Mumsnet Blogfest 2014

IMG_4259.JPGThis was the third time I’ve been and I think it was the best so far. It’s an amazingling swish and polished event with 450 women (and the odd man). Lots of speakers, workshops and great food.

IMG_4262.JPGI went with Lindsay Miller from http://www.reddesk.co.uk and we had a brilliant day.
I hold a very special place in my heart for Mumsnet as it was an invaluable source of information, comfort, support and belly laughs a few years ago during a very bad time.

IMG_4263.JPGThe highlight for me this year, apart from the food which amazing as always, was a session with Camila Batmanghelidjh , Suzanne Moore and Francesca Martinez. They were funny, joyful (and triumphant) and those 3 women together was quite a brilliant ménage a trois of superbness.

IMG_4261.JPGTo be sashaying around in the fantastic Kings Place in the ever evolving and stunning Kings Cross on a dull November Saturday was an absolute treat and just look at the contents of my goody bag :)
Thanks mumset (and Justine)

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Back to blogging :)

IMG_4226.JPGJust a few pictures to get me back into the habit of blogging. It’s been ages.

IMG_4020.JPGNasturtiums are still flowering in November.

IMG_3890.JPGMy youngest son was 20

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IMG_4088.JPGMy oldest son was 23. I’ve been sorting out my unruly piles of fabric, joined Instagram and have started watching Breaking Bad which I’m absolutely LOVING.

XXX

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Double Page Spread in Evening Standard Homes & Property ! 10 years ago.

20140628-144114-52874606.jpgI’ve just realised that almost exactly 10 years ago the lovely Pattie Barron who was and still is the Gardening editor came with photographer Marianne Majerus to take photos of my house and garden.

20140628-145810-53890325.jpgThey wanted a colourful centre spread to coincide with Chelsea Flower Show, May 2004.

20140628-150254-54174248.jpgWe’d bought the house the house in a completely derelict state two years earlier and lived in it with no kitchen or heating or anything much.

20140628-150914-54554174.jpgBut it was Victorian with a big garden that hadn’t been touched for 40 years and I loved it.

20140628-151114-54674921.jpgWe renovated it ourselves gradually uncovering some lovely original panelling. I asked the people who bought our old house if we could have the kitchen units etc back when they replaced them! As I knew that unfortunately they were going to modernise. We’d renovated that house too. So one Saturday morning year after we’d moved here, they phoned and said that they were about to put kitchen in a skip so we literally raced round and got it and had it fitted.

20140628-152041-55241171.jpgIt’s just IKEA cupboards, an old sink and a plywood work surface that I’d painted but I was so pleased to have them back and they’re still going strong today and still looking ok for their age as they were in https://nickygrace.co.uk/category/my-home-featured-in-selina-lakes-new-book/ It’s all pretty much still the same apart from the room with the blue walls which we call The Middle Room which I used as a shop before I got my proper shop.I’ve now turned that into a little B&B with it’s own ensuite. The ensuite bathroom was actually the original kitchen when the house was built. There’s a lot of history in this house which was built in 1865.https://nickygrace.co.uk/category/boutique-guest-room-on-airbnb/

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My Blue Garden

20140516-194548.jpgEvery year at the middle of May, my garden turns blue.

20140516-194751.jpgThe Solanum which I planted about 5 years ago is very happy and has grown over the swing hammock so we can’t sit on it yet ! I’m a very lazy gardener and shouldn’t have let that happen but I don’t mind.

20140516-195247.jpgThere are lots and lots of bluebells which have now spread and are growing against the ugly old wall that I painted in blue emulsion when we moved here.

20140516-195636.jpgThe Ceanothus which was a tiny little thing is now 7 feet tall

20140516-195927.jpgand the Wisteria is apparently over 100 years old and is now on borrowed time as it relies on a very tall, brittle, dead plum tree for support.

20140516-200556.jpgA friend once gave me a very small old enamel bath that she no longer wanted. She said it was from an old ship. I put it behind the back door and planted a little lilac shrub in it which has got huge and smells divine in the morning sun.

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20140516-201142.jpgThe forget me knots spread more and more every year and I love them so much.

20140516-201818.jpgI’ve been cutting bits off very few days to have inside and they last surprisingly long as cut flowers.

20140516-202033.jpgIt all flowers together for about 3 weeks and it’s a very special time in my garden.

20140516-202237.jpgIt inspired me to make blue and purple floral garlands which I’ve put in my etsy shop.

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The last of my Easter pics

20140424-195957.jpgI can’t quite let go of Easter…..

20140424-200258.jpgI love it so much……

20140424-200630.jpgThe colours, the Spring flowers, nesting birds…..

20140424-200935.jpglighter evenings, chocolate bunnies……..

20140424-201117.jpgI love it more and more every year.

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My Beautiful Eggs

20140421-153105.jpgI bought them from Carluccio’s a few weeks ago and hid them away from my scavenging children :)

20140421-153332.jpgI put them in the green bowl I got from the charity shop last week and then got a bit carried away making bluebell hats.

20140421-153650.jpgI put the bits of spare flowers in my little blue spotty enamel cup.

20140421-153816.jpgAnd then put the eggs on on the Victoria sponge I made for pudding yesterday. I’m obsessed with those eggs. Xxx

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Very tasty pin cushions

20140414-184322.jpgI’ve been making pin cushions out of damaged, vintage embroidered tablecloths.

20140414-184916.jpgThe embroidery was done in the Forties and Fifties and I only recently realised the pattern was already printed onto the linen so in that sense it was easy as they had a pattern to sew on.

20140414-185619.jpgYou can tell how good the person was at embroidery partly because sometimes they didn’t cover the lines properly so you can see bits of the printing which should have been covered.

20140414-190022.jpgThe real art though is in the colours. I’ve been collecting vintage table cloths for 20 years and so often I’ll see one which has been expertly made yet the colours aren’t very inspiring and I always think what a shame to have worked so hard and spent so many hours making it yet the result isn’t too enchanting. That’s unfortunately the case with most of them which is why when I find ones like these it’s like finding gold dust.

20140414-190842.jpgI wonder about the ladies who made them. Were they young, middle aged, elderly ? How did they even have time to embroider tablecloths when they had so much else to do, cooking from scratch, hand washing, looking after their families etc without all the mod cons we have.

20140414-191429.jpgSaying that though, they didn’t have televisions and if I didn’t watch so much TV I could probably embroider at least a couple of large table cloths every week :) I’m glad they did it though so I don’t have to.

20140414-192300.jpgSo here they are all together. I’ve also added some vintage fabric flowers to make them even more colourful and scrumptious.

20140414-192538.jpgAnd here they are all dressed for Easter.
I think a pin cushion should be beautiful because it’ll be next to you while you sew  year after year. Mine is one of the very first things I made and I still love it.

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