Simple pleasures…Rain on a Sunday

 

Rainy Sunday

I woke up this morning and I wanted to share with you one of my simple pleasures. It’s pouring with rain here in Bristol today and when I woke my heart sank a little as I knew I that I wouldn’t be spending lots of time in the garden… a moment or two later I felt immersed in joy, odd I know!

I got up, made a mug of Twinings Everyday tea and just sat listening to the sound of the rain pummelling our home, taking a moment to pause. The opportunity to hunker down during the summer is (hopefully!) a rare thing and taking time to slow down, reflect, plan and enjoy an unexpected day of rain is one of my simple pleasures.

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My simple pleasure – Spotting the signs of Spring

Spotting Spring flowers and signs of Spring is one of my simple pleasures. Nature is waking from its sleep and a new season is very much on its way. I love these delicate blooms that flower year after year. Over the past month I’ve been taking a few photos of the flowers that I’ve seen, getting down low to get up close and see life from their level.

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My simple pleasure – Watching Autumn colours

 

Over the past month or so I’ve been savouring one of my favourite seasons of the year. I love the arrival of Autumn and watching the leaves on trees and plants change colour, it really is one of my favourite simple pleasures at this time of year. For me the moment the leaves change means swapping the contents of wardrobes for cosy clothes, getting to wear my collection of scarves, putting on warm boots and a coat. It’s is a comforting signal to start winding down, spending more time indoors and snuggling under cosy blankets.

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My simple pleasure…smelling home grown mint

Smelling home grown mint from our herb garden is an ultimate simple pleasure of mine. As I potter around our courtyard garden checking how everything is growing, without fail I’m drawn towards our containers that are the home to our herb garden. I bend down to smell the mint, pick a sprig, place it on my palm and I slap my hands together…a waft of mint fills the air.

I love it when summer arrives, the mint springs into life and I can finally use freshly cut mint in summer drinks and for cooking. I love adding a small sprig of mint to summer drinks, my favourites are when it is combined with elderflower. Drinking a glass of elderflower cordial with ice and a big sprig of mint, or a refreshing glass of elderflower gin and tonic with mint are my favourites. The delicious combination of summer sunshine, mint and elderflower is heavenly.

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My simple pleasure…watching hot air balloons

Watching hot air balloons float through the sky is one of my favourite simple pleasures. When I was young we would regularly see hot air balloons flying overhead and watch them land in our local school playing field. The excitement and pleasure of watching hot air balloons glide across the sky has stayed with me for life. Living in Bristol and being close to Ashton Court, a local launch site for hot air balloons, means that I regularly get to enjoy the sight of colourful balloons floating by, sometimes drifting along unknown until you hear the roar of the burner above you.

This weekend is the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta where over 100 balloons take to the sky in a mass ascent each morning and evening (weather permitting!), filling the sky above Bristol with hot air balloons of all shapes, colours and sizes. Five years ago at the Balloon Fiesta Mr C and I took a balloon flight. It was a birthday present and an amazing experience that I had always dreamed of doing. Ever since then the sight of a hot air balloon still takes me back to my childhood love of balloons and the day I went in one.

 

Taking a moment to stop what I’m doing and watch a hot air balloon drift by is a lifelong love and one of my simple pleasures.

I love magazines

Do you have anything that you really love doing? I love reading magazines. I work at a media company that creates a few of these fantastic magazines in the photo and I’m super proud of what these talented teams deliver every month. I don’t write for any of the magazines myself but admire from afar! The content is so inspirational and the photography so beautiful.

As I mentioned in this post about The Simple Things last year, one of my favourite things is receiving post. For me that normally means magazines, a few exciting parcels for our home and fabric deliveries! During this busy and hectic month of November I’ve loved coming home after a long day, sitting down with a mug of tea in my snuggler seat with a blanket and a magazine. I find that taking time out and having a chance to escape from everything going on is the perfect way to relax and keep up to date with everything going on across the various interests I have. I love reading blogs and things online but there is nothing better than holding the paper of a magazine in my hands, then making a pile of those that I’ve read.

This stack above are keeping me busy at the moment. The great thing about some of these magazines is that they come with some lovely gifts. Over the past month or so Mollie Makes and Ideal Home had calenders as their cover gifts. I currently have both calendars from these magazines for 2013 on my walls in our kitchen and my craft room and love them. I’ve had a sneaky flick through the 2014 calenders and I’m looking forward to popping them on my walls in the new year.

You may have spotted an issue 1 and 2 of Love Patchwork and Quilting on the pile, this is a brand new magazine that I’m loving. I’m going to share my thoughts on the magazine with you in the next few weeks.

Flowers in our home

I love having flowers in our home, temporarily decorating the space with colour and filling the flat with a beautiful scent. These beautiful red tulips were a present from friends…

 

These pretty flowers were freshly cut from the containers in our courtyard garden. I grew them from bulbs I planted in the autumn last year. I love the pretty orange ruffle detail and the delicate white petals.
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How to make sloe gin

Sloe gin is one of my favourite winter tipples, it has such a sweet taste and a fantastic deep pink colour when the liqueur is made. To make your own sloe gin in time to enjoy during the winter you need to start early! I know we are quite a few weeks away from Christmas but to get Sloe gin to be ready in time for then you need to start now. Making sloe gin requires patience and time so the flavours mix and to allow the drink to reach perfection. I’m hoping to use the homemade sloe gin as small gifts for friends and family, it’s a great excuse to search for some pretty bottles and create handmade labels using my stamps.

Mr C and I went foraging for sloe berries during the middle of September on a walk in the countryside so hopefully there may still be berries around that you can pick now. You need to look out for berries on the blackthorn tree, they tend to grow in hedgerows. When you get home from picking your sloes I’d recommend putting them in a freezer bag in the freezer until you have all the things you need to make your own sloe gin. They say that you should pick sloes after the first frost but the freezer does a great job instead.
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A walk in the countryside: Chew Magna

 

In mid-September Mr C and I went on a country walk with friends. Living in Bristol we are lucky to be a short drive away from a number of great places to visit. We decided to take walk from Chew Magna to Chew Valley Lake and back again. We wanted to combine the walk with catching up with friends, a pub lunch and the chance to pick blackberries on the walk and hopefully sloes if we could find them. I bought Mr C a handy little book, Food For Free, last Christmas and we took with us as it fitted perfectly in Mr C’s back pocket of his trousers.

The weather was perfect for a walk, cloudy at first and later on the clouds broke to deliver a little bit of sunshine.  It took us only about 30 minutes on our walk to stumble on a bountiful crop of berries. At first we started to collect blackberries…

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Simple pleasures on a Monday evening

 

On Monday I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me, my subscription copy of The Simple Things had arrived. I was delighted and sat down with my favourite mug filled with warm tea.
The Simple Things didn’t disappoint. Issue one was full of inspiring features about food, gardening, interiors and getting outside. A thoughtful structure of the magazine took you through three sections of a day, from dawn to dusk. Within each part there was plenty to read, surrounded by beautiful photography and page design. I especially enjoyed the feature on cheese, the range of book reviews, the simple recipes to try and the Miscellany section. I finished reading my copy yesterday and I’m already looking forward to receiving issue two!