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Yay Autumn! 1803 Candles new scents online

September is my favourite month, without a shadow of a doubt.  Firstly because of the weather.  Although the summer sunshine tends to linger for much of September, the light becomes more golden and the mornings and evenings are considerably cooler.  My favourite weather.  It also, of course, heralds the return to school and reminds me of those exciting first days of newness.  New teachers, new timetables, crisp new exercise books, new pencil cases and shiny new school shoes. Gleaming freshly waxed parquet flooring in the school hall.  

September is a bit of a romantic month in our family; we all chose this month in which to be married.  It is actually my folks' wedding anniversary today(I think 43 years).  Congratulations Mum and Dad!  

I have been birdwatching with my Dad again and Mum joined us yesterday; I think she enjoyed it although Dad has threatened to bring duct tape next time to stop her chatting!  I was just happy to see her happily walk the 2.5 mile route without any pain after operations on her feet last year and a knee replacement this year.  I happen to quite enjoy her chit-chat too! :)

I am looking forward to watching the changing of seasons at the reserve.  In the last few weeks we have already seen the blackberries start to ripen.  Apparently, as the blackberries go over the bull finches enjoy feasting on their seeds.  The starlings in our garden must have moved on because the tray of mealworms on my conservatory window is still full.  Usually the starlings show up like a gang of over-excited teenagers, scrapping and bickering as they eat.  I kind of miss them although I do not miss the mess they make.

I am making plans for Autumn and I'll share them with you next time.  Plans include the embroideries I am going to stitch, films I am going to watch, wristwarmers that I am going to knit and the cakes I am going to bake.  We have taken delivery of some gorgeous 1803 Candles in cosy autumn scents and I've listed some on the website this afternoon.  They launched at lunchtime today and there was an exciting flurry of activity as people stocked up.  Perfect Pumpkin and Apples & Acorns have been the favourite so far; stock of those is almost depleted.  Pop over and have a look - if you haven't tried 1803 before you won't be disappointed.  They are by far the best scented candle I have ever come across.  The scent fills a room without being overpowering; very mellow and gentle.  The fragrance lingers too - we had the bathroom refurbished earlier in the year and one of the workmen told me how lovely and cosy the house always smells.  He took a big breath in and said: "ooh your house always smells lovely; like baking.  Very homely."  He made my day!  

Have a happy September and enjoy the slow transition to Autumn, dear cyber friends!  

Love

Nicki 

xOx

PS The mouse situation has been dealt with.  We have two humane traps in the yard and have caught four mice so far.  I haven't seen any around lately either.  We are used to having mice in the garden at harvest time so it doesn't worry me.  The traps were down for a couple of days and we had failed to catch any of the pesky rodents; I was starting to feel concerned that humane traps were not aggressive enough.  Eventually, as I popped out to grab a coffee last Friday I announced, in the general direction of the garden, that all mice had better surrender themselves immediately or I was bringing the 'snappy traps' out.  Lo and behold upon my return two field mice were ensconced in said plastic boxes, quietly snacking on giant chocolate buttons.  I like to think they recognised my non-nonsense tone!  Of course I had to summon Andrew from his office (thankfully he is based just down the road and was local that day).  He released them in a layby near his office and has felt compelled to release all subsequent mice there "in case they are family and miss each other."  Ha! I totally get that.

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. 

Nicki

xOx  

Loving Winter

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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.

Happy New Year!

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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!  

Nicki 

xOx

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.
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  • Made mashed potato after a special request from stepson. Forgot to give him some.
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  • 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).*
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  • 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
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  • 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?  

Nicki

oXo

*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.  

Rosehips, Pecan Squares and Dads

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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?").
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  • I have an obsession with rosehips, snowberries and winter foliage.  And glass box candle holders to put them in.
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  • Dads do not appreciate dried hydrangeas ("it's a bunch of dead flowers!" said with bemusement).
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  • Americans know a thing or two about baking.  Martha's pecan squares were amazing!  A hit with everyone.
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  • 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.  (Β£31 plus Β£3.50 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! 

xOx

Flat Tyres and Toddlers

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

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

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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.  

oXo