Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Still Here, Not Washed Away In The Rain

I think it is the rain, the pittering, pattering of raindrops, that are somehow mesmerising me and bending time. It feels like it has been raining every day for weeks on end. It feels like January has been going on forever. It hasn't though, has it? It feels like I posted only yesterday, but I rather think it must be longer! I have emails to answer, things to do. But the pitter, patter, drip, drop carries me away instead.

This morning, it was the first day in a long time that I have stepped out to work and it has not been raining. My gasp was partly in surprise at the lack of rain, and partly in surprise at how c.o.l.d. it is!

Today is a drifting day. My eyes are sleepy and heavy, and I am sitting on my sofa, breathing in the scent of deep red roses that dear Carl brought home for me last week. I have flitted from favourite blog to favourite blog to new blog, and I thought I would just post a few words here. This isn't a real, proper post, just to let you know I am still here, really.

I got my hair trimmed today, and have been making plans for Easter goodies. Oh, and when I walked through the park yesterday, there was a duck with his bottom in the air, wiggling and grubbing away with his beak in the crack where the pavement meets the grass in a muddy puddle for worms. That made me smile so much. The park made me smile again this morning, when I spied a dusting of bright gold on the far river bank- the yellow crocuses are starting to come up. (Crocuses? Croci??) I adore these flowers. When they start to come up, I like to watch to see which colours appear first, and then watch for the bunches of daffodils which are sure to follow in the shops shortly afterwards.

I purchased just over 100 coathangers favourite girly boutique shop is closing down, and they ebayed all their lovely hangers. Heavy wooden hangers, and also those delightful padded ones with little gold clips. Bliss for the wardrobe, but how to sneak them in without Mr Carl noticing?

Talking of whom, he has his head rested on my shoulder while I am typing, all warm and heavy, but comforting at the same time.

I ran into a friend today who I have not seen since our wedding, and she looked just fabulous. The glow of a new man, and the swish of hair that is truly amazing.

Sorry for this all being snippets this evening. Just the thoughts that are swirling round my mind, rather like the steam rising and curling into the air from my oil burner which is scenting the room with Jasmine as I type.

Perhaps it is time for me to wish you all a very good evening, and sweet dreams. A more pulled-together post will follow soon, I promise. Just as soon as this rain stops!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Splish Splash

Is it me, or does it feel like it has been raining all the time just recently? I feel like I have gone to work in the rain, popped out at lunch time in the rain, and come home in the rain.

This morning was particularly wet and windy, and I felt like Medusa as I walked to work, with my hair blown all over the place. The rain makes me wish I had a pair of flowery wellies, so they may be my next acquisition. I love looking at what people are wearing in wet weather. There are all manner of cheery raincoats, wellies and umbrellas bobbing about.

My own umbrella is black with cream polka dots of different shapes all over it, but I spied a beautiful brolly scattered with pink gerberas, and a pretty stripey umbrella too. There are several schools on my way to work, so there were plenty of Thomas the Tank brollies, and wellies with frogs and so on upon them.

It was rather nice listening to the different rain sounds too. There was the tip tap tippity tap of spindly fingers on my window pane before I went out; then there was the soft pitter patter of rain on my umbrella, and the splish splash as I walked through the puddles. There was the gurgling of drains, and the swish-splash of windscreen wipers.

The sky is grey, and it is just the evening for curling up and snuggling. I am going to break away from my cup of tea this evening, and instead have a cup of milky coffee, and snuggle up in bed with my latest Jane Austen mystery, Jane and the Barque of Frailty.

I am definitley going to do something for my Scrumptious Every Day Challenge, but I still have not settled upon what. So for today I shall just post here that my Scrumptious Treat for today was to treat myself to some chocolate-covered-sesame-snaps for my tea break, and to choose a book of poetry from the library to work my way through. It is funny, I did not like T.S. Eliot (but love, love, loved Yeats!) when I did him for A Levels, but after reading a poem that he wrote to his wife, he has grown on me. I have chosen an anthology of mixed poets, so I can try some new things. I had forgotten how much I like poetry until I sat in my tea break, sipping tea, nibbling my snack and reading Christina Rosetti.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Scrumptious Every Day

Sunday was a delicious day for me. I spent the afternoon doing what I can only describe as wallowing in the sea-shell shaped bath at Carl's parent's house, while reading a perfect dream of a book, One Dance in Paris. (It is utterly scrumptious, you really must read it. Didn't like the main character at all at the start, but she grows on you quickly.)

"What if you just learned that your mother was a famous- or rather infamous- international showgirl? That she wore a tall headdress of rhinestones and peacock feathers and sensual whispers of outfits unlike anything you've ever seen: barely there, beautiful and shocking, simultaneously sexual and like something out of a fairytale. Outfits that gave her the power to become the talk of the town, the Queen of Paris, the star of the Folies Bergere...

All her life Linda Stone has felt awkward and out of place- motherless and friendless, long-legged and small-busted, standing head and shoulders above her curvy classmates. Then one eay a mysterious package arrives, with clues about her mother's past and about Linda's own future. If her mother could spark hot passionate fires in hosts of handsome men, what about Linda? Does she dare to break away from her aimless existance and slip on her mother's sparkling shoes, and dance her own dance?"

Really, it was the most perfect thing to read in a candle lit scented bubble bath!

Later, I watched Lark Rise to Candleford, that somehow I had not heard about before it started, but I really enjoyed it. We have been so spoiled for costume drama lately. After that, I was sighing over Colonel Brandon in the last installment of Sense and Sensibility. How lovely!

All this scrumptiousness on a Sunday evening, what bliss! And then, a little play on the internet, when I came across an interesting post at (read the one called Penguins and CROQS). Nancy has joined a challenge called Creative Every Day which is pretty much what is says on the tin- the challenge to do something creative each day, although you do not have to post each day.

This got me about a Scrumptious Every Day challenge? What if we were to look out for, or create, one lovely, scrumptious moment each day, and share it? Anything from making a hot chocolate in a favourite vintage mug, to writing a letter to a friend in pen and ink, to ironing the tea towels with lavender water, to just sitting and listening to the splish splash of rain on the window.

What do you think? Do you fancy it? I am toying with the idea of starting a blog for it, one where anyone interested could post their own bit of Scrumptiousness for the day. Or, I might just post here, depending on how things go, and you could leave comments with your own Scrumptiousness? Or maybe you could post on your own blogs? I don't know yet. What I do know is that there is always room for a little bit more Scrumptiousness in our lives!

I hope this evening sees you tucked up somewhere warm and cosy, with a steaming cup of tea, and a delicious biscuit to nibble upon.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

A Few of my Favourite Things

It was one of those mornings this morning, that shouldn’t be lovely, yet was. You know those days when the sky is overcast, and the streets are wet from rain that has now passed, yet lingers on in the air a little; the wind is cold and whips your hair into a tangle. The kind of day when you get roses in your cheeks from the cold, and all the grey everywhere makes you think happy thoughts to compensate.

I had two walks today- one into work, and then another at lunch time to collect a letter from the sorting office (another birthday card winging it’s way to you Tash!). I set out for work wrapped up in thoughts of a hot cup of tea when I reached the library, when something caught my eye. Crossing the road just a little way up from me was a little grey squirrel. I often see them in the back garden, but not out on the street. I love the way they seem to flow and ripple as they scurry. A Mexican wave starts as they bound forwards, and travel from their paws right to the tip of their tail.

When I walked down to the sorting office at lunch time, I was similarly diverted, although this time it was by flowers. I took a short cut through the Cathedral (I read that it is the second smallest Cathedral in the country; I don't know if that is true or not, but it is a beautiful building, small or not) and had to stop to admire the flower beds. Rippling and shivering in the breeze were tiny little violas. In some beds, they were all deepest velvety purple, with a boarder of white flowers, and in others there were white violas circled by purple. I love purple and white and yellow together, they speak to me of spring flowers, of daffodils and crocus, and they are the flowers of renewal, spring and hope.

Having two such lovely moments made me about Sarah Ban Breathnach's scrumptious book, Simple Abundance and how she advocates listing things that you are grateful for each day. I was musing on this when one of my favourite adverts came on tv (is it terribly sad that I have a favourite advert?!) the one for the skoda car, where they build the car out of cake, to the song 'My Favourite Things'. That started a chain of thoughts, things that I love, things that I am grateful for, lists, lists, lists.

So fix a cup of tea (definitely one of my favourite things!) and think about your favourite things while I share with you some of mine. I would love to hear some of yours!

A Few of My Favourite Things

Tea. Well I guess that one was always going to feature in my list! Maybe it is being a lady, maybe it is being English, or maybe just being me, but Tea is always welcome. It is so restorative both to mind and spirits. A cup of tea can be shared in celebration, commiseration, or almost any circumstance. In a big hearty mug or a delicate china cup. Regular P.G. Tips or delicate Lady Grey, taken at your kitchen table or a London hotel palm court. Have you noticed how just saying the word tea makes you smile just a little bit?

Reading. Where would I be without it? Other people loving reading is how I earn my living, and pennies to spend on books that I love. Reading can be a solitary pleasure, where I restore my spirits in the bath with a good novel, or a really good group chat at Booktalk group. So far this year I have read:

Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House
A delightful read, in which the diaries of Jane Austen reveal her sleuthing adventures. Bliss with a cup of tea in a china cup, although it does make me speak in an Austentatious manner when I am finished!

The Kite Runner
My latest read for Booktalk group. We discuss it on Friday, and I picked it up rather late on Monday. Finished it last night- it was a much easier read than I expected, although it is not an easy subject matter. I can see why it is so popular, but I would rather read something a little happier. I don't think the redemption at the end compensated for earlier parts of the story.

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley
I was given three of these novels for Christmas, and had barely finished the previous one before picking up this one. It made me long to waft about the house in my nightie with my chamber stick, and also made me want to visit Bath, and Portsmouth.

Size Doesn't Matter
Meg Cabot of Princess Diaries writes for adults too. Heather Wells, ex teen singing sensation works at a New York university, and finds her boss shot in the head. Has to solve the murder, stop the student strike, juggle her boyfriend with the man she really loves AND resist the temptation of chocolate bars. Like a grown up Enid Blyton.

Buttons. I blame my Mum entirely for this. When I was tiny, she used to take me in my pram, and then pushchair, into a Drapers called Wenlocks, where they kept the buttons in those long tubes, with one button glued on the end so you could see what was in the tube. I love buttons as a result. I can spend many a happy lunch hour perusing the buttons on the haberdashery stall of the market. One of my New Year's Resolutions is going to be to use buttons in my crafts more. I have a vague idea that buttons might be my theme for Christmas next year...

Red Lipstick. I can only wear it if I am in the mood, but when I am, I really adore red lipstick. Really bright red, a la Dita Von Teese. In fact, the shade I wear is exactly the same as hers. It makes me feel polished and glamorous. Even if I am only going home to cook the dinner, I feel like I am going out for a night on the town, dancing.

Violets. I am sure you have all picked up upon my partiality for Violet Creams, but the truth is, I love all things violet. Violet coloured ink on cream coloured writing paper. Devon violets perfume that my gran used to buy me, and I used to dab behind my ears feeling very grown up indeed. My posy of silk violets that cost far more than they should, but I could not leave behind. Violet tissue paper. Crystallized violets amongst the sugar lumps in the sugar bowls at our wedding. I hear that you can get Violet liqueur. I would like to investigate that, and have a go at making violet ice cream this year. Oh, parma violets, how could I forget those?!

My new hair colour. I have been toying with the idea of changing my hair colour for a while now. And on the second-to-last day of 2007, I took the plunge, and my hair is now a glossy espresso colour. Although it is quite a departure, I feel like it is the colour my hair was always meant to be, and somehow feel more like me. It looks better with my red lipstick too!

Making soup. Is there any better way to spend an hour? The rhythmic chopping and slicing and dicing, the heavenly smell wafting through the house, the feeling of nourishment and nurturing. The feeling of thrift as you transform the elderly vegetables languishing in my trolley to a delicious lunch. And making soup gives you the perfect excuse to make bread, which is really so very easy, and yet feels like magic, and immediately transforms you into a Domestic Goddess.

Feather Pillows. We stayed in the most delightful bed-and-breakfast a summer or so ago, and the bed had feather pillows on it, the first I had slept upon. I could not be without mine now. I love to fluff them up, and every night before I lay down, I spray mine with either lavender pillow mist, or my favourite in winter, nutmeg and peppermint. (Thanks for introducing me to that, Fairycakegirl!).

Fridays. Twice a month I have a Friday to savour and enjoy, to have crafting and cooking adventures and to see my Mum. Friday is associated with the planet Venus, which associates Friday with love, peace and relaxation. What can be better than that?

My washing up brush. A strange thing to love perhaps, but you would understand if you used it. My lovely friend Anna gave it to me. It is pink and stands up on its own, and has a great big flower on the back of the brush head. It looks like it should be more pretty than practical, but it does the best job. And surely anything that makes you sing as you scrub the dishes amongst the soap subs must be a good thing!

I could go on....and on, but I suspect your tea will be cold now, and I have to leave you with my last favourite thing- my blog friends. You are all lovely, and really enrich the world of blogging for me. Wherever you are, I hope you are surrounded by a few of your favourite things.

Sunday, 6 January 2008


It's funny, I don't really have anything to post about today, but where I have been posting more, it feels strange not to post.

I have just been having a little browse of my favourite blogs, and a few new ones, when suddenly, the screen on dear Carl's laptop blinked and then went blank.

I gasped in horror! This laptop is Carl's pride and joy! He was perturbed as it is quite a new machine, and I was sitting here thinking 'oh noooo!' when he realised that while I had plugged the power cable in to the socket, I had neglected to switch it on!

I think we can safely say that I do not mix well with technology!

We took down our decorations today. Our sitting room seems bigger now. I have really enjoyed having a wreath on the front door, and think I might make one for Valentines day, or even just spring.

Nearly timefor Sense and Sensibility, so adieu for now, have a lovely evening!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Lastly, The Cake, And Now, To Bed!


Ummmm you know how I just posted about conquering technology and all? It seems to me that I forgot to actually post the pictures! So here goes....

Unmarried Ladies, Look Away!

This little anecdote has just had my lovey Mum nearly crying with laughter on the phone, so I will share with you before I really do go off for my cup of tea.

Remember that lovely vintage book I found on Friday, 'Mirror Mirror on the Wall.....An Invitation To Beauty? I was reading through it, and it had some really quite modern ideas for the 50's (buy a juicer, ban hydrogenated fats. Until now I thought of juice bars as a modern thing), and then I came to a chapter all about how Eve can look after her Adam (authors words, not mine)!

When your Adam comes home from work, he will be tired and in need of reviving. Eve should greet him at the door with a glass of freshly juiced tomatoes, or carrot, and then offer him a Sitz bath.

A Sitz bath is three inches of cold water in the bath in which Adam must sit for three minutes, after which he will be quite revived.

And, now for the best part, and again, ladies of a sensitive disposition look away, if there is no time for a Stiz bath, I am to immerse Adam's testicles in a cup of iced water for three minutes instead!

Oh dear! Needless to say, poor dear Carl was none to enthusiastic, although he did think he could go for a glass of apple juice when he gets home!

Mimi Takes On Technology.....And Wins....Mostly

It would be more accurate to say that I took on technology with the help of dear Mr Carl! I have snapped a few pictures to share with you, using his phone, and he has just hooked it up to the computer so that I can post them here.

I was reading through your lovely comments earlier, and somehow rejected one I meant to publish. And using the back button doesn't seem to bring it back! So sorry!

The pictures here are of my Christmas cake, which was made from either a Good Food Magazine or Good Housekeeping recipe. I am pretty sure it was Good Food. It is a gingery fruit cake which is rather moreish, and when I have finished posting tonight, I am going to have a slice with a hot cup of tea. My grandad used to eat his fruit cake with a slice of strong cheese, and my Mum has been known to have an orange with hers, but I really don't think you can beat tea.

The other pictures are of the utterly divine yarn that I was given for Christmas. It wasn't until I came to wind it into a ball last night that I realised it is Colinette yarn! I love Colinette, and always linger over their stall at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show. I cast on 12 stitches and am just knit, knit, knitting every row. I really feel the urge to craft recently and this is a good way to start.

I seem to be full of ideas for the year ahead, I just can't wait to get going. I want to make some baby things for my lovely friend Angela, and also to make some gifts to take into work on Valentines Day. One of the first blogs I started reading was and last year, she sewed little felt chocolate bar holders for her friends, and I like the idea of that. I never quite got around to making my Christmas Crackers, so I have decided to make Easter Crackers instead. I want to make bread, to sew, to make clothes, and so much more.

My eyes feel sleepy this evening - it was busy at work today. When I awoke this morning, I was convinced it was Monday and Carl was late for work. I think it might be an early-night-with-my-knitting-and-radio-4 night tonight. Wherever you are, I hope you are having a cosy, lovely evening too.

Friday, 4 January 2008


Today I have felt like I could write the little quotes that you get on office calendars. My words of wisdom have included:

When you open the door to a snake vivarium, they don't come out right away. They wait a while, get used to the idea of freedom, then stick their heads out. People are like that. It takes a while to get used to freedom.

(said to Mum when she was telling me it is hard for her to come to terms with the fact that she has freedom to come and go as she pleases, cook what she likes, and not be fretting about how Dad has been at home, now he is in hospital)

Stress is like jelly on a plate. When you move the plate, the jelly wobbles. The plate stops moving, but the jelly still wobbles. It is like that when you have been under a burden, it takes a while to stop wobbling.

(said to Mum while describing how we are all recovering from Dad's ill health, and coming to terms with him being in hospital for the forseeable future)

In any box of buttons, there are ordinary buttons, beautiful buttons, and then one or two extraordinary little treasures that just gleam. Some days are like that. Like today.

(thought to myself when reflecting upon today)

So, what do you think, do I have a great career as a philosopher ahead of me?

Today was a gleaming-button day. I had the day off work, and started slowly with my favourite breakfast of boiled egg in a vintage egg cup, soldiers and steaming hot cup of tea. I read some more of my book, Jane and the Ghosts of Netlely by Stephanie Barron, which is a delightful bit of literary diversion, supposedly written from diaries of Jane Austen, in which she is a bit of a sleuth. Did a load of washing, rang Mum.

We decided she would come into town, I would meet her there for a bit of a potter and some lunch, then we would visit Dad.

It was cold when I went out, but not like yesterday. We met and called on my sister who was at work, and spent a few minutes in happy conversation. Then we queued at the post office, tut-tutting together about it now being in a branch of WH Smiths, and then wandered out into the town. We decided to have lunch, but could not decide where. There is at once a lot of choice and no choice in Chelmsford. There are Starbucks and Costas and Neros aplenty, a good sprinkling of McDonalds and Burger Kings, and even a Debenhams and BHS cafe. But not many really....scrumptious places. Happily I remembered a place called Bookleaf Cafe (or perhaps it is Bookleaves?) just outside of the town centre. So we buttoned up our coats and set off.

Really a more delightful place to spend a grey January afternoon you cannot imagine. It is a second hand and rare bookshop and tea room all at once. The room is just lined with books which are grouped in subject, but all piled up in the best manner. We ordered a cafetiere of coffee to share, and a sandwich each. When it came, we were exclaiming over it so much (in delight!) that the poor waitress thought there was something wrong with it! There was the sandwich, and then a salad that looked so beautiful with red onion, and slices of orange on the side, and a little glass dish of home made dressing. When we decided to go ahead and have dessert, we were each brought out our own little individual warm apple and almond pie, with a jug of cream, and a piece of green apple all sliced up and fanned out at the side.

There was no music playing which was so nice, just the restful hubub of teacups clinking and people talking. We sat for ages eating and drinking and chatting, and looking over each others shoulders at the books! Of course we could not leave without choosing a book to bring home. Mum chose a little vintage paperback of household hints, and I took home a hardback from the 50's called 'Mirror Mirror on the Wall: An Invitation To Beauty' which looks just lovely.

We went on to visit Dad, who looked so much better, and was quite perky in himself. Now that he is eating properly his skin is better, and he seems stronger in himself. It was much easier visiting with someone else. Unfortunatley Dad is quite paranoid at the moment, and what is not helping is that there is another man keep going through his things and moving them or taking them. Of course he is ill himself and does not realise what he is doing properly, but it really upsets Dad. Still, he has been to an art therapy session which attended off of his own back which is good. I think he will be there for a while which is sad, but also good because it means they can help him get better. It is odd how quickly going to the hospital, washing your hands in alcohol gel and buzzing to be let out of the locked ward becomes normal!

Thank you to all of you for your support and good wishes. It really does help, and you are so kind.

Oh, and before I go, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the lovey Vintage Pretty!

And a very happy Friday to all of you. I hope you spend the evening eating delicious food with people you love, and have the same warm cozy feeling I have tonight. I really feel like knitting or crafting...just making something really. The kettle is boiling for a cup of rose scented tea, and just now, I have a lovely feeling of contentment. I wish that for all of you too.