Friday, 22 May 2015

Fun on our handmade upcycled wooden garden swing

My husband made this child's swing from upcycled wood for Magoo last Summer. It's been a firm favourite with our daughter and her friends ever since. I thought it was about time I wrote about it & shared some photos of the project. We bought the wood from Somerset Wood Recycling for a bargain price of £10. They also threw in the two large bolts we needed to attach the swing ropes to the frame.

Somerset Wood Recycling is one of our favourite places to visit on a Saturday morning. They have a large warehouse full of wood waiting to be repurposed into new things. Much of the wood is donated and we like walking around looking at the crates, pallets, railway sleepers, old doors and piles of floorboards. Somerset Wood Recycling also sell a range of products made by volunteers and adults with learning disabilities. They have a fantastic selection of wooden benches, deckchairs, tables, chopping boards, garden planters and even upcycled wooden coffins.

Once my husband had chosen the pieces of wood he wanted to use, he started to put the swing frame together. Magoo helped with making holes to put the screws through. She loved being involved with the making-process.

Once the frame was complete, we attached the swing ropes and seat. Magoo couldn't wait to try it out and it was given the thumbs up.

Once the swing was in place we gave it a coat of cornflower blue wood paint.

This swing is made with upcycled wood which would have otherwise gone to waste. It also really solid and much firmer than mass-produced plastic or metal counterparts. Magoo loves her swing and has been playing on it in all weathers ever since it was finished...

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Vintage Love: Hornsea Pottery school of fish mug

I love a bit of Hornsea Pottery. I blogged about my Hornsea Saffron Pottery a little while ago.

This lovely little mug was designed in the 1970s by John Clappison. He was an incredibly successful designer working for Hornsea, Ravenhead glass, Royal Doulton and Coryfo ceramics. Sadly his name doesn't appear on many pieces, so he's unfamiliar to many, but his work sold in the millions.

This particular mug features a school of fish swimming around the edge. These mugs come in quite a few colourways, mine is made up of a beautiful olive green and bright pink. In all honesty, I would love to get my hands on more of these. They also come with patterns of dolphins, owls, chickens, elephants and even the whole zodiac. I covet them all!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Book Buddy Review: Doodle and Draw Spots, Stripes and Squiggles

"Doodle and Draw Spots, Stripes and Squiggles" couldn't have arrived at a better time for us. My daughter is obsessed with colouring and drawing. Her output is pretty phenomenal & I'm running out of wall space to display her artwork. I've had to resort to storing her creations in folders dotted around the house...

"Doodle and Draw Spots, Stripes and Squiggles" taps into everything my daughter loves. The bold drawings appeal to her imagination. But this book is more than just a colouring book, it invites children to create their own patterns and 'complete' the work the illustrators have started for them. I love the way it inspires creativity and my daughter has enjoyed drawing a crowd of football fans, decorated a collection of gloves and brightened up the shells of a group of tortoises. Magoo is learning about patterns and 3-D shapes at school, so this book also ties in nicely with her curriculum.

The illustrations by Bella Bee and Mike Garton are endearing, clear and engaging. I would say this book is better suited to a child who has pretty good pen control, so either on the cusp of starting school or in already in reception. Although as someone in my late 30s, I could easily sit down and happily colour in one or two of these pages. I think colouring books appeal to many ages & almost everyone loves them. In fact colouring books are having something of a moment in the spotlight (although advocates would say they never went out of fashion). Colouring has been reported to help adults cope with stress and practice 'mindfulness'. I think it also has beneficial affects on children too. Colouring books like "Doodle and Draw Spots, Stripes and Squiggles" help to reduce screen-time, foster creativity and help develop fine motor skills.

As a budding illustrator herself, Magoo's felt tip of choice are Crayola Pip-Squeaks. She uses them nearly everyday and they are still going strong. Crayola Pip-Squeaks are great for little hands and pack a colourful punch.

We really love this coloring book from Parragon and would recommend it for ages four and upwards. Perfect for a rainy day, long car journey or just as a way of relaxing before bedtime. I've got my fingers crossed that Parragon will bring out a sequel soon...

Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was sent to me as part of the Book Buddies Review program. All views are my own.

I'm linking up with My Best Post of the Week #MBPW over on Britmums, Let Kids be Kids over on, Brilliant Blog Posts over on

Friday, 1 May 2015

Simple tutorial for a handmade vintage trim bookmark or journal strap

I've been selling vintage trim in my online shop for over four years now & I love hearing about how people use the trim they buy from me. I also love incorporating trim into my own sewing projects, so I'm always on the look-out for new ideas. I've been putting together a board of 'vintage trim projects & inspiration' over on Pinterest. I've found lots of things I want to try out. One of my favourites is for a handmade bookmark or strap to keep your journal/notebook closed. Really simple to create, but very useful & pretty to look at.

You will need:

Trim or ribbon

Hairbands (I used Ouchless hairbands from Goody)

Large button


Needle & thread


The tutorial I found on Pinterest uses modern ribbon, but I'm a vintage-loving girl, so I've used vintage trim and a vintage button. I've used a piece of my woven fabric trim in mustard yellow & sage green. I think a wider trim makes a better bookmark/strap.

First cut trim to the length you require. For my A5 notebook, I've used approximately 19 inches (allowing extra for small hems each end). Obviously if you are making a strap for a larger notebook, you will need to use a longer length.

Then fold one end of the trim around the hairband & pin in place.

You can either machine-sew the end in place or hand sew. I chose to hand sew around the edges of the folded over section.

Once that is done, fold over the other end of the trim, pin and sew in the same way around edges to secure & neaten the end.

Finally sew your chosen button onto the front of the end without the hairband.

Once complete, wrap the trim around your book and hook the hairband around the button to secure in place.

And there you go, your handmade creation is now ready to be used as a bookmark or a journal strap.

Perfect for adding a personal touch to notebooks and journals.

And because they are so simple to make, you can whip up a few in your favourite trims & ribbons.

Follow Pouch's board vintage trim projects & inspiration on Pinterest.

I'm linking up with #brilliantblogposts over on and with Vintage Bliss Tuesdays, also Flaunt it Friday on Chic on a Shoestring Decorating blog, Frugal Friday over on Shabby Nest and My Best Post of the Week #MBPW over on

Friday, 24 April 2015

spring, sunshine and seeds

The past couple of weeks have been glorious here in the UK. Sunshine nearly everyday, above average temperatures and loads of time to get out & about in the garden. Spring has to be one of the most magical times, everything is bursting back into life. I adore seeing the blossom arrive on the trees and planning the seeds I'm going to plant.

I've been planting out calendula, nasturtium and some other 'purple flower' I grew last year. The calendula came out of packet of mixed seeds last year & I fell in love with them. With regular dead-heading, they flowered all Summer long. I saved a heap of seeds from last year's plants & they've been drying in a cup all through the Winter.

Our apple tree was really unhappy last year. It didn't fruit at all & the leaves turned brown. I gave the tree a prune for the first time & so far, it looks much happier this year. It's starting to bud with blossom and the leaves look much better.

I also love nasturtium. I'm a big fan of easy plants that look after themselves and churn out heaps of flowers. I've planted a couple of seeds per fibre pot. The good thing about fibre pots is you can put them into the ground & not disturb the seedlings roots. I bought mine from Wilko, they are only 80 pence for 12 so definitely worth buying a few for your seedlings. I also go around pushing nasturtium seeds in here & there around the garden & wait to see what pops up later in the Summer.

The unidentified 'purple flower' has already started to sprout & I will need to pot them on soon. They also came out of the packet of mixed seeds last year & once again I saved lots of seedpods from the plants & dried them over the Winter.

I think possibly one of the best Spring-time treats is seeing the cherry blossom appear. It's so fleeting, gone after a few days, but it is utterly beautiful whilst it is around. We have two cherry trees, so I get to see plenty of my favourite blossom.

This week I'm linking up with 'How Does Your Garden Grow' #HDYGG over on

Monday, 13 April 2015

Remembering my Granny on her 95th Birthday

Today would have been my Granny's 95th Birthday.

She passed away three months ago on 30th December 2014.

My Granny always liked a 'bit of a fuss' on her birthday. It was a bit of family joke, we'd tease her about it, thinking that excitement surrounding birthdays is only for children. But in fact, she was right to hold onto that excitement, if you can't make someone feel a bit special on their birthday, then there's something wrong!

So on her 95th Birthday, I'm missing making a 'bit of a fuss' of her. I feel quite taken aback at how upset I feel today. I think when someone old dies you're not 'allowed' to be sad. You talk about what a long life they had and the gratitude for all the things they were able to experience. I completely get that & it's one of the best ways to cope with the death of an elderly relative. When someone young dies, it is tragic & the thoughts of what might've been are almost impossible to bear.

But when someone elderly dies, you lose a person who has been a part of your life for so long, you don't quite know how to react.

My Granny was alive for a long time, she saw her children become pensioners, her grandchildren reach their late 30s and her eldest Grandchild is going to university next year. She was a Mother, a sibling, a Grandmother, a friend and all those connections are so important in a life. She was engrained in our lives, that we can't help missing her, even if we do understand how lucky we were to have her for so long.

My Granny was intricately involved with the whole family, she wanted to know everyone's news and all the latest developments. She was part of the landscape of our lives, and when she died, a big part of our family fabric became unstitched. It isn't something you can mend, you just have to learn to live with it.

Grief is a funny thing, you think you're ok & then it hits you. It comes along when you're happy, sometimes when the sun is shining, often at family occasions when you notice the empty seat, usually at milestones in your life...when you want to tell that person all the latest news.

So, on my Granny's 95th birthday, I say "Penblwydd hapus" to her and I'll let myself feel sad, but also happy at all the shared experiences we had.

The picture you can see at the top of this post is a block made in memory of Muriel, my Granny. It is bought in aid of the Buy a Block Fundraiser and it will form part of a new floor when our local museum is refurbished. The blocks are placed in a temporary display where members of the public can see them before they are laid in their final location.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Tobogganing at the Mendip Snowsport Centre in Somerset

I spotted on Facebook that a friend had taken her daughter to the Mendip Snowsport Centre to try out the tobogganing slope. It looked like great fun so I promptly went online and booked a session for Magoo. It was only £4 for an hour of tobogganing, which is a real bargain. A perfect way to have some fun in the Easter school holidays.

I wondered if Magoo would be scared when she saw the dry ski slope, but she couldn't wait to get started. The children are given a safety talk first & then they were off! At first the children slid down & then ran back up with their toboggans, but after only ten minutes you could see the children flagging. It wasn't long before parents were roped it to do the lion's share of the toboggan-carrying...

It really is a wonderful way to tire your children out. Lots of exercise & excitement on a beautiful sunny April day. The staff were lovely at the Snowsport Centre, so we'll definitely be visiting again.

We took Magoo to see the main dry ski slope where she saw the adults skiing. She promptly said that she wanted to go on there 'next time'. Getting hooked on skiing is an expensive maybe we'll just stick to the tobogganing for now.

This week I'm linking up with #countrykids over on


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