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An autumn mantel – work in progress


Our poor old (new actually) fireplace has waited a long time to be finished and really it isn’t yet but we’re getting closer. I was inspired by all the ‘fall’ decorating going on in blog land and thought I could decorate our mantel a little with an autumnal air. (Yes, maybe the summer feeling is finally over…..)

I pinned plenty of swoon-worthy pictures of halloweeny and autumn feeling mantles and could have headed out to the shops for new bits and pieces to decorate with but I wanted to keep any costs down so hunted around for suitable items.

And the whole autumn thing gave me a really good excuse to gather acorns and conkers. Gav doesn’t understand how I find it hard to walk by a fallen conker…….. I brought a pocketful home the other morning. And then the next day when we went to the park I gathered some acorns too. Happy happy.

I tried out a couple of flower arrangements along with the conkers and a lantern.


While messing about with these few things I remembered a pumpkin stamp I bought a couple of years ago and made a little garland to hang from the mantel. The envelopes had also been hanging around for a while and I liked the shape.


Added a couple of different designs of washi tape for a bit of colour and hey presto.


And then I couldn’t stop trying out different bits and bobs and see which I liked best.


Gav said he liked the acorns best. But I’m not sure yet might just have to keep changing things up till I run out of combinations.

What I did like best though was that candle light.


A bonus of autumn.

Around here




  • I’m waiting to dive into a Country Living Magazine that I bought on my way out of the country at Heathrow. Not a spare moment on hols to look at it! Saving it up for a rainy afternoon.
  • collecting courgettes daily. Gav is working himself up to make vats of lasagne sauce to freeze
  • the plums that I have watched from flower to fruit are struggling a little. Growing your own is always a gamble. Especially if you don’t use pesticide etc.  I need to find out what might be causing them to rot before ripening and maybe gather them even if not quite ripe rather than miss the treat.
  • planning to celebrate the arrival of Strictly with friends tonight. It’s a double edge sword. Half of me is pleased one of my fav shows is back on t.v the other half depressed winter is coming.
  • thinking about getting the paints out. I keep pinning art over here as inspiration but never make anything.
  • editing holiday photos. there are lots so I keep dipping in every day just for 20 mins or so. I am excited to get them printed.
  • making a list of jobs to do before the end of the year. Gav and I set up a list about six weeks before our hols to get stuff done and it worked really well. Of course there are always more jobs to do in house and garden so we thought we’d have another go at this.

On our walls

When we were in Cape Cod a few years ago I was wandering along the main street of Chatham looking for gifts to bring home when I spotted this print. It wasn’t cheap but I loved it. I was almost out the door without buying it when I decided I had to have it and I am so glad I did.

It is a great picture, unusual and it reminds me of that holiday.

This one is homemade. I used a rubber stamp and red ink.

I made three altogether.

Gav made these from various maps and an aerial shot of our neighbourhood.

And this one was a gift from the staff at Lindisfarne Castle when we got married there.

A little history and pieces of us up there on the walls. Perfect.

A bowl of ….

Now here is a funny thing. I didn’t realise that I had so many little bowls all over the house. Okay not that many but almost one in every room. Was it in the 1990’s that pot pouri was all the rage?

Anyway, this one I love and it has a nice story behind it.

It was inspired by the film ‘Somethings Gotta Give’ where Diane Keaton’s character collects white pebbles from a beach on Long Island and puts them in bowls all over the house. My sister and her clan collected lots for me when they went to Filey beach shortly after we’d all seen the film and I’d said how lovely the idea was. The wonderful purple glazed bowl was from Sarah Raven they have similar ones over here.

Here is another one. A Christmas leftover.

More purple.

And another favourite which contains shells collected from many beaches a dish full of stories.

I simply can’t resist collecting things.

Merry and Bright

Doing the final running about. Looking forward to a Christmas film and a rest after tomorrow. Fourteen for lunch and the oven blew up the other day but all will be fine.

Merry Christmas if you celebrate.


8.25am Tuesday 24 July

When I look up all I can see is blue sky and our broken umbrella. It’s hot already – at this time in the morning but there is a cool breeze too. I am sitting outside at the table. Just eaten cranberry porridge for breakfast and almost finished my coffee. I can hear next doors radio and their washer spinning. I can also hear the swifts and a pigeon chortling as well as a couple of other bird noises and the other next doors water heater coming on and off.

There is a small terracotta pot on the table in front of me with a straggly lavender in it. It’s a cutting I took last year there are two flowers on it which really I should trim off and let it puts all its energy into growing foliage but I don’t think I can deny it its beautifully scented blooms. There are tea light holders on the table too not that we’ve lit them yet but it’s coming if this weather keeps up. I am so happy and full of joy that the weather has turned good for the first time since May. It feels right.

The Alchemilla is in full frothy flower taking over the beds on either side of the steps up into the garden. I had to swap my chair before I sat down today as it had got wet in the early morning watering programme that Gav only got working last night. A blue tit just swung by the feeder but flew off again. Next doors bath water seems to be flowing down their drain now. Gushing and gurgling. A car just went by. I can hear bees too but that was spoilt by the dog across the road launching into a bark which Buddy has followed up with a bark and a pathetic whine.

The blue tits are here in force now flitting here and there – I think I’ll watch them and finish my now cold coffee before I head in and start the washing machine.

Inspired by a prompt from Ali Edwards class, 31 things at Big Picture Classes.

Week in the Life – Tuesday photos

Hi and welcome to my Tuesday photos for week in the life.

For some odd reason I picked up the point and shoot camera on Monday and Tuesday only taking one photo with my big camera. I think I thought it would be so much easier than the Canon 550 but I forgot how the shots just don’t compare in quality and adjustability – even if I’m still learning with the big camera the pictures are just nicer. But it’s done now and I’m okay with it – just needed to get that thought off my chest.

Okay enough rambling more photos…

And that was Tuesday. How’s your week in the life going?

Week in the life – Monday photos

A routine – breakfast and a little surfing.

How cute is he? 

Unexpected work afternoon – trousers in wash hence the rare sighting of my legs!

Taken at about 7.30pm still raining out there.

Gav acting the fool but on his ever present laptop.

And so to bed. Yes, I have a Teddy on my bed and yes, that’s a hot water bottle it was so chilly last night. Also love that I can see Twilight, still on my bedside table after all this time.

And that was Monday. Not the day I imagined but glad I got some photos in the bag.

log burning stove

About a year ago we had a log buring stove fitted.

I was an expensive little number mainly because it was okay to burn wood in smoke controlled areas  and it’s a clean burn stove, something about burning the wood then the exhaust gas from the wood?! Anyway, we love it. It has the odd temperamental moment and when you open the door to throw another log on the smoke and fumes are a little pungent but that’s the price for an efficient stove.

So I lit the stove at 4.30 the other evening. It felt a little cold out and I was in need of added warmth from living flames. Lucky for me the wood, which Gav gets from someone at work, read – let’s hope it’s sustainable! – was really wet but I managed to grab a few dry timbers and get the fire roaring. Gav was off to a football match so I had no worries when the temperature gauge hit 24 degrees, and I was still covered over with a fleecy throw. Buddy passed out for a while with pure delight at being that cosy.

Normally, if Gav had been in the house, a running battle would have commenced about the temperature in the room, doors would have been thrown open and arguments started and even, no don’t even go there, he’d have threatened the removal of the trousers! Imagine.

But he wasn’t here so I watched with glee as the temperature rose a bit more. An all time record 25 degrees. It’s a shame the warm weather is coming. I’ll miss those glowing embers.

Until October little stove, until October……

I’m dreaming

Of a Christmas full of crafty things that I have made. This year there is no excuse not to get on with it and make things as there is all the time in the world to do it – no job remember. In order to try and kick start the process I’m documenting every idea I have as a record of my great aspirations. I can see how far I get……. 

A wreath for the front door

Felt tags/shapes to hang from the tree or round and about

Labels for gifts – looking forward to Tim’s 12 days

Cards – I do usually make these anyway

Gingerbread house (now there something ambitious)

Apron for my niece

Jar of memory prompts for my mum, sister, parents in law and my uncle

Hanging garland wreath for above the Christmas Day dinner table

Little foliage/bell adornments for backs of chairs on Christmas Day

That ought do do it for now oh, and by the way it came. That snow they promised.