Thursday 28 April 2011

In, in, in...but somehow still a little out...

Dearest readers,
I am, as you will have noticed, a very "secret" blog friend these days, 
but I read and appreciate every word and kind comment you leave here 
- thank you so much!

And now, without further ado, I invite you into our conservatory, a k a play room for two rather play-driven young family members. On this particular day, the toys had been tidied away in the baskets, but for those of you eager to play a little "Spot the Thunderbird Top"-game, the clue is to "think red"... During the warmer months, we don't spend much time in here, at least not during sunny days when it gets VERY hot, so board games and some other toys can be found nesting in other parts of the house too. 

To give the white and rather plastic-looking left wall a little boost of life, I recently made a few eucalyptus wreaths to break up the large expanse of white. I have often thought of putting pictures up to cover some of that wall, but as everything in here tends to get very sun-bleached, I have chosen not to. 

As this is a room where armchairs serve a launch pads for -young- human rockets, and generally has to put up with a lot of roughty toughty play, all the arm rests on the chairs now expose "war wounds" and gaping foam. Nothing that a few throws and home-made arm rest covers can't hide... and the room can continue to serve its dual purpose of  Young Boys Go Wild Arena and Relax in Late Afternoon for Grown-Ups Refuge. Very often both at once...

...and in another part of the house, something changed earlier this year:

A splash of not so splashing colour...

Yes, a few months ago, I finally got my act together and reached for the paint brush. 
It was time for a calmer colour scheme in the bath room...

If you would like to see what the bathroom looked like before, look here.

Wishing you a lovely long weekend!


Friday 22 April 2011

Out, out, OUT...!

Yes, I want to spend all my waking hours outdoors now, 
quietly ignoring the needs and musts of normal life... 
How can you stay in, when the sky is so hypnotically blue!?!

I have not shown the exterior of our house for some time, 
so above is a photo of the back of our house, 
taken from behind the pond, just behind the scruffy, old fence.

And there we have it, the scruffy, flaking, in-quite-a-sorry-state fence... behind our frog-infested pond. I am amazed the fish have not signed a petition yet to have the loud jumpers evicted, both on account of noise level and spawn extravaganza, but they all seem to live in perfect pond harmony...

Our house is a semi-detached and the window to the very left, just above the conservatory to the left, is part of our neighbours' house. And no, our house is not The Leaning Tower of Pisa, as it appears in the image below. I am afraid blame will here be cast on the photographer... Next on the agenda is to get rid of the "motorway" running down the middle of the garden...

Wishing you all sun, suN and SUN...

...and a lovely Easter weekend!


Wednesday 13 April 2011


... and the living is eeeeaaasy...

Dear readers, a HUGE thank you for all your lovely comments 
on my previous post. As I am currently away from home,
with only limited time at the computer, I am - still - rather
 invisible on your blogs, but very grateful and humble that
you still take the time to stop by mine.

These photos are from last week's "heat wave" in the UK,
when even the most frozen of souls must 
have been humming a merry tune...

The inviting sound of flip-flops
echoing down the street, T-shirt-less torsos
 flexing their wintery paleness...
(perhaps not as inviting a vision...)

Time for some Swedish cinnamon rolls in the sun!

I simply cannot get enough of pansies and violets this year! 
Charity shop bargain cup and tea pot seem to enjoy hosting these sweet little purple ladies.


Some readers might wonder if I live in some sort of over-styled universe all the time,
as more and more of my blog posts seem to show what may appear to some a very staged setting.
The answer is no, of course not.
Nor do I spend all my waking hours creating little still lifes
and arranging pansies to look their cutest.
However, as my work is freelance and I am fortunate enough to work a lot from home,
I can use my lunch break to potter about in the garden,
unleashing my creativity for a moment,
while my brain is processing whatever work task is on the agenda.

I am no painter, nor can I draw very well.
Many are the art forms that I do not master, not even a little, not at all.
However, I do believe we all have some artistic veins inside us that are begging to be nurtured,
and I really believe that in order to stay healthy, we need to explore that creativity,
find whatever artistic expression that carries our voice,
and allow for some playful experimenting.

With so many people living in poverty around the world
and with natural disasters and illness forcing them to focus all their attention on survival,
it may sound a little arrogant to talk about
"the need to explore our artistic voices to stay healthy".
The basic needs of survival are of course an obvious priority,
but if we are lucky enough to live in a safe place,
we may allow ourselves to explore our creativity,
to create beauty around us,
in whatever shape we see it.

For me, right now,
playing around with colours and materials,
flowers and small creative projects,
is both inspiring and therapeutic,
calming and energizing.

To me, decorating is a moment's meditation...

At the end of this very long blog post, 
my warmest regards to you all!


(Home-made cake stand from earlier this year. 
Twigs tied with jute string around a tall glass vase, 
to serve as a nature-inspired pot for an ivy (on the table).)

Friday 8 April 2011

Graffiti the way I like it...

So... what do you do when for the longest time you have been on the hunt for an old, French-style, small, round metal table, rough, vintage, preferably rusty and at a decent price... with no success whatsoever?

Well, one budget-friendly possibility is to give a cheap table from IKEA a new look... Armed with a couple of spray cans - feeling naughty just shaking them -, I attacked the white table with sage green and then a brownish, textured spray paint. Spraying up and down and sideways, my graffiti debut seemed an acceptable success. I have not yet had the time to attack it with a little more brutality, to try to give it that flaking, old look, but for now, it works well as a place to unwind with a glass of pear juice...

The rusty, three-legged friend on the ground is a new addition to the Swenglish rust family (I think it is an old "bird safeguard chimney top", but it works just as well as a plant "gazebo"...). The rest is all old and most certainly previously blogged paraphernalia, just having been prompted to play musical chairs again, moving around, changing places, meeting new friends...

Thank you for all of your comments and good advice after my previous blog post about work-blog-life balance. I will talk more about my thoughts on the subject in a blog post soon.

I wish you a sun-soaked weekend with many soul-nurturing flower-picking opportunities...!


Saturday 2 April 2011

April - no fool in my book...

Au contraire, it is the month of SPRING, so bring it on!

Today was a day spent in the garden in the Swenglish Home. Warm enough to go coat-less, each family member embarked on what he or she felt topped his or her priority list of the day. In the case of the man in the house, this meant preparing the green house ready for planting. The boys had their own 'mission', which included a magnifying glass and one or two rather traumatised bugs whose weekend plans had most likely not included being carried around and stared at by young humans (Please note, no animals were harmed or killed in the process...!) As for me, I had a tête-à-tête with an under-exercised lawn-mower (oh, the scent of freshly cut grass...!) and started trying to 'springify' and 'prettify' a few corners of the garden, in preparation for... no, I'll tell you about that later... 

At the moment I am very invisible in the blog community, and I am sorry about that. Even though I have tried bending over backwards, apply for an eight-day week, and considered giving up sleeping altogether, I simply have to try to accept that I cannot do everything I would like to at the moment... How do you cope with work-blog-life balance? 


The other day, I went to one of my favourite 'hangouts' in Bath, just to get a few, old, handmade terracotta pots to hang these violets in... and came home with a splendidly rusty bowl, an old watering can and a small bucket from WWII (if one is to believe the 1945 written on ít...) - all for just a few pounds each! The sack is from Turkey, the cushion from Maisons du Monde in Paris ("J'adore paresser toute la journée" = "I love lazying around all day"), the old bottle "carrier" one of my bargain treasures from a flea market in Paris.

Below: One of my two most fabulous treasures of all, here slurping up a well-needed lingonberry drink. Bug catching can be very hard work!

To old readers and new, lovely to see you here! 
I wish you the best of Sundays, with buckets and buckets full of warm weather and spring!