Reasons to be happy…

Hello there…sorry I’ve been away for a while. I’ll be back properly soon, I promise. Until then here are some recent moments that have made me very happy indeed…

Little Pickle’s look of pure joy when he won a race on Sports Day.

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Sweet Peas from my parent’s garden. 

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I can’t tell you how much I love Sweet Peas.

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A little pile of crocheted apples…

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much more on these next time…

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Celebrating Little Pickle’s achievements. His first swimming badge was a huge achievement and a very proud Mummy moment.

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Two toadstool buttons…I can’t stop looking at these. Can you see the tiny butterfly? The detail is amazing.

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A flowering artichoke…

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Isn’t this colour palette pretty?

And finally, quite possibly the best news..my lovely little sister is having TWINS! I am so unbelievably happy for her and am amazed that we will have not one but two new additions to our family. What a lovely reason to be happy.

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Postcard from Portugal…

Hello there! How are you? I feel like I’ve been away from my little space here for a long time and it feels good to be back.

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Laying under a blue sky, this beach umbrella and feeling the sun on my face felt so good. I love the salty tight feel of your face when you’ve been on the beach for the day and not for the first time I wanted to somehow live nearer to the sea.

It was good to be away from the day to day, to not have to look in the diary and worry about deadlines. Good to be able to wake up with no plans and just let the day unfold.

We spent a lot of time at the beach…

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Running in and out of the waves…

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Just thinking…

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Managing plenty of Jedi training with big sticks…

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I’m not sure where Little Pickle found these (every day!) but after sand was flicked in my face for about the fiftieth time they managed to find a new home far away from our sunbed!

There are the most amazing doughnut sellers who walk up and down the beach selling warm, custard filled, sugar crusted balls of deliciousness. Oh my, they are so good. I may have eaten one too many but they are just so hard to resist and we were on holiday so I don’t think it counts!

We enjoyed lots of time round the pool…

Jumping into cool water…

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Painting…

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Playing with Star Wars Lego…

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and allowing R2D2 a few minutes to himself for a sunbathe before another battle to save the galaxy commenced…

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There were very happy times but I’m going to be really honest here and say that there were times when it was a very very tough couple of weeks. Autism and holidays are not always a happy combination. The routine, settling, living arrangements are all different and not for the first time Little Pickle’s symptoms seemed to  be heightened away from home. There were days where I cried and days where I laughed (because if I hadn’t I probably would have cried) and days where I felt really tired and worn down. I questioned whether it really was worth going away? Was Little Pickle finding it too much and was I doing the wrong thing expecting him to settle whilst we were away? At times I felt very sad and confused as I tried to find a path through the world of Autism.

I was so grateful for the chance to get away and would hate for anyone to think that I wasn’t hugely grateful for a holiday. There were some real breakthrough moments especially when Little Pickle walked on the sand barefoot for the first time and was able to change his normal bedtime and evening routine. This meant we were all able to go out in the evening for dinner which even last Summer wasn’t possible. I was very thankful that my family were there with me and that I was able to slip away one morning for a bit of time on my own.

I went to the little village near us and had hoped to visit this church and light a candle for my first baby boy…

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It’s a very peaceful place and I normally always light a candle for him when we’re away. It’s my way of making sure that he is with us even when we’re far from home. On the day that I visited there was a private service taking place so instead I sat outside and just enjoyed the quiet and let myself think of him.

When Little Pickle was in bed I managed to take some pictures of the flowers around the pool. I love the colour combination in these little beauties…

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A little bee was busy at work…

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Hot pink against lime green…pretty holiday blooms.

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During the evenings and one rainy morning I also managed a little bit of holiday crafting and finished a project that had been unfinished for a long time. I haven’t quite got round to photographing them yet but will share some pictures soon.

 I don’t normally post pictures of myself and Little Pickle but thought I would share this last one with you, taken in the early evening in the Portugal sunset…

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I love this picture.

Things are going to be ok.

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Sunshine, bows and showers…

Hello there! Are you enjoying the three day weekend? I love May for its two bank holidays.

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Yesterday we headed off to a Medieval Festival in Wendover. It was like a fantastic country fair with lots of  stalls, inflatables for the little ones and of course ice cream! We had a lovely afternoon pottering around. Little Pickle was particularly taken with throwing wet sponges at a man in the stocks and couldn’t quite believe that he was allowed to have five turns! Amongst the stalls was a gorgeous selection of fabrics and some truly stunning quilts by The Plainstitch Workroom. You can read more about it here. They offer a fantastic selection of workshops and I would really like to sign up for one of their Autumn quilting workshops. I couldn’t resist treating myself to some new fat quarters and came away with this little selection.

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So pretty and I have some special plans for them.

Last night Little Pickle had his first proper sleepover with his cousin. This was a real step forward for us and something that we could never have imagined happening even a couple of months ago. It felt so strange leaving him and coming home to an empty house. I think that I had to be braver than he was and really missed him, especially popping in to give him a final kiss and cuddle before I went to bed. He had a lovely time and when I picked him up this morning was already asking when he’ll be able to have another sleepover. I’m so pleased that he enjoyed himself. It’s that funny feeling of being happy that your little one is becoming more independent but also a tiny bit sad that they are becoming more grown up. With school on the horizon I think that this is something that I’m going to have to get used to, even though it still makes me feel a bit wobbly inside.

There have been other jobs to get done this weekend, including getting ready for our holiday which is approaching very soon. I am so excited about going away and feeling some real warmth and sunshine (I’m a bit fed up with all the rain, especially today). If I’m honest I feel like I really need a break and a rest. I’ve been feeling very restless over the past couple of weeks and sense that the winds of change may be blowing my way. I’m looking forward to having some time away with my family and just enjoying their company and the feeling of waking up with no plans or things to do.

My beautiful niece is turning three when we are away and I wanted to share one of her birthday presents with you…

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A little puffy blouse in one of my favourite fabrics. I used the same pattern as her Easter blouse but this time decided to leave off the bottom frill.

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A simple corduroy skirt with pink embroidered butterflies was the next addition to the outfit. This fabric was destined to be a pair of dungarees…however, after cutting out two left legs and making a bit of an epic mistake when sewing them together I decided to abandon the dungarees all together and settled on a little skirt instead. This was my first attempt at a skirt and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. The pattern was from here and it was indeed an easy peasy skirt!

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This little puffy hair bow was the finishing touch and I think that it’s my favourite bit of the whole outfit. I can’t wait to see it all together and I hope that she likes it.

 I’ll be taking a break from my blog for a little while and look forward to sharing some holiday pictures and holiday crafting pictures (oh yes, I’ve got a little stash of holiday craft planned!) with you when I get back.

Au revoir but only for a little while.

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PS Thank you for your comments on my last post…I’m so pleased I’m not the only one with show tea towels!

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Soldier, Soldier

Hello there! How are you? Sorry I’ve been a little bit quiet over the past few days. I’ve got a very good excuse and inbetween my day job have been working on a lovely commission for a set of new twins. I always really enjoy commissions for new babies and it makes me feel very happy to think that some of my creations have found homes with little new people.

I was given a completely blank canvas for this project and after sleeping on some of my original ideas….pea pods, planes, trains…I woke up and decided on London soldiers.

One for Mummy and one for Daddy…

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The main body of the cushion was a very soft linen. I used applique on the main lettering and decided on some hand embroidery for the  names and dates.

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I decided to create my own Soldier template and after a little bit of alteration and fiddly cutting out I was very pleased with this happy pair.

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I have to be honest and bits of these cushions were a little bit more time-consuming than others. There were a LOT of threads to tie and trim! There were also a few rude words when a seam decided to pop apart as I was about to start stuffing. It was lovely when they were all finished and I hope that they are now happily in their new nursery.

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I’ve also been very lucky this week and have received two(!) gifts. The first came from my special friend C in Ireland. We met a long time ago and I miss her a lot. She knows me so well and when I opened up her parcel I found this inside…

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I wish you could feel the wool…it is so soft and I keep putting my hands in the box just to have a little squish. Aren’t the colours beautiful? They remind me of a little bowl of ice cream.

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I did a felt making course a few years ago and can’t wait to have another try…

My second gift came in this very tempting bag…

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Inside was the prettiest tea towel…

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It’s so pretty that I don’t think I can even keep it for a show tea towel! Does anyone else have these? The kind of tea towels that you just keep for very special visits or is it just me! I hope I’m not the only one…!

Anyway, the pattern on this is so lovely and unusual that I’m planning to turn it into a tote bag.

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I hope that you enjoy the rest of your week. The sun looks set to shine and I hope you’ll be able to enjoy it where you are.

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Wisteria and Birthday Cake

Hello there, have you been enjoying the bank holiday weekend and the very nice extra day off work? We have been lucky enough to have such a warm and sunny weekend here and have had a lovely couple of days catching up with friends, sitting in the sunshine, celebrating my sister’s birthday (and enjoying her delicious cake), an outdoor breakfast and lots of Star Wars Lego!

I had a long list of jobs that I was planning to do this weekend. They were all very boring jobs….clearing cupboards and sorting the kitchen a bit before it gets decorated next month. I am pleased to say that I didn’t manage to get round to any of these!

Today we visited Dorney Court Kitchen Garden with Little Pickle and our friends. Our plan was to get there early (quite easy with the little people who are quite happy to get up before 7.00am!) and enjoy breakfast. We managed to get a table in the children’s garden and whilst the little ones climbed the tree house and explored the play house and secret tunnel we had an alfresco breakfast in the sunshine. I had a plate of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs washed down with a steaming latte….perfection!

The walled gardens at Dorney are very special. I’ve visited a few times now and every time there is something new to see and admire.

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Isn’t this true?

We were greeted by the most amazing display of wisteria…three archways literally bursting with these beautiful little flowers.             I wish you could have buried your nose in the blooms and smelt them…it was lovely.

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Have I mentioned how much I love these?

Parts of the garden were almost over for this year…

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But there was a real sense that things were just beginning…

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and I am looking forward to going back soon to capture more of this tranquil garden.

In between playing hooky with crochet (more of that another time!) and working on two cushion commissions I managed to finish these lavender hearts as a little housewarming gift for our friends. I really like the colour combination, it’s another one of my favourites.

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I hope you have a good week…I’ll be back soon. I’m going to my first WI meeting tomorrow and can’t wait to tell you more.

xxxxxxx

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Foggy Mustard and Hexie Love…

Hello there! How has your week been? It’s been back to normal for us and a full week back at work for me and nursery for Little Pickle. He was certainly very tired this evening and we’re all looking forward to our long weekend.

Time seems to be galloping along so fast at the moment and this week I’ve felt the need to slow down a bit. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks…I’m very guilty of this. I’ve been driving past the same field for over two years and only this week noticed how beautiful it was fully in bloom with its bright yellow mustard flowers.

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On the morning I took this there was a low misty fog and the yellow looked very atmospheric against the slate sky…a lovely colour palette that is one of my favourites.

I think my reason for wanting to slow down is the thought that Little Pickle only has one term left at nursery before he starts school. On one hand I feel so excited that he will soon be starting a new adventure in his little life but this is mixed with a long list of Mummy worries about how he will manage and cope with the change. I’ve also realised recently how much I’m going to miss him. He has been my constant little companion for the last four years. Our journey together hasn’t always been easy, Little Pickle is likely to have an autism diagnosis soon and this has given us a lot of hurdles that we’ve had to tackle together. He has made me see things through a fresh pair of  innocent eyes and after a period of great sadness in my life brought me back to life and gave me the greatest happiness. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this with you. It’s been on my mind for a while now and it feels better to have given my worries a bit of an airing.

This week I had a special crafting project for a lovely friend’s birthday. I recently treated myself to The Liberty Book of Simple Sewing (a £6.99 bargain from The Works!) and there was a tutorial for a drawstring bag. There are so many wonderful projects in this book that I’ll have to write about them properly another time. I had a good study of the pattern and decided on a design that would incorporate some hexies from my stash and also some embroidery, at the same time testing some waste canvas that was a free gift with an embroidery magazine.

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It was hard picking which hexies I would use but I eventually decided on pale pinks and blues….

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The little cross stitch pattern was from a great find lurking at the back of a second-hand book shelf…I love a find like this! I used waste canvas to stitch the design and was so pleased with the reults. I will most definitely be buying some more.

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The bag was finished with two little heart buttons…

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and the pink and white ribbon from my Mother’ Day present…

I was so pleased with this little bag and think that they might be teacher gifts for Little Pickle’s nursery staff.

In other news…it’s wisteria time…oh my…I LOVE Wisteria…the colour, the shape…so beautiful.

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Wisteria love…

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An Easter break…

Hello there, what a grey and wet day. I hope that you’ve managed to keep dry wherever you are?

Did you all have a nice Easter? We had such a great few days and managed some lovely day trips. Spending time with Little Pickle is one of my favourite things and we took advantage of the Easter break to really enjoy the sunny weather together.

First up was a trip to Windsor and tour on an open top bus. This was Little Pickle’s request and I was only too happy to oblige.

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It was a beautiful sunny day and we all sat on the top deck and took in the views of the Castle before setting off on our tour.

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If you look closely you can just see that the flag is flying which means that HRH was at home. Little Pickle said she was sorting out Easter eggs for everyone!

The tour went round the villages just outside Windsor, including Eton. I had never been here before and most definitely want to go back. The buildings were stunning and from the top of the bus we spied some very tempting little shops.

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Little Pickle and I attempted a selfie….it didn’t go quite to plan and I don’t think we’ll be breaking Twitter with this one!

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After a lovely lunch we had a good look round the shops in Windsor…including a trip to Cath Kidston and headed off home for a relaxing afternoon of lots of Star Wars and Lego – perfect holiday activities!

The following day we headed off to Waddesdon Manor with my mum, sister and niece. If you’ve never been here it really is worth a visit. Not only can you visit a truly stunning National Trust property but you can also enjoy the surrounding gardens which were full of Spring flowers.

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I spotted these ferns….aren’t they gorgeous?

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We had lots of fun exploring and looking for clues to finish the Easter Egg Hunt!

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The sun shone and Little Pickle and his cousin had a lovely day. They particularly enjoyed the traditional toy shop complete with an old fashioned sweet shop.

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I love, love this picture.

On Sunday we all enjoyed a family lunch with my parents, played silly games (sweetie bingo being the most popular) and had plenty of laughter and chocolate.

All in all it was a very happy Easter spent with the people who mean the most.

Happy Easter

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

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