In search of what I wasn’t looking for | HomeSense GiftCard Competition

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had a love affair with HomeSense since we moved up to Northamptonshire 6 and a half years ago. Their Northampton store sits on a generous corner plot, in one of the town’s retail parks; and walking through the doors is literally like walking into an Aladdin’s cave. The stock — and the layout of the store — is constantly evolving and shifting. Go in for a lampshade and you may come out with an armful of bright cushions or a bunch of beautiful faux florals. Go in search of bathroom accessories and there’s a good chance that you’ll be sidetracked before you find them; and will end up being bewitched by a vast and gorgeous array of stationery. So when I went to our local store the other week — to buy a new coffee pot — it really came as no surprise that I left with various other treats, that I hadn’t actually been looking for. HomeSense is so good at this.   It lures you in and before you know it, you’re led on a merry treasure hunt around the store. For those of you familiar with HomeSense, you’ll be nodding at this point and will know exactly what I mean. But… Read More

188 weeks and 6 days | Autumn in the garden

Autumn crept up without me really noticing. Most of the deciduous trees, in our area, still have most of their foliage which is a little strange for this time of year. Often by now there’s a crunchy carpet of leaves underfoot. Usually by mid October, everything’s starting to look a little more stark than it did today. Plus it’s been really mild over the last few weeks. I’ve been pretending it’s late summer — still wearing flip-flops rather than my favourite boots — but if I’m sitting still working, for long periods in my she shed, things have a tendency to get quite chilly after a while. A sure sign that summer has exited — stage door right. When I went to feed the chickens this morning I thought how green everything looked. Then the more I looked, I could see colour everywhere. Purple, magenta, rust and ochre — literally the garden is a riot of colour at the mo. I tend to favour the cooler end of the spectrum when it comes to planting; so we have lots of white and lilac, blue and pinks, in the flower borders, which is restful on the eye throughout the summer. Then as everything begins to die back for the winter, the plants show… Read More

Home Etc #58

By the time this edition of Home Etc goes live, I’ll *hopefully* be waking up in our lovely hotel room in beautiful, sunny Sardinia (or possibly may still even be fast asleep, depending on how lucky I am)! I’m not hosting the Home Etc linky this week (for obvious reasons) so if you have a post (or two) to share, please pop over to my lovely friend — and co-host — Jess’ blog. You’ll find the linky portal over there and you can link up as usual. In the meantime, I thought I’d take the time to share some of my favourite Instagram pics from the last month with you! roostblog / noahandthegirls  /capturebylucy / three_sons_later /  mummyofboygirltwins / alanababyholiday / theordinarylovely / mollyandtheprincess / bubbablueandme #HomeEtc the hashtag Jess and I are thrilled to see so many lovely folk using the #HomeEtc hashtag on Instagram! I love seeing all the pics together like this too — such a fab collection of colour and happy-making loveliness! Please do join in – we would love you to use it too! :) Whenever you are on Instagram and posting anything home, interiors, DIY, craft & garden related please do use the #HomeEtc hashtag. We would love to see your Instagram photographs and give them some love!  See you in a couple… Read More

The Perfect Gardening Companion | The Hepburn Mark II Radio

I’ve spoken before about my love of gardening. I guess it’s in the blood. My paternal grandmother was notoriously green fingered — as was my maternal grandfather. He was a really keen gardener and when he died I asked for a couple of rhubarb plants from his garden. I’ve written about the homemade rhubarb cordial that we make with the spoils each year and, this year, we’ve also taken over an allotment. Even more scope for growing things! Now, I say ‘I have a love of gardening’ — and that’s true — but if I’m being 100% honest, I rarely do any of the grunty stuff. My boy is head gardener in our household, without question. He spends hours out there. Growing little plants from seed; tending them until they’re hardy enough to be replanted outside. Oddly, he’s not normally one for solitude. If he’s left in the house by himself, for any reason, he has to go out. To the pub/shops/for a round of golf; anywhere where there’s other humans and the possibility of a conversation. So I find it weird that, since my gorgeously gregarious husband has caught the gardening bug, he’s happy in the company of his plants and… Read More

Home Etc #52 — Happy first birthday!

Happy birthday Home Etc! One year old today! My lovely friend and co-host Jess (from the blog Mummy Of Boy and Girl Twins) and I have been running this linky for a full year now — I can’t believe how fast it’s gone! We’ve had some amazing bloggers linking up with us over the last 12 months and featured some really creative and inspiring posts. Thanks so much to everyone that’s supported us and helped to create such a lovely little community of home and garden-mad bloggers. For anyone popping over here for the first time, who hasn’t heard of Home Etc before — Home Etc is a weekly link up for folks who have written any post that includes interiors (wish lists, room tours or DIY). Garden or allotment ideas plus crafting or up-cycling.   If you’re a lover of all things home and have a post that you’d like to share, we’d love for you to come and link up with us! Home Etc Favourites One of last week’s favourite posts came from Jemma at List Of Lovely Things. She shared some shots of her family veggie plot; before pics and how it’s looking now. I LOVE the little plant markers made from wooden spoons — so creative — I’m definitely going to… Read More

Home Etc #50

How can it be Wednesday again already?? The weeks seem to literally melt into each other at the moment. I can’t believe it’s Home Etc day again already! Home Etc is a weekly link up for bloggers who have written a post that includes interiors (wish lists, room tours or DIY). Garden or allotment ideas plus crafting or up-cycling.   If you’re a home-bird and have a post that you’d like to share, my co-host Jess (from the blog Mummy Of Boy & Girl Twins) and I would be delighted for you to come and link up with us! We had a lovely lot of bloggers link up last week — sharing some great garden and home inspiration. Favourites One of last week’s favourite posts came from Karen who Well I Guess This Is Growing Up . She linked up a fab post sharing her experience at a flower arranging masterclass. I did a similar thing at Jane Packer, back in March. Such a fantastic skill to learn — I loved all Karen’s pictures — it really made me wish I’d been there. Do pop over and have a look if you’ve not read her post. Another favourite came from our lovely friend Julia who blogs at Rainbeaubelle. She had created a Flower Fairy garden for her children and Jess and I were totally… Read More

Home Etc #49

Wednesday folks, which only means one thing! It’s Home Etc day! :) My co-host Jess — mummy of boy girl twins — and I are absolutely delighted to host Home Etc, a weekly linky club for bloggers to share any posts that include interiors, garden, DIY, crafting or up-cycling. Basically if it’s at all home related, we’d love you to link up with us! Here’s a round-up of our **favourite posts** from last week: Clare who blogs at Maybush Studio showed us how to make stylish storage from old food jars. I have mentioned before how much I love to recycle things — and I love getting my chalk paint out — so this totally floated my creative boat and satisfied my love for recycling. Such a simple thing to do and I think they look AMAZING! I can envisage rows of little jars like this in my she-shed once it’s ready to move in to :) Talking of she-sheds, another of our favourite posts from last week came from Keira who blogs at Dekkobird. She shared her potting shed makeover  — this was quite topical for me as I have literally spent all of the bank holiday weekend painting my own garden building. I can totally and utterly appreciate all the work… Read More

164 weeks and 6 days — A mini garden update

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now but spare time seems to be elusive and this handful of images, that I took in the last days of March, have been sitting on my camera waiting to see the light of day. And actually, since taking these photographs, the garden has changed beyond all recognition. Little buds have turned into fully formed flowers and when I went to put the chickens away last night — and actually took a minute to look around and spend a few minutes observing — it almost looks a million miles away from these images. I love this time of year. The garden is waking from it’s winter slumber and everything is stretching and yawning. The plants are really starting to come alive again. Over the winter, you could be forgiven for thinking that a lot of them are dead. Then little by little, tiny green shoots begin to appear — amidst all the rotted, brown vegetation — and within (what feels like) days it’s a riot of colour. Last year, around this time, I created a rainbow of colour using the plants that I found in our garden. We’re lucky enough that some clever soul had really… Read More