Floral versatility (a.k.a. OCD)

I have this weird thing that I like/have to do when people give me flowers: I sort them by colour. Anyone else? Just me? Ok then.
I just can't help it. I think although they look lovely all together, they look so much more... organised when I ... well, organise them!
Getting several bunches out of one big one also means I can scatter them about the house for maximum floral impact. Like this (and no my desk isn't always this tidy):

So what do you think? For or against FOCD?


A week in Wales

As our Summer had been a lot busier than planned (I'm talking about work here, not fun in the sun), we had to scrap our plan to go on a week-long road trip across Wales before landing at a cottage in Blaenau Ffestiniog for a week. We also had to work part of the time we were at said cottage, BUT we managed to squeeze in lots of fun with friends, and that's all that counts.

I had always wanted to visit Wales and as it's really not far at all from Yorkshire, I decided this year was the year. I booked our cottage months ago, sometime in the Spring and definitely on a whim, and it was a lovely little place. If only I had done more research I may have stumbled upon the fact that Blaenau Ffestiniog stands for bleak and rainy. Luckily for us, the rain held out for most of the week! As for the bleak... well, it wasn't too bleak except for the gastro-scene. Let's put it this way: after a couple of days we decided we were better off living on garlic-bread from the Co-op. At least that stuff never disappoints!


By pure chance, some of our dear friends from Paris were also going to be in the area at the same time, so what might have been a week of me waiting for Boyfriend to finish proof-reading yet another book turned into a lovely time of exploring castles and going on looooong walks and searching for decent food. I also really love not being in charge, as that's the default setting when it's just the two of us.

Our first stop was Aber Falls with its beautiful waterfall (duh) and inquisitive wild poneys.

North Wales is a former slate-mining area (we even go to visit one of the mines! more on that later) so naturally, there is slate everywhere. Check out this beautiful fence made of slate. I. WANT. ONE.

What can I say? Boys like to pretend to have fights with old logs?

Well I'm going to leave you with these pics for now as this post was ready weeks ago but a mysterious, nerve-wracking and totally unresolved broadband issue has stopped me from posting... I've pretty much lost hope of ever getting a decent connexion speed again, after 30 hours on the phone and a switch of provider and 3 different technicians coming to our house. I'm tired. I'm fed up. I don't know how I'm ever going to be able to upload photos ever again, luckily I managed to sneak a few more of Wales onto my Flickr page before this hellish nightmare happened. Take a look here.


Tropical Yorkshire

I know summer is over and it makes me very sad, so to cheer me (and you?) up a bit, here are some pics I took during a walk along the canal back in August. I'm pretty sure some of these flowers aren't endemic to Yorkshire but they certainly seem to be thriving!

I seem to have a thing for all fern-related plants at the moment. I even bought a huge one for my bathroom! It's not the happiest fern but it seem to be doing ok, I hope. I promise you'll get a peek of him soon!

As much as I complain about some aspects of living in our house (everything keeps breaking, the landlady couldn't care less, it's draughty as hell), it is lovely to live by the canal and to get to snap pictures of fancy boats whenever you go for a walk.

This cluster of houses is where the tropical (and general flowery) magic seems to take place. Ready to be transported to a fairyland of vibrant flowers and tiny garden gates and neatly growing lettuce in no particular order?

I also admire the hardy weeds that keep on going despite the layers of toxic paint that they get sprayed with every few weeks. It's not easy being green.

I'd like to finish off by showing you how the wildlife is doing. The geese are as hissy as ever with us humans but they seem to be getting on just fine with their Canadian cousins.

The local cats had a rather zen Summer, mainly spent sitting around with eyes half-closed, being cats.

Some are naturally more perplexed (and adorable) than others, but I can assure you, we love them all just the same.

So, that was Summer along the canal! I will be turning 30 (gaaaaaaaah) in 2 days and celebration preparations are in full swing (the brownie is in the oven. I repeat, the brownie is in the oven). I can't quite believe I'm a real grown-up now, I still feel like I'm just pretending most of the time. Oh well, here's to pretending, and being, and enjoying, and succeeding!


Yorkshire Sculpture Park

So that's what a freelance translator's Summer is like... let me just try and remember that for next year so that I can have all my fun during a different season... No really, sorry bunnies, I seem to have drowned in work over the last few months and am just creeping out of my nest and into the dazzling October sunlight. Forgive me for the long silence. I have lots of adventures to tell you about!

Let's start with an adventure that happened in July! My Mama came to visit us and it was the perfect occasion to go to Yorkshire Sculpture Park as I had been wanting to go for ages (this is the view from the restaurant balcony. Not too shabby). Ok, mostly because I had spotted these plates in their online gift shop and I really really liked them...

Well everything else in his exhibition was just as pretty. I wasn't sure if photos were allowed so I only took the one. You'll have to go and check it out for yourself!

The park is very big and of course we had a little look at some of the other exhibitions too. Now this artwork is by Ursula von Rydingsvard and the basic concept is that she carves big things out of wood and metal and sometimes glass (you can read a much more detailed description here).

I think this one looks better as it is outside. They just weren't as striking inside the exhibition hall. Boyfriend was so overwhelmed (ahem) with all this artistic creativity that he had to go for a lie-down under the tree while we carried on.

We also saw an exhibition by Ai Weiwei (more here) which I really liked. Simple yet moving, like a lot of his work. Photos aren't allowed inside the chapel so once again: you'll have to go and take a look yourself!

So this was our day at YSP! One of these days I'll get some decent pics of the lovely things I came home with!!


Now you see me, now you don't

Remember when my bookcase looked like this?

Then it looked like this. A definite improvement, but the multiple colours still stang my eyes a little, and although I loved seing my collection of vintage books and miscellaneous objects, I was concerned that they would get sun damaged if I didn't protect them in some way.

Enter, the £6 piece of material that I came across by chance while browsing one of my favourite Hebden shops! Initially I had thought wallpaper might work. This was the main reason for ordering all the samples that ended up here: 

Then I decided £30 for a roll of wallpaper was a bit much for something I might never get the chance to use again. So I was keeping my eyes peeled for something pretty and easy and with a geometrical pattern, preferably yellow triangles and grey or white circles... when I saw this little bit of retro jungle material and thought: yessss!

Also, as you may have noticed, there has been a furniture switcheroo in our living room! More on that later though, this post is all about showing as many pictures as possible of my relooked bookcase:

What do you think? Yes to material in bookcase doors? I gave the rest of the material to my Mama who is going to make cushions out of it for her new house! Yay for matching house decor!

On a completely unrelated greenery update note: we have two huge Jasmine trees on our back terrace and a couple of branches were growing dangerously close to the dustbin, risking decapitation each time someone opened and closed the lid. So I decided to give them a longer life in the house, and have since realised that Jasmine has a very strong and very lovely smell that fills the whole room. I can't get enough of it! I'm hoping a few more branches decide to grow in the direction of the dustbin so that I have an excuse to do a bit more pruning...

Our little rescue plant is doing so well! Unlike the Nasturtium you can see in the background, who have been decimated by caterpillars... I've since had to get rid of all the dead stalks and replace them with something else. Pictures soon!