Tag Archives: Farrow & Ball

A Trip To Deepest Darkest Wales

The Gower, Cornwall But Without The Crowds!,Rocking Dog

The Gower, Cornwall But Without The Crowds!

Once upon a time a long long time ago we started our married life in deepest darkest Wales. Andyman was in the RAF and we lived in a little married quarter in St Athan. As he wasn’t an officer we didn’t have the privilege of fitted carpets but a very large carpet piece. If my memory serves me correctly the lounge “mat” was orange with lime green rings. The arm chairs were equally attractive, with stretch nylon covers in purple and green camouflage pattern! Farrow & Ball had yet to be developed and the walls were RAF issue antique gold. In spite of a very challenging colour palette Andyman and I were very happy in our first home together. After qualifying as an army nurse I then spent a year showcasing Wrangler jeans and corduroy’s in a large Cardiff department store.

In time I was accepted for midwifery training at the University Hospital of Wales. Four days or so after starting my course Andyman met me from the bus stop to tell me he was being posted to Germany, perfect timing…not! There was the dilemma as to whether to go with him to Germany or to complete my 18 month midwifery course. Sensible head told me to remain in Wales. So that’s what I did. There were frequent flights, ferry crossings and even one or two hovercraft journeys over that next year and a half. Eventually I joined Andyman in Germany and that’s where my link with Wales ended.

However… a midwife who I trained with have kept in touch. We went over to see her and lovely paediatrician husband at the weekend. We always have such a wonderful time with them and enjoy yummy food, wine and chat. There is always a great walk on the cards when we visit. This time we headed out in the car on a short car journey from their house to Llanmadoc on the north west Gower peninsula.

I can see why people say that the Gower is like Cornwall….. but without the crowds. The scenery is truly spectacular with huge sweeps of white sandy coastline, sand dunes, wooded areas, craggy outcrops and a multitude of flora & fauna. We were literally the only folk on the beach on Saturday and the skies were impossibly blue. It was widely reported that Wales and the South West experienced an earthquake on Saturday. Though walking close to the epicentre of the earthquake we felt absolutely nothing!

There were shells to find, plastic flotsam and jetsam to moan about, and hills to huff and puff up! Real Live Rocking Dog loved having the beach to himself, but i’m sure in his little heart wished for a ball to play with. We stopped briefly at a bench in Hansel and Gretel style woodland to watch the skeleton. Well done Lizzy and Laura.

Five miles of walking ended with a drink and sarnie at the characterful Britannia Inn. Next time we must taste the Salt marsh lamb which the Gower is famous for. Sheep feed on samphire, sorrel, sea lavender and thrift.

It was time to say goodbye to our buddies and to promise not to leave such a big gap before the next time. It was wonderful, truly wonderful and there really isn’t anything better than sea air and good friends. Thank you xx

Rocky Climb,Rocking Dog

Rocky Climb

Seaside Treasure,Rocking Dog

Seaside Treasure

Beach To Himself,Rocking Dog

Beach To Himself

Sand Dunes & Salty Air,Rocking Dog

Sand Dunes & Salty Air

Tall Pines,Rocking Dog

Tall Pines

Hansel & Gretel,Rocking Dog

Hansel & Gretel

Skeleton Bench,Rocking Dog

Skeleton Bench

Lone Pine,Rocking Dog

Lone Pine

Dog Tired!,Rocking Dog

Dog Tired!

Buying Supplies In Beautiful Bath

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Gingham!,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Gingham!

Blogging has taken rather a back seat this week. Sorry, still not feeling 100% . Yesterday it was time to venture into Bath to buy supplies. With envelopes to address for The Boy’s fast approaching wedding I needed new nibs. Meticulous Ink on Walcot Street was where I was heading, but naturally there was plenty to distract me before I reached this truly gorgeous printing emporium! I found the sweetest of craft supply shops at the back of Bartlett Street Antiques Centre. Juniper and Blue may be bijoux, but it carries a wonderful selection of carefully selected ribbons, beads, wool, papers etc.. With my love of gingham I could not resist a Noolibird gingham stamp. Toast and Blue on Bartlett Street followed, for wedding outfit inspiration. I am not a matching dress and bolero sort of gal, and thus far have bought curtain fabric to make a 50’s style duster coat. I better get Beloved Bernina rattling away because time is, well…..rattling away!

Eventually I found myself on the road to Meticulous Ink. I love Walcot Street and beyond, there are so many quirky independent shops and interesting buildings. My walk took me past The Fine Cheese Company, and I steered myself swiftly past. How I love their cafe, and in particular their cheese platters! This lovely street boasts Scandi’ interior shops, one or two good charity shops, Farrow & Ball, suppliers of sisal, wool and wood flooring, a weaver, a wedding dress maker (say no more!!) cafe’s and vintage furniture shops. I loved nipping into The Fig Store. It sells rustic vintage furniture together with eclectic homeware. It was SO calming, the majority of the stock being in various hues and textures of grey, soft whites and linen. I loved the old hoes which had been up-cycled as stair rails. When warmer temperatures arrive there is a delightful gravelled and manicured garden for customers to peruse. Lovely, yes really lovely.

Nibs bought, I was treated to a little masterclass with Athena and Charlie to try an troubleshoot my capital D’s.

Further along the street (by now we are onto Cleveland Terrace) I ventured into Owl in The Ivy. Another gorgeous shop, again very calming but darker and somehow more sinister (in a lovely way!) than The Fig Store. Vintage furniture, hessian printed coffee sacks, succulents, twine, all beautifully staged, made for a joyous browsing moment. Emma hosts supper clubs and workshops in this evocative space. Details of events will be up and coming from her soon. Her blog photography is truly beautiful and she is going to be running a workshop on how to produce good photo’s for blogs etc… I would love to learn more, but there maybe one slight problem. I need to get myself a smart phone and stop being a Diplodocus! Yes, a very inspiring end to the trawl along one of my favourite Bath streets.

Back in town a final purchase was made in Anthropologie. I bought lovely purple agate handles in their sale section. For a few months there have just been ugly holes in the newly painted dressing table whilst I have tried to find the perfect pulls! More worrying is the fact that we are without a wall light on the stairs, again I am holding out for the perfect illumination, and not one with a terrifying price tag.

Bedtime reading was free – a copy of Crumbs (lovely South West food related magazine) and Vow (beautifully produced wedding magazine) together with the latest Farrow & Ball colour chart. Now let me see, chalky whites, greys and linen. Happy Days!

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend and I hope that you can find inspiration, ambience and a sense of calm in the greyness that is February.

Love Rocking Dog X

Meticulous Nibs, Rocking Dog

Meticulous Nibs

Oh, So Tempting!, Rocking Dog

Oh, So Tempting!

Calm Quirky Home, Rocking Dog

Calm Quirky Home

Fabulous Fig, Rocking Dog

Fabulous Fig

Fig Store Order, Rocking Dog

Fig Store Order

Bedtime Reading, Rocking Dog

Bedtime Reading

Top Ten New Year Resolutions

Anyone For A Dip In The Neighbours Pool?, Rocking Dog

Anyone For A Dip In The Neighbours Pool?

I didn’t make any resolutions -I know just how futile it is! In the Family section (love it) of Saturday’s Guardian they printed The Top 10 modern New Year resolutions (OVO Energy Survey 2014). Surprisingly, slimming down to a size 10 was not one of them, nor getting fit by swimming in the neighbours pool.

The Top 10 are as follows:-
1. Declutter the house. Mmmmm- I can but try on that one
2. Save More Money. Andyman bought me a well equipped tool bag for Christmas, maybe I can fit the new toilet and basin, and while i’m about it tile the floor.
3. Try new places instead of relying on the same old bars/restaurants. Guilty as charged my lord!
4. Read more books. Very thick Nordic Cook Book awaits me, and then as a result of reading the tome no doubt a house move to Sweden.
5. Redecorate house/room. Our house is like the Forth Rail Bridge but crumblier. We keep Farrow & Ball shareholders happy.
6. Take Up new hobby. I want to write a R4 play based on my mother in law. Yes really.
7. Sell old stuff I don’t need. Strange but true, we have a bed we need to sell under the new bed we have recently bought.
8. Visit five new places I have never been. UK Hit list- Derek Jarman’s garden Dungeness, St Ives, Rye, Alnwick, Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House.
9. Vow to be positive. OK that is until I witness rudeness,fly-tipping/littering, Donald Trump, my daughter being repeatedly gazumped by buy to let investors , Z lister celebrities & so called reality shows, together with sexism, racism or homophobia (back to Donald Trump again!). Grrrrr!
10. Stop complaining as much. Who me?!

I hope if you have made resolutions that you’ll be successful in achieving whatever goal you have set yourself. Now… I better go and find that tool bag…!

Yep! Love The Pig, Rocking Dog

Yep! Love The Pig

Decluttered... Honest!, Rocking Dog

Decluttered… Honest!

Bedtime Scandi' Tome, Rocking Dog

Bedtime Scandi’ Tome

Sell Old Stuff, Rocking Dog

Sell Old Stuff

Redecorate, Rocking Dog

Redecorate

Glass Half Full, Rocking Dog

Glass Half Full

Prototype – Masculine Aromatic Spice Sachets

Masculine Prototype, Rocking Dog

Masculine Prototype

I put cleaning on the back burner (that often happens, i’m ashamed to say!) and decided to make a crafty prototype. Having previously made pretty vintage lavender stuffed hearts I wanted to make a masculine alternative. Men get moths too!

I decided to make a little stack of mini pillows made from masculine fabrics. I chose a ticking, dog tooth check and toile de jouy. The toile curtains were a lucky charity shop find many years ago. I deconstructed the lining fabric and heading tape, leaving lots of lovely monochromatic fabric to use for a host of interesting projects. Pin stripe suiting, tartan and tweeds would work equally well.

If you want to make these simple aromatic spice sachets, here’s how I made them.

1. Choose some fabrics which complement each other. I selected three in tones of black and white.
2. Make a template. I find when cutting small swatches of fabric a template is great to draw round quickly. My mini pillow template measured 20cm length x 10cm width. I also made a template exactly half these measurements to make the strung square sachets. Cut out your fabric pieces. I created 2 mini pillows and 2 strung sachets for my finished package.
3. For each sachet put two of your fabric pieces right side to right side. Pin if wished.
4. Start sewing by lining up the fabric to give you a 3/8ths seam allowance ( your sewing machine stitch plate should be marked to help with this). Begin stitching approximately 2cm in from the bottom of one of the short sides.
5. Continue sewing right the way around the little pillow until you get to the original short side. Do a small amount of stitching, before stopping to leave a gap to fill your pillow.
6. Cut each corner diagonally close to the stitch line. This will help give you some sharp corners when the fabric is turned out.
7. Turn the pillow right ways out, using a pencil end or chopstick to poke out the corners.
8. Press with a hot iron (remember woollen fabrics will require a cooler iron).
9. For the strung sachets, machine stitch a loop of ribbon to the corner of your small sachets.At this stage you can stitch a pretty (oops! manly) button at the point where you have stitched your ribbon.
10. Stuffing begins! I used a mixture of English Lavender, Allspice Berries, Cloves, Juniper Berries, Cinnamon Sticks, Star Anise and a few drops of Lavender Oil. Create your own concoction. I fill my sachets using a dessert spoon to pour in all the goodies, but you could use a funnel for the smaller elements. This fiddly stage can take a little while so enjoy a sing.
11. Very neatly hand stitch the open seam. Cut any loose threads and give your sachets a gentle squish.
12. Stack your sachets neatly, and package. I used a band of fine corrugated card, twine, Ikea blackboard label and a cinnamon stick.
13. Voila! a wonderfully aromatic stack of manly spice sachets to keep any sock drawer smelling sweet.

I might just do a little batch of these, the smell is simply intoxicating!

Enjoy your weekend whatever it brings. I’m going to get busy with a tin of Farrow & Ball – so i’ll be sporting a whole new hair colour next week!

Feminine Sewing, Rocking Dog

Feminine Sewing

Material Mountain, Rocking Dog

Material Mountain

Choices Made, Rocking Dog

Choices Made

Simple Sewing, Rocking Dog

Simple Sewing

Scented Stuffing, Rocking Dog

Scented Stuffing

Fairy Pillows, Rocking Dog

Fairy Pillows