Hello! Thank you for your kind comments on my last post, helping me out with the identification of my Spiraea "Bridal Wreath/Veil", and generally buoying me up with your kindness and warmth. The Easter holidays are rumbling along quite pleasingly here. Week one was super productive as I powered through my to do list; passports were renewed, admin dealt with, trips made to post office, car garage, vets, and tedious financial jobs attended to. And now John is on holiday and his parents are staying with us for the week, and I've declared myself on holiday too.
Don't be fooled by the glow of morning light on the herbs on kitchen windowsill - while still sunny, it's turned very cold, with a sharp north-east wind cutting through any warmth in the spring sunshine.
I spent some pleasant hours stitching this blackbird embroidery hoop last week, from the latest spring Craftpod. It's been a long time since I did much hand sewing and I'd forgotten how good it is for me, how much I enjoy the process of the embroidery while my brain can wander here and there, half listening to the radio, half concentrating on the task in front of me. Very mindful, very soothing.
I like this hoop a lot; the colours, the bird, the eggs - it all feels so cheerful and optimistic.
My good luck with second hand books continued this week, when my parents returned from their holiday with some gems for me: a copy of Tender, by Nigel Slater, and two more Observer guides to add to my collection. The copy of Tender is well thumbed and much loved, falling open on well-used pages, but this just makes me want to use it more. The most enchanting parts of the book for me so far are the photos of Slater's incredible garden. Long, narrow and sheltered, it's beautifully planted and feels more secluded than you'd imagine for a terrace in central London, and so much more grown-up than our wide, square lawn, littered with footballs and bordered with shrubs and battered tulips.
You'll notice a few duplicates in my collection, but happily I've arranged to swap them with friends. It's win-win.
Bella had a friend from school sleep over last week. She took so much pleasure in getting everything ready, making up the beds, choosing snacks, planning what they'd do. She suddenly seemed awfully grown up.
But then I took this photo earlier today at Fort Nelson...
This museum is just a few miles away and we go there so often (it's free and ideal on rainy days) but I still love this room, the kitchen, the best.
I'm still working on my shawl. It seems to be taking absolutely ages to make, and I think it's going to be really big when it's finished. I'm really enjoying the pattern and colour pooling though.
I decided recently that my Easter decorating game could be so much stronger, and bought some wooden eggs with hooks, to hang from an Easter tree. When I say Easter tree, I mean a few dusty old branches of pussy willow that I have had for about four years. I bought these smaller ones and these larger eggs. I really like them plain, as they are, but sprayed a few white and copper for a bit of variation. I might crochet a couple of eggs too, if I have time.
Angus spent £3 of his pocket money on a little travel version of Battleships last week. Every night, he and John are hunched over the kitchen table, plotting moves. It warms my heart.
I'll leave you with a photo of Ziggy and his adorable nose. This was taken in Bella's room, where he'll spend as much of his time as he can, curled up on her bed. He sneaks upstairs early in the morning and she lets him into her room to sleep on the end of her bed. It's a good thing she's an early riser.