The second Spring…

Hello there…

 Goodness, it’s been a while hasn’t it?  My little space here has been sorely neglected and ended up being bottom of the pile far too often over the past few weeks. When  I last wrote we were still enjoying the Summer and now it’s the Autumn and the clocks are almost ready to slip backwards into the winter months ahead. I truly love this time of year and am thoroughly enjoying the slow change in colour of the leaves, the cooler mornings and darker evenings. I once read that Autumn is like a second spring and I am trying to take some time every day to appreciate how colourful everything looks at the moment.

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This time of year also means I can get my Autumn wreath out of storage and hang these little foxes on my front door. I made this last year using templates from a selection of Mollie Makes magazines and I think that little foxes may put in a Christmas appearance this year…

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 At the end of August we had our final trip of the summer to Hayling Island. I have been going there every year since I was pretty much the same age as Little Pickle and it really feels like returning home. It was a large family gathering with Aunts, Uncles and cousins and it was so good to be in their company. There were good days and not so good days when Little Pickle struggled to adjust to unfamiliar surroundings and new routines but I was propped up, supported and laughed with those people that I love the most which made it all just a bit easier. We visited the beach, threw stones in the sea and felt the salty air on our cheeks.

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 The end of August also meant the long awaited news about Little Pickle’s autism diagnosis. After two and a half years he was finally diagnosed and I breathed a very long sigh of relief. I still feel very emotional about it and my feelings are very hard to put into words but through the heartache it finally feels as though a door has been opened. Not long afterwards I started the Early Bird Programme for parents of young children with autism.

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It’s a ten week course and I can honestly say that it has become a weekly highlight for me. Just being with other parents who face the same daily challenges has been a huge comfort and inspiration. The two women who run the course are a complete encyclopaedia of ideas and their positivity is a huge boost. At the first session we had to introduce ourselves and our child to the group and I only managed a couple of words before the tears started falling. The sense of relief was just completely overwhelming and I can only describe it as being exhausted from treading water for a long time and finally someone had come along and offered their hand so you could get out of the water.

 September was a very special month and Little Pickle started school for the first time.

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I had lots of worries about how he would manage and cope with such a big change and we spent a lot of time over the summer looking at pictures of his new school and teachers and reading Harry and the Dinosaurs Start School. I frantically stitched name labels and labelled virtually everything in sight whilst trying very hard not to worry too much. When the big day arrived I think I was probably more nervous but I am so happy to report that everything went extremely smoothly and we couldn’t have asked for a better start to school. It is so wonderful to see the change that has happened over the past few weeks and watch how much Little Pickle is enjoying all of the new experiences. I miss him a lot, especially during the afternoons when I’m not working but I can see now how much he needed school and watching his delight in learning things for the first time is one of the loveliest parts of being a Mummy.

 We also celebrated my mum’s birthday and I made a very yummy raspberry and white chocolate cake. The recipe came from Lorraine Pascale’s website and you can find the recipe here When I saw the almond and raspberry flowers I was so taken aback by how pretty they were that I had to try and make it myself. I added some cake bunting and voila!

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 As a little surprise I also made my mum a little embroidered hoop for her bedroom. I went through my box of hexies and other small scraps of fabric that I had in my (ever so slightly) bulging fabric drawer and came up with this.

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 I wrapped the same floral scraps around the hoop and delved into my Cath Kidston Stitch! book to find a little floral cross stitch pattern. I have to be very honest here and say that I sewed this late at night and made a few mistakes but I don’t think that you can notice. I really enjoyed making this and have another hoop to celebrate my Godmother’s 50th Wedding Anniversary to show you soon.

 Oh dear, I’ve just realised that I’ve been rambling on here for quite a while now and thank you for listening to me. I promise to be back sooner rather than later with a mini quilt and some pictures of the two quilts that I’m making for my sister’s twins…not long now!

 I’ll leave you with these beautiful flowers that have brightened up the school run over the past few weeks.

 Pretty in pink……

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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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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.

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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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Hearts and anemones…

Hello there…how are you? Has your week got off to a good start?

Do you like these…

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Aren’t they lovely…

My sister had anemones in her wedding bouquet and they remind me of a very happy day. I love the combination of the deep purple and bright yellow double daffodils. They look very pretty perched up on the windowsill.

This weekend I taught my Mother’s Day Hearts class at The Fabric Warehouse. I really enjoy teaching and meeting new people. At this class a mother came with her two grown up daughters, a little boy (my youngest ever participant!) came along with his mum and the best bit of all was that my friend J came along with her friend. This was a complete surprise and a very happy one!

Here are some pictures of the hearts in progress…

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And here are some of the finished hearts…

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Gorgeous!

This weekend I also managed to finish a present for my own wonderful mum. For a long time I’d wanted to try the needlebook tutorial created by the super talented Amy of nanacompany. You can find the tutorial here. I loved the inside of her needlebook so much that I wanted one that was almost the same!

What do you think?

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I used some little mini hexies from scraps I had saved from the quilt I’m making. I also managed to get to grips with lazy daisy stitch and used this to create some extra decoration.

Here’s the inside…my favourite bit!

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I have a feeling I’ll be making a lot more of these…

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Before I go, there’s a lovely giveaway over at one of my favourite blogs Sew Sweet Violet. You can take a look here. It’s a beautiful blog and the giveaway is so pretty….fingers crossed.

Enjoy the rest of your week and thank you for your comments on my last post. I love reading them, I really do.

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