so long

And so I say farewell to this blogging space. Hope to see you over at my new home really soon.

My first post has just gone live.



a new venture

I have a new home for this blog, this blog I love so much.

After three years of writing The Blooming Times, I was surprised to find that I wanted to keep on writing regularly and also that I had the time(!) and wanted to expand and do new things that wouldn't work so well in this blogspot space. So after much deliberation I have decided to move to a dedicated domain, www.potterandbloom.com, and a new host, squarespace.

I have loved this blogger host, it could not have been kinder. It's such an easy system to use especially for complete blogging novices such as me, three years ago, green at the gills and more than a bit stupid and confused. Blogger is not only completely free but I have never had a problem with it, not one, in all the time I've been using it. It's fair to say that I will be sad to see it go.

But my new space is just fricking awesome! I love it and I love my new name which is a combination of my real and my blogging surnames (I have a blogging surname, I'm such a dick!). I've got new stuff going on; a compilation of all my favourite quotes called love notes, a free 100 lovely lists workbook for subscribers, a new facebook page and all manner of stuff and nonsense.

I hope you will be happy to join me over at Potter & Bloom. You can follow me on all the usual readers such as Feedly and Bloglovin or alternatively you can subscribe by email thus never missing an issue.

It's been a ball.

Peace. Out.


a weekend away

Iggle Piggle came away with us last weekend. We went to Center Parcs at Elveden Forest. He loved it especially when he realised Makka Pakka came too.

This weekend is one of those funny life anomolies because I don't particularly like Center Parcs. There's the silly spelling, its Centre Parks really, too many people, too many children (argh other people's children! en masse!!), too much 'organised' fun (you bloody well will have fun or else!), it's most definitely NOT my holiday destination of choice and yet I have been there too many times to mention.

Just don't ask me why I've been so much, I simply don't know the answer to this question.

we saw peacocks and shit
It is however one of the best places to go on a group holiday, which is precisely what we did. You can have lots of fun if you are with the people and the dogs you love and you get to do ridiculous stuff like play crazy golf with a toddler.

Can you imagine how this went down, picture the queue of people behind us waiting for their turn. Waiting patiently for their turn with hard metal clubs in their hands!

And you can take your dogs, although the irony of being in the middle of a massive forest and not being able to take Tilly off the lead was not lost on us. The dog walking area, the only place dogs are allowed off the lead, was smaller than our kitchen!

Tilly loved it though, in a confused, what the frick is going on way. She has been really poorly recently, had a lot of very painful trips to the vets and had been every day in the run-up to this holiday, so she couldn't relax. She was expecting to be taken back to the vets at any minute, this expectation making her shake all over so badly that her teeth chattered! Oh my lovely girl.

Tilly chattering notwithstanding, we were able to enjoy ourselves; ate a lot of food, played trivial pursuit, swam in the 'mega pool' (I didn't though, no way, I saw a poo in there once!), did drawings on blackboards, ate cake, chips and pancakes, sang Happy Birthday a few times and watched crazy brave critters come right up to the patio doors. How do Center Parcs arrange that, is the wildlife on the payroll?

I am one ugly ass deer

great wifi, zero mobile phone signal
We chilled out, I tried to not let it bother me that Betsy was chalking all over my amazing flowers!, and it was lovely.

It was great spending some time away and more importantly the wifi was amazingly fast!

The villas were lush, very Scandinavian, warm and lovely and we were lucky with the weather (can't write a British holiday post without talking about the weather for frigs sake!), given that it was tipping down when we arrived and tipping down when we left but lovely for the whole in between bit. Awesome.



Home is where I can be alone. Be myself.

Home is where I feel comfortable, warm, happy and secure.

Home is calm. Home is peace.

Home is solitude and familiarity.

It isn't about the stuff that fills it, it isn't about the bricks and mortar. It's the essence of home that I crave, the feeling of home, the comfort of home. I could live in any house and feel at home just as long as my loves are living in it with me.

When I was younger, wilder, and adrift in the world with no safe place to go, I had a fantasy home imprinted in my mind. This home was a tiny cottage at the base of a hill, it is winter time in this fantasy and cold outside. There is warm light in the windows and smoke curling out of the chimney. This was accompanied by a feeling that I belonged to somebody and they were on their way home to me. The atmosphere was calming and peaceful and I wanted those things so badly, it would often make me feel sick.

They call it homesick for a reason. At school you would sometimes find yourself floored by a wave of homesickness, the feeling coming out of nowhere in response to a smell, a sound or a memory. I would often feel homesick in the dinner queue, or watching the Eastenders omnibus on a Sunday. One summer term, when I was ten, I felt homesick every single night and had to be given 'sleeping tablets' by matron which seemed to work and which I later found out were nothing but paracetamol.

I have that longed for comfort now, so I cherish and guard it with a passion. I try not to be away from home for any extended length of time (yes holidays are a wrench), or socialise on consecutive days. When the weekend calendar is empty, I rejoice, for sitting on the sofa with a book reigns supreme. I am happy when it's raining outside because it means I have an excuse to stay in all day and when the snow comes and traps us in our houses, you will find me doing a dance, I am in heaven.

I used to feel embarrassed that I felt this way, being an introvert in a world of extroverts can be difficult at the best of times. But I'm too old to be embarrassed of who I am now, plus you get to forty and realise that you don't give a shit what anyone else thinks anyway.


be yourself

Don't be like everybody else.

Be yourself. Be your true, weird, nerdy self and be unapologetic about it too.

: source :


crochet star garland

This crocheted star garland has already had several incarnations. I just can't seem to get happy with it.

A present for Betsy's birthday, in it's original guise it had smaller stars inbetween each large star, but this caused lots of strange stretching and pulling and flapping (flapping!), and I just didn't like it. Sometimes a project with defy you, will make you sorry you ever started and wonder just how the frick you are going to finish. This is that project.

So today I took it apart and rearranged the stars differently, joined them from the top in an attempt to resolve the 'flapping' issues and removed the small stars out altogether, I'm much happier with the result, it hangs better for sure but it seems a bit, um, boring now.

Should I add something to it?

I suppose it can't hurt to try but I'm just feeling a bit meh about the whole thing now. Learning serious garlandy lessons here, I always thought they were a bish, bosh, bash, kind of project. You know, a can't go wrong and anything goes type of project.

I was wrong.

You need some skills to make these pretty things on string work.

The smaller stars are in fact very cute, and probably need a project of their own now they've been rejected and are sitting in a heap on the dining table looking sad.

For info the large star pattern is from Nicki Trench's Cute and Easy Crocheted Baby Clothes and the smaller stars are my own design.



The power of transformation intrigues me.

Our ability (or not) to change and grow, sometimes drastically, often subtly, is a constant source of interest. I'm obsessed with stories of transformation, I devour them hungrily, perhaps as a way to justify my own mutable life, or perhaps because I enjoy discovering the courageous ones who told themselves they could and so they did.

I like stories where people say no to the accepted way that things are, the different ways they have learned to accept themselves; those thighs, that glass of wine, these feelings. I like people who slough off old skins and transform themselves, people who radically change their world for the pure unadulterated betterment of themselves.

Lifestyle, physical, attitude changes, anything adopted in the name of a happier life is inspirational. These people have tapped into the great, largely unmapped, territory of "I deserve better than this", when we are often led to believe that we don't. These are the special ones who have realised that transformation is there for the taking. As Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy "you had the power all along my dear".

I salute you transformers (robots in disguise), I wait with anticipation to hear news about exciting things happening in your lives. I try, with some small success, to emulate your gritted determination. Yes, I want to be Dorothy too.

A small shift in mindset, a tiny shift in perception and a determination to effect change and we can do anything we want, we can be anything we want. Magical creatures every single one of us.



I did Wordsworth at school, did you?

I can remember the lovely bounce of Daffodils as it tripped off my tongue but apart from that I wasn't really interested. Bit dull. Plus there were boys to be thinking about, Wordsworth could get stuffed.

Then I visited Ullswater in the spring and I understood why all the fuss, Wordsworth was onto something after all. I discovered he was much more than the sum of his lonely wanderings, his poetry moved me, it moves me still, I understand him.

This ode: intimations on immortality, is my favourite. The first line feels like a half-remembered secret, did I know that? Who told me? When?

I have forgotten.

Words travel across the years to reach us all at different moments in time, always at the right time. These words came to me, reached in to my soul and gave it a squeeze and Will's timing could not have been better.


her second birthday

Today she turned two.

I don't know where the time has gone, it seems like yesterday we were having her first Birthday parties and marvelling at her skippy joie de vivre, and here we are doing it all over again.

We have had a day of sugar sprinkles and wig-wams, talking teddy bears, grandparents and pizza. We have puffed air into balloons, thrown streamers, lit candles, guzzled caffeine and kissed sweet little toddler cheeks a thousand times.

She loves an audience does our girl, even more so than last year. She spent the day spinning and twirling and demanding her dues.

She doesn't want cuddles, she doesn't want cake she just wants to be wild and free. We love her.

Happy Birthday Betsy.


quick and easy root vegetable soup

Autumn days are made for root vegetable soup. When the leaves are turning, the wind's picking up and the harvest crops are flooding the shops, we make soup.

And no better soup than a quick and easy soup, because I can't be arsed with any other type. Call me quick, call me easy and I am there with apron on, chopping up my veggies, grappling my gourds.

This Saturday I happened to hit the root vegetable jackpot and I didn't even mean too, I had to improvise lunch because I didn't have enough leeks to make leek and potato soup. And strictly speaking a squash is not a root vegetable but you will forgive this faux pas when you give this soup a try because it's busting at the seams with goodness, it's hot, it's sweet and very earthy. You are going to love it and not least because it's orange. Orange is the new soup.


3 or 4 large carrots

1 big or 4/5 small potatoes

1 sweet potato

1 squash

2 tablespoons of sunflower or olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

1 pint of vegetable stock plus 1 pint of boiling water

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Single cream (optional)


Cut all the vegetables into smallish chunks. Melt the oil and butter in a big saucepan and add the veg letting it cook away happily for 10 or 15 minutes and giving it the odd stir.

Add the stock, the ground cumin and the chilli flakes and simmer for 20 or 30 minutes. I use one pint of stock and one pint of water because the Marigold Bouillon stock I use is very salty, you can use all stock if you prefer.

Liquidise the soup and return to the pan, heat through and season to taste.

That is it. Soup is on the table. Serve on its own or add a swirl of single cream and enjoy.


never settle for less

Let's start this most brilliant of months off with my current favourite words of wisdom.

Never settle for less than you deserve people and if you think you deserve better then bloody well go out and get it.