Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Rain and Flowers

We've had rather a lot of rain here lately. I'm not complaining - it's good for the garden! - but it's not very seasonal, what with the chilly winds and grey skies. If it hadn't been for the fact that it's the middle of June I think we'd have switched the heating on last night. When I returned from a wet dog walk last week with soaking wet shoulders, I realised that my showerproof jacket was not really doing the job and that it was time to buy a proper rain coat, so I hopped online and found a jolly yellow one with deep pockets and a big hood. I like it a lot. I'm my own little ray of sunshine. 

But despite the leaden skies, there's a lot of cheer to be found this wet week. This little fig tree, moved from my parents' garden over the winter, is already producing fruit. I had no expectations from it so this is a nice surprise.

I found the most gorgeous peachy-pink peonies in the supermarket last week. They are some of the best I've bought and have opened beautifully.

Over the last few days the're opened even more and faded to a pale apricot. I should think about composting them soon but I can't quite bring myself to.

One our the pillowcases actually ripped in two as I was changing the sheets last week. They were quite old, perhaps ten years, and although good quality had definitely come to the end of their life, and I so talked John into buying some new bedding.

We chose linen bedding instead of our usual cotton, and I can't tell you how much I love it. I've read that it's more sustainably produced than cotton, is warm in the winter, cool in the summer and softens with washing and age. We also deviated from our usual plain white and chose deliberately mismatched colours which tone together really nicely.

A freshly made up bed is one of life's simple pleasures and one I never tire of. Another is the receipt of a new book or, even better, two. My lovely mum surprised me with Nigel Slater's new title, Greenfeast, a collection of mostly vegetarian recipes for spring and summer. I've been flicking through it over the last couple of days and am itching to get cooking, of course, but it is making me wish the weather would warm up a little - it would be nice to have dinner in the garden sometime soon.

I treated myself to a new book too: A Year of Embroidery by Japanese designer Yumiko Higuchi. It is exquisite and I want to sew everything in it.

The designs are seasonal and can be stitched in one colour or many.

I especially love the effect below of sewing in white on a dark coloured background, and that's something I'd love to try.

The purchase of this book was prompted by a sad event: while cleaning, I spilled bleach on my favourite pair of blue Seasalt cords. I could have cried, I only got them at Christmas and they are so comfortable. The stain was on the right knee and it was large, about the size of a fifty pence piece. My sister suggested covering it up with an embroidery of some kind, what a great idea. 

I forgot to take a photo of the tragic stain before I started sewing, but here you can just see the horrible pinky-orangey-purple that the bleach has died the blue fabric. I chose spring flowers, from the above book, in a palate of white and yellow. After sewing the first, I thought I better keep going so that the effect was a bit more intentional, a bit less random.

The effect is summery and light, and they look great rolled up a little at the ankles and worn with sandals, white t-shirt and chunky mustard necklace. They're not perfect but they are at least wearable now. I guess I can also wear them with wellies and my yellow raincoat too if the rain continues...

Now that those are finished, I can make a proper start on crocheting these socks, which have been in my project basket for a month or two. I didn't think I'd want to make socks in the summer, but then I am sitting here with a blanket over my knees while I type this, so I think they will be alright.

Despite never having been in my life, I found myself visiting Legoland twice in the last week. We don't really go in for theme parks much (the prices!) but, back in the winter, were able to secure unbelievably cheap tickets to go last Saturday.

It was brilliant fun, as you'd expect, and we had a great day, although goodness I was tired when we got home. My favourite part though, a million times over, was the Miniland part of the park - a whole area of miniature world monuments, landmarks and buildings built from Lego bricks. You know I like things in miniature and this was no exception. The level of detail is phenomenal.

My second visit was yesterday, on a school trip. It was just as much fun as Saturday, definitely more tiring, and gave me an opportunity to look at Miniland again.

Finally, proof that is in in fact June and not March, we made it to the beach on Sunday afternoon for a walk. It was blowing a gale and not really that warm but Angus and Bella paddled and Ziggy ran and sniffed and I thought, as I still do, how lucky we are to be able to do things like that as a family at the weekend. 

 I enjoyed Legoland, but give me a trip to the beach over a theme park any day.

Edited to add:

The raincoat is from John Lewis, this one: Hooded Raincoat in yellow. I like it because it is very light weight and so rolls up really small in your backpack if you're not wearing it, plus so far it does seem to be genuinely waterproof not just showerproof.

The bedding is also from John Lewis, from their Croft Collection. The duvet cover is Blue Grey and the pillow are Loch Blue. The pink pillowcases are these ones.

(Not sponsored, all bought with our own money.)


  1. Your new bedding is lovely! Can I ask where you got it from please as I'd like some linen pillowcases but am struggling to find some the right colour. Thank you!

  2. What a great way to deal with the bleach stain on your trousers! They look lovely, and will go so well with yellow sandals and other yellow-ish accessories.
    Wonderful pictures of the beach! I have not been to the Sea in a few years now, and would definitely like a walk along the water, no matter the weather.
    There is a Legoland about an hour's drive from where I live, and I went there about 10 years ago. Much as I admired all the buildings etc. (they really were great), I was a bit disappointed with the general upkeep at the park. It all seemed a little faded and not really well cared for.

  3. I'm impressed with your embroidery on your jeans, it looks great. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress with the crocheted socks. I've purchased yarn to crochet some but haven't started them yet. Cathy x

  4. Hi. Can I ask where the linen came from. I am in need of new bedding and this is exactly the type of thing I want. Thanks

    1. Hi Caroline, it's from John Lewis. I'll update the post to include the links.

  5. Oh my god, that coat! Do you mind me asking where it's from? It looks amazing :-D

    1. Not at all, it's from John Lewis. I'll update the post to include links. :-)

  6. Your embroidery on the jeans is lovely!

  7. Lovely new bedding, it looks gorgeous. And you're right about cotton, it's the dirtiest crop there is in terms of nasty chemicals. Legoland looks amazing, all those intricate buildings! The beach looks divine. Sunshine! There will be some more soon. Have a good weekend. CJ xx

  8. You're so clever with the embroidery! The jeans look great. I also love a freshly made up bed - one of life's simple pleasures for sure. It's so nice that you are getting in lots of family time and making many nice memories. And as always, your photography is a delight.

  9. Hi Gillian - lovely post as usual. I don't normally comment but I have just been on a website called Sew Heart Felt - they have felt badger slippers and other badger items - all handmade, and thought of Angus.

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know. I'll have a look!

  10. What a fabulous job you made of the trousers, they are completely unique now and you should wear them with pride. I love the look of the book on embroidery and I have added it to my list. My favourite part of lego land was the miniature buildings too although it has been some years since we visited. Have a good week.

  11. What a great save for your cords!! I am so paranoid of bleach just for that reason. I have this funny, happy, vintage, old lady type house dress I wear over my clothes when using bleach to clean the bathroom. When I put it on, I always joke with my husband that "the cleaning lady" is coming out.

  12. Good save on the cords and they match your new coat. I am nearing the end of a rather wonderful pair of socks which I made while in Italy in Half term - I actually wish I had finished them so that I could wear them! Jo xx


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