Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Catching up with my paperwork ....

Some days just don't have enough hours and even if they had more hours, we would probably just fill them up with more things to be done.

Today, an unexpected free afternoon meant that I had time to just take life a little slower than I had anticipated.

I turned the wonderful leftover roast root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut, parsnip & lots of red onions) into a warming soup for lunch.

Our dull, grey weather needs brightening up so I took all my working bits out into our bright conservatory to work in the light - surrounded by my Spring colours (I am always impatient for Spring) so it felt brighter than it actually was.

Dee's working lunch

How can you not feel uplifted when surrounded by such brights? I absolutely love the brightness of the 3 IKEA cushions on my wicker bench. They were an impulse buy on my last trip to Ikea - a great buy me thinks!

Unexpected time alone that was not planned for always makes me feel indulgent so I put the soup in a lidded bowl I rather like & used the vintage monogrammed "D" plates the daughters had found for Christmas.

They are just so pretty that my simple soup & hot roll lunch just tasted wonderful! Life's simple pleasures make the difference.
Another view of my tranquil lunch at home - perfectly at peace with the world.

Do you seize unexpected time to just sit back & recharge your batteries? 

Wishing you a happy & peaceful day whatever you do ....

Dee ~♥~

Monday, 30 January 2012

Handbags ...

Our Queen Elizabeth II famously does not go anywhere without her signature handbag. She has made it her own - always a similar style in a great classic shape & she  just carries it effortlessly. Her Majesty is loyal to the British handbag firm of Launer  who famously makes her several bespoke bags each year; supposedly favouring the one handled Diva (£920) and Traviata (£1,020).

I do not share such grace - as much as I ad♥re handbags, mine often double up as mini suitcases with all the bits I carry around.
But, love them I do - all shapes, sizes, colours, designs ....

I am getting ahead of myself here ... let me start at the very beginning. My first real handbag came from a favourite maiden great-aunt who was uber stylish & who probably despaired at her tom-boyish great niece. She gifted me a lovely handmade (probably not by my aunt as I do not recall her sewing) fabric container filled with the most beautiful ribbons you could lay your eyes on (I wore pig tails ..... all the time or so it seemed) and also a most beautiful Viennese Petit Point handbag that I always admired in her room.

Vintage Viennese Petit point

The beautiful gloves & silk handkerchief were in the bag & what a treasure.  They had pride of place even if I never went anywhere where they might have gone too ....

The antique brush (and a mirror) came out of the attic of my in-laws & belonged to my husband's grandmother so they just seem to be right to lay besides the bag.

That seemed to set me on the path to enjoying handbags or purses as our American friends delightfully call them.

As fate would have it, I have a dear friend Liane & we are a bad influence on each other as we both love handbags as much as each other. It is an absolute delight to go browsing with her as she will never say anything obvious like .... "why do you need another black bag when you have 5 already?"

We did a combined handbag photoshoot over lunch at mine one day and  this is 'some' of our black & white bags ....
Handbags galore
I know but ... as I explain to my long-suffering husband, one black bag simply cannot go everywhere & anywhere so I need to cover any eventuality.

The same logic (in the loosest sense) also applies to pink handbags ... why have 1 when you could choose between 5?
Handbags galore

Handbags are also needed in particular colours for particular seasons; this Liz Claiborne just says Winter berries, doesn't it?

Liz Claiborne Handbag

Of course, my daughters understand this completely and for my *cough* birthday, they bought me this ..... I know, just too lovely for words!!

Mulberry Bayswater bag for my birthday

So, please feel free to look through my flickr handbag photos & share your handbag stories with me too ... you could inspire my next purchase.

Till next time, happy handbagging friends
Dee ♥

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Moreton Corbet Church, Shropshire

I shared the beautiful Moreton Corbet visit on the previous blog but I have to share the beautiful church in more detail.

I am a 'quietly religious' person who observes & respects my religion but I do not shout it from the rooftops nor preach it to my friends. 

On my many visits to Ethiopia I was blown away by the way they observe their Christianity - coptic Christians who adher to strict high days & holidays & who fast regularly, spend 4 hours on a Sunday in church etc.

The Debra Berhan Selassie church, in Gonder, Ethiopia, is easily a favourite with its unassuming exterior and then inside there are 104 iconic angels look down from every part of the ceiling & their huge eyes make them instantly recogniseable.

Debra Berhan Selassie church, Gonder, Ethiopia

How amazing is this? It remains my favourite place .....

At Moreton Corbet church in Shropshire I found similar winged angels but they had skulls on the side of them. I do not know the significence but found them a little disturbing. Does anyone know why they should be paired?

Moreton Corbet Castle & church, Shropshire

Then when I stepped up towards the altar area, I was stunned to see this canopy / ceiling - elaborate with shields / family crests & beautifully decorative walls & windows - absolutely stunning. I do not think my photo does it justice ....

Moreton Corbet church, Shropshire

An interesting visit to a beautiful church ... do you visit churches? What is your favourite?

Stop by again soon,  have a great week

Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Early morning photography in the Shire

One of my New Years resolutions was to get out & find new places in our beautiful county of Shropshire to photograph and so this morning a good friend & I set out with my Godson & my daughter to find a castle ruin that we did not know about but I had seen in passing in a book in a local charity / thrift shop.

The car kept beeping to warn that the temperatures were under freezing but we were wrapped up & had our flasks in the back.

I cannot believe that I / we have not visited the beautiful Moreton Corbet Castle ruins before.

What a stunning view greeted us - this massive ruins that imposes itself on the surrounding landscape, its beautiful golden stone glistening with frost in the early morning sunshine.  We were all in awe of the size of it - I can only imagine how amazing it must have looked 300 years ago in its heyday!

The country church that shares its name is just as charming with absolutely stunning altar & roof. Inside were beautiful stained glass windows & some beautiful features like winged angels that I love so much. However, the angels were flanked by carved skulls which was rather off putting ....

I rather like spending time in churches & the grave yards - it gives an amazing sense of history & echoes the spirit of the local area & I always find them so peaceful & beautiful. Does anyone else take time to read the inscriptions on the stones?

Then back to the car to retrieve the flasks of hot tea / Milo (a milk energy drink) and some oat bars to warm us up while we exchange news & photos.

We all agreed that the only way to improve our photography this year is to get out & take photos in unfamiliar environments & then be critical of our own work .

I hope you have enjoyed the beautiful Moreton Corbet trip with me.

Stop by again soon & please feel free to leave a comment

Dee ~♥~

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Thinking of lanterns ...

The long, grey winter has turned my thoughts to lighter things - lanterns in particular!!

I just love candles & lanterns in the house & garden to provide that soft lighting which is so relaxing.

We have crooks all over the garden for our array of lanters & they just light up the borders & summerhouse & make the garden look inviting.

My favourite house ones are a pair of vintage brass lanterns that I found on the Bridport market and a stunning brass wall lantern with an eagle on the top that I found in the Hungerford antiques market.

So my thoughts are turning to garden lighting & lanterns - what are your preferences?

Look in soon again
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A little bit of Safari Chic in Ethiopia

Safari chic seems to be on Michael Kors agenda for this Spring & while mulling over the look I thought back to how practical it would really be out travelling around Africa.

We grew up & lived in Africa & have spent a lot of time recently travelling around Ethiopia for the 5 years hubby worked there.  We were extremely fortunate to be able to travel all over the amazing country.

They have several Safari lodges - this one aptly called Safari Lodge south east of Addis Ababa near Nazareth. It was beautifully laid out with stunning decor & facilities ...

Safari Lodge, Nazaret, Ethiopia

 This was tucked away in a back street on the edge of a bustling town & as lovely as it was, it was not  a rustic Safari Lodge at all ....

However, Wenney's Eco Lodge near Lake Langano in the Great Rift Valley fits the traditional Safari Lodge perfectly - remote, true to form & just relaxing.

Wenney's Eco Lodge Ethiopia

We visited Wenney's three times & loved it each time, an oasis in the African bush. The decor was just so simple but well thought out.  The rooms are beautiful & comfortable ....

When travelling in a 4x4 for up to 10 days at a time over great distances, it is not possible to take much luggage so we would choose some basics which could be layered up in the cool  4000+m mountains or would still be suitable for trekking to the hot Blue Nile or visiting churches where it is respectful to be modest.

My uber-stylish girls just got this right .... what do you think?

My safari chic girls

My own 'look' included lots of white tops, scarves,  safari jackets & some bold high street accessories that were not precious or valuable to take in all the changes  ......

Safari chic or not ....

I don't think we ever really consciously did the 'Safari' look but we seemed to be fine on our travels .... what do you think?

The one Safari contribution was a cookery book bought for my birthday by the girls in Addis ... A Safari Kitchen is just the most exquisite book, filled with stunning photos & beautiful recipes. We did actually make several of them at our home in northern Ethiopia.

A kitchen Safari book

How lovely is this book?

So happy 'Safari chic' memories .... I hope you have enjoy reading this topic, please stop by & leave your comments.

Dee ~♥~

Michael Kors does Safari chic handbags for Spring ....

I freely admit to being a handbag lover & I also have a great love for Africa where I was born & spent a large part of my life. 

So I read with interest that Michael Kors Spring 2012 is “safari chic”michael-kors-safari-chic

I love safari chic having spent a lot of time travelling around South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho & Ethiopia so I read on with some interest .....

Some of the bags are nicer than others and it is interesting that he is doing 'Safari Chic' ... which was my 'look' for the 2011 Bridport Hat Festival - bridport hat fest

Hat festival time .... Will Safari chic work?

The 'look' was inspired by my favourite film 'Out of Africa' - a totally stunning epic - watch it if you haven't yet seen it, even just for the amazing scenery & the magnificent, stirring music of John Barry. Out of Africa

I customised a favourite pith helmet with a vintage brooch on a cream headband, added a monotone maxi-dress, natural coloured bangles & a linen structured safari jacket and carried a ... Mulberry Bayswater

How it came together on the day ....

Safari chic ...

What do you think of his 'Safari Chic' handbags? Which would you choose? I would certainly have loved to have one of those bags to go with my Safari chic outfit ...

More Safari Chic on the next post  - right out of Africa little-bit-of-safari.chic
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Random acts of kindness ....

I love food & tablescapes  & have been reading this blog


I love this reminder ♥

Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost A Cent (Author Unknown)

But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and holds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it’s not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

The gift of solitude - we all need quiet time to just ... be; to gather our thoughts & to work through what is happening in our lives.

And then we also need to gather family & friends close by, to spend time just catching up on each others news. I love a long, lazy breakfast or brunch when we can all just catch up with each other ....

Do you believe in random acts of kindness? Do you just take a few minutes to make others day brighter? I try to use shop assistants names off their badges along with my thank-you & I have noticed how pleased they are that they are not just another person ... they have a name! Try it & see for yourself as you do some random acts of kindness ....

Stop by soon again,
Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sunday pancake breakfast

We all like a family breakfast & luckily daughters b/f is a dab hand at pancakes & I am not one to stand in the way of anyone sharing the cooking.

A cold day called for pancakes with fruit - kiwi & stewed apples - as well as yoghurt (me) and ice-cream (the young ones)

So this was our Sunday breakfast in the conservatory so we can enjoy the garden.

Sunday breakfast

I am inclined towards brightness after a long Winter so our conservatory colours have changed to brights - a favourite table cloth, some new IKEA cushions & pink throw for the wicker bench & some bright peonies for the mercury silver vase ....

The cutlery is some vintage coloured cutlery  I particularly like ♥

Do you do lazy family breakfasts when you can? 

Please feel free to comment - anon or otherwise

Dee ♥

Monday, 16 January 2012

Architectural busts for the home & garden

I am rather in love with gorgeous architectual busts for the home & garden ....

These are just some I have in my home & they just set off a corner so nicely. I am rather inclined towards ones that are 'aged' rather than new .... 

Do you like busts as features?

Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A cold & icy walk

Yesterday daughter & I took a walk at a favourite place - Attingham Park, a National Trust estate near Shrewsbury.  It was a chilly -1 but we decided to make the most of the crispness to take photos.

I was attracted to some fallow deer antlers near the entrance & fortunately for us, an estate warden named Phil was punting for folks to join him on an hour long walk to the bottom of the estate near the Severn River. Visitors are not usually allowed that far down so we both jumped at the chance to see something different.
Frosty Attingham Park, Shropshire

The grass was crisp & icy & luckily we both had our walking boots, coats & gloves with so it was a pleasant walk - chatting to the 5 others & the 2 park wardens.  Stacy had the Canon 1D & I had my newly handed down Canon 40D so it was a good opportunity to get some different photos of our favourite NT estate.

I couldn't decide which ones I liked best, so I did what I normally do & put some favourites into a collage.

Which are your favourites from the above ones?

Look in again soon & leave a comment too ....

Dee ♥

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A little of what you enjoy ....

I love visiting small local towns because they all have their interesting bits. Many are not as busy or thriving as they once were but they still have aspects which are appealing.

Market Drayton, north Shropshire claims to be the home of gingerbread as this sign says

Market Drayton has some lovely black & white Tudor buildings still with their quaint old windows & heavy, solid doors

I caught a glimpse of this church through an alleyway & went to investigate - WOW, what a splendid view that monument has. The church itself has some lovely gargoyles including one with a blue metal collar to keep it in place (I think). It rather looks like you are out walking your gargoyle ….

My heart sang at this view in a window .... WOW, how absolutely lovely are these jars?

En route home, I passed the tiny hamlet of Chetwynd with its beautiful church & decided to pull in & have a look.  I love exploring church yards & churches - they remind us of the frailty of life & our faith ....

I just love the details on the doors & the work in the details everywhere - such pride in making it look 'just right' .....

The trip reminded me that I one of my resolutions this year is to make time to do new things or visit places - however close - that I have not been to before. A good start me thinks.

Till next time, do stop by & leave a comment
Dee ~♥~

Friday, 6 January 2012

A change is needed ....

The tree is down, all bagged & returned to the loft for another year. Somehow the lounge seems larger and barer without the glistening lights .....

However, a change is always good & I am taking inspiration from a table setting I did over the holidays for breakfast.

That shade of pink & green are a favourite table setting combination because it just looks fresh & bright & inviting after the dark days of midwinter.

The green table glasses are a f♥b vintage find rhat we have used for a number of years, the green jug was a great charity shop find to go with them. 

So, that is the change of colours for the conservatory to bring on brightness, more to follow soon.

Do you like the change?

Pop back to see the other bits soon, Dee ♥

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Some brightness is always welcome ....

As the twelfth night approaches, our the decorations are being taken down and it is time to reflect on the colours I have used over the festive season so I can decide if I should keep any of the things out for longer or if I need a change ...
Our Christmas is always red & gold with a hint of silver ....

and the traditional colours reflected on the sideboard at Christmas

New Year, in my humble opinion should be bright & fresh ....

I feel that after a month of traditional colours I really need a change to shake things up and as I pack away these items, I can already see another bright setting in my head; something fresh & vibrant ....
All will be revealed as soon as this lot is safely returned to the loft for another 11 months.
Till next time, stop by, be generous in your comments ....

Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Enjoying a walk along the canals ...

We are blessed with the lovely Shropshire Union Canal & enjoy walking along the canals as it winds its way through many of our lovely towns & villages.

A cold crisp day is always good to combine a walk & photography so we went along to a small town along the canal that we had not visited before ....

This stretch of the canal has a set of locks to lower the boats.

I find canal life quite fascinating & especially the folk art on the boats & how they are personalised with colours, lights & even wind turbines or solar power. They also reflect normal life with some being very neat & others quite random .....

The crisp bright weather seems to have spurred the wildlife into action & I had fun photographing the washing ducks as they thrashed about in the water to wash to dry themselves.

Some of the boats along the canal are permanently moored so they have established gardens & patios along the side, a community within a community! One boat even had a festive wreath & lights on it & the owner happily chatted to me while I took a photo. I saw a puff of smoke from another & could quite imagine the owners lighting their fire for warmth while they relaxed in front of the fire ....

I simply love the splash of colour from red berries along the hedgerows & so I practised taking macro photos of some of them. It is very relaxing & varied along the canals & afterwards we headed into the local pub to warm up with a plate of cod & chips .... a perfect way to spend the day!

Anyone else as fond of the canals as I am?

Till next time, Dee ♥

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Welcome to 2012

Welcome to 2012 ... it seems to have come around way too quickly ....

We saw out 2011 with friends & family who gathered at our house to eat, drink & play games while we watched Big Ben for the time - much more reliable than any of our clocks!!

As you might have gathered, I absolutely love table settings / table scapes & my New Year setting is always bright & colourful; a fresh start to the year.

My table setting once again used a string of silver with brightly coloured beads; a favourite one that I had to hunt in the loft for as it is not our Christmas colours.

No cutlery was set because I was not sure how many were coming for supper. In the end, 18 of us gathered to enjoy the evening. Do you like the bright colours? I always use gold for Christmas, silver for New Year ...

Our evening always descends into games & this time the girls took on the guys at two bite size Trivial pursuits. Us girls thought we would have the upper hand with a Food & Wine set and the guys had a general knowledge one.  Sadly, after a very promising start, we threw away our lead without them even noticing that our questions were all food related and they won 20/18

It is also a good time to put out all the extra nibbles we all get in over the festive season but don't always eat - the fruit cake, mince pies, cheese & biscuits ... you know what I mean!!

As midnight approached, we relied on Big Ben to keep us on time, champagne was poured & we all said goodbye to a difficult 2011. Many of our friends slept over so we were a full dozen at home which is always fun.

We always start New Year with a hearty breakfast for all the overnighters -12 this year. Hot pancakes with a large bowl of fresh fruit salad & yoghurt, fresh fruit juice & bacon butties for those who need something more substantial then around noon everyone makes their way home to relax for the rest of the day.

How did you spend your first day of 2012?

Please stop by & leave some comments .... my resolution is to get my blog going in 2012 & your comments will inspire me to post regularly!

Dee ~♥~