I’ve just been reading Martha Stewart’s website and there is a new article on Peonies and how to grown them here. The picture below is from the article.  I think they are a wonderful plant and if you have a large garden like mine they are a godsend because they spread out every year and pack a good punch as they are such a large flower.

Mine are just starting to get to the point where they grow very quickly.

I have about 30 – 40 plants in cream, white, pink and red planted around the garden as I really like them as cut flowers in the house before the roses come into their own (secretly I prefer the Peonies, but don’t tell my over pampered roses that!!).


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Spring Blossom

Our next door neighbour has *THE* most beautiful double cherry blossom tree.  Apparently we had one in our garden but it was taken down before we moved here – I mourn the loss of it.

But enjoy my neighbours, it’s only out for 2 weeks and then it’s back to being a normal dull tree for the rest of the year.  But these two weeks are my favourite 🙂

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The Magic Faraway Tree

When I was a child my favourite book in the whole world was ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton, I was just obsessed by it  I think it was because it involved trees and my favourite thing in the world as a five year old was climbing tree and exploring the woods all day where we lived with my friends.

Roll on 31 years, Miss L doesn’t go out on her own, or with a group of kids in a gang like I did, that society died a long time ago.  She plays for maybe 30 minutes a day in the garden, stays on the grass and really has no interest.  She loves “Rough Science” on Discovery Science, Hider in the House and playing on the Wii.  She especially loves imaginary games with ‘the gang’ who consist of Princess Leia, Good Darth Vader, and all the Tweenies – especially Bella!.

I think it’s tragic, that despite living in a very rural town that she can’t have the childhood my husband and I did.  So last night I decided to introduce her to “The Faraway Tree” as a taste of what life used to be.  It was written in the late 1930’s/early 1940’s and the language is very much of that time.   At first she refused point blank to hear it, ‘there aren’t any pictures’…..’I want Charlie and Lola!!’.  Then I started reading it to her and she became entranced, and the questions started “How can they go into the wood without their Mummy, isn’t she worried about them?’, “Joe is staying out all night, in the woods??”….it just made me sad to realise how little freedom she has in comparison to what we had.

Anyway, after 6 chapters she was hooked and I was ordered to buy more Enid Blyton books from the book store today!  So I’ve got the other Faraway Tree books and the first two “Famous Five”, which I think she’ll enjoy.

And you know the best bit, at 7am this morning she got into bed with me clutching the book and asked to read another few chapters before we had to get ready for school.  My baby now has a love for literature 🙂

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Guide me through the night

My lovely daughter has always been a lousy sleeper, in her first year she slept through exactly zero times…and the second and third year!  It’s a standing joke here, that it’s the reason we have one child! Literally I was awake for 3 years and there was no way I was having anymore until she was sleeping through, or I may have killed someone!

Ah the hilarious comments I got…

‘she’ll sleep when she can crawl’ – she was 5 months when she could crawl

‘she’ll sleep when she can walk’ – 6 months

‘she’ll sleep when she starts nursery’ – 12 month (still no sleep!)

‘she’ll sleep when she starts school 3 days’ – 3 years (still no bleeding sleep!!!)

Well full time school started last September and she’s better than she was before (2 nights out of 5), she’ll still seek me out in the night like a missile.  She just comes and sleeps with us now and as we bought a bigger bed I can safely say we’ve given up. 🙂

So as you can imagine I’ve been somewhat resentful of my lack of sleep for five years, especially when I have friends who say idiotic things like ‘well mine slept through from 6 weeks’ – I just want to slap them…hard!

BUT my gorgeous dear daughter said the other night as I was trying again to get her to sleep ‘Mummy, I need to you to guide me through the night, I can’t sleep without you’ and melted my heart.  So now she can sleep with me as much as she likes, my nights are running out as she grows and soon she won’t need me anymore and I’ll treasure every sleepless night.


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Fallen in Love

We’ve been thinking for a while about emigrating to Canada mainly because of the exorbitant UK taxes, high cost of housing and collapsing education and health systems….oh I could go on!  The US is far too hard to get into, even with our education and experience.  So Canada seems to be a good combination of European sensibilities and the best parts of the US and they’d probably have us as we have 92 points :).

We’d been concentrating on Vancouver and the west coast which although has a better lifestyle than here the house prices etc are comparable.   Then I stumbled across and article on Nova Scotia and I think I’ve fallen in love.

Nova Scotia looks albeit from webcams, and photos just gorgeous.  The weather doesn’t look terrible and there seems to be a lot of employment there.  Lunenburg in particular which is a World Heritage site is beautiful, I need to have a visit!!  I’m almost wishing our July Vancouver trip was a dual location one now.

This house in particular has grabbed me, I keep telling myself it’s probably next to a main road, and under a flight path – bet it’s not though!  It’s also only £95,000 ::SIGH:: ….a *third* the price of my house and double the size.

Look it needs a tree lined drive!

And look even the inside is just perfect

But it’s made me consider other areas, and lifestyles so pretty yellow house, I thank you!

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Things past

I’ve just had the best morning scanning in some family pictures that I’ve been meaning to do for the last five years. When my Grandmother Alice died in 1981, all she left was a suitcase full of things that were precious to her.

She’d had a hard life, she was born in 1909, sent into service to be a kitchen maid at the age of 11 and was the mother of seven children one whom Ernest died tragically at 15 days. She dragged her family through the 1930’s depression and through the Second World War when she rescued her children from an abusive evacuation family and bought all five children back from Wales to London where she lived through the Blitz with them.

She met my Grandfather when she was 18 and fell in love. The family though that he was ‘beneath’ her as he was from a poverty stricken family. But she ignored them and went her own way. They celebrated their 50th ‘wedding’ anniversary just months before Arthur died and Alice died of a broken heart soon after.

They bought me up from the time I was 4 months old until their deaths, (my parents both worked hard and it was easier to leave me with them) and I miss them everyday.

But Grandmother’s suitcase was a treasure trove of family information, which kindly everyone in the family decided I could keep. I was 10 at the time and these old pictures were fascinating to me. Through the years I’ve managed to track down who all these people were and the pictures have helped me no end in tracking down my family tree.

Here are a selection of my favourite photos, I’ll upload the rest to Flickr

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Another gorgeous site

One of the best things about my unemployment so far (apart from catching up with out bottomless washing pile) has been surfing for new blogs that I’d not seen before.

My round up for this week are (in no order!) as follows:

Allsorts – I wish I had an ounce of Jenny’s creativity, just a great site with lots of wonderful ideas.

TheVintageMagpie – One of the prettiest sites I’ve come across and I’m coveting the ‘Violets of England’ crockery!

Restyled Home – I just want her to come and sort my house out.  I love the look of her blog, and the articles she’s post about the home are inspirational.  Paul won’t like the fact that I want to redecorate the whole of our house because of this post

Hollyhocks – great name and she just finds the prettiest things.  Love it!

So I’ll be adding all of these to my blog roll on the right hand side.  What wonderful talented women!

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3000 Houses…

So we knew it would happen one day, the fields behind our house have now come up for development. So the beautiful fields we back onto will soon be under 3000 houses.

The problem is that here in the UK there is no need for the developers or planners to build in a buffer or boundary between the old and new, so in theory they could build a house literally backing onto our fence – which has happened in other parts of our town. Also because of the amount of houses per acre (11 to 74!) most of the houses will be 3 story, a whole story taller than our house.

So we’ve put up an 7ft fence with a 1ft trellis and now I need to find some trees and shrubs which will give the end of our garden some privacy and hopefully block any views into our house.

Flowergardengirl has kindly suggested Emerald Green Arbrovites which look gorgeous and  I shall check out as I need to get something in there soon so they can get established as soon as possible.

I’m just sad that the deer, pheasants and all the other wildlife will be gone under concrete  🙁

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Back to School

Finally the school holidays are over and we are into Summer Term – hurrah!!!  It’s hard to entertain a 5 year old for a whole month, in fact now I’m already planning what to do in the Summer Holidays with her as it’s 8 weeks!.

So I have the house to myself, and it’s a little weird.  I’m used to being at work and not being here on my own, it’s so quiet here.  But I’ve cleaned, shopped for the week, done some washing – about to put on some more and then I’m going to treat myself and play in the front garden -it’s a mess!!  Time to tidy!

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End of the Holidays

I’ve had a great day, as I was making breakfast this morning a very pretty UK copy of Country Living came through the letter box. Lilacs are just beautiful and the picture on the front cover just made me feel all spring like this morning.

As we’re coming to the close of Miss L’s easter holidays, today we went on a mother and daughter shopping trip. Obviously we had to go to the Disney Store (goes without saying!), and then we went onto Ark which is a favourite for us both. They sell just the most gorgeous trinkets, Cath Kidston goodies and lots of other things you can buy ‘just because’.

Then I spotted a market stall called Nettie-B which had a selection of really pretty ‘shabby chic’ tea towels and bags, so I treated myself and my Mum to a tea towel each £3.50 each a complete bargain! I’ll be going back there next time I’m in Cambridge.

Then it was off to Baby Gap as two of our oldest friends are having a baby in July, and there were some gorgeous things in there. Summer babies are so lucky to have such pretty things, poor Miss L was bundled up for the first three months as it was so cold! In fact everything in there was so cute I came home and asked to have another baby, husband looked at me like I was mad and then pointed out we have the dog – fair point! 🙂

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Audrey Caroline

I’m not religious but admire genuine people of faith (might not always agree with them!) but anyone who has the courage of their convictions is fine by me. I was humbled on a dark, desperate night five years ago when I learnt that if you know your baby is dying, you will pray to anyone who maybe listening for them to have mercy and save them. We were incredibly lucky to keep our daughter and I appreciate that every day.

I came across this blog – Bring the Rain – a couple of months ago and I cannot express how much I admire Angie and Todd, they have so much grace in dealing with the unthinkable. I know for a fact that I couldn’t be as strong and as serene as they have been. Their maternity photos are just beautiful and made me cry.

Read their story, they and their beautiful daughter Audrey have given me pause to think about some things differently. I wish Angie a speedy recovery from her physical pain, and I wish them nothing but the very best for the future.

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