Sunday, 31 May 2020

Half Term Bubble

If feels like we've quietly slipped from spring into summer over the last week. The weather has been mostly beautiful here, warm and dry and breezy, and we are eating all the meals outside that we can.

I am very thankful that the weather has been so lovely, especially over half term. It makes not being able to go anywhere or do anything easier, especially for Bella and Angus who are pretty bored by now, but not too old to be messing around in the sprinkler.

We're in iced coffee season - my favourite.

It felt strange to go into this half term break having already been at home so much. Usually, I go in to half term tired, relieved and ready for a rest, but also motivated by all the things I will finally have a chance to do after six or eight weeks at school. But this time there was none of that. Just more of the same, pottering around the house and garden, but with the absence of homeschool. I have tried to stay motivated though, doing my usual spring cleaning - if anything the house is more in need of cleaning now, not less, as we're all at home all day - and ticking some jobs off the list in preparation for going back to work full time.

Despite the gradual lifting of lockdown, we haven't strayed far from our usual local walks. I am very keen to go to the beach but have been wary of too many people there and, truth be told, I'm quite happy just to be in the garden enjoying the weather. 

Our local woods are looking so lush and green at the moment, despite the lack of rain, and I remember how much I love early summer. It's a pleasure just to be outside under the canopy of leaves, walking through the cow parsley and buttercups.

We got up bright and early to avoid the queues at B&Q during the week. We'd ostensibly gone for some DIY stuff but I really had my eye on the plant section. I have tried so hard to grow from seed this year but sometimes you just need a bit of instant colour.

I spent a very hot but happy morning in the garden, finding homes for some new plants and potting on things I've grown myself like these rananculus. 

I gave the houseplants a bit of love this week too, repotting and moving them around. I am very pleased with this monstera below, which was a cutting I took from a much larger plant a few months ago. It took a while but finally grew lots of new roots in water, so I moved it into compost in this rather beautiful terracotta and ceramic indoor planter (a bargain at only £14 from B&Q).

My lockdown sampler continues to bring me so much joy.

I have just finished it this weekend, and I'll do a proper post on it soon.

Something else I love about this time of year - it's peony season and I treated myself to a bunch last week in the supermarket.

They started out as hot-pink buds, tightly curled into balls, before unfurling into the most beautiful, blowsy blooms.

After a few days they began to fade into a more delicate, apricot-tinged pink which I loved even more. This single bunch of flowers gave me so much pleasure. It is indeed the little things. 

Of course we've been baking. I have been working on my sourdough starter, trying to get it a bit thicker and more bubbly, a bit more lively. It's worked and my last loaf had the best rise yet plus lots of holes in the centre. I know not everyone likes sourdough but I adore it's tangy taste and chewy crust, in fact we all love it in this house. Baking my own saves me about £3 a week in the bread I don't buy and yes, while the method is more time consuming than a regular loaf, I enjoy the process and find it both mindful and satisfying. 

I tried some new recipes this week, including these coconut and jam sandwich bars which were lovely, plus these cookies. 

There has been lots of DIY and home improvement going on here. Our balcony railings, previously, mint green, are now blue.

This is a hot and messy job, which we put off. The railings need to be scraped/sanded and then treated with a primer on the rusty bits, before the painting starts. Our balcony is at the front of the house and south-west facing, so from mid-morning till sunset it is about 100 degrees out there. We have to get up early and try to get a coat done before the sun moves round, otherwise it's just the sweatiest job ever. Anyway, it's done now, and John's finally agreed that I can paint the front door to match which I'm ecstatic about because I can't tell you how much I dislike our front door.

Other fiddly lockdown jobs I've been doing include painting over the woodwork in the dining end of the kitchen, on the two green-blue walls, which was white as you can see here.

We always paint our woodwork white, as much from habit as anything, but I felt it just didn't work against the dark wall. We already had a tin of eggshell in the same colour, bought for when we painted the radiator, and so it didn't cost me anything.

I am really happy with the result. A non-essential decorating job that I would never normally have bothered with, but since I have the time I may as well do it.

That's all my news. We're just pottering around at home, trying to make the most of the lockdown and the weather, and the time with Bella and Angus too, because I will soon be back at work full time, and so will John, and Angus will go back to school soon, and then this strange bubble will be broken.


  1. Thank you for the lovely snapshots of family life in lockdown. I do love reading your posts Gillian. The painting on both the railings and dining area look great and I will definately be trying out the new cookie recipe x

  2. Loving the colour on the railings very pretty. I cant wait to see what you do with the sampler!

  3. Thanks for all the summer-love pics!! So nice to see as we down under are entering winter. Baking sourdough bread is such a satisfying task isn't it? Although getting the starter just right hasn't been as easy as many people say. I've had to fiddle with mine for a few months although I now finally have a strong working batch that gives me a nice loaf every time.
    I love your blue green walls - I'm a strong wall colour girl myself and heartily approve of brightly coloured houses! ;o)

  4. You've been busy! Your painting projects look great. I can't wait to see your sampler post... I've enjoyed watching your progress.

  5. It was a pleasure to see your lovely pictures and to read about your activities. It's made a delightful interlude in my morning.

  6. as always gillian, just a lovely post, thoughtful words and glorious pics. thank you thank you thank you dear lady for this happiness.

  7. I have read your post with a little smile on my face - you chose 'utensils'! You are right to stay away from the beach I would say. It has been manic here in the South Shropshire hills, just crazy. I had PD day today, a grim day of setting up soul less classrooms for my return to work on Wednesday in Year 6.

  8. where would I find the recipe for those yummy coconut things Gillian?

  9. You've really accomplished a lot! Most days I can barely finish a load of laundry. I was telling my husband the other day that it's going to be interesting when I have to go back to work!

    I love your home, your decorating style... very pretty! Have a blessed day!

  10. The woodwork looks so much better the same colour as the walls, I need to do this next time I'm painting a room, what a huge difference it makes. Sometimes it's the little things and having the time to do them that just finishes things off isn't it.

  11. The dark woodwork looks gorgeous. I'm marvelling at your outdoor tomatoes - they wouldn't stand a chance up here! So glad you've had good weather during lockdown.

  12. One of my bucket list goals is to someday make sourdough bread. Yours looks so great!!

  13. I am inspired with your post writing style & how continuously you describe this topic.


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