The second highlight of my Cornish holiday was a visit to Lanhydrock, a National Trust property. Lanhydrock has been described as the perfect country house and estate - and visiting does feel exactly like stepping back into Victorian times. It gives a glimpse of the reality of the upstairs/downstairs lives that went on in these country estates - from the beautiful, ornate reception rooms, through the kitchen complex, and even the servants attic bedrooms. I'm fairly certain the part of the house to which I'd like to belong.
One of the highlights of my time in Cornwall was a visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Heligan was the seat of the Tremayne family for over 400 years. Generations of the family developed these amazing gardens which were in their zenith by the end of the 19th century. Unfortunately, they suffered significantly from decades of neglect in the 20th century and had become almost completely overgrown (lost...). They also suffered significant damage in a hurricane in 1990.
Fortunately, a restoration programme commenced in the 1990's, and has returned Heligan to the magical place it is today. Below are some of my many photos from the day...
Last week I spent a week down in Cornwall...staying in a small cottage without internet access (hence the lack of blog posts!). My mother had been visiting me from abroad and had never been to Cornwall. When we booked the cottage back in May, I also thought we'd be enjoying a week of warm, sunny, late summer weather. But, the British summer has been a dismal failure, so it was more a week of cloudy skies and showers. But, a lovely and relaxed time was had. I've inlcuded a few images of our week away - as you can tell I have just discovered instagram. There were two standout highlights of places that we visited that deserve their own blog post - stay tuned.
Driftwood Cottage, Porthpean - our home away from home
The rustic, coastal inspired interior
And of course, a trip to Cornwall would not be complete without a Cornish cream tea...
My mother is currently visiting with me from Australia, and today we took a day-trip to Highclere Castle, located in Berkshire about an hour or so from London.
Highclere has two main claims to fame - the 5th Earl of Carnarvon was responsible for the archeological expedition that ultimately discovered the tomb of Tutankamen in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Although all of the major artefacts are in Cairo or the British Museum, there is still a wealth of interesting items on display.
Secondly, Highclere nows forms the location for 'Downton Abbey' - the Edwardian period drama starring the fabulous Maggie Smith. We here in Britain are impatiently awaiting the 2nd series of this programme, due to be broadcast in the Autumn.
So, we set off today with hopes of a day spent like this...
One benefit of this blog that I have discovered, is that it is inspiring me to complete a raft of unfinished projects.
I'm somewhat delighted, but also embarrassed to post about this finally finished quilt....that I started making in 2003...
As a preface, I learnt to quilt about 15 years ago when I started going to an evening sewing class with my mother. Jumping in at the deep end I decided to make a queen-bed size hand-pieced and hand-quilted bed quilt. In a rush of enthusiasm said project probably took me about 9 months from memory...after which I vowed never to make a hand-pieced and quilted number again.
Fast-forward a few years, and I discover a beautiful wattle-printed fabric in a little store in the Blue Mountains in Australia, and the inspiration of this project was born. Had I known then that it would take me a further 8 years to complete, I think I would have turned around and walked out of the store.
So, it has come on in fits and bursts over the past 8 years, and equally spent many, many months sitting untouched and unloved. But, after becoming sick of it taking up valuable space draped over the quilting hoop in my tiny flat, I decided one last effort was in order.
Now that my blog is looking fit for public consumption, I thought it was time to add the links to all of the beautiful, stylish and inspirational blogs that I've discovered over the past month or so which led me to starting this little venture of my own.
At first count there is 22...and these are just the blogs I look at regularly...I am seriously thinking that I may need to start setting myself some daily time limits for blog reading (much as one would implement for children for play station or computer game access)! At least the first 25 mins or so of my tube journey to work on the tube is above ground (i.e. with 3G access) so I can have a little peruse on my commute every morning on the way to work...
Uh oh... why is it that when you a seriously focusing on a savings goal, things keep coming along to tempt you...
Diana Ferrari is an Australian footwear and fashion label that I have always found great for items such as tailored wide-leg work trousers and stylish work heels. Every January when I'm on my annual visit to Sydney I usually find myself sucumbing to the lure of their summer sale and finding the suitcase has a few extra items on my return.
However, I've always been reasonably safe as they didn't have any webstore presence...but, it appears things have now changed...and I'm already coveting these ballet flats. There's something about the mix of the classic neutral colour with the feminine flower detailing that is definitely calling my name - perhaps I can just hope that their might be a pair in my size when the end of season sale arrives!
One of the things I first noted about the increasing number of blogs to which I am quickly becoming addicted to reading, was their completely stylish presentation. You can imagine my disappointment then, when attempting to create my own 'design' (and lets remember that I am no designer) via the standard templates left a little to be desired. I had hoped that creating a background of my favourite colour, using a photograph of my favourite flower (peony) as a background header and some fancy script would suffice...but, no...
My blog looked like the completely amateur attempt that it was - so much so that I couldn't even bring myself to start commenting on the blogs I was reading, because I was too embarrassed to have anyone link back and view my own!
Fortunately, I quickly stumbled (virtually of course) across the lovely Maria at Penny Lane Designs. Here I found a whole range of beautiful pre-fab templates ... my only problem then was chosing which design I wanted to use. I think it was the colour (which seems to be the predominant feature colour in all of the accessories and soft furnishings in my sitting room) and the elegant damask design that won me over in the end. I can't recommend Marina's services highly enough - not only has she given me a beautiful looking blog for a very reasonable price, but her service was also prompt and highly professional.
Any non-design folk like me who might be interested in a little blog beautifying, then I can certainly recommend Penny Lane Designs.... Many thanks Marina!
So, a productive weekend was had this past weekend...which was surprising really as I had such a hectic week at work it wouldn't have surprised me if I had barely stirred from the sofa all weekend.
Fortunately however, I seemed to be blessed with an unusual (for me) level of initiative for a weekend and pulled out the fabric stash and made two simple summer skirts in preparation for my forthcoming holiday (my mother is visiting from Australia and we have rented a cottage in a little village in Cornwall for a week...now I'm just hoping that something resembling a British summer appears sometime in the next 10 days). Anyway, I'm not much one for shorts in the summer, and felt that my casual skirts were getting a little dated (or I'm just tired of wearing them). So, I now have two new wardrobe additions - a navy, nautical inspired a-line skirt with some pretty ribbon trim around the hem, and a taupe eyelet fabric overlaying a white lining. I'll make sure to get some photos as soon as I can to post.
I also made a start on renovating my little wooden cupboard with the glass doors - all sanded, and the first two coats of duck-egg blue has been applied to the interior. I think it is going to need at least one more coat, before I can start on the white paint for the exterior. Work remains incredibly busy this week so it is quite nice to come home of an evening and get to work on a project that doesn't require me to extend too many brain cells!