life

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.

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 is Go!

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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! 

Nicki 

oXo

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

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