Wednesday, June 28

{ my june }

June has been a somewhat puzzling month. We've had the most glorious of sunshine, yet also had some grey, drizzly, wet and windy days. It felt as if Summer had arrived, then left as quickly as she came. It has not been the super productive month I'd hoped it would be. Perhaps next month, instead of hoping for a super productive month, it might be better to plan and prepare for a super productive month. Then again, I do like to feel I'm doing my best to support the #slowliving mantra so popular at the moment.

{ blooming }
The mix of sunshine and showers has proved a winning combination for the garden, and I've tried my best to fill this month with as many flowers as possible. The peonie season is short but oh, so sweet and the blooms lingered for many many days, brightening many corners of my home, as I couldn't resist moving them to places I could enjoy them most throughout the day. My garden is more of a haven for wildflowers than anything else, but I've enjoyed pottering around my mum and dad's garden, tending to their geraniums, and whispering words of encouragement to the stocks seedlings, so tentatively planted by my dad, who believes he never succeeds with anything grown from seed. Happy to report the stocks are thriving and proving him wrong.

{ reading }
The second meeting of The Little Book Club discussed The Little Paris Bookshop. Unfortunately the overwhelming feeling was a book which promised much, yet disappointed. I enjoyed it in parts, loving the descriptions of Paris and the journey the book takes down to Provence, yet the story seemed one of too many different story lines, ones that never quite came together. Earlier in the month I'd read The Bookshop, by Penelope Fitzgerald.  A much gentler, slower read, set on the East Anglian coast, telling the  story of Florence Green, who, despite opposition from most of the town, decides to open a bookshop. It has one of the saddest last lines I've ever read, but was a wonderful short read. I'm currently intrigued by the going's on in Peyton Place. Set in New Hampshire, it tells of small town life, of the secrets and hypocrisy that takes place.

{ painting }
The knitting has been put to one side for now, as a little design work has trickled in over the last few weeks. It's so lovely when a client wants a print or design that is hand worked, and it's been the perfect excuse to dig out the watercolour paints and paintbrushes, and sit quietly painting, instead of the usual pen, tablet and laptop.

{ picking }
As well as the flowers blooming, June has been a month for the Summer fruit and vegetables to ripen ready for picking.  Broad beans freshly podded, were enjoyed in a Summer salad, and tayberries, or loganberries, we can't quite decide which, have been enjoyed with a simple dollop of yogurt on top. After finding a local PYO farm, strawberries were picked and quickly made into jam, and the beginnings of a strawberry wine, with a few making their way into a cake, drizzled with champagne, to form a rather delicious, edible, Strawberry Bellini.

I'm not sure if I should make any promises for July.  At the moment it looks a rather quiet month, though it has the loveliest of starts with the Derbyshire Summer Market, hosted as always by Fabulous Places. After that, we shall have to wait and see what the month brings.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, June 23

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Summer musings from one of my favourite books, To Kill a Mockingbird. 
{ 2 } Smudgetikka gives a peek at next Summer's collection from Iglo+Indi.
{ 3 } And for this Summer, super stripes from Monkind-Berlin.
{ 4 } I think this has to be one of the most Adorable collaborative collections Ever ♥︎
{ 5 } Happy Birthday #OneGoodThing. Celebrating the little splendid everyday things.
{ 6 } Alice in Wonderland + stripes ♥︎
{ 7 } Etsy find of the week.  Jessica Hogarth Designs.  My favourite, these cute coastal cottages.
{ 8 } Note to self!
{ 9 } If only the sun would shine for a few days longer I could justify splashing out on these.
{ + } Wondering if this would work with homemade strawberry jam instead?

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, June 21

{ inspired#15 . strawberry fields . pick your own . & . summertime }

. inspired#15 .
She was a curious girl, a wanderer, who spent her summers
chasing fluttering pieces of prose, and eating strawberries.
clockwise from centre
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Tomorrow I'm going strawberry picking.  It has been many many years since I went last, but it was a regular trip for us when I was a child.  Loading up the car with the empty fruit baskets, a picnic packed to enjoy after the picking, never really knowing which fruit farm we'd end up at, or whether it would be a bountiful year, or a less than blessed year for Summer fruits.  There are perhaps, few things in life lovelier than a freshly picked and eaten strawberry, and those few lovelier things perhaps being the lovely things you can make with those freshly picked strawberries.  My mum is planning a jam making session with her few baskets worth, my dad will make a few bottles of strawberry wine with his.  And me? I'm thinking a few jars of jam, and then a wonderfully indulgent strawberry cheesecake, and if the sunshine stays a while longer perhaps a homemade strawberry icecream. 

I could perhaps go on, but lets see how many strawberries we pick first eh?

There is a little more strawberry & summer inspiration on my pinterest board { inspired#15 }, pretty prints, nostalgic images of strawberry picking, and more recipes than you could possibly pick fruit for.

Oh, and happy first day of Summer ☀️

{ have a happy & sunny day }

Friday, June 16

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 3 } This reminds me of me as a child, sitting reading, and my sister, whispering, 'come play'.
{ 4 } Happy Birthday to The People Shop.  Celebrating this weekend with cake, drinks, and tunes.
{ 5 } Every dad deserves a 'Best Dad' trophy, particularly one as lovely as these from RE.
{ 6 } Celebrate the sunshine by being silly with some homemade bubbles.
{ 7 } Etsy find of the week. Reker Drees Design.  Beautiful botanical drawings.
{ 8 } Every moment matters. After events this week this is especially true. You can donate here.
{ 9 } The most beautiful paintings emulating the loveliness of embroidery. By Kirstin Lamb.
{ + } It's apricot season. Which means it's also Apricot Shortcake season. Obviously!

{ have a happy day }

Monday, June 12

{ a cornucopia of cupcakes . ten delightful cupcake recipes for cupcake day )

This should have been a fun post to research and write, instead it's been a huge reminder of all the delicious sweetness I can't indulge in at the moment. I'm on week four of an elimination diet, to see if there is a particular food which has been causing me to feel, well, not quite myself. Most of the time the no gluten, diary, eggs, sugar, caffeine and nuts has not been too much of a problem. Unfortunately baking, and particularly cakes, is one of those areas where gluten, dairy, eggs and sugar are fairly key ingredients, and my attempts at baking without them have not proven too successful.

So I will resolve myself to a few more weeks without cake, and whilst I won't be able to join in with the eating of cupcakes on Cupcake Day, thankfully it doesn't preclude me from baking some to raise a little money for the Alzheimer's Society. This year Cupcake Day falls on 15th June, and people up and down the country will be baking, buying and eating cupcakes in order to raise money for this wonderful cause. And to help you on your way I've compiled a little inspiration, a cornucopia of cupcake recipes, from the most classic of vanilla, to one's brightened by berries, those of the darkest chocolate, and a few more besides.  Surely there is one here to tickle everybody's taste buds.

Victoria Sandwich Cupcakes . Baking Mischief .
Vegan Funfetti Vanilla Cupcakes . Minimalist Baker .

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes . Sugar & Charm .
Olive Oil Cupcakes with Berry Frosting . My Name is Yeh .
Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Buttercream . This is Sweet .

Chocolate Cupcakes . Sophisticated Gourmet .
S'mores Cupcakes . Call me Cupcake .

Snickers Cupcake . A Cookie Named Desire .
Café au Lait Macaron Cupcakes . Butter and Brioche .
Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting . Foodess .

So which is your favourite?
I don't think you can beat a classically simple Vanilla, but then again that Chocolate Cupcake looks so incredibly inviting.  But can you beat the combination of cherries and chocolate?
Can I have more than one favourite?

For lots more tempting cupcake inspiration pop over to take a look on my pinterest board.
Just maybe eat first, so you don't drool too much whilst looking!

{ have a happy day }

Friday, June 9

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Cute little Clover bunny with her pink cheeks embroidered so beautifully by Posy+Petal.
{ 2 } So many things about this room I'd like to borrow for my room.
{ 3 } So many things from this collection by So Sense I'd like in my size.
{ 4 } Oh, and ditto this collection by Annice.
{ 5 } Is Peggy Porschen's the prettiest, and the pinkest, bakery in London?
{ 6 } Strawberry picking plans on hold due to weather.  Consoling myself with this sweet print.
{ 7 } How much do I think I'd like The Old Haberdashery?  Quite a lot I think.
{ 8 } Thought for today. Just be kind.
{ 9 } How much do I love this dreamy botanical print by Danse De Lune?  Quite a lot I think.
{ + } Weekend baking goals; gluten, dairy, egg, and sugar free Beetroot & Chocolate Cake.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, June 5

{ local ♥︎ . meeting makers at the Makers Market }

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Writing about my first Summer market seems strange, as I'm listening to the wind gusting, and the rain lashing against the window.  Then again, isn't this what we expect from a traditional British Summer?

That said, I'm pleased to say that the sun shone for most of Saturday, and I strolled along to the Quartermaster's Artisan Makers Market wearing sunglasses and eyeing up the coffee and croissants being enjoyed at the tables set up outside most of the Jewellery Quarters coffee shops.  The market was held at the very lovely 1000 Trades.  My first visit to this friendly neighbourhood bar and kitchen, which is housed in a converted jewellery workshop, and does much to support local artists and crafts.  

Whilst the market may not be a big one, there was a really lovely mix of artisans there;  painters, embroiderers, ceramicists, illustrators and sign makers.  Set over two floors, it was busy enough not to feel conspicuous, not so much so that you couldn't have a good look at all the goods on offer.  The makers were wonderfully friendly, chatting and taking time to tell you a little about their crafts, and very obliging of my ( slight ) re-arrangement of their stalls in order to take some pictures for this post.

Dolly and Beau is Georgia, or as she describes herself on her Etsy shop, one mama and her sewing machine.  Named after her daughters, she makes baprons ( it's a bib and it's an apron ) in an array of super soft oil cloth prints.  However, it was these cute, monochrome cushions that caught my eye. Perfectly soft and squishy, and doesn't that panda almost say 'take me home'?

Emma Blue seems to be a girl after my own heart, and my denim jacket is now adorned with 'dream' and 'bookworm' badges courtesy of a small purchase at the market. Making things from paper and fabric, she is inspired by books, libraries, music, tea and maps. Another book inspired maker was Tigerlily Makes, who's Alice range I fell a little in love with. Inspired by the classic Alice in Wonderland, is a range of cards, clothes and china.  I particularly loved the china mugs, and teapots, all illustrated with either Alice, or the White Rabbit.

One of the first stall's I stopped by was Chloe's.  Her quirky illustrative style can't help but draw you in to look further, and I was very tempted to buy her 'Do What You Love' print for myself. And probably would have done, if not for treating myself to a fabulous floral embroidery hoop from The Barmy Fox. Tory's stall was full of tempting delights, with the sweetest, and sassiest, embroidered badges sitting alongside more embroidered hoops.

Now to save my pennies back up again for the next Summer market which is just next weekend! Shall I start praying now for another sunny day?

{ have a happy day }

Friday, June 2

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Etsy find of the week.  Snowdon Prints.  Loving her latest botanical print
{ 2 } Gorgeous on-trend volume sleeve blouse that begs the question 'Does it come in my size?'
{ 3 } Perfect for Summer layering, in the prettiest shade of Rhubarb Juice ♥︎
{ 4 } A little in love with everything Désuet, an on-line vintage store you'll lose yourself for hours in.
{ 5 } A lovely review of Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac on Toast *pops on To-Read list*
{ 6 } And a lovely chair for curling up and reading away the day, from Rockett St George.
{ 7 } A look behind the scenes of taking that perfect IG shot, with The Bookish Baker.
{ 9 } A lovely review of The Pig Hotel from Wuthering Bites *pops on To-Visit list*
{ + } Celebrate strawberry season with The Kitchen McCabe's Lilac Scented Strawberry Shortcake.

{ have a happy day }

Thursday, June 1

{ hello June }

. hello june .

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, May 31

{ my may }

Reading back over my goodbye April post, it feels my thoughts on June might have been somewhat prophetic.  My diary stayed quite quiet, and the month did indeed lead to much knitting, reading, and gardening.  This month I proved myself very much a homebody, in fact if you took a look at my IG feed, I look as if I've barely left the house.  

{ knitting }
So my promise to share a little more of my knitting on the blog this month didn't quite happen, though I did share a little look at the mood board I've been putting together, and some of the very very lovely yarn I've been ordering.  Some sneaky doubts have crept into my mind this month, and although plenty of knitting has got done, it doesn't feel it's got me to the point I'd hoped to be at.  And with the distraction of a little paid work I've found myself procrastinating over the To-Do list I'd set myself this month.  But writing this, and looking back on that mood board, has given me the impetus to re-focus a little, remember the simplicity of those images I pinned, and remember the excitement I felt when I decided to start knitting again.

Oh, and I promise to share a little more in a post or two next month, starting with the finished blanket you can see partly knitted above.

{ baking }
The beginning of the month did see me venture away from home, for a little clandestine cake eating. A small group of bakers gathered to say a belated Happy Birthday to the Queen, with a Best of British theme.  A wonderfully classic Victoria Sandwich was joined by an equally classic Parkin, and I made the Queen's favourite chocolate biscuit cake, adorned with a very chocolately Union Jack. Another lovely Clandestine Cake Club event full of coffee, cake and chit chat.

I had been dreaming of another British classic, Madeira Cake, when as luck would have it { thank you Cake Gods } a recipe from Donna Hay popped up, and it just seemed rude not to.  This is a super easy cake to make, but I do have mixed feelings about it.  On the one hand it is just so lovely, light, tasty, and my addition of a yogurt drizzle added a wonderful fresh tanginess to it.  But, I'm not sure I'd call it a Madeira Cake as I know a Madeira Cake.  Which, now I think about it, gives me the perfect excuse to make a classic Madeira Cake.

And speaking of perfect excuses, Real Bread Week gave me a whole week of reasons to bake bread, but the highlight was definitely this Fig & Walnut Loaf, which was devoured enjoyed for breakfast topped with ricotta, pear, pecans and honey.

{ reading }
I think I could sum up May as a month of quietly sitting reading, or as the pictures above show, quietly sitting reading and eating. Three Agatha Christie's have been enjoyed this month, The Secret of Chimney's, the incredibly clever Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and the slightly silly, though not intentionally so, The Big Four. The interesting thing about reading these in the order that she wrote them, is you can see that The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, lauded as her best work, was then followed up by a 'less than best' Big Four, which though enjoyable, is best described by this review on Goodreads;

" Once upon a time, Agatha Christie stayed up way too late, drank her way through three bottles of Chardonnay and watched a Sean Connery James Bond film.  As she was going to bed, some time about 3am, her eyes rested for a moment on her typewriter.  I would not be in the least surprised if that was all she remember about this book.  For shame, Agatha.  This is exactly the same reason I'm not allowed whisky and Twitter on the same evening any more. " Fiona 

In addition Ms Christie, I read Raffaella Barker's From a Distance, a story which moves between Post-War Cornwall, and present day Norfolk, revealing family secrets which knit together the two strands.  Rather like The Muse, the second novel from Jessie Burton, which tells the story of a painting through the eyes of Odelle, an immigrant living in London in 1967, and through Olive Schloss, living in Italy in 1936.  This was also the first book read by The Little Book Club, a newly formed book club in Harborne, and another of my few ventures out of the house this month.  I've been wanting to join a book club for a long time, but have felt intimidated by the larger, more established groups in Birmingham.  To be able to join one from the start, with such a lovely group of people was a Saturday morning well spent, and I'm already looking forward to reading our next book, The Little Paris Bookshop, before meeting to mull over our thoughts and feelings once more.

{ foraging }
May has been a month of flowers, admiring the gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show, all be it from afar, and watching my IG feed fill up with the most fabulous flora and fauna. A little foraging of my own has allowed me to fill up my window sills with May posies, dotted all around the house. Outside the pots have been tidied and planted and are coming into bloom. Elsewhere in the garden wild flowers are proving a haven for the bees, or so I tell myself, and that will continue to be my excuse reasoning, until I can find the time to tidy up a little more.

And so tomorrow will be June, bringing with it the first of the Summer Markets, a second Book Club, and at the end of the month, just after we say hello to Summer, another cake club, in a city centre Secret Garden, of which I'm a little excited about.

{ have a happy last day of May }

Monday, May 29

{ edible blooms }

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

I'm doing my best to ignore the rain falling outside and instead surrounding myself with as much flora and fauna as I can.  Vases of flowers sit in front of me as I type, and I'm drinking a wonderful fruity infusion, brewed with elderflower and hibiscus.  I wish I could also say that I had spent the day baking elderflower and honey cake, and crystallising petals to adorn rose scented shortbread, but sadly, that isn't the case.  But the next best thing, or so I am telling myself, to actually baking said floral cake, is compiling a lovely mood board of floral bakes to inspire you all.

And there's no shortage of inspiration out there.  I've found the prettiest guides to which florals are safely edible, here and here, and everything from the simplest floral ice cubes, to the prettiest floral popsicles, recipes for homemade elderflower cordial, and a very pretty in pink rose and earl grey latte, but I couldn't resist sharing the gorgeous baking recipes I'd found.  Almost too pretty to eat, but thankfully also far too yummy too resist.

For lots more edible floral inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest board { edible . flowers }.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, May 26

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Such cuteness all in white.
{ 2 } Such loveliness By Niné.
{ 3 } Happy Garden.  Delightful flowers by delighted patterns.
{ 4 } Happy shoes.  Cute flower shoes by AMuse Leather Co.
{ 5 } Etsy find of the week.  May Contain Glitter.  The loveliest paper blooms.
{ 6 } Happy journal. And a lovely, happy quote too.
{ 7 } "Gardens are not made by singing 'oh how beautiful' and sitting in the shade"
        Sadly you are correct Rudyard Kipling, but oh how lovely if they were?
{ 8 } Note to self.  Make the most of all this lovely sunshine.
{ 9 } The loveliest image for last weekend's hashtag project #whpreflections.
{ + } The prettiest flowerfetti cake.
        The perfect treat whilst watching the highlights from this weeks Chelsea Flower Show.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, May 22

{ Bloom & Grow }

This year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show open's tomorrow, and once again I will feel that dull ache of regret, of once again not having bought tickets.  Thankfully the coverage on tv, and undoubtedly on Instagram will provide oodles of floral inspiration.  In the meantime I'm creating a little floral inspiration of my own with a Monday moodboard, before popping out to buy armfuls of flowers to make me feel a little less regretful.

{ have a Blooming day }

Friday, May 19

{ happy friday }

{ 1 } Dolls with their own dolls are just the most darling.
{ 2 } Rabbits & Racoons.
{ 4 } Poplin. And a collection inspired by Degas and dance.
{ 5 } Oh. But to be little again ♥︎
{ 6 } Etsy find of the week. ebenotti. Pretty pots for pretty plants.
{ 7 } So I may be a little too old for the pram. But these look just my size.
{ 8 } Sunshine on my mind.  So that's where it's disappeared to?
{ 9 } The first meeting of The Little Book Club happens tomorrow #brunchandbooks
{ + } A rainy day calls for cookies.  And chocolate.  Or just chocolate cookies.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, May 15

{ four I adore . flowers of instagram }

On Friday's there is a popular hashtag on Instagram, #fourIadore, where people share four accounts they particularly love.  Because of my happy friday posts, it's not a hashtag I tend to join in with.  However, I felt it was a lovely prompt for a series of posts right here on lily&Bloom. And what better way to start than with four of the most floral instagrammer's I follow.  Oh, and this is probably a good time to mention that I have a strong suspicion that flowers are going to take over all my posts for May. 
🌸  🌿  🌺

Laura is the photographer behind @circleofpines, and is also the author of another favourite hashtag, #littlestoriesofmylife.   As deputy editor of 91, the quiet aesthetic of the magazine is reflected in Laura's IG feed.  She also finds the most gorgeous, and perfectly fitting, quotes to accompany all those photos. 

I will admit to having a touch of the green eyed monster whenever I see one of Emily's posts.  Not only does she live in the lovely Derbyshire countryside, and manage to forage the most beautiful wildflowers, she has the most amazing collection of vintage goodies, not to mention a rather cute dog, the Harry of @harryandfrank.  Luckily she does share those vintage goodies, selling at local fairs and markets.  So for that reason, we will forgive her her envy inducing life!

I found Rebecca's feed after discovering her at her Etsy shop, and though she may be a recent addition to my IG crushes, she has quickly become one of my favourites.  When I tell you that her signature hashtag is #seeingthepretty, I think that will give you a very good idea how very lovely her feed is.

My final floral crush is niina, of @lillalivetandme.  This account has a beautiful simplicity about it, unfussy, yet able to capture light, and shadow in the loveliest of ways.

I'd love to hear about Instagram accounts that you adore, the ones that make you want to step into that world, ones that make you look at your own life, home and community a little differently?

{ have a happy day }

Friday, May 12

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week

{ 1 } This week my Instagram feed has been full of lovely lilac. Note to self.  Buy Lilac Tree.
{ 2 } Beautiful in blue #1.
{ 4 } Beautiful in blue #2. 
{ 5 } This week's new fashion find.  nobonu.  Women's, children's, and some adorable clogs. 
{ 6 } My favourite hashtag of the week.  #simplenaturefinds.
{ 7 } Folksy find of the week.  KT Robbins Ceramics. How much do I love these?  Lots.
{ 8 } Wise words.
{ 9 } Tea with Ruby + artist Jessica Zoob = words and pictures to delight.
{ + } Celebrating #RealBreadWeek with this lovely Fig & Walnut Bread.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, May 8

{ inspired#14 . frida kahlo . fiesta . & . flowers }

. inspired#14 .
I paint flowers so they will not die
clockwise from centre
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

A moodboard for Monday, inspired by Frida Kahlo, Fiesta and flowers.  I feel I should be writing this post whilst adorned with a floral crown.  Unfortunately that's not so.  Messy hair, don't care, might be a better quote for today, but I can dream can't I?

For a little more fiesta, flora and frida pop over to my { inspired.#14 } Pinterest board.  Then pop off and make yourself a floral crown.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, May 5

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Etsy find of the week.  Salt and Sail.  Beautiful things for baby made in Birmingham.
{ 2 } Loving these lovely ruffles.
{ 3 } Loving this darling dollhouse.
{ 5 } #themagicofchildhood🌸🌿
{ 6 } A little inspiration for my next CCC event.  Great British Teatime Treats.
{ 7 } Fabric goals ♥︎
{ 8 } Or skip breakfast and eat cake all day?
{ 9 } Yarn goals ♥︎
{ + } The Queen's favourite cake, and the one I'll be making for tomorrow's cake club.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, May 1

{ hello May }

. hello may .

{ have a happy day }

Friday, April 28

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week

{ 1 } Daydreaming about how lovely these lights would look in my studio.
{ 2 } Thinking just how lovely is this shade of clover green?
{ 3 } When life gives you lemons then wear your matching Littlehorn lemonade dress!
{ 4 } Beautiful dresses for the adults amongst us, from little one's brand Little Creative Factory.
{ 5 } Etsy find of the week #1.  George and Willy. *pops the cute daily roller onto wish list*.
{ 6 } Etsy find of the week #2.  Jord Home. *pops the lovely Isa rug onto wish list*.
{ 7 } Daydreaming about how lovely living on a farm would be.
{ + } Just as soon as I've finished writing this post I'll be baking this lovely lemon drizzle cake

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, April 26

{ my april }

Another month so very nearly over.  This one has fled by in a flurry of Spring blossoms, bunnies & Bank Holidays.  I still have a few things left on my month's to do list, but there is a satisfying number already ticked off.

{ knitting }
The month of March had been all about the planning.  And April was all about the knitting.  It has been both exciting, and scary, ordering lots of yarn and knitting needles, and my first foray into jumbo knitting has been a fun one.  In a way it's taken me back to those childhood days of learning to knit, when the yarn & needles felt a little clumsy and unfamiliar.  And then you settle into that routine;  needle through the stitch, yarn around the needle, make new stitch.  The pile of swatches of different stitches, and different yarns, has grown, and things are slowly starting to take shape.  It still feels too early to reveal much more, though I think this may be the last month I allow myself to say that, but I think there may be a couple of posts coming next month to give you a bit more of a peek into the plan. 

{ reading }
My reading list this month has been a tad impressive, mainly due to being laid low by a virus at the beginning of the month, and reading being the only thing I had the energy, or the inclination for.  Somewhat ironically, I began the month reading Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending a book that has been on my bookshelf for a while, but never read.  A book about memory and history, about re-examining events of the past from a different perspective; "I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time  has deformed into certainty."  

Something a little less serious next, and my next Agatha Christie, The Man in the Brown Suit a book of murder, mystery, intrigue, in the usual Ms Christie style.  Eager to find out Who'd Done It, I was quickly onto the book I've just finished, Anna Hope's The Ballroom.  I've just had a quick read through some of the reviews for this book on Goodreads, and by no coincidence do the same words appear;  beautiful, anguished, simple, slow, heartbreaking.  Set in an asylum on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors, the story is told from three person's viewpoints, inmates Ella and John, and one of the doctors, Charles.  To call it a love story would be to simplify the narrative, as it's so much more than that.  This isn't the book to pick up if you are looking for something to lift your spirits, you are more in danger of being left feeling slightly bereft, but a wonderful read none the less.

{ making }
Easter provided a lovely excuse to make a few little treat boxes to send out to friends.  Unlike previous years, I didn't do a lot of Easter baking this year, but did try my hand at making mini Easter eggs.  A little trickier than I thought they'd be, I have a new found respect for all the chocolatiers of the country.  Slightly easier to put together were these little gift boxes, each complete with their own Easter bunny, guarding those chocolate eggs.

{ watching }
Spring may have officially arrived in March, but I always feel it's April that it really begins to arrive.  Despite the British weather's best efforts to thwart the spring blooms, it seems there's been enough sunshine to bring out all the beautiful blossom, and to start making good in the garden.  Two trips already to the local nursery, with a few more to come I'm sure, though with the temperature having plummeted once again, this box of blooms is safely tucked inside the greenhouse for now.

At the moment the calendar looks very quiet for May, leaving plenty of time for more knitting, more reading, and more gardening I think #slowliving.

{ have a happy day }