Tuesday, 28 July 2009


Are you one of those people who keep their birthday & Christmas cards? I have to admit that I do, so have lots of them in boxes that I can't bear to throw away. I also like to choose just the right card when I am giving one so often spend ages looking through all the cards in the shop much to Mr Cottage's exasperation!

I have been pondering the subject of cards as it is soon to be my niece's 9th birthday so I was looking for a card to send with her gift. It seems to me that almost every child's card these days has either a Disney or other TV character on it or something like Barbie or Bratz dolls.

Both of my nieces love horses so I was looking for a card with a nice horse picture on the front & I could only find one which is the same card that I sent her last year.

When I was young (and up until not so long ago) cards would feature ponies & puppies, baskets of roses or kittens, ballerinas or bunnies, but nowadays they just seem so commercial. This includes tins of biscuits & boxes of chocolates which again had puppies, thatched cottages, ballerinas, swans & other charming & pleasant images on their lids - dare I admit that I still have the picture from the lid of a box of chocolates that I had when I was 10??

The cards in the first photo are some of mine from my childhood - I like to be able to look through them now & again & read messages from my now departed grandparents or great aunts as well as cards from my parents, sister, friends & family.

Am I being unnecessarily nostalgic for days gone by? I wonder if it's the sense of a less commercial era that draws us to vintage items?

The cards below are from a batch of charming birthday cards which I bought recently - they are from the 1930's & were given to a little boy called Bernie. Bernie or his mum must have treasured them as they are all in pristine condition.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

New Shoes!

I just couldn't resist these lovely patchworky shoes when I saw them! I have to admit to having a "thing" for shoes, but not usually ones with heels - I like to be comfortable! I also love boots & probably have far too many of them.

Miss Cottage is a handbag girl & seems to have a million or two draped all around her bedroom. I tend to stick to one good leather one (I don't want to keep swapping purses & things over) & have a variety of shopping tote bags & baskets that I take out with me as well.

So, are you a shoe girl or a bag girl? Or both?

Monday, 20 July 2009

Bountiful Harvest

Not so long ago I was posting about creating a new raised bed for vegetables (see post for comparison) & two short months later both vegetable plots are full to bursting & we are picking lots of vegetables.
As you can see, we are not of the Straight Rows School of Gardening!
Oh no! We just pop everything in & let it get on with the job of growing & providing fruit & veg for the kitchen. The beans are even growing up the sunflowers!

Inside the polytunnel the tomatoes are doing their best to reach the roof & have little fruits already. In fact they have grown even more since I took this photo a few days ago.

We've had a number of cucumbers off this plant already.

Here are today's pickings - fresh from the garden & straight to the kitchen & later to the plate.

I like to try different vegetables so often buy seeds for black beans or striped tomatoes just to see how they turn out.

As you can see, you don't need a very big space to grow quite a big variety of vegetables & be self sufficient all summer long!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Art? Or Not?

Yesterday Miss Cottage, her Beau & I set off early for Bristol to have a look at the Banksy (the trailer is worth watching!) exhibition at Bristol Museum & Gallery. We have been to the museum many times to various exhibitions but never have we had to queue! I'm sure the museum has never seen such crowds before. For those of you who don't know, Banksy is a graffiti artist who has decorated quite a few Bristol buildings with his work. He is very secretive so nobody knows who he actually is, but apparently he is from Yate, near Bristol.

We had to queue for one & a half hours - we fortified ourselves with coffee & chocolate from Starbucks. The queues were well organised & the visitors were patient & good humoured.
Once we got inside it wasn't at all crowded & we were able to view the exhibits at our leisure.

Some were thought provoking, others humorous & yet others a bit naughty. The animated chicken nuggets were down right disturbing! I know others have blogged about this exhibition too so I've just included a few favourites here.

Poor Thomas!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Caught red pawed!!

This cheeky little pup takes any opportunity to find a comfy place to sleep.....look where I found him this morning! He knows he's not allowed on the bed but does that stop him? Ohhhh no! He burrows under the duvet & rearranges the bed to suit himself. The bed was made when I left it!

On another note - if you want a good giggle do visit this blog recommended by a friend of mine:
Cake Wrecks.

Have a good weekend everybody!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Quick & Easy Muffins

I haven't posted a recipe for ages so I thought I'd share a quick & very easy muffin recipe with you as I made some yesterday. This is a basic muffin recipe to which you can add dried fruit, choc chips or fresh fruit such as blueberries. It is from a recipe book which I bought many years ago writted & published in South Africa - it is filled with many nice muffin recipes.

You will need:

375ml flour
10ml baking powder
125ml sugar
125ml milk
1 egg, beaten
60ml melted butter

Preheat oven to 180C
Stir dry ingredients together.
Add the milk to the melted butter & egg.
Add egg mixture to dry ingredients & stir until just combined.
Leave plain, or add fruit etc (I added dried cherries, berries & sultanas to mine).
Spoon into greased muffin tins & bake for about 20 minutes.

It's quicker that going to the shops to buy some but they go quickly too - only 2 left today!

We are starting to harvest quite a lot of vegetables from the garden now - here are yesterday's courgettes & peas.....

Monday, 6 July 2009

Ribbons all round

Miss Cottage & Dylan made us proud at the horse show - they came second in their jumping class. First of all they did a good clear round & as there were 11 clear rounds they then had to compete again, this time going for the fastest clear round. They were in the lead for a while & then were beaten by point three of a second!
All together now...awwwwww!

But we think Dylan suits red - what do you think?

He obviously thinks it's quite amusing too!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

A Perfect Party!

One of the joys of having an online shop is the contact that you get with like-minded people from all over the world. Some people buy their item, I post it & that's it. But others send lovely emails once the item has been received & some of them come back to shop again or keep up a friendly correspondence.

One such customer is Tammy from the USA - she purchased a selection of vintage china cups & saucers from me a little while ago as she was planning a tea party for her sweet daughter's 3rd birthday.

This week she sent me some lovely photos of the event that looked as if they were straight out of a magazine. I knew all you bloggers would love these photos too, I asked Tammy for permission to post them on my blog & she kindly agreed.

So, here are the photos of a superb tea party - I'm sure you will all be impressed with the gorgeous girls & the very smart "butler"!!