Thursday, 30 August 2012


Before I went on holiday, I was lucky enough to be awarded the Sunshine Award by Jo and the One Lovely Blog Award from Mrs Thrifty.  Thank you for nominating me ladies!.  I'm going to go slightly 'free-style' on this and give a few facts about me as well as answering some sunshine blog questions..

.1.  My favourite colour has to be blue in all its shades.  I love bright blue skies.  The walls of my back bedroom are painted a deep blue, with pale blue and cream soft furnishings.  All my china is blue and white.  I also love combining blue with other colours.  My kitchen tiles have a white, blue and peach pattern.  My wardrobe is full of plain blue items that I can combine with other prints.

.2. My favourite animals are cats.  I've lived with three of them over the last 30 years.  The first was a 'family' cat when I still lived at home.  She was supposed to be a birthday present for my sister but she very quickly became my Dad's cat.  She lived to be more than 20, moving from Oxford to Manchester and then to Worcester in her very old age.  I've had two of my own - Gulliver (a stray silver tabby who died of cancer in 2003) and the current 'Little Prince' - Thomas.

.3. I'm completely addicted to caffiene.  Every 12 months or so I try to give it up.  I'm successful for a few weeks then cups sneak back in.  The main problem is that I can't resist the smell and we have a proper expresso machine in the staffroom.  After an early start and a few hours work at the 'chalkface' I've got no resistance!

.4. In my 30s I was very ill for a while with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I went to the Doctors thinking that I was suffering from stress and he told me "If you don't stop work now you may never work again."  I was very lucky to find such a 'switched on' doctor at that time. I've been back to full health for years but I still feel lucky that I can enjoy all my long walks and enjoy my life to the full.

.5. I love food shopping.  I find the whole process of planning the meals for the week, creating the shopping list, then pottering around my local town centre incredibly relaxing. 

.6. I also enjoy cooking and would love to have a bigger kitchen, where the whole family could chill out and chat while I'm making something to eat.  My dream would be a proper 'farmhouse' kitchen.

.7. My favourite day of the week is Friday - there's always a lovely sense of anticipation for the weekend.  I'm particularly looking forward to Fridays in this school year because I will be teaching a lovely Year 11 class in the final period of the week.  I will then spend another hour with my Year 11 Diploma group (the most able pupils from that year group).  At 4.30 I'll  drive home for a hour or so of french conversation with my french friend.  Then Friday evenings generally end with a curry and a glass (or two) of chewy red wine. 

I'd like to nominate these blogs for the 'One Lovely Blog' Award.  This award comes with a few rules.

1) Thank the person who nominated you.
Thanks again, Mrs Thrifty (and Jo for 'The Sunshine Award'!!)

2) List seven things about yourself.

3) Pass on the award to fifteen blogs (cheat here if necessary!)

I'm going 'free-style' again here and am passing it on to just five.

Jan at Jan's Journey
Angie at My Quilting Life
Louise at Ramblings of a Roachling
B'ham at Come Away Home
Bonnie at Living Life

Ladies, I hope that you will accept the award, though I understand if you'd rather not. I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your blogs.  There are also several other blogs that I love to read regularly - but I think that you have received this award at least once before.  Consider yourselves hugged!!!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Wanderer Returns...!

I've been back from our walking holiday in the Shopshire/Wales borders for a few days. As always it's taken a bit of time to catch back on all the jobs and make some time for blogging.  We had a really lovely time.  It was incredibly quiet.  We just ate, walked for miles and slept for hours.  Absolutely perfect!

The weather was variable.  This photo was taken on one of the really windy days and so I'm holding onto my sun hat like crazy...!  It was our wedding anniversary and we were celebrating by walking a stretch of the Shropshire Way.  Over the two weeks we managed to walk sections of most of the long distance paths that cross the area - The Offa's Dyke Path and The Jack Mytton Way (as well as The Shropshire Way).  A lot of this was high level walking and the views were superb...

We stayed in a beautiful cottage on hills above the tiny town of Clun.  The cottage was probably the best that we've ever stayed in. As an added bonus, it was also by far the cheapest because this area isn't at all 'touristy'.  (I guess that it cost us less than half the price that you would have to pay for something similar in Devon or Cornwall).
There were two large open-plan spaces - the living room downstairs and an enormous bedroom on the first floor....
In a previous life our cottage had been a double garage and a design studio.  Apparently our bedroom was the space where the National Lottery logo was designed! 
Ofcourse we had to take 'BJ' the Discovery on holiday with us...
Mark went back to work yesterday.  It was a horrible shock to be woken up by an alarm at 5.45.  I decided to crack on with a pile of paperwork for school yesterday.  After spending some more time on it this morning I think I'm now fairly prepared for next Monday.  Now I can spend time in the 'blogosphere' without feeling guilty!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Wowed by Welsh Quilts

Last Friday Mum and I spent a very enjoyable time learning more about Welsh Quilts.  We went to the Town Hall in Lampeter where Jen Jones has based her collection.  This year's exhibition is all about comparing Welsh and Amish quilts.  There are some really beautiful examples of both traditions in the display and its fascinating to see the similarities.  Many of the quilts on display are more than 120 years old and the detail in the handiwork is really inspiring.

After lunch we took ourselves to Cae Hir Gardens, only a few miles away.  These gardens have been fashioned from a steep 6 acre hillside site and they are really pretty.

While Dad enjoyed the planting and design, Mum and I enjoyed the outdoor exhibition of modern quilts.  There were about 40 quilts displayed around the different sections of the garden. 

This is a detail of one quilt that particularly caught my eye..  the fabric has a musical theme then a treble clef design has been stitched all over the quilt.  I hope that you can make it out from my picture.  I understand that it's this 'secondary design' which is typical of Welsh quilts...

This was the view from the top of the garden. 

We chatted to the owners for a while when we made our way back down to the coffee shop at the bottom. They explained that this was the first quilt exhibition that they'd ever tried but they had definite plans to do other one next year.  I think it was a lovely idea that worked really well.

Since I got home I've tackled some of my projects with renewed vigour.  There's nothing quite like seeing some-one else's beautiful finished work to 'get the crafting juices flowing' again!

Thanks to Mrs Thrify for the 'One Lovely Blog' award.  I will try to respond properly to it this time!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Holiday Snaps

I'm back from my holiday with my Mum and Dad.  We had a lovely time (even though the weather was very unpredictable at times)

We stayed in a gorgeous cottage next to an ancient parish church..

The view from the sitting room was spectacular.

We visited the National Trust Gardens at Llanerchaeron..

We spent quite a bit of time at the coast, exploring NewQuay..

...and Aberaeron

We also ventured inland to Cenarth - which has a beautiful bridge and pretty waterfalls.

We also went to Cilgerran Castle..

..and St Dogmael's Abbey.

Ofcourse I missed Mark like mad.  (Unfortunately, being an engineer, he has 'real people's' holidays and doesn't have the flexibility to join us.  It's 'shut down' at the factory at the moment and this is the time he has to work hardest. He is really ready for a break - poor soul!)