Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Knowing Where to Look

Hello! I hope you are all ok, staying well and not going too crazy. Here, we are never entirely sure what day of the week it is, and it wouldn't matter except that I've been working two days a week lately so I need to remember to actually go in to work. Gosh it's exhausting, those two days, and I wonder did I ever work full time? I'm rushed off my feet! Sometimes we are bored but mostly our days are filled with all sorts of things to keep us busy: home school, chores, DIY, dog walking, bike rides, cooking and, best of all, no clock watching. Despite missing family and friends, higher-than-I-would-like anxiety levels and the constant background worry of jobs, the economy etc, there have been many positives for us in this lockdown. I am doing more exercise than I have done in many years, we are eating together as a family every night, spending more time together, talking more. Good things are there, you just have to know where to look.

I finished this module from the Jennie Maizels Sketchbook Club. It was such fun to create, a combination of watercolour, pencils and collage. I loved it.

It reminded me how good creating, just for its own sake, is for my mental health. It doesn't have to be for anything. It's enough that it's about the process. My friend and I have promised ourselves that we will go to one of Jennie's real life workshops when all this is over. Something to look forward to.

John finished tiling our kitchen.

Previously, we'd just tiled behind the cooker, but the paintwork around the worktop was always so scuffed and splashed. We cook a lot and we're messy.

Happily, the old tiles were fairly easy to remove and we now have the same tiles all the way along the wall. I like the white everywhere because our kitchen is not large and is often in danger of being quite cluttered. My hope was that the white tiles would not add to this.

I sanded and painted these two chairs, which I bought on eBay a few years ago. They were getting scuffed and chipped, and there may have been some evidence of puppy nibbling at some point too...

I love how fresh and clean they look now against the blue wall. We also sanded and oiled the top of the dining table and then moved it's position, because moving furniture around is quite exciting when you're in lockdown.

Having time to cook is a joy. Baked oatmeal for breakfast. 

Lasagne for dinner on a weeknight.

Homeschooling has been particularly challenging, especially after two weeks off for Easter, and motivation lacking. The promise of a bike ride is a good incentive however, and it is just lovely to see him smiling. 

Sometimes John and Angus go off on their bikes together in the afternoons, and Bella and I walk Ziggy. It's lovely to have some one on one time with her. She's always up for a longer walk and goes at a good pace, so we try different routes and look for rainbows in windows and admire the blossom.

There is lots of goodness to be found in the garden. The beginnings of redcurrants, reminding me of summer ahead, and the chance to make jam and ice cream.

Tiny figs on the fig tree.

Seedlings that have suddenly woken up and are going great guns. I have sweet peas, poppies and ranunculus. No knowledge, but lots of enthusiasm. 

The tulips. When the sun hits them at a certain time of day they are lit from behind and they just glow.

Other good things: a couple of new, cheerful cushions to brighten things up.

The absolute joy that is coming downstairs in the morning to a sun-filled kitchen.

A new magazine arriving in the post.

My monstera cutting is growing roots.

Lunch in the garden.

The satisfaction of dusting and re-arranging a shelf, making it look pretty.

And finally, the glorious weather and spring unfolding out there.

We missed the bluebells this year but I feel we more than made up for it when we went to the woods at the weekend and saw the wild garlic.

The woods were cool and shady and so magical with the light filtering through the trees.

And the wild garlic everywhere, like snow.


  1. Thank you for sharing the beautiful Spring growth in your garden and out and about too with your family. I have lots of seedlings growing but mine are mostly veg this year. I'm hoping for a good harvest. Stay safe and well.

  2. Thank you for this every day life post.

  3. Lovely photos of normal family life in these difficult times, Gillian. Thank you for showing them to us. May you all keep well.
    Margaret P

  4. Gorgeous countryside photos, it's beautiful out there at the moment isn't it. Lots of good things here too, in all the time we have together. It's so lovely to see the boys doing so much together, which they wouldn't have done otherwise. There was far too much rushing around before. CJ xx

  5. Wow that wild garlic looks amazing...so pretty. Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

  6. I wish I could take a little vacation at your house! It's lovely.

  7. Your kitchen looks wonderful... it's so nice to have handy husband! I loved your outdoor photos, we've had a lot of dreary rainy days here.

  8. Gracias por compartir esos momentos tan hermosos de tu casa y familia.
    Creo que la vida de uds es hermosa, con el bello escenario , naturaleza y tipico.
    Me encanta tu casa, se la ve que irradia ternura y tranquilidad.


  9. Oh thankyou for the lovely photo journey! I went through them twice slowly, to savour all that springtime goodness! As a fellow amateur watercolourist (meaning amateur me, not you!) I can see the beauty and time in your sardine can! Well done! I've been busy but just this morning thought it's time to open my sketch book and have a paint....thanks for the motivation.
    Like you, I'm beginning to enjoy the lack of outings and visits. Theres a certain simplicity to life without all the gadding about and appointments. Quite relaxing really ;)

  10. I love everything about this post and am very glad to know that you are seeing and appreciating the good things in the current situation. It's been wonderful weather here, too, but now temperatures have dropped and we finally, finally have some rain - nowhere near enough, but better than nothing.
    Wild garlic is great! Do you pick some to make pesto? The woods are just magical at this time of year, aren't they.
    I have been working full time all the time (only from home, though) and am now very much looking forward to 1 1/2 weeks off work. Going back to work at my clients' offices eventually will be very strange, and take some getting used to; I have no idea when that's going to be so for now I am enjoying being home.

  11. I absolutely love your sardines/tin - it would look fabulous printed on tea towels - if it ever is, can I have one please!? Bluebells are still flowering, maybe you can't get to somewhere they are flowering - if so come over to my blog, I've got loads of them to share.

  12. What a talented sardine tin production! And thank you for the discovery of 91 magazine - I'm going to have to ration myself so that I don't spend all day reading their blog.

  13. Thank you for your post , I look forward to reading them x

  14. Your pictures are beautiful What a lovely place you live in. And the country side is quite splendid.
    Everything is bursting out here in Northern Ca. My daughter the gardener has lots of seeds started and we even had a few radishes ready to eat. Plus I made a lovely 'green' soup with the last of the chard and spinach before it bolted.

  15. oh gillian, thank you wholeheartedly once again for your splendid post. lots of goings on, accomplishments and taking care. and the pics. oh my, spring has certainly sprung in your part of the world. good for the soul. take care dear lady and carry on and be fabulous (-:

  16. I love your home - every inch of it is just charming. I love how you notice many pretty little things around you and your photos share your delight with us. You are so artistic too! Thanks so much!

  17. Thank you for your lovely post, with so much going on in the world at the moment it's lovely to see the family life celebrated and savoured - also looking for the positives in our little home bubble at the moment. Quick question - we have exactly the same dining table as you and struggle to keep the top pristine, what did you use to oil it with? Thanks!

    1. Hello! About twice a year we sand it lightly and oil it with Colron Danish Wood Oil in Natural. I try not to be too precious with it and just wipe it down with a dishcloth after meals, although we do use mats and coasters to try to protect from heat and moisture. :-)

  18. As always, I love reading your posts
    Their pace are ultimate comfort and as lovely as getting a new magazine through the post. Thank you for sharing!


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