Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A Fresh Start

Our year so far has been rather fantastic I have to say. New opportunities and big changes have been the flavour of these first few snowy, chilly months. 

For me it's meant goodbye to great colleagues but hello to a wonderful new job (you might guess where from the picture...) I'm based in a historic working pottery, promoting the amazing products manufactured there as well as the skills and craftsmanship that create them, plus wonderful events and partnerships too. There is a lot of pinching myself going on!

This is my very first week and there's a huge amount to learn. All my energies are going into it as well as family life so unfortunately, just for the time being, my blogging may be even more sporadic than my regular weekly post. 

I hope you can bear with me because I still enjoy this blogging lark as much as ever and appreciate all your thoughtful and supportive visits and comments so much. Thanks especially for the huge response to my recent posts (especially the dresser one!) which really seemed to strike a chord. So sorry I've not been able to respond very much but the past few weeks have been so full of applications, CVs and interview preparations as you can imagine. 

You can follow me on Instagram (CurlewSteph) and Twitter (@CurlewSteph) if you use those platforms which I'll carry on posting to in the meantime. 

Back very soon .... Xxx

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Hill Country

If you get up to Flash, the highest village in Britain, drop over the hilltops and go down on to the ancient packhorse trails, you are in for a treat. 

It's wild and rugged country, a place where three counties meet in the hills, once the hangout of all sorts of thieves, rouges and vagabonds. Today it was us there, with hikers, pony trekkers and a few motorbike scramblers for company (who soon cleared off).

Three Shires Head is a very special place to us. Fourteen years ago Woody asked me to marry him as we stood on that little bridge over the dark, peaty, tumbling river. Standing there today with our two chaps laughing and whooping and skimming stones into the depths, felt incredibly precious. We've come a long way and I feel luckier than I could have ever imagined. 

Happy Valentine's weekend one and all xxx

Saturday, 31 January 2015

A Beautiful Mess

My dresser is especially dear to me. It was the very first piece of furniture I bought. I'd scoured the local classifieds for a pine dresser for my first house and could just afford to stretch to this.

It was horridly orange when I saw it in a dark little bungalow with my dad. The chap selling it was very shaken up after two previous people ended up scrapping over it in the street!? He was quite glad that dad and I spent just five minutes in his house, handed over the dosh and took it off his hands.

I painted it white quite swiftly and it desperately needs re-doing, but part of me is quite attached to the scuffs and dinks that family life have wrought upon it. Over time I've moved on from displaying pale and chintzy china to bolder, chunkier pottery that I much prefer and suits our home much better. The whole thing is a moving, growing display of memories and day to day life which is what I love about it so very much.

The Liberty bunting was a decoration at my 40th party, there are photos of cherished nephews, endless piles of correspondence from school, junk shop and flea market pottery, holiday postcards and pretty cards, presents for wrapping, uniforms needing mending, sewing kits, a colourful tea cosy, favourite mugs and teapots, a pleasingly shaped jug from Lyme Regis, chargers, a cheese dish, sellotape, glue and crafty mess in the drawers - a beautiful, much treasured mess. Home xxx 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A Refreshing Start

Look! There's life outside despite it being so dank and dark. Not that I'm minding much. Seasons are what keep me going, they mark and celebrate the year, so darkness and chill during January are really just how things should be. Seeing the bulbs peep through though is massive cause for celebration.

I'm not one for giving things up in January, it's a time for comfort and cosiness but  I do rather like to try something new. My concession to the New Year health kick is to try and knock back my sugary coffees and teas (I'm surely the only person left who still takes it!) -  but gosh it's hard. 

Instead of total abstinence I'm reducing my number of mugs and replacing them with a new found friendship with fruit and herbal teas. The Dorset Tea Company kindly offered me a chance to sample some of their delicious range of teas and fruit infusions which was quite timely for me and I've been making some lovely discoveries. 
(note - teapot not required but I wanted to show off my bargain, charity shop Saddler pot. I love it!)

Based in beautiful Dorset where we've had such lovely holidays, the Dorset Tea Company has recently created this new range of fruit and herbal infusions and green teas inspired by the some of England's most gentle and beautiful scenery. Its also good to read they're a producer member of The Rain Forest Alliance.

So, my new regime features a morning boost of Wild About Mint, without doubt my favourite; a mix of peppermint and spearmint (and tingling nettle apparently) that I'm finding a totally different experience and very refreshing. Green tea is a completely new drink to me and one I've looked at with trepidation if I'm honest - but with added lemon it's rather uplifting and relaxing; if that's a possible combination?! 

Woody's sweet tooth has been captured by Strawberries and Cream as an afternoon pick me up. For a fella he can be a bit refined and the special Earl of Dorset blend is disappearing fast. 
A handy flask is making my herbal habit very easy to keep up too. When I'm busy in the borders I like to top up my brew and I found today this trick works even better with herbal teas (lack of milk) and means you're not faced with that lukewarm disappointment that's the curse of the gardener's cuppa.

I've also taken to popping a few bags and a couple of flasks in the back of the car and a warm fruity or herbal choice was very popular after our blustery New Year's Day walk with this lovely bunch. They just reminded me that I really need to remember biscuits too next time - not quite so good for my sugar detox!
So have you picked up a new habit for the year to come? I'd love to know xx

Monday, 29 December 2014

Frozen Beauty

This time last year I couldn't run for a bus. The idea of stepping out in sub-zero temperatures - to exercise! - was an alien concept. If you follow this blog frequently you'll know that things for me in this regard have changed quite a bit. 

Today felt like a reminder of what I enjoy most about getting out running. Nature in all her glory. And a ok a bit cold but you soon get over that. I enjoyed every step x 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

They Said There'd Be Snow at Christmas ...

Late on Boxing Night it came. Great feathery flakes, the size of the golden coins in the boys stockings. Quickly settling and blanketing the village, our Boxing Day get together came to a swift end with family bundling back into the cars to get back over the hills. 

My sister has often been stuck trying to get back to Buxton and thankfully they made it over the treacherous Axe Edge just in time before the roads were closed. 

Mum and Dad live only four miles away but the last mile up the hill was too much for their car and they had to hike up together in the dark. Luckily they're made of sturdy stuff. This morning, knowing that everyone had made it back home safely, meant I could revel in our wintry, festive landscape.
Snow at Christmas time is something I cross my fingers for every year, never imagining it might come. A couple of inches dusted our valley but a mile or two away in Leek there's been a huge dump and pictures from friends in Buxton make it look like Narnia!

I know its nothing like in Europe or the States, but this dusting, when we have our Christmas trees and fairy lights up and have time to sledge and build snowmen, is precious. Christmas snow; the very best type there is. xxx

A Homely Christmas

Cosying in with close family, good food and time together to laugh and chat is all we could have wished for at Christmas and we were so lucky to have that.

Thanks for all your lovely Christmas wishes and I hope if you've been marking the festive season you've had a smashing time too. 

Its truly been a merry and bright time for us, which sort of puts into perspective how for many, many people it isn't and I think that moved us all too. We're a very lucky family and I shall be thankful all year - especially for our extra Christmas present that arrived on Boxing Night. More in the next post. xx