vintage linen

i love the rolls of linen that you find at kempton market – not sure what they were used for, maybe industrial towel machines, and definitely some of the hopsack lengths that you can buy are sacks that have been unpicked and sold as runners.  they make great table runners, or you can do like i did, sew them into cushions or put 2 or 3 together for a sofa throw.   i  recently bought a lovely french white linen top – i love the way the initials have been sewn delicately at the front of the shirt and the delicate darning to patch up a tear.

if you cant get to a market, then look at the lovely linens at the blue linen cupboard

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dry skin

i dont know why, but over the summer i had a severe bout of dry skin on my body – i think it was triggered by an allergy to a plant.  I tried everything natural to begin with, but in the end the cream that soothed and healed it quickly was hydromol (not natural at all, but really did work).  sometimes i do think that you have to give in to pharmaceutical products, but once my skin had improved, i swapped to hopes cream,  a more natural cream filled with herbs and no chemicals – i highly recommend it.  moo goo is another natural range and for affordable natural range, try B skincare, the calendula and honey cream is very moisturising.


lime tree cottage

so the suffolk cottage is finally ready to rent;  situated in Wrentham just 5 mins drive from the beautiful covehithe beach and 10 mins drive from popular town of southwold. It is a pair of listed Georgian Cottages knocked together, sleeping up to 6 people in 2 doubles, and a twin bedroom, a shower room, a bathroom, downstairs cloakroom, kitchen, dining room, living room through to a library room, plus a light airy garden room – designated for relaxing!   the whole design and furnishing is by myself.  there is also a roomy shed and a summer house and beautifully landscaped garden, designed by Laura Arison, gold award winning designer at last year’s Hampton Court flower show.  The website is in the process of being made, but in the meantime you can reserve with myself and see the photos on this website.


plums are in season at the moment and are a good source of vitamin C and although they taste sweet, apparently dont spike your sugar levels; if you are lucky enough to have a plum tree, then this is the time to make plum jam,  i just discovered that there is a plum tree at the end of my suffolk garden….. these were shot in my new shed!

Plum Jam

1.5 kilos plums
500 g   3:1 jam sugar (for 3 parts fruit to 1 part jam sugar)
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 cloves
1 vanilla bean
1 glug lemon juice. (ie 2 tablespoons)

Wash the plums. Take stones out and cut. (I cut every half in 2-3 pieces)
Mix fruit, juice, sugar and spices (vanilla bean scratched out but adding the outside too).

Slowly bring to a boil. Boil heavily for 3 minutes (according to sugar package).

Fill into sterilized jars – discarding vanilla bean and other spices.  (an easy way is to wrap in muslin so making it easy to remove)


vintage finds

its always the case, you spend all your money on structural stuff, plumbing and electrics and end up with very little budget to furnish your place – so its taken imagination, and scouring of charity and junk shops to furnish and add that homely feel to the suffolk cottage – which we have called lime tree cottage, as there happens to be 2 lime trees in the front garden.   i have visited the charity and antique shops in saxmundham, southwold and framlingham – lots of lovely vintage glasses and jugs and plates;  marlesford antiques and yoxford have been a godsend too – and so much cheaper than kempton market.  here are a few of my finds, from table, to chairs, shelf unit and kitchen accessories.

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loving all the dahlias out at the moment – bought these in Garnetts Gardens, that not only sells plants, but freshly cut flowers, local cakes and produce!  i discovered this on my way home from suffolk the other day – its always good to divert to another route – opens your eyes to new things!  my favourite nursery in the area though is Darsham Nurseries – lovely food and small gifts to buy, plus inspiring planting and vegetable patches to view, plus its just seconds away from the train station that brings you in from london.

robert and I took a walk in hampstead yesterday afternoon, enjoying this amazing heat and sunshine – the dahlias there outside kenwood house are just amazing!  drop in and see inside the house – its free entry and you will marvel at the wonderful collection of paintings, by Gainsborough, Rembrandt,  Vermeer and Reynolds, all in this beautiful setting.

kings cross

cannot believe the changes to kings cross, each month that i visit there are more and more buildings going up and events happening.  today we walked along the canal banks, watching life on the banks – fishing, sunbathing, boats cruising back and forwards, runners, cyclists – its all happening down there.  I still haven’t been to the new pond club – a temporary art installation that you can swim in!  its open in the day and i am pondering whether i am daring enough to brave the cold!  you can climb up to the nearby viewing point and take a peak!  there is also the wonderful skip garden – a portable garden that uses the available land between the building sites and cranes of kings cross -it produces fruit and vegetables that are used in the skip kitchen cafe – definitely on my list of things to do.  there are so many new restaurants around granary square,  caravan, the greek larder, the grain store, dishoom and  the newly opened Ligherman.    I love the bookshop on the boat,  word on the water with a saxophonist playing on top.