English Country Garden

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How many gentle flowers grow
In an English country garden?
I’ll tell you now of some I know
And those I’ll miss I hope you’ll pardon
Daffodils, heart’s ease and flox
Meadowsweet and lilly stalks
Gentain, lupine and tall hollihocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, forget-me-nots
In an English country garden.

Nana Mouskouri, remember her singing this?

Globally speaking the biggest selling female artist of all time. As a multi linguist she sold all over Europe, America and Asia. Quite surreal to think of this young woman from Crete singing about native English flowers and gardens. 

This garden is in Cheshire. Very close to home. The Dower house to a big estate, and open annually for charity. I love it here. An oasis of tranquility, adjacent to a beautiful boating lake swamped in yellow lillies, and overlooking a village green opposite a cluster of ancient cottages reserved for estate workers. 

The garden to be absolutely frank, isn’t the most cultivated or colourful or groomed, but I like it for those reasons. The English love a good nosey, and here is the perfect excuse, pay a couple of pounds, wander round the borders and the arboretum, and pretend, just for a short while that you are Lady of The Manor, about to disappear indoors to prepare for dinner, you’ve maybe been out earlier with your trug, collecting rose blooms for the table, not it’s time to break out the pearls and enjoy a glass of chilled champagne in a crystal coupe.

If you’re going to have a dream, have a big one!

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Filed under england, English Countryside, flowers, Gardening, home

Ciao Bella!

Here we have a gorgeous strand of Vintage Italian Murano Glass beads.


In everyone’s favourite; blue and white. I think these are exquisite. Beautifully made, each bead unique and individual, capped with a sweet little gilt fixture, and then hand knotted in silk in between, in pristine condition.

Murano is a little collection of islands, just to the north of Venice, Italy, famed for its glass making. In 1291, all the glass makers in Venice were forced to move to Murano due to the risk of fire, and the tradition of bead making began. The glass makers soon became highly revered, and were allowed to wear swords, and marry into the nobility. Murano glass is highly collectable, and sought after. This colour is rare.

This gorgeous necklace is the perfect summer accessory, would look fabulous with white linen.

Available to buy here in my eBay shop, or directly via Paypal. You won’t be disappointed – it’s amazing!


Filed under Gorgeous

Ah! Sunflower

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‘Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done.’

(William Blake)

The traveller’s journey is done right here, right now, with this fabulous ‘Sunflowers in Bowl’ oil painting by accomplished artist, Anne Brandon Jones (1878 – 1968).

Brandon Jones was a Royal Academician and a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, but her main interest was in embroidery. She was a skilled needlewoman, and published many books on the subject. Interestingly, this particular painting reflects her skill and technique as an embroiderer, with paint applied in a measured and careful way; textures and direction of paint are built up deliberately and with care and precision.

Anne attended the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London (which eventually became Central St Martin’s). The School opened in 1896, as a result of the growing Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris and John Ruskin. (Anne’s son John was a founder member of the William Morris Society, and a renowned Arts and Crafts architect).

When I look at this amazing painting, I can certainly see the Arts and Crafts influence peeping through, the earthy colours, the organic shapes, the natural, simple form are all leitmotifs of this particular style. It’s a fabulous piece, by a female pioneer of one of the most influential creative eras of the last century.

More images available here, in my shop.


Filed under autumn colours, florist, home, home decor, Interior Design, Musings, orange, poem, poet, vintage decor, william blake

I Want the World to Be Glass….


“If you treat glass right, it doesn’t crack. If you know the properties, you can make things; the color of dusk and night and love. But you can’t control people like that and I really, really wish you could. I want the world to be glass.” (Cath Crowley, Graffiti Moon).

On Venice’s famed isle of Murano, glass masters keep alive the art of lampworking. Each of the beads in these graceful Murano earrings is individually made over a hot flame, uno alla volta.

A unique, individual, antique, dusk coloured pair of luscious earrings, available here!


Filed under Accessories, antique jewellery, antique jewelry, antiques, gifts, italy, Murano, Venice

Painting with stitches?

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‘Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration.’ Quote by D H Lawrence.

Stunning embroidery by renowned artist Alison Holt. Take a look at her website, really interesting work.

Her work is a marvel, at first I thought this recently acquired piece was a painting, but it is in fact stitched. So clever, such talent. Alison’s work is sold for thousands of pounds.

I have this fabulous garden embroidery by her for sale in my shop.

This is a rare, collector’s item, and won’t be around long. I’m very tempted to keep it.

What do you think?

Alison Holt:

“Each piece is a combination of silk painting and stitch. The painting creates depth, perspective and richness to the work and combines effectively with stitch to give detail and texture

I started to explore my love of the countryside, flowers and gardens through the medium of embroidery finding it the perfect vehicle to express the colours, textures and shapes I find so fascinating. I try to combine in my compositions a sense of light and an interesting juxtaposition of colour, shape and texture. I aim to capture moments in time as an artist who has colour, line and texture to play with. I consider myself a painter that uses threads, an artist that draws with a sewing machine.”


Filed under blossoms, collecting, Craft, fine art, flowers, Gardening, Interior Design, Knitting, life, Lifestyle, love, Musings, painting, Textiles, Vintage

Absolutely Fabulous – Lacroix Sweetie!

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Here we have a huge bauble of loveliness, beautifully made, lace fretwork, signed to the reverse.

Edwina and Patsy (Google ‘Ab Fab’ if you have no idea what I’m talking about), would be all over this superb piece of vintage Christian Lacroix.

Lacroix was such a genius, born in Arles, France, he studied art history at the University of Montpelier, continued on to the Sorbonne, and then completed his dissertation in the 18th century paintings of France at the Ecole de Louvre.

How then did the inventor of the puff ball skirt (le pouf!) who grew a global business, manage to never make a profit? The company was put into administration in 2009 with Lacroix reflecting:

“I didn’t want to cry,” said Lacroix “I want to continue, maybe in a different way, with a small atelier. What I really care about is the women who do this work”.

This beautiful piece, an antique of the future, is available in my shop.

 Shop here…

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Filed under 1980's, Accessories, antiques, Beauty, costume jewellery, Stylist, vintage jewelry

The Fish


The Fish

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn’t fight.
He hadn’t fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
—the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly—
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
—It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
—if you could call it a lip—
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels—until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.

Elizabeth Bishop, 1911 – 1979

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Filed under Craft, Interior Design, Poetry

Via Dolorosa

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This week in Liverpool saw the sale of the contents of the studio of Sean Rice who died in 1997.

Statues, maquettes, wax models, paintings.

A varied selection, from strident riot police with shields, a nod to the Toxteth troubles, to the mellifluous mythic, a reference perhaps to Maurice Lambert who taught Rice in the early 1950’s.

My own favourite pieces can be viewed every day in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Archbishop Warlock commissioned Rice to produce a series of sculptures for the Stations of the Cross. Prior to this the Stations were represented by photographs of the Vietnam War. Rice did not disappoint.


Each part of Christ’s journey is depicted in metal. Hard, unforgiving, unyielding sculptures twisted and contorted to form brutal images which are quite harrowing and breathtaking. They are magnificent, evoking sorrow and suffering. Each one more and more haunting as Christ struggles on his journey to the Cross.

If you are in Liverpool put this on your list of ‘must sees’. In situ in the Cathedral this art is remarkable. To see it scattered over a trestle table in an industrial unit in the Baltic Triangle, seemed almost sacrilege. I managed to buy a very small piece, I salvaged a part of Liverpool’s history, made by one of its most talented sons. It was astonishing that the collection wasn’t bought for/by the city. Instead a life’s work will now be scattered and disseminated. Most never to be seen again.

Please read this very interesting obituary of Sean Rice, and get yourself down to Paddy’s Wigwam. It’s Easter. You can. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-sean-rice-1283255.html

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Filed under Art, Easter, religion, Sculpture

Posh Pedro and his Party

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As a special request – you know who you are! – I have included another post about Pedro the Spanish Wonder Dog.

I took a photo of him today, outside, with the sun on his back, wearing his rather tasteful Birthday Bandana. Pedro says Hola! and thanks ever so for the party and the fabulous prezzies. I think his favourite gift was a bumper size pack of Gravy Bones.

Mmmmmm. Ewwwwww. Quite revolting!

Welcoming Pedro has been a fabulous, rewarding, entertaining, lovely experience. Everyone tells us how lucky we are.

He is a rescue dog with no issues. He has lovely manners, is very sociable, with an excellent sense of humour. He isn’t demanding or needy, is ever so obedient, and most charming of all, Pedro is a demonstrative, loving hound. His favourite pastime is to hop up on the sofa (nawty!), and gently nudge you with his soft little snout until you stop reading, typing, chatting or snoozing. He will then put a paw on your shoulder whilst you rub under his chin or stroke his ginger ears. He loves that. If you stroke his ears long enough he goes into a little trance and eventually keels over and falls asleep sprawled over your knee.

I’m struggling to remember what life was like Pre Pedro. Mud free. Dog hair free. Smelly soggy toy free. A bit empty?

I’d love to hear your experiences, do you have a rescue puppy?

Does your dog have a wardrobe to match Pedro’s?

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Filed under Community, Dogs, Dogwalking, Lifestyle, Pets, Writing

The Wearing of the Green

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‘Oh, Paddy* dear, did you hear the news that’s going ’round?
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground
Saint Patrick’s Day no more to keep, his colour can’t be seen
For there’s a bloody law again’ the Wearing of the Green.
I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand
And he said “How’s poor old Ireland and how does she stand?”
“She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.”‘

 Raise your pint of Gat to the wearing of the green today.

*And raise your next pint to my father Patrick, my grandfather Paddy, and my great grandfather Patsy.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.

Happy St Patrick’s Day.

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Filed under Irish