Friday, 18 June 2010

Blooming Lovely

At last a little bit of sunshine after all that rain and a chance to assess what needs doing in the garden.

The weeds have grown like crazy but luckily so have the things that have been planted.

I think we will be eating salad leaves for a while!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Fig 10

As you may have read way back in the blog I do have a fondness for my car!

Well this weekend we took her to her very first car show - Fig 10, which was held at the Heritage Motor Centre near Warwick.

We arrived at the Heritage Motor Centre on a very sunnySunday morning to a glorious sight
There were certainly some head turning cars.

Including this Boden print Figaro which won the car of the show award!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Mills and Dales - Day Three

Our final day in the Derbyshire Dales was spent doing something I have always wanted to do and that was to walk along Dovedale. Whenever we have visited this area before the weather hasn't been good or we haven't had time so on this break I was determined that we would finally get round to it - whatever the weather!

Luckily the weather was on our side this time


No, we weren't brave enough to cross the stepping stones but we did watch a few people get their feet soggy!

After our walk there was just enough time for coffee and cake so we headed for nearby Ilam Park, a National Trust owned property (with a lovely tea shop)

A latte and a slice of carrot cake later we just had time to soak up some more fantastic views before heading home.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Mills and Dales - Day Two

So after Fridays dull weather it was great to wake up to sunshine, there is something soooo satisfying about opening the caravan blinds and seeing blue sky!

As our main purpose for this break was to take advantage of the wonderful walking and cycling opportunities in the area we decided that today would be the day to cycle along the Tissington Trail.

The Tissington Trail follows the path of the old railway line from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay where it joins the High Peak trail. It is a flat (or so we thought ) traffic free route for cyclists, walkers and horse riders and we could join it just a stones throw from where we were staying.

On consulting our map it was a 10 mile ride into Ashbourne so we decided that the day would be spent by cycling in the morning followed by a pub lunch and a mooch around the shops then a cycle ride back in the afternoon.

It was a fantastic ride into Ashbourne, the sun shone and the scenery was amazing

On the way we did a slight detour and had a look around Tissington village. Tissington is a very pretty estate village with the rather grand Tissington Hall as its centerpiece.

We arrived in Ashbourne at lunchtime and had a pub lunch (and a well deserved cider) and a look around some of the lovely independent little shops.

Soon it was time to head back and we soon found that the trail had a gentle incline all the way back - hence a 10 mile uphill ride (OK so it was only slight but try telling that to my 10 year old son!)

By the time we arrived back it was time to settle down for the evening and we all looked forward to a good nights sleep.

Mills and Dales - Day One

I hope you have had a good Easter break.

This Easter we took ourselves off to the Derbyshire Dales in our caravan. Now I know caravanning is not classed as one of the trendiest ways to spend your holidays (unlike its close cool relative - camping ) however I can honestly say that buying our caravan is one of the best things we have ever done.

We are now onto our third 'van' and have been caravanning for 6 years and in that time have spent some wonderful family time holidaying all over the country.

This Easter we decided to revisit the Derbyshire Dales, basing ourselves 10 miles north of Ashbourne. This is an area that we love, the beauty of the countryside here is stunning and it is perfect for walking and cycling.

On Good Friday we woke to a dull, wet and grey day and as we are most definitely fair weather walkers we consulted various maps and leaflets to decided what to do. Not too far from us was a place called Masson Mills and it boasted a shopping village, cafe and museum.

On approaching we weren't sure what to expect - it boasted an Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Golf shop - not exactly what we had travelled to the Dales for but it had a cafe and I was in need of caffeine!

The shops were predictable but we mooched around as it was raining heavily by now and the setting was interesting as it was all housed in an old cotton mill. On the lower floor we found the cafe overlooking the River Derwent and as we sat drinking a welcome cup of coffee we notice a small sign pointing to the museum.

To be honest we weren't expecting much as it seemed like a bit of an afterthought - maybe a room with some information about the buildings past life as a cotton mill and the odd bit of machinery.

However we couldn't have been more wrong........

Its hard actually to put into words my thoughts on this place. To me it felt as if time had stood still and all the mill workers had just clocked off. Added to the fact that the three of us were the only people in the place it felt as if we had just stepped back in time.

I found it extremely interesting as I studied textiles at college and spent two years there learning how to weave although not on looms like this!

The Mill was built in 1783 by Sir Richard Arkwright and continued to be a working mill until 1991. It is a huge place and I could only imagine what it must have been like to work there with all that machinery going as most of the rooms were in silence while we were there.

In the shop we have recently introduced Bobbin String Holders which are made from rescued mill relics and as you would imagine there were bobbins a plenty here!

Even the ceiling of one room was covered in them!

Another item from the mills that we sell are used as part of the Cobblers Last Door Stops.

Distaffs are a tool used in the weaving industry used to hold fibres prior to spinning and here they had them by the bucket load.

It truly was a fascinating visit and to round the day off we had time for another of Arkwright's mills, this time Cromford Mill.

Here we just had time to walk along the canal and feed the ducks,

before the rain started again and we happily returned to our home on wheels to settle down for the evening..........

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Alternative Easter Gifts For Children

This afternoon was the Easter Fair at my Son's school. After spending the morning making cornflake nests complete with the ubiquitous mini eggs and fluffy chicks for the bun stall I helped out on the Easter themed tombola.

About 90% of the prizes that had been donated were chocolate eggs and some of the children were winning 2-3 each. Now when you add that to Easter Eggs received from friends and family that's a LOT of chocolate for one child.

So I've been thinking that these ' Grow Your Own Garden ' Children's Gift Sets with the little bunny soaps would make great alternative Easter gift for my nieces and nephews. Along with an Easter Egg of course!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

A Load Of Old Cobblers!

At last (see what I've done there!) the vintage shoe lasts have arrived and I am so pleased with them that I just had to show them off.

I love the patina of old wood and have had a pair of vintage lasts displayed in my home for many years so I was really happy to source some for the shop.

They were made at a shoe machinery manufactures in Kettering and rescued from disused shoe factories some have been reworked to make doorstops.

The up stand of the doorstops is a vintage distaff. Distaffs were used in textile mills as a tool used in spinning. It is designed to hold the unspun fibers, keeping them untangled and thus easing the spinning process. It is most commonly used to hold flax, and sometimes wool, but can be used for any type of fiber. Fiber is wrapped around the distaff, and tied in place with a piece of ribbon or string.

Another vintage find has been these string and scissor holders.

These string holders are hand made from bobbins which were used in the textile mills of the Calder Valley near Manchester to hold thread prior to weaving. They are around 100 years old and have been reworked to make these individual string holders and come complete with string and scissors.

I have to confess that one of these has made its way into my kitchen as I can never find my string and scissors.

All of these are now available at

Monday, 15 February 2010

Love Is In The Air

We've been busy here working for the past couple of weeks as we've been ordering, processing and photographing the new Spring ranges for the Homes & Dreams shop. There has been a definite theme to the new ranges as hearts and love feature quite a lot - must be something to do with Valentines Day.

I have to admit that a few of the new things like this wooden 'Love' Sign and the 'Love' Letters have found their way into my house. One of the signs now graces the shelf in my kitchen and a set of the 'Love' letters stand on the window sill in my bedroom.

As the house is nearing completion my thoughts are now on the garden. We have approximately 1/2 acre here and for over 15 years before we moved in no one had set foot in it.

It is a very long thin plot - over 500ft long. All of the houses along our road originally had gardens like this however one by one they have all been built on and ours is the only one left with its original size garden. We are lucky to be the last house in the village as to one side of us is open countryside.

When we moved in we were faced with 8ft of brambles, great for jam making but not for my hands - ouch! Most of these have now been kept in check however at the top end of the garden we have done very little else than keep these thugs at bay

As the weather was fine on Sunday we decided to make a start on clearing the ground. Eventually this will be where we grow our veggies however I think it may be some time before that happens!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

First Post Of 2010

I can't believe that we are nearly half way through January already! I must apologise as it has been a while since I posted on here as things have been so busy and so much has been happening.

Christmas seems such a distant memory now. This was the wintry scene that we woke up to on Christmas morning.

Just before the New Year we spent a few days in Norfolk. I really love this part of the country and we have spent some very happy family holidays here.

While we were there we decided to travel down the coast and over the border into Suffolk. I had never been to Suffolk before so it was lovely to visit somewhere new for the first time.

We decided to go to Southwold and although it was bitterly cold we had a lovely afternoon there.

Not surprisingly there weren't many people on the beach!

The snow is still abundant here in Yorkshire. Last week my son's school was closed all week and so we made the most of it and went sledging!

Although he is nearly 10 years old he has never experienced this amount of snow and has never been sledging. needless to say me and Hubbie were ready to go home long before he was!

The end of season sale is now well under way at the Homes & Dreams shop and I've been busy planning the new ranges for Spring. They'll be introduced to the site over the next few weeks.

Hope the bad weather isn't causing you too many problems!