We are just over halfway through our annual  pilgrimage to our heavenly home from home – Penventinue Manor Farm, Fowey – and I feel like shouting to the world…well, the rest of the UK…”Cornwall is NOT closed!”


We have all seen the dramatic footage over the last few months of this beautiful part of the country being literally ripped apart by the storms. However, what hasn’t been covered as much by the media is the sheer force of determination of the Cornish people to repair and renew their damaged properties and businesses in time for the new season.

Just walking through town which, according to locals, “was not badly hit” compared to other areas, you can see the last bits of reparation being completed, lots of freshly painted white buildings and newly planted window boxes adding bright splashes of Spring colour. The many businesses, whether branches of larger chains like Joules, Seasalt and Boots or smaller independent businesses like Quay Bakery Ltd, Mrs Noahs Gifts, Bookends of Fowey  and The Lifebuoy Cafe have all burst into bloom, like the famous  Cornish hedges surrounding the town, and the welcome is as warm as ever.

So, please support Cornwall and the many other areas of the country hit by the storms by not assuming they are all washed out and come and visit! If you are worried, contact your chosen destination to check they are open, don’t just assume they are not. And if you can’t visit in person, try to support the many small businesses that sell on-line. Here are just a few of my personal favourites: Cornishbirdinthesticks, Lou Tonkin, Welbeck Tiles.

Let’s show these fabulous people that their determination, dedication and sheer hard work has been worth it, Cornwall is OPEN!!




Isn’t it strange how something that we once loved with practically every fibre of our being can become something that we loath with an equal amount of passion?

I hate my bed!

Our bed

When Mr F and I bought our first bed together, it was a momentous occasion! For years we had been sleeping on a bed frame that we had been given by my big sister who had, in turn, acquired it from our bigger sister. To compliment the ‘well loved’ bed frame, my biggest (and only) brother gave us his old orthopaedic mattress. All of this, at the time, had been a major step up from the airbed we had been sleeping on! So, when we finally had the money to buy a new bed frame, we were over the moon.

We purchased an up to date, wooden frame that fitted perfectly into our bedroom at the time (I think from Homebase, but I can’t remember now). We didn’t have spare cash at the time to upgrade our mattress but the fact that the bed frame did not have a bucket full of wood glue holding it together was thrilling!

Sometime later, following the birth of our eldest child and in anticipation of our youngest child, we moved to a larger house. Our bedroom felt huge, previously everything had fitted rather snugly, but this excitement was short lived. Our fabulous, new bed frame didn’t really work in it’s new location. It had been perfect in the old house but now it just…wasn’t! In an effort to improve on the situation, we splashed out and bought a fabulous new, extra deep, Slumberland mattress. It felt like floating on a cloud!

For a while, this extra comfort distracted us from the fact that our bed just didn’t work in our new bedroom. Sadly, this distraction has come to an end for me. I am sure my feelings towards my bed has some bearing on my frequent bouts of insomnia. Add to that the fact that we haven’t decorated our room since we moved in – our daughter’s room took priority, then a new kitchen, then a new bathroom, then our new baby boy’s room, then the sitting room and, most recently, the hall, stairs and landing – I was getting rather down about our boudoir.

However, things are on the up! After attending a lampshade making course run by the lovely Lynne Sharpe at Beautiful Things HQ, I created this wondrous shade to go in our bedroom.


I bought the fabric to make the shade from Hobbycraft and was super pleased to learn later that it is from the Love collection by Amy Butler! I loved the fabric so much, that I went back and bought some more…just because! Luckily, the ‘just because’ came in handy as I decided to make (with a little support from my crafting guru, Claire Mackaness from BTHQ) some bedside table lamps to match!

bedside table lamps

So, where does this leave us? Searching, that’s where! Searching for the perfect bed to lift my spirits and to transform our ‘room’ into a sanctuary of peace and slumber!

Well, I have searched and searched and have now fallen madly in love with this truly fabulous bed from the Storage Bed!

The Storage Bed custom design


As you can see, this website allows you to design your own bed to suit all your needs. The photo above is the bed I have designed and includes the End Opening Mechanism. I have sent off for some free fabric samples and, once they arrive, I shall begin my campaign to convert Mr F to my way of thinking!

I hope it won’t be too long before my feelings towards my bed are completely reversed – wish me luck!


Yesterday, despite the grotty weather, started off on a high for me – I could eat again! I had just completed my first three day cleanse with Squeeze, which you will be able to read more about soon, and I felt fab! Instead of sitting on the edge of my bed feeling like an ancient, creaky, achy woman, I felt renewed, refreshed and relaxed.
I started the day with a hot water and lemon and a bowl of sliced banana with blueberries in one of my lovely, new Jamie at Home Rimple bowls. I just love the way it sits in my hand – not too heavy, not too big and the little ripples ensure the perfect grip. I know…it’s a bowl! However, it makes me happy.

Breakfast Love

After dropping the children off at school, I skipped off to town to do a few errands and while wandering around the Co-op in a blissful state, I heard the assistant request the owner of the car with my licence plate number to go to the help desk. On the negative side, a mature lady and her companion had shown that there are lots of horrible people in the world. On the positive side, two young girls had shown that there are still good people in the world.

So, what had happened? The two girls had heard a loud bang as they were getting into their car and turned to see that a car had reversed into my little purple car. The passenger, the afore mentioned mature lady, got out and inspected the damage and then promptly got back into the car and drove off! My poor Johnny Cab!

It might not look like much, but there are two cracks in the bumper which means a new bumper is required.

It might not look like much, but there are two cracks in the bumper which means a new bumper is required.

Needless to say, my lovely day went down hill rather fast. To add to it all, I only had twenty four hours to physically go into a police station to report the incident and to make an official statement. So, thanks to the Wickford Police Station being no more, I headed off to Billericay – in a hail storm – to be greeted by an initially very frosty lady on the desk who managed to make me feel like a criminal despite being the victim.

For your information, when reporting a similar crime, you will need to take both parts of your driving licence, your MOT certificate and your insurance documents. It really helps if you know this before travelling to the next town but worry not, if you don’t know or forget then the frosty lady will smile while she gives you a ticket requiring you to present said documents within seven days!

While the frosty lady was filling in the form, I looked out the window and my spirits lifted a little as I spied Cook! I promised myself that if I got out of the police station in time, I would pop in. I love Cook – such a brilliant concept.

So, it was with a renewed bounce that I left Billericay Police Station with a ticket in my pocket and my taste buds tingling with anticipation of the delights I was sure to find in store. I was met by a lovely lady (hooray, faith in humanity restored again) who welcomed me to the store, checked if I needed any help, told me about their Valentine’s offer and offered me a taster that sounded yummy but unfortunately had prawns in, so I couldn’t partake (fear not fellow veggies, they have a great range of vegetarian meals).

Fifteen minutes later I left with a bag full of yummy, yet slightly restrained delights for Mr F and I to enjoy for Valentine’s Dinner (my Squeeze cleanse was still at the front of my mind!) along with a some tasty treats for my lunches next week.

Cook bag stuffed full Cook Valentines Dinner Cook lunches

To add to my joy, the sun came out!

Sunshine at last

I nipped home to put my Cook goodies in the freezer and then rushed to my daughter’s school to fulfil my PTA duties and help supervise film night. I had good company during the film, Despicable Me 2, and it was really lovely at the end when lots of the littlies got up and boogied to Happy. I know it is a bit of a love it or hate it song, but I am definitely in the love camp! So, for your enjoyment, here it is

My day was nearly over but I had one last thing to do – a mission in the name of LOVE! Many of you have read about Mr F, my other half, but what you may not know is that I have a Craft-wife-to-be as well! As a symbol of my love and dedication to her and the craft, I tiptoed out in the cold and the dark to put up the latest mini yarn bomb in our street!

Birch Green Valentine Yarn Bomb 1

It doesn’t look that fab in the dark, so will try and get some photos of it in the sunshine. However, as an added treat for my love, I have added a bit of magic!

Birch Green Valentine Yarn Bomb 2

My day was finally over!


My wonderful Craft-wife-to-be has not only taken a photo in day light of my gift to her but she has returned the favour and added her own to it – isn’t it beautiful?!




Since becoming a ‘lady of leisure’ in September when my youngest went to school, I may have (very occasionally) found myself with a cuppa in front of the dreaded day time TV!

Now, I don’t go in for the Jeremy Kyle/Loose Women type of viewing but tend to stick with the good old BBC where I can find some easy viewing with an informative edge, think Homes Under the Hammer, Escape to the Country and Bargain Hunt.

Last week I found myself watching Flog It! If you haven’t yet experienced this programme, it is a little like the Antiques Roadshow but instead of the members of the public responding to the experts valuations of Granny’s antique brooch or Great Granddad’s collection of glass eyeballs with a “It will never be sold!” this show’s participants are refreshingly honest in their response of ‘I never liked it!’ and ‘Lovely, that’ll go towards our new extension!’ Another common response is ‘I’m getting on now, so need to have a clear out.’ This response keeps on popping back into my head; it really made me pause for thought. 

We seem to spend our working lives trying to accumulate ‘things’ – things for the house, things for the family, things just because, things.  We surround ourselves with belongings that are both necessary for everyday life and those which are not necessary but help us to be taken back to a happy occasion,   to think of loved ones or to bring a sense of joy with just a glance around a room – a shell from that fabulous beach holiday, a family photo in a lovingly decorated frame, a collection of jars filled with buttons!

Family Photo  Pebble Photo

Button Photo

However, it seems that in the autumn of our days, all these things become somewhat of a burden – if not to their owner then to the family and friends left behind when a person has passed away.  I wonder, should we strive for so many things when in the end they are just given away? Isn’t this a huge waste of time, effort and, in these environmentally conscious days, precious resources? Or are the actions which result in the accumulation of things – interacting with others, enjoying time with family, relishing the beauty around us – the whole meaning and purpose of life itself?

I don’t know the answer.  What I do know is, regardless of the ribbing I get from Mr F, I will continue to watch the odd bit of day time TV because, it really does make you think!



Today, 09 September 2013, marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in our family life! It is B’s first day of school! To honour this momentous occasion, I thought I would share some other milestones in his young life, I hope you enjoy seeing him grow.

Benjamin 019  Benjamin 025   Benjamin 040

Feb10 Bs Bday 048   Feb10 Bs Bday 053

Jan Feb 2011 004    first day at nursery


Jan Feb 2011 364


B and C holding hands

0312 192

Bs 4th birthday

Our beautiful, big boy!

Our beautiful, big boy!




The calm…well, after the storm!

I made it! The last day of term, the last day of the current academic year and, far more significantly for me, the last morning school run for six glorious weeks!!

I have my gorgeous little man with me today but have opted to have a ‘quiet’ day at home in order to prepare myself for the full onslaught of the storm that is ‘The Summer Holidays’!  So, while things are still relatively calm before that storm and after the most spectacular thunder storms of last night, I thought I best do a quick blog about the mini rainbow (are you picking up on the weather theme here?!) bunting I made for my equally gorgeous, little lady’s teacher.

rainbow yarn and bthq hook

So, using Attic24‘s fabulous pattern that the lovely Lucy came up with for Yarndale, I hooked up some mini granny bunting triangles using my custom hook from Beautiful Things (BTHQ) and some gorgeous Stylecraft Merry Go Round Rainbow DK yarn.

mini rainbow bunting before

I hooked up twenty and decided to add one more! I also changed from a size 4 to a size 6 hook (also from BTHQ) to help speed things along a little. Finally, just wanted to point out my gorgeous little scissors from Mollie Makes – I love them as they are super sharp and have a tiny M engraved on them just for me…well, maybe!

These little triangles take no time at all to hook up, especially using the Stylecraft Merry Go Round yarn, as there is no need to change yarns to add different colours.

In the end, I decided to do 21 flags, separated with four chains and with eight chains at each end which would hopefully make a useful/practical length.  I then added some simple ties to each end.

Although a relatively quick and straightforward make, I still ended up a bit, so had to take my hooking to the pub!  After a little thought about how to keep my lovely granny triangles in the correct order, I came up with the Crochet Kebab!!

Crochet Kebab

So, armed with my Crochet Kebab (topped off with an old cork from a bottle of bubbly for safety), I met up with my pals for an evening of catching up and crochet.  It worked really well and I was able to completely relax in the knowledge that my mini rainbow would stay in order.

mini rainbow bunting

I am really pleased with the final product and hope that my daughter’s teacher will love it as much as I do!

I hope you all have a wonderful summer holiday and that your days are filled with sunshine and, if there are a few storms along the way, don’t forget to look out for the…

Mar Apr May 13 1118


FYI: Wickford parents with children starting…


Is your child ready for starting school this September?

Would you like to understand how to support your child to make this transition?

We are holding a transition information event at:

Highcliffe Children’s Centre, Rettendon View, Wickford, SS11 8JE on 21st June 10 – 11.30 am

Everyone who has a child who is due to start school in September within the Wickford area, is welcome to attend. It will also provide an opportunity to meet other parents whose children are starting school in September.

This session will be delivered by Kasey Brazier (Children’s Centre manager) and Ros Marsh (Year 2 teacher at Hilltop Infants School).

Booking is required, please call Alison Hunt at the Children’s Centre on 01268 574486 to book a place.

There will be a crèche available if required.

While searching the web for some photos to add to the above information (which I received via email from my daughter’s school) I found this fab page on the World Book Day website which I thought you may also find useful ** Great books about starting school **

If you have any tips and/or books that you think would be helpful to parents who have children starting school this year, please do post them below.

Image from