Autumnal Pinterest Board

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Despite the fact that its currently warm enough to wear a strappy summer dress outside with no tights or cardigan (unusual for October but I’m enjoying the warmth while it lasts), my brain is getting ready for Autumn. Conkers, pumpkins, wood fires, tweed skirts and wool blankets. Ive spent this afternoon adding loads of cozy things to my Pinterest Autumnal page. Do take a look

Swashbuckling Graffiti

A few months ago I was in Bristol and wandering around I saw much of the graffiti for which it is famous, but some things really caught my eye. Here be sea monsters! I do love that an underpass or a blank wall can become something beautiful (and not just squiggles or paint as you find along the railways)

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The Modern Gentleman’s Guide to Valentine Flowers

(or indeed anyone wishing to buy anyone flowers at any time)

Last year I wrote a guide to buying valentine chocolates. To make sure you get it just right, its useful to know what the recipient might like This year its all about the flowers.

Thinking of you

Flowers don’t have to be expensive, you can get small bunches of daffodils this time of year for around 80p, and a small token of ones affection can often mean just as much as extravagance. The gentleman of the house used to buy me ‘rescue plants’ you know the ones that are a bit past their use by date in the supermarket but sometimes just fine. This is an example of knowing your loved one. Once a friend teased him for buying me garage flowers but he knows that I wouldn’t take offence (however if you do want to make garage/supermarket flowers a bit more special you could swap the wrapping for some pretty coloured paper and tie with some ribbons). Buying a £2.99 bunch of flowers  and leaving the label on may be ok in some situations, but in others it may just like it was an ‘oh heck i forgot the flowers’ on the way over. (image source)

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A lasting arrangement

Cut flowers are all very well but they don’t last. Why not buy a longer lasting potted plant, all it needs is watering and you don’t need a vase. You can always make a bulb pot: shops are selling daffodil and hyacinth  bulbs in pots at the moment and with a bit of compost and a new pot you can make a beautiful gift.

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Culinary garden

Why not try an edible bouquet if your sweetheart is a fan of cooking. You can buy herbs in pots in supermarkets and garden centres, and to make them a bit fancier why not buy get/make a windowsill herb planter. The one below is from Sparrow and Finch You may find that supermarket herbs are tightly packed together and it can be good to split the plants over 2 or more pots. Alternatively you could buy a set of pots and seeds like this one from Greenfingers.com

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Make an entrance

With spring on its way why not make up some floral entrance pots to flank your loved ones front door. (image source)

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Hey big spender!

If you do want to splash out then bob to your local florist and get a special bouquet made up, or go online and order a delivery (do make sure you know the recipient well enough that they wont be embarrassed if flowers arrive at work for them – or that your ex-girlfriend doesn’t work on reception in the same firm – oh yes this really happened). There is always the classic red roses and sprays however when I was looking at wedding flowers I came across these amazing arrangements by Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart in London, they really are quite fantastic. Left The Romantic Vintage bouquet and Right The Seasonal Eclectic bouquet

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The gardening guru

Is your sweetheart a keen gardener? Why not buy some bulbs or seeds for them to enjoy. Chose something unusual, or maybe heritage vegetables (varieties which are being marginalised by mass farming – we don’t want them going extinct). This however will not see immediate results and do check the planting times (you dont want to get something which should have been planted in October). Alternatively you can adopt a veg or get involved with the Heritage Seed Library

There are of course edible bouquets made of sweets or fruit, i saw a chap in town selling ones made from flying saucers but didn’t catch the name of the company

Valentines day is however about more than the gifts, think of it as a day to celebrate love and caring however you spend it, even if youre on your own take some time to have a really nice relaxing or pampering evening doing what you enjoy best. Personally I love it, lots of red and pink, and excuse for baking, and probably buying myself random heart shaped pink and red tat.

Christmas crafting with the WI

I wrote a post in September listing some goals for autumn, while not completing all of them i have knitted stripy scarfs for my nephews (more on that later), learned how to use my sewing machine (although not used it since and unfortunately my embroidery class had to be cancelled due to a flood) and joined the Women’s Institute.

I dont know why but i’ve always rather wanted to join the WI and when some new friends told me they were members and directed me to the webpage i went to the very next meeting I could, which turned out to be the AGM but also a talk on foraging. The next meeting was a canopies and cocktails demo (with some hands on) and tasty samples.

Theres loads of things that go on outside the meetings and I signed up for a christmas crafting evening. This unfortunately however meant me having to get a bus at 6:45 last thursday, JUST AS THE STORM WAS OVERHEAD, and despite waterproof coat, PVC skirt and waterproof trousers I still got a bit soggy on the shoulder, elbows and toes – I really dont think ive EVER been out in rain that bad, i needed windscreen wipers for my glasses though they probably wouldnt have helped it was that bad.

Anyway I made it and the crafting began. The class was run by a lady who’s business card i have totally lost so unfortunately can’t credit (whoops), and we made cinnamon and orange bundles, clove baubles and cute little flower (holly) arrangements. They really were very simple to make, although the cloves do take a very long time, but once youre all chatting away it doesnt really matter 🙂

Let there be light

I have always loved candles. Theres something so peaceful and beautiful about a candle lit room. The best kind of candles are the ones that you can’t knock over so you don’t need to worry too much about. When I was little I had loads of floating candles. My mum bought them from IKEA, they were red, green and white and i loved them floating about in a glass bowl (also my mum approved as one tip over and they’re automatically extinguished)

More recently I’ve been a fan of the church style thick pillar candle. Although they don’t use all the wax when they burn they do make an excellent mantlepiece display. Tea lights are also invaluable for my oil burner and my little snowy pottery house in which a candle gives it a warm wintery glow

Last weekend we went to IKEA and since its not often I have access to that many cheap candles, i stocked up! Im really looking forward to redecorating the mantlepiece