Monday, 31 December 2012

A look back at 2012


This picture above sums up 2012 for me, encompassing all the rain we have had all year and also the celebrations during the summer of the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, especially with the sailing events taking place in our home town.

I have chosen my favourite photographs that we have taken  down by the sea during 2012 ,all but 2 are from Dorset. The mosaic was created from Mosaic Maker I have tried Pic Monkey but I originally started using Mosaic maker and somehow find it easier, both of these enable you to be creative for free.

Unfortunately 2012 has ended for us with some bad news.We were told on Christmas Eve that my dear husband and companion for the last 30 years has prostrate cancer. He certainly isn't alone, as this is the most common cancer in men, with over 30,000 new cases every year in the UK. For us, it is a new challenge that we would rather not have had, but we will try and remain positive.

Looking forward to more inspiration and hopefully more sunshine in 2013! Hope you have a great New Year.

Welcome to my new followers Stone Angel and Rabbit Quilter, thank you also to everyone for their lovely comments in my last post.

Sarah x

Friday, 28 December 2012

Reflecting on a year of blogging

It's a now just over a year since I wrote my first post and what a year it has turned out to be!

Why did I start writing a blog? I had never previously thought of doing so. I was happy just to enjoy reading blogs, some of which I had followed for a few years. Then suddenly, last November, one of my favourite blogs went off air. I suddenly realised what this particular blog meant to me and how it had helped me through difficult times, when my Dad's health was deteriorating. It had given me a means to escape what was happening around me - and had made me smile. I realised then that I wanted to give something back by hopefully brightening others days too and so, gingerly, I wrote my first post.

I would never have imagined that a year later I would have over 120 followers and  had so many visitors to my site - so thank you very much for sharing this journey with me. What have I learnt in a year?

I think my original plan of giving something back seems rather lame now. It feels like I have been the one who has gained the most out of this experience ! Through the process I have met so many lovely people and learnt so much about so many different things and countries. Annie from Knitsofacto. recently in her blog started a debate about commercial blogs and my type of blog called "vain blogs" in the trade. I would prefer to call it a "friendship blog" or "a chat over the garden fence while hanging out the washing" - even if that garden fence stretches over to the other side of the world!

If you write a blog, why did you start and what advice would you give someone just starting out?

My top tips would be :-

1) Write about what you enjoy and are interested in, and write it for yourself - if others enjoy it that is a bonus.

2) It can sometimes take a while to get some followers. Although I didn't realise it at the time, joining in with joint blogging activities bought in new readers and followers. I joined in with making a winter blog hop, following a tree and photo scavenger hunt, because they all appealed to me.

3) Commenting on other blogs. I rarely read comments in my pre-blogging days! I now find that they are the best part, with people interacting with each other and the same names appear on many of the blogs I read, thereby creating a friendly community.

Do you have any further tips? If you are considering doing it why not give a blog a go? There is not much too loose and such a lot to gain. One of the best parts of this journey was the blog that disappeared re-appeared a few months later under a different name and I had the chance to thank L from Tales of simple days. for the respite from my concerns that she had given me over many months.

Sarah x

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Memories of Christmas past

Each Christmas I remember

The ones of long ago;

I see our mantelpiece adorned
With stockings in a row.

Each Christmas finds me dreaming

Of days that used to be,

When we hid presents here and there,
For all the family.

Each Christmas I remember

The fragrance in the air,

Of roasting turkey and mince pies
And cookies everywhere.

Each Christmas finds me longing

For Christmases now past,

And I am back in childhood
As long as memories last.
   Carice Williams, Christmas Past 

Thank you Babsi for the gifts you sent me to remind me of German Christmases from my childhood.

What are you favourite memories from Christmases past? Mine include the excitement of finding presents at the bottom of my bed from Father Christmas, singing carols, waking to snow on Christmas Day, being with family and friends and in later years seeing that same excitement again through my children.

Charles Dickens wrote this about Christmas ;
Happy, happy Christmas that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days;
That can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth;
That can transport the sailor and the traveller,thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home. 

This will be my last post before Christmas so I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope you will be creating more joyful Christmas memories to treasure in years to come.
Sarah x

Monday, 17 December 2012

A Dorset Christmas market

This weekend we went to a Christmas market in the small Dorset town of Shaftesbury.

It is situated on the top of a hill and Gold Hill is famous for one of Britain's favourite advertisements of  Hovis see video here. I wouldn't like to cycle up or down here with it being so steep!

The Christmas market was very popular with lots of local producers selling a wide selection of food and drink and also local handicrafts for sale too and live Christmas music. We bought a bunch of mistletoe which we were told had come from the apple orchards in the neighbouring county of Somerset. 

We also met a giant! 

 My parents first home together was in Shaftesbury where my brother was born, the cottage they rented was called "Forty Winks" unfortunately it was knocked down before we returned to live in Dorset, but there are still so many other pretty cottages to walk past.

Welcome to my new followers  ERickett 124 ,and Joy(if either of you have a link please let me know),  and A passion for Vintage Textiles,  thank you so much for joining me.

Sarah x

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Christmas preparations

Christmas is fast approaching and over the weekend more preparations have been completed.  My nephew is getting married the weekend before Christmas so we need to be more organised this year! I spent most of my childhood Christmases in Germany and so some of their traditions have been adopted into our Christmas celebrations. Lighting the advent candles on the four Sundays before Christmas was one of these traditions - we lit our second advent candle this evening.

Christmas for us is about not spending huge amounts of money on presents, but a special family time of celebrating simply with home-made food, following old family traditions and having fun together. Our Christmas decorations have become simpler and more natural over the years, taking greenery from the garden. This year I have used the hydrangea heads to make a wreath.

Rudolph the reindeer has reappeared - he has been in our family for many years and was made by a local man. There is quite a herd of them in our locality!

I have just added a Pinterest button to the side of my blog. I don't use it very much as I don't have time, but I have found it good way of picking up quick ideas and inspirations - see my Natural Christmas board for more great Christmas ideas - you will also see where some of the ideas featured here have come from!

I also love looking at how Christmas is celebrated in other countries. Sabine from Maison Beldecor has some beautiful ideas and also makes her own scented candles and she is having a giveaway.

Our Christmas tree will be decorated next weekend, when our daughter comes home. How are your Christmas preparations coming along?

Welcome to my new followers Kitty from Glittering Green and Aussie Beach girl ( I can't see a link for you.)
Gardening Bren from Nova Scotia has come back to me with a link.

Wishing everyone a good week thank you as always for your lovely comments and for taking a few moments to pop by.
Sarah x

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Watching the sunrise over the sea

As when the golden sun gilts the morn,
And having gilt the ocean with it's beams,
Gallops the zodiac in it's glistening coach,
And over looks the highest peering hills.
 William ShakespeareTitus Andronicus

I love watching the sunrise and sunset and we had some amazing red skies last week.  I find it such a fantastic way to start the day!

The colours change so rapidly from blood red to orange to pink and purple and then blue and no one sunrise is ever the same. It makes me feel so alive!

A local fisherman already at work

At 7.30 in the morning there were still few people around, two men quickly got out of their cars and took photographs. Another woman was sitting on one of the benches watching the sun and  after it had risen she went on her way, we smiled at each other, although we were too far away to talk.

I carried on my journey into town, but the colour of the sky was still continually changing.

I had to stop again to take more photographs to capture those fantastic views and colours.

The frost on the roofs of the beach huts reminded me that it was actually quite cold and a coffee would be welcome!

Sarah x

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Walk by the sea or Brad Pitt?

A week ago last Friday we had the day off and were planning a day out in Lyme Regis when we heard on the local radio that Brad Pitt was on location on a beach on Dorset, filming for his latest film, World War Z. It was a close call, but I'm afraid Lyme Regis still won the day!

I love the colours of these houses along the seafront, some of them are holiday cottages with amazing views over the sea.

I have taken you here before and the Cobb (harbour) was looking peaceful in the November sunshine.

The gardens were landscaped a few years ago and are magnificent at any time of year. We always have to walk through them and admire the views.

Looking back from the beach you can see the gardens in the background and the row of candy coloured beach huts in the foreground.

John and Daisy waited for me when I went to look at  the antique and collectables centre. Luckily no one came by and wanted to buy her!

Daisy was a bit wary of those cats before she decided it was safe to have a drink! As a child I would zoom into these collecting tins if I saw them in the street and give them my pennies.

There are some lovely unique shops in Lyme Regis and the second hand bookshop is always one of my favourite shops. I could spend all day in here!

Another of my favourite shops is "Ginger Beer", I love the driftwood Christmas trees and must try to make one sometime. We finished the morning off to a visit to the pub, with a drink and snack.

brad-pitt-hot-cute-photoAnd what of Brad Pitt - well he didn't film on the day we went to Lyme Regis they were still setting up.We didn't get over to Lulworth Cove over the weekend, as it was so bitterly cold and wet, so if you want to read more about his filming in Dorset see here,

I seem to be a week behind with my posts at the moment, sorry, hopefully I will start to catch up soon!

Thank you for all the comments from my previous post. The picture of Twinkle in the tree was very popular!
Welcome to new followers Gardeningbren, Mister D,  (if you have blogs please let me know) and Tammy from Coffee with Tams . Thank you for joining me.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A walk around the garden in November

Just a quick walk around the garden showing pictures taken during the month of November. At the start of month there was still a bit of colour from the hydrangeas and autumn leaves.

Then all the magnolia leaves fell covering part of the lawn.

The leaves were gathered to put in bags to rot down and will be used in the garden as leaf mould when they evenually break down.

As we were clearing the leaves Twinkle decided we needed some supervision and found that the adandoned pigeon's nest in the tree was the best place to sit to observe.(She wouldn't have ventured up there if they had been around!) It looked very strange a cat sitting in a birds nest!

Some plants are still hanging around pretending it is summer- the geranuims we have had in the pots since May are still flowering so well that I haven't changed over to a winters display.

A penstomen still gives us a bit of colour.

The garden is now moving into it's winter phase as the plants die back everything looks rather sad and forlorn. At this time of year I spend more time inside and over the next month there is so much to do with Christmas just around the corner! How is your garden looking at the moment?

Following a tree update.......

The willow tree that I have been following all year that is a short wallk away from home, is now almost bare of leaves and has not suffered with the heavy rainfall we have had this week.

If would like to find more about tree following please visit Lucy at Loose and leafy
Wishing you all a good weekend ahead.
   Sarah x

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A special graveyard on Portland

St Georges church located at the top of Portland looks grand compared with the surrounding stone built cottages and rocky landscape. It was completed in 1766 and was built by a local man who supplied the stone to Christopher Wren to build St Paul's Cathedral.

However, it is not the church that I have bought you here to see - but the grave yard which has over 1,500 graves. We discovered it a few years ago while on a walk and were amazed by the skilled cravings created by the local stone masons on the grave stones.

The gravestones tell the sad stories of the life and death of these islanders. Deaths caused from natural disasters and dangers of working on this island and living by the sea. Some examples include William Hansford who was killed in 1824 when the sea flooded the village of Chiswell, his leg was broken and unable to escape, his house fell on him.

Or a hero - Johann Carl Fredric Magdelinsky who was drowned while trying to save the lives of his fellow passengers, on the sinking ship, the Royal Adelaide in 1872.

To the Memory 
Who was killed by Lightning
While on duty in Her Majesties Service
On Portland Beach Nov 29th 1858
Leaving a widow and five children
To lament his loss
Aged 38 Years

 Or of Richard Bennett who had the misfortune to be severely injured at his work in a stone quarry, 
Or of Joseph Trevitt late assistant warder of Portland prison who was murdered by a convict.

On the other side of the graveyard wall are the spoils from the nearby stone quarry and in the far distance (a thin darker coloured line) is the sea. The graveyard may look very overgrown but this is because it is one of Dorset's Living Churchyard projects. These projects aim to provide a  natural habitat for the local wildlife and it is lovely to see wild flowers growing, although at this time of year it does look  rather messy.

The church has a booklet illustrating the most interesting 30 headstones. It was not open when we visited but this link shows the inside and more about the graveyard.. We went here a couple of weeks ago, hence the blue skies!. Funnily enough the week following our visit here Nina at Tabiboo and Annie from a breath of fresh air had stories about graveyards too!

Welcome to my new followers  Francesca from Fastifloreali, Trudie from Trudie's cottage and Allyniccy (I can't find a link for you- so please let me know if you have one.)

Wishing you a good week and hope we have a dry one!
Sarah x


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