The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: October 2014

Friday, 31 October 2014

Life at the moment

October has flown by and I cannot believe it is the end of the month already. Life at the moment for me has been about... and friends for weekend catch ups in our new home.

Visiting...the shops, cafes and restaurants near our new home and enjoying being able to shop local at the weekends in our local butchers, bakers and green grocers.

Harvesting - home grown carrots, I don't think they were meant to be quite so small but they were super tasty in a slow roasted casserole we had last weekend.

Organising...and printing some of my recent photos for my Project Life album.

Getting...back on the sewing machine after many many months off. It felt great sitting in my craft studio space in our attic practicing cutting fabric and sewing a few blocks for my new quilt.

Waiting...for a fabric delivery. I have a day off at home today and I'm eagerly waiting to see if the signed for delivery will arrive today. I can't wait to unpack the fabric and get started on my new quilt. Deacon Blue's Greatest Hits, a favourite album of mine when I was younger

Watching...Strictly Come Dancing, it's one of my favourite programs of the autumn months. My feet get twitchy watching it, perhaps its the ex-ballroom and latin dancer in me wanting to make an appearance again. Maybe one day I'll pop on those shoes again and cha cha across the dance floor.

Making...time to reinvigorate my connection with my hobbies and interests. I've been catching up with unread magazines, reading a few books, planning my new quilt, sorting out my craft space, drafting ideas for our garden changes.

Crunching...autumn leaves underfoot and watching the leaves dance along the road on breezy days goals. This month I took two days of annual leave from work and went on a taster coaching course. I met some amazing and inspiring people who shared my energy and passion for wanting to develop and help others develop. I spent the two days thinking about my goals and putting actions in place. It's great seeing how powerful achieving small actions can be when you are working towards a big goal.

Enjoying...seeing lots of pretty flowers around the house throughout the month. The orchid flowered a few days before we moved in September and it is still going strong.

Smelling...the perfume from these gorgeous lilies each time I step in the house. They were a gift from friends and I love them.

Embracing...all the changes happening around me. I'm still riding the wave of change at work and proud that I'm managing to stay strong and focused. I'm finally embracing the volume of tasks and emails that now form my day job, I hope that things will slow down soon.

Writing...up my thoughts for my One Little Word course and realising how powerful the word Embrace has been for me over the past 10 months.

Enjoying...the unseasonably warm and sunny weather we have had during the month. I secretly want to be wearing my winter clothes, boots and scarves.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

From the bookshelf...

Reading hardback non-fiction books is one of my favourite things to do to relax and clear my head after a busy day. It has been a while since I've made the time or had the energy to do something I really love after work. I wanted to change that so over the past few weeks I've made it a goal of mine to make a conscious effort to ensure that I make time after work to sit, relax and do something I love undisturbed for 20 minutes or so a few times a week. For me this has meant making time to read an inspiring book related to my interests. I've made an effort to leave work on time a select few days a week, get home and sort out the most important tasks around our home, and then, armed with a rooibos tea, I've sat and read a few pages of a book. I've really enjoyed it!

I bought the book Making a House Your Home - The Essential Guide to Modern Day Homemaking by Clare Nolan, a few years ago. It was recommended to me by Mr C's sister who thought I'd really love it. I've had it on my shelf for quite sometime and have dipped in and out of it but only recently I decided that I wanted to read it from cover to cover to get some inspiration and homemaking tips. Having just moved into a new home Mr C and I now have a new space to make our own and I wanted to have a fresh set of ideas to really help me think about how we wanted our home to feel.

I would highly recommend adding this book to your list of must reads if you love homemaking and interiors. It's the book that I would've loved to have conceptualised and written. It's jam packed with interiors tips and home lifestyle advice about making a house into a personalised home. There are lots of lovely photos, a great use colour, plenty of content to read and a great feel to the flow of the book. I'm half the way through at the moment and I'm especially enjoying working through the chapters one by one and picking up ideas that resonate with me. It's not just a room by room decorating book, it's a book about living a great life in your home too. 

Here are a few pages showing the lovely photography...

the great ideas....

and the fresh design.

I'm so pleased that I'm back on track with making time in my week to do things that I love. Having a goal in place to read a book related to my interests after work is bringing me energy that I forgot I had! Having 20 minutes or so of time built into my routine, to snuggle under a blanket, light a candle, make a calming cup of tea, and listen to the autumnal rain and wind outside, whilst reading my book, has done wonders for my soul. I've managed to relax, do something I love and achieve something for me after a busy day at work. It's a small step closer to a bigger goal I have, however doing something small during the week is enabling me to feel and see that my weekdays are more than just about my day job and work.

If you feel like building in some time for you after a busy day and want to enjoy something related to your hobbies and interests, don't forget about your bookshelf. Re-aquaint yourself with a book that you love or have once loved and enjoy taking a few minutes to relax after your day and get inspired. 


Sunday, 19 October 2014

October in our new garden

Last week I told you about our exciting news that we had moved house. With our new home comes a brand new garden to grow plants in and to transform and make our own. It was sad saying goodbye to our courtyard garden space where my passion for gardening really kick started, but I know that our new garden will take my interest and knowledge of gardening to a whole new level. I'm buzzing with excitement about our new space and I am looking forward to sharing it with you.

I can't tell you how energised I feel about this garden and the plans I have started to put together. For Mr C and I we are seeing it as a blank canvas and the chance to really shape and redesign the space. Our garden is a perfect size for us and will hopefully in time be a space that is easy to look after. In our new garden there is plenty of space to grow things in the ground and in containers, there is space to entertain, and most importantly we now have lots of light! We no longer have a sheltered and shady space where plants started to bolt for the light. Along with the benefits of having so much light, the downside is that our garden will now be exposed to the elements. I'm sure we will be learning as we go about what areas of the garden are effected by extremes of hot and cold weather!

So let me tell you a little about our new gardening spaces...eeek I’m so excited! We are lucky to have a small space at the front of our home to garden as well as a back garden. Our front garden is a typical narrow small space for a terraced home. We have lovely yellow and black tiles and a small gravelled space, in total measuring about 1 metre wide. We have a bay window which allows us to have three window boxes on the windowsills, remarkably our existing window boxes fit perfectly…it was meant to be! At the moment the geraniums are still flowering in the window boxes so I plan to leave them in there for a few more weeks and then look to move them into new pots and put them under cover for the winter. There's plenty of opportunity for container gardening at the front of the house and I'm looking forward to working out what to plant in the window boxes for the winter and what plants we could add to the space.

Our plans for the back garden are quite extensive and we hope to achieve a hefty garden redesign over the next few years. We would love to paint the back of the house to freshen and tidy it up, or if we can we would like to get back to the original brick. We plan to replace the concrete walkway and patio space with attractive paving which is in keeping with the victorian/edwardian style of our home, with the aim of creating a space to entertain. Many of the plants in the garden are over grown and will be removed with a fresh start on all the planting. We plan to remove the lawn and potentially create a space that has a feeling of a walled/kitchen garden with raised beds, a winding brick path, areas of gravel and a lean-to greenhouse. I'm hoping to have a combination of small vegetable patches, a herb garden, and a cut flower patch. We want to have a space that is productive and one that we can sit in and enjoy. It is a big project and will take quite some time to save and plan for, however for the time being we are going to do what we can to make the space more of our own.

One of my favourite features of our back garden are the brick walls that surround the space. Three walls frame the garden and they are all at different levels. The walls are a combination of grey stone at the back and variations of grey and red brick on the left and the right. Around the garden I have discovered a few lovely shrubs, a rose, honeysuckle, a small acer tree, and a few small fuchsia's that I really and will definitely try to keep in the redesign. We moved our pots, garden furniture, and cold frame with us to our new home and have added them to the space where we can.

The garden is changing as autumn is upon us. We have seen the leaves changing colour on the blueberry bushes to a deep red, we've harvested a few final courgettes, Mr C has cut back some of the herbs and has started drying them, and the marigolds are gradually dying and going to seed. The honeysuckle in the garden is still flowering and the fuchsia is also clinging onto flowers and adding a bit of colour and life to the space.

I'm looking forward to watching the space change during the seasons and becoming more acquainted with the plants that are here and how they grow. I'm going to be able to do more than just container gardening which I'm really excited about and I am really looking forward to learning a lot more about gardening too.

The changes aren't going to happen over night, we have lots of plans to make, money to save, and as we are heading into autumn and soon winter it will be a while before we start making any big changes.

I hope that you will join me in my new adventure of gardening. I'm looking forward to learning new things and turning our new garden space into something pretty, productive and a garden we have created ourselves that we will love even more.

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Saturday, 11 October 2014

Moving house :: Embracing the new

Over the past month or so I've had a quiet time on my blog. I had hoped to not be away for quite so long but there were a few things that have had our focus and energy. One of those has been taking some time for Mr C and I to embrace a fantastic and exciting positive change in our life...we've bought a house together and have moved!

I can't tell you how long I have wanted to share the news but I didn't want to tempt fate and tell many of our friends and family until we had the keys. Mr C and I have been patiently waiting since early June for the outcome of our house purchase and just over four weeks ago we were able to collect the keys and move our possessions and our life into a new home.

We are still living in Bristol and have moved from our basement flat into a gorgeous three bedroomed victorian terraced house on the other side of the river. We stumbled upon a real gem of a house that has just the right amount of space we were looking for, it is also well decorated with only a few colour changes needed on the walls, so nothing too overwhelming to do. Our new home is like a dream come true and has so many features we love.

We were looking for more space and a house that would allow us to achieve more of the lifestyle we wanted. We hoped to find a space that would enable us to make it easier and simpler to do the things that both Mr C and I love...and we have found it!

Our new kitchen is much larger and gives Mr C the space to get stuck into his cooking hobby and me the push I need to learn more cooking and baking skills. We now have dedicated dining room space to entertain friends and family with the food Mr C loves to cook. Our bedroom is spacious and provides us with a calm uncluttered space to relax and sleep in. We are lucky to have two additional bedrooms that will mean that friends and family can come and stay in comfort. One of the spare rooms is our gorgeous converted attic which is home to both my new craft studio as well as doubling up as an additional room for our hobbies and for guests to stay. Our garden is a perfect size for city living, it allows us to have the balance between gardening and container gardening, and with it being south facing there is more light than I could have ever have hoped for!

We are so delighted to be living close by to some of our great friends and are a short walk from a bustling high street which is full of character. We are spoilt for choice with a few butchers and bakeries, a green grocer, a post office, a few small supermarkets, lots of little shops, pubs and restaurants, a park, and a 10 minute walk to my favourite little garden centre. We are still on the edge of the city with a few minutes drive away from the countryside and a 25 minute walk into the centre of the city. It feels like all of our hopes and dreams, for the type of home and location, have been met for this phase of our lives bringing with it a huge wave of positivity.

We've embraced the challenges and change that have come hand in hand with a house purchase and a move. It has been quite overwhelming at times, both emotionally and with the level of physical tiredness. We have almost unpacked and are gradually finding homes for our possessions. I've been enjoying seeing what we own and having another sort through our things to keep refining and making space for the new. In the first week after having moved in we began to see the space taking shape and our house becoming our home. We are now looking forward to gradually putting our own stamp on things and creating a homemade home full of things that reflect our personalities and interests.

...As I write this I'm sitting at my desk in our attic room, with a steaming cup of tea, listening to the occasional pitter patter of rain drops on the skylight windows. While I've been sitting here the weather has cleared and bursts of sunlight and warmth now fill the space.

I've been sitting here reflecting on how moving house and starting a new has truly made my year. I can't tell you how happy we are to have found such a beautiful house that fits exactly what Mr C and I were looking for. Whilst we move about our home we both have a visibly renewed spring in our step and an enthusiasm for the things we love.

Each time I sit at my desk I am filled with many emotions but mainly with real joy and happiness. My new creative space is more than I could ever have hoped for. I'm truly lucky and so incredibly excited about what this space will lead me to achieve. I've been jotting down notes of project ideas and have been refreshing my plans and goals whilst I unpack the final set of boxes.

Our life in our new home has begun, our new routines have started, and a refreshed enthusiasm for our passions has been kicked into life once again...I wonder what this new house will hold for Mr C and I? Our exciting new journey has this space.

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