Monday, 26 August 2019


The first thing I wanted to do when we got back from our holiday was eat lots of vegetables. I loved the food we ate in New York, there was nothing that wasn't delicious, but after a while I just wanted some broccoli, or a baked potato. Or an apple. Once I'd gotten over the unpacking, washing and jet lag I really enjoyed simply getting back into a bit of routine: planning meals, doing a food shop, filling the large bowl on the kitchen table with fruit and the vase on the hall table with gladioli. (I love it when they are in the shops - they look so expensive and structural, when these were only £1.70 a bunch.)

I did enjoy unpacking one thing though - souvenirs. I tried not to spend too much on holiday, buying more gifts and things for the children than for me, but there was the odd thing that tempted me, particularly tea towels. I didn't realise I'd bought so many until John pointed out that I had actually bought four (although one was a gift, so...)

Now, every time we do the drying up, a little bit of New York is in our kitchen, prompting memories. But one of our tea towels was not for drying up, oh no. This linen beauty was too lovely to ever see a greasy roasting pan:

I bought it in the High Line gift shop and the art work is painted onto the side of a building along the path. The artist is Dorothy Iannone and the text comes from the poem The New Colossus by Emma Lazurus, which is inscribed on the plaque at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. I very much like the message of hope and freedom in the poem, and love the bold and colourful representation of that famous statue. I bought a set of Poster Hangers and now this hangs in the hall.

I already know that this project bag from Purl Soho will be worth it's weight in gold, and I did also treat myself to this bracelet-making kit.

There is no practical reason for having a child's yellow taxi on a shelf but it makes me happy.

John was off work for another week once we got back and I was itching to get a few jobs finished around the house. We still hadn't properly sorted out the new spare room (which used to be Angus's bedroom before he moved into Bella's old room and she moved into the old spare room...keep up) so we spent a day or two in there, unpacking boxes and bags, sorting through the filing cabinet, that sort of thing. Time consuming and dull, but very satisfying when it's done. John made a desk and shelf, the sofa bed was delivered, and it's all looking very smart in there - I will take some photos and show you.

We also tackled the garage. My sister said to me - aren't you always tackling your garage? And she's right. At least once a year we have a huge garage sort out to end all garage sort outs, and swear we'll never let it get that bad again. The trouble is our garage is large and internal, and it's all too tempting to think, hmm, I don't know what to do with this box/old toy/random object...I know, I'll just stick it in the garage. And then a bag of clothes to go to the charity shop gets put next to it, and some tools that we were too rushed to put away properly, and before you know it you've got a mountain of things blocking your path to the washing machine - and then, well, it's such a mess, what's the point in even trying to keep it tidy? 

As well as taking three car boot fulls of stuff to the tip and charity shop, we accepted that we are not campers and said goodbye to nearly all our camping equipment (given to us by friends who moved to Australia) and gave it away to friends or donated it, freeing up lots more space. We put up shelves with offcuts of wood and hung hooks on the wall. Storage is always the answer! Why on earth didn't we do this four years ago? John wants to build a bench for woodworking and we need some kind of rack for the bikes, but otherwise it's looking very tidy and I'm doing a super job of maintaining the current level of tidiness. 

The weather was pretty dreadful during that second week (although it's GLORIOUS right now) with days of torrential rain and thunderstorms. That combined with the fact that it's dark by 8pm all added up to a realisation that we're definitely in late summer now.

While not quite changing, the leaves are losing their colour and we're definitely in blackberry season. Look at these sloes (I think they are sloes anyway) I found in our local dog walking field. I'd pick them but I haven't the first idea what to do with them apart from making sloe gin, and aren't you supposed to pick them after the first frost or something?

It's crazy to think we've been back almost two weeks already. I have, however, started work on something to remind me of our holiday, here's a clue: 


  1. I know what you mean about the longing for vegetables after a holiday, it was the same here. Lovely souvenirs, and your embroidery is going to be wonderful, I just know. I hope you had a good bank holiday weekend. CJ xx

  2. Lovely to read your blog as usual.

  3. The yellow taxi next to the Dumbo postcard makes a perfect little diorama of NYC. Your home looks as beautiful as always. Well done on the garage sorting! I still think of sorting out the Third Room; it's not too bad, but a lot of things in there have not been used in 10 years and can just as well go.
    Yes, late summer is here and autumn fast approaching. The light is already of a very different character than what it was like a few weeks ago. It is the time of year that always has me in two minds about summer; wanting to hold on to it as long as possible, but also looking forward to autumn.

  4. As much as I love holidays, I love even more coming home and back to normal. We have the same battle with our garage. To think when we bought the house nearly 26 years ago, we actually put a car in there!

  5. Simple home food is always wonderful after a holiday. Toast and tea, as well as lots of veg. I was wondering what people did before garages but then I remembered I spent my early childhood in a house with former stables and that fulfilled the same purpose, with extra cobwebs and creepy-crawlies! John and my husband will have to compare notes - a re-building/enlargement of a shed is on the cards here, complete with woodworking bench.
    Those do look like sloes. Much further forward than ours up here - still lots of green ones. I found these ideas for other things to do with sloes - like the idea of sloe chocolate! Am also planning to make sloe gin this year so we should compare notes!

  6. Sorry - forgot the sloe ideas:

  7. I'm going to go and get my Woolacombe postcard (not quite as hip as NYC but just as lovely in it's own way) and put it with that knitted campervan I retrieved from the charity shop bag last week. You're too inspiring!

    We made sloe gin a few years ago and although we picked them before the first frost we pricked them and froze them for a while. Apparently it's meant to do the same thing. The gin was delicious! We made so much we are still drinking it several years on!

    I really want this summer to last forever, especially all the gorgeous weather we are having right now. I wish I could enjoy every summer with a two year old again and again! x

  8. Thank you for a lovely post Gillian. A wonderful way to start my day. Tis a pleasure to enjoy your musings and photos. Again, thanking you for your sweetness. (-:

  9. Have really enjoyed your travel diaries but it’s always nice to come home and start being creative again. You certainly have the gift of making places tidy - wish I did!

  10. Thanks so much for showing us your messy garage! I was wondering where you put all of your junk because your house is always so beautifully perfect in the pictures and I am always envious of your decorating style! Glad to see you have stuff to store! Makes me feel better about my piles of stuff!! Always enjoy your posts!! Thanks again!

  11. I adore your blog but have you changed the way you post ? The pictures are all very small rather than the usual ones you had . Loved your children reaction to NYC, they do seem lovely children, fab one of Angus with an American Badger !

    1. Hi there! No, I've done nothing different at all, but I did make a few collages with my holiday photos - mainly because I had so many of them - and perhaps it's those that were small.

  12. Get you label maker out and label up the boxes in the garage while everything has its place - you have done a sterling job there! Looking forward to the progress on your stitching. Jo xx

  13. Thank you for your post, we were in New York 2 years ago and it brought back so many memories, wonderful to see again. Loving the before and after shots of the garage, your home looks lovely.

  14. I've just made Blackberry & Sloe Jelly. 4lb blackberries, 1lb sloes, make as you would for any other jelly. Actually I only had about 3 1/2 lb of blackberries.
    And you can dye with them too!


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