Last year was a momentous one in many ways, we got married, Jack turned ten and I left my glorious thirties, a decade I'd loved. The decade in which I had my children and life finally made sense, I could admit that really I wasn't hugely ambitious and a life as a mum would do for me, more than that, I would really love it (most of the time).
Not being a diamond and pearls sort of girl a 40th birthday present had to be something else, and after visiting a friend of a friend's garden and loving her little painted potting shed, I worked on Ian and we designed a summer house with Reg, shed builder extraordinaire. This little beauty sits at the bottom of our little garden, and it's all mine................well, ok I do share it now and then with the children. I love it and when my photographer friend Amanda asked if she could take some photos for a feature she'd like to do, of course I agreed.
Let me say, it's never been this tidy since. We'd used the summer house a couple of weeks before for our wedding, as a tea room, filled with all my vintage tea-cups and side plates (and a few borrowed from Mum).
So whilst it was still tidy Amanda took all the shots she needed and did a brilliant feature for Good Homes magazine.
It's a very strange but incredibly thrilling feeling to see your home in a magazine, slightly surreal to see something so familiar to you through somebody elses eyes. Amanda did us proud, I think my family may again have bought up all the copies and Reg rang me the other day to say he'd been contacted from readers all over the UK for a quote.
Kitty has celebrated her 7th birthday with a pool party in the garden. Not the warmest day of the year, one of the girls even asked if we had a wetsuit............for a 3 foot deep paddling pool! The afternoon went well, there were no punch ups over pass the parcel, only one child cried when she lost the musical statues game and the dog was removed from the situation since we knew the temptation of food and children would have been too much to bear.
Sunday morning in this house means it's my turn to get up with the dog. She's an early riser our Peggy, normally about 6am. For a night owl like me this has taken some getting used to, I'm not known for my positive attitude towards early mornings. Peggy has changed all this, Sunday morning has now become a ritual for me............a cup of tea, crumpets and nutella (how I love nutella!) and a couple of magazines......bliss. I get about 2 hours quiet, the children fortunately take after me with their love of a lie in, which sets me up for the rest of the day.
It also gives me time to sit and appreciate the house and all our bits and pieces. For example, this shelf, one of the many areas adorned with bits of nonsense which mean something to us. Ian's dad's books, a tiny tandem I bought for my bike mad husband, one of my favourite wedding photos of my sister and I which perfectly sums up a perfect day, a strange springy dog that Kit bought from a street sale, a spotty candlestick from a neighbour for our wedding and Ian's Biggles books.
This year the garden is thriving, against all the odds. A gardener I am not, can't even class myself as an amateur, my special skill lies in killing plants. But I am a trier, and maybe my efforts are paying off.
The geraniums are doing brilliantly, as usual, the sweet peas are coming on, and this morning the first dahlia unfurled it's beautiful petals in the most glorious pink.
My one flower bed is pretty good, the roses are having a second flush, the foxgloves were a triumph and the cosmos my friend Liz grew from seed are beginning to flower.
Our scrubby neglected table has been brightened up with some donated verbena from a neighbor..........
................and the apple tree we planted for Jack four years ago is bearing many fruits.