Simple garden pleasures

This is our third summer in our house in Harlesden, if you read the blog back in 2014 you might remember the state of the garden when we moved in, basically a muddy rectangle and before that a scaffolding graveyard. 

Stage one: This was the state of the garden when we first looked round the house

Stage 2: Once we had cleared the previous owners rubbish out of the garden.

Stage 3: The first spring in the house after we had sorted out the design, lawn, shed etc.

Stage 4: Two years in the house and the garden feels pretty established.

The garden is north facing and we have had to think carefully about what to plant as it doesn't get nearly as much sunlight as our old flat. Also the damp shady conditions are a snails paradise and we have a serious snail issue.

We have a patio by the house that gets sun up until about lunch time so we try and eat as many breakfast as possible out here.

The end of the garden gets the most sunshine but unfortunately that's where our bike shelter and shed are. I have managed to shoe horn in our hot house so all the seedlings grow.

We tried to plant quite a lot of evergreen plants that would give a good coverage in winter and don't mind being in the shade. This fern  is going bonkers and the jasmine tree behind is pretty happy too.

And so that's it, our little Harlesden haven. It's a bit rough around the edges as I've pretty much let it look after itself this year. It's not a patch on our last flat and when we move again it will be a high priority to get a south facing garden. That said, it is beautiful, Joseph LOVES it and so do I. I really find it to be my little oasis  of calm in an often crazy world.


Devon in all its sunshine glory

I can't quite believe our luck! Not only was there a mini heatwave in England but it coincided with the very same week we had booked a cottage in Devon. I really felt like this was a massive boon, British sea side holidays in the drizzle are always an exercise in mind over matter and one which, with a toddler, is sometimes hard to win. In contrast we had almost faultless blue skies and soaring temperatures. Complete bliss. 

We rented a cottage in the South Hams district of South Devon which is near Totnes and the River Dart. I had been there before to visit some friends and had completely fallen in love with the area and wanted to show it to Nick and Joseph. Joseph is two now and had never been on a British seaside holiday which I felt was highly remiss. We also had my sister and bother in law plus my parent's dog in tow so we were a bit of a rabble. It's quite a smart area, lots of nice pubs and postcard worthy villages all set against the backdrop of beautiful undulating fields criss crossed with hedgerows and  patchwork quilt fields - like a scene from Postman Pat (I've been watching too muck kids TV). The killer piece of scenery in land is the River Dart which is this surreally beautiful estuarine river that meanders through the countryside with densely wooded banks and wildlife galore. It's like stepping back in time and feeling the olde English magic of the countryside.

We spent a couple of days at a beautiful beach called South Milton Sands where Joseph became accustomed to waves (at first a terrifying prospect) and quickly became obsessed with buying anything and everything he could find in the sand. A common toddler foible I am told!

Not only did we love this beach for its beautiful sand and clear waters, it also had the most amazing beach shack which was fully licensed and served up amazing fresh seafood all pretty much on the beach. Who would have thought you could feel so Caribbean in Devon. We didn't need much encouragement to get stuck in.

Three happily fed and sunned beach goers, what a treat.

We spent another day at Shoreham Vineyards which is a prize winning vineyard on the banks of the River Dart. We strolled around the vineyards and the river bank before settling in for some homegrown wine and delicious home made cheese, again, what's not to love?

The other place we stopped off that I really have to mention is a little riverside pub in a small hamlet called Tuckenhay. It's set on the banks of a little tributary of the main river and has beautiful views and a lovely slow feel where you can sit and unwind all day, which is exactly what we did.

On our last day we went to Dartmouth, a really pretty town where we got to indulge all our British seaside needs. We gorged ourselves on   catch of the day fish and chips and guzzled ice creams in the sunshine looking out over the harbour whilst watched by hungry sea gulls. All most enjoyable. 

We went to a few other shingly beaches as well which were also very pretty but, in my opinion, I don't think you can beat a nice sandy beach!

All in all such a wonderful trip away, staying in one of my favourite corners of England.


A few bits

Hi there everyone, gosh, it's been a very long time since I have written on here. I keep meaning to write but I find, as with most things in my life, it's a habit and once I'm out of the habit it is very hard to get back in. So here goes, a quick one to kick start a whole new wave of blogging enthusiasm.

Since I last wrote on here that I was hanging up my upholstery boots, I've had a fair bit of interest from people and have ended up doing some lovely chairs for them. This fantastic pair of 1950's East German armchairs look great upholstered in the gorgeous Designers Guild velvet. It is so thick (100% cotton) and luxurious, it makes any piece of furniture look pretty luxe.

This little pair of 1950's cocktail chairs also looked really nice in these thick linen weaves. That material is dyed using vegetable colouring and has a very organic look.

 I still have a few pieces left of the old stock and since the end of the summer term is just round the corner, I am planning on going on some buying trips to stock up on lovely chairs. I have had quite a lot of people asking about when there will be new stock in and as soon as I have photographed it, I will put it up here and you can get in touch if you're interested.

For now, what I have left is as follows:

 A lovely big easy chair which is so comfortable. This chair is Danish and as solid as they come. This is a photo of its pair which has already been upholstered and sold. The other is waiting for new fabric and a new home.
Cost inclusive of fabric and upholstery is £540 per chair.

 I have two of these arm chairs with a wooden arm rest on each arm. They scrub up really nicely and look great in either a pattern or plain. These are originally from Poland and also date back to the 1940/50's.
Cost inclusive of fabric and upholstery is £550 per chair.

I have these two cocktail chairs waiting to be covered. They can either be finished with or without buttons. These also hail from the old Communist block and date from 1940/50's. They are comfy and attractive little chairs that look great in the corner of a room.
Cost inclusive of fabric and upholstery is £315 per chair.

I wanted to finish with lots of gorgeous shots of our garden  but the sun never seems to be shining when I'm at home so that will have to wait for another time. I hope all you people out there have had slightly better weather than we have in London, it feels like it hasn't stopped raining.We have a week away booked to a cottage in Devon in a few weeks and I am just praying for nice weather. I want to introduce Joseph to the delights of British sea side holidays which are, questionable at best if it is hammering down with rain!

Till next time...