Sunday, 20 July 2014

And the winner is...

I am so busy this weekend...but I just had time to draw the winning name for the giveaway...in fact, Alice helped!! I fanned all the names out on scraps of paper and picked the one she put her paw on first (unscientific, perhaps...but as random as it gets, and also very cute!) I love this picture of her taken during a balmy evening last week, resting on her prized duck - if you look closely, you'll see that he's had to have 'open heart surgery' already...and no doubt one day soon he'll be ripped to shreds, but for now he's virtually intact.

Alright, suspense over...the prize goes to SHARON CALVERT ....Sharon, if you email me at the address shown on the blog here and let me know your address, I'll make sure I post your package to you asap! & thanks to EVERYONE who left beautiful comments on both posts..it's so lovely to know you're out there, it really is!

There's another giveaway currently over on my other blog, Sugar Moon Brownies ,with 2 wonderful prizes...so if you're not Sharon (or even if you are!) you can enter that too....

Thanks so much for taking part, and for reading. Hope you're having a fabulous weekend. xx

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Beauty of Now...Part 2

So, this is the scene as I write this morning...
pouring rain...which is a great shame, as the past week has been filled with sunshine. I feel so sorry for all the revellers taking part in the annual Roald Dahl Festival in the town today...especially the schoolchildren, who have spent weeks making flags, costumes and banners for the big parade. But they'll have fun anyway...we're used to rain after all, and it's still very warm. And the garden is soaking up the precious drops and sighing with pleasure, I just know it is!

Talking of gardens, as you know I love to do...a few weeks ago we visited one of our favourites, Queen Mary's Rose Garden in Regent's Park, London...
 so many varieties..
filling the air with perfume and bees....absolutely glorious!
It's wonderful to see so many people of all ages & nationalities wandering through, just enjoying the sight and scent.
I love the entrance gate too...
so...royal! If you know the fabulous movie, 'The King's Speech' (& if by any chance you haven't seen it, you really should...it's moving, uplifting and very beautiful...I defy you not to cry just a little bit at the end!) then you may recognise the Italian Garden below...
Even though the film was shot at a very different time of year, you will probably recognise it as the path where Lionel & the Duke of York had a big argument!
Even though I wouldn't like our own garden to be so formal and regimented, I do admire these landscaped wonders...
You may remember that last year I took lots of pictures at the farm, in the wildflower field that my Dad sowed years ago. It was always his dream to have a meadow full of native British wildflowers...and now he does!
Mum and I took a walk up there at the peak of its beauty, along with the farm dogs, of course. Millie was rescued just under a year ago, from a horrible life as a breeding bitch in a puppy mill. She was frightened of everything and everyone. She cowered and shook and hid behind doors and couches, trying to make herself as invisible as possible. But little by little, with patience, routine, consistency, kindness and lots of love...this is her today...
Happy and carefree..just as a dog deserves! Isn't that a great picture?
and here...

you can see her smile! Remember little Cora? Well she was there too....
the wildflower meadow has too much long grass for her tiny little legs...so she had a special lift from Mum (her favourite person)...and here are those flowers...
the pale mauve spikes are wild orchids. You can imagine the butterflies and bees that proliferate here, too...so much, in fact, that a friend who owns a honey business has sited 6 of his hives here! This is the perfect spot for them as they also have a pond to drink from right outside their front door...
and it obviously suits them as we were just given our first precious glowing jars of unfiltered farm honey...
..a strangely touching moment.
Midsummer is just beautiful anywhere you are right now...my daily walk with Alice on the hill is flower-filled too...

and I also love the wild grasses that ripple on the breeze like a moving carpet...
Lots to explore on our walks...
 I have to keep a close eye on this grubby little fox terrier to make sure she doesn't disappear down the interesting holes!
 The tiny purple flowers above are those of the wild thyme that mass in cushions on the side of the hill...I crush some as I walk and the scent filters through the warm air and smells delicious...
 ..this little beetle obviously loves it too...
 and this is birds-foot trefoil...such a singing colour for a tiny flower...'come and get me, bees!'
 It's reputed that on a clear day you can see 7 counties from this hill...
 We head for cooler spots halfway through....so lush & green, gentler than the unshaded chalk land...
 Wild scabious lasts until well into the autumn...but, much as I love that season,I can't think of summer being over just yet!

And now, the giveaway that was promised in my last post. I haven't done one of these for a long time, and as it's also my 200th post this is a special celebration! Firstly, some of the most delicious chocolate I've tasted...
 made in Wales & bought in Wales, in Hay-on-Wye while we were at the festival. Next, some very pretty little cupcake wrappers and toppers...
 so sweet and summery, I love them and hope you will too...and finally...
 a delightful little transfer mug...it's not vintage, but it looks the part...lovely to drink from of course, but I also see it as a vase for a sweet nosegay of wildflowers to sit on a windowsill or bedside table...
So there you have it! A Mozart's Girl giveaway at last. And all you have to do to be entered into the draw is to leave me a comment on this post. I'll make the draw in 2 weeks time, on the 19th...and I'm happy to send the package anywhere in the world, so don't worry about that! Just be sure to check back, and enjoy your weekend!

With love x

Monday, 9 June 2014

The Beauty of Now -Part 1




It's June.....how did that happen?! I cannot believe how very fast this year is going...early summer already and this blog...and YOU! ...have been sadly neglected. This will be a two-part catch up, as I don't want you to have no time to read and look properly. There will also be a giveaway in the next instalment, so be sure to check back!


The churchyard is such a serene and beautiful place...I love it that on warm days it's full of people having picnics, chatting or simply reading amongst the daisies...


We love living here so much. But we sometimes have a break, to see other places, people, views...



We stayed in our very own mini castle in February! Actually a folly, built as a birthday present in the 19th century by a wife as a surprise for her beloved husband...and this holiday was a surprise from me to mine!


Cosy and elegant...we spent evenings in this lovely room, which was right on the top floor (one room on each of 4 floors...many, many stairs!) to catch the views..


Someone stayed warm & toasty at all times!
The tower stood in the middle of a pine forest, and it was so quiet...especially at night when all you could hear were rustling branches and owls hooting...



And not to be missed was the view from the turrets at dawn...


a perfect break!


We walked this wonderful beach in South Devon last month...early in the morning, our favourite time. Alice adores the seaside!



But it's difficult to tear myself away from our garden in May and June...


Spot the spider on the gorgeous iris below. This bloom was 'born' on my niece's 12th birthday in May...a day for beauties, obviously....


Honeysuckle now covers the pergola....


and allium are so delicate looking, and yet so long lasting...I love the way they add height and interest to a bed of shrubs...


This has been the best year yet, here, for irises of all types...


I couldn't stop looking at these...the vibrant blue just drew me in....


Mesmerising. Our garden is a real magnet for bees, I'm happy to say...


the bumbles especially adore the ceanothus and the foxgloves...






Can you spot one just leaving in the photo above? So happy to encourage them...it's not difficult to plant even a few things which attract and nourish them, and they are so important to all of us!

We visited the Welsh borders a couple of weeks ago, to attend the Hay Festival...a celebration of literature and reading, held each year in Hay-on-Wye. The weather was changeable...


But that's what makes it so green, of course! The views were breathtaking...


The photo above was taken on a road called 'Angel's Pass'...the clouds are masking the Black Hills in the distance (always makes me think of Doris Day in 'Calamity Jane' but of course hers were in Dakota!)


The hills above are part of the Brecon Beacons...it's such a rich and fertile area, much of our tomato, asparagus and other summer crops are grown here.

And now it's June. I was particularly happy to turn to this month's page in Susan Branch's wall calendar. Those of you that also have it, will know that it's dedicated to fathers. And I'm so proud to say that MY dad takes pride of place in the border, between Mark Twain and Walt Disney no less! He was so thrilled when he found out at Christmas. Although he is frail, he is still enjoying life and the sunshine...and it is wonderful that he was honoured like this by my darling friend....


How lucky I am to have such people in my life....

Part two will follow soon! Thanks for being patient with me...I hope this year has been good to you, too, so far.

Xoxo

Posted using BlogPress by Rachel Lucas 2014