Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Last Week of July

And the first week of the summer holidays almost over, just like that. August is just around the corner and I know that, when we return from our holiday in a few weeks, everything will be a shade less green and there will be blackberries in the hedgerows. It feels like we are racing through the seasons, racing through this year, and I would like to slow down a little please. I'm in summer mode, even if the weather isn't.

I had such a good day today though. From 9.30 am to 3.30 pm Bella and Angus attended a holiday club at a local school with all their cousins. I dropped them off with packed lunches and water bottles, handed over my money and drove home. It was like being a stay at home mum again! I made a coffee then went upstairs and finished some jobs in our bedroom. Then I came downstairs and cleaned up. I ate lunch, alone, with a magazine. Then I caught up on some admin while listening to episode after episode of The Archers (I am so behind). Mainly I just enjoyed solitude, something I cherish but rarely seem to find.

I really needed today because the last few days have been busy. We've been to IKEA, I have sanded my dressing table and painted it white, I've swapped around furniture and sorted through drawers, cleaned, ironed, written holiday lists. Our bedroom is almost finished, just a shelf to hang and we're there. 

But there are good things going on amongst the hubbub, like end of term gifts, both received....

and given. I'd been hanging on to those tins for a while, not really sure what to do with them, and had a last minute brain wave. I wanted to give the teachers plants, but a dripping plastic flower pot didn't look great, and these were perfect. 

Lemon drizzle cake on a wet Sunday afternoon. It is the best cake ever. Not a glamorous cake, or a fussy one, but quick to make, easy to bake and easy to eat too.

I finally finished Barney the Barn Owl, a birthday present for my owl-loving god-daughter. 

We'll overlook the fact that her birthday was in January and focus in his handsome good looks and oversized feet (which were an absolute bugger to crochet, although worth it.)

My dear friend Charlotte celebrated her birthday this week and so, with my sister watching my two, we went out for lunch to a country pub. It was such a mid-week treat. (Oh, I could so enjoy being a stay at home parent again...) I also made her this little wall hanging after she admired the one I made Angus for his room.

I must be feeling creative, because I also made a little hanging planter with the leftover black yarn from my espadrilles.

Oh, and I spray painted these wooden drawer knobs copper! Aren't they great? I'm really happy with them. I mean, I don't think for a second that anyone's going to mistake them for real copper but they cost me nothing and make me very happy.

I also sorted out my fabric stash, a job that forced itself to be done when I swapped over the chest of drawers that was in our living room to our bedroom. I was ruthless and anything I no longer liked I either threw out or gave to the charity shop, depending on condition and quantity. And now I have all these pieces and, as ever, plans for quilts but I can never seem to decide on a pattern or colour scheme. 

The garden is looking a little wild and untended lately and nearly all the plants in my tubs and pots have finished. I don't know if this means they've naturally come to the end of their life or they died because I forgot to dead-head them. The latter is the more likely outcome, if I'm honest. 

But the sweet peas are still growing.and I picked my first homegrown courgettes today. They're tiny, but I was worried if I left them any longer they would just rot on the plant. Enough for me to make a very little courgette fritter for lunch tomorrow, perhaps.

Oh, I bought a bikini! Remember my swimwear shopping traumas from a few weeks ago? Well I spent £60 in Bravissimo and now have a really nice, well fitting black bikini (this one) although sadly my figure isn't quite as trim as the model's, but in the interest of being a good role model for my daughter - and laziness on my part - I am embracing my curves and wobbly bits and am just going to wear it and have a good time on holiday. How vain am I to think that anyone cares what I look like anyway?

The next few days will be busy still, with shopping and packing and running around doing last minute errands. Then we sail to France and there will hopefully be sun (please let there be sun) and nice food and wine, and good company, but most importantly time; time to read, to sew, to talk, to crochet and lots of time to sleep. 


  1. Hi Gillian! Well you've certainly been busy the first week of the holidays! The crocheted owl is adorable (I can well imagine those feet were a bit tricky!!), and I love the wall hanging you made for your friend! The copper cupboard knobs(!) look very effective I think! Well here where I am (near Darlington) the blackberries (brambles) have made an appearance, with some of them as black as they're ever going to get! It must be too early for this surely ................. I agree with you that the time needs to slow down, this year is flying by at an alarming rate!! Enjoy anymore chances that come your way to spend some time on your own - I well remember the long, summer holidays when my two were younger - it was lovely to have them around more, but all the same, some time without them was quite welcome at times!Enjoy your holiday preparations and hopefully some better weather than of late! Debbie xx

  2. I love the crochet owl. Enjoy your vacation. And yes wish I was a stay at home something, maybe that would be wife, and I'm 63. Can't say mum as son is 23 and don't need to be home for him.

  3. Have a great holiday Gillian! You have been such a busy bee, you'll be twiddling your thumbs the first two days on holiday. Good job, buying a bikini. Girls need confident role models, wobbly bits and and all. I have also sorted through my fabric stash (it is shocking) and have now started cutting into it for a new quilt. x

  4. So many lovely things in this post: Barney the owl; your wall hanging and planter; lemon drizzle cake, and your new bikini! Go you - I haven't worn a bikini since I was pregnant with L and too much of a skinflint to buy a maternity swimsuit! Have a fantastic time in France. xx

  5. My holiday has been over for a week - and yours is about to start :-)
    The copper knobs look REALLY good! I think copper is so elegant, and yet warm at the same time; not as cool as silver and not as "brash" as gold can be sometimes. Lovely colour!
    By the way, I was thinking of you when we walked into the walled garden at Ripley Castle early last week and came upon a large patch of sweet peas. I took a picture, but it does not do reality justice.

  6. You are always a busy bee. The copper looks great, I am introducing it into my 1960s bungalow as much as I can. I love the lemon drizzle cake and want to bake one now. Unfortunately I can't as I have no kitchen at the moment just a concrete floor, pipes and wires !. Have a great holiday in France xxxx

  7. Oh I love that card and the can of Pimms. I'm guessing that's a drawing of you telling them they have 5 minutes left. Brilliant. Great idea on the plants in tins as well. Love the wall hanging, bet your friend did too. You'll look lovely in that bikini. I still have one in the drawer. Not sure it will be seeing the light of day in Wales though. Have a good week Gillian. CJ xx

  8. Time well spent before heading off on holiday. I'll be making a lemon drizzle cake (I think) over the weekend with lemons from DD's tree as mine isn't fruiting at the moment. Pretty colours in your sweet peas & if you let courgettes get too big, they turn into rather course squash, but you can still use them. Those fabrics & your old embroideries should make a great quilt. Hope you have a great holiday. Take care.

  9. Wishing you a relaxing, sun-drenched holiday. We're off to Yorkshire for a week, so no bikini-wearing for me this year! Love all the results of your busy-ness this week – it's all looking great. Sam x PS Courgettes generally just grow into marrows if you leave them on the plant. Maybe you'll have one or two when you return from France :-)

  10. It seems that you are spending your last week of July in a perfect way and as you said that you will be busy in the next few days still, with shopping and packing and running around doing last minute errands, we hope that we will be able to see some good updates by you.

  11. Ah great. have a great time. we have just got back from the Forest of Dean - no bikini required but it was good family fun all the same. Wear it with pride. Jo x

  12. Have a fantastic holiday. Your plans sound absolutely perfect!

  13. What a lovely week you have had for the first week of the school holidays. And I love those copper knobs (that's what we used to call people with red hair in the days before political correctness! I suppose people today would consider this an insult, but it was meant kindly.) And those pieces of craft work are lovely, Gillian. And the bikini is a wowzer! You will look lovely in it.
    Margaret P

  14. I adore the wall hanging! The design is fab! I would like one myself.

  15. Hey Gillian,
    You're always so busy! I hope that you're holiday will see you horizontal on a sun lounger, vino in one hand, book in the other. Obviously you'll be looking fabulous in your bikini. I can't tell you the years I've spent in jeans in the beach. And for what? Cause I'm too self conscious to wear a cozzie. Last year I thought did it, and I've never looked back. You'll look fab anyway; we are all our own worst critic.
    Leanne xx

  16. It looks like your summer is off to a great start! I'm glad you're finding time to relax, in addition to everything else you're doing. Good for you buying a bikini! Gosh, it's been a long time since I wore a two-piece bathing suit. I think Bill Clinton was in office, ha. I'm sure you look amazing, enjoy yourself!

  17. It seems that you are spending your last week of July in a perfect way and as you said that you will be busy in the next few days still, with shopping and packing and running around doing last minute errands, we hope that we will be able to see some good updates by you.



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