Busy in the garden

by Helen on March 29, 2014

Now the April issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine has been safely sent out to all my lovely subscribers, I have a little spare time – and so it’s time to begin preparations for our wedding wildflower garden at the front of Coombe Leigh …

Here’s my house – this picture was taken last February so there’s nothing to see in the garden at all (it was a cold, late spring last year).  But this June there will be a garland of roses on the front door (possibly even a rose archway over the gate) and the flower beds will be filled with wild flowers – daisies, love in the mist, and lots more too.  I don’t know exactly what as my friend Jacqui (Flapdoodledesigns) is a very keen and expert gardener who has taken charge of the project.  At the moment she’s busy raising lots of baby seedlings to plant very soon indeed ….

And this is how Jacqui’s garden looked last summer …..

So I’m feeling very confident – at least for the front garden!  We had hoped to have wildflowers at the back too – but – there’s a large black furry problem!  Having watched everyone hard at work preparing the beds at the front earlier this week – young Miss Daisy decided to “help” too.  She’s not allowed in the front – so obviously decided to make an extra effort in the back garden …..

Oh dear … I’m not sure that wild flowers will survive her efforts – we’ll have to think of something else.  She looks so pleased and proud of herself though, it’s hard to be cross.  

Thanks for all your help Miss Daisy!



It’s such a dreary day outside today.  It’s cold and grey and muddy … a fine rain has been falling the whole day long and the hilltops are shrouded in mist.  Even the newfies were happy to come indoors after their walk and they’re both now curled up nice and snug on their beds.  It’s the kind of day when I have to remind myself that yes, the nights are shortening, there are snowdrops in the hedgerows and spring will soon be here – the kind of day for thinking pink!  So I treated myself to a beautiful bunch of (mainly) pink flowers from the Farm Shop …

Perfect for my Emma Bridgewater vase.  And I finished the last bunny for my “Making Money Making” series starting in the February issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine ….

Rosie is trying to snaffle the set of three bunnies for her Easter decorations.  But she’s definitely not having my lovely bunny cushion made from the same template – he looks perfectly at home in my hallway ….

Lots of cheerful pinkness!!  And I also decided upon a lovely pink background for the cover of the February issue …..

It may be grey outside, but spring is definitely on the way indoors!  The February issue is published on Thursday 30th January – CLICK HERE to learn more.  



Ben’s near-death experience!

by Helen on December 22, 2013

While I was away in Dubai having a wonderful time, Ben and Daisy went off to stay in their favourite kennels, where as usual, they ran straight inside waving their tails with pleasure, hardly even stopping to say farewell.  And it’s true that I hardly gave them a thought while I was away, knowing that they were safe and happy with their “Auntie Gillian.”  I went up the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), drove through the Arabian desert in a fleet of 4 x 4′s and even had a henna tattoo (strictly temporary!)  I had a wonderful time ….

Dubai Dec 2013But the day after I returned when I went to collect my two furry friends, I was greeted by a very sober Gillian who told me Ben had been so very ill she ‘d had to call the emergency vet because she was worried she might lose him.  

He wouldn’t move, not even the slightest wag of his tail, and hardly reacted to anything at all.  So blood tests were taken, medication administered and much love given.  She didn’t call me as there would have been absolutely nothing I could have done from so very far away.  Luckily with all the care and attention he received he’s now pretty much made a full recovery.  The feeling is that he must have picked up and eaten something very bad indeed – as Daisy was absolutely fine.  Poor Ben –  after his experience with the stones you’d think he would have learned not to eat stuff – but then although he’s much loved, and (in his opinion at least!) very strong and brave – he really isn’t the cleverest of dogs!

Summer's Day LoveheartI’ve been keeping a very close eye on him for the last few days, whilst finishing off my final project for the January 2014 Magazine….

Summer's Day Loveheart A crewel love heart – beautiful spring and summer blossoms encircled by a very famous quotation from one of Shakespeare’s sonnets “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”   Summer seems a long way off for us, but it is after all summer in the southern hemisphere – and I did have a little taste of summer in Dubai!  But I won’t be heading off on holiday again and leaving Ben behind for a while – I don’t know how Daisy and I would manage without him.  I know that one day he won’t be here any more …. but not for a long time yet I hope.  Just DON’T EAT ANYTHING when you’re out and about Master Benjamin!!


Market Day in Totnes

by Helen on July 12, 2013

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who left such kind comments about poor Daisy’s horrible experience.  She was a little stiff and sore the next day, but I am pleased to report that she is now fully recovered, while Ben has very much enjoyed all the extra treats,  hugs and congratulations he has been receiving since he became a hero.  So I decided that today it would be fine to leave them both behind for a little while and I set off for the Totnes Friday market.  I arrived just a little after nine-thirty and the town and market were already buzzing with shoppers.  Totnes market has all sorts of stalls …

Friday Morning in Totnes

 All laid out in a most appealing way.  I always like to visit Amanda at Shabby Chick ….

Friday Morning in Totnes

Who offers the most adorable collection of vintage china and linens.  Then there’s the bakers ….

Friday Morning in Totnes

 Two very cheerful chaps with the most delicious baked goods – a honey and spelt loaf, together with one of their brownies found their way into my shopping bag!

Friday Morning in Totnes

 Fresh produce and flowers from the Walled Garden stall …

Friday Morning in Totnes

Two lovely ladies – who also offer English garden flowers for weddings …..

Friday Morning in Totnes

 Rosie and I plan to visit their garden to find out more.  And of course no visit to Totnes is complete without visiting ….

Friday Morning in Totnes

 Where the delicious vanilla aroma is so rich and strong,  I am sure that even breathing in the air must absorb calories into my bloodstream!  And I won’t be able to wear one of these this summer if I eat too much of Roly’s fudge …

Bathing Belles

 Yes, these Bathing Belles are another project for the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  And I’m sure my furry bathing belle and beau will want to go swimming later – another hot day is forecast tomorrow and they’ll enjoy a cooling dip in the sea this evening!