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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

August Be Home Free Winners

As every week goes by the BeHomeFree gallery fills up with more and more incredible images. The task of whittling it down becomes harder with the passing days and that is a good thing.  Thank you to everyone who uses the hashtag, it is growing into a really lovely gallery.  

These four remind me of the my outdoor adventures this month, the natural colours and sense of fresh air and sunshine. 

@melindajk @sigridsminde @christinagreve

Our sponsors for this month have been One World Trading who are gifting a vase, and the winner for this prize is @justjane17 whose washing blowing on the line says all there is about summer days.

Southwood Stores have also offered to be a sponsor with their glitzy sequined basket. And the winner of this will be Dorte of @lewesmap for this quiet and still image in a church, with lovely soft light and a sense of calm.  I really love exploring inside churches and around the graveyards, this photo speaks of the cool air and special smells of old churches. Perhaps it is also a reminder that children don't always need plastic entertainment.

Can Jane and Dorte please message me through instagram to arrange delivery of your gift from Be Home Free, One World Trading and Southwood Stores. 

Next month's sponsors will be announced at the beginning of September when I will also be unveiling the work I've been doing to change my bedroom around, which during this mini heatwave has been quite a task as the paint is drying really fast.

Please continue to join with the hashtag with a chance to win. Many thanks to each and everyone who has contributed so far. 

Love and peas ... Janice

Friday, 19 August 2016

canopy and shooting stars

My first ever experience of camping, or should we say, glamping, has got me hooked. I said to the Other Half as we left, 'let's do this every weekend', and before we knew it, I have booked us to stay in a Shepherds Hut in a couple of weeks time.   

It was my birthday recently and I always book for us to go somewhere for a little explore.  I haven't been along the Norfolk coastline before and I yearn for the seaside all summer long, as we are so far inland in Bucks. Just recently my blogging pals have been going away with Canopy And Stars, their photos are always fabulous and atmospheric so I decided to check it out for myself. This company hand picks special places, with an Eco ethos and only certain kinds of accommodation.  If you look at the website you will be spoilt for choice, and if, like me, you have never really loved the idea of conventional camping, this could be for you.

Our Yurt at Burlingham was super cute, a proper bed, carpet,sofa, a wood burner inside, and all the cutlery and crockery you would need. They even supplied his and hers crocs for wandering around outside. The Yurt is solar powered and has lights and a chandelier. At night we lit it up with tea lights and listened to the radio. We lit fires in the pit, cooked on the little barbecue and made tea with an old fashioned whistling kettle.  We did cheat a little and bought some ready made salad bits from M&S to go with our grilled haloumi and sausages.

Situated at the bottom of a long garden, in woods where you could forage for your own fuel, we even had some visitors like squirrels and pheasants. It is also quite common for deer to come and have a nosey around. The loo/shower is in a little red shepherds hut, with hot water and a composting toilet, although we were encouraged to pee outside (as these composting loos don't like too much liquid) which we embraced whole heartedly!

My birthday always falls at the time of the Perseides meteor shower, and I desperately wanted to go somewhere with no light pollution to watch it ever night. When we went to bed on the first night there was cloud cover but something woke me at 3am so I went outside and the sky was clear and full of stars, after a few minutes I saw a shooting star so I woke up the OH (who wasn't too pleased) and we sat and watched the sky counting all the shooting stars we saw. It was truly magical. 

Our host Chris has left us a map of how to find a beach where there is a seal colony. Horsey was incredible, dunes and empty sands stretched for miles and as we walked along the dune path we could see the seals heads bobbing in the surf. 

As wildlife rescuers we are always most interested in seeing different animals in their natural habitat. I had never seen Seals before and didn't even realise we had them in the UK (other than in zoos).  I believe that sometimes they come to the shoreline but we were happy watching them play on a sand bank not far away. The year of wild was truly notching up some beautiful memories. 

Keen to get back to our yurt with some food for the bbq we did pop along to Hemsby and Great Yarmouth just to see what it was like. Not for me I'm afraid with it's amusement arcades and fun fair rides.

We relaxed during the evenings by the fireside, I took my crochet so I could make more blankets for the '60 Million Trebles' charity project. I styled our table with some of the lovely things I had bought the day before at Lincoln Antiques Fair. My new linen smock, Ian's jumper and the loaned crocs were pulled into my Yurt outfit for camp fire and foraging.

I can't wait to do this again, I took to it like a duck to water, or should I say a seal to water. Now looking forward to the Shepherds Hut in Sussex later this month.  Variety is the spice of life, so unless you live in a Yurt I would say to give it a go, it is quite romantic.  If you find it hard to sit still for too long then maybe take some knitting or other activity.  My OH wished he had taken his drum sticks and practice pad as he was missing having something to do with his hands.  Such a shame he forgot them ...

The link for this yurt is 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Lincoln Antiques Fair

Nothing could prepare us for the enormity of the Arthur Swallow Fair at Lincoln Show Ground.  Having visited the small and intimate one at Loseley, I imagined something similar, and actually went to see some of the same sellers as I wanted more fabulous French finds.

This show is humungous.  We got caught in traffic so arrived a few hours later than planned, which meant the pressure was on to get all around the fair.  Upon arrival we were utterly gobsmacked, I think myself and Tamsyn must have said "oh my God" about fifty times before we decided to sit and have a bacon butty to calm us down.  

So prepare yourself if you visit, make a day of it and expect to do a lot of walking. One could easily make it a two day visit.  

Whatever you are looking for there will not just be one or two of that unusual thing, but tens and twenties of them.  Some sellers having travelled from France and Germany just had a van full of one type of antique.  It was simply overwhelming.

Take a friend and lots of spare bags to carry all your goodies, the prices are so good you won't be able to resist. It's good to have in your mind the price you would normally pay for vintage items so that you recognise a bargain, but just expect that the sellers here are very reasonable as they sell to trade.  

While I would suggest having a list of what you are trying to find, so that you can stay focused, I will also contradict myself by saying, 'keep an open mind' as you simply cannot predict what you will come across.  And then, just when you think that you have covered the enormous field, you find another one at the end! I nearly collapsed!

My photos here are a bit random, and taken last minute as I was totally distracted but I hope will at least give you a taste of the size and quality of this fair. 

This weekend I was staying in a Canopy & Stars Yurt in Norfolk, near to where Tamsyn Morgans lives, so she hopped on board for the trip. I was so pleased she could make it, sometimes you need a girlfriend to help you decide.  Having said that, my Other Half found a vintage piece of musical equipment which he bought for under 15 and is worth 250, so he was a bit smug there.

The next Lincoln show is in October, and we decided to treat this as a preliminary reccy, so we could save up and return with a plan. 

My reason for going was to track down the wonderful Gaelle of GZ Badboys (thats her dogs), and pick up some more french linens.  I will be doing a totally separate post about these and the other decorative items I found.  I'm sure Tamsyn will also be posting her pics of the lovely glass kilner jars, galvanized dolly tub and victorian tile, styled to perfection I expect.  

For more fairs like this simply check the Arthur Swallow website, they seem to have built a very good list of dealers from all over Europe.  Happy hunting.  

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Awesome August #IBA16

Yay, I'm nominated again this year for an Amara Interior Blog award in the colour inspiration category, the link to vote for this blog is

Apologies for the sporadic posting on here, I'm doing a lot of gardening this week and at the same time decorating my bedroom and crocheting blankets, all areas of Be Home Free being explored!

As it's my birthday on the 13th (lucky for some), I will be going away on my first Canopy and Stars glamping trip, plus some beach exploration on the Norfolk coastline and a visit to the Arthur Swallow Fair in Lincoln. So I thought a mid month round up to show a little love to the entries for Be Home Free as the colours are so lush.

I will announce the overall winners on my return from swanning around, don't forget that the prizes for August are the stunning gold sequin basket from Southwood Stores and the lovely little glass vase from One World Trading.

Colour inspiration by the bucket loads with these cool blues ...
@_susandrea_    @hannie65     @bymeeni      @tesslovesflowers 

wide open spaces ... free

@gatheredthreads   @lapetitpeach  @_scarlett.I   @peggyjobbins

delight in the moment of denim and coral tones ...

@themintgardener @grainandfeather @lewesmap
 Nordic and stylish, the white rooms with small pops of colour 
  @thesefourwallsblog @vanillalemoncake  
@ceramicmagpie @erikaappelstrom

There is still time to join with your photos for #Behomefree.  This is turning into a really rich gallery of atmospheric shots, giving both colour inspiration and home styling ideas, a visual treat to be sure created by you wonderful people.

See you over on instagram for daily updates and visuals from me. 


Thursday, 4 August 2016

60 Million Trebles

60 Million Trebles is a charity project where crochet blankets are made for refugees.  A treble is the name of a stitch in crochet and as there will be 60 Million refugees worldwide this year, each stitch represents a person, so please think about joining with us and breaking a record.

I've had a refresher in what a treble stitch is having been taught as a child by mum and nanny (we called my grandmother nanny, I didn't have a Mary Poppins type nanny honestly). It didn't take long, and I was off, and so far I've made a start of several, these are just chain stitch and treble stitch.  The project needs to be big and they need thousands of people to join.

Each person will be making blankets 36inches square and these will be joined together to make one record breaking huge one.  The world record breaking blanket will become a yarn bomb in London by September 2017.

I am using up all my odds and ends stash, which is actually pretty large, so I hope to make many blankets.  To learn to do this stitch and to make a blanket you only need to know how to do two stitches, which can easily be learnt on You Tube.

For technical information and, further down the line, drop off points for your blankets, there is a facebook group but in the mean time perhaps you can just get together with some friends, learn to make crochet squares and start on some 36 inch blankets.

I will be trying to organise a small get together myself, in Northampton in September so watch out on my Facebook and Instagram for information. 

This blog has been shortlisted for an #IBA16 award, please vote for me by clicking on this link

Friday, 29 July 2016

August Sponsors

If you have signed up to my newsletter then you will already had an advance preview of this months prizes, thank you for joining up.  

The #BeHomeFree tag is picking up some stunning photos, Im so happy to have found so many new accounts with beautiful feeds to inspire me. 

As I've been writing about baskets everywhere, here, on Pinterest and on At Mine, I thought it would be great to be able to give one away this month.  So I cheekily asked Hayley at Southwood Stores if I could have one of her best sellers, the big basket with gold sequins.

Also this month I have been styling some looks for a vase that was sent to me from One World Trading, so it seemed good timing to gift a vase as there are so many flowers to be snipped from the garden and even growing wild. Most of my photos will have flowers in them somewhere, their colours and styles setting the tone and mood.

Both of these pieces are perfect for summer home styling, the basket is very versatile, either for plants or as a tidy place for blankets.

I like the shape of this vase as it is wide at the neck but just the right size opening to hold a posy in place, it is quite a classic shape, working with both vintage and traditional.

Please join me again this month for #BeHomeFree showing me your summer photos of home, away and moments. 

If you simply can't wait to get hold of one of these then please check out Southwood Stores and One World Trading where you can find them.  Good luck, have a lovely summer holiday.

This blog has been shortlisted for an #IBA16 award, please vote for me by clicking on this link

Monday, 25 July 2016

Chinese Money Plant Babies

My Pilea Peperomiodes has had babies! thank you, thank you, congratulations are in order for the miracle that this plant has thrived in my very incapable hands.  Also know as The Chinese Money Plant she has sprouted loads of little babies and so I took the gamble and snipped them off, dunked them in hormone rooting powder and planted them up.

I scoured the kitchen and cupboards for small individual pots for the baby plants and suddenly I spied this art deco coffee set. I bought this coffee set in Sweden because it is so adorable, however, it will never get used for coffee as the cups are so ridiculously tiny, they would never satiate our gallon sized appetites today.

Finally though, Ive found a use for the cups and milk jug and I think they look so dinky. Serendipitously, this week one of my sponsors - Rose & Grey, set us a styling challenge and this mini glass greenhouse arrived in the post.

Such perfect timing as these cups are seriously delicate and get knocked over so easily.  The mini glass greenhouse will keep them all in one place, away from the swinging tails of cats, and help to propagate my little money plants.

I like to make little nature tables all over the house, I can see this greenhouse being quite handy for all sorts of things. It's good to group display items together and I think it would look great full of shells and air plants too.

To get your own Mini Glass Greenhouse, pop over to Rose & Grey, it is brand new stock and perhaps you can also put an old coffee set to use with plant cuttings. 

There's nothing else to do now but cross my not-so green fingers and see if the baby Pilea's get roots!  

As a side note I also have baby hedgehogs which I am trying to hand rear, I volunteer for a wildlife animal hospital and this time of year they had hundreds of baby hedgehogs coming in for care, found by the public in many different circumstances, but all needing our help. They are so hard to hand rear, but it is really worth the effort to try and save this endangered species. Wish me luck. 

This blog has been shortlisted for an #IBA16 award, please vote for me by clicking on this link
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