May 19, 2015

on the May table, 2015


May is the month of Cow Parsley, or Queen Anne’s Lace if you prefer its prettier name. This is the very week when it is at its peak and bright, delicate swathes of it swish alongside every path and on the roadside verges. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite time of year to be in the countryside. Since Polly taught me to briefly scald the ends of the stems in boiling water to preserve the petals, almost every room in the house has been prettified by a jug or a bottle of it. This little bunch sits in a school milk bottle that was a gift from my parents.

This month, I’m reading issue two of In Clover magazine. If you haven’t come across it before, I urge you to seek out a copy. It’s a gorgeous magazine, with an emphasis on offline pursuits. In Clover is so beautifully put together that even the scent of its pages is delicious! I’m delighted that my piece, Meditation in Yarn has been published in this issue, along with a couple of my photographs. It’s about the meditative art of knitting, and is a piece that has been in my head for a long time. The very first blog post that I ever wrote, back when I started a craft blog in 2010, was about the meditative qualities of knitting. I’ve come a long way since then, but the soothing movement of the needles still calms me as much as it ever did.

Also on the table is a rather beautiful feather that arrived in the post earlier this week, along with an invitation from my good friend Lou over at Littlegreenshed. Ever the visionary, Lou is organising an amazing event called Sisterhood Camp, a gathering of creative, freelance women. It’s in just a couple of weeks time now, and I could not be more excited about it. I’m sure I shall share our adventures with you here in due course.

There’s a cup of mint tea, in a pretty floral teacup, which is no stranger to the table. Finally, two vintage printer’s blocks, which I bought from the local market a couple of weeks ago. One for each of the youngest boys, both of whom have an eagerly anticipated birthday this month. In this house, May is the month of cow parsley and of birthdays.

Brown, white and green: the May 2015 table.

{last May’s table}

{January’s table}

{February’s table}

{March’s table}

{April’s’s table}

May 13, 2015

cooking, reading, loving, dreaming :: May

mayloving copy

This month, I am…

cooking … our favourite biscuits. My mother-in-law’s Ginger Snaps are the quickest, easiest and tastiest biccies around. The trickiest bit is resisting the temptation to eat an entire batch of them!

reading… about wildflowers in The Concise British Flora In Colour, which I picked up in a charity bookshop for 50p. This year, I’m determined to learn the names of the flowers that I see in the meadows and on the verges. To date, I’ve identified: Cuckoo Flower, Herb Robert, Red Clover, Common Vetch, Stitchwort and Jack-by-the-Hedge. Such mellifluous names.

loving… the beautiful late spring light. Sitting at my kitchen table with the early evening sunshine streaming in through the sash window is my favourite time of day. I’ve been collecting images of lovely light over on Pinterest.

dreaming… of a wild adventure by the sea. We’re visiting Fore Adventure in a couple of weeks, and I can’t wait.

What are you cooking, reading, loving and dreaming of this month?



May 6, 2015

Kindred magazine :: a giveaway


” This practice of marking time with our shifting tablescape, our accidental still lifes, is my paean to the holiness of the ordinary.” – Amanda Mays

I’m delighted to have had some of my photographs published in the latest issue of Kindred magazine. Sur la table is a piece which features photographs from my ‘On the Table’ blog series, accompanied by some truly beautiful words from Amanda Mays about tabletop photography and its place in documenting the ‘holiness of the ordinary’. Amanda has perfectly captured the hopes and intentions behind my tabletop photographs, describing how this mirrors her own thoughts and practices, and sharing some insightful musings on the manner in which we seek to chronicle our days.

Kindred is a lit mag that celebrates the power of story to bring people together. Kindred embraces the idea of home and celebrates the messy, the meaningful, the people, and places we hold near and dear to our hearts. It’s published in Louisiana by Anchor and Plume Press and is available to buy here.

Amanda has kindly given me two copies of Kindred to give away to Circle of Pine Trees readers. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a copy of this beautiful magazine, please complete the Rafflecopter widget below.

*The giveaway is now closed, see below for the winners.*

.a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 3, 2015

The Year in Books :: May 2015


I haven’t quite finished my April read, Laline Paull’s The Bees, but I am utterly gripped by it. It’s recently been shortlisted for the Baileys Prize, and I can absolutely see why. It’s a novel with a totally innovative central conceit, and the author’s attention to detail makes it surprisingly easy for the reader to make the imaginative leap required to empathise with the character of a bee.

I’m really excited about my May book choice, Matt Haig’s memoir about his experiences of depression and anxiety: Reasons to Stay Alive. I saw Haig speak recently at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival. He was warm, engaging and eloquent. I very rarely read memoirs or autobiography, but this feels like an important book, and having loved The Humans, I’ll warrant it’s a well-written one too.

This month’s #theyearinbooks Twitter chat was a lively one, with lots of lovely new participants. Thanks so much to everyone who took part – it’s always a fun and friendly hour. There’ll be a May chat but due to the bank holiday, it will be at 9pm GMT on the last TUESDAY of the month (the 26th). Do come along and join us if Twitter’s your thing; we’re a very welcoming crowd, and it’s an hour spent in gentle bookish chat. (I’m @circleofpines on Twitter.) If you’d like me to tweet you a reminder nearer the time, give me a shout and I’ll add you to the list.

If you’re joining in with #theyearinbooks over on Instagram, you should now be able to add your Instagram posts to the linkup below by following these instructions.

You can find Year in Books blog buttons, and all the details about the project on the YIB information page. Here’s a quick reminder of how it works:

The aim of the Year in Books project is to read (at least) a book a month during 2015. It’s not a conventional book club, so we don’t all read the same book, the project is about trying to ensure that we make space for reading in our busy lives, and is a way for us all to discover more lovely books (and lovely bibliophiles). At the start of the month, we blog about the book that we are intending to read, and, if we want to, write a few words (thoughts, comments, a review of sorts) about the previous month’s book.

If you would prefer to share your book choices over on Instagram or Twitter, please use the hashtag #theyearinbooks so that we can find your posts. You can share as many books as you like in this way- it doesn’t have to be restricted to one a month. I am @circleofpines on Instagram and on Twitter, if you’d like to tag me so that I can see your posts.

There’s a Goodreads group for this project, and all are very welcome to join, whether or not you have a blog of your own. Finally, there’s a Year in Books Pinterest board, do follow along for all manner of bookish inspiration. If you would like to pin to the board, let me know in the blog comments and I will add you as a pinner. (If I should have added you, and haven’t, do nudge me! Pinterest is a little problematic on the issue and it sometimes takes a couple of attempts.)

It doesn’t matter whether or not you have linked up before- everyone is welcome and it’s never too late to get involved. Please do link back here from your post.

Thank you, and happy reading!

 Loading InLinkz ...