Just being ME

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so, so fabulous ...

Since I started my home blog just over a year ago, I have been the lucky winner of not one, not two but three giveaways! Look at the latest, a copy of Ginny and Alice's recently published book Sew Fabulous Fabric, twenty charming ways to sew fabrics into your life. Ginny has been a dedicated follower of my blog since the start and her blog is over at The Flour Loft, which is a great mix of garden, home and family, and of course needlecraft.

At the time of winning I did feel rather a fraud, you see I cannot use a sewing machine and struggle to even thread a needle these days! I did wonder whether I should not have entered the competition in the first place and to have given the great seamstresses, of which many of you are, the chance to win the prize, even though Ginny and Alice were giving away more than one copy of the book.

As it turns out, I needn't have worried, yes the book has lots of projects and handy templates/patterns for the experienced needlewomen out there, but also basic techniques of the art of sewing and less complicated projects for beginners, of which category I most definitely fall into!

Ginny and Alice kindly included some very handy fabric swatches, tied up with a lovely mother of pearl button. I do have a collection of these, so this will be a lovely addition. One chapter which I particularly like is Scent with Love, scented decorations which I must say do look quite easy to make (famous last words), which would make good use of these pieces of material.

What about these cards? I could make a simpler version of these, which includes less stitching! The chapter Creative Cards shows you how.

Also included in the book are ideas for Christmas stockings, and lots of different makes for presents, which include pictures, peg bags, aprons, purses and bags. Projects for the home include curtains, cushions and bunting. Not forgetting the very pretty applique flowers and make do and mend patches for kids clothes too. I do like the draught excluder on page 37, and Silas the Dog who features on page 103, would be a lovely companion to me on the arm of the sofa!

Don't just think of Sew Fabulous Fabric being solely for experienced needlecrafters. If you like me like bright colours and great photography, and enjoy skimming through the pages just looking at the pictures, then this book is for you too.

The last word - an excerpt from my third year report at secondary for needlework. More work in her own time would have improved her standard! Maybe if I had this book at the time, I would not have gained the dizzy mark of C4!


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the beautiful algarve ...

Inbetween the training course and starting my new job, I have been on holiday to the Algarve in Portugal. Not only were steps retraced from our previous visit, we also managed to visit places anew. I love the orange of the bougainvillea above, a photo taken on the walk from our villa, through the countryside, down to the sea.

This is where we stayed on the first night, in an apartment close to Luz overlooking the sea. We are both earlybirds, so we managed to photograph the sun rising the next morning.

The lovely villa where we spent the duration of the holiday, situated in Caramujeiro. We were more than pleased with this place, staying with the same villa agent as on our last visit.

On a large plot of land the villa was surrounded by pine trees with the most gorgeous cones, which would have been perfect for using in Christmas decorations although I didn't get to bring any home. As it was, lemons from the tree above, and oranges came home with me, in the case!

The Algarve is a beautiful place, with rugged coastline and inviting blue waters.

Silves, a historic city with magnificent walls and castle. This is where you can get the most delicious piri-piri chicken and chips, served with a tomato and onion salad.

Colourful fishing boats in Armacao de Pera.

An amazing fish, which looks as if already wrapped in silver foil, ready to be baked!

Talking of fish, no visit to the Algarve would be complete without a meal of sardines. We had some really tasty chargrilled ones in Lagos, served with boiled potatoes and salad. You really must try some.


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a big hello to everyone ...

First on the agenda is to say a huge thank you to everyone for their lovely comments and kind concern on my previous two posts, I really do appreciate the time you have all given to keep in touch. Second on the agenda is to give you a reason for my absence, six weeks ago I started a new job and with this came a two week full-time course in East Croydon, which is a fair few miles from here, having to do a daily commute. There has been, and still is a lot to learn, so as you can imagine my brain has been in overdrive, having had little or no time to come up for air, let alone the time for my blog! More space for the fun stuff is now desperately needed, so third on my agenda is to revisit blogland on a more regular basis very soon.

As I am sure many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many will be wearing it pink for the charity. I lost my dear mum to secondary breast cancer back in 2002 and now realise how important it is to be aware of any possible changes which may be taking place in the breast area. You can visit here for lots of information on the subject.

At this time of year, the hydrangea in my very untidy garden, is as pink as pink can possibly be!


a happy anniversary ...

Yesterday October 1st, myself and J celebrated clocking up 25 years together. I am sure most of you by now have realised we have neglected to tie the knot, but be assured we are very much as Darby and Joan as any married couple out there!

We met back in 1983, whilst on separate nights out at what was then known as the Top Rank Suite in Brighton. During the evening my friend Fiona and I were getting some unwelcome attention, and feeling uneasy with the whole situation we decided to walk up to J and his friend, and asked them both to pretend they were our fellas! Well basically that was it, and at the end of the evening we arranged to meet up the next evening for a drink at my local pub The Spotted Cow in Angmering, and from then on we continued to see each other or phone every day.

Our lives pretty much carried on as normal until 1985 when J was involved in a near fatal motorbike accident, which left him on a life support for a week, followed by many months of rehabilitation. This was a turning point in both our lives, and in 1986 we signed on the dotted line for a mortgage and bought our first place together, a brand new flat close to the sea, which was to become our home for the following 12 years.

We both wonder where the time has gone, but look forward to the next 25 years together!

The rose above is a hybrid tea called Silver Anniversary.