Monday, 26 September 2011


..........Sorry..........I dropped off it a bit. 

I lost the energy to blog........ Just for a short while........

I have just been a bit thoughtful these past couple of weeks. I view my mind as being a room full of heaving bookcases. Some of the books are factual.....some are thoughts.........and others are memories.

Do you ever have days where you feel like browsing through all your cook books, or crafty books or piles of magazines that have accumulated? You get them all out.....sit on the floor, just opening each one, flicking through it, making notes, tearing out pages etc...

You look down and there is a HUGE pile splayed everywhere on the floor. You have spent the whole morning flicking.....and reading....and searching.....then you don't have the energy to put them all back from where they came from (in my world, usually all over the house). So, they stay there for a while, in the way. They get tripped over, and make the place messy. So your solution? Just to scoop them up and shove them to one side. They still don't get put back.

Well........that's me at the moment. That's the room in my head. Books from every subject field are all off the shelf and strewn all over the floor. I have spent the last few months getting books down from here and there. Having a flick through, but not actually putting them back. I have had no order in there for a bit and it was getting rather chaotic. So I needed to just spend a couple of weeks, sorting the books out, having a quiet read, and putting them back where they belong again. Order restored.

Okay, so I have probably completely confused you. Maybe a strange analogy, but it's how I view things in my head. Sorry.....have I come across as a complete loon?

Creating order has meant not so much enthusiasm for crafty stuff. Well, I have had a little play, but my enthusiasm has not stretched to finishing things. Maybe next week, if I can get my act together.

The days are getting cooler...........the skies greyer..........the evenings are drawing in quicker. I do love this time for its snuggliness, but I feel that there is always a slight sense of apprehension, a mild sort of panic. The last 4 months of the year are majorly hectic in my little world. However hard I try to be organised, it is always last minute panics and stresses. Also, I think it is hard to look forward to something knowing that there will be an empty place this year. It will be hard.

I am setting myself the task over the next few weeks of writing a list of handmade gifts I want to give for birthdays and christmas, and plan to make a start. Hopefully, this will set me on the right path and keep me orderly. Since giving up work and making more, I feel loathed to buy presents for gifts for family. Some perhaps might appreciate them more than others(!), but it seems in the last couple of years the family has started to like this.

Mr H's family are very creative and arty, so we exchange some handmade bits and it is so much nicer. I HATE how commercial things are now. How it is quantity over anything else or how much you spend on one person. There are a lot of people in both sides of our family, and last year we all made a pact to scale it down, make stuff if we could. Help to ease the pressure that we all seemed to feel. And do you know......I think it was the best christmas in a LONG while. People seemed to appreciate it all the more. Less stress, and appreciating actually what Christmas is all about. It made it feel more special. Yes, I think that's it. Christmas has become so commercial that I felt it was losing it's sparkle. The pressure to get the most perfect table setting, the pressure to get the most gifts, the pressure to do something or go somewhere just to please people. Well, I mean, we never went overboard, but it just felt like it was losing the sparkle......and I love sparkle. Yes, last year was the best. I know, for children, it's about the opening of gifts, but I don't want my bears to become far removed from what it is all about.

Hummm........I appear to have deviated from thought a little.

So.....normality will resume. Books have been filed away, and my head is clear enough to function again! Life's a funny old thing!

We spent this past weekend away. It was my older brother's BIG birthday, so all my family hired a house in Swanage near the village of Corfe Castle for his celebration. It was just a shame it was only for a long weekend. I could have stayed much fact I could have never left. The house we stayed in was G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S. The views were stunning. We took every opportunity to sit outside in the garden and drink our cuppas......

Isn't that just the most beautiful view to wake up to every morning? The kitchen boasted the same view, but there was nothing like being outside listening to the bird song, feeling the fresh air on the face and just staring at the beauty before one.

The kitchen was definitely the hub. I would sit at a chair that showed me the above view from one angle and the below view from another.....

What a beauty. This was postcard living. it was VERY hard to drag myself away from that particular spot. Every evening the flood lights lit up the Church. The red brick gave off the most AMAZING GLOW, so it was a double treat to be sat in that spot in the kitchen in the evening to see this.....

We did a walk around it ,just before midnight when the lights go off. It was magical. Very peaceful. Sights like this this leave me speechless. Such a lot of beauty.

Saturday was spent with all the family on the beach.....

and Sunday we took a trip on the Steam Railway......

Which I loved. Ironic, because my dad is a HUGE Railway Buff. He used to take my brothers and I on rides like this all the time when we were kids and we couldn't think of anything more boring. Now, it was one of the things we all didn't want to miss!

The children had been on it before on school excursions, but they still loved it. The nostalgia is lovely. The beauty of the engine. The Wessex Belle above was lovingly restored from scrap. It smelt lovely, it sounded lovely. The beauty of the coaches. Vintage fixtures and fittings. The sound of the old carriage doors closing brought back memories. No such thing these days. The gentle rhythm of the coaches moving to the chuff chuff chuffing of the locomotive. The children said it was like being on Hogwart's Express! Awwwww

It REALLY was a joy. I'm glad the Bears appreciated it more than I did at their age!

After the Steam Train, came the visit to the Castle. If you've read my blog for any length of time, you will know that I LOVE Castle Ruins. There is something just so magical about them. Steeped in history, I find it completely fascinating that people once lived their lives in these magnificant buildings. Never would they ever have thought that hundreds of years later, people would be visiting them and wondering about their lives.

Corfe Castle has to be the MOTHER of all Castle Ruins.

It must has been an AMAZING Castle in its prime. Built in the 10th Century, and recorded in the Doomsday book. The ruins are big and very impressive. I could have stayed there all day. Difficult with three children (two of which had already been there with the school). I just wanted to touch the brick and imagine those whole laid every stone in place. It would have been very grand. Ahhhhhhh I just LOVED it. I REALLY could have stayed there all day...and then some.

Alas, the weekend had to come to an end. It did me the world of good though and it was great to catch up and have a big family get together.

Hopefully, I have caught up a bit with things now. Thank you for taking the time to visit me here. I do appreciate it very much. I love to read your comments. I read each and every one. I know time is such a precious thing, so I always feel humbled that people do pop by and say hello. I do apologise if I don't get round to saying hello to you all. It's this whole time management thing. It's hard to juggle. I am not the most organised person and am quite airy fairy with my head in the clouds most of the time. I hope am forgiven....

Happy Monday to you all.

Washing awaits me. Why is there as much washing going for only a weekend as there is when going away for a whole week? I can never understand that one!


p.s that rather large book pile was beside my bed. All now put back in their rightful place, so head and home are a little more sorted!


  1. I think we all need time to stop and take a breather.
    The blogging world can be a bizarre one at times too.

    Beautiful ruined castle photos. I love a bit of fantasy and history too! I used to find them truly fascinating as a kid and still do now.
    Glad you're feeling a bit more 'sorted'.
    Have a great week.

  2. You're pictures are marvelous!... as all your blog!
    Have a nice day, with or without books, but with happiness!

  3. i had all my books out on sunday night...half watching crap factor and half eyeing up the lovely pages of beauty...i love the fact that you put a book on the shelfling and months later you look at it with fresh new eyes. Glad you had a lovely break- sometimes its good just to take time out, focus on you, let your thoughts breath and be concentrate on whats important -YOURSELF! hehe x
    love the look of all your books...
    Ive decided i dont spend enough time in waterstones, i buy alotta books on Amazon, but realised id prefer to pay a few quid extra and actually sit with my books and the bookcases around me...nothing better than a book shop and a coffee in the same place x

    Those castle piccys are spectacular...x

    best wishes sweetie xxxxxx

  4. I have many times like this. Sometimes we just need time away to regroup. There are many days I think of blogging but just don't have the energy to actually do it! When I do take time out then I feel so much better when I come back.
    I agree with you about Christmas. It is much much too commercial and this year I want to go down the handmade route (as much out of need than anyhting else!! LOL!) however the attitude of family (not hubby and kids) to this might not be so good.....
    Anyhows...glad you are back and feeling refreshed. Cx

  5. Gorgious pics! Love them! I know what you mean about the books. They're quite addictive, right? And I also get SO p*ssed off at myself for not making at least 90% of all the wonderful projects featured in them. Ack! Glad to have you back!

  6. A break from te routine does us all good every now and then. And yes I do love to get my books and magazines out and lose an hour or so taking in the pictures :) x

  7. Creo que a veces un pequeño parón es vital para poder ordenar nuestras ideas,después la claridad viene sola.Su testimonio es bonito y sus fotos también.Muchos saludos.

  8. Great post, love the photos and the pile of books, have some of these books myself and love them all :)

    Bee happy x
    Have a delicious day!

  9. Hi... hope you are feeling more 'sorted' now.. we all need to take time to just 'be' sometimes.. our lives are far too busy and when you have bad times you need to spend more time just letting your mind get itself together...I'm glad you had a good weekend to be with the family.. Lovely,lovely photos..:)x

  10. Recently started to follow your blog. Waiting for your new adventures and activities. Pictures in the post are really good. Keep up the good work and spend some time for yourself. Gold bless.

  11. Nice pics, good thoughts! And I love castles<3

  12. I am totally with you! Yes, I too am retreating into myself/family life at present. And yes, there are books everywhere. I have to organise my head which has far too many drawers open and feels like it is in chaos.

    I hope you are feeling well and happy.

    We are having a real indian summer now with temperatures up to 30°C It's wonderful and weird!

  13. Not a loon at all. You made complete and utter sense.

    Sometimes we need time to sort out the head space - to close the front door and just think.

    Be with those that matter and have a sense of calm, almost spaced out if you like to meditate and deal with all the jumble that is in our lives and the mental filing that keeps spilling over.

    It's good to take time to do this - it makes you a better person, to yourself and those that surround you - for sure.

    take care,

    Nina xxx

  14. I really enjoyed today's post Vanessa because I knew exactly how you feel. We all get like it sometimes and it helps to write it down, bring it out into the open. I related to the slight panic at this time of year too x

  15. You don't sound odd at all comparing your thoughts to books. My daughter knows exactly how her brain works (well OK she doesn't as she isn't a neurosurgeon!) in any-case, for her things are stored in rooms and cupboards. It is alien to me because my brain is just one big messy stack, with everything just thrown in on the floor and every time I want something I have to rummage through, continually getting side-tracked.

    Christmas is not magical when it is just about buy buy buy, that is for sure. My childhood christmases were lovely, yet we didn't actually get much at all. But we did so many things that ended up as traditions; we chopped things for puddings and mincemeat. We stirred things, we made sweets - for years we had only homemade sweets like fudge and coconut ice. My mum worked really hard but it was all very homespun - and wonderful for it. I am not nearly so on the ball and I feel I have lost things along the way. I don't have much family and money doesn't talk with those I do have, yet the spirit of Christmas sometimes goes for a bit of a walk! I must try and put some of that back.

    This blog post has been wonderful to share - I haven't been out of London for years and it is so lovely to see such lovely places. You can either moan that you never go anywhere, or you can be grateful that you get taken (virtually) to some gorgeous places. Your weekend sounds marvellous and certainly looks it. Your photos are very atmospheric. Castles are wonderful places; very evocative of the past.

    Love the piles of actual books too by the way, I have the Alicia Paulson one and I love looking at it and planning what to do. Of course that's all on the endless 'to make' list. I am taking forever, crocheting a very simple blanket. I am in the process of setting myself some stern goals - something I don't usually do. I absolutely love the colours of your blanket, the soft buttery yellow especially.

    It's lovely to have you back but I honestly believe that we all need a breather sometimes. Hope you are feeling fully refreshed.

  16. Hi, I do know what you mean.Unfortunately a vandal has been in my library and all bookshelves in my head are all over the place-must try the dewey system!!! (If only it was that easy).My books are also flying around so fast I can't catch them so I will wait until they slow down.I think my problem is partly chaotic home=chaotic mind and good grief is my house messy! Also, Swanage and Corfe are my spiritual homes so felt the familiar longing ache to be there again when I saw your photos-they are lovely reminders of a magical place.Thank you for a wonderful post.DebbyT.x

  17. I just had to leave a comment as your blog is fabulous! I am glad that I am not the only one with a mind resembling a messy library! We all need to take time out now and again, put things back where they belong and start again.

    Sounds like you had a lovely weekend and I love castles too.

    Your blog has some beautiful pictures xx

  18. I love your writing style. I'm a day dreamer too ;) I must say those jam tarts look so yummy and what a wonderful idea to cut them into flower shapes. Sounds like the weekend was wonderful and full of lovely memories. Blessings to you. Niki x

  19. Hi Vanessa, well it made perfect sense to me so if you are a loon then so am I!
    Agree re Christmas and I think it is true of other aspects of our lives, such pressure from business/adverts to buy the latest toy, dress, shoes, bags etc. The recession isn't a good thing but good things can come from it if we start to live more simply again.
    Beautiful photos and lovely looking at your pile of books - I recognise some from my pile(s)!
    Carol xx

  20. It made me smile how many books we share...although I thinned my cookery & crafting shelves out recently.
    Corfe is lovely isn't it? Did you pop into the little sweetie shop with the bears or did you all resist temptation...we caved in to temptation and I had a few 'milk bottles' that I've not had for *yonks*

  21. I am enthralled by your lovely books. I have the Sophie Dahl one and the A.S Byatt.
    I don't think you have to be sorry for not blogging. I love losing myself in your blog, but we all need time for ourselves.
    Something changes when a close family member is lost. I don't think Christmas is the same again and we lose some of our own innocence. Maybe there is a new way of enjoying Christmas and a way of remembering that we have to learn. My dad died two years ago and the time of year can be hard. I hope it will have some good moments for you.
    I find Christmas a bit less commercial where I live in the Czech Republic. People are a bit less materialistic generally.I love the ideaof handmade presents. A Thrifty Mrs had some great ideas on giving someone a 'skill' for Christmas,such as five hours teaching them to knit.
    My daughter will be three this year, so I am excited about the lights, the tree and the stories I can tell her of Santa and St Nicholas. There is something Nordic about the lights, lighting up a dark time of year,that we need.


  22. I love this post, it reminded me of the wonderful celebrations my husband and I have shared during the past 11 years.
    There is no commercial Christmas in our home. Instead, we spend time together, sharing memories, laughs, watch A Christmas Story, laugh till we have to wipe away the tears to see. We use this time to strengthen our relationship and celebrate the years we have spent together while looking forward to more of these loving years.
    As for presents, we don't wait for special occasions to give a gift to someone we cherish, be it friends or children. We call those "just because" presents and are that much more appreciated because they were purchased just because we love the recipient :)

  23. I'm right in there with you too....I love books, and seem to have a lot of the same ones as you (surprise, surprise).....and magazines too....I always seem to have huge piles of mags around waiting to be sorted....then I finally catch up and tidy up, but within a couple of weeks, they're all spread everywhere fact, I'm in the process of bringing order back to my mags at present....and my mind....I find these last four months extremely busy too....birthdays, halloween, guy fawkes,'s one big snowball!

    And I absolutely, totally agree with you on summed it up perfectly! I'm definitely pulling back on Christmas this year....relaxing some of our traditions....making some new, more relaxed, traditions....trying not to get myself all stressed out by it all.

    Glad your weekend was fab.....I too love castles and ruins....Corfe looks wonderful....note to self....somehow, sometime must find a way to take my Angels there. I had the opportunity to have a quick scout around Conwy Castle in North Wales many years fact, before any of my Angles were born....and that was fab....but haven't had the opportunity to visit any since. Thanks for the photos....they're really inspiring -xx-

  24. We have sooo many of the same books. I have spent some of my morning going through old mags, cutting out and taking notes xx

  25. I can so relate to you my friend...I can hardly wait to clear out my brain...stuff everywhere and no organization and no end in sight...I would really hate to see what it looks like up there inside my one of those homes where people have a problem with collecting too much junk... horders...that's the term isn't it. Now I got a headache just thinking about it.
    Happy Monday anyways....xoxoxoxo Your images make me smile and we read the same books...I have many of yours.

  26. What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and beautiful pictures. Take care!

  27. Hi Vanessa,

    Good to hear you are feeling more organised now and your head is clear. I think we all have periods like this. I hope the coming weeks will give you a bit more space.

    Your weekend trip sounds good. Love the photo's you made! Congratulations to your brother.

    Have a great day!

    Madelief x

  28. Hi Vanessa,
    I honestly missed you and were wondering whether you were OK, as you mentioned that the busy period started and that you had to keep ahead on the game. I think that the lot of us are a bit loon, if not all, in one way or another, but that makes it fun to connect.
    I cleaned up during my vacation as well. Still need to take out a lot, so that we get some actual space, but it's not bad. It's a start. and I also got my stash sorted. With the inheritance of yarn from my mum it was quite a good one. But not all colourful. I do have lot's of bright pink I noticed :D
    And I'm also trying to think of things to make for Christmas. It's never been done before, but I think it would be a change in the right direction. Everyone can use a little scarf or some other cute thing ;)
    But anyway, glad you're back and I do so love the photos and your collages. They make me happy with all the colours.
    Be well.

  29. A great post and by the look of the comments very much how many of us feel.

  30. Lovely post, Vanessa...and I do know just how you feel. Life can just get too full sometimes and you can feel it's like a toppling pile of books! I'm glad you feel more refreshed now. Your pictures in this post are as always so interesting and beautiful. Have a happy week.
    Helen x

  31. I, like just about everyone else, am with you. I quite literally have a pile of about 6 months worth of home, lifestyle, cooking and art magazines which I would normally be pouring over, but somehow I haven't got the 'space' for. I'm a fine one to set myself up with so much to do, I find I do none of it and then I get cross. I'm sure a lot of the pressures we feel are only put there by ourselves.

    I have already begun to make a list of Christmas presents to make and am determined to get back some sort of sense in all the chaos. I love Christmas, but feeling really poorly on the day last year, but still having to work so hard to make it 'perfect' for everyone else made me re-evaluate.

    You ought to visit around our way, we are chocked full of castles and have the best beaches, mountains, views in the

  32. hello, I love your snaps of your weekend......and I remember last year being in total awe of your beautiful handmade christmas presents...
    have a lovely week x x x x x x x x

  33. Well,you've certainly come back to blogging firing on on all cylinders!..what a lovely post! Corfe castle is a favourite destination of ours when we visit Dorset.We like to get the train from Nordon to Swanage,have a walk p on the cliffs,mooch around the town, and then back on the train again.
    The castle first thing in the morning surrounded by mist is magical! :0)

  34. Nothing nicer than having a nose around someone else's bookshelf - thank you! Glad you're back and that the time away was helpful. We all need to switch off and sort things out from time to time. C.x

  35. Ere! I've just spotted your Wolfie pale blues over there on the left! Nice little surprise right down here after all the comments.

    Yes you do come across as a loon but you are amongst friends. I think we all have funny analogies to describe our state of mind. Currently mine is like the local dump. I envy you and your nice neat tidied away piles. I so have to get my arse into gear and get this house sorted out. Truth is it's just way too big a job now that I keep putting it off.

    I have a hooooge bedside pile too which, funnily enough, has Sons and Lovers somewhere in the middle. The top books keep sliding off it as it's a bit small to support them. I've read it about five times now and I always find something new in it as each time I have read it my life has changed a little. I last read it when pregnant with Mini, it felt totally different that time round compared to when I read it for A levels. I was focussing on the Mother Son relationship rather than the romances.

    Right my phone is quacking which means it's time to put my Yicks to bed and get the rabble rounded up. Man bedtime is a right royal PITA right now. Tell me it gets easier? Please lie if you have to.


  36. I do hope those pages stop flicking in your head soon and you feel calmer. I love creating gifts, it makes me feel so much joy about the person I am creating for. Take care xxx

  37. Gorgeous photos - I love the stack of books - we share some of the titles too - good reading! It's not odd to think like that either - we all need to escape sometimes with our thoughts and gain a little order over them. There is so much to do and think about in this world that it is no wonder that our poor heads get a little overcrowded sometimes! Glad you are feeling a little more sorted - your weekend away looks stunning too - a perfect tonic, what beautiful countryside!! Jenny x

  38. Those books look so lovely! Can't wait to hear your fav tidbits!
    I can relate to a mind that's a-jumble... Too much to process in too little time!
    Such gorgeous countryside! I would die to visit the UK! Well, I'll probably have to die to visit the UK... ;)

  39. aawww bless you. I think you described the way you were feeling brilliantly. And it does us all good to have time away from blogger etc to restore ourselves so to speak. I have been away from here for a few weeks to. Had other things taking up my time and mind. I am so glad to see you have been away the photo's are beautiful and it sounds like it was very much needed. I agree also that handmade gifts are so much nicer and more thoughtful than shop bought ones. Take lots of care and happy making, dee x

  40. Your photos of the castle and the steam train are fabulous. I wondered what camera you have - althugh I do appreciate the reason they are so good is because you are very talented at taking pictures! I do the messy book thing - being a bit aspergers I have to have everything just so tidy and have all my magaxines on shelves in date order, but sometimes I go mad and take them all down and actually read them in a big pile like you! but I am compelled to return them after as I can't bear anything out of it's place for long! All your books look interesting, I would like to come round and read them all! Betty

  41. Ha Ha that's just like my head too! Gets all muddly and needs clearing out every so often.

  42. So good to see you back in blog land and a relief that you are alright. Everyone feels overwhelmed and bogged down. I certainly do. Your readers can all relate to your feelings. We so easily get bogged down in our modern way of living. Your posts and pictures are always very comforting to read and see. Hoping that you get your mojo back and can put it all into perspective and make the daily chores, routines and aspirations manageable. One needs to take time out from the fray every so often. I love making lists but yet they too can bog me down and sometimes seem counterproductive! Have a chill week, Vanessa. X

  43. Like many of the other people who have commented, I definitely understand the exact feeling you've described here!

    I always make an annual gift list focused on handmade gifts. I don't always end up giving a handmade gift but this year I at least crocheted tons of bags to use as gift wrapping paper for those things that I do purchase. :)

  44. Could this be the perfect post ever ... crochet, castles, steam trains, books and food!!! I am going to re-read it all again now and take in all of your beautiful images. So glad you had a wonderful weekend - it looked lovely! I'm totally with you about homemade gifts for Christmas. I just wish that our Christmas didn't fall during Summer then I could whip up crochet hats and scarves galore - but when it's roasting hot it just doesn't seem right!! Crochet bikinis anyone???? Eeek. Have a fab week hon. Leah xx

  45. My goodness what an amazing post ,I don't think you lost your mojo at all...where to start!

  46. I know exactly how you are feeling. When there is so much to do, I feel like a deck of cards that has been tossed up in the air. Very scattered, don't know where to begin, so do nothing at all. It happens to all of us, comes in stages. Nice sometimes to just breathe and be. Your family time and all the trips and touristy things sound very relaxing and wonderful. I do think handmade is always better but there are so many who don't appreciate the time and effort. I much prefer a personal, thoughtful, quality item over expensive or more any day. Have a great week. Tammy

  47. Hi sweet Vanessa, you are so brave, your analogy with the books is beautiful. And I am happy to read you got them sorted out.

    And yes, you are in the magazine too! I don't know, but it might still be available in the UK? I will email you the picture of your mention. Isn't it great we are in there? Claire from Hearthandmade UK is too, the three of us! I am very lucky to be in such good company.

    Take care,
    Love Maaike

  48. Dearest Vanessa, oh my goodness I also have a mind like yours, filled with all sorts of subjects swirling around at's like a kind of crazy soup but anyways...I loved your photos of the books, recognised a fair few titles I have on my own shelves - goodness me how I love books; cant imagine a house without them!

    Also agree with all your sentiments regarding the festive season ~ isn't it a shame it's become so tacky and all about money? I notice the Christmas adverts have started to creep in, the tinsel is already for sale and my wee girl is asking how long til Father Christmas comes. There's alot of expectation about this time of year thanks to the media, I sometimes think it would be nice to have lived in the Larkrise era, when all was much more simpler and the philosophy very much on giving, sharing and being with loved ones. I detest the commercial element of it nowadays and do my best not to go overboard. In fact, Ive just begun a little pile of lavender pillows to give away as gifts, and oooh my how Ive waffled on!! Forgive my long winded ramblings wont you! Sending you love, Julia x x x

  49. I hope you are feeling more ordered now sweetie!!

    The first Christmas after losing someone (we lost my Dad in 2009) is hard but I promise it will get easier.

    Your pared down Christmas sounds good.

    We spent the weekend in Swanage too!! We may have passed each other and not even known!!

    S x

  50. Be still my heart! I love a castle, whether it be ruins or whole. What a wonderful time you had. Thank you for sharing it with us!


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