Welcome to our blog.

….. We make
….. We explore
….. We nuture

Three children *** One big, grey dog *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010.

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”



Thank you….

  • Kate Thanks for sharing your tips. Put cream on the strawbs and you will be fine 26 Jul
  • Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... I love experimenting with filters on Instagram and then just put it back to normal when I post! I do like black and white pics... 25 Jul
  • Helena Love the colour of the material and the fish. I also think it's great that you've taken something and put your own twist on it.... 25 Jul
  • Craft Mother That is inspirational. Gives me hope that I can do it. Interesting about flexibility. I hadn't thought of that. Possibly I need to look into... 25 Jul
  • Craft Mother Yes very relaxed. 25 Jul
  • Older »

Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane

Debs Random Writings

daily life


They say that you don’t have to run faster than a bear, so long as you can outrun at least one of your companions. It’s meant as a joke. You should never try to run from a bear, but all the same it makes me think. Obviously, I don’t need to worry about bear encounters in the UK (I hope!), but if I did, I suspect that I would be that companion. The out-runned companion. Hello, bear.

I’ve realised that everyone else in the family has higher levels of activity than me. Youngest plays cricket twice a week and trampolining, plus the usual school sports and general running and cycling around that happens during the day when you are 10.  Generally sporty.

This week has seen the two older children join their father on their first parkrun. They’ve not settled on an after school sporty activity, this year, so I’m thrilled they are doing the run. There has been extra running during the week and a higher level of activity all round. I really don’t have to worry about them being inactive this holiday, as they are keen to carry on and try other activities.

Then there is me. I’m not totally inactive. I walk between 2-3 miles a day on the dog walk alone, plus a family hike, most weekends. This week I joined the school for a couple of miles walk across countryside, which was probably further as it’s a bit like herding cats, when it comes to walking with so many 4 to 11 year olds.

I hula hooped for 3:56 minutes (yes, the children timed me) over the weekend, before I reached my boredom threshold. I garden daily, so I’m no couch potato, but I’m not doing enough. I couldn’t join them on their parkrun. They would slow down for me.

Living in the countryside, I have to drive to most organized sport venues. The idea of swimming lengths or a gym session, followed by a 20-30 minute drive, does not appeal.

I’m starting to eye up our woods as a possible cross country running venue for me. I could persuade the children to join me on their bikes. I want to be able to run the distance. Maybe then I could join them on a parkrun, once I’ve mastered that route.

The only running I’ve been doing this week has been the usual end of term sprint (the last week has to be the hardest) as we finish off school and after school commitments. Plus a lot of running stitches on my sewing machine. I may be pushing the definition there, but I did finish the blue dress for my daughter in time to wear to a wedding, using my hand-cranked sewing machine. More calories burnt than doing the same task on an electric machine. (work with me on this one!)

So question to you all. What sporty activities do you do on a regular basis? Are you all running 5k a week? Please, I need the inspiration and motivation. Are you an out-runner or an out-runned?

The Reading Residence
Sharing. Good idea.

Which is the most popular craft?

Have you ever wondered which is the most popular craft? There are so many craft hobbies to choose from?

If you judged it by craft supplies in shops, I would have said knitting/crochet. I’m forever surprised by (and drawn to) the different kinds of shops that find room to slot a few shelves of yarn in. Supermarkets and motorway service stations included, but maybe I notice it more. I like knitting and crocheting, so I am attracted to yarn.

Maybe if I lived for painting, I’d be checking out the prices of watercolour paints in the tea rooms. Or the ornate cake decorations on show in the garden centre, if I dedicated myself to baking.

The range of craft magazines in the bigger newsagents give little clue either. There is a publication for everything if you look long enough. Specialising in different areas.

My choice of craft, depends on the season. I’m more likely to sew than knit in the summer. Anything to do with yarn gets very little attention in the warmer weather, unless it’s spinning. I know that will change when the first leaves start to turn, or the need of a small project to take on holiday. (Have you tried lugging a sewing machine or spinning wheel on holiday?)

At the moment, it’s all about fabric. Dresses this year. I’ve excelled (and surprised) myself, that I’ve made three dresses for me, and one for my daughter, in the last couple of months.

Next project is already in progress. Dressmaking. Another dress for me as you can see from the top photo.

(Latest finished dress. Photos to follow. Minus the eyes!)

I do like to sew. So I was curious when McCarthy and Stone posted up an interative map of the UK and a list of popular crafts per region. (The data nerd I am, loves it.) I’ll admit, I was surprised. Go and have a peep. Maybe it won’t surprise you.

It is all part of the Grandfest campaign. Encouraging others to share their skills (there’s even a crafting tip from me among a host of amazing crafters and bloggers). I love the idea of passing on skills. Learning something new. Very topical today, as our news in the UK includes talk of how keeping your brain active could help to prevent dementia in later life. Along with other lifestyle changes.

Maybe it’s time to pick up another skill. What new skill would you like to learn? Crafting or not, I’d love to hear.


Sharing. Good idea.


Blue seems to be cropping up a bit this week. We’ve had blue sky which is always a joy. Both our covered benches have been painted blue. A change from their previous green. Makes them both feel like new seating areas again. This bench is proving especially enticing with the children, who love to curl up and read there.

I’ve been busy dressmaking. I’ve finished two dresses this week. My rose one and another for work, which I’ll be posting up here soon. I’ve also started (and almost finished) a blue dress for my middle daughter. She chose the fabrics and I think she made a good choice. First time I’ve worked with lace, I think.

Blue, the Pup, has been taking up a lot of my attention these last two weeks. She’s still noticeably sad about losing her buddy. We all are. (Another blue for the week.)

Routine has changed with her. She’s accompaning me on the school run, which I think she finds more stressful than her usual countryside walk. More people and dogs in the village. More small children jumping out of nowhere. I’m working hard to train her up. She is young, but still carts baggage from an earlier life. We are her second family. I can see progress. Hopefully by the time the Boy leaves primary next year, she’ll be able to make it all the way to the school gates. In the meantime, I’m taking it at her pace.

And just because it is a blue map…

…I’ll include our craft activity for the week. Map contour model.

So, how has your week been? Hopefully blue skies for all.

Joining in with Word of the Week #wotw.

The Reading Residence
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Sharing. Good idea.


There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don't just take. Written permission only. Don't pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It's not nice.