2016: the year of spaciousness

Because there's more to life than work

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Wild flower bonanza

As the heatwave is forecast to be followed by some rather sharp showers next few days, we thought we’d take advantage of the slightly cooler conditions to have a walk down to the dunes – last weekend it was just too hot to do anything but sit in the shade. It was amazing to see the changes in just the last few weeks since we were there. IMG_1678The hot weather’s really brought the flowers out in their thousands, and I’ve never seen so many butterflies – the air was thick with them.

IMG_1681You can understand why when you see the variety of flowers, it must be like visiting a gourmet restaurant for them. The whole place is just teeming with wildlife:

IMG_1676All the ragwort plants were covered in cinnabar moth caterpillars. We saw lots of cinnabar moths last time we were down here, but not as many today although there clearly isn’t going to be any future shortage! There were also quite a few of these beautiful striped snails:

IMG_1685But the real stars of the day were again the wild orchids. I was delighted to see more of the pyramidal orchids which were just starting to go over…

IMG_1683…unlike the Marsh Helleborine Orchids which were flowering profusely. I’d never seen these before and had to check their identity when I got home, but am pretty sure that’s what they are.


IMG_1689I was excited enough at seeing these, but then on the last stretch back to the car, spotted just one of these growing in what had been a small tarn earlier in the year:

IMG_1694Again, have never seen one of these before and think it’s a Green-flowered Helleborine Orchid rather than a marsh one – quite tall, nearly a foot in size.

IMG_1696Such a treat to see these beautiful, rare plants so near to home. We walked about four miles altogether and hardly saw a soul. A few hundred yards away the beach was crowded with day trippers, cars, ice cream vans and all the noise of a weekend seaside town, but we could have been a million miles away. Just flowers, butterflies, swooping martins and the sea in the distance. Perfect Sunday afternoon.


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I can’t remember the last time we had a spell like this – gorgeous days, one after the other. Some images below from the last few days…





And perfect, pink tinged sunsets – red sky at night is shepherd’s delight and everyone else’s  too after the long, cold wet winter and spring.

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Far from the madding crowd

Honestly, I must have sweated in every situation known to man in the last week – hot cars, hot meeting rooms and last night was the final straw when my train broke down between stations with standing room only. My hour-long journey home turned into two and a half hours with a lot of other grumpy, hot and sweaty travellers. So it was bliss today to have no meetings, be working from home and be able to sit around with shorts and a vest on and my hair in a pony tail.  Lunch in the garden under our prolifically flowering white climbing rose (Rosa mulliganii, if you’re interested) was a real treat.



When I originally planted it under the cherry, I wanted it to look like the cherry was flowering again in July. It hasn’t quite worked like that as it’s very vigorous and changes direction all the time, but this year it’s formed a natural arch over one of our paths and is looking really lovely. And really delighted with the larkspur in my pots that has just come into flower – such a beautiful deep blue.


Wishing you all a cool, relaxing and sun filled Friday evening…off out to enjoy the rest of it myself.

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Quietening down

By Friday evening, I was wired. I’d not had a bad week – in fact, a lot of it had been really good – but I was just buzzing with it all. The last few nights I’d been waking about 3am, or getting up at 5.30 to start work because I just couldn’t stop thinking about all the exciting stuff that needed doing. I’ve learned from previous experience that this is a sign I need to take time out before work starts to tip from being fun to being stressful, so was adamant that I was going to close the laptop Friday night and not open it again till Monday.

Apart from a quick check of emails (5 mins only) at the start of the day, I’ve stuck to that resolution, and boy do I feel better for it. Today we went for a five mile walk by the sea front mid morning and took sandwiches for a picnic – something I’m not sure we’ve ever done from home. It was surprisingly quiet away from the beach and  was so relaxing to walk in the sun, listen to the birds, look at the flowers and just chill.

IMG_1646There seemed to be so many burnet moths about today and they’re quite happy to pose for photos, unlike butterflies which never stay still for a minute.

IMG_1647The flowers on the dunes are gradually tipping over into high summer – swathes of geraniums today…

IMG_1649…while the first scabious and centaury were just coming out.


IMG_1652We ate our cheese butties on a hill overlooking the dunes and just drank in the wonderful weather and families of goldfinches flying past (think the correct name is a ‘charm’ of goldfinches, which seems perfect for this lovely bird).

After an afternoon in the garden flitting from sun to shade whenever we were in danger of overheating, finished off the day by trying a new recipe – Pea, Mint and Halloumi fritters from Perfect Host by Felicity Cloake. It was meant to be a brunch recipe for 6 – so of course I made the full amount for the 2 of us (some of the ingredients were hard to scale down – that’s my excuse). Really lovely and quite easy, although I did use an awful lot of bowls for the various stages.

IMG_1658I have to say the bright pea green cakes matched our patio table perfectly! Sunshine+flowers+nature+good food = one chilled person, ready for whatever next week brings 🙂

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July garden rainbow

So much colour in the garden today…

IMG_1623Poppies and the first ripe strawberries…


IMG_1622Yellow loosestrife and welsh poppies…


IMG_1636The green of our wild flower meadow (sorry, that’s really bigging it up, it’s about 4ft across and just enough for our cat to get some shade in!)…

IMG_1626The blue of Canterbury bells and smaller campanulas…


IMG_1633Purple cranesbill…

IMG_1638Almost black columbines…

IMG_1643And pure white musk mallow.

IMG_1625A rainbow in flower form.

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Thanks very much!

Lots of thanks tonight to Poppy whose blog Poppy’s Patisserie/Bunny Kitchen about making 5 minute flatbreads prompted my other half to say last night ‘Those look nice and easy, I’ll have a bash at them to go with the curry tomorrow night’.

So he did.

IMG_1621And they were delicious. Just the right amount of spice and really quick – I think I have made naan bread in the past but seem to recall it taking ages.

IMG_1620They didn’t puff up quite the same as Poppy’s but that might well have been because the dough had to hang around a bit while I was catching up on some work emails when I came in – so have made a note to do at the last minute next time. Great idea, elevated the curry to a whole new level – thanks!