Saturday, 19 April 2014

Spring, thank you.



Is it me or has spring been really rather spectacular this year? It feels like everything is growing and blooming; the blossom seems to be everywhere, extra-colourful and lasting longer than usual. The skies have been gloriously blue, the sun has shone. Maybe it's just that we were all so ground down by that long, wet winter with endless grey skies (and we didn't even have floods to worry about up here) and I was just so ready for spring and some vitamin D. I've just been looking back through my photos from the last two weeks and I've noticed that most of them were taken outside; on the beach, in the park, in the garden. I do love it when the weather is good in the school holidays, the difference it makes - to the quality our days, to my mood, to our health - is not to be underestimated, I think.


The children and I spent the first week on the south coast, staying with my parents. John stayed behind as he had to work, and we missed him of course, but I did enjoy all that time with my sisters and parents, and with my nieces and my nephew too. Honestly, those little people are all delicious. That's Eleanor you can see above, looking out to sea. At just turned four, she is the baby of the group of six cousins, Bella being the oldest at seven. Eleanor used to be very shy with me, warming up to me just at the end of my visits, but this time she was delightful, non-stop chatter and kisses, wanting to hold my hand and sit next to me. No-one prepared me for how much I'd love them - even when they are little monkeys and hitting each other - and I love seeing them grow bigger and watching their confidence increase.

We all visited Arundel to see the Wetland Centre, or Wildlife Park as it was called when I last visited about twenty five years ago. Angus called it a "bird zoo". Wetland Centre means nothing to a four year old. There were a few comical moments in the bird hides, watching Angus try to look through the telescopes....




...bless him, he just wasn't getting it. He found a stick and spent the rest of his time in the hides pointing it at the birds and making shooting noises, much to my mortification...This is West Sussex, Angus, I hissed, these Boden-clad children do not pretend to shoot the birds!

Spring is the time to go though, I think, as chicks and ducklings were everywhere.



This lot sneaked out of their fenced area and were waddling around the path, cute as you like. It was all I could do not to squeal - they were about two feet away from me - and put one in my pocket and take it home. We had a dreamy boat ride around the wetland, where the motion of the boat and views of the surrounding area made me veeery relaxed indeed.


I'll take that over a theme park any day.

We met up with my friend Abigail (my BFF as Bella would say) in Chichester and spent an idyllic morning in a beautiful park right in the city center.



Since moving away I've come to appreciate how rich in history Chichester is, how attractive I find the low-lying Georgian architecture, what a pleasant buzz the whole place has, while also feeling very peacful. I like how you can see the minster spire from almost everywhere within the city walls.


This week has been all about gardening and Easter preparations. I've done about fifteen loads of washing. I decided to wash every single hat, scarf, glove and woolen jumper this week, before packing them away. I like to do this, I feel like it sort of marks the end of winter. Of course I am never without a scarf (and have worn my cowl constantly this holiday) but I have winter scarves, spring scarves and summer ones. Don't mock me. I also have these pretty new tea towels, from Asda of all places. I'd thought about using the fabric for cushions but decided I just like them as they are, hung over the oven handle or pegged on the line. There's nothing like pegging out washing to dry in the sun to make me really, truly, deep down happy.


We made our usual fayre, Easter nests and egg-shaped biscuits. That's about as traditional as we get round here - I'm still scarred from my hot cross bun escapades two years ago when I spent about eight hours in the kitchen, pampering and nursing a very needy batch of dough.




Easter baking tends to involve children, sugar and pastel shades round here. Damn tasty, they were, and pretty too.

I made an Easter wreath the other evening. It took as long as two episodes of House of Cards* and it was fairly low-level crochet, no real concentrating. I needed to focus on the television!


I like how it came out though, and the yellow looks nice against our grey front door.

I finally cracked and bought a copy of the latest edition of Kinfolk Magazine, mainly to see what the fuss was all about. It's expensive, true, but that's because it contains no adverts, which I didn't realise. It's just page after page of very good writing and photography. Sometimes I found it a little bit precious, but overall I liked it. The current issue is all about the home, which particularly appealed to me, and I think of it more as a book than a magazine. It's my current bedtime reading, that and Donna Leon.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, I hope you have a wonderful, joyful day, whatever you are doing. We'll be making the most of these last few days of what has been a truly glorious two week break. 

Spring, I think you may be overtaking autumn as my favourite season.


***********************

*Is anyone else watching House Of Cards? We're on the second series now. Oh, it's good, so good, I feel like I need to talk to everyone about it! The Underwoods - I am both captivated by them and terrified of them. Great writing, great acting. What did we do before box sets of US dramas, I wonder?

49 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you've had a good spring break. I've had a read of Kinfolk, and I'd agree with your assessments. The cookies are so pretty. You're really good at baking decoration. I wear scarves all the time. In fact, they're my latest thrift-shop obsession; I've bought three of them in the past month or so, for a total of about $2. Happy Easter to all of you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful pictures. The children look like they are having fun. Spring is wonderful isn't it. I love watching my grandchildren playing outside after being cooped up so long this winter. Happy Easter.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wouldn't think of mocking you for seasonal scarves! Our weather is rather similar, so I completely understand. Most of the year round, each child has at the very least, three coats each (heavy duty for cold and wet, fleece for coldish weather, nylon for rainy, with hoodies for everyday and being layered according to need) crowding out and falling off coat hooks! It looks like you had a really beautiful time, and your cookies are, indeed, lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You definitely seem to have a spring in your step. Love your photos and can relate to your hot cross bun dilemna, as I had one too, when I first got married. They were like canon balls and had to be thrown away. Never tried since. Love your Easter wreath. Take care and enjoy the rest of your break.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautiful photos and a beautiful, spring post! We have had cold rain the past two days, and we are looking forward to a sunny and warm day tomorrow. All of your yummy Easter treats are so pretty. I hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love the Easter wreath. I too have made Hot Cross Buns .......... but only once! You're right; they are a lot of faffing about so we now buy them from the supermarket. Your cookies look lovely too. Enjoy the last few days of the holidays. x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh I have been so ready for spring this year too! Lovely post...your makes are gorgeous, the biscuits are so beautifully decorated and I really like the spring wreath you made - it is very you, just perfect. Hope you have a lovely Easter with your family.
    Marianne x

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a charming post! Really lovely to read! And glorious pictures to boost! Happy Easter x x

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your Easter wreath is just beautiful, something you could keep up all year round. And I love your new tea towels, great colours. Lovely post xo

    ReplyDelete
  10. Compared to last year, spring is indeed rather fantastic !
    Your easter wreath is very pretty . I still have one on my to-do list (I have a feeling that will be something for next easter...)
    But your egg-shaped biscuits !! How pretty ! Almost like little pieces of embroidery ! They look too good to be eaten....

    ReplyDelete
  11. Don't tell me anything about House of Cards!! We watched series 1 last summer on holiday (no Netflix subscription here) and are on a promise to watch this series this summer!
    I can't believe the Easter hols are almost over :-(

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have a scarf habit too and lots of washing. Love the simplicity of the Easter wreath!
    Jacqui xx

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm a little bit in love with spring this year too... and your new tea towels. Have a lovely rest of Easter. Claire xo

    ReplyDelete
  14. Spring has been truly wonderful this year and am so enjoying the sun. Loving the mustard yellow colours in your photos it's a colour I'm just getting into. Happy easter To you all. XXX

    ReplyDelete
  15. I get you on this spring thing, I feel it too. I am not usually so joyous at its arrival but this year...........I think you have nailed it that grey wet winter was just so draining.

    A boat on a lake is way better than a theme park you are so right, that is what we are off to do today, combined with an Easter egg hunt and a BBQ to finish the day off, better go get sorted...........

    ReplyDelete
  16. Such a lovely post just to see a bit of sunshine and feel a bit of warmth makes such a difference:-) enjoy your Easter xxx

    ReplyDelete
  17. Such a gorgeous post Gillian (as always x)
    It is a BEAUTIFUL spring indeed and i agree the skies have been breathtaking and with the perfect mix of warmth and breeze ..... heaven.
    I love Chichester and will be popping there next week, it was funny to see somewhere so familiar to me in your post, it is a wonderful place.
    Ooooh your bakes look divine ..... Happy Easter!
    love Jooles x x x

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was only thinking yesterday what a fabulous spring we're having - so much green and so many flowers - the cherry blossom is wonderful at the moment. I haven't seen any ducklings yet though - will have to go and look later in case some have appeared in the last day or two. Love those colourful biscuits. Have a lovely Easter. x

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lovely spring-y post - fab photos! Love the tea towels too - its amazing what great stuff you can get in supermarkets these days :-) We spent this week nr Chichester as well, great weather for being round the sea.

    ReplyDelete
  20. It has been wonderful hasn't it, more like the summer hols than Easter. Your photos are wonderful, I like Chichester too. Fab tea towels, very Lotta Jansdotta. I like the occasional Donna Leon too, and I shall look out for Kinfolk. I do like the sound of a magazine with no adverts, what a refreshing change. I'm off to make Easter nests as well. I briefly considered hot cross buns, but now I've read this I've dismissed it as madness. I hope you guys have a really good day.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Just finished House of Cards - completely hooked and desperate to see what happens next! The 'cliffhangers' at the end of each show were great and we'd often find ourselves doubling up on episodes -even on a school night! Spring has been tip of the top so far - I love watching everything waking up. Have a glorious Easter day x Jane

    ReplyDelete
  22. Beautiful moments from your week. Happy Easter to you and your family. Hugs :D

    ReplyDelete
  23. I need to get to Asda! Those tea towels - who knew?
    It has indeed felt like a Technicolour spring, and yes - it probably is because we had such a blah winter (no snow, hardly any frost - just lots of grey gloominess).
    The ducklings are so sweet, aren't they? And I love your fabrics in embroidery hoops and the wreath.
    Enjoy the rest of the (blissfully long) weekend.
    Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
  24. Its all your fault I am totally obsessed with HoC! we are rationing ourselves to 2 chapters a night but can't stop talking or thinking about it!!


    ReplyDelete
  25. Really loved reading every word of your post today. I too have been doing the winter/spring swap over of clothes and so true - never underestimate the children being outside in the holidays! We have had a pretty bicker free first week. Jo xx

    ReplyDelete
  26. Loved to hear of Angus in the hide.I thought all the Boden brigade were in Corbridge at the weekend it certainly seemed like it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Lovely photos. I love seeing washing on the line. Your pegs are the same as ones my grandma had, brings back happy memories of helping her peg out the washing. I like your Easter biscuits and wreath.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Looks like a lovely Spring break and the ducklings are gorgeous
    Clare x

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hey Jennifer,
    Lovely post, as always. I chuckled at the Boden comment. Yesterday me and Pops went to Tehidy Woods and drove home via the North Cliffs, stopping off for an ice cream at Hells Mouth Cafe. It was full of yummy mummies and their well dressed offspring. Olly was filthy, as we had been den building in the woods. He was tucking into an ice cream, looking very angelic. And then he said the classic "Mummy my ice cream is made of sloppy poo!" Exit stage left....
    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
  30. Looks and sounds like you're all having a great Easter holiday, out and about doing "stuff" - the weather has mostly been lovely hasnt it? Happy Easter Gillian, and enjoy the rest of the hols!
    Gill xx

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Gillian :-) Such a lovely sunshiney post. Happy Easter.
    Tracey xx

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Gillian, I agree the weather makes a huge difference. Yesterday was dismal and I felt very down in the doldrums. Today is looking brighter and chirpier altogether! Great that you had a nice getaway and love all your spring things, Heather x

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your Easter looks filled with lovely family things. How delightful!

    S x

    ReplyDelete
  34. I almost miss school holidays with young children, but I'm stressing the almost ... now my lot are mostly grown, and with two moving away in the next few weeks, I'm enjoying the freedom from the ties of the academic year that when they were small I remember looking forward to. Just sometimes though I think that having a little one about would still be the best fun :)

    I never thought I'd find myself saying this, but I have tea towel envy!

    ReplyDelete
  35. What beautiful Spring pictures, so colourful. Looks like everyone had a good time!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I am SO glad my boy isn't the only child out there pretending to shoot things! Lovely pics - so pleased it's warming up on your side. Sunshine really makes all the difference doesn't it? And yes, House Of Cards is very good although the President character really irritated me. x

    ReplyDelete
  37. What a lovely fun-filled few days you have had
    Caz xx

    ReplyDelete
  38. My turn to say I recognise that park! Savanna loved that huge mound in the middle of the park, great for running up!
    Your baked goodies look lovely, bet they tasted good too.
    Lisa x

    ReplyDelete
  39. In my second piece of non scientific research I'd like to put forward that you get more done when the sun shines. Love your spring wreath - am LovinG yellow at the moment xx

    ReplyDelete
  40. A seaside holiday with family - and cute ducklings! What more could you want! Your Easter cookies look perfect - not a sprinkle out of place!

    ReplyDelete
  41. This spring there does seem to be an explosion of blossom and sunshine. I can't decide if there's more blossom this year or if it's all come at once. Either way I'm enjoying it. Love the photos of the ducklings - impossibly cute!

    ReplyDelete
  42. A lovely post to read. I think spring this year has been spectacular, perhaps because we've really been yearning for it after all the rain in the winter and perhaps the rain has really helped everything to grow so well.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Such a lovely happy post! I love your Easter wreath and your Asda tea towels are a great find!

    ReplyDelete
  44. lovely prints and colors.
    spring came a little late this here but it's finally here and I'm loving it.
    those egg cookies looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Gorgeous pictures of all the cute little ones both human and feathered! And what is it with boys and sticks!?!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Beautiful pictures of happy spring things ... those little ducklings are adorable ... looks like you've had a lovely Easter ... Bee xx

    ReplyDelete
  47. Wonderful post Gillian, I've enjoyed every word of it, thank you! And such gorgeous pics - and those sweet little ducklings - such delights! Your Easter wreath is very prettily understated - I like that, and oh boy, could I please enjoy picking at those Easter nests . . . . Happy days to you and yours, hugs, Joy xo

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hoping you had a fab easter. Lovely photographs again. Your biscuits look delicious.I can never get my icing so smooth or thick to decorate properly!!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Those ducklings are so cute. I agree - it's been a very lovely spring this year. Fingers crossed for summer! x

    ReplyDelete

Hello there! Thank you for leaving a comment. I read them all and I always try to answer questions, although sometimes it takes me a while.