1C6D8BEF-C6A3-48FB-BDF1-D014085FF47C.jpegJust a happy little moment when someone bothered to send me a little surprise in the post. Was such a lovely thing to come home to, nestled in amongst the circulars and bills was a package that I didn’t order. I was very confused to start with – had someone sent it to me in error?

I went through the list of people I thought it could be. No one knew anything. And I was still guessing the next morning when I got a message saying “I hope ou like your earrings” and it was none other than my lovely co-blogger. Just a happy end of January present.

And I love her even more for recognising that January is a difficult time for me and doing something amazingly lovely to celebrate me making it through.

30 for 30

Waaaaaay back in October, I turned 30 and two of my best friends organised the MOST AMAZING birthday surprise – 30 gifts for my 30th birthday. Every single gift was utterly gorgeous and so completely perfect for me. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of them all together because I put them all to use so quickly, but I have photographed a few highlights:


The Spice Girls Greatest Hits CD – ahhhhh they are literally the soundtrack to my childhood. I remember being at a disco when I was 10 and hearing ‘Wannabe’ for the first time – I LOVED IT and so began my relentless collecting of anything Spice Girls related (I’m talking right down to sweet wrappers, crisp packets and drinks cans….).


New stationery makes me so happy – even more so when it’s a bit wacky. The cork notebook is so squishy – we all had to give it a good squish when it came out of the bag!!


This is a little book full of memories the three of us have shared – it reminded me of all the fun adventures we’ve had together and I will absolutely treasure it.


Everyone already knows how much I love a good mug – and this one really tops the list! This is my new favourite because 1) it’s happy, bright and cheerful and 2) It doesn’t feel weird to drink either tea or coffee out of it – it is the perfect hybrid! This herbal tea is absolutely delicious and obviously the posh Waitrose bags make me feel very executive.


A vanilla candle with the first letter of my name on – what could be more perfect??!! and so my love of candles continues…


This wall hanging is so true – and boy do we have a lot of stories!!


This copy of ‘Crochet’ magazine has A LOT to answer for…more on that later. Sufficed to say this has started a whole new hobby.


This is my very first piece of artwork made by Rosie herself – I absolutely adore it and it is currently hanging in my kitchen right where I make my coffee every morning.

It warmed my heart to feel so loved and to realise how well my friends know me, I feel so lucky and so grateful to have both of them!


Books, Books, Books


This holiday I have rediscovered my love of reading. I had been finding it hard to concentrate and to justify the time spent reading. I was also finding it hard to ‘get into’ any books. I’d picked up many old favourites and tried to read them but stopped after a few chapters. I tried new books, old books, fiction, biography, non-fiction and poetrybut I could not reclaim my reading bug.

So yesterday I took a whole day out, put down my phone and my iPad, curled up on my bed and read. I finished ‘Call the Midwife’ by Jennifer Worth (the book the series is based on) which I had started about a month ago. I then opened Nick Skelton’s autobiography ‘Gold’. And then it happened, the magic came back. The smell of the new book, the feel of the pages and the total escapism. I read, and I read. I didn’t even stop for lunch! I made myself some cheese and crackers and propped the book up on the table. I felt again that need to keep reading and to keep turning the pages. I also read ‘All because of Henry’ by Nuala Gardner. This is the sequel to ‘A Friend like Henry’ about an autistic boy and his dog. And then I couldn’t stop, I was trawling my bookshelves for what to read next. I’ve started ‘Shadows of the Workhouse’ also by Jennifer Worth and I’m half way through already. I must have read for 12 hours yesterday. But I’ve got it back! I found my reading bug again.

Helpful washing

Following on from my cringe-worthy admission in my last post, I have another housework related source of happiness…I know, I need to get a life. But seriously, being the resident washing fairy is made so much easier when washing is already turned the correct way round. It makes me so happy when I’m pairing up socks and I find one that is already turned the right way round – I can’t tell you how many hours of my life have been wasted turning socks! And when I’m doing the ironing and a t-shirt hops out of the basket already turned inside out, it practically flies off the ironing board with the time I’ve saved having to wrestle with it to get it in a fit state to be ironed. Now, although you might think this is weird, I bet there are lots of you out there who have just read this and smiled because you know exactly what I’m talking about…


I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this….but I love housework! Making things neat and tidy makes me so happy – tidy house, tidy mind! I feel so much better when everything is clean and tidy and I like feeling like I have been productive and accomplished something. I also find it quite therapeutic doing my cleaning while I’m watching something on the telly, just having time to myself and pottering around. I like being busy and I’m not very good at sitting still for too long so I have no problem wandering around the flat having a little tidy up while I watch my programmes! Also, from a very stereotypical and sexist point of view (now I really can’t believe I’m admitting this!), doing the housework makes me feel like I’m being a good wife. My husband does an equal share of everything at home and would never suggest that doing the housework is my responsibility, but it makes me happy to feel like I’m looking after our little home and keeping it looking nice for us (I know, send me back to the 1950’s with my pinny and my vacuum and just tell me to stop talking….). There you have it, a genuine source of happiness found in an unlikely place!


2D2BF4F1-41FD-49A3-90DF-F21F77551BB2There has always been something magical about fireworks to me. The colours, the smell, the patterns, the contrast against the dark sky and the surprise of what explodes next. There’s also something nostalgic about dressing in your warmest clothes, dusting off the hat and scarf and heading off into what is usually one of the first really dark nights of the winter. Last night I did that. I stood, in cold so intense I could see my breath and hardly feel my fingers, in eager anticipation of the display. The shooting flames of the bonfire dying away, the chatter of excited crowds and the smell of burgers and hot chocolate filled the air. Every so often there’s a blob of colour as torchlight and glow sticks appear.  There’s the waiting, for that sudden moment when the the sky fills with colour. The oohs and ahs as the showers of stars fill the sky. The bangs and whistles and the hiss as the display starts. Then the explosion of colours and patterns that sparkle and flash and spin their way through the pitch dark sky. I don’t think I will ever tire of watching fireworks!


zumba sunday

I love Sundays.

Well that was a short post! 🙂 I really do love Sundays and I think I love them so much now because in the past they have been a day of the week that filled me with dread. In my previous jobs I always worked weekends so it didn’t really register as anything special, and as a teacher they were a day that put a knot in my stomach and made me want to hide under the covers in denial. You see, I always chose to leave my ‘home’ work (see what I did there? :D) for Sundays which I know is a terrible habit, but by Friday evening I was so exhausted that I couldn’t wait to have a break. By Sunday, the work couldn’t wait any longer so my day was always filled with planning, marking, making resources, writing emails and an endless list of other jobs that I had neglected to do. I always missed out on anything fun that happened on a Sunday and by the evening I was usually tired, grumpy and not ready for Monday. Now not all teachers live like that I am pleased to say, but that was my experience and I hated it. Since I have changed my job, Sundays have become a day that I adore, and it’s not because I’m having the time of my life on endless adventures…nope, instead I love Sundays because I have time to cook a nice breakfast, take the dog for a lovely walk, go to my mum and dad’s for Sunday lunch and stay an extra hour to play board games. I love having time to sort out the washing and do the ironing because these are all the seemingly normal activities I never had time to do before. Today is the 40th Sunday that I have been able to enjoy and the novelty has still not worn off.


Now I will be the first to say that gardening does not come naturally to me. My dad will be the second. My father-in-law will be the third. However, in Rural Care we have an allotment and a lot of people who know what they are doing! So I have been loving learning how to plant, care for and harvest different flowers and vegetables. The other day I even learned that a strimmer doesn’t have a blade underneath it, just a piece of plastic wire (honestly I was fascinated!). I have also learned that just watering plants helps to keep them alive – it’s amazing the difference that has made to my balcony plants! The allotment has a sensory garden at the end of it full of herbs and textured plants and I love sitting in there listening to the breeze through the leaves and the wind chimes. It is doing it’s job well because it is super relaxing!! I feel very proud that I know what a nasturtium is AND I know what a sweet pea flower looks like! I have also successfully planted and grown chard and radishes and I have successfully planted hundreds of strawberry runners to sell in the shop (it’s hilarious that I am so proud of this because strawberries are a really difficult plant to kill!). It makes me so happy that my gardening confidence is growing, I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to work on the allotment every day and to learn from some very clever people!

All creatures great and small!

One thing I love about the farm is learning about the different animals we have – how to look after them, what their job is on the farm and their different personalities! I really enjoy visiting the different animals, feeding them and looking after them – I don’t even mind mucking them out! I’ve found that one of my favourite animals to work with is our chickens – I could watch them for hours just wandering around the field pecking things and ruffling their feathers. I found it fascinating to watch them digging pits in the soil in the summer and then I learned that they do it to have a dust bath which helps prevent mites and helps them to preen their feathers. I love the way they rush over to you when you enter the field and peck food out of your hands – they will even let you give them a little stroke which I would never have thought!! The ducks are a great little bunch – digging through the wet mud with their beaks and waddling around the field. I have learned how to herd ducks which is just hilarious and very rarely necessary to do, but it’s fun all the same! The rabbits and guinea pigs are great escape artists and it has been a real challenge to keep on top of the digging and chewing but they are still super cute. The turkeys are like two old ladies that wander around at a glacial pace keeping an eye on the rest of the farm (they always remind me of Fowler from ‘Chicken Run’!). Sheep are MASSIVE when you get up close to them – especially when they are running towards you for their food! They are gentle creatures though and I’m only a little bit scared of herding them now 🙂 The goats on the other hand have horns. Horns are scary. Goats with horns are scary. Grumpy goats with horns are terrifying. And dangerous. Goats with horns and food however, are fine. The goats are my final hurdle at the farm – I will feed them and muck them out but I do feel nervous the whole time I’m in there and I am always armed with water to protect me (goats don’t like water, especially the grumpy ones). Fred is the grumpiest of the lot and I have many a bruise where he has bashed in to my legs but I am determined to befriend him! However, I think most of that will be happening with a fence between us!


Crafty goodness

There is so much joy to be found in creating things from scratch and making things look beautiful but with it comes the danger of living under a pile of hand sewn lavender pouches, with rag wreaths on every door and a decoupaged dog.

Luckily, in Rural Care we have a craft studio where we can make an abundance of beautiful things to sell in our shop. I absolutely love being able to make and decorate things and I have learned lots of new skills too!