Yay Summer!

Today is the hottest day of the year, so far, apparently.  I am loving it.... l o v i n g  i t !   I don't even care that I am simultaneously battling a summer cold and hayfever (an ugly combination).  I have put my swimming costume on under my dress and I'm playing musical chairs in the garden, chasing the sun.  

For now, I've moved into the living room - the coolest room in the house - to keep Lizzie company.  She keeps following me into the garden and lays in the hottest part until she pants as though she is about to expire.  It worries me a bit.  I've got the windows open, a bunch of roses in my new (to me) enamel coffee pot and a Lavender Lemongrass candle on the go.  I've got washing on the line and the house is getting properly aired with windows flung wide open.  Dinner is going to be homemade burgers with sweet potato wedges and salad, followed by homemade honeycomb ice cream.  Life is good!  

This is my first summer working for myself and being my own boss is still a massive novelty.  At the bank I could've been sitting in a meeting in London, Leeds or Edinburgh right now, not wearing a swimsuit in the garden and floating around with my glass of pop chinking ice.  One word:  wahoo.  Of course, I need to exercise a little discipline too.  If the good weather continues I am still going to have to set aside some time to photograph our new products and of course daytime is essential for nice, bright shots; I can't wait until the sun has gone down. 

We sat outside last night with all of the outdoor lanterns lit and the garden looked magical.  I think people tend to mainly buy lanterns in the winter but they are so perfect outdoors on a dry evening. We have been working on the garden a little this weekend.  I am trying to focus on perennials but couldn't resist some lavender bacopa and pale pink diascia at the weekend (the diascia I planted in apple crates last year has survived the winter and is blooming even larger than before.  I'm really pleased, it looks so pretty).

The weekend was a lovely mix of housework and relaxing.  We went to see Ghostbusters on Sunday evening and both of us loved it.  We thought it was hilarious but I think we were the only ones who did!  We were the only ones laughing for most of the film, ha!  

It is weird now that we have all weekends to ourselves; Andrew's son has recently turned 18 and has better things to do than hang out with us at the weekend.  It is great to see him all grown up and doing his own thing but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the nights of Mario Kart and Parks & Rec binge-watching!  (I don't miss the early Sunday mornings of dinosaur top trumps and leaving the house at stupid-o-clock to get to a theme park before the crowds.)  

I'd better crack on and get my work finished for the day so that I can get back out into the sun.  I am starting a monthly newsletter for the Little Green Door and if you sign up you'll get free stuff, discounts and special offers.  I just need to work out how to add the 'sign-up' button to my website*. 

Have a great week, friends.



*edited to add:  I blinking did it!  At the foot of the website or on our contact page you can now sign up to receive our newsletters.  You will not receive spam, I will not pass on your details to ANYONE and I will not email you more than once a month, pinky promise. You'll get a 10% discount code for your trouble.  Thank you!

(PS if you have received an email regarding the loyalty scheme you will still need to sign up for newsletters please; I need your permission to contact you.  Thanks everyone.) X 

"When you cuddle, you feel safe."*

*said Izzie, aged 7. 

For new readers, Izzie is my eldest niece.  She came out with this little gem, conversationally, as we snuggled under the covers last time she stayed over.  I think she was a bit scared, spending the night in a creeky old cottage, and these words of wisdom were casually imparted as she lined up a small army of cuddly toys, on the pillow next to her.

My husband had, kindly, moved into the spare room for the night so that Izzie and I could share a bed.  All I can say, after sharing a bed with Izzie for the night, is that I can understand why sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture. Several times, just as I was about to drop off, I had a sharp jab in the ribs or a stage-whispered "Auntie Nicki, are you asleep?".  Eventually, I was asked to make up a story.  I told her I would if she just closed her eyes.  

Making up a story sounded like a doddle to me.  I write short stories and make up little children's tales in my head all of the time.  But at 10pm after a day of intense activity with aforementioned 7 year old, my tired mind was blank.  I gingerly started the story of Princess Clara who lived with her mummy and daddy in a beautiful, crooked, stone castle... "What colour was Princess Clara's hair, Auntie Nicki?" My response - long dark hair - satisfied the brunette little girl next to me for a few seconds.  Until I mentioned Princess Clara's long pink gown and sparkly pink shoes.  "They sound lovely Auntie Nicki.... I have a pair of blue sparkly shoes you know.  They're my party shoes..." And on it went.  The story became a conversation with Izzie constantly interrupting to question a detail ("I thought you said his coat was blue?") change the name of a servant or the words of a spell.  Telling her to close her eyes as I recited the story only led to the pair of us trying to secretly peer at each other with one eye squinted open, quickly closing it as we spotted the other spying.  Iz fell into an exhausted slumber at 10:30pm and I slept fitfully for the rest of the night waking on the hour to check that she was still breathing.  This, I remind myself, is precisely why I would make a rubbish (and exhausted) mother.

Those words about cuddling have been playing on my mind ever since, though.  You really do feel safe when you cuddle.  Giving someone a long, tight, hug during their panic attack can be a real help (it is for me).  When I was ill with anxiety and depression last year, my counsellor recommended I bought a teddy bear, for cuddles when there was no one around to administer them.  On the basis that I have a very placid and tolerant dog at home, I didn't buy a bear but if I had, I'd have chosen one of the ones I now stock in the shop. 

Pop over and have a look - perfect for big or small children and uber-snuggly.  I have more Maileg toys coming soon, complete with pyjamas and other, fancier, outfits.  My nieces give me the best excuse to stock them.  Last weekend, when the Maileg order had just come in, Izzie (7) chose the large fluffy bunny and Ellie (20 months) chose the tiny mouse in knickers.  Truffle the pig is my favourite! 

Have a lovely weekend and thanks for popping by.



Cosy Plans

Hello hello and happy Friday!  The weather is awful here today.  There is a thick blanket of greyish cloud and a fine drizzle just hanging in the air.  Most unpleasant.  It is the perfect day to get cosy indoors.  I have been really busy this week and haven't spent much time with Andrew.  I am looking forward to him getting home from work tonight so that we can cuddle up together and have a relaxing night at home.  

I think my mum has taught me well when it comes to having a cosy home and making the small things special.  One of my favourite memories of my childhood is coming home from school on a cold and murky afternoon to a snug house and cup of tea.   We never had the overhead lights on at home, our rooms were always lit by cosy little lamps on tables and dressers any time it was a little bit grey outside.  We had a lovely gas fire which would be switched on ready for us getting home and there was a little marble surround where I'd rest my tea and a couple of Golden Crunch Cream biscuits.  How I loved sitting in front of that fire with my sister, dunking biscuits and watching Jackanory whilst mum cooked tea.  I know it's just a really small thing but it had a big impact on me and I never took it for granted.  I love to try to give Andrew that same sense of wellbeing when he gets home after a grotty day at work.  

So, tonight I am going to light the candles and lanterns, get a fire going and make something comforting for dinner.  We have lots of episodes of Broadchurch to catch up on and I quite fancy a boozy drink in front of the TV. 

We are off out for the day tomorrow so I'm hoping the weather improves.  It was lovely here last weekend and we made the most of it by heading out to the pub in the village next to us.  We are quite lucky to be surrounded by lots of nice country pubs, many of them bistro-style with good food and the modern country decor which I love.  I'd spent the morning baking (with Lizzie following me around the kitchen like a shadow) plain vanilla fairy cakes with pastel icing and sugar flowers.  It felt like spring was on its way then.  What happened?!

Have a lovely weekend and keep cosy. 



Catching Up Over a Jam Sandwich

Hello hello! It is 5am and I am writing this post from my kitchen with a mouthful of strawberry jam sandwich.  I woke up half an hour ago thinking of strong coffee, bacon sandwiches and white chocolate shortbread.  Unfortunately for me, our food cupboards are a bit skinny at the moment and so I had to resort to my usual bare-cupboard-snack.  It's actually quite delicious. 

I am a bit excited, too.  I am making lots of Easter pretties at the moment and have already had lots of orders for my Easter bunny wreaths. I love making them and can't wait to send them off to their new homes.  My newly-retired dad has been teaching me woodwork and the fruits of my labour will be listed here as soon as the paint's dry.  

We had torrential rain here yesterday.  The road outside our house was almost entirely underwater and the neighbour was out in his wellies, paddling around in his garden.   We live on a bit of a hill and it is unusual for us to have such a lot of water outside.  It was gushing down the road and passing cars were creating waves as tall as me.   My friend and sister who both live in Market Harborough were sending me photos yesterday of various areas in the town badly affected (note to residents:  do NOT use that overflow car park for the Market Harborough train station.  Apparently it often floods in bad weather and you'll lose your car.)  My niece's school closed urgently as the lane was knee-high with water - she cried as her dad collected her.  She told my sister that she is desperate for school to be open today because she "likes to learn".  Oh, the cuteness of a 7 year old. 

It occurred to me yesterday that I have done it - I have made it through the worst of the winter without feeling depressed.  Yee-ha!!  The days are getting longer, the dawn chorus is in full throttle from 4am and tiny muscari and tete-a-tete are bobbing their heads around the house.  The relief!  I think it is a combination of finally finding the right job for me but I have also allowed myself time for indulgences.  Naps almost every Sunday afternoon, cake whenever I fancy (no dieting allowed until the clocks go forward) and lots of lovely binge-TV by the fire. 

A few new goodies have arrived here for the shop recently and I put them all up on the website yesterday.  They are all gorgeous; my current favourite is the large wicker tray which is a good sturdy number large enough to carry two dinner plates and a couple of drinks into the garden.   I also love the little rusty crown tray and can't wait to load mine up with Easter treats.  Have a butcher's, and don't forget that orders of ยฃ50 or more qualify for free scented candles.

Finally, I have listed the Walther & Co zinc houses.  Walther & Co has the biggest and best selection of house lanterns and each one is of impeccable quality and, of course, stunning Danish design.  I will be ordering more later in the year and it's never too early to start your collection.  I have managed to get my hands on quite a few over the years and they looked so pretty at Christmas, creating a winter village.  For the rest of the year I just dot them around the house in pairs where they twinkle prettily.

Have a fabulous Thursday, my lovely friends.  I am feeling peckish again so I'm going to make another teeny sandwich and find a cosy corner to curl up with a book for an hour or so.  





Discount and Free Stuff

Hello hello!  Just dropped by to let you know of a couple of promotions that I'm running in the shop this week.  

First off, to wrap up my Valentine Giveaway over on instagram, there is a 10% discount on all orders until midnight tonight, using the code 100hearts.  Flat rate P&P of ยฃ4.50.

Then, with Mother's Day around the corner, I am offering a free tiny antique preserve pot with every candle box.  The little pots are water-tight and just perfect to pop a tiny posy on display.  Don't forget to pick up a packet of skinny candles too! 

The flowers I used in the image below were foraged on a walk around the village and from the sparse little plants that are flowering in the garden at the moment.  A single rose head on a very short stem (or ranunculus etc) would be stunning too. 

 I have styled up my large square candle box for the spring with a few cuttings of ivy from the garden and a little wicker nest I bought at hobbycraft the other day.  The feathers were from Hobbycraft too (I thought they were a bit more hygienic than the ones I see on my dog walks).  I bought a bagful and just tucked a few in and around the nest and filled it with some gorgeous Belgian chocolate eggs from Beckworth Emporium.  I had the candle box on display at the Lollyrocket fair I did on Saturday and there was a super cute little girl who was very taken with it and wanted to know if the eggs were real.  As soon as I told her they were chocolate, her hand was straight in the box and ready to scoff.  She was adorable!  

The offer of a free antique preserve pot ends on Friday 4th March at midnight - happy shopping!

PS I've changed my name to thelittlegreendoor on instagram now, just in case you can't find me. X

Windy Days and Scented Candles

Hello hello! I am going to start by saying happy birthday to my lovely dad.  He's had a bit of a rubbish day by the sound of it so I want to just remind him how ace I think he is and how much I love him.  (I'm also a bit broke, dad, if you've got a spare tenner?....)  Haha.   It's my friend Mel's birthday too *waves* happy birthday lovely! 

It has been so windy these last couple of days, I hardly slept a wink last night.  I know that our house has remained standing for 400 years but it still gives me the heebies when I hear the wood beams creaking and the window frames rattling.  I am not a fan of being outdoors in the wind - it gives me horrible earache.  Lizzie no likey either, so we've stayed in all day.  I got some knitting done (I have joined in with the Martin Storey knit along for Rowan) and watched the last few episodes of The Affair.  I really loved that series.  Loved it.  I did not love Noah (in fact I felt quite repulsed by him) but Cole goes a long way to restore your faith in a chap.  The scenery and cinematography was a treat.  Next on the 'To Watch' list is War & Peace.  I've recorded them all and haven't watched a single one so I will pick a quiet day when I can watch them back to back.  So excited - everyone seems to have loved it.

I've had some new deliveries in this week that I need to add to the site.  Today I received the first batch of my 1803 candles order.  I have been so excited for them to come in.  They are only really available in America - I have become just the second distributor in the UK which makes me very happy.  If you haven't tried them before you really should - they are divine.  They are hand poured soy candles and the fragrances are delightful.  They come in gorgeous packaging and, unlike a lot of scented candles, the scent throw is really good. When I light mine I can smell them all the way through the house.  The little rustic tin buckets arrived first, in the following 'flavours':

Lavender Lemongrass: Used for generations to sooth the weary soul...A blend of Natural Lavender and Lemongrass

Cabin on the Hill: Simple and peaceful the cabin looks on the hill...Woody Spice, Leaves, and Fresh-Cut Greens

Hearth Cakes: Just baked cake kept warm by the hearth...1803's snickerdoodle cake

Friendship: Old friends are never far away...Spices with a warm pie crust

The Lavender Lemongrass and Cabin on the Hill are both quite fresh, outdoorsy scents.  Hearth Cakes and Friendship are cosy, spiced baking scents.  All are lovely.  I don't know which to light first! 

More, larger, ones are en route as we speak.  The next lot are in mason jars with black lids, still very rustic and primitive in a few difference scents.  It is so nice to have found a good scented candle in an attractive jar.  So much nicer than Yankee Candles and I even like them more than my old favourite, Bath & Body Works.  I urge you to try them! You won't look back! 

I've also had a bumper delivery of fabric ready to be transformed into lovely things for the Lollyrocket fair on 27th February.  I will, of course, be listing some handmade pieces in the shop too.  I had carved out the whole of this week to break the back of my to do list but so far haven't even switched on my sewing machine. I will definitely *definitely* start tomorrow.  No more procrastination.  

Enjoy your week, everyone.  Thanks, as always, for stopping by to read my ramblings.  









February pretties

Hello and happy Monday.  Yay, we got through it!  It has been so grey here in South Northamptonshire.  It doesn't help that we live in a tiny cottage with thick walls and small windows - it's dark at the best of times.  Today I have had all of the lamps on and candles burning constantly.

In all honesty, I have felt a bit pants today.  I'm just getting over a nasty cold and feel very rundown and sluggish.  I also have a bit of hormonal rage (TMI?).  Nice combination.  So, I took a bit of time out this morning to watch a couple of episodes of The Affair and do some easy knitting.  Have you seen it?  I didn't watch when it originally aired so I have two lovely seasons to binge on.  I am loving it.  Such a crazily stylish programme, I love Ruth Wilson's beachgirl wardrobe.  It makes me dream of summer days in cotton dresses and tan leather sandals.  It also makes me pine for a more simple life - Alison and Cole's beach house has that shabby but stylish thrown-together look.  It is basically like watching a Toast catalogue brought to life.  Heaven.  

I have just finished a pair of gorgeous fair isle wristies but I didn't bother knitting a swatch and they are much too small.  I am going to have a very cosy niece.  I've also started knitting a pink Tess heartwarmer and will soon start the Martin Storey knitalong for Rowan.  The wool should arrive from The Wool Sanctuary any day now.  Yay!

Anyway, I didn't stop by to gripe about my day (although sympathy for my cold is always welcome), I wanted to let you know about the gorgeous whitestone pots that I have added to my shop.  I planted mine up with hyacinths, snowdrops and lavender this weekend and they look so pretty and fresh in my conservatory.  Have a little look when you get a mo. 

Have a good week,





Loving Winter


Soups (this, this and this).  Furry Fat Face slipper boots.  Knitting socks with sparkly yarn.  Reading under a blanket with a snoozy dog on my lap.  Savouring my favourite Christmas chocolates.  Meeting good friends in good pubs.  Mittens on string.  Binge-watching Grey's Anatomy season 10.  Listening to the Grey's Anatomy season 10 soundtrack (amazing 80s covers).  Knee-length socks, long dresses and petticoats.  Black Forest hot chocolate.  Drawing, doodling.  Inspiring doodle how-tos on youtube.  Lanterns and woodburners.  Slow cooked lamb and potatoes; comfort food.  Baths before dinner.  Yoga by candlelight.  And, today, an early morning walk in the snow, at last.  Lizzie loved it too.


Hello hello!  I have been so busy this week, it has been ace but only now do I feel even remotely organised or relaxed.  I had quite a big House Doctor order delivered to me earlier in the week which I'd placed before Christmas and it has taken a lot of work to sort through.  I was really excited for everything to come because the glass candle boxes are so different from a lot of things that we get here in the UK.  The rustic simplicity of them looks perfect with the faded florals I love so much.  I'd sampled a few candle holders prior to ordering but I've sneaked myself a copper one and the gorgeous pinky tint of the metal looks really lovely with my white John Lewis lantern in the conservatory.   I'll do a bit of a show and tell either tomorrow or Tuesday because obviously there are some in the shop for you too!  :)

I still have some bits and pieces to upload and I'll have new stock coming in on a weekly basis so I'm trying to get myself into a bit of a routine.  (Currently obsessed with this website at the moment, where inspiring people share their morning routines!)

It's hard work having my own little shop but I'm enjoying every minute of it.  I am gaining experience in all areas of small business and it's a learning curve doing everything myself.  I lug heavy boxes around (thanks to Health & Safety training at my previous job I've got the golfers' lift off to a tee*), I sumo wrestle with giant rolls of bubble wrap and my vocab is far more varied than it used to be - you should hear the swear words I've blurted out when struggling with techy things on my website.  I'd make a sailor blush.  I'm not earning any money so I can't afford treats but I'm happier than I have ever been.  

Although I've had some late nights with stock and orders, this week I've still managed to spend an afternoon knitting in front of Once Upon A Time, took my niece to toddler group and had brunch on Friday morning with a lovely new friend.  

We went to my MIL's for one of her amazing roast dinners today and I came home to cuddle up with a book and a blanket.  Promptly had a two-hour nap.  It has been the most perfect day.

Have a good week everyone!




PS My site doesn't automatically accept paypal payments; I am working on an acceptable solution (learning curve, much?!) but if you'd rather pay by paypal please feel free to email me and I'll send an invoice super-quick for you to pay.  

Candles on a Grey Day

 I repurposed my  zinc tub  for kindling by the fire.  This is the larger of the two which I am selling in set in my  shop .

I repurposed my zinc tub for kindling by the fire.  This is the larger of the two which I am selling in set in my shop.

 These glass candle boxes will be in stock soon!  Hoping by the end of the week. 

These glass candle boxes will be in stock soon!  Hoping by the end of the week. 

 Winter Cottage and Waiting for Summer, both by Kirsty Elson.

Winter Cottage and Waiting for Summer, both by Kirsty Elson.

 I still have a few of each of the candle votives in stock - these are the large and small fluted ones together with the cupcake votives.  I have had mine for a few years now and they look lovely year round.

I still have a few of each of the candle votives in stock - these are the large and small fluted ones together with the cupcake votives.  I have had mine for a few years now and they look lovely year round.

So far so good.  The January blues haven't hit me yet.  I'm not sure if it's because I've had a change of direction in my life or because I've been taking vitamin D supplements, though I suspect the former.  It's dark enough to trouble any SAD sufferer though, wouldn't you say?  It has been super grey here today and by 2pm I had to admit defeat and switch a few lights on.

It *must* be dark, because the Amazon delivery man has taken to wearing a head-torch.  I was engrossed in something at the dining table earlier this evening and he gave me the shock of my life when he tapped at the window and caught me in his full beam.  Too many episodes of Criminal Minds over the Christmas break has, admittedly, made me rather more jumpy than usual.  (Saying that, it's no surprise I'm jumpy when you consider my upbringing.  I have a mother who thinks it is beyond hilarious to make her children shriek with fright.  If you knew the amount of times she leapt out from behind a bed/door/sofa in my youth to shout 'boo', you'd forgive me for being the nervous wreck that I am.  Unfortunately for Andrew, I too find it hilarious to leap out unexpectedly to frighten him.  I can't resist it if I'm in a room and he doesn't know I'm there when he walks in.  I keep telling myself I must stop, it probably isn't good for his health.)

Inspired by lots of lovely light, bright and white interior photos on instagram this morning, I decided to spruce up the living room a bit.  Having removed all of the Christmas decorations, the house felt a little bit less cosy and it suddenly felt like there was too much empty space everywhere (seriously, what did I keep on the dining room sideboard before I set up my winter village? I have no clue.)  I started by giving the inglenook fireplace a good going over with a damp cloth and the hoover.  Bad move.  It was so full of cobwebs that I had to tuck my trousers into my socks and wear a hanky on my head (my Cath Kidston ones are lovely and big for that very purpose) in case of abseiling spiders.  Perhaps more alarmingly, there was so much dust that when I turned back around to see Lizzie blinking at me from the sofa, I thought someone had set off a smoke bomb!  

I felt a bit deflated cleaning the living room, I'll be honest.  We chose this house because it is small, cosy and quirky but in these light-starved mid-winter days I wish we'd picked something with higher ceilings and bigger windows.  I gave myself a talking to and pulled out all of the candles and lanterns I could find, to cheer things up.  I'm pleased with the living room now, it is sparkly clean and fresh.  I am definitely going to paint our oak furniture to help brighten things up a little, though.  

Speak soon,



PS Did you see the little Kirsty Elson piece in my photos above? It was a birthday present from my grandma and it's called 'waiting for summer'.  I think it looks lovely on the skinny shelves in our living room next to the winter cottage piece I bought for myself just before Christmas.

Happy New Year!


Happy new year!  Are you ready for 2016?  I am.  

Although I *loved* our Christmas and New Year celebrations, I have been champing at the bit to start a new year.  2015 didn't start off very well and a small incident shook my confidence massively.  I got a grip of everything towards the end of the year and just felt impatient to work on my new venture and my 'self-development'.  (Sorry, I have to warn you that this year is going to be a huge learning curve for me and I bet I'll be getting deep and using knobby psychobabble.)

Anyway, we saw Wicked! at the theatre yesterday in London.  It is my new favourite show.  At the very start I had a sinking feeling that it wasn't my cup of tea but came out singing "Wonderful, they call me Wonderful" as you do.  Loved the whole back story of the witch.  Seriously, a sparkly pretty good witch and a green, dark, bad witch on stage together being besties?  Perfect.  Really want to take Izzie, my little niece, to see it.  She would love it.  

** I just have to interrupt this blog post to let you know that I had new, wireless, headphones for Christmas and oh my word they are a revelation.  I can dance about the house without getting in a tangle with the cable.  Currently doing a seated shimmy to that bonkers song about peanut butter jelly.  As you were. **

We've had a really relaxed day today and it has been super cosy.  Fires roaring in both rooms downstairs and a spoiling breakfast of huge English muffins with smoked salmon and scrambled egg.  I'm cooking mac and cheese later and then I promised to join Andrew for a game of Rock Band on the ps4.  Can't decide whether to be lead singer or lead guitarist.  Decisions.

(The random photo above is of Lizzie on Wednesday.  I changed the seat covers in my sewing room to ivory linen and she's not allowed on them with her mucky paws.  Isn't she a cutie.)

Have a fab weekend!  



Christmas Catch-up

Well, I was rubbish this Christmas.  

We hosted Christmas for our family for the third year running.  Usually (if I may say) we have our lunch prep nailed.  By the time our family starts to arrive, the kitchen is [reasonably] tidy, the smell of roast potatoes and turkey wafts enticingly and I have a glass of ice cold bubbly awaiting everyone.  

This year, I don't know what happened, but I was so disorganised.  Maybe I got complacent.  I dunno.  Here's my sorry tale:

  • Roasted a gammon joint on Christmas Eve thinking my dad (who doesn't eat turkey) could have it for lunch.  Forgot about it, left it in the fridge, threw it away untouched yesterday.  Sigh.
  • Made mashed potato after a special request from stepson. Forgot to give him some.
  • Fell out with my sous chef [Andrew] over the brussels (cooked for too long) and the apples (not chopped finely enough for the red cabbage dish).*
  • Took more than 90 minutes to roast the potatoes (put them on the wrong shelf of the roasting oven).  Guests arrived starving.  Lunch an hour late.  Guests *forced* to eat sausage rolls and Quality Street as amuse-bouches
  • Burned a pan of maple roasted parsnips.  To be fair, I do this every year.  I always roast two panfuls: one roasts to perfection, the other burns to a blackened crisp.  Kind of an accidental tradition now I think.

You know what though, it was the loveliest day.  The table looked pretty, my nieces turned up in crazy cute party dresses and the food (again, if I may say) was plentiful and delicious, if a little late.  We began our celebrations with white peach bellinis and finished off the day with a few competitive rounds of Giggle Wiggle

Boxing Day was spent, just Andrew and I, at home.  We lit a fire, caught up on Christmas TV (Downton Abbey!  *happy tears*)  and gorged on leftover turkey, cheese, chocolate torte and banoffee pie.  

Come Sunday we were ready for round two:  mum and dad had a little gathering for my extended family.  It was cray cray, involving nine children, two of whom were riding around the ground floor on a mechanical mouse.  Two others were playing football (soft ball) in the hall.  Two more (and a couple of dads) watched Escape to Victory in the living room.  My thespian cousin (13) bravely performed songs (beautifully, tear-jerkingly) from Les Mis in the conservatory.  The biggest, Tom, spent the day dolling out huge hugs and the littlest, Ellie, simply ran everywhere observing all of the above, admirably avoiding the two on the mechanical mouse who could not stop grabbing her to pat her tiny ponytail.

Of course, we still have a few remaining days of Christmas to celebrate.  These lovely long lazy days as we prepare for a new year.  Reading, knitting, pottering and not doing very much at all.  Perfect.

How was yours?  



*If my MIL is reading this, I'd like to point out that it was a mini squabble and we laughed about it ten minutes later.  We are not about to get divorced or anything.  

'Tis the Season to be Jolly...

...Faa la la la laaaa la la la laaaaa!... *insert semi-quaver emoji*

I have been listening to SmoothXmas on the radio and playing about with holly, ivy and mistletoe so I am sure you can imagine the tunes I've been belting out all week.  My cold has completely gone so my singing voice is back to its usual loud and tuneless glory.  

Have you had a nice week?  I've had a lovely, busy one.  I have been making both indoor and outdoor wreaths, finally decorated the tree and made a mountain of peppermint bark.  We had to buy new lights for the tree again this year.  Our existing ones were too dull after the 2014 season of full-on day-long fairy lights.  I put the tree up and decorated it on Saturday night but the lights were so feeble that it gave me a little Christmas rage.  So I stripped it and redecorated on Sunday.  It is so hard to find bright warm white lights anywhere.  Eventually found a big box at the local Garden Emporium and am very happy now.   No more Christmas rage for me.  (It was mild Christmas rage, let me be clear.  More of an irritability.  I wasn't brandishing knives at my husband or anything like that.  Saving that for Christmas Eve in the supermarket.  Ha.)

This week became 'that time of year' when my sister realises she needs teacher gifts and asks me at the last minute to come up with something pretty and inexpensive.  Luckily I have a cosy little shop this year with a few cupcake votives left.  I decorated them with leftover bits of foliage, a candy cane and tag stamped with my new Jessie Chorley Christmas stamp.  Hope sis and Iz are pleased - I'm off to deliver them shortly and join the girls for tea.  Very excited.  Couldn't do this when I worked for the bank!  

I'll be checking in again soon - I have closed my order book for the season (I'll be reopening it in the new year for my range of embroidered homewares) so things have quietened down a little for me.  If you want to buy anything from the shop over Christmas, go ahead and fill your boots!  I'll be posting all through the Christmas break.   I think the last day for pre-Christmas postage, though, is Friday.  

Enjoy the rest of the week. 






School Fair and Shop Launch

On Thursday evening I had my first fair for The Little Green Door.  It was  just a school Christmas fair at my niece's primary school and I didn't expect to sell much but knew it would be a good opportunity to practise setting up my stall and trial my handmade display boards.  It was also really lovely to be in the vicinity of my niece who, in her silver sequinned dress and hairband was dashing around the school hall with her best friend in an excitable frenzy.  (She'd got 'Santa' sussed though and told me with a puzzled expression that "it wasn't Santa, it was Mr Foster.")  I had to concentrate really hard on keeping a straight face.  

The fair was good, if a little quiet.  It was pouring with rain on Thursday which I think kept people indoors, which was a shame.  Happily, I had a lady selling amazing macarons next to me and she kept my blood sugar levels up.

My gingerbread man wreaths were the most popular item on my stall and I've been making more this weekend.  Since going live with my little online shop this evening, I've sold out again but if you were hoping to bag one don't worry as I'll be making more tomorrow.  Please email me if you'd like me to make one to order.

Truth be told, since going to the Caroline Zoob workshop on Tuesday, all I have wanted to do is make paper decorations, cards and gift tags.  I've been buying loads of antique papers and a huge spool of antique linen thread so I'm going to have a nice afternoon to myself one day this week, with a mince pie and some carols on the radio.  

If you ever have the chance to attend a Zoob workshop I would definitely recommend it. Caroline hosts them from various venues around the country but the two I have been to have been in the most amazing homes of her friends.  Tuesday's workshop was in a lovely country home in the Cotswolds.  The host, Jane, was very warm and friendly - she also made the most delicious lunch.  We finished the day with mince pies and tea by the log burner.  I could have stayed the week.  It was so relaxing.  Caroline brings with her a stash of vintage fabrics, antique papers and her lovely patterns.  We made loads on Tuesday, it was very productive day! 

I'm about to give the husband a 'boost' into the loft so that he can fetch down the Christmas decorations.  We bought our trees today - a bit earlier than usual this year but next weekend is set to be a busy one so I thought I'd start the festivities early.  

Have good week - speak soon.


PS just wanted to confirm to my international readers that I am happy to post overseas.  If you select the 'international' option at checkout I will contact you separately to confirm postage costs.  I will send by the safest and most economical method for you and will check your preference before actioning.  



Christmas is Go!


I have been overrun with gingerbread men.  This is not a bad thing - I love gingerbread men.  An idea to make a couple and attach to a wreath turned into a full-scale military operation this week as I prepare for a Christmas fair at my niece's school tomorrow evening.  Sewing gingerbread men and watching the Christmas Movie channel is getting me into the festive spirit and this weekend I'll be pouring my first snowball.

Niece is very excited about my attendance at the fair.   (The gingerbread man idea was hers, she thought they would be nice for teacher gifts, I think she'll be excited to see them on wicker wreaths.)  Only last week she was apparently writing up recipes so that we could both make cupcakes together and sell them:  "You should get a shop, Auntie Nicki.  I'll come and work for you when I'm 30."  She rang me after school today to let me know that she's bought "something Christmassy that you can eat!" as a present for me.  When I subsequently quizzed my sister, I found out that Izzie bought some biscuits at Waitrose over the weekend that she thinks we can sell.  Love her.  

I'll be back on Friday with photos from my stall and - all being well! - I'll have started to list a few bits in my shop.  Remind me to tell you about my day with Caroline Zoob, making Christmas cards.  I went to one of her workshops yesterday and had the loveliest time.  I feel all chilled out and Christmassy now.

Laters, loves! 



PS Have you tried M&S Shimmering Snowy Road Bites?  You must! They are amazing.

Rosehips, Pecan Squares and Dads


Things I have learnt this week:

  • If I am going to successfully run my new little business then I have to spend more time working and less time socialising.  Seeing friends in the week is such a novelty though!
  • Dads do not appreciate candle-light during the day ("It's like night-time in here, can we put a light on or something?").
  • I have an obsession with rosehips, snowberries and winter foliage.  And glass box candle holders to put them in.
  • Dads do not appreciate dried hydrangeas ("it's a bunch of dead flowers!" said with bemusement).
  • Americans know a thing or two about baking.  Martha's pecan squares were amazing!  A hit with everyone.
  • Dads are brilliant for popping over and helping with woodwork projects (display boards for my fair stands) and curtain hanging (new red gingham curtains are up and looking gorgeous) requiring no thanks except endless cups of tea and a roast beef dinner.

I am planning a busy week starting with my first two supplier orders arriving tomorrow.  I'm so psyched for their arrival that I'm practically bouncing around on my toes at the door, like a tennis player.  Really excited to get everything and list on the website - just hoping everything goes smoothly.  Oh, and if you liked the rustic wire lantern in my last post you'll be pleased to hear that my first lot are landing here next Friday and I'll be shipping them straight out the door.  So many people have already emailed me and there's a bit of a waiting list.  Drop me an email if you're interested too, they are gorgeous and perfect year-round.  (ยฃ31 plus ยฃ3.50 p&p).  I love mine.  

Thanks for all of the lovely, supportive comments so far and, especially thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I really appreciate you popping over and will reply to all comments and questions you might like to leave. 

Have a great week! 


Flat Tyres and Toddlers

 It takes a lot of energy to bark when you're little.

It takes a lot of energy to bark when you're little.


It is no longer a drag to get me out of bed in the mornings.  I practically bounce right out and into the shower.  This is a big thing for me - I have never been an early riser.  Husband and dog are both in a state of shock. I tell Andrew that it is my inner Maggie Thatcher rearing its ugly head now that I am A Business Owner (didn't she only need 5hrs sleep a night?) but, really, it's just because I'm happy.

I have been so busy and it is nice to work to my own agenda.  I have made time to see friends and family, but I've also got lots of things done to progress with The Little Green Door.

My sister got a flat tyre on Tuesday afternoon so I agreed to collect her from work and take her home.  Between her phoning at 10am and me fetching her at 3pm, I then found myself taking on the rather frantic mission of locating a pair of toddler toys and reserving them at a store for collection.  And so an impromptu road trip was declared.  With the girls being looked after elsewhere, it was nice to have a rare couple of hours alone with my sis to properly chat.  I cooed over the clothing section whilst we were there and stocked up on Christmas clothes for my lovely nieces, all of which went down very well (particularly with the 6-year-old) when we got home.  (The 16-month-old just looked unimpressed and toddled off clutching the sparkly tights.)

Said toddler came over to play yesterday with my mum and it took me most of the evening to recover.  I feel as though I spent the entire day following Ellie around in that slightly hunched position with my arms outstretched in case she stumbled.  And that girl can move at a fair lick, let me tell you.  It doesn't help that she has discovered stairs and our house has five small flights.  I think I must have scaled them ten times in total, at least, purely so that she could rummage through my cotton spools on the top floor and throw them across them room.  The living room is still a bit of a tip and I've been squinting with back ache all day, but it was lovely to see her.

Today, I've had a quiet day at home with the dog.  I faffed with candles and foliage, made uh-mazing pecan squares, stitched several gingerbread men (for sale at the Christmas fair next week), ordered curtains for the landing (finally - red gingham) and organised delivery of my first stock order.  I've only bought a few things to start off and basically bought only the things that I like, kind of on a 'one-for-me-and-one-for-you' basis.  I've got some gorgeous little lanterns coming, together with a few zinc pieces and some lovely rustic copper Christmas baubles.  They'll be in the shop early next week, with a fair wind.  


New Beginnings

Hello! Thank you for coming over to visit me, whether you found me via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or just from a link on my old blog.  As you can see, I've moved to a new space on the internet.  Quite excitingly, for me at least, there are a lot of changes happening around here at the moment.


I left my job.  I LEFT MY JOB! Eek.  I think I might be having a mini mid-life crisis sans leopard print.  I am 39 on my next birthday (soon) and I have been thinking a lot about what I've done with my life so far and what I'd like to do with the next 40 years. 

I have spent the last decade working for a bank.  Whilst I loved the people and found the work interesting, it wasn't something I dreamed of doing as an 8 year old.  When I was 8 years old I wanted to be an author.  I still do.  

Don't get me wrong, I don't have ideas above my station.  I don't anticipate being the next Jane Austen.  I just craved more time to write happy, cosy, easy-reading fiction.  When you spend your days typing emails about net interest margins, diary openings and marketing campaigns, the last thing you feel like doing in the evening is stare at a laptop.  I also started to become uncomfortably aware that my lifestyle was becoming a bit consumerist.  I have been working hard and spending hard.  Cash-rich (sorta) and time-poor.  I feel ready for a change of pace.

So, I left the bank and I'm following a few dreams.  I am going to spend my days writing here on my blog, and working on my first novel.  To keep the wolf from the door (because we all know that writing rarely pays!), I'll also be opening a little online shop selling a carefully hand-picked selection of gorgeous homewares and pretty little extras hand-stitched by me.  I'll keep you posted, but it's coming soon!  

In the meantime, I'll be writing here about my new, more simple and less spendy, lifestyle.  As well as sharing my stitchy work and homewares collection, I'll also be talking about life in a 17th Century cottage and the leaky roofs, creaky beams, cooking and country walks.  It'll be a diary, too, with bits about places I've been and things I've done.  I'd love you to join me.  


(Don't be confused - I'm using my old 'homebird' drawings whilst I wait for new ones to be drawn up.  Just wanted to make it feel a bit more personal around here but this website is very much a work in progress!)