Hidden Gem

British train stations aren’t the most glamorous places in the world but Ely’s train station is a little different we have…

Rosie and Dolly


They sell all sorts of fabulous home, accessories, gifts and fair trade goodies and are based to the left of the entrance and the ticket office.  I’ve just done some of my Christmas present shopping in there for close family and friends, I can’t tell you what in case they are lurking ‘Hi Mum’!

rosie2 collageBut if you are visiting Ely, or passing through they are well worth a visit for great shopping and service.

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Pumpkin Carving

We started our pumpkin carving last night and I managed to finish two pumpkins for my Mum and her neighbour, but I did think my hand were going to fall off afterwards. Honestly it’s such hard work!

Miss L did the scraping of the insides – apparently that is the best bit 🙂


Then I used the templates from Waitrose and carved the pumpkins, they came out pretty well and I’m sure they’ll look great lit up.


Tonight I’ll be working ours which is going to be a fancy ‘Happy Halloween’ with a tree and a monster as a present for one of Miss L’s friends as we’re off to their Halloween party on Friday.  Her Mums partner and I are having a Pumpkin Pie ‘off’ to see who can make the best one, I have a slight advantage in that I’ve actually ever tasted it LOL!

For more Halloween fun pop to the Violet Posy Halloween Party

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Stella McCartney for Gap Kids

I have a massive soft spot for Gap Baby and Gap Kids. When Miss L was a baby the clothes that washed the best and lasted longest were from Baby Gap.  Other than when I’d just gone on maternity and bought literally half the store, my method has been to go in the sales and buy for the next year or have a hunt on ebay for coats etc. And every Christmas my lovely best friend in the US sends Miss L a gorgeous outfit.

As she’s gotten older I’ve found that a lot of stores seem to think that what’s appropriate on a 16 year old will look equally good on a 4 year old (who’s actually a tall 2.5 year old!). Not really wanting my little girl to look like a hooker in training I’ve been somewhat picky about where I’ve been buying her clothes.

She’s now 6 and in size aged 8 this is still a massive problem and Gap Kids along with Boden and H&M never let me down.  So I was very excited to read in The Times this morning that Stella McCartney has teamed up with GapKids for a collection (newborn to age 12) that launches in selected stores November 2nd.

and the dusky pink tutu in the top picture is too cute! Good luck tracking them down, I suspect they’ll sell out quickly!

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What happens when you don’t travel with kids…


You know how we all worry about travelling abroad with our children, pushchairs that won’t be checked in, screaming toddlers on planes having tantrums, how we’ll keep them fed for 2 weeks away from their normal food, what happens when you have a 4 year old with jet lag – that list is endless isn’t it?  Well I have discovered a whole new problem and one I’d never considered!

Conversation with Miss L last night… (with permission from Miss L)

Me: ‘L, Dad and I were thinking that as we’ve spent a little too much on holidays in the last couple of years.  Next year we’ll go to Scotland and we can have a cottage for a couple of weeks’.

Miss L *Blank Look*……’Why?’

Me: ‘Well we can go and see where my family came from, stay near a beach, check out Scotland. None of us have ever been there’.

Miss L: ‘But I wanted to go and check out what career I could have in Tokyo’

Me: ‘WHAT??’

Miss L ‘Well I saw on ‘People Do the Funniest Things’ there is a kids job place in Tokyo’

Me: ‘No love, I don’t think so’ *mental note to watch Saturday afternoon TV more closely!*

Miss L: ‘Okay what about Disney then……..DISNEYLAND HONG KONG!…..yeah that would be good’

Me: ‘Ummmm no?’

Miss L: ‘How about Australia’

Me: ‘No’

Miss L: ‘Oh Mum, it’s only a day on a plane!!’

Me: ‘No!’

Miss L: *SIGH* ‘Alright…….what about Vancouver or Toronto’

Me: ….faintly……’I’ll talk to your father….’

I’ve decided that I’ll pass the problem onto him for now as our jet setting baby’s wings have to be clipped.  The world is a much smaller place for a 6 year old in 2009 than it was for me in 1978 🙂

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*I first published this last year but I’ve just dusted it off and added some new links for 2009*

Now is the time to be choosing your sweetpeas for next year, this has to be one of my favourite jobs in the winter.  I spend ages thinking about how they’ll look together in the garden and then how they’ll look in the house when they’ve been picked.

My first port of call is Sarah Raven’s website, she’s championed Sweetpeas in the UK and has made them back into a trendy plant, she’s also done wonders for Dahlia’s as well.  Her site gives me an indication of what the trends will be next summer.  Like me she loves the dark ‘old fashioned’ sweetpeas which have lots of scent.  I think that have a better impact in the garden and then have more strength when they are in a vase with old fashioned roses, they don’t get ‘lost’.  Other great sites I’ve found are Simply Sweetpeas and Sweetpeas online who both have a massive selection of the more unusual varities.

Between November and February you can plant the seeds and then pop them in a cold frame or on a window sill – which is where I grown mine. You can buy ‘root trainer’ pots, but I just use recycled toilet rolls like in the picture or cut down kitchen rolls – cheaper and greener!.

Remember to give them something tall to climb (they can go to about 6ft), lots of water mine comes from the tumble drier and the water butt and hopefully by June you end up with something like this

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Halloween Bookmarks

Miss L is making these for her classmates to give out Friday as a little Happy Halloween present from her.  I found them on Yellow Moon, which also has lots of really good Christmas Crafts for kids (ideal for Half Term projects!). When you pay you can also search for your child’s school and a percentage of the bill will go to them if they have subscribed for fundraising.

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Apple Fair 2009

Apple Fair is my favourite celebration held in town and we had a great time this year. It wasn’t as sunny as usual but I managed to get some good snaps to share with you.

The Stalls

The Stalls had a great selection of apple juices from local orchards, plants, woodturning, cider making, knitting and other country crafts.

apple collage2

One interesting stall was the orchard locations in Cambridgeshire and the heritage apples they produce.  Sadly a lot of these varieties are being lost as orchards are sold off for farm land and housing developments.

Miss L and I were fascinated by the apple peeling contest, how good are these?

There was also yurt there (sadly I didn’t get a photo) with information about Ely becoming a Transition Town which aims to help lower reliance on fossil fuels, deal the with consequences of Peak Oil and to lower the city’s Carbon Footprint. It was very informative and I’m very proud of Ely becoming such a city. Find out more about it here

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Monday Link Love

It’s Monday Link Love time – it’s been a quick week! As it’s half term next week this will be my last Link Love for a couple of weeks as I’ll not get time to read my google reader that much over the holidays.

Home & Style

Fall Cure Inspiration from Cowgirl in Wellies

Reader’s Home from Cote de Texas

New Halloween Items from The Old Painted Cottage

Anthropologie hits London – Decor8  (too excited about this!!)

Soft Light from Luphia

11 Weeks till Christmas: Gather your Addresses From Simple Mom

Metamorphosis of a Different Kind from Songbird (via Marianne @ Le Temps Jadis)

New Favourite Site

Dork Adore from Shiny Kate


It’s hard not to want – Sleep is for the Weak

And a big Congratulations and lots of love to my British Mummy Blogging friends who have recently had baby girls

Tasha at WAHM BAM!

Claire at The Dandelion Lounge


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Google Chrome

Since 1993 I have used a lot of internet browers Compuserve, Netscape, Mozilla, Opera, IE, Safari and now Firefox to name the main ones.  So when Google bought out Chrome I was a bit ‘meh’ about it, hubby used it and raved about it but I couldn’t be bothered to move over. He hadn’t seen the state of my bookmarks, and the thought of trying to order them into actual categories has seemed like too much effort.

But then yesterday in my e-mail was the only useful press release I have ever received telling me that Google has asked lots of designers to make ‘skins’ for Chrome.

Picture 148Caroline Gardener

Picture 149Cath Kidston

Picture 150Emma Bridgewater

Picture 151Kate Spade

Picture 152Vivienne Westwood

There are lots of other designers there including Donna Karen and Matthew Williamson.

As you know I’m easily swayed by pretties on my laptop, so tonight I’m downloading Chrome and giving it a go as I’ve just gotten an invite to Google Wave as well it seems like time to try something new. It can’t be worse than Internet Explorer and it might be better than Firefox, so I’ll keep you posted.

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Monday Link Love

I have a pot of coffee on, the housework is done and now it’s time to chill with my Google Reader and share with you my favourite blog post of the last week.



India Knight now has a blog, and boy am I loving it!  She stayed at Kirstie Allsops, beautifully restored and refurnished Meadowgate property that some of you will remember from Kirstie’s Homemade Home Read India’s review here and go subscibe to her feed you won’t regret it.

Melissa at Inspired Room – Quick Fall Nesting

Julia at Hooked on Houses – Beach Cottage Makeover

Tsh at Simple Mom – The Best Kept Secrets to a Clean Home

Callie at Grayson: a diferent shade of grey – Hot Colours

Linda at Restyled Home – Bountiful Table (Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to Linda!)

Classic Style

Tina at Luphia – Pure Grace. Stunning vintage photos of Grace Kelly proving that style and grace transend time.


Emily at Maternal Tales from the South – Love for my Stepdaughter had me in tears. Beautiful.

Emily at Remodeling this Life – Special Moments

Josie – Sleep is for the Weak great blog for those still in the throws of non sleeping children!


Debs at Carrots and Kids – Cow Parsley Passion (stunning photography!!)

And remember the Violet Posy Halloween Party starts this week (shameless self promotion!)



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Halloween Blog Party

I love Halloween!

I know it’s not very British but one of the delights I’ve discovered of being a Mummy has been dressing up with Miss L, decorating the house and celebrating All Hallows Eve. I’ve discovered that I have a talent for pumpkin carving (thanks Waitrose for the templates!) and here’s my attempts at doing a Martha Stewart style pumpkins from the last couple of years.

So I’m throwing a Halloween Party here at Violet Posy for all of you to join in.

All you have to do to join in the fun is, add a direct link below to your Halloween Posts (any to just your main site will get deleted). You can have as many as you like, about what you like be it dressing up, parties, cooking, decorating I don’t mind it just has to be about Halloween and the fun you are having at your house 🙂

Also the British Mummy Bloggers Halloween Carnival is up at HotCrossMum

I can’t wait to here about your celebrations!



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Harvest Festival Box

Yesterday Miss L and I made her Harvest Festival box for the service this weekend at the Cathedral. We fill it with canned and dried foods and then it gets taken to the local Food Bank for distribution.  I think it’s one her of best ones yet – all her own design with a little help from me.

I must admit it’s a bit odd as a non religious person to have a daughter who’s interested in religion, but each to their own!. However I’m really looking forward to seeing her at the Cathedral on Sunday as she’s reciting part of a poem to the whole congregation, I’d be terrified, she’s looking forward to it!

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