / careful parent around!

Hey ho ... Happy days ahead everyone, see you soon, thanks for your comments and a big welcome to all new followers xox

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


I'm blogging from the comfort of pillows, blankies, tissues, bed and quilt. Have you guessed yet? I'm down and zero with a stonking seasonal change cold and am feeling pretty miserable as it's hit me hard. I forgot how easy it is to assume good health, I guess I've been burning the candle at both ends and it's my body's way of saying STOP, go back to zero, the beginning, rest, and restore again.

I do have the strength for reading which is good as I get bored easily and radio 4 is always a life saver on days such as these. Unfortunately, I don't have my usual mojo to knit or crochet so I really have had to stop everything and be kind to my sniffly self. 

I have had the strength to do some blog reading and the time to let one website lead me to another then another and so the chain reaction goes on and on {I'm sure you know what I mean}. I found myself reading, watching You tube and now blogging about these fun bags by Clippy which I've started to like more and more as the morning has gone on and watching this review on You tube. I'm always amazed at how confident some people are to do tutorials/reviews etc on You tube, I find it painful to have myself photographed at the best of times and being on a video clip is not my idea of fun, but hey I'm more than happy to watch others. 

Here, Claire at Heart Handmade UK has customised her Clippy bag with hand sewn and decorated fabric panels. Pop over to her blog for more gorgeous pictures of her bag. 

ultimately the decorating is up to you, whatever mood or fashion or political statement etc. you want to portray.

I like the history of this bag, whereby Calypso Rose (known as Clippy) made her first bag on her kitchen table in order to display all her polaroid photos. It took some Portobello Road Market sales in London and then a few Celebs to carry these bags and she then found the demand outweighed her stock and the business took off. Clippy is found all over Europe and in Japan. Wow, I love a kitchen table idea turned into a successful business don't you?

Pop over to the Clippy website for more info here. As for me, I'm adding one to my Christmas list and will be dreaming of how I will decorate mine as I lay my weary head down. 

Hope you keep well and bug free xox

Monday, 26 September 2011

Birthdays & bits 'n bobs

Hello, did you have a special weekend? It was so pleasantly warm and wonderfully sunny here on the South East Coast, I didn't need my polo neck I had packed for our weekend in Brighton. Today is our Alice's 11th birthday and boy did we cake out over the past couple of days. It was lovely to catch up with family and soak up some of the bohemian spirit of Brighton again.

Auntie Fee is a brilliant baker, so Alice was guaranteed to have a delicious Victoria Sponge which we ate after playing some sea-side golf.

My dad played golf most Sunday's when I was growing up and I never realised what an incredibly skilled sport this is to play. So, praise to you Dad for being so good and winning all those prizes and trophy's which I din't really appreciate.

Alice loved her new shawl/scarf in amongst her other gifts, unfortunately it was too humid today to even consider wearing a scarf, but no doubt Autumn chills will be here soon and she will get good use out of it.

It was such a pleasure to make, each stitch made with love and reflection on her little life so far. She did the obligatory snap shop for me this morning with her birthday badges and school uniform on {there was a little "Aaaaawwwww muuuuuuummmm this is for your blog isn't it"}

No sweets are allowed at Alice's school so unfortunately it's just a Happy Birthday sing-a-long at the end of school. Gone are the day's of sticky chewy sweets or lollipops like we had in the 70's. 
Alice is having one of her close friends for a sleepover, pizza and giggles this Friday, so I can expect a grumpy tired girl on Saturday no doubt.

I wanted to show you this very sweet necklace I got for Alice's birthday, I discovered this quirky jewellery designer called Elsie Belle via the internet a while back and just thought this would be a fun addition to Alice's little collection of trinkets and charm necklaces. 

It's the sweetest little harmonica which actually works and Alice loves it. Do go and have a look at her vintage inspired trinkets and charms on the link above if you want to smile ;0)

I also wanted to share this gorgeous tea towel I treated myself to last week. It's designed by Hannah Cousins found here entitled "The A - Z of endangered Community Life" which I thought was a brilliant title and her alphabet covers all those community spirited, old fashioned things like s for borrowing a cup of sugar, f for fireside stories, p for playing outside, u for useful advice from your gran etc. that we often find lost in some of our communities. 

Here's what convinced me to spend a whack of 10 pounds on this tea towel ...

Sweet isn't it? A bit pricey for drying your dishes with but then it is beautiful and functional.

A couple of weekends ago I mentioned a lovely local artist Claire Fletcher who always has an open studio in the Coastal Currents visual arts festival in Hastings and St. Leonards-on-Sea. Anyhow, I got chatting to her and knew at the back of my mind that she did art classes and was fortunate enough to have her slot Alice into her Thursday class for 8 - 12 year olds. It is a beautiful seaside studio in the Stade in Old Town Hastings.

This is what Alice painted in her first lesson a couple of weeks ago, lovely vintage inspired matchboxes.

She's currently making a little bird in a box which I'm looking forward to seeing soon. I think some hand made Christmas presents will be coming everyone's way this year xox

I'll leave you with a picture of a pretty posy I picked for my mother-in-law walking on my way back to her home this weekend, plenty of weeds and blossoms growing in the pavings along Brighton's streets. 

See you all soon and thanks for visiting my blog xox 



Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Hello, it's time to randomly pick a winner for my little give-away.The first time I did a give-away I wrote all the commenter's names on a piece of paper and Andy randomly picked one for me here, this time round I've had more than double the comments and a few lovely ladies who entered in twice after posting my give-away on their blogs {thank you so much to all of you for entering and your lovely comments, I really do appreciate reading each and everyone of them}. 

Thank goodness for randomness as in my heart I was feeling that each and everyone of you deserve to win but it could only be after writing down numbers attached to comments and double for those who mentioned the give-away on their blog.....the winner is Allison at Field Wonderful . So, congratulations Allison, I do hope you enjoy the fun bits coming your way xox Please email at with your postal address.

Thank you too for all your heart warming comments about my favourite girly growing up. She will be 11 on Monday and we are off to spend the weekend in Brighton with friends and family.No doubt cake will be had all round and it will be a celebratory time. I'm sure I'll be blogging about our weekend sometime next week and will hopefully show you Alice's completed Boneyard shawl/scarf. I only have a teeny tiny ball of yarn left from the skein to finish using up and then the boring blocking bit before wrapping up in layers of tissue paper to be opened on Monday morning.

This yarn is heavenly and I have truly loved knitting this shawl/scarf with the wonder of Addi knitting needles. The are so silky and smooth to knit with and despite being a bit more pricey, I think they are well worth the investment in the long term.

I hope she likes it, it's been a tad difficult trying to knit it without her seeing what's on my needles!

Last Saturday we went to the annual Hastings Seafood and Wine festival which was absolutely indulgently delicious and never ceases to disappoint with the quality of yummy food and local wine on offer. It's a real treat that we look forward to each September.

There is always live music and lots of banter, it's real good fun and of course a little sunshine helps too. Hastings really has changed for the better I think, when we first moved to this area I often felt a culture shock having lived in vibrant Brighton for 6 years prior to that, but now I can hand on heart say I'm happier here. The Old town and Coastal Currents Festival each September is a real delight with what's on offer. Hastings Old town still has that feel of old English sea-side holiday-ness about it which I love.

I hope you have enjoyed my randomness today and I look forward to catching up with your blogs and seeing you here very soon xox

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Dear Alice

Dear Alice

You are on the brink of turning 11 and this morning as I watched you so beautifully singing to yourself as you brushed your hair and re-arrange your dress it dawned on me once again what an immeasurable blessing you are in our lives. Part of me is afraid of you leaving your little girl years behind and part of me is so excited about what lies ahead of you. I cannot comprehend how life would have been without you. I celebrate you sweet child and embrace your kooky, sensitive and beautiful ways. I love love love you and hope you never loose your free spiritedness

love from your mama  xox

ps. thanks for all your comments and look forward to having a winner on Wednesday 21st September 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Woolly Wednesday and a Give-away

Hello, it's a woolly Wednesday today at l is for love and I thought I'd share a little of my yarn adventures in Gothenburg 10 days ago. I was fortunate enough to have a couple of 3 hour "window" periods at the conference I went to {posted here} and so I pootled off in to the city centre and the older quarter which was gorgeous.

I love a gargoyle or two, don't you think we often forget to look up in cities? I always forget and then when I do I love seeing the beauty of the architecture and spotting a gargoyle if I can.

So today I'm going to tell you about the two divine yarn shops I found in this amazing city. Firstly Deisy design which was a feast for the eyes, full of unusual yarn and colours bursting out of every corner.

Oooo mama

Super bright hand dyed yarn at ahem... silly prices but gorgeous to admire anyway. The lady who own this shop was so friendly and open to chat about her yarny world and how she has a knit and natter in one of the local cafes. I simply had to come away with something local and delightful. Unfortunately I could only afford 1 skein of this beautiful merino and silk blend but I was thinking along the 1 skein wonder knits and that I would find something meaningful to make with this lace weighed yarn.

What do you think of these colours? They reminded me of a little miss whom I adore very much and who is going to be 11 very soon. I rolled the skein up into a ball on the aeroplane home as unfortunately as you know knitting needles are a "no-no" on board a plane. It was quite therapeutic and as soon as I got on the 3 hour train journey home from the airport I started knitting one of my favourite scarf / shawl patterns the Boneyard shawl designed by Stephen west and free to download from Ravelry. 

This will be Alice's handmade element of her birthday present and is perfect for the coming chills of Autumn. I am hoping she will like the end result and colours too, I'll let you know x

The lovely lady in Deisy Design told me how to get the Gothenburg's other yarn shop Strikk which as D.I.V.I.N.E to say the least, I had to prise myself away from this shop with great reluctance. I especially fell for the Malabrigo yarn which is so soft and cosy, I can see why the Swedes would want to hand knit with it for all those freezing winter's.

After much umming and ahhhing {I had to come away with something!} I chose 2 skeins of Azul Profundo Twist yarn and will be keeping this for myself this winter. I may make a cowl with the lovely Penny's {from blog Planet Penny} pattern which looks so effective and cosy and easy to knit up.

Another one of my delights is button collecting from wherever I visit and these snow flake brown retro beauties had to come home with me too, perfect for some woolly gloves I think.

All in all it was a lovely break away from all the heavy science of the conference and a bit of escapism into my creative place.

I'm very busy at the moment what with work, being mum and family life, juggling 101 other things life throws at you. I feel like I am on the brink of a little cross roads in my life again and no doubt will be blogging about decisions that I've made etc. In the meantime I think it's time for a well over due little GIVE-AWAY what do you say? 

So here's what you will receive if your name is picked, all you have to do is leave a comment on my blog and your name will enter the hat. If you want a double entry, let other's know about my give away on your blog by copying and pasting this picture below and don't forget to tell me that you've done this and I'll enter you twice. 

Yay, I love a little give-away!
Thanks for popping in and commenting, I am more than happy to send internationally and will end this give away on Wednesday the 21st September 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Keeping it local

How has your weekend been so far? Mine has been great so far, I'm not looking forward to tomorrow though, as I have to commit to some academia when it comes to plotting and planning via a mind map regarding which high school in our area we/she are going to select for Alice to go to in September 2012. Oh, I have been dreading this phase in our lives, it's nail biting stuff and careful research and planning and considering has to all be accounted for. I know this may sound rather crazy to some of you but it is daunting especially when I am not particularly enchanted by our local high school. So, please bear with me as I go on this little journey and use my blog as an outlet to vent any feelings :0)

ps. Are mind maps still around or am I a very uncool mother? Oh well, they got me through university so I am prepared to be uncool anyway. Nerds rock!

Can I tell you how excited I am to see this heavenly retro/vintage/antique store open up just around the corner from where I live... I was heart skippingly excited to find out that
Eras of Style was re-locating from their shop in St. Leonards-on-Sea {4 miles down the coast from me} to my little town of Bexhill-on-Sea. Not only have they saved the old west station from being pulled down and turned into a supermarket but, they have divine goods/furniture for sale from all over Europe, in THE most beautiful building built in 1902 with stunning interiors and a fab retro cafe with delicious exotic teas as seen in my first photo xox

They are open 7 days a week and believe me when you sit in their retro leather couches you find it very hard to leave! I will of course be spending a fair amount of chilling out time there in the future. 

Alice and I had some fun with her art teacher the other day making Damson Gin. Janie discovered that she had some damson trees and so who could resist making some damson gin for the merriment season of Christmas. I found this recipe in my September Country Living magazine: 

250g castor sugar
750mls any old cheapo gin {I bought Sainsbury's own label}
400g of damsons {pips 'n all} 

Mix gin and sugar in a bowl till dissolved add the damsons and pop in a sterilised bottle or kilner jar {which I don't have}
Turn bottles/jars every week for 3 months 
Enjoy at Christmas as a festive locally grown tipple

ps. I know Alice is only 10 and to reassure you she certainly won't be having any of this tipple in the near future, she just likes making things...

Speaking of which another bit of local baking was had in our kitchen this morning,we made blackberry and apple crumble. Blackberries from the hedgerows picked whilst camping and apples from Helen's tree (thanks Helen). Alice was in her element as I supervised but gave her as much independence as I could with the whole making process this morning.

I love the ruby redness of the berries and a little extra water in the stewing process to make it ooze out over the crumbly crust when it's baking, making it all chewy and jammy on the edges...mmmmm

We like a reasonable sprinkling of cinnamon on top and once baked have it with thick cream/custard/vanilla ice-cream depending if you are Alice/Andy/Penelope in this house.

In the afternoon we took ourselves off to East and West St.Leonards-on-Sea for the Coastal currents Visual Arts Festival held every September and visited a few of our favourite local artists open studio's. 

We adore Claire Fletcher {do have a look around her gorgeous web site}

A few little goodies were bought for someone who is turning 11 at the end of this month's birthday treasure hunt {I'm a cruel mum hiding present's am I not!}

Claire Fletcher is of course influenced by the sea and the natural environment around her and she paints the most beautiful mermaids.

I love this tatoo'd mermaid

Excuse the bad photography and reflections on the glass, she was very kind to let me take a few pics.

She paints magical, whimsical children's illustrations and has illustrated for a number of children's books. I have tried to buy some of her prints most years {when I can afford them} and Alice has a little collection going on in her room.

Claire Fletcher gets quite a lot of inspiration from vintage boys and girls annuals and celebrates fairy tales and childhoods of yesteryear. Another reason for our admiration of her work.

Her partner Peter Quinell creates fun and quirky framed vintage toys and cards and bits and bobs he has salvaged from the past.

They just make me smile a lot

Really funny 

After chatting to Claire for a bit it appears that she has a slot in her children's illustration and art classes on a Thursday afternoon... Hhhmmmm now is this an opportunity not to be missed? I think so! So, despite her having had a waiting list in the past she now has re-jiggled her days and classes to accommodate the demand and has 1 slot left for a very happy little lady indeed!

It will involve a little bit of time juggling on our behalf and practising spellings for the next day's test at school in the car no doubt, but an opportunity not to be missed I think. 

So, that leaves me to ask how your weekend has been so far and if you have been celebrating what's on your local doorstep? I promise to make the next post of the woolly kind. My fingers have been a little busy knit knitting and hook hookin' these last few evenings xox See you all soon and thanks for all your generous comments I love 'em!