July 29, 2015

on the July table, 2015

july table-9

July is already drawing to a close, slipping through my fingers like a handful of sand on the beach. Over on Instagram, I’ve been celebrating all that’s lovely about this month in a hashtag project with my online friend Emma. If you haven’t already seen it, do scroll through the #makingjuly feed for an beautiful and uplifting insight into what makes July special for different people.

Here on the table, a huge bunch of bright everlasting sweet peas, snipped from the rampant bush that covers the wall at the end of the lane. They’ve been tumbled unceremoniously into a spotty jug with a broken spout. As time passes, their colour fades and softens to a lilac-y purple.

Summer is always the time that I return to film photography, and with this in mind, I brought out my beloved Olympus Trip. This was my first ever camera, a gift from my Dad on my 15th birthday. Not only is it an absolute beauty, it also takes rather marvellous photographs too, and I have a stack of films just waiting to be used.

I’ve also been thinking about printing my photographs, prompted by my friend Xanthe and her ‘this summer I’m printing my photos‘ project. On my to-do list is an Instagram print run, a couple of photo books, and a stack of 6×4 prints. In the meantime, I’ve been looking through my polaroids to remind me of the pleasures of a photograph that you can hold in your hand. This shot, of a bunch of dahlias, taken with my Spectra a couple of years ago, is a favourite of mine.

The very special notebook was irresistible to this notebook addict. I picked it up last time I was at The Foodie Bugle. It’s by Katie Leamon, and it’s rather gorgeous. With all three boys home for the summer, I have very little time available for work, but I always have a notebook on hand to scrawl down ideas, thoughts and plans.

Finally, the jam labels. It hasn’t been a great year for strawberries at our local pick your own, but I’ve made a couple of batches of Strawberry Jam, and a couple of Strawberry & Gooseberry, Gooseberry Jam being a new (and delightful) discovery of mine. The old silver jam spoon was a gift from my kind mum in law, and I am thrilled with it. I’ve created a story over on Steller called Strawberry Jam- recipe for a July ritual, if you fancy taking a look. I’m hoping to make one more batch before the strawberries disappear for another year…

Pink, taupe and silver : the July 2015 table.

{last July’s table}

{January’s table}

{February’s table}

{March’s table}

{April’s’s table}

{May’s’s table}

{June’s table}

July 15, 2015

Bayntun Flowers

bayntun bayntun-2 bayntun-3 bayntun-4 bayntun-5 bayntun-6 bayntun-7bayntun-11 bayntun-8 bayntun-9 bayntun-10bayntun-12Last week, on a balmy Thursday, I met with my friends Lou and Cathy at the stunning Wiltshire home of Polly Nicholson, the creative florist behind Bayntun Flowers.
Lou and I met Polly when she taught a hand-tied posy making workshop at The Foodie Bugle. We loved her distinctive, innovative style, the way in which she incorporated hedgerow blooms into her arrangements, and the fact that she used only British flowers, growing almost all of them in her own walled garden. When Polly invited us to visit her for a tour of her garden and workshop, we were delighted to accept.

Polly’s workshop, in the stable block of her Georgian home, is a truly enviable space. Full of character, with fabulous moody light, this cool space is where Polly conditions her blooms in deep buckets of cold water, and where she works her magic, making up posies and bouquets. Here she dries heads of allium from the ceiling and collects interesting receptacles for her arrangements. Behind the stable block, Polly has built a stunning walled garden which is both beautiful and functional; Polly plants everything for a reason, and this is her cutting garden, as well as her vegetable patch. She deliberately chooses unusual or rare varieties of classic flowers, each located with elegant precision in the meticulously well-tended beds. The maroon cornflowers, the petals of which were destined for confetti, were a particular favourite for me.

Along the lane, Polly showed us her flower fields, where she can grow larger quantities. It was an uplifting sight. The clouds of white Ammi Majus, were just fabulous. I should love to try and plant some in my own garden, for a fix of white froth in the weeks after the cow parsley in the lanes has faded.

It was a wonderful and inspiring morning, and Polly and her family were so welcoming. I could have stayed and snapped pictures all day! Do follow Polly over on Instagram, for floral delights and glimpses of her darling domain. If you’re local, you can buy Polly’s flowers at The Foodie Bugle shop, or contact her to order direct.

July 12, 2015

the Moth magazine :: a giveaway

moth magazineIf you are a regular reader, you may remember that the Moth magazine has appeared on the table before. I was sent a copy of this gorgeous arts & literature magazine a few months back, and enjoyed perusing its pages over a quiet cup of tea. Author David Mitchell rightly describes it as “a beautiful creature.” The boys loved their copy of its sister magazine for children, the Caterpillar, which we found to be a brilliant and entertaining alternative to commercial kids mags.

If you’d like a chance to try one of the magazines for yourself, the editor is offering a year’s subscription to the Moth magazine and a year’s subscription to the Caterpillar magazine (4 issues of each) to two lucky Circle of Pine Trees readers. To enter, just complete the Rafflecopter widget below. If you have a preference for which magazine you’d like to win, please let me know in the comments. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 3, 2015

the year in books :: July 2015


I flew through my June read, Emma Healey’s debut novel, Elizabeth is Missing. Although it was poignant -heartbreaking even – it was also gripping. Healey’s is a truly unique concept: a mystery story that is also an intimate exploration of the fragile mind of its protagonist, Maud.

My choice for July, Emma Freud’s The Sea House was suggested to me by my friend Sara, when I requested ideas for summery books during  this month’s #theyearinbooks Twitter chat. When I learned that this novel’s setting was based on the Suffolk coastal village of Walberswick, where we crab fished in the summer as children, I was completely sold. As luck (or fate?!) would have it, I came across a copy in the charity shop this week, so my choice was made.

The July Twitter chat will be, as usual, on the last Monday of the month (27th) . Do come along and join us if Twitter’s your thing; we’re a very welcoming crowd, and you’re sure to come away with a to-read list as long as your arm, and some bookish new friends to boot. (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!

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