Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween

Twit-twoo! Hope you're all having a spooky time. We have just demolished a festive meal of baked mushroomsbraised lamb and pumpkin pie and are currently polishing off the last of the sweets, unclaimed by trick-or-treaters. How do you like my little owl? His name is Harold and he was carved into being using one of the Ginge's screwdrivers (shh, don't tell him). 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


You may have noticed that the Ginge and I love exploring new places, especially ones with a fascinating history, beautiful views and plenty of opportunities for eating. This weekend, we found a lovely little place called Saltaire, just outside of Bradford. The village itself is built around some beautiful old victorian mills, which have since been converted into a complex of galleries, restaurants and shops, selling everything from poetry-books to antique bobbins, Swedish furniture and hurdy gurdies. We spent the day dreaming of converting an industrial building into a house, reading books about foraging and wandering along the canal in the low, golden sunshine (I also decided I would like to learn to play the lute). We ate mushroom pizza, drank coffee milkshakes and felt altogether autumnal. 
I hope you are all enjoying Autumn as much as we are. More to come soon, including some delicious pumpkin muffins to bake. 

Monday, 17 October 2011


The things I have loved about Autumn, so far this year:

1. A rainy walk in Bath
2. Hot, comforting breakfast burritos in Jika Jika
3. Roasted root vegetables for lunch
4. Wearing my wellies
5. Farmers' markets
6 &7. Breton cider and galettes at Aubrey's
8. Sitting outside in the sun, bundled up in my favourite coat
9. Blood-red rowan berries
10. Countryside walks, searching for wildlife (I thought I saw a water vole, but it turned out to be a rat)
11. Kicking up dry, swishy leaves
12. The late afternoon sun catching on geometric spider mansions

What have been your autumn highlights so far? 

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The End of the Summer at the Seaside

Last weekend, the Ginge and I went to visit my Grandmother in my second home, the Northeast. The run-up to the weekend was relentless and saw me finishing my textbook-writing and completing my degree with my viva (I got a first, so I am chuffed to bits) and the Ginge up to his eyeballs in editing for other textbooks. Why do we do this to ourselves, you ask. Sometimes, we wonder that too, but it is fun most of the time. Anyway, we most definitely needed a weekend off and there are few places I would rather be than up north. My Grandmother lives on top of a hill in the quietest house in the world. The views are beautiful, the air is clear and her amazing home-cooking is always on-tap (I'm sure I put on weight every time I visit, but it's worth it). She doesn't have a television, so you have to find your own fun by listening to radio 4, finding family in old photographs or playing old boardgames like Boggle and Coppit. It is a perfect haven for relaxation and comforting family time. We spent Saturday at the seaside, just along from South Shields at Souter Lighthouse and Marsden beach. The Northeast coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world (not that I'm biased) and holds so many happy memories of my childhood, but I had never been to this particular area. What a fascinating place! Lots of exiting geology to gawp at and rock pools to poke around in, but also something I have never seen before: a lift shaft down to the beach. A man called 'Blaster Jack' built a house into the caves, which was later converted to and still runs as a pub. In the 1930s, the brewery company running the pub built this amazing tate-modernesque structure, which still works as a lift. It was beautifully bizarre and eccentrically English! It was so wonderful to be by the sea where the wind blew all the cobwebs away and the sun warmed freckles onto our cheeks. What a perfect way to end and remember the summer, now that we are officially into Autumn. 

Bedroom Loveliness

We have finally (almost) finished our new bedroom and are feeling very pleased with ourselves. It used to be the spare room, painted sky blue with a dark blue scratchy carpet and garish curtains you would be unsurprised to see in a school library. Now, it is soft white with beautiful honey-coloured floorboards and gentle french-blue floral voile at the window. It doesn't look it, but the whole thing was remarkably unplanned, apart from the colours of the walls and floor, which were heavily scrutinised by me. We stumbled upon the wardrobe, chest of drawers and schoolboy's suitcase on a beautiful antique shop adventure; falling in love with them on the spot and buying them in a moment of caprice. The large travelling trunk once belonged to the Ginge's Grandfather, was passed on to his mother and has now come to us. It is waiting to be lined with some new ticking fabric, but that is a project for another day. The voile at the window was found in my parents' garage, in a box of odds and ends from a friend's old shop. Finally, the most recent acquisition was our bedding, which was bought for us by my overly generous Grandmother as a very early Christmas present. I must admit that after looking around most of the shop with lots of 'hmm, I'm not sures' and 'I like it, buts', I was concerned that the Ginge and I might not find something on which we could both agree. Happily though, we found this lovely, bluey-grey-striped number with matching floral pillow cases. It is boyishly feminine and pulls everything in the room together, as if it were all painstakingly pre-meditated. Isn't it funny how these things happen? The room has such a peaceful atmosphere and I am sure I sleep better in there than our old room. It is definitely a sanctuary for the ends of busy days and weekend lie-ins. Now we just need to get some stuff on the walls.