Tag Archives: Chelsea Flower Show

Coming Out From The Cold

The Warmth & The Rain,Rocking Dog

The Warmth & The Rain

I realise I have been quiet. Words have not come easily and reading words has not come easily. The brain fug is beginning to clear and cheer, I need to get back into the saddle!

I have not been idle. There was a little baby in the house for a little while. My role as Biddy (as in old) was enjoyable and even keeping Sorrel company in the depth of the night was a privilege. That’s not to say I don’t now feel as if I have been run over by a steam train! He really is such a sweet little fellow and we are going to have such great fun in coming years.

More parenting is currently going on in the Victorian gas lamp in our back garden. The blue tits have returned, having built a nest in the lamp post. Every twenty or thirty seconds mum and dad bring back grubs and caterpillars for their hungry brood. They remove waste from the nest and diligently look out for predators. Frankly it is exhausting watching them. Until the chicks fledge I cannot get on and garden … drat, oh it’s such a good excuse!

The warmth and the rain have made the rambling roses simply explode. I can say that the dark sinister conifers that they replaced have been missed not one little bit. Honeysuckle, forget-me nots, penstemons,  iris’s, comfrey, borage….. everything is burgeoning. With the garden in full summer throttle it was wonderful to awake to a doorstep gift, a David Austin “Vanessa Bell” Rose. Full of buds, it promises wonderfully creamy voluptuous scented blooms. Thank you lovely Robsons!

The meadow behind the house is ablaze with buttercups, clover, moon daisies, bluebells, vetch, cow parsley, dandelions, may blossom and grasses. I never tire of the meadows beauty and look forward to seeing the swallows dart & swoop over the expanse of verdant vegetation. Soon the mad cows will be put out to pasture and sadly the meadow will be off limits until the autumnal nights start drawing in.

Still on a plant theme I trot off to the Chelsea Flower Show next week which i’m wildly looking forward to. Maybe this year will be the year I finally set my mind and body to creating a garden with less weeds and more order!

There has been sewing, and cooking, baking, spring cleaning, volunteering and decluttering. There has been Real Live Rocking Dog to walk, travels to London, and wedding plotting & planning. There have been forays into Bath and down to the harbour, an afternoon tea and lots of hugs to give.

Thank you to all those of you who have said they have missed my blog, I hope i’ll slowly and carefully start writing again.

Special birthday wishes today for Sorrel, I hope you manage a glass of bubbly in between the demands of a hungry little nestling! To all, have a wonderful weekend whatever joys it brings.

Love from Rocking Dog x

PS. Date for the Huddlers diary -Wednesday 31st May (7-9pm) for the next Rocking Dog Creative Huddle. New Huddlers welcome. Donations into the teapot with a generous proportion going to Fine Cell Work, supporting prison inmates to skilfully sew and embroider.

Parenthood,Rocking Dog

Parenthood

Wildflower Meadow,Rocking Dog

Wildflower Meadow

Walk With Mr Dog,Rocking Dog

Walk With Mr Dog

Asparagus Season,Rocking Dog

Asparagus Season

Rhubarb Season,Rocking Dog

Rhubarb Season

Always Cake Season!,Rocking Dog

Always Cake Season!

Heading To Chelsea,Rocking Dog

Heading To Chelsea

Good Year For The Roses,Rocking Dog

Good Year For The Roses

Spring Cleaning, Rocking Dog

Spring Cleaning

Another Peek In Rocking Dog’s Wardrobe

Hello Summer!, Rocking Dog

Hello Summer!

With post wedding exhaustion in full throttle, last week I settled on carrying out simple tasks that did not require a huge amount of brain boggling thought or physical capability. One job involved bringing summer into my wardrobe. I thought you’d perhaps like another peek in Rocking Dog’s wardrobe. February 2015 was the last time I opened the doors, and unfortunately not a tremendous amount has changed!

I still have a predominantly black winter “uniform”, with a switch to white for the summer. Somewhat scruffy dog walking garb however tends to dominate my everyday clothing decisions. Needless to say brightly coloured sale price “Hunter” wellies are the all year round very practical footwear choice!

Sadly, there have been no major buying splurges to report. Last weeks sort involved moving black wool, velvet and other wintry fabrics into hibernation. How I enjoy having a spare wardrobe or two now that Andyman and I are empty nesters! With all the cuddly warm wooliness huddled into its new home I could transfer the somewhat lighter brighter garments into my wardrobe. With our recent trip to Cuba the linens had enjoyed a very brief tropical encounter, but it was now time to make the brave decision that the English summer had indeed arrived!

The cream wool Toast tunic which i’d just bought in February ’15 I am sorry to say remains unworn. The winter has simply been too mild and i’m too warm blooded! Hopefully winter 2016 will bring snow and frosts. Indeed my plethora of market bought Italian wool coats haven’t been given much of an outing either! Inpenetrable suit carriers will swathe the wools and silk velvets from the destructive chomping jaws of a fleet of moths. I will add Rocking Dog crooked hearts for further protection and hopefully my clothes will escape unscathed when Autumn and the need for warm garments returns.

Summer wardrobe installed, I surveyed my colourful closet. Linen has an awful reputation for being high maintenance and to crease easily. However, I love the feel of cotton and freshly pressed linen against my skin. Textiles which include synthetic threads can make me hot and bad tempered, flushed and murderous! I can’t ever imagine a time when I won’t want to wear linen. If and when the time comes that i’m simply too gnarled and infirm to use an iron i’ll just have to employ a butler! Many of my linen pieces have been coming out for the past six or seven years or so. East, M & S, Zara, Laura Ashley and John Lewis are worth a look, especially when they have their summer sales.

Regarding buying clothes, I still don’t like paying full price for anything. I still use my hard and fast rule that if I see a bargain I will ask myself “If money allowed, would I pay full price for the item?”. If the answer is a decisive yes i’d hurtle to the cash desk, and if no, i’d leave the bargain hanging there. I’m still not an internet shopper, I like the experience of just seeing what’s out there, to feel fabrics and look at trends. A fashionista I am absolutely not, but I adore people watching and looking to see what shoppers are trying on and buying.

Now, a quick rundown of some of the images I have included in this post. We’ve dealt with the winter wools, the velvets and the unworn jumper.

The wedding coat.. my latest item in the wardrobe, and the infamous garment I made very tentatively from Christian Lacroix curtain fabric (Ebay remnant). This was the first dress making i’d done since the 1980’s and not a shoulder pad in sight! I really enjoyed the process and could there be another coat in the offing?! The Vintage Coat has a degree of man made fabric in it’s composition, and so it does tend to make me hot and ratty on occasions! However, I like the shape and colour and it’s become a really useful wardrobe staple. I bought this coat in a favourite charity shop a few years ago for a tenner. The last coat of the trio is one my sister made for me about 35 years ago. Made from heavy linen union I have always loved it. Being floral I confidently wore it to Chelsea Flower Show last year. Thanks sis”!

Ah yes.. the itchy jacket. I love this jacket, but it is itchy. I need to have neck and wrists “lined” to wear this one. I’m sure we all have an item or two in the wardrobe that we have to brace ourselves for, be it a nose tickling angora cardi’ or skirt that mysteriously rises up for some reason!

The latest Liberty buy. Whilst on my recent foray to Liberty I spotted these lovely wide legged lounge pants. Calf length and with pockets, they are far too nice to just lounge around in, I think they’ll be part of my cooling hot weather wardrobe! Uniqlo have collaborated with Liberty for this range and at £12.90 these pants are bargainous! I never discount leisure/sleep wear as something I can wear out.

Full Price Garb’. Very occasionally I do pay full price for something and this outfit was indeed one of those times. Made from Lithuanian silk this top and pantaloon trouser get up was bought in Edinburgh for a wedding & other social event five years ago. Made by Grizas I have loved wearing this. One of the best features is that it requires absolutely no ironing!

Parisian Flea. I bought this skirt a few years ago in the Montmartre district of Paris, in a secondhand clothes shop. I paid about 10 euro for it and I still love it. The draped tulip shape reminds me of the designs of Paul Poiret and harks back to enjoyable nights watching The House of Elliot! A simple black light weight jumper and quirky shoes, I can still see me wearing it in ten years time.

Poppy Love. I haven’t worn this skirt a great deal, a full length organza skirt isn’t something you can wear everyday. I bought it in Jigsaw for a commemorative event around the same time as Remembrance Sunday. I adore it, despite it being quite brown. Brown is a colour I do not enjoy wearing. Maybe it relates to the fact that I had to wear brown when I had a Saturday job at Debenham’s, and further back my mum quite often put me in brown because I had brown eyes. My sister meanwhile was dressed in the more cheery blue garments because she had blue eyes!

Back In The Box. My lovely wedding shoes. Unconventional I know, but as youngest daughter said “Mum you aren’t really Kate Middleton nude shoe material are you!”

So there it is a little whizz through the Rocking Dog wardrobe. What treasures lurk in your wardrobe and do you have any good shopping tips? Please tell all!

Hope the week is a happy one for you all. Love Rocking Dog x

Goodbye Winter!, Rocking Dog

Goodbye Winter!

Still Unworn, Rocking Dog

Still Unworn

Velvets No More!, Rocking Dog

Velvets No More!

Wedding Coat, Rocking Dog

Wedding Coat

Vintage Coat, Rocking Dog

Vintage Coat

1980's Floral Coat, Rocking Dog

1980’s Floral Coat

Itchy Jacket, Rocking Dog

Itchy Jacket

Latest Liberty Buy, Rocking Dog

Latest Liberty Buy

Full Price Garb', Rocking Dog

Full Price Garb’

Parisian Flea, Rocking Dog

Parisian Flea

Poppy Love, Rocking Dog

Poppy Love

Back In The Box, Rocking Dog

Back In The Box

Rocking Dog Let Loose In London!

Veritable Vegetables By Rachel Nettles, Rocking Dog

Veritable Vegetables By Rachel Nettles

Rocking Dog took a trip to The Big Smoke for Country Living’s Build-A-Business Day. The trip also provided the opportunity to catch up with my girls, and to revel in the joys of Liberty. A stroll down the entire length of the Kings Road followed. My intention was to eventually get to the V&A to see the Undressed-A brief history of underwear exhibition. However, my love of rediscovering all the wonderful items on sale at Liberty rendered time too short to do culture. What a Philistine I am! Filming was going on in the store, with the TV crew shooting “The Apprentice”. That duly explained the sinister convoy of black people carriers outside. I received some of the best customer service ever from Clare in the china department. Thank you Clare you were so helpful.

Along the Kings Road I was stopped in my tracks by a window display under construction. I needed to find out more about the truly beautiful vegetables and flowers that littered a little section of Anthropologie. They were the amazing free motion embroidery work of Rachel Nettles who is the temporary artist in residence. Her work perfectly complements the advent of the up and coming Chelsea Flower Show. Absolutely delicious and covetable items and an amazingly personable woman.

Back on the street other shops are also beginning to show signs of Flower Show fever and there are frenzied bits of frou’ing going on.

Wednesday dawned with a walk to Hackney station, a misty stroll took me on pathways bordered with swathes of cow parsley and neatly stacked gravestones. The commute into the heart of the Metropolis was a baptism of fire. I find it difficult to contemplate how Londoners cope day in, day out with the misery of overpacked tubes and trains. I salute you!

The Build-A-Business Day was held at the Good Housekeeping Cookery School in Soho, and it proved to be a really interesting day. Apart from some inspirational speakers including Emma Bridgewater and Sophie Conran, it was lovely to meet other creative bod’s who were already running businesses or looking to set up businesses. There was good information provided on business planning, submitting press releases and the importance of social media. An opportunity was given for those who wished to pitch their products, so out came my stockings and advent calendars! A delicious lunch together with goody bag completed a very enjoyable and thought provoking day. The CL team were great, very approachable and friendly. Once this wedding is over I am going to have a serious talk with myself, and try to decide how to go about putting Rocking Dog firmly on the map!

On the way to Paddington I couldn’t help myself from making a beeline to a stall in Soho selling material and trims. I bought some gorgeous vintage braids, a plan for them I have not, but a gorgeous addition to Material Mountain.

It was so lovely to be indulgent with time for myself, and I even had the courage to ask for an eyeliner masterclass in MAC. Adele eat your heart out!

Planet wedding really starts gathering pace, and today i’ll perhaps finish THE coat! Other tasks await me on copious lists.

PS Many thanks to Liberty, Designer’s Guild and Osborne and Little for being so receptive in my request for fabric swatches for a special project.

Liberty Flowers, Rocking Dog

Liberty Flowers

The Apprentice Cars, Rocking Dog

The Apprentice Cars

Anthropologie Window, Rocking Dog

Anthropologie Window

More Rachel Nettles, Rocking Dog

More Rachel Nettles

Ready For Chelsea, Rocking Dog

Ready For Chelsea

Iconic Landmark, Rocking Dog

Iconic Landmark

Hackney Walk, Rocking Dog

Hackney Walk

Feeling Inspired, Rocking Dog

Feeling Inspired

Vintage Braid Buys, Rocking Dog

Vintage Braid Buys

Happy New Year From Rocking Dog!

A Rare Pic'!, Rocking Dog

A Rare Pic’!

A very Happy New Year from Rocking Dog to one and all! This photo is VERY rare, I appreciate I have been a little bit of an enigma to some of those who have never met me and who have been supportively following my blog. Seriously, there are less photo’s of me than those taken of my Victorian ancestors over a century ago. Recently I needed to send a photo of myself for a booking I was undertaking. The only photo I could find was of me as part of a group family shot taken four years previously (less hair,less grey and less pounds!). Anyway I thought i’d start the new year with a photo to smile in 2016!

I hope you have had a lovely Christmas and New Year spent with friends and family. It is so easy to hope that you can start the new year healthily but if it’s anything like our household your fridge will be still groaning with cheese, salami, wine, beer, cream and the like! The health drive will have to start mid January at this rate.

I’m sure we all made wishes on the strike of Midnight on New Years Eve. All of us I would boldly presume are hoping for a safer world to live in. World events in 2015 have been so grim, and with problems so seemingly impossible to solve. We cannot possibly hope to personally deal with such major divides, but in some small way we can show acts of kindness in our communities. Even a smile or friendly “Good Morning” can make someone feel less invisible, and better about the day ahead.

I think everyone has a degree of topsy-turvydom in their own lives every year. My own family has been no different, with many difficult situations to try and navigate and overcome in 2015. We unfortunately required the attendance of the emergency services rather too often in the year. Grateful thanks must go to the paramedic, ambulance, and police teams who dealt with various family members so wonderfully. Despite a few niggling glitches, we as a family benefitted from excellent care from hospital staff in Bristol and London. Thank you. Even Real Live Rocking Dog required the expertise of his own medical team. We were all too thankful for keeping on going with the escalating insurance payments!

In amongst all the difficult stuff we have enjoyed some truly wonderful times. Sometimes it’s not the things that have cost a lot, indeed it’s often the things that have cost nothing at all that have made memories. We had a great game of Pass the Parcel on New Years Eve (thank you Sorrel). Who would have thought that a few layers of brightly coloured paper, hand written forfeits and a packet of frankfurters could cause SO much merriment!

Looking back on 2015 I loved my day spent at Chelsea Flower Show, still love sewing, enjoyed my Christmas Sale and liked being commissioned for various projects. Friends and family as ever make my life feel very fulfilling and happy. Thank you to all of those who have endured my grumpiness, confidence issues and the joys of a fifty something woman! Special thanks to Andyman who changed my kerb ridden tyre at the weekend without comment, and to my lovely children plus ones who lovingly accept me just the way I am.

I hope that 2016 brings all that you hope for, that life isn’t too precariously topsy turvy and with the good times definitely outweighing the harder moments.

I hope to carry on blogging regularly, and hope that you’ll hang on in there for the ride. Thank you to all those who have been so kind about my posts and who tell me to keep on going. You will never know how much that means to me.

Love and the warmest good wishes to you and your families as the new year tumbles in.

Liz (Rocking Dog)x

PS The photo of yours truly was taken at Sky Garden, London. I can truly recommend the amazing 360 views of the city. Access is totally free, but the cocktails unfortunately aren’t! Bah Humbug!

Growing, Rocking Dog

Growing

Picking, Rocking Dog

Picking

Wanting!, Rocking Dog

Wanting!

Baking, Rocking Dog

Baking

Crud Hunting!, Rocking Dog

Crud Hunting!

Learning, Rocking Dog

Learning

DIY'ing, Rocking Dog

DIY’ing

Walking, Rocking Dog

Walking

Sewing, Rocking Dog

Sewing

Caring, Rocking Dog

Caring

Restoring, Rocking Dog

Restoring

Blogging, Rocking Dog

Blogging

Rocking Dog’s Very Own Flower Show

Old Welsh Florals, Rocking Dog

Old Welsh Florals

I love EVERYTHING floral and this post is to pay homage to this weeks Chelsea Flower Show.

I am particularly fond of my floral coat made from heavy linen union bought in Clifton village. My sister made it for me about 30 years ago, and I have worn it every summer. I have lovely photo’s of me heavily pregnant with our son Alex who is 28 this year. I am sporting an 80’s hairstyle, pointed peach coloured suede pumps, together with a peach coloured drop waisted dress. Thankfully the 80’s penchant for peach is no longer! I really want to make a similar coat using a beautiful Sanderson Hollyhocks fabric. I have run out of windows to curtain so i’ll wear it instead!

The old Welsh floral patchwork quilt came from a shop in Brecon. I bought it together with a Welsh plaid blanket for £50 in a junk shop 2 years ago. They were both in a pretty dirty state but we ended up having to use them in this condition. We discovered that we had forgotten to pack our quilt for a camping weekend in our beloved Pod. Back at home the laundered quilt became a more delectable textile to dress a bed. Real Live Rocking Dog rather likes the lovely workmanship too!

For real floral inspiration I LOVE the wedding scene in Nanny McPhee. I also adore the incredible floristry talents of Amy Bowley of Bo Boutique and Juliet Glaves of Thoughtful Flowers. TRULY YUMMY!

Floral Coat, Rocking Dog

Floral Coat

Porcelain Florals, Rocking Dog

Porcelain Florals

Bathroom Florals, Rocking Dog

Bathroom Florals

Garden Florals, Rocking Dog

Garden Florals

Rambling Floral, Rocking Dog

Rambling Floral

Gift Floral, Rocking Dog

Gift Floral