Monday, 25 August 2014

Big Thank You!

Hello everyone. It's been a while hasn't it? I'd like to thank you all for taking the time and trouble to leave such lovely comments on my last post and to those who sent cards through the post.Special thanks to Julie whose lovely words and prayers continue to be a comfort.
When you lose someone close, it's hard to put into words how you feel.Losing your mum, when you have had a close relationship is beyond words. I take comfort from the fact she is no longer suffering and is at peace and the surety I feel that we will eventually be together again one day.
Life still goes on and I am sure my mum would want us to carry on as we always did, to be thankful that she lived and gave us life but not to be too sad she is no longer with us.

Tony and I managed to get away for a week's break in a beautiful little cottage in Kent that we had booked earlier in the year. It was a lovely week, with glorious sunshine and warm temperatures and it was a time for reflection and remembering.
Our cottage was originally a stable and hayloft and apart from the owners house next door, was the only property for a mile or two.

These photos are courtesy of the internet since I forgot my camera and don't know how to upload photos from my iphone.
There was no light pollution and for several nights Tony and I sat out on the patio marvelling at the wonderful navy blue sky dotted with a million sparkling stars. I had only once before seen the Milky Way but it was so clear and we were treated to the most amazing show of shooting stars from the Perseid Meteor shower.
We could hear owls and other nocturnal creatures and one of the highlights of my week was looking out of our bedroom window to see a hare yards from our door just peering up at me.
It's a wonderful world out there and I'm going to try and stop and appreciate things more.

We managed to have several day trips out, to Canterbury (including the stunning cathedral), Whitstable, Broadstairs, Rye, Tenterden and Camber Sands.Sadly no piccies but we enjoyed it all.
I took plenty of wool and inspired by Lucy's blog decided my evenings would be about making an Autumn Wreath.I will show you that at a later date.

Since we got back I have been busy finishing off the practicalities with my dad and am now back at work. I am still enjoying Instagram as it is so easy.Snap a photo, click a couple of times and bob's your uncle!! If you can get on it you can see more of what I am up to (still at Marmalade and catmint) if you want to of course!
That's it for now folks, I just wanted to pop by and say hello for now, I'm back!!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Sad times

My dad said my mum looked like Ingrid Bergman when he met her. He said he couldn't believe his luck!

In case you wondered where I had gotten to I just wanted to do a quick update. I lost my beloved mum just over a week ago. She spent the last five years struggling with her health and mercifully she passed away peacefully and quickly with her family around her.I feel so blessed that she was my mum. A lovely lady, wise and caring, whose life was centred around her family.
I need some time away but I will be back soon.
RIP Mum.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Busy doing nothing day!

I don't often have a day to myself, to do just what I want and not be anywhere at a certain time, but today was one such. A leisurely breakfast, waved tony off to work then got my newly washed bedding pegged out. Such a gorgeous start to the day, blue skies, sunshine and a bit of a breeze. It's back on the bed now,ironed and ready to snuggle down into tonight.Mmn I can almost smell it....sweet dreams tonight!

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know I am researching my family history and
I popped along to the Leeds archives to see if I could get any information about my dad's aunt but had forgotten about the 100 year rule. Still, they did suggest a way around this so I am hopeful of getting the information we need.

My great grandad played for our local rugby league team in the 1890's and I decided that I would head to Wakefield One, our posh new council HQ, which houses the library and the museum. None of my family has ever seen a photo of him and I was hoping that there just might be one of him with the team. I got a pic of the 1892 team but there are no names so I'm hoping my dad might be able to pick him out if he is there as he does have a vague recollection of him.

Check out the team strip!
I popped into the museum too which was the building next door. I loved this room set of a Victorian kitchen. My mum and dad's house in the 1960's had a similar range until dad ripped it out and they had a lovely tiled 60's fireplace and gas fire (sacriledge) put in.
Don't remember the bloomers though......
Afterwards I nipped into the Create cafe also in the same building.Very nice it was too...
Nice bright decor.....
And they do a fab bakewell slice and latte.
I popped into this place too.....
not for another coffee and cake but for some Annie Sloan paint.
For this.....
I started to paint it out in the garden, but typically it began to rain and I ended up having to bring it back indoors.
It just needs a coat of wax and it will be ready for use. It'll look lovely in our spare bedroom.
Annie Sloan isn't the easiest paint to master. Shock, horror! What have I said? I have found using a brush it's difficult to get an even finish, maybe it's just me, but I find that I can take paint off if I go over a bit I have already done before it's properly dry. Anyway, I got out our little radiator roller to do most of it and hey presto! It worked really well. I suppose the more you use it probably the easier it gets.
I've also got a bit further with the little hooded cardigan I started, hopefully I'll be able to finish it by the weekend. A really lovely me day! Do I feel guilty? Yes, a little, but I do get a bit frazzled sometimes with our hectic lives.
I picked Tony up from work this evening and commented 'why do days like this go by so quickly and some days at work seem to go on forever?'. Anyway, only 2 weeks to work before we go on our holidays.

Thanks to everyone for the comments on my last post and to the lovely people who liked my new blog header. It was taken on a Cape Cod beach last year, virtually deserted, just us and a few seagulls. Sadly, not Cape Cod again this time, we are off to Kent, but hey, the seaside is the seaside, can't wait!
See you all at the weekend.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Cottage ware

I thought I would do a post today about my mum's Cottage ware collection. It has always fascinated me since I was little. I think you probably either love it or hate it. It's a bit kitsch really but I have always had an affection for it. Always kept in a variety of china cabinets ( the glass doors were forever getting broken, hardly surprising given that my younger brothers were like whirling dervishes) these few pieces are the only ones left from a large collection. My parents were married in 1952 and my dad used to buy my mum a piece every couple of weeks until they had the complete set. These are all that's left....part of my inheritance they tell me!!!!
This is for sugar

I think this is for cheese

Obviously a teapot, very cute though!

My favourite, biscuit barrel, with a wicker handle
Theirs was made by Keele Street pottery, Stoke and the firm started producing this style after the second World War. I have seen lots of this type of thing in the antique/secondhand shops and assumed it was all by the same maker but I recently acquired an odd teacup in the cottage style which is stamped Price brothers. There are differences in design and if you look in the last photo you can just make out another item which I think is a butter dish but my dad said that he couldn't get the same make so he got the nearest lookalike.
I have to say I don't think it was the most practical of china to use and that is probably why so much of it survives today.It probably was a 'china cabinet' display tea service rather than a functional every day one. One day it will grace my china cabinet, not sure Tony will be too keen on it though.
Just had a thought though, I wonder if this is why I am obsessed with( one day) living in a little cottage???

Still loving Instagram. It's so easy, you just upload piccies and add a few words if you want.

Tomorrow we are going off to Lincoln for the day to Tony's twin great nieces' 4th birthday party. The theme is Disney's 'Frozen'. Should be fun!
I'm off out into the garden now to plant some carrots for later in the year (Monty said it was still okay when I watched Gardeners World last week so that is good enough for me).
What are you all up to this weekend?

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Things I'm loving this week and Instagram!

Firstly a big thankyou to everyone who left good wishes last week for my mum. I am pleased to say she is out of hospital and so much better. She amazes me with her fighting spirit.
Since we couldn't make it last Friday because my mum was so ill, my plans to visit RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate, with my friend Alison were postponed and we rearranged our trip for yesterday. What a fab day it was too. Now I'm sure it won't have escaped your attention that Yorkshire has staged the Grand Depart for the Tour de France this weekend and the gorgeous little villages and towns we drove through to get to Harrogate were bedecked with bunting and flags and dozens of yellow painted bicycles everywhere. I took lots of photos of our day out ( but on my iphone ) so if you would like a little glimpse of them you can now find me on Instagram (as marmaladeandcatmint). Yes, I have noticed that several of you have extolled the virtues of this particular site and I have now succumbed to the joys myself! (far quicker than doing a blog post)
Alison and I loved the gardens and we had a spot of lunch at Betty's, well, where else if you visit this particular place?

You can see my reflection in the top one! We bought Fat Rascals and Betty's Yorkshire Tea Loaf to take home and set off for home calling in at Wetherby on the way where we toured the town centre shops. I found this in one of the Charity shops but there was nothing else that took my eye....
although earlier in the week I found these couple of beauties. I love Emma Bridgewater designs and this baby mug candle, brand new, was only £2.
And this glass jug is really pretty....I couldn't resist it.
I finished off my latest cardigan/jacket (pics to follow, I haven't quite finished sewing it up yet) and have started my next project.
A while ago I won this on Sally's giveaway....
And I have started this pattern from it using wool left over from my charity shop find a couple of weeks back....
adjusting it slightly to suit (read, I couldn't make head nor tail of the instructions and pulled the bottom bit out 3 times so did my own version of the bobbles!)....
And finally, I am loving these beautiful sunflowers that my gorgeous hubby bought me this week, don't they just scream summer?

P.S. To all my American friends, sorry I am a day late, but Happy Independence Day.Also to Bekah and Alex, Happy First wedding anniversary! We have got our little flag on display as we both love the US and  feel we are 'honorary' Americans having married there a few years ago!!!!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sunday, 29 June 2014


It has been an emotional week. Life is a rollercoaster ride at the moment. Good bits, bad bits, happy times and sad ones. Last Monday evening we went to see the Eagles in concert at nearby Leeds Arena. What an amazing 3 hours we had. This album....

was one of the ones I played most in the 1970's. It's amazing how a song can melt away the years and transport you back albeit fleetingly to teenage years. Close your eyes and listen. The words are there in the back of your mind bringing back long forgotten memories.Tony and I are both fans of the Eagles and loved every single moment. They are no longer in the first flush of youth,( but neither are we), though their voices hadn't really changed much. Harmonies still as good as ever and the top notes still hit as before. So pleased we got to see them and experience it all.

This afternoon we went to see Jersey Boys at the cinema. It's the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. We saw the original stage production on Broadway two days before we got married in New Jersey. Neither of us will ever forget how happy we were to be there, singing along and dancing in the aisles at the very end of the show.
I loved the film and it brought tears to my eyes. I'm a sentimental old so and so these days, it doesn't take much to make me cry. I loved how the story was told from their beginning as young teenagers to the 1990's when they all met up again and performed on stage after a long time apart. The make up department did a good job at making them look much older.
I can't help but think how quickly time goes. The years go by in the blink of an eye. In our teens we can't wait to be older,to do the things you can do when you are grown up.All too quickly the years go by and before you know it your children have children of their own and your parents suddenly grow old.
My mum is very poorly again in hospital with pneumonia. To see her struggling for every breath is heartbreaking. I walked in yesterday and saw a frail old lady. When did my mum become that frail? That old? I distinctly remember her being 33. It was my 7th birthday and one of my friend's asked me how old my mum was(I can't remember why she asked that now). Now my eldest son is 33 and I am trying not to think what lies ahead. I was chatting to my fab friend Moira at work the other week and she told me of a lovely poem that was believed to have been written by an old lady in a hospital. She wanted the nurses and staff to know that she had lived a life to the full. She may have a frail old body now but she had been a vibrant young daughter, wife and mother and done all those things we do when we are young.The link is here. I have worked in a hospital for nearly 25 years now and was always touched whenever we went on the elderly care wards. I loved it when relatives put photos of their loved ones up around their beds showing them as their younger selves. It was a humbling reminder that life is fleeting and old age can be very cruel.
None of us know what the future holds. Perhaps it's just as well. Maybe some things just serve as a reminder to live each day as our last and enjoy what we have when we have it.
Meanwhile I'm trying to be positive and upbeat.
Hope you all have a lovely week and I will hopefully 'see' you next weekend!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Lovely things

Just a quickie post today. Life is pretty hectic these days. Everything seems to have to be done at breakneck speed at the moment. I won't bore you with the mundane and the stress going on in the background but I am trying to keep my posts lighthearted as I reckon people prefer to read about nice things!
I have been pottering about in the garden this morning, early, just me, the birds and bees and Lily mooching around. It struck me how much Lavender I have in the garden. Edging paths, under our front window, alongside the arch leading to our secret seating area, even as feature plants just dotted here and there. I love how you can brush alongside it and the area fills with its gorgeous fragrance. I have picked some to bring indoors too, why not enjoy it here as well?
Displayed in my gorgeous new cream jug (80p from the CS this week).
The lavender is yet to come into full flower in our secret seating area but combined with our honeysuckle on the back fence and a rose or two, in the heat of the sun the fragrance is delicious. We enjoyed a  drink or two sat on our little seat there last night to celebrate the Summer Solstice.
I called in to a little junk shop I have passed by for years and never set foot inside before.I am thinking about doing a Macmillan coffee morning later in the year (depending how my mum is) and am therefore buying up as many reasonably priced china cups, saucers and tea plates that I can find.I went in and explained to the lady whose shop it is and she found me these which we haggled about and I got for £10. These two sets are actually part of a tea set and are really beautiful. She let me have them because originally the set had been a larger one and some had got broken. I googled them and found they were made circa 1920 so it's amazing how they have survived.
And these are some of the other bits I got for the £10....
But these two little side plates were only 20p each from a small independant charity shop a week or two ago....
This is a Shelley plate

And I haven't found any for a while but managed to uncover this to add to my collection for 40p...
Well, that's all for now folks! Hope you all have a lovely week. I'll pop by when I can to catch up with you all later.